Yesterday was a big days training for me, I headed to Gracie Barra for the afternoon ‘advanced’ session and I was pushed to my limit. All of the guys know I’ve got the summer off and they’ve been briefed that I’m to be pushed. I was a few minutes late and because of this I got told off and made to do 40 press ups (not the best start).
The lesson itself was based around the guard. We always work on take downs at the start of the sessions so instead we started on correct posture when jumping to guard; foot in the hip, sit onto your bum and pull the sleeve while pushing your foot into your opponents hip. From here we then learned the transition into the ‘De La Riva’ guard. The great thing about the Gracie Barra instructors is they also show the counter to the ‘De La Riva’ guard which is to step in and squat for a strong base. We drilled the whole sequence of movements over and over again because it’s the best way of getting in your head (especially for me).
Now it’s time for the sparring session; now I’m a big guy and I can control someone if I’m on top pretty well. So I set myself a challenge for these afternoon sessions, I’m going to let people gain the stronger positions. Sounds good right? No! I was bloody destroyed at first because these guys are in the advanced sessions for a reason (they are friggin’ good). It took me a while to settle in but it made me react quicker and move my hips more which is what I needed. After the session I was very dehydrated and went home to literally sit in the shower!
After a few hours recovery it was time to get back and join in with the 6pm session which was taken by the legend himself Braulio Estima. Braulio has been away for a few weeks with Roger Gracie preparing George St Pierre ready for his fight with Nick Diaz as well as making his own prep for the upcoming ADCC competition. We started with a wrestling double leg takedown shooting onto the knee, driving your other leg behind your opponent and while lifting and pushing your head into your opponents body you twist and take him/her down to land in side control. I’m kinda crappy at freestyle takedowns because my size is more suited towards Greco style but this was fine. Takedowns knacker me out quickly so I was happy to settle into the ground work after a few rounds.
Braulio worked on the basics of guard passes and carried on from the afternoons session of countering the ‘De La Riva’ guard. Braulio taught us a two on one grasp of the opponents foot which was then moved into a tight guard pass. Braulio has a great way with his instruction and his BJJ is simple but effective which is what Helio Gracie wanted with the style.
Today I’m in a great load of pain for pushing so hard but it’s been a good learning technique for getting a big guy like me to move and remove themselves from their comfort zone. This is definitely something I’m going to keep trying in my training in the hope that my hips will become quicker and my movement more fluid.