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Posts Tagged ‘blue belt’

I find learning the fundamentals difficult.  Every time I review a fundamental lesson, I usually discover a new detail in the move that I didn’t see before.  I sometimes don’t feel confident about the move.  I think the test of mastery is when the fundamental move becomes an effortless flow.   Professor Gui is challenging us to search for hidden details in the fundamental moves that goes beyond step 1, step 2, and step 3.

Lately, I’m hearing stories of people getting injured.  When I do, I try to find out more.  Belt rank of the people involved?  How it happened?  Could the injuries been avoided? I often repeat to myself, ” Tap out early, tap out often.”      If your injured, or you’re not really ready for an advanced class, take it easy.  Don’t rush it.  Also, it is a good idea to arrive early so that one can stretch out.  That will help in preventing injury. Communicate with your sparring opponent.  Also, be aware of the age of your opponent.  If your working out with someone older or inexperienced, then I would take it slow.   You can also monitor your opponent.  If you see the expression of pain, ask them if they are in pain, or stop the move.  Be smart on the mat. Know your limits.

This week, I watched a Japanese movie, Tokyo Zombie, the English-speaking version. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJEmduNwjKU  It is a horror-comedy manga feature two blue-collar factory workers (Who happen to be jiu-jitsu experts) dealing with a ravenous, flesh-eating zombie uprising in Tokyo. I tried a move from the movie, an escape from the triangle choke, it’s around 1 hour 29 minutes.  It didn’t work. I ended up getting choked. I made that choke cough noise after I was let go.  However, I liked the movie.  Note, warning, it’s not for kids.

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It has been a week of self-reflection. Am I too old for this? What if I get injured?  What else am I going to do?  Is this the right place for me?  If I am so fortunate to earn a black belt, then what will I do?

This week, I asked a brown belt, whom is close to earning his black belt, did you ever see yourself as a brown belt before becoming a brown belt? Could you see yourself as a black belt? He laughed when I asked the question then he answered, ” No, it’s a day by day event.”   Like him,  I can’t see myself beyond the next class.

I had a blue belt moment, I learned a technique incorrectly on the A Mas Apon. My choke hand was wrong. I tried it during a sparring session but it wasn’t working because of my hand position.  I gave it up because it looked like I was hurting my opponent. Anyways, the above brown belt was my fundamentals techniques partner that showed me the correct way.  This made me think what an advantage it is to take private lessons. I would like to try a private class but I don’t have the money and I am not sure what I would work on at this time.

This week, I learned that it will take two years to advance to purple.  Basically, I will get a stripe every belt ceremony if I put in the hours of course. That is okay since I am in no hurry. However,  I am a bit upset with myself.   I am going to write an article on mental alertness since I should have asked these questions on day one.

This week, I learned a cool new throw called Soto Makikomi.  Note, the way I learned the throw and the execution is slightly different from the way a judo practitioner would do it.  I would love to use that in the near future, but I am having trouble with the unbalancing of the opponent. I need to work on it. In that same class, I was thrown a lot.  The trick is to not tense up and to not give any resistance. A throw is a good way to gain the top position. A take down will also give you top position and that is where I want to be in fight. When I wrestled in high school, I remember the coach always telling us that the person who executes the take down first usually wins the match.

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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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A question for myself is, “How can I maintain my Jiu Jitsu lifestyle?”  since classes don’t restart until January 2, 2012.

Maintaining a healthy diet is part of the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle.  Every morning, I drink a Gracie diet smoothie made with an apple and  a banana.  For lunch,  I have  a bowl of soup, preferably made with a minimum of  five vegetables.

Jiu Jitsu lifestyle is staying physically fit. So, I do thirty push ups a day and twenty sit ups.

How do I keep the Jiu Jitsu mind sharp? I review my fundamental notes. Professor Gui gave good advice to execute the moves in your mind as read them, which is a transferring from the conscious mind into the sub conscious mind.

