Tag Archives: marc walder

Plummeting.

For a while now I have been truly miserable. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about progress, and I’m firmly of the opinion that I’m nowhere fucking near to where I should be. It’s a shitty position to be in, but I’ve been through it before. Sometimes it’s a real slog to move forward in this sport, and the route I’m currently taking seems counter-intuitive to progress, which is inherently frustrating.

I don’t train enough. Currently I’m making a lot more effort to train, but those invisible gains are exactly that. Invisible. I’ve got to continue onwards in the belief that things will get better. Albeit very slowly. This dark cloud of mental shiteness and self doubt that I have hanging over me will lift. I’ve been training long enough to know that.

Today was a much needed kick in the stones. Marc Walder decided to come back to Dundee to teach another one of his brilliant seminars. It was three hours of very focused training on footlocks. Specifically the achilles lock, but also enough of a push to let you know the options you have from each place. Marc’s a man of sequence (not to be mistaken with sequins, a far more glamourous approach to Jiu-Jitsu). One technique will link into the next, and then the next, and so on and so forth until you have gone full circle. It’s a thoroughly effective way to train in my opinion. He breaks technique down well, and the reasons for doing it well. He’s also patient enough to run through the technique with you 1,000,000 times until you get it.

A couple of things that really resonated once I grasped the techniques, were the shin on shin guard stuff. It’s something I hope to incorporate into my game immediately. The takedown was very simple, and there’s some funky sweep options, as well as some nice leglock options. We’ve been working leglocks for weeks now, under the tutelage of Mestre Billy Beckers. I’d like to make it a focus of my game for the time being. Whether my overall game becomes leglock based, I dunno but certainly at the moment I seem to be really gelling with the concepts behind them.

My spirits have been lifted greatly, and that’s thanks to a few important people today. First of all, my girlfriend supports me through all of this nonsense, and puts up with my shitty attitude when I’m miserable because things just aren’t working at training. She’s great.
Marc has yet to put on a seminar where I haven’t learned a fuckload, and I know he’s also available to go through techniques, or talk through life or well whatever, really.
Grant arranged this seminar with Marc personally, so I suppose I’ll give him a mention. The arsehole.
And finally, and most importantly my training partner for the day, Euan The Fat Cockroach Sloane. His patience and kindness are that of a gentleman, and I realise now that calling him The Fat Cockroach makes me look like a prick. However, that’s the name he donned himself. Not long after calling me the Nasty Cat, for no reason whatsoever. Bastard.

The happier, more enthused me will be back soon. Promise.

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Marc Walder IV.

So yesterday I attended my forth Marc Walder seminar. I always get excited when attending his classes, because he brings a wealth of knowledge from both a physical and a mental standpoint. His understanding of Jiu-Jitsu is always enlightening. Anyone that has met him will tell you the very same.

The class was simple. We warmed up with a little shrimp drill. Shrimp from your back, then shrimp from your elbow and finally shrimp from your arm out behind you to a seated position. These are all positions and movements you’re encouraged to use when you spar, however I’ve never seen it delivered in this way before. Stupidly simple, but very good.

I’ll not go into the finer details of the sweep or guard passing that we covered today, because A) I often feel my writing is poor when trying to describe BJJ and B) I can’t be bothered. The main thing is, I’ve got my own notes so I remember them. POW!

What I will say though is that the passes we covered were very effective, once  you wrapped your head around them. There was a flatten out pass, a knee slice pass and a counter to the counter of the knee slice pass. Great stuff.

At the end of a seminar, Marc takes an open forum approach which allows people to ask whatever they want. This was a bit more muted than normal, but I had no burning questions, so who am I to criticise?
One thing Marc will always drive home is the importance of rolling at the correct pace. There are three ways to spar in his eyes. The first is tough, with the objective to shut down your opponent’s game. A lot of people have this as their go to, because they’re afraid to end up in bad positions.
The second is a flow style roll, where you try and go at 10% and see where you end up. You might end up in bad positions, or even get tapped but you should be analizing why that happened so that you can better deal with it the future.
The third and final way is the hybrid style. Flow between positions, whilst shutting down your opponent as best you can. Try to defend and attack at the same time. This is what the black belts tend to do. They’ll roll easily between positions, without leaving gaps, and delivering what can only be described as a general tightness.

