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Archive for January, 2012

On Sunday, I injuried my lower back trying to do a crazy exercise of hopping up four flights of stairs.  I got the idea from a show that I recently saw.  First mistake was that I should have stretched out.  Well, on last step, I felt severe pain in the lower back.  Odd.  So when I arrived home, I put on myoflex anti pain cream  and then applied a bag of frozen peas.  I don’t like pills.  I try to stay away from pills due to side effects.  Later on, I did a back stretch but it just added more pain.  Anyways, this got me thinking about a book I read a few months ago called Training Camp.  It had an interesting theme of sports competition and sports injury; apparently, they go hand in hand.   Every sports athlete has to deal with injury.   The champion player handles their pain and injury so that they come back for each game day.    Champion players bounce back faster than average players.  They know how to heal themselves quickly, and how to avoid on field dangers.  Also, they have a mind-set of staying in the game by working through the pain, they get taped up, and go back in.   Note, I’m not writing about life threating injury from game play or something that would warrant staying out of it.   As Jiu Jitsu players, we are going to face getting injuries from time to time.  So, this week, I avoided the throwing class and the sparring but I did go to the fundamental classes since it is a lower impact. I will be healed and ready for a full play next week.

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It took a lot of positive self talk to get me to sparring this week. I totally didn’t want to do it but that is the time I needed to go. As I waited for my name to be called, I felt like a bloody steak just about to be tossed into an alligator pit. I had four opponents, one American, one Brazillian, one Colombian, and one Russian.  I received the most damage from the Russian, but I also learned the most from him.  My body is all messed up.  I will be ready for next week. I gave up my back at least eight times. This is not sports Jiu Jitsu, so giving up your back is the end of the fight. I tapped out at least five times.  I did a few things right, I didn’t burnout.  I had conserved my energy throughout all my matches.    I didnt get overly aggressive and I remained calm under the pressure. I did a new take down,kukkiki toashi. I think thats the name. So, my goal for next week is to try to not give up my back as much. Work a new throw.

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Six months ago, just before I bowed to enter the mat for a class, I noticed a small picture frame hanging on the wall at eye level. It contained a letter.  The letter was titled, The Way Of The True Warrior.  It had seven prominent words with a description beside each.  During various lessons, professor Pedro Jr. would refer to this letter and mentioned that it was called the Bushido Code.  It’s a code to live by.  The seven words were as follows,

  1. Courage. * Note, the portuguese word for courage is Valente.
  2. Rectitude of Justice
  3. Benevolence  
  4. Politeness
  5. Honesty
  6. Honor
  7. Loyalty

****  reference,  http//artofmanliness.com/2008/09/14/the-bushido-code-the-right-virtues-of-the-samurai

After I started searching for more information about the Bushido Code, it led me to Buddhism. When I was in high school,  I read a book by Hermann Hess, Siddarth, which is about Buddhism.  It is a short book but very interesting.  Twenty five years later, the study of Jiu Jitsu sparked a new interest in Buddhism.  I turned to YouTube.com for information.  I was interested in learning how to meditate so I thought a monk would know and I was right.   There I found two monks, Yuttadhammo, of Canada, and Ajahn Brahmn, of England.  Yuttadhammo has great videos posted on beginning Meditation.  Ajahn Brahmn has great videos on how to deal with the problems of modern living.  Anyways,  it is worth checking them out on Youtube.

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Back in the late eighties, I was a high school wrestler.   I loved watching the unlimited weight class matches.  It was like an American sumo match.  Today, there isn’t an unlimited class anymore.  It has been banned.  I believe the heaviest weight class is around 240 lbs maximum.

Every match that I ever saw, the first wrestler to be taken down lost.   Most of these obese kids couldn’t do a single sit up, not one.  So, when the obese wrestler is on their back and with a 200 lb opponent on top of them, it was just a matter of time before they lost.

Heavy weights ran out of energy really quick.  Wrestling is exhausting.   After three minutes, these guys would just lay there waiting to be pinned.   This works well with Jiu Jitsu because the longer you wait, the faster they will use up their energy, and the quicker you will win.  So if you avoid getting knocked out in the first three minutes, these guys will spend most of their energy.

