Monday, 21 December 2009

Catch up.

Trainings going well, been paying attention to my reactionary thoughts while grappling. I used to notice an "arg to much effort" feeling when I was in someones closed guard. Now I notice a much more positive feeling of "you better do something special bucko because Im gonna pass, and Im gonna crush your soul while doing it". Obviously it doesnt always turn out that way but I certainly wouldnt be to annoyed if someone jumped guard on me now. Bottom game is feeling better as well, spending abit to much time under half guard and very little open guard. In my next private Ive chalked up "improve closed guard". Typically on bottom I find myself transitioning between full guard, half guard ( with preference to deep or long half guard), turtle and x guard. Plenty of kimura's Im spotting at the moment, the basic setup being a small explosive movement to get them to base with a hand, and then snatching that up for the kimura when they do.

Underneath side control Im still continueing to attack from with a combo of reverse triangles, kimura's and sweeps. With my favourite being a kind of bottom crucifix position where I have trapped one of their arms between my legs. Severly limits their ability to transition or attack and opens up some interesting options depending on their response.

Big congrats to our James Hardy (I used to call him spider noodles for the long time readers)who got gold in his division at the Abu Dhabi UK trials just gone, one of my favourite sparring partners who has a great approach to the game and is definitely one of our best. Also big congrats to Daniel Agard who I met a while ago on my travels, who won the absolute!. Young lad to, cant wait to see what he accomplishes.

Heres some cool stuff Ive seen since my last post:

True and funny!

Jacare vs Matt Lindland available on

Not bad Jeff :)


Sunday, 29 November 2009

Training and catch up

Been busy the last 2 weeks so not as much training as I would like. On the plus side Im now Archery leader qualified under GNAS. Archery and BJJ? why not. Im also now riding a motorbike, a brand spanking new Yamaha 125YBR. My first vehicle of any kind so have been trying to gets to grips with that. Lots of adventures already.

Had a great training session just gone, lots of stand up throwing practise and full stand up sparring. Recently remembered the strange grip seoi nage setup Micah at Novagen taught and I think Im gonna carry on working on that as I think it gives a nice option when I dont think the tomoe nage is a great idea. The grip relies on them gripping my lapel, I then grip their lapel over their arm on that same side with my other hand gripping their gripping arm sleeve. The throw then works with the same seio nage mechanics of stepping in and twisting, it bends their elbow up at abit of a funny angle which I think helps break down their defense.

Another move that Ive seen pop up recently is the reverse triangle, probaly due to Braulio pulling it off against Galvao. The setup Im liking is when they go for a single underleg pass and you slip the free leg under, grip the offending arm and then as they pass the leg link up the triangle while creating room with your hips. I find it harder to finish than a normal triangle though even with pulling the leg and rolling into a reverse mount position.

Cardio has dipped slightly from the break but am feeling alright. Have a private with Andy that Ive had since April! need to have a proper think about some stuff I need to work on and use it.

Thoughts for this post:
Listen to your instructer!, even if something is working well for you if he/she says its not good then listen!. It might work now but it will probaly cause issues for you later, something they can see but you might not.

Big congrats to Jude Samuel who won his first Pro mma fight!

Video link

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture
posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture posture

Seriously, posture.

So incredibly simple but so easily over looked. Andy gave us a really good lesson on saturday focusing on posture. Using your core and keeping your hips close to theirs, it seems most people naturally try and make a gap whilst in guard. But this just results in compromising your ability to keep good posture. Why is posture so important? well it means they cant even begin to set up most attacks let alone you try and escape them. In fact I find if I try attack someone in my guard with very good posture that I cant break I end up helping them to pass if anything.

Made a point of concentrating just on posture in sparring, and I felt a big difference in myself and my opponents. No more getting triangled for me!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Roger Gracie visits the clinic

For those on facebook you will need to view this post at to see the pics.

Last saturday we had the honour of hosting Roger Gracie as visiting instructer. For those unfamiliar with Roger heres a quick bio from wikipedia:

"Roger Gracie Gomes (born September 26, 1981) is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. He was recently promoted to 2nd degree black belt by Carlos Gracie Jr. He is a member of the Gracie family, the son of Reyla Gracie (who is the daughter of Carlos Gracie) and Mauricio Motta Gomes (one of the six Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts of Rolls Gracie). His most notable achievement to date is winning the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in 2005, taking first place in the 88–98 kg and Open-weight categories by submitting all eight opponents—a feat that had not previously been achieved. He has also won the BJJ World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (the Mundials) a record 8 times including 6 time in this weight class and twice at open weight. "
Ive met him on a few occasions and his always had a smile and a handshake for me (and everyone he meets).
So there we were milling about and Roger steps and blows us all away with his chi:

He taught a very nice judo outside trip and then a variation where you fake the trip and go for an osoto gari (major outer leg reap). According to Olympic coach Mark Earle who I trained with a while ago, osoto gari has the highest instances of knockouts. Because when properly executed with full force and momentum the uke lands on the top of his shoulders, neck and head....which would suck.
Did some drills instead of some sparring with Sid who was abit injured, always a great partner with lots of usefull advice and observations.

He then taught a arm drag manuver. In the next lesson we focused on the knee through standing pass in ALOT of detail, pressure! PRESSURE!.
We then did a fair amount of sparring.

I felt pretty good, starting to get better timing and setting up of the straight achilles. Cross choke from mount is everybodies friend.
Whenever we get a guest instructer or special visitor it always results in crazy injuries. Everyone spars harder and tries to use more muscle, as if by a show of pure gripping strength they are gonna quadruple promote you. Anyone other people notice this?

Roger was then flooded with people to take pics and sign belts, I dont know why but I can never bring myself to ask for a picture so I opted for sneaking into other peoples :P. I remember asking him if he ever got bored of all the people wanting pictures and so on and he replied very concisely "never".

And of course we had to have the big group picture.

Thats me sneaking behind Andy and Roger.
I took the oppertunity to talk to Roger about his thoughts on my pilgrimage, he seemed quite positive about it although perhaps unsure why I am doing it. The guy is so relaxed I would be interested to see him stressed. So all in all a very fun lesson and it was great to have one of the greatest grapplers alive in the world teaching at the club.

Thank you to all those that took the pictures!.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Carlson Gracie Camberley - Mark Earle judo seminar

This visit was slightly different to the others in that it was a seminar, with the main focus being judo but also in applying it to a BJJ context.

Gary Lowe who from what I can tell is the heart and soul of the club picked me up from the station. To my amusement we were both sporting blue obi michi faixa rua belts!

Mark Earle is the head judo coach for the GB Olympic team and holds the rank of 6th Dan (the lighthouse coloured belt). He has coached Great Britain in 3 Olympics!. His experience in BJJ is minimal but he made constant efforts to explain the techniques in a way that would help our jiu jitsu game.

We started off with a light and speedy warm up of touch rugby and some kineastethics. He then made sure we were comfortable break falling, explaining that being comfortable with being thrown would help our stand up.

We then went through a series of throws, always breaking it down to absolute basic level and then adding complexity. These footwork drills made a quick and significant difference. We covered seio nage (shoulder throw), ochigari (outer leg reap), a keraaaaazzy drop kata garuma variation (doing a front split and throwing your opponent side ways over you!) a forward and backward variation of that. And a butterfly Tomoe nage type throw which ended in mount, the setup to which was particularly tight.

Mark had an assistant throughout called Danny, a GB judo international and nice guy. We went a few rounds of randori (stand up sparring) and when I had a go at Danny he was curtious enough not to smash me through the floor. Against my other opponents tomoe nage was my friend as usual but uchi mata is my deadly enemy. At one point I was paired against a taller opponent and on two, TWO! occasions I got nailed right in the tenders by a uchi mata calf.

We then lined up on the wall and we each fought Danny, in a row, without a break with Mark scoring and explaining. There were atleast 10 of us...some atleast 20kg heavier than him. He did not lose a single judo point and beat everyone, although had his back taken a few times but always survived to matte (restart). Awesome thing to see, incredible cardio, heart and ability. Ill be cheering him on in the olympics if he makes the team.

