Saturday, 17 November 2007

I said a hip hop the hippie...

...the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you dont stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat...

I didn’t train last Friday and I skipped the gym on Thursday – the cold I had brewing that I mentioned in my last post was in full flow and I wasn’t in any fit state to train…it wasn’t a bad cold per se, but it left me feeling absolutely knackered.

After a bit of a rest (although my kids’ third birthday on Sunday and party was more “active” rest!) and plenty of vitamin C and zinc, things had cleared enough to get back to training on Monday. I wasn’t 100%, but 99% is good enough – just meant a bit more sweating than usual. Not a bad turnout – the usual crowd, plus French Steve and Little Dean. We trained some escapes from knee on stomach (KOS). The first involved bridging up and then scooping an arm under the foot of the leg that is KOS. Frame in with the other arm then scoot out, creating a void for the knee to drop into. Since you have the foot scooped, this prevents posting and the opponent falls backwards enabling you to follow up and take cross-side. A nifty little move, but actually pretty difficult to execute well – one to just try out when the opportunity arises. The second variation arises when the KOS is not quite as “deep”. In this instance, you roll away from the KOS, enabling you to brace the back of your uppermost elbow against the knee, creating a frame. Using this frame, you execute a reasonably explosive shrimp out from under the knee and turning to face the opponent. Depending where you end up will determine next moves, but the ideal is to be able to take a leg and drive back into the opponent and coming to rest in side control. I found this one pretty tough as my shrimp movement is pretty limited by my back mobility.

I’m finding rolling a little tough lately. I don’t think having the cold has helped and added to this I’ve been getting up early to go to the gym and my kids are going through a phase of waking at 0400hrs so I’m not getting great sleep at the moment. Not making excuses, but things are tough when you’re tired. I think I’m also in a bit of development dip at the moment – when I roll, I’m not really conscious of what I’m doing, pushing too much and just seem to get nowhere fast. It’s demoralising, but as Si said, I’m rolling against guys that have got anywhere between 4 and 6 years training on me. It could well be time for another visit to Tonbridge. It’s good to roll with others at your own level as it gives you a better measure of where you’re at and how you’ve progressed. I know I must have progressed – there’s no way that you can train 2/3 times a week, every week, and not improve. The issue at our club is that the other guys are improving too, so I’m chasing an ever-moving goal line. I think I also go in phases when I’m learning loads of new stuff and it takes a while to assimilate the information and put it into action. Once it is assimilated I then seem to have a phase where things are good, then I go back into a learning phase – maybe this is a better way to see it rather than being in a “bad patch”.

I had an interesting day Tuesday. I mentioned this in passing a few posts back, but a few months ago, I went on a course called “The Athlete at Work”, run by a company called K2. In my work, I’m an “Organisational Development Manager”, which means that I look after the development of staff in all areas of the business. As part of this I source appropriate training and education and so get bombarded daily by companies offering their services. Once in a while, something interesting comes up, and K2 was one of these. The majority of the K2 team come from sporting or sports science backgrounds and work with top level sports performers to improve their performance through managing training, mindset, nutrition etc. They’ve taken this arena and put it into a business context, based on the data that sports science has given them – a really fresh approach to the whole subject of performance. Anyway, they offered me a free place on the Athlete at Work course, so I gladly accepted. The course dealt with topics such as nutrition, hydration, rest & recovery, bodyclock, self-talk, using imagery and planning training for peak performance. It was fascinating stuff, all well researched and compellingly evidenced. I guess I could credit the course with giving me the inspiration for setting myself my blue belt goal and starting this blog. The knowledge and inspiration it gave to me to set some hard targets and plan a campaign to achieve it was excellent (sure, there was a load of stuff transferable to the workplace, but I figure, whatever’s good for me personally, must be good for my work performance). Anyway, on Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to have a follow-up coaching session with one of the guys from K2. There was a dual agenda with this, one for me to personally gain form the experience, but also a professional motive for me to see the learning process first hand to assess its relevance for the company I work for. It was a really useful session (not least as I was reassured that taking time off from training while not 100% was absolutely the right thing to do). Through some well placed questions from the coach, I was able to understand certain habits that I’ve developed that make my nutrition an issue for me and to create small actions that will help this. I was also able to examine how much rest and recovery I’m getting and create some strategies to manage the transitions between training, rest and then training again very soon after. Most useful of all was some good advice about my training regime – BJJ and MMA are givens, so I need to be smart about my gym work. I was advised to switch my training from CV work and weights to just doing short, intense CV workouts. It was felt that my BJJ etc would maintain strength and functional muscle workout, but the CV work would (a) make my workouts more manageable in the time I have available, and (b) be better for me in my goals and losing weight is the major factor at the moment. I was also helped to understand a bit more psychology of managing goals. For example – running. My goal is to be able to run 3 miles in 21 minutes – the RAF Officer standard and one that I used to be able to do, so something that I think is achievable. So, what I’ve been doing is running 21 minutes every session and trying to see how far I get. It’s tough and when I show no improvement, or worse, actually fall back, it gets really demoralising. It was suggested that instead of this “testing” every session, that I test myself monthly. This way, I should usually see improvements month on month towards my ultimate goal. Even if I fall behind, using this methodology, I can still see net gains on my starting point so there is still an overall success. I’ve already started this and the running, whilst still hard, is so much more pleasurable and relaxed. I will apply the same “ethos” to many other areas as it’s a far healthier way to view progress than constant pressure. So, the whole K2 experience has been invaluable in setting me up to stand a chance of achieving my goals…oh, and it is also something that I will be implementing at work by the way ;P.

Wednesday’s session was only four of us and we trained taking the back from someone that’s in “turtle” position and not allowing you to get foot hooks in. First off, the ideal position to work from…sort of to the rear and on the hips while making your opponent carry weight. Transitions from this – first one was kind of gripping the same side lapel, low down (prevents opponent from grabbing arm and rolling you over), one foot up behind, one to the side and the drive with the legs over the opponent’s shoulder, maintaining hip and body contact. This takes you to controlling the opponent’s back from where you can get hooks in and execute a choke. There’s a risk here that before putting in the 2nd hook, the opponent could turn out. So long as you’ve maintained good position, it’s pretty easy to follow the turn and end up with cross side. 2nd variation prevents the turn out – by driving your knee in between the opponent’s elbow and knee, you can create a sort of “cradle” after you’ve turned the opponent which prevents any turn out. In executing this knee positioning, you of course open up the other side of the opponent’s body to move out to that side, so for that reason we looked at a simple switch to prevent this. Major point in all of these is the hip to hip contact throughout (hence this post’s title – hips… get it? Get it? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?). Rather than roll this session, we did some cross-side positional training. I’m still facing the frustration of not really being able to do a whole lot but getting tapped in seemingly the simplest of ways. That’s just BJJ. I’m relatively certain that this cloud will lift soon – it usually does.

Only other bit of news right now is that I’m going to UFC 80: Rapid Fire in Newcastle in January – should be good – there’s a few of us going up – Me, Big Dean, Si, Mike and a couple of Dean’s mates. Can’t wait! More on that when the time comes.

I'm off to see the Foo Fighters tomorrow and then I'm off work most of next week an I just had a great session at the gym so feelin pretty good right now... good times, let's rock!!

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