Friday, December 28, 2012

December 27th - Gi

I started out yesterday's class as the senior student but Adam and Will eventually filtered in.  The theme of the class was not as clear as the usual submission or position, it was more based on a fundamental movement.  We started with the crescent kick over a turtled opponent to hip slide and switch to back mount.  Most of the rest of the techniques were similar with kicking over to some type of hip pressure.  We did the same thing from mount kicking over their head and then moving to side control keeping hip pressure.  Next was armbar from mount and then moving back up to mount.  We also did some twister side control which doesn't get worked on too often but I like the way it can be used to take mount.  I still don't think I have the right pressure but I have a better idea of what I need to do now.

Will and I had a great roll in open mat.  He has his unique attributes that he's good at such as his armbar/triangle setup from guard which had me scrambling a couple of times.  I was able to pass his guard a couple of times with some standing bull fighter type passes.  I had setup a bow and arrow from side control but I wasn't able to control his body and we ended up in guard and I still had the collar grip.  It looked uncomfortable for him but I couldn't get him to tap.  He got free but I was able to switch to a omma platta fairly quickly but that was foiled as well.  He was able to setup a triangle with his move and it might have been my demise if Conan hadn't stopped us and had us switch partners. Although, I was pretty postured so I could have gotten out of it.

I rolled with Wes next and had a little trouble with him at first.  We started standing which I probably shouldn't have done since I'm pretty limited technique-wise right now.  He did a good job of holding on to my gi and stiff arming me away, but that was all he was pretty much doing.  So I eventually had to initiate some type of a takedown and my goto from this type of pressure would be drop shoulder throw.  Instead I finally attempted one of the sacrifice throws but didn't get close enough and basically pulled side control.  He held me for a while until I regained full guard.  From there he tried to smash me as I attempted armbars and omma plattas which he powered out of. 

He ended up standing back up and we were in the same position with him holding me at arms length.  A vertical wristlock came naturally and had him tapping while I was still standing.  That doesn't happen often in Jiu-Jitsu.  Our next match I did a half assed drop shoulder throw to one knee but he went over perfectly.  He laid there for a bit and I asked him if he was okay since he wasn't giving any resistance and when he started to put up a fight again I was in position for north/south choke so I put it on and got the tap.

I was a little disappointed in my performance while being pressured in guard.  I feel like maybe I fought back too much with strength instead of redirecting.  He was putting so much pressure into me and even putting his arm across my neck that I should have been able to lock him up from there and finish him.  I think on my armbar attempts I might have swung my leg to wide and made it easy to block.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 23rd - No Gi

It was questionable if I should go to class Sunday or not.  I'm still a little weak in the knees but I decided to go anyway.  I taught Hapkido on Saturday and did fine there, I told myself that I would at least go and take it easy and not roll or do anything to hurt myself.  <--LIAR.  Well I didn't hurt myself but I did roll.

The theme of the class was defending knee on belly. We worked on shrimping, pushing the shin and regaining halfguard, underhooking the shin, pushing down on their knee and sitting up when they pull on your neck.  All was pretty good except for the underhooking of the shin, that scared me a bit, so I only had it done to me on my right side.

During open mat I rolled with Sara a bit, which was good for me.  I could stay on bottom and take it easy, not too easy as she's wiry.  She did pass my guard and made some good attacks from side mount.  I probably abused my size and locked up a darce choke from the bottom and rolled her over and got her to tap. 

I rolled with Conan next and for a second there I thought I was going to finally make him tap.  Mostly because he allowed me to pass his guard and then when he put his near hand down to defend knee on belly I went for my famous north/south choke (well someday it may be famous).  I tried my best to finish it and make it tap, he was stuck there for sure but I couldn't figure out how to finish.  I made sure not to burn out my forearms and tried to move my body into place better.  Later he told me it was pretty close.  I think he might have finished me with a kimura or most likely an americana.

I rolled with Adam last and there were a few times my knee felt in danger.  Mostly from his half guard lockdown.  I tapped prematurely but it was worth it.  I don't think either of us tapped but I did pass his guard once.  He kept me on the bottom otherwise though.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 13th - Gi (A Step Back)

It pains me to write this.  After taking a month off and feeling so good about coming back, I had another setback during yesterday's class.  I may have to take another break to heal.  How frustrating!

