Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday night BJJ with gi

I arrived at class a few minutes late, and by that time, everyone was doing the warm up rolling. I did my own warm up, and after a few minutes of that, we were called into observe the technical demonstrations. As a special treat, we were reviewing some often taken for granted fundamentals, as there is a BJJ tournament on this weekend.

First we worked on our basic scissors sweep, from guard. Step by step, the first thing you want to do is make sure that your main grip anchor is set up properly. You want to have an outside grip on their collar, with your hand deeply sunk in to the cavity created by the collar and the nape of the neck. Your other hand needs to be controlling their outside arm, hopefully creating a situation where it is impossible for them to post (support their weight, block movement) with that arm. Your legs start in open guard, and depending on the momentum of their forward drive, you may need to either hip escape first, or shrimp away to get a good leverage point for both your legs on their body. Opposite to their outside arm (that you are hopefully controlling) you should be sneaking your knee in to get a nice control point on their trunk. Your other leg, should be preventing them from shifting their base, usually a nice way to do this is to just pop your foot onto their knee, or right beside it. Now, without getting too comfortable in the one position,. because you really want the movement to be as dynamic as possible, you need to pull their body toward yourself, with the ideal goal of them 'falling' forward and attempting to post with the arm you are controlling, and at this time, create the leg sweeping action by literally chopping with the 'scissors' created by the position of your legs.

After the basic sweep, we started drilling a reversal to a stuffing of this sweep.
The sweep was stuffed by using the other (uncontrolled) arm, to brace against the knee, and thus prevent the shifting of the weight. In this situation, you wanted to two-on-one control the inside sleeve, and drive it across your body to the ground, where you can take the back with an over-reaching underhook. At this point, you simply need to roll backwards to take them into side control.

That's all the technical drilling we did, and spent the rest of the night (an hour) rolling.

It was boss.

More Later.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Workin hard to make a livin'

So, I've been busy recently, and unable to get to training as often as I'd like. But work has to come before training, in this world. This is what I've been working on:

This first one is the bottom floor. Concrete slab. We dug out ALOT of earth here. Very stable foundation.

This is from the second storey. In this photo from left to right: My brothers John and Ken, and on the right is the Builder that we work for, Andy.

Working on the second floor at the moment, we're standing on tru-deck (a composite wooden board commonly used in flooring) fastened to the 8 x 2 inch thick Joices.

This is the second floor again. The black plastic on the left is sealing the air cracks out of the blocked wall we have removed. This was a double-brick in heritage style, and removing the bricks on its own was a full days work for four people.

This large steel beam is at the outermost edge of the wall, which will be used in tandem as a support for the roof, and a mounting for a sliding glass door.

More soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thai Boxing Thursday.

Due to a personal financial crisis, I have been unable to train recently, but I was finally able to return tonight. I really felt that pain of being out and then training again for the first time.

I actually survived the skipping pretty decently, but after the skipping was done, I was already 'well knackered' to use a colloquialism. After the warm up punch and kicking across the mat (in pairs with thai pads) we started on our combo drills. Tonights drills were: jab, cross, hook, shin kick to body - switch front leg round kick to body, cross, uppercut - then switch front knee to grabbing (clinch) right thrusting knee to body.

Soon as we were done with this, we did a two step random striking/blocking drill and then right into sparring.
Sparring was done in three minute rounds with two people in front of everyone else, with one person staying in, and then effectively doing two rounds in a row two people at a time.

Altogether we did about six rounds each. I got pained on.
Now I'm relaxing at home, planning on going tomorrow night. Perhaps I'll go along to the fundamentals course, and decide after that whether I'm feeling up to the gi jujutsu.

More later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thai Boxing Tuesday

Often my favourite session of the week, Tuesday is the biggest night for Muay Thai. In addition to the regular guys, Tuesday is the day that we have a few extra casuals and often beginners, too (meaning TONS of sparring partners) but alas, we didn't get to do any sparring last night! FML.

Instead, we spent about forty minutes working on nerve deadening/conditioning. All around the edges of the mat, pairs of people were engaged in one of the following exercises for 2 minutes or so, and then moving on to the next station/next exercise, having fun with such movements as these:

Elbows angled down onto the top of the thigh, crunching the thigh.
Copping inside and outside leg kicks to the thigh.
Back against the wall, copping both straigh and looping punches to the stomach (the hooks to the oblique abs really hurt)
Taking turns kicking the post at the corner of the cage
Elbowing the post at the corner of the cage
Laying flat on your back, someone standing on/jumping up and down on your stomach

None of these exercises were fun, and I'm still in pain. I think I'm going to curl up into a ball and die. Later.

