Sunday, 2 September 2018

On The Mat Day 1031: Simple Takedowns

I've tried to get good at judo throws. I really have given it my best shot but I have come to the conclusion that I really needed to have started judo as a teenager to have any decent ability to throw my opponent, especially in Japan. Think of a 40 year old foreigner living in England and wanting to play in a football match against teenagers without any prior knowledge of kicking a ball in a net. That would be tough. Judo makes me prone to injuries and not many people start training in it after 40. I've also came to the conclusion that my time would be spent better elsewhere learning sneaky tricks and throws that are anti-judo such as the Russian tie and single/double legs, collar and arm drags and guard pulls that lead to instant sweeps. That's not to say that a 40 year old cannot start judo today. Just in Japan it leads to a lot of frustration and injuries. I am still trying to learn judo throws but from judoka who I trust and train BJJ with. Those techniques are usually limited to foot sweeps and not things like seoi-nage or tai-otoshi where there is more risk of injury or failure.

I've been messing about with Lightworks but the free version was crap in terms of output since it only allows 720dpi resolution. Humblebundle had a great deal of 30 dollars for Cyberlink Powerdirector as well as some of its other products and I snapped that up and have been getting to grips with making another video. Check it out below for an easy takedown that I use often.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

On The Mat Day 1027: Making BJJ youtube videos

So I thought I would try giving something back to the community. BJJ techniques are notoriously difficult to explain in words. They don't even have proper names for each technique as is the case with Judo. With this in mind, I decided to try making some technique videos. For over a year, I've already been creating sparring videos each time I go training at the club but I've never really edited them.

Here it is below.

I made it using the free version of Lightworks and it gave me an appreciation as to how much time it takes for people to edit Youtube videos. It got me so frustrated some times that I wanted to give up. However, I persevered and here it is. One of my favourite passes for the knee shield guard. Although I shot it in 4K, the free version of Lightworks only allows me to output it in 720p. Maybe if I continue to enjoy making videos I will buy the PRO version. I still have a lot to learn about the software.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

On The Mat Day 1025: Drilling Russian Tie-up

So I haven't posted in a while. It's a busy time right now during the O-bon holiday, everyone is traveling home and the weather is ridiculously hot. We've had a heat wave for what seems like 6 weeks where the highest temperature has been over 40 C. It makes it hard to train without air conditioning.

To avoid the heat of the day I've been training during the early morning on the weekend and on Tuesday evening after the sun has passed its peak. I've also had problems with my knee so have focused mostly on drilling during these classes. I've been to the hospital about my knee but that is a story for another day.

Last night we trained for 1 hour. This was broken up into 30 mins drilling and 30 mins sparring. I have been consistent in working on the Russian tie-up and transitioning to single-leg, sumi-gaeshi and fireman's throw. I try to use it to counter judo players because they are not used to the 2on1 grip. I've also invested in a new microphone which is semi-professional. The zoom h1n. It is excellent quality and sits on my desk as we speak. I'm also thinking about making more videos of commentary while sparring not only to give people tips but to also force myself to learn patterns.

See the video below. I hope it will help you in some way.

Monday, 2 July 2018

On the Mat Day 1006: First Black Belt Competition

I have been watching my calories for around 2 months now. Basically, since I got back from the UK. I shaved 500 calories off each day and ended up at 70.6 kg on the morning of the competition. I think I was around 75 kg back in April. Hovering over not being able to get into the Light category. My body feels super light right now.

No matter what people say about the IBJJF, their competitions are run with efficiency. My first match was just before 10AM. My opponent pulled guard and I jumped into half-guard with a cross-face. Then the referee stopped us because the clock was not running. A total reset. This time I pulled guard, tried butterfly sweeps, got passed and gramby rolled back into closed guard. My opponent stood up and because I like to think of BJJ as self-defense I immediately brought my feet to the floor to prevent slams (I know this would not happen in a comp) then my opponent pulled me into closed guard and rode out the time until he won from the pass. 3-0. I tried the Wilson Reis pass but it was a no go. I need to work on opening closed guard more but it's hard for me to do this on the knees with a busted knee.

