Nonsense Boy was a superhero of some kind, I think. He fought crime using the endless stream of nonsense that poured out of his mouth. And when he wasn’t doing that he spent his time annoying me.
Nonsense Boy turned up at my class convinced that it was a no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) submission grappling class. Which it isn’t. I told him so… I might have been a bit subtle; he might have missed the point when I said ‘this is not a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school’, but for whatever reason he remained convinced that’s the class he was attending. Or maybe he thought that he could change our class into a BJJ school by sheer force of delusion. Whatever, he came to the class on and off for two and a half years. A lot more off than on, but he kept reappearing. I really don’t know why.
Now, Nonsense Boy was a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when he arrived. I know that because he told me so. For those that don’t know, Blue belt is a very high standard in BJJ. There are arts where anything short of Black Belt represents a fairly basic level of competence, but a BJJ Blue belt is pretty impressive. I was expecting good things.
Nonsense Boy wasn’t a BJJ Blue belt. After being handed his ass a few times he demoted himself to ‘soon to be grading for Blue Belt’ and eventually reached ‘trained a bit’. He never lost the habit of telling everyone how great he was though, even when everyone was beating him.
Anyway, Nonsense Boy approached me one day and told me he was training for Mixed Martial Arts. He wanted to fight on a few shows. And to do this he was learning Judo at the local club, plus Kickboxing and Ju-Jutsu (Japanese, not Brazilian, if you know the difference) from me. I’m not sure he was learning anything from me, but that’s not the point.
The point is that, okay, sometime around 1995 you might have had to put your own ‘mixed’ martial art together from different classes, but today there are MMA schools that will give you what you need prepackaged. You can add extras if you want, but everything you need is there in one school – striking, grappling, conditioning, competition-specific training and a fight team to spar with. So why was this guy not doing that if he wanted to train for MMA?
What he was doing was a bit like running around the side of a swimming pool shouting about what a great swimmer you are. Claiming to be an MMA fighter might impress a Kickboxer in the Kickboxing class or a Judo player in the Judo class, but saying the same thing in an MMA class won’t impress. Nonsense Boy would have been called on his claims, and… well, I’d have paid money to see that.
This sort of thing is sadly common in martial arts. It’s very easy to talk about your Mad Submissionz Skillz in the Kickboxing class where you can’t be called up on demonstrate competence. It’s something else to jump into the pool with the other swimmers and see if you can keep afloat.
But that’s the secret. If you want people who know about swimming to believe you can swim, it helps if you’ve actually been in the pool at some point.