Friday, 30 May 2008

30/05/08 - BJJ Class


The soundtrack for tonight's blog entry is Guns N Roses - Sweet Child 'o Mine - what a track.

I feel a little better tonight. I don't know whether last night was just a bad night, or if it really is the Gi that i prefer; who knows!

But anyway, we're working on Armdrags. We covered a very similar series; Armdrag to the back to warm us up. Then, it was the defense to the armdrag, where you're essentially performing your own buy cutting back into his hip with your knee, which is HIGHLY effective.

Then, after this, a similar "cutting in" technique, only off the Kimura/Hip Bump Sweep defense; it's actually the perfect way to pass if you get some cheeky monkey trying to catch you with the Kimura.

Then, my favourite technique in weeks, though i'm not sure how high percentage it will be in terms of an armdrag technique. When you go for an armdrag, the opponent will often step up to stuff your attempt, and in this case, it's possible to shift the weight of your hips underneath, clasp both his arm and standing leg, and throw him over the top; it's a lovely motion, and to be honest with you is one of the best techniques i've seen in a long while.

Standup was the last area we covered, in particular within a clinch-like position where you're fighting for head control; i found a moderate degree of success grabbing the belt, i first saw this position on Jimmy Pedro's "Grip Like A World Champion" Instructional, it's a true recommended watch for anyone who is interested in Judo or needs a bit of gripfighting in their arsenal. This grip of the belt i feel gives a lot of control, and i think it's going to encourage me to go for more takedowns rather than pull guard.

On another note, Lee is a fantastic teacher; very good to learn from when rolling. Tonight, he gave me a little inspiration with a fairly inventive escape from side control, which i think is going to improve my bottom game a little in both guard and the position itself.

Why in guard? I hear you ask. Well basically, if you're confident with your escapes from Side, there's nothing that's going to stop you mentally from going 100% for the technique from closed or open guard; the worst he can do is give you the opportunity to use your escape.

Another fantastic week of training done, and i couldn't possibly ask for more from the club. There are ups and highs, but that's just another reflection of life in the art.

Until next time,

Train hard, kids!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

29/05/08 - No-Gi Class


Plateau. I hate that word (can anyone actually spell it properly?) , and i hate the concept even more. But that's where i'm headed.

My game feels VERY same-ey right now; it's been a long time since i really integrated anything to a degree of actual proficiency, and to be honest with you it's really beginning to irritate me. There are nights where i feel training has gone great, tonight certainly wasn't one of them from my personal development point of view.

I really need to evaluate where i'm going wrong in terms of actually implementing technique, and addressing this situation before it gets even more out of hand.

I know i'm not exactly gonna turn into Jean-Jaques Machado overnight, but i'd certainly love to show some more improvement, i feel like i'm stuck in a rut. Any suggestions welcome on that one.

Anyway, onto the actual class. We started with the same butterfly series taught last week, except with a couple of new sweeps, including a bit of the classic over/under elevator sweep.

The good thing about the three sweeps covered tonight is that they are all pretty much sequential, in the way that if A fails, switch to B, and if B fails, there's always C that can essentially, if that fails, U-turn you back to A.

That's what i love about BJJ, the actual choice you've got is unreal, yet it's also a huge hindrance when you can't quite decide which technique to use when you're rolling.

Then after a quick water break, we all stood up for some no-gi takedown techniques, and the no-gi takedowns are certainly the worst part of my game overall; all i've got right now is a sprawl and a sloppy armdrag, but i'm working on both; i'm certainly more of a defensive stander than someone who's gonna shoot in all the time.

The techniques themselves were based off a double-handed grip on the wrist, and could either be finished by taking the back, armdragging to over-under back control, or pulling guard. Nice options, once again.

After this, class was finished, and some light sparring ensued; The lockdown is my best friend in half guard, but also my worst enemy. When i get it on, it's fairly difficult for most people to escape; what i have been noticing, though, is that i'm letting people put my back on the mat, making it very difficult to pull off the old school or the electric chair.

So basically, another thing on my to-do list.

To lighten this entry up, Congratulations are in order for team member Sam Gaunt and his Fiancee, who have welcomed their new baby girl into the world!

Congrats Sam!

and until next time kids,

TRAIN HARD!

29/05/08 - Muay Thai Class


Muay Thai! Oh, how i've grown to love striking. I'm no good at it, but i love it.

Class starts with Paul asking us to shadowbox to warm up, and i'll admit it brought me to a decent sweat, was quite impressed tonight. Then, we did a little bit of head movement and footwork, both of which were a little out-of-the-ordinary for me, i don't exactly rely on technical skill too much.

