Who the fuck is Bear Grylls? Meet UCLES | The Cloudfoot Diaries #74

I grew up watching Ray Mears on television and thought he was always a bit of a legend. Calm, methodical and tubby, like a real outdoorsman should be.

Then Bear Grylls came along and to be honest, annoyed the shit out of me. Something just wasn’t right about him; an Etonian education, over-zealous cadence and staying in Hilton hotels whilst filming ‘survival’ content.

Well, Edward Michael Grylls can fuck right off because there’s a new badman on the scene who appears to be as legit as they come. Andrew Ucles. A cross between Steve Irwin and the Grizzly Man.

A friend of mine showed me some of his videos very recently and to be honest, it blew my mind. This guy is literally a superstar and has a pair the size of two nebulae.

Ladies and Cavemen, I present to you, UCLES.

Settle.

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No Gi Reflections #7 | Class Quality – the difference between hosting and coaching

One of my biggest influences in the coaching world; John Danaher.

One of my biggest influences in the coaching world; John Danaher.

I’m going to try and refrain from turning this post into a rant and the reason for that can only be due to the fact that I have been spoilt. Yes, spoilt in the realms of high quality coaching. Instead, I will try to form this post into more of a published discussion that I had with a training partner of mine recently, in the hope to shed some light towards the current holes in the BJJ club format here in the county of Surrey, UK.

Over the last 3 years, I have carried out much of my own research, self-experimentation and learning from others at the ever amazing Locker 27 Strength and Conditioning Gym in Surrey, UK.

However, it is perhaps only in the last few months since attending No Gi classes twice a week that I have come to appreciate a core element of the Locker’s ethos more than ever; quality coaching. I have been exposed to some of the best coaches in the country at this place, many of whom work for the Harlequins rugby team, some being ex-professional athletes themselves and others just very passionate coaches and scholars. By default, my mirror neurons have picked up on the importance of quality and I strive to apply it to all of my clients’ sessions, be it via strength coaching, mobility assessments or submission grappling.

The flip side to that coin, though, is the fact that I have somewhat re-entered the outside world in the form of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clubs and classes and have fast come to the conclusion that there is a LOT to be desired with; the class format, coaching quality and (lack thereof) syllabuses.

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Review | Methods of Modern Mobility Seminar with Emmet Louis

I first came across Emmet’s work on Youtube via his videos on the illusive topic of Loaded Progressive Stretching a couple of years ago and since then have seen various other clips on his approach to gymnastic movements, progressions and protocols etc.

Since starting my own service of providing mobility assessments and programming to clients, I wanted to continue my personal learning around the realms of mobility, flexibility and all things stretchy. Partly for myself and partly for my clientele.
Cue Emmet’s Facebook advert; Modern Methods of Mobility Seminar in London.
His ad caught my eye for two reasons; the cover photo of a partner stretch which looked pretty intense, and his name attached to it. Immediately I was interested but price would be the deciding factor for me. How much a seminar costs will usually turn on my bullshit detector, as I know when someone is milking it in this industry. I was pleasantly surprised with Emmet’s Early Bird pricing option of €300 for 12-14 hours of instruction, split over two days. (Note; if someone is charging over £400 for a weekend seminar in the UK, on subjects relating to physical training, ask yourself seriously if it is worth it and what you are really going to learn in those two days.)

Emmet demonstrates a Pike fold partner stretch

Emmet demonstrates a Pike fold partner stretch

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LIVING IN A VAN | PART 4 | DON’T YOU EVER THINK, “FUCK THIS, I’M GETTING A HOUSE!”?

Probably the number one question I have received over the last four and a half years, ‘Don’t you ever think, “Fuck this, I’m getting a house!”?’

In short, no. Housing’s for quitters!

Fuck this, I'm getting a house!

Jokes aside, there have been many times where I have contemplated the age-old question What the fuck am I doing?, usually when the van is freezing cold, something crucial breaks or I have a close encounter with some kind of perceived authority. However, I think asking yourself this question from time to time is a healthy type of reflection. If you’re asking yourself weekly, though, then it’s time to take a harder look at yourself, behaviour, environment and situation.

I’ve never thought about packing in my van lifestyle in exchange for a house, though. Ever. Why would I? Let’s look at my two sparkling other options. Again, these are my views. I am not saying these are practical steps for everyone or that everyone should do this. It collapsed my reality and turned me into somewhat of a societal outcast. Imagine what it would do to you!

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No Gi Reflections #6 | The Principle of Localised Force feat. John Danaher

The legend that is John Danaher, perhaps one of THE most successful sports performance and BJJ coaches of all time, speaks again, this time about the Principle of Localised Force.

Upon reading you’ll see how the Danaher system of leg locks likes to utilise the heel hook as an area to focus on to apply force, no matter the size nor strength of the opponent.

