Thursday, 19 January 2012

The importance of Variation

Another weekend and another adventure, this time I headed to Icon BJJ in Milton Keynes. Unfortunately I had to drag myself out of bed and get on the 6.24 train to London again as I was aiming to get to MK by 9.30 to start training at 10.

The session was busy as the guys who train at Icon Holland had come over for a visit. After a very quick warm up we immediately got into a long session of sparring 8 minute rounds. Being so early I felt it took a while to wake up and get going but after about an hour I was well into a jiujitsu groove and rolling more fluidly. The following day we went over a half guard sweep and escaping from back control and had a slightly more relaxed sparring session (only 5 minute rounds).

The last few weekends made me think a little bit more about the importance of variation in training. It is my experience that when you have been training with the same people for a long time you start to relax too much. As you know the way they play rolling strategically can minimise energy expenditure. In other words, it is easy to get stuck in a rut.

The great thing about doing some training at a different club is that you have to work harder as you do not have a good idea of peoples skill levels or what type of game they play. It is perfect training if you have a competition coming up and want to push your self, with the Europeans looming it was exactly what I needed. So if you have the chance make time for some BJJ adventures of your own and visit a friends club to get some variation in your training. I enjoy learning new drills and different teaching points for the same techniques. You also get to take back some new techniques to try out on your unsuspecting team mates!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Pre European Competition Sparring

This post is part 2 of my exciting weekend of training. Following a busy day at S.K.J I headed over to Derby to do some competition sparring for the Europeans. At the time I wasn't really sure if I was even going to go, as I mentioned in the past I felt a bit unsure about my purple belt and where I was at with my BJJ. As I was coming all the way from Brighton Rebecca, one of the girls that trains at GBD, kindly let me stay the night at hers so I felt much more rested up and ready for some training than Saturday.

We arrived at Gracie Barra Derby at 12.30, the club has a traditional dojo feel and has a matted area as well as a caged off section for MMA. As people started arriving I recognized lots of familiar faces and it was great to meet some of the blue and white belts that were new to the sport since I had been over seas. Christine took charge and made sure we all felt welcome, suggesting that we begin with some specific positional sparring and finish with some rolling at the end. This worked really well and gave me a good idea of the area's I needed to work on, girls move a lot differently than men and I think what most of us don't get much practice of is maintaining an on top position and working on attacking.

I rolled with Leoni, who I used to train with at BJJ school, she said I felt much stronger than before which made me feel a lot more confident as she trains and competes at a high level and is someone I have always looked up to in the sport. All in all the training session left me feeling confident in my abilities and I decided to man up and enter the Europeans. I have only done the nogi British open and competed in MMA since getting my purple belt, so I think I need to start challenging myself more to progress and improve my BJJ.

Hopefully there will be more sessions like this in the near future. Sometimes its just nice to meet up with other girls that understand the madness of training in BJJ. Back in Eastbourne I have begun pestering everyone to train some Gi with me, Tolly already had me sparring from standup with Joe and Lee, and I think I have a pretty solid game plan to work.

Some further reading for you Femme fighters article on the Grace Barra Derby girls

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sticks Kicks and Jits

This weekend I ventured up to the Midlands to S.K.J martial arts in Leicester. Organised by coaches Caz tweedy, Abigail Steady and Jo Hicks, the event offered a taster of 3 different martial arts, grappling, kick boxing and stick fighting. Caz, Abigail and Jo are all established athletes in their chosen discipline's and regularly strive to cross train in different martial arts. They have launched S.K.J to offer a friendly and safe environment for women to learn and practice martial arts, and are one of the few clubs to offer such high quality female coaching.

I arrived slightly late, sleep deprived and overdosed on espresso after catching a very early train from Eastbourne. When I arrived there were already about 20 women present for the first unofficial part of the event, which was a 2 hour nogi grappling seminar taken by Caz. As there was a range of skill levels present Caz started off with some hip mobility drills to warm up and emphasise the importance of hip movement in grappling. She then went on to drill the correct base and technical stand up for fighting with an open guard. The main techniques that we covered were escaping side control and passing guard both of which Caz explained very well, emphasising the importance of arm and hand positioning and where to frame to be able to move the hips. Caz is an excellent teacher who's passion for grappling is apparent and infectious. She is able to break down moves into clear teaching points that even women with no grappling experience at all were able to pick up quickly.

Taster session

The main emphasis of the event was to give a basic introduction to the three main disciplines taught at S.K.J martial arts. At midday we were joined by another 30 women, some of which had a wealth of experience and achievements under their belts and others who had never so much set foot in a dojo until that day. Jo Hicks gave us our introduction to kick boxing starting with an energetically lead warm up followed by a good stretch, after which we worked on the basic jab cross combo followed by some side kicks on the pads. Next Caz ran through some grappling basics, being such a complex sport it is hard to get a feeling for grappling in such a short space of time but Caz ran through some fundamentals and explained the positional progression of the sport well. Abigail had the task of choreographing 50 women and sticks into shape. We learnt 4 stikes and 4 defence moves finishing with a disarm, which brought the session to an end.

I hung around catching up with some friends and watched the stick fighters do some sparring which was beautifully brutal and interesting to look at at. I spoke to Caz and Abigail after the event and both were happy with the turn out and looking forward to the future of S.K.J. Well done ladies it was a well run event with excellent coaching and left everyone feeling happy and confident with some new found skills. Please check out the photo's from the event taken by Joy Foulds