Things are starting to click!

Just got back from an afternoon advanced session at Gracie Barra Birmingham and I’m feeling pretty smug with myself! We started the lesson going through the ‘De La Riva’ guard which I for one am not at all comfortable with. I was training with a blue belt with quite a bit more experience than I and he was happy to assist me in improving my guard. After the teaching session we went into sparring; first positional and then open sparring. I took my Saulo Ribero Jiu Jitsu University book with me to Germany and scanned through it a few times noting things I’d like to try. I also downloaded a few podcasts from iTunes by Budo Jake. One of the podcasts was an interview with Andre Galvao who Jake interviewed and went through a simple but effective guard sweep. Which brings me back to today’s session; I managed in sparring to use this specific sweep numerous times on various classmates. I have through the summer been focussing escaping bad positions and it’s really improved my game. So as we’re close to the end of August it’s time to focus on a new transition; my new focus now in training for the next few weeks will be guard passing and sweeps from the guard.

I’ll keep you informed!

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A break from training

Last week I was in Germany visiting my other half’s family. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t that excited about going because I’ve been enjoying training so much and I didn’t want it to be interrupted. We left on Swiss Airlines and because of a delay because of the moronic Birmingham Airport baggage handlers we missed our connecting flight in Geneva. We got a little apology from the staff and a five euro refreshment credit but it was still an inconvenience. Arriving in Frankfurt we were met by family and drove to a small town called Worms one hours drive away. The town is tiny but very quaint and randomly has an ‘Erotic’ sex shop on the high street next do delicious bakeries and coffee shops. After spending a few days in Worms I rented a car because I was going a little stir crazy and hit the Autobahn in the direction of Munich.
Munich is awesome! The nightlife was busy with plenty of places to hangout along Leopold Street. We hit a few bars but the drive made me knackered so sadly it was an early night at 1:30am. Next day we visited the old town which is gorgeous! I downloaded a free city guide from iTunes app store and went for a stroll through the picturesque streets and high end shops and watched the performance of the Glockenspeil in the Marianplatz. I had a delicious ‘traditional’ lunch of German beer and pork leg in the huge beer garden in the Viktualienmarkt and reluctantly made our way back to the car for the journey back to Worms. Our final night out in Worms was kinda cool because it was my missus sisters birthday; so yes drunken night out with huge beers! Waking up early the next day I felt like crap and caught the plane home hungover. Thankfully the efficient Germans helped us get into Geneva thirty minutes early and get home on time.

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It’s been a few weeks …. and!

There’s definitely an improvement! My weight is slowly coming down and my athletic ability seems to be improving. I am still trying to fight from the bottom more and get used to ‘exploding’ into different positions but that I’m told will come over time. I’m learning a lot from the more experienced guys and I’m trying to take it in and use it while we roll. I’m going to try to do more drill work alone while at the gym to build what I need. I’ve also been told about hyrdo and Bulgarian bags which are used by MMA guys, anyone know about this? I’m resting tonight and then next week pushing hard again twice a day sessions while I’m not working. My main goal now is the ‘No Gi British Open’ in October; I’m planning on entering in the hope to get some experience in tournament situations.

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Oh the pain!

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.

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The day after the 5 hours training before!

So yesterday was my first full day of BJJ at Gracie Barra; I took part in the advanced afternoon session, basic evening session, escapes session and two hours of sparring with the higher more skill full guys. It was an epic days training which I will be doing throughout the summer.
Waking up today I’m surprisingly pain free, yes I have a few bruises because the higher grades go all out when they roll but I’m glad to say I kinda held my own. At the moment I am trying to nullify my opponents moves and gain good position because there is no point in going for a submission if the position is risky because you’ll probably lose it anyway.
I’m back in the academy each day next week although I will have a days rest on Saturday so I can relax. I have bought a good post training supplement which seems to be working well to relieve the aches and pains. I have also bought a fat burner called ‘Grenade’ to help me shift an extra few pounds, we’ll see how it goes by the end of the summer!

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Happy birthday to me!

Today is a significant day in the history of the world because it’s my birthday! I am 32 today and it’s been great; I’m not going to lie and say I’ve been busy because I have mainly spent the evening drinking White Zinfandel with my missus and watching DVD’s.

This day however is also a day of remembrance; 38 years today the world lost Bruce Lee. Bruce is a hero to millions around the world and continuously inspires the next generation and the generation after that. Bruce was continuously refining his skills and dedicated his life to training. He was an icon and the father of MMA.

Now i can’t dedicate my life like Bruce but it’s closer to my holidays so I can dedicate the summer to it. A little challenge from the guys at Gracie Barra Birmingham has arose over the summer; they know I’m a fan of cycling and that I plan to train hard through the summer so I’ve been challenged to cycle to and from training. A 15 mile round trip and training on the advanced class; sounds easy right? Yeah friggin’ right!

Hopefully this will push my skills and cardio up and my weight down, well that’s the plan anyway!

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A welcome return

It’s been seven days since I’ve been to BJJ because of numerous school trips last week and an appointment at the hospital. I hate not getting down the academy so today felt great. We went through a few basic moves today but it’s the simple things that work for me.

We did two guard passes; one was a shin across the thigh type pass which if done with the correct posture is possible although a little basic. The second was an alternative but with a stack manoeuvre. Both moves were great and are quite good at pinning your opponent while passing the guard.

We then did a bit of positional sparring which you either lay in your guard or in your opponents guard. I managed to get through quite confidently and reversed a few of my class mates. While sparring a higher graded member of the class I went for a complete ‘Hail Mary’ move where I pressed him and tried to spin to regain my guard …. but it completely went pear shaped. Worth a try though plus sparring is meant to be where you try new things out.

Anyway it’s Wednesday tomorrow so I’m closer to my summer holidays!! Bring on six weeks of training!!

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