Thursday, 3 April 2014

Copa Barbosa 2014

I've been taking a lot of creatine along with doing P90X so it was difficult for me to drop any weight. I usually enter the under 76 kg category (Lightweight) but this time I went in the under 82 kg category (Middleweight). I've been hovering around 78 kg so it seemed OK for the tournament but on the day I weighed in at 76.5 kg. My opponent felt much bigger than me at around 80kg and I also entered the absolute division and the opponent was 95 kg in that one. That felt really big since there are not many bigger guys at my club and most of them hover around the under 70kg category. I'm used to dealing with speed and not size so much.

I felt really good on the morning and throughout the day. No nerves and I attribute this to the fact that I felt in really good condition from P90X. I was forearmed with the knowledge that my tank would last through the match and I could push the pace.
Thinking about the spider guard armbar here

Looking for the right moment to get the standing pass

During the first and only match of my category there were a lot of scrambles and movement with briefs stops as one of us played guard. I won the match basically from a standard straight leg spider guard sweep and then later on I passed the guard. I was also swept with an omoplata as I went for a standing closed guard break and allowed my arm to be free and grabbed after I broke the guard. The opponent was really good with this sweep as I saw him do it to another competitor later on. I really enjoyed the feeling of knowing I have the ability to sweep and get out of trouble of a larger stronger opponent.

K-sensei's guard work was great to watch
 During the open-class category, there were only 3 of us since 2 guys who were listed down never showed up so I got to face off against a 95 kg opponent in the finals. He was very decisive in his passing and just seemed to power straight through the lasso spider hook I had, I re-guarded twice. The second time was when I was in side control, I managed to bridge and get to half-guard then he used a knee cutter pass with his far leg posted. I could not slip out the back and F-sensei later told me to underhook his posting leg and switch my hips to sweep him to the side. I will work on this during Sunday morning practice.
Kondo-san on the right had some good battles

I believe that working out every morning for the last 6 weeks (P90X) and doing Sunday morning 2 hour drills has really helped me to get better and get my first win as a purple belt in a tournament. I've been a purple belt for just over a year so really needed to finally get a win against a person at my rank to really feel like I deserve to be a purple belt myself. It was also nice getting a medal from Marco Barbosa!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

On the Mat Day 474: Sleep - The best medicine

It's more comfortable than it looks
I felt completely broken down yesterday evening. I did Plyometrics in the morning and barely got through it. Tendons in both my knees were aching (so I wore my handy knee bands to keep them in place) and for some reason I had a pain in my hip from slightly over-extending it while walking of all things! By the time 8:30 pm rolled around I was ready to hit the sack. I ate a quick bowl of granola then tried to sleep but had indigestion from the granola - was stupid to eat so close to the time I would lie down. I did eventually manage to sleep though and woke around 7.30 am.

I probably got around a 10 hour sleep and it was amazing how different I felt after it. My energy was really high and most of my aches and pains had gone away. I like to think that my body had repaired itself with Wolvernine-esque powers in the night because that was what it felt like.

I pushed hard through P90X Back and Biceps then with sweat still on my brow I took off to the dojo. It was drizzling outside so maybe it caused less people to turn up for training but in all there were 5 of us. The other guys were fairly low level so I just let them manhandle me and work on my escapes. It was apparent to me that my back escapes are the worst of the lot. It is really hard to escape an opponent you aren't facing. Other than this I had very little trouble escaping because the guys in the morning leave lots of gaps and make lots of mistakes. I also sparred a couple with K-sensei, even managing to catch him in a knee-bar which I applied with care. If I ever go for any type of leg-lock, my opponent's health is always priority over the tap. He commented that I seemed to be in good form today - Yup that's what 10 hours sleep will do for you! Hopefully I can take this condition with me to the tournament on Sunday.