Then came sparring. I'll say something now, i'm pretty gunshy. I don't like throwing too many because my handspeed is quite poor.

Even so, i'll admit that Jez has been helping my game a bit lately; he's an encouraging guy, and tonight he did encourage me to make some combinations, which in turn made me feel a bit more comfortable and relax more.

Muay Thai is still a new game to me, and i sometimes feel a little bit lost; it's a bit world, and i think that sometimes i'm just on autopilot rather than activley trying to engage.

Saying that, after every class, i'm left wanting more.

The plum/clinch is also a pretty interesting area; i'd say i'm more of a natural grappler, so the pummeling i feel i've had a pretty good degree of success at.

Has anyone got any good examples of Thai instructionals i can watch? I was thinking a little more Rodney King, some Duke Roufus.. any other ideas? Maybe some Aerts or LeBanner?

Until next time,

Train hard!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

28/05/08 - New Rashguard Arrives!

Hey guys! Just thought i'd give you a heads up.

I don't particularly want to use this blog as advertising space, i don't believe in that, training should be about just training. But i've found a pretty neat shop in East Anglia where the head guy is more than helpful, and i think this sort of behavior should be rewarded within the community.

This morning, my "Take A Nap" Rashguard arrived, and it's a loose fit one; I'm normally a 52 inch chest, but this rashguard in XL fits me perfectly, and i honestly can't wait to wear it.

The stitching seems durable, the colour isn't gonna blind you, and

It's great quality, and what's more, it's £16.95 (Which i couldn't believe, last time i payed over £30 for a Tapout rashguard!) delivered, and since i'm VERY budget conscious, i couldn't be happier.

Will West is the guy's name, and he runs West Fight Company; One of the best independent fight wear distributors i've ever seen! http://www.westfightcompany.co.uk/

I'm so ecstatic with this! Will get some pics of me rocking it tomorrow.

Monday, 26 May 2008

26/05/08 - BJJ Rolling Class (With Video!)

Okay, so tonight was a closed-door session with only a few guys turning up. Wasn't a formal session, just those who wanted to train from the club getting down and letting it flow.

Some nice rolling actually, was mainly a sparring session rather than technique, but i took the opportunity to ask about what i call the "BJ Mount"; BJ Penn used this in his fight against Joe Stevenson, where he hooked his feet together while in the mount position to gain a sort of guard around them.
This worked well against Jez, and although he eventually bucked me off, it's certainly a good way of keeping the mount more secure against wriggly guys, especially when the grapevines aren't working.

Didn't give it my A-Game tonight because of a dodgy stomach; had it all day, think i might have eaten something bad. Who knows. But still, it was a great session, topped off by some great submission attempts.

My eternal problem over the last year has been that I'm far too happy to point hunt rather than finish, which actually irritates me as I'm doing it. I'm now more actively looking for armlocks, chokes and sweeps, which is a philosophy that works well; when you're attacking, he's not.





26/05/08 - BJJ, Life and Change.


I think that overall, personal development is a big part of the martial arts.

I'll share something with you guys; as a kid, i did some Karate. Given how anti-traditional-martial-arts i am now, that's kind of embarrassing to even say. That was back in the day when the Karate Kid was still cool, and Black Belts seemed to have the aura and mystery that just eluded Pro-Wrestling, of which i was a big fan at the time.

After about two months at one class a week though, i lost interest. It was boring. Learning something and then just drilling it for hours upon end couldn't be more of a turnoff to me; this is why i LOVE BJJ. Everyone is different; after you drill a move and put it into your greater gameplan, there are still times when the move won't be effective, no matter what the technique is. No matter how many times i tried to throw kicks, my legs (i had short tendons, causing me to walk on my toes for the first 12 years of my life) wouldn't let me do it without losing balance. This was so disheartening as a kid, that i simply didn't want to carry on.

This is where the art of BJJ differs from the rest; you make the game suit you. There's no set techniques to learn, no kata, no pre-set patterns to bore the pants off you within the first few weeks.

BJJ is an art where everything changes, and it very quickly reflects on life. The same frameworks that make us who we are are so similar to the frameworks that make us good grapplers, yet people just don't see the connection.

Life is about learning, and taking new things on board; I could very easily spend the next 10 years just doing the same thing over and over again, but where's the fun in that? The beauty of both life and BJJ is change, and change is a very good thing.

Change the game, don't let the game change you.

26/05/08 - MMA KO

I know this isn't strictly an MMA blog, but seriously guys, check out this clip. I think it's awesome, never seen anything like it in all my years of Combat sports watching.

