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!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Bottom of the barrel

So Im bottom of the barrel again, overweight, conditioning is down and am feeling rusty and out the zone. Fuckit, Im going to compete at Brighton (2 weeks). Want to know why!? this is why:

(first seen on Pesadelo's blog [link in sidebar]) Talking of Pesadelo his just opened his club so if your near him in Texas go train with him!.

Thats pretty inspiring I think, and a great attitude for BJJ.

As I see it theres two options, lets way them up:

Cant win it if your not in it. Going to gain experience and it will make me better, meet the new guys and some of the top dogs in my division. Even if I lose completely all that Ive lost is a little ego, which if anything is a good thing. And thats the worst case (accidents dont come into it).

Dont compete:
I gain nothing, except envy at those that did compete. Maybe I end up waiting till ive improved enough to have a solid shot at gold, but all ive done is waste time. I could lose 2 comps in half the time and end up being twice as good.

And Im gonna kick ass anyway. I weigh 69.9 with my lightest gi, abit to close for my liking. Went for a run today, bit to slow but i still finished with a sprint. Going to do get a upper body calisthenics routine going as well. Push ups, pull ups, hand stand push ups, cat dips etc. Weight wise ill do my old routine of rotating 20kg around my head, sledge hammer, etc. When Im at the club ill go early and do as much as I can of Randy's workout, maybe some kettle bell stuff as well.

My folks recently got a wii fit and I gotta say that hula hooping really takes it out of you, Im convinced its a great core exercise so Ive been doing it. Heres some extra incentive if you doubt me:

Heres something that really made me laugh, such a great ad for BJJ allround:

Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu Commercial

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

who do? ju do!

Everytime a competition starts to loom me and my training buddies always end up talking stand up. The focus this time was on James who was set on using seio nage:

Which can be an awesome throw... if your this guy:

I find this throw very hard to pull off in BJJ because of how low and stiff armed people are in comps, there are very few rules on defensive posturing compared to judo. I like to use my attributes so I naturally prefer throws where you need to get low. So I offered up Tai otoshi as a substitute (which kieran had shown me the week before):

We had a little stand up sparring session to try it all out, I really liked tai otoshi but my footwork sucks. Tomoe Nage is still magical, Kieran (again from the week before) showed me another sacrifice throw I had not seen but didnt catch the name of. Its very similar to tomoe nage but instead of foot in their stomach its in a butter fly hook position. Heres a favourite video of mine of some poor soul getting smashed over and over with various sacrifice throws:

Ive watched this vid quite a few times and Im still learning from it.

I think in the end he decided on an attacking single leg strategy. The next lesson I paired up with super serious new young kid, whose pretty good. The Brighton comp will be his first so we also worked some stand up stuff, pretty solid kid. He will win. IF he gets his game plan sorted. Gonna make an effort to help get him ready.

Another throw Ive gotten Andy and Kieran to show me a few times is Kata Guruma, mostly because I think it can work really well in combination with some other throws. And will bypass the stiff arm and sprawl defense.

But my footwork is still a little slow on this one. Gonna work on it.

To be abit more BJJ centric now, am loving the baseball bat choke. Andy showed us a really nice variation from side control Ive been successfull with. For those unfamiliar a normal baseball bat choke looks like this:

This is my current goto sub from knee on, very powerfull. Just make sure you put your head down to the correct side so that he cant spin to loosen the choke.

The variation Andy showed us meant we could do it from side, without knee on in sneaky fashion. In side control (his right side) you grip deepish into his right lapel with your left hand. Then you spin yourself over his head all the way to the opposite side while still keeping the grip. Make sure to keep a solid base with your weight on his chest. Get a deep grip with your right hand inside his left collar. Then spin/walk back to north south. Put your head down to your left side to stop him spinning out, squeeze and sprawl your weight if you need to, to finish the choke.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Am back!

So arrived back in the UK after another good flight. Soon after arriving I pickup a sore throat though. I goto training on friday, Kieran and James are taking the beginner class as Andy's away. Kieran takes the next class which is my first as a blue. Been looking forward to a lesson from Kieran for a while as his a really good judo guy. He doesnt dissapoint and I learn some new stuff including some throws I had forgotten about. Will find some vids in my next post.

