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Turn up and train and you will get better…slowly.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is HARD, hard on the body, ego and mind.

Hard on the body, because we are basically attempting to hurt each other and the physical nature of it means injuries are a very real possibility.
Hard on the ego, because your going to get smashed, one thing that’s said a lot is that an ego wont last in Jiu Jitsu because you have to be able to give in and admit you are beat, for some this may be hard.(one of my first rolls I was tapped out by a lady, which is completely normal in Jiu Jitsu and totally convinced me how epic it is, but there would be some males that may not cope to well with that, although someone with that mindset I wouldn’t want to train with)

Hard on the mind is the interesting one and could be lumped into ego, but I think there is a difference.
regardless of someones ego, training Jiu Jitsu is going to push your mind and this is one of the true positive aspects of Jiu Jitsu, quite often I have heard Jiu Jitsu described in term that it is the “thinking mans” martial art or that is is human chess.

All of these points are the positives that Jiu Jitsu provides, but the positives only come as a reward for hard work, put in the hours and you will get better.
Put in the hours and then some, train hard, roll as much as possible and you will get better a tiny bit faster, and it will be rewarding, your ego will inflate as moves you previously thought impossible become easier, then something happens and you feel like you have gone backwards, things are not coming as easily, techniques you could rely on now just get you into bad positions. You have hit your plateau.

Google “BJJ plateau” and you will find many blogs, articles and forums discussing this phenomenon, since I have been training I believe I have had at least 3 plateaus and I’m pretty much a noob!
The good news is, its normal, last night I asked my instructor if he has these “plateaus” and he does, this is just the way Jiu Jitsu is, I think the major instigator of these flat spells is that fact that you are using your team mates to measure your development(not entirely as I think its best to compare yourself against the you of say 1 year ago or even the you of a few months ago).

I think it comes down to ego aswell, you have to try to not compare yourself to your teammates as that is going to be driven by ego, instead look at your own improvements solely against yourself.

well, that is what I’m telling myself at the moment, as I believe I am in a plateau, which is quite amusing considering my last post just yesterday was titled “motivated”!


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Back to training ! work has smoothed out and I’m feeling motivated and my groin strain/injury or whatever it is, is not causing me to limp around, while it is not perfect, it is workable and I am able to roll pretty much normally(No Williams guard with my right leg and I’m still restricted in some open guard techniques)

Last night I had a great time at 8020BJJ, we worked a nice take-down(throw-down) from a clinch, which was lots of fun. We moved upstairs to the “softer” floor and I had a great time being flung onto the mat.
My stand up sucks, easily my weakest aspect to my bjj game, mostly because I love the ground work so much I just don’t have the willingness to work for a take-down, I’d rather get taken down quickly/pull guard than to spend too long working for a take-down(I know I need to work on this as it really is not the best approach).

Then we worked legs locks, man do I feel sorry for people who don’t get to practice leg locks early in their bjj training, considering you have main attack points, being arms, neck and legs(also spine but that usually comes with the neck) eliminating one point of attack is very limiting and this was highlighted by our instructor last night.

Also, I love the guard, playing guard and being on the bottom has always appealed to me, the fact that someone can be on the bottom but still be in control has always impressed me. (but saying that I know that most submissions come from the top position not all subs but generally it is easier to get the sub from the top) Leg locks can be kryptonite to guard players, a few people at 8020 really make use of this against me when we roll and it has really helped my game.

Last nights leg lock(straight ankle) was a very good attack for the unsuspecting open guard player.

I also had a great lesson learnt last night. For a long time, I have not really had much respect for calf slicers or bicep crushers etc. To me, they were something that came on slow and were only “effective” when you had really tied up your opponent and I figured if I had tied up my opponent that much something else would be available also I considered them opportunistic attacks. I was basically ignorant of them.
Then I got bicep sliced, while in the top position(kind of a sloppy side control)…wow, they are legit! can be applied quickly and effectively.

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Because I have been very lazy not updating my blog in a fair while!
since the competition I have been really focusing on the aspect of my game that was highlighted by my loss, it has turned out to be a great learning experience, I also have a niggling injury which I assumed was just a pulled muscle but it is taking a lot longer to heal than I would have expected.

The “pulled muscle” was something that I felt after the competition and I kind of ignored it, its a groin muscle and because it has not really gone away it has impacted on how I roll.

We have finished up our top game/passing Wednesdays classes and now moved on to leg locks, which is always a favorite(this will be the second leg lock focus that I have been present for)
Leg locks rock, toe holds were such a help for my guard game, as it really forced me to be active, as someone(Slade) could just grab my feet and toe hold me, it happened a lot!
toe holds have now become one of my favorite submissions.

So far we have worked the straight ankle lock and also the heel hook, leg locks rock! we are lucky we have an instructor who is open to leg locks as it would suck to not learn them, adding in toe holds seriously changes how someone plays open guard.

as I mentioned in my last update, there is a few competitions coming up, I am excited about competing again but want to do it without a niggling groin strain/injury.

