Monthly Archives: August 2010

See ya soon

Well last blog for a couple of weeks as I fly off to sunny Tenerife for a couple of weeks on Friday but I have made arrangements to go and roll with Gracie Tenerife 🙂

So a few thoughts/comments/random mind bursts before I go.

Dave K best of luck and good will against Jeff Monson, keep that snowman stood up use your reach and that stinging jab and sting and win, I will be down tonight to help out where I can tonight.

Ross P keep working on our Tag Team Gi’s and when I get back we will push for Tag Team MMA and BJJ titles 🙂

Chas just keep on rolling buddy and keep the little future champion pushing forward.

Hayden you will be missed bro keep you and the lovely Jade well and come back and see us soon as a purple belt man.

Naz and Yousuf see you seen guys enjoy Eid

Gregg and James get well soon

And all in all guys here at Gracie Barra or who roll anywhere have a ball, be safe and see some of you in a couple of weeks.


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Filed under BJJ, Holiday

The See Me Rollin’

I also considered the title Shrimpin’ aint easy

First things first, Dave and Chris well done at the show you are a credit to yourself and too us all. Much respect also to all the fighters who go out there and put it on the line and cheers to John K for sorting us out with a great night.

As I have said before love to all my friends fasting for Ramadhan and for Naz and Yous who are still rolling my hat (and my hair :-)) is off to you. Finally James F you are a star Hollywood get well soon these chest infections can be nasty.

Well I am back and rolling and it got me to thinking about training and the way that we all learn and progress.  There are of course a number of ways to learn BJJ and the various moves and nuances.

Books are good I have some really good ones which I do refer too and also keep my own little notebook about certain things I have learnt or the sequences of moves and how they link.  Be careful what you buy and if you do want to go this route as with any other then it is probably good to check with your coach as he will be able to help you chose good suitable ones.  Of course you are trying to learn a flowing moving art form from static words and pictures which is more difficult.  I also believe that until you have been a few times and learnt a few things you will struggle to visualise quite how things look in real life, I certainly did.

DVD’s are also a good source of learning and again I do have a lot of these some of which I really rate very highly and try to use some of the moves in my classes and competitions.  You have the advantage of many angles and of actually seeing the move done in real life, in motion and often with little variations and adaptations.  It is a good way to work out what it should look like but of course it is someone else doing the move, someone who knows exactly how to do it and probably does not have the same body type as yourself, certainly true for me every time :-).

Then there are classes, seminars and private lessons these are great as they allow you to work with your coach who is after all the person who is there to help you develop.  Also you are the one actually doing the move, you can put it into action and work out what does not work, find out why it does not work and put it right.  You also get to see the move from the outside when it is demonstrated, much like a DVD but you also get to see it from the inside when you are doing it and these are poles apart as experiences go.  Often I actually will ask John to do a move or submission to me, so I can see what it looks like close up and from the other side of the table, this I find helps me both in doing and defending.  So classes and the rest are your bread and butter this is where you will learn the basics, the fundamentals and the moves that you use as your basics starting point.  As I have written before I have learnt that I need to adapt some moves in a sparring situation to suit me and the action but without knowing the basic move properly you have no starting point to build from.  This is why I will always try to attend both the beginner and the intermediate class that John holds at the forge as you always have something to learn and build on.

