In my experience, Friday jiu Jitsu class is always your best bet for bizarre jiu jitsu encounters. These encounters usually involve people that only train sporadically, are visiting from other schools, or have watched a few UFC fights and want to try their hand. I never know what to expect on Fridays, and tonight was no exception. During sparring, I wrestled with one such person, a white belt I had never seen before. I ended up passing his guard fairly early, and spent most of the remainder of the match controlling him from the top of side control and north-south. I thought his submission defense was not horrible, for a white belt, and would have guessed that he had trained for maybe six months to a year. After class, I chatted with him for a few minutes, and asked him a common jiu jitsu question, “So, how long have you been training?” When he told me he had been training since 1999, my jaw just about dropped to the floor! He qualified this by saying that he had spent most of that time training no-gi, and that he had only been practicing in the gi for the past three months. Gi or no-gi, he did not feel like a person who had 15 years of jiu jitsu experience. In fact, the move I swept him with to get him onto his back was in no way reliant on the gi. I latched onto a kimura from the bottom of knee shield half guard, and used the leverage on his arm to force my way on top. From there, I stepped my leg out of his half guard, and assumed side control, again with minimal resistance on his part (this move had nothing to do with the gi either). Now, I’m no detective, but something about his story just didn’t add up. For one thing, he told me he trained at a Pedro Sauer affiliate. Pedro Sauer is a renowned 8th-degree red and black belt under Rickson Gracie, and from what I understand, is very much a gi jiu jitsu practitioner. Even if this white belt started out under someone else, training exclusively no-gi was not that common in 1999. As far as I can tell, that’s a more recent development, and is still not the norm for most reputable jiu jitsu schools, with the notable exception of tenth planet jiu jitsu, run by Jean Jacques Machado black belt Eddie Bravo. I find it hard to believe that someone could have been training in BJJ since 1999, and never once trained in the gi until this year. The other thing that was weird is that I also watched him spar against a two week white belt. He obviously did well, repeatedly arm barring the poor guy. But, the thing I picked up on was that his arm bars seemed pretty sloppy for someone who had been training for 15 years. I doubt he could have been successful with such a loose arm bar on anyone with more than a year or two of training experience. Finally, I also know that one of the blue belts submitted him multiple times during their match. I don’t think he was outright lying about his jiu jitsu history, but I had a hard time swallowing his story. Perhaps, he has been dabbling off and on in MMA style grappling for the past 15 years. I suspect that to be the case, since I can’t imagine how someone could be a white belt after 15 years of uninterrupted training at a reputable BJJ gym of any kind.

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