Sometimes I get grumpy and jealous. I know, not awesome qualities. I see these guys come into the gym and things just click. They can shrimp on the first day, they don’t stop and say “what the heck am I supposed to do here” when they try rolling, they attack.

I realized it’s a bit like playing video games. On the one hand it’s like a first person shooter (FPS). When I started, I was at the “hands” level – no weapons, maybe the ability to punch. Except at first I couldn’t even see where I was going because I kept looking at the ground, unable to control the video.


Help I’m walking in circles!!! HOW DO I STOP LOOKING AT THE GROUND??? These controllers SUCK!

Okay, so I finally am semi able to control the camera, and so now I can grasp things and punch things (it’s an analogy – I don’t actually punch people in BJJ). Not terribly effective.

The first level of my 1st person BJJ adventure

The first level of my 1st person BJJ adventure

After learning a few moves, I finally progress to level 2, which involves blunt weapons. I now can do rudimentary escapes, occasionally get a tap from an opponent, but it’s all very crude. At least at this point it’s more effective than just punching the enemy!


Level 2 in my BJJ adventure! Blunt objects!

Level 3 achieved! I now have a knife! More precise attacks, better timed escapes, better overall against my opponents. Yes, I’m bringing a knife into a gun fight, but when you don’t know any gun-fu, a knife is better than nothing.


Level 3! I showed my cat my plastic knife and she started chewing the end. I decided it looked way too violent for me to post pictures of my cat eating my fake knife.

Then FINALLY I find the ranged weapons! Yes, the shots are terribly limited, and often I just find myself trying to pistol whip the enemy because I can’t aim fast enough or because I’m totally out of bullets. But darn it, at least I’m playing with a similar style weapon!


Hooray! Ranged weapons level!

Hopefully someday my skills will progress to the UZI or AK47 level or the sniper rifle level. Heck, I’d even be happy with a dang grenade. But whatever – I’m at the ranged weapons level. And I remember how hard the game was when I was playing with bare hands. But to see everyone start playing the game and they start at the handgun level – [begin whine made from sour grapes here].

Man, these newfangled gamers. Back when I played video games, there was no such thing as a “saving,” oh nooooo. We had to leave the Nintendo on until we were done playing. No save points for us. Turn it off and start over. These kids don’t know how good they’ve got it with their cheat codes and their walkthroughs. In my day we called the Nintendo Help Line when we needed to find that hidden level on Mario, or we jumped around and hoped we’d find stuff. Grumble. Get off my porch you danged kids.

One day our Nice Guy Brown Belt saw my frustration at a new white belt’s competence and he said, “Yeah, but remember – you started at the hands level.” Thanks, NGBB. Sincerely.

Which level did you start out at? Which level are you at now? Please note I did not put in all the levels. I intentionally left out the “dead fish” level, mostly because everyone looks stupid when they carry around a dead fish, although it’s useful for smacking people.