Monday, 24 March 2014

On the Mat Day 473: Marco Barbosa back in Japan

I'm feeling exhausted right now. I woke up at 6.30 am stayed in bed for about half an hour, fading in and out of sleep, then woke up and did P90X. My chest and arms were really pumped after it but they also felt like lead at Jits training today. I've been seriously thinking about escapes a lot recently and really buckling down and mastering them. I usually go to the club and have in my head that when I spar with white belts and such I will let them pass and then work escapes. The thing is my ego usually gets the better of me and I end up not doing that OR they are so easy to sweep that there is little time to work on my stuff from bottom. Today thought I really bit down and worked hard to put myself in bad positions to escape from. There were even some instances where I swept but didn't come up so could continue working escapes. Sunday's 2 hour drill sessions are helping a lot, I wish I had that time from the very beginning. If I ever teach BJJ in the future I will have at least a loose curriculum starting with escapes for the first few months.

Marco Barbosa arrived in Japan last week and held a seminar on the 21st. I couldn't go due to work but will attend his tournament here. I think this year they are planning to keep it small in numbers because the last one went on for quite a while and everyone seemed exhausted. I'm certainly feeling stronger and my cardio is much better due to doing P90X. I'm at around day 33 right now so it will be interesting to see if this new found strength and energy will help me do well finally at purple belt.

Monday, 17 March 2014

P90X Week 4 Done

Things have been up and down lately. The months at the end of the financial year are busy for me right now plus I caught a cold. I still kept working at p90X though. I took 1 day off it and made it up on the rest day instead. I've not been able to get to training BJJ as much as I wanted but now the weather is warming up I feel my mood lift and hope to train more from now.

I went to the early morning 7 am drilling session yesterday. There was only 3 of us there including me, I hate odd numbers because it made us rotate which means I get less practice time. For that reason, I didn't really get to do as much as I would have liked. Last weeks tech was Darce chokes and this week we are doing knee on the belly. F-sensei showed KOB to mount and then to rear mount when the opponent turns. It was fun and should make some good drills.

I really didn't feel like training today, lots of DIY on the weekend lowered my immune system and I had an attack of the dreaded cold sores. I still went and trained. I asked a doctor I train with and he said its find to roll with them since probably everyone has the virus in their body anyway. I'm just one of the unlucky ones that shows symptoms.

Doing the P90X weights workout from 7 am then going to Jits at 11 am really knackered me out. I will take some ZMA tonight and hopefully get a super fantastic sleep for Plyometrics tomorrow morning.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

P90X Week 2

Work has been busy this week so I didn't get much time besides Monday and Sunday (today) to train jiu-jitsu but I kept pushing play with P90X. The muscle ache that was almost chronic from the first week has disappeared and I feel much stronger. I added a few reps to my score sheets so was very happy about that. During Legs and Back I also felt that my legs have a bit more endurance and today when doing BJJ drills for leg drag passes my legs did not feel tired at all. P90X is slowly starting to whip me in shape.

I've been trying to eat better. It's never easy but I work on it and realize it is just as if not more important than the exercise portion on this schedule. I've been eating a lot of eggs and fish. Bought some almond milk and soya milk too. I've also been eating a lot of vegetables and apples. I could eat more I know. I wish I could cut out sugar from my diet entirely but I get cravings for cookies some times during the week and weaken especially when I have a lot of translation work to get through. I've also started drinking green tea and plan to replace my coffee intake with it.

Here are some pics of what I've been eating.
Mashed up Tuna omelette

Whitefish, vegs and rice

Mackerel donburi (tastes like unagi-don) and veg soup

Scrambled egg on home made bread and green tea in a true British mug

Monday, 24 February 2014

P90X Week 1

I've been feeling like I need to get in shape for some time now. Christmas made me eat a lot of bad food and put on about 2 kg in weight so I needed to do something. That's where P90X comes in.

I got through the 1st week and it wasn't easy - oh no. Chest and Back gave me incredibly painful pectoral pain that lasted about 3 days, then Plyometrics and Legs and Back made my legs feel like jelly. I noticed when drilling leg drag passes last week that my legs tired quickly so hopefully these workouts will remedy that. I have lost a lot of muscular endurance over the years. I don't know whether this is through lack of weightraining or simply aging but I seemed much better when I first did P90X when I was in my 30s.

