Friday, 31 January 2014

Sore hands!

I thought I had swollen hands until I saw this photo of Joao Miyao's hands!!

The joys of spider guard and grip fighting!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Box Jump!!

I'm very excited and pleased to announce that the club now has its very own strength and conditioning coach :)
James Colter has teamed up with the club and is learning the Arte Suave, whilst the students and my good self are being put through our paces in his unit and in my gym with specifically tailored sessions for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and general strength and fitness.
Regular readers will be aware of my recent back spasm in London a few weeks ago and all the problems I had with it; well, it just so happens that James's speciality is in injury rehab and after only two sessions with James, my back is as strong as ever for a Master 3 veteran (touch wood) and this afternoon I had my first S+C session with James.
After teaching James some BJJ, we went to his unit and I started on box jumps, something I've never done before; I started to practice the basics on an 18" box ,then after warming up, I completed five sets of ten jumps on a 24" box with five reps of ring rows to press for five sets.  That was enough for a box jump virgin!
Hiding away in the unit was a 30" box, so me being Mr Competitive and filled with box jump swagger, I just HAD to try the jump, with only 45 minutes experience to hand.
Below is the result, which I am very happy with :)

This Blog doesn't just cover my adventures in BJJ, it is also aimed at helping to inspire more 40+ year olds to take up the sport, as well as every other age range; by showing this video I hope the older readers out there who are umming and ahhing whether or not they should start training, will actually come to the gym and change their lives for the better.

In no time you'll all be box jumping.

I'm hooked!!

Check out James's website -

Saturday, 25 January 2014

All about the basics!

Highly enjoyable Fundamentals class on Thursday evening at the gym, with new members starting their BJJ journey, sharing the mats with seasoned blue belts.  All good fun!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Brown Belt Superfight!

Best of luck to my friend Arya Asfandmaz who is competing in a  brown belt Superfight in February against Chris Jones from Exeter BJJ.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Gracie Barra London Bridge!

After my trip to Eddie Kone's academy, I was kindly invited to train over at Gracie Barra London Bridge, in the Tuesday night advanced class. One of my old students Nick Briely is now a resident in London and trains at the club and after a quick visit to Bolton at Christmas, Nick dropped in for a few training sessions and when I told him I was in London, the club instructor, brown belt Arya Esfandmaz, who is standing in taking the classes for head instructor Eduardo Carriello, kindly invited me along for a training session, which turned out to be one of the toughest sessions I've faced in a long time, thanks to my creaky back.

I was walking to the Tube with my training bag over my shoulder, with a large bottle of water inside and the bag was swinging left to right, as I was on the phone chatting to a friend; as I stepped onto the Tube and took my bag off, it hit me like a bullet.  Back spasm!!!
I've not had a bad spasm for many years and this one was in the top ten, it looked like I had been Tasered, people were giving me a wide berth and some sideways glances were exchanged by the commuters, all highly embarrassing.  It didn't end there either.

I managed to sit down on the Tube and another fresh spasm coursed through my back and again there I was squirming and wriggling about, oohing and ahhing and cursing the Gods of Back Pain; this was all I needed, on my way to a training session of all times, for one to happen!
Thankfully the spasm stopped after ten seconds or so, then I had to get off the Tube and pick my bag up, with a cast iron tensed up back and negotiate the escalators and busy rushing commuters.  Just walking was a huge challenge it was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other, never mind walk at the breakneck speed like the rest of the Tube commuters; God knows what they thought of the slowly shuffling spectacle in front of them, as they all rushed past me, some pushing me out of the way as they raced towards the escalators, wrapped up in their own bubble of business and rush, rush, rush.  As they pushed past me, I wished them a long and lingering, preferably painful ailment to befall them in the not too distant future.

I was met at the Tooley Street exit of the Tube by Nick, who took one look at my broken posture and said, 'what the fuck's happened to you?!' We walked the short distance to the Tokei Academy, well I say walk, I just carried on shuffling as best as I could, deep breathing all the time, desperately hoping my back would settle down and allow me to do some training.

We arrived and signed in and went to get changed and in the mirror I took one look at my lopsided frame and thought, 'I'm fucked!' No way am I going to train tonight unless a miracle happened and slowly started to change into my gi; we took our training gear out with us and sat waiting for a Judo class to finish and when they Judoka's left the mat, I put my bag down and flopped down onto the mats and started to stretch out and rock my knees from side to side, desperate to work out some of the tension in my back and hoping and praying to the Gods of Warm Ups that please, please, please, let there be no running in the warm up.
With Arya Esfandmaz
Sadly, my fervent calls to the Gods went unanswered and as we lined up, yes, you guessed it, we started to run around the mats; after one lap of the mat, all the students lapped me and were all looking at me, wondering just who the hell had invaded their mat space.  I couldn't run to save my life, every foot fall was agony, so I just plodded along, praying that I wouldn't get another spasm and thankfully this time I was heard, I managed to get through the running and then it was onto the ground for some drills and stretching.

I was partnered with a young blue belt who was prepping for the Euros and he asked me if I was OK to carry on training; I explained what had happened and I took it easy and as I got warmer, the back eased off and I could drill the techniques and I started to relax more and enjoy the class.
With my old student Nick Briely
We drilled a guard jump that moved into an omoplata sweep and from the sweep, a number of moves followed, as well as counters and counters to counters and before long there was a hazy steam of hard work on the mats, all the windows steamed up.  Brilliant.

Arya went to great lengths to get the best out of the students and was on hand to answer any questions anyone had and after a quick break for water it was time for specifics and sparring.  With the specifics I was hopeless, too much back tension and pain and couldn't really push myself or my opponents, so I had a couple of attempts and sat the rest of the specifics out, stretching out instead.