My fight against Danny:
I knew he was on to my tomoe nage so was tryng to keep him out of his element by attacking his legs. At one point I went for a flying armbar but he got his arm out, and engaged me in newaza. Went for an armbar of his own but I escaped. After standing back up he got me with a sweeeeet uchi mata, very nice feeling to be made so weightless...

My camera messed up again so Im waiting on a Mark Phung from Carlson Gracie to upload the picture on facebook. Also had a roll with Mark which was good fun, who is the heaviest 62kg Ive ever engaged with! Mark was good enough to treat me to a protein shake after training which was pretty tasty.

All in all I got a much better appreciation of judo and am keen for more, Mark gave me some compliments I feel very proud of.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Thank you Faixa Rua

Just wanted to say thank you on the blog to Faixa Rua for sending me a cool piece of kit to wear on the pilgrimage. The item in question is the Obi Michi wearable BJJ belt, also mentioned recently on Meerkatsu's blog. I first saw a similar item on an american website but was put off buying in fear of taxes. Its a great idea though and I expect it will do well, so Im more than willing to sport it to some clubs and comps.

The item in question has split the BJJ community though, some think its abit cheesy (like 80's guitar solo's, others (myself included) think its awesome (like 80's guitar solo's).

The material is just like a normal gi belt although different to the normal faixa rua belts. Would I be taking it to far by adding my stripe to it?

Sunday, 20 September 2009


There is more to Brazilian jiu jitsu than jiu jitsu, and brazilians for that matter. Character is important, and I think the training itself is a powerfull filter for those with the wrong sort of character. And I guess thats why you get so many guys and girls from different backgrounds but who get on well in the training environment, because of the similar traits needed. Ive often heard of this also being a sort of prequisite for promotion within the art. Even with boatloads of ability you will not get far if you dont treat your training partners well, respect your instructer and dedicate yourself.

I think club compatriots invest alot of time, effort and emotion into each other. Things we cannot afford to give everyone, and definitely not those who have shown themselves not to deserve it. Im not just talking about the guy who slams you to escape the triangle, Im talking about the guy who ignores the struggling white belt or refuses to help get a guy ready for a big fight or comp. The guy who only fights those 10kg lighter and then makes excuses when he gets put with a bigger guy. The guy who demands his instructer promotes him or he will go elsewhere.

Luckily I dont see those guys very often, they dont last. And the ones that do have a very lonely road.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Mill Hill RGA Grand opening and visit

Im battered. Trained Friday – was good. Trained Saturday – was good. Trained Sunday for 4 hours -was awesome. Typically the better the training the more battered and sore I am. On Sunday I attended the grand opening of Mill Hill RGA’s new venue. Myself, Dan, Dave and Rich were representing our front. Loads of people were there, must of been atleast 60. Including black belts Roger Gracie and Nic G. Saw Roger Gracie in the toilets and decided not to shake his hand but did contemplate jumping him and putting on a RNC while he was at the urinal. Just so I could die a legend.

Even more awesome was running into some familiar faces, Lawrence venter from RGA Wimbledon; The Jones family; Mathew Benyon from martial farts; Semour yang from meerkatsu;Alex Hare; and of course Nick Brooks the instructer at Mill Hill.

Left to right: Alex, Seymour, Matt,myself,Darren Vitry

Tons of people were there so drilling was abit cramped but still learnt some good stuff. Focusing a on a flower sweep variation I dont know the proper name of. Gripping the trousers rather than underhooking the leg though, then going for the sweep, or armbar or switching the grip and going for triangle or omoplata!.

We then Sparred....for forever!. Me and Mathew had a tussle which was fun, I was able to dodge the triangles (just!!) but couldnt get to far in setting up much. Then sparred Lawrence which was also awesome, tried for some dodgy americana's from under side control as is my custom but couldnt finish it. Think he tapped me with a choke at some point. Sparred another big RGA blue belt guy Darren Vitry. He gave some great feedback which was really usefull!. Sparred Nick Brooks a whole buncha times! who is one of my favourite people in the world to spar for his feedback and style. I always learn a huge amount from this guy and its always fundemental basic stuff that is so vital. Me and Dale (Mill hill Orange belt - 6 golds in a row: if you meet him he will let you in on this little known secret) met again in a war, this time ending in abit of a stalemate with to be fair the points going to Dale. He has improved his control and tightness tremendously since our last encounter, if I dont step it up he will win round 4 soundly!. In summary I didnt tap anyone...but my defense was pretty good I thought.

Pre Carnage

Nick and Roger then handed out some belts! a few blues and stripes and a very notable purple to Daniel Strauss!, big congrats to him! purple at 18!

Me and my boys then stayed on the mat as we will carry on sparring/training till they kick us off. Nick Brooks shares our enthusiasm and pretty much gave us a private for an hour! Gave me alot to work on, which is a great feeling. POSTURE! HIP PRESSURE! GRIPS! TIMING!!

Had a fantastic time! one of my best visits so far.

Im in there I promise.

I had a case of camera envy so all the photos you can thank Semour Yang at Meerkatsu, Mathew Benyon at Martialfarts and Millhill RGA BJJ.

Saturday, 5 September 2009


I Have recently moved to Woking and do not have internet access yet, hence the lack of updates. Doing a pilgrimage visit to millhill tommorow for their grand opening, should be a blast been looking forward to it for a loooong time.

Training is going well. Been practising the no posture pass and getting some results with it, Andy helped alot in pointing out its weaknesses which gives me a better understanding of how to impliment it. Been doing abit better recently with a slight change in the way I approach sparring. Be as boring as possible!, if Im passing do not do anything untill Ive got posture even if I have to spend the whole time fighting for it. Or not trying any attacks untill Ive got good grips and broken them down etc etc. Fewer moves the better. Will see where it gets me, possibility of becoming to passive. But am enjoying it and has helped.

Will update after millhill.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Just everday training

It occured to me I havnt blogged about normal everyday BJJ training for awhile. So thought I would include a short update.

Its going well!. I regard my topgame as my A-game but feel quite comfortable on my back in good or bad positions. Passing wise Ive really tried to slow it down and find the angles, rather than trying to be acrobatic and leaving to much room. My plan is to frustrate and slowly but surely crush their souls untill I can no longer ignore the juicy morsel of the submission. This video here that I saw on Christian Graugarts blog really gave me alot of food for thought, on pressure and angles when passing.

I found this pass a really interesting way of using hip pressure and a low posture to create an angle to pass. Goes by many names it seems so Ill let the video explain:

Found through bullshido and then Aesopians blog.

Been doing more no-gi training which is fun, my shoot is very crappy I prefer to clinch and go roman greco style. But I definitely need to work on the shoot. I keep on trying a no-gi tomoe nage but without much luck unless I have a guillotine type grip. Scrambles are definitely more fun no-gi, something I feel I do ok in but I definitely miss those collar grips.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

MMA and muay thai monday madness

Yesterday I attended the MMA session for the first time and the muay thai for the 2nd. Both were taken by Mike Wood. I always enjoy training with Mike as his a similar bodyshape to me and so stuff he shows me I know will work for me as well. His also a good coach. Coaching ability is nearly as important as knowledge in my opinion and more important than competition ability. Being the best in the world doesnt mean you can teach, knowing everything doesnt mean you can teach either. But Mike has good knowledge, great coaching ability and competes regularly. He reminds me of a slightly shorter Hugh Laurie, which matches perfectly with Micks giant Tony Robinson.
MMA class:

Did a fun warm up that got a sweat going and then training revolved around a circuit.Station 1 & 2 medicine ball situp drill, 3 deadlifts, 4 ground and pound on bag, 5 clinch striking and takedowns on bag. 1 round at each station doing the circuit 3 times.

