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BJJ, Muay Thai and Boxing
Michael Collins' Bully Odyssey Part 4
[James' comments in brackets.]
Another reason why I left wrestling is that I really wanted to do catch wrestling. I really wanted to choke someone and armbar someone. There was no catch wrestling in my home town so I did bjj.
[BJJ guys in the 2000s seem to have the same attitudes, negative and positive depending on their psychology, towards wrestlers as karate and kung fu people held towards boxers in the 1970s and 1980s.]
The guys at the bjj school were insecure about my wrestling background and were passive aggressive jerks. I applied the wrestling pressure intensity to negate a lot of their stuff and I usually could get side mount. And this is only with 2 years of wrestling and like I said I am not the best wrestler. It was only when I went for a submission that I would get caught.
[I have noted a wide range of behaviors, from jerk to saint, among pro level BJJ men and those who cross train in boxing. I have also noted that at the low level, most BJJ guys are the same kind of pussies that used to take karate when I was a kid—people who wanted a magic bullet that you work for and a feeling of security that they own the best tool possible. I do not see these negative BJJ behaviors as due to the art, but due to the art's great popularity and upscale marketing to desk jockeys with money.]
I honestly think bjj is a sham and a joke. I put up with the whole obsession they had with fighting from the missionary position aka guard because like I said I really wanted to choke people out. The only good thing from bjj is learning how to go from guard to a reversal mount position. The school rarely taught technique they just rolled a lot. So I actually learned very little there except how to modify my wrestling to beat them. I developed and ok triangle joke. But that’s useless in a street fight because the guy can just slam you repeatedly on the pavement. And also bjj sucks because there are no takedowns.
[I know a couple of guys that used wrestling as a way to get good BJJ instruction. It sounds like this school was lame. Of course, this was in California, at ground zero for martial arts cultism in America.]
I tried also muay thai but left because I was just getting beat up by much experience fighters who were much bigger than me. I knew that getting round housed in the head repeatedly by a guy 50 pounds heavier with years more experience would lead me know where.
[There are as many Muay Thai clubs that use new guys for punching bags as don't, just like boxing clubs. As soon as you go to a boxing gym, MMA gym or kickboxing gym, find out first if they spar people hard at the same low level, which is retarded. Then find out if they let their experienced guys T-off on less able and smaller guys before ever lacing up the gloves. None of these clubs should spar you for at least 6 weeks, unless you are a known, experienced fighter.]
So then I did boxing. My coach was an ok guy. He really put a lot of work into the gym but he didn’t really teach much technique. He would show you basic punches, hold the pads show you how to punch the bag with rope on the top and bottom of it. But he showed me hardly any strategy or foot work.
[Good boxing coaches focus on foot work as number one and use pads only for checking fighter movement and punch positioning, like to tap you in the side of the head with one mitt if you drop your right while jabbing. This guy seems to have been poorly qualified.]
In fact he once said while we were sparring “ don’t try to out smart me just box.”
What the hell does that mean?
[This guy was insecure about his sparring dominance, which means he should not be sparring with his fighters. This is a problem with younger boxing coaches. A new fighter is usually better off with a really old coach who employs such men as this as supervised assistants. You also had a problem with contact control due to your violent life history and your experience being bullied in karate, wrestling, disrespected in BJJ and beaten up in Muay Thai. If you had come into a gym where I worked as an assistant I would have been detailed to sort you out as “a head case” and develop your training trust. Without training trust you hit the developmental wall early and unscrupulous or simply poorly schooled coaches will use you as a punching bag.]
I don’t just want to box I want to beat him. The only way I would beat him is through some type of strategy.
[Like I said, you had a problem and you needed a mentor, not a bossy sparring partner, which is all this guy was, using the karate attitude to show you just enough so that he could use you for his own exercise and ego boosting.]
Like I said I am only 150 5’7, he was taller and bigger. He would punch me a lot in the liver.
[What a dick. If Jim Frederick had caught him doing this in his school, he would have stopped it and told this guy he was suspended from coaching duty until he sparred full-contact with some of the stick fighters or boxers I handled there under his umbrella. And even then, the object would not have been to have Oliver knock him the fuck out, or have Charles break his hand, or me make him quit. The object would have been for the three of us to spar with him in such a way as to let him know that he is only uninjured because we are showing restraint and teach him how to take it easy with a knew fighter. This would have entailed boosting his confidence. He lacked confidence in himself as a boxer based on his handling of you.]
I remember this brought back a lot of memories of my step father punching me in the stomach. I used to feel very scared before going to boxing class to spar. I kept thinking how do I overcome this fear.
[You would not be permitted to spar in any gym I worked until we sorted out your anxiety. And then you would do tap sparring for a long time with experienced guys.]
He also criticized me for hitting him to hard. And threatened to hit me harder if I kept hitting him harder. In fact his punches already felt damn hard to me.
