The Compact Arm Bar on Magic Monday

Small Space Arm Bar

For the "Magic Moment" this week Chris shared with us a sweet Arm Bar that works well in confined, compact, or smaller spaces.  I especially like how it gives you control of your opponent even before you put the arm bar on.  I tried to use it on Blake when we rolled after.  He of course knew what I was attempting and blocked me.  Even though I was unable to finish the submission I could easily keep the collar and arm to try something else.  Yes, that is me in the black Vulkan (which I will be doing a review on this week).  Chris also demonstrates how after a failed Arm Bar you can then go for a Omoplata.  I’ve been learning that it is always good to have a back up plan.  For those of you more experienced BJJ practitioners this is old news and for the newer like myself its the frontier.  I’m learning to string together multiple submissions in order to guarantee success.

Here is a takedown-to-leg-lock we also went over:

Takedown To Leg Lock Part 1

 

Takedown To Leg Lock Part 2

I didn’t have as much success on this but I did learn something.  You need to choose your takedown in accordance with the size of your opponent.  I’m 6’2", and this isn’t very practical on someone a foot shorter then me.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

No Joy Without Pain in BJJ

Its a concept we are all familiar with.  How can you understand happiness or joy if you don’t know pain or misery? I was inspired by Georgette’s post "I Cried This Morning" and Ben’s post "A Ass Kicking in the Right Direction" today.  I’ve blogged about "Finding Your Happy Place in Jiu-Jitsu" and my thoughts.  Mark also helped me form my thoughts in his post "The Dip and Jiu-Jitsu".

What does it all boil down to?  Its a constant struggle of ups and downs.  We take the good with the bad and keep going.  Its time to think large (The Small and Large of it in Jiu-Jitsu) and not dwell on the moment that is discouraging us.

This is another reason to keep a Journal.  The old adage "If you forget history your are doomed to repeat it" applies.  If you chronicle your training you can look back and say "hey, I remember what it was like when I couldn’t even do a scissor sweep".  You can see the larger picture and the moment in time that is causing you pain is swallowed up in the greater success you have had over time.

After all anything worth having requires blood, sweat, and tears or else it wouldn’t be worth having because you wouldn’t appreciate it.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Tomoe-Nage Tops Takedown Tuesday

I recently blogged about the Tomoe-Nage in my post "De La Riva to Tomoe Nage Sweep".  I’ve been reading about it in Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu: Revolutionizing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and watching video of it on YouTube.com.  It has some similarities to what we call the Balloon Sweep in BJJ.  On Takedown Tuesday I finally got to use it.  It was a blast.  Having never practiced it once, before having to use it during a match, it went off rather well.  I felt I got a good solid 3 out of 4 successful throws.

The Tomoe-Nage I feel really embodies Jiu-Jitsu.  BJJ should be nearly effortless, I think.  A well executed technique uses physics in your favor with little expenditure of energy on your part. The dropping of your weight is one of the main forces at work in the Tomoe-Nage.  It is combined with the twisting motion as you go down to position your opponent onto your leg.  As the momentum continues with your guidance the throw feels very natural and powerful.  I also felt a lot of control with it.  I could throw into mount or into a arm bar.  The Tomoe-Nage has become my favorite throw.  As shown in the video above there are variations to it.  Its versatile and I plan on adding it to my throw/takedown arsenal in all its many forms.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Free High School BJJ Grabs the Spotlight

Many of you contributed gis when I posted "Donate a Gi and Change a Life".  The idea of free classes for High School students wanting to learn BJJ that may not have the resources to do so, is going full bore.  Thank you all.  I thought I might share with you some of the latest publicity about the program.

Our local paper, The Standard Examiner did a article on the free High School BJJ classes that West Side Jiu-Jitsu has been offering.  It is entitled "Ogden Teacher Uses Free Martial Arts Classes to Steer High School-Age Youths to Wise Choices".  They even did a interview with Miles Vigil, one of our own and a instructor.  Watch the interview to see them in action.  Mark, my instructor, posted pictures that he scanned in from the paper HERE.  I noticed some good Faces of Jiu-Jitsu in the interview.  You might even be able to pick out a gi you donated if you look closely.

Its the summer, its hot, and everyone is out of school.  I’m glad to see the dedication to teaching and learning that brings everyone together to continue growing in the martial art we all love, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

The Scoop on Monday Night Magic BJJ

The Scoop

One of the best books out there for the BJJ beginner or white belt is Jiu-Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro.  I learned the Scoop from Saulo’s book at home when I was first getting started.  It was easy for the more experienced belts to get my back then.  When I learned to Scoop they still tapped me out but I began to survive.  It was the first step in improving my game.  Chris and Justin demonstrate the Scoop in my video from last nights class.  We call it Monday Night Magic because Chris always comes with magic moves for us to learn.