We then did some partner work, one guy going for takedown the 2nd just defending. Minute each. Going for 2 minutes. Did this first with Kieran who got me with a sweet no gi uchimata, I tried a no gi tomoe nage and we had a chuckle about that. Im not a great fan of shooting for the takedown, preffering to clinch and take them down from there. Then partnered with Rich who DOES have a great shoot, Rich is abit closer to my size so I was able to impose abit more in the clinch pinning him to the wall. But still pretty tough to take down. Good session, really enjoyed it cant wait to start some sparring.

Thai class:

Another warm up. 2 brazilians walked in wondering about classes so I chatted to them trying to be part helpful part salesman. One of them mentions how he also appreciates the muay along with the bjj, I mention anderson silva (been a fan of him for a long time). Brazilian guy 1 then asks me if anderson is here!!, I say no just saying I was a fan. Guy then mentions how he trained a little BJJ with anderson who showed him some stuff in brazil. He also mentions how they found out about us from another martial arts club. Precision martial arts in blackwater ( Their posters at blackwater station had given me a misinformed opinion of them so was good to hear that the instructer was a good guy, especially as he was reccomending us. So Im trying to repay the favour by putting their link in this post, so check them out if your in the area. Anyway back to training!.

Technique was: jab, cross, hook, push kick, round house kick. Im still chambering kicks and my punches are very loose. But Mike gave me some great positive feedback so I felt good about improving. Im right handed and my partner told me my left leg's kick was considerably stronger, maybe Im forcing the right to much. Mike then worked on me abit trying to get me to turn my hips more, once I slowed it down I think it made more sense to my body. Rather than just going mental.

We then just had abit of a free mat for 30 mins. Did some no gi sparring with Toby a hefty polish guy, whose calmed down alot since starting. Worked on pressure from top of side control and escaping side control, with some random rolling inbetween.

Other news:

Started following Rafel Lovato jr's blog
Andy and bunch of other guys are going to ADCC to watch so ill be teaching some classes while they are away.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Stages of personal development within BJJ

Although still at a very infantile stage in my BJJ development I have noticed a series of changes in my attitudes. And wondered if anyone had experienced a similar pattern or any changes in themselves for that matter. Regarding BJJ or normal life.

Stage one:
I was obsessed with learning as much as I can, as fast as I could. With quantity seeming to take preference over quality. I start eating better and take up regular running.

Stage two:
I constantly talk about bjj to my disinterested friends and family, and they quickly rename it manhugging. At the slightest wiff of alcohol I cant help but play grappling with friends against their will. I insist on showing friends my newest moves. I start getting very competitive in training and search specifically for lesser known novelty submissions online. I discover Eddie Bravo.

Stage three:
I feel very confident in my ability, and sometimes hope that some lone chav fancies a rumble. I internally debate whether to double leg, mount and pound or flying guillotine with knee's. I examine all the other men in the pub, paying close attention to their ears and decide I am the mightiest.

Stage four:
I feel the highs and lows of winning and losing in competition. I feel responsible for the success of my club compatriates and feel elated when they do well. I know longer seek the submission in all sparring matches, looking to help those with less experience.

Stage five:
I feel more humbled in my abilities, less aggresive and with no wish to be involved in conflict or to use what Ive learnt in a real setting. I am relaxed and easy going, I apply this attitude to all parts of my life. Giving all my focus on basic techique principles and intricacies for weeks on end. I no longer care about winning or losing in sparring as long as Im learning or helping someone else learn. I also find I am able to do a suprising amount of tasks with my feet that I couldnt do prior, and often just lie on the floor feeling more comfortable.

Stage six:

I wonder what change I will next experience since Ive still got a lifetime of jiu jitsu ahead. Please comment if you have experience any personal changes like this.

MMA Dartford

Just returned from Dartford MMA. Good buddy Terry Valler drove me down. Terry had been to this club a while ago so it was nice having someone who could introduce me.Dave the instructer got stuck in traffic so unfortuantly couldnt make it. Fresh purple belt Gary took the class, which was very good. Technique wise it was uchimata (inner thigh throw). Uchimata to knee on to armbar. Armbar backwards roll escape if only 1 leg. Armbar stack escape if they have both. I always have trouble with uchimata, more so than any other throw I would say.

Then sparring!Sparred my drill partner who was quite a young kid but has plenty of promise. He opted for the headlock whilst I opted to playing on my back. At one point he got some good pressure when I had half guard. Also defended well when I had him in mount. Mounted triangle however proved to sneaky for him.

As is my custom I asked Gary for a role. Was very relaxed and he was keeping an eye out over the class whilst rolling. I was opting for a brabo grip/choke to armbar type deal whilst looking for sweeps. Thought Id sunk the armbar but gary escaped very well using just what he had taught. And then he choked me somehow from a position I was certain I was safe in, turns out this is his thing. We went again and I ended up in his guard where he tried I choke I was pretty sure would only work if he was on top. Top hand forcing one lapel across the throat and the other pulling down on the other lapel. I postured and straightlocked my arms whilst thinking "no problems here". But then I felt myself going deeper down the rabbit hole and had to tap. He let go and we went to go again, but I couldnt move my hand or my face,eyes, or body. I was out....but still conscious just unable to move, wearing a stupid grin on my face. This lasted probaly about 5 seconds and I could feel myself swaying but then I felt ok and just had to sit against the wall for a little bit. Eerie.

Then rolled with a whitebelt and a bluebelt where my brabochoke armbar combo paid off a little better. Both were really cool and relaxed guys, and focused on technique and not muscling anything. Also tried some "long guard" that Micah taught me on thursday. Had a fantastic time, and this is another club I would reccomend!. Very nice mats to roll on aswell. After the session we went for some tea/coffee at the cafe just round the corner. Turns out Gary is a green lantern fan! always fun to meet fellow geeky BJJ'ers, more of a batman guy myself but with the GL film looking likely Im taking more of an interest.

Visit their website for more details on the club:

Novagen Sutton

Had a great time at novagen sutton. The club has only recently opened so was a small class, but great guys. Micah was a very friendly and easy to like guy. Micah also has a club in south africa that he started with his brother in Durban. One of the first if not the first BJJ club. They travelled around to different clubs in Brazil and UK. Micah is a brown belt.

Technique wise we covered an overhook to cross choke, with then options of the straight arm lock, triangle or omoplata.

Micah also gave me some great tips on the long range half guard which I was abit ignorant of. As Ive been using alot of deep halfguard but been getting flattened to much. Very usefull to be able to change range. Ill post more about half guard variations in the future.

We then sparred, me and a blue belt had a fun match. Got caught in a triangle which I managed to escape using the trusty catdip escape and then single lapel choke once I had tired his legs out, but didnt finish. Was quite an even match and couldnt control after passing or finish anything from guard. We had abit of a leglock tussle with him getting the better of achilles lock, I didnt tap and tried to work a calf slice of my own. On second glance I probaly should of tapped to the lock as it was tight and painfull, just not enough for me to expect damage.

2nd Roll was with Micah which was enjoyable. But odd. As far as I could see, he never moved. I just simply jumped about and rolled myself into submissions. Another thing Ive noticed with instructers is they giggle to themselves mirthfully whenever I try my cartwheel pass for open/butterfly guard.

3rd Roll was with a guy new to the art, he was calm and had pretty good posture. Still learning the ropes obviously but was enjoyable and I worked on that long distance half guard.
Had the usual nightmares with the camera, turns out it has a timer that micah found!. Micah also gave me a patch which was really nice to get, good looking patch to. You can check out there website:

If you get the chance and find yourself in sutton, go train with these guys. They are right opposite the train station above a gym so very convenient.

MMA Dartford this saturday with my buddy Terry. Looking forward to it!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Muay Thai - my first lesson

Yesterday I had my first lesson of Muay Thai kickboxing. Really enjoyed it, I have done some striking before In the form of san da (chinese kickboxing) but on recent reflection the coach was abit of a numpty. This class however was taken by Mick Walker who Ive known for a while through the BJJ classes, Mick really knows his stuff and has a great eye for detail. Perfect for a good striking coach. For some reason Mick reminds me of a slightly larger and more violent version of Tony Robinson. Mick takes the thursday classes and Mike Wood takes the monday's. Really looking forward to Mikes class as well.

