Monday, January 30, 2012

Master Relson Gracie Seminar 1/25/12

I had only briefly read different articles and watched some youtube videos of Master Relson since starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a year ago. Never did I think I would get the chance to train with such a legend. So when Ben Rhodes, Owner/Instructor, CrossRhodes BJJ invited me to the event, I knew this maybe my only chance to learn from such a legend and innovator. My friend Mark and I took the two-hour trek to Bluffton, SC to attend this seminar.

The seminar started at 6:00pm, and I believe all thirty attendees were eager to begin at 5:30. We were waiting for Relson to arrive at the academy, and suddenly he arrived in the parking lot. My heart was pounding; I have never met anyone of his caliper, much less trained with them. It would only get better….

Master Relson began his seminar by choosing me to be his training partner. I was nervous and immediately broke out in a sweat. He took us through his philosophies on Street Jiu-Jitsu versus Competition Jiu Jitsu. Since his Jiu-Jitsu is deeply rooted in self-defense, he began the seminar with the basics of defending from attacking opponent and then moved into some counters. The instructions of the techniques were so simple, that the moves were easily repeatable during drilling. We covered sweeps and throws, because like Relson said, “When someone gets thrown to the ground it can break bones and end the fight earlier.” All the standing techniques were done individually with one motion, but when strung together it could end badly for an attacker.

Moving to attacks and defense for a grounded opponent was rather interesting; I had trouble with one technique he was showing so he grabbed another partner. He showed us how to block and attack, with head butts and strikes, while in the guard. This was a little more technical to me than the standup. Wrapping up the self-defense portion of the seminar, Relson stated, “That if we apply those techniques, effectively and efficiently, that no one could beat us on the street.”

The competition based techniques revolved around knee-on-belly defense; this was interesting to see how he defended knee on belly attacks and his counter moves.He showed some technical errors on why you should not use the collar has a grip for knee on belly. He also demonstrated a series of chokes to use on an opponent that is defending against the knee on belly mount.

A Total Summary:

This was a two-hour seminar, on a Wednesday night, two hours from my house. I debated for a month on whether not I should go, I decided to attend, and I am glad I did. This seminar opened up my mind to the difference and effectiveness of Street Jiu jitsu and Competition Jiu jits. Master Relson’s instruction of techniques is amazing he breaks down the moves and explains it with such detail it becomes easy. Once you realize the simplicity of the technique, you then realize how effective it can be when used. Also, if Master Relson uses you as a training partner, do not be as nervous as I was. I was so nervous I could not even hardly perform the instruction he was given.

Relson stated that he had 23 seminars in 22 days. If you can make it to any of these seminars to learn from a master instructor and practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I would advise you do so. You will never forget the experience!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bluebeltitis and Three Home Remedies

Note: I am using blogger Iphone app, Just to see how it works.

I recently received my blue belt less than a month ago, and my technique has suddenly gotten horrible. I had envisioned by being promoted, I would become this BJJ monster and just be consumed with Jiu Jitsu and finishing fights by submissions. I had visions of BJJ grandeur and now I find myself missing opportunities for submissions, matching strength with the newer people, and not moving the way I drilled the techniques. It is as if I am having a allergic reaction to getting my blue belt, Bluebeltitis.

The most two recent reaction of my Bluebeltitis, happened this past week while training. Monday, I rolled with a newer white belt; maybe 2 months training, he was using all strength in his movements. He would muscle my arm down, try to push me off him, so I found myself beginning to suffer technique and replacing with strength. In addition, an observer told me, there were several submissions I could have got, but my timing was off and I allowed my opponent to control how I reacted to him. I walked away that night frustrated with myself and just did not feel like I deserved the rank of blue belt.

Then later in the week, I rolled with Zach, who is a very aggressive 16-year-old white belt. By aggressive, I mean he moves as if he is 175 lbs, and is starting to become dangerous with submissions. He and I rolled several times and this young white belt submitted me numerous times. It actually became so frustrating, I had abandoned technique and was just trying to survive and hope for a submission. Do not get me wrong, I am glad to see him progress, but I am not happy with my performance in the situation. I jokingly told him, I was going to go put my white belt back on, because that is exactly how I felt. I have actually kept my white belt in my gym bag ever since I got promoted, just in case there has been some mistake for my promotion and I will still need a belt to wear.

