Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Years Resolutions

Its nearly the New year and I seem to have a huge amount of resolutions!

1) Get my diet sorted: I haven't been eating enough as I've been so busy with work and house hunting so looking forward to returning to my healthy eating patterns and cooking more now I'm a bit more settled. I think I will ditch alcohol again after last new years I stopped drinking for about 5 months and i noticed the difference to my fitness and lifestyle.

2) Get back into training: I've had about a month off as I've been a bit stressed with the move and all my free time had been spent house hunting and getting settled into my new job but no more excuses! I have a lovely new flat seconds away from the gym 20 minutes from work and about an hour from Brighton its hideously expensive but ticks all my boxes so I just need to budget with an iron fist and everything will be all good. Going to somehow fit capoeira back into the mix too I miss the relaxed vibe the music and movements it stops me getting too stressed from bjj.

3) Enter every single competition there is!
check out http://www.fightyear.com/
this website for news on all the coming years competitions and events. I want to do a lot more no-gi this year too and maybe more mma in march if I get back in to training seriously.

4) Learn a new language: I started learning Portuguese as it's interesting to understand more about bjj and capoeira. This is a great website there is a lot of free material and its very interactive I have the premium membership just for a bit more help with grammar and speaking and its brill or "muito legal"

5)Be happy: I spent the whole of 2010 being a grump for various different reasons but I've realised I have a lot to be thankful for my new job is great and when I manage to balance my time better I have loads of wonderful friends and family here in the UK that I want to spend more time with.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, I think I will go into work for a half day then meet my mum and brother in Brighton for lunch, my best friend for dinner then party the rest of the night away :)

Monday, 20 December 2010

2010

I think its normal for most people to contemplate and summarise things in certain blocks of time, I haven't been thinking of things in a long term way in a while so its weird to be facing the end of the year in just a few weeks. Lots of new things have happened which have drove my life and my bjj forward but a few stupid things have dragged it back.

Mistakes are hard to deal with and address correctly in bjj. One of my biggest ones is always sitting back and playing defensive or guard with bigger people or even if I get a little tired as I know I can fight better from there. However In competition it let me down as I gave two points away by sitting back out of habit. Whats the best way to change the faults or mistakes we make? I've tried to be more dominant and aggressive when training to get me out of the bad habit of just giving up and relying on what I am comfortable with. I guess the first step is actively thinking about things as bjj has a large mental aspect that compliments the physical side.

I'm trying to look forward to the future I signed up for the Europeans in Portugal in January, it will be the first really big competition I will have competed in and despite the fact that at the minute I would rather curl up into a ball and hibernate somewhere till winter is over I think the hard work and training will help and I always seem to feel better when I have a goal or purpose to work towards.
All the people who have been part of my life this year and helped me in anyway I'm sorry if I didn't appreciate you more at the time or let you and myself down.
I will make 2011 a more positive one.

To end on a more positive note and in similar style to some of my fellow bloggers All I want for Christmas is....

1) Kul tatami Christmas special a gi t shirt jumper and bag for just 100 quid

http://www.tatamifightwear.com/product.php?id_product=123

2) Pretty much everything from the fightergirls.com






Happy holidays Oss!

Monday, 22 November 2010

English open and Seminars

Finally got a new charger for my laptop!!! October and November have been non stop! Started my new job which I'm really enjoying. Logistically still not settled into London yet, looking for a more permanent place to live which is such a hassle. I like living in east London because its so easy for work but I want somewhere closer to training!

Had my first real competition experience at blue belt at the English open a couple weeks ago. My day started at around 6.30am in Mcds in Brixton I was happily munching on an egg mcmuffin when this huge fight broke out, so it was an eventful start to the day. Drove down to Kent with my coach and a couple team mates. I wasn't fighting till 1.30 so had plenty of time to chill and watch some good fights from the bjj school guys. My fight in my weight class were pretty crappy I think i lost by 2 points to Vikki and the same with Tiff all I remember is getting caught in half guard and not being able to escape. I did better in my weight category fighting 2 lighter girls to begin with and then Tiff again at the end where I won by advantage. So that was gold in the absolute and bronze in my weight. I felt the difference in my fitness more than anything which shows I need to be training more. Luckily my Friend at work is going to help me with some S&C. I'm still trying to decide about fighting at the Europeans mainly due to the high probability that I will be as always completely broke but will decide within the next few weeks.






Another busy week ahead and a couple of really good seminars with some amazing female fighters to look forward to so try and make it to them if you can!

