Monday, April 16, 2007

April 14, 2007 Sensei Maria

So good to have you back Dixon!

I read this great article about training. The article pertained to weight training, in it the trainer talked about how even an advanced weight lifter is still a beginner, and that form and technique is the most important. Whether you are running, lifting, doing a sit up one should focus on proper form and execution. This may seem like a no brainer, but the task is more complicated.

I know I cheat. I do whatever gets me through.

When benching sometimes I lean more to one side then to the other, on squats I don't squat as much. I decided to take this guys advice. I lower the weights and focus on slow controlled movements. The difference was amazing and enlightening.

I decided to put this into effect in jujitsu and focus on technique. Technique, technique, technique. Do it right the first time.

1. Shurikan Push-ups
• Plank position
• Left leg up/down
• Right leg up / down
• Back ( butt up and back )
• Scoop to cobra

I can do this rep twice w/o freaking out. Then i do a push-up instead of pushing my butt back, and I stop doing cobras all together. I used to think I could do 5, but really I can do 2 good and 3 crappy. Let's get to 3 good and 2 crappy.

2. Ab work
Keep your lower back to the ground, flat. After we did abs before I would get up feeling pain in my hamstring, near the glute. After focusing on keeping my back down to the ground, no pain exists. I guess I was putting some pressure on the nerves down there.

At the gym I have been doing the twisting sit ups. Then I saw a video on the kimura from the ground, so yesterday I was doing drills on getting the kimura from the ground. It will burn up you obliques fast! No need to apply lock, just getting into position is worth the battle.

Here's a demo

3. Roll Out and Defend
Second saturday in a row I pulled this sucker off. Let's make it a habit!
Instead of focusing on which technique I was going to do I just made sure my roll was solid, my standing up was solid, my entry was solid...though I was a little too far away.

4. Seio-otoshi
• Close the window entry
• Inside hand reaches in and grabs lapel
• Drop knee behind uke's lead foot creating a vacuum
• Hand with lapel moves in a punching motion to the ground where knee is, filling vacuum created by dropping knee

I have never done this technique but it has instantly become a favorite. The metaphors for me are fairly easy to under stand. Grab + Drop + Break Bricks, is what I started using as a memorization device. I can also see this applicable in judo b/c once uke is down you can easily go to a Kata-Gatame, and apply choke before uke realizes what is happening. I have found a lot of times in ippon uke will just scootch away defensively, I bet this would work splendidly!

5. Fightin' wit da White Belt
I'm afraid to fight.

It's not as bad as it was, but it's still there. That rise in blood pressure and heart beat. Sometimes I just want to get hit in the face really bad so that way I can say "See it's not that bad" but that's a bit of nonsense. I think being afraid is good, because at least I know i'm not a monster who enjoys hurting people and that all of my fight/flight functions work.

I remember when I first started sparring here in class I was trembling on the inside. I thought about that this class while sparring with white belts. I don't know if they were afraid, we have some brave guys! But I know I was back then. So I tried hard to watch my contact and to correct subtlety and respectively. Hopefully letting them know that I was there to work with and am not a threat. It is amazing though that while they are sending a hail of punches we know to just move out of the way and say "Hey hey hey keep your guard up"

6. Fightin' wit da Sensei

Every time I work with sensei on sundays I record what he says in my mind.

The jab is for setting up the strike.
The strike is for setting up the throw.
Commit to the throw.
If your commitment is missed follow up and recover.

To me this translates
Reverse Punch

If he came in to fast I threw my front kick out to buy myself some time.

After the spar I thought to myself "Maybe sparring isn't about fighting" but more about looking for the opportunity to end the fight. For example if Sensei Coleman and I just exchanged punches it would come down to who could get hit more times, but if we both seized an opportunity to land 2 good shots and 1 throw, one of us gets to go home.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

April 13, 2007 Sensei Maria

Ugh! boy was I tight tonight. Sitting all day in a chair, really tears you apart.

1. Knifehand Strike
• Uke steps, knifehand to the face and pull back
• Keep your gaurd up!

2. Nikkyu from Lapel Grab
• Uke steps, knifehand to the face and step back
• Once stepped back, lead hand should be on uke's wrist
• Step in and drop weight
• Hook Elbow and roll Uke
• Pin

Step back and in. Step back and in. So simple.
When rolling uke, if they decide to be non-compliant, or for some reason don't understand that technically you just broke their wrist...a good kick to the ribs rolls them over!

3. Shihonage ( from same side wrist grab )
• Drop weight into uke, tai-sabaki behind shoulder
• Stretch uke's arm out, scootch ( jujitsu term ) under shoulder
• Pivot and position arm to shoulder blade, throw
• Pin

During the demonstration Sensei Maria showed that there are two ways to accomplish the same throw, one is the description above, the other is to turn the wrist like a lock. This one I prefer. Immediate pain. It also tends to remind me to do all the steps, and keeps uke ( myself included ) in check, in regards to throwing an extra strike, etc.