Here are some home remedies I am going to try:
1) Stop Matching strength with strength- Work the technique and escape if I end up in a bad position. Bruce Lee was quoted, “The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

2) Do not force the submission- A lot of times I end up trying to force the submission, instead of waiting on the position to get the submission

3) Capitalize on my opponents mistakes- I have trouble seeing the errors in time enough to react.

In summary, people are advancing faster and getting better, and I feel as if I am standing still. I need to break through the funk I have been in the past month or so. The only remedy is hard work and mat time to get through this wall.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pride Cometh Before Tap

The plan this past Saturday was to drill some collar chokes and some escapes with Mike B., since he was resting an aggravated injury. We were busting out reps on the collar choke when a group of guys walked in the academy with gis in hand and looking to roll.

They started rolling with the others, while I was still drilling technique. I kept watching them out the corner of my eye. I had the itch to roll and was looking forward to it. I stopped drilling and made my way over to a white belt,Reggie.

We started the match and I ended up in half guard and when he went to cross face he left his arm exposed and I was able to get the Kimura. I got him again in the next match with an arm bar, and then once again with the Kimura. Needless to say I was feeling pretty confident.

After rolling with another visitor, Reggie came up to me and wanted to roll once again. I was up for it, and looking forward to it. We started the round and we changed positions several times and he ended up going for an arm bar. I defended, and as I lay there I was thinking, "I am going to let him work this and see where it goes, because my arm bar defense is good." Well he tugged, pulled, and pushed with his feet. The next thing I know, He figure four locks his own wrist, moves his foot out the way and begins a bicep slicer. If you could have seen the look on my face, SHOCKED!!

I was totally not expecting that! I tapped and then I asked him to show me the technique. Needless to say I was impressed with that technique.

I was still stunned by that move when we started rolling again, and that was all I could think about. While being distracted he was able to transition rather quickly from Side Control to North-south and tapping me with a very quick north-south choke.

I asked him how long he had trained, and he told me, " One year No-gi and six months gi." I walked away Saturday learning the lesson, no matter how confident you are in your technique, there is someone more confident in their's. 

Enjoyed training with the guys from Fort Bragg North Carolina. I hope to see you next Saturday!

78 Year Old Black Belt..

I posted this on Jiu_Jitsu_360 twitter page.  I felt the need to Share this article and recognize Mr. Gene Pace for achieving such an honor at the age of 78. He started training 15 years ago to amuse his grandchildren, and he knew the thought of quitting would embarrass his grandchildren. He stuck with it and trained two times a week. This is definitely a  motivational story and it shows that even at the young age of 78, you can still do anything you put your mind to.

Mr. Pace receiving his black belt

COSTA MESA — It's pretty impressive whenever a student of the Gracie Barra school of Brazilian jiu-jitsu gets a black belt.
Even more impressive is when one of those students is 78.
Gene Pace was awarded his black belt Thursday night during a ceremony after his regular twice-weekly class and sparring session at the Costa Mesa studio.
More than 100 of Pace's friends and supporters showed up to see his milestone.
"It was overwhelming. And last night..." Pace started with a pause, then laughed. "Well, it was a little emotional."
The Whittier resident has been training under the Costa Mesa school's founder and instructor, Mike Buckels, for more than 15 years.
"He's Mr. Consistency. He never misses a class, not ever," said Buckels, who holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu, as well as kru in Muay Thai kickboxing.
In those 15 years, before Pace, Buckels had only awarded one other jiu-jitsu black belt, and it was to another instructor.
"The best way to describe Gene is that he just executes what you teach him to do," Buckels said. "If you show him a move, he will go after that move."
Although Buckels admits that he is careful whom he pairs with Pace, as an older student Pace is not one to underestimate.
"Gene can still pick me up — and I'm a 180-pound man — and toss me to the ground," Buckels said. "He practices with people as much as 55 years younger than him."
Pace fell into the Brazilian practice after signing up for a martial arts course for fitness — and to humor his grandchildren.
"I thought to myself, 'Well, OK, they can't kill me, and besides, maybe I'll learn something,'" Pace said, laughing.
"Once I got started, I had to think, 'Do you just walk away [and] embarrass your grandkids?'" Pace continued. "Nah, you can't be disrespectful like that. And everyone just stuck with it."
Pace's interest in martial arts transferred to jiu-jitsu after meeting Buckles and liking his style of teaching.
A lot of that style resonated with Pace's finish-what-you-start attitude.
"The things learn you here are discipline and techniques, which you apply to situations, but you never walk around like a peacock," Pace said. "But, as Mike says, if someone won't back down, you finish it."

