Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shoulder Labrum Repair (with pictures)

The pictures are graphic. So warning.

The surgery went well. I'm recovering at the moment and then go onto Physical Therapy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SLAP Tear!

So it's a SLAP Tear.

Had an MRI done today.

Here's the extract from the report:

1. SLAP Tear.
2. Mild articular surface fraying at the insertion of the super status. No full thickness rotator cuff tear.
3. Suspected humeral avulsion of the glenohumeral ligament (HAGL), as evidenced by contrast extravasation through the axillary recess along the medial humeral neck and inferior subscapularis.

I am not a doctor, so I really don't have a deep understanding what the above passage meant.

Basically, something is torn. It needs to be fixed. It doesn't heal by itself and could get progressively worse.

So. I'm an engineer by training. Usually if you have a bearing or a joint fail, you renew or refurbish said bearing or joint.

Since I can't order a new SLAP from the OEM, I will have surgery on 27 OCT 2009 to fix the tear.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

X - Rays!

Well, I went to get my shoulder looked at today. The X-Rays came back and well, it's not the bone at least.

It may be the Rotator Cuff or something else that the Doctor mentioned, it had a specific medical sounding name, but I forgot it.

So I have an MRI scheduled on Wednesday. Just gotta sit and wait, in the meantime. Rest and Ice.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Miracle Diet

I saw this video from a friend of mine. A little Friday Funny.

There is a little disclaimer... at the end. Although at the rate that my fat ass is still growing this diet may not hurt at all.


From: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/19623.htm

That's a picture. Basically I like pictures, I'm a visual person.

Anyways, I called up the Sports Medicine Clinic at Northgate and they've got me an appointment at 8:30 in the morning on Saturday. We will see how it goes. Apparently, I was there for my right shoulder awhile back when the receptionist quickly pulled up my record.

It feels a bit better, but I'm not competing in the Rainier Cup this weekend. Mainly because: 1 it's hard to get a medical appointment with a good doctor, and 2. My shoulder still hurts, and competing in a local tournament while hurt doesn't really do me any good. Now if I was Olympic Caliber or World Championships, that's one thing, but I'm a recreational player, doing this stuff for fun. I just want my shoulder to heal up fast so that I can train again.

Popped my shoulder.

Popped my shoulder tonight. Hmmn. I think it's back in place. I'm icing it and taking motrin.

We'll see in the morning.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

De Ashi Barai

Spam and Eggs.

That's what I'm going to have for breakfast.

It's tasty. I am hungry. Shouldn't write on a workout blog while hungry....

Other than that, been working out fairly consistently. Was at Seattle Jujutsu on Monday Night, went over the open guard, maintaining posture, and passing the guard. Also went over de ashi barai. I'm not verbose at the moment, but I found this clip on youtube.

Footsweeps in general are awesome because they are quick and when timed right, spectacular.

Wednesday, I didn't do anything, was going to check out some escrima at the Filipino Cultural Center in Beacon Hill / Columbia City. However, they were having a wake at the Filipino Center instead. Quickly paid my respects and moved on. I will have to check out their escrima class sometime.

I'm still sore from helping my friend move some ballast around a houseboat. Today I'm just going to rest.

My diet has taken a nosedive lately, I tried to keep a food blog. But that has mostly been OBE. (Overcome By Events) Logging food, is really time consuming and guilt inducing. Instead, I end up forgetting to eat and I eat less, but then I indulge in food when I get really really hungry. I should just really plan out my day. I just really need some more prior planning. I've been more reactionary than proactive lately. This has to change. Doing this should improve my diet, which I think is the key ingredient that I'm missing in my fitness repertoire.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The more I learn, the less I know...

Sunday afternoon, Auburn Bob invited me to work out at Ippon Dojo in Tacoma. It was a good workout. Did some newaza and tachi waza randori. Afterwards there was someone in the club working on no-gi grappling. Did that too. I haven't done no-gi in a long long time, and it was a much faster game, much different. No gi opens up faster turns, rollovers, etc... Basically it's still the same, although the convenient handholds (the gi) is not there. However the basic moves are still the same. Hadaka Jime (Rear Naked Choke) still works. Ude Garami/Juji Gatame/ still works. The difference is that you can slip in and out of a hold that is not tight. There's more clinches and stuff in no-gi. It's different but good.

It was a good workout. I'm just hitting a plateau in my training.

Basically, I'm starting to know, enough of WHAT I AM NOT DOING.

1. Working out every day with one day a week to rest and recover. Improve my cardio, strength and flexibility...

2. A balanced healthy diet. Not a SEE-FOOD diet. I see food. I eat.

3. Attend practice consistently and on time.

On the technical side here are some things I need to work on:

1. Grip and Throw. What I do now, is grip, grip, grip. I would have that awesome grip for a half second, but guess what, I wouldn't throw, and that fleeting moment of an awesome grip is gone. You get a great grip, throw. It doesn't open up that often, so seize the opportunity.