The 2nd match I started off working to single-X and almost got a sweep. My opponent thwarted this attempt by driving back into me to take side control. I turned away to try a gramby roll again but he took my back. I escaped into his closed guard and there the match ended.

What did I learn from this? Once in closed guard it is hard to get out in a 5 minute match. Either prevent it from happening, combat base, or get good at opening it.

My last match for the absolute division saw me face a more seasoned yet smaller opponent. We actually looked closed to the same size since I was 70 kg. He pulled guard, tried dela Riva spider. I tried to work through it but was swept. I held onto his legs so he could not finish the sweep. He tried a footlock and I had to reply by releasing my hands and he got the sweep. He kept very good pressure with his knee locking my leg onto the mat so I could not shrimp. The match ended.

You know, I actually thought I would get smashed during my first tournament at black belt. Maybe this would be the case with younger guys but black belts my own age, seem well, not as tough as you might think. It was actually an eye-opening experience with regards to how I can withstand or counter stuff thrown at me by black belts my own age.

I just have to get my knee fixed and work back up to competing again and getting my first win at black belt. Stay tuned for that.

Things to do:
 1. Opening closed guard
2. Double or single leg after jumping down from closed guard when opponent stands
3. Improve delaRiva/spider passing.

Photos by Hasegawa-san.

 Photos from JBJJF website.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

On The Mat Day 1004: Losing Weight

Hey, I'm past the 1,000 lesson mark!

I've been dieting for over a month now. Since I got back from England in early April, weighing in at almost 75 kg, I've managed to drop to just under 72 kg. I've simply counted calories and tried to eat healthier. I got really sick of looking like a fat bastard with a growing tyre around my middle. I've noticed my shoulders look leaner and I feel lighter when sparring. It's also much easier to invert I have less meat on my abdomen. Saying that, it seems that fat around my middle has been the most stubborn to leave. I think it's an over 40s thing. I'll be competing at Lightweight on July 1 (under 76 kg) so I am easily there. I've probably gone a kg too far. I just want to keep on going to see if I can hit a lighter weight.

The Japanese climate can be very misleading. Today appeared to be a very mild cloudy day just after rainfall but training today was disgustingly hot. It's the humidity that gets to me. I can never get used to it. I start overheating like a hairy dog left out in the sun. Today after sparring with everyone, I switched to nogi. It's the sane thing to do. Our blue belts who attend the afternoon class are getting very good. It's a pleasure to roll with them. I see them improving each time, particularly escapes, and they are quite technical.

I also recently bought some gravity boots which I am about to put on now and hang upside down. I tried them out yesterday and will write a review on them soon.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

On The Mat Day 981: Eiji Mitsuoka Visits Our Club

I really feel beat all over today. Yesterday was a national holiday, Greenery Day (緑の日). I've no idea what it celebrates, but it means a crap-ton of people turn up at the club. Every sparring round was with either a black or brown belt for me and I feel like I've been driven over with a truck several times today. It's rare that I get a high level of folks to roll with since I go mostly in the day time.

Eiji Mitsuoka, MMA fighter, came to visit us since his relatives live in Handa. He is a friend of Tani who trains at our club. I think they used to wrestle together. He was a very strong purple belt. Not knowing how he would move, I kept him in closed guard for a while, nearly had my back taken, escaped, re-guarded, tried some things, ended up in the dog-fight position but was slow at blocking the knee and got returned to the mat with an uchi-mata then the round ended. I guess he felt like rolling with a strong judo guy. They usually have a strong base and favour the top position most.

It was good training and a much needed peek into how much I need to improve to catch up to the other guys.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

On The Mat Day 979: Promoted to Black Belt

On Sunday, we had the barbecue at the dojo to mark Golden Week as we do each year. F-Sensei brought it forward because it was James's last day until he flies back to the US, Arizona for good. He got his brown belt while I got my black belt. Sadly, since it was his last day in Japan, we never got to roll while wearing our new belts. I will perhaps never see him as a brown belt despite having spent the last 5 years training with him, discussing techniques and consoling each other over problems we are having. I consider him my jiu-jitsu brother.

