Good turnout Monday. There’s always a good vibe when there’s a good number – everyone’s really up-beat and there’s always a lot more good humoured piss-taking goes on. Not sure what Si was on – I think the fumes from the tyres burning near-by (we train in a delightful part of North Kent) were getting to him. Something about “Chopper” and obscure Japanese kids’ programmes?!
Just so you don’t think all of our conversations are obscure or lavatorial (although a good percentage are), this week I had a very topical conversation with Mike regarding the state of industrial relations and their impact on the UK economy. Actually, it was really a conversation started by Mike’s observation about black bogies (which he discovered tending to a well earned nosebleed) – a result of working in London and particularly using the Tube. This led to a conversation about the strike by the RMT…the incisive commentary being “what a bunch of bastards”. I tell ya, it’s like Newsnight down there sometimes.
Rick covered a couple of submissions from knee on stomach. First, just covering off the position – where your head needs to be for good balance etc. The first submission was a cross collar choke – dependant on the opponent rolling into the knee. Key points here, keeping knee on stomach, place head on floor over opponent’s opposite shoulder, lower hips and apply the choke.
A major learning point for me was how, when applying this type of choke (which I’ve already said I struggle with), it benefits to almost not think too much about it – keep relaxed hands, breath out as you drop towards the opponent (contract) and breath in and pull the elbows back (expand) to apply the choke. Really relaxed – the more you muscle this choke, the less it works. It’s more mental discipline to keep relaxed and calm than physical strength.
The next submission relies on the opponent rolling away from the knee. In this case you need to follow the shoulder with your hips and scoop up the uppermost arm. Base out with your free arm for the three point base. From here, dependant on how far your opponent rolls, you can drop forwards or backwards for the armbar. Pretty cool – although I need to work on the armbar falling back as my leg over the head always kicks up allowing an escape. Just need to slow it all down I think.
Rolling this week was the usual affair – I tried to work on just moving the whole time and went OK – a few moments I got caught flat and there were big chunks when I just didn’t move at all, but on the whole it felt better. It’s tough against most of the guys as they’re often a couple of moves ahead of me, but I guess at least they’re having to make those moves rather than being able to just sink in a choke from the off. The other thing I noticed is that in concentrating on movement so much I feel I’m actually missing the rest of the game, so the trick now is to make movement automatic so that I can feel everything else that is going on at the same time.
Wednesday was a good turnout again (for a Wednesday). We have an interesting warm up on Wednesdays – usual run around and fling your arms type stuff, but then we do hand stands and rolls and backward rolls with sort of flips – all very gymnastic…except I’m the least gymnastic person that ever lived – it was always thus at school I guess this is why I always opted for Rugby – as a forward it requires little or no finesse. Anyway, when we first started this I avoided doing the flippy handstand stuff for fear of coming a cropper. Eventually, I gave it a go and dropped like a felled tree for a few weeks, but you know what – now I’m not too bad with the handstand bit. I’m not going to win any awards for form or anything like that, but it’s alright. The backward flippy thing is a way off yet, but I like to think I keep everyone entertained with my efforts. It’s all good. Good BJJ can be pretty gymnastic (there’s even a whole BJJ/Gymnastics/Yoga hybrid thing called “Ginastica Natural” which looks interesting), but more important is confidence in your physical capabilities…it’s arguably far more important to discover what you CAN do rather than focus on what you can’t.
Anyway, this week we worked on cross side again. Really good to keep revisiting these core positions. We only worked a couple of variations from the endless possibilities that this position gives. I think the single biggest thing I took from this session was regarding making and keeping good connection with your opponent. The bridge and movement etc was all familiar, but the connections made with the arms made a huge difference to the success I had with this. Time went quickly drilling this position, largely because I think we know that it’s so important to understand it and try to work from it.
Rolling afterwards was really good. Just trying to keep on moving and using principles gained from the earlier technical stuff. There were a couple of points when I felt, probably for the first time, that I was actually using Jiu Jitsu and it was working for me, rather than doing a vague imitation. Really pleased. The only thing I was a bit annoyed about was that I ended up with knee on stomach with Mike and was in a perfect position to try out what Rick had shown us on Monday. Retard that I am though, I went blank and completely forgot the hand positions. I really cannot chew gum and fart at the same time…which is a real problem in Jiu Jitsu. Dunno… maybe I just got so excited that I actually got good position and that was why I went blank…or maybe my wife is right and men really can’t multi-task.
Anyhow, it was a really warm night, which wouldn’t normally bother me, but whatever it was, I just felt really breathless, like there was no air in the room. Towards the end, I just had to tap to catch my breath. I wasn’t particularly physically exhausted, I just felt like I couldn’t breathe. Really weird. Added to that, my knee “popped” during the session too. Not sure why – it does that every so often. It’s always disconcerting when it happens. The times when I tore the ACL, it was a “pop”, then nothing for a few seconds, then a build up of searing pain. So now, whenever it pops, I’m always waiting to see if the pain will come. Thankfully it didn’t, but it always aches a bit the day after. It’s annoying as it’s like a little reminder…just when I’m doing OK…”ha ha! Not so fast!”.
Still, not a major thing. The over-riding feeling for me was that this has been a good week.