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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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!”

Position, Position, Position!

The evenings lesson(s) was a continuation of the basics covered with respect to positional control when you’re in the cross body on your opponent. Tonight with this posting, i scarcely know where to begin…
Ok, to start off it was the Professor’s birthday today and to be fair it felt like the academy was treated to a lot of gifts with respect to the content that was passed on from professor to student(s).
The class started with the normal address from the Professor, explaining about the few available spaces on the forthcoming Royler Gracie Seminar on May 28th, potential graduations for the some of the talented white belts, blues, purples, etc… and a hint of excitement with regards to what he was going to share with us tonight.
The warm up was a nice blend of gentle runs, side stepping, backward running, which then lead into self defence drills namely,
1) A drill to test posture when someone is pushing you.
2) A drill to execute a wrist lock (Can also break fingers), when someone places their hand on your chest.
3) A drill to execute another variation of the wrist lock, if they grab your clothing and make a fist.
4) A drill to execute a further variation which involves performing an arm lock if they grab clothing.
5) A drill to execute an escape when someone grabs you from behind and wraps both your arms behind your back.
Then we went into the lesson, firstly doing a recap of the basic positions of positional side/cross body control. We drilled this a few times with a partner, then the avalanche came!
We explored 5 potential positions with additional details thrown in between to again get us thinking; especially about the mind set of what to expect if you have to control a person who doesn’t know jiu-jitsu and that they maybe carrying a concealed weapon or if they did know some jiu-jitsu. The professor makes it a habit to check knowledge when we are thinking about these different positions, in particular about the connections we make, making sure we are aware about other dangers, being able to disengage from them and of course positioning yourself to prevent them from being comfortable and you being able to strike them!
So the first position was explaining what to do if the person on the bottom attempts to put you back in the guard, via some sort of push towards their legs. This involved a re-adjustment of the leg position on the side of the person at the bottom and us maintaining a grip on the opposite side of them on their shoulder.
The second position explained what to do if they try to attempt an elbow escape, this proved to be quite an ingenious counter. Involving a connection to the leg that’s attempting the elbow escape with the top person, being in a position to control the leg and prevent further elbow escapes whilst maintain close control of there hips.
The third position from the previous position is in response to the bottom person attempting to counter by framing up against you on top. To get around this involved another positional adjustment that moved away from their hips and on to their shoulder. Doing this neutralised their ability to work with the frame and again still made it very difficult for them to move out from underneath you.
The last two positions were briefly touched on with more detail promised in the next lesson, all the previous positions were drilled and questions were asked at different stages, some really good questions which makes the whole learning experience at the academy an absolute joy because it triggers lots of other thoughts and also makes the experience hyper immersive! Most of the questions were around size differences between people.
The penultimate position was one to use if for what ever reason you were late with a position change or transition, or perhaps they were able to get on their side to mount their defence of the situation. This position is a way of making an adjustment so that you end up on the other side of the person on the bottom, with the same basic connections of control. This position required use of the knee and arm connecting with them to make this transition fluid from start to finish.
The final position of the evening is another option of regaining full control, but this variation is especially adept for opponents larger than yourself. The mechanics are essentially the same but more emphasis was on use of the elbow.
At this point, there was a closing discussion from the professor about jiu-jitsu, mindset, the intelligence of it, self-defence aspects, truly mind blowing detail and there was so much more he has to teach us. On that note we closed off the lessons for the evening to make way for sparring.
My thoughts… I had to finish the class and run straight to my note pad to take stock of the evenings information overload, i was helped by one of the other academy sisters and as i write this i just remembered another detail of a potential submission from one of the positions! Definitely one of the best evenings I’ve had at the academy and I know there’s plenty more to come. I managed to get a sparring session with the professor and he proceeded to give a demonstration on me of all the positions we worked on for the evening, plus the customary submissions in between.
On that note, it’s time to “Tap out!”

Sore Elbows!

Today was an advancement on the basic knowledge on the elbow escape.

