Training Log 2/28/15: Solo Drilling Notes

Going to try and work up to an hour of solo drilling in once a week.

Things to keep in mind:

Continuing evaluation what’s most effective for solo drilling and what isn’t.

Start small, and if you lose focus, pack it in.  This will take awhile to get used to both in the fine points of what you’re drilling as well as physical and mental endurance.  Too much too soon is like trying to meditate for an hour the first time trying it out, total overkill missing the point.

Thoughts on Solo Drilling for Jiu-Jitsu Public:

As with anything, you have to understand what solo drilling will provide and what it won’t.  If you’re delusional enough to think you can sweep Andre Galvao up and down the mat by looping a belt around your feet to simulate spider guard tension you’ve got common sense issues no amount of training will fix…

Solo drilling is, but not limited to supplemental training to help keep our muscles and mind awake to material we’re familiar with, as well is assist in building foundations for new things we want to learn.

Above all, it’s a format, with built-in limitations…

Solo drilling can be great alternative because all you need is yourself and padded surface.  It’s time efficient, and awesome for rehabilitation phases.  The biggest advantage is you have total control.

Where are the weak/strong points?  Well there’s no psychological or physical pressure, nor will solo-drilling expose your weaknesses.  It won’t give you the feel of different bodies types, or different strengths and endurances.  You can train timing a little bit with good imagination, but it’s no substitute for a breathing body.  The beauty of live formats is every roll is unique and people adapt, often within a session.

I don’t think any of this is rocket science, but there you go. =)


Training: Coloring Intent

If there’s something I struggle with from time to time, it’s getting started. Once started I’m stoked but inertia isn’t always effortless.

Upon diagnosis, I realized a large part of this comes from taking my eyes off the Super Power I’m intending to build and onto the work involved in getting there. See what I did there? Notice how those two things feel distinctly different?

So, the general idea is really freeing up the imagination and using it to create energy and direction through inspiration. If we’re working on building a better Closed Guard for example, how would our favorite super hero, alien species, Stephen Hawking, or future self play it? These are of course unique to me, but you get the gist…=)

In summary, the above is about using our right brain in a way where ideas and action are one, and we’re off and running before we know it. It’s not rocket science, it’s how we navigated life as children.


PS I’ve heard Chris Haueter talk about being a super hero and grappling like a monkey who thinks he’s an anaconda, so he gets credit for a chunk of these ideas.

Training: The Game Of Reps

Out of the excitement that got us into Jiu-Jitsu in the first place, we want to learn EVERYTHING.

Along these lines, the right of passage for noob mind is marrying single positions over long periods of time over passing the possibility of conquering the swedish volleyball team as you’re mature enough to understand one will provide depth here and now, while the other is of a delusional beer commercial variety.

So, what we’re playing in the ‘Game’ of reps, and I think even noobs can be taught the value of this idea in theory and practice from day one, is seeing how long we can stick to one thing in both individual practice sessions and over long periods of time.

Think of this as a challenge that builds both positional and concentration muscle. As in all games, the key is having fun. Some days our focus is going to be better than others, but if we’re playing it’s all the same thang baby, so enjoy yourself…


Training: Making Reps Easy

The bottom line is, if you want to understand every nuance of a position and have it down to the point where it’s automatic and effortless, you have to put the reps in.

Cooperative reps with training partners or solo reps can shortcut this process which naturally takes a lot longer through sparring because of its uncooperative nature.

Yes, we can use some one a lot less skilled than us as a human heavy bag, but why not just explain what you’re trying to accomplish and have them drill with you instead of beating them down? A little thought and kindness goes a long way…

Also, it’s probably wiser for the older practitioner to do more of this style of drilling as it’s easier on the body and recovery at a premium.

To the main point, reps are much easier if you understand you’re trying to build a super power via bio-mechanics and reaction time, and things are going to be clunky at first. The essential thing as in all things is understanding context and the big picture.

