Monthly Archives: June 2011

The History of Jiu Jitsu (so far)

If you weren’t aware of it before there is a phenomenal series of articles written by T.P. Grant over at Bloody Elbow that covers Jiu-jitsu’s birth on the war torn battlefields of feudal Japan to the grappling mat tournaments of today.

Obviously it is not a complete detailed history. From my own research on jiu-jitsu I noticed there were a few things that were left out, but on the whole it’s an outstanding series.

Here’s a selection of the series that I think shines a little light on my corner of Jiu-jitsu, Judo and Japan. All about jiu-jitsu and it’s roundabout way of coming from Japan, leaving Japan, coming back to Japan (it never really left), and how it became sporty!

Birth on the Battlefield
Meiji Era and Evolution of Judo
Judo Travels the World and Maeda Meets Gracie
Gracies Leave the UFC and Bring Jiu Jitsu Back to Japan
Judo Grows Into an Olympic Sport

But by far my favorite articles are here:

Rolls Gracie – father of modern day jiu-jitsu and quite possibly responsible for the Rise of Sport Jiu Jitsu that we see today.
Guerrilla Warfare focuses on Dave Camarillo, Master of the Guard centers on Marcelo Garcia – both men I have the utmost respect for and hope to one day to meet and train under even if for only one class.
Oswaldo Fadda, Nova Uniao – a non-Gracie linage of jiu-jitsu.
The Alliance Schism – ah, jiu-jitsu politics, interesting from an obversational standpoint, really messy if caught in the middle.


Jiujitsu Training – June 28th

I rolled with a purple belt yesterday. We went slow and kept moving, lots of position changes and lots of fun.

Nothing more to add. Let’s move on.

So How’d Class Go?
We reviewed three techniques I’ve seen before in class; jumping butterfly guard pass, a spider guard sweep which is probably a harpoon sweep, and the sneaky RNC I wrote about here.

Some notes on the butterfly guard pass.

Christian Graugart has a beautifully detailed vid on the jumping butterfly guard pass which I highly recommend viewing it in its entirety. If you want to skip to the good stuff it’s at the 6:22 mark.

In a nutshell, keep the weight on the shoulder. In a fanboy nutshell, imagine your shoulder is Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, and once that sucker gets planted on your opponent ain’t no one worthy enough to move it.

Anyway, the 3rd stripe blue that was drilling that pass with me would jump away, which made him very light. When passing guard unless I’m standing up to pass I want to be in complete control of my weight and I want to post as much of it as I can directly on my opponent. Again the Mjölnir method of weight management.

Also before the technique session of class, there was a warm up of drilling sweeps from guard. I was paired up with a blue belt way out of my weight class. Even though I wanted to drill some spider guard sweeps, I didn’t want to put unnecessary stress on my right leg, so it was hip and pendulum sweeps for 6 minutes straight. Sigh.

On a side note, Tomari-sensei wondered what I preferred calling the sweep; pendulum or flower. I knew it by both names, Tomari-sensei then asked which name was more popular in the states, he guessed it was pendulum because who wants to drill a technique called “flower” you know?

Finishing Thoughts
While I sat out for the majority of sparring, Tomari-sensei approached me and asked if I wanted anything to work on. I answered that I just wanted to get strong enough to start sparring with everyone else. So he took me aside and started giving me deep half-guard tips and sweeps. My half-guard is ridiculously weak so the deep half-guard left me confused and lost for the rest of the class.

I suppose it’s Tomari-sensei’s way of encouraging me and pushing me to improve my game. I probably have another month of weight training and sitting on the sidelines or just light sparring, before I can really test myself at a higher level of resistance.

Weight Training – June 25th

After teaching an Open Class for one of my elementary schools I headed over to Accion gym for a little me time.

Just Tell Me ‘Bout Them Lifts, Bro

Front squats 5×5, deadlifts 3×5, pull-ups 8, dips 7 and the usual hip exercises.

My front squats are slowly making progress. I was wondering just how much more stronger my squat was compared to my front squat, so even after my five sets, I slapped on some extra weight, did a single rep, added more and kept going until I found myself squating my bodyweight. Surprisingly, my front squats are nowhere near that. It’s probably because of my deadlifts, my back feels more comfortable carrying the barbell than my shoulders do.

