Hey – Christmas vacay time is here!

I’ve not been up writing recently, and most of what I have posted of late has been mainly updates on what’s going on with me. In keeping with recent tradition, therefore:

I am taking three weeks off of work BOOM! It’s awesome. I don’t know about anyone else, but I sometimes find that when I take time off from work I have to battle depression, this stems largely from the fact that I am not doing professionally what I want to be doing. I’d like to be writing full time, ideally. With a full time job and family it is difficult to find time to write at all, and so when I have vacation time my mindset quickly moves into trying to figure out how to use my free time to begin to change my situation. It’s not really enough time (I don’t think) to start and complete a project (like a book, or something).

This time around, I am going to try to get a good, positive focus, train a lot in martial arts and spend good quality family time. I may look at beginning an outline or something for a sci-fi Novel I’ve got in mind with spare time, but keep a positive focus at any rate.

As of this last week I am back to training in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu); I had to take a good deal of time off to recover from a broken rib. The rib is still a bit tender, so I’ll be keeping an eye on it but I’m done sitting out; I’m back at classes but still trying not to do too much live-rolling (BJJ sparring) for the moment (although sometimes the regular classes contain some of that).

My wife and three of my kids have been doing Judo on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while I’ve been watching the baby. My BJJ classes are Mondays and Wednesdays, this last week I was able to get out on the mat for Judo and take turns watching the baby with my wife, so I got to do a full four days in a row of martial arts training.

Participating in the Judo class for the first time was a lot of fun; the typical class structure is warm ups, followed by a little bit of Ne Waza ((pronounced ‘Nay Wah-zah’) groundwork) before moving into the main focus of the class: Randori ((pronounced: ‘Ron-dorey’) standing grappling – throws takedowns). Generally (from my observation) Judo is focused predominantly on grappling standing up: throws and takedowns.

With BJJ it is the opposite; Jiu Jitsu focuses predominantly on ground grappling, and secondarily on standing work. In fact in a lot of BJJ schools, takedowns are a bit of a blind-spot. This is one of the reasons I have been looking forward to doing the Judo classes, so that I can also work my standing game.

Anyhow on Tuesday – which was my first day participating in the Judo class with my family – I think that Sensei had intended to work on a certain throw after the Ne Waza (the ground-grappling) portion of the class), however I got in and rolled with some of the other students which I think made him change his mind about the direction of the class that day.

Several of the older students seemed pretty excited to have me do some of the more Jiu Jitsu style grappling with them, as many of them (being Judo players who generally focus more on Randori) wanted to work more on their ground-game. One of the younger Sensei’s excitedly asked me if I knew Jiu Jitsu to which I made the caveat that I know just a little, but, yes, I train Jiu Jitsu.

After the Ne Waza portion of the class, instead of showing a throw to work on, Sensei Josh demonstrated some guard passing techniques, starting with the statement that: “If you go up against some of these Jiu Jitsu guys, they are very comfortable on their backs.” Which is true, actually after having observed some of the Ne Waza that the Judo students practiced, I figured a good tactic with them would be to play from the bottom as the Judo guys will often go for pins.

There’s another difference: BJJ does not use pins, only submissions – i.e. you get a person into a choke, or an arm-lock that will decapacitate them so they have to tap out rather than simply pinning them to the ground. Judo uses both submissions and pins, so most of the submissions used in BJJ are legal in Judo.

Having observed the Ne Waza in previous classes while my wife and kids were participating, I could see that many of students were focused on getting pins, so I figured a good tactic would be to simply get on my back and play guard position – many of them would likely think assume their own advantage because I’m already on my back, but all I have to do is keep them in my guard (between my legs) and they can’t pin me, then I can go for submissions from beneath.

I really didn’t mean to take over the class – and my intention in cross-training Judo is to gain a really good standing game, but it was also fun to roll with some of the guys; also it seems several of them really want to do more groundwork, and I’m happy to roll with them.

I am excited for next week; since I am taking time off of work, I should be able to go try out the early morning Jiu Jitsu classes at my BJJ school this next week which I haven’t been able to do because of my work schedule, and still be able to train in the evenings. I’m going to try not to overtrain, but I am pretty excited to be able to focus pretty intensively on training this Christmas vacation!

Merry Christmas everybody!