Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Row, row, row your boat...

I think this is going to be the way of things – updates every two to three weeks. Time moves so quickly that it’s hard to keep a weekly update, plus I’d run the risk of repeating loads of stuff.

So, the last few weeks…?

I’ll start with a visit to Carlson’s at Tonbridge – they’ve added a Friday night to their schedule as an “open mat” night – a session to try out new stuff, work through problems or just roll with a variety of guys – a great idea. I have to confess I was a little disappointed – the session was billed as open and flexible, but was still very structured with activity being dictated which wasn’t what I’d gone along for. It was fine – a good workout, but I’d rather have just rolled. I’m led to believe that the Friday session is usually loose, but I just caught an odd night, so I will definitely give it another go sometime soon.

Things did get looser as the evening progressed and I acquitted myself reasonably well. I was trying to work with what we’d been doing recently, i.e. balance, weight etc and did pull it off a couple of times, but it’s hard to resist fighting when guys are coming at you in the way that only Carlson’s guys do! I was pleased to hold good posture against their blue belts and to be able to break them down when in my guard. Against the other white belts I was fine and got some good sweeps and a couple of decent taps with relative ease and importantly, I was patient, just rolled with it and played my game – my basics worked well for me. It had obviously been a hard session as I retired early with my legs teetering on the verge of all-out cramping every time I moved, so rather than cramp up and face a day or two of limping about, I thought it wise to stop.

Something else to come from Carlson’s that I’ve been trying out recently is a good workout on the rowing Machine – here it is, taken from the forum at www.bjj.eu.com. I think it’s from one of Carson’s Brown Belts, Simon Hayes:

If you have access to a concept 2 Rowing machine continue reading:

Set the resistance to '10'
Set the computer to 'Interval'
Set the distance to '250 metre'
Set the rest time/interval to '30 seconds'

You should do every set at an absolute 100% sprint. As if someone has a gun to your head. You will complete the distance in 45-55 seconds.You then rest for 30 seconds (the machine will count this down for you)You then do your next set and try to match the time of your first set. YOU MUST GO 100%

You continue doing sets until
a.You Puke
b.You cannot get within 10 seconds of your first set.

If you can do 3 sets that’s not bad.
If you can do 6 sets you are fucking fit.
If you can do 10 sets I do not want to fight you.

(Please do not bother with this if you are the sort of wastrel who cannot go 100%).

If you want to get fit for BJJ and only have 5-10 minutes this is the best exercise available.

I’ve given this a couple of goes. First time, I did my first set in 55 seconds and managed 11 reps. Second time I did my first set in 52 seconds and did 10 reps…not bad and was pretty tough. I’ve since learned that you really need to go sub 50 seconds in your first set to be “in the zone”, so I’ve got a bit of work to do. It’s a good workout, but not something for every session!

I’ve managed to get back into the gym with some regularity again and I’m dropping weight again which is good and I’m enjoying my sessions there and have been mixing up the programmes on the machines to do loads of interval work, mainly just for the variety, but also because intervals are good CV work. I generally try and do 60 mins of good quality CV work each session.

Sessions at the club of late have been typical of the last few weeks – lots of the sensitivity stuff. A session we had a couple of weeks back was really good – there was a good number of us and it was all free rolling and semi cooperative. Dean T was coaching as we all rolled and there was a good vibe in the room with people really taking on the ideas and making it work – really good fun...it felt like anything was possible. I felt really energised after that session. Last week was similar in nature, but for some reason I just wasn’t getting it – I think I was going too flat and a step behind the movement – that’s just the way it goes….I also had a lot on my mind.

Last night we had two new guys join us – Nuri and his brother Haider (sp?). Two really nice guys with no experience but a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm. It’s always good to have new guys train and both were willing learners and seemed (I hope) to get a lot from the session. Nuri says he’ll be back, but his brother is normally at Uni, so we hope to see him when he can make it. Thanks to big Dean, I had my usual round robin of opponents at the end of the session, in preparation for my tournament at Seni later this month – phew! On that subject, I’ve just joined the Grappling Arts Association – a body set up by the leading BJJ guys in the UK to support people in BJJ and other grappling arts. It cost £7.50 (membership is free until Seni 08) to get some reasonable insurance cover which is something I’ve been meaning to do for some time. It’s a good venture and I wish them every success – BJJ needs a body like this to move things forward.

On to the wider world (it’s all intertwined you know – I see my week as moving from weekend to BJJ sessions to weekend, interspersed with the annoyance of work). Things aren’t great. I’ve been feeling pretty low lately – tons to do at work, in a job that I have no passion for, knowing that none of it is recognised (in fact quite the extreme – work I’m doing is being claimed by others!) and knowing that peers are earning in the region of £10K more than me, my boss is on almost double what I’m on and I perceive that all the good results from my department are majoritively down to me (and there’s plenty of evidence to support this). This is against a context of me being the sole wage earner in my family with two young kids. I wouldn’t change that for anything, but it’s hard. It’s really getting me down. I’m going to have to address this, but have no faith that speaking up will do any good whatsoever. I already know that I’m being stitched up, so will probably get a publicly sympathetic ear only to be stabbed in the back behind closed doors.

What’s this got to do with BJJ? Sometimes it impacts on my ability to concentrate, to be motivated (but I always manage to get out to training – I’d feel a whole lot worse if I didn’t). On the flip side, BJJ really helps me to be free of the worries for a few hours each week and is valuable in suspending the stress for a moment or two. The other really great thing is that the guys I train with are genuine people, some not a million mile from where I am in life, and their genuine concern, advice and support is essential to helping me feel like there are some people out there that are on my side – thanks guys.


Anonymous said...

Interesting idea on the concept rower. Personally I find it hard to break a sweat on the rower. Best exercise for jiu jitsu? Try tabata burpees! What are these you ask, well, let me explain: Work as hard as you can for 20 seconds then rest for 10, repeat 8 times (4 mins total). On the burpee do a press up (not just a squat thrust) and star jump as high as you can, put 100% in and I guarantee you will feel like giving up or puking the first time you try.

Al said...

Hey, thanks for reading....those burpees sound nasty! In the RAF we used to call them "Bastards" as you shouted "Bastard!" at the PTI every time you did the jump. My least favourite exercise ever LOL!

Anonymous said...

Yes I've heard them called that before, also 'oh no's'. The least favourite exercise is usually also the best! Lol. But seriously give tabatas a go, doesn't have to be burpees, you could do sprints or whatever. I find them great for tournament conditioning, and you seem to be into that.