Conan taught and the theme of the class was the berimbolo starting from De La Riva.  We'd do a take down invert and then go for a back take.  Fortunately this was the only technique that we worked on the entire class.  We split it up into the sweep to being inverted to then taking the back.  I had a little trouble figuring out the best way to get up to the back.  Sometimes my hand would get caught in their belt or I couldn't get the bottom hook in.  Luckily I worked with Greg on it quite a few times.  While working with him we did about 3 or 4 reps and then the other partner would do their reps.  I think I prefer this to taking turns after each rep.  Here is a video of the Mendes Bros teaching what we worked on:

We did the up down and out drill from open guard with the guard passer standing up.  I feel like I was doing really well and would pass the people that I normally would and sweep the people that I normally would.  I especially had trouble with Greg as I should.  Trying to pass his guard led to my demise.  His spider guard is so frustrating.  Whenever there is an opportunity he had a hold of my sleeve with a foot in the crook of my elbow.  You really can't get away from it.  If you feel like you're going to pass to the open side the trapped arm stops you.  My injury occurred when I forcefully pushed his leg out of my elbow crook and then slid to the side.  This over bent my knee and I knew I was done for the day.  It's not as bad as it was the last time but it makes me take pause and think about next steps.  Another break may be in order.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 10th - Gi

After a good warm-up, Jerad had us work on a couple of guard passes from standing in someone's open guard.  The first one boils down to the knee cut pass.  You get their foot off of you hip first and then readjust your near leg to prepare for the cut across the thigh.  Then go for the underhook as the shin drives his leg down and you baseball slide.  If the opponent tries to block your knee with his hand you pull on their sleeve in kesa gitama fashion.  This is something that Jerad does to me regularly when I try to put him into my half guard.

The second pass starts out the same way but the opponent blocks the path by shifting his hips and legs.  To counter the counter a skipping step is done to the side and your weight is to their leg and upper body.  From there windshield wiper with the shins to keep their legs pinned as you move to side control.  Surprisingly this was difficult for many of us.  The shuffle step and putting the weight down properly was the biggest obstacle.

Jerad themed the up, down, and out drill time around standing guard passing/sweeping/submitting.  I did pretty well.  All things fell as they normally do.  I had difficult times with usual people, but did have my moments and I was able to pass a few times.  There was one time I was trying to do a cross collar choke on Will and then switched to a scissor sweep which worked like a charm. I also swept Ken by going deep half to back take and then just keeping on him until I ended up on top.  I ended up in over/under pass position quite a bit and finished a few of them.  I lost plenty of times as well, usually to people going around me into side control.

I watched Jerad and Fuji work on a spider guard sweep from the Tinguinha (Greg's teacher).  I jumped in and tried it a few times as well.  None of us could get it just right, mostly because of the inverting required to complete. 

I rolled with Ken and Jerad and was shut down decisively by both of them.  I attempted the baseball bat choke as a surprise opener with both of them but wasn't able to complete it.  I think I just need to turn my shoulders more and keep my elbows together.  I feel like the rest was spent on the bottom defending and don't remember many of the finer points.  Ken tapped me with an straight armbar and Jerad with an americana, so I didn't escape a night without getting submitted by that.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 9th - No Gi

We did a really knee intensive class yesterday and I survived just fine.  We had a couple of visitors which made for a big Sunday class with 10 of us.  After a good calisthenic warmup we started on some wrestling.  Most of it centered around the sit-out.  Conan had a good idea of having us do it with a partner first and then work on it individually.  I think it was the right thing to do for the new people to get an idea of what they are trying to accomplish.  After working it alone we got with a partner and worked on sit-outs from a failed shot.

We continued with the sprawl position and worked on a couple of chokes from there.  We did the darce first and there seemed to be a little confusion on which way to roll or if to roll at all, but we all got it in the end.  The anaconda is the mirror of the darce in that the bicep hook up happens behind the armpit and the darce is behind the neck.  I must have short arms because both of these chokes are difficult for me to lock up.

During open mat I rolled with Conan twice.  He let me take the top position right away and I tried my best to keep it.  He is so good at stringing together escape attempts and displacing my balance.  Conan is also about head control, always shoving my head around to put me where he wants me or prevent what I'm trying to do.  Every time I went for deep half guard or a side control escape he would catch me with a crossface and center me back up.  He finally submitted me with an americana.  Our second match didn't finish because we had to bow out and finish class.  I felt like I was doing a little better from top that time.

Fuji destroyed me again once I was on the bottom.  I couldn't do anything but defend his arm triangle choke attempts and I failed at that.  I made some attempts to go to turtle but he rolled me back over again.  There is a lot of pressure down there and I need to keep learning how to deal with it.

I rolled with Jerad last and while I had a highlight Homer Simpson sweep from deep half guard he was able to get top position and take control of me in mount like Friday.  He did a great job of setting up an armbar from there and while I could see it coming I couldn't stop it.

