Sunday, December 5, 2010

Friday night seminar

Friday night was different. We had a visiting instructor for a combined BJJ and strength & conditioning seminar. Craig Robinson is a Will-Machado black belt from Geelong. He and his wife run Bring It On Fitness and are about to open Bring it On Combat.

I've met Craig before. First time was at John Will's Blackbelt Studios in early 2009. I was a two stripe white belt at the time and I'd come along for the ride with one of the guys who attended the advanced class down there. Craig generously allowed me to join his intermediate class afterwards (white belts 3 stripes and up). That was a bit of an eye opener at the time, but what most stuck in my mind was rolling with Craig. Well, who wouldn't remember the first time they rolled with a BJJ BB???

Anyway, one of our guys had organised Craig to come up and hold the seminar. Unfortunately, only 7 from our school could make it. But that was more quality time with Craig for those of us who came :-)

Craig brought medicine balls with him. We got a talk about the usefulness of balls and the need for core exercises to improve posture and for strength. We did some tabbata interval warmups involving squats and medicine ball throws. Then we went right into squats with medicine balls, burpess on the balls with a jump up and lots of mountain climbers. It was done in sets of 3, 4 and 5 (1,2,3 x 50 mountain climbers). And then we did it all over again.

We was sweating. :-P

Craig has a special way to be motivating, coaxing, praising, nagging, cursing. In the end, everyone succeeded.

We did some stuff on grips and controls from standing, using push and pull to control our opponent and get him off balance. From there we went on to an entry to a single leg takedown and a very simple takedown. We got a chance for everyone to try it on everyone else for quite a few reps. Then we looked at attacks flowing straight from that takedown. One being a legbar, the other an armbar. Both incredibly simple and effective. Last technique was a foot choke straight from the armbar.

After that, we did four minute rounds of rolling. Craig joined in so everyone had to wrestle seven other people, with no breaks inbetween. I'll admit I haven't wrestled so fatigued for a long time :-)

But we all got the chance to roll with Craig, which was fantastic. He got me in a nasty collar choke from a place I never expected. Haha. But it's fascinating how black belts can turn "it" on and off to adapt to the level of their training partners. Wouldn't it be great to possess such skill?!

We finished off the session with some more squats and burpees. How many I really don't remember.

Then it was question time. I asked if it was good to use kettlebells for the squats he urged us to be doing regularly. He said sure, as long as the technique is good. And to do the squats in all sorts of variations. Not only to keep in interesting, but also to challenge the body in different ways.

Another question asked was how to escape switch base side control (we all know a big brown belt who LOVES that position!). Craig showed us a different way to the escape we'd learned. It's one I will be trying out soon, seeing I get stuck in that position quite a bit, and the standard escape I can't pull off (yet??).

So, it was a great seminar. I was somewhat tired afterwards, and he promised sore legs. I can attest to that, he wasn't wrong... I hope he will come and do another one early next year. He is a funny guy. He doesn't spare the verbal whip but he is very inspirational and makes you feel good about your achievements.


  1. I agree with the use of the medicine ball for core training, especially for grappling and anaerobic fitness. The stability ball has helped me out as well especially for balance and controlling an opponent on all fours.

  2. I've been playing around with the stability ball at home, too. I use it for several fun exercises.

    It's the medicine ball I've been neglecting :-) But no more excuses now!