MMA Fundamentals (1hr) Gi BJJ (1.5 hrs)

Much slower paced than Friday's session, with the large bulk of the lesson focused on using hip escapes and shrimping to escape side control.

Had some mild success during rolling in Fundamentals. The class is largely made up from people who are interested in getting into MMA, and has a mix of those with little to no MA history, and a sprinkling of people like myself who have a history, but are taking the extra classes for the sake of fitness.

This means, as you might have guessed - that there are quite a few people in this class who have had basically no significant experience with groundfighting. Therefore, when we roll, I have to pick my opponents kind of carefully, because I don't want to ONLY be rolling against beginners (sure it's fun to get every 'tap' but I don't learn too much) but because of my size, there are only a couple of people there I can get a pretty good roll with.

This of course is not a problem at all during Gi BJJ. I think there are less than 5 people who are newer than me (six weeks back in the gym) which also means of course, that I'm in the bottom 5/6 of the class, and therefore no matter who I roll with, there is every chance I get crushed. Which I do, regularly.

Friday, April 15, 2011

BJJ With Gi Training Report

I'm finally winding down after what can probably be described as my most intense session ever. We started right after our warmup with a quick Q&A on how to bust defenses from side control. The two options presented, were to 2-on-1 the gi sleeve (perhaps a little sneaky d^_^b ) and stand up, posting our rear foot in front, to literally 'rip' the arm up into position. The other method offered was to post your front leg outside a little, more on their shoulder, and using your rear arm, take their lapel, and bring them in close to your chest, rolling to your own back, to take their back. At this point, you can lock in your opposite hook.

We drilled this for 3 minutes swapping side control with our partner, to find the way we were most comfortable doing it. I found that the 2-on-1 sleeve grab was probably the easiest to work, even though it's not really allowed in competition. After this, we rolled for about 20-25 minutes.

We then congregated for another Q&A and then, we were drilling a scenario. We are in competition. We are 10 points down. There is 45 seconds left in the match, we have to (from top) make something happen, ie: submit, or we 'lose', whereas the guy on the bottom simply had to survive to 'win'; after all, he was up 10 points in this scenario.

After this, we straight rolled for another 30 minutes. This was broken up into 3 minute sessions with 15-30 second rest periods, just enough to quickly grab a new partner; we were to start once everyone was in position.

The last thing we did, was something called the "Shark Attack". One of the competitive BJJ players at the gym had to undergo a gruelling test of endurance. One fresh man every minute for 16 minutes. Even submissions gave him no rest, and no positional reset, he had to work for it again.

I took the third and the eleventh periods against him. In the third period, I simply survived. (My coach in the background yelling 'DONT YOU DARE TAP OUT! at me while I was under what could be explained fairly accurately as mild duress in a position where I was turtling against a fairly forceful arm choke for 10 seconds or more). The GI really made my job much easier, as I'm far more accustomed to the groundfighting of Judo (which is exclusively Gi) than the No-Gi Jujutsu training that I normally do.
In the eleventh period, I was submitted by lapel choke, but then took a solid position for an extended armbar using what I now know to be the 'bananarama'. (Another trick I learned from Omega). I didn't cause a submission, for lack of the arm being fully locked out, but I was reasonably primed to make one. This was the closest anyone had come to submitting him so far. The timer ended, and he got a fresh man.

When the ordeal was finally over, the Jujutsuka was hailed as a hero by the rest of the guys in the gym, me included, as it is definitely the most gruelling physical punisment I have ever witnessed.

Afterward, I asked him if it was the hardest thing that he ever had to do. He said that it would be close.

Weekend is up, No Gi on monday. Peace out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Muay Thai report (sorry no MMA tonight)

Another good night.

I actually made it to class a little late, and as a result I missed out on the skipping rounds. No matter :P I'll make up for it at home tomorrow with some dance dance revolution or something.

We started with a basic kick drill. 10 kicks on right leg, then 10 on left leg, then 9 and 9, down to 1. This really got the abs caning! I'm starting to get better with my kicking technique, being able to throw much looser (and therefore faster) kicks, with the nice heavy pendulum swinging type kick. If you can keep your leg loose when it connects, it actually results in a better power strike too, as it becomes much easier to 'push off' after the kick, and reload into a position where you can deliver another strike.

The first drill was the basic one-two-four. This is a jab, cross, then right kick to the body. Next up was jab-cross-hook into either knee or kick, depending where you ended up after the hook. (we are encouraged to move around alot while drilling, with the intention of getting better at finding our range.) Next was a low left leg kick, followed by a switch left kick/knee to the body, and finally a round elbow or cross. (we just went with whatever felt right). The last drill was a freestyle type scenario, where the guy holding the focus pads would call out the combo, and then we would do the combo, then pad guy calls another one out.

