Learning from the Master

Today was a day to cherish as I came face to face with Master Royler Gracie within the walls of the EKBJJ Academy for Jiu-Jitsu.
First impressions, i noted he was almost the same size and build as my Professor and incredibly easy going. The seminar itself was excellent and I felt that some crucial pieces of information was passed down to those present.

 

Both the Master and Professor have very similar teaching styles, which goes along way to show the level of dedication and belief in the system from both individuals, more so my Professor.
We went over some standing self-defence techniques and also looked at different positions involving guillotine chokes and arm triangle defences. Prior to the demonstration and teaching of the techniques, he gave a brief history lesson on the origins of Jiu-Jitsu and also shared some of the experiences he had whilst growing up and being the ‘Son of Helio Gracie’. All very informative and at times amusing.
He also gave a ‘questions and answers’ session which allowed us to ask him anything with reference to the art of Jiu-Jitsu, some excellent questions were asked and from one of the questions, Master Royler demonstrated a clever guard pass and also some techniques for breaking open someone’s guard.
Master Royler, is patient, very passionate and informative about several areas of Jiu-jitsu, he gave us all great pieces of advice about our learning and expectations. Progressing up through the belts is a big commitment but a worthwhile commitment as the benefits are so overwhelming.
“Tapping out”

Seeing double?

It’s been roughly two weeks since my last update from the mats of EKBJJ, many things have been going on which has reduced my ability to be prompt with my learning updates in the art of Gracie Jiu-jitsu. However, i still made some notes along the way.
We have been looking at more head lock escapes, which enabled us to move into positions to potentially take the back and execute a rear naked choke.
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Details here were partly recap of previously taught lessons and details of improving your positioning on someones back as to not fall off when they try to get you off.
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Professor also went over the details of executing a rear naked choke, a criticism the Professor picked up on when observing the class.
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Professor concluded that week with other variations on escaping the head lock and ending the sequence of moves with an armlock submission.
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The following week’s lessons were around guillotine chokes, I unfortunately missed the opening lesson at the start of the week, but was able to get a good consolidation lesson in via the Professor’s talented Brown belts.
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During that lesson, we did a good amount of work on standing and exploring different entry points of guillotine chokes mixed in with some strike defence. One particular detail we looked at which was very, very nice was being in the seated rear naked choke position and guiding their escape towards being guillotined!
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My thoughts, even though i engaged in reduced lessons over the last two weeks, the details were excellent which now adds to my ever increasing knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu. With the seminar looming, I hunger for more details about Jiu-jitsu!
“Tapping out”

Defending the castle…

We continued our journey from the realms of guard passing into pulling guard and defending the guard pass attempts this week. Tonight Professor had a few announcements with reference to up and coming events and also expansion plans. All good news for us students. Professor then explained that he would be recapping, briefly, monday’s lesson then adding in lots of details tonight.
We then moved into the warm-up, which included a few stand-up drills involving balance, initiating sweeps, trips and a hip throw.
We then briefly recapped monday’s lesson, talking about the deflection of energy, importance of being on your side and moving in to make that connection with your head placed under their head.
Leading off from there, we looked at some positions with lots and lots of detail, mainly around the concepts of building frames when the initial attempts at guard passing begin.
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Professor then went on to explain that in the event that someone is attempting a pass on you that adjusting to your side is a must! Normally, pressure from the person passing will be further up your body, trying to pin both your shoulders to the floor. The normal adjustment previously explained is diverting the energy down. In addition to that detail moving the knee of the hip to hook the right leg of the person trying to pass is also required.
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With the foot hooked, you pull your foot down to twist their right leg, what this will do to them is move the direction of their pass attempt away from you. With this accomplished the next stage was then to produce a ‘hip bump’, to allow your other leg to come through and be in a position to move to their back.
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We practised just this for a while, to make sure we understood the mechanics involved. They were a combination of what we learnt in the previous lesson and these new details gave us another option instead of performing the sweep. Professor explained that in going to their back, involved making sure you secure the first hook on the part of the body closest to you first, using your right foot and then inserting the second hook, with your arms on the opposite side of the body.
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Professor then gave us another scenario to think about, a situation common for all white belts, well at least I knew i had been in this position. The person guard passing you breaks through and is about to get cross body control, what should we do to try and prevent them solidifying this position? Professor gave us a default position to be in, which would help us.
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Keeping the top arm tight is important to prevent their arms going underneath yours, the other hand is there to offer protection to the head. Professor then explained that when they come to try and flatten you on your back, being properly on your side will make this close to impossible, i believe he described it as like having a bar from one shoulder through to the other.
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Still hook the leg and when they drive forward, stretching yourself back will create enough space to sneak your arm under their arm to allow you to connect with their back. After this is accomplished, stretching your other arm back akin to doing the second part of the three part hip escape, will allow you room to extend your body up. If more room is required you can shuffle your self away. When they come forward you can connect with them in the normal way, head under their chin close connection to the body with your arm keeping you in a strong position.
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Lots of mechanics! but we practiced this for the last part of the lesson which brought it to a close.
My thoughts, lots of head scratching in this lesson, however by the end of it, it all made sense! Plus my training partner for the evening was a powerful individual who gave excellent feedback to me, when we were drilling these details. Professor did an excellent job with these details as I found them pretty straight forward to pick up, which demonstrates consistent high level teaching.
“Tapping out”

