Friday, 26 October 2007

I want to buy the world a choke...

Bit of a switch around this week – Richard had switched his session to the Wednesday, so Monday was just me, Si and Big Dean. Dean ran us through some submissions from cross side, utilising a slightly different position which basically requires pinching your opponent’s hips between your own hip and elbow, so that you are sort of side on (make some sense?). We just practiced this, moving around and trying to ride any upas etc. The first submission was bringing the free arm to rest beside the opponent’s head then gently reaching over the face to grab the opposite collar. A slight shift of position to bring the hip arm under to grab the nearside arm of your opponent, the choke is applied by dropping the elbow to the floor, out and up. The second submission from the same position basically requires you to bring the lower knee through, almost diagonally, against the opponent’s nearest arm, near the armpit. Hold the arm in, remaining leg round and over the head, drop back for the armbar – I liked this one, just, as always, gotta keep everything tight and controlled.

Part way through the session my phone went off (which freaked Dean out – my ringtone is a recording of my son laughing, but admittedly, at first, can sound quite freaky). It was my wife telling me that my Son, Cameron, had had some kind of asthma like attack. He gets hit pretty hard by colds and they always affect his chest. The doctors have suggested that we need to be cognisant of asthma, but at not quite three years old, it’s too early to properly diagnose. Fortunately, we have been given an inhaler to use should we need to, and in this instance, we did. He was OK – I think panic took hold of him more than anything, but it was still quite worrying, so I left early - for the best as I really wasn’t able to concentrate following the call. He’s fine – but it’s never nice to see your kids unwell or in distress though.

Wednesday was Rick’s session – me, Rick, Si, French Steve and Craig in attendance – a rare no-show by Dean due to car trouble and a mystery to me as to where everyone else was – maybe it’s Wednesdays…perhaps I’m missing something good on telly.

Anyway, Rick covered cross-collar chokes – a blue belt basic. I’ve said before, these are much harder than they appear, so it’s always good to cover them. Rick covered variations depending on what grips are available – both hands with fingers in, one fingers, one thumb, gripping round the back then bringing the arm round, but the major points taken from this were: 1) Positioning – posting the foot (knee up) to stabilise; 2) as the second hand goes in, just positioning the head to the opposite side to counterbalance against any upa; 3) take up slack and turn in the blades of the wrists before you commence the actual choke and; 4) Major one this – drop your hips onto the opponent’s chest, then drop your head to the floor. Breath out as you drop, pull the elbows in and back and then expand (breathe in) to finish. Depending on how well the previous steps are done, the choke may be over well before you reach the floor. The other critical thing with this is soft, relaxed hands – the more you relax with this choke the easier it is and the more effective it is. Rick also covered how to finish the choke if the opponent grabs the wrists over the top – a common defence. This is done by posting a foot beside the opponent’s head – this allows leverage to pull your body back, which pulls the opponent up. Key point here is to keep the opponent close and pull him up with your body, not your arms. At the top of the pull, expand as before, but this time, pull the elbows out. If the guy drops back down, revert back to the regular cross collar. With all of it, it’s just keeping everything tight – no gaps or slack, and staying relaxed and methodical. It’s a great choke when done properly but really hard to do well under pressure.

Rolling was good, although against Rick and Si, I think I lost sight of what I need to be doing – I was so preoccupied with being owned and not getting caught in their set-ups that I was pretty dumb with most of the stuff I was doing and ended up getting repeatedly armbarred. Rolling with Craig was different – I think we can both relax a bit more and be a bit more deliberate, so I was able to try a few things. I found myself in a decent cross side (top) so decided I’d give Dean’s choke from Monday a go. I tried to apply as gently as I could (as it can be a bit gnarly) and sure enough, it worked...well pleased with that.

No other training this week, apart from the gym, as I’m left with the kids for a few days as my wife’s off to a family funeral. Only other thing to say really is that I think we all hope that everyone in and around Rickson’s Centre in California are unaffected by the fires, or at very least, safe and well.

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