2. Transition Control. I need to control the transition phase, where you knock someone down, not enough to get a point, but enough that he is on the mat. Take advantage of it, establish a superior position and attack. Sometimes, I get the deer in the headlights look, because, well, I don't train as much in transition as we do the two main phases. The stand-up and the ground work. Transition Control is key. I know Aaron always emphasizes transition control, and it's finally coming together that I need full control throughout the fight.

3. Repetitive/Telegraphic Attacks. When I fight someone, it shouldn't be like the AT&T Commercial, "reach out and touch someone..." I need to vary it up a bit and not telegraph "hey I'm going to do this next..."

Anyways, just gotta plug away. It is after all a journey and there is no magical end. Actually, I'd get absolutely bored if there weren't any challenges. That's the beauty of martial arts, there's constant learning. It's not like a book where you read from cover to cover and that's it. There's more to it...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting Above the Weather....

I've been out of it since Sunday. I feel much better today, and back to my old self. Ready to roll. Got out of bed early and itching to make breakfast, mop the floors, do dishes, and laundry.

I feel brand new. I was dragging since Sunday, not really a cold, not really anything just a malaise.

Anyways, looking forward to working out again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New IJF Rules Explained

These are the new IJF Rules that are getting looked at this year. With some explanations. Here it is from their IJF website:


Decision of the IJF Executive Committee in Rotterdam from 21/08/09

The IJF’s wish is to defend fundamental judo values.
Within this scope IJF particularly devotes itself to preserve and develop education, physic and mental trumps of Judo.
« Judo is a physic and mental education system ».

From the other side, IJF would not like to change Refereeing rules during Olympic qualification period. For this reason it will proceed in this sphere with necessary experimentations and their testing before the first January 2010.
The experimentations will be tested during World Junior Championships 22/25 October 2009 in Paris.

Refereeing rules
Leg Grips.

All direct attacks with one or two hands or with one or two arms below the belt are not allowed.
PUNISHMENTS: First attack: - Shido
Second attack: - Hansokumake

Grips below the belt are authorized only after a sequence of techniques if it’s real and sincere.
Grips below the belt are authorized in counterattack.
These counterattacks are allowed only within a sequence (continuity) of techniques started by the opponent. The principles of Go No Sen and Sen No Sen.

For better understanding of the new rules, while giving a punishment referees will explain it by an appropriate gesture.

Refereeing system
The contests will be refereed by only one referee without 2 referees at the corners.
The “Care” system with 2 cameras filming the contest at 2 different angles will be set up to help the one unique referee.
Control and supervision of the “Care” system will be done by the IJF Refereeing commission

Golden Score
Regarding Golden Score part of contest of maximum 2 minutes, the entire marking of refereeing table resulting 4 minutes of initial contest, will be conserved during this period except the contest duration.
At the end of Golden Score and if no advantage was marked, the referee will take a decision for the period of initial contest and its Golden Score part.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Commitment Issues

I stopped by the Budokan on Tuesday night for a good workout. Since this was the last workout for people going to the US Open, no technique was shown, and basically it was a full session of randori after warm ups. Everyone brought up their game, and it was a lot of fun to randori knowing that it was the last workout before going to the US Open for those that are going.

I was tired, beat, and yet I keep on going. It's not the training commitment I'm talking about, it's committing to a throw. I'd go in for an attack, yet not follow through. I think I need to practice on the follow through.

What I probably need is just some open mat time and continuous repetition of the throwing motion. I need to attack more, and I end up just stalling all the time. Practice some more uchikomis, then throws on a crash pad, and then some more throws.

Spider Guard or Daddy Long Legs

I stopped by Seattle Jujutsu on Monday night for a workout. It was pretty good. Worked on a lot of newaza that night. I've been mainly working on guard passes.

In randori got into spider guard or daddy long legs. It was interesting. Its different, I'm protecting my arms and learning to post and pass guard. Not bad.

The technique of the night is a rollover using your shin to cut at a 45 and do a rollover. Hmmn, it's hard to explain in words. I'll see if I can pull up a youtube somewhere.

Not much to say, except that it's a good workout.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New IJF Rules...

Just learned from the Jiu-Jitsu Sensei Blog about the new IJF rules. Jumped into the Judoforum and saw this informative youtube clip that pretty much explains it.

Again. I really don't know what to think of this, mainly because I do tend to use leg, ankle picks as well as the drop kata-guruma. Mainly because I'm a bit shorter and stouter. Again rules have been changing. Used to have a safety zone, then no safety zone, a dynamic edge, 5 second opposite grip rule, no pistol grips, koka/no kokoa, chui, etc... It's just a longer series of rules that just gotta get familiar with. I'm sure Olympic Judo is starting to stray from the old Kodokan Judo. If you look at Mifune's "The Canon of Judo" there's a lot of techniques that are left out in today's curriculum, and is mostly carried out in other sports such as sambo, kosen judo and the differing jiujutsu variants.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Homemade Cookin!

This week has been mostly a wash, mainly because I've been gorging myself with homemade food. My mom is in town and has been feeding me lumpia and other delicious home cooking. The crockpot has been simmering with curry chicken, giniling, adobo, spare ribs, menudo among other things.

