Thursday, 18 September 2008
Ollie arrives and we are pretty warm, so we jump right into technique. Its another scorcher! Anaconda choke!. I know the name, I knew roughly what it was and had seen some of it but never knew how to do it. It is essentially an arm triangle setup from on top of north south turtle and then you roll underneath them and squeeze it on. Very tight. It looked quite technical but was a very cool looking move which felt very strong, also gave me some good ideas for no gi (which I really want to improve).
Not a great vid, but it shows the main points. I never had to go all the way round to hook their legs, but if they really dont wanna tap that will do the trick.
Next up was a similar variation, Darce/Brabo choke. Similar arm triangle mechanics but using a different arm and without rolling underneath them. Also nice and strong.
I dont like using Sub 101 vids, as sometimes there demo's look abit iffy. But this one isnt to bad.
Third technique was abit dodgy, in the sense that if you pulled it off you were awesome. If not you looked abit of a pillock. The grounded version of a flying triangle. Still pretty good though, very sneaky. Was essentially the anaconda choke combined with the darce choke and all in one motion... . Hard to describe and not sure on the name for the vid. So for now itll have to be my secret weapon :P .
So we drilled all of these trying to get it right, quite easy to mess up but is abit of a BJJ version of the karate kid crane kick " If done right.........no defense".
I was feeling abit odd after repeatedly having my oxygen supply to my brain disrupted. I felt as if my "tired meter" wasnt working, I wasnt getting any more tired, at all. So went against my mate and managed to get the grips I wanted, and I realised the anaconda choke was screaming at me. So got my hands clasped, got the arm triangle, rolled, squeeze, tap, awesome. Now Im in love with this technique. So we go again. Boom boom boom got it again, awesome sauce (new catchphrase I'm trialling). Tried going for the crazy roll one but he was onto me now, and got a good top position.
Fought a few people and felt good, guard passing felt alright as well. Went for an armbar on a mate and he rolled to get out of it, I rolled to keep it on we ended up rolling 4-5 times now before I had to abandon it and go for a triangle which he defended so I went to an omoplata which I couldn't control so ended up in mount.
This was a long session...
Fought ollie and got some ok position, then lost it then defended my ass off for a few minutes as he went from sub to sub. I ran out of back peddle. He got me in the alternative crazy side control, he went for the choke/larynxe crush. I could see it coming "Ah! I know this one I squeal" as I spaz in true white belt style. Bang and the dirt is gone, and so is my oxygen. I tap fast. " Just because you know the technique doesnt mean you can always defend it, otherwise blackbelt fights would be pointless" remarks Ollie. Man.....thats deep.
I go and fight some others, pulling off a lil bit of everything. One of my mates escapes a full on kimura which was cool to see. I didnt keep pressure with my legs so he was able to roll out of it, and then escaped the americana I tried after as well.
Its rolled on 2 hours and theres a few of us left still sparring. I feel fresh and happy. I get another crack at Ollie, this time no gi. He plays open guard and I do my normal thing as side control screams at me. I get it but I dont feel like Ive helped myself any, as his knees get working to upset my base. The sparring is alot faster than before and I keep trying for mount but never quite get both feet over. I get dragged to half guard and am arm triangled. This happens a few times almost exactly the same except sometimes I cant get both hooks in for back control, or I get rear naked choked. I tried for the anaconda a few times but went for it before I properly had everything right and he could defend and escape.
My defense felt good and I felt I could fight while being relaxed (hence why I felt fresh), despite getting my ass handed to me 5 or 6 times ( we probably rolled for 15/20 mins). All in all it was a positive experience, I managed to defend a few things and I noticed some interesting holes in my game and had some errors pointed out as well. This is always great as it then allows me to focus on those aspects which nearly always results in improvement.
2.5 hours this session, woooooooooboy. Im bruised to buggery.
Am thinking about going to the Hereford comp, Matt is up for it as well. But I cant train this friday, or tuesday, so that leaves one session to prepare. And its no gi... so gotta think on that one.
Great great session from Ollie, learnt alot and have a ton to think on and to hone.
