Saturday, February 2, 2013

The end of an era...passing Ryan's guard

It’s the end of an era, my friends. On January 18th, I accomplished one of my lifetime jiu jitsu goals, something I set out to do from my early days as a white belt. I finally passed Ryan's guard, thereby earning the right to spray tan him.

This may seem like an unusual consequence for guard passing, but I will explain. See, when I began training jiu jitsu, Ryan was an advanced student and was in charge of teaching the beginner class. I was not someone who picked up jiu jitsu easily at first. I was not naturally graceful or coordinated, but I was strong and quick, which led to me spazzing quite a bit. Teaching me was a source of frustration for Ryan, which he did not always hide well. I got frustrated too. I could not insult Ryan's jiu jitsu, which was quite good, so instead I made fun of Ryan for being as pale as an albino. One day I may have politely suggested to Ryan that he leave me alone and take his pasty, white ass to get spray tanned instead.

Ryan agreed to let me spray tan him…but I would have to pass his guard first. At that point, he may as well have been challenging me to pass Gui Mendes’ guard or maybe even the tooth fairy’s – impossible. But I kept trying because I had to. Ryan was so pale that it was starting to affect my eye sight.

He was always a good sport about letting me try, though. He always yielded guard when we rolled and usually let me back up after sweeping me – giving me ample opportunities to work on passing. A while back, I actually did pass his guard. When he was distracted, talking to another student, I jumped around him without actually engaging. It was a cheap, shameless victory. While technically I had accomplished my goal, I decided I did not want to win that way. I wanted to pass his guard legitimately. So I kept at it.

For the past few weeks, I've been training for a major tournament and have been drilling a lot of guard passing. My confidence has increased. My relative weakness, it seemed, was becoming a strength. Then, I finally had my day!

Thank you, Ryan, for teaching me good Gracie fundamentals, giving me impetus to develop my guard passing, and for taking your spray tan like a champ. Here are some pictures:



tramp stamp, by his girlfriend's request


photo by Jeff Shaw, dirty white belt


What do you guys think?

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