Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friday night

In our Friday night class we added onto stuff we learned at the seminar last week.

Starting from mount, we have our partner's left arm in an upward figure 4. Instead of going for that submission (of if we can't get it), we bring our arms across his neck, block his elbow with our chest and then reach around the back of his neck with our right hand for an armwrap. We dismount into a low kneeride. Then we reposition our left hand to also grab his trapped forearm. Then we do the boat ramp: as we sit on our but, we pull him up towards our chest and across our right leg and end up in back control with both hooks in.

From there, we look for the RNC. However, if he tries to pull our right arm down (for the drill that's what our partner did), we use our right leg to clamp over the arm to trap it. If possible, we cross the left leg over the right at the ankles. Now it's possible to use both of our arms against his left arm. Bringing our right arm to the left side of his neck, we grab his left wrist and figure four it with our left arm. Once that's in place, we can push on his head with our right hand while pushing down with our legs. This will push him down and across. Lastly, we bring our right leg across the front of his face, and as his left arm is already trapped in the crook of our left elbow, an armbar is easy.

A new guy turned up, and we took turns in pairs to show him basic drills. Watching him struggle and sweat reminded me of how hard I found it when I started :-).

We mostly drilled this set, first in stages, then the whole thing. After that, we did a bit of free rolling. I wasn't very successful, getting caught in an armbar, a triangle, a figure four from headlock etc. Nothing seemed to work for me. The best thing that happened was when I managed one escape from a bad position under a heavy blue belt guy, who commented "good!" for my effort. Only to regain his position and squash the breath out of me while he casually put on a figure four...

I was not impressed with myself, feeling like I was walking into the same submissions and not doing as well as I should. Near the end of open mat, one of the senior guys asked me for a roll. He asked if there was something specific I wanted to work on. Feeling down, I said I was getting stuck in stuff over and over but not to worry. We had a bit of a chat where I'm at. Most others had left by then and another guy came over. Then they spent the next 20 minutes giving me advice and examples on starting from knees and turtle escapes and attacks. That was terrific. I felt terribly guilty taking their time and I would have been happy to watch them roll and learn from watching. But I really appreciate their help. It is fantastic to see how much interest people take in helping others in our school. I guess as we all get better together, we enhance each other's learning. And I get my turns helping others with less experience.

Friday, January 29, 2010

half guard, half guard...

Three more BJJ classes, all concentrating on the half guard.

On Monday, we mostly went over seminar stuff, which was the lockdown, whip up and the old school sweep from half guard. Drilled all that a fair bit.

Then we learned another technique which will allow you to take the back from half guard bottom. Assuming I'm on the bottom and I have my partner's right leg in lockdown. If, for some reason he lifts his right arm (in MMA, he might be trying to punch), I stiffarm him on the elbow with my left arm. I bring my left knee up and in front on his bicep then slide my hand to his wrist. This locks his arm against my knee/shin. If I push up and out with my knee while controlling the wrist, it lifts his upper body away from me. I can now push my right arm under him and through his right armpit and cup around the back of his right shoulder. With that setup in place, I quickly straighten my left leg, drag his shoulder forward/down while pushing his wrist against his body. That gets me out from under him and a clear path to his back. It has to be a sudden jerk on his arm to make it work. My right hook is already in, so getting good back control is relatively easy.

In our Wednesday classes, we did again go over lockdown. I still had some problems with the whip up. Wrong technique, so it worked on a partner my size, but not on someone bigger. Adjusted technique, and now it works. Let's hope I can store that in a part of my brain that allows easy retrieval, as that was the third times I've been shown how to do it.... Sigh.

We did the drill against a partially resistant partner. To avoid someone pushing up on my head to creat space for double underhooks, I buried my head on their neck or put it to the floor. This was partially successful, but still they would lever it up. However, if someone did it to me, I couldn't move their head. So Sensei showed me a sneaky way to lever their head off the mat to get me into the starting position. It's pretty hard to explain, so I won't even try but the crux is not to try to muscle it, but use leverage and positioning = good jiu jitsu.

We learned yet another sweep and submission from half guard. Again, hard to explain, but basically it's useful where the whip up worked, but we couldn't get turned and get our right side to the mat. So we are still under him, but deep. So instead of coming out on his right hand side, we aim for his left side. I push my left arm out under his right armpit and straighten it. Then I try to bring my the arm to my left side while I reach for his left leg with my right hand. This rotates him to my left. I keep the lockdown on his right leg, lift his left leg over my head and then pin his knee to my chest. This puts him in the splits position. I can add more pressure by straightening my legs on his locked leg.

