Thursday, 30 August 2007

The sweet smell of BJJ...

So, August Bank Holiday Monday. Eventually we figure out that enough of us want to train, but there’s still only four of us, so we decided just to roll rather than instruction. Me, Richard, Dean, Si and were training. It’s always tough being the only white belt and by far the least experienced guy, but I just figure I just need to try and work some technique and movement against these guys…anything else is a bonus.

One mistake I made was a moment when Si stood up from mount and gave me acres of space, but I was so caught up thinking about where I should be moving that instead I just lay there and did nothing. Perhaps I’m over thinking – maybe I just need to “do”. If I get caught, hey, at least I moved. Just laying there is pointless. The second, and major mistake I wasn’t really aware of until Richard pointed it out, and when he did it was glaringly obvious! Again, I was rolling with Si and he had mount. I got a pretty good bridge onto one shoulder and nearly bridged Si off. I don’t think my head was quite in the right place. Anyway, when it became clear the Upa had failed, I just rolled straight back down, flat on my back. Rick pointed out that I’d worked hard for that position, only to give it up and go flat again – I should have stayed on my side and worked for something else. The only time I should go flat from that position is if I’m going to roll to my other side to move with my opponent. It was so obvious, but I missed it completely. For the rest of the session I was really aware of that advice and I don’t think I did it again – I was pretty aware of keeping any favourable position I got and my rolling felt a lot better for it.

See, this is how it works…for anyone reading this new to, or unfamiliar with BJJ, this is how progress is made. In the grand scheme, what I just described is pretty basic, but you can easily wander through training unaware of what you’re doing/not doing, unless you’ve got the right guys to coach you at the right times. This is how progress is made. It’s tiny things. Maybe only one small thing every lesson, and that’s why it takes time.

Wednesday’s session was good. The usual “Team Wednesday”. Mike was back, and a guy called Lee turned up again. I’ve seen Lee a couple of other times, back in the days when all we did was roll. I suspect that put him off, but now we’re back getting instruction again, hopefully he’ll stay this time. We need more people, especially on Wednesdays, and he’s a big guy, so purely from my perspective, it’s always good to have big guys to roll with as it forces me to be more technical.

This session we covered sweeps:- from the closed guard, spider guard, open guard and X-guard. The main one for me was the sweep from closed guard – one I’m already familiar with and have had some successes with. Good, as always, to fine tune stuff like this. The others were interesting, but pretty hard, and hard for me to conceive an opportunity to use them. Still, always good to learn new stuff.

During our rolling, I felt pretty good – aware of keeping moving and trying not to be flat . All in all I felt I moved pretty well and I even secured a cross collar choke from guard (bottom)! It can be done!

One curiosity with BJJ is the amount of methane expelled during a session…with varying degrees of pungency, depending on what people have been eating. Wednesday was no exception – the perpetrators shall remain nameless, but one particular “brown cloud” actually made my throat sting. I’ve always been pretty prone to the odd expulsion of “dirty chi” myself – it usually occurs when someone puts pressure on you, or bends you into and awkward posture…or, the most violent are often when you exert yourself into a position. They just “pop” out. Now, no matter what anyone says, farts are funny…always will be. If it’s infantile, hey, call me “kid”. Last night I happened to let one loose whilst rolling with Dean. It was pretty innocuous, no other qualities other than sound – a pretty sociable fart as farts go. The problem was that Dean’s girlfriend had turned up to give him a lift. I’m sure it was bad enough to see a bunch of grown men sweating and wrestling with each other without her needing to hear that kind of thing! I think it was the cheese sandwich that did it. My apologies...I have brought shame upon myself. Dean was quick with a comment..."Sorry mate, I didn't mean to scare ya" :D

You know, you get some pretty funny and wide ranging conversations at training. Last night we were all enlightened to learn that Panettone (an Italian fruit cake, traditionally eaten at Christmas), is best enjoyed with fine wines. Many thanks to Si, our Italian cultural attaché for that. See, we can be cultured! Moving though, from the sublime to the ridiculous, I also remember an extensive “brainstorming” session a while back about the potential creation of a blog charting the myriad themes around faeces – it was going to be called the “Log Blog” featuring gems such as “Celebrity Log”. I still think it could be a cult internet classic.

So, there you have it. The wide ranging and in depth conversations that occur “on the mat”. It is indeed a rich and varied landscape.

Until next time…

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