BJJ Guards: Spider Guard

I waited again far too long without an update!  Things have been a bit crazy: lots of MMA and preparing to launch my Etsy store.  I make chainmaille jewelry, and setting up the shop is exhausting!  I will be putting up a link as soon as possible!

While I’ve been going to the gym a lot this and last week, one thing that stood out to me were guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and for a very good reason.  There are so many guards it’s ridiculous!  I’ve been taught how to pass the guard and a few other guards, but one that really sticks out to me is the Spider guard.

No spiders were harmed in BJJ class.

We learned how to get someone into Spider Guard, and how to control their movements.  We were also taught how to roll someone over, depending on what side they choose to move.  But… when it was my partner’s turn to flip me over, I had a slight panic attack!  I was seriously afraid of being flipped over.  As usual, my patient instructor encouraged me but I still was panicking.  So, he did the one thing he could do: my instructor got me into Spider guard, and, when I resisted, he did some sort of leg hook sweep thing (I cannot remember the name of it haha) and very, very, very sloooowly flipped me over.  He showed me how to be flipped over- it’s important to know these things because BJJ has a lot of rolling, flipping, tossing, and turning.  Getting over that flip motion is still difficult… and I think almost as bad as the arm bar situation!

The spider guard is tricky, but it is fun to do (as long as you’re not the one trapped, of course!)

As with each class, my mental gears were spinning and it got me thinking about all sorts of different guards, how to escape them, and how to control your opponent’s movements when you’ve got them in guard.  So, out of curiosity, I have to ask:  What is your favorite guard?  What’s your favorite escape method from it (or any guards)?  What’s your least favorite guard?

Happy roling!

-Raynen

Self Defense, Judo, New Gi Oh My!

Wow, I went way too long without a post!  Now that I’m back to health (excluding my outdoor allergies…ugh…) I can continue to write on here without being completely drained.  This week, I took it a bit easy and only did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, instead of doing Muay Thai and BJJ on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Two classes would drain me.  Next week is a whole different story!

Monday’s class… I don’t remember much except for the Scissor Sweep, since it was my first time going back to working out since the bachelorette party and being sick; however I do remember Tuesday’s and yesterday’s classes.  Both were insightful but difficult.  My instructor branched out a bit from BJJ by having a No-Gi self defense class on Tuesday, and then Judo on yesterday.  It was very helpful!

About the scissor sweep: I did pretty well with it, and thankfully I wasn’t too shy or scared to try it 😀  My instructor says it’s a very useful move and great to learn as a beginner, and I can see why.  The motion of the legs acting like actual scissors is pretty neat.  I’m glad that I’m crawling out of my shell a bit each class so I can learn better and be more confident.  The scissor sweep definitely gave me a tiny bit of a confidence boost.  As for rolling… I 100% got triangle choked D: but I thanked my partner for a good rolling session because I learned from it.  It wasn’t even embarrassing at all- I’m a beginner… either nothing is embarrassing or everything is haha!

The scissor sweep is a great beginner sweep, and it’s kind of fun to do!  Win-win situation!

On Tuesday, we learned some good techniques for self defense, with a good foundation from BJJ (minus the gi).  Instead of learning eye rakes and groin shots, which are apparently popular self defense “moves”, we learned how to get out of chokes.  For instance, if I am standing and someone grabs my throat with both hands, we learned to grab the wrists, push and step back at the same time.  It seriously worked every single time because it has nothing to do with strength.  We also learned how to get out of the same choke against the wall… which was more difficult (not surprising).

This cracks me up!  It’s true and useful.  Gotta love her facial expressions!

Then we learned how to get out of that same choke, but if I’m on my back and someone is on top, choking me.  My instructor calls that the Lifetime Movie Choke and I seriously could not stop giggling haha!  That was really fun (and simple) for me to do!  Just a hip bump, bicep grab, and a flip… and tada!  I’m out of the choke.  Now I just have to learn how to get a triangle efficiently, just to put a cherry on the sundae.  The self defense class was a lot of fun, but very useful to know.

Judo! 