Wednesday 24th november at London fight factory with Shanti Abelah a brown belt


And another with Gazzy Parman on the 12th of December http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=171449496207116

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Cutting weight without crash diets and dehydration

When considering the optimum nutritional plan for BJJ it is first important to consider the energetics and physiological demands of the sport.
I will begin by analysing the energy demands of a typical training session. Based on this I will give information on how to calculate your daily calorie, protein carbohydrate, and fat requirements. I then briefly talk about pre and post training nutrition needs and how these differ when maintaining weight and cutting weight. Finally I will talk about the dangers of cutting weight by crash or dehydration methods.

Training session
A typical training session can be anywhere between 1-2 hours long and in most cases will involve a warm up which includes a mix of running, breakfalls, and other acrobatic and gymnastic type movements to warm up all muscles of the body and prevent the risk of injury during sparing/rolling/grappling part of the class.
15-30 minutes of this type of activity when performed at an intensity of 70-80% of heart rate maximum is likely to burn around 100-300kcal depending on size and how hard you or your coach dictates.

This is usually followed by static and dynamic stretching and drilling certain techniques or movements and usually lasts 30minutes to 45 minutes often preformed at a lower intensity of 50-60% heart rate max. Again maybe 100 calories or so are burnt depending on what is being drilled.

The most demanding part of training usually occurs while rolling which is usually sparing from the knees against an opponent for an average of 5 minutes, this can go on for 30 minutes to an hour in an intermittent or continuous pattern depending on how fit you are/mat space.
The intensity while rolling can vary depending on sparing partner and is hard to measure with a heart rate monitor, however while browsing through studies of other martial arts including wrestling and judo it would appear that this type of high intensity activity could burn anywhere between 400-800kcal and hour.
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/calories_burned.asp?exercise=212
Gives an average estimate based on weight bare in mind this is probably the calories burnt when sparing only.

Simply put, the demands of training BJJ are pretty high! My estimate is that after a good 15-30 minute warm up, 30 minutes of drilling and 30 minutes of rolling the energy expenditure during a typical session could would be between 600-1000kcal for someone my size possibly more for heavier guys! This type of work out requires muscle glycogen stores to be full at the beggining to avoid the onset of fatigue during training, and immediate replenishment after, espacially for those of you who are training everyday or more frequently.

Nutrition for general training
It is essential when training and competing to think of the food you eat as fuel, in order to perform to the best of your abilities your body needs to be hydrated and your muscles need a good supply of energy provided by carbohydrates. The recommendations I make are based on common principles of sports nutrition that will provide you with enough energy to have good training sessions and aid you in your recovery between the next sessions.
First step Calculate basal metabolic rate BMR

Women weight in kg x 22
Men weight in kg x 24

This figure is then multiplied by your daily physical activity level
Mostly inactive or sedentary 1.2
Fairly active (walking and exercise 1-2 times a week) 1.3
Moderately active (exercise 2-3 times weekly) 1.4
Active (exercise hard more than 3 times weekly) 1.5
Very active (exercise hard daily) 1.7

This should give you a good estimate of the amount of calories you need to eat daily just to maintain your weight and is the energy used by your body to maintain essential processes. For those of us not cutting weight you can then break down your nutritional requirements as follows



Pre and Post training Nutrition
The timing and combinations of food we eat can have an impact on how we feel in training. If possible eat a good meal containing protein, carbohydrates (2.5g per kg body weight) and healthy fat 3 hours before training. You can also snacking on small carbohydtate snacks such as bananas and cereal bars 1-2 hours before training begins. After training there is a 2 hour period where depleated glycogen is replenished more rapidly so if possible you should manage to eat in this time. Aim for something with around 60-80g of carbs (more carbs the bigger you are) and 20-30g protein revovery has shown to be facilitated by combining a carbohydrate and protein snack. Many people shun carbs after training or late at night but for purposes of a speedy recovery make sure you manage to eat at least 1g per kg of body weight after an intense training session.

So what does all the training eventually prepare us for? In competition fights can last 5-10 minutes and to get to the finals you may have to fight as many as 10 matches in popular categories so you have short intense burts of activity separated with short breaks, highly taxing on the anaerobic and aerobic systems. Not something you would want to enter feeling any less than 100% energised. Sadly many people rely on crash diets and dehydration to cut weight leaving them feeling weak on the day of competition.

