Saturday, 25 October 2014

On the Mat Day 537: Omoplata

Here I am as Uke in omoplata
Last night we studied omoplata. In closed guard the opponent put his hands on the mat to make it easier to work with this move. You push your knees against his arms, hip out to one side and bring your top knee towards your face (crunching). This will force his head to the ground and then you can move the leg to the omoplata position. At the end we also did this with a spider double sleeve grip for more realism. One important point I picked up was to pull both arms of the opponent forcefully towards me once my one of my knees is on the inside. This will connect his chest to my shin/knee so I can easily open my knee to the floor and force his head towards the mat then omoplata on the other side. It seems really important to keep a tight (no gaps) hold between your leg and the opponent.

There were a lot of guys came to class. James wanted to start off with no-gi so I obliged and found myself in defense the entire time. Guillotine, front ankle lock and armbar. He feels much better and stronger without the gi. I need to be more careful with my head in nogi (i.e. not lower it and keep my spine straight). It is so easy to slip on a choke.

I am also looking for the Japanese necktie and got it once. It seems to be a very good trick when they turtle from bottom side control or half-guard.

A new guy came to try out the class. I rolled with him after K-sensei, going super light because he was so thin and frail. I was shocked how weird his movement was. He simply fell to the floor most times at a single touch of my foot. It was comical and I almost just wanted to give up and walk away in disgust. My son actually does a much better job when we spar on the rare occasion. It would be nice for this guy to start coming but damn he needs a lot of work.

Monday, 20 October 2014

On the Mat Day 535: Morning Mat Time and Rehabilitation

I attended class this morning. I like training at 11 am then finishing around 12.30 noon because I have the rest of the day to do what I want. It was raining quite badly during class and I thought I would have to postpone my bike ride to Kanayama to see a friend but it eventually stopped and I went to see him.

My friend is a physiotherapist and getting ready to go to Taiwan and work with the Guam football national team that will be over there to compete in the Asia tournament. He used me to work on his taping techniques for the ankle, shoulder, hamstring and also showed me how to apply an ACE elastic bandage to support my groin strain. It was actually amazing how well it worked and I plan to use it during training from now. He also broke down the scar tissue on a ligament in my abdomen that has been my main problem recently. It aches constantly and hurt a lot every time I lift my knee when standing. He explained that there is a lot of scar tissue around the ligament that will probably take another 2-3 sessions to remove. The scar tissue is broken down and then realigns itself along the ligament in the correct path and will actually make it stronger in the end. Right now though, it is preventing full movement in the area so is driving me crazy with the pain.

At class we did mount escapes but I've been really focusing on Marcelo Garcia type side escapes. I noticed how he makes a frame when under side control and pushes up to break the underhook on the neck. I tried it today and it worked. I actually went "Oh!" as I felt the opponent's hands pop off from around my neck and totally forgot about continuing the escape. Until now I've usually thought it bad to push up against the opponent from this position but if MG does it then it has to be right.




Sunday, 12 October 2014

On the Mat Day 532: A fun night at jiu-jitsu

Being Uke for Ouchi-gari
There were a hell of a lot of people who came to train on Friday night. I wish the club was so full every night. I think it's been the best night I've had, being content, having fun, doing jiu-jitsu. I've come to think of sparring as more like a dance than a battle. There is no winning or losing, just stumbles and I enjoy each time I dance with a different partner because they bring a different step to the floor. I'm still trying to use less strength and more leverage and technique. It's not easy, especially when you have an opponent who relies mostly on strength. I am confident that with time by practicing this way, I can eventually overcome larger, stronger opponents.

I was happy with a couple of things during sparring. I'm mostly looking for counters now so don't care if I get put in back spots. I countered the following:
Ude gaeshi ->used counter to not get thrown
Guillotine ->used correct hand placement to prevent choke
Toe hold ->rolled the correct way to escape (although I started to roll the wrong way at first :(
Kimura lock ->used grips to break out and try for my own submission

A couple of things I would like to work on is getting a solid defence and counter for kimura when they attack from half-guard and be more vigilant for ezekiel chokes. I think that I probably keep my neck to exposed in all my movements.