Decided to give you guys some handy links that I enjoy using and have some good resources. Hope you will find them usefull.
http://www.mmascraps.com/ - Very good MMA vid site, updates regularly.
Slideyfoots great BJJ club map of the UK
http://www.bullshido.com/ - Interesting, usefull and funny forum that is critical. Very good resources to be found here.
http://www.efnsports.com/forum/ - Very usefull forum for grappling in the UK and europe, especially if you want to know about upcoming comps
http://tapskillz.com/modules/newbb/ - Where I get most of my technique vids, free but you have to register.
http://www.geocities.com/global_training_report/arte_suave_index.htm - Amazing BJJ travel stories and history. Well worth reading.
http://www.myprotein.co.uk/ - Best supplement supplier in the UK I reckon, for price and quality.
http://www.jiujitsuforums.com/ - Another good forum, nice guys here and some good vids.
http://www.thedailyplate.com/ - Very usefull for looking at your diet and tracking it in good, easy to use detail.
Monday, 15 September 2008
In this post Im going to talk about how my club works but with abit of an indepth look at what that really means. This info has come from my own participation in the club, talking to people, going to other clubs, talking to instructers/ high rankers, forums on the internet. I have analysed this info and will be desciminating it as an environmental psychologist (which I hold a Masters in, [Bsc in psychology]). Environmental Psychology . A good deal of my expertise is in theories like behaviour setting theory, that deal with contexts such as a BJJ club.
Ill keep the science to the minimum!
Right first a summary of my club:
- Andy Roberts (RGA brown belt) is the instructer/ owner
- Ollie Geddes is the visiting instructer (at the moment, but I think we will see quite abit more of him [RGA purple belt - top competitior])
- Club has been open approximately 11 months
- We have approximately 40 regular students
- Training is twice a week, each lesson = 1.5 hours. (this will become full time at the new club)
- Currently train in a school hall, moving to our permenent address very shortly
- We have a decent web presence (members on forums, club website, facebook group, comp videos, this blog )
- We are all white belts, some with a good level of experience in other martial arts
The 2 main factors that jump out at me is that we are all white belts and our mix of people (which is unique to all clubs).
We are all still novices, and this I think is an important part of our clubs current structure. Everyone is in reach of everyone else. No one stands in a special place because of their belt. Everyone is competitive, unless someone is brand new their is no one that is an "easy roll". Or anyone that is so good that you know you cant beat them. So you are always trying. This I think creates a high level of ability for our belt. Everyone is learning from each other.
Within a club with a greater range of belts you have the advantage of rolling with people much better than you and much worse. Which means across the spread you actually have less people to competitively roll against. So its abit of a trade off, a blue or purple might be able to give you really good tips on a sweep and you could pull that sweep off on a weaker player but you will probaly have less oppertunity to use it against someone your own level.
So there are advantages and disadvantages to the novice factor, but here is where our mix of people comes in.
Andy Roberts boyz:
To be scientific about it, we are awesome. Everyone will go out of their way to help you in anyway they can. Giving you a lift, advice (from training to nuitrition), buying you a drink, etc. There are no group cliques, everyone gets on very well. If you submit someone they will pat you on the back and give you a smile, ego's are at a minimum. But we are competitive, we all want to improve and do better every session. Which I think rubs off on the new guys. People who dont have what it takes to last in BJJ, often dont. We also have a good range of people in different weight categories from 100kg plus to under 65kg. A range of different expertise: JKD instructers, japanese jiu jitsu instructers, judo blackbelts, MMA no gi fighters, Muay thai, Kung fu, Karate, etc. There is a friendly rivalry between most people in the club, but its a very positive one. It is a tool for motivation and no one is a bad winner or sore loser. Our rivalry (due to similar ability) has allowed us to form strong close social bonds.
Freshness of club:
We are still a new club, so most of us can still be considered new to the art. So everyone is still very passionate about training. The honeymoon period is particularly long in BJJ it seems, Im starting to think it wont end. It hasnt for Andy. Which is interesting as its quite a gruelling sport, you put alot of yourself into it, and leave alot on the mat (blood, sweat, ego).
