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!”

I’m ready to tell you my secret now. I see Kimura arm-locks!

As we bring the Kimura arm-lock to a conclusion this week, Professor did mention of an epic UFC fight between Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira where Mir broke Nog’s arm using a Kimura arm-lock.
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Tonight the Professor will be completing the technique of the week but whilst reminding us of it’s application can be used in many, many different situations depending on what circumstance you’re in whilst in the fight.
After the warm-up, we did a recap of the previous lessons from the week, then after going through a brief drill, we steeled ourselves to take on more knowledge.
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Three more positions Professor had in store for us, one being an entry to getting the arm-lock whilst still on your back, generally via an opening given to you when your assailant attempts a punch. To fully take advantage will require applying  some knowledge from the ‘punch block’ lesson to bridge the arm over the shin, once this has been done we can kick our foot up, which in turn moves the assailant’s arm forward giving us an opportunity to set it up for a Kimura arm-lock.
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Another position which dove tails off a previous position we learnt where you end up on top, but the assailant grabs with both arms around your body whilst you have them in the mounted position. From here you arch your back, like a cat, to create space to place a frame between you and the assailant’s head. Whilst doing this, you move your knee up, can be either, and trap the other arm between your thigh and body. This will allow you to get the necessary rotation to apply the arm-lock.
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The last position was from the guard and this required a little more guile to pull off. It relies on action and reaction, a topic the Professor always comes back to when showing us different techniques, why? because he understands that in a real self-defence situation no one will offer up anything without resistance. Professor always makes us aware of this. So with the head position, by pushing it in one direction the most human reaction is to resist and fight, when doing so we use that momentum to push the head back to the other side.
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This places the assailant to one side and off balance within your guard, from here we can go for the Kimura arm-lock on the opposite side to the head.
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However if this isn’t doable, for example the assailant is being very stubborn, resistant or strong, there is always an option. We can effectively go in reverse and go towards the head side; this is doable via hip escapes in the direction of the head and bringing the leg up to keep the other arm exposed, from here we can attempt the arm-lock on the other side.
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For me this was definitely the trickiest of all the Kimura arm-lock positions and the Professor and his talented black belt made it look so easy!
We practiced all moves with varying levels of success and befuddlement, however Professor and Coach did an excellent job of breaking down the areas we found initial difficult. This concluded the lesson for the evening.
My thoughts, this is going to be a submission i’ll go for in future sparring sessions, I have my favourite which is the Americana arm-lock and as i see this as the same submission but in reverse, it makes sense to understand it’s applications. Not to say i’ll neglect the rest, particularly chokes, but I’m thinking already of how i can apply this.
“Tapping out”

Tools of the Gracie hunter…

This week Professor introduced us to another arm-lock, famous in history to it being successfully used against hi-profile Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioners that just happen to be part of the Gracie family.
Helio was caught with this, Renzo was caught with this and even Royler was caught with this. For those who know, this could only be the Kimura arm-lock. Professor explained that to begin we’ll look at applying this particular technique standing up first and then slowly work our way to the ground.
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Before going into the details of the Kimura, Professor showed us defences if an attacker grabs you from behind and the proper action to take.
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Lowering your height which affects your centre of gravity, whilst forcing your fingers inside the grabbers hands provides a decent point to push your arms down and also to expand your waist out to potentially break the grip. Professor did also advise us that while we are lowering our base, we can also execute a reverse head butt into the face of the attacker.
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After practising that a few times, Professor then taught us the position to be in to execute the beginnings of the Kimura.
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Leading off from the earlier drill, we needed to break the grip, double up on an arm and turn in the direction of the arm you have partially locked.
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From here we were shown two options, to bring them to the floor and place them in the guard but on the side.
A key detail with forcing this submission is that we need to stretch away from the body and then turn, this made the whole move and lot tighter and enabled the submission to go on very quickly.
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Or to be in a cross body position over them. Key details with this particular position required us to make sure that we prevent their arm going to their side, incase they are trying to reach for weapons. In addition, shuffling the arm up towards their shoulder sets up the finishing Kimura nicely in the next part.
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Stepping around the head, then dropping your hip or body weight on their shoulder begins to put vast amount of weight on to their shoulder and make the submission very tight. Then a very gentle twist of the arm that confirms the submission.
All was practiced very diligently, with questions and re-explainations happening in the class. This concluded the lesson on the evening.
My thoughts,  with my long arms I realised how susceptible i am to this particular arm-lock and in fact, all arm-locks in general. However, i did like this addition as I believe it compliments the Americana nicely.
“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”