Getting Old, Slowing Down, and Finding Mike Bidwell

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By Adam Phillip, Grappling Insider Magazine

Something happened recently. I entered a BJJ Comp and I was no longer an ‘Adult’. I have now become a ‘Master’. Ordinarily, this sounds AWESOME! However, in the world of BJJ, this is code for ‘Old Git’. I have now entered the Masters 1 category and it won’t be long before I’ll suddenly find myself in the Masters 2 category.

Often in local/regional competitions, they’ll ask if you mind being put into the younger division should you not have enough people in your category. This happened recently to me and, being the macho man that I am, I fully obliged. Turns out…young people are quick!

So, I’ve been searching the web for someone who has my ‘style’ – someone  who resonates with me – someone who seems pretty capable, and someone who is over the age of 33. I have now turned to the man, the myth, the legend, that is Mike ‘Spider Ninja’ Bidwell.

He has a portfolio of over 369 videos, most of which are awesome. He boasts over 28k subscribers to his YouTube Channel.

His videos are incredibly precise. You do have to have a certain element of flexibility and a certain degree of technique, but some of the stuff he teaches is next level. I mean, check out the videos! Some things are so ridiculously easy. He gives detailed instruction for both the Gi and NoGi Lover.

Ever been to one of those seminars where someone says “Do what you’re doing – but rotate your wrist slightly to the left” – you do it – and BAM! Mind = Blown, and your whole game has suddenly changed!

Mike’s one of those kind of guys! Even guys like myself (who has a little flexibility and a little technique) can pick up sneaky little moves, including the ‘Evil Ninja Choke’ and ‘The Cryangle Choke’!

Never heard of them?? Whoever named these chokes (I’m assuming Mike) needs an award or something in marketing. The names are no joke – the evil ninja choke is… well… evil and the Cryangle choke can definitely make your eyes water.

As you get older you realise that speed is one thing, but getting your grips, your timing and technique on point will cancel out how fast someone can move. Mike is a great example of how to do great moves easily.

I’ve been practising some of the techniques I’ve learned and I can honestly say I have hit them in competitions. The lesson learned here is drilling, repetition and understanding a technique is more important than how quickly you can move. Some of the most skillful BJJ guys out there at the moment move incredibly slow. Just look at your average gym at open mat. Most white belts are grappling fast as f**k, but then you go to blue belt and everything slows down (proportionate to your age!).

So, if you’re getting old and feeling slow (or just want a few new high-percentage tricks), check out BJJ After 40and see if you can learn a thing or two.

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