Seriously. I'm gaining weight as I type this. She has also brought in some moon cakes. Nevertheless my freezer is stocked full of lumpia and I could survive off this for awhile. I'm sure FEMA would designate my refrigerator as an emergency resupply point with the amount of food ready to go could literally feed a small army. Or me healthily for the next month or so.

As for working out, I missed my Monday Night Workout because I ate a whole plate of lumpia and brought enough to share. There is no way I can workout with that much food in my belly. Regardless it was a lot of food, and it's a rare delicious treat at that.

Tuesday Night, I rolled into Budokan to workout. There were about a dozen people. Warmups were really good. This was the first time that I actually felt that I could do cartwheels. I cartwheeled across the mat in continous motion, that finally got dizzy at the end of my cartwheel thing. I know 8 or so years of judo (on and off) and finally, been able to do a cartwheel. Most of the other attempts at cartwheel, were just that attempts at flopping your legs over your body while standing on your hands, which mainly resulted in your butt sticking in the air and with your legs doing a clockwork motion.

The technique of the night was mainly gripping. With a quick exercise in grip fighting. The rest of the night was just spent in standing randori. Lots and lots of standing randori. I would fight for 2-3 rounds, take a round break, 2-3 rounds, take a round break... and so on and on.

So a lot of people are gearing up for the US Open, which is a "C" level elite tournament that's going to be held in San Jose in a couple of weeks. And so the emphasis on the night is Randori. Also on the mat was Matt Walker, who is the #2 Ranked +100kg athlete after the Olympian McCormick. Matt is headed to Brazil with coach Bert Mackey for an international competition in a few weeks. So he is getting geared up and ready.

Most everyone going to the competition is on the peak cycle, with next week most likely going to be on a taper, and take it easy right before the US Open.

So being one of a few bigger guys in the dojo that night. But tonight it was basically Matt, Jake, Kurt and myself. So we took turns randori with Matt. I ended up randori with him basically 4-5 times.

Here are the lessons learned.

1. Vary your patterns. Matt caught me in a good foot sweep (deashi barai) that was timed perfectly. I tend to be repetitive in my patterns of attack.

2. Move the body. Matt weighs close to 250lbs. I have to actually use good judo to move him, apply kuzushi and then throw.

3. When fighting a relatively bigger opponent, use your lower center of gravity (in this case my smaller size and speed) to execute techniques.

4. Stiff Arm. In a Stiff Arm competition, one with the longer reach wins. Don't get caught in this trap.

It was actually great to randori with the #2 guy in the country. I'm learning quite a bit on what to do and not to do. And with someone that is stronger and bigger, I now have to actually rely more on technique and strategy to beat them.

Things to work on.

1. Expanding my different footsweep techniques. Applying footsweeps from different angles.

2. To go with the flow. If I'm pushed, I pull; I'm pulled, I push. Fighting strength vs. strength which works on weaker and less technical opponents does not work all the time.

3. Commitment. I have to just commit to a technique. Once I have a grip, commit and throw. This just means that I must commit without fear of getting thrown.

4. Repetition of simple techniques. I just simply need to keep on practicing so that my footsweeps, throws are all second nature.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A nose is a nose...

Remember, when I said, I only seem to bleed when wearing a white gi? It also happens when wearing a blue gi too.

During randori, my nose bled when it hit the back of someone's skull. It was only a nosebleed. Anyways, I had to sit out for the rest of the night because it kept on bleeding. I tried to get back in for one round, but it started bleeding again.

No biggy. I actually prefer nosebleeds or cauliflower ear as it doesn't affect future training. Nosebleeds will stop, cauliflower ears can be drained and taped. It's not a worse injury like a knee, ankle, or shoulder injury. Basically momentary discomfort.

People are getting ready to fight at the US Open in the Budokan, so randori has been stepping up a notch. Also, some explanations on the new rules that were implemented. A big emphasis on continual attack. Always attack, attack, attack.

Other than that I don't remember much really...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sambo Seminar Saturday

Went to a great Sambo Seminar given by Serge Gerlach and Aaron Fields. Throwing dummies courtesy of Ben and Vince.

What can I say, it was an action packed 4 hours. I can't remember much, but it was a great workout with lots of hands on experience. There were about a dozen or so attendees.

Let me recap best I can.

I. Warm Ups

II. Discussion of History of Sambo

III. Discussion of Philosophy of Sambo
1. Basically a scientific methodical approach to grappling based on body mechanics.
2. "There is no dogma..."
3. No Ranks on Sambo, everyone is equal.