However I do honestly believe that your game will only go so far without the next part that I consider the hardest but also the most valuable for my game both in the gym and in competition.  This is the rolling, free sparring, hard positional sparring and whatever else it is called where ever you may be.  This is where you learn that one move works on one body type and not another, that you can get one belt with a move but another counters and taps you.  It becomes clear that sometimes your basic defence or position works but at other points it doesn’t and that is where you need to build.  Last night we were doing a half guard pass from the top, now for my whole time in BJJ, this has meant a slide into side control.  Last night my good friend Fiddy countered this slide and almost instinctively I found myself on his back, hooks in and then a roll to nice seat belt grip.  Everyone looked surprised, Hayden ever commented “since when did you take people’s backs?” and Fiddy said I was becoming a machine, which is true sadly it is a vending machine as I told him last night.  However I was probably the most surprised of all, but it became clearer as I had a think about it, all those books, films and classes that showed me the way had allowed me to learn what I needed to do, so when finally pushed in a fight like situation it became almost an almost autonomic reaction.  It just happened, and that is what rolling will give you, it will give you those challenges that you have spent all your time learning about, however do not get me wrong this does not mean it was as graceful, elegant and smooth as a swan, it was still like a 300lb combine harvester but at least it happened and worked.

So the point is that learn all you can, always, this is something I believe in as much in BJJ as any area of my life.  Go to class, train and learn remember coaches like John or whoever your coach may be are hard to find and will help you go as far as you can, in the end for most of us we ourselves are our only limitation.  Just make sure you always stay around for that sparring part, the rolling time, this is where you develop your game make it ready for competition, improve it for your next stripe or belt and add to your armoury.  This is where your fitness will be tested, pushed harder than you will push yourself as someone else is also there dictating the pace so you have to keep going.  These are the times you get to roll with the higher belts, often even your coach, John has kicked my butt many times, and you will learn so much from doing this, as I know at the forge these guys will sit down afterwards and go over what went on and what you could do.  It is where you will earn the respect of the club and also learn what your body can and cannot do, where  your boundaries are, which are often further than you think, it is at the end of the day the time where you will start to get ‘it’.

Finally to all at GB Sheffield, John and all my friends, BJJ keeps me well physically and mentally and is a big and important part of my life, my gracious thanks.


Filed under BJJ, Blue Belt, forge

Time Out

Now with title included 🙂

Sam well done on another win and Taff well done on that 4th stripe.

Fraid this is another one which is just the ramblings of a fairly fed up BJJ car wreck of a man 🙂

Well this last week or so has been too busy at work and to compound my injuries I have now come down with a fairly nasty chest infection which last time I had it at the back end of last year got a bit serious to say the least.  This all leads to a few things, the long work hours and extra days in work means I cannot meet up with the strongest little man I know my good mate Chaz, in a timely UFC manner which is the first one in some time, sorry bro.

It also means that I have to put training on the backburner for a few days if not longer, Wednesday was the last time I went.

Now previously I have written about the fact that time out may be a good thing as it will allow ouchy things to stop hurting and body to heal.  Looking at this I am not so sure really, I am never going to take enough time for everything to get better (lord knows that could be years :-)) so maybe it is actually a counter productive thing.

It is odd all in all as mentally a few things occur, I obviously miss training as it is my release from what is becoming an increasingly pressured job with longer and longer hours, secondly I hate to think I am missing out of new techniques and teachings from John and the rest, new things I could use, adapt and add to my limited arsenal.  Finally I miss my mates down there as the Forge and the people in it have become a big part of my life now.  So as odd as it sounds I miss seeing the likes of Gregg, James, Naz the Samurai, Chaz, Lazy lazy Steve, Taff, Hobo Rich, Hayden, my new mates Ross and Damien, Dunc, Fiddy, Antony the ninja and the rest.  Couple the fact that I am far more grumpy both at home and at work the picture is complete 🙂 yeah that is right even more grumpy than usual and man I am grumpy.

Physically it is also an odd one as I am (hopefully) not going to miss too much so the ouchy things will not get the full chance to heal.  Then when I return they will just feel that bit tighter due to the rest.  Also the things that you get used to such as the Goldson patent knee on belly which moved to knee then elbow in chest and finally the hideous knee in kidneys seem to hurt that much more.  Your receptors and threshold have in order sharpened again a little and dropped you are in effect reset no longer used to the punishment.  Thus on return it all feels new, painful and not something that is much fun, but as it is the nature of the BJJ best I will put up with it.

