Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Belt promotions and video from class

The combination of my injury keeping me from training and the the fact, that I have just bought two new cameras (GoPro Hero2 and Canon EOS 1100D), quickly results in me being in video-nerd mode. Last night, I put together this little video of the class:

It was also an evening, where I promoted a handfull of the guys on the team. Everyone has been putting so much time and effort into training since I got home from my trip in the summer, and it was well about time for a lot of them to move on to the next level. Whenever I promote someone, they always thank me, but in reality, I am the one thanking them. It is a great honor and inspiration, that they chose to devote so much time of their lives to letting me try and teach them, what I know about Jiu Jitsu.

Every single promotion is always something special, but a few of the recent ones means a little bit extra to me. I have been teaching kids for many years, and everyone have always been talking about "that day", when they grow up and start kicking the adults asses in training. Well, that day has come, and they have already started their rampage crusade in the adult classes, where they are a big mouthful for any sparring partner. The belts given to these young boys are a symbol of all the hard work and effort we have put into those junior classes and competitions together and that they are not kids anymore. A lot of them are now blue belts and are facing new challenges in training, life and competition. As always, I am just excited to tag along on the journey and see, where it takes us :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

413 flighthours video, back getting better.

I filmed a bit more sparring last week, before I hurt my back. Instead of waiting for more footage to add, I thought I'd just throw this up on it's own. Going to take a little while before I can roll again, anyways.

Had a bad day of training when it was filmed. Felt a bit stressed out that day and couldn't really concentrate on the sparring. It was pretty good practice though, since my training partners were very good and tough, so I had to try and push myself in a situation, where my mental state was against me.

After having been in the bed all weekend with back pain, I feel considerably better now. I am actually able to stand up and walk, more than I could saturday. I bit more optimistic, but will probably be out of sparring for a while.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's official: I am getting old(er)

I have been training martial arts basically my entire life. When I was a kid, I didn't even know about the concept of recovery. I was never tired. Even when I was in my teens and early twenties, I could train as much and hard as I wanted, combined with only little sleep and drinking alcohol every weekend, and still not be get tired from it. At that time, many people told me "oooh, you just wait till you get to your thirties, then you'll start feeling it!".

I think I have been cheated. It is still a good six months till I turn thirty and my body feels like a wreck at the moment!

When I was younger, injuries was something I had for days or weeks. Now, they seem to last for months or years instead. When I have had a hard night of training, I wake up the next day and feel like I have been hit by a truck.

The knee injury I got in competition last summer is still nagging me, so is the shoulder problem from August. To make things worse, I hurt my lower back pretty bad friday. I got a herniated disc there about six years ago, which had started to heal up pretty well. When rolling, I was twisted or pushed or something, I am not sure what happened, but I felt a slight pain exactly in my disc injury. The result was, that I was in my bed the entire day yesterday, not being able to stand up or walk.

Despite having gotten much better today, I am seriously worried about this back injury, as it could potentially sideline me for a long time. And I don't like breaks from training. At all :(

Anyways, I am crossing my fingers, staying away from sparring, seeing my doctor and starting rehab training tomorrow. I hope it is not bad enough to keep me from competing at the Europeans in two months, but we'll see.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Video from my kids team training today

I just got a new DSLR camera with video recording ability in the gym, so I decided to film a bit of one of my kids classes I was teaching today. This is my youngest team of kids, and I really enjoy training with them. Having spent over six years on figuring out how to build up kids teams, I think I have finally found a good recipe for it, and the results in competitions (and how much the kids enjoy training), speak for themselves.

I recently promoted all of them to yellow belt after they did an amazing job at Swedish Open, and I am excited to spend many more years with these great boys on the mats.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rolling with Marcelo Garcia, Drive In and Quico

When I said, that I hadn't made any sparring videos in a year, I was not telling the exact truth. During my trip, a few videos of me rolling was filmed. Some of them are on my globetrotter blog and the rest I've just put on YouTube so I can add them here.

With Marcelo Garcia in New York (May):

With Paulo Cesar (aka. "Drive In") and student in Rio de Janeiro (June):

With Quico in Bali (April):

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

417 flighthours - short rolling footage video

I have really been neglecting the 1000 flighthours project, not having posted a video of sparring footage since about a year ago. Well, I have been traveling for the most part of this year, but still been too lazy to film sparring. There has been lots of competition footage lately, but that is usually quite different from sparring, where there is more room to experiment and play different games with different opponents.

Now, I'll get back to that project. I think recording sparring sessions has been very valuable for my understanding of developing my jits game over the years. Every now and then, I'll click back in the flighthours archives here in the blog to find a detail on how I used to do a specific move or to check up on holes in my game, I might have forgotten to patch up.

Recorded a few rolls today and made this short video. I'll make more of them in the coming days and weeks, it will be my little project to document this stage of my Jiu Jitsu career.

If you have the patience to look all the way to the end (or just fast forward, but that would be cheating), you can enjoy a high pace round of me getting my ass kicked by Fernando Moya, a guy I trained with in Costa Rica who is visiting my gym for a few months (more on that in a soon-to-come blog post, so far you'll have to do with this video teaser :D).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Highlight video from NAGA in Paris

I've made a ton of highlight videos and on a boring sunday like today, I thought I would try and change the style a little bit. Also, I just watched Drive and loved it in case you think I got some inspiration from there ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

67 medals in two months - last competition of the year is in the books.

This weekend, I went to the last competition of the year and the seventh in eight weeks for me. I had already decided to not compete myself, since my body is pretty worn down from all the competitions lately. Also, I was coaching a ton of kids and adults on my team, so I thought I had deserved a day off the mats myself this time.