IV. Demonstration of Techniques/Breakdown/Application/Q&A of Technique:

1. Kuzushi or Offbalancing techniques. (I tend to use japanese terms because of my judo background, however offbalancing tehcniques are the same no matter what the art)
a. Diagonal Points of Offbalance
b. Practical Application of Offbalance to the left and right corner.
2. Ouchi/Kouchi/Kosoto Gari (Inside Trip and variations)
3. Drop Inner Leg Pick
4. Drop Kata Guruma (Drop Fireman's Carry)
5. Joint Locks
a. Breakdown of Bio-Mechanics of Joints
b. Stabilize the next proximal joint of the joint you wish to lock.
c. Apply the lock.
d. The key things in joint-locks is the stabilization of the proximal joint, for example:
i. Armlocks - Elbow is stress point, stabilize the shoulder joint.
ii. Kneebars - Knee is stress point, stabilize the hip joint.
iii. Ankles - Ankle is stress point, stabilize the knee.
iv. Wristlocks - Wrists is stress point, stabilize the elbow.
e. Juji-Gatame (Straight Armlock Demo and Practice)
f. Leglock Exersice Warmups
g. Knee-Bars (Straight Kneebars)
i. Ankle Lock Warmups (aka 2 minutes in heaven)
j. Ankle Locks

V. Recap.
- The "Basics" Philosophy.
You have to do the Basics well. And most of the time, you'll only really use basic techniques. The majority of techniques used by elite athletes are basic. Why?
i. Basic Techniques are simple to execute.
ii. Basic Techniques have a higher probability of success.
The only difference between a beginner and an elite level athlete is not the techniques but the execution of the techniques after many hours of practice.
There is no "Magic" technique. The only way to get better is simply hard work and sweat.

VI. Q & A.

VII. A well deserved beer all around.

Overall, there was ample opportunity to actually work on the technique and ask for clarification. The people in the seminar were really cool, and it was a great opportunity to talk to other grapplers.

A great way to spend a Saturday!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Night Workout.... and San Miguel Beer

So, it was a rather slow night, I stopped by Seattle Jujutsu for my Monday Night Workout. Tonight there were 5 of us and a visitor. It was quite an intimate class. Started with doing light uchikomi.

The standing technique was a variation of the body drop or valley drop from an ankle block? This one passed by me through a haze. I need to review the technique as I have a vague understanding of this. It was a cool technique when done right. I just need to review it again that's all...

Then we went onto newaza. It was back to basics night and we went over the kesa gatame hold. It's amazing how bad habits develop over time, and it was a good night to go over the basics. First of all in kesa gatame you want to be a bit more forward and lift your opponent's shoulder off the mat. Secondly there must be constant rib to rib pressure. It must not feel comfortable. My leg position needed to be a bit more forward. My inside hip has to be forward, and not only that with contact with the mat. It's important that I maintain pressure.
I pulled this photo from judoinfo.com

In this picture I was actually doing it like that. To improve it you must reduce the space and make it tighter and be more forward with greater pressure.

We then worked on juji-gatame from the scarf hold while maintaining pressure during the transition. As always the key is maintaining pressure on the head. From a Kesa you can go to a jujigatame near side or far side. We practiced both that night.

And as always, Aaron broke down the bio-mechanics of the juji-gatame. It's important that you have control of the shoulder for the juji gatame to work. Basically, isolate the joint that is the next joint up from the joint that you are trying to lock. Once isolated, then you can apply with great control and precision the lock you are trying to achieve.

We then proceeded to go into randori trying to eventually trying to get a juji-gatame with the principles shown. One of the things learned tonight was flow. Just flow with it. Roll, roll, roll to wherever direction your opponent is taking you and that the armbar keeps on working. As always maintain control of the shoulder, roll where you need to be and you should all be good.

I did get an armlock last night using my legs, which was pretty cool. Seen it done a few times, and haven't really practiced it as much, but the opportunity presented itself, and so I took it.

Brad brought in some San Miguel Beer last night and it was good to actually drink some San Miguel after practice and chew the cud.

Sunday Night Open Mat... and fresh baked cookies.

So I stopped by Sunday Night at Seattle Jujutsu. Matt and Lana were running open mat. There were a few observers with some people from the club coming back with a visitor or two. There were perhaps 8-10 people in the club that night. The night's open mat was just newaza randori.

Things I was working on:

1. Passing the Guard
a. Guard Using the knee to the half guard then from the half guard to a scarf hold (Kesa Gatame) or shoulder hold (Kata Gatame). Relatively successful.
b. Guard passes using an arm to get underneath one leg. Bad Idea, very prone to triangle choke (Sankaku Jime) or straight arm bar (juji gatame). I'll make sure to scratch this off the list, as it did work sometimes, the bad thing about it is that I'll be prone to arm bars or triangles. I think I'll just chalk this up to bad haits, and probably worked because of my opponents most likely using the guard as a delaying tactic, as opposed to the guard as an attack position.
c. Keeping myself posted up, and keeping my arms out of reach to prevent armbars.
d. Defending against sweeps. Have to lookout for sweeps.

2. Reversals.
a. I executed a few reversals, mainly by bridging or shrimping.

3. Hadaka Jime (Rear Naked Choke)
a. I worked on this but, I have a hard time in getting the arm and the right angle.
b. I managed to get on my opponents back, bring him backwards, and executing control. I just have to work on the final aspects of the choke. I do have control on rolling someone so that they're back is to me and execute control. The hard thing is to actually fish in there to get the choke, but usually the opponent tries to fight the arm going around their neck.

4. Positional adjustments.
a. I was doing okay in getting the initial position, and I'm quite strong in position, going from a scarf to a shoulder to a north south and a side hold. I just have to maintain pressure, and at the same time, slowly attack to get a bent armlock (ude garami). From a pin (oseakomi), I only know submissions from the side hold (yoko shiho gatame); and consequently, I'd hate to give up my strongest pin (north-south) to a side pin to execute a bent armlock. Or I could attack and go post his shoulder up and then execute a straight armlock (juji gatame).