So, I was promoted to black belt. For some people that may sound like a huge accomplishment. I know when I was just a few years into training I never envisaged myself wearing a black belt. It was always that Shangri-la on the horizon that I would probably never find. I almost faltered on my path too. Injury was the biggest hurdle to get over. I still don't know quite how I feel about attaining such a prestigious rank in BJJ. I'm neither joyous or frantic, I actually don't care anymore. There is still so much more to perfect, so many areas I want to improve. Takedowns, escapes, leglocks, submissions and passing the guard as well as maintaining it.

There have been really bad dark days when training and also amazing days where I felt I was floating. These days, good or bad, will repeat in the future. I've no doubt about that. I don't worry about being tapped as I once did, people pass my guard, white belt submits me, ex-judo guy throws me - don't care! I just keep on trying to improve and adapt, be better than I was yesterday.

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."
                                                      - Marcus Aurelius

Friday, 20 April 2018

On The Mat Day 975: Lose Some, Win Some

I just want to state that BJJ rolling is not about winning or losing, despite the title. It's about improving and discovering mistakes. I've been highly motivated recently. I think the fresh spring weather has helped. I've finally come out of my winter dormancy.

Today at class I sparred with gi and nogi. I tapped to a white belt choking me. I prefer that more than losing consciousness to a white belt choke. I got lazy and didn't respect the first hand deep in my collar. I should know better. A few rolls later I went nogi with my instructor and tapped him with a darce choke. I used the anaconda choke while he was turtled in front of me to roll him then had to use my legs to move his arm that was blocking me (I think I've seen this somewhere before and it's amazing that it came to me in that moment) to tighten it into a darce. I think he let me get the turtle to see if I would use the move of the day on him to be honest. After that he went on wiping the floor with me as usual. It's just a humbling lesson in the fact that anybody can tap anybody. I really like that.

I'm considering competing in July so trying to switch on into exercise mode to get my stamina up. Good luck to me!

Oh here is a song that somehow makes me want to train.

Monday, 5 February 2018

On The Mat Day 948: Takedown Lesson (Double Leg Takedown)

This is the 3rd lesson I've attended taught by T-Sensei. The lesson started with break falls. 20 to the back, 20 side to side and 10 to the front. The front ones, although done from the knees, are stingtastickly painful on the hands. The mat is cold and in fact during the morning 8AM drilling lesson the room was -1 Celsius! that slapping the mat in any kind of fashion is particularly discomforting. But we are all warriors here right?

Following the static break falls we moved onto break falls along the mat. This is similar in fashion to what Aikido practitioners do or Judoka for that matter. You roll forward on the "unbendable" arm and finish flat while slapping the mat and keeping both legs apart. T-sensei mentioned not to have the legs close together or stacked, nor to hit the mat with the flat of your foot. Both legs should be flat. Oh, and tuck your chin!

I'm pretty sure that's me at the back doing a forward break fall

Initial drills were wrestling switches. You face your partner and turtle while they grab you under the armpits. You then perform the switch. Grab their arm, post foot, duck the head out and spin to the back. There were a few alterations that I have not seen before in the technique. Namely, hugging their arm and leg as you duck out.

The next part was double leg takedowns. T-sensei showed how we have to get the timing of pushing and pulling the opponent before shooting in for the double leg. We basically practiced, push-pull timing, shooting in for double leg and finally a counter to being sprawled on. The points I picked up from T-sensei as he talked are below.
T-sensei controlling the inside space for the double leg

1. The double leg is performed from 相四つ (aiyotsu). If your left leg is forward, the opponent's left leg must also be forward.

2. To have a successful double-leg you must control the inside. That is, both your hands must be inside the opponent's. One on their arm and one on their head/neck area.

3. Your front leg must pass the heel of their front leg as you shoot in so you can drive forward enough.

4. The back leg must quickly move around in an arc as you drive forward.

5. Most people grab the back of the knees or clutch their hands together but this allows the opponent's legs to widen out and possibly back out so they can sprawl. Instead keep your arms extended and rotate them to face your palms outwards as your straight arms compress their legs together. The takedown is done by pushing their legs together (they should become knock-kneed) and hitting them with your chest.

6. Don't go in head first. Your chest should be hitting them on their quadriceps.

After this we did 1 minute specific drills for 5 rounds. Both people obtain aiyotsu position, one will shoot in for 1 minute while the other must try not to be taken down. This was hard. I enjoyed it a great deal but wow was it exhausting. I liked how T-sensei set it up when he said the tackler must be 100% committed to taking the opponent down. As soon as the opponent says go (by clapping their hands) the other should shoot in immediately. The defender only needs to stop the tackle and disengage to win. I felt myself floundering a lot and annoyed that when I became tired I dropped back to bad habits and not use the technique we were shown.

I really enjoyed the lesson and can't wait until the next one.

Friday, 19 January 2018

On The Mat Day 939: Chokes. Be Persistent!

As I train BJJ, over time common themes appear as I roll. Recently one thought that has popped into my head while rolling and securing a choke is that human's can be extremely stubborn. Particularly training partners when it comes to chokes. With joint locks people tend to tap quickly, and rightly so, because the result can be catastrophic if ignored. However, with chokes I've noticed that sometimes it doesn't feel quite in the correct position. It might be uncomfortable but the guy is not tapping.

When this happened in the past I would let go because I felt the technique was not perfect. You should realize by now, there is no perfect technique, just perfect timing while executing the move with a good level of technical ability. When the choke is on, hold it and allow it to sink into the opponent's neck. This doesn't mean that if it's not working, do it stronger and with more force! It means relaxing every part of your body except the choking grip and let it slowly do its job. Trust the technique.

Most of the time the opponent will eventually tap as their neck is no longer able to cope with the force of your arms or the kimono shrinking around their neck like a boa constrictor. A good rule of thumb is when you think you should give up on the choke, hold it for a count of ten. If it doesn't work even after that, move on to something else. If you can't hold it for 10 more seconds, work on your squeeze by doing pull ups.

Be Persistent with the choke. Especially when gravity is on your side.

Monday, 15 January 2018

On The Mat Day 937: Takedown Bi-Monthly Lesson (Single Leg Takedown)

I trained twice yesterday and am really feeling it today. I drilled in the morning, went to get some breakfast at a local coffee shop then returned to the dojo to take Tani-sensei's takedown lesson. He is a decorated wrestler and judoka and black belt in BJJ. I think it's been about a year since he moved to our club from the Barbosa Handa club.

Although I exclusively play guard I have always loved takedown and understand the need to know them so I can use them in the future or in turn teach them to somebody else. The focus of the lesson was on the single leg takedown from kenkayotsu (ケンカ四つ)or same side leg forward. We started with the basics of breakfalling, that is rolling into a breakfall, back, side and front. After everyone's hands were stinging from slapping into the cold mat Tani-sensei moved on to the single leg.

His explanations were long but full of knowledge of what to do and what not to do during a takedown. You can tell he is talking from experience. He showed the single leg entry, a standard pivoting takedown, counter to when they pull their leg away and bring it to the front and a counter for when they turn their back to you.

Notes I have in my head concerning advice for single leg takedown are as follows:

1. Never have 2 knees on the ground. You will get squashed. Always have at least one foot standing so you can drive.

2. You toes of your entry foot must be behind the heel of the opponent's leading foot after you have stepped into the tackle.

3. Don't keep pushing into the opponent once the leg is held because they will just hop around. Pull them into you and move back then pivot to take down.

4. Having their leg between your leg is good but having their leg in front of your chest area so you are approaching their back is more offensive and has more variety in what you can do to them.

We ended the drills with specific drill sparring. During 1 minute rounds, 1 person held the leg and had to take down while the other had to think about escaping. You had to keep trying for a full minute and resetting. The next minute was the other person's turn then we changed partners. I think it lasted for about 6 rounds in which we changed with different partners and it was exhausting.

I have to say that I was beat after doing the wrestling drills and then sparring until the end of class. I have a lot of respect for wrestlers and judoka. They grind away at these hard drills until they get really good. Since first starting BJJ, I always wanted to study takedowns like this. I fear though it may be too late to get out of bad habits and injuries might hold me back. I will try to put these into what I do when sparring though and look forward to the next lesson on the 21st of this month.

Monday, 1 January 2018

On the Mat Day 930: Happy New Year 2018!

So this year has been OK in terms of my improvement in BJJ. It's hit some high points and low points. There have been many times that I have felt I was getting worse but I think it's just the fact that everyone around me is getting better. The younger blue belts are getting tougher to spar with probably because their learning curve is so high and with a couple of years of BJJ training a young and athletic blue belt can give someone like me, who has 8 years experience, a hard time. This is normal particularly if they are training more frequently than me at a pace of 4-5 times a week compared to my 3 times a week.

Training more frequently will definitely up your game. As long as you train smart and are either trying new things or polishing your best moves. I'm at a point right now where I'm thinking about how to improve more efficiently, just as we want to roll more efficiently. I've considered more cardio training to help me roll longer. I've also considered adding an extra drilling/flow and specific sparring session per week. I definitely need to sort out my diet, I don't feel in shape at all. I will continue with the X-guard, single-X and butterfly guard route because it is working for my body type and is not as hard on my body. I'd also like to attend some judo classes and start out at an easier pace this time. I was just too gung-ho in the past, thus leading to injury.

Another thing I am considering is making mind-maps, I've actually already started. Perhaps even make some technique videos that tie in with this mind-map so I have a clear and definite picture of what I want to do in various situations.

Goals for 2018
(Keeping in basic)

1. Improve cardio and drop some weight

2. Rehab my knee with weights and machines to improve its stability

3. Attend the wrestling lesson from Tani-san

4. Improve leg-locks

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

On The Mat Day 922: Extra Activities

Today James and I added an extra hour before the morning class. The following was what we did:

1) 10 mins quick passing drills for warmup (it is Winter after all)
2) 10 mins each working on an attacking technique (mine was isolating arm in side control)
3) 10 mins flow rolling (increase stamina and quickness of thinking)
I did plan to do some time on weak areas but the time was up and class was about to start.

We are back on track doing this and hope it will accelerate our technique. I think it is super important you don't take the BJJ journey alone. Tag teaming with somebody will put 2 minds together to work on flaws, weaknesses and analyze problems. I think this is a necessity and makes the journey less lonesome.

I've been doing well with butterfly sweep using the belt as leverage. I have confidence enough to sweep pretty much anyone with it now. Today, I managed to butterfly sweep a guy who outweighs me by about 30 kg. Although, I failed to maintain top after the sweep (something to work on). I am astounded by how powerful this sweep is, in fact smaller guys are the only ones I find I have problems with because they are very nimble and will either base out with a leg somehow or immediately stand back up.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

On The Mat Day 916: What I am focusing on

We are soon moving into December here. The mat is getting cold and I've started getting slight frostbite on my toes. I'm actually enjoying BJJ more than ever right now because I know what to focus on. These are what I am doing right now.

  • Butterfly Guard
  • Single-X Guard
  • X-Guard
  • Leglocks
In no particular order I am trying to improve these 4 parts of my game. I've discovered they are less likely to cause an injury or exacerbate current injuries, namely my knee and neck. They also tie in really well with each other. I don't know why I didn't start doing these guards earlier. I will also sometimes use 50/50 but its more of a safety net for me to use so I can slow the opponent down.

I've also been training in both gi and nogi by an equal amount which I really enjoy. My philosophy is that you need to do both.

The only area I really need to get working on is my nutrition and building stamina. It's constantly on my mind. Right now I can be efficient in rolls with younger less experienced guys but put me up against somebody who is equal or better than me and has more gas in the tank and I get smashed. I like to get smashed though, it makes me want to train harder.

Some images below courtesy of K and F-sensei.

Sparring with Yayoi, I should have better foot position

Sparring with James in my sexy new Adidas rashguard

Thursday, 16 November 2017

On the Mat Day 911: Couple of Brown Belts in the Mix

Wednesday morning class is getting good. We have a few regulars now. Mostly people who work nights and then drop in before going home or work for the government or in the service industry so have the day off.

I had a couple of brown belts to spar with which is always great because it pushes me to do better and examine my skill set. Here I am sparring with both of them.

As you would expect, they both have good pressure. A solid passing game and quick to react with sweeps. I simply try to use butterfly guard or single-X now as any savvy BJJ player can see from the photos. This takes a lot of pressure off my bad knee and allows me to continue sparring. I find it hard to use lasso guard and Z-guard because of the danger to my knee. These 2 guards were instrumental in my development from blue belt so I have basically had to re-design my game from the ground up since getting back on the mats last October.

