Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I NEED to drill this (deep half magic from the top).

So I'm sitting here watching this match and was blown away by the awesomeness Cyborg pulls off at 1:15

Then I realized I spent a class drilling it and was actually good at it. The fact that I know it made me feel good. The fact that I forgot it made me sad. But now I'm happy again that I even recognized it. Woo. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent

Click Here!

I'm experiencing a bit of blogger-amnesia, because I could swear I already posted a review of this...but since it doesn't exist, I guess I dreamt it. I'm probably the last person on the planet to get my review of this DVD done. It worked out for the best though, because I've been able to work on some of the material presented and see how my teammates responded.

Click Here to order

I received How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent back in November and was totally hyped...FINALLY I would have the tools to survive against KimonoMaster (AKA GuywhoIhavenohopeofeverbeatingever). This guy is stronger, faster, heavier and a higher belt. Just trying to move his legs to pass makes my arms feel spindly and weak. He was the one person in particular I had in mind when Stephan put this together. Which brings me to...

Who this DVD is For
Seriously, it's for everybody. Most obviously, it's for the smaller, physically weaker players out there, but it's also for people like me. I come in at just a bit smaller than Stephan (6'2", 215) and as he explains, even at that size, you run into those people who are 250-300lbs and you need to know how to cope. Beyond that, if you care about the growth and frustration levels of your smaller teammates, it's worth a watch. I've been able to give a few tips to some of the tinier women who end up partnered with me and completely overwhelmed.

No reason to put this at the end. Ladybug and I got some time to watch the DVD and play with the drills and grip fighting. She enjoyed the drills, mostly because they offered a different way to look at things we already knew. For me, it completely changed the way I look at grips. It surprised me to hear Kwok say that grips were an afterthought for her until she started training under Marcelo Garcia. I always assume that blackbelts have been working on everything they're good at since day 1 of their training (I know better, but I still think that deep down).

The biggest result? I passed JazzHands' open guard (it's been giving me grief for like a year+ now) precisely because I didn't get stalled by his bear trap grips and subsequent chokes. I've gotten compliments on grip stripping from three higher belts since watching and it's forced me to be more aware of my opponent's hands in general. I still feel like a bit of a jerk with all the snatching though.

The set includes 5 DVDs-3 instructional and 2 bonus: Body Stability with Roy Duquette and Q&A with Emily Kwok (a peak into one of her seminars which is a great addition). I'll be doing one disc at a time since each deserves its own time and focus.

Disc 1: Drills and Grip Fighting
Why you should Drill
Fundamental Drills
Advanced Drills
Partner Drills
Grip Fighting

One of the biggest complaints I've seen about this set is that Kwok talks too much...which is exactly why I love it. I'm a top-down learner and her explanation of the overreaching principles made it all a lot easier for me to digest and apply. She's also a heavy proponent of drilling, which rings true with the piano student in me.

Here's a breakdown of the contents of  each section

Fundamental Drills
Technical Standup
Forward Breakfalls (She has a great way of teaching breakfalls that is 847593845 times less scary than normal)
Backward Breakfalls
Leg Circles
Leg Triangles
Grappler's Lifts

Advanced Drills
Butt Scoot Forward
Butt Scoot Backward
Shrimp Forward
Four Point Rotation
Jumping Lunges (my knees, unfortunately, keep me from doing these)

Partner Drills
Leg Switching on Hips
Wheel Barrow (the bane of my existance in agility class)
Granby Roll
Leap Frogs
Drat at Sleeves
Bear Walk (hate these too, and she does them while dragging your partner)
Butterfly Lifts
Jumping Guard Situps
Hook Walk (love these)
Guard Pop-ups

Grip Fighting (Gi and No-gi)
Four Fingers In
Lapel and Sleeve
Guidelines (little stuff like keeping your gi together to make it harder to grip and staggering your stance)
Stripping Sleeve Grips
Stripping Lapel Grips
Stripping Elbow Grips
Stripping the Over the Shoulder Grip
Stripping Grips on the Ground
Demo & Summary
No Gi

Distance, strategy and leverage should be your focus if you're the smaller or weaker opponent.
Functional drilling maximizes mat time.
Don't concede grips.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jiu jitsu movie clip!

So I'm a big fan of Chinese martial arts flicks...Chinese films in general honestly. I ran across this clip of Collin Chou (love) and Donnie Yen (also love) doing their fightsy thing and lo and behold...jiu jitsu! Arm bar! Triangle! Honestly, it's probably the most I've seen in a movie not dedicated to the gentle art itself.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Business in BJJ: Niche Hunters-Gi Pants

If there's any piece of advice that you'll hear over and over again when starting a business, it's that you should find a problem that no one else is solving, and solve it. Sites like Amazon and Ebay...that first gelato or cupcake shop in your city...they all did it.

Well, I was puttering around DSTRYRsg today (I don't know why I don't spend more time on this blog) and ran across JGP.com...that stands for Just Gi Pants. Their mission? To solve the problem of gi pants that pass away before their time. Considering that companies are starting to sell pants separately more, I'm not sure if these guys are going to see a natural whittling away of the problem they've solved for just $39.99 a pair, but kudos to them for finding the hole.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I feel gym-fat.

I'm always amazed at how off my body image can be...and that's in either direction. I think I'm thinner than I am when I've gained weight and larger than I am when I lose.

I was rooting around in some old CDs last night while trying to find the installation disc for my wireless router and ran across a disc with some video from a vacation on it.