I also did the entire 1 hour 30 mins of Yoga and you know what, it felt really good and I enjoyed it. It was a much needed recovery. I also did KenpoX, how I hate that workout. Not because it's hard but because it feels so fake to me. That should have been either a boxing workout or a jiu-jitsu workout.

I also trained 3 times this week. Friday night was hard because I was exhausted and sparred with a guy who has just started but looks like a sumo wrestler weighing in at I'd say easily over 100 kg. God damn he was heavy but I surprised myself by triangling him - even with my short-ass legs!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

On the Mat Day 460: Self Defence Class

F-sensei has started a basics/self-defence class every Thursday which I am happy to attend. It fills a huge gap in my skill because I never got to really work on the basics and instead was plunged into sparring with the other guys from the get go. I figured that some day I will probably teach BJJ to someone if not have my own club so will need to brush up on the fundamentals of jiu-jitsu.

Position obtained after leg over kesa-gatame escape
The theme of the day was kesa-gatame starting from a standing position in a headlock position. Which is kind of like kesa-gatame but standing and I'd never really thought about it that way. We did two escapes, the first was block the punching hand and come out the back holding the opponents arm in a shoulder lock, the other was to lock against his far hip and roll into him to bring him down. F-sensei mentioned that Japanese people don't really headlock people in a fight but its common among foreigners. I laughed. It is sort of true. Japanese people rarely fight full stop and when they do its usually drunk businessmen flinging their briefcases around.

We moved on to kesa-gatame (head control) escapes and did the roll them over escape, and leg over head escape. After that, we did the kesa-gatame (under armpit control) - kuzure kesa gatame - and used either push to the face and leg over or the one Rickson Gracie taught my instructor which is to frame against their nearest collar and shrimp out. I asked him what to do against this and he told me to follow them with my backside pushing into their legs/backside to flatten them back out. There is also the armbar there if you are fast enough to kick your leg over the framing arm. Today was a lesson with a lot of great basic techniques that I need to polish.

Friday, 24 January 2014

On the Mat Day 453: My Favourite Friday Morning Workouts

Yes that's Kurt Osiander on the cover! Handsome devil that he is.
I've been really busy this week with work and stepping onto the mat to relieve some of that pressure felt really good. I notice that when I have a lot of built up pressure my movement seems better from the warmup until the end. It's probably my body just wanting to be free of the computer desk and chair I have to sit in to do translation work.

It's been so cold lately that I've started to wear my old wrestling boots or I get terrible chilblains. It was worse from Sunday after spending 2 hours on the mat my feet were like blocks of ice. When my feet start to thaw out the blood in the vessels apparently seeps through the skin causing chilblains and it is so unbelievably painful. Since I started wearing boots my feet have been great. They always say that in the army you need to keep good care of your feet or you're fucked. This fact applies to anything really.

After F-sensei taught us dela Riva to sitting guard sweeps, we sparred a little then he asked me if I wanted to buy the latest Jiu-Jitsu Nerd addition. I don't always read it all since it is mostly filled with competition results but I like to support my community so I bought a copy for 500 yen. They are quite good quality and full of colour pictures. This is a far cry to the old COMBAT magazines I used to buy as a kid where the ink would rub off on my fingers.

Oh and here are some pics when the guys from GRIP Jiu Jitsu came to visit us.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

On the Mat Day 451: Pure Action Without Thought

I woke at 6.30 this morning and went to the drilling class until 9 am. There were 6 of us in total turned up. One of the older guys, he's in his 50s turned up for maybe the first time along with the regulars. It was a decent turn out considering the dojo was hovering around 2 degrees Celsius i.e. god damn cold.

I partnered up with Kondo and mainly focused on 2 things: Omoplata and Berimbolo
I've always liked the lasso spider guard and am working on ways to move forward with it when the opponent stuffs my attack. This mostly comes in the form of them pushing with their knee to release my hooking foot. What I do now is to either transition into a de la Riva hook and then berimbolo or lasso on the other side and also hook under his hamstring to sweep on the other side. I practiced this counter a lot today so that I can eventually do it without thought. As in the title of this post, I am looking to master some counter techniques that I can pull of without even thinking about it by responding to triggers. The trigger in this case is the knee coming up to remove my hook. When I see that, it's my GO sign to transition. I'm trying to discover these signs that tell me to move and really visualize it so that I make my response without thinking, kind of like a hypnotist would do with a click of the fingers I guess.

