Friday, 12 October 2007

Game On!

So, I’ve had three sessions since my last post. Last Friday was MMA with Big Dean , Tugboat Steve and Si. A good session working a takedown from the clinch (immediately useful to BJJ stand up and pretty similar to a takedown from the rear in the BJJ syllabus). Then we worked defending strikes from the back under cross-side – again, very useful to BJJ, especially Rickson’s style which always starts from a position of self defence. That was really hard work, and especially with some meaningful punches coming in to be defended. It’s also easier in this drill to see how the BJJ translates as any attacker trying to strike will always give something up for an escape, much moreso than in BJJ without strikes. I have to confess, I got a bit carried away in this drill – we were fed opponents and it was hard work to keep up and I also found that after a couple of clips, I got a bit rattled and became a little more aggressive. So much so that when I rolled Tugboat Steve off, I took top position and gave him a dig in the ribs….it was automatic. Luckily, Steve’s actually built like a tugboat so no harm done but I’ve gotta watch my control. The aggression’s an asset, but only if it’s controlled.

We finished off the session with some stand up sparring, punches and kicks only, not all out but enough effort to want to keep your hands up. I enjoyed that – it’s good to put a bit of pressure in your training once in a while. Dean was looking sharp and threw in a lovely “Superman punch” that landed right on top of Steve’s head, giving him a look of “what was that/where did that come from?”. He got his own back a bit later on with a couple of heavy body shots. A good session and a great workout.

In Monday’s session Rick went over a take down from the rear for my benefit (grading wise). It was good to cover this again, not least for the need to look again at good base on your feet – a really hard concept. We also covered a takedown and escape from being in the side headlock – similar in principle to the previous takedown, then using a frame to release the headlock.

French Steve turned up again - always good to see him. Quick explanation of the oh-so transparent nickname. His name’s Steve and he lives in France. Good eh? See what they've done? He visits for a few weeks at a time then disappears back home for months – cue many jibes about being on the run and Interpol etc. Steve’s a Blue belt and started BJJ all the way back with Dean Taylor when they visited LA together. Steve’s a small but strong guy with great technique and he’s really into
Qigong type stuff, which is really interesting and maybe something I’ll investigate when I get the time.

Rolling was good – had some good rolls with Roubel and Craig. Roubel commented as we were leaving that I’m really improving, which coming from a far more experienced white belt that used to own me every time we rolled, was really cool, so cheers mate.

Anyway, here's a couple of videos of the guys rolling on Monday:

Above: Big Dean and Roubel

Above: Rick and French Steve

Wednesday night was just me and Si so we just drilled some positional stuff – cross side to be exact. I used to get real bored doing this sort of stuff, but now I know how important it is, I’ll drill it as long as someone wants to keep on doing it. It was really good to do this and Si’s really good at coaching the details and is very patient – happy to let me do my thing. Really appreciated. I think the biggest thing I took away was the need for good connections – take up the space and stay connected ….CONNECTED, not pushing. And small, constant, movements. It all makes a huge difference.

We spoke a bit about wanting to grow the membership a little more and to try and move things forward, in terms of getting some seminars or something that will help us all develop. It’s good to know that there’s a few of us that want it to stay alive and keep moving forward. I just think we need to set some targets and hit them, otherwise another year’s gonna pass and we’ll all be where we are now. It’s a tough one though – a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. We need existing numbers to be consistent to stand a chance of making a new venue work – which will attract new members which will make seminars etc cost effective. It’s really frustrating but it’s always been this way - why is the general population so apathetic? I’m not just talking BJJ – just life in general.

Anyway, there was a ray of sun on my BJJ landscape this week as I got an email from Kim Gracie, Rickson’s wife, saying that she’ll arrange my belt test when I visit LA, so, on the face of it, when I’m ready, it’s game on…very exciting!

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