Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Day Back

Two posts in a day?! Craziness.

Today was the first day back to training after a two week hiatus. The Thanksgiving holiday threw me off a bit, and in the middle of the week I ended up catching a cold that kept me away from the mat. Two weeks of eating like crap, no physical activity, and weakened stamina due to the illness. Should be interesting trying to train again, right?

Needless to say, today was exhausting. After class I felt like I was going to throw up. Coughing, dry heaving, light headedness, you name it. I drove home with the windows open to partially suppress the nausea (freezing air can't be good for the post-sickness), and then went upstairs and laid on the ground next to the bathroom in fetal position in case my stomach didn't obey me. I'm recovered now after some liquids and a long shower, though.

A rant-

One thing that sort of annoys me is the tendency of some white belts to spaz out and get flaily every time we roll. As soon as the time starts, they freak out and start going full blast like we are in a duel to the death. An ego thing, perhaps? As if getting tapped would be the end of their life and put shame on their family. Damn, we're just white belts. Calm down, buddy.

My main issue is the higher rate of injury when rolling with people who are out of control. Last month I got armlocked by someone (same person headbutted me today and cut my lip) who decided to arch back and extend fully with all of his might. Would have ripped my arm off if I didn't tap. Had to wear a brace for a week and go really light with the training.

Once a submission is locked in, apply pressure slowly while anticipating the tap, but never spaz out and try and kill someone with it. This isn't kumite. [Bolo Yeung] *points, glares, and slices finger across neck threateningly*I break you like I break your friend [/Bolo Yeung]. People have lives and all outside of this, and injuring someone due to negligence is just unnecessary.

I've been going in cycles lately with the style and pace of my game. A few months back, I accidentally choked someone out and realized that I was being too aggressive (partially his fault, though- he thought that flexing his neck was a good defensive strategy for defending a fully locked in rear naked choke). Nevertheless, I took the experience as a sign that I needed to slow down and concentrate more on the technical side of the game rather than relying on athleticism and speed.

Lately I've tried to work the defensive game moreso, and when going offensively I try and work a slow pressure game over the speed game that probably suits my body type better. The plan is go slowly and leave no holes or openings while maintaining technical dominance and turning the tempo up when I see an opening. Two different styles, but I feel like working on both will make my game more well rounded overall.

I have to get my body used to rolling every day again. After maybe two weeks of that I'm going to add in outside conditioning three times a week, eventually ramping up to point where my body was a few months ago.


So, here it is.

Back to the world of online blogging.

My intention is to document my progress in training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is mostly for myself, but if someone happens to get something out of it, then at least I contributed something to the sport in a small way. If anything, I hope to encourage others to also document their training, share tips, and approach the sport from an analytical and constructive angle.

Hopefully the regular updating of this blog will coincide with my progress in the martial art, as I will be able to reflect more deeply and analyze my journey.

A little background info-

I began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in August of 2006, a few months after graduating college. I had always taken interest in the sport, and intended to begin training in 2002, but a rigorous school schedule and a "student budget" prevented me from doing so.

Like many people, I was first introduced to the sport after watching Royce Gracie's unexpected domination of each and every opponent he faced in the early UFCs. Me and my older cousin rented a few tapes, and shortly after we began practicing moves on each other. Nothing formal, but every time we saw each other we would practice moves we saw from videos, not really having any idea what we were doing. Arm bars, rear naked choke, guillotines, and whatever else we could figure out. Rolling around in the grass, smashing each other's faces in the know.

He started training formally, and six years later he is a purple belt.

I moved in with him after graduating college, and began training every day. Initially, I was getting destroyed by every single person in the gym. Tapping me out at will pretty much. That's to be expected, I suppose, but eventually I overcame the early months of being beaten up every day in class. I'm not sure when it happened, but something just clicked one day and my skill level jumped up a few notches over night. Probably a combination of conditioning, strength training, and personal instruction- but I was soon able to hang with people who mostly outweighed me and had been training for a few months longer.

I moved back home a few months after that and began training at a new gym. I've been there a few weeks now, and there's a pretty good group of people there that should help my game progress. However, with the move to a larger gym, I have to take it upon myself to seek out information and proactively improve my game: watching videos, reading books, looking at forums, etc. It's easy to get lost in the cracks at a large gym, as there are so many people that the instructors can't always give you the attention you need.