Monday, September 11, 2017

Beginner Curriculum Technique Companion Links

This week I completed a post for each week of the curriculum.  These are the requirements to get promoted to blue belt.  I've included a link to a youtube video for each technique, unfortunately I wasn't able to always find a video that matched the way we do things 100%.  Please let me know if you find a better video that represents what we do for a given technique or if any of the links are broken. Hopefully this helps you potential woul blue belts out there.

Week 1
Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Basic Side Control Knee Escape, Paint Brush (Americana) from Side Control

Week 2
Techniques: Standing RNC Defense: Seio Nage, Farside Armbar From Side Control, Scissor Sweep

Week 3
Techniques: O-Goshi, Cross Collar Choke from Closed Guard, Armbar from Closed Gaurd

Week 4
Techniques: Standing Headlock Escape to Tani Otoshi, Kneeling Guard Break, Single Under Pass

Week 5
Techniques: Double Leg, Mount: Cross Collar Choke, Upa

Week 6
Techniques:  RNC Defense with O-soto gari, Back Mount: Escape, RNC

Week 7
Techniques: Seoi Nage, Back Mount Lapel Choke, Guillotine from Guard

Week 8
Techniques: Technical Stand-up, Closed Guard: Hip Bump Sweep, Kimura

Week 9
Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break, Torreando Pass

Week 10
Techniques: Standing Guillotine Defense, Half Guard: Back Take, Recover Full Guard

Week 11
Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Half Guard Knee Slide Pass, Turtle Granby Roll

Week 12
Techniques: Leg Over Headlock Escape, Turtle Turnover to Side Control & Armbar

Week 13
Techniques: O-Goshi, Back Mount: Wing Choke, Bow and Arrow Choke

Week 14
Techniques: Standing Headlock Escape to Hammerlock, Mount: Armbar, Elbow Escape

Week 15
Techniques: Double Leg, Mount Americana, Side Control Bread Cutter

Week 16
Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Side Control: Tripod Escape, Kimura

Week 17
Techniques: Standing Guillotine Against Wall Defense, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass

Week 18
Techniques: Seoi Nage, Double Ankle Grab Sweep, Butterfly Hook Sweep, Butterfly Guard Pass

Week 19
Techniques: Headlock Escape to Back Mount, Kneeling Guard Break, Knee Slide Pass

Week 20
Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Basic Triangle Setup

Week 21
Techniques: Basic Open Guard Position, Sweeps, and Submissions (Collar Sleeve Guard)

Week 22
Techniques: Guillotine Defense from Guard, Ezekiel Choke from Mount & Half Guard

Week 23
Techniques: Head Lock Escape Over Head Roll, Straight Footlock and Defense

September 2017 - Week #9 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break, Torreando Pass

Koshi Guruma
Video: Judo - Koshi-guruma

Similar footwork to other forward throws.  This one in particular you want to make sure that you don't push their hips back when you wrap your arm around your neck.  This week, I'm going to focus primarily on turning my head with the throw to end looking behind me. 

Standing Guard Break
Video: Barra Technique Tuesday - Passing the Closed Guard

One of the most important techniques is the standing guard break. The exercise that went the furthest for getting this to work for me was the stand-up and sit-up that we worked on in a competition class.  It's one of my favorite exercises to have the class do when I teach.  Being able to standup with good posture and structure is crucial, especially if your opponent is bigger than you.  A couple of tips that I think  are important:

  • I always look up about 10 degrees above eye level, even during grip fighting.
  • If they occupy their own hand with a grip, it's okay to plant that foot. As you stand, attempt to grab the sleeve and control.
  • Pull them up by their sleeve trying to keep their shoulders off the mat.
  • Put the palm of your hand on the boney part of their knee.
  • Take short steps back as you push down.