Cutting weight safely There are many studies detailing the use of extreme methods for cutting weight in martial arts athletes and I’m sure we’ve all made the mistake of trying to cut too much weight a week before competing.
Rapid weight loss and dehydration are know to adversely affect performance and can cause the following:

• Reduction in muscle strength and anaerobic power capacity
• Increased resting and sub-maximal heart rate
• Decreased cardiac stroke volume resulting in decreased ability to sustain work at a constant rate
• Lower oxygen consumption
• Impaired thermoregulatory processes
• Lower plasma and blood volume
• Depletion of muscle and possibly liver glycogen
• Difficulty of glucose homeostasis
• Altered hormonal status
• Reduced immune function

For those of you who have expericance these kind of sympotoms in competitions it is a sign that your body is not getting all the nutrients it requires.
Weight loss by achieving a negative energy balance is only one part of the equation. The foods we eat and the proportions in which we eat them are of equal importance and determine if weight loss is a result of losing fat mass, fat free mass or water via dehydration. Ideally when cutting weight we want to lose fat mass while retaining muscle as this results in better performance in weight class sports. To do this weight loss should be gradual and diet should be healthy and balanced.

Reducing calorie intake by 15% is enough to promote healthy weight loss



You can play around with percentages till you find something that works well for you but remember to eat enough carbohydrates to give you energy and aid recovery Usually 5-7g and enough protein to encourage maintenance of muscle mass 1-1.6g and aim to eat low fat products when ever possible whislt still including healthy essential fats.


SUMMARY

BJJ is a physically demanding sport, it is important when training regularly to consume enough calories and eat a diet that is healthy and balenced.
Consider what times you go to training and ensure you eat a good meal 3 hours before giving you enough time to digest.
Post training recovery is facilitiated by comsuming a combination of carbohydrates and protein in a 3:1 ratio with 1g of carbohydrate per kg body weight.
Set realistic and safe weight cutting goals (for most people this is around 0.5kg a week)
This can be achieved by reducing your daily calorie intake by 10-20% and moderatley reducing carbohydrate and fat intake
Do not leave it all to the last week or rely solely on methods of dehydration!


Further reading on nutrtion
(this post was based on elements of sports nutrition that are supported by most mainstream research, I personally think we don't need to eat quite so much protein or use an abundance of supliments to excell in bjj)

http://jiujitsubrotherhood.com/2008/09/nutrition-for-jiu-jitsu/ Talks about the importance of eating natuaral foods and not so much animal protein

http://lloydirvinmarylandbjj.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/nutritional-goals-for-a-brazilian-jiu-jitsu-athlete/ stesses the benefits of fruit and vegetables and setting goals for nutrition

http://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-tips-for-fighters/8-nutrition-rules-for-bjj some easy simple guidlines

http://jiujitsubrotherhood.com/ Info on the evolutionary way of eating that is becoming more popular - more on this later :)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Busy BJJ

I've been moving around a lot the last few months relocating from Bahrain to the Uk, and then Eastbourne to London. Some how in amongst all this I even found time to go chill in Brazil for three weeks. To put things into a BJJ perspective this has meant saying goodbye to Alliance Bahrain where I had been training for the last year, visiting a couple schools in Rio, catching up with all the First Generation BJJ lot in Eastbourne and becoming part of a new team BJJ School in London.

I think all the travelling and chaos has probably been affecting my game, I've felt quite disconnected and unable to focus on one thing at a time. But hopefully over the next few months things will settle down and I'll start to feel a bit more normal again. Is it weird to say that the thing I'm enjoying most about being back in the UK is being part of all the fun BJJ goings on again.

I was lucky enough to be part of the second first generation BJJ grading with Ze Marcello and Tolly Plested. For those of you who have heard of Eastbourne the last thing you would probably associate it with is Brazilian jiujitsu or MMA but thanks to Tollys excellent teaching and commitment the team has a grow from strength to strength with a number of talented guys and girls that kick ass at competitions and represent BJJ and MMA in the south east.

Some pictures of the grading by Nasryne Ramazannezad







Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Eastbourne, London and Brazil!!!

I Had a fun night training at My coach from eastbourne, Tolly Plested's new place at fitness first. He separated from the old school and has now set up
First Generation BJJ, teaching Brazilian jiujitsu, boxing and MMA.
CLASSES TAUGHT AT FITNESS FIRST, EASTBOURNE, SOVEREIGN HARBOUR.
MONDAY BJJ 8-00
WEDNESDAY BOXING 7-30 WEDNESDAY MMA 8-30
FRIDAY BJJ 6-15
SATURDAY MMA 1-00
SUNDAY BJJ 1-00



Any one training BJJ in the south east should check it out he's a great guy and amazing teacher as you can tell by the huge turn out at last nights class!