Some thing I didnt realise was long time training buddy Kieran has been doing the class since its inception some time ago. So thats 2nd dan judo, blue belt BJJ and experienced muay thai striker - oh dear mr opponent I do not envy you.

We did a long warm up that was pretty good. Then one of the guys decided today was the day they wanted to work on some body conditioning!. So 50 leg kicks to the thighs each side and 50 kicks to the abdomen both legs!, and 20 kicks to the fore arms both legs!. Mick then got me working on some basic stuff with a partner. Jab and cross, Mick got me driving from the back foot on the cross which added alot more power. We then moved on to leg kicks, Mick got me to spin alot more on the ball of my foot and corrected my distancing. We then worked on elbows, I was doing more of a fore arm smash so he got me using the boney point. With elbows he got us using what is called "long guard". Which is when they have their arms outstretched, ineffective for punching but great for elbows following kicks.

Then with swapping with my partner that was it, almost 2 hours mind you. Enjoyed myself alot and if I can get the hang of this striking malarchy then you might see me dabble in some MMA. The club is just at this moment organising a MMA team and training sessions so thats motivated me abit. Its invite only though, and you either gotta have some smoking striking or atleast a blue at BJJ. So I qualify, but want to get my striking up to a decent standard first. Just so I can survive enough to pull x- guard and juggle my opponent like a beach ball.

Saturday, 11 July 2009


Been a loooong time since my last update, life has just been stepping in the way. But Ive been steadily building up a library of content that Ive been dieing to post. Went on a barge trip around France and have been working quite abit which has slowed training annoyingly. And the pilgrimage, but Im hoping to put that right very soon.
Heres some holiday snaps though:

Showing off my guns at this cool resteraunt. I had snails but avoided the horse burger.

From this holiday I gained 2kg's in about a week and a very fond love of Desperado's!

Bringing the boat into a lock, we did about 50 of these!

Giving the camera's a show.

Club news:

Big bunch of our guys recently got promoted to blue, which is fantastic. Myself and some of the older blues each got a stripe.

Couple of medals from the british open so big congrats to the guys who do well there, especially Rich who Ive been training a fairbit with in his private lessons. Very steady progression.

The guys also held a 6 hour grapplethon at the academy to raise money for a hospice one of our guys works at. Was a great success and everyone did spiffingly. Matt apperantly lost over 5kg'sin sweat.

Pilgrimage news:

Aaarg its been killing me being unable to get the momentum going. But its not dead I promise! the dream is still alive. Camberly, Mill hill, Haslemere, mataleon, bjj school battersea, Zt fight skool brighton! Im looking at you!!!

The GAA (grappling arts association) also just offered me complimentary insurance and membership which is very generous of them so Ill be sporting a patch in support. These guys do a great job so check them out.

Other news!:

Check this awesome video of Cobrinha showing off his Capoiera .
Also funnily enough, Cobrinha asked on his facebook page for questions for a fan interview and he was kind enough to select one of mine. Its in the background/history section.

Check out both these blogs. Both are excellent and use quite different formats:

Laymans journey into BJJ

Moving to Brazil

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Carlson Gracie Hammersmith - stop 10! tour is 7.5% complete!

Just came back from Carlson Gracie Hammersmith. Had a great time and was made to feel very welcome, good session run by Wilson junior. That place is hot!. On walking in you ascend up a set of stairs lined with photo's from the last 8 years, the place is well worn and I can the jiu jitsu. Funnily enough noticed a picture of one of the instructers and my instructer reffing his fight.

Got in very early but it gave me a chance to observe their basics class and to talk to some of their guys, including a canadian called Vince who seemed to be a member of staff. I say hello to Wilson junior their main instructer. Then I get to meet Dickie their other blackbelt instructer who with Simon Hayes (another blackbelt)sorted my faixa rua gi's. Simon gives me a very warm welcome and I feel good about training here.

Class was pretty busy, met some very cool people and had some enjoyable conversations. Covered the toreando and a bunch of counters, including some crazy knee on head bow and arrow type choke from top turtle. As is my custom I wanted to roll with the instructer. So I got to roll with Simon Hayes, Dickie AND Wilson. Only the 2nd time Ive seen 3 bjj blackbelts in the same room never mind getting to spar with them. Was great fun though and each of them gave me some different and really usefull pointers.

First up Simon Hayes:

Big guy and tough. Initially pulled guard a few times but couldnt stop his pass for toffee, he did the single lapel stack choke on me which I love. Picked up on a new detail on gripping the trouser legs. At some point I got figure four footlocked. In his guard I never got a chance to pass and was defending collar chokes and scissor sweeps plenty and getting caught plenty. Defended a few moves but got caught in some subs I cant even describe.Simon gave me some praise for my hip movement which made me feel good about myself, as its easy to get down when being totally outclassed.

Next Dickie Martin:

Flexable and triangly. Was in his guard mostly, and found myself getting caught in to many triangles. I did have one hand in and one out (a bad habit of mine) but the hand that was in was by his thigh so in my mind should be safe. Dickie demonstrated how it was not and that if I moved it to his knee I could then block the elbow coming out, but would be better off just using 2 in or 2 out. Another fun roll.

The boss - Wilson junior:

PRESSURE. Arg man...seriously, pressure!. He let me make the first moves but he made sure always to have a good grip. He commented on the importance of grip fighting and how it gets them to play your game. Also got triangled here plenty, trying to work on what Dickie had shown me. But if Wilson got a grip, it was game over straight away - he as able to pull my arm right through. At one point he was just holding side control on me and I couldnt move much so I just waited for a gap. 15 or so seconds go by and Im finding it hard to breath and am thinking about tapping, 5 more seconds and Im feeling very claustrophobic and short of air. I thrash about abit and luckily he changes position before kimuring me from a very odd angle. Another 5-10 seconds and I would of been extremely uncomfortable. He shows me how he put on the extra pressure by getting hip to hip and putting his weight on my diapragm. Great roll and learnt alot inbetween tapping every 5 seconds.

Another guy I dont know asks to go no-gi with me. Simon says something about him being very old friends with Braulio. Simon tells him to go easy which worries me more. Was fun rolling with this guy, think I should of been more attacking though I was putting myself into needless guillotines and could of imposed myself more. He covers my mouth BJ Penn style, neck cranks me and goes for a heel hook - but to be fair he does them with control and does not crank or use to much strength.

I was to be truthfull expecting a very different experience and Im glad I had the oppertunity to correct my assumptions. They dont care where you are from, everyone is welcome and they treat visitors very well. I felt proud to recieve a class Osssss meant for me. Very friendly bunch.

Thank you Carlson Gracie Hammersmith for the good training.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Judo and new things at Andy Roberts Farnborough

Couldnt make the stop in Birmingham in the end, so gonna try do another London excursion and hopefully make 2 in a day.

Due to myself and some of the other blue's helping as assistant instructers at the club we have been able to expand the timetable. One of the benefits (besides being able to train more) is that we can vary the training for the wednesday session. For instance James Hardy is a physical trainer and is going to be doing a conditioning class. Andy is going to be doing no gi training (I learnt to pummel!). And Kieran Rice will be doing a judo class (his a 2nd dan). The only downside is with peoples schedules these classes arnt as often as I would like, especially the judo. Kieran is looking to do a BJA coaching course so that he can then formally grade in judo as things are much more tightly controlled than in BJJ.

Main thing I wanted to talk about was Kierans Judo lesson which I attended last night. My first martial art was judo but it was a long long time ago and its only with BJJ that things are coming back to me and the spark of interest has returned. Really really good class. As a teacher Kieran is very informal and flexable, he made an effort to teach judo for BJJ rather than just pure judo. Kierans competed a fair few times in bjj so his learnt alot on adapting it. For example he told us that when gripping the arm judoka preffered to grip lower down on the sleeve, but for BJJ he reccomended higher up near the bicep so as to be able to control the arm once finished the throw. To give you the option of a armbar, as most judoka wont think passed the throw.