Bonus: 3 Ways to Break the Closed Guard

Torreando Pass
Video: BJJ Scout: Leandro Lo's Toreando Pass Study

There are a lot of videos out there on this technique and a lot of people have different ideas of what works best.  I found the video linked above to contain the most variation of information.  Some tips for the technique:

  • Create handles on the inside of the knees with knuckles down
  • Get your opponent on their back by pushing their knees into the direction of their chest
  • Practice the footwork in combination with the arm movements to make it a smooth path to knee on belly
  • You will likely have to switch sides to complete the pass

Monday, September 4, 2017

September 2017 - Week #8 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Technical Stand-up, Closed Guard: Hip Bump Sweep, Kimura

Technical Stand-up
Video: BJJ Self Defense Lesson 4 - Technical Standup

A very important basic movement for self defense as well as a few Jiu-Jitsu techniques.  The driving force behind the technical stand-up is to be able to get back up to your feet while maintaining sight of your opponent as well as being ready to defend yourself at any moment throughout the motion.

It takes a little bit of practice for most to figure out how far away you want plant your hand in relation to your foot in order to stand up with good balance and be able to move backward.  We also practice some kicks to the knee and up-kicks if necessary to keep your opponent far enough away to give you a chance to get up.  Personally I try to get up using this way as often as I can even outside of class.

Hip Bump Sweep
Video: Closed Guard Sweep Hip Bump Sweep

The 2 techniques this week build off of the same motion as the guillotine choke from last week.  We get their hands off of our chest and situp into them.  Here it's important to push your  hips back and place your hand on the floor for support around where your shoulder previously was.

For the hip bump in particular we want a little momentum from the opponent.  Often you can create this by holding them down temporarily and then coming up with them as they try to regain posture.  Here I like to tell people to swallow the oppoent's shoulder with your armpit.

Leg position is the important next step.  Your leg on the shoulder that you are attacking needs to drop to the floor and kind of wrap around their knee.  Your other leg needs to be bent as much as possible with your foot near your butt.  Then do a large bridge motion and attempt to hit the opponent in the chest with your hips and flip them like a pancake.  Make sure to consolidate mount and center up.

Kimura from closed guard
Video: Kimura from closed guard for white belts

Same beginning as the other technique except you can stay on your elbow and keep a hold of their wrist.  One tip to help grab your own wrist in the figure 4 is to keep your own elbow close to your ribs.  Often it may seem like it's impossible to grab your wrist and changing your elbow position may help.

To complete the technique you use a hip motion and bring your leg over their back, in an attempt to get perpendicular with them.  This allows for greater leverage to use your body to rotate their arm behind their back.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Masters Worlds 2017

Day 1

It was overwhelming to see so many people come together for Jiu-Jitsu.  Over 4500 competitors along with their coaches and family members came to Las Vegas in search of gold.  Myself, Conan, Jerad, Brian, and Telly included.   My wife, Jennifer was also there for support and we were able to make it into a vacation while the kids were at home with my parents.

After getting over the number of people and the 21 mats setup we went to watch Clark Gracie win his first match.   Which was funny because I had just saw him jog by me in a hoody warming up.  I was thinking he looked familiar but wasn't sure.  He won his first and second match with omoplata type submissions.  It ended up being difficult to see some matches as people stood at the barriers and the bleachers weren't high enough to see over them.  So you had to go to the top row or even stand on chairs in the bleachers.  Would have been cool if they could have raised the mats up kumite style.

We saw a couple of guys from Tinguinha HQ compete on each day and got to meet and connect with some of them.  I also saw some BJJ celebrities like Saolo and Xandi Ribero, Lavato Jr., Travis Stevens, Kurt Osiander, Buchecha, and I think Brian claimed to see Ryan Hall and Mayweather at one point.


Day 2


On the second day we finally had the first to compete from our school.  Telly dug deep to win all of his matches for the gold.  He got some pretty slick takedowns and stayed on top for all of his wins.  Conan did his best to encourage him between each match.  Now we have a world champion blue belt in our midst!  I plan on working with Telly a lot in the coming year to improve my takedowns.

About this time I was concerned with everything I ate.  I used the treadmill each morning and weighed myself and while I was right on target, in Vegas it's very easy to eat yourself into a food coma.  Being nervous did help with keeping the appetite down.



Day 3 (Competition Day)

I was the first to go, scheduled for 9:00.  Listening to some light music helped me relax a little bit while I watched the staff start to set things up and the judges have a morning meeting.  Eventually my division was called to the coral area to check our gis and weight.  I was 3 lbs under and felt like I had a ton of energy.

