Tag Archives: Health

Progress.

On Saturday, I decided to get my arse into gear and go back down to Newcastle for another of Speedy’s bi-annual grading days. I hadn’t been down in a whole fucking year. Which is pretty shitty on my part but it couldn’t really be helped due to problems with anxiety and health. I say arse into gear, I had to be coaxed into going but hey. This is a big ‘un by the way, sorry about that.

This time last year, I had my arse well and truly punted all over Tyne Met by Hubert and Fahad. Their technique was far superior to mine, and I felt embarrassed by even being there. You’re inevitably going to go to battle with people that are better than you, but that’s the first time I just wasn’t able to put up any fight at all (that I can recall). It was a whitewash, and I’ve felt shitty since.

Fast forward to May and I couldn’t attend the grading for two main reasons – I was having issues with my stomach (AGAIN!), and I really couldn’t face the idea of getting absolutely obliterated in front of my peers again. I’m not what you’d call a competitor. I was never athletically gifted as a child, or even inclined to be (save for riding my bike fucking everywhere, and being shite at football behind the park). It wasn’t until my adult years I actually found something physical that I genuinely fell in love with, in grappling. What I haven’t fallen in love with of course, is the peaks and valleys that go with it. There’s trippy highs, agonising lows and the plateaus in between. That’s some difficult shit right there. When you’re not an athlete, the highs are few and far between, so you’ve got to push through all the bullshit to get there.

Since last year’s grading, I’ve missed quite a bit of training to start the new calendar year, so that I could focus on fixing the physical ailments that governed my abilities (or inabilities, as it were) on the mats. With a bit of help from the doctor, I’m now in the best place physically I’ve been for years (my fitness is still shocking, because I’m still pretty fucking lazy). I don’t worry about pain or discomfort when going to training, and I can actually just focus on the training. So that’s great. Leading up to this grading, I’ve been far more attentive in my training – taking in as many classes and sessions as I can with a busy work schedule.
I’ve been able to teach here and there, and most importantly I’m not focusing entirely on Gi training. I’ve been sparring NoGi  and picking up bits and bobs from the people I’m rolling with, and the coaches around the NoGi scene. This approach and mix of training partners has allowed my game to come on from where it was last year. I feel confident on the mats in my own club, and that’s pretty cool because it took a long fucking time to get there.

Where I still don’t feel confident is the competitive scene. I’m well aware that a friendly inter-club shouldn’t be considered competition, but it is. Doing poorly there, reflects poorly on the training and learning I’ve been given over the last year. I’m not only embarrassing myself, but my coaches and training partners. So that’s not a position I like to be in. That’s where my anxiety stems from. Looking foolish in front of my peers, when I believe I can do better.

This year it took me quite a bit of convincing to get back down to Newcastle for this grading day. Strangely enough I feel comfortable as a purple belt now, but when you’re pulling up the ever lengthening measuring stick of where you stack up against other purple belts, I still consider myself wholly shitty at this sport. As a result, going to war with other people my age/weight/level crumbles me. I’m fine until I step on the mats, but it’s then that I just shell up into oblivion. If I’m having a friendly roll, I’m cool. If I think competitively, I shit my pants.

My other half was very instrumental in pushing me towards overcoming this anxiety. I also turned to Speedy, Sloany and Grant who all delivered choice words to help me take the pressure off of the inter-club. I felt suitably relieved and actually happy about going down to Newcastle to support my teammates.
I’d shifted the focus off of my own journey, onto my peers. I want to see them do well, and to do that, I need to be there.

The Dundee and Perth lot did really well. I took the side of the mats, and coached where I could alongside other seasoned Jiu-Jidiots. Adam, Ronnie and Sloany were the standouts of the day, all getting long overdue shiny new belts (blue, blue and purple retrospectively). Something I really appreciated from the Newcastle and Darlington lot was their coaching instruction when the Dundee and Perth guys were facing each other. Naturally at the side lines, you can’t pick a side when you know both parties involved well, so it was great to see other guys taking that on, and helping out.