Thanks to Tim for the heads up on this clip!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

25/05/08 - Rolling


*NOTE - Bank holiday monday training starts at 6.30, with Jez showing some standup, then a BJJ session at 7.30 starting with a short Q&A session with each other; a perfect chance to get some community learning done! BE THERE!*

Hello once again guys,

Today was a very good session; Steve Wright text me to ask if anyone was training today, so i figured i might as well go and play some good old fashioned BJJ. As the wise Steve said himself, "Any mat time is a good thing".

I suddenly remembered that the stability balls/gym balls can be exceedingly good tools for helping side control; it teaches you physically, getting you used to something moving underneath you as you move around. My side control is always a little tighter after i do some movements on the ball.

Since we were kitted out for No-Gi, the No-Gi rolling commenced. The first couple of rolls were fairly fast, and i was impressed with the fact that i caught the Achilles lock both times, something which I've been mentally working on the last week or so, combined with my watching of the Robert Drysdale No-Gi instructional set yesterday.

Steve's side control top game is getting very good, and is a serious threat with armbars whenever he's rolling, which makes him fantastic to train with before a competition.

I'm tending to find that the Brabo choke is still working well for me, even though at times it's more of a Neck crank than a choke, but i think that's mainly a weight positioning issue i need to work on. Setting it up from Knee-On-Belly is my latest brainwave, and it's so easy to set this up with a great number of other threats; if you don't turn in, i'll mount, etc.

Gi rolling was pretty tight aswell, the Lockdown is still my friend when it comes to half-guard, although my whip-up needs some work.

Class tomorrow is looking to be shaping up well, better than the regular bank holiday monday no training; if you've got the day off and no plans, be there! Gonna be a great workout.

Until next time,
Train hard, kids!

Friday, 23 May 2008

23/05/08 - BJJ Class (AKA New Post Overload!)

*No official training on Bank Holiday monday guys, although i think Steve "Dodgy Toe" Wright could very well be opening up the gym, i'll update you when i learn more!*


This is like the 6th post in two days, so i'm gonna keep it snappy for those of you who really can't be bothered to sit through another load of text.

No video tonight, i think that's gonna be a weekly treat for you hardcore followers :).

Tonight started once again with Lee going quickly over what we were doing yesterday in the No-Gi class, although this time applying it with the Gi; that is the armdrag. A beautiful technique, i'm really getting into these techniques, they are gonna really make my closed and butterfly guard games a force to be reckoned with, even if my back control isn't amazing, its good enough to get the points.

But what to do if the guy stands up? Lee gave us the answer to this in the form of a beautiful flowing sweep that i caught pretty well, even if both Me and Simon were stumped when we started pinching the throwing leg, which basically caused it to be a self-sweep; perhaps a more detailed explanation another time.

After this, i think we were all pretty tired after a hard week's training, and this is why shortly after the techniques, we had some very light sparring until the end of class. One thing i noticed was i managed to catch my patented "Mike Fowler Sweep" on Lewis, i think with a bit more polish, that will be a good takedown technique for me as i don't particularly like shots.

In more important news, i've now got my new Sprawl shorts which fit a treat, and i did a little no-gi rolling with Steve Wright, where he caught me with a nasty triangle from the mount; only the second time in recent memory he's managed to triangle me, and the second night in succession. I'm gonna have to be more careful.

Anyway, i must leave you guys now, i sincerely hope you've enjoyed this week's entries.

Until monday,

Train hard, kids!

23/05/08 - Kimura to Brabo setup

Cheers to Steve Wright for letting me use him in this vid.

Just another technique that i learned from Bjorn Friedrich's www.Grappling.de, and the technique i used to tap Steve Boughey in the below video.

A great technique, really useful when the guy defends the kimura, and you know he's faster than you and may win a scramble if the armbar is loose.

Sorry for the lack of decent sound, and i'm aware i wasn't sprawling on the Brabo; PLEASE do this when you're trying to finish it, this was merely for illustration purposes.

Usual legal disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

Train hard, kids!

L.

23/05/08 - Steve Wright x Steve Boughey (No-Gi)



The last of the three NoGi rolling videos for your enjoyment.

I really like the flow of NoGi; i think, in a lot of ways, it's a lot smoother than Gi, although i'd argue you can get away with more at a beginner level, and as such it's perhaps not as technical as when you're wearing the cloth.

Once again, if you enjoy these videos and want to be a part of the interactive community that is (or at least, going to be) this website, feel free to post a message in the comments or email me at revtheluke AT googlemail.com

Train hard, kids!