I also practiced lapeloplata, baratalata, and continued omoplata when the opponent jumps over since I get countered with these.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

On the Mat Day 448: Don't care about the outcome

Last night I really felt like I had finally earned the right to wear the purple belt. Not because I was dominating or showed mad skillz but because I felt I had chipped away some more at what lies beneath to expose the true essence of BJJ. Most of the time I over consider what will happen during sparring. Thoughts go through my head such as - that guy looks strong, this guy is competing a lot, that white belt knows judo and will probably beat the snot out of me standing, etc. This makes me tense and unaware of what exactly my opponent is doing because I am too much on the defensive. How many times does the little voice in your head say "No fucking way is that lower belt gonna tap me tonight." I'm sure we all have these thoughts. The thing is they are destructive and at the least will make you not try new techniques and in the worst case scenario will make you quit because you cannot take the mental pressure any more.

Last night I just simply didn't give a shit about the outcome of any of the rolls. And you know what, it made me so relaxed that my senses heightened so that I could feel exactly when to move and when my opponent had made a mistake, either gave me space or left a limb or neck exposed. I also became more observant and could anticipate their movements. It was quite an eye-opener for me. It also had the added benefit of reserving energy so that to some people it may look like I have a lot of stamina when in fact the opposite is true.

To really do jiu-jitsu, and to me that means do it economically, you really need to relax and stop forcing position. For example, constantly hammering an opponent with the same pass is not jiu-jitsu, you have to react to how he is moving and adjust on the fly. Forcing into him to flatten him out in side control is not jiu-jitsu. You need to flow around, take the back, not meet him head on, especially if he is bigger and stronger than you.

Flow like water

Sunday, 22 December 2013

On the Mat Day 444: Sunday Morning at 7 am

I went to bed rather too late last night at 1 am but still somehow managed to get up at 6.30 am and head to the dojo. Doing jiu-jitsu or for that matter any live combat sport really makes you good at coping with Resistance. When I saw "Resistance" I mean the type of voice in your head that tells you not to do things that are good for you as described in the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's a short book but it has made me realize when Resistance kicks in. It's 6.30 am, freezing cold, the dojo will be like a ice box, my body still aches from this week, I've only slept for 5 or so hours, I should stay in bed, I deserve it - that's Resistance.

6 of us in total turned up so the numbers were great for drilling in pairs. I just kept going for the full 2 hours. Every 3 minutes we take turns to do the techniques we want to work on. I did a lot of different things just mostly techniques I'm interested in using and also spots where I've had problems during sparring and trying to figure out the best thing to do. I think this is the way to go for improvement. For the last 4 years all I've done is learn technique and spar, there has been no middle ground. This early morning training is really helping me to change gear and polish some weak areas while improving on my best techniques.

Friday, 20 December 2013

On the Mat Day 442: Working on Guard Defense

I think I may have come to another stage of my BJJ training on Wednesday night. My plan was to be observant and see how people would pass my guard. Since there are only a finite number of ways a person passes the guard and it's also dependent on what guard you play, I thought it would be a good idea to preemptively watch for their grips and then move myself into a pattern to block their pass. Until now, all I've done is go on instinct, try to get my knees and legs in between our bodies and straighten back up but it's not always possible to do this, especially with the x-pass.

I'm at the moment trying to develop sensitivity towards my opponent's grips so that I can move my body into the correct position. For example, if they do the bullfighter pass, I sit up, push their closest elbow and hip away. This means I have to be more aware of how they put their hands on me. I've not really given enough thought to this which is why I am often late in shrimping or scooting etc.

I really like the videos about working on guard defense by Ostap Manastyrski, he brings up a good point about too many people work too much on offense rather than defense from the guard.

