Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 30th - No-Gi Open Mat

I haven't made it to a Friday open mat in some time.  It's quite an experience to roll with 6 different people and get tapped out by all of them but 1. 

Almost getting submissions was the theme.  I moved into a north-south choke right away when Conan allowed me to get side control.  I felt like I had him stuck I just wasn't low enough.  I also almost got Jerad in the same technique, but his arm was in the way.  I also almost got Jerad with an inverted triangle but I didn't know how to finish it.  I tried for the Kimura but I could never get the arm in the right position.  He showed me some things I could have done like grabbing the other arm to sweep them.  That would have been good to know before. 

I was also able to pull off a couple of wrist locks today.  One was a verticle wristlock from guard on Josh.  It was good to hear him say that he hadn't seen that before.  I think it would serve me well if I started using them more often.  I also surprised Jerad with a wrist throw and was able to partially take his back.  So far this has been my highest percentage jointlock. 

I got submitted with a Darce, a couple armbars, an arm triangle, and some other subs that I've forgotten.  I saw some improvement today in my guard retention.  I was looking for underhooks where I could and keeping my posture up.  Half guard felt a little better too.  I seem to be putting myself in danger for the darce often, I'll have to figure out what I can do differently to prevent that technique.  I can see it coming for the most part but it slows me down to have to defend it all of the time.

All in all a good time.  I've got to make it to Fridays more often.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28th - Morning Open Mat

Just the three of us (David, Robert, myself) this morning.  We did alternating position drills with 2 minute rounds using back mount and turtle position.  I felt for the most part I was doing the right things.  Both of them are a little stronger than me and I had a tough time defending the RNC and had to tap a couple of times.  I was also able to escape a couple of times.  I didn't feel as helpless in turtle as I usually do.  Still not a good position for me but I'm starting to file away some techniques that work for me usually.

We did some 3 minute sets of straight up rolling.  Robert and I went the full three minutes without a submission which was good in spite of David coaching him.   We did a couple more matches and I'm pretty sure I got arm triangled a couple of times and learned a better way to defend it so I'll be adding that in my repertoire. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 26th - Gi

David and I were worried, but quite a few people showed up to class yesterday, including a couple of visitors (Suzy and Matt) home for the holidays.  Jerad taught with the theme of mount escapes.  I don't think there was anything new for me but always good to get some reps in.  We finished the class with some partner drills from mount to trying to escape/submit.

I rolled with Robert first.  It was a decent roll with a lot of different positions.  His athleticism is something to deal with.  After repeatedly rolling with people that lift weights and do Jiu-Jitsu it makes me want to add to my workout as well.  I haven't been doing Hapkido as much lately and swimming has also fell off a little bit.  Robert eventually got me in an arm triangle.  In the process I had a huge jaw muscle cramp.  I hate when that happens.

Jared rolled with me several times next.  This time he completely dominated me.  I don't think I had a better position than half guard and he submitted me with a plethora of arm bars.  He gave me some tips and reminded me of the things I was doing better at like not settling as much into a bad position, which has been a focus of mine as of late.

It's funny how my emotions towards Jiu-Jitsu go up and down.  A couple of weeks ago I felt like I was figuring things out and doing awesome, but now I feel sluggish and like I'm telegraphing all of my techniques.  Damn you, Jiu-Jitsu.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 22nd - Gi (Unlearn)

Conan taught yesterday's class with the theme of Omoplata. 

We warmed up with some over and under hook drills then moved onto the rubber guard.  I'm still having trouble with flexibility on my right side in the rubber guard.  We did a couple other varitions as well as defenses. 

After regular class David was assisting me with my guard.  I'm trying to get rid of my goto scissor sweep when my guard is broken.  Pretty soon everyone was watching and giving me pointers.  Main things I took away from this was to work on my hand fighting more and secure my grips, put my knee under their chin if I'm going to attempt the scissor.  I also need to keep sitting up in open guard instead of laying flat.

I got submitted by Ray 3 or 4 times after that.  A couple of the times it was because of a new bad habit I've created where when I'm in side mount or half guard I put both arms on one side to try to block.  Apparently I have quite a few things to change within my game.  At least I have an idea of what they are.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21st - Morning Open Mat

It was a little rough getting up this morning.  At least it wasn't as cold as it has been.  We started out with myself, David and Bauer.  With an odd number of odd people we decided to do some positions drills and rotate in and out every 2 minutes.  We did passing/maintaining guard and then escaping/maintaining Side mount. 

Once Ken got there we broke and I rolled with David first.  I'm starting to realize my bad habits and what I'm continually doing wrong and having exploited.  Almost every time my guard opens I want to automatically go to the scissor sweep position.  Then my knees get pushed down and I get passed.  I need to break this habit and find an alternative, possibly putting my feet on his hips instead of turning to my side.  And, if I'm going to actually do the scissor sweep I need to commit to it and do it faster.  I think I had David's back for a little while, mostly because he gave it to me from turtle position.  I didn't keep it very long.  I'm also in a love hate relationship with half guard.  I thought I was getting good at it but I seem to be getting stuck there and pinned often.  David ended up getting me with an arm triangle choke.  Something different from him.

I rolled with Ken next and we were both pretty active to start off with.  After we settled down Ken dominated me for the rest of the roll.  He set up his usual Americana but when I defended he took my other arm and got an armbar. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 19th - Gi

Greg taught class last night and the theme was setting up a triangle and some armbar stuff.  A lot of this had to do with covering the opponent's arm with your shin kind of like the top part of a scissor sweep.  Then kind of rotating and pulling them into the triangle.  The hardest part for me was bridging my hips up to get a better position for the triangle.  It's a difficult technique to lock up for someone with short stocky legs.  We really didn't work on that many techniques, but it was good quality time with a lot of reps.  Ken was my partner throughout.

Greg had us do a couple of partner drills.  A couple of times we just rolled for 5 minutes with our partner then other drills were escaping/maintaining trying to submit from mount.  I went with the other Josh and Spencer a guy that just started back up after an injury.  I outweigh both guys by quite a bit, and they both tried to use their speed to their advantage.  My main goal was to use technique and not rely on my weight so much, so I went to half or full guard and tried sweeps and stuff.  Felt pretty good for the most part.

I also went with Ken for mount escapes.  He is very very difficult to hold in mount.  He always has some way of making space with me.  It's so frustrating!  I finished the partner drills rolling with Fujitsu.  We had a little back and forth and I felt like I did a little better than I used to do against him, we both had good positions and reversals but no one got submitted.

I only rolled with Ken for open mat and the frustration continued.  His guard is so hard to pass and there is always a leg or foot in the way.  I was getting noticeably frustrated by this.  Greg was watching us and gave me some pointers as I did things wrong.  I was able to take Ken's back once.  I eventually gave up an americana, due to attrition.

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 15th - Gi (Pain in my Neck)

It was kind of an open de la Riva workshop class yesterday.  Just myself, Conan, Ray and David.  I felt like I was getting a little better at the position, my feet, hands and hips were working together well in switching positions and trying sweeps.  The sweeps are still difficult but better than last week.  We also did a couple of back takes including one where you go between their legs upside down.

During open mat I rolled with both David and Ray.  I had a really tough time with both for obvious reasons but also because I've had a little pain in my neck and shoulder all day yesterday.  And while getting crushed in side control and cross faced, it made it a lot worse.  I even had trouble breathing and standing up straight after class.

After getting submitted by both Ray and David.  Ray and I stayed after a bit and talked about some Judo.  He gave me some food for thought about what grips I personally liked best and we talked about entries into a couple of throws.  All of this time I didn't really contemplate that you don't have to grab the sleeve and collar stand face to face like when we first learn throws.  I need to figure out where I feel most comfortable in Judo standup because straight on probably isn't my thing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 14th - Morning open mat (Sore)

Usually I don't feel too bad after our Wednesday morning open mats, but today I feel like crap.  My whole body aches, especially my hands, forearms and shoulder.  I've got to figure out some way to take a nap during lunch today.

I got in a roll with everyone that came today and got submitted by everyone as well.  I think they were all good matches or at least I did some good things in every match.

I rolled with Robert and I felt pretty good about my movement and I even took his back for a little while.  He eventually got me with kind of a north-south choke but it was more just pressure than a choke.

I was feeling pretty confident going up against Bauer, but once I got on my back I was never able to get the upper hand.  He seemed bigger today than usual.  I was in half guard for the most part and was able to regain guard when he got into side control.  He took my back once which I was able to escape after a while.  I eventually got tired out in bottom half guard and he was able to secure my arm.

David followed. I started in guard and I did my best to make something happen.  Once he was able to pass me and put me in mount it was really hard to deal with.  The way he wraps his feet under my legs makes it difficult to move and escape.  This morning more than usual I felt claustrophobic any time someone was trying to smother me.  He eventually got me in kind of an arm triangle/smother/squeeze kind of thing.

I went with Ken last.  I tried my best to not use strength and just go with the flow, cause I was pretty tired.  There was a point when I actually passed his guard and was in side control.  I went from gift wrap to an arm triangle attempt, Ken used his flop like a fish defense and was able to get out of it.  Damn.  He eventually regained guard and then I was spent and kind of gave up. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 12th - Gi (A Matter of Time)

David taught class last night and the theme was the guillotine.  David does a pretty good job making the warm up difficult and we do a lot of different drills.  I especially like the 5 Judo 5 Wrestling takedowns as a part of the warm-up.

