Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Typical Training Day For The Gympie Grappler

Thought I'd do something a little different for this blog. This is how a typical open mat training day goes down for me.
I get my gear together, kiss the wife and kids and jump in the car.
Next I pick up my hombre Steve, who comes down for the drive just to keep me company.(what a good mate)
We put on some tunes or listen to a podcast while we roll down to Caloundra which takes an hour.

We roll in to the gym and I say yo to all my homies. I do a quick warm up, then go straight in to rolling.
I like to try all my new techniques out where I can. We help each other out with a few questions on positions we might be having trouble with. Coach might even show us a new technique to help us out. Which today was an escape from the Kimura when you are in halfguard bottom. We roll some more then hang out for a little bit. Then I high 5 all my homies then hit the road back to Gympie. We usually grab some food on the way home. Yes It's usually junk.


So that's how a typical open mat day goes down. Regular class is a bit different, there is a much more intense warm up. Then we are shown a new technique which adds to a series of moves that we have been working on. We then drill that move and then link it with the series. Then we'll finish off with rolling.

Happy New Years!!!

C u on the mat,

Rollin out of 10 and in to 11

Cruised down to training yesterday for my last roll for 2010. Was a good open mat training session, had some good rolls and got some new stuff to work on. One of my training partners destroyed me. He's been on a tear lately. Training down the house and smashing peeps on the mat. It's so cool that he's picked up his intensity towards training. It really helps my game improve.
By him kicking up a gear and really dominating it's forcing me to look at what's going on a bit closer and work out a new strategy then try it out. Once i've figured out a way to slow him down a bit so he can't smash me so bad, I'm sure in return he will adjust his game and so on. It really speeds up the evolution of both our games. So when I'm getting smashed I'm also getting excited. 
Like today while he was on mount or sidecontrol and I was defending myself for about 5mins, all I was thinking about was how am I going to stop this dude from passing my guard in the first place.... then bam! caught in a Kimura. Damn I love Jiu-Jitsu.

I always find that as the year approaches it's end I start having a good look at myself as an individual and what I've achieved over the last year. Usually I don't like what I see. The years after I did my knee the first time playing footy, I let myself get very lazy and let time slip away. But the last two years since I've started BJJ have been awesome. I've achieved a lot on and off the mat. And my potential to achieve so much more inspires me to try harder to achieve more things and at a higher standard next year.
I'm going to compete at least 2-3 times next year. I have to get my weight down, increase my flexibility, increase my squeeze power and of course get my competition game technically and mentally tight. My game has lots of holes in it at the moment and I'm going to work real hard next year on getting it air tight. I'm going to set my self some bjj goals for next year.

I'm going to work on my takedowns at least once a week, compete in tournaments at least twice during the year at under 99kg. I'm going to do Yoga everyday, eat healthily and increase my functional strength.

Nothing to full on there but my weight is currently around the 110kg mark and the first comp could be in March some time. So I've got to drop 11kg in about 2-3 months. So after the New Years celebration I'm going to start getting the weight off. I'll let you guys know how I'm going with it and what I'm going to do to get it off and keep it off.

 Last 'Day Class' before Xmas

So thank you to all my Family, Friends and Team mates for helping me have such a great year and I'm super pumped for a massive 2011.
Stay Safe and Happy New Years!!
C u on the mat,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Gradings For 2010

Last night was the last grading night for 2010. I really enjoy gradings nights, everyone rolls with a bit more intensity and it is a real test of fortitude for the team members going for belts and stripes. At our gym grading night consists of having some warm up rolls at the start of class, some of which are real battles, then we line up in belt rankings and our coach tells us which team mates are to step out to the middle of the mat.

It's a total surprise to the person and they better be warm because they are about to get put through the wringer.

Last night we had a 4 stripe white belt and 2 blue belts get called in. Before they started our coach told them that no one was going for a new belt but it was a night for them to feel what it will be like when they do go for there next belt.
So coach matches them up with lower ranked guys first and then works up to them rolling with the more senior dudes over about 8-10 rounds last night was not quite as many rounds I don't think.
I got the privilege to roll with one of our most senior blue belts. I believe he would have got his purple belt a while ago but circumstances has meant he hasn't yet. Our coach gave me the green light to really make him work.