The grossly obese struggle with balance.  Hence, they are easy to take down if you can unbalance them.  Stay away from the double leg take down because if it’s not done correctly, you could get trapped underneath.   Also, the obese wrestler could fall on top of you and that’s when you could get hurt. So, it is important to be on top.  It is crucible.  We jiu jitsu players can win from the bottom, but that is the back up plan.

In conclusion, avoid being the guy on the bottom when dealing with a grossly obese opponent.   When the obese guy is on top, it is a bad situation.  Go for a quick take down.  I recommend osto gari, or a cinturada with a foot hook.  Stay away from double leg take down.   Ride them till exhaustion.  Three minutes later, escape, a choke,or a hand cuffing, you decide.

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Monday, I went to the morning fundamentals class.  It is important to me to have a great grasp of the basics before getting into advanced classes.  A lot of fights are won with just fundamental knowledge.    A champion is a champion because they do the fundamentals better than everyone else.

At the throwing class, I was paired up with a judo black belt. Note, I believe he is a judo black belt.  He’s studying jiu jitsu at the studio.  He gave great advise on things that I didn’t know.  After the techniques part of the class, we moved onto randori, or sparring.  I didn’t feel comfortable about being too competitive. Let’s be honest, a little bit of a challenge makes it fun.   During the sparring, my practice partner, cut his toe. It was a small cut that he didn’t even realize until he saw small drops of blood on the mat.  So, we spent much of the sparring class cleaning the mat with lysol spray and paper towels.  I hope to pair up with him again because the judo insider information is a gift.

I am having trouble with the Japanese words. I found an interesting program called Human Japanese. It’s free. Check it out. You will like it.

This week I skipped out on the sparring class. I admit that I was putting it off and got over run with errands.   Can you believe a brown belt asked me why I didn’t show up.  I am looking forward to next weeks Thursdays sparring class.

I started doing meditation which I learned from a buddhist monk, Yuttadhammo, on Youtube.com, five minutes in the morning and five before going to bed.  I’m thinking about posting an article on Meditation because I believe mediation can help everyone become a better jiu jitsu player.

Good chess players make good jiu jitsu players. This week, I played chess everyday on my kindle.  There are lots of free chess programs on the Apple I phone and android network.

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After two weeks of rest, I wasn’t ready for the throwing class so I put it off.  Why? I didn’t feel confident about my falling ability.  I am older than most students so I need to be sure that I am limber enough to move around.   It is important that you feel confident about your actual ability to break a fall.  As a general rule, every time I attend, I warmup with falling exercises. In the future, I’m planning to practice falling on a beach because of the soft sand.

However, I did go to sparring this week.  Back in December, I took my first sparring class. It felt like an MMA event.   I had four opponents and two were overly aggressive.  I had never seen them.  I was fighting for survival.   At the end, I was completely exhausted and had marks all over my body and face.  I violated the rule, To fight the slow fight, and conserve energy.

So, for the second sparring class, the one on Thursday, I took the advise of other students to conserve energy and not be overly aggressive. I communicated better with my opponents.  The 2nd class was more staged.  If one person wins passing the guard, you are supposed to stop resisting, wait, wait for them to move,  and then you react.  I didn’t have any injuries.  For my first and second class, I admit that I was using everything but  Jiu Jitsu.  I used a judo pin with a choke hold.  I used wrestling moves.   Next sparring class, I will try to only use Jiu Jitsu.  If I can do a throw, it will be from the clinch.  Professor Pedro Jr. made it clear that he doesn’t want to see any throws that aren’t from the clinch.

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Here are my Jiu Jitsu goal’s  for 2012:

Keep coming to class.

Try to follow a weekly plan, one fundamental class, one throwing class, and one sparring.

Give 100% effort while training.

Make it past the first round of the next Grandmaster Helio Gracie tournament in October 2012.

Talk with white belts. Give them support.

Review my fundamental notes twice a week. Copy my fundamental notes into my phone.

Be able to do 40 military push ups and situps by the end of the year.

Practice Uchikomi. Note, Japanese word meaning self throw practice. Article to follow.

Eat a five vegetable soup everyday.

Improve flexibility.

Buy a chess game for my computer. Play once a month.

Learn all the bushido words to memory.

Try a meditation class.

Add pictures and videos to up coming posts.

Learn to make it a habit of executing throws from the clinch only.

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