Friday, 25 March 2016

On the Mat Day 734: Teaching Back Escapes

I really enjoy teaching escapes since we have a lot of white belts at our club right now. It's something I wanted to do more when I first started along with specific sparring so I want to give the new guys more tools to survive.

I had everyone drill RNC, collar choke and armbar from the back just to warm up then I taught some escapes. These were:
1. Look for crossed legs and submit with an ankle lock (more of a reminder about this than an escape)
2. Sliding down escape (listed in BJJ University page 53)
3. Double hand (like holding a baseball bat) grip on one arm before they get a grip and lock it then hip switch out. (see video below)
4. Brandon Mullins escape where he walks and switches his hips to either come to side or stay in half-guard.



After this I did 10 mins of specific sparring split into 5 rounds. I like this part the best and think it is a good pre-cursor to all-out sparring.


I'm currently nursing an MCL injury and still have neck issues. It seems to be getting better slowly. I am pondering whether to enter the Dumau tournament in May. It's been a whole year since I competed. I've also been trying to eat differently. For a long time I have known about Mark Sissons and his Primal Blueprint but about a month and a half ago I started to incorporate more fat into my diet and drop sugars. Of course there are bad days where I weaken but that generally doesn't get too crazy then I get right back onto eating fats. I eat things like avocado, macadamia nuts, walnuts, camembert cheese, coconut oil, lard, coconut milk and very rarely eat bread and milk. This has made a large impact on my feeling of fullness after eating and I don't really get any carb crashes where I have no energy and want to sleep (this does happen sometimes but it has more to do with having 3 kids). I started at 73.4 kg and today I weighed myself at 71.5 kg. My weight actually went to 70.9kg after training BJJ one day last week. The way of eating (I hate the word Diet) seems like a good way to slowly and safely lose weight. I would ideally like to get to 68 kg for the pena weight category.  

Friday, 26 February 2016

BJJ Day 724: Side Escapes and Attacks

I have a confession. I am not very good at escaping side mount. Instead I rely on not getting side mounted by using good guard work and turtling when needed. There are still times when I get crushed though but those are not as frequent as when I was just starting. Oh that was a hell of a time back as a white belt, suffering under someone's side control. With that in mind I taught this lesson unsure how it would go and whether I would be able to do an effective job of teaching it.
This is what I taught:

Drills:Side mount prevention
1. Opp throws legs to side of person on bottom who frames, shrimps then re-guards.
2. Opp again throws legs, but there is little room to re-guard, person on bottom underhook escapes.
3. Same scenario, guarder frames and person moves their arm over top to which guarder responds by pushing the arm and moving out the back door (Marcelo Garcia escape)

For a great video on drills, see below. These were very helpful for my class.



2 Escapes:
1. Ghost escape (which is my go to escape, particularly versus half-guard head-down passing)
2. Underhook escape

2 Attacks
1. Far side lapel sling to kimura
2. Far side lapel sling to ezekiel choke

We then did 10 minutes of specific sparring in side control.

I don't know about the people who attended but I enjoyed the class. More and more I feel like I get more out of teaching than maybe the students do. Everything seems to click better in my mind. All the techniques I had that were swimming around inside my brain are now being compartmentalized.

Last week I sprained my MCL. It's an old injury come back to haunt me. I have to be very easy with it so am trying deep half guard which I am terrible at, because it allows me to keep my legs away from the opponent and not get twisted akwardly, thereby further damaging my MCL. Injuries suck so much.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

BJJ Day 718: Sensitivity

Big class Friday - my teaching is still a work in progress
I keep thinking about BJJ a lot recently now that I have to teach it. Particularly what white belts need to learn so they don't have to go through some of the rough patches I went through. After much pondering I simply don't think there are any short cuts. However, there are a few things you can do to accelerate your learning. You can do drill work but it must be geared in such a fashion that it is exactly what you need to be working on. In the past I've tried to drill techniques I will probably never use and went away from the session feeling like I wasted my time. Here is what I think you should prepare for a drilling session.

