Know your blogger! Japan edition.

Inspired by Hywel Teague over at Notes from Ringside, I decided to get some film of me sparring at OJJ on Sunday night.

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It was another good session. We just did a warm up and then got straight into the sparring. Five minute rounds. I think I did about six in a row before my muscles started to really ache and I took a rest. Things are going pretty well at the moment, my stamina isn’t bad and my techniques are working for me. The blues and purples still give me hassle (and the occasional white, if they are good), but overall I’m feeling pretty good. If I can get my strength and stamina up a little more and just refine a few combination techniques, standup techniques, and my finishing, I should be okay. Not much then /sarcasm.

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I can’t recommend filming yourself enough. Well, not too much, but you should do it now and then and check yourself out. There are many reasons… if you look like shit, most likely you are doing something very wrong. You get to check your posture, you can see the huge holes in your game, see missed opportunities, and whether or not you have a big sweaty arse crack.

Without further ado, I present a freshly-shaven monkey in a jiu jitsu gi for your amusement. I am the one with a big nose and round eyes.

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Back in the Saddle

Went back to training last night after about 3 weeks of back to back illnesses. No weights, no exercise, no jiu jitsu. Not that I lift anything other than my own flabby arse and a couple of rubber dumbells.

I was interested to go back and check my level, to see how crappy I had got. You tend to get crappy really quickly when you take time off. But it kind of threw me when I was the only jiu jitsu guy in the dojo.

My stupid sensei had decided to go to France for a week and not tell me. Or maybe he did tell me but I didn’t understand, and just nodded my head and laughed as I am wont to do when I don’t understand what someone is saying to me. I learned later that a student had won a trip to France in a raffle, and just gave it to him, so he took it. Fair fucks to him, the guy doesn’t even take Christmas off, so I hope he has a good time, and eats loads of foie gras and truffles and comes back all tubby and out of shape so that I can have a vague chance of beating him.

So I ended up rolling with the Shooto class. The instructor kindly made it a grappling only class. Whether that was for my benefit or not, I’ll never know.

I did alright, better than I thought. Learnt a few things, the main thing being… LEGLOCKS! HOLY SHIT! I couldn’t do anything without getting my legs twisted off like bottle tops. Man, it was ridiculous. I was tapping like crazy, it was like a non-stop tattoo. There was a guy there who had won the Kyushu Abu Dhabi trials and a bunch of amateur fights. He is a monster. Not big, but in amazing shape, and crafty as fuck. He’s like Masakazu Imanari, who he cites as one of his idols, in that he’s an innovative and dangerous grappler who likes nothing more than to twist your feet until your knees go pop. One thing I learned, though… or had reinforced. Don’t play the other person’s game! He would always pull me into guard, or go on his back, wait till I tried to pass, then spin round and leglock me somehow. The first and only time I pulled him into my guard, I triangled him! That felt good. But then he heelhooked me about ten times in a row, and the feeling disippated somewhat.

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Had a few good rolls with various people. Enjoyed rolling without the gi and experimenting with different stuff. I find it easier, actually, to grapple without the gi. Physically. With the gi, when you roll with someone with a tight game, you have to fight for every inch. No-gi is a lot faster and looser.

Anyway, back in the saddle and it feels great. Except for the pain all over by body, that is.

Judo on Wednesday!

BJJ thoughts

Time for a break. I’ve been going every other day for a week or so. Doesn’t sound like much but my right knee is complaining loudly. It’s communicating with me like some kind of wild animal by puffing up, turning red, and making strange noises.

However I went out with a bang last night.

First an outline of a good half guard pass to help me remember.

My right leg is trapped in half guard, I am on top. I turn my hips to the right and sit down, after jamming my left knee up above their hip. Keep my butt away from them so I have a base. Left arm goes over their right shoulder and grips the gi behind their neck. Forearm pressure to keep their face looking up or to their left, to prevent them shrimping. Walk my right foot up bit by bit until it is right up to their butt, so my knee is up in the air and they have to fight to keep the half guard. Push their legs / knees down with my right hand so their legs are now wrapped around my calf. Then, post out with my right hand over their body, ideally underhooked under their left arm. Raise up enough to switch my hips out, so that I’m on my right side, probably with just my foot left trapped. Right knee on the ground, left leg posted out. Now change my grip… move left hand from behind neck to grabbing their right arm, pistol grip on the sleeve. Pull their arm tight to my chest. Free the leg, turn to side control, using my grip on their sleeve to control their movement until I am stable.

Had some average rolls, although got a triangle on a the blue belt that went to Brazil and managed to sweep him with it but the buzzer went before I could finish it. He probably would have escaped anyway.

I’m loving the higher belts who have taken a month off training (when I’ve been training my arse off) and come back rusty. I had a great roll with a purple belt. For the first 5 minutes I was just surviving. Then in the last minute, I was playing (awful) spider / de la riva guard and I noticed he was standing with his feet too close together. Quicker than you can say “schoolgirls underpants”, I sat up, trapped his lower legs by closing my guard around both of them (I have long legs), then hugged his knees before posting out and totally taking his ass DOWN. YEAH. A bit after that, we scrambled and he managed to stand up with my leg still draped over his shoulder. Quicker than you can say “Rumina Sato is pretty nifty”, I flying triangled his ASS. Or rather his face/neck. He had to lower me slowly to the ground where he rode out the last 5 seconds on the timer. Natch!

It was fun though. I really am not an egotistical person at all (it’s difficult for me though, being so incredibly handsome and intelligent.), but one of the things I love about BJJ is when everything goes right for a change, and people happen to be watching. There’s nothing worse than pulling off the ultimate sweep of doom on a higher belt and looking up only to find nobody saw it. So I like it when you do something or have a good roll and there happen to be a few people watching, and they make various hooting and / or howling noises whilst banging their hands together.

Yes.

BJJ thoughts

Thoughts from a few training sessions.

First, superpowers somewhat returned. However, explanation of superpowers is: I’m heavier than most of my partners. I got a rude awakening on Friday night when I rolled with a guy only about 4 kilos heavier than me, who diets to my weight class for fights. He’s a judo blackbelt and policeman (don’t all BJJ schools have one of them?!). When I was on top, it was kind of OK. He’s big as hell with thick arms and legs, and uses a lot of physical strength and aggression, but I managed to keep on top of him for most of the time during drills. Then during free spar, he slammed me on my back and basically squashed me for 6 minutes straight. He couldn’t finish any subs, but I couldn’t escape for shit. Afterwards, gasping, I asked him how much he weighed, expecting a figure in the low hundreds or possibly thousands of kilos. 76 was the reply. Yipes. I’m 72 on a good day.

Fun with long legs.

I used to curse my long legs and gangly frame, but I’m enjoying it lately. If I can keep my balance, it is very hard for people to effectively sweep my just because I have a wide base. So I’m learning how to keep my ankles away from their hands and use my length to my advantage. Lessons learnt that day were to roll with heavier people more often. Another lesson learnt (or re-learnt) was not to be flat when I’m on my back. Turn into a ball and the opportunities for sweeps, escapes, etc. will present themselves.

I feel lately with my rolling, and I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, that I roll very instinctually, in that about 50% of the time I’m thinking of doing a technique, and the other 50%, I’m not thinking anything and just kind of making it up as I go along. Perhaps it’s a communication thing, as I’m not so engaged with learning and communicating simply because of the language barrier at my school. In some instances though I feel it gives me an advantage because I do things that people are not expecting. In other ways, I’m at a disadvantage because I might get stuck somewhere where I know I know the escape, but it doesn’t come to me easily because I didn’t absorb t properly when it was being taught.