I've decided that I hate having the guillotine practiced on me.  My neck and adam's apple were very worn out at the end of the class. We did most of this from Guard or sprawl position.  We finished the class with the 8 minute drill.  I had Brian as a partner.  He is tough to deal with when back mount is concerned.  With his long limbs I have a hard time maintaining hooks and hand fighting.  When I was back mounted he crushed my insides with a body triangle.  Otherwise we were both pretty even for the most part.

For open mat I rolled with Ken first.  We had a war with me on top for most of the beginning.  I took his back, had side control, gift wrap.  There was a moment that I felt close and got that feeling that I was going to get a sub.  I just couldn't finish.  Like usual I eventually gassed and Ken got on top and he was able to get me into an Americana.  We talked about how he hip escapes from side mount and I kind of like it.  I'm going to try it out when the situation arises.

I went with David next and was still a little tired from Ken.  My main goal was to try to misdirect and not use much strength against David.  I felt like I was doing a good job and I actually had a little bit of confidence.  There were a couple of times when I worked from half guard and was able to do my thing to get on my side and guard from his arm.  I regained half guard and at one point was able to get to my knees and get topside using the guillotine that we just worked on.  However the stupidest thing happened to me when David locked up both of my arms with overhooks and had me with a double armbar.  I verbally tapped probably too soon, but I'm not interested in getting hurt with something like this that I can't tap from.  I believe in our second match David took my back from turtle and choked me out.  Later on we discussed what to do with double underhooks on the legs and I think my roll to turtle was good, I just need to get out of turtle more quickly.  It's only a matter of time before I submit David.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 11th - No-Gi (Deflating my Cranium)

Conan taught class yesterday and the theme was single leg takedown and half guard stuff.  I really liked working on this even though I'm not particularly good at it.  We started out with getting the single leg a cool way by arm drag to a sitting position.  Then a couple of other single leg variations.  Probably the coolest technique we did was to defend a single leg and then roll into a knee bar.  We did some further stuff from there in case they defended that.

I really hate the feeling that I've had in the last couple of classes.  Usually I can do most techniques with confidence.  But with some takedowns, judo throws, and different types of guards I find myself not being able to make it work.  It's very frustrating.

During open mat I rolled with Conan first.  I felt pretty good about my guard passing with him.  I kept pressure where I needed to and didn't lose balance like I usually do with him.  It just seems like I can never get completely past his guard, there is always another foot or knee or hand in the way.  I don't remember too much after that except defending from bottom side control.  We went twice and I was submitted twice.

I rolled with Mike next and it was a lot more difficult than the last time we rolled.  I had a terrible time passing his guard and when I did I wasn't able to finish any of my submissions.  He got me with a heel hook and a triangle.  While doing the triangle he used a little modification from a video that Conan posted the other day, pushing on the knee which worked great...for him.  I made the mistake of going into this role more confident than I should have been, due to recent events.  I wasn't pissed that I lost to Mike, I just have to remember that I need to keep getting better and that we all have good and bad days.

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 8th - Gi (de la Riva is hard)

Conan taught a small class yesterday and our focus was the de la Riva guard.  This is pretty much where your opponent is standing and you wrap their close leg with yours and while grabbing their ankle you put your other foot on their hip.  We worked on a sweep from their and then worked on reverse de la Riva kind of switching the position of the feet and grabbing the ankle with the other hand.

I had a really tough time with this.  Probably mostly because long legged Brian was my partner.  It was a lot to think about and I had trouble getting my legs and hips in the right place along with controlling my partner's sleeve.   I'm glad we only did a couple of different techniques.

During open mat I went with Adam first.  He pretty much had his way with me trying submission after submission and not allowing me to get out of his side mount.  I got to my knees a couple of times but wasn't really able to improve.  I was able to keep him from submitting me for quite sometime but it was very frustrating not being able to get out. 

I went with Brian next.  I tried for an armbar right away from kneeling.  Then he used his long legs and tried an armbar on me I was able to bend my arm and keep it from getting pulled in.  I got side control after that and started working for an Americana.  I thought I had it and it seemed too easy.  It was, out of no where a leg circled my head and kind of triangled me.  Really it seemed quite impossible from where I was and I was kind of embarrassed that I said "holly shit" rather loadly.  I was able to eventually get out of it luckily.  I tried several submissions  from there which took a while.  I eventually was able to get a darce and using the advice from the other day I just kept shoving my arm in there.  Once I was able to reach my bicep I fell to my side and that was all she wrote.

We went a second time and I was able to get top position again.  I had him in a north/south on his side and was trying to do the kimura.  Ray coached me to get my foot under his armpit (which I didn't know about) and then try to triangle my legs and sit on his head.  I felt like he was giving me the kimura so instead of sitting down all of the way I tried to pull his arm out (using too much strength).  I should have listened to Ray and tightened up my legs more. I eventually had to abandon the kimura and switched to an armbar.  Unfortunately I didn't have him locked down good enough and he was able to situp and put me into side mount.  We quit after that.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7th - Morning Open (Twice)

My tootsies were cold this morning.  Luckily Ken came in a little early and turned the heat on, although it never really got that hot. 

I rolled with Ken first and it was a back and forth battle.  There were a few times where I had his back or we were in side control.  I kept trying to attack without success.  There were also a couple of time where he had me in side control and I was able to get to my knees but not be able to do much with the single leg.  However, I'd improve by ending up in half guard.  I eventually got really winded and Ken had me in a straight armlock and I gave up.  Yes Mike, I gave up.

I rolled with Jerad next and it went very quickly and he got me in a farside armbar rather quickly. 

Robert and I went next and it felt like a battle too.  There was one point when I had the beginning of a darce.  Jerad kept trying to coach me into getting my arm through and I just couldn't get my arm through to lock it up.  I can't recall what else happened but he eventually got me in a choke, whether it was a darce, guillotine, or arm triangle I can't remember.  I do remember that it made me gag a bit and almost puke. 

I went with Jerad again for the last match and I fared far better this time.  We were in a strange half guard position for a little while with me on the bottom.  I had his leg kind of locked up.  It allowed me to mess with a kimura on the other arm.  We eventually rolled a bit and switched positions to me in top side control with him on his side because I had a hold of his other arm still kind of kimura'd (hard to explain).  I used the opportunity to take the armbar and after some hand fighting to break his grip I got it and he tapped. 

Now I'm having trouble figuring out how to react to this.  Can I be happy/excited about it?  I know Jerad is much more knowledgeable and skillful than I (concerning Jiu-Jitsu anyway).  I know this isn't a competition and we are rolling to get better and try different things.  But to me, submitting a purple belt in our school was an impossible feat before this.  I think it taught me that my mind can get in the way sometimes.  While I was working towards the submission I kept thinking "I'll never get this, Jerad is too good."  I've got to get this type of thinking out of my head.

The only thing that I can say is that I won't be truly happy until I feel David Kluthe's sweaty hand tapping.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 5th - Gi (Witty title that infers that I tapped out a purple belt)

Jerad taught class last night and asked me what I wanted to work on.  I didn't have anything in mind but I came up with gift wrap and the flower sweep.  The main point that Jerad was focusing on was to get your partner loaded up on your hips kind of pulling them on top of you.  We did several sweeps like this from guard.  We also did a couple of cool ways to get to oma plata and a reverse oma plata. 

During open mat I went with Josh first.  He is new to our school from Kansas and has done BJJ for somewhere around a year.  I outweigh him quite a bit (like 80 lbs).  At first I had some problems with how he was grabbing my gi and using his legs to keep me in his guard.  I eventually took guard instead and swept him with the low half guard sweep and eventually got to side control.  I was able to go north/south and pull off a kimura.  He does have some skills and a little bit of a different style than I'm used to. 

David swarmed me and extended a challenge to see what Conan showed me to help defeat him.  My plan was pretty simple just get my forearm in Davids throat to prevent him from bullying me with his forehead.  It did help in neutralizing his head, however he still passed my guard and I had to defend from side control for a while.  There were a couple of scrambles I was mounted, in his guard, back mounted, and in half guard.  He got me once with a cross collar choke from guard that I thought I could defend by grabbing his lapel in the stomach and straightening my arm.  Once he bent my elbow it was over.  The other time he got me with a triangle from no mans' land.

My last partner was Jerad.  I was able to pass his guard (I think he kind of let me) and took side control.  We had a few scrambles and I took mount for a while.  We switched positions more and during a scramble I saw an opportunity to put him in a reverse arm triangle (not sure of the name but it's like an arm triangle where his arm is in my armpit).  It felt pretty tight but it didn't feel like I completely had it right.  I got a little excited with the chance of submitting Jerad.  He squirmed and I felt like I was going to lose it, I saw an opportunity to go for a far side armbar and I went for it.  Switching to the other side over his body I got my leg around his head as soon as I could, he stood up and I extended my hips and held onto his sleeve straightening the arm.  He tapped.  YES!!

It was a very strange thought process that I went through during this exchange I felt doubt in being able to submit someone like Jerad, but I also knew that I had something.  The transition felt very smooth, natural and right.