I tried to get myself warmed up by bouncing around a little bit and stretching but the walk over was a pretty good warm-up in itself.  I got called to my ring with my first opponent.  I watched the match before me end in a baseball bat choke from the bottom and then the ref signalled for us to come forward.

1st Match 
I shook the ref's hand and my opponent's and he made sure he had our names correctly compared to the scoreboard.  Once he told us to start I went for the grip I wanted and he grabbed my lapel with both hands and attempted a guard pull to deep half, but I was able to turn it into a quarter mount and keep him from getting to his position.  From there I felt strong and was able to keep a dominant position throughout.

At one point he turtled up and I saw my opportunity for crucifix, but he overdefended and I took the back instead.  Watching it, I should have put my foot on the floor and hip escaped at this point, but I was still able to secure hooks.  I fought hard for the collar grip and started working on a sliding lapel choke.  I felt like I had the choke and was going to finish but he wasn't tapping.  I knew not to burn myself out but I also wanted to finish. I believe that my choking hand grip wasn't high enough and I should have transitioned to the bow and arrow.  We went back and forth after that from back to mount and I tried to keep attacking throughout.  Final score was either 11 or 15 to 0.





2nd Match
My second match started out with a furious grip battle.  I attempted to get grips I wanted he did a good job of grabbing my sleeve and getting under my other arm.  I attempted a foot sweep and kept looking for an opportunity to do tai toshi.  Eventually I felt like my guard pull was there but when I attempted it I wasn't able to reach his leg to underhook it.  It went downhill from here and he eventually passed using a leg weave.  I had a collar grip and had a moment when I thought I could hit a loop choke but I didn't take the chance.  Once he reached knee on belly I was down 5 points and couldn't find a way to turn the tables.  Eventually time ran out.

So many should haves go through my head when I watch the match, but a consolation is that he ended up winning the gold in my division.


Jerad went soon after with similar results.  He won his first match with some dominating pressure passing and lost his second on points with some good attempts at butterfly sweeps.  Followed later in the day with a tough match for Brian who drew the winner of his division in the first round.  Conan took home the silver after winning 2 matches and losing on points in the last.


That night we stuffed our faces with good Italian and I got a decent night's sleep.  Jennifer and I stayed a few more days and did more eating, shopping, saw the show Ka, which I recommend, and walked about 7 miles each day.  I'm so happy and thankful that my wife suffered and supported me through this.  Not only on this trip but with my Jiu-Jitsu journey on a daily basis.



I'm happy to get back to training and am excited for the improvements that I'll make in the next year.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 2017 - Week #7 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Seoi Nage, Back Mount Lapel Choke, Guillotine from Guard

Seoi Nage 
Video: In-depth analysis of Ippon Seoi nage by Matt D'Aquino of Beyond Grappling

A couple of pointers when executing this throw.  Don't put their armpit over your shoulder, it should go closer to the crook of your elbow.  Judo Bob says that this throw is more like a hand technique rather than a hip throw.  After working with Bob on this and other throws I'm only scratching the surface with understanding it.

The drop seoi nage is the throw that I've had the most success with.  The morote has also been coming together for me.

This is the Morote Seoi Nage that I've been working on lately: Moro-Te-Seoi-Nage-Omote-Eingang (Tokio Hirano-Lehrgang 1984 in Papendaal, Holland)

Back Mount Lapel Choke
Video: Basic Collar Choke Variation from the Back

This is the technique that I attempted at Masters Worlds and wasn't able to get the tap.  I believe that my grip was too shallow and even though it felt pretty tight, my opponent was able to gut it out.

The big thing I find students have a problem with on this technique is that they contort their wrist too much to their opponent's neck.  So these are the tips that I usually give.

  • Grab a higher collar grip than a bow and arrow.  You want to use wrist contact for the  choke.
  • As you start to apply the choke, put your knuckles down on their chest.  Pull their collary tight against their neck and push your pinky away, allowing your wrist to jut into their neck.
  • Slowly apply the choke in 10% increments instead of trying to use all of your strength at once.

Guillotine from Guard
Video: Master Pedro Sauer - Guillotine Technique

Not something that I hit very often from closed guard but i think it's an important movment that will play into next week's techniques (Hip Bump and Kimura).  The main pointer that I share with this technique is that it's okay to put your feet on the ground to help push yourself back to make the space needed.  You don't want your hips right against them and you need room to connect your hands.

