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.