Both Matt and James turned up for training. It is good to see them at the club and to get feedback on either my movements or how they feel about BJJ. The Japanese guys at the club are not very open when talking about jiu-jitsu or giving advice and stuff. I don't like that much.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

On the Mat Day 528: 5 Years

So it's been over 5 years since I first started BJJ. That time has flown by like nothing else. A lot of faces at the club have changed. Many have left, especially at white or blue belt but some have stayed and are still going strong. I've been through a tough patch of it recently with my injury and after training Friday night for real after such a long hiatus, I feel it is hard to get back into it. Saturday morning, my fingers hurt, my skin was rubbed sore (it's definitely got weaker) and my injury had flared up. I took some Ibuprofen and iced it all day and it feels OK today. I went to drilling this morning and polished off a few good rounds of stuff I wanted to work on. It was a very enjoyable morning.

I'm just waiting patiently till my injury heals then I can go at it hard again. I really want to do P90X3 solid for 3 months to get back in shape. Kawai-san said he had a similar injury and it took 6 months to heal while he trained. Fuck that. I'm also cycling to the club, which takes 30 minutes, and I enjoy it so much because I get to see so much hot chicks on the street :)

Today I drilled: Single leg takedown, guillotine defence, head lock defence (standing), passing dela Riva, knee-shield, over-under pass and measures vs shrimping opponent, ude-gaeshi and countermeasure, hikkoki-nage...wow I got a lot done when I write it down here.

Friday, 19 September 2014

On the Mat Day 525: Early Cycle to Train BJJ

Got on my bicycle again and went to the club this morning. Kawai and Tanaka were there and its been a long time since I've met up with Kawai at the club. Was good to see him. He's deaf but he laughs so loud that it's contagious. He asked me if I was still injured and I told him where it was so we had a nice slow roll. He is much heavier than me but just tried to flow roll really. It's so important to have these kind of partners to roll with. Many at our club, especially the higher belts, if you tell them you are injured, they will go easy so you can get some mat time rolling. Many times today I caught myself from wanting to go hard and pulled back a lot. I like these type of rolls, they really invigorate me and also show gaping holes in my game when I move badly or too slow despite the other guy going slow.

Japanese squat and poop style toilet!!
F-sensei told me that a new guy who just had his 3rd class and is 42 years old has broken his ribs. He wasn't sure how it happened because K-sensei was taking the class. We talked a little about preventing it and he said it's always best to let higher belts roll with new guys so there is no ego involved and they don't get hurt. I totally agree. That is a paying customer off the books for a few months and possibly he may quit. It's also a potential sparring partner for me gone, which bums me out because I want to see classes filled with 10 plus people every time. I still think about F-sensei reaching his goal of 200 students then moving the gym to a new place with state of the art equipment, hot showers and a western style toilet.


Be nice to new guys!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

On the Mat Day 523: Sunday Morning Drilling aka Perfecting Escapes


Omoplata sweep finish to armbar (no I'm not just sitting & chilling)

I got up at 7.30 am and headed to the club for drilling. I'm still in pain on my left side and I wonder if my groin and ab muscle is ever going to heal so I can start strengthening it. I wish I could try ultrasound on the injury but I was told it's too risky because of the close proximity to the family jewels.

Anyway, when I arrived this morning Yoshida-san and I began drilling until 2 other guys turned up then we split up. I worked on .... guess what? ....escapes! Last night I watched Pedro Sauer teach his blue belt curriculum and watched the small movements of his escapes. In particular I liked the side escape he uses where he shrimps, bring the leg in, pushes to flatten the opponent out and then uses the opponent's belt to move him slightly to take full guard. It works really well.

After finishing my escapes drills at the end I decided to take a look at an omoplata sweep and switching the hips around for an armbar at the end. I don't seem to have the right mobility in my hips yet so will work on this as it's a spot I often end up in. I also tested how well the Von Flue choke works against a guillotine choke and it was surprisingly painful. However, it only seems good for the arm out guillotine choke and I wonder what I could do against an arm in guillotine choke.