So I went at him like he had stole my last donut. Really trying to push the pace and make him feel my weight. He's an excellent guard player and towards the end of the roll we had a leg lock battle and I've got little to no game in that department so I'm glad I walked away with all my ligaments still attached.
I then got to roll with the 4 striper for his last roll. He has really gotten good in the last month or so, and I reckon he'll be up for his blue real soon. He swept me straight up and got real close to a pass but I scrambled back on top and got a kimura. The kimura come on real quick and I think I hurt his arm. I felt real bad but he gritted his teeth and wanted to keep going. I ended up taking his back and worked for a collar choke until time went. He's getting real good and is an excellent training partner. He really deserves some big ups for his hard work this year.
It was one of the most fun grading nights I've been to. A lot of dudes got stripes on there belts, including a blue belt getting his first purple stripe. Lots of peeps will be stepping up for new belts next year. It's an exiting time on the mat.
C u on the mat,

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finding Inspiration

Training is going good(when i can get there), working on stuff from closed guard. Coach has shown me a couple of closed guard techniques that have really increased my options in that position. I'm loving the set up that he showed me for the armbar. It's all about keeping tight, keeping my opponents posture broken down, keeping my hips free and waiting for the right momentum to go for the sub, the sweep, take the back or if I stuff it up keep closed guard. I've found that if I use my entire body efficiently I can bring my opponent tight to me and work for the sub. Remembering to use my legs, my core and my arms all together is the key for me to pull it off.

It's amazing where we can find inspiration. During the week I had the absolute pleasure to have dinner with one of my mother in-laws family friends visiting from England. He's here to watch the Ashes cricket series. He was an officer in the Royal Navy and was Knighted for his service. The way he carries himself is quiet inspiring. He truly is an English gentlemen and in this day and age we very rarely get to meet such men. I had the pleasure of reading some of his family history. He had transcribed out the history of his Australian relatives. The story tells of how his relatives were sent over to Australia on the early fleets. Reminded me of how lucky we are to live in this day and age. It was extremely well written and made my blogging efforts look like a 2 year old had posted them.
Although in his late 80's he has a terrific memory and a very impressive general knowledge on most things. We also spoke about family and friends. He kept saying how lucky I am and how I must be very pleased with my life. Sometimes it takes someone else to point it out, or you don't acknowledge what is great in your life. I am truly blessed to have the family, friends and team mates that I have. The advise he gave me was pure gold. I really hope I get to speak with him again one day soon.

Keeping inspired or motivated is an on going battle for me but not when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu. I would train everyday of the week if I could but it's not possible for me right now. Why do I have so much motivation to roll but at times I have trouble getting myself out of bed to go to work. I easily slip in to chill/procrastination mode at home and at work and achieve bugger all for extended periods of time.
Passion is what gets me to training, even though it's a 2 hour round trip on a dodgy stretch of highway and takes me away from my family I love for 2-3 nights a week. Even when I talk to someone about Jits the passion starts flowing out of me and I get pumped up. I also think it has to do with the fact that I'm not good at Jits. I really have to focus when I'm on the mat or I'll get my arse handed to me. That feeling of having to strive harder to achieve the level I want to be at, also motivates me to keep at it. I have to find that passion and feeling of wanting to be better in the other areas of my life and apply it.

My son was so pumped when he saw this rainbow. not as much as that double rainbow guy on YouTube though

Please check out my mates blog at
He's a top bloke and a wizard on the mat.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Connecting The Dots

I always try to to use the technique we are shown at the start of class during sparing at the end of class. I find that if I go for those new moves and especially if I pull the move off with some success, it's then in my bag of tricks for ever. Sometimes it leads to me getting tapped or being put in to shit spots but I really believe this helps to progress faster. The techniques our coach showed us my last training session slotted straight in to my tight game from side control. This is no fluke either, due to my coach not just teaching us random techniques. Every move we are taught connects to a series of moves we have been shown before. Having coaching like this also helps to progress faster. I stunted my growth at the start of my training by trying to collect too many techniques from everywhere. You tube, dvd instrutionals and even magazines. I was collecting a massive amount of info. This only confused me more and made me think too much while I was rolling. I've spoken about this in a previous post, thinking while you roll leads to death.

I also pulled off the very elusive triangle from closed guard last night while sparring and the feeling of getting it was very gratifying. I even went from triangle to omoplata back to triangle to finish. The triangle is elusive to me for a few reasons. One is I have short and large legs with low flexibility. The other is that I've never really drilled it in class.

One part of my game that I feel is lacking is my submissions from the closed guard. The game I play with the different guards I use, all revolve around sweeps. The only sub I pull with any real success is the Kimura from closed guard and half guard. The half guard kimura usually leads to a sweep then a pass. I do throw up the ocasional triangle, omoplata or armbar from closed guard but I would say they are very low percentage for me and if I really try to get it I often get my guard passed. 

I've studied tons of high level nogi grappling tournaments and by far the 3 most common submissions are the RNC, Triangle, and Armbar. Now I've been thinking a lot about this, and I would be crazy not to use this information and try to make my self a better grappler. I have been working on taking the back and getting the rear naked a lot. And I also work on my armbars from the doninate top positions. But I need to focus on my submissions from the guard a lot more.

