Saturday, 18 December 2010

End of Term

A shorter than normal lesson took place on Thursday as it was the last of the term before the Christmas break. Normally I update my blog the day after the lesson as it ensures that I don’t miss anything out but due to a couple of nights out drinking I can’t quite recall of the techniques that we did so this will be a shorter than usual write up.

It was the first time I had worn my newly earned yellow belt tonight and it felt nice not having to worry about being asked to perform part of my grading which meant I could relax. We started the lesson with some Newaza and I paired up with Mark. I pulled guard and was looking for a San-gaku-jime. Whenever I have caught Mark previously with this he has left his left arm in and again he was trying to pass my guard to my left so I grabbed his left arm and was preparing to throw my legs up but then he decided to try and pass to the other side so I quickly changed arms and grabbed his right arm and threw my legs up and caught him. It took me a little while to pull his right arm across my body but once I did he tapped. We restarted and this time I tried to get him on his back but as he is quite stocky and heavier than me I decided pulling guard was the safest option. This time I was looking to sweep him but I couldn’t quite manage it before Graeme called matte.

Graeme decided it would be a good idea for one of us to wear a blindfold. We changed partners I paired up with Troy. Troy wore the blindfold first and as he couldn’t see we both took grips before we started. I wrestled Troy to the floor and held him in Mune-gatame before I grabbed his arm and submitted him with Ude-garami. We restarted and this time I pulled guard and managed to submit him again with San-gaku-jime. The last person I did Newaza with was Big Stuart and this time I wore the blindfold. Yet again I was able to pull off a San-gaku-jime this time I went for the Ryan Hall version which worked well for me the previous week and Stuart duly tapped.

We went on to do Blindfolded Randori and I actually found that this improved my Tachi-waza as I was relying on feeling and therefore felt more relaxed. I found this similar to when I would do Chi-Sau or sticking hands, back in my Wing Chun days. Chi Sau is a drill used for the development of automatic reflexes upon contact and the idea of "sticking" to the opponent. In Wing Chun this is practiced through two practitioners maintaining contact with each other's forearms while executing techniques, thereby training each other to sense changes in body mechanics, pressure, momentum and "feel". This increased sensitivity gained from this drill helps a practitioner attack and counter an opponent's movements precisely, quickly and with the appropriate technique. Although I have my doubts weather Wing Chun is the most effective form of fighting there are definitely certain training aspects which I think are useful and Chi-Sau is one of them.

I suggested to Graeme before tonight’s lesson that it might be a nice idea to have group photo so before we put the mats away the below photo was taken. We then all retired to the local pub for a well earned end of term pint.

Back Row, left to right: Stuart, Mark, Peter, Me, Oli
Front Row, left to right: Troy, Ynez, Stuart, Graeme.

Friday, 10 December 2010

5th Kyu

No Judo last week due to the heavy snow, so the club will stay open an extra week to compensate which means next week will be the last class until January 13th.

With the last class of the term usually being a shorter session followed by a Christmas drink in the Bar, I knew tonight’s class would be my last chance to pass my yellow grading before the New Year. Whilst checking the BJA website I realised that there were one or two techniques that I had never practiced before so I felt sure that I could not pass. However these techniques were simple looking turnovers so I memorised the moves from the video just in case I was called on it.

It was a fairly small turnout tonight with just seven seniors including the instructors making it to class. Graeme took most of the class and he said he would be trying to finish off both Ryan’s and my grading. After a warm up Graeme asked Ryan to lead us all in performing various breakfalls which were in the 6th Kyu syllabus and he duly received ticks next to them.

The rest of the lesson was structured around the techniques that both Ryan and I needed for our respective new belts. For instance, Graeme would ask me to show the class basic grips and variations on those and after I did this Graeme would then have us practice various grip fighting techniques. That way I could get this ticked off my grading sheet before he taught the rest of us. If we had had a normal turnout he would have taken myself and Ryan to one side and graded us whilst the rest of the class got on with their normal lesson but because there were so few of us he couldn’t do that.

After the grip fighting Graeme asked me if I could perform a turnover in to Kesa-gatame. Now as I said earlier I have not been taught this technique before but I told Graeme I would give it a go and luckily enough not only did I perform this one correctly I also managed to perform turnover in to Mune-gatame and turnover into Yoko-shiho-gatame (who said you can’t learn from the internet?)

All that was now left for me to do was two minutes of Randori whereby I would need to show good technique with a variety of throws and good ukemi when I was thrown. Graeme asked me to pick an Uke and of course I picked Oli. I mainly used throws that are in the 6th and 5th kyu syllabus but I did end the Randori with a nice Sumi-gaeshi, which I was very pleased, worked.
Peter then quizzed my knowledge of Japanese by asking me to translate all of the 5th kyu techniques and once I had done this I was presented with a shiny new Yellow Belt. As Ryan had also passed I gave him my Red Belt as they didn’t have any new ones at the club. I joked to Ryan that we should get a belt whipping ala BJJ but luckily in Judo all we got was stiff handshake from both Graeme and Peter.

No more Judo now until the 13th of January and with NCT classes (Anti Natal) taking up my Tuesday evenings I won’t be able to substitute with BJJ either. Still the Marathon training is going up a notch with a 10 mile run due this Sunday so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.

Friday, 26 November 2010


The weather has taken a turn for the worse at the moment and leaving my very warm house to get in to my very cold car at 8pm last night suddenly didn’t feel very appealing but I am yet to miss a lesson for any reason other than holiday and I’m certainly not going to start now.

We warmed up with shrimping and other various other movements across the mats and then were told that we were going to learn San-gaku-jime , or triangle choke to my BJJ/MMA friends. Under the BJA this is a 1st kyu (Brown Belt) technique but I have been shown this technique in BJJ and have pulled it off in Newaza as recently as last week. Strangely enough I had been told to check out a variation of the traditional way of doing this technique by someone following my blog and was told to type “Ryan Hall triangle” in to youtube. I was anxious to try out this variation myself but I had to wait until none of the instructors were looking before doing so.

I was paired with Big Stuart and we both got this technique working first time out. When Stuart applied the choke to me apparently my face very quickly turned red even though I didn’t feel overly in trouble but then I could slowly feel myself passing out but Stuart had already released the choke and I recovered very quickly. The beauty of this choke is that generally the person being choked doesn’t realise it and like I almost did, can slowly drift off to la la land. I mentioned to Stuart that I had just last night seen a variation of this technique and youtube so got to try it out. luckily enough I think I remembered it pretty well as Stuart commented that the choke was very tight, very quickly.

Graeme then showed us San-gaku-gatame , again this is a 1st kyu technique. We were shown this from a turnover situation exactly the same as the one on the BJA website, the link of which I have provided.

Moving on to some Tachi-waza we practiced Ippon-seoi-nage and Graeme broke down the throw in to different stages, i.e. breaking the balance, lifting Uke on to your back, and finally dropping you shoulder so that Uke falls to the floor. I was paired with Mark and when we got to the stage where he actually threw me I forgot that I was at Judo and forgot to breakfall, landing flat on my back. Lesson learned, Thou must remember to breakfall when thrown. Of course I didn’t admit to Mark that I had forgotten or that I had no breath left in my lungs, I just got on with being thrown again and this time slapped my arm down hard. Eventually I got my breath back and hopefully no one was any the wiser.

Before the class finished I got to do some more of my Yellow belt grading and was asked to pick a Uke. Without hesitation I picked Oli, who had been Peter and Graeme’s Uki for most of the techniques we did that night. This is probably due to two reasons, firstly Oli is fairly senior and secondly he was probably the lightest senior in attendance. I had to perform O-uchi-gari into Tate-shiho-gatame followed by Tai-otoshi into Yoko-shiho-gatame. Both done reasonably well and Peter ticked them both off. Next up was Escape from Kami-shiho-gatame and despite the fact I have only been shown this once many months ago, I did this well enough to pass.

I’m almost there now with this grading, just the turnovers and a couple more escapes to do before becoming a 5th Kyu. Ryan also made a start on his 6th kyu grading and Mark made a start on his 2nd kyu so some new colour belts could soon be worn all round.

Before we left Graeme asked if any of us were interested in a Newaza competition against another local club, probably to take part early next year. Everyone seemed keen so hopefully this will happen as I think we have a good chance of getting some medals particularly with Ryan who will no doubt be performing against other novice Judoka, but hopefully not against me.

Monday, 22 November 2010


The ache’s that the title of this post refers to are due to the running that I’m doing which again totaled 20 miles this week. I read somewhere that your body takes about 3 weeks to get used to running 4 times a week and this is my third week since I had man flu so hopefully by next week I should be feeling a bit better.

On to the Judo and Graeme took the class and as Peter had to leave early I didn’t do anymore of my grading. After the warm up we did some Newaza. First a light roll with Ryan where we just went through different holds and reversals and then a more strenuous roll with Big Stuart. Big Stuart certainly seems to be trying that bit more now when he rolls with me, whether that’s because he has to as I have improved I’m not sure yet but when he does try he is certainly a formidable opponent. Obviously his size can be an advantage to him and when he lays across your face and puts his weight down its uncomfortable to say the least. Stuart did manage to secure some sort of color choke but it was only very slowly choking me so I decided not to tap and luckily for me Graeme called matte just in time.

Next up was Mark and this time we had to take turns starting from the turtle position. I started in turtle first Mark attempted to roll me bit I pulled guard and as he tried to pass I threw up a San-gaku-jime (triangle). Again as per my previous roll with Mark he left his left arm in so I had to remember which leg I was to choke him with and fortunately I had learnt from my mistakes and correctly applied the pressure with my legs around his neck and pulled his left arm across my body and after about 10 seconds he tapped.

His turn now to start in turtle and I ended up in his guard but was able to pass into Mune-gatame but I didn’t really have good control from here so I decided to change to Tate-shiho-gatame (the mount). Mark tried to bridge and buck me off but I kept hold of him and was slowly working my way up his body as I intended to go for a Juji-gatame (Arm bar). Unfortunately Graeme called matte before I had the chance but I was pleased nonetheless as this was my first proper roll with Mark and I was able to submit him. I would think that next time he will know what to expect from me and I might find it that little bit harder but for now I was happy.