1. Take notes on every position in which your situation worsened during regular sparring for a set period of time (a week or month depending on how often you train).
For example, you could not escape side mount, your single/double leg tackles are always getting stuffed, you are being passed easily by the bullfighter pass, etc, etc. The list can go on.
2. Give priority to the ones that happen the most or you are frustrated with.
3. Drill the position for a month then have a trusted partner do positional sparring with you slowly increasing the pressure.
4. Doing the same technique over and over again will get boring so associated 10% of the drilling session to techniques that you feel are "cool" or want to maybe develop but are probably low percentage for your body type or persona. i.e. In my case this would be flying armbars, berimbolo, imanari roll.

Don't just turn up at a drilling session without a plan and then follow what everyone else is doing or just think "Hey, x-guard is cool. Let me try some of that." Work on what you need but above all make it simple.

Drilling will help in the long run. I know it works because I've seen how judo is trained over here in Japan. The most important thing I believe, however, is sensitivity. If you want to improve a certain position then you have to jump right into it every round of sparring. Say you are working on spider lasso guard, get into the position each time and react to your opponent's movement. There will be times that you fail and he will pass but you must analyze it (don't forget to ask your rolling partner) so that next time you register that moving that way or going down that path will lead him to passing you. Chose a different option at that point and see how it works out. Sensitivity is about feeling. It's about knowing what will happen before it does. It's like having spider senses because you have been in that position so many times. This can't be taught to white belts, they simply have to go through their dues and experience it.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

BJJ Day 717: Aching Knee

This week has been really cold but it feels like we are finally getting into spring. The thing is, my body seems to hurt more during this season and after Friday's lesson I felt my knee begin to stiffen up along the inside tendon. There was nothing that comes to mind during the class that hurt me so I've put it down to some freak twisting action that I never noticed while my body was warm. The worst injuries generally happen for the most mundane reasons. It's hard for me to bend right now so I was considering taking it easy and not training today but eventually went off to the dojo. James also contacted me to say he was injured. Weakness in the arm from weird nerve pain or something.

I still plan to teach mount escapes/attacks on Friday focusing on chokes this time and lower percentage escapes but something that may be useful. I'm trying to emphasize techniques that would have helped me as a white belt. Soon I will have to teach the dreaded side control escapes so not sure how that will go down as it has never been my strength. It should be a good opportunity for me to research it more though.

Friday, 29 January 2016

BJJ Day 712: Teaching Turtle

I'm continuing to add warm up drills that I think are important as fundamental for the turtle guard or when you are turtled in a transition from an escape. These were:

1. Granby roll when the opponent has not completed the seat belt clinch on you
2. Switching as in wrestling when the opponent is in front of you on top and you are turtled
3. Rolling over the opponent using the most basic turtle roll when the opponent has the seatbet clinch on you and it is tight.

Gaining sensitivity and timing in these 3 techniques will help you get out of trouble fast when turtled.

For techniques I taught 2 sweeps and 2 attacks.
The attacks were the clock choke and crucifix armbar from top.
The sweeps/escapes were grabbing the pants and turning into closed guard/butterfly guard and also the full roll over sweep when the opponent has the collar and going for a collar choke.

I ended the class with 10 minutes of 2 minute rounds with one person turtled and the other on top so we could practice some of the techniques shown. It was basically specific sparring to give everyone a chance versus a resisting opponent. I find it best if this is not done at 100% strength but allowing the opponent to get a good position and test for any holes.

James was at the class today and 2 white belts so it was a big help to have him branch off and work with one of them. I think it is always important to have a coloured belt paired with a white belt to give them pointers. I also really enjoy the specific sparring and taking the emphasis off rolling to win and placing it on rolling to work technique and also help your partner. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

BJJ Day 710: Teaching Turtle Attack and Defence

Turtle defence and the attacks is something I've wanted to get to grips with myself. With that in mind I decided to teach this aspect of BJJ for the next 2 sessions. I've always loved how Telles innovated the turtle guard and wanted to emulate some of his skill. I've also wanted for a long time to improve my crucifix. My preparation to teach these has really made me break down the techniques and both understand and memorize them much better.

