I know I’m a day late but gotta get my mat crush Monday post out to the public. Nope, this is not a male – female post or reference to any physical attraction. This post goes out to all of those grapplers who feel their heart start to race when their favorite training partner walks through the door. That guy or gal that consistently pushes you, challenges you, or gives you that roll that makes you go straight to YouTube to figure out how to beat that f*cker. We all have one, some of us are more polygamous but either way it’s pretty much a blah training session if that special someone or few people doesn’t show up to train.
While my mat crush is more along the lines of a “nemesis,” that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case for everyone. I enjoy being pushed and I prefer to leave the gym trying to figure out what’s not working and what to focus on next but that’s just me. Some people approach their training as a bit of a social event so their “relationship” is more casual. They drill with their crush, probably own one or two of the same gi’s, spats, or rashguards as their crush, and you’re definitely not rolling with their crush before they do. Just think back on if you’ve ever noticed giggling or laughter during live sparring and thought, “What the hell are they doing?” Or maybe you actually saw it happen and someone was just swepted or submitted with a technique they probably saw coming from a mile away or have been hit with millions of times. That’s the tell tale sign of a mat crush or a budding mat crush. No ego, no animosity about it, just “you got me again man, damn, good shit ha ha” and back to rolling. They just chill out and have the most fun rolls possible, technique may slip at times but who cares. You may witness a bunch of cartwheel passes, berimbolos, or flying submissions those are definitely telltale signs of two people in a “relationship”.
No matter what and all judgment aside, we all need this type of teammate. They push you when required, provide assistance when we hit plateaus, and add humor to something we all take pretty seriously. If you know what I’m talking about then the next time you train thank your mat crush. No, I don’t mean verbally, I mean a solid fist bump before sparring, choke the sh*t out of them, laugh, and then get back to rolling.
That’s what they’d want you to do anyway. Anything more than that or different would just be awkward.
*This is not my man crush btw. I happen to like the pic. Justin is a cool dude tho. LOL
Expedition series #2 took me to 2nd Gear Jiu-Jitsu in Laurel Maryland for Ken Brown’s Sunday open mat. Some people may look at the schedule and notice that it states “advanced practice” and not open mat BUT the very thing that makes it look weird on the schedule is exactly what makes this open mat so special. I know, I know, this really isn’t an “expedition” for me because I go here kind of often but seeing as its not my everyday academy and it is a weekend “open mat”, I wanted to show the love during the expedition series.
So back to the open mat thing, so while it’s not an “open mat” in name it is an “open mat” in the sense that its free and that there are people from multiple academies. What makes it different is that the practice is directed / guided to include drills and scenarios that honestly, most people don’t spend enough time doing. The actual techniques applied are left up to the individual but the drills are provided, maybe something like take down for take down or sweep for sweep, for example. So its kind of a directed open mat for people who need a little direction or who don’t want to feel awkward asking a stranger to drill for 5 minutes when most people at an open mat just want to conduct sparring rounds. Of course there is rolling at the end as well but thats really the sort of cherry of top.
I love this setup, in fact its one of my favorite practices to attend. This practice provides a great opportunity to rep out the new techniques you may have learned that week or to really get quality reps on things you like. I’ve been to open mats where maybe you only know one or two folks, you roll once or twice then get stuck sitting on the wall trying to get someone to roll with you.I have witnessed this being the case with the white belt nobody wants to risk being by or the advance purple / brown belt that people are afraid to roll with. Its strange that everyone wants to roll with blue belts and of course black belts??????
So yeah, week #2 down, 2nd Gear Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Laurel Md, Sundays 10:00-12:00. Its two hours of legit work with good people.
Next stop is Grapple in the Park #2 Frederick, Maryland. Heard they have free wings, so I’m there! Hope you see you there too. If not, more wings for me suckas.
Side note- If you know of any academies in the Virginia area close to Fort Belvoir please hit me up. I’m trying to scout some locales for the military men and women who train at the Fight House during the week. I’m open to travel Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I’d love to swing through, train, and spread the word about your academy. No matter what it’s free advertising for your academy. How could you lose there?
Fun and Games for everyone! Last night I made the trek to Dominion BJJ in Manasses Virginia to participate in a night of Cosmic Rolling. Most people, like me, have never heard of cosmic rolling and could not understand who would come up with such a thing or why. Well I have news for you, it is a real thing and it is as fun as it sounds. Recall back to your days of youth and going out with your friends to cosmic bowling. Blacklights, music, fun times, and making new friends. This is exactly the same just replace bowling with Jiu Jitsu and beer with fancy waters.
The pictures do not do this event justice. In my defense I have never tried to capture an event like this and I am a self taught amatuer photographer soooo good enough. I think somewhere between 30-40 people stepped on the mat to roll at some point and people were continuously coming and going throughout the event. Multiple academies from Maryland and Virginia as well as every size, skill level, and gender were represented. I think I maybe witnessed 2 or 3 rolls that I would have considered a little much for an open mat but thats just me and thats just my opinion. I didn’t have the opportunity to roll with everyone but as usual I was impressed by the level of skill present in the DMV.
A big thank you to Dominion BJJ – Black Belt Bill Nagle and Purple Belt Michelle Welti – for opening up the academy and welcoming everyone to a night of fun and camaraderie. Jiu Jitsu is often seen as academy vs academy, style vs style and people often do not take advantage of the opportunity to meet fellow practitioners and to contribute to its growth. Personally I think this is one of the negative aspects of what we do.
Don’t limit yourself.
Train as many places as possible (meaning open mats) and meet as many people as possible. You will be happy that you did.