Marc’s a firm believer in leaving your ego at the door. He rolls at your pace, and can adjust his game to suit your abilities. With this, I think he’s able to get the best out of people. He demonstrated at the end by rolling with a few people. Some were confused by his approach, and as to whether he was setting them up for some sort of sneak attack, but that’s just not the sort of person he is. Once you conquer your nerves and get stuck in, it quickly turns into a fun roll.
Having met him three times before, I no longer get nervous around his enigmatic black belt presence. He’s far too nice and chilled a guy to be intimidated by. It’s one thing knowing he can kick your arse on the mats, but it’s another knowing he just won’t. It’s just not who he is. He’s a man with a shotgun in his backpack, and no need to use it.

He ushered me to roll. Everything I’ve just said before has gone out the window. This bastard is about to take my arm home with him, and there’s nothing I can do about it! I approach, cautiously as he takes his grips ready to tear me apart.
I jest, we had a very fun roll with opportunities from each of us throughout. I’m only a blue belt, but he allowed me to try and work whatever the hell it was I was trying to do. At one point I took his back for almost a whole second. I think I tried a sloppy armbar, he tried a triangle that I postured out of, but there was no real urgency or determination to kill one another. We were just having fun, and exploring this brilliant sport.

It’s something that’s mentioned all the time, but what other sports allow you to do this? I’m not a football (soccer) man, but I’ve basically just played football with Lionel Messi, or someone similar. How wild is that? It’s baffling that we’re able to do this. I fucking love this sport.

If you ever get the chance to attend one of Marc’s seminars, please don’t pass up the opportunity. He’s incredible, and you will walk away with a refreshed outlook on the art itself. I know this because I have been in a funk far too many times to count, only to come away from one of his seminars with direction again. Sometimes a little guidance is all you need, because you’re not always on the straightest path to achieving your goals, whether it be injury, flexibility, how you learn, etc. We’re all different in this sport, but one thing we share is our adaptability to the sport. That’s a little corny, but you get my drift.

Peace out.

Letting Go.

This is another opportunity of mine to gush over the wonderful Marc Walder. I attended another seminar of his on Sunday (I’ve been to three now). I don’t think I’d be able to accurately summarize how much I idolise this man. His Jiu-Jitsu is beautiful, and it’s complimented by this understanding and informed philosophy that he has clearly built up over the years.

He’s three for three currently, as each time I see him, I up my game both physically and mentally. At the end of each seminar, he opens the mats to his students like a forum. You can ask him anything you want, and he will likely have an answer. Some of the questions asked were great.

I asked him when he was able to let go of his anxieties when competing. His answer was interesting to say the least. It took him until brown belt to truly let go and just enjoy the competition for what it is. You should be focusing on right now. Not your past failings, or the possibility of future mistakes, it’s easier to squash anxiety if you approach with  this open attitude to your opponent. Look at the competition as just another opportunity to play this beautiful game, that’s what I’ll be doing.

I like that. Sure it’s easy to have hang-ups about yourself and your own game, but there’s no reason why you can’t let go far earlier, no matter what belt you are. I’m going to try to apply his method of thinking when I next compete. Shit out all of my anxieties and just have a laugh, that’s what I want. Probably because I’m not a competitive person when it comes to this fight-jitsu stuff.

Granted I’ve simplified massively, but you get the meaning. Later, a friend asked about progression and plateaus. His answer for this was so actually blatantly obvious. He actually took the time to draw a line graph to demonstrate his point. Now myself and a friend are blue belts, we both feel that currently we’ve hit a bit of a plateau and we’re not moving forward, although the white belts seem to be rapidly learning. Marc explained why this is, and it made us feel pretty fucking stupid that we couldn’t see it.

Here’s how it works. At white belt, you are but a vegetable. Let’s presume you know nothing. Whereas at blue belt, you’ve learned enough of the fundamentals to earn that belt. So whilst you’re on your path to purple, all you’re really doing is honing those fundamentals and adding bits and bobs to your arsenal. This process is tightening up your game. The jump between blue and purple is arguably huge but the only change really is the understanding of the game. The jump between white and blue isn’t as huge, as such blue belts tend to hit this plateau whilst the white belts steadily progress. It’s perspective. Much needed if like me you’re a sea of self doubt on the mats. And he stated that it actually gets worse. Purple to brown and brown to black will be longer journeys filled with more moments of self-doubt, but that’s part of the sport. You’re going to see people below you come on leaps and bounds, but you have to remember you were once in that position with the higher belts noticing your progression whilst they felt stale.

