Friday, July 29, 2011

July 28th - Gi Class

It was another small class.  It is most likely because of the State Games being over with.  I have felt a little unmotivated this week as well.  I'm sure it's natural as there was a lot of stress and nervousness for me in preparation for the tournament. 

Jerad taught us some escapes from side control.  My desire is to eventually be awesome at getting out of side control.  Right now my side control escapes are pathetic.  I'm going to try to fit some bridging and tripoding into a personal home workout.

Beggs had us work on a shoulder throw for the Judo portion of class.  David and I both had trouble not leaning over too much.  at the end we did a 3 person drill by loading up the throw on one person and then jump to the other person.  Strangely we never actually completed the throw.

I appeared to be the odd man out in open mat.  It was David vs James and Will vs Jerad.  Both matches went at least 7-10 minutes with a lot of good stuff going on.  David eventually rolled with me.  I had him locked down in guard pretty well at one time.  Eventually I was in his guard and I was able to use the straight arm lapel grab that Greg had taught us a while ago.  It really worked to keep my posture up.  Eventually he submitted me with a key lock from half guard even though I thought I could have rolled him over.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 25th - Gi Class

After a normal warmup Adam taught some wrestling takedowns.  I was still a little sore from the tournament on Sunday.  I spent most of the class with Brian as we worked on arm drag to double leg and making the opponent step and going for a single leg.  Hopefully some day I'll become a little more confident in these.

For the end of class we did the 8 minute drill starting with takedowns from standup.  I ended up with Adam as a partner and I was the defender.  He got me down several times seemingly with ease.  Following we did mount, sidemount, and backmount.  I don't think I did terrible from any of these positions.  When I was the aggressor I felt like I didn't stand a chance to take Adam down he basically shucked me off repeatedly.  I did a little better on the ground but he did a couple of really cool reversals.

I rolled with David for open mat.  He eventually made me tap I can't recall how, I think it was from side control.  He helped me with escapes from side control after that which was very helpful.  I need to use the cross face or forearm on the neck more often from the bottom to create some space.

It was a hot night and my gi was soaked.  I also felt pretty light headed on the way home.  Probably fatigue from the tournament had something to do with it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

First Tournament - Cornhusker State Games 2011

I had quite a day yesterday.  I got up at 6:30 which wasn't difficult since I've been an early riser lately.  I got my bag together and some beverages and snacks for the day.  I wanted to be to the weigh ins early to I could start drinking water again.  I wanted to make sure I wasn't overweight (didn't really end up mattering).  I got there a little before 8 and there was maybe 15 people walking around doing various things with computers and setting up.  I weighed in at 209 which was 5 lbs less than Friday morning at the YMCA.  I started hydrating and had some fruit.  Finally the place started to get crowded around 9:30.

Around 10ish we got together for a rules meeting which was mostly the stuff I knew already from the past week's classes.  Some people asked some silly questions to make it go a little longer than it needed to but that was okay.

Then the fun began.  They started calling up all of the people that weren't matched with a good division by weight and rank and tried to put them into groups.  This took quite a while to get sorted out and I think they probably could have started the kids matches just to get something going, but I really don't know what was going on.  After the front table started to clear out I noticed that I was one of the first on the board to fight with a guy named Terrance (who I later found out was pretty cool).  However, I was soon put into another division with guys from my school.  Chris and Bauer are both guys from my school and their both beasts.  I was a little worried but I didn't really care I just wanted to go at this point.

I fought Chris first.  He pretty much dominated me from top position and then ended up submitting me with an arm triangle.  You can see the video below.

Chris and Bauer fought and Chris won again although I don't remember how and I should have had my dad record it.  After a trip to the desk again because they mixed us up I was put up against Bauer.  He and I went the distance.  From standing I tried a couple of wristlocks and then eventually we went down and I reversed and got on top in like a guillotine.  I stayed on top for a while but was eventually reversed and put on the bottom.  Apparently I was still ahead in points until 10 seconds at the very end where he worked really hard for mount.  I had no idea and didn't think to check the clock or the score.  So I lost by points to Bauer.  He and Chris went again and Chris won again.  Next tournament I'm going to record more of our guys' matches, I feel kind of bad that I didn't.  I took bronze in that division.

