Sunday, February 26, 2012


Brave new world... Testing blogger on android :-)

grappler's friend

Meet my new friend:

This thing is great. It is a vast improvement over ice-cubes in a plastic bag. It works much better than a frozen gel-pack on places like elbows, feet, wrists etc. The gel pack is good for large flattish areas, but on joints, I find I need to bandage it down tight to get the contact I want.

The ice bag makes it much easier. I put it to good use on my dodgy right elbow this last week.

In Australia, it can be obtained from the Lecaronol website. They were very helpful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

back from holidays and all settled in...

I'm pleased that the almost 3kg I gained during my holiday (more lack of exercise than too much eating, cross my heart!) have been worked off again. That didn't take long, I was back to my usual weight within four days of coming home and training :-)

As much as I enjoyed the break and the different scenery, it was great to get home again. I was straight back to work on Monday morning, and two BJJ sessions on Monday evening. I missed my Wednesday lunchtime class due to a work meeting, but the evening class more than made up for it...

In all, during the week I had six BJJ session, which included one private. The latter was great, I had decided on DHG as the theme, and it was a very good session indeed. The other classes during the week focussed on guard passes (variations of the Sao Paulo pass) and a defense to the double-under pass. There was plenty of rolling, too.

My home school is quite small, as we are in a country town. So it was good to see that more guys are finally back from summer holidays and other lay-offs, and we have more bodies on the mat again. It was especially good to see Ben back on the mat. Not only is he the nicest guy, but rolling with him always expands my game. In addition, I found out that another purple belt who dropped in a few times in the past, has joined our ranks and he will be training with us regularly. I even had him for a partner on Saturday. Good times!

I'm really happy to be back and do battle with the rather competitive blues and whites we have. Guys, you are all good value :-)

There are comps coming up. Time to get organised. There is a small no-gi More Grappling comp in a fortnight. The Victorian Championships are in April some time and the first Grappling Tournament for 2012 (also in Melbourne) has just been announced for May 13. I suppose I better work out which ones I want to go to. Ha, if any... I'm still not too sure on that one.

Jess Fraser has organised another Girls in Gi Camp for March. A two day event this time! I'm already booked in as it was damn good value last time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

BJJ in Saigon

On the last day of my Vietnam trip, I had the chance to join the guys from Saigon BJJ for a class and some rolling. I had contacted Matt when I found out about the gym and he invited me to come and drop in on the Saturday afternoon.

BJJ is currently only available at three schools in Vietnam, two in Saigon and one in Hanoi. As far as I understand, they are all no-gi schools. Matt told me that they are looking at gi classes in the near future though.

Due to underestimating the Saigon traffic and the distance from the hotel to the fitness centre, and some problems in getting into the place, I was a bit late for the class part of the afternoon. However, I still had the chance to get in some reps of several techniques. Essentially, the class was about guard passes and knee ride. Not all new stuff to me, but knee ride isn't really part of my game, so it was good to work on that side of things.  This was followed by a bit of situational rolling to give people the chance to practice the techniques.

After the class, there was some rolling. I enjoyed a thorough butt-kicking from four of the guys :-) One particular roll I will remember for a long time. The guy tells me he's a bit rusty, and had several months lay-off due to an operation. Then he proceeded to demolish me by way of some of the most continuous, switching-sides, surf-the-wave type of knee rides I've ever encountered. Yeah, I did fend of a lot of subs. But I was forced to turtle several times just to escape the pressure. And no, I'm not a knee-ride woos, we have a couple of guys in our school who use it. However, this was out of the box... Still, good times :-)

Here are some pictures of the drilling part of the class:

Hehe, and they liked my BJJ Brotherhood rashie :-)


So I've been back from my Vietnam trip for a week. But it's taken me this long to organise myself. I arrived in Tullamarine on Sunday morning after an overnighter and then drove home two hours. Then straight back to work on Monday. Somehow, my place is still an untidy mess :-)

On the positive side, I managed six training sessions this week. After all the genteel sightseeing, sitting around and eating in Vung Tau, this really was good. The nearly three kilograms I put on during my trip, I lost within four days after I returned home. My body has that nice worn (slightly trashed) feeling again. Life is almost back to normal...

Ok, now to the answer to what Vung Tau has in common with Rio.

It has a massive statue of Christ. It is actually bigger than the one in Rio (unless you count the pedestal it stands on). According to Wikipedia:
"It is 32 metres (105 ft) high, standing on a 4 metres (13 ft) high platform, for a 36 metres (118 ft) total monument height with two outstretched arms spanning 18.3 metres (60 ft). There is a 133-step staircase inside the statue."

As the statue is on top of a small mountain, there are quite a few steps on the way up. Someone mentioned about 400 (but don't quote me on that). We did go up inside it, and you end up standing inside the shoulders to look out. Looking down, on the gardens below:

You get a good view of the city of Vung Tau:

All the way up to the statue, and on top of the hill, there are nice gardens with small statues, potted flowers and ponds. Fantastic.

It appears that Vung Tau has a large Christian population. So there are several big churches and big statues all over the peninsula. The strong Buddhist tradition means that there are many beautiful pagodas and Buddha statues as well. From certain vantage points, you can see several large statues from both faiths on the hills at the same time.

We visited three pagodas while I was in Vung Tau. I was blown away by the architecture, the gardens and the artwork everywhere.

Vung Tau is a busy port city. I understand that about 200,000 people live there. It certainly has some pretty busy streets. Though of course, not as busy as Saigon. And let me tell you, the traffic in Vietnam is different to the traffic in Australia :-) Some cars, lots of taxis, loads of motorbikes and bikes. Everyone beeps all the time, signs and traffic lights are suggestions only and nobody on two wheels thinks twice about using the wrong side of the road. Roundabouts are fun! I stayed with friends. The get about on motorbikes, so I had lots of rides on the back, which gave me the opportunity to sample the traffic from close up.

I ate lots of pho and bun and other noodles, but also sampled fantastic seafood and some of the awesome cakes and bread (which, like a lot of the architecture, stem from the time when the French were in Vietnam). I also love the Vietnamese style coffee. Coffee drinking is a bit of a pastime in Vietnam. Coffee can be had in upmarket seaside coffee shops or in hammocks strung between trees by the roadside.

So yeah, it was an interesting week. And thanks to my friends Tuyet and David, I saw a lot of different things and had a great time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


What does Vung Tau (Vietnam) have in common with Rio?

Aside from hot, humid weather :-)