Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Terra Luta BJJ

On the 21st January three years ago, I started travelling a two hour round trip from Gympie to Caloundra 2-3 times a week to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Ryan Dunstan. I knew back then that BJJ was going to be a part of my life and I'd have to organize a way to train closer to home.
So earlier this year, with the blessing of my coach and the purchase of quality mats, I started doing some training at my business here in Gympie after hours.
In the beginning it was very low key with just a couple of my mates 2 times a week. One of my mates is another Blue belt who was also looking for a place to train. So i've been able to get some good training in for myself and start bringing some of my mates up to a level so they can have some fun on the mat and learn some fundamentals of BJJ.
Once the word got out we were doing true Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu here in Gympie, people have been super keen to try it out and I've got about 10 peeps now that train with me consistently. I haven't been charging them anything to train.
I didn't feel right charging people to get coached by a blue belt, but as of 1st January I will be affiliated with  IgniteSC and with the help and support from Coach Ryan Dunstan, I feel confident to start up my own little club..
Terra Luta Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Gympie's first 100% BJJ club.


My mission as a club is....
  • To create a safe, friendly and motivating place to learn the beautiful art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • To strive to make a difference in the community by providing an affordable, safe and fun non striking form of self defense.
  • To promote respect, courtesy, gratitude, mate-ship and a healthy lifestyle.
  • To offer a family friendly environment which promotes Jiu-Jitsu for everyone.
  • To give students the option to train hard to compete at a high level, or just train to have fun and learn.
  • To have a positive affect on the lives of all the team mates that step on to the Terra Luta mat.

 

We will be training BJJ at the Gympie Feed Barn Wednesday and Friday nights at 6pm and Sunday afternoons at 4pm. Anyone interested in training contact me and please follow our facebook page at Terra Luta BJJ for all the latest info on the club.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has given me a new found passion and focus. By competing at least 2-3 times a year, not only has my jiu-jitsu game improved but I feel that I have grown and continue to grow as an individual. I truly believe BJJ has helped me become a better person in all areas of my life. It has provided me with a healthy activity that continually gives me so many new and exciting experiences. I'm extremely grateful to the team mates and coaches that I have trained with since I started my jits journey. I love introducing people to the art and watching them fall in love with it, like I have. I hope to be a positive influence on anyone who trains with me and help spread the awesomeness that is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu within Australia.


C u on the mat,
Rex.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comp, Training, Grading

Been very busy lately, with work training and family so my blogging has taken a back seat. But i'm bludging at work right now in the air con so I'll take the chance to drop a blog...
Since the Pan Pacs i've let my fitness slip a little bit and I've put some weight back on but I'm still training at least 3 times a week so i haven't blown right out. 
A few weeks ago I attended a Carlos Portugu√™s Vieira and Alexandre Santos seminar at IgniteSC in Caloundra on a Friday night and then competed the next day in a comp in Brisbane. The Seminar was excellent. Portugu√™s is an amazing teacher, every time I'm on the mat with him I always learn something rad that i can add to my game immediately. He is also an amazing competitor. He took out the $1000 dollar brown and black belt open at the comp the next day.
One of my young team mates that i coach in Gympie competed in the under16 division. He did extremely well, losing to the eventual winner of his division and winning another match by a kimura. He never gave up and showed lots of technique and heart. I was extremely proud and it reminded me of how much of a positive effect Jiu-Jitsu can have on people.
I faced off against a massive dude in my Blue Belt division, the weight division was a bit odd, it was 91kg and over. So i weighed in at 95kg my opponent was 145kg. (Usually i would be in a division of dudes 93-99kg.)
But I wasn't too worried i thought I'll just go at it and see what happens. I pulled open guard and tried to work for a sweep. I tried to go to closed guard at one stage but i couldn't get my legs around him haha.... I got a couple of near sweeps but he based out and was way to big to force over. I even had an armbar at one stage but his arm was more like a leg and i had no chance. I ended up losing the match on points 2-0. I was a bit angry. I'm getting a bit sick of losing. But i took it as a good experience and i think if i faced a big guy like that again i could play a bit different game and maybe be more successful.
Overall the Cia Paulista team did extremely well in the comp. The guys and girls were all using some nice techniques and nearly all team members took home a medal. The highlight was Carlos taking out the cash, beating a big Gracie Barra Black belt from the GoldCoast. He is an inspirational leader and an excellent role model to all his students.


On the home front, my little gym has started to grow. I have about 7 regular students now and they are all learning so fast. I'm really enjoying teaching them the techniques and helping them feel comfortable in the different positions. The vibe on the mat is super cool. They are all excellent students and team mates. 
At the last grading night at IgniteSC, 3 of my students travelled down with me and were involved in the grading night. I had the honor of giving them there first stripe on there white belts.
It was a great grading night. Lots of white belts were showing some nice techniques and I think a lot of them will be changing belt colours real soon.
Next year will be a huge year for Cia Paulista Qld team. I will be training hard and competing at my best so I represent correct for the Cia Paulista team!!
C u on the mat!
Rex.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Melbourne Pan Pacs 2011




Once again Jiu-Jitsu has provided me with more than just some kick arse moves. This time it got me too Melbourne to compete at the Pan Pacs for the first time. This is the second time i've been south of the boarders where the mexicans live. But this time i really got to see and do a lot of what the city has to offer. Like really great coffee, great food, rad street art, tasty beverages, super cool people and bad ass jiu-jitsu!!
I got to catch up with one of my best friends from boarding school. He's been living in Melbs for many years and really has his ear to the ground for all that is totally radical. Myself and a team mate from the gym crashed at his joint in Fitzroy for the first few days of our trip. He and his super cool girlfriend were excellent hosts. My friend is quiet the cook. His home made pizzas were amazing after a hard nights training.