Speaking of the deadlift, it must have been the combination of heat (Japan is crazy hot now) and the extra lifting I did that made me think boy am I tired at the lock out of my fifth rep on the third set. Walked around a bit, drank an entire liter of BCAA infused water then drank even more water, went to do ten pull-ups and dips, couldn’t, and then called it a day.

Gimmie a Finisher, Bro
While I was working out, a group of JR High School students and their coaches started their workout routine – Snatches and Clean & Jerks.

These kids, boys and girls, were putting a lot of grown men that only do 9kg db curls to shame, because not only were they lifting weights that a majority of people there wouldn’t even dare touch, they were picking it off the ground and putting it above their heads.

The snatch and the clean & jerk are lifts that I would love to incorparate. First and foremost, they’re very technical exercises and us jiu-jitsu folk have a thing for being technical. Plus, just imagine the speed and power you could generate from those exercises, and put those aspects to work in jiu-jitsu or submission grappling! TEE HEE!

It just goes to show that when strength and technique go hand in hand, great things can be accomplished.

Guillotine Defense – A Strange Case of How My Jiu-jitsu Mind Works

Roaming the wikipedia page on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Belt Ranking, I discovered an interesting tidbit; today I learned that the mighty Alliance has belt requirements.

Curious, I made my way over to their site to see what they thought would be necessary for promotion. I looked over at the purple belt requirements, cause I’m a blue belt, and took note of their list. Throws and Takedowns. Check. Submissions. Check. Self Defense. Chec… wait, what?!

Yes, Alliance requires self-defense knowledge. Although it is not as extensive as a TMA – or say Gracie Combatives – would be, they do want their students to be mindful of and be able to perform techniques that release them from the headlock and the quillotine.

So headlocks. Yeah, no problem here. Off the top of my head I got 6 headlock escapes from off the top of my head. But then there’s this:

Clicky the pic for enhance and zoom, but the underlined area basically says, “Two ways to defend the guillotine standing up.” Gah! I only know one way.

Which lead me to seek out guillotine defense vids.

After much searching here are clips of the guillotine defense I know; the first clip is from Pedro Sauer who finishes the technique with a submission while providing two different grips, and the second clip comes from none other than Ryron and Rener Gracie who both provide huge details about the guillotine defense that everyone should be aware of.

However I was still one technique short to qualify for Alliance’s requirements. So I searched for a few hours trying to find something that didn’t depend on too much strength and that someone of a smaller size could somewhat easily perform against a larger opponent.

I think I found it. Enjoy 🙂

Weight Training – June 21st

I was feeling a bit under the weather, so instead of jiu-jitsu I went weight training.

Just Tell Me ‘Bout Them Lifts, Bro
Front squats 4×5, snatch grip deadlifts 3×10, sumo deadlifts 3×10, cuban press 3×10, L-laterial raises 3×10, cable rows 3×10 and finished with my hip exercises.

My numbers for the snatch and sumo deadlifts are really low. I could only pull 30 kilos. Same with my other exercises, just low-weight high-rep. Not really building strength, but just enough to keep fit.

Gimmie A Finisher, Bro
If you aren’t aware of the Cuban Press, then here it is. One of the best ways to maintain shoulder health and stability because it works the rotator cuff. External rotations and laterial raises, via side-lying or pulleys, are other exercises that work the rotator cuff.

A weak rotator cuff means a weak shoulder, and a weak shoulder is one that is susceptible to injuries. Obviously weak shoulders are a bad thing in jiu-jitsu.

If you notice in the video, there is no weight being used. That’s because the aim is to work the muscles, not fatigue them. The rotator cuffs help to contribute to the overall strength of the shoulder, so overtraining these muscles isn’t a good thing.

Feel free to add the cuban press, as well as other shoulder health exercises, on the workout days that aren’t upper body days and hopefully there’ll be some improvement in strength and mobility.

Sounds Chinese, Looks Like Fun!

If you take Judo throws, wrestling takedowns and a rule stating you lose if any other part of your body aside from the bottom of your feet touches the ground, then you’d have Shuiajiao.

For more wrestling goodies and a good dose of “grappling is an international language” articles, head over to Tim Foley’s Wresting Roots.