People are nicer to you when you’re injured | The Cloudfoot Diaries #79

11 days ago I landed badly on my right shoulder during a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. It was part accident, part poor technique and the result was a grade 2 seperation of my right AC joint; a predicted 8 week recovery time.

Every facet of my life was going quite swimmingly until the injury, and since slinging my right arm up and out of action, I’ve had to narrow down my focus to what is critical right now; Sleeping (the most important factor out of ‘Home Living’; eating, washing etc.), Earning Money and Training around the injury.

Sleeping

Althought the first night was so brutal that I didn’t sleep at all, since then I’ve been sleeping with my torso elevated to 45 degrees, lying on my left side only. I don’t adapt to new sleeping positions easily, unless I’m so exhausted that I have no other choice. This case was the latter, and it seems to be working. Thankfully a friend put me up for the week so I didn’t have to endure the pain of the first night that I spent in the van.

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No Gi Reflections #11 | “Learning how to learn is absolutely one of the keys to success…”

The great John Danaher is back, this time with some nuggets on the importance of learning how to learn and why it is such an important skill.

Juggling was the medium that first shone the light on the process of learning for me. From there, I transferred my methodology from learning to juggle, to learning how to slackline. Next, rock climbing, where I used Tim Ferriss’ “D.S.S.S.” method to progress from a grade 5a climber to completing a 7a sport climb in just 16 weeks, a feat that should have taken on average 2-3 years. And since then, coming full circle to developing and exploring my grappling skills.

Danaher breaks down the skill of learning into three techniques that can and should be used;

1. The Trial and Error method (“Phrasing it as an experiment gives you permission to fail” – A.J. Jacobs)
2. The Great Person method (known as “modelling” in N.L.P.)
3. The Organic Nature of Skill Development (Gradualism is the pace of Nature)

The greatest skill of them all – learning: Every jiu jitsu athlete is in a constant quest to improve current skills and learn new ones as a means to performance improvement. However, there is one skill that stands above all other skills that one might acquire on the long road towards mastery – the skill of learning. Every day we have people telling us how to learn a given skill, a new move, a new concept. Yet it is rare to have someone tell us how to learn. Learning how to learn is absolutely one of the keys to success in life in general and jiu jitsu in particular. Most people take a very passive approach to learning. They learn from their teacher and practice when told to practice what they are told to practice. This is fine at recreational level, but if you wish to go further you must take a proactive approach to learning. This is a huge topic, but let us talk today about three key methods of learning that we can use to improve our understanding of the learning process so that we can make better progress. The foundation of my coaching program is always THE TRIAL AND ERROR METHOD. This simple method of taking ideas and subjecting them to rigorous tests to determine their value. We spend countless hours on the mat testing our theories and ideas through sparring and competition until we put provisional faith in them. The second is the GREAT PERSON METHOD. I am a big believer in the idea of using great athletes in the sport to inspire and enlighten. If a given athlete is having tremendous success with a given move, that's a very clear sign that he is doing something right and important. By studying this, you are very likely to improve some aspect of your own game – even if your own method ends up being significantly different from the athlete you studied. The third is THE ORGANIC NATURE OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT. Skills are like life forms – they are born weak, naive and vulnerable; but if nurtured and cared for, can grow eventually into something strong and confident and capable. When you learn a skill, give it a chance to grow. Don't start using it on world champions. Start small and work your way up with it. In time these three principles can transform your game

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on

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No Gi Reflections #10 | UFC on FOX 22 – How to submit someone who’s trying to kill you

I was SUPER impressed with the fights on the latest UFC on FOX 22 card this past weekend.

In the prelims, the Scottish beast that is Paul Craig, making his UFC debut against an undefeated Brazilian, Luis Henrique da Silva in their light heavyweight clash. Craig is a tank of human and tapped out Silva with a mint armbar that had me shouting at my screen all things No Gi!

Paul Craig

Freedom!

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Eddie Cummings and his ghetto-chef formula for making weight | No Gi Reflections #9

I fucking love Eddie Cummings. Not only does he look like a serial killer but he has the work ethic of one, too. In the few interviews I have seen with him, he comes across as a gentle yet supremely intelligent sapien. As far as I know, his background is in the science world. He mentioned that he used to travel hours to training after working full days as a lab technician so he could pay his bills. These were the days before he turned pro.