It ended up that the other no-gi division that I was originally in was still going to happen.  It was me and 2 other guys, Terrance and Chad I think.  Here is where Ray stepped in to be me coach and really helped me out.  Terrance was a lot taller than me and was able to keep me away from him.  I pretty much dominated them both from mount and side control once I got them down.  I submitted Terrance with a arm triangle and Chad with an armbar and won gold in that division.  Unfortunately I don't have the video of the second fight.

For my Gi match Terrance was the only one in my division.  He seemed a little bit more aggressive with the gi on and pulled guard really quickly in our first match, while I attempted a pass he got me on my back but I was able to regain guard.  He committed a no no though from my guard when he tried to cross choke me by straightening his arms and allowing me to armbar him.  Our second match I tried a shoulder throw but he ended up taking me down.  Eventually I got to side mount and put him into a darce choke.  I was a little worried about him after that because he just laid there like he was in pain.  I'm not sure if he went out or what.  Later he told me his neck was hurt a little bit.  Gold medal number 2.

While I wanted to stay it was getting pretty late in the day for me.  I know Ken had showed up to fight but didn't get  to because he had to go to work later.  I heard some other complaints about the disorganization and the computer bracket problems.  Personally I had a lot of fun and was able to test myself and get a feel for where I'm at.  I'll definitely compete again in the future.  Bauer and I might be a good match-up for a while to come.  I need to grow some muscle though.

I'd like to thank everyone at Roseberry's for helping me along, it's been quite an experience so far and I can see myself doing this for a long time to come.


Friday, July 22, 2011

July 21 - Tourney Prep 2 and the laws of nature went so wrong

Class started out similar to Monday night.  We were allowed to wear our rash guards or t-shirts and we started with some pointers for the competition and Conan had us ask some questions.  My question was about the bottom sprawl position since I seem to end up there a lot.  I'm still not completely comfortable with the sit-out but I got a couple of other ideas. 

Next we did some matches with coaches and reffing.  I went up against Matt, a guy that started not long after I did and is doing pretty good.  Once we started we felt each other out a bit and I was eventually able to get his back.  I pulled him down and put him into back mount.  From here I tried to be relaxed with both hooks in and just go with him.  We rolled around but I maintained the position for a while.  I was trying everything that was being yelled at me but I could not sink the choke in.  I was trying to conserve my energy as well so I wouldn't gas out like Monday.  At one point I think I heard people picking on Patrick (my coach) for not telling me what to do.  A lot of it I tuned out though and might have had some tunnel vision.  Eventually he Matt was escaping and I was able to try an armbar and then a omma-plata  which i must have been doing wrong because he was escaping that too.  Eventually...somehow...I got an armbar with the other arm and he tapped.  While I caught my breath Conan gave us some pointers on what either of us could have done differently.  I should have flattened him out or done a neck crank.  I hope that Matt isn't discouraged, I don't think he should be as I have quite a bit of experience for a white belt.  He did a good job of not getting submitted.

We did more matches.  I didn't feel like I was ready to try reffing or coaching, maybe for the next tournament I'll try it. There were some good pointers given to everyone and some good matches.

After we bowed out Ken appeared and we had another epic battle.  It went as usual.  Ken allowed me to dominate in the beginning and I tried taking his back several times and hold side control. There was a point when Ken was holding me in side control and my chest was being smashed.  I eventually escaped somehow.  Ray helped with some coaching and by telling me I'd have to write in my blog that I was Ken's bitch.  Eventually I got a dominant position again.  The only bad thing about coaching is that your opponent can hear what you are being told to do. Ray told me to take his back one time and Ken anticipated, the next time Ray told me to do it again I decided to use his coaching to my advantage and I went for an armbar instead and I got it.  Ken tapped.  I realize that 99 times out of 100 it would go the other way, but it's definitely a sign that I'm getting better.

