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Posts Tagged ‘Combat Jiu Jitsu’

The classes this week were overflowing with students from other schools. Royce Gracie was black belt testing his students at our dojo.  Pretty cool.  The visiting students fitted right in.

On Monday, December 9, there will be the Winter Belt Ceremony.  Red Belt Pedro Valente Sr will be present along with Royce.

In the fundamentals class,  I seeked out a higher belt for the class.  Normally, during technique review, the practice partner didn’t do any resistance, pure technique. Until that day,  I didn’t see the flaw in this.  Since we both knew the techniques well, the higher belt gave full resistance.  Most of the techniques worked but some didn’t because of sloppy technique.    It was a good reality check.

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This week we reviewed the standing foot lock.  I like foot attacks because these attacks are a surprise to most opponents,. It should be noted that this attack is banned in the MMA and sport jiu jitsu.

So what is the standing foot lock?  First of all,  the opponent is on their back with legs up in a defensive position called gungoha , in English, sea saw position.   The floor position is a defensive move so as to ward off being mounted and also one can kick the knee of an attacker. This is when you catch the foot of an opponent while standing. The foot is held  in a kimura grip close to the ankle and over the foot arch.  You look over the shoulder and twist  to break the foot.  It is important to pin down the opponents other leg with the knee so as not to get kicked.

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It’s review time, Wednesday. I’m working on closing the distance, getting safely from a boxing match to clinching my opponent, except I’m the attacker, a boxer.  I slowly circled the opponent with my fists up.    After a few warm ups,  I warned my practice partner that I was really attempting a strike.  He said, ” Do it.”  I saw his chin up.  With my right arm and fist, I lunged forward while throwing the punch at his chin.  I completely missed him.  In a second, I felt my opponent crash into me.   Next, I’m falling to the mat.  We drilled closing the distance, me, as the attacker, ten more times.  All the same result. I asked my opponent, ” How do you know I’m getting ready to throw the punch?”  He responded, ” First, empty your mind.  Then, look at everything, don’t focus on one area.”   He then showed me that I was slightly moving my right shoulder just before I threw the punch.

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What would you do if you were violently grabbed from behind in a bear hug over your arms??? The answer is a throw.   Note,  I had this lesson a few times and today the fundamental lesson finally sunk into my thick skull.  Also, I was back working out with the heavy weights, someone that out weighs me by more than 50 lbs. My partner was Alex, a Romanian Black Jack dealer at the Hard Rock Casino.

Like a guy with a grudge, bam!, into my back, he’s got me in a Grizzle bear hug, my arms were locked down, and I felt that I may be body slammed if I don’t act quickly.  Just like I was taught, I quickly base out. I drop down and curled my arms.  My shoulders wobbled a little bit as he thrashed me side to side.  I shrugged my shoulders up, it gives the space I need, I  step to one side, all in seconds, I then slip my front left leg behind his back knees. From my semi crouched position, I stood up quickly while grabbing his pant legs at his knees while dumping him over my shoulder.  I launched him, off over my back shoulder with velocity, right into the mat.  Actually, I stopped while I had him in the air.

Of course, nobody was injured.   We didn’t actually execute the throw.  This was a typical fundamental’s class.

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This week, I partnered up with an enormous guy.   When I was in high school, I didn’t have the experience of wrestling with a heavy weight, so this was virgin territory.   I estimated him to be at least 6-3. and possibly 260 lbs or more.  I’m 6-0 ft and 168 lbs.   I could barely put my feet together around his waist when I had him in the guard position.   All he had to do was move around which would cause my legs to immediately open.   That class we practiced the amass pan and the amass pan defense.  The Amass Pan is a kimono choke where the  pinky knuckle and knuckle next to it are pressed deeply into the side of the neck next to adams apple, which painfully cuts off blood flow to the brain. When I was defending against the amass pan, that is when you grab the top of the knuckles and pull back on the opponents choke hand, he put his full body weight on his arm.  It was a lot of weight, a lot of pressure.  If I didn’t bridge and pull back with a lot of effort, he would have choked me out just from his body weight.  It was an enlightening experience to say the least.