The principle of localized force: The central feature of jiu jitsu is to use mechanical advantage to control greater strength and aggression with less. How is this possible? It is done largely through the principle of localized force. Let's say we have an opponent who can apply an average of one hundred units of strength in standard strength tests while we can only generate 50 units of strength. As a whole, he is roughly twice as strong as us overall. How is victory through grappling possible in such a case? The key is to understand that it is possible to use a very high percentage of our overall strength to attack a small percentage of my opponents overall strength at a point of his body which, if attacked successfully, will end his ability to continue the fight. If I can use the various movements of jiu jitsu to maneuver into a position where I can create a temporary LOCAL strength advantage at a critical point of my opponents body (neck or joints), I can overcome an OVERALL strength disadvantage. The whole basis of our sport is precisely to develop the skill of maneuvering into these local advantages as efficiently as possible and using that to create a threat to a critical but vulnerable body part in a way that leads to submission. A good example would be ashi garami, where a very high percentage of our overall strength – both legs, both hips, back and both arms are used to restrain an opponent's single leg and hip in a way that allows us to threaten severe damage. If a good ashi garami allows us to use 90% of our 50 units of strength against an opponent's single leg, 33% of his 100 units of strength, then we shall have a considerable local strength advantage on an opponent twice as strong as ourselves overall. This is one of the core principles of our sport and one which we must constantly keep in mind as we train and develop. Here, Gordon Ryan uses a high percentage of his total strength on the isolated leg of his opponent through a variation of ashi garami, creating a local advantage long enough to threaten a break and get a submission on his way to victory at EBI 8

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on


The principle of localised force is a conerstone in any effective combat system. What I like about jiu jitsu and the world of the floor is that once grounded, strength isn’t so pinnacle as the principle of leverage, i.e. properly applied leverage can easily overcome non-calculated strength. And perhaps more so on the floor than in the standing world. So, when it comes to women, I think grappling is such a powerful asset for them to understand and delve in to, as strength is not a priority compared to localised force, leverage and strategy; facets that can be improved and mastered, regardless of gender.

Jiu jitsu, the great leveller!

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 #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.

 

No Gi Reflections #2 | ‘Invisible’ Jiu Jitsu and applying the ‘stick’

Rickson Gracie, arguably one of the best jiu jitsu players to walk this earth, has a concept known as Invisible Jiu Jitsu.

Rather than me try to laboriously explain it, the video below does a good job. Two things to bear in mind, however.

1) From my Wing Chun background, I found it far more comprehensive to think of this invisibility in terms of the ‘Stick’ that is spoken about within drills like Chi Sao, or Sticking Hands.

2) If the above makes no sense to you at all but you’re familiar with Weightlifting or Powerlifting terminology, think of the invisibility factor as the equivalent of taking the slack out of the bar. Except it’s more like taking the slack out of the contact with your opponent.

 

Now comes the interesting and lengthy process of applying this concept to the mat. Sensitivity takes a long time to develop and with such a fast pace in the No Gi world, it makes for an extra challenge!

Queuing with good-looking cattle; when Fury met Patience | The Cloudfoot Diaries #69

Models Queue

Hey, sorry for the short notice but you know how these things are…,” started the message. It was an honest introduction, more so than usual and it had caught my ego’s attention.

[Big UK Brand] are casting for their AW16 / SS17 lookbook today and have asked to see you.” Me!? Little old moi!? My ego began to dilate, rapidly, salivating like Golem at what this could mean.
I’ve been selected.
I’ve been noticed.

Funny how the ego feeds off of recognition and the illusion of being unique, isn’t it? Needless to say, I had already fallen for these traps and instead of taking a step back, re-assessing the message, its contents and subliminal meanings, I was already on my motorcycle smashing it to central London before my balls were too swollen to ride.

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LIVING IN A VAN | PART 3 | DISPELLING THE HASHTAG ‘VANLIFE’ MYTH

There’s a lot of hashtag hype going around at the moment regarding #VanLife. I’m not even sure I feel comfortable using that term, considering how it has started to gain momentum within the mainstream, surprise surprise, in a rather deceptive direction.
It’s interesting because when I moved in to a van it was not popular, it definitely didn’t have a hashtag and was not sold to me as being a glamping option; not as a weekend package nor a way of life. Might I add, when I first came across the hashtag hype a couple of years later, it was #homeiswhereyouparkit popularised by the legend, Foster Huntingdon. That was when living in a van wasn’t cool. Now look what’s happened.

Upon first draft, I entitled this post ‘Shitting in a bag is not glamorous’, because that statement is true if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to experience the process.

Quitting your well paid job to travel continents in your confined, pinewood, rolling conversion, which is barely big enough to spread your supermarket fecal-capturing device, accompanied by your lover who you describe with something flimsy like ‘bohemian’, is not Van Life. It’s a glorified sabbatical with a romantic, edited-by-head-office-twist and I can only wish my dingy, electricity-free existence was half as sexy. Or as shallow.

Read on as I debunk the romance of being one above homeless. Again.

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