Some of the finer points of the Scoop I want to point out are:

  1. Don’t slide down to far.  If you end up nearly flat on your back all your opponent has to do for a Arm Bar is swing a leg around.
  2. Keep the points you win.  What I mean by that is when you get that first leg off make sure you keep the same side elbow down.  Don’t let them get back ground they have lost.

Even for advanced students I think the Scoop is good to know.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

5 Things I Learned At BJJ Tonight

  1. A bicep cutter exerts so much pressure it leaves blood blisters.  They look a lot like your shoulder after having a shotgun kick into it.  Because the pressure was on my bicep and forearm I have a matching set.
  2. My finger tips are toughing up.  Around my finger nails it used to be sore from gripping the gi after class.  Now I’ve developed calluses that have helped them toughen.  They are still a little sore after but not near as much after class.
  3. I’ve forgotten the guillotine escape from in guard.  I had both legs of a white belt named Ethan in class today.  I was getting ready to inch my way up to cross body or mount.  The next thing I knew he had me in a guillotine.  I was so surprised I let go of his legs and he put in his guard.  I got my arm over his should for the escape but couldn’t remember the rest from there.  Yes, I tapped.  I’m not proud of it but that’s what I get.  I know the technique I’m going to practice at home this week.
  4. My breathing technique has improved.  I’ve been focusing on getting more oxygen during periods of inactive during a roll.  It feels good to have more oxygen during a roll.  Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, fill those lungs, and repeat.
  5. I’ve been coasting.  Its so easy to coast.  The next thing you know your lead shrinks and all the sudden you realize the pack is over taking you or is passing you.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu Needed in Yellowstone!

Yellowstone 2010 Bison

I haven’t posted for a while because I went on holiday with the wife’s side of the family to Yellowstone National Park.  The picture is of some bison we saw on our visit.  You can’t see them very well.  My iPhone is much better at up close pictures but the over all view is beautiful so I used it.  That is the Madison River that separates me from the bison.  After the vacation I needed a vacation, so I took a sabbatical.  Believe it or not, I kept a eye open for Jiu-Jitsu schools in my long travels.  I figured even in the "wilderness" they had a McDonalds there must be at least one school I can visit while I’m out and about.  Nope!  Not a single school.  Oh I could have done Yoga or Palates in West Yellowstone.  But when it comes to facing anything in the great outdoors I doubt "downward-facing-dog" will do much for you.  They need at least one BJJ school in each of the major tourist towns in Yellowstone.  Alright, maybe my reasoning isn’t the strongest but if I could make a living teaching BJJ and live in Yellowstone, I’d put in my 2 weeks today and the house up for sale.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

4 Tips for Extending the Life of Your Gi

gi-strings

When you started out in Jiu-Jitsu you most likely got a starter gi.  It didn’t cost much and it was a beginning point.  Now you have been doing BJJ for a year or more and have picked up one or two more expensive gis.  These cost you in the neighborhood of $100 to $250.  Its a little bit more of a investment in the art and sport you love.  Then one day you notice your gi is starting to show signs of deterioration.  AAAAHHHH!  What can I do to get the most wear out of my gi for the money I paid.  Here are a few tips I’ve come up with.  Please feel free to comment on the post and share your own.

  1. Stitch up loose ends.  Like in the picture, I stitched up the one on the left.  The red tie is a example of a good quality gi that comes with it already done.
  2. Don’t bleach.  Bleach is just acid after all.  It breaks down the fibers of your gi faster.  Try something else to whiten your gi that won’t destroy it.
  3. Drip dry.  I don’t throw my gi in the dryer.  Not just because it will shrink it over time but because it is stiff and the tumbling action creates friction which causes more wear and tear.
  4. Rotate gis.  Buy 2 or more and rotate wearing them.  Share the love.

I hope you find these things that I do useful.  Share your gi-saver tips with me.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

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Gi Cross Choke from Closed Guard

Gi Cross Choke from Closed Guard

I edited this video and it didn’t come out very good.  It had some talking that wasn’t part of the technique.  It still gives enough detail you can figure out what to do.  This was taught by Chris in the advance class on Monday.  I found with some repetition you can really whip this one on quickly.  Everyone knows you are going to try something when you pull the gi out.  I don’t know if I would try and pull the gi out.  During a roll it will come out it self.  When you pull the guy down as Chris shows there is a moment where he feels safe against you and doesn’t realize you are going to loop the gi over his head.  I am going to try focusing their attention on you grapping the collar.  You grab the lose gi at the same time.  Then you pull them down to loop the gi over for the submission.  All this with your guard still closed.  I like this better then the traditional cross choke.  It isn’t as easy to get both hands into a defended collar.  They also see it coming as you try and work both hands in.  This is a bit sneaker way of getting the same choke.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu