Thursday, 15 September 2011

Why structure the class the way I do?

Class structure
1. Warm up
2. Techniques
3. Isolated drills
4. Sparring
5. Cool down

Descriptions and explanations

Warm Up

Sufficient warm up but nothing crazy, you are here to learn and train BJJ not do cardio. If half of the session is a ridiculous warm up you are not doing yourself any favours, sure you will get fitter but will your BJJ be better?

If you are already tired before you start drilling the techniques then you are burning tired application of techniques into your memory. It is ok to spar tired some times but not in the learning phase.

Remember that practice makes permanent, if you practice crap you will be crap.

So a 3 part warm up, general exercises to raise the pulse then into joint rotations for mobility then into sports specific movement drills.

The sports specific drills will vary on the topic for that session. For example, we recently worked a lot of single leg squat progressions (here) because we were covering faking guard pulling to taking a shot (here) so you see how the exercise will help the technique.

Now we are working attacking the turtle we incorporate drills like (this)

Techniques and positions

We will work a few techniques that are based around a particular scenario covering the gross motor skills (the main points) and details of the particular techniques considering set ups, combinations, "what if" scenarios etc

We will usually work something for an extended period of time, maybe a month or so as I believe that this will really help ingrain the things we are training.

I personally hate training something different every session, I have been subject to this and really think it is to the detriment of really learning something. One class it's foot locks, the next class it might be chokes then the next one is triangle escapes etc absolutely no flow so you don't get to learn a 'game' all you get is a bunch of techniques.

I want all Combat Base students to improve their BJJ, I don't have to teach something new all the time to try to keep people interested, if they truly want to improve they will appreciate what we do.

One guy had trained at a different gym before coming to us, he told me that he knew an arm bar and triangle etc but didn't know how to get to a position to apply them.

Do you think his previous "coach" had done a good job?


Probably the most important yet under-trained aspect of BJJ, every one wants to spar but a lot of people aren't ready to spar. You have to put in time on the drills first or you will get lost and frustrated. Sparring is a great evaluation tool but more of that later.

Why do I believe that the drilling is where you really improve?

An example, we have 2 guys, one was used to playing top position and the other less experienced had to play from bottom. If these 2 just spar they will naturally gravitate to what they always do and won't grow.

So I give them a drill. Guy who usually plays top starts on the bottom, guy who usually plays from bottom starts in full mount. Guy underneath has to escape, guy on top has to control and submit.

Make sense? Without this drill neither would have been in this position to practice.

Especially if you are a less experienced guy sparring should not be a priority!!

Sparring or rolling

Is basically putting it all together and if you manage to control your ego (which most people don't even though they think they do) can be good for evaluating your game.

Why don't I think most people control their egos? In one word, Helen.

A significant amount of guys that Helen rolls with use strength on her, why?

I have heard guys say to her 'I had to use strength there otherwise you would have got me' for God's sake she is an excellent black belt she will get you. If you rely on strength you are going to come unstuck, quick.

You might think you are doing well because you don't get tapped by a 50kg woman, ask yourself why you didn't get tapped, was it because of your technical escapes? If not, sort yourself out, you are restricting your progress.

If your ego is under control, you tap, ask her for advice then start again.

Sparring should highlight any weaknesses or holes in your game so you can fix the problems.

How do you fix these weaknesses? See drilling as above!!

Would welcome any feedback but don't ask me if I think you are one of those guys, ask yourself.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Behind The Scenes At The Tatami Fightwear Photoshoot

Team Training Day 11th September 2011

Check out the write up of the training day, lots of photos on Combat Base UK Facebook page.

Take The Back, Finish The Choke

Thanks to Graham in black gi and Mikey in white gi.

Australian black belt, John Will, was teaching us how to hook sweep properly and someone was taping it. When John saw him he said “put it on youtube and it will get no views at all. People will go, oh hook sweep, I know that already”

You might know how to take the back and choke but here is a step by step guide, practice it slow to start with and don’t miss out any steps otherwise you will be falling into the trap of thinking ‘oh I know this already’

Difficult to see the pressures but Graham is putting pressure on Mikey’s head and starts to switch his hips out the way he wants to go.

Graham’s right hand is blocking off Mikey’s right arm to take away Mikey’s ability to grab his leg on the way round.

Notice how Graham’s weight is right on Mikey’s hips NOT his back. Mikey has tight defence so Graham is setting up how to make some space.

Cupping Mikey’s right knee Graham bumps him forward, disrupting his base, making some space to put a hook in. (Notice how people tend to put their elbows inside their knees when trying to have a tight defence)

Graham puts in the near side hook, heel first, then rolls to the SIDE making sure that the one hook is the bottom hook. DO NOT try to pull them over backwards, always take the path of least resistance which in this case is sideways. Arms are setting up the over/under or seatbelt control.

Bottom hook and over/under are held super-tight as Graham pushed his hips into Mikey’s back to stretch him out to get his top hook in and start to expose Mikey’s neck.

Notice how Graham’s left hand rolls the gi collar and feeds it to the right hand.

From there he starts to withdraw his choking arm to start to pressure the neck. He then has to free his trapped left hand so pushes Mikey’s elbow forward with his knee and pulls out his left hand.

As soon as his left hand is free Graham grabs the gi pants to start making some pressure whilst pulling back on the choking arm.

IMPORTANT you now have to loosen/remove the hooks otherwise you are limiting your ability to move.

The detail:
Really concentrate on how Mikey’s hands control the collar, how it is rolled and gripped, how he uses his knee to help free his trapped hand then finishes the choke.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Attacking the back movement drill

A little reminder of some of the key points to this month's topic that we just started.

Notice in the drill that even though Helen is constantly moving she never loses control, she always has some weight on me.

When she goes right around the back she clamps her knees onto my hips so she always keeps pressure on.

Take note how she exploits the gap between my knee and my elbow to establish grips.

Also note that every time she goes towards my head her hip always drops so that my head is forced down making it very difficult to sit through or pull guard.

The headstand into hooks works great for me (ask anyone who I have used my new back game on) as it is very difficult top stop the hooks coming in but more on that in the weeks to come.

Even though I am 47.24% heavier than Helen she makes the rolls possible because of the pressure she puts onto my head and neck. Forget hooks and stuff, if you have their neck they are going with you.

Even if you don’t have a partner to practice on you can still do the drill, use a gym ball or even just on the floor yourself, Jiu Jitsu is movement so practice, practice, practice.