New Years is around the corner. I am preparing a Jiu Jitsu resolution list.  Do you wish to make an attainable Jiu Jitsu new year’s resolution?   If so, would you consider sharing some of your ideas?

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During the last two plays of my high school American football game in 1987, the coach put me in the game, as a tight end and not as a linebacker which was the position that I usually played.   It felt right. As the game played, I clearly realized that I was better suited for a position other than linebacker.  I always knew deep down that I was playing the wrong position, but I didn’t advocate for myself.  From the first day to the last two plays, I was always full of tremendous self-doubt, lacked concentration, full of negativity, had poor self-confidence, and suffered because of an inability to let go of mistakes. I always felt like  a stranger on the team.  Mental toughness, I sadly admit, was something I didn’t possess.

I had a much better time when I practiced Judo as a kid and when I was on my high school wrestling team. Then I enjoyed the grueling practices, had great coaching,  didn’t feel like a stranger there.   I liked the matches and when I won, I felt like I had won a million dollars. I had a mental toughness that I lost when I played football.

So, what is mental toughness?  It is being able to overcome a problem, a bad situation, an attacker, a competitor, or a competition, by staying positive and focused through the challenge. It is an ability to bounce back from an injury, emotional trauma, and change.  It is the ability to go through training and keep coming back.  The good news is that mental toughness isn’t something your born with, it is something you can develop via a process. The process is removing the negative thinking and putting positive thoughts in its place.

Here are some suggestions to help improve mental toughness for Jiu Jitsu practice and for your life:

Try and not view sparring as a competition. There isn’t a winner, nor a loser. Analyze what occurred after the match and try to make yourself better for the next session.

When things go wrong on the mat or in life, instead of complaining, try to find a solution and focus on it.

Before going to bed, rehearse previous lessons in your mind.

Listen to music before class. Music helps improves attitude.

Try to give 100% dedication to whatever you’re doing. Don’t hold back. Go all out.

Never take yourself totally serious.

Visualization. This is how you should visualize yourself.   Relaxed under pressure. Focused. Not wasting time on unimportant aspects.  Thick skinned, meaning, able to rebound from errors, bad habits, and failures. Be able to handle last-minute self doubts and negative thinking. Confident. Positive attitude, I can show them.

Thank God everyday. Try to do something good, for others.

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December 23, 2011, was the last morning fundamental class of 2011.  During the class, Professor Pedro talked about fight strategy.  Professor Pedro brought up an example of boxers and power.  You never see a middle weight champion boxer challenge a heavyweight champion boxer.  Why?  It would not be an interesting fight because an average heavyweight boxer could easily defeat the best middle weight champion boxer due to the strength of the punches.    It would be a bad strategy for a small to middle size person to get in a boxing match with a heavy sized person.  So, what do you do?  Distance  control.   Stay out of range.  Pizon.  Wait for the clinch. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is about the slow fight.

Most of this week, I was at Disneyworld with my family.  I tried to put Jiu Jitsu aside for a few days.  I could literally talk about Jiu Jitsu all the time. I noticed that I could be a bit fanatical about it.  I planned to relax and start the new year with a renewed commitment to the study.

My weekly blue belt program will be one sparring class, one throwing class, and two fundamental classes.  I asked Professor Jimmy what we blue belts should be working on as far as training, and he said ” Just reflex.   Beyond purple up to black, it will be reflex and timing.”  I was expecting him to say you need to work on escapes, kimoras, chokes etc.  Just reflex.

I asked brown belt, Chris, if he had any tips for blue belts.  Note, Chris had made it into the third round of the last Helio Gracie Challenge Event, at Valente Brother’s Headquarters, on October 1, 2011.  The Helio Gracie Challenge is an annual event held in honor of Helio Gracie’s birthday on October 1.   Chris didn’t have any advise.  He said,  ” The blue belt is really like you tried out for the team and you made it.”

Headquarters will reopen on January 2, 2012.

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