Friday, August 31, 2012

it arrived

I'm sure you heard about the movie being made by Hywel Teague about the Red Belts of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I donated some money and got one of the perks, the one-off Scramble gi. It arrived in the mail today, and I'm pleased to say it fits almost perfectly. The nice guys from Scramble also sent a gi bag, some stickers, a wrist band and a key ring. How good is that?!

Here we are:

Oh, and see more awesome short videos at

Thursday, August 30, 2012

that time of the year..

  • When winter is nearly over and spring is in the air
  • When my horses and other furry critters start losing their winter coats
  • When the pace quickens and the workload adds up at uni
  • When a bunch of family birthdays are coming up 
  • When BJJ comps are calling

Yeah, I have two comps coming up.

This Saturday, we'll have the inaugural Australian Girls in Gi Comp. Both gi and no-gi round robins. After that, I'll be visiting my sister (it's her birthday).

The following Saturday, we'll have the annual Gathering (Will-Machado Nationals), followed by a Rigan Machado seminar on Sunday.

I've been having good, bad and average training sessions. Some days I don't feel like a grappler's armpit, but other days I think there is hope that one day, when the stars align, and I have put in a LOT more work, I might actually get better. Lately, I seem to forget more stuff than I'm learning. I know that's partially due to the fact that I have so much on my plate at uni (final year, doing a project, blah blah). But meh, I feel that my BJJ is pretty mediocre just now. In addition, my cardio is pretty shameful.

What marvellous prep for the comp, and what awesome mindset. Haha.. To be honest, if I hadn't gone and entered one and promised to be there for the other comp, I'd gladly not go. But then I know myself, which is why weeks ago, I ensured I couldn't pull out. I outsmarted my own cowardly self.

Chances are that when I get there, I'll get my arse kicked. But I know I'll enjoy myself and I'll learn from it. If I can get off my lazy ass and kick into a more aggressive mindset, I may well do better.

Anyway, never mind. I ramble. I always have this mental fight before comps. I'll now STFU and go and compete :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Royler Gracie seminar

The seminar was held at Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Kilsyth, an eastern suburb of Melbourne. This meant a 370km round trip, but it was well worth it! Four of us went, so I had company, which makes for a more entertaining and seemingly shorter trip.

Royler was awesome. What a nice guy!

As expected, we went through some of the Gracie self defense techniques. Two of them dealt with problems from the front (grab/shove), three responded to choke holds from behind. Simple and as far as I can see, pretty effective.

This was followed by a series of techniques involving standing guard passes. Yes, some of it was specific grips, but a lot of it was more broad, like how maintain good posture. Not just to avoid the sweep, but to prevent the guard player from placing feet on hips. He emphasized that we need to adjust level when standing in guard as needed. We then looked at a similar scenario, but where the guard player has double sleeve grips instead of holding our heels. We learned a neat way of passing which negated those grips. From there, we looked at what we can do in case the guard player gets his feet on hip and bicep. Some very simple but effective grip changes were shown to deal with this, and where necessary, bringing a knee into play to dislodge one of his feet.

We drilled the setups and techniques independently, and then had a "play" with it, where each partner could present the other with scenarios, which required one of the passes we had just learned. Royler repeated reminded us of how important it is to be a good training partner.

Lastly, we looked at two side control escapes. Royler started by saying that sometimes you have to give something up to make progress. So if you are stuck in bottom side control and can't budge, the only resort may be to stick an arm out. However, within reason :-) Of course, it's also possible to end up in bottom side control with the far arm in a bad position anyway, and then we are forced to deal with that bad situation anyway. The two escapes both started from me having my far arm between his near shoulder and head, but with my elbow out - the worst place to have it... One ended with a head arm choke from the bottom, the other (recommended for when the guy is too big to do the choke) is basically just an escape that leaves the other person turtled with me on top.

At the end, we had some time for questions. They ranged from how to deal with berimbolos and similar techniques to what he might recommend for a small woman trapped on the bottom of a bigger guy in a self defense situation. Someone also asked about Royler's most memorable fight.

Royler was generous with his time during questions, and with photos afterwards. He's awesome.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

absorbing stuff

I'm pretty slow on the uptake at times. I need to see, do, feel, do again, analyse and do yet again, before a technique has any chance of sticking in my brain. I feel old and retarded some days. I'm not sure if that is accurate, as I keep on hearing people say I'm the one to ask when it comes to a technique, or a specific thing which belongs to a technique. Not sure what's going on there, because I sure know I forget so much stuff...