I managed a couple of rolls with a huge Iranian blue belt, who goes by the nickname of Crush and once in his side control I had a fight on my hands; even though I was severely limited in my movements, I still managed to roll with the guys and decided to play a defensive game that night, no way was I going to be the hammer and that's just the way it goes sometimes.  Not every night are you going to be king of the mats, tapping everyone out left, right and centre; sometimes you're going to have be the nail and absorb all your opponent's energy and just survive and playing that game's just as much fun as tapping everyone out and I learned quite a lot about defence and survival that night, so the moral of the story is, don't duck the mats just because you've got an injury. 

Turn up and train around it, unless you've broken bones or some other serious injury; put yourself in bad positions and see if you can get out and if you get tapped, ask your partner how they tapped you and then you'll learn how to better defend that position next time you roll.

I'd like to thank Arya for being a kind host and welcoming me to the club and the rest of the students for being very hospitable and understanding about my little setback, next time I hope to be fighting fit on my next visit.

Address - Tokei Centre, 28 Magdalen Street, London Bridge SE1 2EN
Nearest Tube - London Bridge (Tooley Street exit)
W -

Friday, 17 January 2014

Connection Rio house mate @ Combat Base Bolton!

Last night was the Fundamentals class and I had the immense pleasure of sharing the mats with a BJJ buddy I met  at the Connection Rio house back in 2010.  Blue belt Rob Hayden hails from the mean streets of Bury here in the UK and now resides in Tokyo and is over here visiting family and friends for six weeks.
Rob will be joining in the classes whilst he's in the UK and it was great to meet up with someone you meet on your foreign jiu jitsu travels and to catch up with each other, swapping jiu jitsu stories and tall tales.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

BJJ class at Heywood!

Had the first BJJ class of the new year over in sunny Heywood last night, always a pleasure teaching and training over there; had a highly enjoyable comp oriented class, covering jumping guard and attacking with the omoplata sweep and covering combos, subs and counters to counters, making everyone's heads spin, before finishing off with sparring.

Great fun, hard work and lots sweat, what more can a coach ask for??

Jim 'Soul Grappler' Mc Sherry - new Blog!!

Yet another excuse to skive off work to read the adventures of newly promoted purple belt and head honcho of the United Martial Alliance, Slim Jim Mc Sherry, as he chronicles his BJJ journey for 2014.
With Jim at the Blackpool Open, Nov 2013
Jim's aim this year is to win gold medal at the IBJJF No Gi Worlds in November this year in the Masters division and has an action packed year of comps lined up before the Worlds, all acting as warm ups for the big one in the US.
Jim is competing in the Euros and at a number of high profile IBJJF comps in the UK and in Europe and I'm going to keep you all posted on Jim's progress throughout the year.  Jim has started a weekly Blog update where you can read up yourselves on the highs and lows of training and competition, as seen through the eyes of a 52 years young BJJ addict.
I wish Jim the very best of British on his quest this year and am very proud of his achievements on the mats last year and with his continuing hard graft with the UMA calendar of events, year in, year out.
T: @Soul_Grappler

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Kurt Osiander - Move of the Week!

Check out this video of a really cool sweep from open guard from the legend that is Kurt Osiander.....................

Monday, 13 January 2014

Eddie Kone!

Had the immense pleasure of training with my very good friend Eddie Kone last week; it's been a while since I was last down at Eddie's due to seminars and comps clashing with Eddie's seminars, so it was really nice to hook up once again.

I was picked up at the station by one of Ed's students, Lisa 'Lights Out' McCallam and was taken to Eddie's new gym, where we were going to take the striking and clinch class, before the Jiu Jitsu class.

The striking class was a great way to warm up for the Jiu Jitsu class, covering a number of ways of closing the distance and getting into a clinch position, then it was time for Jiu Jitsu.

Eddie re capped on his last class and after drilling the techniques out, Eddie covered some closed guard attacks, with some great tips on the omoplata submission, then it was time to roll.  I had three highly enjoyable rolls with Ed's blue belts who all gave this old man a run for his money and after a quick Q+A session, the class was over and I peeled off my soaking wet gi and started to get changed.

Huge thanks to Eddie as always a very enjoyable session, to Lisa for picking me up and to Lee Brownsword who drove me back to the Tube station, saving my weary legs a good ten minute walk back from the gym.
Photo taken by Lydia Mok
Address - Blackhorse Lane, London E17 5QJ
Nearest Tube - Blackhorse Rd
Website -

              Thursday, 9 January 2014

              What makes you tick??

              BJJ for me every time!!

              Friday, 3 January 2014

              Jim Mc Sherry at the Fundamentals class!

              Yesterday's Fundamentals class kicked off the new year, gently easing the students back into training after the Christmas wind down; Combat Base Bolton also welcomed Jim 'Soul Grappler' Mc Sherry onto the mats, who made a 200 mile round trip to join in the fun.
              Jim was recently awarded his purple belt and is now on a mission this year to win at the No Gi Worlds in California in November, taking in the Euro's and other high profile IBJJF events this year, all as warm ups for the main event in November.
              It was a pleasure having an experienced BJJ'er sharing the mats with the lads and great fun was had by all both in the technical class and the sparring class; everyone worked hard and managed to burn off plenty of turkey and chocolate laden calories in the sparring class, shaking off the cobwebs in readiment for jiu jitsu tournaments up and down the UK.
              Next class Open Mat tomorrow - be there!!

              Wednesday, 1 January 2014

              Happy New Year!

              New year, new adventures both on and off the mats............

              Enjoy the day off training today, training at Combat Base Bolton starts again tomorrow with the Fundamentals class, an easy start to the new year, so I hope to see plenty of bloated, booze and turkey filled students all eager to get back into shape and get back on the competition circuit.
              The fun restarts at 6pm tomorrow - be there!!