All posts by Simon

Grateful rolling

Had a top night on the mats. You know, nothing special, just rolling with some fun fighters. Now today was one of those days where there is plenty of bad going on at work and in general, just plain shitty! But interestingly I was listening to a podcast on the way to BJJ  by Tim Ferris (author of the 4hr body) chatting with Tim Robbins. Tim Robbins specialises in getting the best out of people and has worked with many leaders in all fields of life. I have never really followed him or listened to him before but he was interesting.

One thing that stuck out was that he spends 10 mins in the morning just being grateful. Just of small things like the wind in his face, the sunshine on his back and then he works up to family, friends and job ect. He says that when your grateful its hard to be angry, jealous of sad.

I applied this tonight. Just like he said though, you need to train yourself to think this way and it took some effort. I started off just being grateful walking in to the gym. I was grateful to feel my no-gi gear on (mmm… not the biggest no-gi fan : ) and then just continued this theme with every thing I did.

Still got my shit rolled up!!!! Struggled but was grateful for the wristlock (sort of!!) I don’t know if I felt any different but it sure made me realise just how grateful I actually am for just all that we have at the Arena.

Anyway, give it a try. Be grateful for just one thing in the morning, then just one aspect of every activity or encounter each day. Will it make a difference? I don’t know-but I do know it certainly wont be a negative. Training your mind in BJJ is the ultimate goal. Enjoy and roll safe, and remember – my gratefulness may not extend to too many more submissions ; )

The art of learning

Really interesting previous post on competition v self defence. It leads into my thoughts today on learning on the mat. last night we trained an escape technique that was taught by two instructors. Both showed similar techniques, but we left the teaching just at the base level. What I mean by this is we taught the bottom of the pyramid, giving out just the information to provide a solid base to work from. We learned, tweaked and then drilled this and then went live at the end of the session.

We avoided teaching the fine points, the tricky tips and the sneaky moves. I am a massive fan that at each session, there is always a lynch-pin move. The move in the whole technique that matters. This lynch-pin move gets you to the position that matters, usually where the technique begins to branch into the individuals preference, or more importantly what the individual feels on the mat, determining the final sequence.

What has this to do with competition or self defence? Well what BJJ should teach you is building blocks of information that allow you to overcome instinct of movement. You all know this, when I push you, you push back!! What BJJ doesn’t teach if it remains too structured is your own application. Whether you turn left, right or pop out the back. If its on the mat or in a dark street, only you can decide on application. We see many early belts desire the submission, and forget the crux of BJJ is control of yourself and your maximise your opponent’s instinct.

Summarising, learning BJJ should be about solid platforms of concepts that work and can be applied and built on. BJJ is a ‘spiral’ martial art. There is a finite amount of things you can do i.e. back, side, 1/2 guard but a multitude of actions to paste onto the base actions if you get them right. So when your rolling, learn. Think of the base move, the lynch-pin and get that right. It may take 10, 20, 50 attempts but you will secure the skill. Then add. It is then when you can do this you will be more successful in the most important thing in BJJ (whatever that is?).

Telethon 2014 – The Warrior Class

So what a great night . About 30 fighters going for 24hrs in 3 minute rounds. Rolling for a reason was put together by a couple of our fighters to raise money and awareness for the kids of WA through PMH Children’s Hospital. The night started with our two senior black belts and what a pace! They really set the stage for the challenge with a flat out effort . Then of course that was it, it was on! Every roll was with meaning and therefore meaningful. I just watched as everyone just practiced their art and it looked amazing. With crowds staring on in amazement and bewilderment our fighters just maintained the rage.

I felt so honoured to be amongst a band of warriors. I looked about at people walking past with their tuxedos and sipping wine and I just knew that’s not the side of the rope I would ever want to be on. As I turned towards the mats I watched another pair locked in combat. That is my home, my people. My band of warriors standing outside of the norm, willing to bleed for their craft. Willing to face pain and defeat, but return again to the mat for the unattainable. They know there is no prize in jiu jitsu. There is no end, no physical reminder of your effort. There is only the art and the ability to return to the mat for your craft. A craft of combat that still holds on to the tradition of war, that someone must prevail and the knowledge the  art both allows to one and denies to the other.

Those passing by the mats feel that I’m sure, that they are seeing those that would dare to fight. And I’m sure deep down they either dream they were brave enough to step into the Arena, or relieved they can walk  by, filled with the knowledge that society still has place for the true and virtuous warrior.

