Easy does it now…

So, after giving my back much needed down time from the rigours of jiu-jitsu. I ventured back on to the mats to see where the class had progressed too in my absence.

The new class structure is still in place, with fundamentals for the first hour then moving into more intermediate/advanced techniques at the end. However, this week the focus has been on self defence positions when caught in a bear hug from the rear.


Professor made it clear, as always, what we would be going through for the evening and also what we would be recapping from the previous lesson.

To start off we did a few guard passing drills involving manipulation of the gi collar and the gi pants, to offset your opponent to get into a side/cross body position.

We then moved into recapping the lesson from Monday involving the positions for doing a take down if you’re grabbed from behind. Professor was sure to remind us that this particular variant was only applicable to people of a similar size to yourself. If they happened to be a lot larger, for example a bouncer in a club, then a different technique would need to be used.



Professor’s observations saw that the technique to throwing them wasn’t correct and reiterated in the areas we weren’t grasping. Maintaining good base, pushing the legs together and using legs and throwing them across our back and not behind us.


We then, revisited a position involving a head lock attempt, good posture is performed and we end up in a situation where we are doing the basic defence, but mid way through the attacker moves their arm and we end up behind them.


From here driving the attacker forwards, triggers a reaction from them to stop being pushed, it is at this moment we instigate a take down from behind to then move into modified mount over them.


After practising this numerous times and with the added technical details being explained, Professor then asked if there were any options for the person being thrown. There was one, normally suited more to MMA fighters but nevertheless it could still happen in a street fight. The attack tries to negate the throw by leaving forwards.


From here, Professor explained it’s advisable to move to the side and apply pressure from the hip into their side to keep the attackers hands on the floor. Once this is done, we can hook the nearest leg with an inside leg hook and pull the leg with the hooking leg and apply pressure diagonally towards the opposite shoulder to force the attacker to the ground.


From here moving your way up towards the head maintaining pressure all the way. Another scenario given was if the person drops to their knees? Again it was a simple solution, maintain the connection with them and use your leg to hook the knee and again push them, via your hip, into the direction of their opposite shoulder.


The last discussion point on this position, spoke more about if they were in a fully closed ‘turtle’ position. After throwing it out to the congregation on the evening, Professor put us out of our misery and simply explained that we can roll them over using leverage. This then descended us all into a lecture about various aspects of jui-jitsu. That concluded the lesson for the evening.

My thoughts..

It appears i may have missed a fair amount, but the concepts are already formulating in my mind as i continue my journey. Sparring sessions were a lot harder than normal due to my apparent dip in stamina. But it was also good to see people executing moves like a seasoned pro. Will look forward to sparring with them in the near future.

Tapping out…



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!”

From one master to another…

Post the Royler Seminar at the academy, things have been busy. The academy will be expanding and a new curriculum will be launched where the Professor will be having more sessions through out the week. Happy days!
Professor started of the week with details on ‘defending the castle’ from someone’s cross body advances.
Details here worked mainly on our position and the different stages where we can make life more difficult for them to connect with you.
Arms being placed on the chest and hip, making sure you’re completely on your side. The bottom leg is made heavy with your other leg supporting your position.
In most cases ,the objective of the person advancing is to try and get your shoulders flat on the floor. With a simple adjustment with the supporting leg, you can keep yourself on your side and them at bay.
Moving on from this position involves bringing your bottom leg as a shield between the advancing person and yourself, placing it across their waist with your foot anchored right on the hip.
Normally in this situation, the advancing person will want to remove the shield and continue to obtain side control. To help them do this, removing the anchor on their hip will be a priority. To prevent them from doing this there are a few things that can be done.
i) Stopping them by undercooking the arm to be used to go after the foot.
ii) If they managed to get their hand near the foot you can block it with your own leg, that was on their back.
iii) If they get to your foot and begin to deal with it you can bring your other leg down to break the grip then use your arm to undertook their arm to bring it back to safety.
This concluded the lesson on this particular evening.
My thoughts, still buzzing from the seminar the details for this week nicely complement some of the positions taught by Master Royler, it’s still remarkable to me how similar in teaching style that my Professor has to the Master! in many respects it’s like Master Royler is still here in my Professor.
“Tapping out!”

