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.