Overall it was a fun night at open mat, and there are some things I'm working on in newaza mainly, guard passes. A lot of people keep a closed guard, some people keep a relatively open guard and others keep a butterfly guard.

I have decent pins, and for me, easier to execute than the more technical submission. As an oseakomi for 25 seconds will get you an ippon; consequently the pins are hard to break from, and I just have a habit of stopping at a good pin. Now the bad thing, is that I'm not that good in transition from a pin to a pin. The transitional pin and mobility is where I need to work on. And it's a good habit, as I look "beyond" a pin and look for a submission. I think this thinking opens up a whole array of options. Now that I think about it, I'm actually starting to connect what Bert from the Budokan told me about the "weave." The "Weave" is to go for a pin, go for an armbar, go for a pin then back to an armbar or armlock..... and the key is transition from attack, to attack, to attack, to attack... And to attack from different angles... Wow. I finally made a connection. He's been saying do the "Weave" for over a year now, and I finally get it.

I think that stepping back and looking at things from a "generic" grappling standpoint is good. Looking through things in a context of rules is quite myopic. As always, competition rules change. However the big picture is to maintain control, and not only just control to maintain the status quo, but control to push things forward. And that's the big picture, always look ahead.

And Sarah stopped by the dojo to visit and dropped off some cookies! Fresh baked. Wow. Eating freshbaked cookies after a workout is just plain delicious. Yummy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken Wing! And no, not the KFC Wings...

... I love KFC Wings. They have this new $ 5 dollar fill up box, and you can get lots of wings. I just love wing places in general and there are some really really cool places where you can get wings. There's the wing dome, and of course the infamous Jersey Shore Wing place with the Nuclear Wings where you have to sign a waiver to eat the wings. I ate those wings, and never again will I do it again. That was more painful than being peppered sprayed. (Yes, I have been pepper sprayed before, and you get this nifty certificate that you keep in your training folder). As hot wings coming in was hot, but more importantly was HOT COMING OUT! That's all I have to say about that...

Wow, all that wall of text of digression. Now to the training part of the night, was:

1. Control the head.
2. Grab a hold of the wrist.
3. Get a key-lock.
4. Get a chicken wing.
Option A: Use wing to roll opponent so that they end up in a triangle pin.
Option B: Use wing to roll opponent the other way, pivoting ending in a cross body hold.

The chicken wing was highly effective, although it's effectiveness is determined by control of the head. If you lose control of the head then you lose the technique and they can simply (gasp) sit up, and the position is reversed, and they have your arm and shoulder. So as always, control the head, and the body follows.

Funny thing, today after I was reading this, I read the Growing Judo 2009 August Issue, and well, that was the technique of the month. Actually the USJA publication actually explains it better with pictures! Take a look it starts at page 5.

That's about it, the rest of the night was spent doing randori both newaza and stand up. I have to work on placement of my feet and balance, as I was horribly prone to foot sweeps. UGGH.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Casual Friday .... the martial arts apparel blog entry!

Hmmmnnn, adventures in washing your gi. So, I have sprawled across three chairs, three stinky gis. I have to get washed, and haven't. I know it's bad. I only have one Gi left that is clean and hanging in my closet, and it's my competition blue gi. I just used my competition white gi Thursday night.

And yet again, everytime, I break out my white gi, I get blood on them. It was funny, one of my friends, Ferdinand, told me, I never see you in your white gi. Well, for good reason. It usually gets blood on it. I don't know why, it just is. Anyways, it's usually minor and not that much, mostly from random cuts on fingers, nose, or lip. Usually we stop and say yeah someone's bleeding. And tape it up, use distilled bleach or peroxide for clean up and call it good. I usually don't get blood on my blue gis.

So, looking into my martial arts closet, I have 2 white gis (1 double weave for competition, 1 single weave for dojo use only), 2 blue gis (1 double weave for competiton -shrunk to fit/within regulation, and 1 double weave that needs to shrink some more) and 1 ASA Kurtka for sambo. I use my Kurtka now and again. It's great for training in the summer as it is a lighter weight and the best thing is wearing shorts with them. Of course with all this stuff comes compression shorts and rash guards to round out the equation and my very valuable mouthguard. Which I tend to misplace during times when I most likely and definitely need them, such as practice involving dozens and dozens of throws in a night, or my last competition, where my mouthguard went MIA just before the fight.

