I have been keeping it under wraps, but I have a new blog, Jiu-Jitsu 365 http://jiujitsu365.wordpress.com/ . I have taken on a challenge to perform Jiu-jitsu for 365 continuous days and to see what happens. Of course I have to be smart about it but I have been at it for over 2 weeks straight now and I’ve seen significant results…
Check it out at: http://jiujitsu365.wordpress.com/ , offer some advice or encouragement or just enjoy the content….
Going to Jiu-jitsu class these past few days has really opened my eyes to my progress. The past three times I have gone the huge guy (Big Man) I am always paired with has not been present. It is not that I do not want him there, but it has allowed me to work on some other aspects of grappling. Further, I have noticed that my bottom game has become a little bit more technical since I couldn’t rely on strength when wrestling Big Man.
Another benefit of wrestling with Big Man is that I feel like I am in an anti-gravity chamber when I am rolling with other guys. It may also be a curse because the lack of pressure on my chest and the lack of panic sensations I would get when I could feel the air slowly leaving my lungs, may lessen my alertness when someone achieves a side-mount of mounted position. Although, when grappling with the head instructor, I had to resist the urge to bench press him off of me when he temporarily blocked my access to air while working for position. I was able to secure a technical return to guard. I guess the ‘flashbacks” from wrestling with Big Man will keep me alert.
My judo skills (green belt) still holds me in good stead in class. The second in command instructor told me I should start sharing with the guys what I know. I was also beginning to get embarrased over how they were commenting on my, what I consider, basic judo ability. However, to the non-initiated in Judo, stopping take downs is very difficult. My reasoning is that most people expect a takedown to be a one-shot, one dimensional deal. In Judo, a takedown can be a simple hip throw or leg sweep, but a Judoka expects that so when they practice with other Judoka they often have to use combinations. When I grapple with my Jiu-jitsu brethren or wrestlers they often expect my first action to be a failed attempt when it is often a set-up to make them react. Just as Jiu-jitsu is chess on the ground, I think of Judo as chess standing up. As a former Judo guy I try to think two to three steps ahead…..
Now if I could just apply this to my ground game.
Well, things were back to normal today. It felt as if I never left. We worked on escapes from the mount and breaking down the turtle defense. What fascinates me is that our lead instructor always seems to present something new. I received good training before when I trained in Florida but this is at a totally different level.
I was rolling with a guy in class and as anyone who has grappled knows, there’s a certain etiquette that’s followed. Well in our first scramble his foot hit my head and then we stopped and he apologized. That set the tone. The we sparred for a few more seconds and as fate would have it our heads bumped together when we both decided to go for a takedown (we were both kneeling) at the same time. I stopped for a brief moment to assess his damages and to see if he was okay. In that brief second or millisecond, he jumped onto my back and I spent the next two minutes fighting off a rear naked choke. I wasn’t upset but I think our signals were crossed. I don’t think he meant anything by it but I wonder why he thought I paused and would open myself up for him to jump on my back?
I haven’t had many things to post about on the Jiu-jitsu side of things. I missed the past three classes due to scheduling and academic committments. When I finally did return last Thursday I went to class only to find out that the center had been converted into a big haunted house for the previous day’s Halloween festivities. It hadn’t been converted back into the regular training facility.
I’ve been keeping busy late at night by trying to go through some solo drills, calisthenics (of the Matt Furey variety/Combat conditioning), stretching and such. I think today I will unhook my punching heavy bag from the stand and do some bag drills. However, as I have said before, nothing beats training with people.
I missed a few days and fell out of the loop. Next week hopefully things will return to normal…
I go to my grappling class two nights a week and play tennis one to two times a week, but it’s not enough to slim down to where I would like to be. As I mentioned in previous posts, I am the smallest of the big guys in my jiu jitsu class and it’s irritating. I like to actually try out different moves and have a back and forth type of exchange with whoever I am grappling with so we both can learn. However, at a certain point according to Jacob Forte of the MMA radio show “The Low Blow,” enough size nullifies all skill.