Of course it will not be this easy with Jerad again.  It is a good feeling to know that I will be taken more seriously by him in the future.  The two other rolls that followed I was not nearly as successful.  There was one point when I was trying a side control escape that can end up in a darce. However he had me in an Americana that caused my arm to straighten and made me tap.  So, don't try that again. I don't recall the other way he submitted me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 4th - No Gi

Conan taught class yesterday and we did some techniques post passing guard.  Unfortunately I showed up late, but my good excuse was that I take my youngest son, Jace, swimming every Sunday morning that I can.

We did several pass guard or half guard into a darce, armbar, we did a no-arm darce, and a north/south choke.  My darce chokes seemed very tight when practicing it with a partner.

During Open mat I rolled with Mike first.  This roll took a while and had a lot of back and forth.  Now that I've gotten a little bit better our weight difference is really starting to be an advantage for me with him.  Plus I was a little confused that he made a joke earlier in class that I am known for giving up that fueled me a little.  I almost had him in a north/south choke at one point but he was able to wiggle himself out of it.  We eventually called it a draw.  We can partially be seen in the darce video that Conan and Ray shot yesterday:

After bowing out, Conan asked me if I had time to roll.  I felt better against him than I usually do.  At one point I was even able to get side control.  Whether he was just letting me or not I do not care to guess.  He used a cool side control escape that we had worked on in a previous class but had yet to see in action.  I think I will try it next chance I get.  He submitted me with an Americana.  Conan showed me the side control escape and we worked on it, we also worked on a few other escapes from half guard and mount.  He also showed me some pointers with how to deal with a thing that David does.

I think I'm going to have to start making these blog entries right after the class because I find myself not able to remember a lot of the specifics as far as how open mat went and what techniques we worked on.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 1st - Gi (The other half of half guard)

Conan taught class yesterday and the theme was passing half guard.  I believe this was the first time I've worked on some of these, most of what I've done from half guard has been from the bottom.  However, I now realize I've had many of these done to me.

I had problems with a few of them where we were required to tripod and then place our free knee onto the opponents belly.  It was just a little awkward for me.  I think I need some more practice time on some of these.

During open mat I went with Ray.  As soon as he got me off my back I was not able to improve my position again and he maintained side control.  I was able to defend a lot of his sub attempts but he eventually went knee on neck which took me out of my game.  I think he armbared me after that.

Ken showed up and we practiced some throws and Randori for a while.  I actually felt good about a few of the throws that I did.  Beggs and a Judo green belt were observing the mistakes that I was making.  Beggs gave some pointers on the sweep that I was attempting.  I'm all about doing things right and receiving help but it seemed like there was a communication barrier there because he kept showing me little variations and saying their Japanese name and asking if that was what I was trying to accomplish.  I really didn't see that much of a difference in what he was showing me.  I didn't know there were so many variations and I was just trying a technique that I've done before.  I guess that's what I get for being a casual Judo practitioner.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30th - Morning Rolling

It was just me, David, and Ken this morning.  It was a little chilly but not too bad.  Ken and I went first and I felt like I was doing pretty well being aggressive and we went back and forth with positions for a while.  Once he passed my guard I did have a much harder time since I'm still accepting the side control position (I've got to break that habit).  He eventually got me with a kimura from north/south.  We talked about it a bit and I have some ideas for next time I get put in that position. 

I went with David next and tried to follow his advice from last time.  Just to keep my feet close to my butt and try not to let my legs get straightened so he could pass my guard.  It worked for a while and I did feel a little more confident although he almost took my back.  I was able to get back to guard but couldn't figure out how to what submission to do.  I felt like I came close with an armbar but couldn't get my leg around his head.  At least I felt like it was the right technique to do but executed poorly.

Ken and I did some stand-up Judo for a while.  It was really getting me winded.  I think the constant trying a throw and failing in Judo is what takes a lot out of me.  We took it to the ground again.  There were a couple of times I had his back or had gift wrap from side control and couldn't do anything with it.  I believe Ken got me with an americana or a straight arm I can't remember.

I think next time there is a small group with odd number of people we'll try to do more position drills with time where we can switch partners more often.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 28th - Gi

It was good to be in class again after 5 days of vacation and gluttony.  Jerad's focus of the night was on backmount, which I didn't realize with how we started.  We began with one of the Judo takedowns where you bear hug their waste and then do like a one legged squat to trip their back leg (not sure of the Japanese name).  From there we did a takedown kind of like pulling guard from behind by kicking behind their legs and sitting down.

From there we went through several chokes and the armbar.  Mostly a basic back mount class with the gi.  We finished with a couple of partner backmount drills.  I went with Fuji and Matt.

Unfortunately My toe was bugging me so I decided to skip open mat last night.

Highlights of last Wednesday early morning open mat with David, Fuji, Robert, Bauer, and Greg.  I rolled with Fuji, David and Robert.  I got tapped out by all three.  Greg and David worked on some De La Riva stuff to back mount.  David and Bauer were in a weird position and Bauer said something like 1..2..3..go and went up in the air and tweaked his neck pretty bad.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 21st - Gi (I'm Yellow not Blue)

Jerad taught last night and the theme was submissions from guard.  We did a couple of different variations of armbar, triangle, and kimura.  I worked with quite a few partners and felt pretty good about my techniques.  Triangle can be difficult for me at times, not sure if it's the shortness of my legs but I can't always hook it up properly or I don't feel like I'm in the right position.

We drilled from guard with person on top trying to pass and person on bottom escaping, reversing or submitting.  I had a tough time with both Fuji and Robert, however I caught them both once.

A couple of people asked me if I was promoted to blue belt yesterday which was odd but also made me feel feel good about my progress.  Nope just got promoted to yellow as far as I know (yellow is equivalent of white with stripes for BJJ).  Then Adam goes and heel hooks me during open mat because he thought I was a blue belt too.  Yeah, nice try Adam.  I tried to assure him that I didn't mind and as long as we're careful I'd like to learn to defend the ankle stuff too.

Adam and I had a good roll, however my ribs are still not 100% and there were a few times I didn't buck or defend well because of the pain.  Hopefully after this long weekend I'll be healed and rejuvenated.  Besides the heel hook he didn't submit me but he could of a couple of times I think he was just working on technique.  I was doing my best to stay on my side in half guard and not get passed.  I worked several times to get quarter guard to half.  I also ended up in side mount at one point.

I think I need to start back at square one with guard passing and review the basics again.  I've got the gist of it but I think there are some little technical things that I'm missing that make a world of difference.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 20th - No Gi (Ribcage, Hold Together)

Conan was teaching class when I came in a little late.  The theme of the day was defending the armbar from mount and guard.  Most of the defenses were kind of utilizing the rear naked choke kind of bicep grab and then trying to block the leg and stack.  We usually ended up in side control from there and we also worked to knee bar and ankle lock positions.  There were a couple of times while practicing where my bridged or extended my body and the muscles between my ribs were killing me.

For open mat I ended up just going with Eric who I hadn't rolled with before.  As he is bigger than me I decided not to be too aggressive and pulled guard and half guard right away.  No reason to struggle from the knees.  I was able to prevent him from passing my guard for the most part and conserve some of my energy.  He did eventually mount me but with his long legs there was a lot of space for me to escape through the back door, I was able to do this a couple times.  However, one of the times I really stressed my rib when I tried to roll him over.  At one point I had him in a arm triangle but couldn't finish.  I dragged him across into backmount but wasn't able to do anything there either.  I went for an armbar and he used the defense that we had been working on that day.

He did get me in a kimura from half guard and I made a noise of disappointment which made him stop.  I didn't mean for him to think I was hurt and I feel kind of bad about it. I'll have to work on how vocal I am when I'm disappointed, I don't want to give a ref the impression that I'm verbally tapping.  In both matches I eventually ended up in side mount and submitted him with an americana and the second time with a darce.  We went over the darce a little after that.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 17th - Testing (Yellow Belt Achievement Unlocked)

Went into the testing not knowing what to expect although I had heard stories before.  Shihan was present and ran the testing after Ray took us through some basic falls and rolls. 

From there on the testing focused on Judo throws for the most part.  I partnered with Fuji and we threw each other several times to demonstrate different throws we've been working on.

We also talked about some Judo pins which was odd because we cover more positions to a greater extent within our Jiu-Jitsu classes. 

Shihan had us demonstrate a few chokes from back mount and an arm locks from mount.  I must have got Fuji pretty good with a bow and arrow choke because he coughed for a while.  This was the extent of the ground work.

For the remainder of the testing each person was tasked with throwing everyone in the class 5 times each.  It was pretty tough and I was winded afterwards, but I think I showed good technique throughout.  Close to the end I was shoulder thrown by someone and I felt something funny in one of my left ribs.  I continued but I knew something was wrong.

We bowed out after that and were told to Randori standing up with Judo.  I went with Adam and got taken down at will.  When he was told to try Judo stuff it got a little easier but when ever I tried to twist my side bothered me so I didn't do much good the rest of the time.

