Saturday, 30 August 2008

30/08/08 - SEMINAR: Nick Brooks

Okay, let me just start off by saying that this seminar blew me away.

Nick is one of the best teacher's i've ever had the pleasure to learn from, either on the mat or via instructional. Although a brown belt this guy has got a phenomenal amount to offer, and is one of the UK's most successful BJJ competitors.

Starting at 3pm, the session started with some light warming up and straight into some fresh techniques from Nick; starting with the reverse De La Riva guard.

The Reverse DLR is something that, to my knowledge, we haven't done much on; so it was really refreshing to learn something that i'd never even seen.

Starting in this main position, we learned numerous sweeps, with Nick's main focus on showing us moves for almost every situation; depending on his posture, movement, etc. There were a good 6 or 7 sweeps; many similar but with subtle nuances that could seriously change the way i look at the open guard.

Then Nick turned his attention to the "regular" opn guard, where we learned a few new entries into the omoplata, after opening and placing your foot on the bicep (but not in a spider-guard fashion; more on this if i get pictures), giving way to a number of triangles as well as sweeps.

Sparring was intense, and i rolled with 2 or 3 people if memory serves me correctly; Nick being one of them. Even though we were all pretty tired at this stage (we'd already over-run the 2 hours the seminar was expected to last for), the sparring was top quality.

Nick put me on my back early on and from there i stood little chance; realistically speaking, there was little i could do, but hold on and at least attempt to do my best impression of surviving. The guy's a monster.

Overall, an enjoyable day; topped off with some brilliant sparring, that's left me pretty damn tired, it must be said.

Pictures will be up when i get them.

Monday, 18 August 2008

18/08/08 - BJJ Class

My first BJJ class in a week and by god i felt the lack of training creep up on me with all the subtle, cat like movements of a runaway freight train.

Got to the gym at about 7pm, enough time to stretch out (which i've been doing more of in my absence from the class) and get ready for the BJJ class at 7.30.

Getting back into the swing of things felt good, and we started with a simple drill; breaking your opponents posture while he's sitting in your closed guard. This is a vital part of any guard system, and sadly something that a lot of beginners forget, myself included. I'd quite like to drill this with more active resistance, which i think would help to integrate this into my gameplan.

After this, utilising the Gi, Lee showed the class a technique where, by wrapping the gi around an arm, you can secure a grip which maintains a level of control on the arm for long enough for you to grab an armbar. Failing this, Lee showed us the next technique in the series where you can take the same Gi-grip and if the armbar fails, use this as a gogoplata-like choke which can then in turn be used as a setup for other things, if failed.

This seemed like a very nice little setup and i'm VERY impressed with it. The techniques in class seem to be making more sense to me lately in the wider scheme of things, and for that i'm eternally thankful. Understanding moves is nine-tenths of the game itself.

A little light sparring followed these techniques, with myself and the returning Tim being paired up for a little guard-passing work. Tim's getting much better, and i feel like my guard is getting more effective; i'm no longer just going for double-wrist grips and using the lay and pray strategy, i'm actually trying to set things up. The omoplata has become my best friend, that move is just SO versatile.

At the end of the class Lee spoke to us on the concept of injury; something close to my heart after my thumb was in agony all week. Alright, not the worst injury ever.. shh.

It's true; injuries suck. And the more you put 100% of your strength into every training session the more you'll have. This isn't the finals of the mundials or the ADCC, just tap for crying out loud.

Anyway, after the class i paired up with Jez for some tougher sparring. I'm noticing that he's putting me on my back easily off of the kneeling position; but given that this isn't a natural position that occurs in a fight, this isn't an issue to me. He's developed a pretty solid smashing top game which isn't pleasant to be under, believe me.

I think that's enough said for tonight. Again, sorry for the lack of updates but there you go, that's what happens when you're stuck in the world of technology; "sh*t happens". :).

18/08/08 - Lack Of Updates

Guys, many apologies for the lack of regular updates.

Between some personal issues keeping me from updating the website (not to mention tech issues) and having a slight injury, i havent been training or posting on here much.

That will all change as of tonight, you have my word.

If not, come and give me a hiding.



Wednesday, 13 August 2008

13/08/08 - New Team Member?

Congratulations today are in order for Team Ryu BJJ coach Lee Catling and his wife Sonia who today safely delivered their baby girl Lana into the world.

Congrats guys and take care.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

07/08/08 - Nogi Class

Tonight was an exceedingly good night, other than me getting bullied at the end!

The jam-packed session started tonight with around 18 people training which is very good for our club.

Lee started things by introducing, particularly for the newcomers, the concept of holding somebody down when in top guard; following their hip movements, and keeping pressure on their hips or chest to stop them rising up.

After drilling this, we took things to the bottom.

Tonight's technique of focus changed, no longer is the focus on the twister but it is now on a simple arm-crush setup from the closed guard. A little like a good setup for an omoplata, it starts from head and underhook control in closed guard, then passing around their head with your arms; this giving you the leverage to bring your legs into play since his head, thus his bodyweight, is out of the way.

It's a good technique, with a solid foundation and i caught it once or twice in sparring.

Lee then showed a way to take this technique to the next level; if the guy defended this by blocking your hips, Lee showed a way to catch the belly-down armbar and also the Gogoplata, which is the technique i focused more on.

Discussing this with Steve "Dodgy Toe" Wright outside, we both agreed that the Gogoplata feels sort of natural; almost like the neck was MEANT to fit at that particular crook of the foot.

After these techniques it was time for the pass guard drill, an old favourite of mine. I was paired with Tom, one of the best (if not THE best) Blue belts at the club, and a new guy who's name i didn't catch, sorry dude.

I noticed my passing game looked pretty decent tonight, but i still need to work on defending the guard. To remedy this, i'll pull guard more often in training and watch the Demian Maia instructional on it, which i've heard wonders about.

Now to my personal gripe with this session. After the main class had finished, during "open training", Lee showed one of the new guys how to break a guy's grip when going for an armbar from the top; at this stage, both the new guy and Lee had got an arm. Then, whilst defenceless, both of my legs were grabbed by unruly members of the class who proceeded to encourage a fifth party to tickle me. Shocking behaviour, no doubt brought about by the ringleader, Steve Wright. Shame on you.

All in all, great session tonight, some good techniques, some good sparring, what more could you ask for?