For my own match, I faced one of Dom’s up and comers ( a 10th Planet Purple belt). As soon as Dom approached me about it, I lost whatever spark I had for my proposed match. I was meant to be facing familiar ground, and now I was facing the great unknown. Scary. I could see him warming up, and I was already defeated mentally. I needed a moment to collect my thoughts and get my shit together. As I was walking over to the other mat to see how Sloany’s match was going, I was called up. This was it. Me vs Mighele right fucking now. I faced him, shook hands, bumped fists etc and he went for the takedown. I just did what I could, where I could to stop his onslaught of attacks. In my mind’s eye there were scrambles, but I don’t know if I’m remembering the fight better than I actually did, because of the positive comments I received afterwards. At one point, he had me in an armbar that I was later told the ref was on the verge of stopping the fight over, but I just waited until I could find my way out (a big thanks to those who were coaching me from the sidelines at this point. I distinctly remember hearing Ant). Once I’d worked my way out of the armbar, I managed to scramble to my feet before getting tripped again.
I attempted a single butterfly sweep, but failed miserably and ended up in a dorsal-fin kimura. This wasn’t good, but I wasn’t tapping. Mighele adjusted and lead me into the reverse triangle. When he pulled my arm across my neck, I was truly fucked. I was done. Life was leaving my lungs and I tapped.

In all that though, I felt calm. I don’t think I lost my cool, became panicked or embarrassed myself like I did last year. Sure, I was bettered in the fight but I actually had fun going against Migele, and would like to do so again one day, regardless of the result. If I’d had a moment to collect my thoughts, I probably would’ve picked more faults in my game, as I often do. Afterwards, I spoke with Migele and Billy (another of Dom’s guys). It was a good reflection on the match that just happened, and also part of what makes this sport, and these inter-clubs so great. There’s no animosity between anyone. It’s not the demon filled hell pit I seem to have in my imagination. I shouldn’t be fearing this like I am, or suffering whatever anxiety I do. I need to move on. I need to move forward.

Next year, I’m going to take a more active approach to competing. It’s something I’ve severely neglected in Jiu-Jitsu and part of what I believe makes me such a shitty purple belt. The first competition I have my sights on is in February, and a lot of guys from the club are already keen to go. I’m going to have to get out there, and start getting my arse kicked by people that people that actually want to kill me, so that when it comes to the inter-club I can better make the distinction between war and fun.

I also had some great rolls with Big Show, Dom and Speedy on the day that deserve a mention. Dom and Speedy toyed with me, like the devious bastards they are. Speedy gave me a few things to work on, so that’s cool.

I’m aware I’ve rambled throughout this piece, but that’s entirely the point of this blog. I have to be able to put down the good, the bad and the ugly. The big difference with this year’s ‘performance’ is that I’m raring to go, and ready to get back on the mats tonight. Which is exactly where I need to be to continue improving. I’ve made progress in that defeat, rather than shying away like I did a year ago.

Off you fuck then.

Respite.

Jiu-Jitsu is HARD. It’s taken me a long while to get there, but I don’t think I have bad classes anymore. I’m always learning, always evolving, little by little.
I understand what’s going on. I can take in a demo and jump straight into a move with vicious intent. That’s great, but it’s been a long and horrible road to get there. I recently pondered whether I’m too caught up in the majesty of BJJ though, and for the most part, I guess I am. It’s a great stress reliever, but it’s often at the cost of further, albeit differing stresses.

The physical ailments you pick up in your time practicing this fabled art are ridiculous. I’m a hobbyist at best but the various bodily tweaks that I just live with, because HEY! That’s Jiu-Jitsu is utterly insane. Quite a lot of me just hurts. Your body really isn’t designed for grappling in the slightest.
My neck, my shoulders, my upper back, my knees, my ankles, my hands, fingers, toes, they’re all screaming at me on a daily basis to give it a fucking rest. If they could talk, they’d say, “Barry stop slowly destroying this ramshackled fuck of a body.”