I have a goal to improve my turtle transitions.  To help me with that I'm going to do 50 sit-outs, 50 bridge to tripods every night on my own.  As well I'm going to start doing pull-ups again. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 7th - Open Mat

I'm always happy to make it to open mat on Fridays.  In a way I feel like I'm starting over, taking the month off was good for me but fellow teammates like Jerad and Mike are always improving.  When I'm already less skilled than them it's a little depressing.  Adam was also at the dojo when I got there but he had hurt his shoulder (which turned out to not be serious). 

I rolled with Jerad first.  The good thing about being an hour late to open mat is that I'm fresh and everyone else is tired.  It's unfair and I'm not proud of it, but what are you going to do?  Jerad played me easy the first time and allowed me to pass his guard and take side control.  I used my knee on belly to north/south choke trick.  I got him to tap, but it was more from a jaw crank than a choke. 

The next rolls weren't as pleasant for me.  I ended up defending from the bottom for the rest of the session as Mike and Jerad worked me over from mount and back mount.  No matter what I did to try to escape they would either trap my hand in gift wrap, switch to side mount, or switch to back by putting their heal in my side. 

We had around 10 minutes left so we decided to drill guard passing king of the mat.  The first time I swept Mike by accidentally punching him in the face.  We went several more rounds before calling it a night.  I'm glad I could get over there in time. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 6th - Gi

I was excited to hear that we were going to work on the De La Riva (DLR) guard.  It's been a while since I've done any actual class time with it.  Usually while rolling I find myself somewhere in between open guard, spider, half guard, reverse DLR, and then deep half.  I usually don't end up in regular DLR.  Maybe because I feel like I have so few options from here.  I've got a back take and a sweep (that I often can't complete) and that's it. 

Here is an explanation of the DLR: De La Riva Guard.  As an introduction we worked on getting into the position from someone standing in our guard then we worked on the back take which is getting a butterfly hook in and then moving to the waterfall sweep.  Next we worked on the omma plata when they are trying to back away and leave their arm out there.  So I added that to my list.  Next Gi class I'm going to try to practice "Technique #4 "Back Trip Sweep vs Stand-up" from that link I posted above.  That looks pretty effective.

From there the class shifted and we worked on escapes from omma plata.  We went over: 1. Getting underneath them and rolling them over us.  2. Stepping over their head to change the angle on their arm and take side control.  3. Grab their arm between your legs and do an omma plata back to them while rolling. (don't really like this one, but it's kind of cool.  4. The final one was to get your posture then push on their hip and flip them over into turtle.  David kept putting me into a triangle on that last one.  Not sure what I was doing wrong.

We did king of the mat guard passing for open mat.  I had a fair amount of success and was able to keep the bottom position for 3 or 4 rounds in a row.  I can remember going with Fuji, David, Will, Justin and a couple of the new guys.  Most of the time I was trying the bull fighter pass, but I found out later that my posture was incorrect which is something that I need to work on.  My arms are too outstretched and knees are straight and I'm bending over too far.  Instead of squatting down low and elbows bent and in low.

I rolled with Fuji.  He was kind enough to start in bottom guard for me to give me a chance.  I was able to pass his guard and had side control for a little while.  I got a little stuck here not sure what to do, north/south choke would be difficult, he wasn't giving me far side armbar, arm triangle was attempted but I couldn't lock it up.  I should have probably went to mount but that would be tough to keep as well.  He eventually was able to go to turtle and then he just stood up.  How disheartening was that.  I didn't know what to do and after a failed Judo throw attempt I ended up in his side control.  He worked his magic smashing me and working on getting my gi undone and around my shoulder and then my neck and finally when I got my arm free it became a choke.  Ugh, I mentioned to him that I often don't feel that hopeless in a roll anymore.  Maybe I should roll with Fuji more often.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 3rd - Gi

Jerad led us through a pretty good warmup and then handed the class over to Greg. Greg had us work some sweep and omma platta and triangle from the lasso spider guard.  This was pretty fun although I had a little trouble at times with the sweep.  It seems like an easy position to screw up if you don't keep your legs in the right place. 

We setup four partner groups for king of the mat but instead of the winner staying we would rotate so everyone would get equal time on top bottom and then go to the end of the line.  We worked from open guard with some sleeve grips.  I had some successes and some not so much.  It was really good hard training that I've been missing.  I had a few wars with Fuji, Jerad, David, and Ken.  Jerad seemed to be especially annoying by keeping a hold of my sleeve.  I had a heck of a time trying to keep my posture and defend his attacks while trying to get my hand free.  Mike and Jerad gave me some pointers after class to help get out of it.

