Monday, 17 December 2007

BJJ: Bringing communities together...

Mon 3rd - A distinctly better week this week. Buoyed by having seen the comedian Frankie Boyle (I’d highly recommend seeing him if he’s near you) on Sunday night I went to training on Monday night in good spirits. Usual turnout and we went over breaking guard (both knees down, one knee up, walk over and stand up) again, picking up all the finer points. This stuff really works….every time we do it I pick up some little nuance that I’ve not understood before and it’s always good to go back to the root and iron off any little bad habits that we all develop from time to time.

Rolling was pretty good – I was trying to keep on moving and felt that I reacted pretty well to the positions of my opponents…certainly the feedback I got was positive and a fillip to my confidence. I think also that maybe my improving fitness from my gym sessions is starting to pay off – fitness really helps to keep on moving for longer rather than gassing and just lying flat! I think also, my core is getting stronger and I’ve also lost weight (almost half a stone now! – sure, I’m still a contender for Homer-a-like 2007, but progress is progress). All of these have to be good things and contributing to a better overall performance.

Discussion after training started with me making reference to Frankie Boyle’s show and trying to do justice to his very funny ramblings about political correctness. Now, I don’t need to labour this point, but all of the guys are a tolerant and friendly bunch, but political correctness is not top of the agenda…you may have detected this from previous posts. I think this is great – it’s nice to know that we’re not completely in the throes of an Orwellian nightmare with pathetic attempts to control thought by the control of language. Political correctness sucks and serves only to confuse people as to what is or isn’t the right thing to say anymore and also serves only to make an issue of difference by giving at a very obvious label…why create labels for difference? Difference just…is. Understand it, embrace it, but why make an issue of it…no wonder we’re in such a mess.

Anyway, before I risk building a soapbox, the conversation went on to discuss how London, with all its diversity is a place that makes you very intolerant. This intolerance does not stem from any one group, except people. Just people. I can vouch for this, having commuted in and out for three years – it drives you mad. Everyone seems to go into this aggressive “zone” – all me, me, me, gotta get where I’m going and damn everyone else type mentality. Mike recounted some little guy deliberately barging him a few weeks, Mike’s a big guy – gotta be around 6’3”/4” and athletically built with it. If you were going pick someone to shoulder barge you’d choose someone with a different profile than that. Mike took it very philosophically, understanding that everyone’s like that in London and the guy that barged him hadn’t done it personally to Mike – it could have been anyone, just Mike was there at that moment. Very noble sentiment, very enlightened. Big Dean recognised this and I thought “Hmm…strange, maybe Dean’s softening in his old age”. Then Dean said “of course, if it was me I’d have pummelled the little f***er”. Our very own Nick Diaz ;p.

Wednesday night was just three of us again – Me , Big Dean and French Steve. By my request we looked at the escape if someone’s taken your back – opponent underneath with hooks in, you, on your back, on top, defending your neck. This is a move that I’ve done a couple of times and have had moderate success with when rolling…problem is, I can “kill” my opponent’s leg as I move to the open side no problem – hell, I’ve got plenty of weight to do that, but then the problem starts – where to go from there? Once again it’s all in the detail…so, main points – defend the choke, bridge back as far as you can to the open side (aim is to touch your head on the floor next to opponent’s shoulder). From here you can kill the leg on the side you’ve moved to. Frame against the uppermost knee to stop the opponent from mounting and also to assist you in a shrimp movement away from the position. Drive back into the opponent to take cross side. Major points learned during this drill were (a) the frame on the knee and (b) Steve noticed that my movement out was hampered by too much ground contact. I realised immediately that this was what has been causing a lot of my movement problems – far too much friction involved so we went over the need to create small contact pivot points. It soooo damn obvious…why I’ve missed this for so long I do not know. Still, now need to build it in and make it permanent. A big learning point that will have a big impact I’m sure. I didn’t do a whole lot of rolling – my mind was full of what I’d picked up so I felt happier just to leave it there and let it sink in.

Friday night, MMA night. We went through some different drills from a pummelling exercise, which was good, but I found the coordination really hard. We then went to a one legged takedown which I’ve seen in BJJ before so was good to cover that again. During this drill, Big Dean was encouraging us to follow up and create an attacking mindset – something that I’ve seen Steve Morris talk about before – it’s all about training with the mindset that you need in combat so that it is easier to switch to that intensity when needed…makes some sense (to quote the man himself). We then did a bid of pad work – always enjoy this – nothing like a good thrash on the pads to get a good workout and fire off some aggression. I think I’ve got pretty powerful punches, but I’m very one sided – my right side does a lot of the work, much to the exclusion of my left. This is an area I’d really like to work on, my hand speed is slow and I telegraph a lot of my punches. I also really need to work on pivoting the grounded foor while kicking – especially with my knee the way it is – that’s an injury waiting to happen – so much for Choi Kwang Do – in four years of training, none of that was picked up – hell, I even got a black belt! Anyway – it was a good session – really enjoyed it.

The week was interspersed with the usual Gym sessions – these are now very much part of my week and I feel a distinct need to train – that’s great, just where I wanted to be. Gotta be aware of the need for rest though. I’m currently battling off a bit of a cold – not a bad one, but I’ve certainly noticed its affect in the gym – higher heart rate sooner and tired quicker. No big – if it was that bad I wouldn’t train…just interesting to note what happens though.

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