Arghh! my back!

Title says it all, since my last postings on the wonders of Kimura arm-locks, i’ve managed to do the thing that most people do in training and that’s injure themselves, or in this case I’ve injured myself.

So what did i do?

During a simple warm up exercise i managed to hurt my lower back, not terribly serious, but when the following day comes and you can’t even put your shoes and socks on without screaming in pain? you know this won’t get easier any time soon. Luckily, or unluckily,  i’m not a stranger to injuries so i know that the first point of call isn’t your local GP, it’s a specialist that knows about lower back pain, i.e. an Osteopath. But before we get to that point, i was helped out by a member of the academy who also went through this themselves and helped me stretch my lower back out a bit, no it wasn’t pleasant!

Later that particular evening a very hot bath to try and relax the muscles in the area, which helped slightly. Gingerly getting into bed and the fighting for hours to find a reasonably comfortable position to sleep in. I don’t recommend lying flat on your front or on your back. The following day comes and disaster already struck! I’m on my back. I attempt to sit up and quickly lie back down again, my back in telling me things… don’t try to sit directly up! I manage to roll out of bed and come to my knees. It feels like my back doesn’t understand the concept of movement. So i grit the teeth and slowly come up straight, even though still slightly stooped.

Dressing myself was a challenge, i.e. putting on trousers, socks, etc. Getting to work was generally unpleasant. Sitting at a desk to operate a pc, yeah that didn’t go down well, considering every time i got up was recipe for disaster. A colleague gave me a contact number for a local Osteopath in the area, which he recommended very highly, so i dutifully made an appointment.

After answering all the normal questions, you do on a first visit, it was time to strip then get on the table. The hour flew by… crack, crack, crack, crack… crack some more. No training for the week, ice the back to reduce swelling, do not sleep on your front or back, sleep on your side with a pillow between the knees. Plus the Osteopath put these strips on my back, why? apparently it helps blood flow to the area.

Days past, movement is coming back, pain still there but I’m moving better. Decided to have another assessment done, as i really want to get back to training, went and saw the Osteopath, another series of cracks and checks. Confirmation, my back is a lot more  responsive and feels like there’s some give in places as before there wasn’t any. Warned me of going back to training and to take it easy, otherwise i can undo all the healing that’s been done. For good measure they cracked the sh1t! out of my neck too and my upper back. (I really do think that back cracking is like ‘popping your cherry’ for Osteopath’s)

But my range of movement is a lot better now and next to no pain. I will now look forward to going back to training, but no high impact stuff. Being injured isn’t cheap!

“Tapping out!”

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Sore shoulders and a sore neck

Moving on steadily into this week’s lessons on the application of the Kimora arm-lock, Professor had designs on teaching us this move when you have your assailant within your guard and the options that are available to you.
We started of with a recap of the positions we learnt from the previous lesson and drilled those to reacquaint ourselves.
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Professor then explained the execution of the arm-lock when in the guard, again it does depend on what your assailant is doing in reaction to the position you have them in. Ideally, it’s best to apply the Kimura when the assailant has their hands on the floor. This gives the opportunity to place your hand on their wrist. The timing for doing this is when the assailant tries to sit up, at this point you allow them to pick you up as well.
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Once you’re in a seated position, reach over the shoulder and thread your arm between their body and arm to grab your own wrist.
Then it’s a shoulder and hip movement exercise to bring the assailant back to the floor with your legs crossed.
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At this point it’s a question of applying pressure until they submit or get their arm broken!
We practiced this a few times and took time out to understand any troubles we were having, my personal gripe was that I had the arm too far away from my own body, which made the execution a little loose. But after a few adjustments it improved.
Moving on, Professor put in a scenario if the person you’re trying to arm-lock is resisting, what are the options? again questions went out and as usual Professor put us out of our misery.
He explained that we can still wrap the intended arm with the one that is used to go through their arm and grab our own wrist. But instead of grabbing our own wrist it hooks on the back of the assailant’s arm. We then move the hand that was on their wrist and use it to support ourselves. Once stable, we can then do a hip bump forwards and roll them round so that they are on the ground and we obtain a cross body position over them whilst still having the arm partially locked up.
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We practiced this a few times inclusive of moving round the assailant’s head to execute the Kimura finish.
Professor then went on to show us a potential early escape for the arm-lock from this position, he explained by just moving our head forwards, we can make it difficult for them to move their arm around to get the initial grip on the Kimura.
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However, Professor also explained that there’s a potentially nasty counter that can be applied instead, which he named the ‘loop choke’.
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We practiced the escape and counter a few times. I struggled initially with the choke but then, with help from the Professor and other students on the evening, i was making fundamental mistakes, which I have now corrected.
This brought the lesson to a close.
My thoughts, some very nice details handed over this evening, which allows another attack to watch out for if I’m in someone’s guard or another attack to attempt if they’re in my guard. Only downside is that now people know another choke, which isn’t my strong point whilst defending.
“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”

