Alto e Baixo

November 13, 2012

Ola!

Had an interesting two weeks of training.  The week of 10/28 I trained twice during the week, not my usual Tuesday/Saturday schedule and had a rough go of it.  The technical part of class was great, but the sparring afterwards was bad.

I couldn’t connect what my mind wanted to my body.  I reacted slowly to attacks and missed major opportunities to escape or sweep that were so wide open I could have driven an 18-wheeler through them.  Got pwned like a noob by my training partners.  Left my class both times and shook my head as to why nothing was working.
Then, last week I hit an upswing.  Again, I trained on Tuesday/Thursday and did really well.  On Tuesday I tapped 1 of my partners and did really well against other.  On Thursday I sparred with a new guy to our school who is a 1-stripe BB (same as me) and I did really well against the guy.  I tapped him a few times and despite his athleticism I was able to control him without using much strength.

I’m going on the same schedule this week so we’ll see how I do tonight.  Hopefully, the mind and body are going to work together.

The new schedule isn’t permanent.  It’s the result of my wife and me hosting Thanksgiving this year so we’ve been doing a lot of prep work on the weekends.  Given that it’s Thanksgiving next week this weekend is when we need to get a lot of stuff done.  So I’ll train during the week to leave the weekend open for errands.

Chau e bom dia!

Semana Fácil

October 29, 2012

Ola!

Had an easy week of BJJ.  Due to some commitments I only trained on Thursday, but I made the most of it.  We worked on defending a sucker punch, to a take down, to the mount and applying an arm bar from the mount.

I wasn’t as smooth as I have been in the past with my transition from mount to the armbar.  I think I was doing it too fast and my technique suffered.  I better pay attention to that in future classes.

Knowing that I wouldn’t be training I spared with 2 of our highest belts.  BrnB Vince and PB Ian.  They are both monsters to roll with in every aspect of the game.  They are both a deadly mix of strength and technique.  Trying to break PB Ian’s guard is like trying to break the guard of an Ent (see Lord of the Rings).  BrnB Vince is like a spider in the guard.  His legs and arms go everywhere and neutralize you.  He doesn’t even have to use his hands if he chooses.  It’s quite the challenge.  So I took it on.

I have to say that I didn’t do too bad.  I effectively passed PB Ian’s guard a couple of time and even avoided 2 triangle attempts by him.  A feat which is not easily accomplished.  With BrnB Vince I spent a lot of time fighting off his attacks while in mount.  A lot of attacks.  I ended up on the bottom of his mount because of his sweeps from the guard.  I couldn’t stop his sweeps no matter what I did.

I got tapped by them a couple of times, but I can’t remember how many.  It doesn’t matter.  What’s important is that I learned something.  I should trust my techniques.  Those techniques that worked really worked and I need to believe in them more.

How was your week?

Inspiração

October 22, 2012

Ola!

Had a great week of jiu-jitsu.  First, the Metamoris Pro event happened last week and it inspired me and because of that inspiration I had a great week at BJJ.

I’m sure everyone and their mother has written about it and analyzed it until it doesn’t exist any more.  I’m sure everyone’s talking about the “controversy” surrounding Andre Galvao’s statements after the match.  So I won’t get into it that much, but here are my quick thoughts.

The good:

Jiu-jitsu.  When you have the top of the top competing the result is a beautiful jiu-jitsu.  The technique was amazing to watch and I thought the match ups were perfect.

The production (in part).  I liked that it was one mat with great camera work above and on the side to capture all the action.  One of my big frustrations with the broadcasts of BJJ and Judo events is that there are so many matches going on you tend to miss some things and see others.  During the Olympics, NBC would only broadcast the Judo part online and I had to log into 2 different screens to see both mats.  It’s hard enough to watch one judo match imagine watching 2 going on at the same time?