Just because you’re moving at a microscopic pace, does not mean you’re not moving. Obviously there are still variables. Athleticism, flexibility, drive, etc will all play a part in how you move forward, but it’s entirely normal to hit a wall once in a while, you may not have the ability to go through it, but you’ll definitely get over it.

Hopefully all of that shit made sense because I really can’t be arsed re-reading it.

SPLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURGE.

adeus.

The Marc Walder Seminar.

Grab a tea/coffee, this is probably going to be a big one. Expect errors, I’m still awaiting my English degree coming from Uganda. It only cost me £15,000. Bargain!

On Saturday I woke up quite early with a bit of a buzz. Myself and two friends were off to Newcastle for a Marc Walder seminar. The UK BJJ scene is growing steadily, and that’s thanks to people like Marc. He’s a second degree black belt under Mauricio Motta Gomes, and he’s a very important figure in the UK Jiu-Jitsu scene due to his ethos, philosophy & ability.
Marc travelled around 300 miles to get to Newcastle. Myself and my friends travelled around 190 miles. This gives you an idea of the gaps there are in the UK scene. More and more black belts are popping up all the time (I’ll come back to that), but there is still a lot of travelling to be done throughout the country to source them. This definitely isn’t Brazil, but we’re making steady progress.

Now a Saturday evening isn’t my preference for a seminar, but this is an opportunity not to be snuffed at. We set up the gym and got changed into our Gis. Looking around the room, I could see once again that I was the only person wearing a non-conventional Gi (white, blue or black). I must look such a prick, but I like purple so that’s the one I brought with me.

Marc wasted no time in getting us to work. I was a bit taken aback by the work rate. As you can tell by the blog name, I’m quite lazy, so for us to warm up with takedowns is probably a great idea on his part, but it kicked the shit out of me. In the first half hour, I was sweating like an old man. I’m twenty-six for Christ sake.

Word of warning, this’ll be a mess. Think of something majestic like a Flamingo. Now erase that from your brain. A friend comes along to tell you about this new thing he’s seen. He doesn’t know it’s a bird, what colour it is, or what it does, but he’s going to explain it to you anyway. That’s what is about to happen here. I’m a blue belt, and I can barely string a logical sentence together. What happens is my brain goes, OH but.. and but.. this but.. but you did.. and then.. So forgive me if you’re reading through these techniques and think, what the fuck are you going on about?

First up, we did an exercise to feel range. Typical kickboxer stance, patting your hands to feel range. Once you feel your opponents hand ahead of you, kick low and grab a double underhook. Locking up with the gable grip and driving forward.

We then complimented this with a classic double leg takedown. We’re not animals, so there was no punching in the face to distract our opponent. Instead we placed our palm on the face as we shot in. Grabbing at the legs, getting good posture by squating properly with a sensible stance and driving them through the mat like they slapped our mothers. Straight into knee on belly.

We moved onto a failed takedown. You’ve been caught in a standing guillotine, because you’re an arsehole. Why did you do that? Well that doesn’t matter. Grab the choking wrist, place your opposite hand over their shoulder and point your fingers down their spine. You’ve just relieved a shit-ton of pressure, well done. But we’re not done yet. Step out to the opposite side of the choke and drag your opponent to the ground. You can do this by placing a knee behind theirs. Once on the ground, he can no longer choke you, so let go of his wrist and feel for his hips. One hand is placed on his hip, and your knee on the other hip. That’ll stop the wriggling little bastard. Now, take your opposite hand and slide across the throat, gripping at the shoulder, and driving a pressure down onto his neck, the remains of his guillotine will release, and you can take side control.

