3 days eating the mat and punching bags… in review

Very good week of training last week, I attended Krav Maga for two nights, followed by my second BJJ class on Thursday. The week started off easy enough on Tuesday where we covered techniques against low punches to the stomach and defence against a straight stabbing knife attack. On Wednesday we had a very large class of about 13 people, so it was pretty crazy. In fact I think thats the biggest KM class I’ve been to. Because we had an odd number of mainly beginners I got to train with the instructor Golan so I pushed myself harder than usual.

We practised breakfalls front and back and how to recover from that position once on the ground. The drill we practised involved our partner holding a pad and pushing us from behind or from the front, we then had to breakfall and turn to face the pad holder, kick the pads and get up while still attacking. Then, finally once we were up, knee the pad and escape and scan. We didn’t switch who was holding the pads so I had to slog my guts out twice as hard which was fine…until we were told we had to glove up and spar!

So after being pushed over and getting up and beating on the pads 50 times in a row we had to partner up and spar…we started two against one which was hard enough with my dying arms and waining guard…but then we switched to all against all, where anyone could attack anyone else in the class! It was carnage! People were punching people left, right and centre it was seriously crazy. Thirteen people all hitting the closest person to them, it was hilarious and really hard to avoid getting smacked in the melon or kicked in the goolies…thank god for groin and head guards!

A great session that I won’t soon forget.



Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Theory and Technique

After last weeks lesson I picked up this book on BJJ written by Renzo and Royler Gracie, its really well put together and a very informative read. Plenty of pictures to go with the techniques and descriptions, I figure this is a pretty good start for any BJJ beginner.

Massive Attack Collected

On a totally unrelated toipic I was listening to Massive Attack for the first time in ages the other day, I used to train to it all the time, its pretty damn good stuff. Plus the collected album artwork is amazing.

Jiu Jitsu, Brazilian style!

So, I had my first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lesson last week and it was kinda like having your nuts slapped with a wet towel: painful yet somewhat refreshing!

It was fantastic in fact, the BJJ instructor Arlans Siqueira is a really nice chilled out guy. We started with some light stretches then pretty much got down to it. Arlans started by showing us the mount and basic guard position and one way of getting out of the guard to advance to side control. We then moved onto an arm bar from the mount and how to escape from an arm bar. We practised the arm bar and the escape and then combined the techniques so that we were just flowing from arm bar to escape, to arm bar to escape, again and again. It was pretty cool once we got the hang of it.
After that, we got to do some sparring or “rolling” as I’ve heard it referred to. This part of the lesson was a huge eye opener and a lot of fun. For me and my partner this was the first ever lesson in BJJ actually I think he has done one lesson before (and watched a crap load of UFC vids) so we didn’t have much to work with in terms of well anything! I had a few tricks up my sleeve from previous Krav Maga ground work lessons but really not many clean or legal submissions. In KM anything goes, so eye gouging and hammer fisting your opponents face off is ok…but for BJJ sparring I decided just to stick to the arm bar.
I was pleased because I managed to pull off an arm bar from the mount and my partner escaped just as we had practised moments before, and the rest of the time I spent face down with my partner on my back trying to flip/roll him off me, which I eventually managed and then got choked because I didn’t turn into him quick enough. Oh, I also attempted an Americana? which didn’t really work out on account of me basically learning it from watching Pride. All in all, Great fun and plenty of tapping haha.
Arlans rolled with most of the other guys in the class tapping each one out one by one, made it look effortless and then we called it a day.
I left feeling really excited at what I had just been taught and really looking forward to my next BJJ class next week.

Incidentally Arlans is featured in the July edition of martial arts illustrated which is pretty cool.


Monday nights class was great, after a two week break from training mainly due to work commitments, I returned to a new training schedule and a revamped gym! fantastic. The cool part is that we now have a Brazillian Jiu Jitsu class on Thursday nights! This will be a great addition to training as Golan puts it you get to make the best cake 🙂 Krav Maga for stand up, weapons, take downs and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for groundwork. Brilliant! Some info on the instructor taking the BJJ can be found here. Info about the Krav Maga classes can be found here.

Golan took last nights class, after the warm up we practised a zombie game where one opponent tries to choke and the defender deflects the oncoming attack by striking the outside of the attackers arms then moves out of line of danger and behind the attacker. We then moved on to cover basic releases from chokes from the front, side and back then moved onto more advanced releases. I found the more advanced choke releases to be simpler if anything, more aggressive but more direct.