At the beginning of the class I did a warmup drill with a standing passer simply throwing the legs of the person in guard to one side. The guarder turtles then does a Granby roll to return to open guard. I think the Granby roll is an important technique for any guard player to learn and it should be drilled as often as possible. I then moved on mixing attacks using the clock choke and crucifix and showed reversals using the trap and roll variations as well as reguarding. I think it's important to show both aspects of the technique you are studying. Finally, after the techniques I set the timer to 2 minutes and had one person turtle while the other attacked. We had to use the techniques covered but not go full out 100% strength. Instead help each other but give some resistance. I think this is super important to solidify the techniques covered in class.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Judo Day 14: Sore Everything

I met an old friend last night back from Australia for a week and went out for a few drinks to a British pub. He is such a c**t and took like forever to order me a drink or go to the toilet. :) (Inside joke and not true). It was good to catch up. Good to see you again Jim! However, this morning I was paying for it with a splitting headache and thought to myself "Uh huh, no way I'm training judo today".

I did a few things around the house and tried to recover. I've been looking at throws a lot recently and have come to love how beautiful a well executed throw is. The more I kept watching them on the computer today, the more I wanted to go and train. I'm also going to teach Turtle defence and attacks on Friday so wanted to see what the judo boys would do to me when I gave them the turtle position.

I of course ended up going to train (still a little worse for wear) and totally enjoyed it. Although, training was a bit rough for some reason. Maybe the cold because I couldn't feel my feet. I felt like I broke them a few times as they bent the wrong way a couple of times but no...they are still intact and fully functioning. Against turtle, the judo boys never really attacked me from the side even though I kept turning that way so I could sweep them. I either sat back into closed guard or butterfly guard or had to do a sit out because they would never attack me from the side. A few times I forced them to turtle so I could attack them. They just pancake out most of the time so I easily caught them in a calf crank. I know its illegal in judo but on the floor it's fair game for me since I meet them on their field while standing later on. I caught one in a crucifix but he wouldn't tap so I didn't want to put it on too heavy. I could not get a clock choke, they hunker down too tight leaving no gaps.

I feel beaten up now because I did almost the entire class and 8 rounds of standup sparring at the end. I usually do 5 or 6 at the most. I need a good sleep tonight because James and I will do some drills from 10am before class tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Judo Day 13: Back to Training

I feel a little off. Poor timing and winded easier after only a week of no grappling over the holidays. I hope to build my stamina this year and improve on stand up more than ever and become more efficiency in jiu-jitsu. I am also very interested in movement, namely the MovNat workouts and Ido Portal. I've considered weight training but I think a more natural approach using body weight is probably best for me now at my age. With that in mind I went with my daughters the other day to the park where there are some hanging rings and pull up bars and messed around a bit. I've lost a lot of strength with pull ups and can't do many now. I think I need to work out a sequence of movements I can do in the park and get my arse out of bed in the morning and do it.

This kind of thing!



Today at Judo I got some tips from a very strong black belt on uchi-mata. He showed me what I was doing wrong and then informed me that it is risky to use it in BJJ (he also does BJJ) because of people going to single legs or taking you down with tani-otoshi. I still like the throw and enjoy the mechanics of it. It seems like a great technique to strengthen the upper body. I was also trying to get kosoto-gari a lot and managed to on lower level people. It seems like a good technique for BJJ after seeing Kondo-san use it a lot.

F-sensei asked me to teach and I told him I could do so on Friday morning. So from hereon I will teach the Friday morning class. I want to do things a little different, fewer techniques to drill and more focus on specific sparring. Also, more focus on escapes and survival for white belts. Basically, I want to cover stuff that I felt frustrated with as a white belt.

Good times.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Judo Day 12: Foot Sweeps

I wasn't aware that Judo would start 30 minutes earlier today so arrived just for the last round of newaza. I was a bit bummed by that because I wanted to practice hiding the arm and neck against cross-facing when an opponent comes around for side control.

Still it was good training and I enjoyed it a lot. I asked Kumagai-san, who is one of the older guys who comes to train at the dojo, for advice on uchi-mata. He showed me the correct hand position. It seemed different to what F-sensei taught me so I am beginning to believe that like BJJ, Judo has small variations depending on who you ask.