Aside from that, we did several rolls from half guard. I got a lot out of that. Had a good laugh when I was busy trying to get someone's back, fiddling around with my left foot. He had the audacity to tickle it!! My answer, of course, was to choke him, but I think we were laughing too much, and I don't recall what happened from there (couldn't sink the choke on his short, thick neck). But the roll went for a long time. I'm pleased about my escapes and avoid a lot of subs. But my attacks still need a lot of works. Still, at least I'm now getting positions where attacks can be contemplated :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

quiet Saturday

My neck wasn't too sore after all the abuse received during the seminar. I'm still not sure if the chokes themselves were worse, or the "jaws of life". But in any case, the neck was only a bit stiff, not really sore. But I have some lovely bruises on shins and ankles from practicing the lockdown.

In class today, we went over the lockdown, jaws of life, get underhooks, push the partner up and then do the old school sweep again. We just went over all that several times, as there are a lot of steps. I still don't bring my forearm across far enough which means I then have trouble sucking in the other elbow. But I managed to improve on it. The sweep itself worked sweetly.

At the end of the class we had a few minutes of rolling. Went through some truly weird positions and found myself attacking a fair bit without quite succeeding. I was swept a few times, but returned the favour. I had success escaping from mount and back control so he couldn't get anything, either. I was going well, had just managed to sprawl on him ready to attack his back, when I suddenly gassed. It was just gone. So he mowed over me and it was a sudden end in an armbar. Grrr. It doesn't happen to me often, and it annoys the hell out of me when it does. I had a quick drink and was ready for another roll, but unfortunately, time was up.

choked by a sadist

On Friday night, instead of our regular BJJ class, we had a two hour seminar with John Campbell, nicknamed "The Sadist". It was no gi/mma. John recently returned from the States where he trained with Eddie Bravo. We knew we were in for an interesting evening :-)

We learned the lockdown from halfguard bottom which seems pretty much like a grapevine. Then we worked on getting double underhooks through a technique called jaws of life. Basically, you push your partner's head up and away by placing your hands on his temple. You rotate your free arm in, with your elbow/forearm in line with your sternum, to fill the space created. That allows you to suck down your other forearm (which was underhooked). From there you can have double underhooks and lock him down with a gable grip around his back. In mma, burying your head in his neck or chest will pretty much prevent him from hitting you.

Then we learned the old school sweep, which included transitioning the lockdown foot position to where his lower leg is trapped in the crook of my knee. As I push him over by grabbing his foot, the crucial part is to step backwards with my free leg while having my shoulder on him, and holding his foot. Then, depending on positioning, I pull out or slide out my other leg and establish side control. Very neat.

If we can't grab his foot, we can get up on our right arm while maintaining the left hand across his back and hooked on his far hip. Then drive into him to sweep. If he has whizzered our left arm, we can rotate the hand and limp arm out of it, swing it clean over his left shoulder and go straight to a seat belt grip, insert our right foot for a hook and have the back. Lovely.

After that we went through head arm chokes from side control. Learned a nice and easy way to peel out the right elbow and trap his upper arm with our head while going to mount. After that, we have a number of options for making the choke work, each cinching it tighter. So if he doesn't tap to version 1, we transition to 2 etc. Essentially, if a plain head/arm choke doesn't work, we can go from the standard left hand on right bicep, right hand on head position to a double hands on elbows postiion. Either way, we make it tight by driving our head towards the mat, tightening the elbows, and pushing our chest out. If that doesn't do the trick, we slide our left foot across his belly, with the foot hooking his right hip. Then we stick our right foot on our left or on his hip. And push down with our feet. That adds considerable force to the choke. The final version was to transition to knee ride, with the knee high on the sternum. That was not nice, to put it mildly.

The whole sequence is nasty because you just go from one evil thing to another, cinching it tighter and tighter and making it more and more unpleasant. John was walking around checking how we all went and offered to let us have a feel. I accepted :-). OUCH. It's choke with a bit of a neck crank, more of a crank with the feet on your hip. Ouch. (Note: don't accept a sadist's offer to choke you while sticking his knee in!)

Finally we did a bit on back control and how to bring up your legs to trap one arm. From there we might have a clear run at a RNC. Or we figure four the other arm. Alternatively, we transition to an armbar. I think he called that the black widow.

