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…

 

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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!”

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!”

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!”

 

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!”

 

 

Pressure and more pressure.

Friday night at the academy brought small additions of information, but plenty of practice and recap for the lessons taught this week. This included a technique to grab the person’s foot you’re trying to mount and in reaction to them kicking out to defend, they give you an opportunity to mount them! Clever stuff.
There was an excellent reason for the recap. Professor has awesome things in store for us next week, to continue an assault on the ground.
Which brings us to Monday nights lesson, introduced as combination week. I couldn’t help but feel that the information transfer this week will be mind blowing…
We started the monday evening class with the warm-up consisting of running, side-stepping, heels to backside and knees to chest. We then did a basic circuit of 20 star jumps, 20 squats and finishing with 20 press-ups… 3 sets. We then done some light free sparring to just loosen up before the lesson began.
We briefly recapped the double leg takedown taught last week and went through the different variations of obtaining the mount. A detail from last week was controlling an arm after maintaining a cross body position, the basis of some of the combinations about to be taught to us this week. We also looked at some defensive options against the double leg takedown, one called the ‘brick wall’, which involved sending your hips forward with a long base, although the more common defence is to sprawl. Afterwards the Professor showed us a counter to the ‘brick wall’ which involved pivoting on the planted knee on the ground positioning yourself behind them, whilst they fall forwards. This was attempted but seemed very tricky to get the hang of.
Professor then demonstrated obtaining the mount position then proceeded to show us the positioning for setting up an arm-triangle from the mount position. The details were a combination of basic mount control with added details to make sure the connections were all tight. On observation everything was very systematic if a limb moved another replaced it pressure also being key.
Applying the pressure of the arm triangle was similar to applying the rear naked choke in the sense that it’s an expansion of the chest to close of any gaps and bringing the elbows together.
This was practiced a few times, with certain details being discovered slowly. Professor was very patient and understanding as he wanted to ensure we understood the details, whilst also answering numerous questions.
We then witnessed pure jiu-jitsu art in it’s most rawest form, a transition from the arm-triangle to an inverted leg-triangle. This involved keeping tight control over the person and making subtle adjustments to have the underside of the leg underneath their chin and locking in the position with the other leg. To make matters even more interesting, from that position it seemed the Professor wasn’t finished! We then were shown options of arm-locks , one being an americana and the other a straight arm-lock. To finish this relentless attack the Professor then repositioned himself to perform another arm-lock. It was truly mind blowing to see so many different attacks all spawning from one position.
We practiced and stumbled along, losing some of the details on the transitions until it occurred to me that this was similar to a multi tiered maths problem, meaning if you had a maths question that required you to use the answer for another question further down, if you didn’t get the first part right, the rest of it will be wrong too. To me, the principal is the same with jiu-jitsu transitions.
That concluded the lesson for the evening. The professor made it clear that this week will be focused around combinations and connections and there would be a lot of drilling to make sure we understand and remember the detail. However, if we wanted to get better we had to make sure to attempt these when sparring otherwise, it’s just another bunch of moves and most importantly the mindset we need to adopt is also paramount.
My thoughts, the wonder of this art is staggering and the basic concepts if understood makes the journey that much more enjoyable. I’ll be sure to do more drilling and cut down some of my sparring to retain as much knowledge as possible.
“Tapping out”