AMA Announcement: Levi Jones-Leary, 2018 Lightweight Brown Pan Gold Medalist. Friday at 12:30pm AEST (Thursday 10:30pm EST)

Levi Jones-Leary will be swinging in for an AMA on Friday at 12:30pm AEST. That is Thursday night at 10:30pm EST. Convert that to your timezone here.

He is a 2018 Pan Championship gold medalist in the lightweight brown belt division, bronze at the 2018 Abu Dhabi World Pro, and in addition to several other recent wins.

Here is some more information about him:

Please feel to ask him about competing, training, lifestyle, or just about anything else when he puts up the thread!

NOTE: Do not ask your questions in this thread. Wait for Levi to create the thread and ask your questions there.

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When you find something that just works for you

I was watching some videos on instagram and youtube and kept seeing the De La Riva guard. People kept saying it’s good for people with long legs and me, having extremely long legs and arms and an extremely short body (I’m 180cm but when I sit next to like 165cm tiny Japanese girls I’m the same height, sometimes smaller – I’m weird), I thought it might suit me so I gave it a go.

I have tried spider guard before and I just can’t get it – it’s probably too early for me. However DLR? I just got it. Obviously I’m not skilled at it but I could defend and sweep from it semi decently right away after just watching a few videos.

Then my instructor comes up to me at the end of the lesson and complements me on it and says I should keep working on it.

This made me think that body-type really does define what works for you well and that I should chase after that.

Do other people experience this? Where certain guards, sweeps, submission etc just work for them – but others might be a real struggle?

How do you go about searching for these? I take it that it is just trial and error?


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Want to keep doing BJJ, but worried about neck

Hello, everyone. I trained pretty seriously (average 5 times per week) for about 6 months, and I really loved training BJJ. My problem is that I feel like I have a weak neck, and now I’m not sure if I should keep doing it.

One time just doing normal drilling as an uke, some guy squeezed me so hard that something popped in my neck (he was a complete beginner). I ended up not being able to hold my head up properly for a few weeks. At work I literally had to put a board in front of my head to prop my head up because it was so painful to hold my head up with my own strength. I had to go to multiple physical therapy sessions before I could finally hold my head up again, let alone train. But I eventually got back to it without problems.

Then, a couple months later in randori, someone bent me a weird way very suddenly while having me in a back choke and again I hurt my neck. While it didn’t prevent me from doing anything like the previous time, I had a constant soreness in my neck and often just felt the need to recline my head.

After this last injury, my frequency of training dropped, then I also was became really busy with work, dropping it further. I had to ask myself a serious question of whether it was worth it to keep doing BJJ. On the one hand, I love it, and I have missed it very much since I haven’t been doing it for a while now. On the other hand, constantly having a sore neck puts a real damper on enjoying life. While BJJ is definitely a fun and rewarding sport, it’s not worth it for me if it means I’m going to have a life-long struggle with neck pain. I’m 31 now, and I feel like I don’t want to go through my 30s, 40s, and 50s having what could have been avoidable neck pain.

So I guess my question is, is neck pain in BJJ (especially in the long-run) unavoidable? Or did I just have some bad luck in the beginning? Is neck pain a reality that one just has to accept if you want to practice BJJ? I would appreciate any advice, perspective, or insight.

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Stretch routine after the class

So I’ve reached that age where I feel like I absolutely must stretch after the class if I have any hopes of walking upwards for the next few days. But I realized that a few stretches that I know are ineffective.

Does anyone have a short, 5 minutes or less, after the workout full body stretch routine they can share?

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How effective is judo in bjj?

One thing that I have noticed is that judo players and jujitsu players adopt fairly different stances. Judo players seem to stand more straight while jujitsu players play with their hips farther back. This makes it much harder to turn into the opponent for a big throw in bjj. Also, going for the deep back grip or the belt grip opens you up for the leg grab.


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Mouth guards in GI BJJ: Understandable or Obnoxious?

So I basically train both gi and no gi. Today was no gi training. We were kinda working on some more wrestling oriented takedowns and stuff which seemed pretty cool to me. When full on rolling time came I managed to do a pretty cool single leg on my training partner. He fell down and I went straight for the side control. Then I don’t know what happened. Either he was spazzing real hard and ended up kneeing me by accident or I literally fell down on his knee with my teeth like the dumbass I am. At first it hadn’t felt that hard of a hit so I told him let’s keep rolling, but then I looked down and realized I was covering the poor dude with blood that was dripping from my mouth.