I've always blamed my low flexibility and fat legs for my shit triangles and armbars but I think it is more poor technique. Not enough drilling the triangle and the options off the triangle and not enough working on my flexibility is the problem. To rectify this I'm going to focus on my flexibility and really start throwing up Triangles when I'm free rolling. I find if I really focus on getting the triangle I can normally get the position. But finishing it off is a whole other story. I'm missing a couple of things. One i think is keeping there posture broken down. The other is getting the right angle and distance. And the last is hooking the leg if they try to stand up. The Triangle is such a great move and is available from lots of different set ups. I think it's the submission i'm going to focus on over the next few months.

I've also been using one of the techniques from the Perosh seminar when I'm turtled and the top player goes for the under over control from the side. I clamp the far arm with my armpit then roll in to them pulling them over the top of me and me ending up in side control. I've also been getting a move when someone is just about to pass but I go to my knees then roll out to replace them in my guard. Lovein' that one.

C u on the mat,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anthony Perosh BJJ Seminar

I arrived at the gym a little bit early and had a quick no-gi warm up roll. Which sure warmed us up, it was a hot day as it was. Add the fact that the fight night was the night before and we had celebrated the teams performance well in to the night. I was feeling the heat.
There was a decent roll up of about 20. This is actually the second seminar I've done with Mr Perosh, he is a 2nd Degree Black Belt under Carlos Machado. He is also 10 x Australian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion, 3 x Bronze medalist at the Worlds and a UFC veteran fighting big names in the sport like CroCop and Jeff Monson. So it goes with out saying that when he walks on to the mat the dude has some serious room presence.
The bulk of the seminar was on attacking the turtle position and then defending from that position. We also went over some half guard stuff. There was quiet a few techniques that he showed that I really liked and can add to my game almost immediately. We did some competition style training isolating the turtle position. It was a great way to put the new techniques to the test and add them to my game. I was going to go in to detail of the moves that Mr Perosh taught us but like I've said before describing bjj techniques in words is very difficult.
He spoke about the importance of Gi training, keeping notes and using a flow chart of options from all the different positions. He said that his students fighting mma are not allowed to fight unless they do at least 2 advanced BJJ classes a week in the Gi. He believes that it is very important to train each area of mma individually.
When he spoke about keeping notes and having a flow chart game plan I was extremely interested. I've always taken notes ever since i started. At first they were just a list of all the techniques i was learning and it wasn't really helping me out to much. When i started to use it as more of a journal on my rolls and what i was pulling off in training and what i was getting caught with and why, it became much more useful. It helped me to figure out what i was getting better at and what I needed to work on.
I also have a flow chart of the moves I use in all the different positions. I try to have at least 2 no more than 5 options from every position. My flow chart is still under work and changes all the time. I'm still trying to build a good foundation in all the different positions and I often try something for a while then try something else from that same spot. It takes a lot of mat time to develop a solid game in all the areas but It is defiantly great advise to start trying to build one early in your jits journey. A shitty plan is still better than no plan at all, as they say.

So I got a lot out of the seminar and at $50 it was an absolute bargain. Anthony Perosh is a world class instructor and I feel privileged to have had that access to his wealth of BJJ knowledge. I really look forward to the next time he's up this way.

C u on the mat,


Monday, November 8, 2010

The Best Seat In The House

So the boys fight night was last Friday night, and it went off!! I travelled down early in the arvo before the fight night to show my team mates support and help out if I could. The venue was awesome. The Events centre in Caloundra is the perfect set up for a fight show. The teared seating had a mad view in to the cage and the place had big screens every where with a live feed of the fights so you wouldn't miss any of the action.
I went down to the changing rooms and a couple of my mates arrived not long after. They were both so chill it was ridiculous. I hung out for a bit, then one of our clubs lead cornermen asked if I could stay in the dressing sheds and help the boys warm up before there fights. Hell yeah! But by the time I ducked back to get some shorts and a training shirt the dressing shed was chokas. With 6 of our guys 2-3 of our cornermen and then all the other fighters and crew fighting out of the same corner as us in the same room. It was a bit full. So I looked for another job.
I was asked to open and close the cage door. Hell yeah! So my job was to let the fighters and officials in to the cage and hand the super hot ring girls the round number cards. Sweet deal. It was with out a doubt the best seat in the house.
One of my boys getting the W, I'm fist pumping in the background.
 The team all performed outstanding going 4wins 1draw 1loss. The atmosphere in the place was amazing especially when one of the local boys fought. At one stage I had one of my mates ground and pounding his opponent about 10cm in front of my face. I noticed his opponent was working for a submission so i was telling my mate to posture up and push his hips in, but the ref told me to shut up. Opps... i guess the door opener dude can't give advise. But my team mate didn't need any advise from me. He slammed his way out of a few triangle attempts and escaped a deep armbar to ground and pound his opponent to victory. It was one of the fights of the night. All the fights on the card were entertaining, but when our coach Ryan Dunstan got in the cage the place was going ballistic. He dominated his oponent standing, even getting of a huge flying knee, and the moment the fight hit the floor it was a wrap son!! He got the ref stoppage early in the first via more nasty G n P!!!

