BJJ Class, May 24, 2008

So I hobbled along to BJJ last night to cover for my instructor who is in Tokyo getting his ass whupped in preparation for the Mundials.

I did get a few strange looks when I came into the dojo on crutches with my gi pants on and a cast sticking out of the bottom of them, but that was to be expected.

Friday nights for BJJ have been pretty quiet lately, so I just sat there and watched the Shooto guys go through a really intense exercise session. Then a couple of people rolled up for BJJ including my buddy Sam, which was cool. I really didn’t do anything other than keep an eye on the timing and lead the warmup. I did some pressups, situps and later chinups, but I realised I have to be careful not to work up much of a sweat otherwise my cast will get majorly funkalicious.

It was great to be back in the dojo, that’s for sure, and I quite enjoyed just sitting on the sidelines and watching, analaysing, yelling out the odd bit of advice in Japanese. I think I was yelling “Grab his lapel with your right hand” but I might have been saying “Your mother sucks donkey balls in hell, stupid-head”… we’ll never know.

That class was over and then a couple of drifters came in for the 10pm class, including one blue belt who is very tough. (But has no stamina… I remember him completely killerising me a few weeks ago, then five spars later, he had nothing left…) He was kind of teaching a few moves to a white belt so I just let him get on with it. The class was very relaxed, we messed around with some rubber guard stuff, I got some pointers on the triangle from the blue belt, and then I watched them spar.

I am really, really looking forward to when my foot heals and I can train again. It was quite frustrating to be there, in my uniform, watching people spar, and not be able to join in.

I had a good opportunity to watch how people roll though and I think this break will ultimately help my game. I could see so many times when people were just doing completely the wrong movements. Wrestling and fighting for some grip or some position when all they had to do was change direction or switch some minor thing and they could have got a sweep or a submission with half the effort.

I am going to try to make my game much more efficient. I don’t mean that in a crappy kung fu way, I mean in a smart way. See the openings and do the techniques that require the least grunting and shoving and gurning. Be like water flowing down a river… when it reaches a boulder too big to go over, it simply flows around it… okay maybe in a vaguely crappy kung fu way.

I did manage to bone up on my BJJ reading, and got through the whole of Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa’s Basic BJJ and Alberto Crane’s Advanced BJJ books. I have rolled with Hayakawa-san when he came to visit our dojo, the man is wickedy-awesome-bo-diggety-wizard. The only thing I know about Alberto Crane is that his legs are bendy and he gets his face punched pretty hard in the UFC.

My verdict? I loved the simpleness and the large clear pictures of the Hayakawa book. Alberto Crane’s book was full of moves with ridiculous names (“Reverse flying omoplata to spinning heelhook armbar counter with extra fries”) and tiny, badly exposed pictures. Still, there was a DVD which might have been more clear.


First day teaching BJJ

Taught a class today. It was fun. Not too much of a big deal though, as only four (later, six) people turned up.

I felt pretty good teaching. I thought I’d be nervous, but I wasn’t. I taught a couple of fairly simple sweeps and transitions to kimura and triangle from the failed sweeps, and everyone could pick it up fairly well.

A guy came, one of those guys who gets to blue or purple belt then just stops training, but then comes back occasionally and has still got “it”. He was seriously tough, and submitted all of us repeatedly. However, his gi smelled like smoke, and I guessed that his stamina wasn’t that great… I rolled with him at the beginning, and he steamrolled me. Then I rolled with him for the last roll of the day and, although I wasn’t able to finish him, I could control him pretty well. He had nothing in the tank.

I learnt from today… to mentally take the lead. Make the first move, steel yourself not to give up a position, be confident in your rolling.

Teaching tomorrow!

I got a text from sensei at 2 in the morning asking me if I could teach on Sunday. I can’t imagine how many people must have said no for him to ask me at 2 in the morning, but who cares! Woo!

When I got my blue belt last year, he told me that I could start teaching the beginner class on Sunday, and asked me to start immediately, the following Sunday. I couldn’t because I had something on already, and ever since then, he kind of forgot about it. Until now, woo!

I’m a little nervous. I can handle teaching English to a class full of unruly 11 year olds, but teaching jiu jitsu to a room full of people half of whom are bigger, older, stronger, and probably more skilled than me, might be a bit different. Still, ultimately, I want to have my own gym, so this will be a good start.

The nuances of pronunciation

I’ll teach in a mixture of basic Japanese, English, and various clicking and grunting noises. People should get the message.

Technically the first hour is for beginners and after that it’s a regular class, but it works out that everyone turns up for the whole class and we do whatever. So I am going to go over a couple of sweeps, I think. I have to do things I know I can do well, otherwise I’ll look like a twat if I can’t effectively demonstrate what I’m teaching.

Here’s the plan, putting it into words for my benefit. I’ll try to put some in Japanese, cos that’s what I’ll be shouting tomorrow…

Ebi (shrimping)
Jiu jitsu tachi (standing the bjj way)
Koten (backwards roll)
Wani aruki (crocodile walk)
Jump (leap forward and land on one leg, keep balance, then leap forward and land on the other leg. Repeat backwards.)

Situps (various)
Pushups (various)
Squats (various)
Pullups (various)

Shita kara juji (armbar from guard, 10x)
Ue kara juji (armbar from mount, 10x)
Sankaku (triangle from guard)

Rest, stretch

Sweep – Fuck knows the name, but from guard, plant left foot on floor, trap opponent’s right arm, grab his left gi pants near the ankle, then kick your right leg under his left armpit and punch your right hand (holding his pant leg) up to sweep him over to the left, putting you in mount. I do this sweep all the time and did it as a blue belt in competition, so I am pretty confident in teaching it.) Variation: hooking your arm under their knee and doing the same (if they try to stand)

Sit up / hip bump sweep Easy

After they’ve had a chance to play with that, then show submission follow ups if the sweep fails… hip bump to kimura, and that other sweep can sometimes be changed into a triangle if you are quick enough. (As I sweep to the left, they post out their right arm. I immediately bring my left leg over their arm, onto their neck, and work for the triangle.

If their is still loads of time, I might do a couple of other sweeps or a collar choke or something.

Then do some positional sparring for short bursts (from closed guard, or one up one down.)

Then lots of regular sparring.

Should be fun!


One of the rewards for getting my blue belt is that I can teach the odd Sunday class, when sensei is busy. I’m pretty pumped about that. But it means I have to really start thinking about moves and how to break them down and teach them to someone else. It also means I have to figure out my class. So here are a few notes, mostly for my benefit.

Class Structure:

Warm up:

  • Press ups (various types) ~100
  • Sit ups (various types) ~100
  • Pull up bar (wrap belt around bar) ~20
  • Squats ~50



  • Situp sweep drill ~20
  • Pressure drill (Keeping pressure on partner’s chest (or back), spin around using no hands.) (1 minute)
  • Armbar and triangle from guard ~20
  • Armbar from mount ~20
  • Knee on belly switching ~20
  • Guard passing to knee on belly ~20

Positional sparring

  • Half guard ~2 mins, then change position
  • Guard ~2 mins, then change position
  • Side ~2 mins, then change position
  • Mount ~2 mins, then change position


  • From knees, 5 mins with 1 min break

Moves that I can teach
It will only be the beginners’ class that I teach, so nothing too complex.

  • Armbar
  • Triangle

Now for my shorthand nonsense where I get all the names wrong.

There are enough moves for a few weeks there to get me started. I’m going to look back through my archives to see if there are any other moves I can use.