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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I could do that!

Bit of a crazy idea but I wonder how difficult it is to open a children’s residential centre or large foster care home? I’ve worked with children for many years and during that time I’ve worked with numerous children who have been in care. I’ve heard the horror stories and worked with organisations to get these children re-homed.

My thought is what could I do to help these children directly? And then it came to me; I could open a residential centre for foster children! Now the question is though, how the bloody hell could I do this? I would like a residential building in a good area which is tailor made for children to enjoy their youth and see how their life should be.

I work part time in a care setting helping adults with learning difficulties so I have experience on that side. I have the knowledge of working with children in an educational and youth setting so I’m well versed in their issues and challenging behaviour.

So my questions are as follows

Who would I speak to directly about working in this field?
What additional qualifications would I need?
If I was to rent a house would I have to tell the agency I’m doing this type of work?
How much would I receive per child for their up keep?
Would I have to do this as a company or stay as private?
What help would I get from the authorities?

These are my additional thoughts but what other issues would arise?

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What a week!

This has been my worst week in a while; we are getting further closer to the summer holidays so school is a little crazy. We go off timetable and do trips out to theme parks and ‘places of interest’. This roughly translates as the pupils on a jolly and teachers getting a headache. Thank fully now it’s just about over which means I’m back at Jiu Jitsu next week! This plus the fact that I’m a week away from six weeks of freedom make me a very happy dude!

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Out of gas in a matter of minutes!

I had a great session at Gracie Barra Birmingham today; we went to hip movement drills with the arm bar and triangle technique.

We also did a very tight set up for a triangle; breaking the grip with the figure four hold, pummelling through and taking your opponents collar you then place your same side foot onto your opponents hip and squeeze. Gripping your opponent with your hips you bring up the hips and you have a quick arm lock set up which can be then transferred into a triangle by kicking your leg over ….. simple really!! lol!!

We then did a bit of sparring, I went with a blue belt and it went well; I reversed him a few times and nearly got an arm bar. This was also a great speed for a big guy like me. It all sounds good right? Wrong! I gassed out by the second guy I rolled with which made me very uncomfortable when you have a grown man on top of you trying to readjust your limbs.

So what’s the solution? Only one thing for it; I’ve got to get my ass running faster and longer during the summer months! I’ve got another week until I break up after this one and I’ve made a commitment that I’m going to really push it every day!

To preserve my knees I’m going to run and cycle on alternative days. Hopefully this will help with my cardio and of course on going weight loss. Well that’s the plan anyway!

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Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu working?

Easy answer, HELL YEAH IT IS!

Just weighed myself after a session at the gym and I’ve lost eight kilo’s since starting a month ago! That plus the weight put on through strength gains is pretty impressive!

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Snowdon in aid of Help for Heroes

While reading through that last blog post I totally forgot about on recent event which was pretty epic; my Help for Heroes Snowdon climb.

My friend Andy and I fancied doing something to raise money for the casualties of war in the Middle East, after a few weeks of thinking we came up with the climb. We started at the old ranger hostel and started along the path which is located behind it. The path ways were a lot steeper than I first thought; the rocks were at knee height so each one was like doing a squat at the gym. My legs tired quickly because my injured calf but after an energy bar and a Red Bull we pressed on.

The pathways levelled out we walked along a boggy path. This was only for a kilometre or two and then a gravel path started again. Walking along this my confidence grew but it was very premature because huge rocks started to replace the gravel. The path was even steeper than before; we made our was around the ‘S’ turns to the beginning of the final slog. From here the snow covered the paths so we tied our crampons to our boots.

A few steps on the weather started to change, the winds hailed hard against us and the rain beat us down. It was very demoralising from here because of fatigue and the weather. This section was also very slow; my legs and back were very tired now. We pressed on through the pain and I noticed the beginning of the summit train tracks. Straight away I seems to recover from my tiredness and we almost jogged to the summit. Arriving at the new visitors centre which was regrettably closed we had but a few more steps to the summit and it’s sun dial.

After a cup of tea and a change of clothes we made our way down the Llambris path way too a welcomed hot chocolate and scone (how lovely lol).

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It’s been a long time! Sorry!!

OK first of all I am very sorry for my massive absence; it’s been a long time since I updated this.

So what’s happening with me? Well I am finally free from injury after three years, I’ve returned ‘home’ to Gracie Barra Birmingham and I’m close to the summer holidays so I’m really kicking up the training.

First of all my return to Gracie Barra Birmingham – I met Braulio Estima many years ago when he first came to the UK. My training with him was brilliant but being a bit ‘naughty’ back when I was on the door I never committed to training. I trained a few years with him and then became unwell. Jump to June 2011 and I walked in to the new academy and instantly thought ‘why the hell didn’t I get on with this?’

Now it’s been a few weeks and it’s amazing; I feel great and things are starting to click in my mind.

What else ….. oh I started running again with the help of an NHS podcast. It’s based on interval training and is pretty good at getting you going. Only problem was I finished the podcast, turned around and found myself in the middle of the woods. It wasn’t a bad thing; I ran all the way back to my car lol.

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