Saturday, 22 August 2015

Toe Hold Mechanics - Technique of the Week

Hey Guys,

This week's technique of the week is one of my absolute favourite submissions, the Toe Hold, and it's the mechanics of the finish I'm focusing on.

The key points are:-

  • His foot should be pointed like a ballerina. To achieve that your left hand needs to be right on the end of his foot. That working on the end of limbs is a common theme. Where is the branch of a tree easier to bed, next to the trunk or on the very end of the branch. We all know the answer, so work on the end of his foot. Your left hand extends his toes and then rotates them.
  • But it is your right hand / arm that is really going to apply the submission and that's what many people aren't doing. Your right elbow comes up towards your face. That magnifies the effects of the Toe Holds significantly.
  • Finally, leading with the left hand, you take his foot towards his backside. If you imagine pushing his big toe up his backside, you won't go too far wrong.

And a final note on Toe Holds. They are International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) legal, but only at brown and black belt, and then only this version of the Toe Hold, when the foot is being rotated inwards, is legal. You are not allowed to rotate the foot outwards to apply a Toe Hold.


Saturday, 1 August 2015

Street, Sport and Art

Hey Guys,

I buy a few different Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu magazines. The above question, whether you should train for self-defence or competition, seems to be asked a lot at the moment. I get why people are asking the question. 

There is no doubt that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has changed over the last few years. The Guard has been really emphasised, with new Guards such as 50/50, Deep Half and even Worm. Takedowns have been really de-emphasised, as probably has winning by submission. A lot of people are now training specifically for competition and the self-defence aspect of their games has either been greatly reduced or even lost.

I remember the last time Chris Haueter visited us he gave a speech trying to reconcile "the street, the sport and the art". As Chris talked, I could almost feel a light going on in my head...then he forgot what he was saying, so we did a Guard pass. 

The movie isn't from our seminar, but is Chris delivering the same speech. I think more than anything this post is for me to put into words, for myself mainly, how I feel about the reconciliation of the 3 aspects of Jiu-Jitsu.

For me it all starts with self-defence. I wouldn't train in something that I think fundamentally wouldn't work in a self-defence situation. But it's also hard to train your whole life for an altercation you may never have. That's what's great about Jiu-Jitsu, sparring keeps it interesting and competition, if you feel so inclined, allows you to challenge yourself in a fairly safe way. Where I think it all goes wrong for me is when people start to distort their games by basing everything they do around competition rules.

So I agree with Chris, train the art. The art is everything, not just Guard and the essence of the art for me is takedown, Guard pass, Mount and submission. I believe it's absolutely essential to train self-defence and I'm more than happy to train sport positions or techniques like Spider Guard. It's when gameplans start getting distorted by the sport-specific training that I start to feel uncomfortable, like the sight of 2 competitors tied up in 50/50 Guard, each trying to score an advantage to win a match.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Side Control Kimura Variation - Technique of the Week

Hey Guys,

It's time for Technique of the Weeks again and this week I've chosen a variation of Kimura I really like. We worked it on Wednesday. 

I show 2 variations, one from Side Control, the other when your partner defends a Kimura from North-South.

Some people struggle with this technique and I've found that the reason is usually 1 of 2 things. Mainly it's the second things I'll mention.

  • In the first variation from Side Control, note it's the arm nearest his head that punches through the gap. You're working on a mistake here. He should never try and gain an Underhook by leading with his hand.
  • This is the most important thing in both variations I show. The rotation of the waist is what finishes the submission, so don't sit on your partner. In this situation you don't need to, he's pinned because of what you're doing to his arm. But if you try and sit on him, your closeness will weaken that control and you'll restrict your rotation at the waist.



Saturday, 18 July 2015

Minor Inner Reap / Ko-Uchi-Gari - Technique of the Week

Hey Guys,

I start off by misnaming this week's Technique of the Week. In Judo it's Ko-Uchi-Gari not Ko-Soto-Gari. You'll recognise it as we've been working with it a lot recently.

Remember the key details:-

  • I get tight to my partner, with my elbow down. A few of you are making the technique more difficult for yourselves by keeping (in this case) your right arm extended. 
  • When you sweep the foot, the action comes from your hip, not your knee and you sweep it out 45 degrees. And don't forget, the side of your right foot should scrape along the mat.
  • But don't forget, stand-up is the same as ground, all 4 limbs should be working. The split second his foot is travelling, you must use your arms to put his weight over the leg you're sweeping. Push into his neck with your right hand. That's one good reason you can't do this technique well with a straight or straight-ish right arm. Use your left hand to fold his right arm into your side.
  • And remember, what you do in training, you'll do when it matters. Finish in a control position.


Friday, 17 July 2015


1st Degree Black Belts
Steve Muckle

Black Belts
Graeme Allsopp
Ed Drysdale

Brown Belts
Simon Ball
Dan Boyle
Laurie Major
Chris McIntyre

Purple Belts
Drew Christie
Aldo De Georgi
Steve Handford
Adam Lowes
Dave Vincent

Blue Belts
Dan Allsopp
Norman Campbell
Lee Carr
Steve Fairbairn
Michael Serginson
Freddie Wykes

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Two Interesting Matches

Hey Guys,

It feels like there is an IBJJF competition almost every week now. They've posted a couple of movies from the Nice Open, which was last weekend, and the American Nationals, which is this weekend, which I found really interesting. 

The first match was the Black Belt Absolute final at the Nice No-Gi Open between Vitor Moraes  and Rafael Lovato Jnr. Lovato is an accomplished competitor and reflects the style of his coaches, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro. Moraes represents PSLPB Cicero Costha, who have produced a few notable competitors over the last few years, including Leandro Lo and the Miyao brothers. This is a definite clash of styles, with Moraes playing a very modern, sport-oriented game.

In contrast Roger Gracie's match with Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros at the American Nationals is old school. You'll probably be familiar with Roger. Comprido, who represents Brasa was Mundials (Worlds) Black Belt Absolute champion in 1999 and 2000. It's worth watching for Roger's sweep if nothing else.



Classes are:-

Wednesday - 7 to 9 pm
Friday - 7 to 9 pm
Saturday - 10 am to 12 pm

Wednesday is no-gi. Friday and Saturday is gi, but beginners may train in t-shirt and shorts if they don't own a gi.

There is also an Open Mat on Monday from 7 to 9 pm. The session is used by higher grades to work on their techniques. If you're newer, please be aware there is no teaching on Mondays.