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!