It really was a very interesting evening. Most of us had a bit of a roll after, and a couple of opportunities came up to try those new things. Luckily, my legs are long and flexible enough for that sort of stuff. And it was good that we did all that work with the head/arm choke, as we had beeen drilling the same choke several times during the week. So for me personally, it really opened my eyes for a whole new attack game. Good stuff indeed :-)

I hear that John will be back and I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

another week ticks by

I'll never ever be organised enough to write about every class :-)

So a whole week has passed, which meant another 5 BJJ classes. We did some new stuff but what always strikes me is how much new stuff I can discover about a technique or position I learned ages ago. It really pays to revisit, retry, re-evaluate everything.

I have a terrible habit of trying something new a couple of times and then I get discouraged and file it under "I can't do that". Being still pretty wet behind the ears in terms of BJJ, there are a lot of new things which won't work when I first try them in rolling. I'm still lacking the awareness, balance, sensitivity and general knowledge to see what makes stuff work, so I need to practice, practice, practice before anything works. So what happens is I try a move when I roll, a fail a couple of times and convince myself that it won't work for me.

When I teach horseriding, I always come down hard on people who say things like "I can't" or "I'm not good enough" or "I'm hopeless". Yet, I do the bloody same. How stupid is that??? Because it's defeatist and self-fulfilling. If I tell myself often enough that I can't do XYZ, then in due course I really will fail which will of course reinforce that message.

So on the one hand I must get good enough at a given technique to be able to pull it off, on the other hand, I must believe that I can do it. Now we all know that a body has limitations, and that some techniques are hard to do for some people due to size, strength (ours and our partner) - experience aside. But it's not like there is a cut off point. It's more that it gets harder and harder.

What made me think of this is what happened in class the other day. I was partnered with the biggest guy in our school. Can't remember exactly what we were doing, think it was halfguard position and I was working on either a sweep or getting on my side for deep half guard. I needed to get his weight off me and up, using my legs and arms. For him to do that to me is a piece of cake ;-) (I'm half his weight). For me to do that to him takes effort. When it was my turn, I did my usual "oh, I think I can't do this", and made a half-arsed effort. It failed. Surprise, surprise. So he showed me how to do it again, making sure I used my legs mainly, rather than relying on my arms. Basically, he didn't accept that I couldn't do it. That was just the figurative toe that was needed up my arse. I tried and meant it. It worked. Which was an excellent experience. Because if I can manage to move a guy that size, I can move anyone. It was only down to proper technique and a proper effort. So I should quit the size excuse and have more faith in my teachers and myself.

Anyway, what else did we do during the week?

We worked exactly on those things which I'd been having trouble with and wish I could revisit and drill :-)

Such as... hook sweep, double hooks sweep (transition to hip bump sweep if they sit up). And head/arm chokes. YES! Frome side control, from half guard top and from half guard bottom. How to trap arms to get into a nice choking position etc.

I did learn one new thing: the d'arce choke. Hmm. Interesting ;-)

And the last session with our departing purple belt was devoted to attacks from his favourite position - switch back side control. And more head/arm chokes :-)

So it's been an intensive week which has hopefully hammered a bit more understanding into my brain. Not so much new stuff as discovering new stuff about known techniques, which mean that they will now work for me. I know I often manage to get arms across during rolling, and I was frustrated that I couldn't get head/arm chokes to work. This last week has expanded my arsenal in that area.

Also, I had a range of good rolls with different people, and took something away with me from each of those. Aside from that, they were fun. Good fun :-)))

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wednesday double

Thankfully, it wasn't hot on Wednesday. Just right, really, only a little muggy in the evening.

Only three of us turned up for the lunchtime class. Our instuctor is back on deck after a shoulder injury kept him off the mat at the end of last year. So we took turns partnered with him and he had a chance for a couple of rolls.

We worked on a double hooking sweep. Once I realised just how close you need to get when you sit up into your partner with over and underhooks, and that you need to fall back a little on the side you are sweeping to, this worked wonderfully. We swept right into switchback side control.

From there we had a quick look at possible attacks, because the right arm is already isolated.

Then we looked at the scenario where our partner manages to free his top arm (maybe he pulled it through while we swept) and tries to roll away from us. We drilled trapping his arm to prevent him from getting away and set up a submission. If for example, we swept him to our left, he rolls to his left, we stick our right hand under his right elbow (from behind). Then we make a fist, drop our elbow down behind his back and consolidate our position while squatting behind him. Can't lean forward, need to keep the weight low behind him, with knees blocking his back. Then we have time to set up a submission.