4. Nikkyu from Roundhouse
• Block and Strike ( knifehand ) while tenkan ( blending )
• As you bring your hand down, catch uke's wrist
• Bend knee to lock
• Hook Elbow and roll Uke
• Pin

5. Multiples
After doing multiples with Dixon I am reminded how important it is to give a truly committed technique and to stay light on my feet.

For me I find that by fighting the urge to "pull my punch" gives me clean ukemi. Even though I was thrown in ippon, and dixon came down on my head with a knee. It was uncomfortable, but a clean fall. Pain not injury...let's keep it that way.

6. Awareness
Walking back from dojo with Dixon and Youval we stopped at the subway for Youval. I noticed a blind man go to cross the street and I ran up to give him a hand. I came back to "good call" and regular rigamarole that guys like to do to each other, but I had know idea what would be in store the rest of the way home.

As I followed 6th avenue down. I pulled out my cell phone and called Emily and was talking away when I walked past a homeless person on the sidewalk. Immediately I knew something was wrong. The person was in a wheelchair and did not have legs, they were also slumped over...and more importantly sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. I got off the phone, and approached from behind and the side ( you never know! ) and said "Hello, Are you OK?" I received no response, I repeated myself louder, no response. People just kept walking by. I called 911 and an ambulance came very quickly. I kept talking to let the person know that help was on the way and that I was there, though I did not touch them, and could not see their face, or see them breathe. When the paramedics came, the person pretty much just fell out of the chair and after answering some questions and giving contact info I left. I'm pretty sure they were dead, or at the very least in serious trauma.

I walked home in a daze. In New York I know why people just keep walking. I do not blame them. We tune things out. It was just surreal.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 10, 2007 Sensei Stephen

1. Kaiten-Nage
• Hitch step entering uke, rolling your arm and catching ukes wrist
• Lift the wrist up as you pivot
• Push wrist over opposite shoulder

A few weeks ago Sensei Coleman was really drilling into me the importance of entry while doing Kaiten-Nage. After trying and trying, I finally felt what I was trying to achieve. Now I say "felt", because I don't know exactly how to explain it. But after practicing it with Cari it made think that entering is more about moving past uke, yet still being with them.

Later in the technique I started to realize that one side was different then the other. It felt different, all of it. I noticed that I was looking in 2 different places. On my left ( which is the good side ) I was looking at uke's neck. The right side I was looking past uke. I think this little fumble was forcing me to correct my self after entry.

2. Yoko Guruma
• Step into them and Pivot to the side
• Drop while holding uke pulling them forward and down

The Yoko Guruma is classified as a side sacrifice, because you wind up on your back. Be sure to be perpendicular to uke, in order to prevent uke from falling on you.

Here's a video

3. Ippon Seionage counter to Ko Ouchi Gari
• Step in and clip for Ippon
• Scootch ( jujitsu term ) foot behind uke's and bend knee for kozushi
• As uke falls clip leg, revolving them onto their stomach
• Leg Lock


• Drop knee onto pressure point
• Step and Kick to the face

When doing this I noticed that the more committed I was, the more effective the counter can be.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

April 5, 2007, Sensei Maria

Wow what a powerful class. Whew! I felt like I was on fire, when I got home I wound up passin' out! Next morning I was so sore and my throat was hoarse from all the Kiaye! Awesome!

1. Roll Out and Defend
• Roll out
• Hand comes up in a gaurd
• Enter via Hitch Step, Tai-Sabaki or Trade Places

More and more I find myself doing the "Coleman Hook" on this. I worry about this technique being too hard on uke, Especially since I hesitant to put it on since Jeannie's shoulder was hurt that way. I like doing the technique because it seems like it's right there, but maybe I should turn it into a tiger lock instead. Not sure.

2. Close the Window to Katana-Naga ( from roundhouse )
• Step in for Close the Window, uke drops there arm
• Pivot slightly behind uke extending your arms out
• Project outwards by bending knees

3. Ippon from Roundhouse
• Step into uke, far foot to far foot
• Clip uke's arm
• Pivot and throw

This is one of my favorite throws in the whole world! But I never use it for demonstration!

I have been practicing this move a lot at home, this is how I've been doing it :

a. The Clip - I like to thinking of my arm as a boa constrictor. I actually read about visualizing this, they said when you arm is tight and your opponent moves to escape, you would be able to feel it.

b. The Drop - I put my back against the wall ( at the gym i look into the mirror to insure myself dropping low enough ) and drop, when I get low enough I can feel my groin area stretching out like when we do butterflies. I stand up, I drop again, then I add speed.

c. The Balls of my Feet - Lately at home I have been squating and walking around on the balls of my feet. This gives me a little more balance when I am doing ippon or any other throw.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wednesday April 4, 2007

Youval turned me onto this guy a few weeks ago. His name is Karo Parisyan and he is a UFC fighter. He's also an accomplished judoka who utilizes Judo in his MMA fights. These videos show how to utilize throws when in a clinch or when a fight gets close. I thought it was interestng b/c he talks about what happens when throwin' in Ippon and also the importance of ukemi. On the second part hem and his uke go throw for throw, very impressive fluid throws.