23/05/08 - Steve Boughey X Me (NoGi)



As promised, the second No-Gi Rolling video..

Watch for the Kimura to Brabo setup..

Steve X Steve Later!

23/05/08 - Steve Wright x Me (No-Gi)



A treat for all of you here in a No-Gi rolling video of me and the team's most notable white belt competitor, Steve "Dodgy Toe" Wright.

Any comments and feedback on either of our performances welcomed.

More later.. but in an hour and a half i have a politics exam, and i've just realised i know nothing about any electoral system.. and what's worse, my notebook is full of BJJ spider-diagrams showing move-flow.

Not nice.

More video to come later..

Thursday, 22 May 2008

22/05/08 - No-Gi Class


*REMINDER: No-Gi class is now replacing regular BJJ on a Thursday, 7.30pm onwards; if you're doing the Muay Thai beforehand, however, remember to bring a change of clothing to get into before you start the 2nd training session*

The inaugural No-Gi class started with some focus on the classic Marcelo Garcia technique; the arm drag. I mentioned these in an entry a few days ago, i think they are a marvelous way of really making use of the poor positioning of your opponents arms, and i think a couple of these techniques shown today could really make it into my gameplan.

Starting from butterfly guard, we first looked at and got a feel for both the overhook (with head control) and underhook positions, to get us warmed up.

After this, Lee went over, in some detail, exactly what we should be doing to catch the arm drag; I'd never really payed much attention to the use of the feet before, but using a well placed foot in the guy's thigh can really change the technique, especially if your goal is to take the back. It can totally destroy his posture, which can only be a good thing for those of you like human backpacks.

After this, he then showed us a reversal for the guy being arm dragged, almost like an arm drag in itself; oh, how ironic.

I really enjoyed that particular technique, it really captures and utilises the momentum you'll be feeling after being arm dragged anyway, so it will be a VERY useful technique for No-Gi competition.

Then the class transcended into some specific training, and once again i think that went very well; it's great to be light when you're training, it really does make you learn more, and you tend to realize what you can do and what you can't with a much greater degree of accuracy.

After that, some sparring. The results of which have been video taped, and are uploaded as i type this; i hope you all enjoy, and please feel free to leave some comments or feedback about Me or any other of the guys in the videos, i'm sure they'd love to hear it, and I'll get the info to them ASAP.

Also; i LOVE the Brabo/Darce choke. It's my favourite technique by far, it's just so versatile. For those of you that don't know it, check it out at www.grappling.de or buy Bjorn's DVD! It's good stuff!

Until next time, train hard, kids!

22/05/08 - Muay Thai Class

* Please remember that the Muay Thai class now starts at 6.30 on a Thursday, the same time as a Monday. Don't come late and be disappointed.*


Well well well, today was a very good day for training, which is why i think there will be about 5 entries on the site for tonight alone.

I got to the session a little later than normal, but was still there in time for the class, which was a relief to start with.

First off was the shadowboxing for a warmup, i'm never quite sure exactly how much power to put in the shots at this stage. It will come to me.

Paul then got us to get even warmer with some shoulder-to-shoulder, in-the-pocket sparring, just some light contact stuff while keeping at a clinch-style range; my BJJ instinct kicked in here unfourtunatley, and i kept wanting to overhook the arm i had control of, leaving me with no arms to punch, but i did however get out of this habit by the end of the session.

After this, punches were the dish of the day when Paul introduced the next drill, which was just staying in the pocket and focusing on a flurry of punches, rather than becoming defensive after every shot. This was okay, but i tended to move out of the pocket and look for a more effective low-kick range, just on my instincts, which i really need to get a grip of.

Then came some kick-for-kick training, my focus at the moment is on my lowkick. My kicks are okay i'd say, but i'm noticing that i seem to connect on my foot more than my shin, which is causing a lot of bruising which doesn't exactly impress the ladies, but oh well (story of my life!).

Towards the end of the session, we sparred and i feel my performance in this regard is improving; my punches are starting to come together a little more, even if i am a little slow on my arm returns and a little gunshy at times.

I guess it will all come with time, but all in all, a good session, topped off by some nice clinchwork that we covered last, working on the techniques that Jez showed us on monday. I'll admit though, i do tend to forget the last step through, which causes the technique to be somewhat incomplete, although thoroughly legitimate.

Overall, a good class. It's also great to see some new faces at the club, with Tim now becoming a bit of a regular, and it seems that on most weeks, there's a new guy or two there to check out the action.

