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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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.
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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!”

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”

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!”