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!”

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”

The power of hips!

Moving on with the fine work Professor has taught us this week on defending the castle from the cross body positions, Professor picked up from where he left off in the week. Assisted by one of his talented Black belts, we started to explore deeper
into the cross body defence techniques.
After warming up we did a recap of the positions learnt from earlier in the week, which we all dutifully drilled to refresh memories. Professor then went into more detail about the mechanics of the position and the importance to occupy certain positions to defend.
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Professor then asked the question, what if it’s late, they get into the cross body/side control position, what then? A few suggestions were thrown out by the members of the class, a few interesting ideas but eventually the Professor put us out of our misery.
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The whole premise of the move is to use a hip bump, to create space to move our hips to allow the leg to come through to build  towards retaking the guard. Clever stuff! The technique was so impressive, Professor allowed not one by two large individuals to combine their weight on top of him to prove that the move had very little, if any, to do with strength.
Before
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After
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We drilled this for a while, until the Professor expanded on the position by again asking the question, what if the person on top is really strong? and is able to adjust to counter the hip bump? Well in a situation like that understanding connections and momentum is important. The Professor then demonstrated one such option by ‘going with’ the reaction from the person on top to allow you to flip them over you.
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Another clever move which relies on timing and balance, we gave this technique in a drilling sense, practice whilst also incorporating the other techniques taught on the evening.
The final technique for the evening, incorporated a default position to be in if the person in the top position gets all the way in.
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From here we needed to bring the top arm against the body, bridge wrap the arm around their back and move to take the back.
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This move was particularly nice, which nicely turned the tables and puts the defender in a good position with multiple options to mount an offensive counter attack.
My thoughts, having been attending EKBJJ for almost 10 months now, more of these positions are beginning to make more sense, plus am becoming more confident in trying submissions, Professor does always stress to keep practicing…
“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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!”

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”

Obtaining keys to head locks…

A new week… continuation of headlock and baton defence, progressing on from last week’s tutelage on the subject. Professor gave us the break down on the nights lesson accompanied by some philosophical words on head locks, how they can be
obtained and also how common it is for fights to end at some stage in a head lock. At that point i thought back to a conversation I had with my son today… He was in school and a fight almost ensued and the other kid that wanted to start a fight opened up with a headlock followed by a trip attempt. Needless to say, my son managed to defend the head lock and avoided being tripped.
We started the evenings warm-up with a gentle roll/sparring just to get warmed up, swopping partners periodically. We then went straight into baton defence with another attack aimed directly at our head. The principles learnt last week were identical but we learnt another position, which allowed us to protect our head and drop straight into a clinch which allowed us to control the arm with the weapon, options from here lead into either a single leg take down or a knee into the ‘open space’ followed up by a hip throw.
All variations were practiced several times, with the professor scolding us for not being more committed with the baton attack on the head to help our training partners.
Afterwards we went into headlocks, talking about regularity of headlocks being used as a vehicle to take people down. Professor did a quick revision on things to do when in the basic defensive position on the ground, in particular arm positions and body position then began to explain other options available to us if we aren’t able to get the defensive techniques taught last week.
This included variations to hook over the leg to effectively allow you to get up on to your knees and get to the modified mount position.
Bridging into them to lift them and to place your hip under theirs, this particular technique was especially good if they are driving weight on to you, since the connection is there bridging into them lifts their waist off the floor allowing you to drive your hip under theirs. Then it’s a case of rolling them back the other way so that you’re on top.
The last technique taught was if the person head locking keeps moving their leg you’re trying to hook, to potentially remedy that scenario you can hook the other way and lift their leg up allowing you to get underneath them to roll them back the other way… straight into the modified mount.
All of the above was drilled, with an exercise at the end to potentially work different head lock escapes based on what the person holding you were doing. Surprisingly, the options available were numerous and combinations were plentiful.
At the end we spoke more about head lock philosophy which lead into jiu-jitsu philosophy and were encouraged to do more headlock drills in our sparring.
My thoughts, this was a nice addition following on from last week, knife ambushes, baton attacks and head locks does it get much nastier? For now i am thankful I have something to potentially answer some of those questions…
“Tapping out”

We should all take this seriously..

Gaining popularity, the class was very full Wednesday night, more videos seen, knife ambushes are no joke!
As I prep for the lesson, my mind wanders off to when I sat on the tube during my daily commute home from work, i looked around the carriage eyeballing people, the lady doing her make-up, kids reading comics, everyone else playing “candy crush” or listening to their smart phones, oblivious to people they are travelling with…
Professor opened up by welcoming newcomers to the academy and with the format for the evening, more on clinches and knife ambushes plus introducing an added element of head lock counters… With that said we proceeded into doing the warm-up, which consisted of running, side stepping, running backwards then into , 2 sets of hip escapes, backward rolls over the shoulders, lizard crawls forwards and backwards.
Head lock counters were explained by the professor and the different stages where this can begin, starting with posture. This then escalated to defending a punch which then lead on to locking the attackers arm behind their back.
We also looked at defence of someone grabbing the shoulder and trying to disrupt balance, this essentially worked off of the previous drill on posture again and this time the end product was wrapping up their arm and using leverage against their elbow.
Next, we reviewed Monday’s lesson going through different elements of knife ambush philosophy, how things work in the street and we recapped the different ambushes and defensive actions to take. Professor also added a dimension to the mechanics of edged weapons attacks, essentially ‘stabbing’ and ‘slashing’.
More review work was done on clinches and an additional detail in the event that when attempting to clinch someone, they manage to control your head in a Muay thai clinch. This counter involved protecting yourself from attacks from the knee and ultimately
locking up both the attackers arms and performing a takedown, which then lead on to either more strikes or an arm break. (I say ‘break’ as that would be the intended action if this happened in a street fight). We went over the details and the professor demonstrated
various takedowns and potential finishes from this position. The key detail was in the locking of the hands to maintain some control over the attacker.
Lesson came to a close with the professor outlining what’s to come at the end of the week, with knife defence still heavily on the agenda also the mindset to have whilst training/drilling these details. Another important tip from the professor, generally if involved in a clinch and there’s empty space, always strike! whether it be a kick, head butt, punch, knee all these things provoke actions. Fights in the street won’t be like the sparring sessions we are accustomed to when practising the grappling elements and the professor makes it very clear that having the correct mindset first is absolutely paramount to all the techniques being taught to us.
My personal thoughts, the repetition is needed, the philosophy is intriguing, the insight is immense.
“Tapping out”