The problem people run into is they expect the rep equivalent of a fast five miles the first time they try jogging! Dude, it’s going to take awhile for things to pay off, so start small. Go slow, take your time and enjoy yourself while working up to ONE mile. There’s no rush and no finish line because you’ve decided make drilling a part of your life…


…turn up the music, cruise, and drill…

Takedowns: Pro-Active Down-Blocking

For the people who suffer through reading where my head is at (Mindsets), here’s one of those grappling ideas that doubles the leverage of a position.

Traditional down-blocking is taught as bringing your hand down to the mat to block a shot and set up the front head-lock.

Here, Shawn Charles shows how to strike with it, turning it into an active rather than passive defense that completely shuts down the momentum of a shot @ 6:54-8:55:

Mindsets: What Play Is Not

After taking some time off from BJJ things are starting to coalesce to afford exploring interests in a more effective, balanced way.

In retrospect, this would have happened much sooner if I had listened to myself more, and took the approach of play without caring about results other than being present in the activity. As it were, evolution and refinement happen much quicker here because we aren’t bogged down by comparisons and expectations that are essentially artificial in nature. Who knows, such comparing, assessing, and weighing are probably an attempt at fun by people who aren’t having any?

In conclusion, while concept of play in the role of learning has been popular for some time, the key in my opinion is understanding what it isn’t then getting out of our own way (as well as accepting the fact that we’re going to act stupid and short-sighted at times *wink*).

Mindsets: Work/Play Balance

Watched a lecturer yesterday who was having fun, and even when things screwed up, it was fun.

On the flip side, if we take our craft seriously, we’re going to put a lot of effort into getting better. Taking ourselves and/or the process seriously therefore becomes an easy leap.

I think the key to keeping things balanced is to remember the wonder that got us into what we’re pursuing in the first place. We got into Jiu-Jitsu because it was Badass! It captured our imagination.

We get out of this mindset when we take on the groupthink of a school, larger BJJ community, or short-term results driven ADD society.

Back to the main point, if we remember why we started we’ll never have to ‘work on’ getting better.

Be innocent and have fun =):

Mindsets: Harnessing Inspiration

Currently basking in a runners high and blue skies, feeling like I’m on magic mushrooms. lol

In the past, probably would have chalked such feelings up to an ‘arrival’ of sorts, but have been humbled to the point of understanding that reality is fluid.  That is, things change, so harness the magic when it’s there and take things in stride when rains.

So yeah, on cruise control today and curious as to what else might arise to work on.

Seize the moment gently =):


Mindsets: Mindsets Condensed & Keeping It Psycho

My favorite posts, the one’s that make the biggest difference for me, are likewise the least popular.  My guess is Mindsets are: a) common sense to the more mature, or b) less tangible than BJJ positions.

Still Mindsets, or ‘Right Thought’ in Buddhist terms is everything because it determines the quality that follows.  So, in the spirit of a more condensed, tangible look at Mindsets here is a condensed list of my favorite ideas:

1) Relax– Empty your mind, relax your body, and let things come to you instead of forcing progress.  Things happen in their own time, often in spite of our attempts at self-sabotage.

2) Listen- Listen to your body, and know when to pack it in to prevent injury and burnout.

3) Enjoy- Be simple and enjoy yourself.  Being on the mat with our friends and health is enough.  Everything else is a bonus.

4) Be Consistent- Hard not to be consistent if we’re having a blast right?

5) Think ‘Principles’- Believe it or not, following all the preceding ideas takes care of much of principle oriented thought, because this is how our mind naturally thinks!  For clarity, what I mean by principles is thinking in terms of concepts and the big picture.

Art is created when an individual understands principles and themselves well enough to creatively apply them to suit their needs.

To reiterate, these aren’t ‘steps’ per say, but a function of who we are when clear.  As such, ‘Keeping It Playful’ as Ryron Gracie calls it isn’t something to do so much as a finger pointing in a direction to reel ourselves back in when we’re ‘Keeping It Psycho’ in pursuit of heavenly glory: