Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Met a new guy who was a Karate instructer veteran, met one of our guys down at a Royce Gracie seminar over the weekend and decided to try pick up more ground work. He had a good attitude which was good to see. He didnt seem in very bad shape but our warm ups can be abit punishing to those just starting. He seemed to manage ok though. Got to spar him as well later in the session. His a little bit bigger than me so I decided to work my sweeps to show the awesomeness of jiu jitsu. He was quite busy and tense so I had to fight a lil for my grips, but I pulled off the sweep. Either a sit up or pendelum, probaly a sit up as we had just gone over it in class.
Talking of which, we covered:
Transitioning from kimura to guillotine
Transitioning from guillotine to sit up sweep
Going from sit up sweep to armbar
So especially good for the new guys. Had good fun pairing up with Nick again who I enjoy helping. His really come a big way in a very short period of time. In sparring he was active, fought for grips and defended very well. Kept his arms in as well. But although busy he did not work for a pass and so he eventually got swept. I dont think his had the chance to see many passes so will be interesting to see how he progresses once he has had a chance to drill some. Also did some stand up sparring with him. Am still finding it difficult going for takedowns, so I went for my failsafe throw, tomoe nage (stomach throw).
When I do it though I keep a hold of them and roll into a top position (hopefully mount). I like it for 4 reasons. Its unexpected; if you mess it up you end up pulling gaurd; its very easy as it requiers no strength; and you can also do this if you get very good at it:
You can also go for the throw, stop it mid way and let them fall into the armbar position. So it kinda looks like this:
How do you combat such an awesome throw? with an awesome counter!
The other counter is you can just bend your knees :P. Which is where the pulling guard comes in.
Anywho, other sparring went well. Was mainly sit up sweep, pendelum and armbar as Im trying to hone my A-game for the comp this Sunday. One of the big guys stayed very tight though and he managed to pass my guard. I think I was being to passive again allowing him to take it inch by inch rather than forcing an error. Annoyingly his guard pass was finalised with an elbow to my head, completely unintentional but it hurt. One move I was happy with was going for a kimura and then quickly moving to the other arm for a sit up sweep, which as he was pulling that way (defending the kimura) worked well. These grappling improvisations are happening more often recently, which I think is a good sign. That Im starting to develop a better understanding of the basic concepts of BJJ grappling.
One the guys showed me another cool take down, where you get your opponent moving but suddenly change to the other direction and go for an inside single leg. Worked really well but Ill need to drill it properly before feeling confident.
Had another roll with Terry, consciously focused on keeping side control and not letting him get to his knee's. Which he is quite good at, and is a hole in my game from looking at my videos from Brighton. Mainly just kept active in blocking his hip and controling his lower body.
My division for the Kent open was released to today. Got to fight about 44 people, probaly the biggest category in the whole comp. The good side to that is that we might win a new Black eagle gi as a prize!, which I need. Chris the poleaxe of doom has pulled out due to an injured knee he picked up from a kneebar the other week. Its a big shame as I was really looking forward to watching him in action. Hope it heals up soon.
Am really LOVING the look of this red Vangaard gi.
But they seem hard to get, seem to only find them on french or german sites. And I might look abit of a ponce in red. The black one looks great as well, but I hate ninja's... . I also think I might be better off just getting 3 privates with Andy, which is pretty much the same price (normaly £40 each but you can batch buy 3 for £100). BJJ has complete control over my christmas list.
Monday, 27 October 2008
The lesson focused on turtle. 2 chokes to attack it and one escape. The first choke I have been waiting a long time for, but always forgot to ask it to be shown. The Peruvian necktie, I first saw it on the last season of "the ultimate fighter" CB dolloway subbing Rampage with it in a sparring session. The reason I was keen on it is because I have often found myself in the right position for it but just didnt know the correct setup. And its awesome. Just got to make sure I control the head enough so they cant slip it out. Comes on very strong. Heres a vid:
Alot of chatter in this vid, but I like the extra detail, anecdotes and explanations. So I was very pleased. Next technique was very similar except it was a gi choke with a quite a few elements, this made it seem quite complicated to me and I had trouble getting comfortable with it compared to the peruvian necktie.