From here we can go for an armbar by stepping over the head, or we can set up a kimura from north/south. We played around with this for a short time, trying out differnt options.

We finished off with a couple of rolls each. Same as on Monday, I managed to get good positions several times. I pulled off a wrist lock and tried a variety of chokes and armlocks. Of course I also had tons of opportunity to practice survival and escapes :-) Both rolls were productive, and the stray heel to the base of my nose didn't cause any damage.

I came back for the evening class. One of our instructors is moving away and this was one of his last two classes. Also, while our PFS classes are still in recess, I'm only doing BJJ, so I figured the extra class was the go, even if it meant to travel all the way into town a second time in one day.

Aside from one newbie who leaned some basic drills, the rest of us went from light free guard passing to guard passing with subs and then to free wrestling. It was a medium sized class, so I had lots of rolls with various partners. I wasn't quite as fresh as I was for the lunchtime class, and with higher humidity, I felt like being in a sauna.

I rolled with two bluebelts, both of whom had suggestions to make. One comment was that I need to be careful when I commit my weight, be it guard passing or position changes when on top. He said I commit too much of my weight which makes it easy for people to sweep me. I laughed and said that with my (lack of) weight, I need to use all of it. But he's right of course. I need to give more thought about keeping base and maybe concentrating a percentage of my weight on that part of my opponents anatomy which gives me the best control, ie: control ONE shoulder instead of just lying across his top half.

The other suggestion came when I was guard passing. Generally, I manage to pass open guard reasonably well, but yesterday I had troubles. So I was busy trying to pin one leg down. And because I wasn't thinking, I was also trying to push the other knee down. He showee me a better way to pin the first leg and pointed out that if I pull up on his other knee, that would rotate his hips toward me and help flatten the first leg to the floor. Of course, it's obvious when I think about it. Duh!

That aside, I had plenty of fun. I was mauled as usual by the really big four stripe guy. I was pleased to get past his open guard once and actually get to side control. I lasted there for less than 2 seconds and it went all bad for me after that. However, I rolled out of one omoplata attempt and I know I'm making it harder and harder for him to get a hold of my arms. We tend to make jokes about it, after all he is twice my weight. One roll we started with him lying down, sort of roman emperor pose, propped up on his elbows. Then he waved me in, with the sort of grin like his favourite dessert had been served. Needless to say, the outcome for me was tapping :-).

One of the bluebelts caught me in a wristlock. Sneaky, and just as I had escaped something else. Can't remember too much else aside from the issues about the open guard passing. Aside from that, he caught me in a gi choke. Some rolls later I finally retaliated - with an wristlock :-).

I had one roll with our purple belt instructor. It's been ages since I've wrestled with him. His favourite is switch base side control and he knows a lot of horrible submissions from there. Anyway, we started from knees and I surprised him by snapping his head down, he went turtle, I fumbled around and he rolled me but somehow there was a scramble, I passed his legs and ended up - in switchbase side control. While I was busy gloating, he swept me - into switchbase side control :-) He is much bigger than me, and it's not a nice place to be. Soon after (details escape me), he got me in some kind of crank. Head facing one way, legs the other. Not nice. Humans weren't designed to be corkscrews.. Tapping time!

I did have a couple more rolls, I remember one where my opponent (my fellow three -striper) had top half guard. He uses his shoulder wickedly. Being under his side control is no fun, either. I think I escaped once, just to get into the same position, and eventually he got me in a figure four.

A whole hour of one good roll after another, even though I felt like pizza dough some of the time. I was so hot and tired at the end, there was sweat pooling in my ears. Yuk. Gi was twice it's normal weight. I came home with new matburn, grazes on my elbows and left knee, a bruised chin, a pinch/bruise to my left side and assorted other bruises of course. But as happy as can be.

Due to being super careful about drinking plenty and eating a little before class, and then something straight after class on the way home, I felt excellent the next day and after that. It makes so much difference to the amount of soreness, if I feed myself well. I'm absolutely fit and rearing to go for my next class tonight :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

mad dogs and englishmen..

How does the saying go? Only mad dogs and englishmen go out in the midday sun, or something to that effect.

It wasn't only the midday sun today that was hot. It was really, really hot all day. It was 38 deg.C (100F) before 11am, it peaked at 44C (111F) and fell to about 35C (95F) by the time we started class at 8pm. By the time I came home just before 10pm, it was still about 30C. It was brutal outside and I don't have a/c in the house.