My motivation is fairly high considering the cold snap we have now. My brain constantly turns over thinking about weaknesses I have when in certain situations. It can be really hard to turn off my thoughts.
With Tsuzuki
With Hasegawa

Saturday, 14 October 2017

On The Mat Day 897: The Path to Leglocks

Despite having a busted up knee, one that moves out of alignment when simply looking at it, I have been persisting with learning leglocks. The Modern Leglock Formula has really helped me delve deeper into the leglock game. It basically maps out all the leglock positions, outside ashi, standard ashi, 4-11, 50-50, discusses how to hold the position, entries, digging into the submission and how to finish. It even has a DVD for defense against leglockers. There is just so much content to get through but I've learned so much in the limited time going through it so far. I think I've also received a small level up having rolled with Imanari a few weeks ago. You just have to get a feel for how an expert leglocker goes about his business.

After a few weeks of minimum sparring and trying to strengthen my legs with squats and Turkish getups I've been sparring a few times. Things went well until I sparred on Wednesday and my knee came out of joint again. It's basically a common thing now, just a ticking time bomb. I can spar rounds for a few weeks then it will suddenly tell me to go fuck myself and dislocate. I really need to get it sorted this month so I dug out my hospital card to make an appointment Monday. I should keep a log of how that goes.

Anyhow, here are a few pics from sparring Wednesday.
Twister, yup, looks nasty but I assure you sir, I apply it extremely slowly

Reverse leg triangle on Yayoi. She's like a Tazmanian Devil so I have to use any means necessary to slow her down.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

On the Mat Day 891: Imanari Seminar

Me, the only one with hair
This isn't the first time I've met Masakazu Imanari. He was kind enough to let me take a photo with him a few years ago. This time, however, he did a seminar at our club. The reason he came all the way to Nagoya from Tokyo? Well, my instructor and him both received their black belt from Marco Barbosa.

Our dojo is really big for Japan but it felt surprisingly full on the day, also hot and sweaty. I was expecting Imanari to have us doing a lot of running around and physical stuff at the beginning but thankfully he only asked us to do leg pumps to the left and right, sort of like a gymnastica naturale movement. Just to get our hips warmed up.

He showed us the following techniques:
  • Imanari roll from sitting
  • Rolling from side to side while sitting
  • Crouching side on against the opponent and doing Imanari roll
  • Front ankle lock
  • Front ankle lock with both legs controlled and switch to the other side
  • Butterfly guard with kimura grip, invert into 4-11 leglock position

I think there were a few more things he showed in between but it went on for 2 and a half hours so I was a little addled by the end. He gave us lots of time on each technique which I appreciate because I often get lost when shown too many techniques in one sitting.
Everyone who came for leg crippling fun

I noticed that he is really fast at the Imanari Roll as you'd expect and he really elevates high on his shoulder with the leg whipping around to create momentum. The hand behind the knee really pulls hard to topple the opponent. The front ankle lock he showed was a bit sneaky in that it appears to be a straight ankle lock but in fact the foot is extended like a ballerina foot with pressure moving the tip of the toes outwards. To get an effect of this, completely straighten your leg with your toes pointed and slowly make your pinky toe point outwards. Imagine Imanari is grabbing that leg and its locked in place. I think you get the picture how much it would hurt. One other thing was that when doing the straight ankle lock, his legs don't just simply bite down but the inside leg pushes while the outside leg pulls.

He was really cool at the end allowing whoever wanted to spar with him. The timer was set for 2 minute rounds and I think I must have been the 3rd person to roll with him. I have to admit I was a little frightened for my legs but he went easy on me and I tapped really fast. He allowed me to wrap up into a straight leglock and he countered with the Dean Lister toe hold near the crotch area. It hurt a lot and I tried to spin out of it but to no avail. I tapped about 4 times in the space of those 2 minutes but it was really fun to go against somebody of his calibre.

