Flexibility

Friday’s Class: 4th Session Overall: X-guard

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I have had a total of four sessions since I started attenting Smiley’s MMA (Combat Athletix). For the first time in a while I feel a real sense of progression. Being able to train more than twice a week makes me feel as if I can achieve a lot more. I think it has been over two years since I have trained at least three times in one week (at an academy).

In class we worked on the x-guard again. We concentrated on a few sweeps and an arm bar from the x-guard. Smiley had to show me a few variations on the sweeps, etc., because for some reason I couldn’t do it exactly the way he demonstrated it. Smiley attributed it to body types as every one eventually has there own unique way of performing movements. I think my flexibility hinders me the most. 

When it was time to roll I felt I performed a lot better. I was able to obtain a takedown and gain positional dominance on the first partner I rolled with. I was taller (3 inches) and heavier (50 lbs)though. I was able to pull off a grapevine reversal from the guard and switch from side control to mount pretty successfully. However, I am noticing that I am having a little bit of a problem in gaining the submission even when I am able to dominate positionally. He defended against my mount chokes and kept me from obtaining his back even after I gained an underhook from the lockdown.

After grappling with him, a blue belt asked me to show him some takedowns. I showed him a number of techniques I use to take people down. It was a little different for me because I had to actually think about what I do to achieve a takedown. After a while takedowns become second nature and a lot of it has to do with timing and balance. What may seem impossible to achieve is pretty easy if the person you want to throw is in the right stance or slightly off-balance and that is what is hard to convey.

After that, I rolled with the same blue belt and we went for quite a bit of time before he was able to get a double arm bar. I felt pretty safe in his guard and from escaping his previous arm bar attempts I thought I was safe. The last time I was double armbarred was about 3 years ago. I will have to start being more cautious in that area (and less cocky).

Until next time….

Joined a Gym

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Last week after contemplating my struggles with Big Man in class, I really thought about the use of strength and conditioning in BJJ. Since I am the smallest of the Big Men in class I suffer from what my instructor termed the “law of diminishing returns.” He stated that if I were smaller and wiry I would be able to use flexibility, speed and more techniques. However, since I am in the range where I am considered one of the big guys, my speed, flexibility and technique aren’t enought to counteract the strength and size of opponents like Big Man (6 ‘6 280). My strength and size doesn’t match up either.

So if I am going to compete with the big boys I need to do a few things:

Become a lot stronger

Increase my flexibility

Continue to work on technique; and

Continue to roll with the big guys until I can figure out leverage points

To work on my strength and conditioning I joined a gym last week. Yes, we have a residential gym where I live, but it’s just not the same. I have had memberships at gyms before and nothing has changed, I become more motivated when other people are around and when I am there I might as well workout.

I know that technique is very important, but I look at my situation from this standpoint. In the very beginning of MMA in the US, BJJ and then wrestling dominated. However, as people learned the counters and escapes, ground fighters were forced to learn striking. As that evolved, all around conditioning also became paramount. If you are lacking in one area, it will most likely show.

In my weight range of 200 and up I can’t neglect strength. As I mentioned in a response to one of Crosschoke’s posts, I can hit the high 200s in a bench press without lifting weights for significant periods of time. I can lift good amounts in other lifts too. However, many people over 200 pounds can do the same. Further, benching in the high 200s doesn’t mean anything when your opponent weighs almost 300 pounds and is applying pressure downwards.

I have to be careful because my shoulder is still bothering me, but there are many other things I can do. Hopefully, this move will prove to be a catalyst.

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on Amazon.com!

BJJ and the Stability Ball

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I have finally used a stability ball (my wife’s) as a part of BJJ training. In the past, I have seen a few videos with guys describing the benefits of using it for BJJ, but it never prompted me to act. I tried it out Saturday night just to see what would happen.

It truly does require balance, timing and coordination. A few times, I found myself rolling faster than anticipated and crashing to the floor. The guide it came with, says that it “trains the body in functional movement; helps balance; strengthens the core; promotes flexibility; and stabilizes the spine, etc…

I can’t vouch for any of that yet, but I can see how my ground game, in terms of mobility and agility could improve if I used it enough.

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on Amazon.com!

Training Chart: Preparing for Tournament

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

I want to participate in the April 12th tournament in Jacksonville, so I need to alter my training regimen. After a week of knowing about the tournament I hadn’t changed my routine, at all, of a minimum of 30 reps and attending class until yesterday. I drew up a chart that I will use to prepare for the event.

I am happy with being able to participate, etc., but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to do well.

Here is what I came up with. I will attempt to do 10 reps in every category (for 100 total) every day (except class days) unitl the tournament. I completed my first run through yesterday (Sunday) in about 30 minutes with the assistance of my heavy bag and imagined resistance:

Throws: Double overhooks w. leg trip/Overhook, underhook hip throw/Elbow grip, underhook foot sweep/Side step, side step foot sweep/ Tai-otoshi/ Osoto-gari/Ouchi-gari

Takedowns: Ankle pick/Single leg (spin out)/ Double leg/ Bearhug, inside leg trip

Positional Dominance: Mount/Side control/Back mount/ North south/Sprawl

Basic Submissions: Ezekiel choke/Knuckle choke/ Americana/Kimura/Mata leon (RNC)/ Armbars/Guillotine/Triangle/Head and arm triangle/Lock down calf-crush

Guard Defense: Open guard/Butterfly guard/X-guard/Spider guard (only tried once)

Submissions from Guard: Armbars/Kimura/Guillotine

Guard Sweeps: Butterfly guard sweeps/X-guard breakdown/Scissor sweep

Escapes: Side control escapes/Mount escapes/Upa-bridging/Shrimping (both sides)

Guard Passes: (Sorry – I don’t know the names of these techniques) Knee in over thigh to scarf-hold/Grab both legs and throw to side/Gable grip both thighs and toss to side/Bear hug legs and inch upwards/Chicken wing leg – butterfly guard pass

Side Control to Mount: Knee on belly/Hip switch to mount/Create space w/arm to slide knee over/Knee over slide

Crosschoke Talks about BJJ and the Kettlebell

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I read a great article about the use of the kettlebell and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at Crosschoke.com. The way he described it made me want to find out more ways to incorporate it into my routine. One statement really grabbed my attention:

“I can pull people off their base with a wrist curl, which is pretty cool.”

Dang right it is…..

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on Amazon.com!

Ginastica Natural: Suggestion from Dave

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Dave, a new reader, in response to my post, Solo Exercises – Over the Holidays and Beyond, suggested I check out “Ginastica Natural For Fighters by Alvaro Romano.”

I couldn’t find the book online, but I was able to find a video where guys were using the techniques leading up to a ADCC 2007. The promoters of the video say that Ginastica Natural “improves physical conditioning, flexibility, strength, ground movements and balance.”

Sounds good….

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

More on the Kettlebell and Jiu-jitsu

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

As I mentioned previously, I bought a kettlebell made by Everlast. I didn’t mention that I also ‘threw” my shoulder joint a little out of whack by taking it and hoisting it in the air before learning how to use it properly.

So I have taken the time to view the exercise DVD they included as well as some videos online with people demonstrating the proper way to use the kettlebell.

On the back of the box that it came in, the experts state that by using the kettlebell the user can “develop total body strength, power and endurance.  Kettle weights (also) work the body across a wide range of angles and increases your dynamic flexibility.” This should fit well into my Jiu-jitsu training.

Above is a video demonstrating an exercise that can be done with the kettlebell. Jiu-jitsu and grappling guys can always put a new twist on something…..