Once again, congratulations to Mr. Gene Pace for receiving his black belt!

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Looks Kind of Blue!

Tonight was one of the best nights of my life. I feel like I have accomplished something. All the blood, sweat, frustration, obstacles and health issues I have over come this year have driven me to this point to get my Blue Belt.

Billy, who competed with me in our first tournament, got his Blue belt tonight as well.
After Tim, did the belt ceremony we ran the guantlet of our training partners. One minute with each and just enough time to smile in between before we got attacked by another eager opponent.

A special congratualtions is in order for all who got stripes as well, Mark, who got his 4th stripe, before going to Royler Gracie's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu camp in Brazil. Charlie and Zach also got stripes tonight. Well deserved!

This was definately not one of my 2012 goals, but it is once again a good indicator for 2012! I couldn't have done this without the support of my wife, who talked me out of quitting several times in the beginning,Tim for his instruction and knowledge, and the friends I train with at Swamp Fox BJJ, who keep me training and leaving it all on the mats.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Off to a Good Start!

Last night was the first class of 2012 and it fell in line with number five on 2012 BJJ goals. With the school closed for 10 days due to remodeling, no one able to train, and a majority of us went on an eating binges, this class was an excellent wake up call. I know I tried to remove as many of the coconut cupcakes; my wife made to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.

We started class with some shrimp drills and then some arm bar drills from guard, but the class got even better after the drilling. We welcomed 4 visitors from Jiu Jitsu Nation,a Relson Gracie school, in Myrtle Beach, which is an hour or so away from Florence. These are some top-notch guys.
I missed the picture opportunity :(
The introductions allowed everyone to be able to catch their breath from the drills. Then we moved into the gauntlet of pass and defend, the next 30 minutes would be rough. The instruction given for the session was not submit or sweep the person in the guard, but to let them work technique to pass into side control. One thing I discovered doing this, that I need to work on my guard passing a lot this year. I might need to reassess this in the oncoming weeks; it could be the extra cupcakes making my techniques sloppy.

After pass and defend, it was open mat, and I wanted to roll with the visitors. I started my first roll with Josh, who is a seasoned blue belt and we went for two rounds at least. In those two rounds, I found myself on the receiving end of three collar chokes, but as I learned what not to do, I did manage to get him in side control for all of thirty seconds.

I shook his hand and thanked him for showing some errors I was making. The next training partner, Phil, was pretty intimidating to me as he sat there is brown A5 gi and his purple belt. I found out, that there was no need to be intimidated. Phil was an awesome training partner. We started rolling and I started getting submitted, once he would submit me, he would show me what happened and the submission technique. I certainly need to incorporate the two techniques he showed me. One was a submission called the “Stick Shift” and the other was arm pin called, “Hog Tie”. Both techniques were highly effective in leading me to tap.

A couple of rounds went by, and Phil ended the small submission clinic he had happening. I then went to Jeremiah, who is a veteran blue belt, and once again, the workshop was open. This was a spider guard and open guard sweep seminar. We only had the chance to roll one round, but it was a great experience to see how effective spider guard can be.

At the beginning of class, I did not want to train with these guys. Why did I not want to spar with them? I saw their belts with their years of experience and was gun shy on how I would have faired training with them. I knew if I rolled I would tap and I knew these guys were more skilled than myself, but I wanted to see what would happen or what the outcome would be. I wanted to see if I could pick up a few tricks or may be even survive a couple of minutes. I am glad these guys stopped by, training with them has set the tone for 2012. 

The training showed me something about Jiu Jitsu community and myself at the end of the day. We are all training partners and should learn from each other. I had an awesome time training with Jeremiah, Josh, Phil and JR(Who I did not get to roll with), thanks for the training and you guys are a class act.