Saturday, September 28, 2013

Finally a class again

The BJJ instructor went out of town for 2 weeks so no BJJ class, but a couple of the students said they'd like to work on Judo while he's gone so I've been going to the Community center and each weekend something comes up where they don't show. My Aikido student has been out of town for work but today my girlfriend decided she wanted to do some Judo! So off to the community center we went and worked on some newaza, mostly Mune Gatame and Kesa Gatame with an escape or two from each. Boobs present an interesting challenge when trying to show how to keep tight elbows. Any advice from my true believers out there who've worked with women frequently on how they deal with the issue of physically not being able to keep their elbows in tight?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stand up straight!

            A few nights ago I wasn't feeling 100% but said I would go to this night class at the BJJ academy so I decided to attend but observe. The BJJ guys were doing randori (rolling) starting from a standing position. Most of the night classes are no gi classes for the more MMA attuned guys and everyone that was there started from a low wrestler stance. I have been working with the instructor for a few classes and trying to get him to straighten his posture and even he was sinking really low. After class I spoke with him about it and got a response of "well, I judo stance is fine for gi, but for no gi you need a wrestler stance so the guy doesn't shoot in on you." I went home, starting looking up some videos, reading some forums and generally seeking popular opinion. Popular opinion is you need to stay low but I also came across one guy saying popular opinion on stances changes about every 10 years or so.
            I starting thinking about the benefits and disadvantages to both and from what I can surmise (and please leave comments if I am wrong or you have something to add as I have little experience with wrestling myself), is that in a wrestling stance your hips are low and away so it makes it hard for your opponent to shoot in on you but your torso is extended forward so you lose mobility in the process. In a Judo stance your hips are right under you so you maximize your mobility but if your opponent is lower and within reach you may get your legs picked. After asking around and giving it some thought I came up with 1 solution, Pat had another solution (or piece that could be added on), and Nick in his infinite wisdom had already posted a video on youtube with yet another way of dealing with it. My solution was to stand sugar footed (one leg closer than the other to your opponent) and keep an eye on distance while just giving him my wrists but keeping him out of reach of my legs. Pat suggested the first 4 wrist releases of honasu (which works great for when they grab your wrists), and nick suggested just bending the knees.
          The next class I was at I did all 3 and they all worked beautifully. The wrestler guys get so fixated on my legs they just leave my upper body alone and over-extend themselves. When they do grab and lean on me turning away and tossing them the direction they are leaning is really easy. The only caveat is they are good at taking small steps to attempt to close that distance to get at your legs so pay attention to that. I'll be experimenting with that more in the coming weeks. Any pointers, hints, tips, cheats, experiments, comments, questions, or suggestions would be welcome. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

All that glitters

         I apparently have a problem asking people for money when it comes to teaching. I suppose it's because I want training partners more than money, but that seems to create some sort of paradox as when you offer something for free people are skeptical but if you charge for it they think it must be worth more. When I was training I was driving almost two hours each way a few days a week to get to an hour and a half class of Judo or Aikido. My instructor cut me a break on most of my classes and I don't know how I would've afforded to train without that and it compels me to attempt to pass that on.
       Reading up on the subject of charging for classes I have come across a few people experiencing similar issues. They offer classes cheaply and people willingly go to the more expensive training areas. I am sure some of you have experienced the same thing, so what did you do? Just start charging more? If so, what about your students that you either weren't charging at first or were charging much less for?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where to begin...again

           It's been a long time true believers. Three years in fact. I've moved from Washington to Texas to Colorado in that time. Currently I am living in Trinidad, CO (near the New Mexico border) and am teaching Judo at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy. I have gotten WAY out of practice in Aikido and Judo, a fact which was emphasized this past weekend at Pat's Aiki Buddy Gathering.
          The ABG was great, met some new people, one of which used to follow my blog "hey, didn't you used to write that training blog, Johndo?" and if he's reading this, please comment with a link to your training blog and I'll put it up.
          Teaching at the BJJ place has been great, while having many challenges. First off, I felt like having to defend my views of Judo as a viable martial art since most Judo guys don't do enough newaza to really make progress against a martial art that specializes in it. Secondly, BJJ historically comes from Judo as Maeda taught the Gracies. Hearing things like "well Judo emphasized strength so the Gracies had to modify techniques for leverage because Helio was so frail used to get under my skin. Kano was around 5'2 and weighed 90 lbs and Mifune was around 5'2 and 100 lbs so there is little evidence they were using strength based techniques. I can not argue however that the spirit of BJJ is something to envy. These guys train 3-5 days a week, about 2 hours a class, sometimes two classes a day and have a blast. They kicked my butt the first day (although moving up to a mile high in altitude, not having done Judo in years, and being out of shape didn't help me). As I'm (slowly) getting back into my groove I am seeing how the basic ground positions we emphasize are overlooked by them and the the guard/mount relationship maybe Judo guys don't spend enough time on.
         I have also after much tossing gotten some of them to stop standing in a wrestler's stance and stand upright when throwing. That continues to be an uphill battle as the teacher keeps using that stance. When he does randori (they call it rolls) with me, he grabs a sleeve or anything he can get and throws a foot up to put on my hip and falls dragging me to the ground. I need an exercise to practice at home to counter that and get him to stop using that crutch. Well this is getting long, if you took the time to read all this, thank you. If not, I don't blame you. I will (at a few requests) start posting 3 times a week after each BJJ class. Any tips/suggestions/anecdotes/etc would be welcome.