Friday, 28 November 2008

Did it make a difference?

YES, a massive difference.

(read my previous post if you dont know what Im on about)

What Ive been missing

I consider myself a calculating and analytical individual when it comes to jiu jitsu. You will always find me smiling as Im enjoying it but my emotions are quite reserved. Ill be concentrating on what to do next based on what my opponent will try to do next, strengths and weaknesses etc. And I think this type of thinking is good, I believe in the jiu jitsu - chess idea. However Ive been training without passion. This has just become clear now because I feel on fire, instead of butterflies my stomach is filled with easily to anger hornets who have just had their nest pissed on. I dont feel any anger, just a powerful drive to train my ass off and to do well. And all this drive is aimed at one guy - Ross Nickols. This guy kicked my ass in Kent and I want to avenge myself. His in my division in the Hereford comp on the 7th. Let me reiterate that I dont dislike him or feel any anger at him, his just a focal point for what I need to achieve. So if your reading this Ross and Ive just knee ridden your sternum into paste Im sorry. If you beat me again then kudos!. Beating Ross is more important to me than winning the comp, so if we dont face each other ill ask him for a roll on the warm up mat.

But yes, passion!. Will it make a difference? we shall see tonight at training. A while ago I trained in "anger" and I got my ass kicked all over the show. This feels different, I still feel clear headed and able to think ahead. Ive always wanted to win and do well but Ive not had this hunger before. And its given me heart.

A few of us are going down to Hereford so should be another good day of fun. Hereford was my first BJJ comp and my first 2 losses, so am eager to avenge them. Hereford features a different rule set as well. All positions have to be helf for 15 seconds not 3 (except knee on belly). Passing is 3 points. Rolling someone off from mount counts as a sweep! - which is particularly annoying. That is how I lost my first fight. Fights are only 3 minutes and start from knee's. Straight knee bar and achiles lock is allowed. I think its good fighting under different rule sets, so as to not narrow down ones game to take advantage of one particular rule set.

Ive been spending alot more time in half guard as mentioned in previous posts, feeling alot more confident there now. Can see the oppertunities to sweep and to take the back more clearly now. Subs are there as well, although abit harder to finish.

Last session was good and found myself putting on a few omoplata's. Couldnt quite finish them though, so got the sweep instead. Controlling them from rolling over is natural now. Just need to make my setup flow abit more. Had a great roll with Brian before the lesson started. Off the bat I did well, got side control, mount and then back. But Brian is a tough customer and has a very good judgement on how tight your submission is, which allows him to resist for a long time. He has alot of heart. So his turtle was tight and I was on his back, going for a clock choke. Put my head to the floor and started walking around (abandoned the hooks). But I didnt have the hand in deep enough and he eventually got out. From their it went back and forth but he had good control and finished me with a americana.

We did some guard passing and I found myself getting triangled a few times. Which was frustrating but also very good as it pointed out a mistake I was making consistently. Andy gave me some advice on sorting out that mistake so hopefully no more triangles!. Managed to pass a very tired Dorians guard which is a big achievement for me, this guy EXPLODES. And he times it well so very hard to control him, but eventually I managed it.

My guard has become abit more static since I started focusing on guard passing, my sit up sweep timing is abit sluggish. So didnt get to much from full guard.

After the lesson, Nick wanted some more rolling and Im always up for it. Its only been a short time but his definitely coming along. We focused on how important it was always to stay moving, especially when under positions like mount. We kinda did a pseudo drill where we focused on me passing his guard and then him putting me back (medium resistance). That went quite well and I might try repeat this drill again sometime. Some of the guys also pointed out good grips and hand placement for blocking hips etc. One of the things I love about my club and I hope all clubs are like this, is how willing people are to help each other out. And how there is no ego when people are corrected or shown a variation. I would still be making alot of old mistakes without the input of my partners, and Im almost relying on them pointing out more so I can get better!

Any readers going to the RGA christmas dinner? - I hope to be there so let me know.

Heres a great vid from Stephen Kesting where he talks about the importance of position when going for subs and defending them.

He then goes onto show the Von Flue choke as a defense to the guillotine at 3:10. Love this choke and used it in my last lesson, very fun.