Quote from Ken:
when you tap me out, is when i move on and walk off into the sunset. i'll find a high mountain top and contemplate how the laws of nature went so wrong.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 18th - Tournament Prep

It turned out to be one of the hottest days yesterday, but luckily Conan had us wear t-shirts instead of gi's because we were mostly just going over tournament rules.  I think I understand the rules pretty well now.  The one thing that I'll have to remember is to maintain the positions for 3 seconds at a time so I can get the most points.  That seems like something that would easily be forgotten in the heat of battle. Next we went over some basic strategies and where some team members have made mistakes in the past. 

We did some mock matches where one person was the ref and two people would roll.  It looks like it's pretty difficult to be a ref, because not all positions are clean and there is a lot of tangling up and scrambling.  I ended up going against Jerad.  I started off dominating and getting top position.  However, I learned a valuable lesson because I worked the top for a while and eventually gassed out.  I took his back at one point and then he reversed and got on top.  At that point my energy was gone and I wasn't able to fight back as effectively.  He eventually tapped me with a Darce choke.

So how can I prevent this.  I think it mostly happened because I was nervous from everyone watching.  I also don't get the top position very often right now so I'm not as comfortable resting on top.  I'm glad it happened though because hopefully it will help me calm down a little bit more.

During open mat I rolled with David first.  There was one point where I was in his open guard and he was pushing me back.  I came back forward and we had a nasty headbutt.  We both stopped and I made sure I wasn't hurt.  It was forehead to forehead so it really stung but wasn't anything serious like getting hit in the eye or nose.  I can't recall how he submitted me, maybe an arm triangle.

Ken and I had an epic battle.  That took probably 10 minutes or more, of course it's hard to know how much time when you are rolling.  There was a lot of back and forth and some really cool sweeps and reversals.  At one point Ken was trying to pass my guard and I had him doing a hand stand vertically straight up.  Close to the end I told Ken that a month ago I probably would have given up earlier in the match from being gassed.  I know I've improved.  Ken, Jerad and I sat and talked for a while giving me some pointers for the tournament.  I just hope I can keep a good positive attitude for Sunday.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 15th - Open Mat

I decided to duck out of work 10 minutes early so I could get a little extra mat time in.  I changed quickly and got out there as fast as I could.  I rolled with Alex first, he's young and a lot smaller than me.  Whenever I roll with him I try to use no strength and while he doesn't submit me he usually surprises me a couple of times with his movements.  Once he fills out a little he's going to be a force to be reckoned with. 

Adam was next and he was already slippery with sweat and schooled me all over the place, to the point where he would get me in bad positions and then let me go.  He eventually got me in a kimura.

David was tough as usual and he eventually got me in his guard and slapped on a triangle.  He then worked with me on breaking the guard a little bit which I've been having trouble with.  Keeping my elbows in tight is what I really need to work on.  Later on I felt a little better about being triangled, because Ray had suffered the same fate to David.

I rolled with Alex for a second time and then Carlos to finish up.  It seems like there is a lot of position changing and movement with Carlos.  Which is good, I need to stay active and move a lot more.  He eventually caught me in a darce.

I haven't really done that much more than I would normally do to prepare for the State Games.  I've been going to class regularly and swimming most mornings.  I eventually want to come up with some type of tournament preparation routine to control my weight and prepare my mind. 

It's hard to decide what my mindset will be going into this tournament.  Of course I want to win and submit people, but I know with my lack of experience that I will probably have some good competition.  I don't feel that much pressure to do good here like I would at a Taekwondo tournament.  This being brand new to me and not having seen a competition in person, I'm willing to accept that there is a great chance that I won't win.  It's kind of freeing in a way and helps me relax knowing that no one really expects me to win.  However, my wife and some of my family will be there so we'll see how that affects me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 14th Gi

It was a pretty rough class.  I went into it already a little tired and it was hot and humid.  Greg and Conan were both in class today with Greg teaching.  I think because he got dressed first.  I'm interested to see how this will play out.