I don’t train like a lunatic. I’m not Garry Tonon. I juggle work and a home life between BJJ, like most other normal people. I’m lucky enough to train three times a week, and my body fucking hates me for it.
I can’t even begin to imagine what other people in the club feel like. The dedicated fighters, or competitors.
I don’t feel I train stupidly. I’m not deliberately putting myself into neck cranks or anything like that, and whilst I do have a defensive focus, if something hurts or I’m uncomfortable I’ll do what I can to get out of that position. If you’ve got me, I’ll tap. I’m not in the business of trying to tear my shoulder apart fighting off an armbar. This isn’t the Worlds, it’s a grappling club in Dundee.

After my last class which was a smothering affair with a man many call Big Fat Kenny – I decided I was due a break. A good few weeks ago, I let a spazzy white belt go ham, and I’ve had quite a bit of pain around the shoulder since.
So I decided to take some time to just heal. Chill out without the strains that my body expects. Respite.

I feel pretty great physically after two weeks away. There are still niggles. I still hurt in quite a few places, but my desire to train hasn’t gone away  – which is always a worry when you take a break. I’ve still been watching a billion videos, I’ve watched tournaments, etc and of course I’m still taking a keen interest in the training of the people around me.

Mentally however, I’m back to being a wholly pissy, angry fuckhead. That’s the joy of the 9-5 and overtime on top. I haven’t had anything physical to alleviate the week’s stresses (Jiu-Jitsu is my thing, see), so it’s all been building up in one angsty ball. That sounds like a new Grunge album.

So on Monday I’ll go back to training, and try to better balance the stresses I’ve incurred, whether mental or physical, and I can’t fucking wait.

Fuck off then. x

So Much Jits.

Training has been going well of late. I’ve been averaging two classes a week, which doesn’t sound like much but I’ve spent a lot of the last six months absent. So it feels like a whole new world of hurt. I can feel myself getting fitter again. The most important thing though, is that Jiu-Jitsu is my therapy. It’s a physical activity that gives me focus, confidence and something to work towards.
It squashes whatever doubts or struggles I have in life, and allows me to go fucking nuts on the mats, as I try to twist someone’s head off like a bottlecap. Without Jiu-Jitsu, I’m a really fucking horrible person. With it though, I’m a really fucking horrible person, learning how to choke the fucking life out of you.

Billy’s upped his teaching massively. Knocking it out of the park week after week, as he breaks down the basics, and the finite details involved in each technqiue.
There’s far less waffle, which is impressive, because he used to slap out more waffle than a New York Diner.
We’ve been working the basics, and how they link into one another from the simple setup of a collar grip and a sleeve grip on the same side. Triangle, kimura, armbar, guillotine, cross collar, omplata. We’re creating a spider web. Or branches, or whatever analogy you want to settle on.

Regrettably, last week there was a bit of drama in the club. Danny, one of the scrappiest white belts you’ll ever meet caught me in a triangle. Naturally, I buckled down and made sure he didn’t tap me. He was close though. Wanker.
It’s great to see someone developing like he is, so young in their grappling tenure. For a moment, I considered putting a hit out on him.
Luckily, I didn’t have to bother… Danny rolled with a much larger opponent, and whilst they tried to pass his tricky guard, his knee decided to make a sound similar to whip being snapped. So that was nice.
Danny took it like a man, and buried his head deep into the mats so that he could cry internally as the pain surged through his knee. Sloany was on hand to take him up to A&E and find out what the hell happened. It turns out, it’s only a very nasty sprain of the MCL, which is about the best result you could wish for after your knee silenced a whole fucking room.
The guy that Danny was sparring with is close to double his weight, so it could’ve been a full explosion of the knee. It’s not, thank fuck. He’ll be hobbling about like an invalid for a while, but he’ll be back on the mats in the coming weeks to attempt that triangle again.