Stephen Kesting provides some great video's so if you see his name on a vid -watch it.

Heres an awesome judo vid shamelessly taken from Martial farts (great blog! - read it!):

Reason I include this, is because the judoka in question is pulling off the same throw everytime. His opponents know its coming probaly before they step on the mat, but the guy is SO good at it all they can do is slow him down abit. This gives me confidence in really focusing alot of effort into getting a few throwing techniques down to a T (as shown a few posts ago). I think it definitely works in BJJ as well.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Its now been a year

It has now been roughly a year since I first started training. So time to assess the situation I think. First lets break it down into simply what I have gained and lost from a result of training.

My grappling ability has certainly improved, I am actually having trouble trying to quantify it. Current me could kick the crap out of old me in under 30 seconds, blind folded, legs tied and starting under mount. Lets also pretend old me weighs around 100kg's and likes to hit the weights. Thats how sizable the difference is.

I have lost 10kg's of weight and my pulse has dropped by over 10BPM. I have the fitness and strength I never thought was in my reach. I also look much more healthy, with a fair bit of podge removed and some muscle added.

I have made many new great friends that I enjoy spending time with outside of training. Just feeling like Im a part of the club is a great feeling.

Now the cost. Training has cost me money, time, blood and bath tubs full of sweat. I have small calluses forming on my fingers, the occasional painful joint, regular bruises and friction burns. A few small hard or swollen bits on my ear that have formed, not very noticeable though. Despite the aches and pains though, a year on and Im still in love with this art. It has become a big part of my life, that is never far from my mind. And the great part is, Im still a white belt! Ive still got this huge journey in front of me. And I'm in no rush.

At one point I focused on training to attain the next perceived level (blue belt). But now it doesnt bother me at all, I just want to get better and improve my Jiu jitsu game. I dont want to improve to win competitions I want to win competitions to improve!.

I think improvement is abit of a funny thing. Your constantly looking for it but its always there, gradual and consistent. Even when trying to get past a plateau, it is all part of the process. I feel that the learning process in Jiu jitsu is a high curve, with the greatest gains in the beginning and coming quickly. Improvements take steadily longer but according to the curve model for comparatively less reward, which I feel isnt true. I have often seen and experienced how a very small adjustment (a small improvement) can lead to significant results. So whilst a curve I feel there are many bumps, plateau's, possible dips and steep rises which are unique to the individual. Heres an example, your often taking peoples backs but you keep getting foot locked due to crossing your feet. Stop crossing your feet, BOOM greatly reduced amount of footlocks.

I also agree with the bullseye model of BJJ (thats my own name for it). Where you start with a massive circle, with layers down to a small bullseye. Each layer represents a belt level of skill. The first layer is obviously the biggest (white) and the layers get smaller till the last layer which is the smallest (black). The size of each layer represents skill, knowledge, ability etc. Its abit overly general but the reason why I like this model is because it shows that everything you need to know is shown to you at the white belt level. You then improve upon and internalise these as you improve which carries you through the belt levels. The adjustments and honing aspects get smaller and smaller. This is also why I think BJJ is a bad spectator sport for the uninitiated, its hard to appreciate it without knowing what they are doing. The greatest example of this I can find is watching Roger Gracie's fights. Everything he does is stuff you will probably learn in your first week.

Ill probably end up posting another one of these next year when I realise Ive been talking bollocks. So onto recent classes.

Last couple have been good, Ive been trying to focus on guard passing and control from the top. Recently Ive felt abit stagnant, but I know this is a common thing and all you can do is persevere. I am finding myself holding half guard alot recently as well, which is good and bad. Good because I desperately need to improve it, bad because it is often a precursor to defeat for me. However my eye for sweeps from that position is starting to develop which feels nice. And I am able to hold it for longer. But it still needs alot of work.

Unfortunately Ive had to miss a few sessions recently due to train trouble, which is not helping to get out of this slump. But the jiu jitsu gods are kind and through their prophet Slideyfoot (link on sidebar) they have delivered me this very usefull new resource. Beginning BJJ . The most useful being a free E-book available on the site. Written by Stephan Kesting from The book is VERY useful and alot of effort has gone into it. I highly recommend it, the fact that its free blows my mind. I think one of the reasons I like it is because of Stephens style of writing. He breaks it all down very logically and systematically in a way that really makes sense to me.