Ive already written about the basic release from chokes in a previous post the alternative to those are as follows:

Choke from the front: Lets say the opponent is in front of us applying the choke, step back with either foot (for this example the right foot) at the same time pluck the opponents left hand with your right. This releases the choke. At the same time as you do this, your left arm should come over the top of your opponents outstretched arms and come down on the elbows. Elbow to the face, with the arm closest to your opponent. Continue with the same hand into a hammer fist to the face. Follow up with a kick/knee to the groin, cross with the right or whatever you need then escape and scan.
An alternative to this technique, instead of bringing your arm over the top of both of the opponents arms, simply attack with a finger jab to the throat as you step back.

Choke from the side: So for this technique, the opponent is attacking from the left side applying again a choke, first things first, deal with the choke by plucking the hand at the front of your throat and hold it to your chest with your right hand (hold it to the right side of your chest). The reason you remove the hand at the front is because that is what is causing all the problems in this instance. With your left hand, grab the forearm of your opponents arm that you just plucked. With your right hand attack your opponents face straight away as many times as you like. Escape and scan.

Choke from behind:
As soon as you feel your opponent grab your neck from behind, spin to either side with an elbow directly to the opponents face, The elbow should come over the top of the opponents arms. Follow up with an elbow from your other arm again to the face. A simple but very aggressive technique.

P1 Photos

Here are some photos from the P1 grading, better late than never! Cheers Dean for the snap 🙂
Our instructors are at the front from left: Golan Levy, Tamir Gilad and Dean Cook. Thanks to those guys for all their help and motivation, and congratulations to everyone who passed.

krav maga class after gradingmy p1

Huggy Bear!

So last week I was off training because we had some friends from Oz staying with us, it was great to have them, but after a week of shadow boxing them at various tourist attractions around London I was itching to get back to training!
Last nights class taken by Dean was great, we covered bears, hugs and the hugging there of 🙂 Bear hugs ladies and gentlemen, bear hugs.

1. Bear Hug from the front (arms free) If your arms are free whilst someone has got you in a bear hug, simply grab their head with your thumbs in their eyes! OWEEE! Push their head backwards, then a hammer fist to the throat should make them think twice about squeezing you for a moment longer. Accompany this with a swift knee to the groin, escape and scan.

2. Bear Hug from the front (arms held)
If you arms are caught in a bear hug and your opponent is in front of you, pull your waist away from them to make space for you to strike the groin with your hands, then grab the shoulder blades and knee/kick to the groin. Release an arm by sliding it up the side of your body as if pulling a pistol out of your pocket. Then attack your opponent with strikes from your free hand, or use your free hand to get your opponent into a guillotine choke, then escape and scan. note: standing on your tip toes and adding a twist to the guillotine makes it more effective unless they stand on their tip toes as well in which case abandon the choke after administering some elbows and strikes to the back of your opponents head.

3. Bear Hug from behind (arms free)
Lean forward, your body weight will help to prevent your opponent from picking you up and throwing you around the room like a rag doll. Stamp on the top of their foot with your heel. Twist to face them and throw your elbows backwards to strike their head, alternating left and right elbows. Then, once the grip has been loosened, turn to apply a guillotine choke. If there is more than one opponent (you don’t want to be messing around trying to choke someone) jab, cross, position them between you and any other potential attackers then escape and scan.

4a. Bear hug from behind (arms held higher up the body)
If your opponent is behind you holding you high up your arms, first grab their hands and hold them to your chest, Stamp down on the top of their foot hard with your heel. Take a large step circling around and behind them (still holding your opponents hands) at teh same time, turn your head into their body, under and out of their armpit so that you end up standing beside and slightly behind them holding both their arms. Now kick your opponent then escape and scan.

4b. Bear hug from behind (arms held lower down the body)
From this position it is harder to grab hold of your opponents hands so you have instead to stamp again on the foot, strike behind you to the groin using your body to twist into them. Once the grip has weakened free an arm again by sliding it up your body. Send your arm forward once it is free, then immediately elbow backwards into the face of your attacker. Turn to face them attack, attack, attack , then escape and scan.

5. Bear Hug from behind (arms free alternative less aggressive, finger lock)
Now in a situation where you dont want to hurt your attacker to much or lets say its a friend of yours mucking around but your dont want to be hel in a bear hug anyway simply place your hands on their forearms, slid your hands down to the hands and choose a finger to grab in the palm of lets say, your right hand. Twist the finger back towards the hand, hold their hand with your other hand at the same time turn your left foot out and turn your whole body to face them, keep your arms straight, applying constant pressure to the finger. Don’t go down with your opponent, you are in a stronger position here. When you are ready or if your opponent has had enough let go. Be very careful practsing this because it is very easy to break a finger like this! YOWCHIES! Well, it feels like it anyway.