On Sunday just passed, Speedy’s beloved boy Tyrone came up to visit (he’s a brown belt), and put on a wee seminar for us Dundee folks. I’ve known this little twerp for far too many years now (he’s been kicking fuck out of me since he was a kid), so I decided to get a private before the seminar.
The private was ace. We covered some half guard details that I’ll be playing about with in the coming weeks, with the hope to implement them into my game.
We also covered a different approach to the omoplata and refined the loop choke that I love so much.
The actual seminar was a follow on from his last seminar. We worked more open guard sweeps and submissions. The spider guard and lasso can be a minefield of agony. The lasso especially when done correctly (something I’ve seemingly never done before) is fucking brutal on the shoulder.
Tyrone’s great at taking a complicated technique, and making it very simple and easy to understand. You can see the influence in his teaching, thanks to people like Speedy and Marc guiding him throughout his life. He’s a very competant grappler, and a real assett to our little team of mat bastards.

Monday night’s class covered the armbar from guard, the armbar failing, and then leading into the pendulum sweep. The focused rolling afterwards was great fun too. The aim wasn’t to hunt for submissions, but to find them whilst rolling, as you explored positions. This gave me an opportunity to play, and try to flow.

To wrap up, old man Billy asked me to cover the loop choke in class this evening, because I have a relatively high success rate with it (I’ve been playing with it ever since Neil caught me with it, yonks ago). I kept it basic, and hopefully explained it well, but time will tell. It’s a bonafide killer, so it’ll be nice to see how the other members in the club start utilising it (I’m currently the only person that actively works it).
I showed Sloany, Craig and Billy a variation I’ve been working on. It’s from the turtle, and is basically a reverse kataha jime. If the loop choke fails, this is there for a guaranteed-patent-pending-you’re-going-to-sleep-and-shitting-your-pants-choke. 

I think that about covers everything! Hopefully that wasn’t too boring a read for you all, and I’ll be back again soon. HUZZAH!

Tyrone’s Seminar – What this lacks in symmetry, it makes up for in sweat.

Goddamn Ills.

The human body is a complete bastard. Those of you that have one, will know that. I’ve had my fair share of minor niggles throughout my life, but nothing truly major, fortunately. This’ll seem like a walk in the park to most of you, who have probably smashed your bodies to bits, but what I’m about to go into, whilst grim is completely taken for granted.

Recently my digestive health has plummeted. My body has become absolutely fucking useless at taking in food, stealing all the nutrients required and disposing of the waste in a timely manner as you’d expect. I’ve been constipated. Boohoo, you’re probably thinking. However, this started properly before Christmas. It’s now fucking May. It’s a maddening cycle of getting constipated for several days on end, all the cramps that go with it, and then your body saying, hey fuck this. Once your body decides fuck this, operation megashit kicks in, and everything needs to be evacuted. This can also be painful. A proper knee wobbler, if you will. There’s no point in diluting that. That’s exactly what’s happening. It’s awful.

I’ve had IBS all of my life. Normally, it’s perfectly fine. I’ll have a stress related bout of the shits, or a food based bout of constipation. Normal people get that. Lately though, my bowel is being a total fucking wanker. If someone could conjure up a ‘go to fix’ pill, that’d be great. Doctors will tell you to try something, and when it fails, you’ll try something else and so on and so forth; until you die some weeks later suffering from complete boredom and total disdain for the stupidity of your own useless fucking meatbag body.
I’ve been through various diet modifications that don’t fix anything, and then all of a sudden one day, things just go back to normal. Hey presto, I’m no longer suffering from a spastic colon and the hellacious cramps that go with it.
Several months in, I haven’t yet met that day. I’ve been through this nonsense before, and it usually just rights itself. This is without a doubt the longest period of bowel misery since I broke my collarbone. That was caused by the accompanying medusa like painkillers turned my shit into fucking stone. ANYWAYS; I’ve been grabbing a class when I can, on the days I don’t feel like punching a hole in the earth.