Friday, 12 September 2014

On the Mat Day 522: Mornings

So yesterday and today I cycled to the club for the morning class. There are hardly any people turn up but it gives me a good chance to test the water with my injury and also keep doing jiu-jitsu. I'm cycling all the way there and back in the hope of burning some calories. F-sensei is also trying to shed weight for the Asia Cup in November. He has lost 6 kg by jogging 10 km four nights a week. I hate jogging but the weather is nice now especially in the evening and wouldn't mind jogging but it would set me back. My groin and inner abdomen muscle are still painful when I run and if I play bottom during BJJ sparring. If I'm on top, it's not so bad.

F-sensei told me that in November, not only will we get visitors from Hawaii, but some guys will use our place to train who are from Guam. There are a lot of folks coming over (he said 50) so he may have to stagger classes. It should be an interesting time and a good opportunity to make friends from both those locations since I plan to visit both in the future, them being popular holiday resorts from Japan.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

P90X2 Review

I finished P90X2 a couple of weeks ago now. I first started P90X way back 6 months ago then had a week of rest and got stuck into P90X2. I tried to clean my diet up for this session and was somewhat successful. As always, I start out strong in the diet area. Eating carefully and lowering carbs but towards the end I did not eat well at all so much so that I did not really change in terms of body fat and lean muscle. One thing that has stuck with me however, is preparing a lot of chicken breast fillets on the weekend and eating them for lunch throughout the week. I always looked forward and enjoyed eating my chicken lunches and continue to do this today. In the last 5 weeks of the workout I also pulled my groin and hurt my transversus abdominus muscles so had to modify some exercises. I probably got this injury from jiu-jitsu but the ridiculous balance ball/dumbell combinations in Total Body sure didn't help.

The Good

  • You learn the importance of foam rolling.
  • Yoga is better thought out than the P90X version and shorter at around an hour.
  • Your balance will improve by using the medicine ball and balance ball and some of the moves supplement BJJ in my opinion
  • There is no AbRipperX every other day except during the second phase
  • Each phase is different so going another round of P90X2 straight after finishing will not get old
  • This workout will improve your joint stability and strengthen the deeper layer of muscles
  • There are 2 rest days in the week if you need them or foam rolling to recover
  • Warm up is much better and fun
The Bad

  • Some of the moves feel a little dangerous such as using dumbells and the balance ball together
  • This program has much fewer pull ups and push ups than its predecessor. So much so that I never felt as pumped doing X2 as I did with the original X.
  • Plyocide was hard, fast and painful just as Plyometrics was in the original. I guess this should be in the good list.
  • The length of the Phases was not set and is left up for you to decide. I did 3 weeks of each with 1 rest week. It's hard to say if this was enough. I would have preferred it set in stone how many you need to do but I guess that is just personal choice.
  • Doing PAP lower and PAP upper 4 times a week during the final phase was very boring.
  • Workouts are still an hour long. Some are over the 60 minutes mark.
Hardest workout: Base and Back OR Plyocide
Easiest workout:X2 Core
Most dangerous workout: Total body


Final conclusion
 P90X2 didn't really impress me that much and I didn't really improve physically while doing it. The workouts didn't seem too hard either compared to P90X but seemed more focused on balance and working the inner muscles rather than the showy muscles like the chest, back and legs. I was left with the feeling that P90X2 seemed to be lacking a certain something. At the end of it I felt that a lot of the strength and muscle I gained during P90X had deflated by doing this workout. After completing P90X I was tempted to skip to P90X3 and wish I had have done so now. I think P90X2 is very good for building balance and core stability while also introducing you to how great foam rolling is for your body but in terms of building powerful muscles and strength it falls short. Do yourself a favor and either do P90X again or go do P90X3 which I plan to do next.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

On the Mat Day 520: Morning Drilling

About six people turned up this morning at 8 am to drill. I worked on side escapes. This is the 3rd week I have been doing this. It is difficult not to get distracted and want to do other more flashy stuff like sweeps and submission but I persist and pull myself back into reality knowing that if I perfect my escapes, I will be better for it.