The bad:

The production (in part).  First and foremost was starting the show 40 minutes after it was supposed to start.  I’m not surprised since this organization is run by Brazilians.  The are notorious for being late.  In fact they live by a saying “Why do today what you can pay someone to do the day after tomorrow.”  However, that is no excuse.  Not really a good way to get things going.  5 minutes is one thing or even 10 minutes might be forgivable, but 40 minutes is inexcusable.  And when it went live the audio feed was in Spanish and then all of a sudden you hear Rener and someone else talking saying something like “They can’t hear me…”  Ouch.
There were too many odd transitions from a promo video to a match to a recap video.  After a match they would cut to Rener and the other guy (I never got his name) sitting there awkwardly and then they would realize they were on camera and they would speak.  Also, during one of the matches the play-by-play team’s mics were off so all you heard was the crowd and the coaches.  Then, the mics were turned on and it sounded like they were whispering.

The controversy:

Everyone has an opinion so about Galvao’s comments after his match with Ryron Gracie.  The only thing I have to say is that if you agree to rules of a fight you can’t complain about them afterwards.  He didn’t help his case when he tweeted a complain the next day.

I’m still a fan though and I’m looking forward to more of Galvao’s competitions in the future.

The inspiration: Ryron Gracie.  He took on a fierce competitor and hung with him.  That’s pretty awesome in my book and it inspried me.  I just got it into my head that I need to approach rolling with the same calm that Ryron did in his match with Galvao.

Just relax and go with it.  And that’s what I’ve been doing.  On Thursday I went to class and partnered up with a new WB named Mark.  He is super aggressive because he’s pretty fit and he still doesn’t understand the philosophy of BJJ yet (no different than any new white belt) and I just flowed with him and tapped him when the opportunity presented itself.

He would let him pull guard and sweep me to mount, I would escape, get to side mount or full mount and tap him.  I controlled him when I needed to and would be as efficient with my movements as I could be and wouldn’t force a submission at all.  And it worked.  That in my book is a good roll.

Then on Saturday I went with 3 different guys, all new PBs for 8 minutes each and hung with them as well.  I didn’t tap any of them, but they didn’t get me either.  I focused on being relaxed even when the situation was dire.  I paid attention to any tension in my body and let it flow out of me.  I escaped an arm bar, two triangles and a bunch of collar chokes from the mount.

On a regular day I would have been tapped a bunch of times, but that didn’t happen and I owe it to the inspiration I received from Ryron.  GJJ all the way!  :)

Did you train?  How did it go for you?

Chau e bom dia!

Dia de Promoção

October 14, 2012

Ola!

Today was a great day.  The reason?  We had a great class and 4 guys got promoted to Purple Belt.  That was awesome!

Today we worked on the defense against a bear hug.  I worked with a new WB named Tab.  He’s young and fortunately he’s careful.  He goes slow, pays attention and learns quickly.  It makes for good practice in a couple of ways.  First you get to walk through the techniques very slowly.  Second of all you get some experience teaching everyone.

I know there’s a lot of b.s. out there about self-defense jiu-jitsu versus tournament-style jiu-jitsu.  It doesn’t matter.  At the end of the day it’s about how well you’re taught the techniques.  Have a wife who is a teacher I can firmly attest with rank definitiveness that the teacher is the most important part of learning.

I haven’t always been comfortable with teaching anyone.  I don’t feel that I’m good enough at Jiu-Jisu so I have this mental block that you shouldn’t teach it unless you’re good at it.  And because I haven’t been comfortable with the idea I never think it through.  Maybe I should take a private with my instructor and get tips on how to explain things.  One thing our instructor is great at is teaching Jiu-Jitsu.
Anyway, we went to the ground and worked on sweeping someone from the guard to mount, applying an armbar if the sweep fails and then applying an omoplata if the armbar fails.  Good stuff.  It was great connecting on e technique to the other.

At some point our instructor left the room and comes back demanding that we all line up.  He walks over and hands Purple Belts to 4 of my friends.  No one knew about it.  No one saw it coming and it was awesome.  Well deserved.  It was a great way to end the day.  Really proud of my friends and it inspired me to keep working and getting better.

Hope you all had as an inspiring a day as I had.  Have a great weekend!

Chau e bom dia.

Preciso Mais Treinamento

September 30, 2012

Ola!