…and then there was Judo.  I give all the credit in the word to Judo practitioners.  It wasn’t the most difficult thing I’ve had to do, but being light on my feet and using as little energy as possible was nearly impossible for me!  I was yanking and pulling my Judo partner with strength and force, instead of using his force and momentum.  I was so tired after two minutes of simply playing “get your opponent to step out of the blue mat and onto the black” because I was using all of my energy.  Thankfully, I was at least about to learn how to use his momentum to do a very low foot sweep thing that I cannot remember the name of.  Judo is a lot of fun… but it made me appreciate BJJ even more.  We also rolled during class and I think I’m ever so slightly improving.  Apparently I love the Kimura, so I’ll have to change things up.  I’m slowly getting out of that phase where I forget everything we learned and kind of trying to go with the flow.

I can’t wait to see my gi, if I haven’t said that already lol!

My final “update” for this post is about my gi!  It shipped and I’ll have it tonight!  I wonder if it will fit.  It’s a blue Gameness gi (I don’t remember the specifics), and I feel like it’s Christmas in June for me.  My very own gi!

Speaking of gis,  what kind of gi do you have, and how many?  Which one fits you the best?  Any recommendations for another gi?

Happy rolling!

-Raynen

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Going Back onto the Mats!

Finally, after five or so days of being sick (and at a bachelorette party, of all places to be sick), I am able to return to the gym!  I decided to do only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today instead of both Muay Thai and BJJ, so that I don’t go overboard…  The reason why I’m writing this before class?  Time… is moving so slow!  I’m counting down the minutes until class!  I am so antsy that I cannot concentrate on anything but my 8pm class!

Time… why you move so slow today?!

Of course it also happens to be raining on my first day back on the mats… go figure!  I guess that will give me a reason to leave early 😀

I wonder what the focus of class will be today, and I’m sure I’ll get owned in rolling, which is fine by me hehe I need to learn!  If I’m not completely exhausted from today, I’ll try to make a post about today’s class.  🙂

-Raynen

When Life Gets Busy

I am currently in a hotel as I type this, coughing like no tomorrow and my voice nearly gone.  My cousin’s bachelorette party was yesterday and still continuing.  It’s been a great time to socialize and be there for her wonderful ladies’ night.  The only problem for me is this horrible cough that I’ve had for the past three days now.  This cough started the night after my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and the next morning.  

While nursing this cough and my mind (of course) on the mats, it makes me appreciate life a bit more.  That constant juggling act between sleep, work, friends, and fitness will probably be never ending for me.  Even roping in work is iffy because I’m still in the stages of opening my business- it’ll get crazier by the week!

As my last post stated, my rest days are on the weekend… so yesterday and today are both gym days.  Do I miss Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?  Of course!  But, I also love my cousin.  Too bad this darn cough decided to go out and party, too.

This all makes me curious… What is the most challenging part of time management between MMA and everything else?  

Hopefully I’ll be back on the mats for BJJ (I’ll skip out on Muay Thai- two classes in one day after this cough will probably be too much) on Monday!

-Raynen

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The Arm Bar: My Love/Hate Relationship

The dreaded arm bar that I hate and (will learn to) love.

Last night at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, my class and I learned the arm bar.  It’s one of the best moves and very effective.  I also happen to hate it and kind of slightly love it.

I was paired up with a girl that is nearly twenty, and a teenaged guy.  He is more experienced, so us ladies had a go at him so we could practice.  When it was my turn, I froze up.  I thought, what if I crushed the kid?

I must have apologized to this poor teenager a thousand times before I even went for it.  Looking up at my instructor, I said, “I’m going to sit on him or crush him.”  My instructor gracefully bit back a smile (the mental image even to me and my two partners made us laugh a bit) and said, “Take a nice deep breath, relax, and go for it.  I promise you that you won’t sit on him and/or crush him.  Even if that happens, you won’t crush him.”  After a few seconds, I took a deep breath, squatted down, and unceremoniously flopped onto my back.  I positioned my partner’s arm, my legs, and my hips, and managed to do an arm bar!  I just really, really dislike it.

