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BJJ Training Log 1 - December 11, 2020

In my third class of BJJ1 in CR we did a series of stretches, went over a new technique, and rolled.

I. Stretching

During the warmup Jarrid led a series of stretches, many of which I was unfamiliar with. We did a sequence that involved the wrist. These involved getting into a push-up position and lifting the palm off the ground while keeping the 4 fingers (not the thumb) on the ground. Then we got into a push-up position where the hand was bent so that the fingers pointed towards the toes and the back of the hand was lying on the mat. More advanced students were able to do a pushup from this position.

Injury prevention is paramount in BJJ, improving flexibility is thus a necessity. I have always been stiff - can't bend over with straight legs and touch my toes. Stretching can be worked on outside of the gym, so looks like I'll have to add some yoga to my life.2 From preliminary interwebs searching and advice from my sensei, I have learned that static stretching post-workout, where one tries to extend the range of the stretch upon exhalation, seems to be one of the more effective ways to increase long term range. There is no need (or perhaps even ability) to increase the length of any tissue, stretching is about turning off the nervous system's automatic contraction response when muscles reach their maximum range of motion.

II. Technique

The combat technique we went over is a little involved and has many components, it's not worth it for me to write down the whole sequence. Rather, it's best to note a fundamental that I learned from studying the complicated technique.

While drilling the technique, I was struggling to put pressure on my opponent as I was laying on top of them. Another student, Nacho, taught me an important lesson - when your knees are on the mat while lying on someone the force you are applying to your opponent from your own weight is dramatically reduced. The proper position when on top of someone is to sprawl your legs out wide and rest on your toes and lean forward so that the weight distribution is maximally placed on the opponent.

III. Rolling

I rolled with more energy as I had at least some small idea of what I should be doing during my battles. I found it useful to tie one of my opponent's legs with my two legs, although I am dubious as to how effective this is in general since it's a 2 for 1 trade.

I also came the closest I've ever been to submitting an opponent. I had back control and attempted my first headlock choke. My technique on the choke was poor. I was squeezing my opponent for almost a full minute, but I could not get him to submit. The correct technique (taught to me by Jarrid) is to place the hand of the arm that is wrapped around the opponent's neck on the other arm's bicep, and then place the hand of the non-choking arm on the back of the opponents head. A mnemonic for remembering the technique is to make the "fuck-you" gesture where you slap the hand on a bicep and flex the bicep.3

  1. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu []
  2. There is so much mysticism in yoga that I am allergic to the idea of starting, but I'll put away my preconceptions and try to find out what sub-discipline can help my bendability. I've found what appears to be a good book on the subj - Relax Into Stretching []
  3. I wonder whether this gesture originates from showing an enemy that you know how to choke them. []

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