Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Jits bug

I'm starting to catch the Jiu-Jitsu bug again.  I have loved Judo since my first class, have put a decent amount of thought and effort into it and have indeed made some real improvements.  That said, for what ever reason, it doesn't come to me as naturally as to some.  From a fight strategy point of view I think Judo has some very effective approaches and I think the importance of the ability to effectively take someone down and get into a dominant position is becoming more apparent as MMA evolves.  Ground work, whether you call it Jiu-Jitsu or Judo newaza, does come more naturally to me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm no great player or anything and I get handled pretty easily by the higher belts, but I think that the fluidity and transitions come to me more easily.

Ray Casias taught the Jiu-Jitsu class last night.  He stepped through a method of breaking the closed guard by standing up.  Once the guard is broken the opponent would probably seek a De La Riva Guard.  He then  showed a couple different passes from that position.  I took away a couple simple things on breaking the guard that I was not previously doing.  First and was immobilizing the hand of your opponent on the same side you are standing up on.  If I am standing from a kneeling position starting with my left foot, I want to trap my opponents right hand so that he can not attack that leg.  The second leg up needs to hide behind the opponents butt so that it can't be easily reaped.  When it comes time to peal the opponents guard off of your torso it is important to switch hands and keeping the opponents right hand trapped.  These little details make a huge difference in whether your technique will be successful or not and Ray breaks down these details very very well.  I worked with some great guys last night and they were very helpful.

Next I took the 2 hour Judo class that Terry Spencer was teaching.  I admit it is going to take me a bit to get my focus back coming off a Jiu-Jitsu class but as I get in better shape it will get easier.   We did Uchi-chomies which really I didn't do very well.  We worked on Okuri Ashi Hari and different entrances to it.  Again there is a lot of timing involved in this.  Here is a link to a description of the throw.

I like this throw but as of all foot sweeps I just find the timing really hard.  In the throwing line I worked on Ashi Guruma agian.  I really really like this throw although I have to concentrate on my hands more.

 Lastly we did some randori, where my friend Mike Smith made me feel like a rag doll.  He is getting really really good at using his grips to set up position and opportunity for combinations.  Hopefully soon I will be able to do the same.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New challenges

I did a double header (BJJ followed by Judo) last night and cardio wise I think I faired pretty well.  I got to role with quite a few different upper belts in Jiu-Jitsu, including BJJ instructor Dave Brocklehurst.  Dave handled me effortlessly thus reinforcing how many levels there are to the game of grappling.  When someone brand new with little grappling experience comes into a Judo class I usually have little trouble with them as they open themselves to all sorts of techniques.   I'm sure Dave felt exactly the same about me.  Right now I'd say my top game is my strongest suit and I get in more trouble once I end up on the bottom.  None the less because of my Judo background people usually pull guard and give me the opportunity to work from the top, so I want to refine that aspect of my game.  I got caught in a couple wrist locks I wasn't expecting.  I definitely need to look more at defending leg locks.  I also got surprised by a rib crushing submission that I wasn't expecting.  I thought I was safe and that my opponent was going to try to turn me over and I realized late that I was about to pop a rib.  Lesson learned.

In the BJJ hour we did a lot of drills.  This is great because I really need to commit my movements and techniques to muscle memory.  We started with passing the guard where the opponent has his feet on your hips and you are in the standing position.  We then progressed to shrimping out of that pass and regaining guard.  We did hip bump sweeps / Kimura combinations and then we worked on a defense of a turtle role over.  We also did a shrimp exercise up and down the mat where as someone passes your open guard you shrimp against his legs to reclaim it.  Then as mentioned above we did some free sparing.  I'm excited about this class as it is really going to improve my feel for groundwork and give me a lot of practice.  Who knows, perhaps a competition will be in store for me in the future.  Here is a video I found demonstrating a hip bump sweep.

In Judo we did our warm up drills and then started doing uchicomies.   I worked on Tsuri Goshi, Osoto Gari, Ashi Garuma and Hiza Garuma.
 We then worked on some combinations.  Our first combo was a grip pull setup to elicit a response of settling back on your heals or getting a firm base followed by a kouchi gaka style throw.  We also played with switching to the ouchi gari when they anticipate the kouchi.  The next combo we worked on was the osoto gari to ashi garuma.  I really like that combo and with ashi garuma I’m able to throw a much bigger man than myself.
Next we did ‘you throw, I throw’ where we alternate setting up and throwing each other with some resistance.  I worked on kouchi-ouchi-taiotoshi,  hiza to hari, and some tsuri goshi combos.  I also got in a few kouchi to drop seionagi combinations.
Here is a pretty good video of someone doing a hiza guruma.