He took us on a guided tour of Melbourne on the trams and also convinced me to get on a push bike for the first time in about 20yrs. Yes i did have a couple of stacks... nothing to bad but my family jewels got a good whack at one stage.
The city it self has so much to offer. I really dug the vibe in Fitzroy and over in St Kilda where my friend informed me that everything was just a little bit trippy.

The training was excellent. The level of the guys on the mat was very high and the intensity of the training for the first couple of nights we were there was full on. My body didn't hold up to well. Next comp I will emulate what they are doing down there and really push myself much more. I think the colder weather and the intensity of the training combined to cause me to strain my lower back which kind of made things a bit hard on the mat. I need to work harder on my core stength and hip flexibility.








The competion was by far the biggest i've been to. I was a touch over whelmed by the occasion but i really liked the atmosphere. The quality of the BJJ being played was of a very high standard even the white belt divisions were stacked with very strong technical guys and girls. My team mates from IgniteSC all competed very well. I think nearly everyone picked up a medal. One of my coaches from Ignite did extremely well winning his weight in the Purple belts and 3rd in the absolute. Also the Melbourne Cia Paulista guys kicked arse picking up a swag of gold medals in all the divisions. Head coachs Carlos Vieira and Alexandre Santos where stand outs for me. They had some epic battles and both won there weight divisions. Carlos Faced off against Big Mick Wilson in the absolute final. Where he lost by points in a great match. Cia Paulista team came in 3rd overall. which was a top effort and the Mestre was extremely happy.
When it was my turn to compete, i'd be lying if i said i wasn't shitting myself. My lack of comp experience really showed and my no-gi match did not go to plan. I shot for a double got sprawled on and spent most of the round scrabbling between turtle and half guard. He even had my back at one stage but I pulled off an escape and got a pass. I popped up to knee ride a bit fast and was granby rolled to half guard where he caught me in a darce choke which really gave the old neck a tweak. He went on to win the division which meant i got 3rd by default. 

I was looking forward to some redemption in my gi match. I tried to pull guard but missed my grips and didn't pull properly so my opponent got a near pass. In the scramble i found my self with a nice grip on his sleeve and my leg in a position i thought i knew a sweep for but it turned out i had the wrong grip and needed to change hands. I held this position for a while but gave up on it and tried to get to my knees but he took my back. Once again i escaped and attacked a straight leg lock. I need to watch the fight again to see what actually happened but i think i got a sweep and an advantage out of that, because with about 30 sec left i needed a pass to win but I had nothing left and time ran out. I was pissed off at myself, i let a chance go by to get a win. My cardio is what let me down in this fight and some poorly executed technique. But it has given me lots to work on and i'm going to compete a lot more from now on. I'm going to get my weight down even more, and build up my cardio and strength. 








One of the most inspiring things a bout the comp was my team mate and friend 'Timeless' Tom Taylor competing against guys half his age. He showed some true heart and never gave up in both his fights. He deservedly picked up 3rd. I hope that i can stay as positive, healthy and courageous as Tom as I move through life. I had a great time getting to know Tom better and really enjoyed the experience we had together. From competing to partying with the Brazilians. 


So I had a great time in Melbourne but I was disappointed in my performance on the mat. I learnt a lot out of the whole experience. Most of all I am truly grateful to my beautiful wife for all her support in allowing me to pursue my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu addiction. I missed her and my two kids so much. It was great to get home and give them all a big hug. I love them!
C u on the mat!
Rex.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hard Training.

I've been training hard down here for 2 days now with my Cia Paulista team mates. Bit sore, but the next 2 days will b a lot less intense leading up to the comp. The guys r training very hard. I'm struggling to keep up. My body is not in good enough condition. Last night there were 2 black belts on the mat, both of them pushing the pace and training hard. Having a rad time, meeting some cool cats and getting my arsed kicked. Good times!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today i fly out to melbourne to train with the team from Cia Paulista in preparation for the Pan Pacs this weekend. I'm currently sitting in the airport waiting for my flight.  Training up to this point has been a bit stop start. I had a bit of trouble with my knee which kept me off the mat for a few days and then a chest infection that has been hanging on for a couple of weeks. But I'm not trying to make excuses. I will definitely put everything into the training this week and perform at my best this weekend.
I'm probably more nervous about the training this week than the comp its self.... I've felt what it's like to roll with head coach Carlos Viera and it's not very comfortable to say the least and i can only imagine what it will be like when he is in comp mode. hahaha
C u on the mat,
Rex

Melbourne Bound!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Kind Of Like The Pain...

Just stepped off the mat and I'll feeling good, bit stiff and sore but good. Glad to be over my sickness and back training hard.
Monday nights session at Caloundra was tough going. We just did hard sparring. I think we would have done about 10 or 12  6min rounds with a rest round about every 6 rounds so it put the cardio to the test. I moved ok and worked a lot on my closed guard techniques and setting up my submissions from all the top positions focusing on the north south position that Portugese showed my team mates at the seminar.
The level of guys on the mat Monday night was very decent. All though I was the only blue and our coach the only purple all the white belts are really putting in and pushing the pace, which is excellent preparation for the comp. Sometimes I feel a bit flat after training with the higher belts due to getting totally owned and not being able to pull off any techniques. But rolling with the lower belts allows me to get some reps in of some techniques. It reminded me of the importance of being a part of a good team and having lots of different level guys to roll with.

