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.