Tachi-waza was next and we practiced Uchi-mata, which previously I found difficult to pull off against Black Belt Stuart but tonight I was paired with Big Stuart. Surprisingly I was able to throw Stuart a number of times. I’m starting to realise the importance of not only using my legs when I throw but also my arms and my body. After I break Stuart’s balance its really important to pull his arm around my body and also to turn my head as this aids in the twisting motion.

We finished up tonight with some Randori and first I paired up with Oli and we went throw for throw which was good practice for me. After some more light Randori with Inez and Big Stuart I paired up with Ryan. Looking back at my blog I realised that Ryan had been training since May and should really have started his Red belt grading by now. I realise the club is small and its difficult for them to concentrate on more than one persons grading at a time so hopefully after I get my Yellow they can quickly grade Ryan.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Foot Sweeps

Due to being busy at work and my continued running commitments I’m late blogging this week. I will therefore keep it short, partly because I am still busy but mainly because I’ve forgotten what I did last week.

On the Marathon training front I did manage 3 x 4.5 mile runs in my lunch hour last week and topped that off with a 7 mile run on Sunday morning, which is my longest ever run. I actually felt ok after the run, not really out of breath just a little achy. My time was quite slow, 1 hour and 8 minutes, but at this stage it isn’t about how fast but rather how long I run for.
So that’s just over 20 miles run last week and I will continue to do this for the month of November before I up my long run to 10 miles in December.

On to the Judo and there was yet another new face but I can’t remember his name. He was however another Black Belt, who hadn’t practiced for about 5 years but was looking to get back in to it. He had travelled all the way from Wimbledon to our club, which is quite a long way so I questioned why he didn’t train in Wimbledon as Ray Stevens has a club there but apparently he wanted to get back in to training gently and the Randori at Ray Stevens was a little too full on. I guess when you’re a Black Belt some students see you as having a big target on your back, I certainly felt this way when I was teaching Kung Fu to some of the knuckle heads that used to walk in off the street.

I also mentioned to our newest recruit that there was another club “ Westcroft”, which being based in Carshalton, is between Wimbledon and Dorking and he seemed quite keen to find out more about that club. I then realised that I may just have talked him out of coming back to our club but let’s hope not as he seemed liked a nice guy and more students are always welcome.

Peter took the class tonight and said we would be concentrating on foot sweeps. We first went over De-ashi-barai and I was then shown Okuri-ashi-barai , which is similar, to De-ashi but the aim is to take sweep both feet instead of the one.
I was paired with Mark for this and because he is quite a lump I was finding it hard to lift him off the ground properly and time my sweep. In fact the position of my sweeping foot was too high and at one point it appeared that I was kicking him in the thigh instead of sweeping his foot.

Shortly after this Peter asked me to perform some more of my Yellow belt techniques and I was able to get another chance at Tai-otoshi, this time using Black belt Stuart as Uke. I was a little apprehensive as previously Stuart has been very difficult to throw and I cocked this throw up last time. Fortunately my apprehension was misplaced as I performed it correctly right off the bat. I then went to perform O-uchi-gari and again this went well.

Looking at the grading syllabus, I still have to perform the three throws and follow them in to the holds, and then I have to do three turnovers in to holds and three escapes from the holds. Providing I continue with my grading this week I should hopefully have a new belt within three weeks.

Friday, 5 November 2010


Not only was I recovering from a dose of Man Flu but I had also injured my neck on Tuesday lifting weights, which meant I wasn’t able to turn my head fully left or right. Not the best shape to be doing Judo in but, as the club was closed last week for the holidays, I wasn’t going to miss training for another week.

Inez took the class tonight and after the initial warm up we did some Newaza techniques where you have to reverse/sweep Uke from inside your guard with you on your back. We partnered up and Inez told us to perform any techniques that we already knew so she could first gauge what we did or didn’t know. I was partnered with Oli and the only reversal I have ever been taught was one that I was shown in BJJ which was as follows: You start on your back with Uke in your guard grabbing your gi near your sternum. To break Uke’s grip you use both hands and grab his gi around his wrist and pull hard upwards and then to your right side. Then your left arm grabs around Uke’s back and grabs their gi by their right shoulder and at the same time you move your head towards Uke’s left knee. You then slide your right arm under Uke’s left leg and lift them up with your right arm and pull them with your left arm thus ending up in full mount.
Whilst performing this technique Inez actually commented that it was a nice move but what was even nicer was that I was able to remember this from BJJ.

Inez then went on to show us a couple more sweeps. The first one involves bringing your right knee across Uke’s body. Then you push with your right leg whilst at the same time your left leg pushes against Uke’s right knee, this flips Uke over to your left hand side where you can easily follow them into a hold or full mount.
The variation on this technique was using a butterfly guard with your right leg only and flipping them over in pretty much the same way. Oli then showed me how to do this with a double butterfly guard which I have had done to me on a number of occasions in BJJ.

Following this we did some Newazai Randori and after my initial roll with Oli I paired up with Ryan. Although Inez told us to try and keep it light it’s not always an easy thing to do especially when you are trying to defend yourself against Ryan. We started with Ryan in my guard and he attempted to pass but my hip escapes are definitely improving as I was able to keep full guard until he eventually got to half guard. After a few failed attempts by Ryan to get side control he attacked my left arm and was looking for an Ude-garami. I let him have the arm as I was trying to regain full guard and I didn’t think he would have the leverage to submit me in half guard but I was wrong as he cranked it on and forced me to tap.

We started again, this time with me in Ryan’s guard. I tried to pass a few times and Ryan was trying hard to sweep me but I managed to keep a good posture. I grabbed both of his legs in an attempt get side control but in doing so he trapped an arm and I could see that he was close to getting a Sangaku-jime (triangle) choke on me. I was lucky in that I was able to force my other arm through his legs and I was back to where I started, in his guard. Inez called Matte shortly after this.

It was refreshing to have had so long to do Newaza as usually Matte is called after sixty seconds. Although I understand that in Judo competition you don’t get long on the ground to advance your position before the referee’s stand you back up, when doing Newaza in your club I think you should be given a lot longer so tonight was a step in the right direction.

Following my roll with Ryan I paired up with black belt Stuart. He let me dictate our roll and work my holds and positions. He commented afterwards that I felt strong and in control.

We then went on to some Tachi-waza and Inez said we would be working on Uchi-mata. We stayed with our partners which meant I was with Stuart. I practiced my entry in to this throw a few times before I actually attempted the throw but I couldn’t quite get the technique right. Stuart then performed the throw on me and I was impressed with how easily I was thrown and the fact that there was nothing I could do to stop it. Stuart was reluctant to actually let me throw him, preferring instead to resist, and although he gave me good feedback and commented that I was doing it right I didn’t feel like I really got the hang of this throw.

We finished up with some Randori and I got a chance to spar with Mark who is a green belt. After failing with Tai-otoshi the week before last in my Yellow belt grading I made a conscious effort to try this as much as possible on Mark but I wasn’t able to get him with it and every time I tried, he stepped out and threw me instead. I did manage a sloppy Tani-otoshi towards then end but I ended up feeling a little despondent.
I know the learning curve for Tachi-waza is a lot higher than for Newaza but I do feel that my throws are particularly poor. Maybe I’m just being hard on myself as the only person in the club who is a lower grade than me is Ryan and everyone else, bar Mark, is a Brown belt or above. In fact when we do Newaza it’s even worse because although Ryan may be a White belt Judoka he is a Blue belt in BJJ so I get beaten by everyone.

Maybe I need a competition to gauge properly what my true level is or maybe I just need to train at another Judo club every once in a while. I know Westcroft have a Randori night on Tuesdays so maybe I could persuade Oli to join me in a trip there sometime.

We didn’t get the chance to go over anymore of my yellow grading this week but I would expect, with the return of Graeme next week that this should continue.

Friday, 22 October 2010


My Marathon training has started slowly due mainly to a niggling knee injury but I was able to get a couple of four and a half mile runs in this week during my lunch hour at work. The problem is that, because I am literally training every day bar Saturday and on some days (Tuesday and Thursday) I am training twice a day, something has to give. This is the reason I have not been to BJJ for the last couple of weeks as doing those hard workouts after a run is taking its toll on my body. This doesn’t mean I have stopped BJJ altogether but while my body adjusts to the extra workload it makes sense to give it a rest for a while.
The workouts in Judo however are a lot easier on the old body and so despite running in my lunch hour I am to complete a Judo class with no problem.

Graeme was back tonight but had injured his ankle doing Judo in the week at another club he attends so Peter took the class and Graeme assisted from the sidelines.

We worked mainly on one throw tonight, Sumi-gaeshi , which incidentally is a 1st kyu throw, so quite advanced. It does look quite complicated when you first see it but in fact I got the hang of this fairly quickly. Big Stuart was my Uke for this throw, so I knew I had to get the technique right to throw him properly. We were shown two versions of this throw, the first is like the one on the link I’ve provided which clearly shows separation between the person throwing and Uke. This is important if you want the throw to count in competition and score an Ippon. The other way of doing this throw is, instead of letting go of Uke you roll with them and end up in the mount position. In a Judo competition this would be a good idea if you wanted to get your opponent to the ground but you would be unlikely to score as a throw this way as it would be judged as a takedown rather than a throw. I do wonder whether this throw would work in BJJ as this would be an excellent and unusual way of getting mount from a standing position.

Juji-gatame or the classic armbar was then shown to the class. In Judo this is a Green Belt technique and in fact looking at the Green belt syllabus there is five different versions of this submission that you have to know for that grading. I would therefore imagine any newly promoted Green belts would be particularly proficient with this technique, something to take note of should I face a Green belt in competition anytime soon.

