As we all know its Valentines Day Sunday. So why not say it Jiu-Jitsu style with an armbar! Flowers, chocolates, and cards are a fleeting reminder of your affection. On the other hand a good armbar will be a treasured memory for years. After all, sometimes we hurt the ones we love. In later years, if you are still together, your loved one will look back on that extra special Valentines Day and say "Remember that year you gave me an armbar for Valentines Day? You dislocated my elbow! I could have killed you! Now I look back on it and laugh." Yes, unforgettable moments are made just like this. So this year, spare cupid wasting a arrow. Use your best takedown or throw and let them know you care by finishing it with a armbar.
Brought to you by TLJ ("Tough Love Jits") where our motto is "Pain is everyone’s gain".
I am a big fan of Rigan Machado. I’ve decided to gather a collection of his DVDs that I can find. It seems there aren’t that many or that they aren’t sold any more. I just got his "Master Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Chokes and Leglocks" DVDs. I was really excited and sat down to watch them. I was hoping to see some of the leglocks in greater detail from his book Encyclopedia of Leg Locks (Encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). I was disappointed in more then one way. They didn’t show the leglocks I wanted to see and second the video was armature. I think Rigan did a excellent job of explaining and demonstrating but it just wasn’t up to what I was used to with Saulo Ribeiro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Revolution Series One. Six Volume DVD Instructional Series for Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts. The Chokes DVD was ok too but once again it didn’t have the professional touch to it. I’ll keep them because as I’ve learned the more I grow in Jiu-Jitsu the more I see in a technique. Maybe this is so advanced I don’t really see the true worth of it. Rigan did a good deal in heal hooks with I don’t have any experience in. I don’t know. For now I can’t recommend them.
I have to say that the Triangle Choke is in the top 10 of my favorite submission techniques. I have been searching high and low for a copy of Rigan Machado’s book and DVD titled "Triangle". While searching I came across this awesome demonstration of the Triangle Choke by Rigan.
Rigan Machado – Triangle Choke
You have to admire his technique. I never thought of folding the leg over the arm to pass it. He is as smooth as silk. Then the spin to Triangle, wow! To look at him you might wonder if he is in adequate physical shape and then you see him move. He is a true master. I like how he uses his leg to move the arm forward. He knows how to use technique instead of brute force. The other night I had a guy set up for a Triangle Choke but I couldn’t get the arm forward. I wish I had seen this before hand. I’ll work on it and maybe next time, eh?!
If anyone knows where I might buy a copy of the Triangle book and DVD please let me know. I hear it is really good.
I had a great time sweeping people over my head. I have to say that sweeps are my favorite. Submissions are cool too don’t get me wrong but a well executed sweeps saps moral or the spirit of the other guy. He just went from equal or in control to flip side.
Rolling was good too. We lined up and would rotate the line every 2 minutes. This gives you a great opportunity to try yourself against everyone. It also keeps the action going. I was admirable tonight. I didn’t tap anyone that was higher then me but then again I didn’t get tapped. I’ll settle for a stalemate against a purple belt right now.
BJJ practice went well tonight. We broke up into whites and blues. The whites went over the blue belt test and the blues went over the purple belt test. We are a Pedro Sauer’s affiliated school. I was surprised that I knew the six techniques we went over as well as I did. We went over:
Double Ankle Grab Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 74)
Both Hands on Ankle Sweep to Armlock (BJJ T&T pg. 78)
After that we did some training from the guard. The object was for the guy on the bottom to get a sweep and the guy on top to get the pass. I tried out a number of sweeps and managed to kept from getting passed. It felt great to get may favorite Spider Guard Sweep.
We then did our usual rolling session to close out the class. I made some mistakes. First of all I let a guillotine get away from me only to have it reversed onto me. Inside my head my mind was screaming for me to throw my arm over his should for the escape but my body just wouldn’t respond. I think I was to preoccupied with the coke. The next roll was with one of your blues who should be going purple soon. I held my own for a good while and escaped one arm bar before succumbing to a second. I had him in a leg bind at one point and was thinking of a Machado leg bar I had been reading about but wasn’t able to pull it off. All in all it was a good night. I won some and I lost some.
When I was growing up I didn’t pay that much attention to sports. The first real figure I remember was Robby Bosco who played quarterback for BYU. I only thought he was cool because he autographed a piece of paper for me and my Dad seemed to think he was cool. As I grew up I liked figures like Michele Jordan but felt they didn’t have all the qualities I wanted in a sports hero. I’m 39 now and thought myself far passed idolizing a sports hero until Rigan Machado came along. I’m not saying I’m sold yet. He is holding a seminar in Utah on March 6th (January 30th Seminar was moved). I’m going to it of course. I’ve got to meet him in person. I’ve read and heard so many first hand accounts about him. I want to see if he is as humble and great as they say. To often people who are in the spotlight get mauled with affection and more, hence the paparazzi. They become mean and in my opinion with good reason. Some become spoiled and arrogant. Its kind of like that old saying "Total power totally corrupts". All that attention and fawning changes them for the worst. I hope to find out that Rigan Machado is everything he has been made out to be. If so, I think I just found my first sports hero in BJJ and Rigan Machado.
