Posts Tagged ‘bbj’

Be careful with the clock choke, a.k.a., the baseball choke.  It was the last series of chokes from the back we reviewed in the advanced grappling class on Tuesday morning.   The slack of my gi laid incorrectly diagonally across my Adam’s apple.  I was on all fours, table top, while the choke partner was hanging on my side, shoulder in, facing the opposite direction.  As I stated earlier, the choke wasn’t working because of the position of gi slack diagonally across my Adam’s apple.  I had 165 pounds of pressure on my Adam’s apple for 10 seconds and no choke.  Class ended.

As I drove away in my car,  the pain started.  I knew something was wrong.  I was having trouble swallowing and my voice had changed.  Perhaps the Adam’s apple was jammed into my vocal cords.   If my condition didn’t improve by the next day, I would go to the emergency room.   My condition did improved and has slowly improved everyday.  From the internet, the injury could take up two weeks to heal.

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On Tuesday, we practiced submissions from the side mount. During the review part of class,  I practiced the clock choke; however, I couldn’t remember the counter move.  I will ask for help next class.  Upon arrival, there was a new group.  The last big group of vistors was from Qatar.  It was a good experience. I worked out with Mohammad, a blue belt, from the U.A.E.  I was impressed at the end of class when he said that he liked our school enough to want to move to North Miami Beach. That says a lot.

Over all, I had a very unproductive week. I didn’t do any jiu jitsu, except Tuesday, Iyengar yoga, nor work out from Wednesday on, dental appointment, sick kid, etc.

To be honest, I need to get tougher mentally. I really don’t want to give up. I know deep down that would be a mistake.  I’m reading a book called ”  Mastery,” by George Leonard.  The book has helped to see clearly where I am going.   The book, Mastery, should be a must read for the Gracie Jiu Jitsu student along with the Gracie diet.

Longevity – I upped my omega three dosages to 10 grams a day.  I am hoping to reverse any brain damage I may have caused it. Also, I started taking CLA and Probiotic.

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It has been along time since I sparred. I had avoided sparring because of injury and an over competitiveness, actually, a fear of losing. I had played a bad game. What mattered was that I was in the game. I had my butt kicked by a teen, apparently he trained at the dojo through the kid program, a South Beach bouncer, an ex division one college wrestler, and another ex division three college wrestler. I had been arm barred six times and choked a few times. I’m obviously doing something wrong and repeatedly. My goal was to survive, not to take this serious, this was a game, and I was taking it easy by conserving energy. I was getting mounted and my opponent would get up in my arm pits at least four times. There were two arm bars where they sat on my chest. I kept trying to pass the guard without breaking the guard legs. That didn’t work at all. I was getting pinned and smoothered. I tried not to panic and remained calm. When it was over, I wasn’t injured and my ego was less competitive so I would call this a good day.

I did the advanced class before sparring. We did reflex striking defense drills. Professor Gui explained ” It is a miss conception that Jiu Jitsu is only grappling. Stay far. Use the side kick. Hopefully with your back to a wall.” I know going to the floor in a bar sometimes there is broken glass on the floor, and concrete is definitely not my first choice. I lucked out and partner with a judo black belt whose a brown belt in jiu jitsu. Also, he had some boxing skills. We worked on striking defense, something I needed to work on and a throw. We did some unscheduled randori. I was thrown left, right, and center. We both wanted to do some judo. I liked working out with opponents that have skills. That will make my skill level develop quickly. The combination of this class and sparring, I felt that I’m beginning to really learn how to fight, not that I need to learn.

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For this month, the most important lesson I learned from the advanced grappling class was to use your own body weight to pin your opponent. I learned that when I wrestled in high school, but, could have done it more. Professor Pedro wanted this drilled into our minds. He called it, melting on to your opponent.

