In jiu-jitsu, we drill to commit the moves to muscle memory so that when the
time comes reflexes kick in automatically. The number of relative positions is
mind-boggling and a tiny change can make a world of difference. Therefore,
the attacks and defense only perfect over time and practice is essential. In
October, I have progressed in the paper cutter choke(PCC) and the upa.
The PCC is one of my main cross-side attacks and I have had it on a dozen folks
so far including some blue belts. It looks the simplest in Henry's videos but,
like many others, involves a lot of details. In our gym, two coaches taught
their versions of the PCC and I liked Dave's sneaky entry when coming to
cross-side. He* also combined the PCC and nearside arm bar (Henry called it the
Dan Camarillo armlock) which became my favorite combo.
It was from failures that I learned, however, and when Stephen escaped my PCC in
the last second, I realized that I should have put my body weight on him for
better cross-side control before the choke. Besides, there are at least three
details I need to work on: getting into the position by turning the hip to
control the nearside arm with the under-hook on the farside, choking hand entry,
and no-gi PCC.
I was stoked after the secret of the upa, or the bridge, hit me when I watched
Henry's vale tudo videos on the subject. Every jiu-jitsu student knows the upa,
many know the importance of the angle of the bridge (Rickson famously demo'ed
the point against an opponent basing with the free
hand). What I discovered was a missing detail (well, missing at least from my
game): that the hips had to be up, not just as part of an explosive bridge, but
all the time! I could not afford to allow the guy on top to sit comfortably on
me and figure out how to attack. Actually, with the right elements dialed in,
the upa does not need to be explosive. Combine this with shoulder walk, the
right trap, and good timing, the upa indeed could be very effective.
So I have been practicing with guys who have a good mount game. We start with my
opponent mounting on me and the game ends when either I get submitted or he gets
swept. I had instant success against the lower belts and the senior guys could
not submit me from that position as they had to deal with my raised hips by
basing with at least one arm. What a triumph!
My diet seemed to keep shaping my body which has kept adjusting to the sport.
My weight stayed under 155 lbs, my waist line receded another inch, and the abs
started to show. I haven't been sick since Febrary and energy is high
throughout the day. I attended 23 classes in October, a personal record.
The last days of the month, the topic of personal hygiene came up in the
Facebook group and some guys promised to buy new gi's. I went shopping online
and came back empty-handed, however. The products were great and the price was
reasonable but I couldn't get over the fact that my old gi pants from my Ralph
Gracie days only needed one patch on each knee.
So I studied how to use the sewing machine but decided to go manual as the pant
legs had very limited space to work in. I ripped off two seat pockets from an
old pair of jeans and spent a few hours stitching. The next day on the mat, my
patches got favorable reviews from two guys who said they had the same problem.
Capitalists and consumerists can disapprove but I discovered a new hobby!
* Dave let me pass his guard but his elbow-knee connection was unbreakable. He
told me it was only from many years of jiu-jitsu. Soon, I incorporated leg
raises in my morning routine.