I was pretty tired but decided to roll a bit with Ken.  Ken took off his gi top though so it made it a little difficult with mine still on.  I had to remind Ken a couple times to let go of his grips.  I must have been pretty tired because I don't remember much from this match.  In the end he submitted me with an armlock but I can't really recall how.

The rest of the night was kind of messing around.  I showed Jerad and Mike some of the darce and deep half guard stuff I learned from the Jeff Glover DVD.  I think I might have given Jerad some new ideas so fair warning to everyone else.  My body was very achy after that class.  My fingers hurt from all of the gi grips and my lower back and knees were fatigued.  It's good to be back.

Retraction: Last post I stated that Jerad submitted me with 2 ankle locks.  When actually he submitted me with 2 ankle locks and a darce choke. Hopefully this sets the historical record straight.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 2nd - No Gi

I took some crap from Fuji before class about coming back too soon.  I went a little defensive and told him to mind his own business and then smacked his mouth.  Well not really, but we talked about my addictive personality a bit.  I don't deny it and consider it to be a good trait to some extent.  I know he means well and is just looking out for me.  Too be honest, I feel the best I've felt since my injury.  My knees feel strong and stable but although they do get fatigued after a good workout.  

Conan announced the theme of the class to be "how to defeat Ray."  Which is cool.  But then it appeared that we were working on foiling the deep half guard, which I do not support.  The trouble with adopting something into your game that a senior student uses extensively is that since they are better than you, your other training partners are already good at defending it. 

I ended up working with Stanley again from last week.  Which was cool, I love to teach.  The other theme of the day was on the knee slide pass.  We did the knee shake half guard pass and then knee slid once our knee was free.  It moved into blocking deep half with a cross face and then getting the underhook and switching to knee slide.  We then defended the deep half if they got in really tight by pushing on their head stepping over.  Finally we worked on attacking the arm, which I have a lot of trouble with when I'm on the bottom.

During open mat I rolled with Ken first and was feeling pretty confident in the beginning.  I used my cross guard to omma plata effectively once and was able to sweep.  Somehow I lost the top position with him stiff arming me and ended up on the bottom.  He pulled off some funky americana kind of using his legs and his arms.  I probably wasn't in too much danger but I was stuck and it was at a weird angle.  Rather than risk injury I decided to tap.

I rolled with Jerad a few times.  Again felt confident in the beginning and was able to mount him for a while.  He tricked me as usual by making me think I had a guillotine and then quickly reversing me and I ended up with nothing.  I tried the omma plata again but he postured up really well.  Fast forward to me in half guard and not able to get to deep half.  Both of our matches ended up with ankle locks and I wasn't going to fight those too much.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 29th - Gi (Wanting More)

Got to class a little late yesterday.  It didn't seem like I missed too much, everyone was already in groups working on knee on belly.  We worked on staying low and keeping pressure and sliding the knee up there deceptively.  Generally I like to push off my opponent and kind of hop up to knee on belly so I had to stop and think about doing it this way. 

We progressed to taking mount and preventing our leg from getting trapped in the process.  From there we stayed low in mount and grapevined the legs worked into 2 different submissions.  The first one was the basic americana which I'm always trying to improve my head pressure to get the technique.  The last submissions was the arm triangle choke which I've always had problems with.  Once I think I've figured it out, I find someone that will foil it easily.  I can never get the pressure on the shoulder right or I'm not low enough or my hips aren't correct, or Jerad just rolls me over.  I was partnered with Greg this time and he gave me some key points to make it tighter from the mount before stepping over to side mount. 

During open mat I surprised attacked Sara and we had a good couple of roles.  She is so tiny compared to me and I try to be considerate of that but also try not pander to her.  So my usual approach with someone much smaller is to take the bottom position and work technically from my back (except for Mike he always makes me try to pass his guard).  She is fairly difficult to keep in guard and was good at knee sliding to pass and staying mobile.  It seemed like her goal was to gi choke me because I felt like I was defending high collar grabs and a couple bow and arrow attempts.  I did a submission combination of cross guard to omma plata to triangle and then had to use a wristlock because I felt her weaseling out of my triangle.  She wasn't a huge fan of the wristlock.  Our second match was similar.  I try to sweep and work from the bottom and she attempted to pass my guard.  Conan shouted that there was 30 seconds left so I decided to put a little pressure on and put her into side mount.  Time ended without a victor.

As we got dressed and started to leave the dojo, I realized that I wanted more.  I was nowhere near being satisfied with Jiu-Jitsu for the day.  Too bad the kids' Judo class starts so soon after our class.  Makes me want to use the time in class more wisely and maybe push myself a little harder to do more reps.  Can't wait until open mat after work today.

