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!”

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”

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”

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”

Come in, the guard is lovely!

After the intensive work done last week on guard passing, Professor decided to move the lesson of ‘guard pulling’ to this week as to ensure the understanding around the mechanics of the guard pass were taught. As we go into the this week we are reminded of an event at the end of the month reference Royler Gracie visiting the academy and conducting a seminar. It’s a warm evening in the academy so the Professor encouraged everyone to take in fluids and to pace ourselves through out the evening.

We went in and did the standard warm-up, running, side-stepping, hip escapes and finished off with some punch defence standing, mainly hooks, straight punches and punches to the stomach.

Professor then went and recapped very, briefly the guard passing technique shown to us last week. After which he then explained the processes of ‘pulling guard’ if in a street fight. We were reminded that going to ground is a last resort and Professor isn’t an advocator of ‘jumping guard’ as this can lead to the ‘jumper’ being smashed into the floor.

So in the altercation, if we end up in the clinch, we aim to have both our arms underneath the attackers armpits and stretched up to grab on to their shoulders, keeping the head tight and connection to the body firm.

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The idea next is to find the shins of the person, which is a guide to understand where their feet are. We then stand on their feet and sit down away from them. Once your backside hit’s the floor, open the legs to bring them into your guard.

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It is also important to keep the head up, as to prevent you from hitting it on the floor when you pull them down. Once on the floor, we placed an arm on top of their head to control it and also trap their arm on the same side your head is.

We drilled this a few times, a relatively straight forward moves which i don’t believe anyone struggled with. Professor then asked questions about the type of assailant, in particular, what if they refused to go down? Or were extremely strong? He then showed a small variation which involved tucking the knees to destabilise the assailant prior to pulling them down.

We practiced that variant and again people didn’t have any problems. Professor then explained that once in the guard at the bottom, if the person knows some Jiu-Jitsu and then proceeded to come out of the guard, similarly to the lessons taught last week, how can we defend against it? The next series of techniques that the Professor taught us was geared at just that.

First part involved making sure we are on our side, a common feature when being at the bottom and need to escape or defend, next we needed to make sure if the person in the top position is trying to force us down to deflect the attempt.

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Now, with the person in this position gives us an opportunity to guide the left arm around the top person’s right arm, inside, to move closer to them and establish a connection with the head just under their’s.

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This simple position is extremely solid and the professor demonstrated how solid by allowing several people to attempt to push him over.

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At this point, Professor instructed us to drill this part to get comfortable and assess what ever adjustments we personally had to make to enable us to have a solid base.

Following on from this, Professor then showed us two variations to get the top person back on to the floor. First being a sweep which required movement to grab the leg whilst falling back onto our own shoulder, finishing off with a roll to obtain cross body control.

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The last included details on what to do if the person being rolled stuck out an arm to stop them from going over. Professor then displayed some alterations which still allowed the technique to be executed with the same result.

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During the demonstrations, drills and after several members in the class had good questions to ask the Professor about different aspects of each stage of the moves. Professor not only explained but went through all the scenarios and broke down what could happen and why certain things work and certain things wouldn’t, which instantly improved everyone’s understanding of the positions being queried.

This concluded the lesson for the evening.

My thoughts, with the relative short time being introduced and practising this science, i’ve noticed now that i’m slowly beginning  to understand the fundamentals of how this all works. There are areas that i’m still working through which hinders my progress but it’s humbling in a way and gives me plenty to think about. The good thing is that the support structure is here for when ever i need to ask those questions and get extra guidance.

“Tapping out!”