I trained over the weekend at home. I did a strength and cardio session on Saturday arvo after work which consisted of squats, kettlebell presses and crunches. I also got in to my garden and dug up some weeds and spread some mulch which got a bit of a sweat going. On Sunday after work I got a decent session in with some mates here in town. We worked some technique then did some hard drilling. Then I rolled with my mate the blue belt for 4x5min rounds. He really pushed me. I am very fortunate to have such a good training partner here in my home town. BJJ is still very much an underground sport in rural Australia and blue belts in small towns like mine are as rare as rocking horse shit. So I'm very grateful to have access to such an excellent training partner.
The soreness I'm feeling at the moment isn't all bad. My upper legs have got some soreness from all the squats I did Saturday and my shoulders and hips are sore from all the hard sparring. I kind of like that pain. It lets your body now that you are putting in some hard work. I take a few supplements to try to keep my old footy injuries at bay and so far so good. (touch wood) I also try to do some yoga when I get the chance to keep loose and flexible.

My team mates here in town seem to be enjoying the training and techniques I'm showing and I'm seeing some rapid improvement in them all. Feels good to be spreading the good word of the Jiu-Jits!!
C u on the mat!
Rex

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Portugues!!

On Saturday night I made the hour long drive down to the gym to get some training in with a world class Brazilian Black Belt.. It was an honour to have the chance to roll with Carlos 'Portugues' Vieira http://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-fighters/carlos-portugues-vieira-wiki-bio. He's at the top end of the black belt food chain. His BJJ record speaks for it's self.

Most important Black Belt Titles
    2002 and 2003 Pan-American Champion
    2002 and 2004 Brazilian Championships 3rd place
    2004 Pan-American Vice-Champion
    2004 European Champion
    2005 Brazilian Champion
    2005 and 2006 Pan-American Championships 3rd place
    2006 European Championships 3rd place
    2009 European Champion 1st place
    2009 and 2010 Victorian Champion 1st place, Australia
    2010 Pan Pacific Champion 1st place

He was a super cool guy. He was at the gym for a seminar the next day and my self and 5 others got the chance to get some rolling in with a world class Black Belt. His technique, feel, speed and pressure was amazing to feel but his grips were what really amazed me. His hand was like a vice. He was having a super fun time as well. Each time we rolled he was making jokes and laughing while he was kicking my arse. I had at least 30kgs on him but he handled me like I was a little girl haha... Good times!
It was an amazing experience and really inspired me. Unfortunately I had to work the following day so I missed the seminar but from what I've heard from my team mates and what Coach wrote in his blog AdvanceSC Portugues Seminar the seminar was amazing. He showed some nice setups from the north south position in the gi and some ways to attack the back after a sit out when on the bottom in turtle.
I was so impressed I've decided to go down to the Pan Pacs a week early to train with him in Melbourne. I can't wait to get smashed again, and hopefully some of his awesome will rub off on me.


My preps for the Pan Pacs has been a bit poor the last week. I still got some training in but I was down with a tummy bug for 2 days then a cold for the rest of the week. I trained through the sickness but i was very weak and not very sharp in the mind. I came better just before the training session with Portugues thank god and also got a good session in at Caloundra Monday night.
I'm at my shop right now getting ready to train, I just swept the floor and layed the mats. I have about 3 or 4 guys coming in tonight. I'll really push my pace tonight and get some hard work in.
C u on the mat!
Rex

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Action!!

Week 1 of my little fight camp is under my belt. I've worked on all the things I wanted to get done this week, and I'm already seeing positive results. Work is very busy this time of year so I'm stretching my self a bit thin. But I'm happy with my progress.

(Technical) I've been thinking more about what game plan I'm going to use in the comp. Things like what's my plan at the start of the fight.... Shoot? Grip fight? Takedown? Pull Guard? I'm still a bit undecided but I'll finalize that this week after a bit more thought. I've been putting in some reps of passing open guard and open guard work this week. Will keep working that this week but start bringing in some closed guard passes and attacks from closed as well.
(Strength/Power) My strength training is helping me. I already feel stronger on the mat. I do a kettle bell work out which consists of doing 3 different exercises in a row at a fast pace then a short break then back in to it. I  do 3-4 sets. Seems to be helping my grip strength as well. I'm doing this work out after Jits on my home mat and (Flexibility) some yoga on the days that i can't get any Jits in.
(Nutrition) My weight is sitting at about 97kg. I need to put some more effort in to the diet if I'm going to make the weight. I need to be 94kg with a Gi on. More fruit and veg. I'm taking my vitamins everyday and they seem to be keeping me healthy... touch wood.
(Organization) I need to draw up a schedule for my training and work. I'm definitely not getting enough sleep at the moment, our baby girl has been sick for a week. But she seems to be getting better so that'll help the rest.
(Cardio) I've got some decent rolls in to push my cardio but not enough. I'll start making all my sparring rounds a bit more intense and for at least 6 mins.
(Mental) I've been saying some words and phrases that fire the synapses in my mind and make me think about Jiu-Jitsu. If I say them out loud or even inside my head they spark me up!
Action!!
Dictate!
Move! Move! Move!
Go! Go! Go!
Do not accept the position!!
Work! Work! Work!
Up! Up! Up!
2 points the sweep! 4 points the mount!
Finish!!
Squeeeeeezzzeee!!
It's a match played out in my mind as well. I've never really consciously tryed to use visualization as a tool. But I've pictured a match in my mind a couple of times now and it's helping me work out a solid game plan of techniques that I'm already familiar with. It's also helped to identify what i need to work on.
6 weeks to go!