I really liked the escape we did. From your turtle/sprawl position with them ontop of you fling your left arm up to create enough space for your head to get out. Then you shoot your right leg through and rolling to your left to escape from underneath. Then when out rolling to your right to finish ontop. Resist the urge to carry on rolling to your left as their arm is still there. It looks like the beginning stages of a breakdance routine but is very good. I wish I could find a vid to describe it better. Let me search one more time... woop woop! Found it!
See isnt that awesome?
I had to leave early today as I due to meet some friends for a drink in guildford, eventually leading to me trying to convince a bouncer at a club to let me wear my gi bottoms instead of my tracksuit trousers. He wasnt having any of it and got abit hostile. Annoyingly I was wearing my worst clothes as I had come straight from work, then training then out. Anywa, so I had to leave 15 minutes early so my eye was on the clock and I wanted to get in as much sparring as possible.
We started from within guard. I was feeling very positive and happy but also determined. Things went really well and the pendelum sweep and situp were in form. Armbars were also there. Spider noodles passed my guard but I gave him alot more trouble than I expected so was happy. One of the big guys got both his legs around me but was to heavy for me to stack him, I kept patient and tried to make room. For one or 2 seconds he ended up on top where I should of then conceeded, but at the time I decided he didnt have it controlled. He thought otherwise but I managed to escape and he let me stay on the mat. Another big guy came to fight, he did well. His posture was low and his arms down. Ive been trying to expand my arsenal so was trying things other than armbar. Kimura was looking good but he was on to it. He was also keeping me pinned to avoid the sweeps. I realised he was holding me very tightly and suprised myself by hooking my right arm underneath his left bicep, then putting my left arm over his tricep and gable gripping my hands. From there I then applied a kimura/wing type shoulder lock. Ive never tried this before from there so was happy that I got the tap. We were shown the technique as a counter to a triangle defense, not as a sub in itself. Ive had it done to me when Ive defended triangles by curling my arm around there leg. I hope I can put together more subs outside my normal stable on the fly.
Sparred my friend James, who is really coming along. I was feeling good but was still trying to get in as many spars as possible. I setup an armbar from threatning a gi choke, I put it on and we rolled abit. James is quite a strong guy, he went to protect his arm behind his leg but didnt make it. I kept on pulling, he tapped, I didnt feel it! :( . I carried on putting it on thinking he was using his strength, still not feeling his taps untill he verbally submitted. But it was to late I had hurt his arm, his already injured arm!. I felt really bad and still do, I really hope he will be ok for Kent. It wont heal before then and he will have to make sure he taps early if people go for it. Ive had the exact same thing happen to me and it sucks, so Im trying to think of a way to make it up to him. Ill buy him something at the comp maybe.
They then did some sparring from knee's but I had to leave.
Roll on saturday!
Didnt drink much due to looking like a hoodlum so no drunken style bjj this time. Saw a face I havnt seen for a very long time. A bluebelt who was about in the initial first days of the club, a Royal marine who Andy has known for a while. I also remember him because he omoplata'd me, which tends to stick with you. He took the warm up which was fun and different. Getting everyone to name a different ab excersise and then having to do 10 reps of it, among other things. Andy did take the lesson though. As its saturday the focus is on sparring and competition. We did some throws which are becoming alot more regular at the club. Perhaps due to changes being made because of Rogers judo training with Ray Stevens?. Also an open guard/spider guard escape.
We then did some in guard position sparring as normal. I felt lucid, passive and on form. Pulling off sweeps smoothly and transitioning well when thinks went wrong. I came up against Ali who was going no gi, Ali is an mma guy who is bigger and much stronger than me. He is also probaly better. We had a long fight, I kept on trying for the sweep and kimura's but couldnt get a grip on him. At one point I got his posture down but he fought for it back. He nearly passed ac ouple of time but I managed to put him back in guard. In the end he did pass but I felt happy with my efforts. Chris the poleaxe of doom complimented me on doing well, against him and the heavier guys. This made me feel very chuffed as he doesnt hand out praises willy nilly and I rate him as our top guy under Andy.