Trains screwed me over Friday so went out with some friends and had a couple beers. To make up for having to miss Tuesday I decided to goto both Saturday classes. The early class is focused at new students with some self defense emphasis alongside the crucial basics. It was fun though and I got plenty out of it. All the other usual suspects started turning up for the next session and it was only 5-10 minutes or so before we started that. The warm up was alot more rigorous and Andy inflicted a new exercise on us. Sitting down with legs off the ground you had to shimmy on your ass to the other end of the room, JUST using your ass. Each shimmy moves you like an inch. And we had to do it twice, I resorted to using my feet on more than one occasion. The beers started making their effects known, could tell I needed to be careful. But I also had some foul smelling wind, which is not ideal for grappling.

The class focused on sparring and was very tough. Each time I came off and joined the que I was feeling very tired and woozy. Not nearly as bad as my last hang over training session but my cardio took a big dive. Half guard came up often but I could hold it and was working for sweeps. Need ALOT of refinement on the sweeps though, as currently I am just relying on shifting below them and then rolling when I feel there base is weak. Played around with open guard abit more but couldnt really do it much with hence the rise in half guard. One of my sparring fights went on for an age. I really like sparring this guy as he thinks about every move he makes, no unnecessary movements and is very hard to catch in submissions. Passing felt very good though, I normally always do some sort of stack pass. Which is probably why I find myself in triangles more than any other sub. That day I was mixing it up by also passing through the middle, which I previously didnt like because it very often led to their half guard. Which isnt so bad, just extra effort. However I was doing abit of knee riding and was keeping their legs and hips pinned, so felt more solid.

Terry managed a beauty of an armbar attempt of me I defended by the skin of my teeth. He had side control and went to north south, but he transitioned fluidly from their to my other side and to the armbar. Took me by complete surprise, I had to then flip myself over onto my stomach and then defended by stacking and pulling it out. Definitely want to practise that transition maneuver.

Sparred Ryan who has an MMA fight coming up very soon, so wanted to focus on him. We decided to work on his side control game (we went no gi as well). He was focusing alot on trapping my with his legs and then working a submission. Managed to escape once or twice and he managed to sub me a few times as well. Ive only ever caught Ryan once and that was with a guillotine, his a little lighter than me but very athletic and rapid. But hangover BJJ nirvana beamed once again. He went from side control to north south but my shoulders didnt feel completely pinned, so I tried something Ive been dieing to reproduce. I rolled back (think a backwards roll) tucking my head out. As I did this I went from under north south to having rear mount. I landed quite high up so had to work my hooks in abit and as he worked to escape he left an arm in. So I put in a triangle with my legs, I reverse triangle of sorts I guess. Andy then reminded me to hook his leg and pull it in to further put pressure on him. I couldnt get his arm properly across his neck though, so when he tapped it was 60% neck crank 40% choke. That backwards roll is my new morale busting move.

Had some good rolls with the big guys, a really cool one where I was defending omoplata's for a while. And caught a knee to the head and a cut lip, I accidentally caught him as well. In fact lots of people seemed to get kneed or banged up in some way that day. That fight went back and forth alot where I would half get a sweep or escape but just couldnt finish. Lots of fun jumping around.

Felt very good after that session, definitely feel like Ive come out of that slump. Despite not getting as many subs or sweeps some of the guys gave me some really nice compliments on my guard passing and movement. Which is what I really want to work on. Thanks for the kind words guys it does really mean alot to me.

Talking of kind words slideyfoot has nominated me for the Fightworks podcast BJJ blog of the year. Thanks alot man! really made my day. So if you like my stuff vote for me there when it starts. Or if not vote for the other guys like slideyfoot or pesadelo, all top notch!.

I have also signed up to fight in the up coming Hereford comp on the 7th of Dec. Which is very soon, but we have a few guys going and itll be a fun small comp.

In other news:

The amazing Renzo Gracie legacy documentary is out here
UFC 91 was a jiu jitsu love fest (this is good) - Vids here
Last man standing is still awesome! - Clicky
I need to make a new banner

If you agree or disagree with any of the stuff Ive written leave a comment. Always happy to learn more from feedback.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

My post kent return!