I see new techniques every time I go to class. Some really impress me and I remember them. Some impress me and I forget them. I’ve been looking for a way to commit them to memory so that I can work to master them. But how should I go about it? In John B. Will’s book "Rogue Black Belt – Book Two" he gives his method in 4 steps. He says:
"I pay very close attention"
"I begin to develop understanding"
"I practice it"
"I’ve always taken notes"
Part of my problem is that I roll at the end of class and then drive home. Some thing always distracts me and I don’t get that nights class into my BJJ Journal. A day or so later I remember and try to write down what happened. I forget or lose a lot of the details. I am also a visual learner and my text descriptions don’t do the techniques justice. I have thought about getting a video of each method after class and creating a video journal. I noticed that my instructors BJJ Journal has excellent drawing of "crash dummy" type figures doing the moves. That would require me to get some art skills. What do you do to help memorize or internalize BJJ techniques you want to learn?
I like to say often that Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu. Its true. It is integrated into my life. I find applications for it in many aspects of my life other then self defense and sport. That is just one of the reasons I love it so much. Last nights class went well. I set a few goals for my self to focus on and I met about half of them. I even got my new favorite sweep, the Balloon sweep. It was on a white belt but none the less enjoyable. I tapped out a fellow blue belt, that had surprised me last class with a guard pass, with a Triangle Choke as repayment. I felt good after class and came away with points to improve on. After I got home I was getting cleaned up and putting my gi in the wash when I stopped to see the TV program my wife was watching. It was the last few minutes of The Biggest Loser. They were going to show the interview of the last person kicked off. I always like to see the success they have and stopped to watch. To my surprise the guy hadn’t been able to do the gym. He said it wasn’t "clicking" for him. He had come to a realization he needed a life style change. He opted to start martial arts. They showed him walking into a school with a large billboard that read "Gracie Jiu Jitsu". I was excited to see BJJ on TV. I couldn’t think of a better life style change. I was sure they would show him grappling. In stead they only showed him doing Muay Thai. I was stunned. At the very end under his picture it said he was training in Jiu-Jitsu for his first belt. Why then didn’t they show him doing Jiu-Jitsu instead of Muay Thai? What ever the case I was glad to see that BJJ was changing another life for good. I hope he continues and experiences the catharsis I have from BJJ.
When I roll against guys who have more skill then me it seems like I have the advantage at the start. I even seem to be winning for a while. But then the tables turn and everything goes down hill. Soon after the down turn I’m tapping. At class last night I got to be on the other side of the equation. I was rolling with one of our white belts, who might be up for his blue belt soon. It didn’t start out so hot for me and I was mounted. I remained calm and kept working my escapes and things changed. He managed to keep the upper hand for what seemed like a long time. I kept working my escapes and transitions. In time I gained side control and then it went all down hill for him. I noticed he was exhausted. I realized I had expended less energy and had waited him out. As he tired he retired, you might say. With more energy and the upper hand I moved from cross body or side control to mount. I latched on to his legs with "grape vines" and based out to ride out what I thought would be a strong attempt at escape. It didn’t come. I quickly moved up and took position under his arm pits and began my attack. It didn’t take long before I got a choke in and he tapped. I felt like a fortress that had ridden out the siege. I got a good insight into how my technique has evolved. If my fortress or technique had been weak his relentless assault would have broken through. I didn’t go for the submission right off. I waited for the opening and then took it, while all the while saving up for it. I wish I had it all on video. I don’t think I’ve gleamed half of what I can from it. I’ll be pondering it for a good while.
A little while back I did a review on John B. Will’s Book "Rogue Black Belt – Book One". I have since got "Rogue Black Belt – Book Two" and read it. Mr. Will picks up were he left off in book one and keeps moving on at a amazing pace. I know that this books spans years but it feels like it happens in a few months. Any one who goes to Mr. Will’s website knows he teaches Machado BJJ. In book two we learn all about how he got started. If you are a Aussie and want to know how BJJ came to Australia you need to read this book. It is a important history also of the rise of BJJ in America. Mr. Will has a first hand account concerning important events in the lives of Rorion Gracie and Rigan Machado. He meet Renzo Gracie when he was a brown belt and talks about time spent with the Gracies and their cousins the Machados, in Brazil. I was very interested in their training practices and philosophies at the time Mr. Will was introduced to BJJ. As before the book is packed with practical advice and life lessons Mr. Will learned along the way. It made me long to back my bags move to Brazil and train. Its a great book. You will enjoy reading it if you are a fan of any martial art.