dimanche 26 septembre 2010

one of the many differences between BJJ and other martial arts

It's pretty well known that I'm a bit of a web junkie. (that's putting it lightly, I know) I often spend sleepless nights watching clips on youtube. Everything from live music to practical jokes, but mainly I'm watching clips from jiu jitsu matches and other martial arts.

One thing I find quite interesting is watching "promotion exams" from different arts. This got me to thinking about how brazilian jiu jitsu is very different from most "traditional" martial arts. Let me start out by saying that I've got respect for all of these other disciplines but the web got me to thinking.

So I'm watching a Korean art do a red belt test & promotion. I had looked this up and apparently red belt would mean halfway to black for this art. Similar to purple belt in BJJ to make the compairison. What I watched on the video was a 10 minute clip of an overweight middle-aged man doing very simplistic looking throws or counter-attacks to his training partner in what appeared to be slow motion. It was almost as though in order to earn his red belt, he was required to memorize the movements or techniques and apply them in detail at a slow pace to show that he knew them. I just sat there almost amazed at what I was watching.

In brazilian jiu jitsu, we learn and drill techniques on a daily basis. We don't feel as though we "know" the technique until you're actually able to apply it with a live action training partner going 100% in real-time. For example, I've been training in BJJ for a little over a year now. Last fall, I learned how to do a cradle choke. Well, this past Thursday night was the first time I was ever able to submit my training partner with a clean cradle choke while sparring at 100%. It doesnt matter how many times I've repeated the move, or that I can explain the technique word for word and demostrate it with anyone at any time. If I can't pull it off cleanly with a resisting opponent, it doesnt exist in my arsenal.

It makes me wonder if the overweight middle-aged man doing the techniques to aquire his red belt could actually pull any of those moves in a real-time setting with a resisting opponent or attacker.

Most of these questions were answered in 1993 for North American audiences when the first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournement happened in Denver, Colorado.

I look at traditional martial arts as art forms much like a painter's canvas or a sculpture's piece. For example, a Kata in Karate is a simulated fight sequence showing strong striking techniques and how that fighter would defend themselves. It really is nice to watch and I'm sure takes a ton of skill to complete with precision and detail. For me, this is a definition of the art for show.

I also find it crazy that a teenager can acheive a black belt in certain arts or that it can be earned in a short time frame. I've heard of Tae Kwon Do schools giving black belts within 3 years of starting to learn the art. In BJJ, 2 to 3 years is the normal amount of time it takes to get past your white belt. Many schools all across the country (and the world for that matter) hand out black belts to multiple members. It's not uncommon to see every school with at least a few black belts. I was recently watching a youtube clip of a BJJ school in NYC where the instructor has been teaching for well over 15 years and he was handing out his second black belt...ever.

With that said, if you're looking for self gratification and belt promotions as a motivator to train on a daily basis, BJJ is not for you. I'm currently a 2 stripe white belt (4 are typically required to advance to blue belt) but the truth is, this early in the game, the thought of wearing a different colour belt rarely crosses my mind. I just want to get better. I want to be able to pull off the submissions or escapes that we drill during class while rolling with a training partner who is at my skill level or better as well as my size or stronger. It's in those small moments when it does happen that I feel like my game is slowly improving.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a lifestyle. Heaven forbid something happens to me where I'm no longer able to train. I don't know what I would do with myself. I often wake up thinking BJJ, look at my schedule on my blackberry to figure out when I'll be able to head back to the club to train.

Are you interested yet? Are you one of my friends who clicked on the blog via my link of facebook? Be in touch...I'd love to show you what this is all about and give you a tour of my home away from home. www.sudburybjj.com

Stay healthy my friends and stay tuned!

mercredi 22 septembre 2010

UFC 119 - Matt Serra vs Chris Lytle

Renzo Gracie black belt Matt "the terror" Serra fights Chris Lytle in a rematch of the finale from the Ultimate Fighter 4 (the comeback), his video blogs are always entertaining. (language not safe for work)

On a seperate note, lots happening at the club. Fall classes are in full swing and packed from wall to wall. Pat Cooligan will be up at the end of October (30 & 31st) for a two day seminar which I recommend for everyone who's training at the club. Add yourself to the Facebook event to let us know you're planning to come out.