Next came sparring from back, side mount and mount!. For this I teamed up with Terry. I feel quite happy underneath side mount as I feel my strength is in spotting gaps and manouvering pressure. Terry did manage to mount me a few times though. From under mount Im not to bad at escaping as I am pretty wiggly and good at defending armbars. However my subs from ontop mount still really suck, my control has really taken a dive. I can hold the position well just not finish. Ive put it down to being to rushed, where I should take a little time setting it up. Also I think I should try setting up more than 1 sub at a time. I.E threatning a choke and using there defense as a setup for an armlock.
From the back Terry completely schooled me, he really was on form today. I felt I was being to passive being overconfident I would spot a gap. He was using a technique he picked up from BJ Penn, where he would trap an arm underneath one of his legs. Which then made it almost impossible to defend a choke. He subbed me more times in those 5 mins than he has in the last 10 months. He went through this technique and showed me a genius way of setting it up, and gave me some food for thought as well. He managed to get my arm underneath his leg each time because he would get a grip on my arm and push up. Instinctively I would then push down with my arm, he would then suddenly change pressure direction and my arm would go down and be wrapped by his leg!. Even once he explained it, it was hard to avoid because of that instinct to resist your opponent. I cant help thinking this has huge application for setting up other techniques as well.
Sparred abit with a new guy who Ive been talking abit to. His really got a thirst to improve so I enjoy sharing what Ive learnt. He seems to think showing him things and sparring him is an unecessary use of my time. I always assure him its not, because I get quite abit out of it as I get to really think through the techniques when I try explain them. I recently told him "position before submission" and I think he has taken it to heart. He game has improved alot recently, he no longer just dives in. He fights for his grips and fights to get rid of mine, postures up and is moving better. I really do love seeing people improve, and I get a real buzz if I can give some advice or tips that aids this improvement.
I think one day I would really love to do some instructing, although I need to be more concise and clear!. As you can probaly tell in this blog!
Heres your reward for reading through that jibber jabber:
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Me and Matt were ready for a session early so we decided to have a roll before warming up. Matt worked position well and ended up subbing me via a very well worked choke. Then 2nd fight he did well again and got me in side control, where an odd idea popped into my head. Americana..., I saw the arm and it was there so I gripped it and worked it on before he could defend. He wasnt expecting it as no sane person would really think to I guess but he it went on hard and he tapped. He was suprised and so was I, we explored it a little more and we realised that if he didnt resist it It would of just rolled him onto his back and me into side control. Andy also pointed out he could armbar me from on top, thats why we pay him the big bucks.
The other thing we noticed was that we were REALLY tired, we are among the smaller sized people in our club so we both use our cardio as a strength in order to survive against the bigguns. I mean we were really tired, we can normally have 4/5 fights in a row and feel ok. We realised it was down to not really warming up. I explored this topic with Andy and its made a big difference to my existing knowledge. I always thought warming up was just to prevent injury, I didnt realise you need to warm up passed your initial cardio barrier to get maximum oxygen/energy effeciency. Now the reason why this is an important find for me is because when I competed in Hereford and Brighton my warm ups were minimal and I was exhausted in both my fights. I put it down to adrenaline and nerves. But now I know it was due to inadequate warming up.
I noticed alot of people having the same problem. I think alot of people dont have the confidence in there cardio, they are to worried of using up to much energy pre fight. But they end up more tired!. Training has given us a good recovery rate, hence why we can have multiple fights and feel ok (once warmed up). Being relaxed obviously makes a difference to. I would be silly not to utilise this recovery rate and hinder myself by not warming up fully. And by fully I mean getting a good sweat going, not just stretching.
My competition outlook has also changed considerably, due to a post from http://martialfarts.fightlinker.com/ . Who retrieved this nugget from the fight works podcast
http://thefightworkspodcast.com/ . This is the martialfarts paraphrased version:
Sunday, 12 October 2008
So at this point Im feeling a lil more tired than usual but coping. We do some more drilling focusing on pulling guard, sitting into open guard etc. Saturday sessions are more focused on competition so we had a Q & A session with Andy as well.