When I first started dancing Salsa, I saw the clip below on YouTube and was mesmerized by the Chinese guy dancing (not to mention the awesomeness of the song). His name is Huo Yao Fei and is a great Cuban style dancer who spent years studying on the island. I jokingly swore to a friend that I would dance with him one day.

Well, that CD that I found had the video of me finally getting that dance with him in Beijing. (Dude's lead is crazy subtle)

The crazy part though, is that viewing it last night, I thought "wow, look at how less bulky I was." At the time though, I felt much larger than I looked, even on film and even larger than I "feel" now, even with extra jiu jitsu mass. I need to keep a more objective look at myself and strangely, jiu jitsu makes that harder. While I feel street-thinner, starting agility/ginastica class has me feeling gym-fat...basically, my point of reference has changed. I expect more. While before training I might have viewed my weight in relation to your average, sized 14, 169 lb and 5'4" American woman(I still swear that seems a bit skewed toward the heavy/short side) who does little more than walk, type and hit your occasional spin class, I now see myself in relation to fitter people AND see where excess weight slows me down and makes upper body work insanely hard.

I'm counting this as a growing pain though...both of physical improvement, and of getting past physical self-acceptance and into self-appreciation. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Queen Moment and SEO

So I just finished 2 hours of SEO work for GiFreak. While getting the site up and running has been 9 months of brutality, this marketing deal is even worse. I at least had a vision for the site, now, all of a sudden, I have to spread the word of my vision to a growing but pretty disparate niche. I can't say I learned much in school about internet marketing...well...I did in undergrad, but the Internet being what it is, none of that is even slightly pertinent anymore.

Speaking of time drains, I'm also TOTALLY behind on reviewing the Bigger Stronger series for Stephan over at Grapplearts. Like I said when I first got it though, I like to take my time and focusing just on grip fighting for a month (or three) has been a big help in getting my mind to pay continual attention to grips. I've gotten compliments from JazzHands and KimonoMaster on my stripping. Making grips? Still working on that one. Speaking of Grapplearts stuff, check out this majorly cool shirt!

I love gray and silver. 

So Monday, Parrumpa was teaching a technique and just as he was talking about pressure, this song came on...

Being the Queen lover I am, it took everything in me not to start wailing along with Freddie. Instead, I turned quickly to JazzHands, nodding happily in music-induced glee at the relevance of the track. I think he just thought I liked the technique though.

Great. Now I'm stuck in a Queen YouTube loop. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

An epiphany, pre-passing out and the death of a pseudonym

Tonight...except for my turfed-toe burning like crazy...was a very cool night. One of my church buddies has started coming with his daughter. I talked to her before class and after being a bit shy because she was the only girl in class, she's really liking it. This is my first experience seeing a non-gi person in a gi and it's a lot like the first time I ran into Jazzhands at Walmart, sans kimono...a little surreal at first...your eyes take a second to adjust. Gis make people's faces change, I swear.

So tonight we did some work from the back. Variations of and options around the bow and arrow choke (which I love, yet again, don't use). My biggest issue? Grips again. I have girly hands that, after 2+ years of training, people still compliment as soft and that just don't like squeezing into fist-like shapes...so Parrumpa had to come over and fixed the borkedness of my hands so I wasn't losing the choke mid-way through. We went through a couple times, and then started working on a variation where you place the knee behind the head and then adjust that leg over the shoulder if you don't get the tap. The purple belt I was with went through it a couple times, and on the third, he transitioned pretty quickly, never really letting the blood flow again. I reached up to tap and uh...nothing happened. Next thing I know I found myself slumping peacefully toward the mat.

Well, I don't know if it was the choke or just things finally sinking in, but after rolling back to back with JazzHands, the purple I drilled with and Ryan (FKA Brownbeltinstructor) I sat down and all of a sudden, I saw ...differences...real differences in each of their games...different uses of strength, speed...different uses of transitions...different preferences for top and bottom. I'd always known they were there, but now, they're as clear as differences in personalities. The roll with Ryan was the most telling though...it's been...who knows, maybe a year since I've worked with him and I got to see how much he has going on at one time. It's really crazy, but cool, because I felt like I didn't have time to think...nice, because thinking is one of the big things that slows me down. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My version of cauliflower ear...

...I think my time has come. I've run out my time wearing inexpensive earrings.

I've generally stayed away from straight up "cheap" ones, but I love a set of overstated, mid-priced ear-candy. Today though, I looked at my left lobe and saw raw flesh. I squarely blame BJJ.

I've always had earring issues...I didn't get them pierced until I was 17. Why so late? Well, my father apparently was sternly against my mother piercing them when I was 2, then, by the time I was old enough to start drilling holes in my body myself, I was terrified by the process. I really wish someone would have explained to me how the "gun" worked. I assumed someone stood at one end of the booth with you at the other end, holding your lobe out. I envisioned myself doubled over in pain, a sparkly stud protruding from my eye socket after a none-too-coordinated booth attendant ruined my life.

Just as I was going off to college, I got my ears pierced. Wasn't too bad and I followed the post-piercing instructions. Still though, I  was plagued with months of oozy, painful lobes. They never really stopped. Over a decade later and I still have to give them weekends off. It was working for a while, but lately, I've been noticing they've been warm and swollen even after a few hours of wearing earrings that previously gave me no problems.

So yeah, it's not actually cauliflower ear, but my best guess is that they're exposed to more infection potential from training and even the best washing only goes so far. So...I guess I'll try all surgical steel earrings (the selection isn't half as fun) and see what happens.