C u on the mat.
Rex

Monday, July 25, 2011

So you want to be a Champion…..

I love competing and like Charlie Sheen I'm especially fond of winning!! Like any other great ape, I always want to be the Alpha male. As I've grown older and "wiser" I've realised that the Alpha has to work damn hard to become the big dog, especially when you are running with a pack of other crazy monkeys who all want run shit as well. It's easy to be the Alpha of a pack that consists of lazy flea picking, arse scratching, banana split eating sloths. But who wants to say they are the head of that pack.... not this Orangutan!!


I competed in a couple of comps while I was a white belt with varied results. I think my comp record is 3W- 3L. I’ve picked up 3rd in a couple of brackets but there were not many competitors, so it was no big success. I’m yet to compete as a blue belt.
Earlier this month I decided that I'm going to compete at the BJJ Pan Pacs in Melbourne. The Pan Pacs is Australia’s biggest and most prestigious Jiu-Jitsu tournament. It’s on the 16th 17th 18th September, so my preparation has started now. My training intensity has already picked up.
A small group are also going from my gym but because I'm so isolated from my gym's coaches and training partners, I'm setting up my own fight camp. I will train with my team mates at least once a week but most of the preparation I'll have to organize my self.




The fight camp is going to be just under 8 weeks long.
I've broken down the areas I need to work on to do well in the comp. I will also set some mini goals along the way.
  • Organization- Training Schedule encompassing all 7 areas, goal setting.
  • Nutrition- 94kg Aug 16th,  Calorie counting, I'm taking some vitamins as well in an attempt to keep healthy and on the mat.
  • Technical- Game Plan, Drilling, High intensity sparring,
  • Strength/Power- Kettle bells, Body Weight circuit, Grip strength, Core strength
  • Cardio- Skipping, High intensity sparring,
  • Flexibility- Yoga, Old school warm ups
  • Mental- Positive self talk, Affirmations, Motivation, Visualization.
My first objective is to get my weight to 94kg in 4weeks.
I've never been in peak physical condition ever in my life. I plan to get as close to that as I can over the next 8 weeks.
I'll keep a weekly blog right through the camp and do a bit of an analysis of the camp and my performance after the Pan Pacs. Hopefully it helps keep me on track.

C u on the mat!
Rex.

Monday, June 20, 2011

If There Was A Problem ,Yo, I'll Solve It!

Right now in Jiu-Jitsu I'm on the cusp of pushing through in to uncharted territory but I'm starting to throw some excuses at the problems I'm currently facing.
Being able to confront my problems and push through them has always been my biggest stumbling block in life. I'll just toss some excuses at the problem and sometimes back down from it if the going gets a bit tough.
My favorite excuse is and always has been my weight and fitness level. But over the years I think I have proven to my self that they are unacceptable excuses. Partly because I have total control over both those things.
My weight is still coming down a bit. I'm still a pear shaped 100kg hairy ranga but I've lost about 25kg since I started BJJ just over 2 years ago. My diet is still terrible. I drink more water now days but I'll still choose a Triple Cheese burger over a Garden Salad.

My training is going well. I'm getting in at least 3 sessions a week. But I'm only getting in one training run at Advance SC and two at home with a mate due to work and family commitments. I can't see that situation changing for quiet sometime and is out of my control.

 The training I'm getting in at home is still quiet good but I'm not really pushing my self hard enough. I'm making excuses and only doing a short training session at times.
A few years back I heard a saying that was something along the lines of this, "If you keep doing the same shit You've always done, You'll keep getting the same shit you've always got." obviously I've taken some poetic license with the quote but that's how I remember it. I need to push myself harder when I'm on the mat.
One of my coaches reminded me last night of something I always said when I was playing footy. The only way to get fit to do a sport is to compete at that sport. Doing Kettle bells, hill sprints and techniques will definitely help your jiu-jitsu but not as much as actually rolling with an evenly matched or better than you opponent.
I need to push my self more when I'm rollin' to get to that next level. Especially in the rolls when I'm tired and my muscles are building up lactic acid and some dude is trying to pull my arm out of socket, choke me or trying to drive his knee through my stomach and into my spine. Pushing your self when you are in these positions and you believe you are completely trapped and there is no way out is very very difficult. But if you have faith in the technique and go for it with conviction, weight or fitness level is no longer an excuse. That push comes from your heart and your will to fight. Not from how much you weigh or how far you can run or even how much you can bench press. It's all heart and faith!
Now go train Jiu-Jitsu!!
C u on the mat.
Rex

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tapping My Way To Freedom

Training this week has been awesome. I'm flowing between positions nicely and having some great rolls. Worked on some stand up wrestling earlier in the week which was very good. It's something I enjoy and think is very important for a jits dude to get familiar with. It's a huge advantage to be able to take some one down or avoid a takedown in competitions. Also I feel it's important to make my grappling for self defence  much more effective.

