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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Knowing When to Tap Out (a final farewell)

Tapping out in an inevitability. When you're a white belt, you learn (rather quickly) that you can get caught in some bad spots, and you need to tap before something bad happens. Tapping is admitting defeat. Some people will have a hard time with that, but those people are usually the ones who don't last. It's a mark on your pride, to be sure. But tapping out gives you the opportunity to start over--the trick is knowing when it's time to tap, and when it's okay to keep fighting.

Getting caught in any submission is not the end of the road. In most cases, you may be able to hang on for a little while before you're able to fight your way out, or be forced to give in and tap out. Personally, that is one of my favorite parts of this martial art--having to make that decision.  Stick around longer than a week and you'll be sure to hear "tap today and train tomorrow", or some variation there of; and that's true. More than just being true, it's good advice. No one wants to get hurt. It's sometimes silly to try and fight your way out of some submissions; but often times as a white belt you tap too soon without knowing your limitations. Just because a submission is applied does not mean that the game is over.  There are escapes that you could implement, or MAYBE (strong "maybe" here) the submission isn't applied all that well, and you can weather the storm. It's a fine line to dance on, for sure, but one that is a part of the game. It's also one that you need to do for yourself to know your thresholds. The trick/game is to not be so stupid that you get hurt trying to get out of something. Knowing when to tap out is a skill.

...A Final Farewell
Having said that, I started WBS two years ago with the mindset of being a fresh blue belt with my level of experience still so close to being a while belt that I could be useful in giving advice. A lot of higher ranks are/were so far removed from being a white belt that today's white belt just isn't the same as it used to be. There are, of course, some constants in BJJ that will always be true to all white belts--spazzing, etc--but chances are, back when your local black belt started training there wasn't as much resources out there as there is today. With all due respect, I felt like I  had a unique opportunity to plug into today's various multimedia outlets with my perspective to help deliver a "survival guide" to being a white belt.

I never wanted to show technique (despite so many requests ("How do I get out of side control")) because I wasn't qualified. But what I was qualified to do was to enlighten readers to theory and advice. I likened WBS to asking someone for directions who has recently been to a destination versus someone who hasn't been there in some time--chances are some things have changed. Since I was just a while belt like two seconds ago I felt like my perspective was unique in its freshness since I was just where you, the white belt, was. I tried to combine that with a honest delivery, and sense of humor, that I think went over well with all of you--and I thank you for that. But it's time to tap out.

WBS started out as a no name blog from a no name blue belt, and it grew to more than I imagined. I hoped that if I could help a few people, then it would all be worth it. As it turned out, I helped a lot of people. When I'd get Tweets from someone with pictures of them with their new blue belt saying "thanks", it was--and always will be--a special thing for me. Sponsorship became a thing, people were getting involved, podcasts were podcasted, and it was all great. But as I said, it's time to move on. Generally speaking, it will take about two years to go from white belt to blue; and here is two years worth of "Survival Strategy" to get you through it. So I felt like now is a good time to walk away before I start putting out useless material just for the sake of putting out a new post. All killer, no filler here, y'all. So here on the two year anniversary of WBS, it's time to tap out, and move on to more projects. 

Thank you all for making these two years more than amazing. Thank you for caring. Thank you for sharing WBS with people, and following me on the various social media platforms, and for being fans. All of that truly means a lot to me, and that always will. 

But there's a special thank you out there to my family who encouraged me through all of this; my wife and daughter are truly amazing women--thank you. Thank you to all of the podcasts out there that took a chance on me, and had me on as a guest. Never did I think I'd make it to all the big ones. Raf & Kev from Verbal Tap along with Cam & Kyle from Expanded Perspectives, though, you guys were always my favorites. 

Thank you to Gregg King and the gang at VVV Fight Co, Bill Thomas at Q5 Sports Nutrition, Guy Sako from Defense Soap for believing in me with your friendship and sponsorship. That stuff will never be lost on me, or forgotten. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you to my instructor, Sonny Achille, all of the staff and my training partners at Steel City Martial Arts. Thanks to all of the friends I've made online, and in person because of this thing. All of you mean a lot to me. Thank you for you friendship and support. 

In closing, I'm going to shift my focus back on training hard, and working to the goal. I'll still be writing in other various platforms, but that will all mostly be in the fiction world. Maybe I'll be back to the non-fiction world, and writing about BJJ again, but if so, it won't be for sometime. In the meantime, though, don't be afraid to keep sharing WBS, stop by Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh to come train with me/us, and keep taking chances out there on the mat. But, for now, it's time to tap out. 

Warmest Regards,


VVV Fight Co.

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Q5 Sports Nutrition

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