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Have you ever seen a strong man competition? Why would a strong man want to learn Gracie Jiu Jitsu? Well, on Friday, I partnered up in the fundamental class with a Ukrainian strong man, well; that was what it felt like. I estimated he was over 275 lbs and thin, 6-5, a miss match of more than 100 pounds.   He had wrestled in Russia and had some judo experience.  During the review, he did a hip throw where I felt like I was being launched to the ceiling.  After that review,  I was trying to do a bear hug from the front but he put me in a guillotine choke.  I didn’t explain what I was doing very well.  Because of the grip, I knew I was too late for defense 1 so I went to guillotine defense 2.  Fail.  I couldn’t get my fingers in between his forearms.  I started tapping.  Then we moved on to another series of moves, he practiced passing the guard but not any move I had seen. I had him in the guard.  He slightly lifted me and chopped my thighs, stacked me, then chest to chest.  With more than 275 lbs on my chest, I was firmly glued to the floor.  Right then and there, I knew he had wrestling experience.  He did a side mount, to a full mount, and into a stealth arm bar, gg gitani.  I was impressed for someone so large how well he executed the moves.   From there, he wanted to work on Kimuras from the side mount.  That was when he started messing with me. It reminded me when I was in high school where the coach would make the heavy weight wrestlers practice with the light weights.  The heavy weight wrestlers loved to torture the light weights.  He did a Kimura but pretended he couldn’t feel my tapping or hear me. I thought my arm was going to snap so I started shouting right in front of the instructors as they laughed. He stopped but I was fully panicked.  Review ended and we moved onto the lesson plan.

We learned a few moves.  A two finger and thumb collar choke from behind.  My choke hand wasn’t a problem but bring his arm behind his head to rest my back hand on his neck was a problem.  It wouldn’t have been easy.  It was better for my free hand to grab the other side of the gi.  If you don’t, the opponent could turn into you while doing the choke and get free on top of you.   Also, we learned a standing foot lock.  He had trouble getting his biceps around the leg over the foot; however, his grab of the leg didn’t matter because I believe he could break someones leg without having the proper technique.

Over all, it was a good experience.

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I had a flash back during Tuesday’s grappling class taught by Profesor Pedro. The wrestling coaches at my high school back in the late 80’s, Archbishop Spalding, Severn, Maryland, would constantly remind us, ” The person whom first achieved the takedown, usually won the match.” That was our mantra. From personal experience, it took a lot of energy to get the opponent to the mat by a takedown. It took a lot of energy to be on attack. Wrestling was physically exhausting. Three minutes seemed like an hour.

Once you got them to the mat, you had to hold them and prevent the escape. You worked hard for the position, you absolutely didn’t want to give up position. If you landed in the low mount, victory was very close. So, the focus of the grappling class, at least for me, was using my body weight on the opponent to pin in preparation for the finishing move. I worked hard for the take down, now, I wanted the win from the mounted position.

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A good conditioning exercise for jiu jitsu is the judo push up. Judo push ups kept me fit during the winter break. So what is a judo push up? See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etHzNRxMfZw

In words, you start out in a bear crawl position. Try to get low to the floor while you pass over your hands then stretch into a cobra with arms fully extended. Come back to start in reverse order. It is a tough exercise. I try to do three sets of 10 judo push ups when I workout. The judo push up works more muscles than a standard push up. Also, the motion of the judo push up helps to remind you to use your body weight to pin your opponent.

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Once again the ancient tradition continues. Like so many times before, thousands and thousands of years, the recognition of the transfer of knowledge from master to student occurred last night. This tradition stretches back thousands of years and many continents.

Same as last year, it was another great Winter Belt Ceremony at Valente Brothers; however, this year was a little different. Royce Gracie brought four or more brown belts from his academy. Royce had his brown belt students black belt tested at Valente Headquarters and those that passed received their black belts at the ceremony. After the belts were given out, the Mayor of North Miami Beach, whom is a purple belt, gave the Valentes brothers the key to the city for their help with the armed forces, law enforcement, and the betterment of its citizens through jiu jitsu training.

Pedro and Gui gave their speeches on jiu jitsu and its healthy lifestyle. The best speech was from Dr. Valente. As Pedro translated the email letter, the room became completely silent. Master Dr. Pedro Valente, red belt, could not make the trip this year but he emailed his speech and watched the ceremony via web cam. This is what I understood. The Valente Brothers Academy is comparable to the best universities in the United States. We are very fortunate to have this place and to have access to the teachings. Getting a diploma from Valente brothers is like getting a diploma from Havard, Yale, and MIT.

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