I had taken the week off from training, as I had friends round, a birthday, mat burned toes and a very sore elbow. What this meant is my normal reward of eating like a pig extended for a week past the 2 days I was going for. But a good time was had, and Ive done some runs in between then and didnt feel to bad.

Turned up to Tuesdays class all rearing to go, with passing guard in mind. I wanted to try work on the things I put up in my last post, especially stand up. I had arrived early and so me and Matt decided to get some stand up judo type sparring in. It felt good, really good. I felt I actually had a selection of throws to try and go for. First throw was when Matt went in for a O soto gari (big outer leg reap thing), I countered by doing the same throw in the opposite direction with more hip momentum. It worked, but as I landed on top of him I realised I should of done it abit more softly. I kept on going for the throw I had seen kieran do a few times, a harai goshi (I think!?) as I really love the grip for it and the angle of attack. But was doing it wrong as I was going flinging my leg up in between his not outside, this is another type of throw (Uchi mata). But I find it harder to pull off. Later on I get Kieran to give me some pointers on it. Next throw I managed is my favourite, pushed him back and as he pushed me back in return I lent back into a Tomoe nage. Always feels great to pull that off. But I always forget to roll with the momentum and try finish in mount. Finishing instead in side control most of the time. Our other scraps mostly ended in half ish throws and scrambles from messed up attempts. So still plenty to work on. All I want to do is get 3-4 throws done to a T:

Tomoe nage:
Its my favourite, as its the one Im best at. Its very unexpected even in judo!, I think its pretty rare in BJJ. Which is probably a bad sign but I think its very practical. If I mess it up I can pull guard, or even armbar. Done right I can go straight to mount. It also looks the Bee's knees. I wont add a video as I showed you guys one 2 posts ago!

Harai goshi:
The throw Im trying to learn to be better at. Ive noticed that most people in BJJ from standing are very stiff armed, hips back and really not up for being thrown. I think Harai goshi has a very strong grip setup, and the angle of attack can cut through the stim arm/stall defense. If messed up I can carry on pulling on the arm and fall with my weight to still take him down. I wont get ippon but ill get side control. Which is just gravy for me. And if that doesnt sell it for you, its recommended by Vladimir Putin.

Double/single leg shoot:
Not very subtle and all BJJ'ers practise sprawling and doing this throw so its expected. Stiff arm defense makes it hard. But I think developing a good shoot can be very destructive. GSP seems to be able to take anyone he wants down with this at will. If it goes wrong I can still attack and/or pull guard. I can also just go for a single leg where theres a ton of further options. So a flexible and very powerful attack. At the moment Im to slow and I telegraph it to much, but am able to scramble to safety.

Drop seoi nage:
It looks awesome... . Can be quite unexpected, with knock outs not being unheard of. If it goes wrong I could get my back taken... . But it seems very explosive and leaves me close on the ground with them, with an arm already controlled. The main thing that draws me to it is again the hips back straight arm stalling defense that seems to prevalent. As alot of their weight is forward (ready to sprawl it seems), it would seem a waste not to use that momentum. :P

All these throws except Tomoe nage seem to work well in no-gi as well. Only decent way I know how to do a no-gi Tomoe nage is with my already on the ground holding the back of his neck, but thats more of a open guard sweep really.

Anywho enough of this, back to class!. We drill some throws :P. One of the main ones we drill is a normal Seoi Nage, but we follow it through into an armbar.

Next we go through some counter attacks when people are defending the armbar, as well as some armbar escapes. I make sure to let my partner drill on my left arm, but his controlled enough anyway.
We do some light positional sparring from this setup as well, I can defend it ok but still find it hard to stop them putting there elbow to the mat and coming up on their knee's to escape the armbar.

We then do some guard passing sparring. I as normal jump straight in so I can be one of the people to start first. Not sure if some people may resent me for this, but you snooze you lose. No matter though as I get my arm pinned behind my back, and my guard shortly passed. Found it very hard to defend this as he was so good at controlling my arms. Next match and Andy swaps it so the winners are guard passing. So Im back on my back, my partner starts before I even close my legs. He seems abit dazed, he also controls my arms very well and is tight. But he doesnt work a pass and I get a sit up sweep.

