Saturday, 31 January 2009

31.01.09 Training

Today is the longest training day for me.

Friday, 30 January 2009


In a few weeks is the Bristol Open. This is quite a popular BJJ competition in the UK and seems to attract alot of top athletes. I was planning on trying to go to the Europeans Novice competition but the weak sterling means it would have cost a bomb, and as a first competition there were others to choose from. I think my game is at a suitable place to begin competing and getting some experience under my belt. I'v done a local no gi tournemament and won the light weight division and came second in the heavy weight (loosing to my current BJJ instructor!). I am in the black rashguard, finishing with a RNC and arm triangle.

So its times to step it up a notch and get serious about doing well. This got me thinking about game plans and how to approach a strategy - no point just showing up and seeing how it goes! Right now my game revolves around pulling guard and trying to get a triangle or trying to get the back. Is this enough? I don't know; I have been told I need to be more aggressive. Work, work, work. Just need to keep working at it. I have a bit over three weeks to work on my game til the Bristol Open. I think its best if I focus on what I am good at and work on my guard - while I am happy being elsewhere, the guard is where I fell strongest. But I do find myself getting stuck there if I cant pull off a submission. Maybe I need to focus on some good sweeps to advance my position if I find myself getting stuck. Work, work, work.

While I didnt have any BJJ training today, I did go to the gym to do some weights. Before, I used to focus on pure strength training and getting as strong as possible. Recently I have been mixing it all up and getting alot my workouts from . They provide great workouts involving all aspects of functional strength and compliment BJJ quite well. Todays workout went:

power cleans/ front squats/ power cleans
2 rounds of 5/5/5 reps
2 rounds of 5/5/5 reps
2 rounds of 5/5/5 reps

Kettle Bell press x 1 min
50 burpies
3 rounds

Was short and brutal. Tomorrow is a very busy training day. I have 1.5 hours training at Canton Martial Arts followed by 2 hours at Sparta Gym for Tolly's private class. Will be fun! Till then


Right now I am in the middle of my first set of exams for my final year in my degree of Business Management and Marketing. But no matter how hard I try to focus on learning about self awareness and self development for my managing people module, I cannot help but be distracted by the constant stream of BJJ thoughts entering my head. It's way too easy to drift over to my laptop and read one of the better BJJ blogs around. Right now Gringa BJJ has got my attention and I can easily spend half an hour reading old posts. I finally gave in to the urge to distract myself from my revision and take a bit of time to feed my addiction so perhaps I will be a bit more productive afterwards!

One thing that I have noticed is that the UK is still quite young in terms of BJJ. There are only a handful of blackbelts in the country, and even fewer British blackbelts. I am quite lucky as my training at the moment has me going to two different schools. One of them is in Eastbourne at Canton Martial Arts and is a fairly new class, only running for around 3-4 months now. We are all white belts apart from the instructor who is a purple belt, Tolly Plested. It is a great learning environment and perfect for the beginners, currently training Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Twice a week I will head up to London to train under the head of BTT Europe - Ze Marcello, with my instructor as this is his school where he trains at. I think these sessions help me the most as there is a huge range of experience there and we easily have 7-8 rolls in one evening, which helps me to practice everything in my game plan and figure out where I am lacking. It is a huge pain as there drive is 1.5 hours if we are lucky, but is definitely worth it. Its also great motivation being surrounded by so many higher belts and having Ze teaching. On top of this, Saturday afternoon usually entails going to a different gym, again with my instructor Tolly, where he runs a private class for more experienced people. So overall, right now I am getting in a huge amount of training and it has helped my progession speed along at a good pace.

I grew up in the Middle East on an island called Bahrain, where most of my family live at the moment. While Bahrain has only one BJJ school, it is a great facility with a top black belt and many purple belts. Classes are long and hard, with their team travelling many times a year to compete in Abu Dhabi, Jordan and even Thailand! This is where I got my very first BJJ lession last summer, and train there whenever I am back in bahrain. This Christmas, the head instructor Reza awarded me three stripes on my white belt after their grading. This was a great incentive as, because of all my moving around, I end up training with lots of different teams. I only train at Reza's for a few weeks, maybe a month tops, when I visit Bahrain on holidays so it was nice to be acknowledged as part of their team by getting some stripes.

Well thats a bit of information about me and my short BJJ experience so far. I think its time to get back to work and do some revision as exams are getting closer and I am not getting any smarter in terms of Business Management! On a separate note, I am sure everyone is aware of the financial crisis going on at the moment world wide. I came across this quote the other day, which was a scary prediction of the problems we now face in the capitalist world. Just something to ponder on and wonder about...

''Owners of capital will stimulate working class to buy more and more expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable.

The unpaid debt wll lead to bankruptcy of banks which will have to be nationalised, and the State will have to take the road that eventually leads to communism. ''

Carl Marx, 1867

Anyone scared? A prediction made in 1867 has pretty much summed up our situation. Indeed, even some of president Obama's recent policies are leaning towards socialism! Hmmm....

Thursday, 29 January 2009


The purpose of this blog is to primarily keep track of new BJJ moves and tactics I come across in my training. I will also talk about goings on in my life and general things that I want to mention and talk about. Right now I am in my third year of university in the UK at Brighton. Most of my family live in the middle east and Italy so I tend to travel quite alot and my training takes place under several different schools. So why set up a blog? When I started training, I was happy to learn the moves and try not to get submitted too often. Now that my game has progressed and I am thinking more about my game plan, I find myself easily forgetting moves. Good moves! Moves that I like and work for me! So I'm going to be writing about moves that fit my developing style and any other training ramblings that are going on. It will be very nice to keep this going for a while and be able to look back at my progress! Right now I'v been training BJJ for around 6 months, with a couple extra months prior to that in a bit of grappling and no gi. My current schools are Reza's martial art center in Bahrain and BTT Europe in the UK.