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The Marlin

Photo by Josh Russell

"The fury is strong is this one. I feel like I’m deep sea fishing, and I just got the marlin up on the deck of the boat. He’s flopping and popping in side control trying to find his way back into the ocean."

“Friday Fucking Fight Night is back!” yells the late-night instructor.

I had just gone seven 5-minute rounds, with each new partner starting from mount. I’ve been swimming in deep water lately to work on escaping when I’m tired in a bad spot. My ears fill to the rim with sweat from my partner’s top pressure. Now they’re being pulled from the crossface he’s working.

Friday Fucking Fight Night is exactly what it sounds like: rolling for an hour straight. Most of us were at the previous class and have been on the mats for 40 minutes already. We are all soaked with sweat, since there is no A/C. Most of us are pretty damn tired; this is our third or fourth training session of the day.

It’s also common for people to show up late just to spar, maybe after getting off work late. The worst is when you’re lying in a puddle of sweat so large it would look like a murder scene were it dyed red, and a fresh, hungry marlin asks for a roll. White Belt Fury triggered.

The Marlin takes mount on me, the timer sounds and my next round begins.

Instantly, he cracks me in the face with a left hand. I feel my under-bite gash my lower lip open like a serrated shark tooth. Iron from my blood is all I can taste.

I keep my elbows tight and my chin tucked to my shoulder, slowly starting to work my escape. I’m not looking to power my way out. The purpose of your opponent starting on mount is to sharpen my escape techniques. He’s not having it, and I take an accidental but still very hard shot to the top of my head from his right hand.

I hope you broke your fucking hand this time, I think to myself.

I stay calm and find my door to escape. His White Belt Fury is rising. I frame on his right knee and scoot my hips out when I’m nailed with another hard crossface to my right side. More blood fills my mouth.

By this point, I’m definitely sick of letting him have his way with me. So I trap his left arm, circle my right leg around to trap his left leg from posting and bridge my hips to reverse the position.

Then my left calf and the right side of my neck cramp up simultaneously. My elbows are tight to my body while my hands control frame his hips. In one swift motion, my right knee finds the middle of his backside, and I point my hips 40-degrees to line my left leg up to step back. My right hand continues to control his hip so he can’t crunch up. My left finds his right knee, where I crunch to my right to straighten my left arm. His legs pop open instantly, and I pass his guard to side control easily.

The fury is strong is this one. I feel like I’m deep sea fishing, and I just got the marlin up on the deck of the boat. He’s flopping and popping in side control trying to find his way back into the ocean.

I slide my right knee to his belly and control the back of his head. I’ve just gaffed the marlin. He doesn’t like the pressure from my knee (my gaff) and makes the mistake of trying to push it off of his belly. In one quick motion, I under-hook his exposed elbow and bring it tight to my chest. I rotate my hips around his body, secure my feet placement and slowly rise my hips toward the ceiling.

The Marlin tries his best to wiggle free, to pop the line, but I have proper control. Gradually, I apply enough pressure with my hips behind his elbow to secure a tap. We both sit up and slap hands and thank each other. I glance up at the timer. We have just under three minutes left in the round. I tap my chest. Mount me.

When you’re rolling with you training partners, what type of grappler are you? Are you the partner who deliberately works on a certain technique? Just looking for a flow roll?

Or are you the Marlin?

Let us know, comment below.

#ibjjf #bjj #outdoors #themarlin