Although I have been shown this technique in BJJ it was nice to finally be shown this in Judo. Again this does show the different goals within Judo Newaza and BJJ as in BJJ this is one of the first submissions you learn and I was shown this within my first month of lessons. In Judo, if I waited until I was grading for my Green, it could have taken over a year before I was shown it. I’m not sure what Ryan made of this, as being a Blue Belt in BJJ this will be a bread & butter move to him.
However I was shown a slightly different version to the one I have been shown before because you only put your leg across Uke’s neck and your second leg is bent and lodged under their body rather than both legs over Uke.

Just before the end of the class I was asked to perform Tai-otoshi, as part of my Yellow belt grading. I hadn’t practiced this throw since before we had the summer break so I was more than a little rusty. I was expecting that I would have to perform O-uchi-gari as this was the throw that we had practiced a lot in previous weeks. Oli was Uke for my throw and I thought I performed it pretty well as I threw him with no effort. Unfortunately my technique wasn’t quite right so I was asked to perform it again and again I was doing something wrong. After my third and final attempt I was shown my Graeme what I was doing wrong which basically me using my leg too much for the throw. Tai-otoshi is classed as a “hand throw”, which means that ideally the throw should work even if my leg wasn’t there blocking Uke’s leg. I think was slightly reaping Oli’s leg, which is why I failed. All this means is that I will have to perform the throw again in the next lesson so I’m not too upset about it. I’d rather know how to do the throw properly than get a pass as getting my yellow belt is not my goal, getting better at Judo is.
After my failed attempt at Tai-otoshi I was then asked to perform three holds. Yoko-shiho-gatame , Tate-shiho-gatame and kami-shiho-gatame . Having practiced all of these in recent weeks I was fairly confident I could perform these correctly and I did.

The club is closed next week for the half term holidays so my grading will have to wait a couple of weeks. I still have three turnovers, three escapes, one throw and three throws into the holds which I performed today, left until I pass so it could take me another 2-3 weeks.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Harai-goshi and my first combination

Looking back at my first post I noticed that I was the only senior student who attended my first lesson. Recently there have been as many as 11 seniors, which is about as many as we could comfortably have on the mat when you consider the size of the matted area. I thought I would also take this opportunity to list everyone who regularly attends at the club in Rank order so that I don’t have to keep referring to their rank in my posts.

Inez – 2nd Dan
Peter – 1st Dan
Jillian – 1st Dan
Stuart – 1st Dan
Graeme – 1st Kyu (Brown)
Big Stuart – 1st Kyu
Troy – 1st Kyu
Oli – 1st Kyu
Mark – 3rd Kyu (Green)
Stuart – 6th Kyu (Red)
Ryan – not yet graded (White) –Blue Belt in BJJ

After the warm up we went in to some light Newaza and I was paired up with Ryan. We both managed to start lightly but as we continued, the resistance level went up a bit before matte was called. Next I was paired against Jillian and I made a conscious effort to go light against her. At one point I took Jillian’s back and she showed me a way of choking her from this position which involves me reaching around with my left arm and trapping her left arm by grapping on to the wrist or gi sleeve. Then with my right hand I simply reach around her neck and grab the far side of her collar. Funnily enough Inez was to show the class a very similar move to this later on in the lesson.

Next up was Big Stuart and by this time the lightness went out of the window. Stuart pushed me onto my back and tried to pass my guard but I was managing to control his hips well with my hand. He did eventually manage to get a mune-gatame (Chest hold) on me and then when he transitioned to Kesa-gatame (scarf hold) I tried to scramble out backwards but matte was called before I could complete it. Kesa-gatame is not often used in BJJ because if you escape out the back then you have your opponents back and will most likely choke them. In BJJ they prefer Kazure-kesa-gatame (Broken Scarf Hold) as you have control over more of your opponent’s body than basically just the arm and head like in Kesa-gatame.

Following on from all the hip throws we did last week Inez concentrated on Harai-goshi (sweeping hip throw). I worked on this throw with Oli and felt I had got it going pretty good. Inez then showed us a couple of set ups but Oli simplified this further for me and it was his set up that I think I would try and use next time we do Randori. This was an O-soto-otoshi attempt and when/if uke stepped out of it they were in a perfect position for a Harai-goshi. Although I have been shown a couple of set ups before this one really flowed especially as O-soto-otoshi is one of my more favourite throws so this is a combination I can really try and work on and maybe make my signature move.

I have UFC 120 to look forward to this weekend and I am attending the UFC Fan Expo at Earls Court on Saturday so hopefully I’ll have some photos to post on here from that next week.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Goshi's.

No Graeme this week as he’s away on one of his many business trips so Peter took the class. There was another Black Belt tonight and another Stuart, that’s three Stuarts in one club. I’m not quite sure who Stuart was but some of the more senior people knew him but I hadn’t seen him since I had been coming to the club which is since February so maybe he stopped training or found another club.

Inez took us through our warm up and then we did plenty of Ukemi, which is always a good thing to practice. My Ukemi has improved a lot since I first started and unless I totally mess it up I never get the dizzy feeling anymore.

After the Ukemi we went straight in to Newaza. I paired up with Ryan first and immediately pulled guard. I managed to keep Ryan from passing my guard for a little while before he finally got to half guard but I was then able to regain full guard and even went in to butterfly guard and attacked him. Ryan then pulled guard on me and I could see he was trying to sweep me but I managed to posture up and keep my balance. Just before Peter called matte Ryan pulled my head down and got the sweep but it was too late for Ryan to do anything. In BJJ Ryan would have got the mount and probably a submission would have followed but under Judo rules you have to keep very active otherwise you are stood back up. Although Ryan, being a BJJ Blue belt, is clearly better than me on the ground, he plays a patient game which may not work so well should he enter a Newaza tournament so he might have to tweak his game slightly. Last week Graeme did mention that there may be an opportunity for our club to compete against another Judo club in a Newaza tournament and I’m sure we would do quite well. Ryan and I would both compete in the Green belt and below section which to be honest Ryan should have a very good chance of winning. Also with my BJJ training I fancy my chances, providing I don’t end up in Ryan’s weight category that is.

Peter did point out to both Ryan and I that we should conserve our energy as this was only to be the first of many rolls we had this evening, but I think Ryan and I could quite happily keep going all night if we had to, due mainly to the BJJ training we’ve both been doing.

After Ryan I got to roll with Mark who is quite a big guy, probably an inch shorter than me but probably a stone heavier. Mark was treating me like a complete beginner, giving me advice on what to do, which to be fair to him my Red belt would suggest I am, so I probably surprised him when I pulled guard and threw up a San-gaku-jime. Unfortunately for me this was on my weaker side and I got confused as to which foot I needed to hook under the other leg. I had this same problem a couple of weeks ago at BJJ so I need to practice this submission on my left side. When I didn’t get the tap from San-gaku-jime, I went back to guard again and thought I’d try one of the sweeps that I had learnt in BJJ recently. I managed to control his body and shrimp and it was only when I put my right arm under his leg that he realised what I was going to do so he managed to sprawl his legs back to defend. Matte was called quickly afterwards but hopefully I had done enough to convince Mark that next time he doesn’t need to be quite so nice.

Reading this back I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m being arrogant. Mark seems like a nice guy which is why he was trying to help me. I would have just preferred it if he had attacked and subbed me first and then on our next roll point out why he had managed to do so.

After some further rolls with Oli, Big Stuart and Black Belt Stuart (this is getting complicated now), Peter stood us up and said we would be practicing hip throws.

I paired up with Oli and the first throw we tried was O-goshi. It took me a while to get the hang of this but it really helped me when Oli threw me with this. Oli’s control of me was such that he could stop half way through the throw and drop me very gently to the floor. When I threw Oli he always hit the floor with a thud as I wasn’t able to control him. Gill did point out to me that I needed to get my hip further across his body when doing this which did really help and is something I need to remember next time I practice this.

Peter then showed us what throw to go to if Uke resists or stiffens up when trying O-goshi and that is Uki-goshi and also Harai-goshi. We then finished up with Tsurikomi-goshi before we went on to some Randori.

I paired up with Big Stuart and tried a couple of times to get in for an O-goshi but again Stuart must be able to see these coming a mile off. Not deterred I tried for Osoto-otoshi and Stuart stepped back before I was close enough but left himself open to a Tani-Otoshi which I just about got him down with.
Stuart then threw me a couple of times before Peter called matte just to put me in my place but I was very pleased that I managed to throw him as, as I have said before the throws are by far the hardest part of Judo.

I really enjoyed tonight’s lesson as it was not only technical but very physical too.

Friday, 1 October 2010


I got home from work on Thursday evening and picked up the post that was on the mat as usual. I quickly realised that there was a large letter from the organisers of the London Marathon and that, low and behold, I had been successful in my application to run at next year’s event. Although the amount of training I will need to do between now and then is slightly daunting it has certainly put me in a good mood as I have been trying, via the ballot, to get in for the last 5 years. So off I went to Judo with a spring in my step.

On arrival I noticed another new face, Chris, who has previously trained in Japanese Jiu-jitsu. I later found out that he was a green belt in JJJ but I’m not sure how senior that is.
Graeme took as through our warm up and then he told us that we would be working on O-uchi-gari tonight, which coincidentally is one of the throws I need to perfect for my Yellow belt grading.

Graeme had a great way of breaking this throw down in to different parts. First off he had us practicing our footwork and entry in to the throw. Then the arm movements and finally we put the whole thing together. I was paired with Ryan and before long we were both pulling off really nice O-uchi-gari’s on each other. We were then told to do the throw whilst moving and this actually made the throw easier as, providing you timed it right, you could catch their foot just before it hit the ground.

After we had properly drilled O-uchi-gari Graeme then told me to pick an Uke to throw with Ippon-seoi-nage so that he could tick this off my grading. I picked Oli and performed an average throw on him but it didn’t quite feel right as I threw him more around my right shoulder than over the top. Graeme asked me to do the throw again and this time Oli felt as light as a feather and flew right over the top of me. I knew straight away I had preformed a perfect Ippon-seoi-nage as it was effortless and Graeme agreed.