Next match lasts a long time, Im guard passing and his legs are very strong. I really want to focus on my guard passing and top control after kent. But I cant open his legs and his not throwing any sub attempts. His quick to keep my posture down and stop my from standing though. But not going for any sweeps or subs is making it hard to find an opening. I cant even dig my elbows down enough to do a stack pass. With all my wriggling I eventually leave an arm to far out and he pulls down on it in a shoulder assisted type upside down armbar. Its not to tight but I can feel the pressure and I verbally tap. 4 times. I probably should of just tapped with my hand but I didnt want to let go with my defending arm incase of injury. No matter though, I just went "yeah yeah yeah" which normally works but he probably thought I was working something good and was excited so after he didnt let go I just told him to let go. Although in quite a desperate voice. No harm no foul though. Might have to say "TAP" instead of "yeah or you got it" to avoid this in future.
Class ends with some running on the spot, tuck jumps and sprawls.

Im up for some more though. Luckily Brian accommodates me. Brian is tough and wont tap unless you have it on 100%, always a good opponent. We start from standing, I go for Harai goshi as Im determined to get it down. I dont get it though but we end up on the ground with me under his side control. His base isnt quite there though and Im able to bridge him off balance and then sit up completely to put him under my side control. Am happy with this. I get it in such a way that I try a kind of upside down anaconda choke. His breathing changes for the worse so I think its close, but I realise Brian wont tap which is a good sign its not on 100%. So I goto mount. Go for the cross lapel choke but he bridges well and gets me over.

We scramble and he ends up on my back, with a body triangle. I get to my side but cant turn all the way over to his guard. He doesnt threaten the choke to much though and Im eventually able to get rid of his body triangle by hooking his leg with mine and pulling it off so he just has hooks. This gives me enough room to move all the way round. I manage to get my knee up in the middle and squeeze through his legs into mount. I go for the cross collar choke again, and he turns me over again!. This time into my guard. He works to pass and as one arm goes under my legs I set up a triangle. For some reason I go for the Teepee pre triangle attempt though, which I scold myself for as its a bad habit to start. He defends it well though so I dont waste alot of time on it. I then go to triangle and it feels ok. Cant quite get his arm across though and I can tell Brian isnt finding it to hard to resist. He goes for the cat dip escape and I do the counter by pushing myself on my hands to roll into a mounted triangle. The arm goes right across now and I can get a good grip on his head. I squeeze and his gurgle is a precursor to the tap. Really fun roll and further high lighted the work I need to do on my base (especially mount). And that I need to work on my triangle.

Got a bunch of Kent pics Ill put up in my next post, made this from one of them. Hopefully my opponent doesnt mind, I thought it took the piss out of me if anything and some people might find it funny.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Kent open!

Decided to train the Friday and Saturday before the comp, we took it easy and focused on some good defense with light rolling. Also learnt some handy defense counters.

Sunday arrives all to soon and I wake up at 5:30am, my friend Helen is coming along to support me and gets all our food and stuff together. We bring a picnic!. We make oru way to guildford were we meet up with Andy and his wife, then go to meet the boys. Everyones fired up and the journey down there goes well.

We arrive early and the venue looks great!, an olympic Judo centre just built in Dartford.

There is a ton of people here, this competition is huge. 400+ fighters, 40 odd just in my division. The organisers are feeling the stress but things are running well. Myself, Matt and Dan are fighting in the white -70 and we are on at 9:15. So we get changed and are eager to weigh in quick so we can get properly warmed up. We make weight EASILY, super light scales put me in at 68kg with the gi. We do some of our normal group warm up and some individual exercises. As far as I can see most other fights are just warming up by themselves. So it feels nice to have a partner helping me get warm. We run into some familiar faces as well, I see some Nova Forca guys Ive talked to before. Matt see's the guy he fought in Brighton and we get chatting to him. Also run into a few RGA boys, we can tell as they write their names on their gi :P . Included in the RGA possie is Nic G who I saw get his blackbelt a few months ago, his abit of an inspiration to me and I really admire him. His also south african! like me!, which is always nice. Oh yeah Roger Gracie is also there...

