Thursday, 31 July 2008

31/07/08 - NoGi Session


So the NoGi tonight was pretty tough. Most of the lads were pretty tired from the Muay Thai which i didn't do tonight, mainly because i had to get some things ready for my social occasion tomorrow. I think in this regard it's important to get a balance between training and social life right; it's all good to be great in training, but if nobody outside of training knows you, what's your headstone gonna look like?

"Here lies Luke Wykes. He had a great stack and liked twister side control".

That's not for me.

Anyway, back to the point.

Tonight's session started with Lee showing us how to attack the turtle with a basic elbow-in-shoulder turnover, nothing new there really.

But then he showed us a technique he called the "catweazle"; a transition from this into the twister, where we simply put the knee in the hip, your free foot locking his near foot, and keeping control of the hand. Possibly the worst description ever but if you want more info, get to class!

The twister is something we've been working on for a while, and it's a totally radical move. It's revolutionary in that since it was re-popularized by Eddie Bravo, it's opened up a whole new system and the Truck position has now become infamous and synonymous with a good reverse kesa-gatame game.

The class then went standing, where we worked on some techniques of our choice. Myself and Steve used a little resistance on each other so we knew what we could get away with, and i was impressed with the results. I felt much better on my feet than i had in months today, and i'm not entirely sure why. I quite like rolling for Kneebars, i sincerely wish that sometime, we can learn some kneebars in class.

The class took a turn back to the ground with some specific training, where myself and Dan trained a little. My focus tonight was on the Z-Guard and playing off the bottom, something i achieved with moderate success.

Within Sparring i noticed my cardio wasn't top notch but i was catching some nice things, some Kimuras from Z-guard, etc.

No update tomorrow as i'm not training!

Monday, 28 July 2008

28/07/08 - Steve Brighton - Video



Good showing here from both guys, i think our own Steve Wright played a smart game but towards the end i think his head let him down.

Oh well, not bad! Anyone who's got the guts to step out there is a hero anyway.

Luke.

Friday, 25 July 2008

25/07/08 - BJJ Competition Class


As of tonight, the Friday night class at the main HQ is changing to a more competition oriented class, with an emphasis on drilling and sparring techniques rather than learning new ones. This is perfect for us, as a club this will help our cardio and confidence with techniques, so this can only be a good thing really.

I trained with Adam tonight, and as a general rule it went quite well. I worked a little rubber guard, i'm still a little inflexible but i'll get there in the end. The move i was trying was just to gain mission control, then to transition to the Jiu-Claw (aka omoplata, someone please explain the difference, other than holding the leg?).

this is one of my money techniques now, and is certainly a "go-to" move in my gameplan.

That was my main choice of move to drill, and along with the twister side control setups we've been working, tonight certainly felt like an Eddie Bravo tribute session for me.

I quite like the twister side control and the twister move as i've already alluded to on the blog, but i've noticed with the gi on, it does feel a little more awkward. This may be best saved for a Thursday No-Gi session.

Sparring was interesting, Adam's a very physical guy to roll with, and that's somewhat my weakness. I'd like to think of myself as technical from the bottom and quite physical yet technical on the top, which suits my body and movement type better.

In terms of my performance this was okay, but there were times when i felt drained, this i attribute to a hectic week though. My emphasis from the top was on twister side control and s-mount, and on the bottom on regaining half-guard.

Not much else to say really; Fridays are now a very personal class, and as such, things that are applicable to me may not apply to the whole class, so bear that in mind.

Until Monday,

train hard, kids!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

23/07/08 - Brighton - Me - First Video



In a way i'm slightly embarassed to put this on the blog on the basis that for the vast majority of the fight, i'm stalling.

But by the same token, i'm somewhat proud of this as my first win.

I think i could have done better, i certainly should have killed his inside arm whilst in my side control, but hey, during the adrenalin of the competition, i didn't think.

Oh well, there's always next time.

Coming tomorrow will be the rest of the guys from the gym's fights.

Enjoy.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

19/07/08 - Brighton Results



Got to the King Alfred Leisure Centre in what felt like record time, and I for one was certainly quite pumped up about today's events. With my PSP full of tunes and a good place to sit and stay moderatley separate from the action, i managed to keep my head more in the game than i did at Bristol.

The organisation was pretty good, Gus (the guy who ran the competition) was friendly and helpful, and he certainly put some decent work in which is much appreciated.