With the Tachi-waza out of the way we went on to some Newaza and in particular Kami-shiho-gatame, another Yellow belt technique. I was still paired with Oli at this point and we both drilled this hold before Graeme showed us a variation of the technique where instead of the normal grip, both arms under uke’s arms and grabbing uek’s belt, one of your arms grabs over Uke’s arm and then back towards your legs and grabs Uke’s collar. This was actually a stronger hold than the traditional way of doing Kami-shiho-gatame and one that I would certainly use in competition.

We finished up with some Randori, first standing and then groundwork. First up Big Stuart handled me with ease and threw me a couple of times then Oli did the same. Again what I noticed most about Randori with these two is that they really know what they are doing with their grips whereas I just try and get the traditional Judo grip as I don’t really have any idea what throw I want to perform or how I want them to react. For a relative beginner like me there is so much to think about with throwing that you end up telegraphing exactly what you are going to do which means you have no chance in throwing a brown belt like Stuart and Oli.
I did finally manage a rather scrappy Osoto-otoshi on Ryan but we largely cancelled each other out. I did have a quick go against the new guy Chris and he clearly has a bit of experience with throws as he was able to trip me and was difficult for me to throw.
Still, overall considering that I hadn’t done any standing Randori since early July I wasn’t that bad and at least we then went on to do some Newaza randori.

I had a good roll with Big Stuart and actually managed to submit him with a Sangaku-jime (triangle). I’m not quite sure if the two months of BJJ has started to pay off or if I got lucky or if Stuart wasn’t actually trying too hard but it made me feel good nonetheless.

Tonight’s lesson was just the tonic I needed after last week’s when I was clearly having a bad one and had a little rant about Judo in general. Graeme’s teaching tonight was first class and totally made sense once we pieced everything together. Unfortunately he will be away on business for the next two weeks so I’m not sure how much of my Yellow belt grading I will do in that time but there is no rush.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Guard. BJJ Nova Forca

I was feeling slightly lethargic today and when Oli text me to say that he wouldn’t be able to train I was looking for an excuse not to train myself. As no excuse was forthcoming I plodded off to BJJ but I’m so glad I did.

Tonight’s warm up and workout were slightly easier than usual but nonetheless we still worked up a really good sweat especially going from knee jumps to sprawls.
We were then shown a couple of techniques by Ricardo which emphasised using your legs to help retain guard.
So with me on my back, knees bent, Uke stands by my feet and then steps with his left leg across to my left side and places his foot by my waist. My reaction to this is to shrimp on my left side and then bring my right leg over and place my right foot on Uke’s left leg and push off of it to regain guard and shrimp to my right where Uke then steps with his right leg and repeats.
After a while Ricardo then showed us an extension to this technique where, after the initial shrimp to my left I grab Uke’s leg with my hands and roll across my shoulders and pull guard. Annoyingly I don’t know if this technique has an exact name so I can’t find any videos of it but if I do I may add them later.

We must have drilled these techniques for about 30 minutes before we lined up. Then six of the senior guys were called on to the mats and we all had to take it in turns to try and pass their guard but we started by holding both of their legs together at the knees. This is a pretty good position to start off with but I was first paired up with a black belt and not just a BJJ black belt but a Judo black belt as well. As you can imagine I was unsuccessful in my attempt but I wasn’t alone. Some of the other seniors eventually had their guard passed but not the Black Belt and neither did Tim, a brown belt.

After ten or so minutes we were given a couple of minutes to take water before we started sparring. I paired up with James who was roughly my size and had been doing BJJ on and off for a couple of years. Although he caught me early on with Sode-guruma-jime for the rest of the roll I was able to defend pretty well and almost caught him at the end with a reverse triangle (San-gaku-jime) so I was pretty pleased with myself.

Ryan was next up and I got subbed with an Americana (Ude-garami) and then later on Ryan got full mount and was working towards an Arm Bar (Juji-gatame) when Ricardo called time. I really need to work on my escapes from the mount as at the moment I only know one and I’m usually not very successful with it.

My final roll was with a guy, whose name escapes me. He was quite small but also practised Japanese Jiu-jitsu. I caught him early on in a triangle (San-gaku-jime) but was not able to finish him as he was keeping his head close to my chest and trying to stack pass me. Also the fact that, for most of the time I had him in the triangle, I had locked my legs the wrong way. By the time I realised this my legs were getting tired and he was trying to pass my guard to my left. Realising that it was inevitable that I was going to have to let go of the triangle and that he was going to immediately end up in side control (mune-gatame) I was preparing to turn in to him and shrimp. I was therefore really pleased when my plan worked and I was able to shrimp back to full guard.

Although I couldn’t finish him with a submission I was really pleased that I was starting to think steps ahead and that my shrimping was improving.

Judo awaits me on Thursday and the continuation of my Yellow belt grading. I can’t wait.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Mellow Yellow

My first Judo lesson for two months, due to the club being closed for the summer holidays, and I was very surprised that Peter told me that he was going to start my Yellow belt grading. As with my Red Belt grading this doesn’t have to be done in one go, which I was very grateful for as I did feel more than a little rusty especially with my throws and use of Japanese words.

There was a new senior tonight, new to me anyway, his name is Mark and he is a Green belt. He used to train here about 18 months ago but due to work commitments hasn’t been able to attend in that time but he was back and according to him, enjoying himself.

Having someone a little bit closer to my level can only be a good thing as apart from Ryan, who is a white belt but also a Blue belt in BJJ, everyone else in the club is either Brown or Black Belt. I didn’t get the chance to train directly with Mark tonight but at least when I do he will be less likely to be “taking it easy” with me, which I’m sure most of the others do.

After a quick stretch and warm up we went in to various breakfalls (Ukemi) and as I was doing them Peter ticked the ones that I have to for my grading off of a sheet. One of the breakfalls I did was Mae Ukemi which is a front breakfall. This was the breakfall I did several months ago which gave me my shoulder injury and I was little nervous about doing this but I managed to get through it ok and got another tick from Peter.

Following this we went in to some turnovers when Uki is laying flat on his stomach trying to stall for time. This is something I have not seen at all in my BJJ training as giving up your back in BJJ is like Boxing with your hands by your waist, sooner or later you’re gonna get put to sleep. However in Judo competition the referee will call matte if you are not able to improve your position very quickly when your opponent is just defending like this.

We then did some Newaza and I was paired with Troy. We were told that this was to be light Newaza so I was conscious not to use too much strength but although Troy is considerably lighter than me he is a Brown Belt so is obviously technically better which then means I resort to strength over technique. I took Troy down and tried to work towards Mune-gatame (side control) but couldn’t properly hold him down so I tried to get full mount but Troy managed to get half guard. Peter was watching and said that I shouldn’t have given up my Mune-gatame as now, unless I quickly got out of side control, a referee in competition would stand us back up.

This is the fundamental difference between Judo Newaza and BJJ. In BJJ your main objective is to submit your opponent by either a joint lock or a choke. If your opponent does not give up by tapping you continue until the joint is broken or until the person is choked unconscious. This is why BJJ works so well in MMA where the focus is to make your opponent submit or knock them out. Judo on the other hand now has such a large focus on what works in Judo competition.

If I got in to a real fight that went to the ground I would not want to hold someone in Mune-Gatame as it would achieve nothing. I would try and get a superior position, ie the mount and then punch them into submission or look for a joint lock or choke. I personally think Judo is losing its way as a form of self defense by concentrating so much on what can be done in competition and I think this focus is wrong but who am I to voice my concerns openly to experienced Judo Black Belts.

We went on to practice Ippon-seoi-nage which is a throw I need to perfect for my Yellow grading. We broke the throw down in to entry, braking Uke’s balance and picking Uke up and holding them on your back. Then when we finally got to do the throw I was able to perform it pretty well. I was paired up with Oli for this and he allowed me to just practice my throw on him rather than the other way around as he knew I had to nail this throw for my yellow belt. Of all the people I train with at the club Oli is probably the best Uke for me as he is reasonably close in height and weight, he resists just enough to ensure my technique is correct and always gives good feedback.

The lesson finished with some light Randori and I paired up with Troy again. Apart from the Ippon-seoi-nage, which I was never gonna get on Troy as he is a lot shorter than me, I am very rusty at throws so not surprisingly I struggled to get anything to work and even my trusty old Tani-otoshi failed me. Troy did point out that I was very stiff in the arms which I need to work on.

Next week I will have to perform Ippon-seoi-nage ona resisting opponent to get a tick on my Yellow grading and no doubt we will then concentrate on the other two throws (O-ochi-gari & Tai-otoshi).

I’m fairly comfortable with O-ochi-gari but my Tai-otoshi definitely needs some work on as does my knowledge of Japanese words for all the technique’s.

Providing I pass my yellow grading I should get this within a month which means I might be able to grade for Orange before the end of the year or at least be well on the way towards it which would be great.

Now on to BJJ and last week I mentioned that I had purchased an A-5 size BJJ Gi from eBay, well the bloody thing would not shrink at all in the wash despite a 95c wash and two at 60c. As I can’t send it back I have now put this up for sale on eBay and once sold I will purchase an A-4 from the same company as I know it should fit me. If however I bought an A-4 from a different company then their Gi’s would more than likely shrink and end up being too small like my Judo Gi is now although I’m gonna keep it for a while as I’m not sure my wife would appreciate me buying two new Gi’s in quick succession.

Next week I intend to write two blog entries, one for BJJ and one for Judo so I’ll be busy

Friday, 17 September 2010

Analyse This. BJJ Nova Forca

Since last week I’ve realised that I can’t give the BJJ up neither can I just take the odd BJJ class when my Judo club is closed for three reasons.

1) I want to keep pace with the other beginners and if I didn’t train until the next holidays i.e. Christmas, I’d get totally owned by them.

2) There is so much to learn with ground fighting and taking what is essentially a Newaza lesson every week can only help my Judo.

3) I just enjoy it too much.