Planning season at work is almost over so my evening time is opening up and I can get back to training.  In fact I was able to train twice this week, which hasn’t happened in a while.  Once I present my plan in a week I’ll have way more time available to train.

And more training is exactly what I need, which is why the title of this post is “I need more training.”  Not so much on specific techniques, but I need to get more rolls in at the end of class.  Now, I have the excuse that I was getting back into rolling slowly due to my injury, but now I need to flip the switch and roll at least twice.

I just have to be selective when it comes to my training partners.  I don’t need to re-injury myself.  This week I was fortunate to have a good group of guys at class so I was able to get multiple rolls in.  However, I can see that my timing is WAY off and I am stuck in a strategic rut.

My defense is still strong, I’m not getting tapped a lot, but my attacks are awful.  Literally awful.  I can’t get a choke in to save my life.  I’m even having trouble transitioning from side mount to full mount.  I keep getting swept or my training partner gets back to full guard.   It’s just a matter of putting the time in and I think I’ll get my rhythm back.

Other than that classes have been good.  We’ve been spending a lot more time on standing techniques, which is interesting.  On Thursday we did nothing but take downs for 30 minutes.  Then, we worked on applying an arm bar after the take down.  Those types of lessons really help you focus on your movement and making them smooth.

I have to say that I’m very good at controlling my body when I move my legs into position to lockdown my opponent and maintain control of his arms.  Also, I’ve gotten way better at sliding backward.  Before I would kind of “fall” off my opponent to then lean back and apply the technique; however, now I slide off and the entire technique looks smoother.

On Saturday we worked on applying a guillotine from standing should an attacker try to take you down.  You sprawl, wrap your arms around his neck, stand up and squeeze.  Very efficient way of applying the technique and ending a fight if you ask me.

Then, we worked on:

Collar Choke from the mount

Applying an armbar from the mount should your opponent try to push you off of him.

Applying a wristlock should your opponent try to wiggle his arms out of yours while applying the armbar.

Very basic and effective stuff and I think a very thorough class.  Our Instructor kept asking us to ask questions to get these techniques correct.  Getting into all that detail really helped.  It was great.  It lead to a lot of good questions like “What do I do should my opponent try to bump me off when I apply the wristlock?”  A lot of us blue belts (blues were the highest level in the class that day) didn’t even think about that so it was good to go over it.

All in all a great series of classes this week.  Looking forward to next week because I think our Instructor wants to work on passing the guard for a couple of classes.

Hope you all had a great week of training.

Chau e bom dia!

Bom Dia!

September 16, 2012

Ola!
Once again work has gotten in the way and I had to prioritize projects over posting.  Fortunately, I have been able to train and am slowly getting back to my regular schedule of 2x a week.

Classes have been similar as our instructor has been focusing on passing the guard.  He feels a bunch of us aren’t using proper technique and wants to see some improvement.  I like when we train on the same technique for several classes.  It gives you plenty of opportunity to break down what you’re doing and get better at it.  I’ve felt pretty good with my guard passing, now I feel even better.

Rolling hasn’t been that good.  I’ve struggled a lot.  Given my time away from the mats due to my injury my timing is off and I’ve forgotten how to set up chains of techniques and get ahead of my training partner.  It’ll come back, just need more time.

Saturday’s class was really good.  We had too many new guys so we didn’t work on guard passing, but worked on a few basic attacks from the mount.  No big deal there, but then I sparred afterwards and did pretty good.

PB Steve and me went for 8 minutes and he tapped me 3 times, but overall I was OK with how I performed.  I felt like I was getting my rhythm back.  Then, I partnered up with BB Kevin and went for another 8 minutes.  Kevin’s a 4-stripe BB and very close to getting promoted; his technique is very good and he’s very strong.  I expected to struggle with him, but wanted to challenge myself.

I don’t know what happened, but things started working for me.  I defended really well and although I never tapped him Kevin only tapped me once.  That NEVER happens when I roll wit him.  It’s usually 4 or 5 times before the buzzer goes off.  This time I defended myself pretty well and even escaped an armbar.  Not bad for me.  Felt real good.