And of course gis cost roughly a hundred bucks or so (and I'm rather cheap, some gis cost 200 and really high end tailored one cost 300 bucks.) I get mine at Hatashita Sports https://www.hatashitasports.com/index.php You can talk to the lady on the phone, size you up. You can order half sizes and have a split order of pants and gi tops. The split sizes are cool, my last order was a 5 top with a 4.5 bottom. I think I can move down to 4.5 top and a 4.0 bottom. I have the Fuji Double Weave. It's cheaper than Mizuno, fits me okay, and for my purposes suits me well. For the Sambo Kurtka I got mine from the American Sambo Association (ASA). They are pretty cool and I heard they are getting some new kurtkas from Bulgaria. http://www.ussambo.com/store.html

Now the funny thing about the gi pants is that they usually end up too long. I don't know what universe the gi pant model is from, but the majority of people practicing this sport are fairly stout and usually on most occassions don't have a runner's build. I need to shrink it down in the dryer on high heat several times to get it down to size. Then again, I could just go to a seamstress and get it rehemmed. Also, those annoying gi pants waiststring, how the center migrates or how you can sometimes lose one end of the string. Those gi pants waiststring never seems to stay put, and heaven forbid you lose one end into the pants, trying to fish that out is a royal pain.

For the other stuff, I just get my rash guards and compression shorts from Under Armour although pricey, gets the job done.

But grappling is an affordable sport. You just invest in some good gis and you can use it for a couple of years. Besides, you just end up building your gi collection little by little and it's more of a necessity really. I plan on training at least 2 days a week, at most 5 days, and usually hit it 3-4 times a week. Getting your gi washed/dried and ready for the next day takes time, as it takes around 2 hours to get a gi dry, usually have to run it twice in the dryer on high heat twice. And of course washing machines/dryers don't usually like gis as they are fairly heavy, and amazingly heavy when wet. So if you are quite busy, you'll end up running through 2-3 gis a week.

I started with a generic single weave white gi, and I still have that that I break out on occassion for dojo use. This one is good, and is lightweight enough that you can use it for most martial arts. It's sometimes fun to try out some other martial arts, and just having a white gi with your white belt allows you to do that. Oh and that is why, it's good to have one with no patches. We don't need no stinkin' patches! That way you can fit in and use it for other things....

And for training camps.. well thats when you need to bring some more gis as the last thing you want to do is to roll with someone with a stinky gi. And of course, that is one cardinal rule about grappling. BE CLEAN. If I had a hard sweaty day at work, I shower before I practice. My old roommate always puzzled about this. She said, "You're going to work out and you are taking a shower before?" I replied, "Why yes, I'd like to be clean for working out and I'm sure my training partners are doing the same thing. " She said, "so is it like a date?" I said, "no, it's just in practice you end up with close body to body contact.... ." She said, "Well it is like dating then... good dates end with body to body contact..." I said, "Only if it's a good date..."

Oh and I went to practice twice this week. Once at Seattle Jujutsu Monday and Thursday at the Budokan. It was good. I forget what I did. It was sooo busy this week. I'm tired. I actually fell asleep at 7PM on a friday night, hence the reason I'm awake at 1 in the morning. Practice was more of the same. I was noticing that my endurance is slowly getting better. My left ankle still bothers me. And that there was a funny post workout incident involving dancing...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Frequent Flyer Miles

Today's practice at the Budokan was all about throws. Lots of it. Figures, the day I can't find my mouthpiece is the day that we do dozens and dozens of throws.

After the normal warmups, we go through uchikomis where we practice our different throws. I was working on tai o toshi which, I desperately need work on.

Anyways, after the uchikomi we alternate throwing each other 20 times for a couple of times.

After that we get grouped in threes. On the sparring square, one each end, and a person in the middle. Then you go through a round of speed throws. Just attack, and throw one side, run to the other, attack and throw. You throw from the grip. Attack, throw, attack, throw, attack, throw.

You'd think that being in the middle would be fun since you are the thrower, but after a dozen or so throws, running from one side of the mat to the other gets tiring. You start out with nice beautiful throws like seio or ogoshi, uchi-mata, sode tsurikomi gosh.... Then you go to the more simpler foot sweeps as you run out of steam. Just getting up was an exercise.

Anyways, getting thrown lots was a different experience. I mean lots. And throwing lots. It was a good practice, as it lets you finish you're attack. Just the execution of it all. It was tiring and I was beat. That was one of the rougher practices I've been to. Overall, I think I've accumulated some air time that night...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Barbecue at Ravenna Park.

So had a barbecue at Ravenna Park with some good friends from the club. There were some delicious food. Very very healthy.

It was a beautiful day to hang out. Of course, there was practice afterwards. The fact that I ate half a burger, a stout, tabouli, couscous, chips and kebabs. Needless to say, this was not really a recipe for success for practice.

Um practice was mostly open mat, with a lot of uchikomis. Then some gripping drills and then did a clockwork mat drill. It was just good to get an easy day workout.

I've been tired as of late. I helped a friend bring shingles up a roof. Two pallets full. Each pack of shingle is 70 lbs. or so. I moved 60 packs, for a total of 4200 lbs. of shingles.

I digress. It was a nice day to just rest a bit, as I was still sore.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Foot Sweeps, sticky foot... Arm Locks and chicken wings...

It's Sea Fair weekend in Seattle. It's been wicked hot as of late. And I think all Seattle-ites are not used to the hot weather, myself being one of them. Now if we were in Texas or Death Valley, yeah that's one thing, but this hot beautiful weather is just amazing. Not quite yet acclimatized to it, but nevertheless, went down to practice Sunday Night.

