Supplement BJJ Training with Yoga

Yoga for BJJRecently I injured my left foot, where the toes meet the pad, it feels like it pops in and out of place when I stand up, with sharp pain each time it modulates. I talked to the doctor about it and he said likely a fracture, I should have come to him sooner, not much to do about it now except wait for it to heal up. Okay.

So I’ve been off the mats for two weeks, started training this week again, but no rolling, just technique. Skipping any chaotic parts of class so that my foot can get back to normal.

It’s working. The foot is getting better. But I’m feeling anxious about not getting the same level of physical activity that I’m used to.  Doing any weight lifting that requires bearing too much weight on my legs is out. So I thought I’d give some simple Yoga a try.

I’ve been thinking about trying Yoga for a while. My wife has tried dragging me to her classes. But with jiu jitsu, work, and everything else going on, there just hasn’t been time to give it a shot.

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John Danaher Leg Lock Instructional

John DanaherIt’s no secret that John Danaher and the whole Danaher Death Squad are leg locking machines. Danaher, the philosophical instructor at Renzo Gracie’s Academy in New York City, has been instrumental in developing his fight team’s leg locking skills.

John Danaher tells the story of how he began learning leg locks:

Dean Lister had been invited to their gym, and was having success submitting people with Achilles locks. This was new to Danaher at the time so he spoke to Lister after class.

Danaher: “That’s interesting what’s your doing with these Achilles locks, I don’t really do that at all, it’s not something I do”

Lister: “Why would you ignore 50 percent of the human body?”

According to Danaher,  that one sentence completely changed his view on jiu jitsu.

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What are Jiu Jitsu “Boyd Belts”?

Boyd BeltsThe term “Boyd Belts” in BJJ refers to a philosophy of training that Rener Gracie came up with in regards to rolling with people of different ages and weight classes. After having a conversation with black belt John Boyd, Rener realized that he had to come up with a way to describe what it’s like to roll with people of different ages and weight. Boyd had been having trouble grappling with a blue belt that was 20 years younger, and 60 pounds heavier than him. Boyd, feeling like he should have been able to submit the blue belt,spoke to Rener about it, and Rener came up with this concept that he later coined the “Boyd Belts”

Who was John Boyd? Boyd was a jiu jitsu practitioner and teacher at the Gracie Academy in California. He studied under Rorion Gracie, and received his black belt 11 years after he began. Boyd started training in his 40’s, and when Helio Gracie saw Boyd training he was impressed to see someone of his age on the mats. Helio offered to teach him a private lesson which Boyd videotaped and you can see below:

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Dean Lister Straight Ankle Lock

Dean Lister Ankle LockI’ve been having a lot of trouble finishing the straight ankle lock lately. And by “lately” I mean “always”. I actually go for this submission pretty often, but I end up exposing my ankle in the process and getting tapped out myself. It feels like people who can sink this ankle lock are able to add a ton of pressure to my ankle, while when I try it seems like I can exert all my strength and barely affect my partner. In this video Dean Lister goes over the details of the ankle lock, and one thing he pointed out is that you need to get your partners foot high under your armpit to get the most torque. I think this may be something I’m not doing. I certainly hadn’t thought about it while rolling. Next time I’m on the mats I’m going to give this ankle lock a shot with these details in mind.

Rubber Guard from Side Control – Marcelo Garcia

So here’s something you don’t see everyday, rubber guard from side control leading to a submission, for the guy that’s in side control.

We see in this video that Marcelo Garcia gets the sweep, passes quarter guard and starts to settle into side control when the guy in the blue shirt quickly attains rubber guard from bottom side control, and proceeds to sweep and choke with basically an inverted triangle. It looks like you need a certain level of flexibility and comfort with being stacked on the bottom to pull this off. Gonna have to try this in class this week.

Gracie Breakdown 4 Part Survival Seminar Series

I’ve been watching these videos today and getting a lot out of them. Ryron and Rener Gracie go in depth into concepts about defense, escapes, control and submission. What I like about these videos is they talk about jiu jitsu concepts rather than just demoing moves. Moves are great, but I find that I learn best when I can see the bigger picture through a concept based approach. There’s a lot to unpack in these videos, and I’m just getting into them so I can’t speak much about them yet, but wanted to share them here in case others would find them valuable as well.

Defend:

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Foot Scoop Single to Leg Drag Pass

Another great video from John Lawrence, owner and head instructor at Hurricane Jiu Jitsu. In this video he covers some details of how to chain together a single leg take down to a leg drag pass. He points out some important aspects in regards to handling possible strikes during the pass.

Fighting Off The Wall

Brick WallLast night at class we spent most of the evening working on stand-up self defense tactics. In jiu jitsu we tend to spend most of our time fighting on the ground, either off our backs or with our weight distributed on our partner. Anytime I work on stand-up I’m reminded of how different the strength and cardio requirements are. It gets even harder when you’re standing up and pinned against the wall. And harder still when you get taken down, pinned against the wall, with your partners full weight on you and your trying to stand back up.

We started the class with out typical warm-up of hip escapes, and then quickly transitioned into pummeling drills. These drills switched to pummeling “sparring”. After warm-up we started our wall work. One person would stand with their back against the wall, the other would stand in front of them, with double underhooks and attempt to keep them pinned there. The person on the wall had the job of getting at least one underhook, and spinning their partner so that they were against the wall. Back and forth we went with that drill.
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Prof. Jorge Pereira – Spider Guard Pass to Armbar

Jorge Pereira is a coral belt under Rickson Gracie. He is originally from Rio de Janeiro and has competed in many jiu jitsu and Vale Tudo matches. His best quote was spoken after a particulary tough fight with Alessandro Stefano, “A warrior doesn’t bleed, his honor overflows”.

In this video Pereira shows an awesome guard pass straight into an armbar. This move is a great example efficiency and effectiveness:

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Knee Shield Woes

I recently attended an open mat where all the blue belts had really great open guards. It was extremely frustrating (in the best possible way) to try to pass their guard. The usual pressure passing that I do just didn’t seem to work. They were able to handle the pressure well with their legs, and if I was able to beat their legs, then as I swung around to try to get to side control their far leg somehow made it’s way between me and their torso and I was stuck in open guard again.

I talked to a few people after the open mat to see what their strategy was, and they all said they had played a similar guard, essentially using a knee shield and variations to control me. Being only a blue belt myself I hadn’t really seen the knee shield used to such great effect, but as I understood it the school they belonged to focused heavily on guard all through the white belt curriculum. That was an “ah-ha” moment for me. I had also been focusing on guard heavily for the past year, but to see how effective a good guard game could be so early in a jiujiteiro’s development really solidified my thought that a well developed guard can lead to a more confident offensive game.

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