Practice makes perfect…or does it?

What a great weekend of BJJ. Seen Jamie, one of my mentors, competitor and friend earn himself a well earned gold medal.  A man who lives by the adage that you will be tested each and every time you step on the mat. Well mate, you were tested and came up with the goods, and done it by submitting some seriously skilled dudes!

Then, spent Saturday just being schooled in the art by Professor Julio Cesar Pereira. Had the pleasure of learning with my BJJ partner in crime, Taff. How cool it was just discovering, work-shopping and laughing as we inflicted some serious pain on each other!! Well over 12 years in and both of us still learning so much! BJJ, you gotta love the pain. You need to be able to harness it and use it as a motivator and a guide. Never as a deterrent or negative. Pain allows you to realise mistakes, make corrections and to applaud your partners skill.

Man, these guys show you stuff so fundamentally easy, it makes you wonder why you even need to be shown it. A turn of the hand here, a grip there. From a practitioner who started training in 1974, his final message was be a family. Every black belt that has visited our gym mentions that deeper need for family connection, and then comments on that we have that at the Arena.

It is the deeper level of trust that they can feel on our mats I’m sure. I have never felt unsafe, even in the roughest of rolls with the biggest of fighters. It is this trust that allows you to park your ego; the trust your partners is not trying to beat you, but to actually bettering you and themselves (and actually in that order!).

So for me at this stage of my journey, it is the recognition of friends achievements and the love of learning that keeps me on the mat. I don’t know if there is an answer to practice makes perfect, or if I even want perfect (whatever that is?). But what I do know is I want to grow old, rolling on the mats and at 90, be looking forward to the next technique with my mates (hopefully not there so I can test it out on them : ). That is my perfect!! You don’t need to find your perfect, but just enjoy the search.


The apprentiship to Black

Well said mate. I really see the belts to black as markers in your apprentiship. Finishing them signifies competence and then allows you then the right to push on an attain mastery.  I felt so comfortable in my other belts after a year or so. You know, when that belt looses its stiffness, wraps itself around your waist comfortably before training.

Man, this black just doesn’t play by them rules. What black has allowed me to do is realise how much I don’t know. I think that it is the real start of the journey once you have the realisation just how big the mountain is, like climbing through the clouds to see the real peak!! And as far as being tested, that is every second of every roll. And that is gold.

Finger injury-Dislocated and Mallet finger

Well, lets start off simple but with something really common. Fingers are injured so often in BJJ and many times if we think they are dislocated we just pull on them till they ‘clunk’ into place. Hey, that’s not a bad option.

To do this you have the person sit in front of you  on the ground, and you gently grasp the end of the finger. Now just tell the person to take the weight slowly on their finger and you slowly match the resistance. Its really quite deceiving, but you usually need quite some pressure even to put back the very small end (distal phalanx) of the finger. There really should be no pain, and actually relief when the joint pops in. They should then be able to move it with some ease and it should look and feel normal. From there its the usual sporting injury care.

But, one thing though to watch out for is mallet finger. This is where the tendon tha make the finger extend is torn either partially or fully. Left untreated this can cause lifelong trouble, especially if its your dominant hand (bye bye ezekiels!!) Its usally easily fixed with a Mallet finger splint . For more info check out Mallet finger treatment. Happy choking!!

Injury and training

Great to see a post about weight and training. I guess for us three the main goal now is to keep on the mat. Quite funny how priorities change, but thats the journey eh! We will really get into this more with specific plans for injury as time goes on. However, this is really the guiding philosophy. So often fighters will end up with an injury (insert anything really), but will will keep it simple and say left knee. Ok, so when you see these fighters at the gym/shops/bar they are really likely to tell you how bad their injury is and that’s why there has been no training. Well, the news is that there is plenty of body and one highly organised brain strapped around that knee. There is always so much more you can do and the combinations are endless. One I like is come down to the rolling/training sessions and do push-ups and chin-ups while your teammates rest, and then watch the roll. Your now training a body part you may not usually train, your inspiring your mates and every roll you actively watch you learn something!!! Any how, think up your own deadly combo and trial it. Doesn’t need to be crazy, even the above with 6 chins and 10 push-ups adds up over a session. Injuries are an advantage. They allow us refocus if we choose to, and just get stronger.