12 April 2011

A Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Rebirth

Last week was a fairly pivotal week for me BJJ wise.  I decided I needed to get a private lesson from someone not affiliated with my school, or even in the same federation (Will-Machado).  My reasoning was simple: I needed a different approach to my training and technique.

I discovered that there is a Rickson Gracie affiliated academy black belt an hour from my place.  Seriously, what are the chances! So I talked with my current instructor and told them I would like privates with this other person; they were fine with that.

The results were astounding.  I’ve read about people coming away from Rickson Gracie seminars completely in awe and how everything has changed.  I had exactly the same feeling.   What I loved about my private was he used the same terminology such as Connection, Energy etc that I heard and read that Rickson uses.  I left my private lesson completely shell-shocked and in awe.

It confirmed everything I thought and hoped; it gave me insight into how Rickson makes things seem so effortless.  I have to start again,  my basic movement has been completely changed:  Do you know how long it’s going to take to undo the muscle memory of 10000 incorrect hip escapes (shrimping for the people in America)?!

It’s the best money I’ve spent for BJJ: Better than any seminar I’ve taken, lesson or free roll.

I feel like I’ve got lost in the BJJ city and ended back where I started,  only this time I know where not to go!  Time to try again,  this time I’m driving in that BJJ city with GPS (Rickson Gracie black belt) directions.


01 April 2011

Defensive Mindset for BJJ

One thing I’ve noticed is that big white belts can get extremely competitive in rolling with blue belts.  Especially if they are 4 stripes.  My theory is they want to test themselves against the blue; beat the blue and prove that they deserve a blue belt.

This is one of the main reasons I don’t roll with large strong white belts close to their Blue Belt.  They muscle moves instead of finesse them;  each roll feels like an ADCC match.  The end result is an unhappy roll with injuries.   I’ve incurred 2 injuries in the same number of weeks due to this; bruised ribs and a hyper extended elbow. All caused by overly “eager” white belts with a point to prove. 

If you are a big white belt – then please don’t act like every roll with a blue belt is life or death.  Relax and treat your training partner as a training partner and not an opponent!

Ok, end of rant.

So to combat this I’m following a plan to improve my defences;  the plan helps me have focus and conserves my energy.  I allow the white belt to attack, get good positions and I work on my survival and escapes.  I’ve changed the focus of my rolls from wanting to tap someone, to trying to be efficiently unbeatable for that roll. 

I was quite surprised to see John Will blog on this very topic recently.  He made a point that having a defensive mindset for rolling is a very empowering experience.  In fact a lot of high level black belts always repeat this exact thing.

Personally, I enjoy the defensive aspect – the more you do it the more you become relaxed and still feel like you are in control..  I don’t feel I’m struggling and gassing out at all.  In fact I can keep this up for 8+ rounds – which is a record for me!

Initially I thought my focus would be on Side Control for just a week or two.  I’ve realised however that most people in my gym prefer side control to any other attacking position which means I need to spend more time working escapes.  It also means that if I want to practice mount and back defence I specifically have to ask my opponent to start from those positions.

So my average roll atm looks like this: Survive, Survive, Survive, Escape, Survive, Escape, Pass, Reversed, Survive, Escape Pass, Pass, Submit (optional).

Much better than: Stall, Stall, Pass, Attack, Attack, Attack, Stall, Stall, Attack, Exhaustion.