This Saturday coming is one of Speedy’s bi-annual grading days. It’s a day where you get to meet up with a load of pals from Speedy’s other affiliated clubs, and have a friendly Jiu-Jitsu competition between one another. You’ll be matched up against people your size and grade, and the higher belts assess how you’ve progressed from the last time they saw you. If the stars align, you might get a stripe or a belt, or a wee friendly pat on the back from Speedy. Hey you’re not as shit as I thought you were. It’s a great day out.

Naturally, I’ve made the decision not to attend this grading. This year my training has been fragmented to say the least. I’ll grab a class here or there, but nothing consistent. I don’t feel I’ve progressed since November, and whilst I had a really positive class tonight where techniques were all fitting together and just working as they should, it’s not representative of how my training has been of late. I also can’t count on my body not to be an absolute fucking prick to me over the next few days. I felt good enough today to have a decent day at work, followed by a brilliant Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, but tomorrow is a brand new day that could be filled with stabbing pain in the abdomen. Yipee.

My current focus is to get back to normal health. Once the ill is conquered, I’ll be catching the next rocketship to Newcastle to get an absolute pasting from Speedy’s finest. Once I’ve recovered from that battering, I’ll get back on the mats frequently and focus on the grading in November. If I get smashed to bits then, so be it, but at least I’ll be my best self, and have no excuses. My goal in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to be the best version of me that I can be, and currently I know I’m just not that. It’s one thing not progressing, but there are days when I feel like I’m going completely backwards.

If you’ve made it to the end, thanks for reading and getting through the grim stuff. It took every fibre of my being not to be super graphic, but hey this blog is a PG-13, not completely Rated R.

Right fuck off. x

Bastard Injuries.

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, they* say that most injuries occur during your white and blue belt years. The reason for this is because you’re green to the sport. You don’t know or understand how to move yet, not just for Jiu-Jitsu, but for the limitations of your own body. You’ll see other people around you that are more flexible or athletic, and in trying to replicate that, your entire abdomen will explode, or your head will fall off. That’s why most Gi companies also specialise in Will & Testament forms, so that you don’t leave your family in the lurch, when you inadvertently die doing this fucking sport.

*I don’t know who they are.

Recently I hurt my neck playing about with Judo. I did Judo a bit as a kid, but when you’re a kid, falling is part of your daily routine, so you become accustomed to doing it without hurting yourself. I’d now consider to be green at Judo, because when I’m thrown, it can really fucking hurt. Luckily, it was just a pulled muscle and I only had to rest for a couple of weeks.

Annoyingly (for me, and them too I’m sure) two good training partners of mine have fallen to pretty shitty injuries. Neil the submission transition beast himself was rolling back in February or so and felt his knee pop. We’ve all been there, with the regular clicks and clacks of bodily destruction, but this was serious. He needs a full ACL reconstruction. Which means he’s out for a good long while. Which means I don’t get to roll with him anymore. Which sucks.
Last night at Submission Wrestling, another very competitive guy in Luca, snapped his collarbone. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I also did this a couple of years back. Apparently he did it from a similar position, which is crazy. Hopefully his recovery is speedier than mine, because he actually has some athletic prowess about him.

Not having these two in the gym for a while will suck, because you’re guaranteed a really difficult roll out of either. They both regularly make me look a fucking fool, which admittedly isn’t hard.
The main thing to take away here, is be fucking careful kids. Your body isn’t designed to do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, at all. Every second you’re on that mat, be mindful on what you’re doing, or you’ll end up in the dirt god damnit.

The rest of this piece will be silent to commemorate my fallen soldiers.

 

 

 

 

 

🙂

Fever.

FEEEVAAAAH.

So I’m going to use this post as an opportunity to pimp the latest lick from The Black Keys, a band I happen to be very fond of BUT WAIT! There’s more motherfuckers. I’m also going to talk about grappling, because that’s what I fucking do, innit.