I have a tendency to go down with my opponent after a throw, as I like to follow through with the momentum and knock the wind out of them. But in a BJJ sense this occasionally means my momentum carries me to far and I end up giving up back as a reward for the throw!

The biggest problem I have when standing with my opponent (and I think everyone runs into this) is when they hunch low and straight arm me, as is default in BJJ. Kieran got us training specifically for this. He taught us 2 grip breaks and got us doing them with some resistance, he also got us lifting our opponent up onto their toes and opening there arms. Without these 2 things you are giving your opponent to many advantages and your more likely to get thrown or definitely stuffed when attempting a takedown. Decided I will start training the pull up technique with some resistance bands.

Throw wise we did seio nage,otoshi, some version of otoshi with the arm over the head, tai otoshi and 2 counters when they step out to defend the tai otoshi.

Enjoyed the class a massively and would be happy to go back to brand new spanking white if we could get the class going atleast once a week.

I give you sexy judo!:

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

ZT fight skool Crawley

Found this club completely out the blue, currently it isnt on slideyfoots map which Im using. Probaly as its only 2 weeks old. I wasnt doing anything so decided to go down last night.

Walked 30 mins down a road heading for Brighton before having to enter a forrest! the club venue was one of the 30 odd huts located here, oddly enough quite a few of them being martial arts clubs. Met Yousuf Nabi a purple who was taking the class (head instructer is Ivam Maciel), really nice guy and around my build. Did a good warm up, aspects of which I plan to steal as I like to vary the warm ups alot. Since the club was so new the classes were still small but a few blues had come up from their main Brighton club. Yousuf and another blue had both trained under Marcio Gomes who I met at RGA wimbledon.

Zt fight skool have a curriculum system Ive not heard of before. They teach techniques on a single position for the whole week across all their schools. This week was north south and we did 2 chokes from there. Both were technical and used alot of pressure, nothing flashy but I think perhaps difficult for the beginners. Yousuf was attentive though and walked around giving everyone pointers and helping us out if we ran into problems. We then did some sparring, worked my current laid back style and no one tried to rip my head off. Well someone did try to finish an arm triangle on me after I had mounted them but they were new. Unfortuantly didnt have time to roll with Yousuf as we were running late and another class was starting.

All in all, enjoyed myself alot and really got on well with Yousuf. The crawley club is run by Saied Golamine who is their wrestling coach, and by the look of his ears a very good asset. They also offer MMA which is the main focus of fight skool but the BJJ is strong with them.

Their main school is their Brighton venue, which I will hit as well. I must admit I had reservations about a place that used the word "skool", but I think they are trying to form a strong brand and are using it more for advertising purposes. Check their website here:

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Poll, training,twitter and new pilgrimage targets

Just made a poll asking about whether any of you guys out there would consider buying a patch to support my bjj pilgrimage?. The main big cost is travel at the moment and if I was able to offset that then I could ramp up the pilgrimage. At this rate we are looking at 2-3 years! . Black eagle are soon to be releasing a custom patch service so I was planning on taking advantage of it. Currently Im brainstorming design idea's as I want it to look cool enough for people to want it for its own merit. Depending on how much black eagle charge Im hoping to sell for £5 a patch. If I can get an idea of how many people like the idea, then I can justify an initial investment.

Another possible idea is doing a T-shirt, with any interested sponsors going on the back. Talking of which I need to approach some people if they would be interested in buying ad space on my gi...

In training news!

Focusing a great deal on my bottom game at the moment, especially butterfly and deeeeeeep half guard. Slightly flirting with x-guard, as everytime I get it I go all he-man and can barely resist shouting "I HAVE THE POWAAAAH!". Found this beauty, concerning x-guard:

Marcelo Garcia x-gaurd series

Am completely rehauling my passing game as their were some fundemental flaws that I was getting away with on lower level opponents, that just dont fly now. As such its weaker but hopefully will improve fast on a more solid foundation.

Balance balls are great! done only a tiny bit of work on them but have already felt some benefits to my top control. Andre Galvao initially lit my balance ball fire:

Didnt realise Martial Farts was to thank for this video! So thanks!

Heres something to aspire to:

In teaching news!:

Im loving it. Although I do worry about making sure its a good lesson and that people are enjoying it and learning correctly. But so far whenever Ive been asked questions about the techniques Ive felt comfortable in giving what I think is the right advice. So far no complaints and Im certainly getting alot out of it.

Pilgrimage news!:

Going up to Worcester again this weekend, will do a club in the Birmingham or Hereford area hopefully!. Terry my faithfull friend has also offered to drive me to Exeter! where there is another club under Italo's banner.

In other news!:

Im now on twitter! . Because all the cool kids are. seems interesting . Noticed some of my articles show up on there, wonder if its automated or if a human chooses the stories.

Over and out. Strictly speaking in radio terms you cant be over and out, as over means your still carrying on the conversation and out means your not...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Bullshido throwdown and updates

May 3rd I hosted a bullshido throwdown at the Farnborough Andy roberts club (my club). It unfortuantly clashed with the Essex BJJ competition. These throwdowns also seem to primarily consist of BJJ guys. But we still got a few guys down, Mark Curry from Ireland as previously mentioned, Can sonmez (slideyfoot), Alan (madgrenade - a kung fu guy) and 2 of my guys James hardy and Sid (also a judo guy). Did a little bit of boxing with Alan but focused primarily on the grappling.

Mark specialises in no gi so it was a great chance for me to get some pointers on that as my no gi game is considerably weaker. Got my ass kicked abit but picked up an important tip on head placement. Mine seems to hover in the middle between pinning them with my head and good posture, which meant guillotines. Which I normaly dont mind as I just then goto my von flue counter, but it doesnt work against good guys who can keep you in their legs.

Rolled with Can which I was looking forward to after the oxford throwdown so long ago. He broke my posture really well and was alot stronger than he looked. I went for my default game when I dont know much about my opponent. Pass guard, mount, cross choke. Managed 2/3 as I just couldnt get the choke quite tight enough so I wouldnt have to waste a ton of strength trying to crank it on. Similar deal with the baseball choke. Whilst playing this top game however I nearly got subbed 3 times by reverse triangles!. But managed to find breathing room and keep my arm safe each time and escape. Not to sure how I was offering up these triangles, maybe cruising to low on his hips rather than on his chest. Went to knee on belly so I could then work something abit more dynamic and keep my head clear but we decided to call it then.

Rolled with Alan but was more of a focus on showing him the different aspects of bjj, he wasnt to bad for a complete beginner though so hopes he thinks about doing some sort of grappling.

After 3 or so hours of rolling, talking and showing each other stuff we called it a day and got some food. Me and Mark then went to get our train, had to wait in a local pub amongst the very chavvy making me feel embarresed to share the same country. I mean seriously wtf. The rest of the evening consisted of hazelnut liquer in coke showing each other our favourite bjj youtube clips.

Thanks to Slideyfoot for the picture!

From right to left: Alan, James, Mark, Can, Jadon
You can see his write up:
So update wise, am currently in worcester and have so many things to put up but its hard finding the time. Want to talk about my crazy 30 year old judo manuel. An idea for graphing grappling ability (inspired by prides spidergram). Am currently experimenting with x guard and loving it!. Helping instruct some of the beginner classes, having lots of fun and learning a fair bit. The pilgrimage is definitely helping me improve, just need to decide on the next stop now. Probaly one around london got some offers for lifts which will be very usefull. A bunch of comps at the moment should definitely enter one, would of been essex if not for the throwdown. Maybe UMA or grapplers showdown for no gi. So you can look forward to all that and more!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

RGA Kilburn and London

My hands feel like they belong to someone 3 times my age.

Hosted a "bullshido" throwdown at the academy the day before. Essentially a bunch of angry young geeks who like to fight abit. Mark Curry came over from Ireland so I put him up. His flight was only in the evening so he wanted to do a lunchtime training class. He wanted to goto carlsons hammersmith but as I needed them for the tour wanted to attend a proper evening class. So looked around phoned Mario Reis's place but I got a solemn" no mah fren is bank holiday". So decided back on hammersmith, very foolishy I didnt check if they were going to be open (as it was bank holiday), and when we got there it was closed .

