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.