Finally, sparring.

I took it pretty easy sparring tonight, doing my best to focus on a nice loose posture and nice fast, technical kicking. (improving my round kick technique was my personal goal for the evening).
I sparred first with my drilling partner (pretty standard practice for me, I like sparring with the person I've just been drilling with) and then one by one made my way around the gym ~12 people at 3 minute rounds each.
My brother Ken came with me tonight too, for his first Muay Thai class. He did great! (he has a history with western boxing also, we trained together as teenagers at a local boxing club)

Fundamentals and Jits tomorrow, report at that time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No-gi BJJ report

Had a great night. We started off our warmups with hip-escape laps, and then shrimping, followed by 'wiggles' across the mat. 'Wiggles' are an absurdly uncomfortable movement, where you (from your back) rock your shoulders and hips back and forth alternately, resulting in a sideways shuffle. I suppose it won't be so bad when I am better at it.

We then started with a cyclic submission drill.
Starting from open guard, first thing to do was to set up an Extended arm-bar (Tornado) from this position, the guy on top removes one of his arms, and at this point, we swivel around into a Triangle. When they press their elbow on the inside to escape, swiveling at the hips, and threatening a sweep under one arm with shin on bicep, to solicit a reaction, ie: post. When they post, we utilize this momentum, to lock the opposite leg over their other arm on the outside, above the elbow, tucking the instep under the chin, and rocking up on our inside hip edge, to flick the outside leg around, and take control of their waist, to prevent a roll, taking our final position, the Omoplata. If they escaped the Omoplata by rolling, because we didn't take the waist early enough, we needed to roll forward also, and when we 'catch up' with their rolling defense (sometimes took 2 or 3 rolls) taking the opposite underhook, resulting in a Double omo.

After we drilled this for about 15 minutes, we started rolling.

The first guy I rolled with was my best mate at the gym, Adam. (He's the guy in the photo holding me from behind) He caught me in an early triangle (20-30 seconds) and after that, I was more careful. We then rolled for perhaps another 6-8 minutes, neither of us landing a submission. I concentrated on working my defensive game, with a specific focus on keeping my all my 'external' muscles firm enough to facilitate a basic level of control/defensive control - but trying to keep the muscles around my neck and chest relaxed where possible, taking controlled, deep breaths, to give myself the maximum time to attempt an escape before I was gassing and gasping for air.

The next guy I rolled with was my evil twin, Nick. Familiar with my inexperience, he generally lets me get pretty far with transition attempts/submission attempts until the last moment he is able to mount a reasonable defense, and then we struggle for position until either I can submit him, which I can do about 30% of the time (he goes pretty easy on me).

After Nick, I got to roll with Connor. Connor is a purple belt, and a badass! I've spent the last 3 days watching, rewatching, slow motioning, rewatching, watching in reverse, in fast motion, upside down and every which way an outstanding arm-bar montage video made by Omega of fame, an ex-pro fighter.

At one moment, I had a brief spark of confidence and clarity, and I attempted the roll over arm-bar from Omega's video, and I nearly landed it! Sadly, my confidence wasn't matched by my experience, and Connor shrugged it off at the last moment, passing at the same time into side control. I said: "Noooo.. I was robbed!" and he says, "Yeah that'll happen sometimes." :)

After a few more Omoplata drills (it was the theme of the lesson) We rolled for the rest of the lesson. I rolled with Adam again for the rest of the class (15 minutes) and then it was time for the advanced class, so I headed home. (this class is invitation only)

Tomorrow night, is Full Contact MMA night. can't wait.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend recovery report

I've been elevating my foot all weekend, and it has finally shrunk down to the original size.
It's easier to see the actual damage now, and I'm confident that if I just take it easy on the leg this week, I won't even notice the injury by the week after.
I also managed to catch a bit of a snivelly cold from one of my brothers, so I'm taking Monday night off too (tonight) as I have no interest in spreading a germ around the gym.

I intend to go to MT training tomorrow night, and you can expect a full report on that as soon as is practical.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday 7th April Muay Thay Report.

I've just spent the last few hours winding down, and having a sulk about my foot. I was sparring this evening, and despite my spectacular shinguards, (SMAI sock-type) I managed to catch a foot on foot mutual right leg kick. The other guy was fine though, and the hit shouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that I am currently suffering from a healing Hematoma (spelling?) on the top face of my right foot, just below the instep.

It was a poor timing and spacing judgement on my part. and I paid the penalty for it.
So while I sit here nursing my injury, I'll recount tonight's good points.