I tend to find that side escape is easier for me if I get the underhook and switch out to all fours. I played around with using the opponent's lapel to create space. It can be difficult if he is holding on tight. I think that if I feed the lapel to my foot (like a stirrup) while he is holding me tight and wait for the moment he moves then push on the lapel and bring my knee in as usual, I am guaranteed an escape. The kimura escape from bottom side is also very interesting and if I can lock it in, it seems difficult to resist because I have lots of leverage. On the way home, I was thinking that I probably need to break the escapes down and work on tiny parts such as bridge, shrimp, knee in and then reset. I think this will ingrain the movement better.

After drilling I went to a local store to pick a couple of things up. Coming towards me I saw one of the guys from our club. Kusanagi. He was with his wife shopping. He gave me a friendly hello and I tapped him on the shoulder twice and said how are you in passing. This body contacting was perfectly normal for me but afterwards I thought that people around me probably thought it was very strange as Japanese seldom touch each other almost to the point of taboo. I was also reminded of how much I really like the guys I train with (even those that crush me into the floor with their hipbone on my ear). I found it weird how I sort of feel like we are a family but still want to beat up each other on the mat at the same time. BJJ is a weird hobby.

Friday, 5 September 2014

On the Mat Day 519: First Roll in a Month

So it would seem that my groin strain is healing well and I got some power in my legs now the only thing is that according to my Physiotherapist I have probably a tear or damage to my Transversus abdominis. I think I've had it a while and always thought it was an ache around my intestines due to eating too much or something. In fact, it has been an ache in the muscle all this time. Damage to this area means it's hard to work my abdomen area so in BJJ terms, any guard work is near impossible when my back is on the floor.

Today at class I sparred a couple of rounds with 2 black belts and despite it being 4 weeks since I last sparred with anyone, I did not feel like I moved badly. My body still moved fluidly more than anything as we were rolling light since I told them I was injured. I can probably roll about 50% right now. I was really worried that I would get sore fingers from gripping or the intense pain I used to get in my biceps when I first started. I think the experience I have allows me to relax so I felt quite refreshed after the roll. I look forward to Sunday where I can continue to work on escapes.

F-sensei mentioned today that a half-dozen guys are coming over from Hawaii and will probably train at our club. They are apparently entering the Asia Open in November. This is great news and I hope that I will be fully fit then to roll with them and possibly compete.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

On the Mat Day 517: Thursday morning class

I went to attend the Thursday morning class. It's is just technique and some drilling with no sparring. I could not do reverse shrimps because of my groin tear. Other than the pain from that everything else was fine as long as I took it slowly. We did basic stuff, which is what this class is all about. I plan to attend Thursday morning and Sunday class for a while until I am fully healed. It was good to get on the mat again with Fukuzumi sensei.

Yesterday I went to my physiotherapist. He manipulated gave me a deep tissue massage around the groin and inside my lower abdomen. I feel pain emanating from the lower abs now the most and his fingers pushing into the muscle of my stomach felt like he was pushing down into my internal organs but it wasn't. The muscle pain there was quite bad and I had always put it down to poor digestion of food and not actual muscle pain. With a few more weeks of the therapy I got yesterday I think it will get better fast now that we have pinpointed the bad areas.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

On the Mat Day 516: Sunday morning drills

My groin injury felt a little better so I took off to drilling class today to test the water. I've very little strength when trying to raise it and it still hurts a little when I sneeze or cough. The thing is, staying off the mat is starting to affect me in normal life. I get angrier faster and snap at my kids a lot more. I need to be on the mat to get rid of the energy that normal exercise just doesn't cut it.

When I arrived only Yoshida-san was there so I was glad that I went otherwise he would have had to wait for an hour until Ogiyama-san arrived. All I did was side escape drill. I figure that with the month off, I will probably end up in that position a lot when I start to spar again so may as well work on it. Plus, I've given a lot of thought to getting back to basics during my time off. I really need to stop going after the shiny stuff and concentrate on the bare bones of BJJ. Improving hip escapes and creating space through escapes. When my leg is stronger I will work on takedowns and passing and rotate through these 3 things for the time being. Most of my injuries have in fact came through me playing bottom so I want to improve my top game and escapes.

