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!”


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”

Crank it up!

Today we continued the additional details of head lock escapes with added technical adjustments for different submissions.
Professor addressed the class and warned us of two potential moves he was going to teach us to be quite nasty and when drilling these moves to be very gradual with any pressure. Then he said he doesn’t want anyone using these moves in sparring, purely for reasons of safety. Professor was very adamant on this and as always is concerned for everyone’s well being.
We moved into doing a warm-up which was more stretch orientated today, mainly around the shoulders, neck and spine. We then quickly recapped elements of monday’s lesson.
Extra detail added today was centred around a crank which affected the arm, neck and shoulder. IMG_0132
Important details he explained was to make sure to compress arms and then gently push into them whilst cranking the head and neck up. The professor explained what was happening to the vertebrae in the spine with this technique and again warned us to apply this very gently. We practised this a few times, with some minor adjustments being told to us from the observations the professor was making.
We then moved on and talked about a potential escape from this position.
Details here involved changing the angle with the hand, straightening the arms and creating a frame to prevent the crank to the head.
These details prevent the technique from being done, then once the attempts stop it is then the ideal opportunity to perform the rest of the escape.
By doing a big hip bump and rotating on to the shoulder you can effectively move the person on top into the position you occupied previous.
We again practiced this, slowly becoming more proficient on continued repetitions. Professor did however, note a detail with reference to making sure we move the arms and hips together when executing the escape.
The last technique shown for the evening is a counter to the counter. In more straight forward terms, if the top person stops you from rolling them over, you can do a further escape which leads back to the original head lock escapes done previously.
Professor explained all the techniques demonstrated again to us on the mat this evening, he also progressed on to a more general speech with reference to be respectful to each other, practising responsibly on the mats to make sure everyone benefits. The speech was very well received and in conclusion the professor was very grateful to all people attending and urged everyone to study and practice to get to the next level.
My thoughts, the professor is a gracious human being who has high expectations for us all. He has a simple way of getting his point across which makes learning from him a pleasure. Details tonight involved a fair amount of technical understanding but as always he makes it look very, very easy.
“Tapping out”

The great headlock escapes cont.

A new week and a trip back to head lock counters as displayed in the academy curriculum.
Professor addressed the class with the outline of areas we will be covering this week which will ‘dove tail’ nicely from the details learnt last week.

We proceeded to do the standard warm-up which concluded with a gentle ‘roll’ to get all limbs nicely attuned for the coming lesson.

First detail we went through involved the first head lock escape from the ground which ends up with the ‘headlocker’ in a ‘head scissors’ we learnt.



The extra details given to us, were ‘what if’ scenarios if we weren’t able to secure the ‘head scissors’ position. The first option was to go through a series of steps that eventually put us in a position to choke them. Getting there required isolating the closest arm, controlling their other arm, maneuvering into a position to obtain the choke then apply.


Lots of technical details, each making a lot of sense and not too difficult to perform. After practicing this we then did the ‘no-gi’ variation, which had a small difference with respect to not grabbing clothing but getting better connections with limbs. The end result was a choke which was potentially more lethal than the first.


We then explored a scenario if they were able to get the arm closest to you free, this next part was clever and nasty all at the same time. In the event this happens, shifting your body position so that your in the cross body position over them with both of your arms
under theirs. On the side your pressuring from it’s required to move your leg so that it is underneath their arm and straightened out in front of you. Then the arm that’s exposed needs to be extended so that a straight armlock can be applied, the natural defense for
this position is to bend the arm, at that point the leg that’s extend can fold back in and trap the arm whilst it’s bent. Then to secure the position the other leg comes across and prevents the arm from getting out. The position is actually an ‘Americana’ applied with the legs instead of the arms.


Professor demonstrated different ways of applying the pressure and it didn’t take much for people to tap. We practiced this and i shortly realised that with my own dynamics, it doesn’t take much to apply pressure and being on the receiving end, this position is very nasty.

This concluded the lesson for the evening.

My thoughts, Professor says this is relatively straight forward, I thought it was complex until I tried it…
The understanding needed of the body to piece this information together not to mention understanding yourself; the previously taught information still fresh in my mind, overwhelming? enlightening? confusing? but very, very enjoyable! I can’t wait for the next lesson!

“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”