Hopefully, the same thing will happen on Tuesday.  I’ll keep you posted.  Hopefully, you had a good weekend of training.

Ciao e bom dia!

Desculpa-la

September 2, 2012

Ola!

I have to apologize for the prolonged silence.  It’s planning season at work so I have been slammed with work.  Also, a vacation to Scandinavia took up a lot of time.

Although I was on vacation, that doesn’t mean I didn’t train.  I had the honor of training with Christian Graugart, the BJJ Globetrotter!  If you haven’t heard of Christian, he is a Black Belt who has a blog called Zhoozhitzu do Graugardo.  He created a 2nd blog called BJJ Globetrotter where he posted a sign “Will teach BJJ for food and shelter.  Various individuals and schools contacted him to have him out to teach and he ended up going around the world 6 months.  Christian lives in Copenhagen, Denmark where he teaches at a school, http://www.csa.dk.

I heard of him when he was interviewed on the Fightworks Podcast and as I knew I would be in Copenhagen I would see about going to his school and take a class.  Christian was more then welcoming and we traded e-mails back and forth right up to the day before I left.

He is a very good guy and great instructor.  It was a great experience; couldn’t have been better.  I’m so happy to have done it and would do it again in a heart beat.

I got to his school and they couldn’t have been more nicer.  They invited me to go to the changing area and then get on the mats to warm up.  We went through warm up drills, which included shrimping across the mat, alligator walks (I think that’s what they are called) and then we worked a lot on neck warm ups and then got to drilling.

We worked on maintaining the mount and then one technique to escape it.  Then, we did open sparring and I got to spar with Christian.  It was awesome.  He was so fluid and athletic.  It’s not something I’m used to because we only have 1 BlkB at my school, which is my instructor, and he doesn’t regularly spar with whites and blues.  He mainly spars with our upper belts (which is fine, don’t have an issue with it, his school, his rules).

Anyway, obviously Christian owned me like I wasn’t even there, but that’s OK.  The best part for me was sparring against his students and holding my own.  I was able to maintain the mount effectively and in the sparring sessions tapped a few of his students with collar chokes from the mount and one arm bar.

When I got back to my hotel I couldn’t get the smile off of my face.  It was so great; such a great experience.  The more I travel the more I will make an effort to go to more schools.  Especially throughout Europe.

Since coming back I’ve been training at school and have been struggling a bit.  I’ve hit one of those walls you get in BJJ.  I’m sure I’ll come through it, but it’s going to be a process.

Hopefully, you all have been training and getting better.  Enjoy labor day!

Chau e bom dia!

Treinamento Duro

July 22, 2012

Ola!

I haven’t been able to train for a bit because I was working on a HUGE project for work and it totally consumed my days, nights and weekends.  I finished the project yesterday and went to train today.

Our instructor was on a kick this week about getting better at basic self defense techniques so we trained on nothing but escaping a headlock.  I only did half the class out of concern for my injury, but it was great nonetheless and hard.  Escaping a headlock when you’re starting from a standing position is quite grueling.  Within 10 minutes I was sweating and I could feel my neck taking a beating.

When open mat was called I partnered up with my friend, BB Mikey and we got to business.  The round was set for 8 minutes and we went back and forth for a while.  I was happy with the fact that I remembered my defensive techniques really well.  It actually didn’t feel like I have been off the mat for 8 months.

I did get tapped by Mikey’s triangle that I was late in defending, but that was it and that’s fine by me.

I was excited to get home though as my home traction kit came in.  It functions via pneumatics and works great.  I used it for about 12 minutes and will make it something I do going forward at least once a month or after a class where we work the neck a lot.  Wish me luck.

Hope you all had a good training session this week!

Chau e bom dia!

Premeiro Combate

June 30, 2012

Ola!

Today’s class was really good.