There were a few times during my time off that I felt about quitting. Sick of the injuries, tired of the heat and sweat, other guys pressing me into the ground but I just couldn't live without it in the end - I know that. I can now sympathize with the guys who take a long time off due to some injury or other and never come back. It's hard to kick those gears back into place and go back to the club.

As for P90X2, I have the last recovery week to do then that's it. I'll write up a review of it after that.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

On the Mat Day 515: Dealing with An Injury

I've taken 3 weeks off training to heal this chronic groin strain I have. The pain emanates right where the inside of my leg meets the bone of my pelvis. It is also painful at the bottom part of my abdominal muscles and my physiotherapist confirmed that the lowest part of my abdominal muscle wall is tight probably from overuse.

I've been regularly foam stretching on a rumble roller which I purchased a month ago and going to the physiotherapist where he worked on my piriformis, hamstrings and into the groin area. The pin-point massage techniques he use can be very painful. I've also been icing it and occasionally taking ibuprofen.

Last night my groin felt OK but I still have very little power in moving my left leg laterally in towards my body as though trying for a kouchi gari. There was just a very small amount of pain when lifting the leg at a certain angle. So I went ahead and traveled to class for the first time in 3 weeks. This is the longest time since breaking my foot that I have been absent from training so I felt a little rusty but not as much as I thought I would be. We learnt a lot of back take versus turtle which was good because it is an area I need to work on. I had the goal of sparring a couple of times then leaving early, which I did. However, it is impossible not to engage the groin muscles during sparring in BJJ. You need your legs for everything and I found myself wincing a couple of times whenever I put too much force into my leg muscles. It's particularly rough when the other guy plays de la Riva and uses one leg to push my leg with the injured groin.

I still had some fun sparring and got to go against Tsuzuki. It's been over a year since he used to destroy me in training. I did fairly well against him. We got a takedown on each other, I got out of his closed guard, almost got side control on him, escaped his side control, escaped his armlock, etc. I need to work on de la Riva passes more and staying heavy when in side control. I tend to get excited versus higher belts and tense my body instead of relaxing it for added pressure. I also need to counter kouchi-gari because it is so often used at our club.

I was in a lot of pain last night after class even after taking it easy. My groin still hurts this morning and I know I should have probably waited 4 weeks to rest but not doing BJJ was turning me into a crazy person. I was shouting at my kids, angry when driving, etc. I will attend the Thursday and Sunday morning lessons only for a couple of weeks. These are non-sparring lessons so I will not be tempted to jump in for a roll.

P.S. I only have 3 weeks to complete P90X2. I am fit and strong from it. Tire out less at BJJ but have had to modify some of the workouts to get around my groin injury.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

On the Mat Day 511: Rehabilitating a groin injury

I've been trying everything I can to heal my left groin muscle. On Wednesday I went to see a physiotherapist who was recommended to me by a friend. He is very good and does a hands on approach with lots of deep tissue massage on a specific area. It felt like he was driving sharp needles into my groin muscle when he was working on it. He told me my muscles are extremely tight around my hips. I have noticed over the years that my hamstrings have become much tighter and am working on getting them more flexible or risk more injuries while doing BJJ.

I was very hesitant to go last night because of my injury but haven't sparred for a week so just had to go. I tried not to push hard but everyone seemed to be in the mood to go serious and use lots of power so it was hard to flow. Maybe it was because there were lots of guys there heavier than me. It's really hard for me to shrimp off my injured groin side right now. I just tried to slow things down and look for escapes last night and was quite successful but since my dominant leg is the injured one then its hard to spar efficiently.

About 15 minutes to the end of the class I had one more opponent I thought I could spar with (I like to spar at least once with everyone in the room) but instead I decided to throw in the towel and foam roll any kinks out of my muscles. I'm glad I did.