The night started off really well. The skipping passed largely without any brutal toe-whipping incident, and my drilling partner was a much younger guy (20 y/o, I'm 31) and really talented with natural athleticism. (I suspect he was a rugby player in college, I'll need to confirm this.)

So we started with a double left jab to right round elbow combo, and this was heaps of fun. Once you have your spacing (and pacing) worked out for the double jab, the round elbow just feels so smooth and natural, and combos that flow smoothly are really nice for fast drilling. The next combo we did was a huge overhand right following a double jab. This one was actually a little more awkward, since we were still using thai pads rather than focus pads for a fairly technical punching combo. The overhand right needed to be drilled at least 80-90% power with encouragement to really smash it as hard as possible, this made incorrect pad holding painful for our partners. (we COULD have changed to focus mits, but my partner and I were in a good rhythm, and wanted to keep up a good pace without stuffing about changing pads).
The next combo we worked on was also pretty tricky, too. It was a left jab, into a swift left round elbow, into a loaded right round elbow. Legit Tekken stuff. Working the left jab into the left elbow took a bit of practice, but once the left elbow finds a home, the loaded right elbow once again, flows pretty smoothly.
The final combo drill was more of a 'super-combo' drill. It was jab, cross, left hook, right round elbow, loaded right round elbow. A genuine 'guard-breaker'. The final elbow was so punishing, we generally ended up taking a full step backward while holding the pads afterwards to accomodate the follow through.

With the drilling finished, we started sparring. Now, although the class is a Muay Thai class, please understand that a significant portion of the boxers are also MMA fighters, including several sponsored amateurs. This means that takedowns from clinch are acceptable in sparring, as kind of a house rule, we just don't chase the fight to the ground. (we are supposed to be doing MT tonight after all) and the first round of sparring actually felt like an exhibition match.
This was pretty awesome actually, there were a few beginners at training tonight, and it's actually kind of an honour to be instructed to spar in front of the class. I felt honoured, anyway :D It was me and my drilling partner I had for the evening, and we had clearly established a good pace with each other, so I felt pretty comfortable sparring with him. We quickly established a sparring 'rapport' and once we found our distance, we picked up the pace. I am a big bloke with short arms, so I like to climb inside and take the clinch if possible, and if not, just to barge in with elbows, leg kicks, and knees until I CAN take the clinch. Once I had this position, I (in an almost gimmick-like fashion) tagged my partner with a picture perfect Tai-Otoshi (threw him to the ground with a leg trip to those without judospeak). This solicited snickers among the room, and myself and my partner alike giggling along with it. Thirty seconds later, this room-wide infectious giggle would transform into uproarious laughter once my partner grabbed me from clinch, attempting the same throw, but lacking the same background in Judo, fell victim to a pretty straightforward reversal, him ending up in precisely the same position on the floor he occupied less than a minute previously. The timer rang, and we took our well earned breather, and had a chat about our little 'match'. We agreed to take another 3 minute round, and this time - be a little more businesslike about it. That's precisely what we did. Looking for openings with leg kicks and jab-hook type combo's, trying to be more of an outside fighter; I'm hoping it will help round-out my game. Due to our sparring rapport, we both changed pace up once again, starting to punish a little more rather than just tag with the kicks. We both got some great shots, some great blocks, and even a little more scrappy clinch action.

After our little bout was over, the whole class split up into pairs for individual sparring. There are quite a few different personalities and ages at the club, so we have (on the same mat) some beginners sparring against each other nice and slow and technical, and also some amateur fighters on the other side of the mat, preparing for RING COMBAT RAWR and therefore sparring at an appropriately competitive level. I got a chance to spar with both the competitive guys and the beginners, and at this stage of my martial development, it's really great for me to have such diverse partners.

Well, I'm pretty exhausted, and I'll do what I can about updating this post with photos, but other than that, tomorrow night is MMA fundamentals and BJJ night. I'll deliver another report at that time.


Suited up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

BJJ training report

So I just got home from a double-feature of MMA fundamentals, (1 hr) followed by Jujutsu no-gi (1.5 hrs).

I actually pulled a bit of a dick move tonight. There was this little guy I was rolling with, and he was literally hanging on for dear life whenever I tried to pass guard, so I decided to instead lean my body weight onto his chest, at which he winced, and I planted my forearm in the gap between his collarbone and chin. This pressure on his windpipe/trachea wasn't causing him to tap, but I was really in no danger in that position at that moment, so I basically just stalled, pushing my weight onto his chest and neck, and the reason I'm calling it a dick move is because I should really have been looking for some better opportunities for submission, not just causing pain because I couldn't work my game.