If you're in the Essex area and you're looking for a club, go no further. Team Ryu. Link on the right hand side.

22/05/08 - Making the most of your training


Now, today I'm meant to be revising for my 3 hour Politics exam in the morning; as you all know, I'd much rather publish some thoughts about BJJ on this here world wide web.

I'm a very lucky person in that i go to college 5 days a week, 9-4; and i get free time in the middle of that. I've also got no outside commitments, so I'm in the lucky position of being able to train pretty much whenever i want. A lot of guys reading this won't have that pleasure.

That's why we should make the most of our time on the mats.

It's all very well to go through training on autopilot, just letting the moves settle into your brain and really turn on when you're sparring, yet you're still only fighting to win.

This is the problem that most newcomers to the sport are faced with, from what I've seen. There's a terrific amount of ego that comes with every fresh-faced newcomer, and the quicker you learn that it's not about your W/L record in the gym, the better.

As a club, i think we're lucky in that all of the regular guys don't have this issue; we all tend to care only about progression, and that's a great thing for a gym to have.

But as a note to all of you out there in Internet-Land, remember that there's something to be learned from the concept of goal-setting.

Goals are aspirations within reach; both short term and long term. If you are serious about your training, i recommend that you make a goal for each and every time you spar and train.

Specific training is just that, and it happens in pretty much every class; light "sparring" from specific positions in the quickest way to learn the ins and outs of attacks and escapes. The term "specific" doesn't only apply to training, it can apply to goals as well.

I'm not talking about goals like "I'm gonna win my next 3 rolls" or "I want to not get put on my back", but goals like "I want to hit the old school sweep from the Lockdown" or "i want to catch a sweep from the Z-guard".

This is just a tip from a lowly white belt; the more you set SPECIFIC goals regularly, the more you'll notice an improvement.

Monday, 19 May 2008

19/05/08 - BJJ Class


* NOTE - As of this coming Thursday the 22nd of May, the Thursday night class is now No-gi; this is for the next few weeks, until further notice. Please come with either a rashguard or a tshirt, as training without clothing will not be allowed. That's just dirty. :) *

Once again it's time for the BJJ update, and by god how i love this sport.

There are times when, throughout life, cycles occur. This whole circular theme dominates our way of thinking, and situations we find ourselves in often mirror the old, hence there being such an infusion of enthusiasm when "trying something new" - breaking out of the cycle can be rewarding, and a pleasant experience.

Lately, i've found that my BJJ game has become very circular; there have been serious flaws in my game that i haven't attempted to address. Whatever the cause, by addressing these, it breaks the cycle; it allows me to do something new.

Since Braulio was at the club, i've been pre-occupied with the absence of leg-locks in white belt competition. Having seen Seni and the DVD recordings of a few other shows (thanks to Steve for hooking me up with his excellent DVD productions), i've noticed that even though the Achilles lock is allowed, it's very rarely used.

Perhaps this is because leglocks are considered "fools gold" by many old-school BJJ practitioners; going for leglocks can, in theory, lead you to a worse position, and can become a white belt's only "go-to" move in a bad situation, which is a terrible habit for learning new things.

I intend to look at ways of setting this manovre up; i don't particularly like the idea of falling "back in the guard and doing my best Ken Shamrock impression", so i think the new "Braulio Guard" will be ideal for me; sweeps and there's a leglock or three in there also.

Good lord.. all that, and i havent even spoken about the class!

Basically, tonight, we covered some more techniques from the "Braulio Guard" - aswell as troubleshooting the sweep that we've been doing. The armbar drill used to warmup was also a good idea, and it's made me realize how desperatley i need to work on my "weak side" armbars. That's on the to-do list.

Then, class took a turn to specific, "pass-the-guard" sparring, in which i performed with moderate success, using my old faithful underpass.

Class then finished with some regular sparring, and i managed to do a little no-gi, in preparation of Thursdays inaugral session.

Two observations; it's harder to break down the posture in guard for someone who's used to grips on sleeves. Also, i LOVE the No-Gi Brabo Choke.

For those of you that don't know it, http://www.grappling.de has ALL you need; Bjorn Friedrich is an inspiration with this move, and will force you to love it.

Until next time, thanks for reading,

and Train hard, kids!

19/05/08 - Muay Thai Class


First Muay Thai class entry!

I've been doing this for about a month now, at one session a week; this is now increasing to 2 sessions a week as of Thursday, when the time changes.

So the class started with a little light shadowboxing, followed by some head movement drills.
It's an odd sensation to a newcomer who's used to grappling, to have fists flying at your head every second; the obvious temptation for me, somehow, is to close my eyes. I figure this is commonplace with beginners to striking, if not i could be in for a bit of trouble. It's a problem that i'm addressing pretty quickly though, and i think within a few weeks i may have taken the vast majority of the problem away.

The session then progressed into some kick-for-kick trades.
One observation within this environment is that I'm kicking and LANDING the shot with my foot, rather than my shin; i guess again, that this is a newbie mistake and something that will fade in time. It is however, a painful mistake as a failed liver kick led to food-on-elbow crunch time, something which won't quickly be forgotten. I've got a funny feeling that will bruise pretty badly.. fingers crossed, eh?

My performance in regular sparring is showing noticeable improvement; i'm trying new things that i feared to try before, such as combinations and actually using my feet. I think that's something positive to take away from the session; i'm no longer "gunshy", and i'm willing to try new things.

Paul then handed over to Jez to show a few techniques.
Now, a quick note on this guy; just looking at Jez hit the bags sometimes is scary, for a relativley small guy the power in his shots is unreal. Certainly an inspiration for us youngsters to the striking world.

He showed some sweet techniques from the Thai-clinch, double collar tie, plum, whatever you want to call it. This included a really neat way of utilising the head control to bring his body with your movement, allowing for two EXTREMELY nice knee shots to the body; knees to the liver are always going to be my favourite move.

This was a great class, and i am seriously looking forward to the next time i can put the gloves on.

Friday, 16 May 2008

16/05/08 - BJJ Class


*NOTE* - Muay Thai Class on Thursdays now starts at 6.30pm, same as the monday session - just a heads up for those who didn't hear Paul's announcement on Thursday :).

Once again it's time for another class update, and tonight was pretty superb to be honest with you. Given i had 6 HOURS OF EXAMS, i feel i did pretty well actually, my cardio was just as good as normal.

Session started with some light fun being poked at Steve's toe; it's in pretty bad shape, i'll keep you lot updated. Perhaps a weekly section of the site dedicate to his delicate digit's rehab? Who knows.

But anyway, the session started by covering the Braulio sweeps again; i REALLY need to get these pictured, they are SO sweet. Lee's new entry to the "Braulio Guard" is pretty intense actually, and it certainly gives an excellent degree of control for the sweep, and i've got a funny feeling there's a leglock or three to be found with a little bit of patience there.

Going over the techniques was good, but i felt i came into my own tonight when we started the sparring; my top control is getting a lot better, particularly my flow between cross-sides and the full mount; my submission attempts aren't always there, but my control seems to stay consistent, and control is half of the game anyway.

I've also remembered what an armdrag is; sounds stupid, but i go through phases of totally forgetting they're there, then it suddenly occurs to me and i start going for them. They are good, but my back game isn't what it could be; i always feel a little tipsy on top, but that will change with experience.

I think to me, tonight was a stark reminder that while some things go well in BJJ, there are always areas for improvement, which is what makes it such an exciting sport. Unlike team games and a lot of other traditional martial arts, there's always a new position, a new angle and a new submission to cope with, and that's what keeps this game interesting.

16/05/08 - Mark X Me


I promised you guys a surprise.. not much of a surprise when you saw me with the video camera, but hey! It's better than nothing.

Okay, enjoy this rolling session from yesterday here between me and Mark Dos Santos, one of our academy's notable white belt competitors. Please be kind on a poor young white belt ;).

PLEASE comment on this; i'd love to hear some feedback on what i could be doing better :). Thanks guys!

Just a disclaimer, don't try this stuff at home. You could injure yourself, and none of us want that. I accept no responsibility if you break your dog's arm in a paw-bar or something, just behave, alright?

That being said, i hope you enjoy, and sorry if the quality isn't too good, it's my first time video-uploading.

Until next time,

Train hard, kids!

I'm the big guy in the Blue Gi :).


Thursday, 15 May 2008

15/05/08 - BJJ Class

Wanted to take it easy tonight because of the 6 hours of hell facing me tomorrow; the problem with the BJJ bug is, it won't let you do that!

The class started prematurely with a little light technique drill or two with Steve Wright, who gave me a quick brainflash when i suddenly remembered the overhook series i'd been wanting to try out.

Going through this again with Lee, i've found a neat new series which i think i will use in future; as long as i can figure out a way of keeping them from stacking into me. That's sort of a phobia of mine, i do it so much i KNOW what's happening and i guess that it's just developed into an issue for me. I'll sort it.