We started as normal with a break down on the class, swiftly followed by a warm-up consisting of:
Running, side stepping, Hip escapes, backward rolls (over the shoulders), cart-wheels and lizard crawls (forwards and backwards)
Then we get into self-defence, not before a scolding from the Professor with reference to using noise-cancelling headphones, which they believe inhibits our awareness to would-be thieves or attackers.
He taught us two positions:
1) Being grabbed around the throat from behind
2) Being bear hugged from behind.
Defence for being grabbed from behind around throat, consisted of the following:
i) Tighten neck and not to point chin down
ii) Place hand on the wrist and on the elbow of attacker
iii) Perform backward headbutt
iv) Make sure to keep a connection with your waist and the attacker and lower base/centre of gravity, make sure your waist is lower than their’s.
v) Toes should be pointed forward and bend over so that the attackers weight is balanced on your hip
vi) finishing part of the move is to throw them over – This wasn’t attempted in class, but was demonstrated.
Defence for being bear hugged from behind, consisted of the following:
i) Once grabbed, lower base and lock hands up against the attackers arms with your hands making a fist.
ii) Attempts to lift you should be difficult, perform a ‘fake’ by tilting your waist to one side
iii) Then quickly tilt the other way and circle your foot behind the attacker. (If you tilt to your left, circle your left foot around the right side of the attacker
iv) Bend down and grab the attacker at the knees also pushing them together
v) Stand up whilst holding them and they should be balanced on your hip
vi) the next stage would be to drop them behind your back – This was not attempted in class but was demonstrated.
We then moved onto more detailed elbow escape details:
We completed the basic elbow escape important details are as follows:
i) You must be on your side to perform this properly, in particular the leg of the side you’re elbow escaping on
ii) Make sure head is tight against the body of person on top, to protect from head butts or punches
iii) Make sure hand is grabbing the back of the person then bring your knee up to meet your elbow or hand, which travels under the person on tops leg
iv) Once through make sure to point knee to the sky and make sure to place foot in a manner that traps the opponents right leg (assuming you’ve elbow escaped on your left leg)
v) Use left arm to wrap the head of the opponent and then turn hips onto right side, keeping head safe.
vi) Do a hip escape to your left, using your left leg as the right left will be partially trapped
vii) Once the right knee has cleared the opponents left leg, point it to the sky. A detail here that this might unbalance your opponent on top. At this point if they’re off balance it’s possible to roll them on to the bottom with you in the mount position.
viii) At this point, perform a hip escape to the right, whilst doing so move the left leg onto the back of the opponent
ix) finish off by moving your right foot on to the back of the opponent, where you should have them in your guard
Additional Details:
1) Weight distribution:
     i) Heavy knee – Hip bump to raise Knee of the floor to complete move
    ii) Heavy knee 2 – Use other foot to hook ankle to perform elbow escape
    iii) Heavy knee 2 defence – When they point their toe to the sky before the foot drops move your other leg in the way so you can manipulate it, in order to continue with the elbow escape
   iv) Heavy knee 2 defence 2 – When the toe is still pointed to the sky, wrap the foot with the leg that was hooking and perform elbow escape
  2) Foot lock down
     i) Tight position on knee, after half the elbow escape is completed – can move torso away from the tight controlling knee and keep the trapped leg straight and perform a hip escape to free trapped knee. This also requires putting hand on the knee for extra leverage
     ii) Opponent locks up knee in a triangle – perform hip escape with the leg that’s trapped dead straight, hand on knee also necessary
Tonight’s details:
 3 moves – escapes
i) Hip escaping under the opponent, so instead of sliding leg under the opponents leg, you brace their thigh and bring your leg through
ii) Modified Mount position 1 – similar to above but what happens is that when the opponent moves to modified mount you place your arm under their leg into the joint under the knee and make sure it’s strong, the other hand is straight at their ankle. Perform a hip bump and roll over your shoulder to move the opponent up and forward over you so you can transition round and give yourself positional options. One of them being able to manipulate their knee and ankle to prohibit them from turning.
iii) Modified mount position 2 – instead of sliding your leg through, you perform hip escapes until you’re able to get the other leg through, once completed, point knee to the sky and grab the ankle towards yourself. This will topple the opponent and allow you to move into a position to do a pass and establish cross body/side control
That concluded the evening.
My thoughts, lots of technical details this evening which will take a lot of practice to understand and to be able to make the necessary adjustments for myself. I still leave too much space on people and need to keep things tight. I also need to work on my breathing and not to panic when being underneath larger opponents. One of the EKBJJ brothers gave me tremendous help with that this evening and it’s slowly coming together. I still need to work on engaging my legs more so that they work in tandem with the arms. I was also introduced to the “Polish Tent” and the “Iron coffin”, again more techniques to perform on opponents.
Now I’m tired and my brain is doing overtime on the moves and edification for the evening… Till next time…
“Taps out for the evening”