Feb 082010

Not THAT kind of swing… sheesh. This blog is strictly PG, for Pete’s sake. I mean East Coast Swing. For Christmas, I signed my wife and I up for dance lessons. I have always wanted to do this, but have never taken the plunge because of my chronic back pain. For years, even at times when I would characterize my back pain as being “mild,” standing was bad. Standing up for long periods of time, walking, running, that sort of thing would make my back ache. So, now that my back is feeling really good, I figured it was time to give it a shot.

It’s terrific. I am really enjoying have regular time to spend with my wife. That’s been great. I’m also have a lot of fun with the dancing itself, and it turns out that I don’t completely suck at it. We’ve been learning lots of moves, and I think that East Coast Swing was the perfect dance for us to start with, although my wife drug me to a Cha Cha seminar and that was pretty fun, too.

I know that some other BJJ addicts out there also dance. I’d be interested in any tips or tricks you have for me. I’m a total dance noob.

On the BJJ front, though, I’ve been training sporadically over the last month or so. It started with ringworm. Yuck. I had it on my arm, took a couple weeks off to defungalize, then went back to training and ended up getting it again, this time on my throat. Double YUCK!

I’m not sure where I got it or from whom, but I definitely don’t want to do unto others as had been done unto me… if that makes sense. I stayed away from the school until I could be damned sure it wasn’t going to come back. Add to this a spouse who’s travelling quite a bit for work, a volatile toddler with strong opinions about things, a 12 year old daughter who wants to bake cakes, cookies, breads or and a son who’s in the midst of daily wrestling practices and it’s been a challenge to get to class more than once or twice per week. I’m really hoping to change that after we get back from DisneyWorld in a few weeks.

Still, on that front, I have been working on recovering guard from turtle, and have also been working on some deep half guard stuff that Coach introduced into class. I’ve been having some success getting to the deep half guard position and overall am liking it for reversal/sweeps. I’ll need to take a look at the Jeff Glover instructionals to pick up some more tips and techniques.

That said, anybody out there like deep half guard? Let me know if you’ve run into any details that helped you with it (or to counter it).

  16 Responses to “The one where I train less BJJ but learn to Swing…”

Comments (16)

    I bet that dancing will in some way help with your bjj. I believe all training is interrelated. On the ringworm front I can relate. Im cautious and shower before rolling,after and always wash and spray my equipment yet one time got rw under my glute. Haha dont ask me how!


    Dancing I think will surly help you in martial arts. I have been dancing for years and feel that it helps with timing, coordination and balance whilst also being great for cardio (once you learn a few dances and go through them constantly)

    Bruce Lee was Cha Cha champion of Hong Kong…


    hey bud, where ya been lately? hope youre doing good



    What did you use to get rid of the ringworm? Was it prescription based? I’ve never got it but if I keep BJJ until I get my black belt the odds are I will at some time. So now is the time to learn what to do about it.


      I’m using an OTC medicine called Fungi Care. Works great. I figured I’d try it, give it a week or so and then consider going to a doctor. I have heard that Iodine works really well, but haven’t tried it personally.


    I like swing dancing. And you do move your hips so it’s gotta be good for BJJ. Plus I get some cardio from it.


    I think salsa dancing and jits have lots in common, primarily the importance of understanding body mechanics *and* the concept of making it easiest for your partner to do what you want them to do. The big difference of course is in dancing there’s one pre-defined leader, and in jits, you’re both trying to lead all the time.

    The way I learn patterns in salsa is really helpful in following a complex instruction in class or seminars, too. First the big picture– are you facing your partner or away? moving in a straight line or on a curve? Then the medium level– turning in place or while moving? right or left? Then the details– hand position, styling options, etc.

    In jits it might go something like: What is the start position– in guard? standing or seated? knees? Have any grips? then I break down the position according to each limb as well as weight distribution. I think of things in terms of “head side” and “hip side” arm or leg, instead of right/left, so that it’s independent of what side you start on. Then I look at finer and finer levels of detail.

    Hope you continue to enjoy dancing, I think it’s a crosstraining way of improving jits (and making people at home happy, which often permits more time for jits! :) )


      Cool insight, Georgette. I will admit that being a “good” lead is a concern for me. I have never… ever… danced before, but I’ve heard from women I know that having a “bad” lead can ruin a dance. So, trying to frame up and find that balance as a lead has been in mind every class.

      Ultimately, though, I really think that the BJJ has helped me to be a competent lead, because I’m used to the give and take on the mats.

      We just signed up for another 6 week session of East Coast Swing, and then I think we’re going to give West Coast Swing a shot.


    The thing with Ringworm is that sometimes you think its gone but it is festering on another part of your body. Strip down and have your wife check you fully for red spots. Also make sure the mats are washed at your gym! and if you see someone with it or think its ringworm, Definitely call them out on it! its your health and training! I wrote an article on ringworm and how to take care of it on my blog, if your interested. With regards to the swinging/dancing… I promised myself I would take dance classes as soon as I get my black belt… Which will definitely be in the near future. So maybe Ill see you at your swing classes!


      Thanks for the comment. I know it’s not the mats. The school is very clean and the mats are swept and mopped daily with antibacterial stuff.

      I think I’ve managed to get rid of the ringworm and am definitely looking for it diligently now.

      As for the black belt, I’m so far from that I don’t even think about it now. 😀


    Sorry that I am just now getting to this. Like Georgette, I salsa dance quite a bit, and I used to swing dance a lot too. With swing dancing, here are my thoughts:

    1) there are a few types of swing (east coast, lindy hop and west coast). West coast is slow and bluesy, east coast is very high energy (like what you see on dancing with the stars), and lindy is in the middle so you’ll probably enjoy lindy or west coast more than east coast.

    2) frame! just like in BJJ posture is crucial, having a good frame (no spaghetti arms!) and leading is the most important basic skill to master.

    3) Master the basics (there are only about 5-6 basic moves and all the other moves build on or are variations of those, so practice those a lot). The basics are: the basic step (obviously); right turn; left turn; charleston; and whip. Once you get those, you can pick up the rest pretty easilly (spend a lot of time on the whip!).

    4. dance with other people. The only way you will become a good lead is if you dance with others. If you only dance with your partner, she will know what you are trying to do and follow even if you’re not leading well, but that’s like doing drills with no resistance.

    good luck!

    Also, try salsa, it’s a lot of fun too!


      We’ve done a couple 6 week courses now and enjoyed it immensely. Both were East Coast swing classes and were a lot of fun, particularly once things started speeding up.

      We’re looking at a Sunday Lindey Hop class, which would open up Mondays so I can train jiu jitsu again 4 days per week. But that’s on hold until the next session. What I’m really interested in is West Coast Swing, but my wife is pushing for Salsa so if we can work out the schedule, that’s on our list, too!

      Thanks for the note.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.