I was rather early, so I spent some time hanging out at Cowen Park. Which is a park catty-corner between Green Lake Park and the U-District. There's lots to see and it was a nice shady place to feel the grass underneath you. I remained rather cool and just chilled out at the park. I was enjoying myself, then headed to the dojo for practice.

The usual warm ups, then practiced deashi-barai.

I always had trouble with foot sweeps, as I usually don't keep my feet straight and I usually don't power through with my hip. It is one of those things that I'm not too good at, as this technique requires timing. I'm not in tune with timing. It's a good attack and one to prep for another technique. In order for it to work as a preparatory technique one must commit to it. I also have commitment issues, but that's another story altogether. Then there's the technique of the "sticky foot" which Lana showed me, and which I have seen previously, but haven't permeated deep down to my subconscious. I need to practice this more.

After the foot sweeps we went to the arm lock portion of the night, and worked on the major variations of ude-garami also known as a kimura for those who practice BJJ. There are many many variations of ude garami, the main point being is the immobilization of the shoulder joint so that you can torque the elbow joint. Unlike the juji where it's a straight arm lock, the ude garami is bent and is more of a torquing motion. It's amazing as to how many different ways you can apply ude garami, with Aaron showing many of the ways.

Here's some more info on Ude Garami: http://judoinfo.com/quiz0297_2.htm

The thing is like anything else, you have to isolate the joint, and immobilize the joint further up the body. Meaning, for any arm lock you immobilize the shoulder, and then apply the arm lock. Same thing with leg locks. Immobilize the hip, then apply the knee bar/lock. For ankle locks, immobilize the knee, apply the ankle/heel hook. I guess it's all about human anatomy. I should take an anatomy and physiology class, as a lot of the principles is bio-mechanics.

The last part of the night was newaza randori. It was a good one, as I was getting to be in better shape, true that my technique may be less than perfect, but I found I was quite resilient last night. Going into the second hour of working out you start learning the efficient use of burst energy, when to apply it, and well how to most efficiently leverage your strength against your opponent. For some reason the dull aches and pains of prolonged activity, spurs the deep recesses of your mind for the most efficient use of limited resources.

Perhaps, is this what they really mean all along about one of the tenets of judo about maximum efficiency? Seriously, is it only after pushing yourself to your physical limits do you start learning about efficiency. And when pushed, your limits grow larger, where limits are simply places where you haven't gone before, but can?

Anyways, it was good working in newaza and had a good solid time working through different body positions. I'm still weak in my guard position, and learning through trial and error the different ways to pass guard without getting arm locked. Ah, forgot to pass on the key focus on last night's newaza, and that was try for an ude-garami submission. And there are many ways to achieve this. The best randori partner for the night was Greg, who was visiting from out of town. He had some excellent techniques from the guard position and it was quite an amazing thing to work with him.

So that was that. I was tired and I spent the night after I came home icing my left shoulder, more of a precautionary measure. As I tend to lead with my left most times. For some reason, even though I'm right handed, I've developed this amazing grip with the left hand. Well mostly because, a lot of judo players are right handed and usually don't mind it too much if you achieve a left lapel grip. I usually like to grab the crease of the left upper shoulder of the gi, as it lets me have more control, and you can usually get a good chunk of gi cloth. Consequently, even in newaza I tend to use my left hand more to probe my opponents defenses. Hence sometimes, my left arm sometimes gets trapped, leading to an ude garami.

Anyways, it was a fun night. I'm tired.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Secret martial arts techniques passed along in a Turkish Bath House

Okay, not exactly. It was around 97 degrees on Monday. It's getting hotter. I think this week, Seattle is just getting closer and closer to the sun. Or so it seems.

So, of all things, what do I decide to do? Go into a sub-basement gym, with limited airflow, put on luxurious bathrobes and roll around with a dozen random sweaty guys. At the start of practice the temperature was already 105 inside the dojo. In the end, we pushed up the temperature to about 115 degrees with oh, 100 percent humidity. Needless to say, afterwards we mopped up all the sweat and gave the mats a good dosage of bleach.

So what secret martial arts technique did I learn in an environment akin to a Turkish bath house? Actually there isn't really, after all, with the myriad instructors that I've had, it always boiled down to this. Come to practice and work out.

I keep on reading books, watching videos, looking at forums, and swapping stories. In the end, all that is only complimentary, the biggest thing about learning is one thing: Mat time.

And so, on a day like yesterday, I could've been inside an air-conditioned mall wandering aimlessly ogling at the consumer psyche that built our resource hungry consumption society. Instead, I decided to work out, with good friends and good people.

So practice started with warm ups. Then we moved onto uchikomis. Then practiced throws. After throws, we went to the technique of the night. The technique of the night was a single wing choke or okuri-ire-jime.

Aaron then went to teaching different variations when in position, and how body mechanically one can tranisition to different moves such as a juji, ude garami, knee bar and heel hook.
I like how he teaches, because he focuses on the body mechanics and principles of leverage/isolation/anatomy that makes a technique work rather than just showing the technique.

