Saturday, January 30, 2010

Catching up - Monday

A few days behind - my apologies. I am catching up. Pictures to come later.

Monday night I had a class with Marvio. On the way to the gym, Marvio surprised me by asking if I’d like to go train at Gracie Floripa sometime this week. For whatever reason Marvio had been reluctant to take me when I initially asked about it. I’m not sure why - maybe he just didn’t want to be the guy showing up with a gringo. I’m just glad he’s offering now.

“I think it will be a good experience for you,” he said. “You’ll get to see a big academy, with many black belts. And you’ll get to meet Alexandre.” Now there’s an enticement. Alexandre Souza is one of the world’s best grapplers. He won his weight and absolute at the 2008 European championships and the 95kgs+ ADCC 2009 World Pro cup. He took silver at the 2008 mundials and again in 2009. His mundial losses were to Xande Ribeiro Braulio Estime, respectively. Yes, I would like to meet Alexandre. We set it up for Thursday.

Marvio had promised to help me with my hip movement. Good luck, Marvio. My hips are like cinder blocks. But like all good things in life – the key to good jiu jitsu is moving the hips.

Anybody who knows anything about jiu jitsu knows the importance of the hip movements – and so do I. But there is a difference between knowing something, knowing how to do something, being able to do it and doing it when you need to. That’s the reason there are no “black belt techniques” in BJJ. There are only the same techniques executed with maximum efficiency and perfect technique. I try to be as frank as possible about my deficiencies and to look at every lesson with an open mind. I’ve known hip movement is important since my first day grappling, but I am only beginning to understand what that really means and struggling to apply it. If I’m not honest with myself about that, I’ll never improve.

Marvio showed me some drills to begin with. The first was like shrimping, but you bring your hip about half way over to inverted guard, then drop it and shrimp to other side, come up to half inverted and so on. It took a while to get this just right. I have no problem getting into an inverted position, but I have problems with control. My hips control me, not the other way around. We both knew I wouldn’t master these movements today – but I intend to work them diligently.

The second drill was to roll my hips into and inverted position and bring them all the way over with control and down to the mat. Again, this is all about control. I ‘ve done this before, but always sort of rushed through it. I couldn’t even do this much when I began BJJ so at least I’ve made some sort of progress.

Marvio showed me how to use this movement to re-guard. Frankly it was a bit of a mess when I tried it – but it is something to work on.

The next drill was using the hips to move back to guard when the open guard is passed. This one was a lot trickier for me. Marvio steps around my guard. I hook my outside leg on his outside arm, lift my hips, swing them into the guard and lower them. Then Marvio steps to the other side. When it’s done quickly your hips are swinging back and forth. It is a great drill not only for hip movement, but also developing some core strength.

Next - working a few positions. Marvio showed me two submissions from the north/south. In return, I taught Marvio to stop referring to the position as “69” in English.

1) North South with your elbows inside your opponents: Giftwrap the arm – moving back to side control. Sink your arm deep under the head to maximize your opponent’s discomfort. Open your opponent’s lapel and pass it to the gift-wrapping hand. Move to mount and pull up on the head to finish or pass to the far side to finish a la the arm triangle. You don’t absolutely need the lapel so this also works nogi (maybe I missed a step in here somewhere?)

2) Elbows outside opponent’s arm: Threaten the kimura – when he grips his belt, switch to magic grip (Marvio prefers to grab the pants,) – take a grip on the back of the collar before coming to one knee and moving to the far side – sit through and extend the near leg putting all your weight on your forearm across his throat for the paper-cutter choke. I worked on this same technique with Glenio, but still had a bit of trouble. I was glad to get some help from Marvio. One sticking point was really keeping the weight across the forearm. The key is not to sit on your hip, but to keep you inside hip and leg off the mat.

Instead of rolling this time, Marvio and I played a ‘chess match.’ This is sort of a your-turn-my-turn type of rolling with minimal resistance. As usual, any rolling with a black belt exposes all your flaws. Marvio helped me with my triangle escape after I got a bit flustered. Marvio also showed me a few more tricks – always look for the inside hook when your opponent turtles away from you. The one technique of mine Marvio approved of was the forward roll to cross-collar choke I learned from Penao. Anyone from FitPlus knows we have practiced this move approximately 1,876,341 times. I'd better be good at it by now.

Marvio and I wrapped the session up with some more chitchat about our favourite jiu jitsu fighters and made plans for Thursday at Gracie Floripa. I can’t wait.

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