So the overhook series consists of the regular armbar, triangle, cross choke, and optional omoplata; all from one sturdy base. I like it; makes for easy combinations.

The class then continued after Lee showed us his latest brainchild, a neat way of getting into a position i will dub "Braulio guard" until i am told the real name. It's basically a neat type of control using both of the legs, similar to x-guard but squeezing both legs between your knees; i'll picture this tomorrow night.

Then the specific training with Tim was interesting; i believe it was Rickson Gracie that once said that it was the beginners that were unpredictable; this was certainly the case, i was NOT expecting him to pass my lockdown; he threatened it a few times though, forcing me to go to the top game.

Top game is something i think i'll always love; hell, i'm a 280lb 17 year old, and i'm faster than i look. This makes for a fairly top-heavy game, and i think it will always be my forte. I do need to learn to go for more submissions, rather than just drifting from position to position and becoming happy point-hunting.

Tomorrow is the day of the dreaded exams, but after that there's a treat for you all; some rolling i managed to videotape, including me getting a good old fashioned beating by Mark.

What techniques would YOU like to see on this site? I want this to be an interactive medium for the club; if there are any techniques you'd feel you'd appreciate shown in video of photo form, give me an email at revtheluke AT googlemail.com and i'll get onto it as soon as humanly possible.

Until tomorrow,

Train hard, kids!

15/05/08 - Updates, Promises and Exams!


Hey guys,

I promise to try to keep this blog as training-related as possible, but sometimes i think explanations about the outside world can give you a greater idea as to the direction of the website.

Just a heads up about updates the next few days; AS levels are gonna be absolute nightmares, and tomorrow my college have deemed that because of a clash, I've got 6 hours of exams! And people say the education system is working fine..

And between them, I'm in isolation to make sure i don't "cheat".. like i'd do a thing like that ;).

As such, I'm not sure about updates tomorrow, but i guarantee something special by the weekend :).
I'd appreciate it if any of you could put the link out there; http://revtheluke.blogspot.com (working on getting a decent domain name soon).

And if anyone has got ANY requests or ideas, please send your emails to revtheluke@gmail.com - I'll get back to you the same day, guaranteed.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

14/05/08 - Review: Impact MMA Gloves


Okay, on a budget you do crazy things sometimes. This wasn't one of them.

If any of you guys were lucky enough to attend the Seni show in April 2008, you'll no doubt have noticed the "Royce Gracie Impact" range there. Sold at £10 an item, i picked up both a pair of MMA gloves and a pair of shinpads, which i will review at a later date. They are all black with red trim; i saw some gloves there with a VERY cheap looking flame effect that were cheap, these looked a little more professional.

The MMA gloves felt tight upon first wear; very tight, infact. I still took the plunge, and over the first couple of training sessions, they certainly felt a little looser. Maybe it's because it's faux leather. I really don't know, it's a mystery to me.

Although i don't use them for any MMA class as such, they hold up well on my bag at home, as well as light MMA "rolls" i sometimes have after BJJ class.

The foam padding is quite excessive; it often feels particularly heavy accross the knuckles, something i never noticed with other MMA gloves. I think this makes them more suitable for training rather than a fight, as it would certainly take away a little snap on the punches; the same way a boxing glove would take power away the heavier it is.

In general, they have been holding out well; the wrapping around the fingers is tight enough to keep them in place whilst going for submission attempts.
The open palm design is VERY nice, i really do prefer these to boxing gloves; i tend to find my thumb has more freedom.

This also means that there isn't as much wear to the material as the gloves where the thumb is attatched to the rest of the hand; my lonsdale gloves have been worn around 10 times, and are already in a shocking state at the thumb.

Overall, i'd say this is one of my best purchases of 2008; great for training and hitting the bag, great movement, can't moan for £10 ($20).

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

13/05/08 - Homemade Medicine Ball



Before i get into this post, let me first give a quick shout out to the guys and girls over at the Grapplers Guide; there's a link on the right hand side. It's a real goldmine for grappling resources, and well worth the signup fee to become a premium member.

Here is one of the ideas from the site put into practice.

A homemade medicine ball. As you're no doubt aware, medicine balls can be great tools for power training, but also can be a little touch on the expensive side. After a bit of googling, i found one side selling medicine balls at the cost of over £50 for a 5kg ball.

Since i need to get in much better shape (preferably, getting down to the heavyweight weight class), i figured i'd need the right stuff. As a student though, i'm basically broke all the time; so what to do?

Here, i've taken a cheap (50p/$1) used basketball; bought from a carboot sale/yard sale. Current price: $1/50p.