We started with defending yourself from a standing guillotine.  You grab the wrist of your attacker’s arm that is around your neck and lift your head up to create space and relieve pressure on your neck.  Your other arm goes over your attacker’s shoulder and as they lift you, you hang your weight and wrap your left leg around his leg.  Doing that makes you difficult to lift and your attacker will eventually get tired from trying to hold your body weight.  As he puts you down you come around to his side (the side where your arm is wrapped over his shoulder) and then use your leg to bend his knee thus rendering him off balance.  Thank you take him down to his back with you in side mount.  Put all your weight on your shoulder that is into his neck and weight.  Eventually he will let go (unless he’s an idiot and he wants to pass out).

It’s a great self-defense technique because it relies on no strength at all and puts you in a dominant position after being in what could be a really bad position for you.

We continued with this self defense process by defending punches from the guard.  If you’re new to this blog you can check my prior posts about how to do it.  It’s great.  I actually pulled it on my wife when she tried to attack me for  making fun of her.  She completely freaked out.  It was great.  She kept screaming “GET OFF OF ME! LET GO!!!”  It was too funny.  Fortunately, she didn’t force me to sleep in the other room.

We then worked on transitioning from defending a punch to a kimora and them from a failed kimora attempt to an oma-plata.  I think that’s the most beautiful thing about jiu-jitsu.  You can link so many moves together in this unending chain.  If you miss something you can transition to something else and on and on and on.

If you think about it, in a self-defense situation that’s really important because you never know which way it’s going to go.  It’s not like an MMA fight with a referee who will penalize your opponent if he breaks the rules.

After class was ended I decided to spar for the first time, which is why the title of this post is “first fight.”  I sparred with my good ol’ buddy PB Steve.  I knew he wouldn’t go nuts on me and set me back with another neck injury so we went really slow and technical.  It was great.  He tapped me 3 times in 10 minutes, but that’s fine.  It felt like riding a bike.  I was a little off balance, but I was still able to remember the myriad techniques I’ve learned over the last 4 years.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t them all correctly or that I was awesome or anything, but I wasn’t completely killed either.  Overall a great class and so far I don’t feel any pain.  My neck is sore, but it’s the normal soreness from training these types of techniques.  I keep forgetting to schedule time with a local PT/chiropractor.  He uses traction therapy as part of his process, which I was to put to use.

Either that or buy a home-traction kit, which seems pretty easy to use since it’s based on pneumatics versus electronics.  We’ll see.

Hope you all had good training sessions this weekend and that you all have a Happy 4th of July.

Volte a Tatame

June 29, 2012

Ola!

It has been a REALLY long time since I’ve posted.  I herniated my disc back in October and stopped training completely.  I did rehab for 2 months and was released.  However, my doctor told me that herniated discs can take between 6 and 8 months to heal so I did not return to training.  Instead I took my rehab exercises and performed them in a gym with free weights.  And I did that twice a week until the end of May.

Then, I returned to the mat the first weekend in June.  That’s why the title of this post translates to “I returned to the mat.”  The cool part is that it rhymes in Portuguese.  LOL!

Anyway, I am not training full out.  I am only working on the technical part of the class and that’s it.  If anything that we train looks like it’ll put strain on my neck like guard passing I don’t do it.  Partly because I still want some time to heal and partly because I’m scared.

I know, I know I sound like a wuss, but that’s OK.  One thing I always remember is that aging never stops.  And injuries that don’t heal properly always come back to bite you when you’re older.  I want to keep training until I’m in my late 90′s so taking the time to heal now will pay off in the end.  I’m just going to take things easy and slow for now.  Jiu-Jitsu isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.  I’m in no hurry.

So far our classes have been focusing on real basic techniques like armbars from the guard and transitioning from an armbar to an omo plata, which is great.  One class involved escaping the mount and I did it for a bit and everything seemed OK.

I’ve felt a little sore all over afterwards, which is normal for not having trained for so long, but also my back has been fine.  It’s sensitive, but I haven’t had any issues.  This makes me happy because it tells me I’m doing things right.

Eventually I’ll get back to sparring, but not for a while and only with guys I trust.  I don’t need to get hurt again.

Any of you suffer any injuries recently?  How did you handle it?

Chau e bom dia!


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