So phoned RGA and checked it was open and made our way there. Nick Brooks (RGA Mill hill instructer and brown belt)was there which was awesome and really helped us out. Did some drills and some fun sparring with Nick. To the tune of junior (a massive purple belt) singing "I believe I can fly" each time Nick set up a sweep. Went for some outrageous things and had alot fun, Nick gave me some great pointers which Im annoyed at myself for not being able to remember.

Then we tried to make our way into more central london to catch a film, ran into one of the guys we just had a lesson with who was also killing time before work. Ended up watching Crank 2! - was crazy but very entertaining. Im talking shotgun up the ass crazy.

Had to then part ways with Mark and I made my way to RGA kilburn, walking around all day, training and operating on steak and cheese pasty power was taking its toll. So I got some fruit and chocolate in me before the session for some energy.

Met a cool young guy called Dan who gave me some nice pointers. Being a bank holiday there wasnt to many people but thats how I like it. Did a hard warm up and worked some stand up before moving on to some passing techniques that were new to me. Got my ass kicked in sparring and I was starting to gas abit.

Challenged Jude Samuel (black belt instructer and awesome dude) to a death match but had to settle for a light roll, where he put me through my paces constantly making me think and work hard. Stopping at parts to go over particular techniques. I also tapped to a sweep! which I thought was some sort of tortuous rib crusher.

Rolled with some more guys, all were cool and relaxed and focused on trying to learn rather than win.

Back to Jude for more of a beasting and I learnt a huge amount. I was dead but he kept me moving and he told me training at this point is more important than when fresh, because this is where it counts. And I realised I should try get like this every lesson, Ive been to relaxed about pushing myself. Another thing I realised is I hide behind being nice to the less experienced but I should pull the trigger more.

Learnt some great fundementals this weekend and its made me realise what I need to do now to get to the next level.

On the academy - with its high street location it is prestine, very cool venue with plenty of confused bystanders watching outside. The neatest and most clean cut so far. Jude is Jude and other than being a monster on the mats (multiple euro champ)is also where I set the bar in terms of instructing, friendlyness and attitude.

Long day! left at 9am and got home past midnight. Training tuesday and wednesday as well.

My brain is swimming with new things, I need some time to absorb it all.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

My Brighton fight, news and thoughts

Its just been put up so been watching it. Thought I was like 30 000 points down, didnt realise at the time that all I needed was to pass and hold position. Annoying, happy with the escapes although perhaps I should of put myself in the subs to begin with. Still was a fun fight and Ive learnt alot from it. The pass was there! . Specifically my passing and half guard passing.

The fight here if the embed doesnt work.

In other news, hosting a Bulshido throwdown at my club this sunday!. If your about come join us. Thread details HERE .

Should also be doing some pilgrimage stops in london on monday, hopefully looking at 2 clubs!. Been trying to think of how I can drum up some money from doing the pilgrimage in order to help pay for all the travel. Someone suggested asking the clubs to pay some of my travel costs in return for a review and maybe some extra acknowledgement. The trick it seems is getting some clubs to do it first so that the others are tempted to follow suit.

Other than that maybe I could search for sponsorship from local businesses?. 150 odd clubs (minus the 7 Ive already been to). Average class seems to be around 20, so thats around 3000 people spread all over the country that will see me and take notice of me. So perhaps I could use that to justify myself as ad space?. I know Ive had 4-5 inquiries into my faixa rua gi since wearing it for each of the stops, so people definitely take notice. I try thank the whole class at the end of the lesson and ask them if they would join me for the picture.

I could try a sponsored super pilgrimage and see how many clubs I could hit in rapid succession over a week?. If I had the travel money and support I could do probaly 14 clubs (around 24ish in london). Although I would be feeling pretty dire after.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Carlson Gracie Caterham

My friend Terry was awesome enough to take me to another club he had trained at previously. Run by blackbelt Steve Haydock, which recently joined the carlson gracie family. Check their website out.

Steve also does a crossfit session so there were plenty of ropes and some sort of strange roof scaffolding for pull up type exercises presumably. Not a huge room but provided easily enough room for the class. Class consisted of almost equal amounts of blue and purples with a smattering of white belts. Also included the first ever female purple belt Ive met. Everyone seemed to be pretty built (crossfit helping no doubt), which indicates to me that they dont mess around with training.

The lesson focused on chokes from the back - more details on that later.

Everyone was pretty cool and chatty, and we got on well. Got to roll with Steve, who played a little bit of catch and release with me whilst slowly killing my soul with pressure from the top. Ended up sparring him a few times which was great, tried some outrageous moves as I was pretty sure I wasnt gonna catch him with anything orthodox. This included trying to cartwheel to his back from kneeling, kicking his knee back to pull him into a loop choke, a crazy judo choke from underneath side control. This normaly resulted in me being punished with knee on belly and taken apart. Fought some of the other purples which was fun, held out abit more but still got caught. Got a compliment from one of the purples of a pass I did against one of the whites, so was chuffed with that (the compliment, not passing the whites guard :P). Caught an elbow at one point and bit my tongue, still not keen on a gumshield though.

All in all a great class, Steve is a really cool guy and these guys train hard. Again I would reccomend this club. I need to find some man drama or this will make for a boring final write up!

You can see that crazy apparatus I was talking about on the ceiling.

Going back to the techniques we drilled, learnt quite abit.

First was the clock choke grip type choke which I knew well.

Next was a choke I had seen in some books but never really learnt it myself:

And 3rd in the series was something Ive never seen or heard of. Talking to Steve afterwards he said it was something he came up with for himself, Im sure others know it as well but I dont think its well known at all.

Same single collar grip as before but it can be very loose (the genius of this sub is in how loose it can be). Open up your right leg and put it to the ground, this will give them room to escape out that side. Its a crafty trap so let them. As they escape come up onto your knee's, keeping the grip and putting your shoulder behind their head. Over hook their left arm and bring it to the ground while you pull down on the collar and raise your shoulder - which raised their head. The choke is tight! and all that extra room in the loose lapel grip is taken up as it wraps around their neck. Cant wait to use it. Devious!

Next stop Carlson Gracie Hammersmith and hopefully somewhere else the same day if I can find one that has a class after.

Monday, 27 April 2009

RGA Aylesbury - stop 3

Me, Terry and Dan descended on RGA Aylesbury on Sunday. Terry had trained their a few times so he showed us around and made introductions. One of the guys there was 69 year old bluebelt called Pete!.

Really nice venue, weights room, boxing ring and a pretty big mat space. The lesson itself was cool, focusing on the armbar/pendelum sweep situation. How to defend, a trick for the armbar and a trick for the sweep.

The class was taken by Kevin Capel, who has just recieved his brown belt after crushing his opponents at the euro's. Had a roll with him and got man handled. And learnt a valuable lesson about a favourite move of mine, its shit. In a nut shell it was going from de le riva to a sort of open deep half guard and then unsettling them to take their back or sweep. Done it many times and not suffered to badly for it. Kev just turned round, sat down and armbared me. Didnt realise my arm was ripe for plucking.

Everyone was very friendly and were cool to talk to. One guy recognised me from my RGA intercomp exploits which felt good!

This time my camera batteries were charged! and with spares. However the person taking the picture was abit unsteady :P .

Another awesome stop on the pilgrimage, thanks for having us Kevin!. If your in there area I would definitely reccomend this place.

I felt uncomfortable with the idea of just taking random photo's at a club Im entering for the first time. But ill brainstorm to try get these entries abit more entertaining.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Friday, 17 April 2009

Italo Ferreira Worcester - Pilgrimage stop 2

Havnt got the photo yet so Im just gonna put the post up, and when he sends it to me Ill put an update in and edit this one:

I arrived early at Butlers gym, a very manly looking gym filled with an everlasting testosterone mist. However I had got the session times wrong and had turned up with only my gi to the end of the gi session, with the no gi session next. Italo and the guys greeted me warmly though and Italo got me sparring right away. Sparring cold is never fun but its a good warm up and the guy was relaxed and wasnt trying to kill me.

