Fear No More: BJJ and spotting wild animals in Africa

BJJ in Namibia, south west Africa, where I'm spending the holidays is very sparse but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it. We drive around a lot and I'm always on the lookout for  wild animals. If you see a shadow on the road in Africa, chances are it's a dark bush and no more. You want it to be a baboon, a warthog or another exciting, wild animal but let's face it: statistically speaking there are far more bushes in Africa than there are small, cute wild animals so these shadows are much, MUCH more likely to be nothing interesting.


Does that mean we should stop looking? Of course not. I couldn't if I tried. Even though I've been to Africa 5 or 6 times, I can't help but be glued to the car window to spot these awesome creatures. I've simply learnt:


1. To get less emotionally attached to the shadows. If they're an animal then awesome. If not, no problemo.

2. Which conditions increase the chances of spotting these animals (time of day, temperature, proximity of water...etc.)

3. How and where to look and what better to look for.


As I'm reading Christian Graugardt's brilliant book The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Globetrotter: The true story about a frantic, 140 day long, around-the-world trip to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu this all reminded me of spotting opportunities in BJJ and Grappling. When hunting for submissions (or sweeps or escapes!) I follow the same advice above:

1. I'm less attached to submission opportunities. I still go for them but I try not to hang on too tightly to what could have been.

2. I increase my chances of success in sweeping, submitting or escaping from my opponent by always starting my grappling attacks from the best, most mechanically advantageous positions I can be in (high guard instead of guard, S-Mount instead of standard mount, half guard with the underhook and on my side rather than pinned flat on my back...etc.)

3. This is more based on experience but now I work a lot off the opponent's reaction to the first attack / escape attempt. I know to look for the sweep / back take or the arm bar whenever my attempts to choke fail and I know to look for that from every dominant position. I not only know this but act off it. Just knowing is not enough, you must act.


It happened too often in the beginning that I'd go for a couple of moves, get discouraged when they're thwarted then become paralysed with worry.


"When you are on the mount or the back, you shouldn't be the one worrying. Your opponent should be the one worrying" Brandon "Wolverine" Mullins from the awesome series "How to defeat the Bigger, Stronger Grappler II"



Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters

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