Well in other news the last few months have been busy, stressful and emotional but things seem to be falling into place at last.
I arrived back in London about a month ago now and wonder of wonders actually managed to find a job! Well as I haven't signed anything making it official yet I'm still worrying that they will call me and say they changed their minds or something! The job is working as a health advisor for bupa in central London which is really relevant to my degree and has jujitsu friendly hours which means i can still get to training as much as I want.

Which just leaves me with the small dilemma of finding somewhere to live. Well if any one is reading this and knows London at all they can help me out, I'm caught between living in east or west London, I'm going to start training at bjj school and they have locations in both east and west London so I'll be sorted where ever I decide I guess. East is cheap and close to work but west means i can get back down to Brighton to train sometimes and see my mum and brother.

To top it all off an impromptu holiday to Brazil (yes Rio de Janeiro baby!!!)for 3 weeks probably isn't going to make things any easier in terms of getting settled in but my parents helped me out with a ticket and as this will probably be the last time I get to go away any where for ages (new job and all)! I can't even think of the words that could convey how excited I am about this! I'll try and post as much as I can while I'm there becasue I've been such a grumpy blog neglecting shrew the last few months.

Lastly some fun pictures from the Terere seminar at Bjj school, enjoy meerkatsu's skills in making me look like a mega poser hehe



Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Summer blues

Another gap without posting for ages I have reasons but they mostly suck so I wont get into them. All I know is that yesterdays training put the fear into me to never stop bjj for such a long time again. I felt physically exhausted and actually unfit for the first time in ages and I hated it.

Just a few quick memo's to anyone who's stopped training for over a month
1) tape your fingers!!! (my skin had gotten soft ripped off on peoples gi's for anyone that hasn't experienced this it hurts like hell!)
2) Buy some gatorade and eat properly before (I felt literally every muscle in my body screaming out for fuel not a good feeling)
3) Keep a Strong mind even if your body is weak (its hard not being able to do what you used to find really easy but you got there before and with hard work you will again)

Last night was circuits where 3 people are in the middle and you drill certain positions today was guard and I got gassed so quickly and it was a rude awakening on how hard jujitsu is when your not above normal levels of fitness. It was a bit of an emotional session but i'm glad I pushed and got through it after weeks of making excuses and generally being a "big girls blouse" as my dad would say.

A bunch of the guys from the gym went to Brazil last night to train at Alliance in Sao Paulo, they are staying there 1 week and then going to Rio to compete. Having experienced Fabio and some of the other alliance guys teaching I am pretty jealous but it will mean they will bring back some new skills to share with all of us so I'm looking forward to that.

Alliance Exchange from riosportstour on Vimeo.


Planning on coming back to the UK for a couple weeks to see my family and friends. As cool as the middle east is the 50 degree heat is starting to get to me, even the short walks from the car are unbearable and I"m starting to get cabin fever from being cooped up. I really feel like a nice walk along the seaside and up by beachy head or sitting outside at a cafe in London as opposed to running from one air conditioned safe-haven to another. And it will be good to maybe visit a few different bjj schools get some new gi's and generally just enjoy jiujitsu with a variety of different people.

I'm off to have a read of all my other favourite blogs and plan some fun stuff for summer, maybe I'll even manage to convince my aching body that it can handle another session of jits tonight!!!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Laziness

Me and bjj seem to have fallen out at the moment for a combination of reasons 1) I was sick with tonsillitis 2) my coach went back to Brazil 3) I'm pretty broke and jiujitsu is expensive. Its annoying everyday I don't go i get more angry at my self for not going but i cant seem to man up and just get back to training.

For the past two weeks I've binged on everything in sight so I decided enough was enough and started eating healthy again. Cooked a yummy chicken and roast pepper stew with wild rice. Other than that just steering clear of sugar its my biggest foe at the minute.

Decided that until I get back to jiujitsu I would start working out again

10,9,8s of bench press, floor wipers, dead lift, squats, bent over row over head press push ups and kb 1 hand swings with 30 seconds skipping at the end it takes roughly half an hour to complete but it kicks my ass think i could go slightly heavier on the weight next time though

today I just did a full body work out with light weights on the Swiss ball, 10-20 reps 3 sets I don't know if it was hard because I was a bit stiff from yesterday or if I just have become a useless fatty but this also kicked my ass and took about an hour including the warm up.

In other news an old student of Reza's has opened up a new school. I don't really know what to make of this, the thing with Bahrain is its so small that theres only really room for one of most things. For ages we only had one phone network and now a few competitors have sprung up and the amount of hullabaloo it has caused is actually pretty amusing. So whether the other school will be successful or not only time will tell.

