Sunday, August 19, 2012

It sounds so over to say "I want to give a shout out" but I feel I should

In lieu of actually doing a damned review or two, I figured I'd throw out a list of gear manufacturers that I have enough respect for to actively pimp out on this here site.

In no particular order (and I'll maybe actually add links at some point):
  1. NOGI INDUSTRIES - always and forever. Period.
  2. Origin BJJ - Pete puts together a hard-to-beat package - a fantastic gi - gorgeous AND sturdy - paired with a matching long sleeve rashguard (sublimated, no cracking and peeling, y'all), stalker-fast shipping, and always great customer service.
  3. Atama - my original gi of choice, started with em, and still have every gi I have ever bought from them in perfect condition (if a little faded - my fault, not theirs)
  4. Clinch Gear - recently picked up a few pair of their shorts, and I'm really digging the freedom of the flex panels, and especially the lightness of the fabric and how very quickly they dry during these summer months of profuse sweating - mine and my partners'
  5. Brute kneepads and sleeves - Good stuff, and helpful as I wander in wrestling, although I'm clearly between sizes, as usual.
  6. Shoyoroll - love the gis, HATE the process of getting one
  7. World Martial Arts - Some ridiculously good instructionals coming from these folks - Ryan Hall's stuff, Pablo Popovitch, Robson Moura, Roberto Abreu... not to mention some older classic collections - Saulo, Marcelo, Mario Sperry. Quality stuff, and they seem to always have some kinda sale going on. Quick shipping here, too.
  8. Getting its own mention: Ryan Hall's dvds from WMA. Really, really well done, explained well, details, and realistic presentation - I especially dig that he focuses on entries, since dammit nobody will just hold still and let me just throw these damn moves on them. I mean, DUH. 
  9. Stephan Kesting/Grapplearts - anything the man so much as sneezes on is gold. Especially,
  10. Emily Kwok & Stephan Kesting's DVD series on dealing with larger, stronger opponents. I keep going back to it - easily what is getting the heaviest rotation on my dvd player. EASILY. 
Let's limit it to ten for now. After all, I'm already late for open box at crossfit :-/

let's go do some cleans and jerks and snatches. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

As Ice Cube said, I gotta say it was a good day

Great ways to start your post-chore Saturday morning - a text from one Butch Hiles saying "I'll be at the gym in 15 minutes, if you can make it"


What followed was the least hellacious nogi session I can recall in years. And that is a wonderful statement to be able to make after weeks/months of feeling incredibly stupid with my nogi game. There's still plenty of room for improvement, but it was nice to just not feel like I was wasting my time.

I thank wrestling for a lot of that. As I'd hoped, the mentality there is bleeding over. I kept a loop playing in the back of my head "move forward, never backwards" "get fucking meaner" "control the hips/head" and "move move move" -- again, room for improvement, but something piercing my thick skull is always a good thing.

Later, trying to work on some single leg X guard was frustrating, but that's just going to be something that maybe comes around later on. I maneuvered over into it at one point rolling, but that was from someone standing in my open guard. And that's fine. But trying to swing around and into it when my opponent is kneeling is just going poorly. For now. It'll evolve. Some more drilling, who knows where it'll emerge as an entry/option.

I'm adding it to the bucket list along with tornado guard and berimbolos as something that I think may someday be cool to add to my game, but aren't ideal right now maybe, given my body shape/limitations.

Guillotines also snuck in today, which is not something i normally go to. Again, wrestling's influence. And I was so shocked to see it so naturally fall into place- I'd only worked on some front headlock escapes this week, and thereby some guillotine type moves. With short T Rex arms, I tend to bail on chokes early, if not outright ignore them (stupid, I know), but now? We'll see. I still wish I had longer arms to achieve Brabos and their ilk.

That's okay, I'm sure my training partners wish I had longer arms too. With my blatant disregard for most armbar attempts, I'm sure I'm due some payback there.

Guard passing got sloppier as time passed. I was lazy, stuck with standing guard passes at first. Foolishly chose to start trying kneeling passes only once the mats were slicker than snot on a door knob. Really need to develop some discipline there to work hard for the kneeling passes, regardless of height differentials.

On the way out of the gym, it was also really cool to have someone tell me they tried a simple open guard concept/suggestion and have some success with it. It wasn't anything earth-shattering - "just play around with your grips/hook placement when they stand up in your open guard" but seeing his eyes light up explaining how he'd gotten a sweep from it... this coming from someone who'd poo-poo'd the idea of open guard being an option. Pretty sweet.

Now I have to decide: wash these grappling clothes or burn them? Yuck.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I think BJJ has a restraining order on me

The work schedule sucks enough, random mandatory OT makes it even worse.

I can't seem to get anything resembling consistency going for any of my training - bjj, wrestling, crossfit, swimming... nothing. So I've been reduced to slapdash training by the seat of my pants. I abhor this, as I'm a big scheduler. I want things on rails. Plan plan plan. Nope nope nope.

I've added swimming back into the mix just as an afterthought, really. One of those "well, I can't do anything else, let's get some laps in" sort of things. Well, that and I find it calming. In light of the bjj/grappling being hit or miss, I find myself cagey as hell. That meshes poorly with a job in customer service. Anything I can do to temporarily calm myself has to be good. And it's a half hour or an hour with nothing vying for my attention. I'd do well to convert some videos to audio and maybe listen to them while swimming. Or some podcasts perhaps.

I think next week, I'll just make crossfit the focus. If that means I have to hit the 545AM class, so be it. I need something to be consistent, and crossfit is probably the thing most reliable in terms of scheduling at this point.

I'm digging wrestling still, although I'm just barely sticking my toe in the water at this point, in terms of what I've learned. It's a nice, brutal hour of damage, which is nice. I enjoy the challenge of putting in the work, even if it's only an hour before I seem to tank and diminishing returns sets in like a mofo. Maybe over time my conditioning will pick up. It'd be nice to be able to just plow through hours of training like I did in my 20s. I won't be holding my breath for that, though... as if I can find hours of training.

this is so frustrating. I was intending to enter my first tournament in early September. I may still, but I think it's ill advised at this point. Going up against people who train consistently. Who've competed plenty before. Who've won tournaments before. But I've watched them compete and thought "I could've passed their guard. Their open guard would've had nothing for me. They wouldn't have gotten that takedown on me..." and so on.

I don't know. It's like I'm stranded on a remote island where I can just barely see jiu jitsu on the horizon, but I'm no closer to it. And I freaking hate it. Because I know there are people just tripping over excess jiu jitsu in their worlds. There are people I train with who are sitting around the mats skipping reps, talking about a move they pulled three months ago, pulling off the same sloppy armbars like there's no tomorrow. And I'm sitting around wondering if I can put a gi on that spare heavy bag in the garage.

I'm going to find a way through this drought. I will not maintain the 200' distance.