Crank it up!

Today we continued the additional details of head lock escapes with added technical adjustments for different submissions.
Professor addressed the class and warned us of two potential moves he was going to teach us to be quite nasty and when drilling these moves to be very gradual with any pressure. Then he said he doesn’t want anyone using these moves in sparring, purely for reasons of safety. Professor was very adamant on this and as always is concerned for everyone’s well being.
We moved into doing a warm-up which was more stretch orientated today, mainly around the shoulders, neck and spine. We then quickly recapped elements of monday’s lesson.
Extra detail added today was centred around a crank which affected the arm, neck and shoulder. IMG_0132
Important details he explained was to make sure to compress arms and then gently push into them whilst cranking the head and neck up. The professor explained what was happening to the vertebrae in the spine with this technique and again warned us to apply this very gently. We practised this a few times, with some minor adjustments being told to us from the observations the professor was making.
We then moved on and talked about a potential escape from this position.
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Details here involved changing the angle with the hand, straightening the arms and creating a frame to prevent the crank to the head.
These details prevent the technique from being done, then once the attempts stop it is then the ideal opportunity to perform the rest of the escape.
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By doing a big hip bump and rotating on to the shoulder you can effectively move the person on top into the position you occupied previous.
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We again practiced this, slowly becoming more proficient on continued repetitions. Professor did however, note a detail with reference to making sure we move the arms and hips together when executing the escape.
The last technique shown for the evening is a counter to the counter. In more straight forward terms, if the top person stops you from rolling them over, you can do a further escape which leads back to the original head lock escapes done previously.
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Professor explained all the techniques demonstrated again to us on the mat this evening, he also progressed on to a more general speech with reference to be respectful to each other, practising responsibly on the mats to make sure everyone benefits. The speech was very well received and in conclusion the professor was very grateful to all people attending and urged everyone to study and practice to get to the next level.
My thoughts, the professor is a gracious human being who has high expectations for us all. He has a simple way of getting his point across which makes learning from him a pleasure. Details tonight involved a fair amount of technical understanding but as always he makes it look very, very easy.
“Tapping out”

The great headlock escapes cont.

A new week and a trip back to head lock counters as displayed in the academy curriculum.
Professor addressed the class with the outline of areas we will be covering this week which will ‘dove tail’ nicely from the details learnt last week.

We proceeded to do the standard warm-up which concluded with a gentle ‘roll’ to get all limbs nicely attuned for the coming lesson.

First detail we went through involved the first head lock escape from the ground which ends up with the ‘headlocker’ in a ‘head scissors’ we learnt.

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The extra details given to us, were ‘what if’ scenarios if we weren’t able to secure the ‘head scissors’ position. The first option was to go through a series of steps that eventually put us in a position to choke them. Getting there required isolating the closest arm, controlling their other arm, maneuvering into a position to obtain the choke then apply.

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Lots of technical details, each making a lot of sense and not too difficult to perform. After practicing this we then did the ‘no-gi’ variation, which had a small difference with respect to not grabbing clothing but getting better connections with limbs. The end result was a choke which was potentially more lethal than the first.

