Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Beginners BJJ Classes



In my previous article I discussed how I run my Intermediate BJJ Classes


This time I'm going to cover how we run our beginner BJJ Program.

For Beginners Classes I follow an eight week program covering a different topic each week. I try to give the beginner students a good introduction to the most important positions and situations and then they can go into much more detail on each position when they graduate to the intermediate classes.

My Eight week program consists of:

Week 1 - Mount Position
Week 2 - Back Control
Week 3 - Side Control
Week 4 - Closed Guard Submissions
Week 5 - Closed Guard Sweeps
Week 6 - Open Guard
Week 7 - Guard Passing
Week 8 - Escapes from Positions and Submissions

Warm Up


Warm Ups for beginners classes consist of a light jog, joint rotations and then some basic JiuJitsu related movements such as hip escapes. Intense warm ups which are usually not a good idea in these sessions as beginners will be too exhausted to focus on learning techniques properly.

Standing Techniques


Each Class starts off with drilling one basic standing technique such as an escape from a grips, basic throws and takedowns. I always make these techniques relevant for self defence situations as this is the primary reason that most students are learning martial arts. An example of a technique in this section of the class might be to clinch against opponent throwing punches, get body-lock takedown, secure mount position.

I will break each technique down into five steps and give a 'Cue' word for each step. I find that any more than five steps tends to be too much to remember for  new students. If necessary I will give each student additional information or technical feedback about the technique as I'm walking around the class.

Ground Techniques


Next we move on to techniques based around whatever theme we are covering this week. I stick to just the highest percentage techniques from each position to expose the students to what I feel are the most important movements. These are the moves that I feel they need to learn and understand first before moving onto more complicated techniques. For example in Mount week I teach the students how to maintain Mount position and how to counter the most common escapes then we will work on Americana from Mount, Arm-lock from Mount, Cross Collar Choke from Mount and Transitioning from Mount to Back Control. 

Where possible I will stay away from Techniques which are too Sports BJJ specific and stick to fundamentals which work with or without the Gi and whether or not the opponent is trying to punch you. There will be plenty of time in the Students training career to practice Sports specific techniques but I feel its important to get the basics right first.


Positional Sparring


In some Beginners Classes I will also include positional sparring. This helps beginners get an idea of what the techniques should feel like against resistance in a safer environment. I don't believe its a good idea to let beginners Spar right from the beginning. Beginner students will not to be able to apply any actual Jiujitsu techniques and will instead just spend five minutes trying to headlock each other. There is also a higher risk of injury and it will probably be off-putting for the majority of new students. 


Fight Simulation Drill


At the end of the class we try to link all the techniques learnt that day into a Fight Simulation Drill. This is a good way to revise the techniques and also linking techniques together based on a specific response from the opponent. An example of this could be:
  • Close distance and Clinch against Partner Throwing Punches
  • Get Body-Lock Takedown to Mount Position 
  • Maintain Mount for ten seconds as Partner tries to escape with 50% resistance
  • Execute Americana or Arm-Lock Submission based on Arm Position of your Partner
  • Get up and Switch Roles
I have found that drills such as this are a great way to bridge the gap between learning techniques and then applying the techniques in sparring.





Wednesday, 24 January 2018

My BJJ Class Format


Heres a brief description of how I run my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes. Since I began teaching full time eight years ago I've been experimenting with various methods of running classes and tweaking the formats to see what works best. 

I have trained at a lot of different BJJ academies across the world and I have tried to implement the best ideas I've come across when running my own classes.

This is the format for my Intermediate classes which are an hour and half, I will cover my Beginners program in another article.

Weekly Schedule


One of the first things I did when I started teaching was to create a weekly schedule focusing on a different theme every week. I think this is much more efficient than just having an instructor turn up and teach whatever ever he feels like that day as it ensures all the important areas of BJJ are covered.
I've changed around my weekly schedule many times since I began Teaching but my current system is as follows.

Week 1 - Guard Passing 1 - Passing Closed Guard and Half Guard

Week 2 - Guard Passing 2 - Passing Open Guards

Week 3 - Closed Guard 1 - Revision of Submissions, Sweeps & Transitions from Closed Guard

Week 4 - Closed Guard 2 - Using Combinations of Submissions, Sweeps and Transitions

Week 5 - Half Guard Bottom - Submissions, Sweeps & Transitions from Bottom Half Guard.

Week 6 - Open Guard 1 - Focusing on Basic Open Guard, Butterfly Guard & Sitting Guard

Week 7 - Open Guard 2 - More Advanced Open Guards such as De La Riva & X Guard

Week 8 - Top Control Positions - Side Control, Kesa Gatame, Knee on Belly 

Week 9 - Mount - Control, Submissions & Transitions from Mount Position

Week 10 - Back Control - Taking the Back from various positions & Submissions from Back Control

Week 11 - Turtle Position - Submissions, Turnovers and Transitions from Turtle & Front Headlock

Week 12 - Leg-locks - Entries, Setups, Controls and finishes for Leg-lock Submissions

Week 13 - Escapes 1 - Positional Escapes

Week 14 - Escapes 2 - Escapes from Submissions


Class Format


My Intermediate classes follow the following format:


  • Warm-Up
  • Takedown Technique
  • Ground Techniques
  • Specific/Positional Sparring
  • Free Sparring


Warm Up


I've experimented with a few different options for Warm Ups over the last couple of years from high intensity cardio warm up to completely skipping the Warm up altogether and just getting straight into drilling techniques. At the minute we are doing some functional warm up exercises and a sequence of BJJ specific movements such as Technical Stand ups, Oma Plata Stretch and Sit outs. I have found these work really well as they get the students warm but also get them doing moving the right way which transfers well into the skills training.