I'm still hurting a little bit but I'm surprisingly feeling better than last night.  So, I'm pretty sure my rib isn't seriously injured.  I'm a little disappointed in the testing mostly because I didn't feel like I got to show my stuff, I was hoping to do more Jiu-Jitsu. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16th - Morning Mat (Getting Colder)

It was only David, AJ, and I this morning.  It was a little rough to get started because the mat is getting colder and colder in the mornings.  David and I drilled Armbar from guard and mount until AJ joined us.  We talked about testing a little bit and I worked on a few techniques for tomorrow (Guard pass, Reversal/Sweep from bottom, Arm lock from top and bottom, Judo throw, wrestling takedown, etc). 

David didn't want to get too sweaty because he had a presentation at class in an hour so AJ and I just rolled for a while.  I was really relaxed and kind of went with the flow until I could use good technique to reverse him.  I let him take my back a couple of times and fought out of it.  I'm not sure if I was being lazy or just trying to challenge myself a little more (a little of both).  There is tons of benefit in having the knowledge that you are a little more experienced than the person you're rolling against.  You can relax a little more and just let things happen.  I wish I could feel this same way when I'm going against David or any of the other purple and blue belts, but I guess that's the point. 

I did work outside of my normal game and was able to pull off the baseball bat choke, far side armbar, and the kimura all from the side control stuff that we worked on Monday. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 14th - Gi

Jerad taught class yesterday which was centered around techniques from knee on belly.  We did far side armbar, kimura, taking the back, darce, and baseball bat choke.  I had a few problems with my stupid gouty toe but it was some good drilling.  At the end of class we did some partner drilling and I worked with a visitor, Josh who has been doing Jiu-Jitsu in Kansas for a year.  He seemed to be pretty good.

For open mat I went with Robert first.  Which was our first time facing each other.  It actually wasn't the blowout that I thought it would be, he pretty much dominated but I did reverse him a few times and spent some time in dominant positions.  Hopefully this shows that my defense is getting better as it took him quite a while to submit me.

The new guy David looked like he needed a partner.  I tried my best to instruct while try to get him to figure things out while we rolled.  He seemed to have some knowledge of positions like he knew that getting his back taken was a big deal.  I tried to get across to him that it's going to be a rough ride and it will take time to get good and your ego would constantly be destroyed.

I went with Will last.  The one cool thing in our roll was that I was able to do the north/south choke defense that we learned on Thursday with turning to the side, grabbing the chin, and controlling their arm and taking them down. to side control.  However, he gained guard soon after.  I'm not recalling how he submitted me. 

The last several classes I've felt pretty good about my performance.  My defense has been improving greatly and I'm not getting caught in the same things over and over, I'm also not getting gassed or breaking as quickly as I used to.  I'm anticipating and afraid that this feeling will soon go away.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 13th - No Gi (Silence)

I was excited to once again make a Sunday No-Gi class.  I was however worried when Gina and I were the only ones there but people started showing up and we ended up having 8 of us or so.  The women's Jiu-Jitsu class was going on at the same time and they were working on throws with a big crash pad.

The theme of the day was mostly working on dealing with someone standing up in your guard.  We did a roll to an ankle pick, a knee bar, pushing with both knees, pushing with the foot, and my favorite threading one leg and then taking the back.

While drilling with Justin and Adam on one of the techniques, we heard a scream and the room fell instantly silent.  Then Gina's daughter was saying that she broke her mom's wrist.  Sara who is a medic training to be a fire fighter or something like that was over there in a flash.  We eventually found out that she was being thrown and stuck her arm out to catch herself and her wrist turned out to be broken.  I'm sure everyone there had sympathy for her, an injury like that halts your Jiu-Jitsu training as well as affects your ability to work, etc.  They took care of Gina quickly and we continued drilling techniques. 

We drilled some kimura/americana drills which was very informative.  We tend to do the kimura while staying in side control.  While I know this works I'm still puzzled why every time I see someone do it in MMA they step over the head.  I asked the question and I hope Conan didn't get miffed.

For open mat I rolled with Adam first.  We spent a lot of time trying to pass to a good position on each other.  I did 2 really good things in this match I got in for a moment in a guillotine choke and I also defended a omma plata by rolling the opposite way to a single leg really smoothly.  However, after that I had him in turtle and he's very strong there.  I really don't remember how he finished me, it must have been an americana because that's what usually happens lately.

I went with Mike a couple of times after that.  It was an awesome battle.  It seems to be more and more difficult for us to pass each other.  There was a point when he had me in a kimura and an inverted triangle.  I was able to keep my arm in between my legs and when he let go of it I was able to get free.  There was also a point that I was stacking him and I took one of his heels across my jaw.  It didn't hurt then but there is some discomfort while chewing now.  I had set up a darce choke really well at one point and he started to get free by going north/south I moved into the north/south choke and felt his chin was in the right place.  He flopped around quite a bit but I was pretty confident that I had it.  He eventually tapped.

We went again but we didn't get to finish.  I did get an x-guard sweep that I wasn't able to complete to side control but it was pretty smooth. I ended up in side control in the end which I fought hard for but Conan told us to quit for the next class.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 10th - Gi (Nose Smash)

Had a pretty good class yesterday.  Conan taught.  We did some partner drills and the forward shrimp drill that I suggested from a video (abs hurt).  I think because we had a few new people in class and we haven't done it in a while we did some falls.  Seemingly this has become my least favorite thing to do in Jiu-Jitsu class.  Not because it hurts or it's hard but I've spent so much time falling and teaching people how to fall in Hapkido that I really don't see how I can get any more out of it.  I understand that it is a very important skill for all martial artists especially new ones so I will shut up and just do the falling.  However, if we start doing the high obstacle rolls and stuff like that, I'm all about it.

The theme was side control escapes again mostly focusing on getting guard and half guard.  There was a point when Conan had Will teach and he seemed a little caught off guard.  When Will has taught me things in the past one on one he's been very clear, but he struggled a little bit with this.  It could have been that he didn't understand what Conan wanted him to teach or it could have been that his basic go to escape is a little different than the standard escape that Conan was looking for.

This made me ponder if there is a struggle between "the correct way" and the "way that works" for the individual.  While I am definitely a stickler for detail I can understand how people modify techniques to suit themselves.  Doing what works best for you when rolling is best for competing but what about for teaching?  Should you teach things the proper way or the way that works for you? 

I rolled with Conan first.  This was very different than usual.  He did not let me put him in side control like usual and let me try some things before reversing me.  He didn't let me have anything really (maybe he did but I don't know enough to realize it).  After he swept me I spent most of the time in side control trying to defend my arms from getting taken away.  There was one point when I was able to get to my knees but he kept me in the sprawl position.  I was able to take half guard from there but it didn't last long.  His side control was very heavy and I felt out of breath through most of the match.  In the end he set me up with a arm triangle choke which I tapped to.  I might have tapped a little too soon though, which he commented on. 

I rolled with Ray next and we started out standing.  I feel like I need to man up a little bit more with my standup because I'm so worried about over committing to a technique and it not working and getting reversed that I end up half assing the technique and they still don't work.  Not that I would have a lot of success with Ray anyway but I should at least try.  We locked up at one point and Ray did a huge throw and ended up landing on my face.  While I didn't bleed at that time I blew some blood out later that night.  We continued from side control and Ray pretty much kicked my ass.  I did okay at defending and pulling my arm out when I would get caught with something but I pretty much stayed in side control until he Kimura'd me. 

Afterward Ray made the comment that him and Conan both thought my defense was getting tougher.  Which was really cool.  Hopefully someday they'll be able to say that my offense is getting good.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 9th - Morning Roll (The Bauer Battle Continues)

We went Gi this morning which was good because it's starting to get chilly.  David was there first but said he was having some congestion issues and wouldn't partake the in rolling.  It was cool of him to still come down and open the doors.  Bauer and AJ soon showed up and later on Greg.  (Where you at Fuji?)

Bauer and I continued our ongoing battle.  I was close a couple of times to getting into the same trap as last week.  I ended up in half guard again but I did my best to prevent my far shoulder from being pinned and my arm getting isolated.  There were a couple of close calls but I was able to prevent it.  I don't recall everything that happened but I got top for a while and took mount.  I was in a top side triangle position but wasn't finishing.  He eventually passed through the back door and then I ended up back in bottom half guard.  I regained full guard.  Again I don't remember how I got top and then mount again but I eventually got Bauer's back.  I was not having any luck with the bow and arrow choke but I went for broke and got the armbar using the forearm frame that I learned recently.  This was a really tough match.  I was breathing hard throughout and the last time he reversed me I had the thought of just giving him something to submit me with just to get it over with.  I really need to eliminate this type of thinking out of my head.

I had the pleasure of going with Greg next.  I almost always have to laugh when I go against Greg because the way he moves and does stuff is so beyond anyone else I go against.  I have a feeling of uncertainty when I go up against him because he feels like he knows everything I'm going to do before I do it.  He also has this way of always being at the correct or superior angle.  Any pressure put on him is redirected.  I don't get it, but I want to.  He submitted me twice once with a baseball bat choke from knee on belly and I believe a bow and arrow choke the other time but I can't seem to remember.  He fooled me a couple of times with a tricky guard pass where he puts his knee down but has his foot up and it feels like I get half guard but it's just his knee.

We talked about stuff you could do from the back for a while and worked on some chokes.  I was really liking a choke that Greg showed us where you grab your opposite sleeve with your underhook arm then put the other knifehand behind their neck.  It might have been an Ezekiel or a Bravo choke but I don't think that was it.

