You train for years. You spend time and money perfecting the fundamentals and striving for technical mastery, often times with the greatest teachers in the world. Maybe you even train in strange and foreign lands. You love Jiu-Jitsu. It’s like chess. You have to think when you roll. You spend years before you can finally relax while training. You maybe get a belt or two. You have earned it after all. Your body aches in the morning, evening and night. You really live it. Then one day the new guy comes to class. The newbie is fresh out of the weight room, more specifically the bench press. He might even be a “crossfitter.” His shirt is a size too small (of course he doesn’t have a gi). His muscles are rippling and ready. He watches the warm-ups, maybe a technique or two, and then he’s ready to jump in for sparring in round number 3 or 4. He only knows one speed. He hasn’t ever relaxed in his life. And he is “well versed” on the ground (he does watch it on TV), has “excellent” striking (like everyone else in the world thinks), he wants to “fight in the UFC”, and the Gi is for women and kids. He has no respect for you or your belt. After all, you look pretty regular and he can bench press so much. Then the round starts. You are a little tired and certainly weary of the new guy, new guys are dangerous because they can’t even control their own bodies. You decide not to struggle from the knees so you pull guard. You work to control him. He thrashes and jerks. He is jerking and struggling. He is using the Gi for grips every chance he has. He fades fast. He is breathing hard. His base is bad. Sometimes he just falls and sweeps himself to bottom of mount. But somehow you end up top everytime. Now he has you right where you wants you, he can bench press you now! He bridges and pushes you hard into the air. You swing on his arm and place your legs over his body. You carefully extend your hips and stretch his arm. The armbar is tight but he refuses to quit. He’s got one more rep. He turns and twists. His face is red and he is grunting. Then the muscle begins to tear and the pain starts. He tapes out. You fix your “sissy” gi as he rubs his arms and contemplates the lactic acid building up in his muscles. He can’t continue. After class he talks about what he could have done differently. You tell him it’s necessary to learn to relax and maybe even learn to grapple in the gi first. He shakes his head and says he loves it, “I’lll be back.” Then he walks out the door never to be seen again.
The “muscle head” ego is a fragile thing. More bench press and kipping pull-ups has got to be the answer.