Now that's entertainment!
The after party was epic, it went for two days. I had some great yarns with my head coach, had some huge laughs with my mates especially the mate who's place I crashed at and I met a super cool cat from the brizy gym that is as crazy about the sport as I am. Also on the Saturday we had a BJJ seminar with UFC veteran and 2nd degree black belt Anthony Perosh at our gym. It was excellent. I'll post up a bit of a review later this week.

C u on the mat,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Leverage & Feel Concept

I think one of the most important concepts in BJJ is Rickson Gracies ideas on leverage and feel. I still don’t have a good grasp on this theory. Hopefully I'll gain some insight when I attend Ricksons seminar early next year.
When I roll I try to keep leverage in mind rather than brute force and strength. I'm 110kg right now so I'm along way from a little dude but I try to play the roll of the smaller guy in training. I nearly always start on bottom when sparring. I worked out early on in my journey that battling on the knees is a bit redundant. So I play guard a lot, and try to use leverage to get a sweep or sub.
My knowledge of leverage is very small but if I keep it in my mind while I roll it helps me out a lot. I often gain an easy sweep by just thinking of the angle where my opponent has no post and simply pushing or pulling in that direction.
Every time that I can't make the technique work that I'm going for it is nearly always due to not having the leverage. I can try to muscle it and may be I'll get it but only because I was a bit stronger or bigger than the dude I'm applying it to. Which is really poor form, and will lead me to not doing well in comps when I'm up against dudes my size.

“Technical knowledge is not enough. One must transcend techniques so that the art becomes an artless art, growing out of the unconscious”
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Japanese Zen Buddhist Scholar

I also try to use feel and sensitivity to help my flowing game. I try to preempt my opponents’ movements by feeling what his body wants to do next, but sometimes my body goes to react and then my mind stops it. Which sounds stupid, but it really happens.
Either my mind tells my body that I'm too tired to move or it might even tell it to move a different direction then I was going in. I'm kind of second guessing my self.
Saulo Ribeiro has a saying
"If you think, you are late. If you are late, you use strength. If you use strength, you tire. And if you tire, you die!"
I think that nails what I'm doing; thinking too much. I strive to roll with no mind and only reaction.

I reckon mastering these concepts is the key to becoming truly fluent in jits.

C u on the mat,


P.S. Six of my team mates are fighting this Friday night in Caloundra. I'm so pumped up for it I think a little bit of pee just came out. They have all been training like animals in preparation. The sacrifice that they go through to be ready for there fight and even to just make weight is inspirational. One team mate is even taking a fight on 3days notice. They all deserve the glory of victory but they all already have my up most respect.
This is the fight card.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hot Pyjamas & Mad Rolls

Saturday open mat training was most excellent. Was a good group of dudes in. Slow rolled for a little bit then got in to it. Mostly no-gi but did a couple of rounds with the gi on and nearly died from over heating. My gi game is seriously lagging behind my no gi game. I find it a lot harder to play my game from the bottom, escapes are a bit more tricky. I think the gi really helps to tighten up your defences and be more efficient with leverage. It can also be very bloody frustrating. I get to certain spots that with out the gi on and I can keep flowing but with the gi on the game just slows right down and sometimes stalls out. Which to me is very boring.
I think the current gi i'm rocking isn't helping me out either. It's too big and very frickin' hot and heavy, especially after a couple of rounds in the middle of the day. I was cooking. So I'm going to grab a new gi when I can afford one. I'm thinking a vulkan ultra light or one of the new gamness airs. Only problem is that in the part of Australia that I live, it's almost impossible to get a decent gi, let alone try a few on to see how they fit and feel. So I have to get my stuff online. Which is a bit tricky working out sizes and going off reviews for how the gi performs.

Once I got the bloody wet doona off my back, I had some good rolls. The last roll I had with a fellow blue belt was the most fun I've had on the mat in ages. We flowed through stacks of transitions and kept moving all the time. I even pulled off a move I've called the Rex X Guard Pass to Darce. It involves passing the X guard by squaring off the hips then stepping over the head and switching the hips at the same time, then I dive straight in to the darce choke. Was so cool I had to try it again to make sure it was legit and it is.
Now I know that I haven't invented anything new here dudes, but I have never been shown or seen it done anywhere before, so in my mind I created it. I might even do a video of it if anyone wants to see what it looks like.
I also worked my takedowns a little bit. Worked on finishing the single leg and got some excellent tips from my coach on the stance for wrestling. I'm going to try and drill my takedowns at least once a week.
Did some work off the mat this week as well. Did two sessions under the house. Did 3sets of 12 reps of about 70kg(i think will have to check what is on the bar) with a close handed grip to mimic grappling. Then did about 10 mins of flowing around the ground bag. Working my knee rides, butterfly pass, sidecontrols and mount positions. Bit of a piss weak start but I'll expand on the routine this week.