We then learned how to escape it, which wasn’t as horrible for me.  I forget what my instructor called the maneuver (something about hitchhiker, I think…) to escape, but I managed to do it.

I am very, very lucky to have a very patient and encouraging instructor.  He is patient and I never feel stupid or ridiculed by him, and that means I can trust him.  So when I’m in a situation where I’m afraid to try something new (which is most of the time… I am very much a beginner lol!) he is able to walk me through it.

…I still hate the arm bar, even though I know I’ll eventually learn to love it.

On a side note, rolling went better than my last class!  I managed to escape guard, and even though I got caught later in half guard… I managed to avoid any submissions!  Rolling with my instructor on the other hand… well, I lasted longer than my last class (about fifteen seconds lol!).  It means I’m improving and that makes me a happy beginner.

This post was longer than I had intended 😛  What is your least favorite choke/lock/submission?  What move was the most difficult/disliked as a beginner?

-Raynen

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Rest Days are Over!

Finally rest days are OVER!  My gym is open Monday-Friday, with weekends reserved for private training.  My rest days are weekends, which is good… except that rest days are difficult for me! I love being on the mats, rolling and kickboxing. It’s my outlet for all of the stress and anger I’ve unintentionally collected over the years.

Well, my rest days this weekend, plus Monday, consisted of me working on chainmaille, enjoying time with family, and… giving myself a pedicure 😀  Of course I have to have pretty toenails, that’s a given- I don’t like feet, so I might as well make mine somewhat bearable.  Purple is the color of the week 🙂

 Let’s Talk by Sinful Colors

Okay, enough about my girly moments lol!  What do you do on your rest days?  What are your favorite non-MMA activities?

-Raynen

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Favorite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Chokes

I may be very much a beginner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but I’ve learned quite a bit in the two weeks since I’ve begun on this epic journey of choking, locking, and rolling proportions.  Even though I can barely maneuver around when I’m rolling (this is the term for sparring in BJJ- you’re literally rolling around with your rolling partner on the mat), I still have a few favorite choke holds.  I don’t remember if I’ve learned any locks or bars (I probably have, but don’t even remember how or the names haha!), but I definitely remember a few moves that have become my favorite!

Just remember that if you are new to BJJ, or you want to “show off” to friends, do not attempt to do this, or any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu moves, outside of class.  It is not worth the possibly injury or death.  It is a great sport, but can become very deadly when done improperly or unsupervised.  DO NOT try these at home, please! 

When I first learned the Guillotine choke, I was confused and shy about trying it.  Once I managed to not be terrified of trying it, I quickly realized how awesome (and potentially deadly) the Guillotine Choke is!  It’s not easy for me to do by any means, but I learned it anyway and it’s fun to do- well, fun in a weird MMA lover way.  To my BJJ readers, I’m sure you can relate to either the love or frustrating, or both, of this choke.  For those who are not practicing MMA/BJJ, or are very new, the Guillotine Choke is a type of maneuver that basically hugs your opponent’s neck with your arm, with their head tucked into your armpit.  It is very similar to the standing Guillotine, and can even be maneuvered to take down an opponent (from what I’ve read… don’t quote me on this).  Thankfully, there are plenty of pictures and videos that can explain better than I can.  Here’s a picture:

This is the aggressive, dangerous, and awesome Guillotine Choke! The picture is at the perfect angle to see what is happening to the both opponents!

What I like about this choke is that you don’t have to be super muscular and tall.  I’m 5’6″, just starting to gain some resonance of muscle, and 125 pounds.  I just focus solely on the maneuver to the best of my ability.  As my instructor tells us about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, practice practice practice.  Lots of practice.  Did I mention practice?  Just in case I didn’t… it takes years and years of practice.  That is why I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; I’ll be busy for a very long time!

I am very curious and intrigued about other chokes, holds, locks, and anything/everything BJJ.  What is your favorite choke (if you have one, if not just name your favorite move!) and when did you learn it?  Happy rolling and keep on practicing!

~Raynen

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