I then spar Italo who makes me look foolish, everything I did just seemed wrong and I fell into his traps constantly. But when you dont have a hope of winning, you just let go and enjoy it.

Italo then gets his next class warmed up and gives them some drills to do. I thought he was gonna just give me the gi variations but instead pretty much gave me a private lesson!. First we covered loop chokes, which Ive been wanting to get right for a while now. We also did a variation which broke down their posture and pulled them into the choke, while also setting up a triangle if they escaped or defended. Brillaint.

We did this from a sitting position, think sparring from knee's. You want to be sitting at a slight angle to them. Grip the opposite collar to the gripping hand, around the collar bone. Put one foot (the same side foot as your gripping hand)in their hip, other leg is crossed underneath. Using the collar grip you pull down to break their posture, aiming to pull them into the gap created by sitting at an angle to them. Lift the gripping hand elbow up to the ceiling, so the forearm runs the underside of their jaw. Swim your other hand over the opposite side of their head and dive the hand through the crook of your elbow, so that forearm rests on the back of their neck. Lift your foot (the one that was in their hip) and hook it round the top of their shoulder - this stops them trying to move the other way to get out the choke. Lift your gripping hands elbow further up to finish the choke. If they roll, roll with them into mount you can still finish it.

In the other variation they are simply being stubborn and keeping good posture, the only difference is the setup. Same grip on the collar but other hand holds the sleeve (the one on the same side as the collar your gripping) and the foot that wasnt on their hips goes onto their knee. Then simply pull the sleeve and kick back their knee to completely destroy their posture and pull them into the space.

This choke works from almost anywhere. Recently being seeing Ollie Geddes do it alot from half guard:

Now with handy annotations!!

Talking of Ollie, fellow blogger Seymour (meerkatsu) just interviewed on the fightworks podcast website: Here

Italo then gave his guys some more stuff to work on and then asked if there was anything I wanted to do?. Top halfguard has been on my mind after Brighton, Im just not great at passing it. I end up hunting submissions instead. Italo seemed to know alot about this position though and he went through abit of theory while teaching me 2 passes I didnt know. The first Ive had done to me but never quite got the mechanics down till now. The second is brutally basic and effective.

Damn youtube let me down again, 1st pass:

Get the underhook!. Get a grip on his knee that is up. Put your shoulder to the mat so your pelvis is facing the ceiling. Bring your trapped leg up and walk it towards your opponent so it makes a right angle, this makes it very hard for them to lock it over your knee. With the knee grip slide their locking legs down towards your ankle. Hop over their body and using leverage from your other leg sliiiiide the trapped leg out so you end up in side control. If you dont have the underhook your back will get taken.

2nd Pass:

Put your hands on their biceps and flatten them out. Put your forehead into their solar plexus. Then bring your hands back and around their legs locking with an S grip underneath their legs. Straighten one leg out, bring the other leg slightly back and then explode backwards to open their legs. Keep their hips and legs pinned, walk your previously trapped leg to the side of your free leg, walk up into side control.

Then just for abit of fun showed me a very cool counter to the basic butterly guard sweep. As they pull you in, swim your hand under to get the underhook and grab their belt. As they start lifting you up in the air, post your other leg out and your forehead onto the mat. Then you do a handstand! hold for a few seconds so their leg drops and then simply slide over into side control.

Me and Italo then had another spar, I immediately tried to jump him with the loop choke which he found funny. He let me put him in more bad positions this time and we had a nice fluid roll, I still got nailed obviously. At one point he gets me with a wrist lock whilst I try push him off while under side control, without using his hands or legs!

Overall I really loved it, learnt some new stuff, met some cool new people, had fun and ticked off another gym. Was also my first roll with a blackbelt.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Jibber jabber

Went to Italo's in worcester on saturday and had a blast. My camera packed up on me again though so am just waiting for Italo to send me the pic he took from his phone. The post is all written so soon as I get it ill put it up.

But thought I might as well include some extra stuff.

Watched this 3 part mini doc the other day on the jiu jitsu life style. Little bit cheesy but I found it quite enjoyable and an interesting watch:

On monday my girlfriends cousins popped over for abit of a grapple, brought their own mats and everything. The weather was great so was alot of fun. I got my ass kicked for most of it but I picked up some nice no gi pointers. Helped them with their gi stuff. And generally just had alot of fun. At the moment they train at braulio's but as they have only been training no gi have no rank!. Stephen is currently undefeated (11-0) and is the amateur champion in his division for the combat sports/mma universe organisation. Check his profile at: MMA Universe 10 fights one in the first round! half of them by triangle!. He triangled me.....very quickly. From talking to him it seems he can hang with purple belts (and sub them) nogi, which puts him in the funny situation of being legitimately able to compete at white belt in gi comps but obviously able to compete much higher. If you were in the same position would you just wear the white but insist at fighting at blue/ purple?. Or would this be seen as rude to your club/instructer?

After being taken down about 5 times in a row I got him with a judo outer leg reap, but his fatigue might of been a factor there :P.

His brother wasnt a slouch either, and fighting his brother often seemed to end in tie's. Managed an armbar on him when we put on the gi, but pretty much got sat on otherwise.

Things I took away with me:
Wrist control
Standing throws with whizzer/overhook!
head control
underhooks can really stuff you up from almost every position
getting beaten up for 2 hours is alot less tiring than doing the beating.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

RGA Wimbledon - 1st stop on the BJJ pilgrimage

After the comp I was free to start the pilgrimage and turns out RGA wimbledon is actually alot closer than I thought!. One of the guys I met at the Brighton comp even gave me a lift from the station which was handy. They were a great bunch of guys and I had a good session. The class was taken by Marcio a black belt affiliated with RGA, I dont know him to well but Ive seen him before. Also in attendance was Ray Stevens who not only has an olympic silver medal in judo (1992 - the last awarded to a British person) but also is probaly one of the only people to attain a BJJ blackbelt without holding any prior rank. Due to his training with Roger Gracie and his aptitude at newaza. The club is run by him and also offers judo and other classes: Check the website here

First thing new I picked up on was a warm up exercise I hadnt seen. Essentially standing up in someones guard and picking them up ten times.

Technique wise we did a normal sprawl drill, a sprawl variation and the triangle. The sprawl variation was interesting.

One arm between you and them against their neck (as normal) and one out. The main difference was in hooking underneath there jaw, sprawling at an angle and driving your shoulder down into the back of their neck. The bonus is the extra head control and ability to completely stuff the shoot. Possible downside is breaking their neck? but definitely works.

Sparring was fun. 1st up was the guy closest to my size (big dudes in this class!), he was cool and relaxed but just made some normal new guy mistakes I capitilised on. Next up was a big blue belt guy, so I stepped it up a notch. Cross collar choke from guard did the business, turns out he hadnt trained in a year and a half!. So felt a lil mean but was still a fun roll, he nailed me with an ezekial choke from top half guard which I really should of defended. One move Ive used a fairbit in the past came in handy. Go for a collar choke from mount, when they try roll you off. Go with them, slide your leg over and a hey presto belly down armbar.

Then had a go with Lawrence (who beat my guy in the final in brighton), kept it light hearted but wanted to avenge my guy. Lawrence had great top control and patience. Went for a omoplata sweep which he countered well, subbed me a few times in the end.

After the lesson we all went for a pint! Ray had some very interesting stories.

Great start to the pilgrimage, hope each stop will be as good. Definitely going to investigate doing some judo with Ray.

Thanks again to Faixa Rua for outfitting me with 2 gi's for the pilgrimage and one massive A5 gi for all the patches.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The grab and pull - Brighton 09

We showed up 15 guys strong and were ready to rock the boat. The scales were atleast 2kg's light so everyone was able to chill out weight wise which was nice. Tried to make sure our white belts knew to warm up but they got called onto the mat very quickly. 2 of our guys were fighting each other in the first round which sucked.
Had no idea when my division was on so I kept warm for around an hour before finally weighing in. In case they threw us on the mat straight away. But it was alright in the end.