You’re in a failed takedown again, you’ve landed in the standing guillotine again. You grab the wrist, and reach over his shoulder, step out and nothing happens. He’s moving with you, like some sort of choking ninja. The last takedown has been rendered useless. So what now? Reach over and around his neck, crank into your own guillotine – if this doesn’t choke him out with the extra leverage generated by the twist on his neck and drive of your hips, then you can switch out to another crafty little takedown. You want to move out to the opposite side that you’re choking on, so that you’re facing his hip. Your hands should be on their opposite hip (around the back), and tricep (around the front). Now pull these apart slightly, it will make things awkward for him. Now you want to scoot out, step backwards so that your body is parrellel to the ground. You now need to take a step one leg stepping in front of their foot, and the other behind their legs as you sit down. Make sure you don’t trap your own hand, so release the hand that’s on the hip, to place on the mat as you fall. Now scramble into either mount or side control and that’ll take us onto the next techniques.

First up, you’re in no-man’s-land, a side control but you haven’t got him pinned. You’ve landed awkwardly and your opponent, god bless him can do one of two things. He’ll roll away from you, or into you. Now if he choose to roll away, place a hand on his hip to delay his roll into turtle, thread a leg under his other hip and get your other hook in. Take seatbelt control. He’ll trying to stand and shake you off, but you’re clever, you’ve modified the back mount so that you’re off to one side. This slight angle pertubes him. Your legs need to be like a zig-zig pattern off of a pair of ’80s curtains. Threading through his legs with the back of your knee threading through his and your foot resting on the opposite side. Now work the rear-naked-choke. Your opponent will drop to the mat, and you can palm off their attempts to stop the choke with your free hand. Now sink in the choke, and hold until your fellow students pull you off of your opponent. The police are called for some reason unkown to you because all you can see is red, and all you can hear is screaming. Wait, what?

Same awkward no-man’s-land, non-pinned side control. This time the saucy bugger decides to turn into, and you’re like, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? As he turns in, you quickly throw an arm triangle on. I found this was most effective for me if I did it the following way. Picture side control, your opponent starts to turn to you, you need to block this with your shoulder, you the take the hand that would be beside their hip and quickly thread under so that you have one arm trapped, whilst the hand goes around their neck. Now I reached through as far as possible before flattening them out, this made the choke easier for me to obtain. Flatten yourself, rest your knee against their hip, and grab your bicep. Now grab the tricep of the trapped arm and push it into their neck. The result of this mess of words is they get that fuzzy feeling, blurred eyes and then suddenly start to tap as the air is being stolen from them.

Marc explains things very well, and relates techniques to the street, much like a lot of the Gracies do. He doesn’t shy away from new techniques, and trains each aspect of BJJ to keep his game active, which allows him to defend appropriately. Can you imagine being knocked on your arse by some burly man, then butt-scooting into a berimbolo? You’re in a car park, and suddenly your favourite jeans have scores on the arse, your shoulder is about to get fucked up, and you’re probably going to scratch up your scalp. All the while Punchy Bastard is repeatedly trying to punch you in the face. That’s not gonna fly, dawg. That’s why Marc teaches exactly what is most effective for the scenario.

There was a Q&A after the seminar, that lasted around 45 minutes. This gave great insight into Marc’s mentality towards BJJ, life, etc. He’s clearly a very clever man, and had an answer for everything asked of him. Whether it was dealing with try-hard one-hundred-percenters trying to break you, or how to deal with bad positions. He demoed a lot here, to show that someone being on your back/in mount/side control etc wasn’t actually something bad at all. There’s no need to panic, you will become comfortable, you will find your place.

His roll with Ian Malone was something to behold. Playful, intricate, enjoyable to watch. They flowed.

At the end of the seminar, we were lined up, and Ian was deservingly promoted to black belt. He’s been a brown belt the whole time I’ve been doing BJJ. He has taught for a number of years, to my knowledge and he’s the perfect example of proper Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, fighting MMA at flyweight he doesn’t rely on strength, beasting people, etc. He is the purest form of technique, much like ‘Speedy’ and of course Marc. This is how I want to be one day. Emulating traits from either one, and defining my own style.

And I’m spent. Toodle pip!

Future Pieces: Incoming!

If you’ve visited my page before, you’ll know I was at a Marc Walder seminar yesterday. A summary of that is, it was fantastic. I’ll write something a bit more comprehensive about it later when I actually have time.

Today I’m resting, and chilling out with my girlfriend. We’re going to eat, and watch movies. Gangster Squad is on the agenda. That should be good.

More training tomorrow with my partner in crime, and I’ll also put up the pieces about the seminar, and the story behind my blue belt (which I received on 15/04/12).