What i liked about today was that there was a good atmosphere, i've never been to a place where everyone seemed so friendly, particularly one of the guys who recognised me from this blog (hey, i'm getting famous!) and a few others who genuinley remind you that the BJJ world is very different to the outside world.

Good showing by 3 of the lads today, unfourtunatley Steve Boughey was injured and couldn't compete, shame.

Steve Wright was outpointed in a very close affair in the first round, but put on an extremley good show to reinforce to all in attendance exactly why he is becoming a prolific competitor. or something like that.

Jez Lord unfortunately lost by RNC, but this was in a relativley close fight.

I won my first fight by points (think it was 7-2, don't quote me on this) against one of the big guys from the Carlson Gracie team (Hellboy?), and lost my second to another guy from the same establishment via Americana.

I'm very happy to get my first win, particularly in such a good fashion as a confident points win. I did have the experience of being up against a guy taller and stronger than me, but on the day that isn't all that matters.

I'm happy to have had the experience of my second competition, and i feel this is really going to drive my training along.

For those of you that haven't yet competed or are sitting on the fence as to whether or not "competition is for you", my advice is to do it. I spent far too long sitting on the fence, wondering whether or not to compete, and in the end the worst that can happen is that you lose, and at this stage of the game, who cares about a loss.

Infact, it's the losses that will DRIVE You forward. If you win all the time, you have no desire to improve, the mindset of a pure winner becomes very one-track and this is detrimental to peak performance.

Went and had a drink in Brighton when i realised my t-shirt was on back to front (yeah, you can see it in the picture) but i guess that's what happens when you're knackered from the fighting.

Take care,

Rev. Luke.

Friday, 18 July 2008

18/07/08 - Four Musketeers?

Tomorrow morning, 4 members of Team Ryu set sail (not literally) for Brighton, where the first "grab and pull" tournament is gonna take place, as i've already stated.

Feel free to leave us some goodwill messages on our mobiles or anything, i think it's gonna be a great day.

Competing from our club are:
Steve Boughey.
Steve "Dodgy toe" Wright.
Jez Lord.
Luke Wykes

Results will be up by this time tomorrow for sure. There'll also be some video from the competition up here on Sunday, so until then, stay safe and TRAIN HARD.

18/07/08 - New Look

New three column layout i'm playing around with, it's nowhere near finished so please bear with me guys. You still have the same access to all the old posts, etc in the meantime, they're going nowhere.

L.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

17/07/08 - Learning to Learn.


Lee got me thinking tonight. Assimilation and integration of techniques takes some time, you don't just jump from learning the twister to being world class at it overnight.

Same with every technique; how many times have we been shown a technique in class, thought you'd never suit it, then you forget about this? Then a few months down the line you're using it a little, then a little more, and suddenly it's a part of your gameplan. It's crazy.

I think the conscious competence learning model relates extremley well to Brazilian Jiujitsu and Muay Thai, and I always think it's a good thing to know what stage you're at.

When you can break down your learning so you know where you're at and what you need to do, you'll get to your goals faster.

An analogy; if you were to drive to Brighton, for example, it would be easier if you knew the route you were taking in advance, rather than learning as you go along.

Anyway, here's the model in progressive stages. I've put a little note next to each stage as to what *I* interpret this to mean, perhaps you think differently? Feel free to start a debate on this :).

- Unconscious Incompetence - You've just been introduced to the technique, and you aren't aware of exactly how important each movement is.
- Conscious Incompetence - You realise what you're doing is wrong and that you need to use the technique fully, not missing any parts of movements.
- Conscious Competence - You pull the move off well, but having to seriously think about what exactly is going on.
- Unconscious Competence. You can pull the move off without even thinking about it, and it's a technique you go to when you know you need something that you're good at.

17/07/08 - No Gi Class (Twister Edition)














Tonight i wanted to take it easy and avoid any possible injuries before Saturday, but hey, that all goes out of the window when you get into the ryhthym of the night.

Tonight, carrying on from recent events, we covered the twister roll. Starting from "reverse kesa-gatame" (or twister side control), we entered the truck position first where the first few techniques of the class were based.

These included the banana split and the regular calf crank. It's a shame i can't calf crank at white belt level because i genuinley love them and it's a great way to finish a fight quickly.