Our focus of class was a straight footlock.  Getting it and defending against it.  I ended up working with a new guy, Eric, from Sioux falls that has about 6 months experience.  He was a little bit bigger than me and it was nice to work with him.  Since he wasn't really versed in foot locks I would have liked to have someone tell me what I could do better.  We still did a lot of reps and he was a good partner.

At the end we did a drill where we tried to break out of guard for 3 minutes.  I had some trouble with Eric as his long legs were preventing me.  I need to figure out that whole guard break thing.

Sensei Beggs had us work on the neck/hip throw again and a combination to another throw.  I ended working with Eric for that too.  I'm feeling a little better about this throw but it's still difficult to not load the person onto my hips.

After bow out David and I rolled.  We started from standing and Conan said he would be my coach.  David got a hold of one of my legs and I was able to sprawl and get it free.  I then went for a darce but he powered out of it.  From here Conan started telling me what to do because David was working hard to put me in his guard.  I realize now that it's hard work being coached, mostly because I don't want to let my coach down.  When Conan was telling me to push his legs down and not let him lock up his guard I felt like if I had let him I wasn't trying as hard as I could and Conan would know.  I did end up back in side mount and right when I did Conan had to leave to talk to a new student.

I didn't feel like I could do anything to David from side mount.  He wouldn't let me move any of his arms and my balance was constantly being checked.  Eventually he got me in mount and put pressure on me, then he tried to put on an americana and I was able to roll him over into his guard.  I got free of one thing to put myself in another because he put me into a triangle as quickly as he could.  I even had a hand in for a little bit, but it was tight and I had to tap.  Even though I was dominated I feel like I've improved quite a bit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 11th Gi

Jerad taught class yesterday.  Our main focus was defending backmount and a couple of guard passes.  We finished class with the 4 positions 2 minutes each hell drill.  It was exceptionally difficult due to the heat last night.  I worked with Ken on this and there were several times when I felt sloppy and too spent to do things properly.  I had to tell myself out loud a few times not to quit.

It didn't seem like anyone wanted to do open mat.  I'm glad I wasn't the only one spent from the exercise.  I rolled with Carlos first.  We went back and forth for quite a while the size difference was in my favor.  I had him in an anaconda at one time, but he was able to worm his way out of it.  He eventually caught me with a darce choke I think.

We had some visitors in class, a few MMA fighters that I had seen around previously.  Tate and Rob.  I didn't work with Tate but I did roll with Rob and he was awesome.  Even though he is tall he was good at keeping tight and not allowing any space.  I eventually got a side cramp and tapped out.

David made the comment that he hasn't got the chance to roll with me and see my improvement lately.  So he'll be the first on my dance card Thursday.

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 7th Gi

Greg was our instructor.  We had a decent warmup with animal walking and some ab exercises.  We also did some neck exercises that I might add to my routine.

The main focus of class was the triangle choke.  We worked it from several setups.  I got some good pointers on how to do it better with my short legs by bridging more.  I really liked the setups and hopefully I'll be able to practice them more tomorrow.

Sensei Beggs had us do a Neck/Hip throw.  It was a little hard for many of us to get because we weren't trying to load the person up onto our hips but rather just wanted to trip them across our leg.  I got it a couple of times.  It was cool to work with Adam on this because of his size and we seemed to get to do more reps than everyone else that was using the crash mats.