During sparring I landed an outer foot sweep (kosoto gari) against one of the black belts and both of us were completely shocked. It was so well time and I don't even remember thinking about it. In fact, I have no idea where it came from. This gives me hope in the fact that I can perfect this technique because it is very useful in BJJ. I used it a few times after that on the white belts to test it by pulling them hard to make them move back so their front foot becomes light and easy to sweep.

Monday, 14 December 2015

BJJ Day 697: Requested to Teach

I'd finished up most of my work over the weekend so on a spur of the moment idea I decided to go to class this morning. I'm glad I did. Expecting to see only one or two people attend I was pleasantly surprised to see Matt and Yuki come through the door. They both are strong and give me a good roll. There was also a new guy attending, which I'm happy to see as the club is flourishing better recently with an influx of new folk.

Matt and Me during class talking about the Darce choke (pic:Yuki)
Before class F-sensei came over and asked me if I could teach a class once per week starting in the new year. I was initially surprised because there are other guys at the club who easily outrank me or beat the crap out of me on the mat. I've never expressed an interest in teaching although I find it to be very important to evolve my own level of understanding. It makes me think more about the techniques and how better to train so I can help others not fall into the pitfalls I went through. Of course, I said yes and have yet to decide a time and day that best fits into my schedule.

Today we were taught hip bump escapes following into Kimura. It's a super basic but important submission chain that I must admit have failed to use effectively because I've stayed away from the kimura until now. I tried to hit it during a roll but grasped too high on the opponent's arm after the hip bump sweep. Just another reminder that the small details matter.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

BJJ Day 695: Teaching Nogi Chokes

Our bounenkai (end of year party) was on the weekend. It was good to go out with the guys for a drink and talk about BJJ in a relaxed atmosphere. I'm always comfortable out with guys from the club, there is no bravado or taking the piss out of each other, just conversation with mutual respect. After the party F-sensei asked me if I was available to teach on Wednesday and despite hating to train at night because of the cold and how hard it is for me to get to sleep after class (my brain just won't stop thinking about techniques) I said that of course I would teach.

Since summer I've been having some success with nogi chokes, especially the Japanese necktie so decided to focus on teaching those since I enjoy them a lot and find collar chokes a pain in the arse to get. I planned the lesson beforehand and taught the following techniques:

1. Warm up with 1 set of 10 double leg takedown

2. Basic standing guillotine (arm out) against double leg takedown
   -Counter to guillotine (arm out)
   -Von Flue choke versus stubborn opponent

3. Sprawl versus double leg takedown
   -Anaconda choke from sprawl position when opponent is not basing with leg
   -Peruvian necktie from sprawl

I suppose looking at this it was more of a lesson of nogi chokes versus a double leg takedown. I did not plan it with that it mind because I also wanted to add counters to these chokes and cover the Japanese necktie but there is never enough time.

Conclusions
----------
-There is never enough time to teach all the techniques you plan
-I found it easier to teach in broken up stages of a scenario i.e. Double leg takedown ->Guillotine->Guillotine counter->Von Flue choke sequence and I think it is easier for the student to absorb if the techniques have a natural flow like this.
-I did not focus enough on checking whether everyone was doing it correctly.
-Teaching reinforces the feeling in me that I need to focus on technique while rolling (if possible the technique I just taught) instead of having a win mentality where everything is simply scrambling and thoughtless movement.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

BJJ Day 689: First time teaching

K-sensei is away right now in Taiwan teaching for about a month because Makoto is coming back to Japan for a holiday. That means we only have F-sensei, the owner of the club, to teach classes. He also does some moonlighting at other gyms so asks a few of his higher belts to teach. In the past I've been to Yoshida-san's lesson on deep half-guard and a couple of others but this time he asked me to cover the class on Wednesday night.

For the lesson I decided to stick with what I know best, which is lasso spider guard. This guard has seen me through a few competitions and has been my go to technique when I really needed something. I planned the lesson our roughly on paper because I didn't want to half-ass it. In the end it didn't turn out exactly how I imagined it in my head.

Only 2 guys, Matt and Kaba-san, turned up to train. I was hoping for more of the beginners to come because a lot of them either just rely on their judo/takedown so never play guard or are guard players who are still green and unsure what to do. I think the spider/lasso guard is a really strong guard to play especially for beginners. It gives excellent control over the opponent, you can sweep, submit and also move into other guards seamlessly. At the end of the class I planned to do specific sparring at 1 min with one person taking a lasso grip and trying to use the techniques while the passer try to give 50% and attempts to free himself from the hooks. Unfortunately, there were not enough people and I ran out of time.