Take-down Technique


I teach one takedown technique at the beginning of every class. We work Judo throws on the Gi training nights and Wrestling Take-downs on NoGi nights. I feel its important that all students have at least some basic level of Takedown ability in order to progress in BJJ. Although BJJ is primarily a Ground-Fighting art, its very important to learn how to take an opponent to ground in order to use your techniques.


Ground Techniques


Next we move on Techniques on the ground based on the theme we are covering that week. I encourage my students to drill as many reps as possible and try to make each rep as perfect as possible. I've seen many differing opinions on the value or effectiveness of drilling techniques throughout the last 25 years that I've been training in martial arts. Some people believe that drilling techniques is a waste of time and that students should just roll. Although I think this method may work for the exceptionally talented athlete I've found that the average student paying to learn JiuJitsu just will not make much improvement unless they put in the time drilling the techniques over and over to build muscle memory. 


Specific/Positional Sparring


This is where we take the techniques that we've drilled and try to apply them against resistance. I use a wide variety specific sparring drills that I use in this portion of the class. I have different Drills that I use depending on what we are working on that week. For example, during Side Control week we might just spar with one person starting on top in side control and also building up the objectives for each round. Round One might be Top person just pinning / holding while the bottom player tries to recover guard. Round Two we might move on to Top Player also trying to get to Mount or Back Control.

Heres another article with more detail on the benefits of Positional or Isolation Sparring Drills:

http://deniskellymmacoaching.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/isolation-sparring.html


Free Sparring


In the last section of the class we put it altogether in Free Sparring. We usually do 5 x 5 Minute rounds with 30 second rest between rounds. We encourage everyone to do every round of sparring unless there is uneven numbers in the class. If a student feels that their cardio isn't good enough to roll every round I'll just tell them to roll at a pace they can sustain for the rest of the class rather than going crazy for one round then having to sit out for the next 25 minutes. We also have a zero tolerance policy for dangerous sparring in class. All techniques must be performed in a safe and controlled partner. If you hurt your training partner and he cant roll the next round that means you have to sit out the next rounds too.

As previously mentioned I am continually tweaking and adjusting my class formats and adding new techniques and drills based on what I learn in my own training but I've found that I've seen really good results with my students using this format.

Check out this article about the Gym Culture we have tried to create at our Team

My Gym Culture



Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Boxing Pad-Work



Working on some Boxing and Muay Thai Combinations with one of my Students at Team Nemesis MMA.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Being a Pro Fighter

There are several definitions. I have fought under professional MMA rules with punches & elbows on the floor, 5 minute rounds, getting paid in some way to compete. I wouldn't say though that I've ever been a professional MMA fighter. Throughout my fight career I've always had another job to support myself, fighting was just an ambition, a hobby & something I had to pursue on my own time.

Professionalism is rare in the world of fighting sports. Pretty much anyone can be a professional fighter, as long as they agree to fight a certain person on a certain date under specified rules. After that they will forever be considered as a professional fighter, this is in spite of the fact that we can clearly see from their performances & attitude that they’re preparation hasn't been professional.

Unfortunately for us, fighting sports are something that literally anyone can do & can become a professional at. People will turn up (& pay) to watch literally anyone having a punch up. The same cannot be said for other sports, for example no one will turn up to watch two untrained people having a tennis match or playing golf.

The lack of professionalism in fighting sports both from competitors and coaching staff is something that would not be tolerated in other professional sports.

This is from a typical daily schedule from a professional Rugby team

Monday

9:00 am
Skill work for the Backs followed by a strength training session

10:00 am
Skill work for the Forwards followed by a strength training session

11:00 am
Team video study, includes notational and statistical analysis

12:00 pm
Coaches meeting
Player Massage appointments

2:30 pm
Team Defence and aerobic conditioning.

As you can see the schedule is organised and everyone knows where they have to be and what they have to do at a certain time. In professional sports teams players are fined if they miss training sessions. If they are injured they still attend training to do rehab exercises & still work on other skills which will not interfere with their recovery from the injury

To me this kind of organisation is the real meaning of professionalism & it’s something I haven’t seen in the world of fighting sports anywhere in the world, bearing in mind that I’ve trained in Brazil, Japan, USA, Australia & all over Europe. Fight sports in general are the opposite of professional.

I understand that not everyone can commit the time required of a professional athlete but I think this is the standard that we need to aim for in terms of professionalism & organisation. Don’t be happy to just do what everyone else is doing & kidding ourselves that we are professionals when in reality we are treating the sport like a hobby.

If you truly want to be a professional the first step is to act like a professional.

Check out my Article on How many Hours a week you should be training to be successful as a fighter here:

http://deniskellymmacoaching.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/how-many-hours-week-should-you-be.html

Busy BJJ Classes to Kick off 2018



BJJ Beginners and Intermediate Classes at Team Nemesis MMA. Focusing on Takedowns to Mount Control and ArmLock from modified Mount for Beginners and some Oma Plata options and variations with the Advanced students.

My MMA Journey - Part 2

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