I think i just see how well everyone else is doing with their training and I get jealous that I'm here in Bahrain and cant get to any of the competitions. Thinking allot about moving back to the UK or just anywhere else but need to get some savings together first.

Well to motivate my lazy ass here is the video of the woman's under 63kg final in AD which I was lucky enough to see in person. It was really kul to see female fighters at such a high level.



Monday, 3 May 2010

A forgotten post Abu Dhabi World Pros 2010





A forgotten post but thought I would put it up anyways :)

So much has been going on since I wrote last I don't know where to begin, there's been the Fabio Seminar, World Pros in Abudhabi, and most recently our coach Rodrigo went back to Brazil so now Reza is teaching all the classes again. I have a lot of feelings about all these things but at the risk of this blog post sounding like a teenage diary I'll make this more of a newsflash with those three things being the headlines if you will.

Well I'll kick things off with a run down of the world pros easily the best competition I've ever been to. We arrived into Abudhabi earrrly in the morning and went straight to get weighed and signed in. We weighed without gi which was different to most of the tournaments I have done. Girls were fighting under 63kg or over and I had no problem making under 63 without the gi. The same could not be said for my team mate who had to do a few laps in the sweltering heat before their weight checked out, lay off the mcdos Ali hehe.

We got checked into the hotel, which was soo big it kind of reminded me of the battlestar galactica or something! All meals were provided in a privet hall that they had set up to feed all us hungry fighting types and probably to keep us away from more esteemed guests. The rest of the guys headed back to get some zzzs and I hung around chatting to some of the other competitors as my fight wasn't until the next day.

In typical Arab style and to avoid the heat, as the fights were outside in a tennis stadium, fights started around 6pm and went on till about 12pm. The first day no one managed to place in their weight categories despite winning a lot of fights and we went back to the hotel for the second buffet meal of the day and the guys decided who would go in for the open weight.

The next day I was fighting first against Hillary Williams which was pretty kul but also kind of psyched me out waay too much, as reza said I already gave up before I even fought. Crazily for the Middle East it started to rain just as we were about to fight so there was alot of lingering before, I don't even really remember much just that she pulled guard and I could not posture up at all then I tapped to cross collar choke. Actually You can watch it here :)


The rest of the female fights were really good to watch my friend Jess from South Africa won her fight with a really good arm bar from guard. I've never seen first hand girls fighting at such a high level so it was inspiring to watch. By the end of the day two of the guys managed to place third in the open weight category which was really good for us having such a small team.

All the final matches would be fought the following day. While over on the mats drilling some techniques I nearly had a heart attack when the mother of all fireworks displays went off in the middle of the competition, some people had to fight under this huge distraction of lights smoke and ruble that was raining down onto the mats. To most of the fighters credit they fought on seemingly unbothered by all the ruckus, I guess too focused to be rattled by the noise but it was very odd, and it happened every day.

The day of the finals was also the day we were heading home on an 11.30pm flight or something but the guys had to stay till the end to get their medals and it was nice to watch the ceremony. We had to do a crazy mad rush to get to the airport in time but luckily we made it because by this point I was getting tired and grumpy. The winners of both the under 63 and over 63kg female finals were both from Alliance Luanna and Gabi. I know that some of the guys are going over in July to train at alliance in sau paualo. I'm saving like crazy to be able to go but it might not happen this year.

So there you go better late than never the Abu Dhabi world Pro trails for the 2011 tournament are already being organised as we speak I was talking to Ze Macerlo when he was down to do our grading and he is in Abu Dhabi planning how the European and UK trails are going down. Good news for all you female fighters there is now a white/blue belt category and while I think the weight categories are still under or over 63 this means that they are taking us female fighters seriously and after the performances from last years competitors I'm not surprised! So train hard and go for it I say with $3000 prize money up for grabs and everything free if you ace the trials this is a must do competition :)
check out here for more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Professional_Jiu-Jitsu_Cup_2011

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Aches pains and omoplatas

I recently had to confess to Rodrigo how terrible I am at omoplata after him always pointing it out and me just ignoring him and hoping he didn't notice. I don't know why but its just a move I have never been able to master. Today we spent a while after morning class drilling omoplatas from every imaginable position and now i"m thinking arhhh why did i never put in the time to learn this before! I want to try it out on people now i feel all restless and will probably dream of it tonight as i usually do after staying up too late and watching videos on youtube, bjj can be hella obsessive sometimes.