Things I noticed about teaching for the first time:
1. It is hard to explain a technique in detail even if you know how to execute it. This is especially applicable when teaching in a second language.
2. The time will go faster than you think so focusing on a smaller aspect of the guard is probably best. Example: What to do when the opponent performs a certain action. How to submit only from this position. Transitioning to other guards.
3. You have to have confidence in the technique you are teaching. If you teach a technique that you have never or seldom use, the student will pick up on this and it will show in your explanation because there will be less details that you can give.

Despite the crappy weather and low attendance it was a fun night. Some good sparring with Matt and Kaba-san of me trying to work out of bad positions mostly. Jiu-jitsu never gets easier but it always stays fun, or at least it should and if it doesn't, go find another sport like ping pong or something.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

BJJ Day 686: People come, people go

Thursday is my day to lick my wounds and recover. I do Judo on Tuesday then train BJJ on Wednesday morning. It's about today that I start to feel my age after working hard for the past 2 days to stay strong against the young guys I train with. It's an enjoyable sort of humming inside my muscles and bones soreness though and I think I might just take a nap after writing this to help my body recover. I can do that since I work for myself and this month has been very slow work-wise.

I've heard from people at the club and confirmed by my instructor that there have been a few people leaving recently. Tanaka-san who was the older 66 year old guy (he gave me hope for the future) decided to finally hang up his belt and quit BJJ. He has been plagued with a knee injury for quite some time. It's a real shame because I really liked seeing him on the mat and give it all for the 3 minutes that he sparred with me. Another person who has left is Chris. A Brazilian guy I have known since he was a blue belt. He lives in Toyota which is quite a drive away and decided to move to a closer gym. I think the gym near him has more Brazilian folks too. I don't blame him really. If there was a gym full of Brits, I would probably go there too. This month has also seen the return of Takuo who always beat the crap out of me when I was a white belt. I still have a slightly chipped tooth from his collar choke and will never forget the unpleasant feeling of tooth dust dispersing in my mouth. I've yet to spar with him but his long time off has apparently slowed him down. There were also a few white belts started recently, young and gamey. It's just an added incentive to polish my jiu-jitsu to the bare basics and strengthen my techniques.

This week I have been a little bit annoyed with myself. Take yesterday for example, I wanted to work escapes with the smaller white belts but it always ends up with me quickly sweeping them and getting a dominant position. I feel like I need to flop down on my back and let them go again. It's like I have the best intentions of letting them play their game and have their way with me so I can practice from bad positions but my body/brain simply refuses to let them. I don't know whether it operates out of instinct or spite to not let me improve inferior positions. I suspect it's part of the ego.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

On the Mat Day 681: Visitors

We had a few visitors last night at training. A guy called Dustin who lives in Alabama came with his wife to train with us. His wife is Japanese and they were visiting her family who live in Toyota City which is close by. He told me that he trains at a club called Triad Jiu Jitsu and that he was one of the smallest members. I wish I had been able to train most of my career with larger opponents. It would have made me more technical and less strength dependent. There are so many people at our club who are lower in weight and size than me and I am only 72 kg.

It was interesting to get a perspective on BJJ from a brown belt who comes from not just another club but from another country. We sparred a single round (I'm only allowing myself 3 rounds right now to heal my neck) and it was very light and relaxed, the sort of roll I have with Yoshida-san. I really like rolling like that because it gives me time to reflect on what I am doing and to see mistakes as I make them. His use of frames and legwork to recover guard was very good. He had some solid jiu-jitsu principles he applied during the roll like keeping knee and elbow contact when escaping from mount or bad positions. I also noticed that despite going some 10 plus rounds he did not look tired. I really need to be more relaxed like that to go further. I also liked his guard recovery using the knees then to spin back into the opponent which worked well on some opponents I have problems with at our club. His 14 years of training have obviously helped him stay calm under pressure.