When I wrestle with a smaller or equal size opponent I keep a dominant position only long enough to work on a submission or to let them learn how to defend. When it’s obvious that I have control and can grab an easy submission, I move to another position or allow myself to get in trouble so I can work my way out. However, not everyone follows that same philosophy. ‘Lay and pray’ is the name of the game for some big guys. The problem with that is that although I am learning how not to get smothered by guys much larger than me, other areas of my game are not worked on.
The few Judo tournaments that I participated in, years ago, I was the lightest of the heavyweights at 204 pounds. So I know from that experience that I didn’t like competing in that bracket and wanted to drop down. I want to compete in a Jiu-jitsu or grappling tournament next year and I want to wrestle at 185 or lower so I have started a new regimen of jogging each day. I am trying to do this for the long haul so I am starting off slow but I am looking to gain back a lot of speed, flexibility and dexterity that being at the right wrestling weight carries.
I cracked open Eddie Bravo’s book Jiu Jitsu Unleashed last week because my attempts at using the lockdown in class had not been working. For those that don’t know, it’s a move where you purposely place your opponent in halfguard; then bring your outside leg over the trapped leg; place your inside leg over your outside leg and then place that same inside leg underneath the shin of your opponents trapped leg (sorry, that’s about as good as I can explain it). Then you stretch your opponent’s leg out. It is essentially a calf muscle-crank.
Eddie Bravo also suggested wearing long gi pants in order to keep your opponent from sliding out because of sweat.
Well, with my gi pants on an a renewed faith in the lockdown I travelled to my grappling class last Thursday. The first guy I tried it on, I was able to clamp it on but then my foot cramped before I could squeeze. Evidently it had some effect because he asked me what I had done because he almost tapped.
The second guy I tried it on was the guy I keep talking about that is about 6ft 4 and 280 lbs. Everytime I tried it on him in the past his leg was so slippery I couldn’t hold him in my half-guard. This time my gi pants held his leg long enough for me to slap it on. I extended his leg out and he said “Oww!!” I immediately let go and he had a look of wonder on his face. He said, “What was that?” After he asked the instructor came over and I explained what I had done. The instructor then said, “Oh you did the lockdown.” I played it cool, but I was estatic, because I had broke through my own personal plateau…..
Thanks to Eddie Bravo….
I have been having a couple of breakthroughs in Jiu-jitsu lately as well as frustrating moments. See, I am the smallest of the big guys that we have in class. Technically, I can roll with the lighter guys, but when we pair up for drills the big guys always come looking for me. This is a mixed blessing. When drilling with bigger guys (6ft4′ and between 225-280) I am fine, but when we spar it’s always a fight for my life…. The biggest guy in my class and I are often paired up because some of the other big guys don’t come as regularly and when we spar it usually follows this sequence:
1. Him pulling me down 2. I establish guard 3. He breaks my guard and goes to side mount 4. He lays on me and I can’t breathe 5. He finishes me with an Americana (arm-lock).
As of late, I have sometimes been able to re-establish guard when he gets me in side-mount and last week I was able to get his back, transfer to a mount and control him for a good period of time so I know that I am improving. The blessing in working with him is that when I do wrestle smaller guys, it feels like I am wrestling with a non-resisting opponents. I am also becoming more technical because if I want to have a chance with bigger opponents I have to be.
This week I was trying to work on a lock-down maneuver from the half-guard. I couldn’t do it because my partner was too sweaty (we’re no-gi). However, I remember when reading Eddie Bravo’s book Jiu Jitsu Unleashed that he said he wears gi pants so he can pull off some of his moves and opponents can’t slip and slide out of them. I will wear my gi pants to class next time and see what happens. Oh, yeah I almost pulled off an omoplata in practice (my last one was about a year and a half ago), but the guy stacked me ‘pretty good’ so I gave it up….