After the technique of the night, we went to light newaza. Newaza was a killer, and it was during this time, I'm learning more about conservation of energy and the judicious use of burst energy. Essentially, Maximum Efficiency with Minimum effort. It allowed me to grapple longer and look for gaps in my opponents defense and then exploit it.
I'm currently working on the different variations of guard passes. However my personal guard position is not that strong, with my strong position being on the offense, passing the guard, or defensiviely in a turtle. I need to work more on my transitions, and not be just static but dynamic in my thinking, and looking for openings.

Consequently what I need to do is really strenghten my core, improve my endurance, and refine/hone my techniques. This will allow me a ready access to techniques should the opportunity presents themselves. Basically, be prepared.

And so like anything in life, you have to work for it and earn it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday Night Practice... another nice sunny, hot day....

It was another amazingly gorgeous day in Seattle. Sunny skies, nice 75 degree weather, no humidity. You can't beat Seattle in the summer. So headed to practice at Seattle Jujutsu.

Just normal practice, with the expanded mats, did the normal warmup routine, then uchikomi, some light randori, and then worked on two techniques.

First technique was juji-gatame, or the armlock, with this variation making it much tighter, with the arm at 45 degrees, and the knees immobilizing the shoulder joint and elbow. Here's a clip from Human Weapon on a normal juji-gatame.

Sometimes, I really feel like Bill Duff, when practicing a lot of these moves. Can't wait till next season starts. It's one of the best shows, but I digress.

So, yeah this variation of the juji you step over, across, and control the arm at a 45 degree, making it super tight. Aaron also demonstrated that if you lift the person on his side, that he has less power than if he is on his back. So, lift, hold, step over and then lock. It was good practicing the technical aspects of it all.

We then transitioned to light newaza with one person standing, and the other in a turtle, a very common position. One of the things that my training partner, Brad, showed me is how to get an omoeplata from a turtle. I've seen it before, but not necessarily popular in judo competitions. I did see it at the Junior World Team Trials in Spokane, where one of the competitors tapped out to an omoeplata. I hardly practice it, because technically, it's an immobilization of both the elbow and shoulder joint. And in theory, you're only allowed to lock the elbow joint. That, again is in theory, but I saw it in the Judo Junior World Team Trials....

Anyways, I digress, I still need to work on my turning the person over in a turtle techniques, mainly getting my hooks in, doing the roll into the different variations of the rollovers. I have to control the head, and I have to gain more flexibility, and well lose a little more padding in the middle and be more limber. A lot of newaza needs core strength, and I have to work on that. As it's mini-crunches, tucking of the legs, rolls, etc... I think having a better base, will help me in these things. I used to be much better in shape, but that's another story for another time. You can only look forward...I did have some good bridging and shrimping techniques, and that was good.

We then moved onto the leg lock techniques of the night, and we worked on the knee bar. We practiced the knee bar however from the cross body hold also known as yoko-shiho gatame. From yoko-shiho gatame, move your inner leg so that your foot is underneath your opponents hip, then lock the leg between your legs and pull back. The key being that you have to be close to your opponent and that your control his hip. Anyways, it's been awhile since I did leglocks, so take this with a grain of salt, and I'll need to practice this a couple more hundred times to get it right.

So there's a dozen of us, all drenched in sweat, the musty odor of sweat, and the heat, well, after awhile you just don't smell or feel it. I ended up drinking 2 liters of gatorade and needed more.
It was a good workout.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday Night Workout at Seattle Jujutsu

I'm back.

I've also had other things going on with my life that have taken me away from my normally scheduled workout. Thanks to my coach Aaron Fields for getting me back into the gym. I'm truly thankful for his help.

Now onto the workout. It's been awhile since I really rolled around. I broke out my blue gi that has been sitting in my gi bag for sometime. It had the signature folded creases and stiffness; well mainly that it has seen the inside of a gi bag more than the inside of a dojo.

There were about 20 people practicing tonight, more or less and the dojo was packed. The technique of the night was tomo-nage. It was good to actually practice this over and over again. Here's a video on youtube from my favorite show, Human Weapon.

It was good to practice this with different people as different people's center of gravity are different, but the principles remain the same. We did this for quite a bit, and probably did about 20-30 repetitions of throwing and getting thrown. It was a hot, as it's still summer, and 20 bodies crowding in a sub-basement, no-nonsense, dojo was a great feeling. The single medium sized industrial fan blowing cool air into the basement did it's best from over heating. Oh, and a note about the dojo. I love this dojo. I helped rebuild the new expanded mats, bolted on coathooks in the dressing room and just the random cleaning that everybody participates in.

As people practiced their technique we then moved onto another technique. This was the ankle lock. One of the things that Vince pointed out was to maintain control of the toebox into the armpit and then putting pressure on the Achilles with your wrist. I'm not the best at descriptive flowing prose with human anatomy, so here's a video to illustrate the point.

So after we finished the two techniques of the night we moved onto light newaza or ground randori. Changed partners a few times. The dojo was crowded so have to be careful when flipping somebody from a turtle on their back with an arm-lock. It was good to engage in randori. I practiced my guard passes, and transition to osea-komi. I just have to work more on my arm-locks, mainly ude-garami and juji-gatame.

Those are a few things that needs to be worked on. Other than that things are going well, and it felt great to be back working out again.