I’ve also purchased a BJJ gi from eBay as, with my BJJ class on a Tuesday and Judo on a Thursday I’ll struggle to get my gi washed and dried in time. Also my Judo gi has shrunk quite a bit and to be honest will also need replacing but I’m going to wait until I get my Judo yellow belt before I treat myself. The name of my blog will still remain the same though as I still consider myself a Judoka first and a Brazilian Jiu-jitsuka second.

I went to Tuesday’s class with one eye on the two day spa break that my wife and I were going on the next day so I was slightly conscious that I didn’t want to be sitting around the pool at the Spa or having a massage whilst covered head to toe in bruises and for that reason I wasn’t quite on the ball tonight, at least that’s the excuse I’m sticking to.
After another tiring warm up Ricardo showed us a really nice sweep/reversal (not sure what the difference is between a sweep or a reversal btw)

So you start on your back with Uke in your guard grabbing your gi near your sternum. To break Uke’s grip you use both hands and grab his gi around his wrist and pull hard upwards and then to your right side. Then your left arm grabs around Uke’s back and grabs their gi by their right shoulder and at the same time you move your head towards Uke’s left knee. You then slide your right arm under Uke’s left leg and lift them up with your right arm and pull them with your left arm thus ending up in full mount.

I practised this with Oli and he seemed to like this one as it was one he hasn’t seen in Judo and he was clearly quite looking forward to trying this out at Judo sometime.

When Ricardo shows us a technique he gives us a good twenty minutes or so to drill it so by the time we go on to sparring we have all really got something that we know works and that we know we can make work. As usual when Ricardo walked over to check on me I had just swapped sides from doing this on my right to my left side which usually takes a few minutes to get the hang of as everything is in reverse and so of course I did it all wrong and he had to show me the technique again. The same thing happened last week so I’m not sure if he thinks I’m totally useless or just not trying.

We finished up with sparring but I didn’t manage to pull off a submission on anyone tonight and I left feeling a little deflated. In fact the title of this blog was going to reflect how I felt at the time but since I have had a few days to analyse things I realised that I rolled mainly against Blue belts and I’ve never managed to sub one yet. I only rolled with two white belts one of whom is a big stocky guy who has been training quite a while and I did manage to escape a few subs and try a couple of my own before finally being subbed twice but we rolled for about 5 minutes with each person so again that wasn’t too bad. The other White belt was Oli who is of course a Brown belt in Judo so again there is no shame in being submitted by him. In fact I did manage to sub Oli once with an Ude-garami or an Americana. I also tried a Juji-gatame (armbar) from my back a couple of times and got close to catching him but he was able to get out of it twice and then able to get side control. I did feel when rolling with Oli that I was maybe using too much strength at times which is a habit ’ve tried to get out of as it doesn’t really achieve anything in the long run. So maybe on reflection I was being a bit harsh on myself and next week I should maybe seek out some other white belts to roll with so I can check my progress a bit better.

One thing I did learn was that trying to use the spider guard that Ricardo totally dominated me with the previous week is not something that you can pick up just by watching YouTube video’s, especially not against blue belts.

Next week will be interesting as it will be the first time I will have trained both BJJ and Judo in the same week so I’ll see how my old body holds up. I should also find out in a couple of weeks if I have been successful in my application to run next year’s London Marathon and if I have then I really better start doing some serious running as at the moment I’m only running two miles on a Tuesday and 4 miles on a Thursday which is someway short of the sort of distance I should be running.

Oh and before I forget, I’ve been reading Forrest Griffin’s book “Got Fight?” I haven’t finished it yet but so far it is one of the wittiest and ‘laugh out loud' funny books that I have ever read. While it may not be a "how-to" guide for MMA, it certainly provides useful information peppered in amongst hysterical stories and anecdotes. Griffin's self-deprecating humour and unique writing style make for an extremely entertaining read that will you have you laughing until your sides hurt. I would recommend this book to anyone even vaguely interested in MMA or to anyone with sense of humour.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Things to work on. BJJ Nova Forca

I've been youtubing since my last lesson to see if I could find out what the technique was that Ricardo used on me on Tuesday to control me and I can confirm it was the Spider Guard.

I've attached the youtube vid below as I think this is maybe something I can work on in my next lesson against the beginners and hopefully I can perfect it enough so that it might work on some of the more experianced guys.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Crushed. BJJ Nova Forca

Oli and I turned up at 7.45 but we didn’t realise that because the school holidays were finished the class would revert to normal and start at 8.30 so the pair of us sat in my car discussing Judo and BJJ techniques. Oli has a lot of knowledge on Judo as he has been practicing for quite some time so I picked his brain as best I could.

This was to be my first “normal” lesson tonight then as previously we had literally just sparred for 2+ hours so I was expecting a real hard warm up and workout and I wasn’t disappointed.

We ran, jumped, star jumped, sprawled did various types of press-ups, sit-ups, leg raises for about 20 minutes. We also did a lot of neck exercises which I felt later on when we were started practicing techniques.
Anyway I managed to complete the workout but I had certainly worked up a good sweat. The class was then split into two groups of white belts and junior Blue’s and Senior Blue’s, Purples and Browns.

We were then shown an armbar technique from your back by Ricardo which is the first time I have been taught this. With Uke in your guard and with their right arm grabbing your gi by your sternum you use your right arm to pull Uke’s elbow and arm across your body and then using your left foot you push off of Uke’s right thigh to create an angle. You then ensure that your right leg is high up on their back which stops them from pulling away and then you lift your hips up and place your left leg over their head trapping their right arm. If done right you should be able to make them tap just by raising your hips instead of flattening them out like a normal armbar. We practiced this for about 30 minutes but because we did so many neck exercises both Oli and myself had to change over regularly as keeping our necks off the floor when on our backs was uncomfortable to say the least.

A short drink break followed before we started sparring and like last week half the class spared for two minutes thirty seconds whilst the other half rested and then we swapped over. As the class was slightly shorter tonight this only lasted about 30 minutes. I did have the pleasure of having a roll with Ricardo tonight which is my first time rolling with a BJJ black belt and it was an experience. Ricardo exploded in to various submissions on me and totally controlled not only both my arms but both my legs as well rendering me totally useless and unable to defend anything. It made me feel like I did as a small child when I used to try and wrestle my Dad only for my Dad to grab both my wrists with one hand and sit on me until I gave up.
I was subbed numerous times but two of the subs that stood out were Sode-guruma-jime (not sure of BJJ name) and a very tight triangle which I had to tap to immediately as I could feel myself passing out.

The Sode-guruma-jime which Ricardo subbed me with was done from inside his guard with him on his back. He basically grabbed the back of my head and pulled it down towards his chest and slapped it on so quickly I didn’t know what hit me. This particular sub I was shown in Judo in one of the last lessons I had before the summer break. I didn’t realise it could be used from your back as we were shown it from full mount. This is one I will try and pull off next time I roll.

I got to roll with Seb again this week and every week I roll with him he improves a little. His posture was a lot stronger this week and as I decided to pull guard I had real trouble stopping him from passing my guard. I did let him get full mount on me as I wanted to try a reversal that one of the Purple belts showed me earlier. Unfortunately Seb seemed to be wise to this and was able to defend it. I then noticed he was looking for an arm to try for an Americana so I basically just muscled my way back to half guard and then regained full guard. I know this is a bad habit to get in to as against any of the more experienced guys I would have been arm barred but hey I hadn’t subbed anyone at all tonight and I’d be damned if I was gonna get subbed by Seb as well. Time was called shortly after so it was kind of a draw but he did have dominant position on me tonight so I’ll give him the win on points.

As I said above I didn’t manage a single submission tonight but apart from Seb I rolled with Blue, Purples and one Black Belt so maybe next time I need to choose someone nearer by own level.

Next week Judo starts up again after the summer break but I am away with the wife at a Spa hotel so I won’t be able to go. When I started BJJ my initial intention was to only do it when my Judo club was closed but now I don’t think I want to stop. That’s not to say I’m giving up on the Judo, far from it, I really want to push on and get my Yellow belt before Christmas. So have I got the time and effort and money to train both? …………………..i’m going to try.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Rolling, rolling, rolling. BJJ Nova Forca

Oli (Judo Brown Belt) accompanied me again this week for another BJJ session and we arrived around 7.50, 10 minutes early. Ricardo got us all warmed up by doing various breakfalls and shrimping across the mats before we settled down to do some light stretching.

The class started with some techniques which is different to how it’s usually structured on a Tuesday. The first technique was a defense from a double leg takedown attempt which basically involved me sprawling and pushing down on Oli’s back and taking a grip around his back and under his chest. Oli then isolates my right arm by pinning it with his left arm and then by keeping his head in contact with my body he reaches his right leg across his body and scoots out before taking hold of my back. We both practiced this technique for about 15 minutes before Ricardo had us try a variation whereby the person defending the takedown gets an underhook with one arm, which is the best way of defending. Again we practiced this for a while until it was really drilled in and by this time everyone was really working up a sweat.

As there was a lot of people in the class Ricardo split the class in two and had half of us sparring for 3 minutes while the other half rested and then we swapped over. This went on for over an hour so I must have sparred for about 40 minutes.

First up I rolled with a blue belt and we went at it pretty hard. He was able to get the better of me choking me out with my gi a couple of times in the 3 minute period. Next up for me was Dan a Brown Belt and he totally blitzed me getting 4 or 5 arm bars from different positions all in 3 minutes. I think he must have been specifically practicing his arm bars as this was all he attempted. I noticed whilst rolling with him that he controlled my legs with his own legs which meant I could never get a good base from which to attack from. Now I don’t expect to submit a brown belt but it would be nice to at least make him work a little.

After Dan I rolled with a purple belt who let me control his legs with my arms so that I was able to get side control. Actually control is not the right word as he was able to easily sweep me and then submit me. Again when we restarted he let me pass his legs to get side control but I just couldn’t work anything from there.