I went with AJ last and we had a good roll.  There were a couple of times that he got me in sprawl position.  I really need to prevent that better. I got him to tap with a north/south choke.  I'm not sure why I can do it to him but no one else.  Maybe it's because he doesn't know I suck at it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 7th - Gi (Ho-Hum)

Had one of those nights last night where I kind of felt like nothing really clicked for me just felt kind of bla.  It was a relatively small class at first.  We did some good cardio and partner drills for warm-up including wheelbarrows and the armbar drill.  We also did a set of Judo throws and wrestling takedowns.  We ended the warmup with Adam in the middle of the mat and then we each tried to take him down.  I almost had him with a wrist throw which I think surprised him but he got out of it and eventually took me down.

David taught and went over his favorite submission, the triangle.  We did a couple of different things mostly focusing on keeping their posture down once we got the feet hooked and then working into the proper position.  We covered underhooking their leg and then tipping them over into no-man's land. 

We finished the regular class with some partner guard passing and then the 8 minute position drill.  I did this with Robert who is an MMA Pro.  He does a few things that are a little different than what I normally see at our school.  He was very good from all positions especially his side control escapes getting back to guard.

I rolled with David first.  I thought I would be able to do a little bit better with not letting him pass my guard today, it didn't work though because he did the same thing as usual of straightening my legs and then moving into side control.  I'm not sure how it all went down in the end but I felt like I had a chance to escape and then I was put into a triangle which I was escaping but then my arm was left out there and David did an inverted armbar.  Pretty cool and smooth transition.

After watching a good match between David and Robert and then Ken and Tate as well, Will and I rolled.  Will is a little more easy going than David.  Not as straight forward.  We hung out for a while not getting positions until I tried to pass his guard.  I almost got there but I had to roll to my back and settle for half guard.  I tried my best to work the low half guard sweep but once again my far shoulder was getting pinned down.  I need to work on framing and getting on my side more.  He eventually isolated my arm and got me in a kimura.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November 3rd - Gi (No private time for me?)

Before class Conan approached me and said that I'd be testing for my yellow belt November 17th.  After a quick warm-up we broke up into some groups to train different things.  Conan took Fuji for some one on one time.  I worked with David and a new guy Mike on positions and some basics.

Later Ray had me work with Adam on setting up armbar from the guard.  We did 3 setups grabbing the opposite arm and then underhooking the leg into armbar, walking up the body into armbar, collar choke into armbar.  I'm going to try to get more reps with these, especially the first two.  There were little things like bridging my hips up high that I wasn't doing well before.

We broke for Judo and Conan took Adam to the side. Beggs went over some throws that we could do in no-gi.  His favorite throw seems to be o-soto gari which seems to get injected into every class.  We did it off of the opponent striking or pushing us and circle blocking and trapping it and then shoving our shoulder into their torso.  Fuji got me really good unexpectedly and I blurted out "God Damn Fuji" pretty loud.  We also worked on shoulder throw. 

I think it would be pretty cool to get some time with Conan.  I know there are some things that I would like to run by him to figure out how I can better respond in some situations.  Also because I really have no idea to expect from a testing here.  I'm confident I'll pass but I want to look good in the process.

I rolled with David for open mat.  It seems like I'm ending up in the same positions with him over and over again.  I'm on my butt and I'm doing a good just of keeping my body up and keeping him back but he eventually flattens out my legs and almost takes my back.  However I was able to setup a triangle today.  There was a point where I was up on one knee and had his arm trapped in my armpit and a hold of his wrist with my other hand.  I was able to jump rope my leg and lock my feet in triangle position.  Alas I didn't control his posture and he eventually passed.  But, it seemed like an awesome setup and it was cool that I made the connection.  David eventually moved to north/south and put me into a kimura, which was pretty strong.  I thought I could defend it but he did a good job of getting my hand away.

Me and Ken swept the floor and then worked on a few fitting in Judo throws.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2nd - Morning Open Mat

Had a good group this morning of Ken, David, Fuji, and Bauer.  We pretty much just ran it as an open mat and rolled and switched partners every now and then. 

I started out with Ken.  I felt like I did a good job of not letting him pass guard as much as he usually does.  I was able to get a foot on his leg or hip where most of the time I couldn't.  We had a good back and forth battle it seemed like.  He eventually got me in some type of a triangle in no mans land.

I went with Fuji next and couldn't get out from underneath him.  I'd have half guard and he'd pass, I'd regain it and he'd pass again.  I got to my knees but didn't act fast enough to do a sit out and ended up in half guard again.  He was eventually mounting me and had me in position for a topside triangle.  The pressure on my chest and neck was a little too much for me to handle so I tapped.  I probably shouldn't have because it wasn't a real submission but man was it uncomfortable.

I went with Ken again while Fuji and Bauer rolled.  There was one time where I had him in an arm triangle from guard but I couldn't do anything with it.  I felt like I was attacking well from the guard and just kept at it.  Ken eventually led me into a north/south and position and helped me get the kimura.  I wish I could say that I earned it.

Finally Fuji hyped up a match between me and Bauer.  We started from standing and I was able to get the upper hand with a standing guillotine.  I shucked him down a little bit but unfortunately he was able to secure a single leg and eventually worked me into half guard.  We spent most of the rest of the match from there with me regaining full guard once or twice.  I've got to figure out how to keep my top arm from getting isolated in this position, this was ultimately my downfall.  He was eventually able to get me in a straight armlock.

I'm glad we started doing this, the extra mat time is going to be good for me.  I'm actually a little sore this morning, but it's a good kind of sore.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 30th - No Gi (No Key)

I arrived at the dojo yesterday, excited to get in a good no-gi class, only to find Fuji and Mike standing outside in the street.  Adam showed up soon after.  After several text messages and a phone call from Conan it was determined that no one with a key was coming.  So, once again I invited everyone to train at the school that I train Hapkido at.  

We didn't have anyone really lead the class but had some good discussions and training.  We started out with partners and taking turns escaping/maintaining side control. We didn't feel like there was enough room for two groups to roll so we did the 8 minute drill instead changing partners with each position.  We discussed some leg locks and worked on a few.

One of the cool things about our little group was that we all had different body types.  It was good to work the different positions and have to use different tactics with each person.

Earlier in the weekend I attended my first live MMA show.  I've only trained with one of the guys that fought and he (Rob Bieber) did an awesome job.  It was quite an experience, but I think I'm spoiled by watching UFC where the guys are more experienced.  I applaud all of the guys that had the courage to jump in there and do it.  Every once in a while I get the desire to get in there and try it.  Then I think about all of the time training, the time away from my kids, and the chance of losing in public.  Still I don't want to have any regrets, ARG!

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 27th - Gi

Jerad taught class yesterday and there were only a few of us.  The main theme was side control escapes.  I ended up switching between Fuji and Gina because the lower belt always rotates, so I didn't get to work with the new guy Darrin, who I knew from working at the jail/detox a long time ago.  I didn't feel like I was really into the class I don't know if it was because I got there late and missed the warm-up

During open mat I only rolled with David because I had a trick or treat thing to get to with my kids.  It seemed to go the same as usual lately.  He passed my guard and almost took my back.  We changed positions a lot and ended up rolling for quite a while.  We eventually got an audience and Mike and Fuji kept trying to tell me what to do.  I got demoralized a couple of times because I would regain guard only to have it passed again.  I guess Darrin and Fuji had a pretty good bout that I missed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26th - Morning Roll

David, Bauer, AJ, and Ken all had a good time rolling this morning.  We pretty much just did open mat and would work on little things here and there. 

I went with David first.  I started in guard and tried to prevent him from passing.  I did better than usual against David but he eventually got me in a triangle I think.  I thought I had him in a pretty good arm triangle but just couldn't seem to get the right pressure.  I kept readjusting and he eventually weaseled out of it.  Then he showed me what I was doing wrong.

I got Bauer in a guilitine fairly quickly from guard.  Then we went again and while I felt like I was doing well with my movement and reversals he caught me in a kimura that he turned into a straight armlock from half guard.

AJ and I went and I think we ended up stopping in the middle and working on half guard stuff.

We broke for a while and worked on the X-guard sweep.  I'm still having trouble figuring out how to come up from there.  I think I'll ask Greg about it next time I see him or look for a good youtube video.

David and Bauer took off and Ken showed up.  We did some guard passing drills and then rolled.  We had a pretty good roll with a lot of position changes.  Of course with his crazy legs I always think I'm about to get into a good position only to be denied or for him to regain guard soon after.  I also saw in both me and AJ that when we were getting passed that there was an obvious breaking point where we knew that Ken got side control so we just laid down into the position and giving up.  I've got to work on never settling for a bad position, but it is difficult.

We plan on continuing these Wednesday workouts and anyone is welcome.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 24th - Gi

Jerad taught last night.  Our warmup consisted of partner drills with takedowns and judo throws.  We worked on a progression that started with pulling guard.  I made a mistake my first time trying it with David and his knee pretty much crushed my cup into my groin.  After getting over that I figured out that it was easier to sit on his thigh and ride it down to one side.  We then worked on the scissor sweep and a hip heist if that failed.  We then worked on a kimura and a different version of the hip heist.