I stood up and went to the mirror, figuring “well fuck, I’ll finally know what’s like to be toothless”. Lucky for me my teeth were all still there, it seemed most of the wound was on my chin and my busted lip.

Either way lesson learned, will def wear my mouth guard to all no gi classes from now on. My question is: should I be concerned about wearing it to gi classes as well? So far they seem to be rather safer and more calm than no gi, but accidents happen I guess, and I don’t want my mouth to end up looking like that dude’s who fought The Mountain in GoT. So should I wear it to gi classes or would it just look weird and unnecessary, given nobody else there ever seems to wear one at all?

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Kasai pro 3 predictions?

Who do you guys think will win their matches? Anyone you rooting for specifically? I believe the full roster is out now and Michael Perez was just added.

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Gracie Barra or Team Shawn Hammonds in Murfreesboro?

I’m a blue belt and trying to decide between Gracie Barra and Shawn Hammond’s gym in Murfreesboro TN. I’ve heard both are really good, so can anyone tell me anything about either of them?

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Next day recovery?

Any old guys with tips for recovery? I’m late 40′s and started back training about 6 months ago, and it’s just a little different than it was in my 20′s. I’m powering through a lot of times, but anything I can do to get less sore for class two days later would be appreciated. Current system is epsom salt baths, foam roller/stretching, curcumin and fish oil, and ibuprofen when it’s dire.

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Partners that climb in guard?

35 year old woman here; I cannot stop these two fast, tall 13 year old girls from basically sitting up on me while I’m in their guard. I have a hell of a time breaking it and they are big on holding positions and don’t really submit. I’m just stuck with these kids on me like a Baby Bjorn. Any suggestions to prevent their fast climb?

They also grab the hell out of my upper arms and I walk away with huge bruises each day. I started wearing compression bands because it’s so painful.

Their dad films their rolls and I assume shows their entire family during dinner to laugh at me.

I’m not a beginner at all. I just want to get them off me.

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Black belts who are white belts at life

Do you know anybody who is really good at bjj who sucks at the rest of their life?

Maybe a black belt who sucks at bjj and life?

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I used to be like the only white belt at my gym…

I train at a small academy in San Diego. At a typical training session you will have some drop ins from out of town, 2-4 black belts, 2+ browns, 2+ purples, 2+ blues, then me, the only white belt. I have been training about 14 months with a few months off for injuries. Over that time we would occasionally get a new person but they rarely would last. There are a couple other more consistent white belts but they only show up about half the time. I train anywhere from 2-4 times a week. So maybe during one of those sessions, there might be another white belt.

I have done a little cross-training at other gyms and saw how some of them were filled with white belts. At one of them, I did nothing but roll with other white belts. But at my gym, it is not unlikely to show up to train with nothing but brown and black belts or like all purple belts. This is just for some context, I think my gym is pretty unique. I honestly consider this a privilege.

Over the last year I’ve gotten dinged up with some rib injuries that have kept me off the mat. (I’m 5’10″ 155) I got a bad takedown injury the week before my 1st competition where I overextended my toe and knee. That shit still hurts and nursing turf toe back to some place of normalcy takes forever. I’ve been choked and armbarred more times than I can count. I always say I am the rudy of BJJ, because that is really how I feel. But if I can do this, anyone can.

I honestly do not feel even close to any level of proficiency at anything. Sure I can kick my own ass from a year ago, and that feels great, but the more I learn, the more keenly I am aware of just how much of a fledgling I am.

My goal when I started this journey was to be better able to defend myself and to eventually attain a black belt. I have at least 9 more years to go, but I am committed to the grind. I never regret going to a training session. And sometimes I just have to laugh when I think about this small group of people committed to fighting each other in heavy pajamas in 90 degree heat. But I love BJJ and feel a bit out of sync with life if I haven’t rolled in about week.

So I am no longer the only whitebelt in my gym. That role is now for someone else. I am just another lowly blue belt whom the upper belts will lick their lips at when I walk in the gym. I am just a glorified grappling dummy that tries to offer some semblance of defense while wild apemen with Fantastic Four levels of flexibility slowly and methodically try to snuff out my very existence until I tap them with my hand rapidly 3 times.

Here is video of the promotion if you want to see.

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Any tips for getting more comfortable with being thrown?

I know how to fall. I’m not really afraid to fall since I know how to fall. However, I don’t like being thrown and I tend to fight the throw instead of going with it and landing properly. This leads to odd throws/falls when drilling with partners. So do any of you have any tips on how to get rid of that fear (for lack of a better word) of being thrown? Are there some drills that I can do with or without a partner to work up to getting thrown?

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