After this we did some positional sparring (from side control, mount and guard). And this is where things got more interesting. I was feeling a lil dehydrated and everything seemed very blurry. Almost like tunnel vision but less extreme and very fuzzy. I can only assume because of the alcohol and the sweating I was running pretty low on sugar, salts, water etc.
But there was a plus side! - I felt very relaxed and calm, I felt I could weasel myself anywhere. My mind was muddled so I had no internal dialogue, no analysing or planning. I just felt everything in the moment. So not only did I do well but I was pulling off things Ive never tried or been shown before. Like taking someones back from UNDERNEATH side control. Or passing from inside guard to someones back. The sit up sweep came back with a vengeance as I was abit more subtle with it. Pendelum sweep also felt abit more natural.
I did get subbed by a very good gi choke mind you, very nicely setup by pinning my arm so I couldnt defend it. So we rolled again and I went to repay the favour and gi choke him. This guy is strong as hell and a good 20kg's heavier, annoyingly he is also fairly cunning. While I was trying to choke him he said "wow check out that blister on the guys foot". So I tried to look, half forgetting I wasnt wearing my glasses and wouldnt be able to tell if the guy even had toes. Then I realised he was distracting me while he made his escape!. Luckily for me he left an arm behind and I managed (just) to pull off the armbar.
I also noticed I still need to be a lil more aware when holding side control, couple of times I fell into peoples halfguard from them scooting their legs around.
Session finished but I had ages till my train so I didnt get out of me gi, and had a rest. My strong friend wanted to spar some more because he came late to the session but I was really dead now. I could barely do the warm down and I felt very dizzy. I finished my water and bought some lucazade. Also had an apple. 20 minutes later and I was feeling good. My friend was sparring with another training partner which seemed to go on forever. Andy was teaching a private and asked me over to spar with the guy (my friend Terry who I had been paired with during the session before). He wanted to look at things whilst we sparred and to work on any issues that came up, while giving coaching as well.
There are few things more annoying in jiu jitsu than your opponent being given good advice that he follows whilst rolling. Its like fighting two people!. But it was fun and good, I feel guilty that I actually learnt a fair bit from it and it was Terry's private. During our rolls he managed to get back to his knee's several times from under my side control. Using a really simple set of movements. His pressure was better and tighter, he also came incredibly close to finishing me off with a guillotine. Baring in mind Terry had now been training for well over 3 hours, he did really really well. The difference from merely an hour ago was definitely noticable, which has resolved my conflicting ideas on how worthwhile privates are. Terry is another asset to the club, a JKD instructer as well I always learn something from my conversations with him. When we spar, I cant pass his hands. I can pass his legs, I can get good position and get submissions but I cannot for the life of me pass his hands. If I want to grab his elbow, get an underhook, grab a wrist then I need to think of a new plan. Because his hands just fend everything off like Im attacking him in over telegraphed A-team style punches. His also escaping alot of my armbar attempts by straightning his body to line up with mine and then rolling, till the angles safe.
The session before this one Mick (a Muay thai trainer) and Terry were talking about low leg kicks. Mick volunteered me as a dummy and very slowly placed a few on my thigh. Despite this very slow kicking it still hurt, his shins were like lead and he was spot on in hitting his target. Then Terry showed his kick, then Mick showed his. This went on for 2 minutes, at the end I was one knee on the ground, pleading for mercy. Hopefully if Mick does a class at our new centre Ill be able to attend, my first love will always be grappling but striking is fun to and opens things up to trying MMA. After the Saturday session and extra rolling I helped Andy and co put up the big sign for our club. Was quite a fun afternoon as the weather was great and the banter flowing.
The Kent open is approaching fast!, I plan to register today. I hope I still get one of the free shirts, I wanna start a comp shirt collection. Saturdays session really rebuilt my confidence and made me feel good about my progress. We have quite a few guys entering now, we are gonna bring back alot of medals. I am completely convinced of this. I think Ill do good, good chance of winning I feel. Hope to fight a team mate in the final.