Also it seems that the tiny amounts of cardio I have built up vanish in a couple of days sat round coughing and wheezing.  Even the patented run round in a circle 1,2,3,4 drill for a warm up seems like an ultra marathon.  Well even more so than usual as I admit the whole running thing is not my bag any more.

So in conclusion as with a lot of things in BJJ I am left confused, time off is both great and awful, it both helps and hinders, you both heal and yet feel more pain, I sleep better but worse and finally you are fitter but much less fit, however one thing I do know is it makes me miss rolling, my mates and coach at the gym and BJJ in general.

I’ll be back……………….


Filed under BJJ, injury, John Goldson, struggling

The nature of a Team

After my last post and the response to it both on line and in person it got me to think about the nature of a team and the difference between one in name and in reality.

I have spent most of my life playing team sports with the main one which I was pretty decent at being Rugby League.  Now my main bulk of games over a number of seasons were for differing junior and academy level teams for the Sheffield Eagles RLFC.  I loved it absolutely loved it and when my knee injury came it was devastating both physically and mentally.  However now I look back on it and on my team mates who at the time I thought meant so much to me as we were such a tight team and I wonder.

At the end of the day I got a few messages and some folk stayed in touch, even to this day, some went on to become top flight international players almost all didn’t.  But even through my time playing I realise one thing now, yeah we wanted to win and to do well but most of all ‘I’ wanted to do well.  Not just me but every player in the team thought first of ‘I’, admittedly yes we were younger and there would only ever be so many contracts so we had to scrabble with our team mates to be top dog.  Scoring a team try was great, being the player to score it was amazing, note I played prop and only got 1 career try :-).

Now do not get me wrong we were a team as of course we always had a common enemy, the opposition were the number one focal point.  However tucked away was the fear that in defeat we would look bad or that someone else’s dropped ball may reflect on you as the man who passed it.  Also I was as guilty as any when players got hurt, they went to the back of my mind normally as that as just the way.

Now this was in a ‘team’ sport one where the value of team was pushed so hard every week, live as a team die as a team and all that, but it was not true I have seen man of the match go to someone on the losing side more that once.  It was just not as it seemed back then I guess and this has been brought home to me by GB Sheffield.

I am struggling at the moment that much is true both with injury and with my state of mind/focus/confidence/chi/force/wax on wax off call it what you will.  Yet as you will often read individuals state BJJ is at the end of the day a solo sport, you roll on your own in competition and you win or lose on your own.

From what I have found however this is just not true.

I have been to a couple comps and come back with (as they say up north) nowt, but never once did I feel like a failure or had let the team down and I was always in the team photo line up.  Of course personally it hurts but at the gym it does not matter you are applauded for going and representing with honour and pride and then helped with the areas that let you down.

Since I have been hurt I have been asked numerous times how I am and how I am getting on by a lot of folk (update elbow will not straighten, foot is limiting me to two sessions a week max, so about as fit as normal :-)).  Last Monday I went down to training after my last post and folk just wanted to help me, Fiddy gave me a clinic on starting from knees while not starting actually from knees, and yes bro I have been working in it.  Naz, Ross, Chaz, Yousef et al came to chat and see if they could help in any way on stuff I was struggling with and James ‘Spin’ Fairclough suggested that I was not going through anything no one else had been through.

The whole atmosphere was one of help assistance and understanding, one of a real team.  It made me think of the times that I have sat watching others at comps with GB guys sat round me competing or just watching and I was never thinking of anything other than they guy competing.  For them to do well for themselves and represent us with all their skill, win or lose does not matter as the fact that you are there under the banner and have put yourself in the spot light is what matters.  Your effort and the manner which you conduct yourself is applauded and that is what matters when you get back from the gym.

It is the same when it comes to belts and stripes, you can see in people’s faces that they are genuinely pleased for you when you achieve one as it is a boost to the team and to the gym.