C u on the mat,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back On The Mat

Back on the mat last night. Although I left early I had a blast. I thought after a bit over a week off I might be a bit rusty and run out of gas. But my timing was pretty good and I pulled off a few techniques I've been thinking about while I was off the mat. I'm really loving the flip over butterfly pass and skipping over once I've passed to the far side. Feels right for me and adds to my flowing game. I may even get some video on here sometime soon showing the techniques I'm working on at the moment.

The boys are training super hard for their up coming fights. I got to training just as they were starting some ground and pound practise. It was brutal. Blood was on the mat. I jumped in for the last round with one of my mates who is fighting soon. He's already had a couple of mma fights. His takedowns are real good and he has cardio for days.
Grappling changes a lot when someone can punch you in the face. My bottom game becomes a lot tighter. I really work on keeping my opponents posture broken down in closed guard. Last night I worked on setting up triangles and armbars from that position while trying not to leave my self open to be passed or pounded on. It's a great way to see how my jits is really going. The little bits of ground and pound work I've done I've really loved and I want to work on it a lot more.

Some Grappling Techniques Are Very Risky In The Cage
 We then went in to Jits. After a bit of a stretch we slow rolled for a while. Slow or flow rolling is a great way to link up techniques. I find it very helpful. Then we went into free rolling. Damn grappling is fun. I frickin' love pulling off a new move or technique. I also really enjoy helping a mate tighten up a bit of their game, if they ask. I think it can be a bit condescending if I just jump in and tell my team mate what I think he should do if he doesn't ask for the help. I used to tell dudes what to do mid roll, I thought I was being a good training partner. But I've since realised that it's a bit of douchey thing to do. I'm still a total noob and my team mates are not at the gym to be told what they are doing wrong by me. But if they want my help, I'm more than happy to help out where ever I can.
I'm going to start working on my jits a bit at home. I know I said in a previous post that there isn't much I can do to make my game better at home but I was wrong. There is lots of stuff I can do on my own to help me get better. I've got a decent set up under my house with mats heavy bags a bench and a tractor tyre. I'm going to work out a circuit to help my grappling. I'll post my program later this week.

The Gympie Ghetto Grappling Academy

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Small Cog In The Big Machine

Over the last few days I've been thinking a lot about the importants of being a member of a good gym. Not only do I get access to excellent facilities and coaches but just as important is the access I get to many different training partners.

Having good training partners is the only way to get better at Jits. There is some stuff you can do on your own to help you move better on the mat and increase cardio but to increase your skills and timing you need training partners.

Having varied team mates at different weights, sizes, attitudes and skill levels is a great advantage. Everyone I roll with has a little different approach to the game. This helps me learn to adapt to different situations. Whether they are real aggressive, super strong, a lot faster, more flexible, more technical or even the guys just starting out, they are all helping me get better and in turn I feel like I'm helping them.

Honestly sometimes I see certain people on the mat when I arrive at training that make me think "oh shit this is going to suck having to roll with this dude again. Last time he smashed me!". But I always catch myself doing it and make sure I get a roll in with that person. They are the ones that are going to make me better.

Now I'm sure some of my team mates feel the same way about me. I'm usually the heaviest on the mat and move well enough to keep the lower belts in a bit of trouble. I have actually had a team mate tell me he dreads seeing my car in the car park. It was a bit tongue in cheek, but I totally knew what he was saying.

My team mates and coachs also give me massive amounts of motivation. We have team mates getting ready for mma fights all the time at our gym and the craziness those guys put them selves through every training session is inspiring. Especially when it is going to be there mma debut. The guts these dudes show to cross that line and step in to the cage for the first time amazes me. It really makes me want to help out any way I can to help them achieve there goals.

I haven't been able to get to training for 7 days now since the baby was born.  Don't get me wrong there is no way I want to be away from my family at this time either. My beautiful family also give me so much inspiration but my testosterone is screaming at me for some competition and training.

I've done bugger all training on my own. I really need that team environment to get motivation to train. With out it I get lazy and slip in to chill mode real fast. I've watched some old instructionals and thought a lot about what I need to work on. But with out getting on the mat it does nothing for my game. I also feel like I'm letting my team mates down a bit too. Five of the team have fights coming up in under a month.

There is a special vibe in the gym when it gets close to a big fight night. Everyone is on the same page all focusing there energy on the dudes stepping up. There's a real purpose to everything that is done on the mat. Everyone puts in to help out. Individual egos seem to disappear and it becomes just one big machine. All the cogs doing there thing and propelling the war machine towards the frontline. There is something very powerful when a group of like minded motivated people all move together towards a common goal. I am more than happy being a small cog in the big machine. I really enjoy helping out where I can as a training partner. Also with my little bit of knowledge on the ground game and some words of confidence here and there.