One more thing:
Anyone got a sewing machine?
Cause Im ripped! *flexes*
Saturday, 4 October 2008
The lesson covered halfguard, I really need to work on my halfguard. Being in it or holding it, it is easily one of the worst parts of my game. I get more submissions from under peoples side control than I do from within my half guard. So this is the lesson I really needed, and we covered some really usefull stuff. But I was in such a negetive mood all I could think about was how much I hated half guard. I lost out. It only occured to me hours later what a dick I was being. Now Im trying to rethink every minute of the lesson to salvage what I should of been focusing on positively.
We did some half guard sparring, I managed to work my way out of a few peoples half guards, and managed a few sweeps. But still lost a fair few matches, which made me feel more bitter towards halfguard at the time.
Then came full sparring, finally a chance to go mental I thought. And so I warned my opponent that I was gonna be aggressive. And so I went for it....
If you could call it that, I made stupid mistakes and ended up fighting a triangle attempt for most of it. I felt like it was my first lesson. Not taking anything away from my opponent, he was solid but I felt I could of done better. He had a triangle on and I was defending by putting my other arm inside his leg, all I had to do was push it through, but I didnt. I ended up waiting till he had it on tight enough I had to tap.
My other sparring match was a similar affair, it ended up going the whole distance without a sub but again I felt limited. I kept on getting top position but not getting his legs out of my way properly.
It really was like I had resetted myself to when I first started, and it frustrated me. It took me a long time to really get into the habit of looking at aquiring good position as the most important thing. Then theres control, setups, breathing, subtelty, planning ahead, tactics etc. The submission is only the last puzzle piece, everything else needs to be in place first.
Position before submission. I let that fly out the window for the stupid justification of "venting". My game suffered. I got tired and made silly mistakes. So now for the plus side, I have learnt from this mistake. I am now confident in my normal approach, that it has the right levels of aggression and passivity. Allowing me to relax but to threaten at the sime time.
Hopefully the damage is only temporary and Ill be back to my old self for Tuesday. I need to start training hard for the Kent open.
Perhaps Im being overly critical of myself, just because I didnt do well in one lesson. I know some people in my club that dont get a submission for months, yet are really positive and keep on working at it. Using it as motivation to improve and keep on trying. It wont be long till these people far surpass me, if I dont learn from them.
Another team mate told me this on Friday after I told him it had been a hard lesson and I hadnt done well :" Yeah they are the best, they are the ones you really learn from" . Having this mindset seems to make all the difference in training, I let it slip and it made a big difference. Now Im trying to learn from it, as you should all your mistakes.
Saturday sessions have just started at the new club, so Ill be able to train 3 times a week when I can. Hopefully get a few saturdays in before Kent.
Thursday, 2 October 2008
We covered some solid basics in class and I went with a new guy and helped him through it, giving him tips where needed. I need to talk less.
- matted area with matted walls
- Changing facilities
- Filtered water fountain
- Power rack
- Gymnastic Rings
- Lucozade Sport Machine
- Equipment Shop - Gi's, kneepads, shorts etc etc
- Strength and Conditioning coach (PTI Royal Marines, Judo Black Belt, BJJ Blue Belt)
- Judo Coach - 2nd Dan Black Belt
- Thai Coach
Warming up with Kimura's!
Also worked on setting up the triangle from mount, which really improved my existing thoughts on it. Head control, hooking the leg underneath and arm control. Pulled it off during sparring which is always a good sign. Sparred Terry whose defense is really improving, but Im quite unrelenting with him as he can be sneaky. No longer catching him in armbars or ezekiels, really having to work for the subs.
Also sparred a new guy, talked to him abit on keeping tight and working his game. Illustrated this by passing his guard a few times. He was flinging on triangles without the control. But he made some progress, was very relaxed and a great attitude.
Finished up with some sparring, a warm down and then Andy giving out some presents to the guys who helped him do the place up. Well deserved.
Warming down or dancing to "thriller", you decide.
Me and all the boys listining to Andy telling us for the 5th time not to walk around barefoot. We have shoe cubby holes now!