I feel like I've really turned a corner mentally on the mat and my jiu-jitsu has really progressed quickly since this mental shift happened. It's a combination of a few things but at the middle of it all is that I've been able to let even more of my ego go.
Some dudes i think are a bit intimidated by me on the mat, I'm a 102kg bald dude with a red beard.  But anyone who has rolled with me knows that the fear is a bit unfounded. When i roll I'm not aggressive, I always play guard at the start of the roll and try to 'flow with go' but the moment I slap hands with some of my team mates I know they really want to go for the kill and tap my fat arse. Now this is cool and I still enjoy the rolls but they are missing out on so much jits fun by going down that road.
I usually try my hardest to not let anyone tap me. But tonight I thought fuck it, anyone who aggressively wants me to tap tonight I'm going to tap. I didn't just lay there and give it to them but if they got position and were going hard i kind of let the chokes slip in, then fought it off for a bit and then just before i went out, i tapped. Now this nearly back fired on one of the strong whitebelts, he pulled off a nice technique that we were working on at the start off class. I thought 'Kudus to you dude for going for the techniuqe' So I let it get deep before I started to fight the grip and then I tapped but I went out for a micro second. Was just like some one reset my computer. Weird feeling man. It's amazing that I haven't been put out before this considering I've been training for a bit over 2yrs. He knew I some what gave him the choke and was apologizing but it was all cool it was actually what I wanted. I wanted to get put deep in some chokes and tap.
After that tap I felt really good. It was like I'd just let go of some more of my ego bullshit. Tapping to guys who have not been training for as long as you is always something grapplers try to avoid. But I feel it's healthy for growth in jiu-jitsu. I get to feel how deep I can go with chokes before I tap and also it shows that I'm willing to tap every now and then.
One of our killer purples who I often have some awesome rolls with, really went at me as well. I was really trying to play some jits with him but I could feel he wanted my blood. So I didn't exactly give him anything but I definitely wasn't going to try and shut his game down with my size and strength. I wanted to play Jiu-Jitsu with him but he wanted to do fight Jiu-Jitsu with me.
After our roll, in which he tapped me like 3 times and tryed to crank my neck for a while. I had to say something. He's totally a cool cat who I have much respect for and probably the guy at the gym I have the most in common with. So I felt I could voice my opinion with him. I said that the roll was fun but if we just flowed a bit more we could have pulled off so much more beautiful Jiu-Jitsu. He agreed and we rolled again straight away. The difference was huge we got through so much more technique and I think if we had a couple more rolls that night we would have been able to put on a good display of technical Jiu-Jitsu and I would have learnt some cool shit from him. 
I'm not saying by any means that when you roll you should not look for the finish but the finish is just that 'the finish'. I would rather keep the roll going. Move to the next transition, give something else up, try the escape and so on but always moving, always connected and always trying to link all my techniques together. I really think that the beautiful Jiu-Jitsu is found in the movement not the finish.

C u on the mat,
Rex

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Role Models

As a little kid growing up in a small rural town, I had heaps of heroes. Mr T, Monkey on Monkey Magic, Wally Lewis, Jeff Fenech. But these characters didn't make me who I am today. The fault of my ruptured personality lies with my childhood role models. My Family, my friends, my school teachers and my coaches. Weather I liked it or even if these people weren't aware of it, they were my role models.
Now that I'm a grown man I still think it's healthy to have hero's and role models. My modern day heroes are people like Ali, BJ Penn, Wayne Bennett, Shane Webke, Rickson Gracie, Saulo Ribero and the list goes on.
I'm always conscious of trying to improve myself as a person. I try to look at what the people I respect and admire do to achieve there goals. I try to read biographies on these people and pick up as many tips as I can. But it is the people that I have physical access to that can really help me improve myself.

Now at the risk of sounding like a complete suck up, brown nose I don't think getting to roll with Rickson Gracie would have as great an effect on me as training with my coach Ryan Dunstan over the last few years. Now no offense to Ryan but Rickson is clearly the greatest BJJ practitioner to ever wear a Gi but i don't know Rickson and he doesn't know me. So as much Rickson is a hero of mine he can never be a role model to me. But I have seen Ryan in many situations in the years that I've known him, under extreme pressure competing, training, coaching, reacting to big wins and loses, partying and just hanging out and the way he carries him self in all these situations is what a role model should look like. Now I'm not saying he is a saint or anything like that, he has faults like all of us but that is just how a role model should be, real and accessible. I'm extremely lucky to have found the right gym and coach for me. I clicked there straight away and I've made some solid connections with some excellent like minded individuals. The quality of the instruction and the leadership from Coach Dunstan is in my eyes nothing short of world class and to not absorb that and try to put some of that positive energy back out into the world would be selfish of me. 
Cage door duties is a real privilege.
Especially when two true martial artists are in the cage together.
As a father, an uncle, friend, training partner, and sometime coach. I am fully aware that I myself have become a role model. I think about this a lot. I really want to conduct my self more as a martial artist and have positive affects on the people I come in contact with.
If I wasn't doing BJJ and had not met my coach and team mates I think everyone I come in contact with would not get the best of me. I owe alot to Jiu-Jitsu.
I'm very apprecitative of the art and the men and women I train with and especially my coach.

C u on the mat,
Rex.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Making Connections

I believe we are all connected. Or in the words of Genki Sudo "We Are All One". I think our sub-conscious minds are somehow all linked up. You know the feeling you get when you walk in to a seedy pub or club full of sus dudes and a wave of gloom just washes over you. Or when you are at a music festival and everyone is so in to the music and having such a rad time a wave of euphoria comes over you. I think those waves are the collective sub conscious of the group connecting with your own. Yeah it's official, I'm a hippie.  

I think we can somewhat recreate those positive connections consciously. When ever I get to hang with a new mate I always try to look for that connection. Usually it's music. I love metal but I also listen to lots of other shit. I like hip-hop, break beat, punk, grunge, 80s cock rock, blues, folk, even some country. It's all good except for heartless pop and mindless trance.

