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.

Monday, 28 April 2014

On the Mat Day 486: Overtrained

Since last week I've been feeling overtrained. This has manifested itself in the fact that I've been quite tired on waking up in the morning even after getting enough sleep (think 8 hours). P90X no longer seems fun and I constantly tell myself to stay in bed or skip a day - but I don't. To remedy this I need to either sleep more, eat better or train less jiu-jitsu (3-4 times a week now) on top of P90X. Since I only have just over 3 weeks until I complete P90X I will just keep moving forward with it but try to not push too hard with jiu-jitsu i.e. roll lighter or less.

At class today I was so dog tired I almost talked myself into not going. There were a few guys turned up though so I got in 3 rounds of sparring after doing closed guard breaks (Barbosa and Wilson Reis pass). I've also been working on drop seionage from the Takedown Blueprint DVD and having some success with it.

Monday, 21 April 2014

P90X Week 9

So I am into week 9. There are 4 weeks of alternating workout then the last week is a recovery week. Then I plan to move onto P90X2. My eating has not been very good this week. For some reason, when I hit the recovery week I tend to eat badly then when I train during the harder weeks I eat better. It feels like my body is moving down and up gears and demands better food. For the last 2 weeks I have been doing intermittent fasting but have decided to stop because I was incredibly irritable during the day and felt like I was losing strength and stamina while fasting. I just sort of felt like my engine was revving high with no fuel in the tank and something had to give if I didn't make amends.

I did Chest and Back this morning and felt really great. Despite waking up groggy and not feeling like I could push out a single push up, I got through the workout and added a couple of reps to each exercise. I actually felt really strong like my body was just taking over and doing the reps without being connected to my mind which was telling me to stop. It was a really great feeling. I completed the workout and went to look in the mirror. I'm not ripped or anything but I feel and look a hell of a lot stronger than I did at the beginning. I still hate AbRipper X though.

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.