The way Rodrigo taught omoplata from guard was different than I remember learning it before or the method described in my two go to bjj books "essential guard" and "jiujitsu university".

He starts by gripping the arm on the same side and has a lose cross grip on the collar and brings his knee up with the foot sitting on the hip
He then puts his other foot on the shoulder and pushes it back using it to turn his body and straightening his other leg at the same time securing the arm in the omoplata position.
He straighten both legs keeping a tight grip on the arm and forcefully brings them down together which gives alot of momentum and he is able to sit up quickly and change his leg positioning to secure the position.
He switches grips on the hand so his arm is able to block any attempt to escape by jumping over and then holds the belt and moves his hips out to flatten the opponent He uses pressure with his two forearms to secure the submission.
It took a lot of drilling but I think I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

Demian Maia omoplata




Referring to the aches and pains part of the title I am feeling soo stiff taking tons of vitamins for my joints "joint care" from seven seas 2 a day and 1 evening primrose and fish oil hopefully if i keep taking them religiously the stiffness in my hands will cease. I'm also trying to stretch my hands and try to work on my grip strength more and use a lot of hot water then joint ease cream in the morning haha crazy but I think the joints in your hands need to be taken care of and mine are pretty overworked at the minute! Skipped evening class the last two nights and feel a bit better but still not fresh, maybe I'm over training slightly so will try cut back a bit and so lots of yoga and keep eating more as I find it hard to eat enough at the minute.

Any other painful hand relief methods would be most appreciated I know rest is probably the best but TIJ!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Training Buddies

After going to the UK I realised how much I miss being able to train with soph and do things like ladies open mat, so I'm hoping that I can inspire ladies in Bahrain and the Middle East to give Brazilian JiuJitsu a try! If your reading this and don't have the faintest idea what BJJ is or what a typical class would involve then don't worry, when I first started I didn't have a clue what I was doing and had a very limited experience of martial arts hopfully this post will help you to gain a better understanding.

What is Brazilian Jiujitsu (or BJJ for shorts)
Brazilian jiujitsu was developed as a means of self defense against larger stronger individuals. The aim is to get the fight to the ground using a throw, takedown or pulling gaurd (see in the video how pippa (blue gi) pulls gaurd on leoni). Once the fight is taken to the ground you will need to reach a dominant position from which you will try to make your opponent submit or tap by applying a choke or joint lock (at the end of the video leoni successfuly reaches the mount position and manages to pass pippas defenses and get an arm bar submission making pippa tap out and winning the fight).




Helio gracie, who developed the art of bjj, was a small guy and would have been unable to successfuly beat bigger stronger opponents if he relied only on strength.

Many of you may feel more comfortable practising standing martial arts such as karate, taekwondo or kickboxing as the actions of punching and kicking are more familiar, bjj may seem daunting as it focuses on fighting an opponent from the ground and you may not understand the complexity of what is going on when watching people wrestling for the first time. However don't be put off by the unfamiliarity, Bjjs advantage is that smaller weaker opponents can develop the skills of leverage, positioning and working with momentum to defend and attack bigger stronger individuals. For this reason it makes it an excellent form of self defense as it lets you develop a sense of control and co-ordination needed to protect your self if you are ever thrown to the ground.



What will a typical class involve?
Class will usually begin with a warm up which can sometimes include specific condidioing drills to improve fitness. The coach will then show a few techniques whereby people will partner up and practice these positions. If your new your first class will usually involve going over some of the basic positions with the coach or one of the more experianced students, so don't panic about getting thrown in at the deep end, there will be plenty of help available and you can go at your own pace. After a you have become more familiar and condfident with some of the basics you can put what you've learnt into practice by rolling (another term for wrestling or grappling) with your training partners. The aim here is not to kill each other or see who is the best but simply pracice and develope your technique when under a bit of pressure.



The Benefits Of BJJ
Like all martial arts bjj can help to boost your confidence and self esteem by making you feel you have a greater sense of the capabilities of your body. Training regularly can improve your physique in two ways. 1) Grappling has a high energy demand meaning a large number of calories are burnt when training which can assist in reduced body fat. 2) Grappling also helps to develope lean body mass (mucles) which increases your metabolic rate, which is the best way to maintain a healthy weight in the long term. When i started BJJ i Couldn't do even half a push up and weighed about 67kg after about 6 months of training 3 times a week my weight had done down to 60kg and I can now happily rep out real push ups with the guys. I also compeated in a number of tournaments and felt more confident. Training gave me the chance to meet new people and be sociable in a healthy environment, it made a change of scene from the constant partying I had been doing at uni.