Was class tough? Is the pope catholic? Needless to say it was a small class for a monday night. But it was good to see the die hard BJJ addicts back again after our 3 week xmas layoff.

It seemed like a good opportunity to do a no-gi class :-)

We drilled armbar from knee ride and far armbar from knee ride. I mainly worked on getting the right grip for good penetration, and gripping knees so that the whole deal was tight, for both armbars. I've drilled this technique before and going over it again, I'm finding lots of ways to improve it. As with a lot of the other techniques, I know the basic movements so I can concentrate on the small stuff that really make them work. With that, I find that in rolling, techniques I knew but couldn't pull off, are now starting to work. Good stuff!

When we were drilling, one of the bluebelts pointed out the importance of having the trapped arm over to the correct side of my body, ie: the side where his feet are. Often, it works if the arm is along my centreline, but with flexible elbows, I can get more extension and a better angle being off to my side. Having the arm over the other side gives my opponent a better chance to pull out of the sub.

One of the guys showed us an omoplata to armbar transition. He 'borrowed' me to demonstrate. As I rolled out of the omoplata, I kneed myself in the left eyebrow.

Most of the class was spent rolling. Everybody took it reasonably steady because of the heat. But all the same, it was pretty non-stop. I had two long rolls with a blue belt who is at least 30kg heavier than I. He almost toyed with sweeping me, giving me a chance to feel for getting better base. When he got top positions, he'd not squish down with all his weight, giving me loads of opportunity for escapes, even a sweep and consequently I had several opportunities to work my top game. All along I remembered to attack and found myself going from one attack to another several times. Really, really good rolling. I told him how much I appreciate that bit of space and he said it was good for him, too because it made him work more out of bad spots and not rely only on strength and weight. Win/win.

My other roll was with one of the young, quick, flexible guys. One of those lucky types who looks very natural and who's been giving the higher belts a challenge. Still, he is only about my weight, so he can't shut me down the way the big guys can, and I'm a few month's training ahead of him which does make itself felt here and there ;-). We had a lot of positional changes. I couldn't submit him because I could never establish solid enough control and when he'd reverse me, he couldn't get a sub because my defense is pretty good. Again, it was good to have opportunities to work my top game. Because my top game sure needs work!!

We were all soaked and pretty exhausted after class, but it was GREAT to be back on the mat. I drank heaps and ate something soon after, so I felt pretty good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

photos for the people :-)

I had dinner with my friends Yvonne and Greg last night. Greg took the opportunity to take some photos - silly photos of cats and yours truly are always part of the after-dinner entertainment :-).

So here is me sporting my new super-cool hair do.

Good timing indeed, as the weather was horribly hot yesterday. So absolutely no regrets. As the forecast for tomorrow hints at an even hotter day, I imagine that I will appreciate the improved cooling effect when I finally resume training tomorrow night.

Just for comparison, here is a recent photo of my long hair. At times it has been much longer than that.

Friday, January 8, 2010

things we do...

I've spent well over 20 years with long hair. It's a pain in the summer and it's a pain under a riding hat. Always kept it braided to keep it out of the road, but long hair it had to be ;-).

Then I started grappling. I braided it tighter, used more elastics, tried different braids. Same result, it's hot and it looks insanely horrible after a good wrestle and the earguards slip around on it. Worst of all, lots of it gets left on the mat.

Sometimes the braid gets stuck under my back, once I even had to tap out to a backward neck crank! But it's the hunks that get torn out which is the worst. I remember the horrified look of one of the guys at the end of a roll during a no-gi session one night, when he literally handed me a goodly hunk of my hair - "I think this is yours?!". All in all not optimal.

So today I did the deed. Off it came!

As it is a very hot day, I can feel the benefits already :-). But the true benefits will be apparent when I'll go have have my next BJJ class on Monday. But how good is that for true dedication to the sport ??? Eh? Eh? ;-) (And I shall ignore those in my wider family who quietly think I'm nuts.)

Yay! Three more days and we're back on the mat. Beauty!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

funny forum stuff...

As I'm still not back on the mat (four more long days to go..), I've been reading the forums. I didn't find many profound posts, but here is some funny stuff:

On MMA Underground:
Official 2010 BJJ Vocabulary Disambiguation thread

On Grapplersguide:
You know your BJJ is improving when...

On Lockflow:
You know your a grappler when..