It makes sense to talk about our instructer as he is the leader of our social environment, without his input the club fades to nothing. His instructing style is clear, concise, emphasis on basics first, level headed, social and fun. His covered all the major bases to make himself a successfull instructer. He has very good links in the BJJ community, he knows everyone. Being a high level judge for BJJ (and UFC) he has explicit knowledge on the rules and tactics we need to know. Andy has been very good in taking down any barrier that could create a wall between instructer and students which Ive seen quite often. There is no us and him, to a degree there has to be some sort of seperation as he is a senior practitioner and I am paying him to teach me. But he rolls with us, jokes, socialises and drinks with us. If Roger suddenly dojo raided us and said he was now taking all the lessons, Andy would join our ranks and we wouldnt treat him any differently.
Typical lesson structure:
We arrive, chat and change. Then put mats out. Andy does a warm up which changes every few sessions. We drill technique, positional sparring, more technique then sparring. We drill stand up throws fairly often as well. End of lesson, we chat and put the mats away, change and go home. Time on the mats normaly equates to about 1.5 hours. So the actual lessons themselves are what you would find in most other clubs.
This is about as far as I can go before I start going into behaviour settings and other psychological theories, and thats gonna add like another 2000 words on this baby. This post could of gone on for alot longer but with the move coming to the new club I think everyone will end up changing, I cant quite tell how yet though,. But I think Ive given a good idea about life at the club and why I think we are a good club. I really think the social aspects of our club will become an important part of our success. In terms of how well people get on but also with how we treat each other and give everyone who needs it a hand.
And now for something completely different:
(The Jiu jitsu cat picture is the sole saving grace of this post, its a pile of shit. I got stuck between trying to be non scientific and trying to give insight. Only reason Im keeping it as I think it provides some extra info on our specific club. One day ill try this post again but talking about clubs in general, so I can apply it to the whole of BJJ training.)
Saturday, 13 September 2008
We do some quick sparring starting from within guard, I find it very hard to pull off any sweeps. Not for lack of trying either. My leg breaking really does suck balls. I find myself just avoiding subs and sweeps till they get frustrated enough to open their guard. I get one or 2 armbars which is nice as they have been on the backburner for a while. I teepee a new guy!, what a dick I am. Dont teepee new guys. To his credit I had to do it as he was keeping good posture so I couldnt lock in the triangle. Tried for an omoplata and got it 80% of the way but my friend had to tap out as we were getting into a dangerous situation where it could suddenly just crank on fully very quickly. Problem was is I couldnt properly triangle my legs round the elbow and I was trying to sit up. Always best to be very cautious with these things, our no gi wizard Ryan caught me in an armbar later in the session and I surrendered way before it was straight because I knew he had it and if I let go to tap it would crank on fast.
Back to techniques!
Ollie shows us an alternative grip for holding side control, we practise keeping it and trying to escape it from bottom (this is mauricio side control!, arm closest to their hip is on it, other hand is over the other side of their neck). Its pretty solid. He then shows us a nice transition from this side control into mount, whilst keeping the opponent under control. We practise, I keep on kneeing my friend in the head! :( . But its a really nice transition as you sit right up with your knees under their armpits. Armbar town.
We were then shown another alternative side control grip. This involved sneakily getting your hand into their lapel closest to you, with your fingertips facing up and switching your legs so you are facing them. This completely pinned their shoulder, and actually gave you quite abit of room on top and freed up an arm. I tried escaping from bottom and it just wasnt gonna happen. It didnt rely on top pressure.
Nicholas at Jiu jitsu brotherhood (link in my sidebar), recently made a vid talking about keeping the shoulder pinned to nullify their attempts at escaping side control.
The next thing ollie showed was a very nice choke (larynxe crush?) from this Mauricio side control, very simple. Get your free hand put it in their lapel so your elbow is facing you. Have the grip not to far in and not to loose. Just passed their chin I would say. Then simply put that elbow to the ground, it comes on fast and very strong. Lots of coughing and clearing of throats when we drilled this.