For an update on P90X2. I am still going strong. This is week 5 and I plan to do 2 more weeks of Strength before moving on. So far it is helping my jits a lot.

I wants it!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

On the Mat Day 509: International Night

When I got to the dojo K-sensei mentioned that he thought Friday might turn out to be an international night. He was correct in the end. Not many Japanese guys turned up but Matt, James, Christiano and I were there so you have 4 different nationalities right there. Yoshida, as always turned up. He is training a lot lately and working hard on his passing game for sure. Miura came later also.

We worked on Kesa-gatame osaekomi. How to transition to side control by pushing into them with your backside and then switching legs. We also were taught Jiboe and kicking the top leg over their head and finishing with the armbar. This was a great move which if they defend against you can transition to an Americana. It is a very good setup which I plan to work into my attacks.

I'm still trying to stay loose and use power only when necessary i.e. to complete passes or to finish a submission or a takedown. I've been fairly successful at doing this and have much more energy to continue rolling - I like how this experiment is progressing.

I rolled with James for the first time. He seems to like leglock attacks and I welcome this because very few people use them at our club so I get to work defence. If time permits, I will do some rounds of nogi with him, too. There are now very few tournaments in our area for nogi however, in comparison with when I first started. Still, it's good to have other aspects of BJJ to work on.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

On the Mat Day 505: Flow Rolling Experiment

So doing P90X and now P90X2, and working out almost every day seems to have put me in a mode where I use a lot of strength while sparring at jiu-jitsu. This tires me out much faster than I care for. It became apparent when I rolled with K-sensei last Wednesday and Damon took a video of us. Later he mentioned that I was breathing hard after 4 minutes (we rolled for 10) and I was using a lot of strength. I saw some pics he took of me and noticed the uncomfortable expression on my face during the roll. It was then that I decided that things had to change. I needed a different approach to my rolls. Since getting purple I have been too concerned with getting submitted, having to sweep the opponent and not letting others pass my guard. This has stifled my game. So now I am working on rolling with more flow.

Last night at class I had the following goals.
1. Keep moving and never stop (flow)
2. Use minimal strength and only use it for short bursts
3. Breath from my belly and be aware of my breathing
4. Tap often to keep the roll going

By the end of the night I was not tired at all despite having rolled for about 7 rounds with people both my age and younger and of a mixed ability. Many were longer advocates than me. There were times when I wanted to sit it out especially when faced with a tough opponent. I felt like I wanted to get my breath back before going against such a person, but instead I plowed on and worked on the above 4 goals.

Did this help me roll better?

Absolutely, yes. There were many times I noticed the younger guys breathing hard while I was very relaxed. In fact at one point I had to stop and ask a younger guy if he was OK because he was gasping for air. I was also able to see many more openings and opportunities for sweeps. I had a better sensitivity to what the other guy was doing and where his weight was distributed. I was focused more on the opponent than on myself and imposing my game. I actually attempted the move of the week and was semi-successful even discovering later what I had done wrong (in the past I was always worried that a new move would not work and I'd end up in a bad spot).

I think from now on, this is the direction I need to go in to improve my BJJ. I know I can use strength after working out hard for the past 4 months and it will be there when I compete but for my longevity in BJJ I need to flow better and will continue to work on this concept for a good while until it comes naturally.

One of my inspirations for relaxed, calculated movements is definitely Gunnar Nelson, who experienced a quick progression in jiu-jitsu and attributes it to the fact he is able to relax easily.

So ask yourself the following.
1. Do you grimace a lot when rolling?
2. Are you out of breath against younger but less experienced opponents?
3. Do you still ache a lot after training despite the many years you have put in?

Maybe it's time to flow roll.

Monday, 16 June 2014

On the Mat Day 502: Sweating Buckets

I was expecting some work to come in this afternoon so attended the morning class at the club. I didn't expect many to come because of the heat. Luckily Furukawa came so I had at least someone besides sensei to spar with. It is incredibly hot on the mat now. It's still not the height of Summer heat but hot enough to make me feel it.