See you at the club!

lundi 13 septembre 2010

Steve training in NYC at Renzo's Academy

Every once in a while, your friends get to do something awesome.

Steve was invited by Pat(Cooligan)to join him and Mark Holst as they took Mark's training camp to NYC to train for his upcoming fight at UFC 122 in London, England vs Paul Sass.

This afternoon, Steve sent me a quick text message stating that he was training in the company of MMA royalty. "So, I'm in nyc at renzo's and mark is here training with igor, gregor and GSP!!"

I figured this was something worth writing about. Talk about living the dream!! It's been said before, but I'll say it again. Steve is a pioneer when it comes to bringing Gracie Jiu Jitsu to Northern Ontario. He started the club back in 2006 and it's grown to over 200 members in the best facility north of Toronto.

It's awesome to see Pat bring Steve along to train with the worlds best. Private sessions with the Gracies & John Danaher (GSP's BJJ coach for MMA) will no doubt help elevate Steve's game which in turn benefits us all.

I figure most of anyone reading this blog is either a member at the club or a friend of ours. With that said, stuff like this needs to be appreciated. The lineage of Sudbury BJJ is within a stone's throw of the holy grail. That's not something you can find on youtube or an instructional dvd.

Steve! Can't wait to hear the stories and learn what you're taking in! I'm happy for you brother!!

samedi 4 septembre 2010

random musings

August wasn`t a great month for me in terms of my evolution in bjj. Upon returning from Los Angeles, I took a few weeks off from training to get caught up on work. When I got back at it, I felt as though I`d been a couch potato for 6 months. It`s amazing how quickly a person can lose their cardio when you don`t keep up with it even for just a few weeks. Maybe that`s just something that comes with age...(I`ll use that as my excuse for now).

After just one hard training session, I decided to enter myself into one of our in-house tournements last weekend. An in-house is the best way to test yourself when points count and tapping out means the match is over. Unlike randori (sparring) where tapping out just means, "you got me, let`s start over again".

At any rate, I won my first match vs a larger opponent, but he was quite new to bjj. What that match told me was that although I consider myself to be a beginner, I`ve gotten to a point where I can dominate a beginner (and even moreso someone on the street who doesnt understand the science of groundfighting). Naturally, this isn`t something to write home about, but it lets me know that I`ve got the positional basics in the can. My next two matchups were against guys closer to my weight, but with the same or slightly more experience than I`ve got. I got the reality check that I needed. Needless to say, I ended the day with 1 win and 2 losses.

The beauty of losing a match is learning where you`re the weakest and focusing your training on that. Here`s what I learned...

1. I need to fight in a lighter weight class than Heavy or Super Heavy, under 200lbs with the Gi would be nice. Fighting a guy my weight who is all muscle and nearly no body fat, the difference in strength is noticeable. Duh!

2. My shots for takedowns aren`t good enough vs someone with decent takedown defence. I put myself in a bad position at the beginning of match 2 and I wasn`t able to recover.

3. I prefer to fight from top position. (as do most), but I know what I need to do off my back, it`s simply the idea of getting my body to respond when my brain is giving it a command. This is partly an issue with conditionning and working on muscle memory.

4. I need to get used to rolling with a mouth guard. This is new for me, but a habit I want and need to get accustomed to. It makes it more difficult to breathe which I`m hoping will help my cardio in the long run.

Anyhow, this weekend is Ribfest downtown and the club has a area to spread the word on the club. Last summer was great in terms of feeding the kids program which is doing very well. So if you read this in time, feel free to come out and say hi!

On a seperate note...here`s a good video to check out.

A reminder to not be over-confident. It makes for interesting exchanges, but you can get caught anytime.