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 25th - No Gi (Okay it wasn't a Month)

I'm feeling pretty good after going to Jiu-Jitsu a couple of times this weekend.  My knees feel loose and strong.  I thought since my family was out of town this weekend I would give Jiu-Jitsu a try.  I know, I didn't take a "full" month off, and I express my thanks to everyone that pointed that out.  Now the question is, should I return or take another month off.  There are things that I still don't feel comfortable doing, like Judo throws and some wrestling.  Maybe another month would do me some good but after getting a little taste and feeling good after class I want to come back.  I have to think about what will be better for me in the long term.

Ray was nice enough to make the theme of the class be a deep half guard review.  Perfect, I love this position right now and I picked up on somethings that I have been doing incorrectly up until now.  The main thing that I picked up was that I need to be flat on my back once I'm in the position.  This makes such a difference to the person on top's balance and preventing them from stepping over.  Then it also made it easier to roll to the side and do the leg drag. 

We did another sweep after that using the feet to do a somewhat reverse heel hook.  The last technique that we did was a back take which I hadn't worked on before.  Both of these techniques require a little bit of flexibility to get the feet and shins in the right place.

We did some king of the mat training next from half guard trying to pass/sweep/submit.  We did just two groups.  As expected Ray, Adam, and Jerad held the bottom positions the most.  With a lot of work the coolest thing that happened was me catching Adam in a guillotine.  I really just wanted him to release his half guard but I actually got him to tap.  I don't count it as an official tap since we were doing a specific exercise but it was cool nonetheless.  There were several times when I felt like I was tricked.  I would feel like I was just about to pass Jerad and he would make it seem easy for me to take mount and when I did he timed it perfectly to roll me over.  There were a couple of other things like that, that were frustrating.

During open mat I spent some time with the new guy, Stanley.  I tried to show him some of the basic stuff that everyone should learn.  I like watching new students progress mostly to see how other people learn.  Let's see if he sticks around.

I rolled with Jerad next and he was really nice to me in the beginning.  He allowed me to take top position, pass his guard and even mount.  Somehow I ended up back in side mount later and saw an opportunity for a north/south choke.  I could tell that it wasn't working although it was tight and I was keeping him there I could hear him breathing normal.  I decided to abandon it and go back to side control.  He set up a shin sweep perfectly and I was on the bottom after that.  I defended the darce several times but like usual he got me when I was turtled and rolled me over.  Tap.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 23rd - Open Mat

Finally made it into the dojo.  My boss was nice enough to let me leave work early yesterday.  It was a pretty small group with Mike and I showing up first.  Nothing really changes.  I was unable to pass Mike's guard and he ended up catching me with a guillotine. 

It's been a long time since I've rolled with the Bauer power.  Our first match I went to the bottom mostly because knee wrestling doesn't feel great with my knees.  I started playing half, deep half, and full guard until I was able to get to my knees and do a single leg.  I controlled him pretty well from the top starting with half guard.  Then I used the old trick to take mount by laying on my hip and waiting for him to push into me and when he rolls back I throw my leg over into mount.  It's been pretty effective for me lately, I wonder if there is a name for it.  I controlled him from mount pretty well but had a hard time isolating an arm or getting any kind of choke and still trying to remember to keep mount.  Eventually it happened with a little head and forearm work I got him in a straight arm lock.  Our second fight went pretty similar all up until the end.  He was able to get me back on the bottom in half guard and then returned the favor with his own straight arm lock.  Makes me want to add some weight lifting into my workout.  I had a huge forearm burn after that.

I rolled with Greg next.  It started out the same as a fight between Mike and I.  The only thing different is that it seems much more hopeless.  There are a couple things that he does that no one else does.  When I was in his half guard he would post against my shoulder which would really limit my passing movement.  Whenever he got the opportunity he would cup my jaw to setup the guillotine.  I don't remember exactly how but he set me up pretty good and took my back.  Then when I tried to hip escape out he rolled to the other side.  He then put me in the choke very fast and very tight.  I was pretty amazed.

I rolled with Ray last and requested no leg locks.  He stayed on top the whole time in side mount or north south.  For some reason I can't remember what happened with the rest of the match.  Total blank, but I'm sure he submitted me.  Knees felt pretty good but not 100% yet.  I'm thinking about waiting another month before I return but I don't really want to.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 21st - Hapkido (Getting Fat)

It was just me and big Mike this morning.  My back was feeling so much better.  The topic of our rolling match from Saturday came up and he asked why a technique that he did didn't work.  He had attempted an americana within my guard which is considered a no-no.  There are very few submissions that will work from inside someone's full guard.  That's why the general rule is to get a dominant position before attempting a submission.  With ankle locks being a little bit of an exception. 