The feeling the whole team gets when one of us has success is amazing!!
I am very grateful and appreciative of all my team mates and coachs at Advance SC and I truly do feel lucky to be a small cog in the war machine. Hanging out and training with a team of super cool killers really makes me a better person on and off the mat. I can't wait to get back on the mat and add my energy to the collective. And hopefully help the war machine keep turning!!

C u on the mat.
This is the fight night the boys are fighting on next. Will be a killer show!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sidecontrol Concepts

I don't know how many times I get a nice pass that I work so fricken' hard for then... bang! I'm back in the guard, half guard or swept. It's really disheartening to me and very bloody frustrating. So I've had to think about what I'm doing wrong, how my opponents are getting it back so easily and what I can do to keep the position for longer giving my self a chance to set something up. I'm a big fat pie eater but at times I can't even pin the smallest dudes in the gym.

Being under a solid top game is miserable, I'm nearly 40kg heavier than my coach but in sidecontrol the dude weighs a ton

After watching the higher belts at the gym, doing some research and some trail and error of my own. I've found a concept that really works for me. The main part of the concept comes directly from Matt Thorton from Straight Blast Gym.  I watched a DVD of his called "Iron Coffin Top Game".

1. Control the near hip, use any thing the knee, hip, hand or if in knee ride the foot.
2. Lock up the upper body, make your opponent bear your weight, shoulder pressure on the chin (shoulder of justice) and control the far shoulder.
3. Kill the near arm, I was taught a great way to pin that arm by switching the hips
4. Control above far elbow, I like to get that underhook but if i can't I'll make sure i control above that elbow
5. Move, This means to not be stagnant in one position. Be able to adapt & contour around your opponent. 

The Tight Pressure Game
So that is basically the concept I use in sidecontrol. All 5 points are important but I really focus on controlling the near hip and movement. I think there are two ways to use this concept. One is to be very tight, use pressure, pin the opponent and work on that far arm 'The Tight Pressure Game'. When I play this game I work for cutting arm bars, kimura's and americanas on that far arm. I've found the key for me to work the Tight Pressure Game is to be really aware of where my weight is being distributed. Making sure the pressure is always on my opponent.

The other is to flow, move and lead your opponent in to a mistake, still using all the concepts but not as heavy 'The Flow n Go Game'. The game that my coach uses very much relies on movement and flow and this is the game I like to play.
Over the last few months we've been drilling a series of moves our coach has shown us in the gym. It's basically popping up to knee ride and making your opponent react then getting the underhook and working for kimuras, spinning armbars or spinning to the gift wrap and taking the back. I've added a move I call the windscreen wiper to that series. It involves going to knee ride then switching to knee ride on the other side in one fluent motion. I find it opens up the underhooks better for me and It also makes it hard for the bottom player to work his escapes. (Plus I think it looks cool.)

Using Knee Ride to start my Flow n Go Game

I'm still in the early days of all my concepts having only been training for under 2yrs. It's very hard right now to give one part of my game too much attention because I'm still working on getting all the basics tight. Plus I'm always trying new shit out. So my thoughts and approach to stuff might change as time goes on and I get to focus closer on specific areas of my game. Having said that, I still think this 5 point concept for sidecontrol is rock solid.
If once I get that pass or sweep and flow straight into this concept I have excellent results but if I admire my work for a split second, loose focus or get lazy. I'm straight back into my opponents guard or they scramble to their knees.
So this is the first of my concepts I've broken down a little. There is a lot of other details that go in to it but BJJ techniques are way to complicated to break down and describe in to fine detail. Concepts on the other hand are a bit easier.
C u on the mat,

P.S. My wife has had our baby. A beautiful little girl!! So happy. Baby and Mum are both well. It's an amazing feeling having kids. I got just as big of a buzz this time as I did with our first. Looking at your own new born is so cool. When I look at my little girl I see beauty, innocence and unlimited potential. Good Times!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Concept. A general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences. Something formed in the mind; a thought or notion. A scheme; a plan.

Concepts have become a massive part of how I approach my training. When I first started out in Jiu-Jitsu I wanted to know every detail to every move and if I didn't remember it all at the exact time I wanted it I would get angry at myself.
I thought it was amazing that my coach could not only remember all these intricate moves but he knew them so well he could explain them in detail and with confidence to a group.
As i trained more and became familiar with some of the basic movements I began to realise that I didn't have to remember the entire series of moves in precise detail. I could use concepts for certain positions and situations. 
So I find an area of my game that I'm having the most trouble with and focus in on it. Most of my concepts I get from my coach, some from my training partners, some from instructionals and some stuff I come up with in my head and put them to test while sparring.
My concepts can be either specific technical ideas or a little more philosophical.  They are always changing and consistently under development. I'm always looking for more effective concepts for every part of my game.  
Over the next few months I'll be blogging up the concepts that have been working for me lately. Just remember that what might be working for me may not work as well for you. My coach always says BJJ is very individual, you need to find what works for you. The main reason for me to blog these concepts up is to help myself break them down and understand them better.
C u on the mat,

P.S.  My beautiful wife is having our second child tomorrow. I'm excited and nervous. I remember after the birth of our first kid, things were a bit full on for the first few weeks. Took us a while to get used to it all. I'm sure we'll be a bit more chilled about it all this time around. I may not be able to train or blog for a little while, I'll be busy changing nappies and putting babies to sleep.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't Let Fear Hold U Back!