After we finished our roll he said he had gotten an under hook when I got side control which meant he was able to control me easily. I will look on YouTube sometime this week to see if I can find out what he was doing, if not I’ll ask him next week as he seems like a nice guy and this is the second time he has given me some good pointers.

I noticed that a couple of the beginners from a few weeks ago were now sporting nice bright white gi’s and I was approached by Seb to have a roll. When I rolled with Seb previously I commented that he was strong and I basically let him attack me and caught him from my back. For some reason he didn’t look as big as I remembered so I decided that as had about a month’s experience he was fair game so I attacked him and took him down and got nice side control. I passed to mount and he turned over giving me his back. I quickly got my hooks in and went for a gi choke by grabbing his left lapel with my left hand across his neck. Despite cranking it on hard he never tapped so I eventually gave this up and tried for a rear naked choke but he defended his neck well. I then let him roll on to his back but I didn’t let go so I was still in mount. This time I worked my way up his body as I was intending to go for an arm bar but he recognised what I was trying to do so he kept his arms close to his body. Eventually we ran out of time so Seb did a good job defending. Although I was able to totally dominate him I could definitely see an improvement in his grappling awareness.

After I rolled with Ryan I rolled with one of Sebs friends, and like Seb he had a new gi. He attacked a lot more than Seb but he was a bit lighter and once I got hold of him I was able to get a good position and submit him with a couple of Americana’s and eventually an arm bar. He was good though and if it wasn’t for the strength and size difference he would have given me a harder fight.

Before the end of the class I got another roll with Seb and it went pretty much the same as our first roll with the only difference being that I was able to armbar him right at the end.

Because the sparring was brutal and constant quite a few people either left early or sat out a couple of rolls but I managed to go until the end so I’m pretty happy with my fitness at the moment. I did learn from my previous mistake of going for a 4 mile run on the day of training which meant I got cramp in my calves, although I did still manage a cheeky 2 mile run but this was done at a slow pace (18 minutes).

On the way home in the car Oli and I chatted about Judo and the techniques I need to learn to get my Yellow belt. I think once I go back to Judo I will make a concerted effort to drill my Yellow belt techniques as I’d like to get it before Christmas. Not long to go now, which means only 2 more BJJ lessons. Although I do enjoy the BJJ, Judo is my first love so BJJ will have to take a back seat for a while, probably until the next school holidays when my Judo club will close again.

Looking tired but still going after two hours of training

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Arm bar hoo-ha. BJJ Nova Forca

After missing last week due to food poisoning I was very much looking forward to training this week. I got there slightly early (7.45) but there was already around 20 guys changed and ready to go. Whilst I was getting changed myself Ricardo reminded everyone that it was an open mat session so start rolling.

I did a quick 5 minute warm up and learning from my mistakes of the other week I was fresh today as I did not do a 5 mile run in my lunch hour.

My first roll was with a guy who was a blue belt in Judo from Westcroft Judo club and in fact I remember him from when I last trained there. He was strong and stocky and even though he had been training BJJ for a few months I could tell he was a Judoka. He managed to get me in a sort of guillotine choke, but he never had it sunk in properly. This didn’t stop him from continuing to try and submit me and he had me in this for a couple of minutes before I finally tapped more so because he was crushing my jaw than because he was choking me out.

My next roll was with the only female in the club or at least she was tonight. I was conscious whilst rolling with her not to try and muscle my way through and tried to use technique instead. This caused a kind of stalemate as although she was quite technical and was able to pass my guard I was able to reverse her and then pass her guard albeit only to side control where, not wanting to just force a kimura I struggled to get a dominant position. Towards the end of our roll I did finally manage to get mount and sink in a kimura which forced her to tap and this was all done using technique so I was quite pleased.

There were a couple of complete beginners in tonight and whilst I grabbed a quick drink of water and waited for someone to roll with I thought I’d grab one of the new guys. The first new guy I rolled with had a bit of an idea and was quite strong so I just let him attack and let him go from side control to mount before I reversed him and did the same back.
The second new guy I rolled with had never done any grappling and had no idea what even the guard was and this was a slightly difficult roll as I spent most of the 5 minutes explaining why rather than showing him.

Shortly after wards Ricardo showed us all a technique to practice and I paired up with a young guy who had just purchased a shiny white new gi. The technique was quite complicated as it was first an escape from side control and then in doing so uke gets an underhook and tries to go for full mount but you end up shrimping out the other side and getting their back. I’ve basically broken this down in to 2 separate techniques. The first one being the escape from side control and the second one being a good way of taking someone’s back if they are about to get full mount.

When we went back to sparring I got to roll with this young guy and before we rolled he told me he had been training a month which is 1 week longer than I have. When I preceded to Arm Bar him twice followed by a kimura and then an arm triangle he looked a little bit frustrated so I told him that I had a couple months of Judo but he didn’t know that they did ground grappling in Judo. I was very happy with the two armbars I got as they are my first in a BJJ class and they were exactly as Ricardo had shown me the other week.

My last roll was with the guy I first rolled with i.e. the ex Judo guy. I was surprised that he still had his strength considering he uses it a lot when he rolls. I managed to have a better roll with him this time around though. In this guy I think I have found someone who is just that little bit better than me but not by a huge amount. I think I can use him as a yard stick for my improvements going forward.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Bruises, Cramp and Pain. BJJ Nova Forca

I was back for my second BJJ lesson last night and I was accompanied by Oli (Brown belt) from my Judo club. We got there just after 8pm only to find some guys already rolling on the mats. Ricardo the instructor approached us and I introduced him to Oli. Apparently for the next month or so Tuesday nights will basically be sparring sessions, which is why some guys were already on the mats. We were told to warm ourselves up and then to start rolling.

My first roll was therefore with Oli who I have done Newaza with on numerous occasions at Judo. However I think the shackles of being a senior student were lifted here as he was more aggressive than usual and was able to land a couple of submissions on me. After about 10 minutes of rolling I reminded Oli that we had another 2 hours of this left yet so we better conserve our energy but we were quite tired as we had both expended a lot of effort.

My next roll was with a Brown belt who started off sitting back on his arse, remembering what I had been told last week I grabbed the gi of his trousers and tried to control his legs so that I could pass. Of course being a brown belt this was never gonna be easy and so it proved futile but I was at least able to keep him at bay a little longer before he was able to submit me.
One thing I was able to make work was a technique I had learnt from one of the DVD’s that Tony from AV Forums had sent me. This was basically a technique to stop someone from passing your guard but it’s very difficult to explain in words without a supporting video.Anyway I was able to stop the Brown belt from passing my guard using this technique but he was able to move to something else of which I had no answer to. Still it proved it worked.

Next up for me was Ryan (Blue Belt) and again he was being nice but it was whilst rolling with Ryan that I first got cramp in the calf of my left leg. Now I say “first” as throughout the rest of the lesson I kept getting cramp in both calves and then in my hamstrings which were very unpleasant. I’m pretty sure that the 4 mile run that I did in my lunch hour was the cause of my cramps and maybe next week I need to look at my training routine.
Back to Ryan and I was able to sub him with a Kimura and almost a triangle (before the cramp put an end to that) but again he doesn’t appear to be putting too much effort in against me.

After Ryan I was approached by a young lad (Seb), well I say young he was probably 19 or 20 but compared to me he was a young lad. Anyway this was his first lesson and as such he had no gi. We went on to the mat and he asked me what he should so I asked him what he knew already. As he was a fan of MMA he said all he knew was the guard and side control but I told him that was a good start as you need to learn defense before you can learn attack. So I told him to try what he knew so I pulled him in to my guard and he postured up and dug his elbows in to my thighs to pass. I managed to stop him from passing for a while until the pain in my thighs proved too much and he managed to get side control. I was then able to get back to half guard and at that point he said was stuck for ideas and asked me to show him a submission.

I thought the Kimura would be the easiest one to show him and after a few attempts he got the hang of it.
With renewed vigor he was eager to roll again with me so off we went again with me pulling guard. Yet again he was able to eventually pass to side control and then got mount and of course he went straight for the Kimura. I thought I better prove my worth so I reversed him and quickly got side control myself. From here I sunk in a Kimura and slowly cranked it up forcing him to tap.
At this point I mentioned to him how important it was to have control of your submissions and that there was nothing more dangerous than a noob who knew submissions as they were much more likely to crank them on too hard and injure their training partner than a higher grade would. I also told him not to hold on too long before tapping as this is only practice and unless you know a specific escape there was no point.
We continued to roll a couple more times and I was able to submit him a few more times but he was strong and young so it was a good workout nonetheless.

At this point we stopped sparring and Ricardo showed us a couple of armbar techniques which was good for me as this is a technique I’ve not been officially shown yet as an Armbar or Juji-gatame is a green belt technique in Judo.

Armed with my new improved submission we went back to sparring and I again rolled with Oli. Unfortunately I was dogged with cramp again in both thighs so I took some time out to stretch.

I got back on the mat and was paired with the young lad again who, after learning the armbar had another submission to add to his limited arsenal. At this point I was feeling very tired as we had been sparring for about an hour and a half with only a 30 minute break for submissions.

Again I pulled guard on Seb but this time I quickly swept him, passed his guard and caught him first with a kimura, then after we restarted I got him with a technique of which I’m not sure of the name, but I had full mount and from there I put my right arm under his neck and pushed my right shoulder under his chin to get a sort of neck crank. Following that I then subbed him with an arm triangle and finally from my back I was able to land Hiza-gatame.

This roll made me realise that there is a big difference between me and a complete beginner but I also knew that the difference between me and a blue belt was just as vast.

I then had a good tussle with another white belt and although he dominated me he only managed one submission in about 5 minutes. Shortly afterwards Ricardo called time and we stretched out before lining up. Just like last week we were all told to take our belts off as someone was getting a whipping. This time the whipping wasn’t so much a punishment as a good bye gesture to one of the guys who was heading out to Japan to train for 6 weeks and again it was done in good spirit

The morning after I’ve yet again woken up very stiff, covered in bruises (including one under my right eye) and with very sore ribs and chest. I’m sure my old body will eventually get used to this but I might have to look at my training in the week and stop running on the days that I train BJJ.
Hopefully Oli will be back next week as I’m sure I will.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Nova Forca BJJ

So due to my Judo club being closed for the summer I finally made it to my first BJJ class and what an eye opener it was.

As I approached the club I was hit with a smell which can only be described as men’s sweat. This smell intensified as I walked in to the club and was an indication of what my body would be doing very shortly, I.e. sweating……a lot.

I introduced myself to the instructor Ricardo and was made to feel welcome I then made my way to the corner of the room where I changed in to my gi. I noticed as I was doing so the chiseled physiques of most of the other guys which made me realise that this was a serious dojo.

After a short wait we started to warm up which involved us running around the mat for about 5- 10 minutes before we took it in turns to do various break falls and various methods of shrimping up and down the mat. Apparently tonights class would be different to the normal lesson which would normally consist of 45 minutes of warm up and cardio followed by 45 minutes of techniques and 45 minute of sparring. Tonight our warm up only lasted 15 minutes but then we went straight in to light sparring.

First up I paired off with Ryan, my friend from Judo who had incidentally only recently received his blue belt. This was to prove the most gentle roll I had all evening as Ryan was clearly being nice to me and allowed me to work some submissions and transition from side control to mount although he did sub me a couple of times just to keep my ego in check.

After Ryan I was feeling good, and thought that my 4 months of Judo Newaza was going to stand me in good stead for the rest of the lesson. I then paired up with a young lad who didn’t have a gi. This meant he was either a beginner or maybe an MMA guy who prefers no-gi BJJ because it more closely relates to the grappling in MMA fights. We started to roll and he immediately caught me in a triangle but I managed to squeeze my other arm between his legs thus forcing him to give up on the sub. I then worked on trying to pass his guard and was able to do so and go straight in to kesa-gatame. As this isn’t Judo holding him down in Kesa-gatame would not score me any points so I transitioned in to Mune-gatame and then I got mount. From here I managed to work an Americana until he tapped.

I was feeling good now as I thought I had just subbed an MMA fighter. We started again and this time I pulled guard. I was then able to sweep him so that I got full mount. He tried to bridge but I let him turnover and then I had his back with both hooks in where I was then able to sink in a choke.

We started again and this time he was slightly more aggressive. Again I pulled guard but this time he passed and got side control where he tried to work a Kimura and almost had it when Ricardo called out to change partners so I was saved. We shook hands and I asked him how long he had been training. He said this was his second week and then it suddenly hit me, I was a complete beginner doing BJJ and unless we started sparring from standing I was gonna have a long tough night.

As there were probably around 30 guys everyone took it in turns to grab a drink and I didn’t mind sitting out for a few minutes so I could catch my breath. I was then approached by a blue belt for a roll and off we went again. In Judo you bow before you spar but at this club you kinda shake hands and then touch fists which fits in with the more modern feel and as this is a Brazilian Martial Art certainly feels more normal than bowing would be which is a Japanese custom.

From here on in the rest of the night was a total blur as I was submitted and totally controlled by everyone else I sparred with. I did manage to spar a Purple Belt who managed to submit me 4 times in 60 seconds, surely a record. What I would say though is that, certainly with the Blue and Purple Belts, they were very willing to give me advice and help me. In fact everyone I sparred with seemed like a nice guy even though a couple of them looked like the kind of people you would cross the street to avoid.

We had a brief respite from the sparring when we stopped to do a couple of techniques but this only lasted 30 minutes before we went back in to sparring.

Things I learnt from tonight’s lesson were as follows:
· 4 months of Judo equates to about 4 lessons in BJJ where Newaza is concerned. Obviously this is because each Judo lesson is split about 60/40 in favour of throws to Newaza whereas every 2 hour BJJ lesson is 2 hours of Newaza.
· Passing the guard and good guard control is essential in BJJ and is probably the most important thing to work on rather than flashy submission.
· If someone is sitting down trying to pull you in to their guard do not grab the lapel of their gi or go straight in to their guard with your arms stretched forward as they can easily control and probably sweep you. What you should try to do is to control their legs so that you can pass their guard.

Towards the end of the class the mats, in some places were so saturated that puddles had formed and if you were unfortunate enough to walk on one of these puddles your feet squelched beneath you.

When the lesson finally finished we all lined up to shake hands with the instructor and give each other a manly slap on the back. There was just one more thing however. One of the guys in the club had been disrespectful towards Ricardo, not in a malicious way but more of taking the Mickey out of Brazilians type of way, which is not clever when your Black belt instructor is a proud Brazilian. Anyway as punishment this guy had to run a type of gauntlet between the rest of the club whilst we are whipped him with our belts. Again this was all done in good spirit but was a lot different to what I am used to at Judo.

The morning after I am aching like I have never ached before so there is no chance of me going to the next class on Thursday however will I be fit for next Tuesday’s lesson? Just watch this space.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Decisions, Decisions

The club closes for the summer period so tonight’s lesson was the last until September which kinda sucks. I’m not sure yet where I’m going to train for the next 7 weeks but I do have a few options with Reigate and Witley, nr Guildford, the obvious choices. The only issue I have is that my shoulder still isn’t right after I injured it so I’m not comfortable turning up at a new club and asking them to take it easy on me.

I also have the option of training some BJJ at either Nova Forca in Epsom or Novagen in Sutton. Ryan (the BJJ guy from my club) trains at Epsom so at least I would see a friendly face if I trained there. Of course I would still have the issue about informing everyone that I have a slight injury but at least with BJJ the chances of being thrown hard are less than they are with Judo.

Last night’s lesson was cut short because it was the last one before the summer break so we finished 30 minutes early and retired to the Bar for a Shandy. The club is based at Dorking Rugby club so when we went in to the Bar and asked the barman for 6 Shandy’s he looked confused, like we had just ordered some exotic cocktail. I’m pretty sure that no self respecting Rugby player would dare to water down their lager with lemonade but luckily there were no Rugby players in the bar at that time so I think we just about got away with it.

Not much to report technique wise from the lesson, we just went over some entries to throws and worked on combinations or set ups, so basically I would act like I was going to try Tai-otoshi but then use Osoto-otoshi instead. I got paired with Inez (2nd Dan) who is technically very good and a good teacher so it was a shame that the lesson was cut short.

Now to decide where I train for the next 7 weeks, decisions, decisions.

Friday, 9 July 2010


We had a couple of visitors tonight, Sophie and Peter, from a Judo club near Guildford. Sophie is a 2nd Dan and Peter is a 4th Dan. Sophie was given the task of warming us up and she soon had us running around the mats and then practicing various break falls. With it being so warm lately it didn’t take long before we started getting sweaty and I have never been so glad to have got this lightweight gi as I did last night. I can only imagine how hot I would have been had I been wearing my double weave Blitz.

Graeme took charge of the lesson tonight and had us practicing Ippon-seoi-nage which for someone tall like myself will never be my best throw but as I was paired with Oli, who is really good at explaining the throws, I soon got the hang of it. We then all lined up at the edge of the mats and took it in turns sprinting up and down the mats and then throwing the person to your left before continuing until you had thrown everyone. Once you had the next person would start. My mind went blank when doing this so I threw everyone with Ippon-seoi-nage( because I couldn’t remember any other throws) even Sophie who is about 4ft 11.

After this we did some Randori and I got paired with Peter the 4th Dan. Although he was quite a bit smaller than me he totally controlled me with his grip and really gave me a lesson in grip fighting. The tips of my fingers are all aching this morning because of this. Peter was able to move me around the mat at will and really made me work for my throws. He did let me throw him with O-soto-otoshi and I also tried Tani-otoshi but I didn’t set this up right and anyway he’s a 4th Dan so I’m unlikely to throw him.

Graeme called matte and it was time for me to move on to Ryan, the BJJ’er. Ryan and I fought for grip and I am sure we resembled a couple of noobs at first as we were both a little defensive. I noticed Ryan’s stance was literally side on to me so I pulled him in the direction he was facing and then pulled him back the other way and successfully got him with Tani-otoshi, lovely. I haven’t officially been shown this throw in class yet but it is one I remember from when I attended Westcroft Judo Club for a few months several years ago. I then went on to get Uki-goshi so I was pretty pleased with that.

All change again and this time I was against Big Stuart, again I got controlled with grip and pulled all over the mat and thrown a couple of times, all good though. When we changed again I even got thrown by little Sophie although I did manage an O-soto-otoshi on her.

Graeme then went on to show us a couple of choke’s, one was a fairly basic rear naked choke and the other a nice one using the sleeve of the gi. Basically your arms are parallel to each other with Uke’s head in between them. You then grab the sleeves of of your gi with both hands and twist your wrists which then crush’s Uke’s neck between both your arms. It was effective because you can pull this off from a lot of different positions, either on your back with them in your guard or even the other way around with you on top but in their guard. The beauty of this choke is that Uke is not aware that they are in danger of being choked until it is too late.

We then followed on to some Newaza and first up for me was Big Stuart. He was quite aggressive and attacked my neck straight away and at one point I thought he was going to guillotine me but then I remembered that this is an illegal move in Judo and maybe he remembered that as well as he allowed me to pull guard. From here he was constantly trying to pass but I worked hard and maintained position and then managed to land Hiza-gatame which forced him to tap. I think this was the first time I had subbed Big Stuart when he appeared to be trying properly. Although I felt that he ignored some chances of pins to go for a submission which then allowed me to get one myself.

We then changed and I wanted to roll with Peter the 4th Dan but I was too slow so ended up with Oli.

Oli was able to get me on my back but I straight away managed to sweep him and go to half guard. Oli was then attempting to choke me but I chose to ignore this and work on passing his guard which I did getting side control. I tried to trap his right arm with my left leg but he then managed to get out and before I knew it I was on my back but with Oli in my guard. From here I managed a perfect Hiza-gatame which is quickly becoming my favorite submission which is strange because I haven’t been shown this yet. Again i'm never quite sure how hard Oli or Big Stuart try when doing Newaza with me, I guess they must be letting me get some submissions.