Friday, 13 December 2013

On the Mat Day 440: Wahey its Friday Morning Class

I went training in the morning today expecting a Furukawa to turn up so we can practice berimbolo again but he didn't show. There was just F-sensei, Tanaka and I. F-sensei showed us how to pass the knee shield with your arm entwined between the legs and grabbing the pants of the lower leg at the thigh area. The pass mainly involved dropping your shoulder and head to the ground and then passing low to the side or jumping over to the back. I like these passes, they're simple and effective.

After sparring a couple of times with sensei I asked him about when I'm turtled and a strong opponent is over me with their arms around me and under my armpits. Of course they can't attack from here but it's a dangerous place to be in a real fight where you can just keep eating knees to the head ala Pride style. He told me to grab the wrist of the far arm and switch out to the opposite side to roll the opponent on their side, then use my free arm to grab over his body to make sure he can't take my back then turn to north south. He also told me to switch out before the opponent contacts his hands and to keep turtling and switching a couple of times until I am free. It seems like a good drill to do solo so will implement this. Come to think of it, I should also do the head into crotch and buck them up and turn them. Sometimes though I'm just too dog tired my brain doesn't think. This is where I need my body to take over so will drill this on Sunday morning several hundred times.

This was the 4th lesson for me this week which is super rare that I train at this frequency. I'm a little tired but think that I could probably go train tonight as well...but that's the version of me who is single and has no kids.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

On the Mat Day 438: Brown Belt Visitor

I did a lot of DIY work yesterday in the house that mostly had me crawling around in the space under my roof but I still felt good going to class. Sho-kun, who is a purple belt with us, was there and I hadn't seen him for a long time. I think his background is in Judo and he works as a fireman so seldom gets time off to come train. A few guys turned up later and there was a younger guy who came from Paraestra since he was in town and knew F-sensei he came to visit.

F-sensei showed us a few ways to pass the knee shield which I will practice more but it is never easy to get past it.

During sparring, I think I sparred with everyone and had a fairly OK time of it but could not pull off the Berimbolo but managed to get a lapeloplata that I have been working on. The visitor asked me to spar and that's when I just felt my energy drain out of me. I just hit a wall. He looked young and not so strong but with his experience and technique, he just manhandled me but he did it very efficiently and smoothly. I saw him do the same thing with Kawai-san. I hope to someday achieve a level where I can roll and be extremely technical and always be one step ahead of my training partner. I feel that to take it to the next level I am doing enough BJJ but I also need to get better sleep (go to bed early and wake up earlier) and also have a cleaner diet, which is something that is so hard to do this time of year.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

On the Mat 437: Uchikomi Time on the Open Mat

Yoshida-san started a class from 7-9 am every Sunday morning. It's basically an open mat session in which the clock goes off every 3 minutes and during that time you get to drill whatever you want. Then you switch with your partner.

I arrived a little late at around 7:10 am and there were already a few people there. Yoshida, Kondo, Morita and Spunky. Later on Atsushi and Ogiyama for a total of seven. Up until now only Yoshida and Kondo have been doing these drills in the morning and it shows. That's why I think many more of us are starting to turn up, because we see how effective this training can be. Up until now all I've done is sparring. But you never of seldom get feedback from your rolling partner. Doing this type of open training ensures that you have time to not only get feedback but can work out problems you are coming up against together. There is much more time to talk about techniques and cement them into your mind and body.

Here is a list of some things I worked on:

knee slicer pass
Sitting guard
Deep half guard
Lasso spider to berimbolo
Berimbolo to mount, back or leg drag pass
Lasso spider to Amazon sweep
KOB to armbar/darce combination

I think I probably did too much and should concentrate on 1 specific thing. It might be even good to even reduce it to 1 pass, 1 throw, 1 sweep, 1 submission OR just work combinations from 1 guard. It's certainly interesting and shows me holes in my techniques, especially when someone comes over and asks me what to do in some situation. I'm not used to teaching so my explanations are very rough.