We then hit the pads for some boxing
Pad work included:

Jab, Cross
Jab, Cross, Hook
Jab, Cross, Hook to Roundhouse Kick followed by a power drill!

Yep, that was a good nights sleep 🙂

Knives, Sticks, Ninja Rolls and Breaky-Breakfalls


Firstly OMG! GTA4 is out today and looks amazing. Seriously can’t wait to get my hands on a copy…

Secondly, training has been really great recently and tonight Tamir Gilad (the instructor who graded us) is taking the class, which should be interesting. Yesterday we covered escapes from wrist grabs, defences against knives and sticks as well as a stress drill against two attackers. We finished off with some light sparring and a recap of how each of us did in the grading.

Escapes from wrist grabs

If someone grabs you’re wrist, why don’t you just punch them? Well this is all well and good if you don’t mind getting straight into a fight and perhaps even getting arrested for assault even though its self defence. This technique is less aggressive and is for those situations when you know your not in real danger but don’t want to make the whole situation worse by rearranging someones face just coz they are grabbing your wrist.

Single hand grab: Someone grabs your forearm, turn your arm so that your thumb is facing out of the grip (between the opponents thumb and fingers this is the weakest part of the grip) now drive your elbow forward towards their elbow and pull your hand towards your body and out of the grip.

Double hand grab: So in this scenario someone has grabbed your arm with two hands. Use your free hand to grab your other hand coming over the top of the grip. Drive the elbow of the arm being held straight up using your other hand to pull it up as if you are trying to elbow your opponent in the chin.

Alternative Double hand grab release: This is essentially the same as the first one because your free hand releases one of the hands holding your arm by hooking it off. Then perform the same escape for the single hand grab (elbow to opponents elbow).

Two hands being held: Now both of our hands are being held low by both of our opponents hands. Keeping your elbows where they are, bring your thumbs towards each other allowing your hands to cross over then continue bringing your hands up in an ark ending with your hands (palms towards you) up at shoulder level.
This technique is the same but performed in reverse if your opponent is holding your hands high or above your head.

Two hands being held behind you: This can be performed on with either foot coming forward, but for the sake of clarity I”ll describe it starting with the right foot. So take one step forward with your right foot, turn your right arm so that your wrist is between the fingers and thumb of the grip. Break the grip by sending your arm forward fast as you are stepping forward. Raise your left hand, dropping the elbow and spin yourself around to your left, to face your opponent. This movement should break the grip pretty easily.

The above techniques mainly rely on the weakness of the thumbs and leverage to break the grip.

Techs against a knife.

If its an ice pick or oriental stab, use 360 defence and counter attack, grab the attackers wrist (of the arm holding the knife) if you have blocked on the inside of the attack, kick to the groin then escape and scan. If its a straight stab you block to the outside of the attack using the palm of your hand to deflect the knife. Step to the side of the attacker punching to the face, Grab the wrist with the hand that blocked. Envelope the hand holding the knife with your other hand and collapse opponents wrist in towards his body twisting the wrist to force him to drop the knife.

Tech against an baton or baseball bat

We only had time to cover one technique against a baton or baseball bat, but it basically goes like this: If an attacker comes at us with the weapon held in one hand, raised above their head and swings for us using a vertical attack we have to dive straight forward to the gap between his head and his raised arm, with one arm raised up straight with our head tucked into our shoulder as if we are actually performing a dive, this deflects the attack down one side of our body. At the same time grabbing the opponents shoulder deliver a knee or kick to the groin. Using the arm thats closest to the one holding the weapon, slide down the arm to grab the weapon just below the attackers hand. With a firm grip on the weapon, break the attackers hold on it by twisting it towards their groin then pulling and stepping back sharply. Use the weapon against them or escape and scan.

We covered Breakfalls and ninja rolls the other too which was great fun but I’ll leave that for another post.

It’s also probably worth mentioning that I’ve written these techniques purely to help me remember them and to document what I have been learning in Krav Maga I take no responsibility for any injury incurred whilst trying to perform these techniques or that there may be bits that I have missed. Reading or watching videos about martial arts are clearly no substitute for a qualified teacher. But you’re smart enough to know that right?