My mat is called, and Im on the opposite side to Matt and Dan. Im also the first fight on the cards. Ollie shows up as well which is awesome as I wasnt sure if Andy was gonna be able to corner us all and Ollie is a great cornerman with a ton of comp experience. My first fight is against a tough looking kid called Ross Nickols. I had been day dreaming of my strategy for the last few weeks. Pull guard, sweep, choke. Unfortuantly I pull guard VERY badly, I was way to eager and I just sit into it limply. He then steamrolls his way through my defenses, with me being way to static and my half guard weakness really makes itself known. He finishes me with a very tight clock choke from the back. I am annoyed.

Luckily Kent has a repercharge system so I can now fight for bronze, but Im feeling abit knackered. The wind has been knocked out of my sails. The warming up really helped and I didnt feel gassed at all but my morale took a dive.

I have a while to wait before my next fight, and I chat to a few guys and my team mates. The time limit is down to 4 minutes so fights are fast.

Next up Im against a thin looking guy named Muhammad. After watching the other fights and thinking about how mine went I decide to abandon pulling guard and try and be more aggressive. It works well and I stuff his takedown and sprawl. I get good grips and decide to risk a sub. I link my hands with an S grip, put one leg up and fling the other over his back for a Peruvian neck tie. I feel my hands crushing his neck but when I sat down it wasnt tight enough and he manages to slip out, I get him in guard. I go for my usual grips and I set up a kimura, I get it and start putting it on from half guard (his slippy). I dont realise how slippery, Im cranking it on full with his hand approaching the back of his head. He some how escapes!. We scramble and I get side control, I hold tight and I can hear Andy shouting for me to put my hips down. I then move to mount, and go for the corss lapel choke. Ive often neglected this choke from here thinking it far to simple to be caught with. That was untill I saw Roger Gracie putting it on some of the best grapplers in the world. I get the one hand in, cirle my other round, get the grip, tighten and put my head to the mat. Tap.

I am very happy that I got a win, cardio felt good. But I still feel drained. The other guys are having a similar day to me, losing their first and then winning later on. So I think nerves is playing a part. I am very suprised to hear that James (spider noodle) got beaten as I thought he would wreck his division.

Next fight, and its Matts opponent from Brighton (David Potter)!. A friendly Carlson Gracie guy who fights hard and a good guy who I hope does well (just not against me). Im keen to see how I match up. We start and his aggresive from standing, pulling and pushing me trying to offset my balance. I notice his doing it quite regularly and I time my next move for next time he goes to push forward. I hold high on his arms, fall back, put a foot in his stomach and flip him over. Tomoe Nage!. Although it wouldnt of scored ippon as he went to the side, it gets him down. I then get top position and work my way trying to get to mount, but his tough and makes it difficult. Things go back and forth and I end up in his half guard. Im getting desperate and go for a single lapel choke. Its very thuggish but has worked for me before. The half guard doesnt take away to much of my weight, I really have to put it on hard but I had a good grip and the tap comes. Am again very happy with the result but dont feel on top of the world either. Theres just so many fights to go.

The next guy looked tough and Nic G was around talking to Andy in my corner. He tells me the guy looks aggresive but will crack if I put enough pressure on him. Some advice I really appreciate and has still got me thinking.

I again decide to stay up, looking for an opening. He gets bored first and pulls guard, as he does I come down with him hard. Knocking abit of wind out of him, I then get my hands close in and start looking to pass. He goes for a sit up sweep but I base and just about stay up. I fight for posture, at one point he gets close to a triangle. I keep both arms in though, close to his groin so his effort to put it on hurts himself. He also goes for an armbar and nearly gets it but I defend it and use it to pass. It gets alot easier from here on, maybe this was the point he "cracked". I work side control, and mount. But he defends really well and I can finish him. Im aware of the time though and stay busy and keep position. I dont like to stall but his defense is good and Im happy working position and waiting for an opening. Hoping that as he realises he is down on points he will make a silly mistake. He doesnt. I win on points

Now I feel really dead, I feel abit dizzy. All the fight has left me, and all I want to do is goto sleep. I consider bowing out, but I regain some focus. The judge see's Im tired and gives me some extra time to get myself together. One of my contacts is gone as well, which probaly led me to be abit dissorientated. No excuses though, time to man up. But all I can think of is that even if I win this I got to fight AGAIN for the bronze.