I can personally recommend Eddie Bravo's material on this "truck" position, he wasn't the "inventor" of a lot of this stuff but he was certainly an innovative force in this style of Jiujitsu. His Mastering The Rubber Guard book, while at times a little advanced, compliments his system perfectly and shows exactly how things work. Mastering the Twister is an amazing read, whereas i find his "jiujitsu unleashed" offering a little sub-par when compared with his later works.

Anyway, the class was good, i trained predominantly with Adam, who, as a guy close to my size (alright, he's like 30kgs lighter but shh), and he's got pretty good lately. More to the point, we both caught the techniques tonight, and this will be my focus (i say that far too much) after Brighton.

Infact, i'm going to set myself some learning goals. More on this at the weekend.

After we covered the truck, Lee introduced many of us to the wonder that is the Twister submission. Banned in most BJJ tournaments because of it's legendary status as a dangerous hold, the Twister is, for those of you that don't know, a lock that focuses primarily on the spine and forces a tapout horrendously quickly.

Lee showed us this from the truck to the back control, which i feel is a beautiful transition, and the fact i was looking for this setup in sparring is a testament to it's effective status as an easy-to-use hold, once you've found you're groove with it.

Lee's wisdom tonight shone through at the start of the class where he shared a teaching he'd learned with regards to BJJ; that there is a number for every technique you do.

This number relates to how many repetitions are necessary before you fully are able to implement the technique well, without worrying too much about how you pull it off. In competition you simply haven't got time to fret about whether the foot is in exactly the right spot in the lockdown.

A learning model relates to this well, which i will post something on after this.

Sparring was interesting, i'm tending to play bottom game a little more lately and while it's not neglecting my top game, sometimes i really miss it and want to play it far more often.

Oh well. I'm 17. Time is on my side.

17/07/08 - Tim Lodge X Steve Wright (No-Gi)



okay guys, here's a roll from Steve Wright and Tim Lodge. Tim's one of the newest members of the club and really puts his heart into everything he does, it's pretty inspirational to watch. Keep in mind though, it's no black-belt level superfight, but enjoyable to watch anyway.

The soundtrack is The Prodigy vs Enya, "Orinoco Bitch". Quite an interesting track.

17/07/08 - Brighton Competition

I'll be there. Registration's now over, but i'll be competing in the Super Super Heavyweight White Belt Adult division.

If any of the guys that read this wanna say hey, i'll be the guy with my name on my tshirt. Not hard to spot :).

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

15/07/08 - New Tshirt!


I hate advertising on blogs like this, and this isn't your traditional advertising. Whenever i discover a hidden gem, I'm gonna let you guys know about it.

It's always nice to get some new clothing to check out, particularly just before a competition so you can wear it there and feel like you're a real BJJ player. Competition's just wouldn't be the same without the sea of Affliction and Xtreme Couture tshirts flooding the halls.

However, rather than any of those big-names, i'm trying to keep as British as possible, which led me to order from a new startup company; Respect Fight Wear.

Not only is the design on this good, but the quality of the tshirt is high and if you choose so, it comes personalised with your name, which is always going to be a bonus if you want to be recognised out and about.

The design itself is high quality, and it stands out without being obnoxious. I'm not a big fan of "loud" tshirts, ones that you'd be scared to wear on a Friday night for fear of being arrested for causing a public disturbance. This is why this design is pretty much ideal for me, and i'm sure plenty of you out there feel the same.

The cost is £20, which for a personalised tshirt is sodding good value.

Last time i got any personalised tshirts from a different company, it cost me nearly £15 for a one sided, shoddy-quality print. I know where to come in future.

The company is so fresh that the official website for the clothing line doesn't have much on it at the moment, but they have sufficient contact details and links to their "mother company", Raw Designs, to see you through an order process. Remember to say where you heard about it!

www.respectfightwear.com - The fight wear brand
www.raw-designs.com - General garment printing (good martial arts coverage too)

All of the above will help you on your way..

Thanks to all the guys at the company for sorting me out, it's good stuff. I also ordered a hoody that i'll save to review another time.

Until Thursday,

Train hard, kids!

Monday, 14 July 2008

14/07/08 - BJJ Class


Tonight's class seemed longer than it was to me because of a heavy day yesterday and a lack of sleep last night, but i think i can safely say one thing.

I'm improving.

I did feel a lot of improvement tonight, particularly with my positioning. Who knows, i could get real good soon. Let's hope.