Then when you fall, don't go straight back but to the side, so you can get a good angle on their neck and prevent their shoulder pressure escape.  Next, keep your choking arm shoulder off the mat.  Being lazy with it will often allow your opponents head to pop out of the choke.

Bonus: Marcelo Garcia on the Guillotine from Closed Guard

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 2017 - Week #6 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques:  RNC Defense with O-soto gari, Back Mount: Escape, RNC

RNC Defense with O-soto gari
Video: Top 4 Jiu-Jitsu Techniques to Escape Rear Choke
Defending the head lock with osoto gari - START BJJ Academy
Self Defense RNC to Osoto Gari and Armbar

This is used when you get bent backward during a standing headlock or RNC.  Putting your hand on their wrist and keeping them from connecting their hands is paramount.  After circling their leg, take small steps to line your hips up. As you turn keep pressure down on their shoulder to keep their weight on that leg before you sweep it.

Back Mount: Escape
Video: Highest Percentage Rear Mount Escape for Gi and No-Gi

Such an important technique that I use often. Here are some tips:
  • Start with getting your head to the side you want to escape to.  Make your opponent uncomfortable.
  • Use your feet to push your hips above their hips and get your shoulders on the mat. 
  • Continue to defend from chokes and be prepared to take half guard.

Bonus: BJJ back escape to deep half (skateboard escape)

RNC
Video: Clark Gracie with Rear Naked Choke Details

One of the quintessential techniques of BJJ and by far the most finished submission in MMA, also called Mata Leao (Lion Killer).  Besides back mount I've been hitting this from crucifix lately as well.

I suggest watching the video below, because the squeeze is super important. Trust me, it's a flat Earth free video.

Some tips on this technique:

  • In the back mount position, protect your choking hand with the underhook hand. 
  • Your harness grip is more important than your hooks. Keep it tight using your elbow and chin.
  • Trapping an arm is preferable.
  • The main goal is to squeeze your forearm and bicep together hit the sides of the neck.
  • Use your back muscles to thrust your chest forward.  

Bonus: Eddie Bravo - How to develop a strong rear naked choke squeeze

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 2017 - Week #5 Technique Companion

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg, Mount: Cross Collar Choke, Upa

Double Leg
Video: Double Leg Takedown - BJJ Blue Belt Requirements Technique #1

I'm slowly feeling better about pulling off this technique and I have hit it in rolling more often lately.  Especially after working more stand-up in preparation for Worlds. Also, Nick is very good at double legging and we do it often in the MMA class.

A thing that I need to focus on is not trying to setup this takedown from too far away.  So many times I've attempted to shoot from 5 feet away and got stuffed repeatedly.  I still need to improve on it but I'm starting to get it. 

Cross Collar Choke
Video: Roger Gracie, Cross Collar Choke: Jiu-Jitsu Magazine, Issue #27.

Jerad inspired me to get better at this technique.  He started hitting it on me and has a pretty good game using this choke setup now.  I'd almost rather be in his back mount than his mount sometimes. With all of that said I find it to still be a difficult submission to setup,  but it often will help setup other attacks.

Important things that I've learned:
  • Don't attempt to choke until your head is on the floor.  This is how Greg does it.
  • If you think your grip is deep enough, you're probably wrong.
  • Choking someone can be a psychological battle as well as a physical one.  Don't start your choke at 100% and then figure out your grip is not right and relax and try again.  Your opponent will think they've weathered the storm.  I use percentages, I'll start at maybe 40% and begin to move up 10%.  So it always feels like it's getting worse.
Bonus: Cross Choke Mastery Seminar (Rener Gracie)

Upa Escape
Video: This Week In BJJ Episode 61 with Rickson Gracie Part 4 of 4

I only really learned how to do this technique well after Greg did it to me during positional sparring. He does this technique very explosively and times his bridge, his step over and trapping the arm at almost the same time.

I also like the point Rickson brings up in the video about moving your head like a back roll.

Beware of your arms though, it's easy to get caught with an armbar if you let them stray from your chest.