I am fighting a guy called Andrew from RGA who was a real pleasure to meet and talk to. He got beaten earlier by a very fast flying submission so I think Ive got a good chance. As soon as we touch hands and start I suddenly feel very happy. All the dread and tiredness leaves me, I give a big smile. But it doesnt last to long as for some reason I pull another shit guard. He then goes on to quickly control me. Looking back on the footage I cringe at how close I was to reversing the situation and how static I am. I dont know where my heart went, but its something I need to make sure never happens again. He holds side control and puts on an americana, I dont react fast enough and he puts it on hard. I verbally submit as I hear an audible *pop*. Im worried my arm is broken. Andrew checks on me straight away and is very apologetic, as mentioned before his a good guy. I stay on the ground assessing the damage, its not as bad as I initially thought. Definitely not broken, just very sore. Am not dissapointed, just relieved I can now rest. Yet I dont feel tired or drained anymore. I go and see the medic to get some ice and see what he thinks.

Kieran our judo guy is fighting hard for bronze, he sneaks on through and pulls a few great throws. He loves to use an over the back power grip. Im definitely gonna copy that. He does really well and wins the bronze!.

Andy is fighting as well, we are really excited to see him fight. He doesnt dissapoint. Check. This. Out.

His next opponent pulls guard and works a very strong spider/de la riva guard game. He works a good sweep and eventually catches Andy. Andy gets silver. We are still well chuffed with his performance though as its his first fight at brown belt. His just gonna get stronger.

More of our fight footage can be seen at:

Andy Roberts BJJ vids

Everyone does well, and for quite a few of the guys it was there first comp. Despite the nerves and the high level opposition I think we should be happy with what we can learn from the outing. We finish the day off by going to a Burger resteraunt where a french waiter see's our academy T-shirts and asks to come train!. Talking of shirts Faixa Rua gave free T-shirts to everyone!.

Back to business, what did I do right, what did I do wrong, what did I learn and what have I got to work on:


Tomoe Nage (sacrifice throw)
Cross lapel choke
Being calm
Guard passing
In guard defense

Wrong (need to work on and learn from):

Hip pressure
Pulling guard
Guard activity
Loose sub attempts
Lost my heart
Half guard
Movement was abit slow and sloppy
Stopped listening to my corner

Things Ive learnt and shall focus on:

Hip Pressure:
My hip pressure has improved but I normaly just put my hips down via sprawling. But Ive now learnt that I should put my body more into it and use some strength to force my hips down to add to the pressure.

Standing game:

I feel comfortable standing! why dont I do it!?, I seem attracted to pulling guard. Yet things have more often than not gone my way when I decide to stand. I am really motivated to work on my standing game now, especially after watching Kieran. I did a fair bit when I was a child so need to get that back. Even if I do pull guard I need to make sure I do it properly, with some conviction. Not just limply sitting into it.

Mental game:
I can be calm, but I need to work on my focus. Staying positive, I really felt bad when all I wanted was to lose and rest. Need to work on my drive and determination, all the skill and strength in the world wont help me if I dont want the win. Nic G gave me advice to get my opponent to mentally crumble, I think it worked. So I need to realise where I can make my opponent crack, how best to take him out of his game and impose mine. Destroy morale, show no weakness and seem unbeatable. Alot of it seems to be tiny bits of body language, like not avoiding his eyes. Taking a strong stance and looking confident.

Warming up:
This went really well and worked, cardio felt 10 times better than the Brighton comp. Need to make sure not to forget this.

Half guard:
It was shit to be frank. I was barely surviving when in it, I found myself in it often. And couldnt work anything. Need to really nail down a few solid moves from here. A massive gap in my game at the moment.

Sub setups:
Went for one or 2 subs that I could of made abit tighter before putting them on, because of this they slipped out. So patience is needed here and I think even for low percentage moves, I need to take care to make them as tight as possible.

Thats alot to work on but I really think if I manage to improve all those areas then my game will come on leaps and bounds. Am genuinly excited to see how much everyone will improve from the experience.