I hope this has helped some of the ladies to see that BJJ is a great martial art to learn and one that woman can really excel in. Don't be put off if the class is full of big grunting men, most of them will not be phased by your presence and go out of their way to make you feel welcome and help you out. Don't just take my word for it check out a whole host of other blogs by female authors that love jiujitsu at http://bjjgrrl.wordpress.com/women/women-resources/

If your in Bahrain and are interested in starting a class check out Reza's martial arts accadamy there are classes 6 days a week 10am-11am then 7-8.30pm its located in Sar/diraz I will post a map soon! I would also be interested to hear from any females training in or near Bahrain i.e abu dabi, dubai qatar, kuwait, and hear some of their experiances on training out here so leave a message if you or anyone you know wants to arrange a womans only training session like the ones going on in America, stockholm and the uk.


This clip shows how BJJ can be used by woman to fight a stronger opponent using good technique

Friday, 19 February 2010

Spree vs Steal rash gaurds

Just a quick post :) Primark have some t-shirts that are quite good for training they are long, stretchy and have a high neckline, there are a whole range of colors to chose from, I got pink blue black and green. I get one size smaller than usual so its extra tight. At 2 quid a pop they have to be my bargain buy of the holiday, If you want to be even more economical then you can wear your normal t shirts backwards so they are more bjj friendly!

If your feeling like spending a bit more cash then I love the tatami rash guards, they are tight and don't make me feel like I'm being strangled. Some of the other rashgurds for females are such a thick material and better suited for surfing. They are available in pink and black and cost reasonable 10 pounds (some rash-guards can cost up to 40quid!)steel

steal vs spree



Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Back in the UK!

Well I'm having a quick holiday back home, it started with a 7 hour flight via Doha 1 night in London then off to my aunt's 25th wedding anniversary, which, for a huge family event went down without any drama or scandal as can be the norm when my family are all contained in one place. Amazingly my nanny wasn't wearing anything covered in sequins or from topshop, my crazy aunt managed to avoid seducing any of my cousins friends the underage drinkers did so responsibly, and the dinner was yummy. I am somewhat worried that with an average of 3.5 puddings a day and an extremely large Scottish cooked breakfast that i will go back to Bahrain a kilo or 2 overweight so when i got back to eastbourne i stocked the fridge up with everything healthy and wholesome my chocolate detox begins now!

Back to BJJ, I went training at canton last night, I was a bit nervous but once I saw all my old friends I had a great session. We started off with a quick warm up maybe ten minutes compared to the half an hour at reza's which considering my numb feet made me very happy. We then drilled 5 different take downs 20 times each including a 3 judo take downs which i can never remember the name and 2 single leg take downs. Tolly let me do the stretching and I threw in a few yoga moves which was met by a lot of grunting haha i love me some stretching. I really liked the moves we drilled, I had nearly forgotten all the attacks I knew from side control so it was great to go over some and fun to have Sophie back to drill with. What was even nicer was having a good 5 rolls at the end it was good to test some of the stuff I had learned at reza's with the guys here, although I was so excited that my usual slow and steady approach was replaced with wild all out combat!

I am very tempted to go to slough tonight and see all the guys from BTT but i think my mum would kill me, and I want to go see Anna and check out her gym in Worthing on Thursday so tonight I think I will go for dinner with her and my brother in Brighton. I'm even more tempted to stay a bit longer but I need to get my ass back to Bahrain and work so I will try to enjoy every minute of my hols and squeeze in as much bjj time as possible!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

training this month and Fabio Gurgel Seminar

Training this year has been pretty hit and miss but I seem to be getting back into the swing of things. I'm writing this after a 6.30am driving lesson and let me tell you driving in the Middle East is an adrenalin filled affair, lanes exist purely as a rough guideline of where you should be and people seem to think nothing of swerving into oncoming traffic or going off road if they have to que for more than 5 minutes. Anywhooo I'm looking forward to coming back to the UK for ten days in February, unfortunately it doesn't co-inside with any kul bjj related events, other than getting to go to canton and btt and train with my old team mates but I am hella excited about it!

Things at the academy are good, we hopefully have someone starting to teach yoga which is great because lately our stretching in class has been non existent. I'm still doing capoeira every now and then and might start more after the abu dabi comp or if i ever pass my test and get a car!

The big news is we are having a week seminar with Fabio Gurgel, one of the co-founders of Alliance in April, there might even be a whole gang of his black belts coming with to train at the academy before the abu-dabi world pros so that will be something to look forward to, here is an article in gracie mag about our school in Bahrain http://www.graciemag.com/en/2009/12/alliance-heads-to-the-middle-east/ hehe I'm easy to spot in the picture due to my mega pink gi!