Tonight's class started with Lee covering a technique for us to ponder, one that a lot of us were already familiar with but had'nt had the chance to put into practice. I remember covering this technique a couple of times before, and with the amount i've read "Jiu Jitsu Unleashed", i should know exactly what this technique is.

It was the twister-roll from "twister side control" (Or reverse-kesa gatame for those of you that don't follow Eddie Bravo's naming conventions), but finishing in the "truck" position i believe, and finishing with a calf crank.

Not the world's most competition-safe technique, but i like it and it's a good addition for when us lowly white belts get the promotion to the leglock world that is the blue belt.

The only issue i had was of where to put my elbow, whether to keep it close to the body and push the arm away, or close to the head. After asking Lee it became obvious that keeping the elbow closer to the body and pushing the defensive option of the arm away was the technique of choice.

Tonight's class was pretty physical too, with only one technique being shown and the rest being specific training and sparring.

First came the pass-the-guard drill, which you're all familiar with. Didn't fare too well tonight in this, but did manage to get some good passes in which i'm pleased about. I'm trying to be a little more relaxed off my back, as i think it does give me a slight advantage when i'm not stiffening up like a corpse and holding on for dear life (how much of an oxymoron is that?!?).

Secondly was just some top-down sparring, with the class being split into the competition team for Brighton and those that weren't competing. I sparred with Adam, because we're the closest to each other's weights in the gym and as such it's the best competition training possible. He caught me with a pretty nice takedown but i was impressed with how quickly i regained guard.

After this sparring everyone seemed pretty knackered, particularly a couple of people who had picked up knocks and tweaks, but i'm sure everyone will be okay for the weekend.

All in all, a good session, well worth it.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

13/07/08 - Bristol Open Competition

Just a short review to fill a space today, i'll edit this with a full report tomorrow. Was a tough day and i'm very tired so yeah, not too much in the way of literary goodness coming out of me.

Both myself and Steve Boughey from the club lost our first round fights on points, both were (i'd like to think) pretty close fights, and could have easily gone either way. Luck wasn't shining on us today, but there's always next weekend at Brighton.

I was forced to play half-guard, which my opponent wasn't able to pass which i was happy about, and i was suprised the fight wasn't stood up or someone penalised, but that's what happens i suppose.

Steve's fight was very entertaining, and he gained mount after a sweep in the dying seconds which unfourtunatley wasn't scored so victory was snatched away from him. No hard feelings though, that's the game!

Cheers for the messages of support guys, hope to see you all at Brighton next week.

Luke.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

10/07/08 - No Gi Class


Tonight's class was hosted by Paul, because Lee was otherwise engaged. Good session all the same, Paul's a great purple belt teacher with some great techniques and a good coaching style.

Since tonight was Nogi, we continued on with the same NoGi techniques we'd been covering for the past few weeks off the overhook and underhook from standing, with the uchi-mata to ankle pick setup. I really like this, it's effective and i can see it being a good competition technique. For those of you that haven't seen it, it's done off the underhook after pummeling,

It's effective, i always wonder whether or not, in some cases, the ankle pick is necessary. Obviously it's not because of the whole uchi-mata thing, it works in isolation, but it does work better with the pick.

Then the same setup we've been covering for a while, the overhook-underhook to high-crutch single leg, drilled it the same as before. I noticed my technique was a little worse tonight, but that could have been to a number of reasonss, not too concerned.

Tonight's focus was though, invariably, side control. Paul had us drill from both top and bottom, killing the arm and switching from knee-on-belly and side control, and from the bottom, escaping. This is exactly what the doctor ordered before competition, and i think everyone benefits from this kind of training. Repetition of simple things like hip shrimps are never going to win awards for looking as sexy as a flying armbar, but hell, they're more useful.

It's function over sexyness i'm afraid. You try telling that to the women though!

Sparred a little with Dan tonight, and for a big, relatively new lad he's got some good movement. Good scrambling in particular.

Didn't do too much of that though, my focus was on defending the shot and keeping relaxed. That's what i need to do on Sunday, too. Tom suggested, quite rightly, that i should just keep relaxed and not worry about the day. It's normal to be nervous the first time around, so i've got nothing to worry about really.

I've done a little public speaking in the past as i've mentioned before, (the perfect guy essex - google this for a picture of me when i was 23st!) so i'm sort of used to the concept of competition, although it's obviously an entirely different ball game.

Also, best wishes to our club's two injured members at the moment, Tim Lodge and Steve Wright, both of whom suffering from some knocks they've picked up in recent times. Get well soon lads.