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”

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”

Chronicles of the arm collector, vol2

Moving on beautifully from the first lesson of the week, we looked forward to added details to build on what was taught on Monday. Professor made it known that we would be reviewing the lesson from Monday and he was going to add in additional submissions.
As an added treat we were blessed to have one of the Professor’s black belts from the north academy.
We started off with a warm-up as normal, going through the normal routines. We then swiftly went into recapping the previous lesson and started drilling the arm bar/lock again.
Afterwards, Professor showed us an additional arm bar/lock on the other arm. This involved clamping the arm between the head and shoulder then feeling for the elbow to apply pressure.
After practising that a few times, Professor then explained other attacks that could be attempted on us whilst we have them in the guard. They were…
1) If punch attempt misses and the back of the head is grabbed with one arm.
2) Back of the head is pulled
Even though the dynamics were slightly different the end result was the same, an arm bar/lock. In fact, executing the move was slightly easier because with the 100% committal on the attacks effectively ‘gives the arm’ to us to make it easier to catch them in the move.
The only added detail which was divulged to us was on the double hand neck crank, we needed to stop this attack by placing both hands on to the chin. Once the threat had subsided, we can then go ahead to execute the arm bar/lock.
We practiced this diligently making sure to incorporate the proper technique on the arm bar/lock.
Finally on the evening, Professor showed us an additional detail if the person manages to get their arm out of danger. This wasn’t a problem as it provided an opportunity for them to give us an arm bar/lock on the other arm. The important detail here was to create a frame against them and wait for them to attempt a pass to give us the opportunity with the arm bar/lock.
After practising this a few times, the lesson came to an end. Professor again addressed the class on making sure to drill and practise to improve on the details introduced this week.
My thoughts, concepts are very simple and I tend to over think and over complicate things sometimes, I should do less thinking and more doing. As the ‘doing’ will give me insights into how people’s minds work and how they move which in turn will allow me to better execute these techniques.
“Tapping out”

Chronicles of the arm collector, vol1

This week’s tutelage focused on securing the arm bar/lock from the guard… Hold on didn’t we do this already? Yes we did some months back. However, the professor had other ideas on executing the arm lock from the guard as so to get there more efficiently!
We started with the usual warm-up to get us ready for the lesson ahead, incorporating hip escapes, backward rolls over the shoulders.
The Professor then explained the steps to doing the regular arm bar/lock from the guard, trap the arm, foot on hip, leg heavy on the back, knee on the other leg tight on the body to prevent arm from being pulled then lastly pushing head back to bring the leg up and around to bite over the ear and raising hips to execute the final part of the move. Sounds like a lot of steps and with my previous attempts in sparring was never straight forward to pull off.
Here’s the thing, the professor then explained a slight variation on doing this but executing this with one move!
If the person is in your guard, then the whole move is reliant on a number of factors.
1) Initial assumption that the person knows no Jiu-jitsu
2) Keep everything tight, namely connections
3) Use of core muscles and hips
The difference with this variation is that once you’ve locked in the arm you move the legs and twist up simultaneously.
This was practiced for the majority of the evening but we did break momentarily at different intervals to get extra detail about different parts of the move, with respect to turning and connections. The final detail was on the validity of crossing the legs. Professor explained that it is perfectly valid as long as the leg that’s anchored on the head is at the bottom and the other leg crosses over the top.
This concluded the lesson. The professor then reiterated the need to actually try these moves in sparring and not always to run back to default positions. He then eluded to other details which will be covered in later lessons this week.
My thoughts, I was exceptionally glad for this variation as I wasn’t a big fan of the other technique. I think primarily this is due to my dimensions as sometimes moving long limbs is a bit of a chore in Jiu-jitsu. But i’m told repeatedly from my academy peers that once I have the limbs engaged properly it’s a distinct advantage. Either way I enjoyed the lesson, appreciated the details and look forward to the next lesson.
“Tapping out!”