I keep getting pissed off every time i get an event invite for something in the English bjj scene that i can't go to I feel like I'm missing out on a lot but I'm trying to keep focused on training here. Reza now teaches the basic alliance course on 3 days of the week which I'm still trying to get used to, there's alot of self defence techniques and details on some of the moves that I haven't seen before, theres 25 lessons all in all and we're up to 16 but I think we will need to go through it a few more times before I get the hang of everything.

I'm reading a lot of books at the minute, one being jiu jitsu university which I amazingly found it in a book store here. It made me chuckle when I read that blue belts should be working on mastering escapes as I feel that's all I had been getting good at lately. Another book is The essential guard, carrying on from my last post I am finding this a good book for helping me to attack more as there are lots of Nice submissions and it progresses through attacking and defending closed and open guard. I always find that books or a dvd can give you a bit of extra motivation which I have defiantly been needing at the minute. I think this weekend I will put up some shelves because my book collection is getting slightly out of hand and Alex is getting increasingly concerned that the huge tower of books on the bedside table will collapse in the night and bury him while he sleeps hehe.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Thoughts on Motivation for 2010

My coach keep mentioning that I need to start developing my game for competition and start taking a less defensive approach when rolling. Based on that comment this post is a brainstorm of sorts on how to develop a competitive game when you don't have the option of sparing with suitable competitors, for me this would be someone a)female and b) anyone weighing less than 65kg of which the academy is certainly lacking.

Not having a suitable sparing partner is not the end of the world but it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages and how your game could be lacking because of it. I'm sure most girls training bjj have had their concerns on such matters met with the old "training with the guys is better for you, it will make you stronger then when your fighting with girls you'll kick their ass!" For me fighting with guys who are often bigger or stronger means I have to really ensure my technique is perfect because i do not possess the strength to compensate for small mistakes. I feel its important to point out that in all my fights my opponents have never been lacking in strength, i feel most girls training bjj have that one covered, so don't think you will be able to destroy other girls when you get the chance to fight in competitions. The most important lesson you can learn is to perfect technique and "neutralise the aggression" * of your bigger stronger opponents when training as this is something that you can use to your advantage when competing.

So what are some of the things I have been doing to get me out of my usual routine and think more in terms of how I would roll to develop my competition game rather than just survive the 5 minutes and be happy that some 85kg guy was unable to completely crush me.

Roll with different people - this may seem fairly obvious but I've gotten to the point where i know who I like to spar with. I how to defend the moves they like to use, tell when they are getting tired and generally know I can survive 5 minutes without any real threat of injury. After the 5 minutes are up I'm happy I managed to defend against their attacks, escape or reverse positions and maybe control them in my guard but is this a performance I would be happy with in competition - hells no - In competition I want to be continuously attacking and controlling my opponent not just simply surviving. I am forcing myself to ask someone completely different to roll with each class because it means during that roll I'm out of my comfort zone and in a different mind set. **

Work your brain not just your body - I train a lot, some days if I'm tired and stiff or just in a bad mood its easy to just make it through training without really thinking too much. After the warm up, conditioning, and drills its easy to grab the same old training buddies and just flow not really thinking too much about your performance when sparring. I have been trying to avoid this and make sure that its not just my body working but also my mind. I try and think strategically about my opponents the same way I would in a fight, I love bjj for its tactical side you have to be able to think and make connections between moves constantly.

These are the two main things that have been helping me to think more positivly about developing my game for competition. Some more general tips would be to get your friend to score points when you are sparing to see where you are losing or potentially giving up points and just to remind you of the rules when compeating. Attending as many semiars or open mat sessions as possible(there are more and more womans open mat sessions being hosted, unfortunatly there are none in the UAE or Bahrain)can really help give you the chance to roll with different people closer to your size and see how you do in a non competative environment. Its a good feeling to finally see how much more fluid your game can be against an evenly matched competator, it might not be easy but you will definatley feel the 20kg differance when your executing a nice sweep.


* quote by Hellio Gracie
** (this being said there are still a select few guys I avoid rolling with at all costs, the ones that crank submissions, crush me with their knee on belly and shoulder to the face, or even worse just lye on top of me for the duration of the roll, I know bjj is not a sport for the faint hearted but these people will always have the mind set of taking every roll as an opportunity to crush and destroy their opponent by any means seeing each tap as a personal victory and I don't feel I learn anything by sparing with them.