Saturday, January 2, 2010

two bodies

We are experiencing weird weather. For example, we had a big heat wave in November, then more cool and rainy weather, nearly like winter again. Since then, it's been a roller coaster. For example, two days ago, we had temperatures up to 38 deg.C, then a late thunderstorm on New Year's Eve brought cooler and moist weather. Today it's only about 15 deg.C out there and a stiff breeze. Consequently, it's very difficult to adjust to the weather. Singlets one day, parkas the next...

I used to hate hot weather and didn't mind the cold so much. Ok, it's not too cold here in winter, it's pretty much a mediterranean climate, so snow is unusual, but we do get frosts in winter, and weeks of cold, windy and rainy weather. And the summers are (usually) hot and dry.

With distinct seasons, and a gradual change between them, it's not too hard to adjust to the weather, dress accordingly and heat the house when necessary. I also adjust my training, taking longer to warm up when it's cool for example.

As I'm getting older, I find that I prefer the hot extreme to the cold extreme. I think that's the result of two things. One the one hand, being fitter through constant training, my body has learned to sweat and cope with being hot and it's no longer exhausting just to feel hot. On the other hand, I'm getting less flexible and take longer to recover than I used to. I find that cold/wet weather means stiffer joints and more aches. So nowadays I'd rather be too hot than too cold.

I've found that I have two operating modes. One is normal, at rest or low to medium level activity (from sitting in front of the computer to say... going horseriding). Mode two is "running temperature". Like a well warmed engine. How much work is required to get into M2 depends a lot on outside temperature, which is why I prefer the warmer weather these days. Of course other things come into it as well, such as whether I have muscle soreness from previous days, carry an injury and how long since I last had a good workout and stretch.

Why is all this relevant?

Because it never ceases to amaze me what a different body I inhabit when I reach proper running temperature, as opposed to normal operating mode. There are days when I pack my bag and head off to training and I feel like a wooden doll. I actually doubt that I can train properly some days and I'm literally afraid of going. I've had the odd day when things really were a bit tough. But that was nearly always when I'd have a class in the morning, an hour off and another class straight after (Too long a break to stay warm but not long enough to recover). But that aside, my body always managed to do the business after proper warming and stretching. I ought to have learned by now that I can rely on it!!!

I'm on the grey side of fourty, so just getting out of bed in the morning, I feel like need to order spare parts and a grease and oil change for my body. That is every morning. Some clever person on some forum remarked that over fourty, you hurt in the mornings no matter what. If you hurt after abusing your body during grappling the day before, at least you have a reason to hurt. That sounds sensible :-).

What I notice as I work around the farm, ride horses and do my daily chores etc are other issues. Lack of flexibility, mainly in the lower back, but also in the shoulders and neck and knees. Also I notice that some joints click and crunch. One of my knees, hurt many moons ago in a horseriding accident and then re-injured later, has what feels like lax ligaments. If I just blunder around, stuff moves around in there, and I've had it lock on me to the point where it won't straighten. Less so lately, but it's been an ongoing problem. My neck sometimes "crinks", for no reason at all, but often it's at times of stress. So in other words, in normal mode, I feel like the average 40+ year old. I can fully relate to what my parents used to bitch about when they were this old! Winter mornings are worst.

Then I go to classes. Whether BJJ or PFS, there's the warmup, some stretching and then we're into it. Joints gain more range of motion. No crunching or clicking anywhere, knees feel tight, general flexibility increases. And hardly any aches (well, shall we say there can be some "discomfort" during warmup) once I start rolling. What I'm so stunned about is just how different my body performs when it's in that state. It really is like a different body to the one I usually inhabit :-)

I suppose I could say there is another mode, that being sparring mode. Simply, when the rolling or standup sparring gets a bit more intensive, then it goes to the point where more and more pain can be tolerated. For example, that's when I come home with bruises and matburn which I don't recall incurring. Or when I came up against the limit of what I have in my "gas tank" and still manage to push on a bit more.

I just wish I could run at that enhanced level of ease and flexibility ALL the time, but I doubt that's possible. I basically think I'm a lucky old bastard, being able to go pretty much as hard as I like in training - as long as I warm up adequately. I see plenty of people younger than myself who evidently live a much more sedentiary lifestyle, and who certainly couldn't do what I can do. And I don't do so badly during training, compared to the guys in their twenties - if I may say so myself ;-). Yes, I am lucky, even if I need to always get to running temperature before I can play!

I had to laugh when I friend of mine came along to watch a BJJ class one day recently. He said he could never do it and that he felt tired just watching us warm up :-)