From an earlier post you know that I was knife attacked when I was an exchange student in Madrid, Spain.  I escaped with no harm.   Professor Pedro is considering including some weapons defense techniques in the fundamental classes since people are attacked with more than just fists.  It could be a knife, bat, stick, gun, etc.  Today was special, we studied a knife attack defense.  Normally, weapons self-defense is a separate class that you pay extra for. So, if someone tries a stab attack to the heart, my arm should raise to defend automatically.     As a blue belt, we are focused on learning reflex action. For the record, I don’t recommend anyone taking on an opponent with a knife or a gun just because you took a self-defense class,  but if you don’t have a choice,  you should know how to defend  yourself.  This reflex defense could save your life.

On Friday, Valente Brothers Headquarters had a seminar taught by Professor Ryron Gracie, truly a great teacher and the grandson of Master Helio.  Also, I want to give the BBJ view on the Trayvon Martin case.  I will write two separate post on each.

 

 — “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”       Buddha  500 b.c.

 

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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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For the first time, I tried a no kimono, no gi,  class on Friday night.  It was a tough group of people, an ex college wrestler, an ex m.m.a. fighter, and visitors, als0 known as, people off the street.   Professor Gui taught us a few choke holds. These chokes are done when the opponent shrimps out of the side mount.  That night I was lucky to have a brown belt as my partner whom was very patient and took me slowly through the steps.  To be honest, I thought it was complicated and didn’t think that I would be using it anytime soon.  However, I was wrong.  I was able to do a guillotine choke when my opponent tried an elbow escape from the side mount.   It was my first submission.  Note, I don’t want to give the submission much attention just like when I tap out.  For me what was extraordinary was that I was just taught the move, practiced the move on my partner, and then executed the move in sparring that night.  That’s cool.

Throwing is a part of Jiu Jitsu just as much as it is to Judo.  I attempted the Makikomi. It was pretty bad.  I was able to grab both elbows for a short while but I couldn’t swim my other arm over them to execute the throw.   As soon as I grabbed both elbows of my opponent, he knew something was going to happen and immediately try to yank his arms free.  What I learned is that the execution has to be quick or it won’t work.

I was in some bad positions during sparring.  At one point, my opponent had me in a top mount position with his full body weight on my abdomen and the hooks in.  I was having trouble breathing.  I panicked.  I should have stuck it out because I was  prepared for this.   I have been practicing a five-minute meditation on only five breathes.  Here’s how you do it.  It is a twenty-second inhale, hold for twenty seconds, and exhale for twenty. Five breathes, five minutes.  Note, it takes practice to get a twenty-second inhale. You can start with a 10 second inhale, 10 second breath hold, and 10 second exhale.  At another time, I was pinned.  I tried a pressure point to get my opponent to let go.  It didn’t work but it may have made him uncomfortable.  I should have asked my opponent after the match if it was working.  Note to self,  research pressure points.  If I find any article worth mentioning , I will let you all know.

Every Friday Night after the fundamental class, Professor Pedro talks about Jiu Jitsu philosophy and life style.  I forgot about this.  I usually have prepared questions.   If any of you have a question, please on forward it.  Anyways, someone asked about the Gracie Diet.   I haven’t read the book yet. I haven’t really  started the diet.  From what I understood, the diet is concerned with blood ph levels.  It is bad to have high acidity in the  blood.   The blood should be alkaline.  To keep your blood alkaline, you have to consume the right food and not mix certain foods.

Professor Pedro also discussed taking control of your mind as with his example of salt addiction.  He made the decision to never put salt on his food.  We all know that long-term over use of salt leads to high blood pressure.   Once  you stop over consuming salt, it takes around three months before the taste of the food returns.  Back in the late 1990s, my ex girlfriend from Liverpool, England, taught me that we put too much salt in our food in America.  That night, she made a soup without salt to prove her point.  The food wasn’t important. It was a salt addiction and the food could have been anything.  I liked Professor Pedro’s message of how he instructed his mind that he isn’t going to consume salt instead of his mind instructing him to eat salt.  A part of a Jiu Jitsu practitioner’s goal is to learn mind control so that we can control our emotions.

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