BJJ is another way to make connections. If you both have trained for a while then you have heaps in common. I think that's why my blog gets a lot of traffic. Any one who has trained for a few months can totally relate/connect with what I'm banging on about.
At a philosophical level I could talk to a fellow Jits practitioner for hours. But actually rolling is the best way to get on the same page and communicate. The moment I slap hands it's possible to make those sub conscious connections again. Sometimes in the roll the art of bjj takes over and guides the collective sub conscious towards being totally immersed. But in the same way as when you walk in to a seedy pub, the roll can go bad when the energy is just off.
My coach has been working hard on getting everyone in the gym to roll with control and flow through all of our techniques. His philosophy on BJJ is very similar to Roy Deans ideas in the video clip below.

There are some guys in the gym I have some great conversations(rolls) with, back and forth and very stimulating. Some times I listen too much and should be a little more ascertive and some times I get in to yelling matches. But as in life off the mat, it's always better to try to listen and respond in equal amounts with people if you want to make some meaningful connections. I try to use as much etiquette and decorum as possible but I also try to add a little bit of my own accent and cool where I can.
Jits is not only a great way to keep fit, stimulate your mind and learn one of the most effective martial arts on the planet. It's also a great way to meet some most excellent individuals and make some rock solid connections.
C u on the mat
Rex

Monday, February 14, 2011

Birthday Punches.

I just turned another year older.... so anyway training is excellent. Worked on ground n pound with one of team mates at Saturdays open mat session. That was super fun. I love testing out my jits under some pressure. Finding out what works and how I react to being punched in the face. I'm not a huge fan of being smacked upside the head but it makes me fine tune my game from the bottom. I found in closed guard I had success with an armwrap and head control. I'd wait for my team mate to strike with his free hand then control that wrist hip out a little and look to set up a triangle or omoplata. I found that the omoplata worked for me real well. I'd at least get a sweep out of it. Then transition to the sidecontrol crucifix position and drop some hammer fists then maybe setup an armbar.
I found my self  having trouble pulling the trigger and punching my team mate in the face. The grappling gloves we train with have some padding... but not much. So even those little hammer fists do some damage. It just feels a bit awkward but once your team mate cracks you a few times and the adrenalin gets going it becomes a bit easier. The trick is to keep the punches hard enough to make them have to react but not that hard that u risk hurting or splitting a guy open who's getting ready for an upcoming fight.
I don't think I have ever hit anyone with my full power, ever. Even in the few street fights I've been in. I always pull my punches a bit and try to hit them often and fast.
Would be very interesting to get in the cage and let it all hang out one time. I've worked a lot of boxing technique over the years with my old man and brother and I think my boxing is at an ok level. Wow, listen to my self. Who am i kidding? At the weight i am at the moment i would have to fight dudes the size of Brock Lesnar... no thank you. Also the amount of time and effort I see the guys put in to prepare for a fight is crazy. Time I don't have right now. I wonder what my actual fighting weight would be if i got super fit though? I'm about 178cm tall but I've got big legs and I've got a deep core(fat arse) and chest(man boobs). I always thought it would be around 93kg. But it may be as low as 85?? hmmm.

Last nights training was mainly free rolling. Getting through all our positions and techniques. We also drilled the low butterfly pass, a transition from butterfly to x-guard and an x-guard sweep. Was a good session and i had some real nice flowing rolls with a couple of my fellow blue belts.

I've got a couple of my mates from Gympie in to BJJ, which is cool. They have both come down with me to train at advance now and are both real keen to keep it going. So see how it goes but hopefully it mean I'll have some local dudes keen to train and travel with. They both have picked it up real fast and will get good quickly, as long as they train 2-3times a week at least. Hopefully they get the jits bug like me.

C u on the mat.
Rex

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Flow Rollin', Some Coachin' and Tummy Rumblin'

Trained twice last week and I'm happy with how I'm rolling at the moment. I'm flowing a lot better and getting through a lot of techniques. Mainly due to the way we are rolling in class. Coach has been trying to get everyone to roll with control and going almost go for go with your training partner. This really helps to make the roll much more enjoyable. Instead of the roll getting to certain positions and both training partners clamping down. Both not willing to let the other person get any advantage. Not willing to try something in the fear of getting submitted or swept. As I've blogged about before Don't Let Fear Hold You Back! Once you let go of that fear the game really opens up and becomes something really special. Rather than a game of who has the tightest grip.

Been helping my old footy team with there wrestling/controlling the ruck. Nothing to full on, just how to pummel, how to maintain side control and how to escape to the knees. It's a good chance for me to work on my teaching skills. I really enjoy helping out. Before I discovered BJJ footy was the sport I was passionate about and I still think it's a great game that can really bring the best out of people. Hopefully I can help them out in someway and may be get some new people interested in trying some jits one day.


Training at home is underway. I did a session with a young mate of mine. He's a keen ufc fan and was keen to try out some bjj. We did some circuit training which consisted of 8x2min rounds of gi-pullups, g n p bag, heavy bag and tyre chops. Then I gave him his first lesson in jits. Taught him to hip escape. How to come to the knees, Upa, the posture when in closed guard, how to break the closed guard and the double under pass to side control. Sounds like a lot but he was soaking it all up really well so I kept it going. He must have enjoyed it because he wants to come down to training with me at AdvanceSC tonight.

