When Are You gonna Learn?

Share Button

The martial discipline of Jiu Jitsu is beautiful. And extremely potent. Never more was this demonstrated to me than one lesson with my instructor, Edward Lee Vincent.

After executing a takedown on Ed during one of our many sparring sessions, I landed in his guard. Ed lay on his back, using his legs like hands to keep me from passing his guard and getting to a side position where i could use my superior weight (I outweighed Ed by 60 some pounds). As i attempted to pass his guard, I made the crucial mistake of one arm in, and one arm out. Like a venus fly trap waiting on it’s next victim, Ed snapped a leg triangle choke on me (Sankaku Jime). Literally Ed was strangling the blood from my brain, and I could feel the power of the choke closing in on me.

I was in my thirties at this point in my life. Fresh from the NFL, I still fell prey to the “Might makes right” concept of brutal power can beat any sort of technique. Arching my neck and lower back, I attempted by sheer power to break the hold. Nothing.

I tapped when other countermeasures proved fruitless. Ed was constantly reminding me that proper execution of technique was more important than muscle. And if I wouldn’t learn from his words, then i surely would have to learn the hard way from experience. And Ed was exceptionally gifted at teaching hard heads a lesson. I was the prototypical hard head when i came to the world of Jiu Jitsu.

As I stood up to congratulate Ed on a great countermove, I found myself trying to speak, but no words came out. Then came the  “Greying” as the surrounding mat area got blurry (submission specialists and Judokas know of what i speak). Slowly the strength seemed to ebb from my legs, and all of a sudden I found myself unable to stand. As I unceremoniously slumped to the ground, somewhere off in the distance I could hear Ed saying “When are you gonna learn…?