So I've recently been training with a rashguard as opposed to the sweats I used to wear, and after this experience, I never want to use anything other than a rashguard again, as they are so marvellous at keeping your core temperature down, enabling you to train better for longer.

This is me getting crushed by my evil twin, a BJJ blue-belt called Nick.

This is me landing an Uchi-Mata, though hardly picture perfect :D In addition, this picture, it's on for young and old!

Tomorrow night I have Thai Boxing again, and MMA full contact sparring. More then!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Flow chart to show you where MMA sits in the Martial Arts food chain.

MT training report, Tuesday April 5


So I just got back from Muay Thai tonight, and had an excellent session. Truly worked my ass off, and suffered no injuries, not even niggles!

We started with the regular 3 rounds of skipping for 5 mins per round, 30 second rests.
I actually quite like the skipping, because it's all it takes for me to get almost completely warmed up and loose. Also, due to my early life boxing experience, I'm really comfortable with technical skipping (alternating feet, switching single and double time for 15 seconds per minute.)

Owing to my uncanny size, people seeing me skipping proficiently (I'm better at skipping than several of the other more experienced fighters) really turns a few heads, so it's also a nice way to not be seen as a total noob by the other total noobs.

So after our skipping, we start our basic strength workout.
We alternate rounds of push-ups and sit-ups, 10 and 10, 9 and 9, etc, and once we are done with the basic calisthenic stuff, we suit up into our gear.

Usual gear setup for our MT class:

focus pads
large kick pad
thai pads
12-16 oz gloves.
shinguards (optional)

Since a minor injury I suffered, now I ALWAYS train with shinguards on, even when I'm doing Jujutsu. I also don't use 16 oz gloves, I use 4 oz gloves. My trainer is happy enough for me to use these, as he understands my MMA focus, rather than being concerned with MT alone.

Occasionally when I'm sparring with someone for the first time, etc - they see what gloves I am using and their eyes bug out, and ask me why I'm using MMA gloves instead of Boxing gloves, I explain that they are my insurance policy against irresponsible training partners, and most people have a good chuckle about this.
Nobody has been cut yet, so I think I am capable of training safely with a nice level of contact still.

Also, I ALWAYS have a really good night when my drill/sparring partner has great communication. I also love to give feedback while I'm on the focus pads: "That one was great, remember to keep your left hand up though" or alternatively, just punch them in the face after the combo, to make sure they are keeping their guard up, it just depends on who I'm working with.

So tonight, I had a great drill partner, and we both pushed each other to train hard, and well. This is my favourite kind of session. About the only thing that can improve my night after such a good drilling practice, is when I manage to block my trainer's left hook.

He hits about 7/8 left hooks on virtually EVERYONE he spars with.
He has a dynamite hook.
This one particular favourite combo of his is actually 3 left hooks in a row. It's fukken fierce.

First post.

So, essentially I'm reposting this from

The Training log section on is only accessible to those of us with Supporting member status or above, so I'm reposting this here to share with the other bullshido members without this access, and indeed anybody else who is training in, or interested in training in MMA.

So without further embellishment, Here is the start of the log!

My serious bizness MMA training Log. Progress photos included.
Alright. So, I've been a member of the site long enough for most people to have a basic idea of my MA experience.

For those who aren't so familiar, it essentially contains a ton of Aikido, Judo, and to a lesser degree, Boxing.

When I became a member of this site back in 2004, I ceased my Aikido training (based laregely on my Martial Arts re-education through and it is many of you to whom I am grateful for this).

Skip ahead to the future, (the present) and I am now one month deep back into serious training after a long break due to personal issues.

Ok. So now that I am happy in my training routine and nicely settled - I thought it would be a good opportunity to start a training log here.

My week looks like this:
Monday: [Judo]* MMA fundamentals, BJJ
Tuesday: [MMA full contact sparring]*, Muay Thai
Wednesday: MMA fundamentals, BJJ
Thursday: [MMA full contact sparring]*, Muai Thai
Friday: [Judo]* MMA fundamentals, BJJ

Saturday: Wrestling (haven't started wrestling yet)
Sunday: Open Mat

*I'm starting the full contact MMA classes next week, and will then alternate MMA and Judo nights.

I'm currently unemployed. (ahem, I mean I'm a musician) and as a result I have TONS of time at present.
The most recent training development for me is that I have finally gotten some of my younger brothers interested in training.

So, I have MMA full contact sparring tonight (which I will only watch, unless I'm bullied into participating - I decided when I started that I would give myself a full month in everything else before I did the really hardcore stuff.) and then afterwards, I have Muay Thai.

I'll Post about tonights training once I'm done, and start adding my progress photos.