Jiu-jitsu Month 34

(2024-05-01 10:54:08) 下一個

1. Accept

The four-day a week routine has suited me well. I grapple two days and take a

break. Often I feel I could do more, sometimes I feel I could take another day

off, but I choose to stick to the plan. The muscles and joints hurt more or less

every night but by noon, I would have recovered. The hardest is to get up and

right away do sun salutations and toe-to-the-bar ab curls. Before 40, I could

never imagine such a life--daily pains from training--as I studied and worked

hard in academics to stay away from manual labor. 10 years later, my art

stresses every part of the body and I don't regret one bit.


I used to feel ashamed when someone pointed out my flaws or I couldn't perform

as I expected. The other day, Adam said in front of all, half-jokingly, that I was

stubborn and rigid and needed to relax when he used me to demo in his class. I was

one step behind when he asked me to call the reps in warm-up. I could have

instantly retreated to my pet excuse: I was not born here. But I no longer felt

the need to defend, justify, or explain myself. I even felt amused.


I read a tagline the other day on Facebook: "I'll never fit in. That's my best

qualities." But it seems my gym has already accepted me. Most folks are friendly

and gladly spar with me. Some even said they loved my patched gi. Besides the

occasional superficial bumps, I never hurt a partner. I struggle longer before

tapping but that provides accurate feedback. I'm rigid and that's why I come

to train.


I've accepted who I am. I actually feel proud.


2. Canadian Chris Taught

A few half-guard bottom moves taught by Canadian Chris left an impression.

Simply by inserting the hook opens up options depending on the opponent's move.

If he's cross-facing, I can redirect, insert the hook, block the knee, and

sweep. If he's under-hooking, I can overhook, get on my elbows, insert the foot

hook, bait, trap his other arm, and sweep. With Aikido Chris, I drilled all these

moves and the hitchhiker escape.


When we sparred a week later, he choked me from bottom. I thought it was a

cross-collar choke and tried to defend with my push-and-pull choke. But it was

different and I passed out for one or two seconds! It was amazing. I asked a

couple of days later and he showed me how it was done: with one thumb-in grip

deep in the collar and another so-so grip on the other lapel. It was like a

paper-cutter choke only from the bottom.


3. Ups and Downs

I took the early train, on Apr 11, the day Weichi moved the class to 11:30am,

and had a "tall" coffee before gym. I did really well passing the butterfly

guard--just tap on my partner's left shin and switch my hip at almost the same

time to pass on his right. My von flu choke was getting better because of two

adjustments: choking arm palm down and digging the shoulder underneath his chin.

I even tricked Pablo by faking a north-south kimura and finishing with clamping

his neck between my knees. It felt so good that day. It must be the caffeine.


More ups and downs in "The Fourth Week."


4. Teachings from Henry and Rickson

I re-watched Henry's videos on sweeps, especially the push-and-pull and sickle

sweeps, and armlock defenses, gained a better understanding, and felt eager to

drill, especially swinging the legs to get out of cross-side americana and

kimura grip armbar from mount.


Connection: I followed an email from Henry to a Web page and watched the video

at the bottom where he showed the concept of connection to one Chris. It is not

a specific technique but the key to make or break one.


Everyone knows the importance of sparring. Instructions are important but we

realized that there is more to the story. As long as I train consistently, I

make progress even if I still cannot execute what I'm taught. This feel was what

Rickson talked about in the video "Choke."


    The most interesting aspect of jiu-jitsu is the, of course the techniques

    are great, but the sensibility of the opponent, sense of touch, the weight,

    the momentum, the transition from one movement to another. That's the

    amazing thing about it. You must allow yourself to go as on an automatic

    pilot. You don't know exactly where you go until the movement happens

    because you cannot anticipate what's gonna happen. You must allow yourself

    be in a zero point, a neutral point, and be relaxed and connected with the

    variations. So you pretty much flow with the go and this is the point beyond

    the knowledge. It's years and years of playing around gives you this kind of



5. Another Chris

The third Chris joined us. A young blue-belt with three stripes, he was bigger

than me and liked the wrist lock. Like me, he often just tried to keep

side-control and wait for opportunities. I hurt my elbow sparring with him,

which took one week to recover.


6. The Fourth Week

I felt a virus for a couple of days. Lack of sleep and over-training left me

tired as the fourth week of the month came. Tuesday Apr 23 was no-gi and my

energy was so low that every partner submitted me. They were higher belts but

usually I could hold my own. I felt a bit depressed.


Rob, in particular, did two heel hooks and one wrist lock on me. I need to talk

with him about the latter because I could usually get out of cross-side wrist

locks, but not his on that day.


Apr 25. What prompted the decision to push the bike 2.3 miles back to the train

station instead of 1.4 miles toward the gym for the noon class, after I got a

flat tire from a one-inch finishing nail near Marsh and Bay Rd? I had no answer

but that said something about my attitude: I am not in a hurry--if I miss it

today, I can always come back tomorrow.


Fri Apr 26, after the two-day break, I came to the open-mat and did very well:

passed Joe's guard, twice reversed and tried the super-chill position on Pete,

and had great fun escaping Michael's attacks and coming back on top. More

importantly, I felt I was starting to implement the key idea of Jiu-jitsu, i.e.,

using angle and leverage against force. When they put up a frame or insisted on

one move, I let them do it and sometimes even helped them but I cut off their

connection at least or find space to escape. It was so much fun!


I attended class on Sat when Jason showed some de la riva guard sweeps. I

drilled it with Tim, a 30-something strong white dude. Afterwards, I rolled with

Tim, Will, Mike, Canadian Chris, and Nikolai. Chris finished me with a nice

thumb-in collar choke which I mistook for a standard cross-collar and tried to

defend. I went out for a second or two. It was scary and I had it a couple of

times before. He was showing me the details of this choke when we were called to

line up. I later came back to this one with him. At cross-side top, Will doesn't

leave much chance for me to escape and he almost finished me with the baseball

bat choke. I think I could defend better.


7. More Cross-side Bottom Escapes

Apr 30. Weichi taught escapes with near-side underhook, far-side underhook, and

shrimping to reverse AS they transition to kesa gatame. I saw the first two

before. Henry also taught a technique similar to the near-side underhook escape.

Henry's version uses the elbow and shoulder push and leg swings, which is

safer than sticking the arm out because there are an armbar and a paper-cutter

choke setups.

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