What I have noticed after tonight’s lesson is that I now know all three throws required for yellow belt. The other techniques required seem fairly rudimentary in comparison so I am pretty pleased. Who knows maybe a Yellow belt grading will be on the cards within a couple of months.

A really good lesson tonight and Peter and Sophie were a welcome addition to the class.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Summer Gi

This was my first lesson for a couple of weeks because the club was closed due to legionnaires being found in the water systems.

Peter was present but was unable to teach due to an injured back, Graeme left after he taught the juniors due to jet lag which left Big Stuart to take the class.

The shoulder injury still hasn’t gone away either but now it’s more of a nuisance then something that will stop me from training but for obvious reasons competing is not an option.

I was also wearing my new Black Eagle lightweight Gi or my summer gi as I am now calling it. I wasn’t the only one sporting a new gi as Oli had a new Adidas gi which really looked nice. I’m tempted to try and sell my Blue Blitz Olympian and buy an Adidas myself but I’ll leave it a while as there is no point in me having a competition gi if I’m not competing.

Back to the class and after warm up Big Stuart was keen to show us San-gaku-jime (Triangle) as he had perfected this technique recently with the help of another black belt instructor, Richard, who is Gill’s husband.
Big Stuart showed us first the slight tweak he had made on Oli and basically it was just insuring that Uke’s neck is in the crook of your right leg. Providing you have control of Uke’s arm you can almost submit him without the need to use your left leg but of course once you used the left leg Uke tapped.

I got to try this out on Ryan who being a BJJ’er must be very used to this technique so I was pleased when he told me straight away that it was on.
Big Stuart then showed us some interesting turnovers which are useful if Uke turtles up or is laying flat on his stomach protecting his neck.

We then went on to some throws where we first practiced O-uchi-gari and then set this throw up by first attacking Uke’s right foot before going in to O-uchi-gari on Uke’s left foot.

Then we used the same throw but first we attempted Tai-otoshi and when Uke stepped over our right leg we went straight in to O-uchi-gari. I really love the way one throw opens up options for other throws and I can see why, for advanced Judoka you really need to think a couple of moves ahead to actually get a successful throw when competing.

At this point Ryan had to leave so we finished off with some Newaza between myself, Oli and Big Stuart.

Oli and I had quite a tussle and I nearly caught him with Juji-gatame but he grabbed the sleeve of his other arm to prevent me from pulling it free, although I did eventually loosen his grip I didn’t control his arm properly so he was able to re-grip his sleeve again.

Round two and this time I did manage to submit Oli with what I thought was a submission I had just made up but was in fact Hiza-gatame

Following this Oli and Big Stuart rolled and then afterwards I got to roll with Big Stuart but unfortunately he was able to pass my guard quickly and gain side control where he pinned me with Mune-gatame. As I only know one escape from this position he was easily able to stuff my attempts and get what would have been in a competition a win with a pin.

Despite only four of us training and Big Stuart taking the class for the first time since I have been training I really enjoyed the lesson and got a lot out of it especially linking the throws together. The new gi felt good and despite the humidity I wasn’t overly hot so for £28 I think it was a smart purchase.

UFC 116 this Saturday and I am literally dribbling at the thought of Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin swapping punches. I think Brock will win this but Carwin definitely has a punchers chance.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Richie "the Neck"

The club has been closed for the past two weeks as the water has been contaminated with legionnaires or something like that but as I have been having treatment with a Chiropractor on my shoulder maybe it’s a good thing.
I met up with a friend of mine, Richie who I used to train freestyle Kung Fu with some years ago, at the weekend. Richie took up Judo about 6 weeks after I did but as he lives somewhere up north (Nr Liverpool I think) I don’t get to see too much of him. Anyway he came over to my place and we watched some UFC and checked out some BJJ DVD’s that Boris sent me and then we decided it would be a good idea to try a few things out.

As there isn’t really enough room for throws in my “Den” we decided to look at some groundwork techniques as I was interested to see what he had learned in his Judo lessons and compare that to what I had learnt.
Also as it was 30c outside I had no intention of wearing a gi so we just grappled in our t-shirts, no-gi style if you like.

We started off with me on my back and Richie in my guard. Straight away I noticed he was very compact and wasn’t leaving my much to go for but maybe not having a gi had something to do with it. Richie said his favourite technique was Ude garami (Kimura) and tried this on me even though he was in my guard. I’m not sure if it’s possible to pull this off when you are inside someone’s guard but he had a go. I hadn’t told him about my bad shoulder on my left side but I was ready to tap to protect it but luckily I didn’t have to as I managed to escape and then almost pulled of a nice reversal but the coffee table got in the way lol. Richie was still working and making himself heavy so I tried to isolate and arm and threw up an attempt at Juji-gatame (arm bar) but I was never really in the right position for this and Richie easily got out of this and almost got side control but luckily I was able to quickly retain full guard.

At this point I showed Richie the benefits of San-gaku-jime which is my “go to move” so we broke this down and both tried it on each other. When we used to train in freestyle we did some chokes and strangles and Richie was/is very hard to submit with a choke which is why he was nicknamed Richie “the Neck”.
“the Neck” was still evident as although I got the triangle on him pretty tight and he said it wasn’t comfortable there was no way I was ever gonna get him to submit.

Not a bad little workout really but it is such a shame he lives so far away otherwise we could both really improve our Judo dramatically.

Hopefully Judo will be open this week as I haven’t had a proper Judo lesson for 2 weeks now. I would normally go to another club to get some training in but when you have an injury like I do its hard turning up at a new club and asking them to take it easy on you.

Just to add, I’ve ordered myself a cheap white single weave gi as in this heat my double weave will be unbearable. Hopefully it will arrive before my next lesson.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Staying Frosty

A bit of strange of lesson this week as apart from Peter and Big Stuart only Oli and I turned up and then Peter had to leave early due to work commitments. To make matters worse my shoulder still isn’t right so I have to be careful.

Before Peter left he showed us a couple of interesting throws which I believe were Sumi-gaeshi & Hikikomi-gaeshi. I can’t find Hikikomi-gaeshi on the BJA website but I have a link to Sumi-gaeshi which is a Brown belt level throw. They put the crash mats out especially for me when we were practicing these throws so I had something nice to land on. Because of the nature of these throws, you have to sit down and pull uke to the floor before you throw them over you, I was a little hesitant to fully commit as I was very conscious of my shoulder. This meant that I was never really able to get this one properly but Big Stuart was able to do them both pretty well and was even able to continue rolling so that he ended up in the mount position afterwards which would enable him to go straight in to ground work.

When Peter left the three of us played with a few submissions.
First up was Ude-garami or a kimora as its known by BJJ’ers. As I explained previously an Ude-garami can be pulled off from the mount and side control. In BJJ I believe they call it an Americana if it’s done from the mount, they seem to give every variation of a technique its own name whereas with Judo each technique can be done a variety of ways. Being a Judo blog I’ll always try and use the Judo name for a technique but will try to also add the now more common (due to MMA and the UFC) BJJ name.

There was a technique I had seen in a Judo book that I wanted to try and that was Kakato-jime or heel strangle. Looking at a picture in a book I couldn’t tell how effective this would be but when you can do it against a live person it works very nicely. Again I cannot find this on the BJA website but basically from your back they are in your guard and you choke Uke by crossing your hands and grabbing both sides of his collar and pulling his head towards your left leg which stretched across their neck. If I find a link to this technique I might add it later.

Finally we went over Sankaku-jime or triangle choke which is my favourite go to move. While we are on the subject of triangle chokes I saw possibly the best bit of fight choreography I have ever seen in a TV show called Generation Kill, which is similar to Band of Brothers but based on the Gulf war. Anyway these US marines were playing American Football and one the guys gets upset and rugby tackles this other guy from behind when the ball isn’t even in play and then starts wailing punches on him. The guy that was tackled throws up a wicked triangle choke on the wailer and locks it in pretty tight before reversing him so that the guy in the triangle is now on his back with only his head poking out between this guys leg and then he just starts pummelling him. It doesn’t sound much but it was pretty slick. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come where fight scenes are concerned in films although they have certainly come a long way since Roger Moore used a “Judo Chop” in one of his early James Bond outings to show what a highly trained killer he was.

Anyway back to the Sankaku-Jime technique and neither of us could quite get this right which is strange considering Graeme showed me the right way of doing this a little while ago. Since the lesson of course I have consulted a DVD that Boris from AV Forums sent me and realised the error of our ways. What I and the others were doing wrong was not creating a slight angle when throwing your legs up to get the triangle as we were directly parallel with each other.
We finished up shortly afterwards and as there were only three of us left we had plenty of mats to put away.

The next day I decided to finally get someone other than my GP to look at my shoulder so I booked an appointment with a Chiropractor. I’ve not had good experiences with Chiropractors and Osteopaths in the past so when I called up to make the appointment I asked to speak directly to the Chiropractor to explain my injury and ask what they would be able to do. I liked what I heard on the phone and when I got to the practice about 30 minutes later I was not disappointed with the treatment as it involved not only joint manipulation but also a deep tissue massage and all the time she explained what she was doing and why. While I was there I thought I would see if I could get my long standing shoulder injury which I know is Rotator cuff related, looked at and also a stiff left knee. Surprisingly she gave me treatment for these as well and thinks that I would probably only require a couple more treatments before all is back to normal. If this is the case I will be very happy as I will be able to lift some proper weights again as for the last few years I have avoided direct shoulder presses, although I am still able to bench which works the front delts. Anyway if the treatment does work and I’m hopeful it will, I’ll put a link to their website on my blog which should give them at least a few more hits a year lol.

Busy weekend for me as the World Cup starts and UFC 115 is on Sunday at 3.00am on ESPN. All I can say is thank god for SKY+ as my days of staying up all night to watch fights like the Mike Tyson Vs Evander Holyfield fight ,where Tyson bit off half his ear, are long over.