During open mat I rolled with Adam first.  It went about the same as our previous 3 or 4 matches.  We took a while to get any type of position.  He was able to pass my guard fairly easily two times, I've got to figure out what I'm doing wrong.  There was a point where he had me in an armbar but I was able to twist out of it.  I eventually got to x-guard and did the sweep but I wasn't able to follow through again.  He eventually got me in an inverted armbar.

I rolled with David next.  I think we had a pretty good roll.  He had me in side control like usual but there was a point when I thought his weight was a little high, instead of immediately going the way that I felt his weight was, I decided to push the other way and then bridge as smoothly as I could.  It worked and I ended up in a north/south almost choke.  I couldn't finish it though.  He eventually got me in guard and got me with a weird armbar that was more pressure on my shoulder.

Ken and I rolled last.  I didn't have much energy at this time as Monday is usually a long day for me.  I was on top for a while but made a pretty crucial mistake that put me into his mount.  I was pretty gassed by then and I think he just kimuraed me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 23rd - No Gi (No Class?)

I was excited that I got to go to a Sunday No-Gi class.  It's always difficult with family stuff to be able to make it to this class.  Unfortunately no one with a key showed up and it ended up being me and Justin waiting around.  As Justin was about to take off I suggested that we go to the school where I teach Hapkido occasionally.  While it's a little bit of a drive from downtown it is better than not working out at all.

We ended up working for a good solid hour, first on guard escapes/retention, then we both went through  the 2x8 minute drill, and finally we rolled.  He was more experienced than me and seemed to be a step ahead most of the time.  Hopefully I was still a challenge for him.

We also spent some time talking about his MMA fights, martial arts in general, and how we both liked the atmosphere at Roseberry's. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 20th - Gi (I suck at Judo)

Ray started us out with a warmup and then we did some stretching.  Hopefully we'll start doing this more often.  Conan taught the rest of the class and we worked on some different Side control escapes/reversals than usual.  The first one was in response to a knee on belly to mount by turning and then gaining half guard.  I kind of liked it and I'll see if I can use this next time it happens.  The next one was going off of an armlock attempt with the shoulder.  When they bend their elbow going north/south and rolling them over.  The last one we worked on was kind of a Judo throw from the ground where you hold their shoulder and turn away from them keeping their weight high and rolling them.

During the Judo portion the theme was Randori or sparring.  We did a progression from just fitting in to taking turns throwing to actually competing with each other.  Going against Fuji was pretty tough.  His size is something to deal with in itself but he also has experience with Judo and is pretty good at setting up throws in my opinion.  I didn't feel like I was doing a good job at all.  He threw me really well a couple of times and the last time my foot kind of got stuck on the floor and it twisted my hip a little bit.  It was okay but I had a little hitch in my get along after that.  One of these days I'll figure out kazushi with throws.

For open mat I went against Ray.  He seemed hard to move and really solid like usual.  I did feel a little more comfortable with him than I have in the past.  He did a good job of keeping me from passing his guard one thing I took note of was he grabbed my sleeves and kind of pulled me into his knee that was on my chest; this was difficult to deal with.  I can't quite remember how he submitted me.  He got me in an armbar one time and almost a triangle but I kept myself wide enough for a while.  There was a point when I went for my deep half guard sweep but he was able to counter it.  Later he told me that I needed to control the leg more if that was going to work.  I realized that I wasn't thinking about my legs as much as I should have.

Conan went to Shihan with me and got us permission to workout at the dojo on Wednesday mornings.  So if anyone is interested, let me or David know.  I think what we will do is communicate through text messages on Tuesday nights to make sure someone with a key will be there as well as enough students to make it worth while.  The time will probably be from 6:30-7:30ish.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 17th - Gi (Feelin Good)

Conan was there last night in a pretty cool different looking Shoyoroll gi.  The theme was chest pressure movement drills from being on top.  We did a far side armbar first then worked on switching sides in side control and turtle position.  Then we took back from turtle.  I'm getting pretty tired of not being able to see during class.  Hopefully I can wear my contacts to class again in 2 weeks.

During Open mat I rolled with Jerad first.  I worked my way into top position early on and was able to keep it for a while.  Although I was controlling him and keeping him in side control and mount I found myself at a loss for what submission to try and go for.  I just felt like everything I tried he knew what I was going to do before I did it.  My downfall was when I went for an arm triangle choke and was going to step over to the other side which gave him a window to reverse me and roll me over.  He eventually worked me into a very nice bow and arrow choke.

We rolled again and I was able to get him into x-guard which I thought was awesome until I executed the sweep.  I didn't follow through and use the momentum to get up and he was able to reverse it.  He didn't submit me this time only because we were stopped to bow out.

I rolled with Adam next and I felt surprisingly good.  I could still feel his strength and he did grab my sleeves and bully me around a bit.  We spent a lot of time kind of pass fighting where neither of us had position and we kept trying to pass the others guards.  I eventually was in guard and tried some of the omaplata stuff that we did last week.  It didn't workout too well but at least it was some attacks and didn't put me in a bad position.  After a tough battle for me he passed my guard and eventually took a north/south sitting on my head and submitted me with a kimura.

Ken and I had a war as usual.  We were all over the place and I eventually had him in side control and then the gift wrap.  Instead of trying to take the back I slid my arm further around his neck and went for the arm triangle.  I was pretty confident with it, but Ken became a flopping fish and eventually worked his way out of it.  I was able to get my current favorite deep half guard sweep but I got stuck in a triangle that turned into a teepee.

While I didn't win any matches last night I felt good about the techniques I pulled off and how much more comfortable I was.  However, I'm pretty sore this morning.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 13th - Gi

Ray taught class yesterday and it was nice to have a change in the warm-up.  We did some reps of takedowns and throws which I always enjoy working on.  The theme of the class was the anaconda choke and we did it from a couple of ways and then practiced some Darce chokes.  One thing I have a problem with is doing the darce from half guard with the guys arm in an underhook.  It's pretty difficult for me to hook it up.  We finished with the position drill for 1 minute instead of the usual 2.  I worked with a guy named Tim who had some issues with stamina/not puking.  He was doing pretty good holding me from side control but after that he had to sit out a couple of times.  Seemed like a pretty decent guy hopefully he sticks around.  One thing that is a kind of pet peeve of mine is when people reek of cigarette smoke when I'm rolling with them.  Yuck.

During the Judo portion of class Sensei Beggs had us work on grabs.  Starting off with a grabbing belt kind of game and then grabbing the collar and then throwing with a shoulder throw or osoto gari.

During open mat, I rolled with David.  I had a few good moves where I rolled him out of side control.  I also had him in spider guard for like 10 seconds but didn't know what to do with it.  He eventually got me in an inverted armbar and we went over how I could have prevented it better.

I rolled with Will next who I don't roll with that often.  It amazes me how we have like 4 or 5 purple belts and they each have their own different style that works for them.  I'm assuming it has to do with body type, personal preferences, and countering the other purple belts' skills.  Will took control fairly quickly and as I passed at one point I didn't keep the underhook like I should have and he almost had my back.  Eventually I ended up in half guard and I was able to pull off my half guard sweep, but he was able to get his knee free during that and I wasn't able to pass.  I eventually ended up in turtle position and he caught me in an armbar from there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12th - One on One with David

I asked David the other day if he'd be willing to do an early morning class on Wednesdays.  We met at my Dojang at 6:30 and had a pretty good workout.  We pretty much rolled the whole time, starting out pretty slow and putting more resistance into as we went, stopping every now and then to work on something specific and then continuing.  A lot of my issues were with when to have an underhook and where to keep my weight.  I'm still struggling with side mount escapes but I'm getting a little more confident in what I can do. 

Hopefully we can make this an ongoing thing and it will help me progress quicker.  Thanks for the class David.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 10th - Gi

Jerad was instructing last night and the theme was taking mount.  There were a couple of visitors from Rob's school Lincoln MMA.  Seemed like pretty good guys.

We did two passes from side mount: one from knee on belly and the other from kinda twister side control.  After practicing these with quite a few reps we did some partner drills by trying to take the mount and then trying to retain the mount.  I felt like I did a pretty good job here of escaping or keeping my opponent in the position for the most part.

During open mat I rolled with Mike and we probably went to 7-10 minutes.  He eventually got me with a triangle.  During our roll there were several times that he put me in north/south and I was stuck.  After we were done we talked about some ways to get out of that and what to do from there.

I rolled with David a couple of times and he took my back the first time rather quickly and submitted me.  He was pretty aggressive the next roll and bulldogged me to my back and he eventually got me in an Americana.  His strength is really hard to deal with.  I'm going to have to work really hard if I'm ever going to submit him.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 7th - Open Mat with Mike

I ended up getting to the dojo just as everyone was leaving.  Luckily Mike was willing to stay and we had some good rolls and some good conversation.  At first he started out kicking my butt tying me up and submitting me rather easily a couple of times.  He was using his upside down guard which is cool but I would need to get a lot more flexible and comfortable on my neck to use something like that.

I seem to get caught in his triangle quite a bit which is something I need to work on preventing.  I get my posture broken really easily so I need to improve my neck strength and keep my arms and hands in the right places.

I think my submissions on him were both chokes. I was able to get a north/south choke and an arm triangle.  While he got me in a triangle, a rear naked choke and a Peruvian necktie.