The class turned into an expansion on last Saturday's class.  I had him practice passing the guard to side mount and then go straight into the key lock or at least isolate my arm.  With his size you can really tell the difference between when he does movements with or without the proper pressure.  I had to bite the bullet and show him that he needs to apply constant chest pressure downward.  We moved to side mount escape and I showed Mike that with him applying the pressure in the wrong direction I could roll him over me with ease which seemed to surprise him.  Of course when I was on top and had him do the same to me it was immensely easier for him to roll me over him when I was pushing into him.

We ended the class with the north/south choke.  Mostly because we were half playing around rolling from side control and I went to the choke after he tried to bench press me.  I showed him the choke from regular side control and then knee on belly where I love to do it from.  It's pretty difficult to explain a choke to someone as they are trying to do it to you.  I felt more like tapping from my jaw cramping up than the actual choke.

I weighed myself afterward at the YMCA and found that I almost gained all of the weight back that I lost.  Not a good thing with Thanksgiving coming up.  I hate all of this inactivity and I know I'm also being lax on my diet.  I'm motivated to start turning things around. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 17th - Hapkido

I decided to make the ground fighting class theme to be breaking and passing the guard to be a counter balance the theme of sweeps from the guard from last week.  I followed the pattern that Conan or Jerad would use by teaching how to break the guard then start with the knee cut type passes.  One concept that was a little hard to teach was keep pressure into them with the hips while doing the baseball slide, it seemed like everyone wanted to put their weight down on the floor to their knees where I notice when I do it I would put pressure against their body as I slide across their thigh.  From there I showed the other types of passes starting with double under pass, one of my most effective passes. 

I talked about some other ways to break the guard like how to stand up in guard get an arm to crow bar their legs and then shake them off.  We ended with the vertical shin pass (or whatever it's called) that Greg taught a while back to break the guard or as a triangle defense.  As expected the students had a little trouble getting the shin and foot in the right place.  To finish up I had then partner up and work on which ever guard pass they wanted with a little resistance.  Below is a video from Jason Scully demonstrating a whole lot of guard passes.  I love his videos and find them very helpful.


During free rolling I didn't have problems with anyone until I went up against Mike from work.  Mike is a big dude so that is already one advantage in his favor.  I didn't play it too aggressively and ended up on bottom in half guard.  He picked some things up from the guard passing class and was able to use the double under pass kind of although I was able to go to turtle went to turtle.  I eventually inverted and got him in an inverted triangle which I thought I could do something with but it turned out Mike just kind of laid on my head as I tried to make the triangle tighter.  So we ended up being suck there for a little bit until I let it go.  I was able to regain guard but we quit soon after because he was gassed.  Unfortunately being smashed by him caused me some back strain that is still bothering me today.  Am I ever going to get back to 100% healthy?

During the Hapkido portion we worked on a succession of techniques from a distraction strike to a chicken wing lock.  Then if they straightened their arm we moved into a straight armlock.  If they were able to bend their elbow out of that we finished with a push over takedown.  To further explore that last technique we also did it as a defense from a clinch tie-up position.  Something that I've used a couple times in Jiu-Jitsu.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14th - Hapkido

Had an early morning class today with 2 other students (Anand and Greg).  Anand requested that we work on some striking of the pads today so I tried to work that into my plan as I drove to the Dojang.  For a warm-up I had them do some of the forward and backward rolls with a low profile that we've been doing in Jiu-Jitsu lately.  Then we did several rounds of the Bas Rutten workout where I call out numbers and say sprawl or back fall and they try to keep up.  I participated in some of this but kept my sprawling to a minimum. 

Our next exercise was to work on defense against multiple opponents.  I usually like to have at least 4 people for this but 3 will do.  I grabbed a kicking shield and a couple of hand pads and handed them out.  The person in the middle is the defender and it is their job to move around the room and strike the pads as they come into range.  The people with the pads are trying to touch the defender.  So it can be quite cardio intensive.  The best strategy is to try to move so the attackers get in each others' way.  So going in between is not always the best idea.

For the second round we removed the hand pads and had the attacker be a grappler instead.  This added a different dynamic as the grappler could tie up the defender and allow the attacker with the pads to get some shots in.  It seemed like some good lessons were learned by everyone and there was a short discussion about multiple attackers and what not to do. 