Come in, the guard is lovely!

After the intensive work done last week on guard passing, Professor decided to move the lesson of ‘guard pulling’ to this week as to ensure the understanding around the mechanics of the guard pass were taught. As we go into the this week we are reminded of an event at the end of the month reference Royler Gracie visiting the academy and conducting a seminar. It’s a warm evening in the academy so the Professor encouraged everyone to take in fluids and to pace ourselves through out the evening.

We went in and did the standard warm-up, running, side-stepping, hip escapes and finished off with some punch defence standing, mainly hooks, straight punches and punches to the stomach.

Professor then went and recapped very, briefly the guard passing technique shown to us last week. After which he then explained the processes of ‘pulling guard’ if in a street fight. We were reminded that going to ground is a last resort and Professor isn’t an advocator of ‘jumping guard’ as this can lead to the ‘jumper’ being smashed into the floor.

So in the altercation, if we end up in the clinch, we aim to have both our arms underneath the attackers armpits and stretched up to grab on to their shoulders, keeping the head tight and connection to the body firm.

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The idea next is to find the shins of the person, which is a guide to understand where their feet are. We then stand on their feet and sit down away from them. Once your backside hit’s the floor, open the legs to bring them into your guard.

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It is also important to keep the head up, as to prevent you from hitting it on the floor when you pull them down. Once on the floor, we placed an arm on top of their head to control it and also trap their arm on the same side your head is.

We drilled this a few times, a relatively straight forward moves which i don’t believe anyone struggled with. Professor then asked questions about the type of assailant, in particular, what if they refused to go down? Or were extremely strong? He then showed a small variation which involved tucking the knees to destabilise the assailant prior to pulling them down.

We practiced that variant and again people didn’t have any problems. Professor then explained that once in the guard at the bottom, if the person knows some Jiu-Jitsu and then proceeded to come out of the guard, similarly to the lessons taught last week, how can we defend against it? The next series of techniques that the Professor taught us was geared at just that.

First part involved making sure we are on our side, a common feature when being at the bottom and need to escape or defend, next we needed to make sure if the person in the top position is trying to force us down to deflect the attempt.

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Now, with the person in this position gives us an opportunity to guide the left arm around the top person’s right arm, inside, to move closer to them and establish a connection with the head just under their’s.

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This simple position is extremely solid and the professor demonstrated how solid by allowing several people to attempt to push him over.

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At this point, Professor instructed us to drill this part to get comfortable and assess what ever adjustments we personally had to make to enable us to have a solid base.

Following on from this, Professor then showed us two variations to get the top person back on to the floor. First being a sweep which required movement to grab the leg whilst falling back onto our own shoulder, finishing off with a roll to obtain cross body control.

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The last included details on what to do if the person being rolled stuck out an arm to stop them from going over. Professor then displayed some alterations which still allowed the technique to be executed with the same result.

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During the demonstrations, drills and after several members in the class had good questions to ask the Professor about different aspects of each stage of the moves. Professor not only explained but went through all the scenarios and broke down what could happen and why certain things work and certain things wouldn’t, which instantly improved everyone’s understanding of the positions being queried.

This concluded the lesson for the evening.