[I bet this guy had martial arts background deeper then his boxing background.]
This reminds me of what rory miller said about martial art coaches. How if a student starts to beat up a coach the coach will then beat up the student. This ingrains in the student that “ when I increase the violence the bad guy increases the violence and then I loose.” Or something to that effect.
Another thing was I started instinctually using my elbows to block my coaches punches. Similar to old time boxers and karate blocks. He got pissed and said I chipped his forarm bone. I found it interesting that that old school block is effective against strikes. And that the block can be basically turned into a strike.
[This is when you should have walked. He resented your adaptability, which is the very quality that it is his duty to cultivate. He needs to be taken behind the train station and given a cigarette and a blindfold.]
One day during boxing practice I asked my coach to spar this other guy in the gym. I was tired of sparring my coach who I felt I had no chance of winning against. I wanted to fight someone who I had a chance of beating. I wanted to know what it felt like to win. Well that kid beat me.
[No body should get beat in sparring in the developmental stage. Sure, when Charles was on the cusp of being one of the ten best stick fighters in the country, it was time for him and I to rock and roll so he could learn how to beat serious opposition. Ten and more concussions later I had to step back from that level of contact and we used those lessons learned at that intensity, with both of us having over ten years in, to inform our light sparring that I could sustain. I'm sorry, what a clown show this place was. This sounds like an MMA gym running a boxing program.]
Then I moved on to sparring this guy named sal. Same weight as me but about 6’1. We were about even. The last day I ever boxed at that gym, the father of this Mexican kid boxer who had like 50 fights and was turning pro, the dad said to me, “ every time you throw your cross immediately jab.”
[Okay, that is the second thing a boxer should be taught, not the third, the second, throwing a clean-up punch. The fact that a father of a boxer at the gym knows so much more than the coaching staff is a sad commentary.]
His son was also short like me so I think he knew a lot of strategy for short guys beating tall guys. Well his strategy worked. I out punched sal all 3 rounds. That was exactly the type of boxing strategy I was looking for. But at the same time it felt empty because I really wanted strategy that lead to knock outs. I wanted to learn foot work that gave me defense and offense to power punch and knock out my enemies. So after 8 months of boxing I still felt afraid during sparring. Even though I have many sparring full contact sessions and I really only knew the basic punches no advance techniques.
[This is because no one knew how to, or cared to, identify you as “a head case” which is what I was when I trained at a gym as a teen. I was also ill-served by Reds Foley in the same way and used as a punching bag for the only other kid in the gym. The old pro just figured I was hopelessly uncoachable. But there was an old black dude, a pro from the 1950s, who helped me work on my rhythm and relaxation and then Reds shooed him out of the gym and told me not to listen to that guy.]
But boxing did get me into the best shape of my life. I was always a horrible runner. In wrestling practice, we ran 2 miles a day plus 2.5 hours of additional practice and I never improved in my running ability. I always felt weak. But during 8 months of boxing I went on average 2 times a week for 2 hours.
[In your pic you look like an ectomorph with mesomorphic tendencies, which means you will be open to severe fatigue from over training. You can work skinny guys and fat guys harder then mesomorphs. Your hybrid body type will not cause you to gas as much as a mesomorph. But it will take you longer to recover and you will be likely to be injured when overtrained. A boxing routine for you should be a half hour of light work and a half hour of high intensity training, followed by a half hour of easy work,a technical warm-down. Do this twice a week, and then 2 to 4 times a week do a half hour of light technical work.]
At the end of 8 months I ran 10 miles which I had never done before. I also went to a wildland firefighting camp for a few weekends and I was in insane shape cardio wise compared to 90% of the other guys. I think the boxing plyometrics and the fact that I only trained 2 times a week on average gave my body a lot of time to rest and recover which wrestling never did.
[If you do any running over there in China, do it on a soft surface and slightly up hill and intersperse it with fast walking. Don't pound any pavement and practice being light on your feet when running rather than fast or seeing how long you last.]
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Bryce SharperAug 1, 2021

Hi Michael and James,

I put my boys in the local BJJ school because the Brazilian instructor was also a judo player. I wanted my boys to learn ukemi so they'd stop breaking arms in falls. They didn't learned that and learned a lot of BJJ. There is a cult-like mentality among parents who put their kids in BJJ. They don't seem to understand that street violence is much different than a BJJ gym and many believe that though their skills will overcome a bigger, stronger opponent or attacker. For your money, joining a strength gym is the best martial art.

I disenrolled my boys in BJJ bought some training gloves and mits and Jack Dempsey's book on boxing. I also have James' book, "The Violence Project" and am teaching the boys. They like it a lot better. I might be able to find a better coach for them, but probably not based on what I'm reading.

For real violent encounters, read "The VIolence Project" and get some online training from Tim Larkin or Tony Blauer. The best combat is that you avoid.
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