There was talk of him coming again next year. I hope so. I will work on leglocks as much as I can from now. If you ever get the chance, and are interested in leglocks, I recommend Imanari-san's seminar because you just have to feel how strong the technique is from a master.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

On The Mat Day 886: Leglocks

Things have been tough with work recently and with the North Korean missile looming over Japan I've been feeling a lot of stress. I went to class today feeling tired, probably from being stressed out and came away feeling refreshed. I read on the reddit/BJJ board somebody asking whether you ever get tired of BJJ? Well I do, for sure. It's hard work going mano-e-mano against someone. But it has the benefit of being able to just go into the club for an hour or so and focus on nothing else but the technique you are doing. The world outside just disappears and I am totally focused on what I am doing at the moment. I think a lot of people have the problem of not being able to live in the present. I know I do. Doing BJJ brings me back to the point in time where I am existing at that moment. That's why I can never quit doing it, despite the injuries, the pain that comes with it and the hard summers and winters training.

I've been slowly going through the Modern Leglock Formula. I'm sort of savouring every small piece of it and not rushing through it. I'm currently working on Standard Sankaku, Top Sankaku and Outside Sankaku. The tips on maintaining control of the opponent seem to be paying off as I am gaining confidence in simply holding my opponent in the leglock position and not going for submission. It's weird I suppose. To a layman it looks like I'm entangling my legs then just sitting there while my opponent (usually a lower belt for now) strains at getting out of the position.

Leglocks seems to be pairing up well with butterfly and single X that I am using now. I'm really enjoying changing up my game to something that stops people putting a lot of weight on me. I'm also doing nogi so I don't get my knee hurt again. Next month, I will take a trip to Mitsubishi hospital to get my knee sorted out. That will probably go on for months.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

On The Mat Day 875: Rare Night Training

I went to train last night with James. It's super rare that I train at night but since there is a 10 Celsius degree temperature drop from the afternoon class I decided to go at night. Even so, sweat was just dripping off me and my Scramble Rebel pants were dark black from sweat by the end.
Getting underhooked by Tete, looking for butterfly hook to get out of trouble
I only sparred 4 rounds then used the Bulgarian bag to do lunges in attempt to strengthen my knee. I'm super careful when sparring but once I get tired I have to be very wary of not getting injured again. When I am fresh I can concentrate on keeping my knee out of trouble but once I hit that stamina wall I have to stop for now.

I was told by James and K-sensei that Imanari Masakazu will come to our club to do a seminar. Hopefully he will show us leglocks and I am really looking forward to it. Be nice to get a signed DVD or some memorabilia. I think they have set a date for September 24th. Both my instructor and Imanari have the same instructor in Marco Barbosa who awarded them both black belt.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

On the Mat Day 873: Private Lesson

Yup, I'd try it if it cut down the Cicada population
So I haven't been able to get to training much during the latter half of this month. I've been swamped with work. There have been other factors that have kept me away as well such as not enough sleep, my poor beaten up knee and lack of motivation. Now that we are deep into summer, each morning I am woken up around 5.30am by the sound of cicada. The sound is just overwhelming and I often wonder if it will make me crazy someday, just like the Chinese water torture. I hate the sound, not only does it make me feel hot, it makes me want to go outside and cut or burn down the trees near my house - maybe I am going crazy after all.

I went to train on Thursday morning since it was unusually cool after some passing storms. Unfortunately I was the only person who turned up. Wednesday seems to have a good turnout and means lower numbers on Thursday. This might have actually been good luck because F-sensei asked me what I wanted to work on. I told him I am really into butterfly guard right now and he promptly went on to show me how he operates in the guard he uses all the time during sparring. He went over getting a standing opponent into butterfly guard (something I have problems with), dealing with close passing using the butterfly hook and reverse shrimping, John Wayne sweep (why is it called this? anyone?). He went on to tell me he actually doesn't mind if someone underhooks his far arm when they are passing him, as long as they don't control his head he has no problems sweeping or getting out of trouble. He showed me a few tricks from half-bottom to recover from being underhooked.

Because I love leglocks and am interested in learning a system, I just ordered the Moden Leglock Formula DVD from Stephan Kesting's grapplearts. In the past I have ordered the Spider Guard Masterclass and enjoyed it, although I don't focus on it right now. Hopefully this DVD has a few tricks and great drills I can work on. I will honestly devote a year of entirely doing leglocks if I find it has the material to help me do that. Can't wait till it arrives.