We ended the class with some roundhouse kick defenses.  I built off of the basic Hapkido kicking block to finally doing a throw spinning sweep kind of technique detailed in the video below that I made back in 2008.  I'm glad I've lost some weight since then.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 10th - Hapkido (Some Improvement)

I figured I should make an update since I haven't been training lately.  I've decided to keep teaching Hapkido while I heal since I can control what we do in the class and if there are enough people I can sit out of some things if need be. 

I do a groundfighting class first on Saturday morning.  Usually I just review what we work on in Jiu-Jitsu so I can get some more reps in while it's fresh in my mind.  There were 3 other guys there besides myself and in this particular class I taught some sweeps from guard.  We went over flower sweep, omma plata as a sweep, scissor sweep, and hip heist.  I felt really good with everything except the scissor sweep.  It seemed like everyone else understood everything for the most part.  I probably had the most trouble teaching the hip heist because you kind of have to be explosive and strike the other person with your hips.  We did some free rolling and I rolled with everyone.  I took it easy and didn't have any problems with anyone.

During the Hapkido/self defense part of the class I taught techniques to break grips and regrabs.  We moved on to something more practical with some barrage punches leading into a jointlock when they cover up.  We finished the class with some escort and come along techniques.

My knees feel pretty good but I'm going to hold to my month off.  I still feel it when I go up and down the stairs, so for the long term I think it's best if I feel completely healed before I try to come back.  I've been talking with one of my coworkers about my Jiu-Jitsu experience and she's also been brave enough to read my blog.  She says it's too technical though and hard to read for a layman to Jiu-Jitsu.  It got me to thinking about why I write this thing and who it is for.  Mostly it's for me to review at a later date and check my progress.  I also get a kick out of knowing my teammates are reading it.  It's sparked some interesting exchanges in class especially with my nemeses.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 2nd - Open Mat (Setback)

Went to open mat after work on Friday and I was feeling pretty good.  Jerad had arrived just before me and I had to wait a little bit to get a partner.  I rolled with Jerad twice and did a pretty good job for the most part.  I was trying to be more aggressive and assert that I want to be on top instead of just playing the game I usually play that is if I get the sweep I get it.  This thinking tends to keep me on the bottom because I feel like I try half halfheartedly and if it doesn't work I give up on the technique too easily.  Part of this also conserves energy but I could conserve a lot more energy if I was in the dominant position.  So I've decided that I should make more of an effort to actively take the dominant position and not lay in guard.

During one of our exchanges while he was passing my half guard I felt a twinge in my left knee.  It wasn't terrible pain and we continued for another minute or so.  After he submitted me I stretched and massaged it a bit to see how bad it was.  It was tight and felt swollen but I decided that I could go for one more roll so I allowed Jerad to dominate me another time.  Like usual my defense was good but I could only keep him at bay for so long before he caught me in something.  I've forgotten what he submitted me with because I've been so focused on my knee since then.

I've decided to take a month off from Jiu-Jitsu while I heal.  I recently read a blog post from another Jiu-Jitsu practitioner that was on the subject of training for the long term.  I agree with many of the articles points in that I'm not going to be a heavy into competition I should be training to make myself healthier and so that I can continue to train for several years to come.  Part of my philosophy already is to tap early and tap often, I'm not going to try to power through a submission especially an ankle lock when the risk is there to get hurt, when I can just tap and start over again.  I'm going to try and give my knee the rest it deserves and when I come back I'm going to have a different outlook on training.  Deep down my true focus lately has been trying to get more hours on the mat than everyone else so I can catch up to where they are.  It has been disappointing for me to miss Tuesday classes or those evening classes that we had for a short time.  I know I didn't take the time off that I needed when I hurt myself the first time because I thought I could train through it and eventually I would be fine.  That wasn't the case. 

I'll post my progress on here.  I plan on making swimming my primary form of exercise.  I'll be continuing with my Wednesday and Saturday morning classes at the Chung Do Kwan as well so I don't go cold turkey from martial arts.  I have plans to improve my pullups and do some other strengthening activities.  I'm not sure how much time I'll be spending watching Jiu-Jitsu videos as that might just make me miss it too much. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 1st - Gi (Round 2)

We got a little bit of a late start yesterday as everyone was trying to figure out a triangle from inverted guard.  No one could quite get it well enough to teach so we switched to the tornado guard sweep and went on to do some other inversion stuff from there.  I felt like I was really picking it up with Mike as my partner.  I feel like I've been adopting the inversion type stuff quite well but not good enough to make it a part of my regular game.  Unfortunately during the last 2 techniques it all went to crap and I couldn't successfully pull off the sweep anymore.  The next techniques we did were from a failed scissor sweep where someone threads their arm between your legs.  From there we did omma plata and the triangle choke.