F-sensei taught us closed guard attacks which ranged from attacking omoplata to flower sweeps. While the other guys were sparring, Tanaka, one of the older guys who trains at our club, asked me to drill the move of the day with him. He was confusing the techniques and it really solidified that we are taught too many techniques at once. It is very hard to keep a track of them in my head especially when they are variations of each other. I feel that learning with a clear distinction between techniques would be better. For example, teach a takedown, a pass, a sweep and a submission. Cover all the bases and make sure they are all so different from each other that the students have less chance to mix them up.

I sparred a couple of times with F-sensei and Furukawa. Furukawa had lost his match at the West Japan tournament a couple of weeks ago so I really put it to him and have him no breaks. After each submission I got on him, I kept pushing him to get back up and come at me. A sort of friendly nudge to make him work harder. I told him after it that I was rough on him because he lost his match. We rolled again and I played defense. I really want him to do well because he has improved so much since returning to our club after a 2 year hiatus. I think tournament nerves got to him though.

At the end of class I opened my gi lapels and saw in the mirror a crazy amount of sweat just dripping down my chest. I think I lost about half a kilo in water. My pee was yellow when I got home so I made sure to drink plenty of water.

Friday, 30 May 2014

On The Mat Day 496: Bursitis

So I went to train this morning after taking about a week off from training. Last week just after finishing P90X my elbow became swollen and painful. At first I though that a mosquito had bitten me but it increased in size far beyond that. I could not lean on it because of the pain and I noticed that it became puffy to the touch as though water was under the skin. I finally realized that I had bursitis of the elbow and began to ice it and just rest. Luckily it was the end of P90X so I could just chill without feeling guilty.

Bursitis of the elbow
I was contemplating going to the doctor but I know they would have just told me to do exactly what I did, ice it and take ibuprofen, so I saved some cash and did just that. I need to be careful that it doesn't flare up again so tried to be extra careful during training today but still knocked it on the mat a few times so am icing it now. It feels fine.

So what was the cause? I've no idea but I think it was probably overtraining my elbow with pull ups and push ups since it began to click a couple of weeks ago while doing those exercises. According to my instructor, it is common also among judoka after repetitive training in Seio-nage. This is the first time I have had bursitis and it may be age related, who knows.

P.S. Jiu-jitsu was hell today in the heat I felt like collapsing and it's only May. The worst is yet to come.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Power 90X Review


The Good

  • The workouts are all very different so it doesn't get boring.
  • You will build both strength and endurance.
  • Uses many body weight exercises such as push ups and pull ups, which are good for grappling sports.
  • Plyometrics is really tough and will get you into shape.
  • Allows you to use lots of tools such as dumbells, barbells, pull up bars, and has alternate exercises for bands too.
  • Cues for exercises are usually good.
  • Music has been selected appropriately for the type of workout. Slow relaxing for yoga and stretch, fast and rough for hard cardio or weight workouts.
  • High production value and cool looking workout studio.
  • Some of the workout buddies are quite interesting.
  • Time display and exercise display is clear.
The Bad
  • Workout length is long at 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 mins for Yoga.
  • Could have possibly done with more variety for AbRipper X with a 2nd ab routine video. Possibly if you have P90X+ you have access to this so a minor problem.
  • Tony Horton's jokes tend to get old and grating.
  • Too much Dreya worship.
  • Complicated diet plan split into macro-nutrient blocks.
  • Small cut and splice in one of the weight workouts during bicep curls. Very minor but annoying.
What did it do for me?
Above all else, P90X will get you into shape for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I had more energy while rolling and could hold chokes for longer. I took creatine for the whole 90 days, using it only on the weight training days, so that might explain why I could hold my muscles in an isometric position for much longer. At the end of it I could feel my arms were fuller, especially the triceps and also the area around my chest felt much stronger. My quadriceps and hamstrings also felt harder than before and they could push much harder and felt stronger when doing tackles or triangle chokes. As a measurement to how strong I got, during the first week I could only do 8 reverse grip pull ups from fresh but this doubled to 16 by the end. My wide front pull ups also doubled. I really felt this pulling power helped during jiu-jitsu to pull the opponent using his kimono.