Friday, 6 December 2013

On the Mat Day 436: Passing Lasso Spider Guard

Continuing the passing guard theme, F-sensei showed us what to do against an opponent when they have the lasso spider guard on you. He said it was important to first remove the standard spider guard hold then work on the lasso hold. One of the better techniques I could do was this:
Shuffle backwards so the opponent comes up on their backside then quickly do a steering wheel turn so their leg with the standard spider hold touches the mat, use your closest foot to pin that leg to the mat and pull up to remove that grip. Use the hand you just released on their lasso spider leg and, placing it on their ankle with a C-grip hold, move that side leg back and bring the foot of their lasso hold down and against your knee. Push your knee forward to pop out the lasso hold and push their foot past your arm to the outside. You can then switch to a knee cutter pass from there.

There were 3 other members besides myself today. During sparring, I find myself pissing about too much when locking on a triangle with my legs. Meanwhile, the opponent is either working hard to escape or suffering because I am an inch away from submission but cannot get it - I feel bad because I should be able to get it within seconds once it's on but sometimes can't, it's like a wounded animal in a trap and I've got no more bullets in my gun. I am improving slightly though. I either switch to armbar or omoplata, or hold the head and readjust my legs. I tried to squeeze my legs today to get the tap but didn't so had to eventually turn him over into top triangle.

At the end I spent what must have been 30 minutes with Furukawa-san doing Lapeloplata and Berimbolo. He was actually very good at it. I was impressed at how fast he caught on. On the other hand I feel clumsy doing it but this also is getting better little by little. I either take the back (rare), come up to leg drag pass (common) or mount (seldom). Hell, it's fun so I will keep doing it.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

On the Mat Day 435: Passing Spider Guard

F-sensei taught how to get out of spider guard. They either involved moving back from the opponent while bringing your elbows in tight, or getting the soles of his feet off your biceps and pushing into him to almost turn him over. I think the best pass for me is to grip the inside of the pants at the calf, pull my elbows in and shuffle backwards, allow their feet to drop down but not to the floor, swivel them on their backside and knee on belly them, switch the hands on the pants and underhook the head. This felt the most smooth for me to complete so I will use this.

There were many attendees, enough so that F-sensei decided to take a picture of us all. Atsushi brought along a friend from the police force who had judo experience. I also got to spar with Ito-san who is actually really tough. I could not sweep him with my favourite techniques and he either got me in an Ezekiel choke from side mount of a kimura. I tried the escapes from kimura but they didn't work for me, I need to refine it I guess. I think maybe I allowed him to get his grip too far on me.

Later on I tried to play around with Galaxy guard, lol at that name. I am also incorporating Berimbolo into my game and got some success with it. I actually like doing it and it causes me no back or neck problems.

It was a really fun night to train - I hope for many more.

Friday, 29 November 2013

On the Mat Day 433: Freezing My Feet Off

I've been busy translating a lot of work this week so was happy to finally get to class last night. The mats were so freezing I could hardly feel my toes. The other guys wear a soft sock-like wrestling boot but I go barefoot because I'm hardcore. I may just take my wrestling shoes though because it will get worse.

Yoshida, Kondo, Hajime and F-sensei were all there - the numbers are thinning due to the cold weather. Apparently nobody turned up to the Tsurumai dojo. Only the guys who truly love BJJ do it at this time of year here.

We went over omoplata and what to do when the opponent flips forward or tries to come across your head to the other side to escape. When he flips forward you can armbar or keep rolling forward into another omoplata, if he comes across then you block, grab his legs and roll him. I actually got an omoplata on sensei from full guard but he got out of it because I went for a wrist lock which gave him time to pop over the top of me. I've been wearing a mouth piece recently because I'm sick of getting smacked in the chops. Speaking of which, Yoshida took me down with a lapel wrap under my leg, I tried to flip my leg over the wrap but my foot smacked into his face and I thought I'd broken his nose. He probably should have kept his head high and hips forward while I should not have struggled too much to get back to guard and instead move to turtle then re-guard. I felt bad but shit happens.

Stephan Kesting made a video recently about the latest trend of using the lapels like a spider guard grip. I find it interesting especially since Teo, a black belt who comes to our gym now and again used something similar on me and I could not pass.

Friday, 22 November 2013

On the Mat Day 431: Working on my weaknesses

This week I went to class on both Tuesday and Wednesday. I never usually do consecutive days of training and was surprised at how my body held up and I was still energetic on the 2nd day. I guess it helps that I work from home now. I was so disappointed with my performance at the Rickson Cup that it makes me want to train more. I feel a burning desire to improve.