First thing’s first, stick this song on and try your damnedest to enjoy it. If you don’t like it, then fair enough*.

*Please note, I hate you and I want you to die immediately.

The Black Keys – Fever (Official Audio)

I fucking love me some music, and cannot for the life of me understand those who don’t. Idiots, that’s what they are, with their fucking brains, devoid of all feeling. FUCK THEM. I digress, it’s grappling time.

So, today I realised I’d been struck down with a fever (feeevaaah). There’s just something missing, and yes I know it’s grappling related. I haven’t trained much for months, because I had all of the ills. I won’t elaborate further because fuck you is why. I’m better now. Or at least I feel much better. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things big time. I attended a BJJ class last week, and will be again this week. There’s also the intent for more, but it’s conjuring up the courage to go forward with that intent. I haven’t really felt the urge for NoGi in a long long fucking time, and I guess that’s because I feel a hell of a lot more comfortable in the Gi now. I’ve felt like that for a long time, because the Gi to me, just feels right. We’re different breeds you know. Same species, just different strains of grappling DNA.

So that itch for NoGi really arose today when I realised at work that I wanted to train this evening. The class tonight is Submission Wrestling, hosted by the wonderful Billy Beckers (probably). I had the thought process mapped out, to the point of thinking where my shorts and t-shirt are but then I remembered tonight is cinema night. I’m going to see The Raid 2. It’s been booked for a while and whilst it’s not the best excuse for skipping class, I haven’t been to that class in months anyways, so one more won’t hurt. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re not wrong, I am at times a completely lazy cunt. This is the Raid 2 though, give me a break.

Next week though, I’m going to take in a Submission Wrestling class and pretend I know what the fuck I’m doing. I may even go to an open mat before then, so I don’t show up on the evening feeling like a complete novice. It’s been that long.

It’s time to switch shit up. FEEEVAAAH. Might give myself a black belt for effort (postive thoughts, and all that jazz).

Guess Who’s Back? Lazy’s back.

Let’s get down to business. I haven’t been around these hear parts because it hasn’t been worth my time. I’ve been ill on and off for fucking ages now, and I’m hoping/praying I’ve finally got my shit under control, and I’m good to go. And you know what that means? Training.

I’ve not been totally out of the game, because I’m just not able to do that. I’ve dropped into the occasional Wednesday or Sunday class, here or there. I’m stagnant, I’m not able to do a lot of the stuff that I once was, but I’m well aware of why that is. Shit happens.

This week, I’ll be looking to return to proper training. I want to be able to roll with the best of them, and the worst of them. I’ve been actively taking an interest in those internet video things, because some people out there are so fucking graceful it’s hard not to learn from them, so that’s good.

The club has recently adopted a new black belt, by the way. As our luck would have it, a man called Yannis Papastamatiou somehow fell from the Jiu-Jitsu heavens into our laps.. He’s not ours for the keeping, he just happens to work/study nearby, and trains in a few clubs fairly locally, to impart his knowledge of the gentle art. I believe he was awarded his black belt last year at the De La Riva Academy in Florida, by Beto Nunes. He’s a marine biologist that specialises in sharks. Yeah, that’s right, he’s a badass.

I’ve only been fortune enough to attend one of his classes, but the techniques he  showed were of typical black belt fashion, whereby you think, “Why the fuck didn’t I think of that?” whilst grunting at your tatty little blue belt. He’s certainly going to be an asset to the club.

I’m looking to go down to Newcastle again soon, to visit Speedy, as I haven’t seen him in a while, and anytime I do, my mind is literally fucking blown by his extremely vast knowledge of nasty locks. It’ll also be good to see his son, and a few of the other absolute monsters that are down there.

Things for the time being are positive. Expect a post later this week, after class to let you know how I’m feeling. Being that I have little to no cardio now. I’m going to attempt some flow rolling, if given the opportunity on Wendesday. Granted, that depends on whether my partner will be a fucking meathead smashy cunt.

Toodles bitches.