The Workouts
They're all around 1 hour long with Yoga X being the exception at 1 hour 30 minutes. I did set out to do Yoga X but found it tediously long so switched to the One-on-One yoga videos that Tony made, which are the one with the hummingbird and fountain of youth yoga. The hardest workout is probably Plyometrics but you get used to it but at the same time it never gets easy. The easiest is KenpoX, which I consider to be a junk workout so replaced it with other things such as Cardio X or yoga during the last months when I was overtrained. There are some really good muscle developing workouts among the P90X DVDs but the best has to be Chest & Back because I felt so pumped afterwards. Your upper body will feel like it wants to stretch out of your skin at the end of it. Core synergistics is interesting and seems to fly by because you only do it on the recovery phases so the workout is still novel. Legs and Back however is rough because you do it every week and it's working two major body parts. I would have liked an alternative for this as with the upper body.

Overtraining
Just past the second month of P90X I could slowly feel my body start to fall short. I was constantly tired and could not push as hard in the workouts. At this time I was doing BJJ about 3 times a week in addition to P90X so that was a factor. If I had had more self-control I really should have slept much more and eaten better. Towards the last week I developed bursitis in my elbow which is on ice at this very moment. Whether it was due to pushing hard during P90X and also doing BJJ I don't know. All I know is that it starting with a clicking sound in my elbow while doing pull ups.

Diet
As always, I started off really well. Eating lots of greens, fruit, eggs and lean meat like tuna and chicken. This is tough to do over 3 months so there were times I wavered and ate sweet stuff but never greasy fried food. I tried to eat as clean as I could but could not follow the diet because of it's complexity. This is where I always seem to fall short with the Beachbody routines. I prefered the Mitch ladder and simple calorie counting of P90. I plan to do P90X2 soon so will try to tighten up my diet by preparing lots of food on the weekend.

Results
I really started P90X to step up my game in BJJ and I think I achieved that. About half way through this I entered a competition and won my first match since becoming a purple belt against a larger opponent. I've also been doing well against people at my club who give me problems and have received lots of comments about how strong I've become and I look more macho. This has not been apparent to myself but it's nice to hear such positive feedback as it fuels my fire.

Front photos:

















Side photos:

















 Conclusion
P90X is simply a great workout that you can do in the morning and get it over with to give you results 3 months down the line. I would recommend this to anyone who has the persistence to see it to the end. It's not easy though. There are times when I wanted to quit and stay in bed. I will follow this up with P90X2 so stay tuned for that in 3 months from now.  


Friday, 9 May 2014

On the Mat Day 490: Pull Ups and Big Boy Sparring

So I pulled myself out of bed this morning around 7:10 am and started up Legs and Back. It's getting harder to do this one because you repeat it every week. I dread the Sieber 80-20 and all the pull ups you have to do but once done I feel great afterwards. I actually pushed out 15 straight pull ups this morning and felt very strong gripping the bar. This has transferred over to my Jits because I can really pull down hard for a choke from closed guard or baseball choke from bottom. Once in that choke, there is no way I'm letting go.

I also attended morning Jits class and surprisingly the regular guys weren't there except Mr. Tanaka who is like 50 plus and doesn't spar. Umemoto and Atsushi of all people came a little later to spar. At first I saw him and thought, aww shit, because he is so damn big and strong. But you know, doing P90X has really given me the stamina, speed and endurance to keep up with him better than before, at least until he traps me down in turtle with his weight. I actually had the power to take him down from a double-leg, which surprised the hell out of me.

I've also notice lately that I am moving back out of the grapple and really looking at where I am holding the opponent to prevent him from passing or to escape. Usually I just grab an arm or a foot and go but now I try to grasp the furthest point from the joint or lever for maximum leverage. For example, in half-guard I will never go under and grab the ankle but always the toes, if I try to move his arm I won't grab the meat of his forearm but hold the wrist. They are really small things and seem obvious when I think of it now but during sparring things do get blurry at times but I've found that I am more focused on little details to improve efficiency that I ever was before.