Did my usual thing and struck up conversation with complete strangers, always fun and interesting though.

Mat had his fight before mine and did really well, was in a bad position for a while but he fought through it and got a great escape/turnover from under side. He worked his triangle game but the guy knew he was up on points so just did enough to survive. Afterwards his hands were completely dead from holding off the triangle choke from closing in. His team had to massage the life back into them.
I step on and Im feeling confident. Ive got my game plan and I know what Im doing. We get our grips and I feel like this is gonna go my way as I set up room for the single leg. I go for it and my opponent sits back into a perfect yoko tomoe nage. I hit the mat hard, flat on my back but immediately arch and try and twist back to my knee's. But he rolls straight over onto top. And now it all gets abit hazy. He threatens an armbar and I get put into a triangle. I bring the knee to the floor and by myself time and eventually escape, which gets turned into an armbar which I agian defend. But he then transitions into an omoplata, his got it but I adjust the angle so he cant finish. I escape and get in top half guard. I give him the shoulder of justice, get the underhook and try flatten him out so I can free my leg. But my base is to far over and he gets the sweep. I get put in another triangle and this time I try a new defense for me. I stack him, and do a single lapel choke while moving to my right so he cant turn it into an armbar. He gets uncomfortable but I dont grip his belt with my other arm so I can finish it. He lets go of the triangle but I dont step it up and get put back on the defense. I defend more but he throws on another armbar hard and I verbally submit.

Was happy with my performance for my first fight at blue, defense kept me alive for 5 minutes but I just couldnt shift gears to put him on the defense. Someone comes up to me after and lets me know his a judo blackbelt, really should of tweaked when I saw he was wearing an adidas gi. No excuse though. He gets to the final and lands the same throw really well on the other guys but comes away with silver.

The rest of my team fight very well but things dont quite go our way at times. Jamie hurts his knee bad whilst well on the way to a win. Lee rips through the opposition till the final where this guy lands a sweeeeet double leg. Still a great fight but comes away with silver. Matt sweeps a massive beast in the absolute but unfortuantly rolls into a choke the guy finished from the bottom. Kieran showed us the power of hara goshi. Phil showed huge heart and fought lotsa fights, before coming away with Bronze. His opponent slammed him twice and was calling him for everything, Phil still won and was a class act. The guy and his coach came and apoligised after which was good of them. Sheena gets silver in her division then has a rematch in the absolute and gets gold. Young Dan our super serious prodigy wins his first ever comp fight with an iron unbending will. And loses in the final by 1 advantage to Dale, one of the top ranked youths in the country.

Roger Gracie fist bumped me.

Had tons of acai which I ended up spilling on myself and all over my face. Afterwards we had a great night out reliving the tales of the comp and all going for pizza.

Learnt tons! -
Need to up the aggression and pace of attack
Drill the tomoe nage counter more
More work from under bad positions
More work on half guard
Carlson Gracie guys = Kobra kai!
You got to disrespect those legs

This comp has really helped me I think. Feel incredibly motivated.

Monday, 30 March 2009

The great BJJ pigrimage and other news

For a very long time Ive been thinking about doing a BJJ tour of all the clubs in the UK. Ive always really enjoyed meeting and talking to people at competitions and even on other blogs and forums. Its going to be an adventure and hopefully will do something to show BJJ unity in the UK, we have plenty of rivalries (which Ive said can be a good thing) but they can also turn petty and do more harm than good. This is genuine and I am doing it, it may take a very long time as I gotta fit it around real life but Im in a very good place to do it. Im near London and often am in Worcester which is ideal for going to Birmingham and Wales.

As a proof of UK BJJ and a trophy of sorts Im also going to get myself a patch from every club and put it onto a GI. Faixa Rua have amazingly sponsored me for this mission and are supplying me with 2 gi's. One to wear as I visit each club and a massive A5 one to put all the patches on. Ive recieved alot of great feedback so far, the Carlson Gracie clubs have offered me free patches from each of the clubs AND a free lesson at each club as well. Which is worth quite abit. Its quite likely they will be some of the first clubs I visit as quiet a few are in surrey. If more clubs help me out like that its going to save me alot of money and allow me to do this much faster.

This whole thing is further made more possible by the legendary Slideyfoot who has created a BJJ map of the UK! which really puts the whole thing into perspective, its around 150 clubs strong. See the map here . In the more densely club populated area's I hope to hit 2-3 in one day. Might even be able to do the whole of Scotland in one weekend, Wales should only take one or two trips. Dasmoose who Ive talked to on the bullshido and efn forums has very graciously offered to put me up in Ireland, so could hopefully do those clubs in only a few days.

Im still trying to work out some idea's to maybe get some sort of funding for the travel, or maybe sports relief sponsorship. Andy had a great idea about doing a T shirt as well with all the clubs on the back (band tour stylee).

My focus needs to be more on the here and now but am also giving thought to maybe seeing if a BJJ mag would be interested in the story or the fightworks podcast. I am thinking of this now in case they require the story not to be on my blog (this is just a synopsis really :P ).

Onto other news now -
Had a session where my legs were replaced with tissue paper and everyone destroyed my guard, fixed that next session though by breaking posture more as I realised I was being lazy as my hands were hurting.

Taught a beginner class which I really enjoyed, would love to do this more regularly which hopefully might happen. We did a sit up sweep series, as I think its much easier to remember when all the moves are related (this is true in mneumic terms). It went:

Sit up sweep - Sit up sweep into kimura - sit up sweep guillotine - defending and escaping the guillotine - kimura escape and counter - proper sit up sweep defense (not posting the arm out). It sounds like alot but I think it flowed together well.

Been taking some warm ups as well, got them doing a pull up exercise where someone stands over you and you pull yourself up using sleeve grips (so doubles as grip and arm strengthening). Couldnt think of the real name for it, so I just called it the "teabag".

Friday, 27 March 2009

Sparring and the best knockout in the world

Did some early morning training at the club with a few of the guys. Andy and Mike were doing some padwork so me and Lee decided to do some rolling as a warm up. Rolling without a warm up gasses you VERY fast and doesnt feel nice, but it does warm you up in a less monotonous way. Lee is a solid white belt (won silver at europeans) and is just under 90kg, his a fireman though so his also hench. Not that Im making excuses or anything... :P . but yeah I got pounded abit. I got plenty of sub attempts and good position but couldnt hold it or finish it. Mostly armbars from bottom that he then defended well and with his strength made it feel impossible. But even things like RNC's I found alot of trouble. I need to get my subs to be alot more ruthless, Im always trying to find a nice easy gap that sometimes just isnt their with the more experienced guys. Highlight for me was nailing a flying guillotine and escaping side with an americana from bottom (that I kicked myself for not being able to finish). Lowlight was nearly getting aikido wristlocked from within my guard!. Was great to work the no gi though and Lee has really got tighter on everything.

So next we put on the gi's and did a winner stays bout. Me and Mike first, really good fun. I went for the same armbar 3 times and only landed it on the third, need to break their defenses down abit more getting abit to excited to quickly. Then Lee came on and we went for abit but I tapped a few mins in. Then Andy came on......and didnt get off obviously :P. He would let us get good position before properly defending, which was fun but annoying at how loose I felt. High light was landing that wheel throw off the single leg ( I think andy let me for kicks though). Low light was going for a flying guillotine on Andy and getting chucked on my ass.

Me and mike then drilled abit, mostly on an omoplata escape as a few minutes prior Andy nailed me with one but I didnt want to roll so I turned towards his head. Which has worked for me in the past, but in this case it just trapped my arm and gave him a RNC on a platter.

Good fun though and has got me feeling great. Because now I can focus on improving again, after my trip I had forgotten everything I was working on tweeking. Fitness is coming back fast, should be ready for Brighton.

Now for some interesting videos!

BJJ school gets its windows broken tons and setup a stake out...

The best knockout in the history of the world!