We then do some sparring starting from under side control. I quite like this position for sparring as I feel you can be sneaky underneath if you can find the room. And I also have a plan, as I remember Andy showing a very slick armbar from here.
So we start and I feel for room, I snake about abit trying to get my knee under his chest for the armbar, but instead my far leg ends up on the side of his head. Hang on a mo... other leg triangles my instep and hey presto reverse triangle!. I get his tricep and pull it in while I straighten myself out to make it tight, I get the beautifull feeling of tappery.
I manage another reverse triangle later on, and an armbar from a failed triangle position. One of my buddies mounts me for the win! which I didnt see coming, I was so preoccupied being cocky and looking for the sub I didnt sense him sneaking into position. Beautifull. I put guard back on a few guys, and a few guys also beat me by position.
We go onto full sparring. As mentioned before Ryan armbars me, he also kneebars me but doesnt crank it as his a nice man. Then we had a good spar where I kept side control for a while but he kept mobile and out of danger. At one point I have a good kimura grip but he advances his position and gets himself out of danger.
I spar one of the big guys and he very nearly almost made me tap just from his leg pressure on my ribs from within his guard, he plays a good tight game and sets up an armbar beautifully. He also does a perfect pendelum sweep on me, so good I mentally take notes. I could feel it coming but couldnt do anything about it as he was so tight. Still no sweeps for me today :( . I get to play some knee on belly, toes off the floor, piling on the pain mauricio style. But I dont do it for to long as its mean :P , worked a treat though.
During the night someone kicks me hard in the ear with their heel, it hurt alot and it swells up. And still is abit sore while I write this. I dont fucking want cauliflower ear.
I think I really have to be abit more sneeky with my sweeps, especially now that everyone has been exposed to them, taught them and knows how to do them. I have to make the grips abit less obvious and make sure everything is good before launching it. A few times I went for sweeps today and I just didnt control their arm enough so they just based out, but they were on the ball enough to avoid leaving the arm there for a sub. Sneakyness is the next big step I think, after I tighten everything up abit. Not just in terms of sweeps bit in setting up subs as well, when your mounted you are VERY aware of armbar potential.
Talking of sweeps and things, its time for another sweep of the week!. So this time its the gracefull and soul crushing pendelum sweep.
Its a good thing I rewatched that vid, now I can see how to properly control that arm.
Another great 2 hour lesson from Ollie covering some great new stuff for us, everyone enjoyed it. He gave some good comments on how our clubs structure of sorts is very good for our level, which Ill talk about more in the next post.
(Edited as Oli pointed out I incorrectly labeled the side control variants)
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Ollie was delayed so we started the warmup ourselves, Ollie arrived halfway through and finished the warm up with a ton of push ups. He then got us rolling straight away. For some reason I found myself playing a very loose open guard, looking mainly for sweeps. But as I was to loose I was getting passed and stacked. Stacked alot, but thats ok I dont mind playing from there. Even got a reverse triangle on but couldnt finish it. Had fun replacing guard though. Got a few sweeps but not as many as I liked as since andy has recently shown the sit up, scissor and pendelum sweep; everyone has caught on to my tactics. I was pleased when I tried an elevator sweep, didnt get it and then through reflex swapped and got the sweep on his other side.
One of the young guys has really progressed!, found myself in his guard for a long time. He wasnt able to attack to much as I kept posture and him pinned but took a long time to escape. Was quite happy to see such a jump in his progress though. As a note to myself I found it difficult to break open his legs, and his a thin guy.
Through observation of us rolling, Ollie then designed the lesson, he got us working on our triangles. With a few adjustments I hadnt seen that made a big difference to keeping my triangles tight and the way I executed them. He also showed us the catdip counter (the one I sued against Matt in my comp video), and the counter to that counter. Which was as they take your knee to the side, to walk up on your hands so your belly down and to roll them over so you sitting in a mounted triangle. Ollie then had us spar from the triangle position, giving us 15 seconds to get the tap or defend. I managed to defend by focusing on keeping posture and my arm out of danger. I couldnt get the tap the first time as even though it felt tight, pressure wasnt enough. Second time he countered with the cat dip, I countered with the roll over and managed to pull his head hard to really crank on the pressure and get the tap.