Sometimes we retard our progress in life. The fear of failure, the fear of what others will say, the fear of looking stupid, the fear of sucking. Why?

I still do it to myself. I hold my self back from getting my weight down. I'm scared I'll fail so i don't try. That's so bullshit. (Sorry Homer)

I used to feel fear when I was just training BJJ. I was shitting my self on the hour long drive down the coast, building up my anxiety in my head. Not so scared of getting hurt but scared of being bad and getting owned by everyone in the gym.

I use the word fear because it fits, any one who says they fear nothing is either really stupid or full of shit. I think fear is healthy and is just another emotion to be used in your favour.

Grappling is one of the only sports where u compete at nearly 100% with your team mates every time you train. This is why it is so practical, the techniques are all pressure tested. But it can also stunt peoples development in the art.

Whether we like it or not we all have some sort of competitive drive, some more than others. I didn't want to get tapped by anyone and I felt less of man if I got caught or even pinned by my team mates. My fears were holding me back.

Once i started to let go of the fear of failure I really started to get better. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a total noob at jits. I think that feeling will never leave me. BJJ is so complex, there is always areas to work on. It's a life long journey. But once I started to swallow my ego and just concentrate on the techniques and concepts, things started to come together.
I learned to use my fear when I trained. I used it to heighten my senses and focus in on the task at hand. Now when I roll at training it's really enjoyable. My fears have turned into something else.
When I'm totally immersed in the roll I'm almost emotionless, unaware of my surroundings but completely in tune with the movements and totally connected to the art. I don't have that feeling every roll but there are small sections of rolls I have with certain training partners that are almost out of body type shit. Flowing between transitions and submissions...... 
Man, I'm sounding like a hippie!! At least Slayer or Pantera is playing in the background at the gym and not Simon and Garfunkel.

I think there are lots of areas in my life I can apply this to. By letting go of my own bullshit, being aware of my fears and using them to commit to whatever it is I want to achieve. 
If I had let my fears get in the way I may have never even started BJJ or rang my beautiful wife for the first time. I would have missed out on two of the greatest things to ever happen to me.

Don't Let Fear Hold U Back!!

This is one of my favourite quotes.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grapple Tackle

Training is going really well, i can feel my game improving all the time. I'm really enjoying flow rolling at the start of class. Instead of learning a new technique at the start of every class we partner up and flow through all the moves we have in our arsenal.  I try not to repeat anything or block my opponents game but rather "flow with the go". It really keeps me thinking and gets a good sweat going.
Our coach uses this warm up as a chance to look a bit closer at our technique. He picked up a couple of things for me to work on which was super helpful. I use half guard from bottom a lot and he pointed out a way to use my legs more and use a sort of half butterfly position, great for sweeps and entry to the x-guard.
I've been working my sidecontrol escapes when flow rolling and when sparring more intensely with varied success. Sidecontrol is tricky to escape, especially if the top player is experienced. Improvements are being made though and i think after a few more weeks I'll have a much better game plan for when I'm in that position.

I retired from Rugby League 2 yrs ago when i started doing BJJ. I played for my local team the Gympie Devils for 10yrs and i was on the committee for 3yrs during that time. On the weekend they won the Grand final for the first time in the clubs history. It felt like the whole town was there to watch the game. I made some life long mates playing footy and I'm so happy to see the boys bring home the trophy. Go The Devils!!

I may have partied a bit too hard with the boys because i think my bloody flu is back. So i couldn't train tonight. But i plan on getting back in the gym twice before the weeks out. Seeing the boys win that game after so much hard work and commitment, has given me a lot of motivation to compete at my best against the best.
C u on the mat,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

An Escape Plan

In training for the next week or two i'm going to focus on escaping from sidecontrol. I've been working a lot on escaping when someone has my back over the last few weeks and it still need lots of work but i'm going to change the focus for a bit.
A familiar position when i roll with Coach Dunstan
I like to work on being comfortable in bad spots. I try to remain calm keep my elbows in, protect my neck then work the escape. When rolling with the upper belts being comfortable can be very tough and if i like it or not i'm going to have to work on survival and escapes.
But when i roll with new dudes, I sometimes let myself get in bad spots and work my escapes. I think this helps out both team mates. I get to work my escapes and they get to work on there top game and control. I know what it's like to feel helpless trapped under a more experienced grappler. It's how i spent the first 6mths of my training. So i think giving a little here and there really helps a newbie out and benefits my game as well. But I never give my opponent a submission when free rolling; they have to work for that shit. If they do tap me it is because of there skill and not me giving them a gift.