Part 1
Part 2

Something that has been sticking in my head lately are these phrases that Sensei tells us.

"Attack the body"
Even in these videos it starts with "If you can't hit you can't throw"

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tuesday April 2, 2007, Sensei Stephen

So it's been awhile since I blogged, but it's also been a while since Jeannie wasn't sitting next to me in class, so I figure I would blog again!

Check us out!

1. Warming Up
One positive thing about being out of shape is that you are able to check your progress very well. If you can not do a pushup, try for a week, then you accomplish it, viola! I think it's good to bear in mind when we are doing warm up where it is that you may be having some difficulties then exploiting it. Lately in my training I have incorporated interval cardio.

Basically I use the elliptical until I am working but can have a conversation, then I explode for about 3 minutes going full blast. I have noticed in just two weeks my recovery and stamina have greatly improved. That is not to say that it is great, but merely improved. Last night as we were doing are "gallops around the mat" I realized that it wasn't killing me as it has done so many many times before.

2. Kokyu-Nage ( same side wrist grab )
• Drop knee into uke & curl your wrist downward
• Hitch step into placing your self behind them ( Your hand should now be in your center )
• Raise hand through center, pivot and extend through the center to throw them off balance

Lately when I look at techniques, other then footwork I have looking an thinking "Hey what does this look like?" The first thing I thought of when I saw tori behind uke is that it looked like the entry to Sukyi-Nage, the second was that the hand came up the center, then pivot and extend through the center, never breaking connection. It's always less work then it appears, always less.

3. Nikkyu from RoundHouse
• Trade places with uke, to do this I use an Atemi
• After Atemi slide hand down to trap hand
• Drop Knee and lock
• Reach up to pull wrist over for break

Listening to Sensei Stephen, I decided to imagine using a tettsui strike ( per atemi kata ) with my atemi. There was discussion that when you switch places your timing may be a little off and an atemi helps buy you a little time.

4. RoundHouse to Hadaka-Jime ( Rear Naked Choke )
• WindMill Block - FAST!!!!!!!
• Strike Ribs with reverse hand
• Opposite hand snakes around throat clenching opposite arm forming a triangle
• Step back to hang
• Drop uke

I was having a lot of problems putting this choke onto Gearoid. The funny thing was is that I had no problem doing it from the ground. Let's see I couldn't figure it out until I was in bed...Eureka! Get uke lower!

In judo ( and I presume BJJ as well ) if you do not snake the arm around there is a opportunity for a counter arm-bar ( try to choke Youval and you will learn very fast! )

Here's a great tutorial for The Hadaka-Jime Though it shows it from the ground, same principle applies.

5. Ne-Waza and the Kesa-Gatame
Grapplin and ground work in our style is the last place you want to go.

You go to a body throw and you fall, or the guy tackles you and your down. It sucks, it's hot, sweaty, and without sporting rules fingers are in your eyes and your ears are being pulled. Ears leave the body very very fast. Minimize the ability, gain back control and get back up.

As a physical and mental excercise I appreciate that Ne-waza immediately forces your fight or flight instinct. To remain calm.

To remain calm. To remain calm...this is my mantra.

Having someone on me reminds me of the riptides and maelstroms when I grew up in Florida. As kids we learned to always stay calm in water. ( actually they say "don't panic!" which is probably the worse thing to say because just the word panic freaks me out ) As you fight you tire. As you tire you give up, the maelstrom takes control. Stay calm, find the weak spot...swim out, then back to shore.

A while ago I really wanted to explore Osaekomi-waza. By practicing a little judo and working out with Youval I learned a few things that are pretty cool about the Kesa-Gatame.

When some one pulls you onto the ground, one strategy is to position yourself perpendicular to their body. From here you can transition to Kesa-Gatame. While in Kesa-Gatame, position your body so the your weight is falling on angle that allows maximum pressure against uke's ribs. I learned that this will cause a eventual suffocation because as uke exhales, the lungs are not strong enough to inflate completely on inhale. This is very slow, and uncomfortable. This does allow you to switch to Kata-Gatame, then to stand back up completely.

While workin out with Gearoid he told me "Ugh your weight was all over me!" I thought back over the last 2 years and how many times I have done Kesa and how infrequently (aka Never!) someone said that. I think back and find a connection on Jeannie holding my wrist to her center as she applies Kote-gaeshi with her whole body and how painful it is to have 90lbs against your wrist...the wrong way! Like with any technique use your whole body. I guess this is what you get when you enter into the get the availability of using your whole body against uke...ok now i'm just ramblin'