No one wants to see a picture of my ear right now, so let’s just say it’s ugly. If you could imagine your epiglottis hanging from your ear hole, then that’s sort of what it looks like. This is from 10 straight days on the mats, constantly taking punishment. I’ve had cauliflower ear before but I’ve never had it and been under pressure to be on the mats the next morning after it swelled up. It’s been pretty much this way since last Wednesday though now the lack of a break is starting to irritate it and make it hard to roll. I think I’ll get it drained tomorrow, which I’ve only had done once before. Not pleasant.
The large amount of rolling is of course because of the upcoming European Championships in Lisbon. I’m flying out next Thursday night to Portugal so the schedule is busy. I’ve been on the mats non stop since last Monday. I’m also trying to make weight into the –82kg division so I’m on a strict diet save one cheat meal on Saturday nights. That’s the hardest part. When your body is crying out for a big feed after a hard few days training, it’s difficult to face another salad.
Being coach and athlete isn’t ideal of course but there are a few things going in my favour. Number one is my great training partners. Who would have thought that I would get a group of guys, and not just small groups, on the mats for 16 of the last 18 days when there was nothing at stake for them? I also have robbed a few great drills from various people that make my life easier and get me in the training zone much faster. Here’s 2 of them.
Session 1- 45 minute tap and change. This is an all action session with no breaks. The timer goes on for 45 minutes and everyone starts rolling with a partner. Once anyone submits anyone else, they shout TAP and everyone does some sort of fatiguing movement. last night we did 5 jumping squats between rounds for example. Other times it’ll be sit thrus or push ups. Then it’s straight on (as in run) to the next partner, looking to tap them as soon as possible again. Thanks to Abmar Barbosa for this one.
Session 2- 4 Points Down. Your partner starts on your back, hooks in, seatbelt on. This means you are 4 points behind already. (Those unfamiliar with BJJ rules and points should check out ibjjf.org) The stipulation is that you must be beating your opponent before you can try to submit them. You can make it more difficult by stipulating a winning margin. So now I start 4 points down, but I have to be winning by at least 3 before attempting a submission. Thanks to Liam Beechinor and Pedro Bessa BJJ Cork for that one.
Session 3- First Points. In this drill, a group starts out on the mat, and whoever scores the first points stays on. A sweep, pass or takedown will do it, and obviously so will a submission. In this drill you can either have a small amount of people out rolling and the rest waiting, or you can have a larger amount rolling and only a few waiting. In the first instance, the breaks for those who go off having been beaten are longer, which means those more likely to win get fresher opponents each time and as such your better guys get more work in. In the second instance, the breaks are shorter so everyone is generally working harder and everyone gets more opportunities. I’ve played variations on this drill for years but this particular version was shown to me by Robert Drysdale.
I’m off to bed for a big sleep!
See you on the mat!