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Dion sent out the upcoming competitions for the rest of 2014.

10th August BJJ4LIFE – Gi Submission only

16 & 17th August BJJ posibly Gi & No-Gi during a fitness expo.

21 September No-Gi AFBJJ (IBJJF Points tournament)

wow, pretty stacked few months

10th of August, bjj4life tournament I will sign up for. and I would love to do the Fitness expo ones also and well if all goes well maybe the AFBJJ one, it would be a great to have something to really focus on and with all the stuff I have to work on this is literally the best way to really put it to the test.

I need one thing though. a Bull-Terrier Gi I’m pretty sure they give you +1 berimbolo


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“We always learn more from the losing than the winning.” – Yani Tseng

I had set goals for 2014, one was to compete as much as possible, I have not competed as much as I could have but on Sunday I competed for the second time this year.

The goal I set, “to compete as much as possible” I now realize is flawed.

I am going to do 100 shrimps on the mat before class tonight.
I am going to do technically correct and well executed shrimps on the mat before class tonight.

which would be the best strategy there ?

of course there is the fact that the more you compete the more comfortable you are with competing so I’m sticking with my “compete as much as possible” philosophy but more than just getting comfortable in the competition environment, I now appreciate how significant the opportunity to learn via competing is.

Being told something is different than learning it for yourself, Dion has told me all of this(significance of learning from competing), none of this should be surprising to me, but it feels like I just figured out something for myself.

What did I learn

I think everyone should compete.
but if you don’t want to compete I 100% respect that decision, while I believe everyone could learn from it, it is a lesson that can be, well..hard and I do not think anyone should be forced to compete or even made to feel they should compete.
realistically in my opinion competition is not really even required for BJJ although I think without it, BJJ wouldn’t be BJJ.(I think that was an oxymoron.)

Basically I don’t want to come across as pushing competing, it is a very personal thing, so this just me and my thoughts on a simple blog, nothing more.

Going into the competition on Sunday I was quietly confident, I wanted to do well.
in truth I was over confident, ego.

I have gone over the video of my match A LOT, it has now become a great learning tool, now I have to use that tool.

  • My guard pull. That was my strategy, to pull guard, my opponent got the jump on me by initiating contact, I reacted with my own grips and pretty much just sat down, unlike how Dion shows where when you sit you have a foot into your opponents hip, I had no contact apart from my grips, he simply ran around me to pass, I ended up with a sort of knee shield and my opponent goes for Knee on Belly.

Drill Guard pulls I have been watching lots of matches from the 2014 worlds to see how the pro’s do it and I am going to focus on doing it how Dion has been telling me from the start!

  • Half Guard. Eventually after the initial scramble I get to half guard, the video is hard to tell and my memory is a blur but I’m not sure if I secured the under-hook or if my right arm is around his head/neck either way I get flattened out.

Work half guard while we do work this position I just need to really focus on that under-hook, this is something I believe I forget to secure in class also, so UNDER-HOOKS!!

  • Closed guard. At one point I end up in his closed guard, I stand straight up, I even remember controlling his right arm…BUT my posture, my posture is shocking.

Posture something I have struggled with and it has improved( I have only recently been able to bend forwards at the hips and have a straight back…..sometimes) luckily posture is something we do focus on, I just need to be more mindful of my posture, but in the particular case it leads into the next point.

  • Grips. not once did I strip his grips, he had my lapel so deep he turned my Gi into a hoodie! I gave up grips easily and my grips ? well they could be described as death grips I also need to keep my elbows close to my sides.
    one example of my death grips was when I stood in his closed guard I maintained a grip on his lapel! THROUGH HIS LEGS!!!!

Grips I need to work on stripping grips and more efficient use of grips, lesson for me is that a strong grip is not always a good grip, but a good grip can be a strong grip even if it is easy to strip.

  • Being heavy. something I noticed was that I didn’t seem “heavy” in certain positions, this is something I will go over with Dion

Heavy Basically work my top game. oh how convenient that we are now entering our top control phase of our curriculum! so that is sure to help!

These are just some of the things I took from my roll that I want to work on, I have not yet gone over the video with Dion but I think I may take a private to review the match and come up with some drills/strategies to address issues.

I am really pleased I got to have a roll at this tournament, I have a great opportunity to improve and I am really excited to work on the areas that I need to.

Something I am planning to do from tonight, is focus on Position before Submission, using combat base more, “Feet, Knees, Hips”, eliminate space between myself and my opponent(I do love the floaty style though) and to focus more on grips, posture and my approach to Jiu Jitsu instead of the submission or “being dominant”.

I am going to ask certain people to roll with me as if it is a competition(you compete how you train) and others I will just roll how we roll and I can always flow roll with Nathan this should give me consistent opponents who can mimic the stress of a competition, the familiarity of a roll with a fellow student and the keep it playful style to experiment and try new things.


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