Off to Bristol on Sunday and i can't wait. Feel free to text me if you've got my number or leave me an email at Lukewykes AT googlemail DOT com if you really wanna wish me luck.

I probably won't be training tomorrow night, but there WILL be a post on here tomorrow so check back - got some things to review.

Until then,

Train hard, kids!

Monday, 7 July 2008

07/07/08 - BJJ Class


Guys,

No Muay Thai tonight; I've knocked that on the head until after Bristol, i want to be the best i can be, not tired like i normally am at weekends. As such i'm taking it easy this week.

Tonight's class was just what the doctor ordered in terms of basics and more advanced stuff.

Firstly, Lee showed the same hip-switch to kill the arm from side control for the benefit of the new guys at the class, then, passing to the mount when the guy is defending with his knee up.

These were straightforward, don't need to be described in my opinion.

Next, Lee showed a choke that i'd previously seen in Saulo Ribeiro's Jiu Jitsu Revolution tapes, the collar choke from side control with one hand underneath the head and one on the collar. Sounds strange, but this worked great and after competition i'll be experimenting with this in my gameplan. You can also catch it from North South, which Lee showed us, and it worked, although personally prefer the side control option.

Class then went back to standing, and we played around for grips a little. I've really found i'm a pretty good grip player since watching the Jimmy Pedro DVD, but this still needs a little more active, specific training to be 100% in my opinion. It's coming along though.

It's always interesting to gain the grips whilst at the same time defend your own. The analogy of having your cake and eating it too immediatley leaps to mind, but obviously in a more metaphorical sense.

Then rather than some specific gripwork, working for the takedown, which i'm not excellent at but it will get there in time.

You guys will be pleased to hear that tonight i did fairly well at the guard passing drill, which followed the standup, filling me with an enormous amount of glee for some reason. I did fairly well on my back tonight, staying out on the mat for some time, although admittedly i was against newer guys. I feel my guard has become stronger lately, mainly thanks to some great competition within the club.

Everyone's gotten a tonne better lately, ranging from the lowly whitebelts to the more experienced guys there, steel truly is sharpening steel.

In sparring, I just rolled a little fairly lightly, getting a feel for top and bottom guard some more, they're highly likely to present themselves in competition so it's best to work that.

Anyway, coming tomorrow will be a HUGE~! write up of Sunday's session, don't miss it!

PS.

Sorry for the lack of video updates. As i'm sure you'll understand, training has been tough lately and i haven't had much chance to get the camera going. I'll bring you something special soon, i promise. Until then, you'll have to make do with some pictures of me to keep you going.

L.

Friday, 4 July 2008

04/07/06 - BJJ Class


So the final class of the week ended up being a pretty small number of us, doing exactly what it was that i was looking forward to doing.

Tonight, the class started with drilling techniques of our choice, with my focus being on gaining the rubber guard and some half guard techniques; both of which i did well. I opted to have two areas of focus rather than one on the basis that one gets quickly repetitive, and although it does help your mind learn, it also helps to mix things up a little to keep your head in the game, or so i've found.

After the drilling came one of Lee's new chokes, and I'll admit i didn't quite get it. In theory, the move worked great, but in practice i just couldn't get into the flow of it. I'm not sure if i was the only one, but this certainly needed some work, which can be done after competition season.

It was done off the butterfly guard, and i think the choke has officially been named the "Stoner #3", although there were other nominations in class. Check it out, i'm sure he'll show it in class again sometime soon.

After this, some damned good rolling; some light stuff and some heavier, and i feel that although sometimes i don't perform as well as i should, i'm learning and thinking more activley lately than i have in months, and this can only be an inordinatley good thing.

I'm also learning that it's easier to move myself than to move the opponent, and i now realise that for about a year i've been exacerbating the problem by not following this ostensibly simple principle.

i think i did quite well. I enjoy rolling with Lee particularly, he encourages me to think about what i'm doing, which is a bonus that i sometimes don't push myself to do, and it's something i desperatley need to think about doing.

The blessing and curse of jiu jitsu is the diverse, multifarious range of ways in which we can become more rounded, there's never a simple motorway; it's all off-road stuff, and that's something that is to be savoured, not looked at as a hindrance.

Anyway, good session, all around, some top training.