Annoyingly this counter counter nullifies my favourite counter...
Ollie then showed us another counter to a counter, when your opponent gets his arm out of danger to make some room for himself inside your triangle. Reach up behind your own legs and hold your hands in an S grip style (finger tips curled over each other). Then uncross your feet and extend your soles up to the ceiling. This puts ALOT of pressure on their neck (but is a choke). This move is known as the Teepee, I first witnessed it when Ollie won the absolute division in Hereford against a guy 30 kg's heavier and a pro rugby player. You can also do this move on peoples ribs, although it is hard to reach and is more of a pain complaince move. So its bit dodge, but hurts quite abit if you can get it on. Scorpion crunch I think its called.
Whilst we were drilling I got Ollie to give me some help on my reverse triangle (so instead of facing towards them, you are on the side looking the same way they are), its abit obscure but through playing open guard I seem to land this quite often as people try bend me in half. But I finish it rarely. Won my 2nd fight at Brighton with it (in mount) though, caught Matt in it at Brighton as well but couldnt finish it. Ollie gave me some great pointers, the problem was I wasnt controlling there trapped arm. Meaning it was only a 1 sided choke. By reaching over and pulling their tricep in, then extending my back it really put it on tight. Am stoked, will be looking to use this more often now as its hard to see coming. Great in North South, attacking turtle, etc.
Onto more sparring!
Sparred one of my long time training buddies (put a comment on as Philpot), he seemed indecisive about his strategy so I took the lead and went for top position. Got it, and worked on position, got mount. But couldnt sub him!, tried to setup the armbar by faking a choke but he wasnt biting and was defending the choke well. Kept on moving to coax something loose but no luck. I got silly and threw on an armbar on a arm I hadnt fully secured, he got it out without much fuss. We then scrambled and I ended up on top with him in turtle, which reminded me to try out a sub I watched in a Mario Sperry video. Clock choke, which Ive tried from back control but no where else. I like Mario Sperry his ramblings had a lot o character to his vids with usefull nuggets hidden in them. And the technique worked!, although more practise is needed.
His also really done well recently, especially on his defense. Once he gets abit more decisive on what his going for he will be a real pain.
Sparred a few more people, was having issues getting my sweeps and really couldnt seem to do anything from mount.
Stepped up against Ollie twice in the night, 1st time he broke and passed my guard rather easily. What was impressive was how he only made a few tiny movements and seemed to slip through my guard like butter. 2nd time I nabbed him from Matt rather cheekily. He played it passive, I went for top position, even getting side control and feeling chuffed with myself. I knew I just had to avoid his half guard. But in comes the one leg and Im in bloody half guard. I twist and spazz out abit, nearly giving him my back. He throws on an arm triangle, but I reckon Im safe on top and I can just move my arm to get air. Ah......no luck, TAPTAPTAPTAP. A very fast and annoying fight, wanted to show him I was better than that.
Me and Matt had another series of showdowns. First one we fought for grips and I fought for dominance, I kept his guard open and was well out of reach, holding onto his ankles. I positioned myself to try a roll over guard pass into mount, a watcher told me to watch out for the triangle. I told him "watch this". I rolled, Matt saw it coming and caught me in the triangle. I try and catdip, does the counter roll!. I try my own counter counter counter by crocodile death rolling to try and making some space and to try get on my stomach to stretch him out and use my legs to break open the triangle. We keep on rolling but I get no luck and he gets on tight and I have to tap.
2nd roll, I go for guard this time and get it, we work for abit. I go for a sit up sweep get everything right and feel him going over. So I celebrate in my head but the loss of focus loses me the sweep and end up back on my back!. We arnt really getting anywhere so we both spazz abit to make something happen, we scramble and I end up on top in side control. He tries to move an arm and puts it straight into my legs to lock on (as I was shown a few weeks ago at RGA). This then gives me both arms to work on his one. I get it down on the mat by the wrist, slip my other hand under to grab my own wrist and put on the americana. He taps.
