Granby Roll

A granby roll is a move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling that allows you to either escape from or reverse counter an opponent trying to pass your guard. 

When executed correctly by rolling onto your shoulder, you can sometimes extricate yourself from a potentially compromising position.

In BJJ, you not only train and refine your physical adaptations for matches but also develop your mental reflexes and problem-solving skills.

Inversion Thinking

Mental models are extremely useful in helping us to make sense of the world and situations which we encounter.

What’s applicable on the mats may also translate to real life.

The Granby roll is an example of inversion and while it’s a physical maneuver, we can apply this principle of inversion to analyze life’s problems or situations in a new light.

Going in reverse might seem counterintuitive to modern thinking.

Society’s idea of progress is so intrinsically linked with moving forward that it’s very difficult to uncouple the two concepts. 

This is precisely why going in reverse is a great and unorthodox angle to approach any problem. Better yet, it can lead to discovering new insights or perspectives. 

As an example, instead of thinking about how to accomplish an objective, you might employ inversion to consider ‘What’s stopping me from accomplishing that objective?’. 

Attacking the problem and working backwards to determine the root causes of failure is an example of inversion.

Beyond BJJ, I’ve applied the principle of inversion in different and positive ways to improve my life.

Retro Running

Retro running

While I keep my trusty treadmill in the basement for winter, the Spring outdoors can be rather inviting for running.

Did you know that running backwards is actually a thing?

It’s called retro running and is a sport that is steadily on the rise. Unlike ordinary forward running, reverse running puts less impact on your knee joints, reducing the likelihood of injury. 

It sounds a little absurd because running in reverse seems like an easy way to get into an accident. 

But not if you’re careful and pace yourself. The whole idea of retro running is not to replace default running but to complement as a cross-interval training exercise.

There are many reported benefits to retro running, including toned calves, quads, improved posture and better overall balance. 

Going backwards isn’t conventional. This requires energy, which leads to greater muscle activity and better heart and lung activation than traditional forward running.

How to not lose a fight

You can also apply inversion principles in the heat of battle. 

One should never play to not lose. That’s the mantra of most professional athletes I know.

However, it might be necessary to turn a win-first strategy on its head if it becomes a matter of staying in the fight. 

Quite literally, I was forced to invert following a broken hand in my match against the “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell. 

Honestly, checking Chuck’s leg kick with my forearm wasn’t the wisest decision. As I shook my arm and felt the bones sliding, my mind went cold for a bit.

I had to reassess my options mid-match. It wasn’t enough to stick to the game plan. 

Given my limitations, what do I need to do now to survive the round, regroup with my coaches and formulate a plan for round 2?

No way was I giving any indication that my arm was broken. Chuck didn’t need any more advantages in the fight.

And as far as my corner was concerned, I still had a match to win. 

There were certain positions I knew I had to avoid. Chuck went for the takedown anyway, and while I got my butterfly guard up, it was difficult to invert with a broken arm.

I struggled but finally got back up. 

I knew this battle had to end on my feet. 

I was determined to be the last man standing.

Chuck connected with an elbow and tried to follow up with his trademark looping right. It was at this moment I took a few steps back just enough to counter with a left-right combo that dropped him.

Charlie Munger, the longtime partner of investing guru Warren Buffett is known to have said “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.”

In my match, I applied inversion and thought about the scenarios where I would be disadvantaged and actively avoided them.

And when the chance came for me to counter, I capitalized just like how I had practised many times over with my team.

It was this cold, calculated finish that allowed me to survive and overcome my close encounter with “The Iceman”.