Teaching jits is definitely a technique in it's self. I'm not sure if I'm doing a good job or not. But as with any BJJ techniques it requires reps to get better at. I want to make sure I'm teaching correct techniques that I actually use and have a depth of knowledge on. I really want every technique that I teach to connect easily and flow together nicely. This is the way I was taught and it has helped me a lot.

I'm still watching what I eat very closely and cutting back on the amount of crap I stuff in to my pie hole. It's not easy some days... well actually everyday. Right now I'm feeling a bit weird. Headaches, bad moods and tummy rumbles. I think it's due to my body craving sugar. I'm definitely not starving myself, but my body is used to having a constant stream of sugar and carbs being put in to it. Now it's not getting that, it's freaking out a bit. On the days I train jits it's not so bad because my mind is on the upcoming session on the mat and then afterwards I think about what I got done and what I'm going to do next time I roll. My brain's not thinking about food. But on a day like yesterday where I worked in the morning then chilled in the arvo on my couch watching the UFC, it gets real tough. I crave junk food real bad kfc! nachos! chips! coke!. But I've held strong..... so far.... but I'd choke my own mother for a Beefy pie and a 600ml coke right now.

C u on the mat,
Rex

Monday, January 31, 2011

Damn! I'm Part Of The Obesity Epidemic

So in keeping with the spirit of my blogs brutal honesty, I'M OBESE. Clinically obese according to my BMI. Now I don't put to much stock in BMI's due to it not taking in to account peoples body type. But i think it's a good indicator of how fat my arse is on a world recognized scale.

BMI 34 = OBESE

One of my goals this year is to get my weight down under 100kg. But now looking at the BMI I may have to tighten that number up to under 95kg so I'm only just overweight and not obese. I think it's a realistic goal. It will greatly improve my BJJ game and also help in lots of other areas of my life.

My weight loss so far


My first step in shedding some lard has been to keep track of what I'm eating. This has already given me some results. I've found that if I keep a diary of all the food I'm inhaling I tend not to eat as much. I've been using a free app I downloaded for my iPhone to track it all. It also counts the calories and tracks any exercises I do. I've been doing this for a bit over 2 weeks and I've lost about 2kg.
I'm trying to keep the philosophy of "energy in, energy out". BJJ burns quiet a lot of energy and if I had better access to my gym I would train everyday but I can only make training 2-3 times a week. So I really need to control my energy in on the days I'm not training.
Part of this years goals is to get my weight under 100kg for the first comp but the first comp of the year clashes with my son's birthday. So I can't compete. But I'm still going to prepare with the team like I am competing and I'll also cut the weight as if i was still competing as well. That gives me just over a month to lose 8kg.
With some determination and hard work I'll get it done.
C u on the mat,
Rex

Friday, January 28, 2011

Purple People Eaters

On Tuesday night this week one of our assistant instructors, an excellent training partner, good mate and fellow blogger at UnderhookIndustries graded to purple belt. His promotion has been coming for quite a while and as our head black belt instructor from Advance Brisbane said, all belt promotions in Jiu-Jitsu should be over due by the time you receive it.

The grading stuck with the tradition of our ironman style continuous hard wrestling. He was in the middle fighting off fresh guys for 60mins!! Amazing he didn't pass out. Not only did he not pass out, he was still pulling off beautiful jiu-jitsu techniques right up to the final roll against a Black Belt.
In my roll with him he had already faced 4 or 5 of our top white belts and I was the first blue belt to punish him. There is a very different feel in the gym grading night. It's almost that nervous kind of energy that you get at competitions. We are expected to really push the person grading no matter how tired they are. It is almost the only time that I go full tilt at my team mates in the gym. It's a weird feeling, kind of like fighting with your own brother. I felt bad pushing him so hard while he was clearly starting to wear out and feel the intense aussie heat but I did what I hope he will do to me when or if I ever grade to the next belt. Make me earn it.

video

With only one small break to run outside and have a chuck, he pulled through the best I have seen any one who has been through an AdvanceSC belt grading. He's the first purple belt to be graded to that level at AdvanceSC  and in my opinion he sets an excellent example of what an advance purple belt should be like.


In Australia, especially out side of the major cities, purple belts are few and far between. So much so that it is the rank of most BJJ gym owners and instructors in those areas. As time goes on though the rank of all the dedicated guys is getting higher and higher. When I first started 2 years ago, I thought purple belt was an unattainable goal for my self, because of the level those dudes are at and the dedication required to get there. But BJJ gets in your blood and becomes a passion and before you know it that distant level of ability doesn't look so far away. My mate the Purple People Eater gives me so much inspiration that I'm now sure I can reach my own BJJ goals. Congrats again MiniJitsu!!!
C u on the mat,
Rex

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Little Bit Of Redemption

Did the day training today. The trip down was such a massive effort. Traffic was crap so it added about 30mins to the trip. But it did give me plenty of time to think about my previous couple of training runs and what is going wrong with my rolling at the moment.
In my head I broke down all the things I've been doing right and wrong on the mat over the last month. By the time I got to the gym I had come to a couple of conclusions.

Firstly I need to relax a bit more and just react to what is happening in the roll rather than over thinking the moves and halting the flow of the roll.
Secondly I'm going to work out a position and a series of techniques to really focus on and specialize in.