What is this down to, is it the ethos of “Organised like a team…Fight like a family”?  Yes it probably has something to do with this, but more so I put it down to two things.  John our coach fosters the team thing, never pushing it but making it something we all understand, we need to be there for people as they will be for us.  Never do something to your team mate you would not have done to yourself and above all remember we all matter to each other, we are as strong as the weakest member (who at the moment is probably stronger than me, so I guess then it is me :-))

The other thing is the people, a genuine, decent, friendly and helpful bunch of folk who I would do all I could for, despite that maybe not being that much as my skills are fairly limited unless you need a database building :-).  These are the foundations of the team and of my progress so far in this sport that I only regret not finding earlier.

So two final things, good luck to Sam on Friday as he furthers his impressive fledgling MMA career.

Finally without the numerous guys I have mentioned so far in these posts and those who I have not mentioned because I am terrible with names you know who you all are and thank you.


Filed under BJJ, injury, John Goldson

Not that easy

First of all James, Naz, Karl, Jake, Yousef brilliant well done on your stripes and Rob fantastic stuff a well deserved purple belt, you are a machine mate, well done all.

Well I wrote a week or so ago about how I had conquered the fear which I knew was holding my game back and hey presto that was it all sorted all good onwards and upwards.

It would seem around 10 days later this is not the case and for some reason my crisis of confidence is worse than ever.  Yeah the poorly elbow and my lame foot have not helped but I just feel like every time I roll I am going to get beaten and I am not sure why.

It starts as we approach on knees, I am admittedly worried about going over my foot again but even for the time before that it seems that no matter the size and weight advantage I have I end up getting steamrolled and knocked to my back/side where I have to work back or often not manage too.

From that point on it just seems to go downhill and I will end up tapping to something I would have got out of a few months ago or just defending to a draw.  So it seems the resurgence that I hoped to have had has not actually come to fruition and I am not sure why.

One of my issues is that I do not feel like I have the attacks that many others seem to have or that I am too clumsy to pull them off.  Big Man Jitsu is great but when it does not work and I need to fall back on pure technique it seems that if Plan A does not work I end up reverting to back to the same Plan A.

Many of the chokes and certain movements just feel very laboured to carry out or that when I do try them my size counts against me and the movement is too slow with too many gaps.  Then I work on that and find that I bring the control and close the gaps but in doing so my own weight which is controlling my opponent counts against me and my ability to pull of what I want to do.  Couple that with the fact that it feels like everyone I roll with is getting better and better and my general malaise is intensified.

Now do not take this as a moan or a whimper or even a white flag as it is none of these things it is just a statement of where I feel I am.  I am well aware that I roll with an extremely talented team of individuals coached by a truly world class coach and that I will take some defeats, that however is not the issue.  I keep pushing myself as hard as ever maybe even harder and yesterday I struggled to get out of bed in the morning I ached so much sadly it just does not seem to be getting me anywhere.  The main problem is the fact that I feel I am not putting up as much of a fight or offering the threat that I used to be able too.  That I am not giving my best and not for the want of trying, if it was purely effort I could push myself through it but it isn’t.

Maybe I need to be more serious which is something I struggle with,  I enjoy rolling and I love the learning behind BJJ and the skill of the sport so I tend to approach things with fun at heart.  It is a relief from a stressful job full of long hours and I relax when I get there, maybe just too much  This could also be part of my downfall so I will make the effort to try and be more serious see if it focuses me better.

So what else am I going to do about it, well that is the thing I am not sure to be honest.  I have made a concerted decision as of today to really look at my diet and I am only going to have the odd drink at most once a week as both diet and booze have slowed my weight loss to zero.  I am sleeping very poorly after training and I need to work out what is causing this, apart from the usual aches and pains of course J.

As for rolling and the like I am not too sure, I think it may be a case of back to the drawing board to re learn some things and build up again talk to John and the more talented guys at class (most of them) who are always willing to help.  So I guess it is a case of watch this space…..


Filed under BJJ, injury, struggling