In any case, I guess with going on four years of getting squashed and submitted by all and sundry, SOME stuff is finally sinking in. Talk about learning the hard way...

Every so often, I have a breakthrough of some sort. My most recent breakthroughs were:
  • working on Z-guard and learning some attacks from there
  • finding more effective ways to exert pressure
  • guard passing
  • being more pro-active instead of expecting defeat, and therefore getting good positions
  • better use of legs in open guard, leading to better guard retention, more success in reclaiming guard and overall making my hips more mobile.
The interesting part is that they are all related. They all feed into each other.

Consequently, I'm finding myself a lot less on the bottom, and attacking much more. That's a lot more fun! There are armbars to be had, which is hitherto unknown territory (excepting the odd one from guard in the old days). There are arm wraps, leading to multiple nasty things, there are knee rides (more armbars!), and all manner of chokes. I feel like discovering a new world :-)

At the same time, I'm finding that some of my standard defenses no longer work. I guess that's due to the fact that the others aren't wasting their training time, either. They are on to my defensive game. So now I'll have to think of better defenses and escapes. But that's where the fun is, in the constant change.

Did I mention I'm having a good time?

I can't wait for the Royler seminar on the weekend. I hope it'll be all on principles and "simple" techniques.

Friday, August 3, 2012

memorable Wednesday

We had a very BJJ-intensive day on Wednesday.

Glenn, our instructor, had been to USA the week before. On that occasion, he's managed to have a few sessions at Rigan's new school in LA. Of course he brought some new stuff with him :-)

In addition, one of the guys who used to train with us, but moved to Queensland last year, Matt, was down for a day. So it was decided that we'd get together and have a grappling-intensive Wednesday. So for about three hours on Wednesday afternoon, Ben, Warrick, Matt, Glenn and myself got together and we went over some stuff from Glenn's overseas trip and some other things. We rolled a bit, too.

We took a break for snacks and drinks before we re-convened for the usual 6pm BJJ class. The special thing about that class was that Warrick received his purple belt. Whoooopeee! Well done, man!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adelaide trip + comp

We came home safe and sound after an epic three day trip. We clocked up 1500 kilometres.

All went really well. My friend Yvonne and I left home at about 11 am on the Friday. We'd hitched up the horse float and enjoyed good weather and a pleasant trip to the South Australian border, where we dropped off the float. We hit the road again and headed towards Adelaide.

We stayed with a friend in the Adelaide Hills on Friday night. She had had an operation on her left shoulder and was still in a sling. We descended on her with copious amounts of Japanese take-away food and sat and talked about old times and horses. She enjoyed the break from her routine and we took her into Adelaide on Saturday morning. Yvonne and her went to the markets and some shops and then back to her place.

I had fun at the comp. I fought better than last time, but still lost both fights ("weight" class and open blue), so only came home with two bronze medals. Bronze medals sound excellent until I add that there were three of us in each division.... Well, the first one I lost by armbar, the open I lost on point. At the very least, I threatened her with an armbar and a lapel choke, so I wasn't on the receiving end of submission attempts. I was actually quite happy with that fight. But I certainly need to work more on getting better positions, and be more aggressive/proactive from the start. Lessons learnt....!

At the comp, I caught up with people I know, discovered that one of the other women from Melbourne is German and we discussed life in that language for the rest of the afternoon. I saw some really good fights in both the men's and women's divisions.

As they had discount entries for women, the whole thing only cost me $25 for two divisions and they gave me a t-shirt.

I was all done and dusted at 4pm, so Yvonne came and picked me up (having shopped herself out) and we hit the road. I took some time to worm ourselves through Adelaide and fuel up. A few hour on the road saw us get back across the border into Victoria, and to the farm just before 8pm. They had spare accommodation for us. We had a quick dinner, emptied the bottle of wine I'd brought for the occasion and had an early night.

We had a quick look at some horses in the morning and then loaded up the three geldings I had bought. They were a bit green and spooky, but loaded pretty much straight away. So we were back on the road before 12 and home just after 4pm. Yvonne's husband cooked some dinner, which was welcome, as we were pretty tired after the weekend.