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We then explored a scenario if they were able to get the arm closest to you free, this next part was clever and nasty all at the same time. In the event this happens, shifting your body position so that your in the cross body position over them with both of your arms
under theirs. On the side your pressuring from it’s required to move your leg so that it is underneath their arm and straightened out in front of you. Then the arm that’s exposed needs to be extended so that a straight armlock can be applied, the natural defense for
this position is to bend the arm, at that point the leg that’s extend can fold back in and trap the arm whilst it’s bent. Then to secure the position the other leg comes across and prevents the arm from getting out. The position is actually an ‘Americana’ applied with the legs instead of the arms.

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Professor demonstrated different ways of applying the pressure and it didn’t take much for people to tap. We practiced this and i shortly realised that with my own dynamics, it doesn’t take much to apply pressure and being on the receiving end, this position is very nasty.

This concluded the lesson for the evening.

My thoughts, Professor says this is relatively straight forward, I thought it was complex until I tried it…
The understanding needed of the body to piece this information together not to mention understanding yourself; the previously taught information still fresh in my mind, overwhelming? enlightening? confusing? but very, very enjoyable! I can’t wait for the next lesson!

“Tapping Out”

The great escapes!

Tonight drew a close to the proceedings of escaping the control from cross body/side control. The Academy was is high spirits with the up and coming UFC event this weekend.
The Professor addressed the class on the nights agenda and we swiftly went into the warm up which consisted of self defence moves:
I) neck grab defence 1
2) neck grab defence 2
3) surprise haymaker/punch, inclusive of an initial push into the chest area first.
We ended the warm up with the “safe hands” exercise, which again is to teach us where we can put our arms and almost try to keep them safe.
We recapped the positions of the week and did light drills on those, then moving on to the additions for the lesson, first one being a technique to allow yourself to roll the top person so they are mounted or roll to get into cross body on them. We did this a few times went through the normal questions and then progressed.
The next position involved quite a few adjustments, especially when they have tight control. It involved positioning yourself, mainly your head, underneath them more so you could setup an armpit arm-lock. This required quite a few demonstrations and I only saw the arm-lock after the 2nd or 3rd demonstration. This one was practiced several times and personally it clicked after my training partner on the night gave me some excellent feedback.
Finally the last move of the evening was to counter them placing one knee on you with the intentions of gaining full mount. This is involved an element of head control and manipulation of the top person’s momentum. However, the real prize on this move was the potential ankle-lock at the end. Needless to say this was demonstrated a few times and practiced with extreme caution. The other black belt there on the evening was very detailed in explaining its application.
The details exchanged over the last two weeks plus the previous two weeks, for me, was probably the most valuable in terms of defence from being at the bottom. The white belt journey continues…
“Tapping out!”

More cross escapes!    

Tonight was a good night, thoroughly enjoyed for a few reasons.
i) Expanded on from Monday’s lesson on escapes from the cross body position
ii) Lots of wisdom passed on from the Professor to students, in relation to aspects of life outside of jiu-jitsu
We started of with the normal address from the professor on tonight’s activities on the mat, plus the professor also gave us his opinion on the recent Facebook posts about the Royce Vs Shamrock III fight, groin strikes did it happen or not? Rener Gracie’s ‘Gracie Breakdown’, etc, etc… All interesting stuff which nicely set the tone for the evening. We then went into the warm-up which consisted of the following:
Self-defence drills.
i) Pisao kick to the knee, when attacker is attempting to strike
ii) Low kick to the leg
iii) Double grab (On lapels) from the front Defence
iv) ‘Safe hands drill’ – Lots of fun
We then explored the position of being at the bottom of tight side mount control. The details were very intricate and required good use of the head, arms and legs to work as one, to advance the position. Leverage was key, maximising the area of the body that the top person couldn’t control.
We drilled this a few times, with various degrees of success and plenty of questions with respect to different body types.
We continued to practice and moved onto advancing the positions so that we can end up with the top person inside the guard.
We practiced this a lot and again had different demonstrations of what could end up happening if things don’t go according to plan, but that was the ‘teaser’ for the Friday lesson.
In close, the professor lectured us on basics and fundamentals and how important it is to get right as these details will serve us well on the jiu-jitsu journey and then proceeded to challenge us to ‘spar’ or to ‘drill’ considering that most of us were getting some of the details slightly off.
“Tapping out!”