Then, i've taken this, and filled it with sand from a builders merchant; £1.50/$3.

Using a funnel or an amazing degree of patience, after cutting a small hole in the top of the ball, i filled it with the sand; leaving me with a ball that weighs a cool 10kgs.

To cover the hole, i used regular silicone that we had laying around; no cost whatsoever.

So here's a 10kg medicine ball that cost me under $5; £2.

Any comments or suggestions go to revtheluke@googlemail.com - no spam please!

12/05/08 - BJJ Class


Due to a family issue, i couldn't quite make it in time for the Muay Thai class - shame, looked pretty intense.

Lee started the class by re-introducing us to the Braulio seminar techniques, which we covered again.

I'm having moderate success with the "achilles" sweep, as I've dubbed it; my only problem is that as i wind back in to gain control of the leg, i tend to make him land in a position where the heel hook is more viable; I think i'll need to work on my backward rolls a little more before i can put my foot accross fully. I'll take some pictures of this on thursday.

After working on these techniques, we were told that we'd do a little sparring; starting from the feet.

I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to try out a takedown i'd seen Mike Fowler put in his gameplan on an instructional. Essentially, you swing yourself around one of his legs, taking yourself into a sort of half-guard position; with one leg behind and one in front of his shin, at slightly different heights. This creates a push/pull pressure on his leg, allowing for the takedown. I've only pulled it off once (on a blue belt, mind you).

Can't quite get it right, but it's one for the gameplan.

Sparring was good; I'm getting much better from twister side control, and it's seriously helping my top game; I'm finding it MUCH easier to float between all the top positions, even a little bit of knee on belly!

If anyone has any ideas for the blog, i'd VERY much like to hear them! Feel free to give me a message at revtheluke@googlemail.com - No spam please!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

11/05/08 - Braulio Estima Seminar


So on the 11th of May 08, Braulio Estima once again appeared at the Witham HQ to teach the group some new tricks, and gauge the progress of those that are advancing in their skills (which is quite a few these days!).

Starting at 3pm (at 25 degrees - quite hot for Essex), the seminar began with a very rigorous warmup, something which i think brought everyone in attendance to a sweat - could just be me!

Braulio then went on to explain some fantastic techniques from the spider guard, including two sweeps and an amazingly powerful sweep that landed directly into the Achilles lock.

By this time, i can safely say that almost everyone was getting into the spirit of the event, which built up with some specific training from the spider guard, split over the two mat areas.

I managed to utilize a variation of the achilles sweep, but the technique certainly wasn't perfect. I can safely say it's one for the gameplan though.

The climax of the seminar was the free sparring, during which Braulio looked on and really gauged the progress of all those in attendance.

Needless to say, there were a few very deserving candidates who got promotions of some description

  • Sam Gaunt - Blue Belt, 2 Stripes
  • Lee Catling - Purple Belt, 2 Stripes
  • Steve Wright - White Belt, 4 Stripes
  • Jez Lord - White Belt, 4 Stripes
  • Mark Dos Santos - White Belt, 4 Stripes
  • Steve Boughey - White Belt, 4 Stripes
  • Luke Wykes (Me!) - White Belt, 2 stripes
  • Paul Cudmore - Purple Belt!
And no Braulio seminar is complete without the whipping.. and on a hot day, that's the last thing i'd want.

I'd like to use this platform to thank Braulio for another excellent seminar, and we all hope to see him again in the near future. Also, a very big thanks to everyone who attended, without whom the event could not be possible!

Train hard, kids!

(And yes, that is me looking the total goon in that photo!)

P.S. If anyone from the club or anyone in these photos would like a full version, feel free to contact me at revtheluke AT googlemail.com - i'll send the full versions.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

10/05/08 - Bloggin'


So the first question that immediately hits me upon making this blog is;

Why a blog?

Blogs, i believe, are a fantastic way of not only broadcasting your thoughts to the larger world outside of your own box, but also a fantastic technique for thought and emotion preservation.

Over many years and countless diaries, I've come to believe that digitally saving information is not only superior in quality, it is also much more secure, you wouldn't believe the number of coffee cups spilled all over important slips of paper in this house!

But after this, one immediately thinks.. but what do i have to tell the world? As you are no doubt aware, i train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Team Ryu (under Lee Catling, Purple Belt BJJ/Black Belt Judo)and Braulio Estima (Gracie Barra Birmingham) in Witham.

I intend for this site to be both an informative and personal look into the personal growth and development that life brings to one example.

Anyway, enough about blogs.

Let's have some fun!

Luke.