Here is a story from Saulo Ribeiro book Jiu-Jitsu University, he recalls the last time he trained with the 90yr old Father of Jiu-Jitsu Helio Gracie.

Helio said to Saulo "Son, you're strong, you're tough, you're a world champion, but i don't think you can beat me." Saulo looked sideways at the old man in disbelief. Thinking how a 90 year old man could beat someone in his athletic prime? But Saulo realized that Helio had not said he would beat Saulo but that Saulo could not beat him. Helio had put all the responsibility back on Saulo to defeat him. Helio did survive and Saulo was not able to impose his game on the late Master. Saulo had learnt one of his greatest lessons ever; it is not enough to be able to defeat all of your challengers. To be able to tell any man he cannot defeat you is to wield true power.

If you are starting out in BJJ and you have some cash to spare grab Saulos book. It's a technique book but has some great philosophy in there as well.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A faithful side kick

I think most blokes have one. You know ya right hand man, a wing man or home boy. I've got a few real close mates but my little hairy mate Steve is defiantly my faithful side kick. Now we had a somewhat heated debate over this. He proclaimed i was more Jay to him being Silent Bob(the resemblance is somewhat undeniable).
But seriously with out Steves help as my 'NavBitch' over the years i may not have stuck with BJJ. He's come on the 2 hour round trip to Caloundra with me for the last 12mths or so. He doesn't train, he just comes to keep me company on the trip. The first few months i did it by my self, and it was tough. Sometimes I would have little micro sleeps while i was driving on the way home after a long session, not cool. But with Steve in the car talking crazy shit with me I'm no chance of falling asleep.
Now Steve is what some people might say quirky, but i fukn love the angle he takes on things. Frickin hilarious. We are both massive heavy metal and mma fans so we rarely run out of shit to talk/argue about. Looking back we have had some rather deep conversations as well about life and the people in it.
So this is a thank you to my hombre Steve. A little part of my new belt belongs to you dude.

Sending out man love to my hetero-life-mate.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Feeling Blue

So after 20mths of training, and one hell of an arse kicking, I just received my blue belt.

Now i know i should be pumped and super excited but i honestly don't feel that way right now. I feel a little bit disappointed in my self. I wanted to be fit and ready and really kick arse the night i got my blue. But that was not the case.

I had last week off training with the flu, then i trained on Saturday and injured my neck. I know it sounds like I’m making excuses but it's what happened, the thought actually crossed my mind about not going to gradings at all but then i thought fuck it. I'll just get some cold and flu tabs for this bloody flu and take some nurofen for my neck and I’ll get through. Yeah i got through but not how i had wanted to.
The night started with some slow rolling with one of my fellow 4 stripers Josh we traded some positions and had a good couple of warm up rolls. Then i rolled with Julian a good level Blue belt. We started slow but then bang! We went at it hard. After that roll i was rooted. After a couple more rolls at a slower pace Ryan got us to line up in our belt rankings. At our gym you don't know when you are going for your belt, but when your name gets called out you better be ready for a beat down. So Ryan calls out Josh. Tom, and myself to the centre of the mat. I'd be lying if i said i wasn't nervous. I was not nervous about my skills not being there i was more nervous that my body would fail me and I’d be a floppy fat grappling dummy after one fast paced roll. I didn't want to embarrass my self.
It didn't fail me after one or two or even four but half way through the fifth one i knew i didn't have much left and after the seventh i don't really remember much. I remember fighting to get Leighs(Ryans bro and kick arse purple belt) knee off my face, neck or sternum. I remember tapping to Ryans many slick armbars and i remember Ryans coach and black belt Mat Cooper being the heaviest thing I’ve ever felt on top of me. Then that was it. I’d made it through 10 x 4or5min hard rounds with no breaks.
We lined up again. I could barely suck in air because my lung was so tight from the flu and my neck was starting to cramp up. Ryan said some nice words about all three of us as we received our belts, but because i was so shagged i can't recall what he said. But i do remember him saying that Tom, one of my team mates who got his blue tonight, is an inspiration. And he most definitely is. The guy is no spring chicken (sorry Tom) but the way he grinded his way to his blue belt was very inspiring. I hope he doesn't mind but this is what he just put up on his facebook.
"I'm too sore to sleep. I want to let my brothers (and sister) know how grateful I am to my instructors, my daytime training partners, and to all of you that have helped me in my journey. From whatever walks of life we may come from - at Advance Martial Arts - we all walk together in the same direction. I'm proud to be a member - and can't thank you enough for helping me become a better person."
I think that gives you some idea of the mans character. A true martial artist. Congratulations Tom!!

So even as i type this I’m starting to feel a bit more at ease at being blue. I’m now going to work my arse off to prove that this is my rank. I think the best way to do that is to train hard, get in great shape and compete at my best.
The journey continues!!

Your boy blue