August 25th Update: First Throw, and Fun Sparring

And it’s the 25th! More importantly, it’s Thursday — and today is a bit of a special day to me. I started training again in the mornings for the first time since implementing BJJ in my training protocol. I took a long break from doing so for one simple reason: I was constantly sore. Seriously, it was insane. My back, my quads, my thighs. BJJ sessions did something to my legs no other form of training had.

That’s passed now, entirely. I don’t get that sore after a BJJ session anymore, not enough that I can’t recover in time for my weightlifting session. So, in order to hit a part of my conditioning plan that BJJ and weightlifting doesn’t hit — high-intensity endurance — I’ve added a new little three-exercise workout to my mornings. I detail the exercises in my updated training protocol.

After finishing my HIIT set, I do a few minutes of shadow boxing and “shadow kicking”, which at the moment is really just an exercise in “how long can I hold my leg up before my ass cramps”. The answer is embarrassing.

What is HIIT though?

For the uninitiated, HIIT is a relatively new definition in conditioning training, although it’s really nothing new to coaches and trainers. Based on the recent trend of the Tabata workout, which involves a strict time-based workout protocol that combines short bursts of maximum effort with shorter resting periods (particularly in sprinting) in order to maximize stamina increases, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and it’s basically a cardio-based circuit workout with short rest periods between supersets/individual circuit components, and no rest between exercises.

What this does is two-fold — it works your muscle endurance, and it teaches your body to cope with rapid, sudden expenditures of large amounts of energy, followed by very little rest.

Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s typically the tempo in which a fight goes. You burst, you get explosive, you find moments to rest before going back into your steady pace, poking, waiting for an opportunity.

Running marathons isn’t really something a fighter’s repertoire needs. But sprinting definitely is. Get the picture? I’ll be implementing a very short, extremely intense HIIT session every day (or at least I’ll try and see if that’s currently possible).

Today’s BJJ

Later in the afternoon, I headed off towards the gym to join the Thursday BJJ session. And I did something new — I dragged my friend along with me. After the regular warm-up, stretching and rolling drills, we skipped our normal passing-the-guard drills and technique drilling and went straight into practicing a new takedown. It’s the exact same throw I first learned, only a little more refined and broken down further into easily-digestible steps. It’s purportedly a judo throw, but I can’t find it anywhere — the closest I can get to is the uchi mata, with this particular variation skipping the overhead leg part and instead keeping your legs firmly together as you throw the opponent onto his backside.

The rules are simple — one hand on the lapel, one hand on the sleeve, hold tight, step into the opponent, grip up on his gi, and once you’ve found your timing, step and pivot and land your butt right around the opponent’s thighs, keeping your legs bent, pulling him onto your back, before straightening your legs and — with him on your back — throwing him over to your dominant (lapel-grabbing) side.

From there, you can pass his guard, or immediately pin your knee on his stomach, etc.

Then, we had rolling, which began with a round of judo/wrestling (no groundwork, just throws and takedowns) and two rounds of submission sparring from standing. I attempted the uchi mata variation thrice, before switching to single leg takedown attempts, and finally just pulling into guard. Yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me. That said, however, I’m glad the gym puts so much emphasis on a complete grappling education (one applicable in mixed martial arts) rather than sticking religiously to BJJ’s newaza techniques. Until next time!

Currently listening to: Nothing.