After sparring with everyone on Wednesday, I asked Kaba-san to hold me down in his closed guard and work submissions while I break free. This was to mimic the situation I failed to get out of during the tournament. Seldom do people at our club use closed guard except myself and maybe K-sensei so I need to increase the opportunity for me being in this position to work on breaking out of it. I worked on several breaks, one with a label overwrap to Wilson Hayes pass, the Barbosa closed guard break that uses both grips on the pants and elbows deep into the opponent's thighs, and also a standard break where I control one of the opponent's hand, stand up and open his legs. I've also been looking at other breaks to add to my repertoire, particularly standing since they have the most probability of success. I was, however, unsuccessful doing the log splitter break.

After class I did a few minutes of techniques with Morita-san and asked F-sensei about escapes from kimura and americana locks. Some of the bigger white belts in our gym go for these often and I expend too much energy preventing it so was looking for a more efficient method - F-sensei showed us some good principles to escape it. During sparring I also did well to escape a kneebar by rolling and kicking at the my opponent's backside to loosen the hold - it worked! Usually I have been too slow at doing this and tap.

I've also been working on the fake guard ankle picker takedown as used by Gui Mendes after seeing him use it at the Rickson Cup. I hit the technique last night and it seems high percentage if done correctly with good speed.

Click HERE to see the ankle pick done at the Rickson Gracie cup.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Rickson Gracie Cup 2013

I must say that I have no excuse for how badly this tournament went for me. I was well rested, I had no significant injuries, and I was not at all nervous. There were 5 people in my category of lightweight purple belt senior 1 and I lost the first match. I watched later on as the other 4 guys stood on the podium to accept their medals and it was a bitter pill to swallow. Worse than that though was my performance. My goal was to stand with my opponent for 1 minute, try some takedown then if this didn't work I would go to sitting guard and x-guard for sweeps. The fact that as soon as we clinched my opponent jumped straight into closed guard blew all of those plans out of the water.

I should not have been so naive. There is a huge probability that past white belt, the other guy will jump to closed guard or open guard. Since I was in the Senior category I should have immediately went to the position I prefer and worked for sweeps. It was a huge mistake. I ended up stuck in his closed guard while he went for chokes and kept my posture broken and the clock kept ticking. I was stupid enough to reach too far for his collar and he switched it to an armbar from the side which I had to flip forward to escape but this gave him a sweep and then the time ran out. My grips were just not in place as soon as they should have been. There's really very little room for error at this level. I felt like a newbie.

I was even more pissed off by the comment from my instructor in which he asked me what the hell I was trying to do and then went on to counter compare it to other members of our club who had been successful during their matches. As a parent I know you should never say such things to your child that compare them to their siblings so it surprised me that he would compare me like that. It made me think about him in a darker light.

I reflected on this a little later on. Recently I read a medical related document about how you perceive your boss at work. It asked if you think your boss doesn't give appropriate instructions, whether he does not listen to what you say, if you think he is not competent and if you are unhappy that he doesn't ask you to do some type of task, it then went on to explain that if you answered "Yes", then you should not have any excessive expectations of your boss, he is not your parent, but just another human and you have to establish a give and take relationship. In terms of a BJJ instructor, this means that he is there to show you techniques but what you do with them is up to you. I cannot put any of my failures onto my instructor and need to take responsibility for my improvements in BJJ. I've decided to give more thought to how I want to improve, the techniques I want to use, perhaps drop a weight class, and do some cross training or visit other gyms to get a fresh approach. I will be quite stubborn about it from now on and have a more critical eye during sparring,

A guy I train with mentioned something about Jigoro Kano. He said that he believed 4 things were essential to Judo.

1, Studying the movement or forms
2. Uchikomi
3. Sparring
4. Research (talking with other students in depth about techniques and situations)

He has a judo background and mentioned how he liked the fact that BJJ has these components that Kano said were important but Judo doesn't seem to have them now. I think that 4 in BJJ is definitely true because there are so many new guards and moves coming out all the time.