So here we are. I've been inspired to start a blog detailing my attempts to learn Brazilian Jiujitsu. The culprit for this is the blog of bjjgrrl which can be found here: http://bjjgrrl.wordpress.com - should be required reading for anyone starting out in BJJ, especially for little people like me. I'm around five foot six tall, and weigh around 60kgs, or roughly 130 pounds.
I'm bad at blogging and I'm bad with sticking with the things that catch my attention like BJJ has, so this should be an interesting and likely failed experiment. BJJ is more likely to stick than blogging, because I've definitely enjoyed my early classes.
So what are the threats to my continued BJJ-ness?
- I'm a lazy individual.
- I don't live ANYWHERE near the gym.
- Full time work, Part time university.
So what have I done so far? I'm 6 or 7 classes into my journey, taking BJJ Fundamentals. Hour long classes, a pretty large group of people who have all been training less than 3 months, supervised by one purple belt named John. I like John, he's small like me and he seems like he knows his stuff. Unfortunately there's one of him, and there's lots of us. Not so conducive to actually getting help if you need it. That's ok, I've been in fundamentals class before a few years ago (was working nights, couldn't stick with it) and I've seen the absolute basics before. Headstart. Nice.
Vague recollections of lessons so far:
Warmup. 20 pushups / situps / squats. Not so bad, my fitness levels suck, but I can do those.
Hip escapes (bring feet up to butt, bridge hips, roll to side onto shoulder, extend legs to shove hips out backwards)
Single leg hip escapes (same as above, but bring up only one foot. Roll away from that foot)
More stretching, then line up and do hip escapes, single leg hip escapes down the mat. These are probably useful for something right? Care to tell us what for? no? Ok then.
Ok, kinda tired, but not bad.
Grab a partner. Find the only guy about my size (possibly even smaller). He looks happy to have someone not 15 kgs heavier in class. Apparently he's been training 4 nights a week (2 beginners MMA classes) for the last 4 weeks. Good. He should know stuff.
Introduction to mount. John does a spiel on why mount is good. That's reasonably obvious. Demonstration of armbar from mount, specifically when partner sticks his arm up in the air, either to bench-press, choke or attack your face. I have seen this before. Hands on either side of target arm, then together in center of partners chest to lift weight up, Up onto your feet without lifting your weight off opponent, pivot to put your legs across your opponent, pin arm to chest and sit back, bridge hips to finish if necessary. This is a crap description of the armbar, but I know what I mean. Note that it's ideal if partners thumb is pointing upwards, otherwise it really doesn't work so good.
Drilling armbars. Small guy is helpful. My balance sucks. Eventually get a few decent ones.
Demonstration of Kimura from mount. Pick an arm, pin it down next to partners head, far side arm holds partners wrist, other arm slips under his arm to grab my own wrist, pull everything closer to partner's ribs, paint his wrist down the mat while slowly lifting his elbow. Pretty simple. Also a bad description.
Drilling Kimuras. Ow. Those hurt. Mental note, avoid being Kimura'd. Small guy has one very flexy shoulder and one that doesn't move at all. Good to know.
Demonstration of Rear naked choke. I've seen this before, but it's still impressive how effective this is. Basically, wrap arm around partners neck under their chin, grab your own shoulder. Other hand on back of opponent's head and pushing forwards, Squeeze.
Drilling those with partner sitting up.
Demonstration of how to take partners back from mount if they choose to roll. We're stopping at a position I believe John described as "side mount" (partner on side, one knee behind his head, other heel tight into his stomach). Sinking far side hook in as they continue to roll, sinking the other as they get up to hands and knees, then flatten them out. Apply RNC from the side which they didn't turn their head to.
Drilling those too. Awkward, but got the hang of it fairly quickly.
Next up, some position drills with resistance. One person starts on mount and has to try and stay on, or submit opponent. Person on the bottom has to escape. I'm starting on the bottom. Wait what? Wouldn't it be a good idea to learn how to escape mount first? No? Well ok then. Small guy says that he hasn't learnt to escape mount yet either. In four weeks. I would have thought that was kinda fundamental.
2 minutes is a fairly long time. Smaller guy likes Kimuras, mostly because I wasn't planning on waving my arms around for armbars, nor turning my back and getting choked. Plan is to keep arms close to chest, elbows close to ribs, and generally try and be as difficult as possible. Small guy managed to bully my arms off to the side for Kimuras several times, but every time he tried to actually lock it in, I bridged and he almost fell over, so I got my arm back. Nobody achieved much.
2 minutes on top. Small guy seems convinced that he can get his legs wrapped around me while I'm on mount. No. Lean forwards and shuffle as high up as possible. Working for a kimura, just generally trying to be heavy on top and see if I can get him to do something silly. Had an arm for an armbar, missed it badly. Eventually got a decent Kimura on the flexy arm. Small guy seems very gassed. Glad it's not just me. Slowly crank Kimura, hear a tap and slack it off a little to see if it was actually him. He says it was, I suggest maybe he's best of tapping me rather than the floor with so much noise and chaos going on.
Time. Find a new partner, someone roughly your own size. Hmm. I'm actually really small. This shouldn't really be such a revelation. Next partner is half a foot taller and probably 20 kgs heavier. We did 1 minute rounds this time, and I don't really remember much of it. I do know neither of us actually achieved anything while on mount. I couldn't get rid of this guy at all, and had some difficulties holding mount myself.
Wrapping up the lesson. Good and tired. Survived. Excellent.