We also broke for a while and talked about several things like bullies and fighting, MMA, tournaments, etc.  Because I had my glasses off I couldn't keep track of the time but we ended up hanging out until around 6:30.  Luckily my wife wasn't mad when I got home.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 6th - Gi Class

Conan was instructing and he asked me what I wanted to work on again.  I couldn't really think of anything off hand so I chose what to do when you have back mount besides the rear naked choke.

We started with armbar.  One key thing that I wasn't doing previously with this technique was clasping my hands and framing their neck until you can get your leg around their head.  I used to just get the underhook and try to throw my leg over their head.  Usually I couldn't get my leg around and they would turn into me and stack me.

Next we worked on going with the flow like when someone tries to roll over or escape not to hold them too tight but to let them move and move with them.  We also did some with the hooks under their legs to control that way.

Next we went to twister entries starting from the back.  We also did the Twister from side control and turtle position.  Then we did some of the other finishes like crotch ripper and calf crushes.

For open mat I rolled with Ken a couple of times.  We did some stand up Randori first.  I didn't feel very good about it because I couldn't get any throws to work.  Just have to keep working on it.  I didn't feel good about my ground fighting either with Ken.  There were a couple of times where he told me how to get out of something.  While this is helpful it's also a little frustrating.  I'd kind of rather have him submit me instead of helping me reverse him or get to a submission of my own.

Next time I'm asked what I want to do for class I'm going to pick the bottom from the turtle position.  I'm not really sure what I should be doing there when I get there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 3rd - Gi Class

Greg taught class again tonight and the theme was the omaplata.  We worked on some very cool setups that I didn't know.  We started from guard with shins on their biceps and a hand on their tricep and the other hand on their colar.  To get the omaplata we would then kick the leg straight up and wrap it around their shoulder.  From there we worked on some sweeps if they defend.

To finish class we did the retain/pass guard drill and I worked with Nick.  He seemed a little frustrated during this, I'm not sure why because it took me the whole 2 minutes to pass his guard. 

During open mat I rolled with David a couple of times.  He was having a good time by smashing me with his head.  It was very annoying but I did feel more comfortable rolling with him than I usually do.  I can't remember how he submitted me the first time but the next time he got me in a colar choke that we were fighting back and forth with forever.

I rolled with Ken next and it was a pretty good match.  I had his back a couple of times but he defended well.  I'm having a terrible time passing his guard, his legs just keep getting in the way.  For some reason I can't remember how our match ended.  I know it didn't end with me submitting him though.

October 2nd - No Gi

Was able to make it to No-gi class again yesterday and I'm glad that I did.  We warmed up with the 2x8 minute drill.  I was with Fuji for that which was pretty tough.
Greg taught and the theme was based on breaking the arms apart when going for an armbar.  Funny, it seems lately I've gotten to pick what we work on in class pretty often.  Several of them I had done but there were just little tweaks to them that made them work a lot better for me.  I worked with Will for most of the class.  The techniques we did were:
  • Put their wrist into your elbow pit and grabbing your own shoulder and then falling to the head side
  • Grabbing their knee and letting them up a bit and then kind of kicking their head back down
  • Pulling the far arm in and then hooking your feet around their shoulder
  • Hooking your foot inside and then when they come up put them into a triangle.
  • If you don't think you're going to get the armbar hooking behind their head and then rolling over and taking their back
During open mat I rolled with Mike probably 4-6 times and it seemed like we were actually pretty even.  I don't remember all of the submissions that we did to each other, I'm pretty sure that he got me in a triangle.  I was able to pull off the below technique from the video that I just watched the other day. 

I was about to leave when Greg asked me to roll.  Of course I won't miss an opportunity to do that.  It's hard to tell how good I did because he's probably taking it very easy on me.  He did an awesome transition into x-guard.  He had my side/back at one point and was holding my chin.  Besides it being really annoying and very controlling, it was also hurting me.  I got a really bad cramp in my jaw muscle that was so bad that I had to tap.  The cool thing is though that my jaw feels a lot better now than it has the last few weeks. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 30th - Open Mat

I had to hurry to reach the dojo by 5:05 yesterday. 

There was about 3 groups of people rolling when I got there.  I rolled with Jerad first.  It lasted longer than usual and I sensed that I might have frustrated him a little bit somewhere during our scrambles.  That could just be in my head though.  One thing that I did that I'm pretty proud of was when he was just about to pass my guard and instead of just laying my back down and accepting side control I rolled over to turtle and then to half guard.  So often I think I just accept that my guard is going to be passed and I just kind of fall into it.  However, when I was on top in side control I felt like I didn't have very many options.  Every move I made it seemed like he knew what I was going to try and then he took it away.  Then when I thought I had an arm triangle he rolled me over because my center was too high.  In the end he got me in a wrist lock from side control against his body that seemed very smooth, but he said that he just kind of fell into it.

I rolled with Ken next and we started standing up.  Ken's ability to weave his legs and come up with different half guard positions is impressive and annoying.  That's something I have to get better at too.  I was able to get the half guard sweep on him which has been pretty high percentage for me lately, which makes me think it's something I should cultivate and focus on this month.  He finally submitted me when I was trying to pass his guard I believe and I ended up with his legs up around my chest.  I thought I was in an okay position to get free and stack but he worked a triangle out of it.  After that we sort of rolled but also worked on some wristlocks from the guard like the gooseneck.

Friday, September 30, 2011

September 29th - Gi Class (Glasses suck for Jiu-Jitsu)

I decided to finally make a trip to the eye doctor yesterday.  I had been experiencing some blurry vision on and off in my left eye and was getting concerned.  I have some scratches on my eye that will eventually heal.  This I took as relatively good news because I was afraid that I had cataracts or something permanent.  Still I had to get some very expensive eye drops to take for 5 days.  Plus I can't wear contacts until this is fixed.  Not that I want to, but it makes martial arts a lot easier when I don't have to worry about breaking my glasses or not being able to see when I have them off.

I wore my glasses for the majority of class.  Conan's theme for the class was working from guard by request of Matt.  We worked on trapping their arm and then going to kimura, then oma plata, and finally triangle.

For the Judo portion of class we worked on Soto Makakomi off of making them step.  Sensei Beggs talked about the triangle that you want to work with when throwing someone.  He used some sticks on the floor to make an x and show how when someone moves how the x moves.  This helped me visualize how to throw a little better I think.  I may have to think about it more.

During open mat I ended up only rolling with Matt.  It was a small enough class that we were able to start from our feet.  I was pretty much able to dominate and keep top position or back mount through our first two matches.  I got him into an anaconda choke in our first match.  In the second match he was doing a good job of keeping me from getting a good side mount position, so that has improved for him.  He did a lot of good hip escaping and shrimping.  I also found it difficult to go to mount on him.  However he eventually went to turtle position and using the seat belt grab I was able to pull him into back mount.  I got a bow and arrow choke from there, which was awesome. 

Our last roll I was able to get mount and eventually worked into a triangle.  I made a mistake though and was rolled to my back and he was able to posture.  I'm not sure what I should have done differently to lock up the triangle better.  Eventually he broke it open and he was able to put me in side control.  I was pretty tired at this point but I was able to squeak my leg around one of his and put him into guard.  I then surprised him with a well timed scissor sweep.  At this point everyone else from class was watching us and giving Matt pointers.  While I was in mount I went for a sloppy armbar and he was able to grab his hand.  During this time everyone was trying to tell Matt how to escape and I was trying several things to break his arms apart.  I tried the far side pull on the elbow and eventually got it with a figure four kind of kimura motion.

Afterwards I asked for some pointers on how to make that position better.  Apparently I wasn't squeezing my knees as much as I should have which would have helped considerably.  I think I might ask someone to work on breaking the armbar grab defense if I can make it to open mat today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For those of you wondering why

Ray reminded me a few months ago that I haven't really delved into the reasons for no longer teaching Hapkido and starting Jiu-Jitsu on this blog.  I wanted to avoid any perceived negativity to Hapkido and the people involved.  I've also been editing this post for a while trying to make sure it says what I want it to say.

I've been asked by several people why I quit teaching and I even got a couple of calls from a Hapkido organization trying to recruit me and bring me back in.  The truth is there isn't a single reason why I decided to stop teaching and start training in Jiu-Jitsu.  There are many.

It mostly started because of my lack of a student base.  For some reason after Christmas my class size shrank to 2 or less students per class.  Last year about this time I thought I was finally becoming a successful teacher.  I was maintaining classes of 6 or more students, I promoted a student to black belt and I had other students at various levels.

The 2nd factor was that I had to drive across town to get to class.  I've lived with it for 5 or 6 years but it's been getting more difficult to do as my kids get older.  Driving across town and having no students show up was a constant let down.

I had written a lengthy message to most of the martial artists that I respect and look up to.  Asking for advice and voicing some of my concerns.  I started off with the two points above and then the message turned into a rant about some of the other things I have problems with.  Namely things like getting rid of belt ranks, not wearing doboks or gis, do I need to make students call me sir in class, do I need to teaching Korean terminology.  Probably stuff that all traditional martial art's instructors think about from time to time.  The discussion went on for a little while and I got different responses in favor of and against some of the things I asked about.