The competition was Swedish Open, where we have gone every year for the last four years. The event is getting bigger and better for each year and this was no exception. It is probably one of the most well organized and well run tournaments I have ever been to and will highly recommend anyone in the area to check it out.

We had a total of 40-something people on our team this time in every sex and age group. Every single one of them did really well, and we ended up with some great results, taking home eight gold-, six silver and three bronze medals. Even better, we finally took the first place in the junior team competition, beating the swedish club, who has won every year for the last five years. It was actually a draw for the first place with another great academy, but we had more gold medals, and they were gentlemen, so they gave the trophy to us. I have put a lot of work into my junior team over the last six years and finally I am starting to see some serious results coming out of it. A new generation is coming up, and the "old" ones - consisting of one brutally good teenager after the other - is on the verge of switching over to the adult team.

Another result of the weekend, that I am really proud of is, that we ended up being the second best adult academy of the tournament. With about 600 competitors, I think that was quite a good result.

All in all, it has been a crazy fall of competitions for me and my guys, girls and boys. I managed to compete in five tournaments myself over just two months, Taking four gold, a silver and two bronze medals in those, I conclude that it went pretty alright. I still have lots to learn about competing and there are still hundreds and more brown belts out there who can kick my ass, but it has been a really valuable experience and I have learned a lot from it (<-- hang on for the blogpost on this :D).

In total, we have won 67 medals in the last two months with the team. I am super proud of everyone on the team, and super honored, that they chose to train with me.

Now it is time to go back to the lab and fine tune the technique before the European Open in end of January. It will also be nice to have some time to heal my body and get back to the physical training. I am still having problems with my shoulder, but working hard on the rehab and can hopefully lift some weights again soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big win at NAGA in Paris this weekend

In the weekend, I competed for the last time this year and for the last time in the adult age division (I will be 30 next year). NAGA was holding a tournament in Paris for the second time and we went a team of fifteen guys there to compete. All in all, it went really well and we took home a total of thirteen medals.

I had initially decided to only do the gi division, but when we got there, I signed up for the no-gi as well. It was a long day of waiting before I was on, and there seemed to be a bit more adrenaline than usual, I don't know why. I managed to channel it into concentration and focus of stepping on the mat and performing.

First up was the expert no-gi middle weight division. My opponent was a french black belt and judging from his first match, it was going to be an extremely difficult task for me to beat him. He was superbly athletic and played a very aggressive and powerful game. I decided my only chance - as it usually is against bigger, stronger guys - was to try and take the explosive factor out of the match and utilize my guard to stress him. I pulled guard right away to avoid his wrestling and managed to keep him from passing for the entire match. It was 0-0 by the end and I had to try something, so I set up a bodylock sweep and found myself suddenly playing his game of explosive wrestling. He immediately judo tossed me and I knew I had to just get back to my guard to survive. After 2 minutes over time, the referee gave me the decision. I don't know if I agreed with him, but I didn't mind winning :D Sometimes, the marginals fall to my side, sometimes to the opponents - that's just how the game is.

The final was against a guy who had won his first two to get there. I had one less match, so I was hoping I had more energy than him. Unfortunately, he was also really strong and keeping him in my guard required a lot of leg strength. Luckily, I didn't had to work from there for the full match, since he tried to jump over my guard, which allowed me to set up a nice heelhook to which he tapped immediately as I locked it in. I like to compete with heel hooks, it is really an equalizer for the smaller guy and it suits my game perfectly. I think at the expert level, people are good enough to know the danger and when to tap anyways.

The gi division was black and brown belts together. I had really hoped to compete against a black belt, but instead I got another interesting challenge in meeting the guy I lost to in London a month earlier. I had been working hard in the gym on closing the holes in my game that he exploited last time, and it was exciting to test it out and see if I could beat him this time.

Everything worked pretty well and I managed to defend the moves he caught me with last time. The match was only six minutes so I had to take some chances to try and score, and at one point I try to pass to halfguard to get an advantage, but he manages to flip me over. It was a little stupid that I lost my balance there on that sweep, it shouldn't had happened. Wasn't too bad though, as I swept him back a few seconds after for the final score of 2-2. This time he got the referee's decision and I was pleased to confirm, that I had evolved and improved my game since I fought him last time.

It was a really good tournament and very well organized. NAGA definitely knows what they are doing in terms of organizing events and it was a breath of fresh air to compete there after some really badly organized tournaments lately. Also, I liked the rules very much - I could wear my rip stop gi and cup as well as reap the knee and do any submission I wanted. Nice! I took home a giant belt for winning the expert adult division and it looks cool hanging on my surfboard in the gym now :D

Quick conclusion on NAGA Paris:

Good things:
  • Won expert division, pretty nice!
  • Guard worked great, not passed for ten consecutive matches now.
  • Relaxed and cardio felt good
  • My students did awesome
  • Improvements in my game against same opponent
  • Held my own against bigger guys who had weighed in the day before

Bad things:
  • Got swept where I shouldn't have been
  • Not much else, really :)

Paris was awesome, what a beautiful city it is in the fall with the yellow leaves all over the old streets. We had some great days there, walking around town and checking it out. It was nice to be back to a place that has almost symbolic value to me, since it was the first destination on my around the world trip earlier this year.

This was my last competition this year. I have decided to skip Swedish Open next week, first of all because I simply just need a break after five competitions around Europe in six weeks and second because I will be coaching my team of more than 40 guys and girls fighting there. It has been some great experiences and I will do a write up on it all some time next week :)