Sunday, January 23, 2011

The art of learning the art of slowrolling

I think we've all read these threads on the BJJ forums, where someone posts something like:

"I was tired/injured so I asked my sparring partner to go light, but after ten seconds he went really hard, so I just had to bring it to him to teach him a lesson so he'll go light next time"

This is a classic situation from BJJ training, that many people will experience and get frustrated by. If you tell your training partner to go light, why doesn't he? There are many answers to how to deal with this, but the typical one of turning up your own intensity to "teach him a lesson", is definitely not the way to go in my opinion.

My take on this is, that learning to go light or to "slowroll" is NOT something that you can just tell someone to do. It must be taught and drilled in class, in order for people to actually acquire the skill. It is as if people expect everyone to be able to do this with no training. In my eyes it is no different than asking beginner at first class to do some coordination drill and then get frustrated that he can't coordinate his body to do it, even though you have never given him the chance to learn and practice it. And even worse, "teach him a lesson" in sparring afterwards, then go post about your frustration on the internet forums ;)

In reply to all these posts around the forums, I have made this video on how I teach people to slowroll and go light in sparring. I've been working on this "system" for quite some time, and I think I finally got it right. I have never seen anyone actually teach this before, so I think this might be one of my most relevant instructionals in a long time. It is probably most interesting for people who run a class and would like to be able to teach this skill, but anyone who wants to take out some time to do these drills on their own with a partner, can learn how to slowroll. I do, however, think that going through this as a group/team, is the optimal way to get most out of it.

Ok, no more talking, there's enough of that in the video. It's 37 minutes long, so make sure you have enough time and patience to listen to me, when you decide to press play ;) Enjoy!

Here is a quick reference of the things I go through in the video, in case you want to print it out or something:

1. Everyone can spar together, regardless of the size or skill difference.
2. Good tool for warming up.
3. You can still spar, if you are injured or tired.
4. Good tool for experimenting.
5. Work on specific situations, without having to fight to get there.
6. Lifts teams level as a whole.
7. Create a training environment with room for everyone.

1. One move each turn
2. Gentleman rules
3. No resistance
4. No time limit

1. One move each turn
2. Gentleman rules
3. No resistance
4. No time limit
5. Do the LEAST likely move possible
6. If it resembles something you know, do ten pushups

1. Always remember the purpose
2. Turn down speed and intensity
3. 50/50
4. Submissions are catch and release
5. Communicate with your partner

I have decided to make a video on the guillotine choke (will be taught by my training partner and Master of the Guillotine, Kári), so the next videos coming up are:

- The loopchoke
- The guillotine choke

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Competing at the Europeans in Portugal next week

About six months ago, I gathered a group of guys from my gym, who were interested in going to Portugal for the 2011 IBJJF European Open tournament. We made a six month training and competition plan together with an individual strategical gameplan for each of them. Since then, we have worked on these gameplans in the gym and in several competitions around Europe, throughout the fall of 2010. There has been some wins and losses along the way, and a lot of good experience has been gathered, so I think we are as ready as we can be for the biggest tournament of Europe next week in Portugal.

Only four of the original 14 guys from the project cannot make it next week. Two of them with unfortunate injuries, but all in all, I am very pleased to be able to set a team of ten, well-prepared athletes for the event. I think they will all do really well. Winning medals, I don't know, because the brackets are HUGE and everything can happen, but most importantly, they are as prepared as they can be, and from there, there is nothing more they can do but just perform on the day.

I am signed up in brown belt adult -82.3 kg myself, which is a pretty big group with around 20 guys, I think. I don't feel the smallest bit nervous or anxious about competing in such a big and prestigious event. I think the main reason (besides my usual lack of interest in winning) is, that I probably couldn't be much better prepared than I am right now. I have trained BJJ consistently five days a week for the last 4 months. On top of that, I have been doing our cardio/endurance workout with the whole team twice a week and heavy lifting on saturdays. No injuries have held me back and my game feels great. With all that preparation, I just feel, that there is nothing more I could have done to prepare better, so when the day comes and I step on the mat, the rest is up to the Jiu Jitsu gods :) If I win, then I was am better than him, if I lose, he is better than me. It's that simple. Nothing I can do to change that now.

For the team, I will put everything I have into coaching them as good as possible in their matches. I really want them to get some good experiences in this competition, they have been working so hard for it. I believe they all have a solid chance of taking medals home, like they have done in all the competitions in the fall, so let's see how it goes next week. What I lack in excitement for my own matches, I definitely have for the other guys :)

Besides all that, I am of course looking forward to five days in beautiful Lisbon with all my friends, which - in my world - can top any BJJ medal or title out there :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wrestling sweeps from guard

At the training camp in Estonia last summer, Martin Aedma talked about using wrestling to sweep from the guard. More specifically, using Jiu Jitsu to set up wrestling takedowns, in order to take the opponent down and thereby "sweep" him. I have been playing around with this since then, and inspired by Martin's post about the subject on his new blog, I decided to do a small video on which "wrestling sweeps" that works best for me in the guard at the moment.

One detail, I forgot to talk about in the video is, that when I go for the armdrag, I don't always try and pull him forward. Sometimes, I just want him to react by pulling his arm back and posturing up, before I move forward for the double leg. Small detail :)

Enjoy the video!

Next instructionals coming up are:

- The art of learning the art of slowrolling
- The loopchoke

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Fireman's Carry instructional

The next video is on the fireman's carry takedown. As I mention in the video, I have known about this for many years, but it wasn't till a few years back, when I finally got the details right, that actually made it work (Thanks, John Kohls!). My training partners rarely underhook me wrong anymore, but if they do, I make sure to hit this takedown on them ;)

Hope you enjoy the video, comments are always appreciated!

Next instructionals coming up are:

- The art of learning the art of slowrolling
- Wrestling sweeps from seated guard
- The loopchoke

Monday, January 10, 2011

Deep Butterfly Halfguard instructional

I was browsing through my blog the other day, and it struck me, that it has been a loooong time since I consistently posted instructional videos here. When I was a blue belt, I was a real Ari Bolden (with better technique), eager to put as much material online as possible. All of these old videos and photo series are still to be found in the archive of this blog.

Jiu Jitsu is truly "boxes within boxes". The more I train, the less I feel I know. Whenever I think I know about a technique, position or transition, I quickly find out, that there are ten new layers of details in that particular subject, that I haven't explored yet. This humbling experience have probably influenced me a lot in writing this blog, since I haven't felt like "teaching" anything here for a while.

But with that said, I think it is time to put some new videos online here, so I have filmed a handful of instructionals, which will be posted here one at a time, as I finish editing each of them.

First one I edited yesterday, was about the "Deep Butterfly Halfguard". I am sorry for the "deep halfguard" ripoff, but I haven't found a better name yet. Basically, it is a "low" variation of x-guard, that I have experimented with for at least a year and a half now. I haven't seen much instructional video on this position, so I decided to do one myself.

Hope you enjoy it, comments are always appreciated!

One thing I forgot to mention in the video, which I think is quite important, is that when I do the calfcruncher submission, I want to triangle my legs to stabilize my knee. Unfortunately, I popped my own knee doing this submission once, and triangling the legs would probably have helped me there. I just forgot it in the video :)

Next instructionals coming up are:

- The art of learning the art of slowrolling
- Wrestling sweeps from seated guard
- Fireman's carry takedown
- The loopchoke

Don't go anywhere, I'll be right back after the break ;)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Old competition footage

I was looking through my harddrive for a specific training video the other day, and ended up watching old competition videos instead. I thought it was pretty fun to watch, so I got the idea of editing it all together into one video and put it online, so I will always have it here on the blog in case I lose the files, harddrive dies etc.

Most of the videos are from 2002-2003 but a few of them are from 2001. At this time, there were no competitions in Denmark, and we were very excited about the thought of competing, so we had to make our own. A few of these videos are from competitions we held in our own gym. We even made some in-house "MMA" tournaments (inspired by the early UFC of course), wearing helmets and allowing knees, elbows and headbutts. They were held by gentleman rules, so if we ended in a situation, where we thought the fight would have been over if it was full power and no helmets, we would stop there.

Later on, I started the "Openmat" tournaments, which where more organized with several danish gyms participating. I remember that at the first Openmat tournament I organized and competed in, I had no idea on how to do a triangle or what sidecontrol was. I just remembered seeing it in a book or video somewhere, so I tried it out (with no luck, needless to say). Quite fun to see today, so many years later, I wish I had recorded more of my matches back then.

The video is quite long, over an hour, and I don't expect anyone to watch all of it really, this is mostly for my own amusement. If you do watch it however, you might even find a match against a young Martin Kampmann there somewhere :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy new year :)

Yet another new years evening, where I try to take some photos of the fireworks outside my window. Unfortunately, there is some construction work going on at the moment, so there is a big scaffold blocking the view from the bedroom window. But think I got some ok shots anyway.

This is also my first test of editing photos and posting them to this blog from my iPad. Something I will have to do a lot when I am on the road in a few months :)