Man that first conclusion really worked well for me today. I made some vast improvements on my previous rolls. I pulled off some of my half guard sweeps that I haven't used in ages, my transitions were a lot smoother, I was able to string together some nice techniques and I took the back in all my rolls. My coach even commented that I should of filmed these rolls instead of the one from Saturday. Yeah they would have made me look a lot better but if I hadn't had filmed those crap rolls and really analyzed where I'm at, I don't think I would have made the rapid improvements.
My second conclusion is going to be a bit of a work in progress until I decide what position and what specific techniques I want to specialize in. I think that if I have a 'go to' position with a few really tight techniques from there, my game will really benefit.
I like to play guard and try to be technical so I'm thinking one of the guard positions. Closed guard makes the most sense to me. it's a reasonably safe position with lots of options to submit or sweep. I will have a chat to my coach and see what he thinks my best area would be to specialize in.
I've been on a high all afternoon. Normally the hour long trip home after a session when I don't roll well is tough but when I have some fun rolls and use some of my techniques well like today, It really makes the trip home much more enjoyable.
Ahhhhh the Jiu-Jitsu high better than any drug I know!!
C u on the mat,
Rex

Monday, January 17, 2011

Warts & All

I feel like my training has hit a little plateau. I'm trying to add new moves to my arsenal with varying success. But I really feel like i'm not getting better.
I watched a video of my self rolling from the open mat Saturday and it's not pretty. I knew after the roll it wouldn't look good. It felt clunky. I thought about not posting this up and filming my self totally owning a newbie, but that would be dishonest. The team mate i'm rolling with is a really cool cat. He's on the verge of getting his blue belt and is currently training for his first mma fight. So here it is warts and all.


Here is my analysis of the roll.
11sec I went to my back way to easily from my pass.
30sec My deep half guard sweep was very lazy I needed to sit back on to my base much faster.
50sec I sat in turtle for way to long trying to catch his arm for the roll under sweep that I learnt at the Perosh seminar. This resulted in my mate getting one hook in.
1:06 When I went to shrug him off I forgot about my base and I rolled clumsily on to my back.
1:25 I then got that sweep from turtle i'm working on and set up the darce. My darce needs some work. 1:55 I could have sprawled my weight on to him more and got the tap much quicker.
2:29 I needed to sit my arse out much more when I went for the armdrag from butterfly guard. From half guard I was stalling a bit.
3:10 When I got closed guard I should have attacked more and really committed to throwing up that triangle.
3:25 I didn't grab the leg when I went for the sweep so it wasn't smooth.
3:50 When I had the back with one hook in I could have easily put the other hook in but I was too worried about my grips.
4:26 I got shrugged off way too easily and i missed a transition to an armbar while I was being shrugged off.
4:41 Got the Perosh sweep from turtle again, then when I went for the kimura from knee ride 4:56 I was way to loose on controlling his body.

Over view.
I'm not pulling off my techniques perfectly.  I go to my back to easily. I'm being a bit inactive from halfguard and closed guard. I need to push the pace more. I need to be much tighter.
The most obvious is that i'm really over weight. If i could get my weight down some more i'll move a lot better and have better flexibility i'm sure. I'm not transitioning to the next technique smoothly. I'm either stalling or rushing, not flowing.
I think I need to drill my old techniques as well as my new ones a lot more to keep my game sharp. A good way of doing this is by flow or slow rolling with a partner and trying not to pull the same technique twice. Really makes you think and reach deep in to your technical knowledge.

So although the footage is embarrassing due to my poor movement, poor techniques, lack of cardio and my fat ass showing towards the end of the roll. It's still a really good example of where my no-gi game is at the moment. It needs lots of work.
The journey continues.....
C u on the mat
Rex

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Will BJJ Help Me In A Zombie Apocalypse??


My town has been flooded for about a week. And one of the many well wishing txts i got from my mates got me thinking about something. Yes I'm safe from the flood waters but I'm not sure if I'll be safe if a Zombie plague breaks out.
Sure Zombies are slow, stupid, unco, and can be pulled apart with a bit of force. But one bite and you're screwed. So what skills do I have to fend them off?
The first thing I think of for Zombie defence is cardio. One has to be able to run good distance at a steady pace to keep ahead of a pack of hungry zombies and while I can run at a good pace I'd have trouble keeping it up for a long time in my current physical condition.
So I may have to go to the 2nd line of zombie defence, Shotgun. Hands down the best way to rid your area of pesky zombie hoards is a shotgun blast to the head, but unfortunately I don't own a shotgun.
3rd line of defence has to be a bat. One good crack upside the head with my Kookabura Big Bird cricket bat would dislodge an undead head real nice. But if i drop my bat,
Then it's 4th line of defence, hand to hand combat. Now things get tricky. In a normal fight I would throw some hands look for a takedown. and try to catch a submission but as slow unco and stupid as zombies are it only takes one bite.
Say I get a nice single leg takedown then pass his undead guard go straight to mount. Might work some ground n pound till he gives me an arm. Then I go for the armbar but I pull his rotting arm off and as I adjust and transition to the triangle he bites me on the doodle. I'm done for, even if I choke the shit out of him and elbow his head to pulp. I'm still intimately infected with the zombie plague.
Zombies 1 BJJ 0
Even though BJJ may not be use full in hand to zombie combat I still think my 2 years of BJJ training are not for nought. I'll be able to think clearly under pressure and use my functional strength that I have gained from grappling to help me survive in the apocalypse. But i think the kicking martial arts would be your best bet in hand to zombie combat. May be some Muay Thai or TKD to dislodge undead head with solid high kicks from a safe distance.
So what have I learned from all this,
1- I need to work on my cardio
2- I need a shotgun,
3- I should work my stand up more.

C u on the mat,
Rex



Zombie Cage Fighter!!

This Guy Uses His BJJ Against Zombies With Some Success (but he is a black belt)