We didn't have much time for open mat after this.  I rolled with Ken and 5 seconds into it one of my fingernails ripped off.  I made sure it wasn't bleeding too bad and we continued.  I was inspired by a few things.  I didn't get as frustrated when I was in side mount I tried to just keep working and felt more confident that I would get out of it.  It seemed to work better to be more relaxed.  I almost thought I was going to submit him with a darce choke but he eventually wiggled himself free.  In the end he got me with an Americana but I felt pretty good about it.  I told him thanks for being easy on me but he shrugged it off and said that he wasn't and I was doing better.  My finger started to hurt after it was over and I decided not to pursue another roll and head home.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 3rd No Gi - Sore Neck

Had a relatively small class.  Greg taught and we worked on getting the back and gift wrap.  One thing that really stuck with me was that if I couldn't get my hooks in go for the choke and they take the focus off the legs and then the hook comes easier and vice-versa.  We finished with some 2 minute drills of starting in the gift wrap or side mount and working out of it while the other person imposed their will.

Ray was very tough to deal with and I ended up tweeking my neck a couple time when we were rolling around or when he got me in a head/arm triangle.  I've had worse at least I can turn my head when I'm driving this time.

One thing that Ray said that was a little coincidental was for me to "visualize what I wanted to happen."  I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember exactly what he said, but it reminded me of the book "Mind Gym" that I'm currently reading.  Basically it is a book about mental training and gives a lot of examples of professional athletes and how they think.  In one of the beginning chapters it talks about focusing on what you want to happen instead of what you don't want to happen.  It gives the example of an inexperienced golfer at a water hole focusing so much on not hitting the ball in the water.  Most of the time that is where the ball ends up because it was what your mind was focusing on.  Instead focus on positive things like hitting the ball onto the green.

For me instead of focusing so much on I hope I don't get armbared or kimura'd or choked or mounted I should be focusing on taking mount or side mount or the back or submissions.  I spend way too much time thinking about not getting mounted or not getting submitted that I don't give enough resistance to my opponents or at least I'm probably easy to read what I'm trying to do.

I rolled with Ray who destroyed me 3 or 4 times.  I rolled with Patrick who I did not do well against this time except when he let me start in side mount.  I rolled with Christina who I have 100 pounds on.  I tried my best not to crush her and we both got a couple of submissions on each other.  I think I went at the right amount of resistance for her.

At the end I rolled with Jerad, he seemed to give me some more room to work.  We switched between half and full guard a few times and eventually he got me in sidemount.  I don't remember how he finally submitted me though.  After that the guys were telling me how strong my legs and hips were and that I could do a lot more with shrimping and getting my hips out.  Hopefully I'll be able to figure that out eventually because I don't want to spend all of my time in sidemount.

Friday, July 1, 2011

June 30th Gi - Sweat Lodge

It was damn hot in the dojo yesterday.  We were so hot that no one talked before class everyone kind of sat and stretched.  Greg attempted to be easier on us at the beginning of class but we still did a lot of floor drills with shrimping etc.

Our focus of the day was backmount.  We first did defense by bridging and crawling up out opponent and going to one side and then getting into their guard.  It was a pretty cool escape that I hadn't done before, at least I hadn't thought to emphasize crawling up their body so much.

We then worked on chokes with the gi collar and we worked on my new favorite choke, the Bow and Arrow choke. After drilling those several times we got with partners and did 3 minutes each of defending or attacking from the back.

Sensei Beggs took over for the Judo portion of the class.  We ended up talking more about chokes rather than doing throws.  He went into some of the things to watch out for when choking someone which was good info.  I'm sure Ray was getting tired of being choked on since Greg used him for demonstration as well as Beggs.We did an x-collar choke from the guard.  Time was short and that was pretty much all we did.

I rolled with Mark. We seem to be pretty even matched.  I had him in a Kimura but ended up not having enough leverage to finish it.  He said he was almost going to tap before I let go (good to know).  I rolled with Ray several times after that.  At first Ray was working on his spider guard and I offered little resistance for him.  The last time we grappled we had a good scramble where I ended up taking his back.  I eventually made a mistake though and ended up in side control and I was squished again.

My Gi was sopping wet when I left.  I was a little loopy again and might have been questionable if I should drive home.  I wasn't going to pass out or anything I just felt really slow and sluggish.  I didn't feel like eating dinner when I got home, I had a big glass of chocolate milk, some gatorade, and then water.  I ate a little bit but not much.