A lot of these questions draw from my desire to be true to what I believe.  I don't want to teach something that I don't agree with or believe in.  I really want to be honest with how I present Hapkido but I also wanted to be respectful of my teacher and the way he taught.  I was in kind of a difficult place.  I knew I could probably advertise more and build up my student base again.  I could fix my website.  I could change the way I teach and make it more self defense oriented, get rid of the things I didn't agree with.  I thought I could make it work.  I thought that these changes would make me happy.

Eventually I was overwhelmed with a feeling of hopelessness.  I questioned if I was as skilled as I should be to teach Hapkido.  While I had made some improvements to my curriculum and I felt successful in teaching my students I also felt like there were things about Hapkido that I didn't understand and I had no idea how I would reach that understanding.  With Hapkido not being a popular martial art in this area and my instructor living in another state I didn't feel like I had a mentor or someone more knowledgeable than myself to turn to.

I had been visiting classes at Roseberry's on and off for several years.  I was always amazed at how I could be easily submitted by guys with just a couple of years of experience. This is something I wanted to be able to do.  The way that Conan could be relaxed and make little movements and I would fall all over myself into his trap.

I decided to take on a new journey of Jiu-Jitsu and so far I've gained quite a bit from this experience.  I know I've improved, people that rolled with me before I started see some major differences in my game, even though I still get submitted on a regular basis in the dojo.  Sure I wear a white belt and there have been quite a few blows to my ego.  It was difficult going from being the instructor and most knowledgeable person in my class to being at the bottom of the totem pole.  However, it helps drive me to get better.  I'm excited to get out on the mat for each and every class.  I can't wait to try a new concept or technique in open mat or when I make a break through and foil a move that I fell for so many times before.

There is a wealth of knowledge at our dojo, with many unique humble practitioners that have a drive to improve and the willingness to share and help other team members improve.  It's a great atmosphere for learning and growth, and I'll be busting my ass there for a long time to come.

September 26th - Gi Class

Jerad taught and the theme of the night was gi chokes.  While I like the idea of them and doing them to others I really don't like having them done to me.  Just something about using the gi material to be choked with makes it seem more like a strangulation homocide.  Maybe I watch too much Law and Order with my wife.

We worked on the basic cross collar choke (a little bit different than I've done before), the baseball bat from both bottom and top side control, and the bow and arrow choke.  Not only is my neck a little sore, but my fingers are also fatigued from having to grab the collar so much.

At the end of class we did guard passing/retention drills.  I went with Adam and Nick.

For open mat I rolled with Andy first.  He made several good attempts at collar chokes on me that I was just barely able to stop by pushing on his elbows.  However,  I eventually got his back and was able to sink in the bow and arrow choke.  I was so excited to pull off such a cool move but held it in because I didn't want Andy to feel bad.

I went with Ken next and we worked on standing sparring again.  I'm glad we've started doing this cause I'm getting a little more comfortable with being aggressive from the feet and trying some things out.  We rolled and Ken gave me a hard time.  It was a good match and there was a lot of back and forth but I found it exceedingly difficult to make it past his guard.  Eventually he tapped me out with an americana.

I finished out the night with Jerad.  I sensed that he was playing with me a little bit because he skipped some submission attempts that I kind of fell into.  He also passes my guard very easily.  He also got me in an americana but by using his legs.  We talked for a little while and I mentioned that there is something that I'm missing when it comes to retaining guard.  He said that if I feel like I'm at that point were someone is almost going to pass to just shrimp away a little bit and try to regain guard.  We also talked about some things that I could do on my own to get better.

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26th - No-Gi Class

I got to class a little late yesterday and everyone was already working with partners on side control escapes.  Conan was teaching and mostly we were from getting an underhook across the body and then going to a tripod and ending up on your knees or deep off to the side.  It was a good progression and nice to work with a lot of good partners.

During open mat I only rolled with Fuji.  He submitted me the first time after a hard fought battle in his side control.  I don't really recall right now what it was that he got me with though.  Our second match we ran out of time because the other class was about to start.  I had him in back mount though for the first time and was working my butt off to get the RNC but I couldn't get my arm around his neck.  I kind of switched to a arm triangle but that didn't help my position and time ran out.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September 23rd - Open Mat

According to my post count I have stepped into the dojo somewhere around 50 times since I started Jiu-Jitsu.  It seems hard to believe but thinking about how much I've learned and how much better I've become in this short amount of time it helps me look forward to the next 50, 100, 1000 classes.

Yesterday at open mat turned out to be a good session.  I actually made a few people tap for once.  I've been contemplating still if I want to talk about my matches in open mat on this blog.  While I want to keep a good record of my Jiu-Jitsu journey I'm not interested in making anyone feel bad because I submitted them and then wrote about it.  However, if the roles were reversed and someone was writing about submitting me, I wouldn't mind (depending on how it was written of course). 

I rolled with Fuji first.  I succeeded in my goal to stay off of my back with him in the first match.  I was able to keep him in side control and mount.  I tried quite a few submissions but I was never able to get anything.  Eventually I got a head and arm choke.  When we went again after that he got me with a neck crank that was pretty slick holding my bicep with the arm that was behind my head from half guard.  I think I'm starting to play a little smarter with him as usual I always try to go for certain things when the opportunity presents itself.  In this case a darce choke.  Whenever I would try to get Fuji in it he would get to his knees and be able to scramble and regain a top position.  Yesterday when I saw that happening I'd abandon the choke and push his shoulders back to the mat.

Next I rolled with Andy.  We hadn't rolled before except for practicing techniques in class, so I really didn't know what to expect.  It seemed like every time I did something right he would have his legs up trying to trap my head in them.  It was something a little extra that I wasn't expecting.  However, I was eventually able to submit him once with a rear naked choke and the other time with a kimura although I think he was gassed at that point.

I then spent a lot of time with Mike.  He was able to submit me with a guillotine choke which I might have been able to roll out of, but I decided to play it safe and tap.  We then worked a while on guard retention and passing which was very informative and something I'm lacking skill in.

Finally I got a taste of the Bauer power.  Like usual we were pretty evenly matched, but I was able to keep the top position for the majority of our bout.  I was having a hard time isolating one of his arms but eventually I started going for wristlocks and I got him to move enough for me to put on an armbar.  I really enjoy rolling with the guys that I rolled with today.  Because even though I can lose to them on any given day at least I know there is a chance that I can win.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 19th - Gi Class (On Guard)

Jerad taught class last night and asked for requests of what anyone wanted to work on.  Since class the day before when Greg suggested that I improve my guard I asked if we could work on maintaining the guard.

We worked on several defenses to common passes.  It turned out to be rather informative for me as I do know the passes and have had them done to me, but don't always know how to defend them.  One defense pass that I really like was from the double unders pass (or whatever it's called).  When they put both arms under your knees and try to stack you up, you sit up and hook your feet inside of theirs.  Then step over and make a shoulder lock.

We finished the class with 2 minute partner drills trying to pass the guard.  I worked with Fuji, Nick, and Ken.  I feel like I'm improving.  I can see some avenues to get half guard at times where I didn't before and I'm anticipating my opponent's movements.  Still there is a lot to learn and some bad habits that need to be corrected.

I rolled with Ken and James afterward.  Ken and I did quite a bit of standup which was nice, but tiring.  Hopefully I can get him to work with me on this more and help with my kazushi.  Once we went to the ground I had a tough time with Ken today.  I think he's stopped being as nice to me as he was when I first started.  Which is a good sign.

I rolled James next and I surprised him with a wrist lock.  I don't think he liked that very much at first.  He eventually took my back and really stretched me out.  Afterward I showed him and Ken some more Hapkido jointlocks which they thought were cool.

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 18th - No Gi (New Guard)

Good class yesterday, I'm always amazed with Greg's skill and ability to demonstrate techniques with great ease.  It had to take an amazing amount of hard work to get to this point.

To warm up we first went up and down the floor with various shrimping movements then partnered up and worked on takedowns and throws.  Jerad was my partner for this and the rest of the class.

The theme of the day was the Shawn Williams guard.  It's similar to the rubber guard in that it helps control the top person's posture by trapping the arm.  You put your arm under your own knee while trapping their arm into your armpit area (kinda sorta).  The two main techniques that we worked on from here were the triangle and the omma-platta.

I had injured my knee and ankle the day before but it only bothered me a couple of times.  It did prevent me from doing the omma-platta well on one side.  We ended up drilling this quite a bit and I was starting to feel comfortable getting it.  That was until we worked guard live.  Jerad passed my guard several times and I'm starting to realize the mistakes I'm making or seeing a pattern of how I am getting passed when I move a certain way.  I just need to stop making those mistakes.

I worked with Greg during round 2 and he pretty much did the Shawn Williams guard at will.  After we went he had 2 pointers for me.  One was when I'm in someone's guard don't put my hands on the ground, which I knew but I'm obviously not paying attention to it.  The second was that I'm letting my guard open up too easily.  I should have some type of purpose behind opening my guard.  While I know I'm getting better having my guard get passed so easily is a problem.  It's something I'm going to focus on this month along with bridging or side control escapes.

I rolled with Jerad and Fuji during open mat.  Nothing really to write about with those matches except I was submitted by both.  Fuji with armbar and Jerad with a north/south choke.