Had a spar with 2 guys, first one went really well and I felt comfortable offensively using butterfly guard on reaction. 2nd one was against James (aka spider noodles), which went suprisingly well. Passing guard felt very good and I was just a tiny bit to eager for the choke, didnt take my time. I got nailed with a bow and arrow choke in the end but I felt good for 6 weeks away.

Next session I felt damn rusty though, I was in socks to protect some infected mosquito bite wounds I had which made things a little annoying. Lots of new faces! some new big guys to soul crush as well. We even have a new super human polish guy, which is the only sort you find in BJJ it seems. We were just doing some position sparring but I lost it or they stood up a few times. Feel a little bit of pressure on the belt but I its less than I thought and that will go soon I reckon.

However their is the brighton grab and pull again this year, I won my division last year so would be awesome to win again at blue. But I wanna get myself back to form, dont want to give myself any excuses. Need to just get out their though.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Pictures from zambia!

Have arrived back in the UK so here are some of the pictures I promised. Ive got 200 odd so Ill try pick the most relavent/interesting

Toughest Looking baby ever, and his name is junior!. His gonna be massive.

Freddie! - likes biting ankles.

Flowers for me!?

Poser monkey shows his good side.

Teaching some english, to my older class. Loved this classroom.

Posing at the falls, post drenching. The falls kick up a bunch of water like 100 metres up so its like ever lasting rain in some of the places.

Before we decided to move onto the soft grass and carpet... . Why are you hitting yourself lewis? why lewis why!?

Black Mamba gives me the beady eye.

Some of my english class :D

Girrafe and mini giraffe have a falling out.

Younger BJJ class rolling around.

Victoria falls!

Bridge to zimbabwe, from the bottom of the falls, boiling point.

Bummed couldnt go white water rafting. Looked awesome.

Once you take the first shot you have 10 seconds till your mobbed with "and me, and me!"

Younger boys BJJ. Maybe the first in zambia?

One of my fave pics, looks like she is taking the pic!

Rude cat ruins picture.

Older boys, my first BJJ students. 3rd guy is taking the pic.

They were very fond of armbars, their fave after RNC.

Posing at the falls, pre drenching.

Blue nun > blue belt.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

My parents come for a visit

My parents love Africa and so they were all to ready to come down and visit me. The original plan was for me to just meet them at the airport and then see them the next day. But turns out Ive earned some big karma points and it was time to cash them in. The captain of the flight that brought my parents over gave me his room! (he was going on safari somewhere). In what must be the best hotel in Zambia. So now I was able to spend the day with my folks. Me and mom had a huge breakfast, they had tons of stuff and even a chef at the ready to make you omelets and waffles or whatever you wanted. Then me and dad went to a local small safari lodge and went on a small safari, seeing plenty of antelope and some giraffe. Lunch was thrown in and I was shocked at their prices, $180 US dollars for both of us. But the bill only came to $48….which just about covered the free lunch and drinks. Our taxi was more expensive in the end!.

Got back and we went out for some really good steak and drinks. I went up to my room and was THIS close to trying on the captains hat and jacket. THIS = the space between atoms. But thought it abit rude considering he gave me his room for the night.

Next day we went to Chamanuka, definitely the best safari place Ive seen and a really great place to stay it seems. We meet the owners who knew a friend of ours (BA co pilot) and Sister marieola who knows everyone. They were very nice and gave my parents an awesome room with a view, we got free lunch and drinks. The tests of manliness are coming thick and fast round here.
The safari itself was really good although the grass was very high so made a lot of things hard to see, as we pulled up to the lions who were in a separate enclosure. Another car pulled up and some kids ran out near the fence. The guide told them to watch their fingers, a lioness crouched and pounced at them and scared them senseless. Comedy gold. More giraffe!, zebra’s, antelope, GIANT termites nests as tall as a house some of them. Damn elephants have evaded me again!.

I consider their evasiveness over a castle lager or 5.

Next day parents come and stay the orphanage, I give them a tour, we goto the reptile park, and have a good evening. They are off the next day and I meet two new visitors, an ex BA flight hostess and her 9 year old daughter, they are currently living in Portugal and actually had heard of BJJ!.
The only slight downside was a bite I must of scratched during the night on my achilies heel, not painfull just annoying.

It occurs to me that sister marieola is like an inverted mafia don, she has incredible influence and her karma discount is 100% on everything, people will goto a huge effort to help her anyway they can. I put this down to Kasisi’s fame, her potent charisma (she could do stand up) and goodly nun status (30% of Zambians are catholic).