My thoughts, with the relative short time being introduced and practising this science, i’ve noticed now that i’m slowly beginning  to understand the fundamentals of how this all works. There are areas that i’m still working through which hinders my progress but it’s humbling in a way and gives me plenty to think about. The good thing is that the support structure is here for when ever i need to ask those questions and get extra guidance.

“Tapping out!”

 

Gandalf said it best, “you shall not pass!” or shall I?

For those of you wondering Gandalf? it’s a Lord of the Rings reference… more importantly the Professor kicked off the week discussing the format for this week’s lessons and touched on the details we learnt from last week. This week would see progression towards techniques to putting people into the guard. But before going into those details he had designs on teaching us a guard pass so good it will work on anyone, even black belts!
We kicked the lesson off with a warm-up, consisting off running, side-stepping and then into an interesting exercise which was geared at posture and connections when in a standing circumstance. The Professor also reminded us all that jiu-jitsu does start standing up and all the concepts of connections still apply!

After we completed the exercises, the professor proceeded to guide us through the basics of the guard pass.

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The importance of connections were again paramount, down to the posture in the guard, positioning of the knees, positioning of the arm on the person’s waist. The initiation of the guard pass was interesting as it seemed to depend on the person, who has you in their guard, attempting to pull you down into the guard to control you. Normally done by grabbing the collar, from here Professor demonstrated techniques to prevent or make it very difficult to pull you down into the guard, even if the person is extremely strong.

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Then maintaining strong connections to the person in the guard to open the guard or force them to open the guard. With this done, working the position around the leg and driving your body forward to put the person at the bottom in an uncomfortable position as you move round to obtain a cross body position.

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We practiced this a few times, with the Professor breaking us at different points to correct common mistakes being made. He also demonstrated on different individuals and using different body types to demonstrate for him, under his direct instruction to prove a point on certain details.

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The lesson concluded there, with the Professor recapping the importance of certain connections when attempting this pass, also mentioned a lot was maintaining proper structure in positions to make the pass possible.

My thoughts, I struggled with this particular technique mainly due to the position i needed to have when inside someone’s guard. Sitting on my knees put pressure on my ankles which had always been uncomfortable for me and doing this no exception. It appears i’ll need to find a way of getting comfortable to be able to do this pass.

“Tapping out!”

 

 

Doubling down

With a continuation of the week’s lessons the Professor, as promised, added details of the double leg ankle sweep to incorporate with the lessons on the arm lock/bar. This adds a key dynamic to the classes we’ve been having to give us options if we are ever caught being at the bottom of a street fight.
We went into the standard routines for the warm-up with the normal running, side stepping, hip escapes, shoulder rolls and finishing up on stretches that again required the use of the belt.
As normal, we went over the details of the previous lesson and drilled that a few times to refresh memories.
Now the Professor gave an example as to what could happen if we are pinned down and the person on top manages to get to a standing position, as this could happen, this negates the previous counters taught from the previous lesson. So in comes the use of the double ankle sweep.
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With the hands around the person’s ankles and the legs condensed into the middle of the person ideally on their waist line, it’s a case of pulling with your hands and push with your legs to bring them down to the floor.
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A very simple maneouvre to execute when timed correctly. We practiced this a few times, which also was a good opportunity for people being swept to practice their break fall.
The next detail was how to move once you’ve brought them down. This came down to connections, we would need to put pressure on one of the legs, hook the other leg and keeping low almost walk on your hands up to the top to obtain the mount position.
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With this added detail more practice and drilling was necessary, with different questions being asked and dutifully answered by the Professor. One additional detail was mentioned about preventing people at the bottom from sweeping you by grabbing on to them,
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the answer to that particular problem was explained and then demonstrated, the ending being pretty much the same, ending up in full mount.
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That concluded the evening’s lesson, the Professor made it known that he would be unavailable for friday’s lesson as he was going to be out of the country however, one of his top coaches would be taking the lesson and will be providing information on what we worked on this evening and potentially talking about wrist locks!
My thoughts, this ‘martial science’ that the Professor refers to GJJ as, is exactly that a science and everything is very logical. Some of it feels odd, looks awkward but once you’ve gotten your head around it makes a lot of sense. It can have a very overwhelming affect on you when you realise the different things you’re able to do, to the point where you see people and start thinking about body shapes, strengths, weaknesses and this isn’t just limited to people you don’t know but also people you do know…
“Tapping out”