I roll another mate of mine who decided to go no g, I comply. He dives hard and pins me in my guard. I go for a few sit up sweeps but each time he then dives his weight on me to put me down. I also try for the pendelum but he is vary wary and pulls his leg away each time. He keeps his arms tight. Ive caught him in a fair few armbars and his really learnt from it. I get abit desperate and it leads to him taking my back. Im screwed. But I notice he cross his feet!. I slip them under my thighs and go for the foot lock, he realises and gets them out. Still desperate I then put it on one of his feet and keep it locked, I straighten my legs out and he has to tap. Was a fun roll and he really had me completely sewn up till that point. Another guy who has come miles.
Great lesson from Ollie (2 hours! :D). Gave me plenty to think on.
1) Open guard does not = loose guard
2) experiment with my new enhanced reverse triangle
3) break posture more and control grips to avoid being nullified when playing guard
4) work on breaking legs in guard
5) positioning feels good, but need to remember to isolate limbs more
Dean phoned me the next day, turns out during the warm up he stubbed his toe on the mat and its broken in 3 places!
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
In this context I define rivalry as between 2 or more people where they are specifically trying to improve so that they are more dominant over the opponent/training partner in question. And of course you get different types of rivalry, I am reffering to friendly but competitive rivalry. Where you are good friends but go to significant lengths to keep up or better your rival.
A while ago I as reading a short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson(stay with me this is relevant). He described two early paeleontologists whose rivalry was so fierce that when occupying two parellel trenches they were throwing rocks and FOSSILS at each other. But between them they found more dinosaurs than anyone in history to date. Their rivalry pushed them to the top of their field.
I feel the same can happen in jiu jitsu, although I would prefer more friendly terms. As I think being open and exchanging ideas with your rival can also be very usefull, as they can have a unique insight into your game.
I have a rival (his probaly reading this), he as you might of guessed is Matt "the triangulator" Passfield (Im trying out the nickname). We are of similar weight, height, build, ability and competitiveness. These attributes lead us to be naturally competitive with each other, after Brighton we kicked it up a notch. We roll nearly every class, and there is definitely a sense of pressure that isnt there in my other sparring matches. Someone watching usually will mention something about Brighton, just to add a lil extra....atmosphere to the fight.
Me and Matt sparred again last night, with myself starting in his guard. I had just dispatched 3 other opponents but was feeling good (we do a winner stays on type thing), as I felt calm in my guard passing. Our roll went on longer than my 3 previous rolls combined. He consistently broke down my posture and was working for a triangle and/or collar choke. The collar chokes meant I had to keep abandoning pressure on his hips to protect my neck. I kept on working, trying to open his legs. After nearly getting choked countless times I managed to creep my way out of his guard and into side control, avoiding a scissor sweep on the way.
I went on to beat a few more opponents without rest untill I made a very silly mistake of forgetting my base after passing and getting swept from side control!.
I plan to attend this:
As do a few of my training partners. The best scenario I could hope for would be to meet Matt in the final again, which we are both working hard to do. Being from the same academy the organisers will hopefully try to make this happen, as it would be a big shame to fight him earlier on.
I feel that our friendly rivalry is pushing us to improve at a steady and fast pace, we know each others game inside out. And as such we target each others weaknesses with our own strengths, so in reply our weaknesses are strengthened and so are our strengths. Doesnt matter who loses, I always learn something when we roll. This does apply to other training partners mind you, just not at the same level.
So if you train, think about any rivalries you might have and be thankfull. They will make you far stronger. This is only the beginning, the drums of war are beating!
....Oh yeah, sweep of the week!. As a reward for reading my blitherings, Ill post the best video I can find of a sweep that I like. This week we are going straight for my fave. The simple, elegant and morale destroying sit up sweep. Shown by Pedro Sauer:
I remember Adam from RGA mentioning that he used the sit up sweep actually mainly as a setup for the kimura (by letting them base out), which is genius. Ive been working on actually implimenting this as a strategy if I dont want the sweep. Managed it yesterday but could of been tighter. Yay for progress though.