Sacrifice: Eddie Cummings living the life of the dedicated professional athlete. Making weight for EBI 10 the bantamweight tournament. Nothing comes easy at world championship level and Mr Cummings shows his usual dedication to his craft here with meticulous preparation that began weeks ago and peaks tonight here in Mexico City. This ability to get the details right and stick to a disciplined and well thought out routine that trades current discomfort for future pleasure is the essential feature of every championship program. Here you can see the strain of a harsh weight cut. Mostly done now 😊 Tomorrow will be recovery followed by our contest preparation drills and then on stage. Looking forward to the change in venue and putting on a show for our Mexican audience. 😊😊

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on

It’s fantastic to see that his work ethic has not left him since crossing the threshold from hobbyist machine to full-blown limb reaper. Check out the image above. Sat on his hotel room balcony, no doubt with his mini-grill that he would have packed or picked up locally, cutting weight on a diet of lean meat. Not quite a private chef cooking up your macros in your marble and gold kitchen, is it? Eddie understands probably better than most the importance of, and appropriate way to approach sacrifice.

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No Gi Reflections #8 | Structuring your training feat. John Danaher

“So often I see people engage in training with no plan as to what they are trying to accomplish.” TRUE THAT MR. JOHN DANAHER!

I see it all the time, too, in pretty much every physical endeavour I undertake. The most common arena I see it is within the gym world, an area that you could argue places the most emphasis on following a programme to get results and yet nobody seems to do it! Blows my mind. And even those that do log their progress, only around 20% of them actually have an idea as to where they are heading and what they are working towards!

Structured training: So often I see people engage in training with no plan as to what they are trying to accomplish. This will always limit your ability to improve over time – the whole reason why we engage in practice. It is critical that someone in the room have a clear idea as to what we are trying to improve and how we are going to do it. In a beginners class or a general class, it is enough for the coach to know what the plan is and run the class accordingly. At elite levels however, I like to make the athletes part of the discussion as to what we are trying to achieve – they have the knowledge and insight to add to the discussion and we can make adjustments based on their input. Here Garry Tonon, Gordon Ryan and myself outline want we want to go over at a local gym in Poole England just prior to Polaris 4 – once the plan is set, words get replaced by action and the room heats up accordingly.

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on

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No Gi Reflections #5 | No Gi classes are still a rarity here in the UK

@brucelee @tmxofficial

A video posted by Eddie Bravo (@eddiebravo10) on

In the quest to improve my own No Gi game by breaking through a recent stagnancy phase I have been experiencing, I took to our friend, the search engine to see what classes were available to me within as smaller radius as possible.

The result? Not many! Though there are a few clubs in the Surrey county area, all of them offer only one No Gi class per week. One! I would have thought the recent boom of Mixed Martial Arts’ popularity over the last decade would have spawned more interest from the community, creating such a demand for No Gi classes that clubs would have to lay them on more frequently. Not the case.

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No Gi Reflections #4 | Working with stunt performer Lucy Cork

For the best part of the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of working with renowned stunt performer Lucy Cork, teaching her the art of Submission Grappling spliced with elements of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

lucy cork combat

Lucy has an impressive track record considering she’s only been in the stunts game for a few years.

Lucy Cork Filmography

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No Gi Reflections #3 | John Danaher – Jits, Darwinian Theory and Coaching 101

I could listen to John Danaher speak for hours on end. There’s not a lot of press or content surrounding the guy but believe me, as and when I find it, I will post it!

This is a fantastic interview that elicits a little insight towards John’s approach to his coaching system, his ideas behind his world view (based on Darwinian Theory) and some interesting thoughts behind the phenomonon of violence.

 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the art of non-puking | The Cloudfoot Diaries #39

puke-bucket

“Hang on a minute, Doug.”
Slumped in the passenger chair of his red Mazda, I pleaded to open the window, my overheated face now blending in with the car’s paint job.

“If I have to go mate, I’ll just lean out of the window and projectile into the hard shoulder, OK?” This was my contingency plan, just in case I couldn’t hold it down. You have to make these back-up plans when it’s not your vehicle.

The last time I had felt this nauseous was when I’d inhaled river water combined with taking a slam off of a slackline. This time, I’d just finished my second ever NoGi class at Andy Roberts’ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy.

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What is a Drill? And how can I make my own?| The Cloudfoot Diaries #15

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training continues through this week, remaining as my cardio method of choice. This morning we trained the first technique from this video, first in a drill scenario, then during ‘live’ conditions, where I tried it and it really worked!

It’s important to isolate a skill from its context when you are trying to learn it thoroughly.
“A drill, we agreed, is practicing a skill you’ve learned in a setting that replicates a particular section of the game.”
This quote comes from an interesting article I read this week entitled ‘How We Build Drills‘ taken from Daniel Coyle’s (Author of The Talent Code) twitter feed.

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