I also got to roll with his wife who rolled very well. Like her husband, she was very active, never resting in one place, shrimping often and butt-scooting to recover a better distance for guard work. I wish my wife would get in on the act and train with me. I also liked how they both used a whizzer to counter a single leg and turn it into an uchi-mata. I usually do this too but execute it faster. They both did it fairly flowing and slow but it still worked. Watching Dustin roll I recalled a moment when Damon who visited us from France a while ago mentioned that I looked stressed when rolling and that I should try to be more relaxed. I do try to do this but it's easy to forget mid-roll. In my gut I still have a long way to go in destroying the ego.
 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

On The Mat Day 677: Probably the best idea I have had to get over an inury

I trained judo yesterday and today went to morning class BJJ. I've still been having trouble with my neck but getting it treated again at a physiotherapist. What usually happens is I go to class and feel good because I am warmed up, spar a lot, then my neck hurts like hell either that night or the next day. To be honest, I am sick of the pain. In fact I can't remember what it feels like to have no pain in my neck.

I basically have a choice of not training but I don't want to do that because, well, life would get really boring or I can limit sparring time. I've decided to do the later for 2 rounds. I will keep this up until next week at which point I push it up to 3 rounds for the following 2 weeks on the caveat that I have no pain next week. I plan to do this slowly instead of resting completely.

My physio also mentioned that I should think about strengthening the muscles in my neck and I have a harness for doing that so will start light to rehabilitate.
Head harness for neck strengthening

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

On the Mat Day 671: Night Training

F-sensei showing spider guard
I've been off training just over a week due to the holy trinity of work, injury and a cold all hitting me at the same time. It was a much needed break. My neck was sore as hell when I trained last Sunday so it was good to be busy with work while resting.

I originally planned to train judo yesterday but the high school has examinations so I decided to train BJJ at night. Tuesday is for some reason one of the better nights to train at our club. There are always a lot of people.

I've decided to attempt to train smarter. That means use less strength and only go with technique. I no longer struggle hard to not have my guard passed since I am trying to get into bad positions and survive better. Over the last year or two I have become lax in my defense. Since there are a lot of tough blue and purple belts at our club it presents a good opportunity for me to really work on improving my defense because they are all gunning to catch me. I'm basically trying to do jiu-jitsu with the minimum amount of energy possible. I think this is the best way to proceed from here.

Some things I am focusing on right now are:
Turtle sweeps
Butterfly guard
Getting my hands into a good position when passed so I can escape better
Kimura locks from bottom (looking for the elbow sticking out as a Trigger)
Half guard

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

On the Mat Day 666: Ramblings on Judo versus Jiu-jitsu

There really are too many techniques in grappling. It's just so easy to get bogged down with them. Judo on the other hand seems so simple. Although, that doesn't mean it's easy to throw an opponent because it isn't. Judoka seems to practice a handful of the same techniques over and over again. One kid I train with only does seio-nage and o-uchi now and again. It's said that many of the top players only use 2 to 3 throws. The rest is just body position, reading the opponent, athleticism, stamina and strength from what I can gather.

Jiu-jitsu on the other hand has so many guards, different passing methods and ways to submit an opponent that you need an encyclopedia brain to hold them. That or teach all the time. I suppose this is why it takes so long to reach black belt and why people get so addicted to it. It engages the mind more than the rules of Judo ever do.

I'm not knocking Judo though. I enjoy training it once a week now. I think any good grappler should be training in both. It's even made me consider trying drills judo-style with BJJ sweeps, etc. I'm also attempting to cut down to a core set of techniques only but maybe this is a side-effect of doing BJJ for almost 6 years now.

One thing I can say is that Judoka are very serious in their attitude here in Japan and reflect the society in its nose-to-grindstone no nonsense attitude while BJJ takes a relaxed approach and practitioners tend to smile and laugh a lot more than their Judo counterparts. Perhaps if Judo in Japan were a bit more forgiving and fostered an enjoyable atmosphere more kids, like my own son, would practice it.

Monday, 14 September 2015

On the Mat Day 661: Open Mat with A Dodgy Back

Injuries seem to have come to a head right now. I've been nursing a sore neck. pulled crotch ligament and now I have a tweak in my back which when I look at my toes sends out a spasm in the left side of my back. Despite this I received a call from James to join him and David at open mat on Sunday so I decided to train.

I went with the notion that I would just watch and practice a few techniques but ended up sparring and I actually felt OK and tried to move carefully. As long as I didn't invert or get stacked I was fine. I think the damage has been due to Judo nagekomi and maybe some awkward turning when I was sparring BJJ. I won't stop doing Judo though because I enjoy it so much. It gives me a lot more confidence when standing and I can feel myself becoming a more rounded grappler.

I'm mostly just working on half-guard right now. Nothing fancy. Old school sweep, London bridge sweep, Knee shield to get the underhook and turn into them, etc. Nothing that would aggravate my back. I played half-guard a lot at blue belt and it feels like I am returning to an old friend.

As part of my rehabilitation I went to an onsen last night. Got into a bath that was almost 43 degrees Celsius and just felt the aches leave my body. It was so good.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

On the Mat Day 657: A Weekend of BJJ

We have just finished Obon holidays over here during and after which I did a lot of activities with the kids. Canoeing, camping and generally taking them to parks and stuff. This meant that I didn't do any BJJ for a week. It was a much needed rest to let a few niggling pains heals. James is away back home for 3 weeks so I did not go in during the mornings at 10am to train. After a week of rest I started back yesterday during the day class.

There is always a good attendance for Saturday morning. A lot of guys after a week of hard work probably like to come in and blow off some steam. There is a good mix of belts at both ends of the spectrum so I get rolls I can work on stuff and rolls where I get my ass kicked. This is good.
I sparred with Ito-san, it's been a while, apparently he has a back back which is a common ailment among practitioners. This didn't stop him putting me in an ezekiel choke. I must admit that I am a bit lax about defending chokes. It's something I need to be more aware of.

I am currently working on half guard. I pull to half guard and the opponent either follows me, where I then work for knee shield if I don't have an underhook or I dive under for old school pass if I have the underhook. Sometimes the opponent wont follow me down so I have to play with reverse de la Riva and go to Kiss of the Dragon or something like that. I recapped these scenarios today during the drilling class to the addition of a few techniques I pulled from the Caio Terra half guard DVD. It is such a massive resource that I don't know where to start with it though. The more I watch it the more muddle my brain gets.

Things to drill: Counter to low underhook/head on other side pass from half guard.
1) Grab pants/belt and obtain a butterfly hook and elevate
2) OR failing 1) bring free hand under their leg and turn away to get to deep half (Yoshida3 showed me this).

Friday, 14 August 2015

On the Mat Day 655: BJJ and Judo thoughts

With my appetite for stand up whetted by my once a week judo I have been playing around with half-guard again as of this week. It's a position I feel comfortable in since it was my survival position at white belt but now that I have more experience I have more time to think and analyze the position. For instance, at a glance, I consider how far my opponent's leg is in my half guard (is the knee poking out or are my legs around the thigh), do I have an under hook? I then start to see branches off in my mind leading to sweeps or the next technique. For some reason, experience and staying calm allows me to think more carefully about what the opponent is doing and act with the best move. It doesn't always work out but now that I can do this in my mind, after class or a day later, I can review what went wrong more easily and think about a countermeasure. I wish judo was like this for me but right now it's just a flurry of arms and legs then I'm on my back.

I'm feeling a little beaten up (probably judo) and the heat is taking its toll. I can train about 3 times a week right now and its my limit. I know that given cooler weather where my heart rate isn't already high even before sparring, I could train 4 to 5 times a week for sure. I went out and bought some Protein the other day because the aches are taking so long to go away. I think it's helping, along with all the chicken breasts. I'm down to around 71.2 kg right now. I haven't been lower than 72 kg for many years. It's probably a lot of water content as well as the hard workout that judo brings.

Right now I am really enjoying training in both bjj and judo. It makes me feel like a more complete grappler. I'm also able to ask F-sensei about counters in Judo and he gives me good advice. Like today he told me how to better drill ko-uchi-gari and also how to counter ippon seio nage since just stepping around was not enough as my opponent simply adjusted his angle and continued with the throw. Grappling is like a big jigsaw in which more pieces keep getting added to the table as you are about to complete it. It's frustrating but it occupies my mind so much.