There’s been a whole lot of training since my last post, so I’d better capture it now before it all runs away with me.
I’ve been to another two of Tonbridge’s Friday sessions and both times Si came along. Both were much better sessions in terms of free rolling and again, I managed OK, particularly against their white belts. Against their blue belts is a different matter – these sessions have been the first time I’ve really felt a marked superiority in their blue belts and it’s a testament to how hard they train and how committed they are. Notable from the first of these two sessions was the attendance of Dickie Martin – one of Carlson’s brown belt instructors (and current Euro Brown Belt Champion). It was interesting to hear him talk about his philosophy and good to see him roll – the brown belt standard was clearly in evidence – very controlled, dominant, yet it was also clear that he had the sensitivity required to make it jiu jitsu and not just aggressive grappling. A really nice guy from what I saw and I was really impressed watching him roll. As always, both sessions were tough and I’ve taken away learning points from each one – mainly a mindset I’m going to need for the Seni tournament which is only a couple of weeks away now. Carlson’s have got some exciting times ahead – good targets for Seni, a Seminar with their top man Rodrigo Medeiros in May and a tournament of their own – the “Kent Open” in November. Good luck to them all and another thanks for some great training and an always warm welcome.
Sessions back at Rickson’s have been good, although attendance has dropped back again. I’m not sure why this is or if it’s going to stay this way, but at the moment it feels as though we’re back where we were a few months ago, which longer term, is going to raise the same sustainability concerns as before. We’ll see what happens. Numbers have ranged from just two and up to five, with Nuri now seemingly a regular, which is great, Mike’s been down a couple of times (work allowing) and Lee popped in too - always good to see him. The ethos of cooperation in training and trying to engage a “sensitive” approach has been retained and it’s evident that people are trying to make it work, which is good. We’ve been training regular Mondays and Wednesdays and also threw in a Sunday last weekend, which was a nice set up for the week ahead. One session we looked at a combination from the mount – going for a cross-collar choke and playing between that, arm bar and dropping to cross side for a collar choke. Last Monday, we looked at guard again, defending whilst in the guard, maintaining posture and passing guard and from the bottom, we looked at breaking down the person in the guard and a collar choke (you bring down the opponent, wrap an arm and grab the opposing lapel. Scoot out and grip up with your other arm for a cross collar choke – leg heavy across the top of the back to keep the opponent down.) – all good stuff and good revision. All sessions have ended with a bit of rolling and an inevitable round robin of opponents for me in prep for Seni.
A couple of sessions have been solely rolling, but with a purpose. Dean has a little beeper thing called a “gym buddy” so we’ve been rolling for 5 minute intervals with a minute rest between, switching partners each interval with around 3-4 rotations – about 45 mins rolling in total. This is a good exercise and serves a dual purpose – it’s good cardio and 5 mins is the length of a tournament bout so it focuses the mind on what needs to be done in a match. Last wednesday we did this and I also ended the session rolling with Si, Mike and Dean for 5 minutes each, consecutively with a minute recovery between each opponent. That was real tough. I did score a few points, but by the second round I was really gassing. By the end of the last round I was shot – I felt more than a little nauseous. My cardio’s not great, but it’s not bad either –I’m not too concerned – I didn’t find the Southern Open too taxing and I’m a lot fitter now than I was then. I was also rolling a lot harder than I usually do because this is how it’s going to be – there’s a fine line however between rolling hard and rolling angry – a line that I need to stay on the calm side of.
Off the matt, the conversation has been fairly typical – upcoming UFCs, a myriad politically incorrect topics for which we’re all going to hell, and the usual focus on faecal (do you want a flake in that?) and methane expulsions. I’m not sure if this is common within BJJ, something that just happens when you get a bunch of guys together, or says something about us specifically. Then again, I’m not sure I care – it’s fun and that’s all that matters. One little thing that just made me chuckle…upon arrival last night, Mike made his usual visit to the loo and all we could hear from inside was him laughing to himself, which was funny in itself. It transpires that the usual lack of bog roll had forced someone to stash a bunch of napkins in there and on each of these napkins was written “You’ve missed a bit”. :D