There's a small session coming up on Sunday i believe, so i'll talk to you then.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

03/07/08 - No Gi Class


Didn't feel so good earlier today, had a stomach upset, so wasn't entirely sure whether tonight was a good idea to be honest with you guys. Infact, at College today, i felt DIRE. Cleared up by about 6pm though, so i thought why not, as long as i take it easy..

The class shifted focus from the x-guard we've been working on tonight into a more basic focus, which was a good thing for a lot of the newcomers there.

The x-guard is a pretty intense position especially if it's your first time and you're wondering exactly what foot goes where.. we've all been there.

Anyway, the class starts tonight with some amazingly effective pummel-to-takedown and underhook-to-takedown drills, both working off the same principle (the uchi-mata fake and then finishing with an ankle pick.. ).

I found this pretty easy to pull off, and these takedowns are now my focus for the one week before competition; who knows, i could learn something that i'd otherwise be doing wrong.

Stopped for a drink and then back on the ground, where tonight Lee explained the basics of the hip-switch from side control; "killing the arm" to gain a better control position.

BASIC Jiu Jitsu 101. This is perfect; tried and tested techniques and the opportunity to drill them more and more. Hip switching is vital, especially in competition, you don't want guys turning into you.

More to the point, advanced basics is all you need. Watch Roger Gracie in competition.. you see him pulling off fancy stuff? Not often, advanced basics is what works; BJ Penn is another piece of living, breathing, ass-kicking proof. You don't need fancy Rubber Guard or 50/50 Guard stuff if you're new.. relax and enjoy the ride.

This was good, and i did learn to keep a better grip on the opponent elbow, something i'm lazy with. Good point here.

Remember the head and arm choke? Something i barely ever go for and to be honest, it had sort of slipped off my radar lately. Thank the lord that Lee showed this again to us tonight, and i've still got the technique pretty much off pat. It's a good thing to use, but i always have the problem of not gripping hard enough or dipping my shoulder into the choke enough, so sometimes i feel the choke is on tight, sometimes i feel like i'm clinging onto it even though there's nothing there.

I'll drill this more with my new drill plan sheets..

Some light sparring, i went almost exclusivley with the new guys tonight, and let me tell you, the standard is higher than expected. A couple of the guys, it was their first time doing anything like this, and their showing was far better than anything i would have done on my first time. I'm only a lowly whitebelt, but colour me impressed with what was on offer tonight.

Then, to finish the class, the guard passing drill; my Guard is getting a LOT better. The Rubber Guard continues to be an interest of mine, and while i should be drilling my basics i find it a lot easier to get certain submissions from a high control position. Why is this? I'm not sure. Crazy world of BJJ.

And thank the lord, i felt alright at the end of the night.

Anyway, that's all from me tonight. I'm sure you guys are wondering what happened to the last Muay Thai session entry, it's not forgotten... just as of now, i've got some work to do and as much as i love training, Education is important too.

03/07/08 - Muay Thai Class


Was VERY busy tonight, but busy is how i like it. The club's growing, and that can only mean good things.

The class started with some shadowboxing that really brought me to a sweat tonight, could be the heat or could be that i was moving a little more than normal.

Tonight's focus was undoubtedly on kicks. Hooray.. my favourite aspect. Something i've been wanting to work on for a while.

Kick-For-Kick training is interesting, there's a fine line between just doing the technique and a little bit of conditioning. I quite like the conditioning aspect, although i bruise easily it makes me know that i've done something, and that's the sort of feeling i really enjoy.

My lowkicks are much better after Jez's input on Monday, where he was talking to me about stepping into the kick, rather than simply throwing it from your regular stance. I already feel more powerful and my kicks feel more fluid, so thanks for that.

Then, to really work up a sweat, Paul had us defend punches and kicks with punches and kicks; for example, countering a jab with a right straight, or a lowkick with a block then another lowkick. I didn't quite get into the ryhtym of this, but i'm sure with time this won't be an issue.

To finish the class, some Clinchwork, which wasn't as intense as it has been, but was mainly focused on good technique; my emphasis was on not letting my opponent bring my head down, and if he did, to counter this as soon as humanly possible. I feel i did this well, and my re-gaining of the plum grip is getting far greater.

We warmed down as normal with some stretching, and although i'm getting more flexible, i still look to Paul and a few of the others and wonder exactly how some of those things are possible. I've tried some of Kesting's "Yoga For Martial Arts" DVD, i need to get on that more often.

So we warmed down, shook hands, and then it's time for the No-Gi...