During open mat we decided to do round 2 of our round robin tournament with me vs. David.  We played a little patty cake for a while and then I pulled him forward to his knees.  Once there he was able to grab my legs and get the takedown for 2 points.  I worked from my back with everything that I'm good at but couldn't really make anything happen.  I tried cross guard a couple of times to omma plata but couldn't get my leg up into his arm pit.  I tried collar chokes and the loop choke once but couldn't find the right angle.  Eventually he started to pass my guard and I created a scramble by going to my knees.  He then fell into his closed guard.  Thinking back on it now I should have done something at this point to stay out of his closed guard, I feel like I just accepted it and didn't try to keep him from locking his legs up.  From there I still kept active trying to keep my posture and break his guard open.  I stood up and tried from there but he pulled me back down.  He ended up winning by his 2 takedown points.  Oh well, I just need to keep improving.  I remember a time when David was so overwhelming to me that I didn't feel like I could move when we rolled. 

I rolled with Ray a couple of times next.  He thoroughly kicked my butt.  I felt like I was doing a good job from half guard controlling and manipulating his leg.  I prevented a few ankle locks but then was caught with a toe hold.   I had one good attempt at an omma plata but I couldn't bring him down.  I get the feeling that he's not worried about me submitting him so he's pretty relaxed and just waits for his moment to attack.  He did a pretty cool back take which felt a little like a twister at first, I was able to avoid it and get back to open guard.  He finally got me with the magic grip trick by making me think he was going to do the magic grip but then finishing the kimura. 

I rolled with Jordan next and I decided to try some different things.  It was a little frustrating because Jordan is getting better and I can't just run through him.  I attempted a lot of inverted stuff like the tornado guard sweep which failed, but I was always able to recover.  Finally I was able to sweep him with a flower sweep right into mount.  I attacked all of the armlocks and chokes and kept really low.  I locked his shoulder up and was able to spin to an armbar.  Conan shouted out 3 minutes left so we had a quick roll.  I told him I was going to be more aggressive this time and I did just go into guard.  I got him down with a double leg that I insisted on and then worked from side control.  He moved to north/south to try an inverted triangle.  I went lower and then I slowly worked my way into a north/south choke, he pulled his hand out and allowed me to finish the choke. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 29th - Gi (Punishment)

My body took a lot of punishment and I haven't felt this worn out after Jiu-Jitsu in a long while.  Jerad led us through a good warm-up with some different body weight exercises thrown in.  The punishment started when I decided that I was okay enough to join in the team leap frog exercise around the mat.  I've been skipping it ever since Greg introduced it a couple of months ago.  I did okay with a few exceptions of landing gingerly (I hate that word).  I did have to opt out of some of the squat jumps and lunges that we did later.  I tried my best but my left knee was feeling fatigued at that point.  No need to push it.

The theme of class was sweeping someone that stands up in guard.  All were good techniques that I've done before starting with the basic grab ankles and then bridge with the knees in their center.  We finished with the star sweep and knee bar.

For training we did guard passing starting with the top guy standing.  My first opponent was Fuji.  I came so close to passing him and putting him into side control but he regained and we started over.  Somehow on my second pass attempt he secured a toe hold and stupidly I tried to fight out of it.  We rolled a bit and just as I was about to tap my ankle stretched a little bit and there were some crunchy noises.  It's not serious just a little sore this morning but it worried me a little at the time.  I was miraculously able to pass Jerad after a hard fight.  Then I went up against David (Judo guy) he's pretty tough with his grips and he pushed me around a bit, but I was able to maintain guard.  In the end he stood up giving me the opportunity to do the star sweep that we worked on today.  I went over to turtle and then swept his leg and took side control.

Apparently David Kluthe had to go do something silly like help his girlfriend cause her car wouldn't start.  So instead Mike and I fought the first round of the round robin tournament.  We did a five minute round starting from standing.  I tried to do some Judo and started with an inside trip that I was going to turn into a throw, but he kind of fell to his butt and from there I worked to pass his guard.  I didn't get take down points because he only went to his butt and I didn't put him on his back, got to remember that.  We stayed in guard with me trying to pass pretty much in Mike's half guard and him securing grips and trying to choke me.  I almost passed once but he inverted and was able to regain guard.  What won the match for him was when he threw up an armbar that I was able to pull out of.  He also tried a triangle after that but I was able to get my shin up there.  So it ended up that he won due to those attempts.  I shall reflect on what I should have done differently cause I wasn't getting anything done in his guard.

I rolled with Ken next.  I am having a really hard time with Ken lately and I don't know what it is.  With everyone else I feel like I'm improving but Ken has my kryptonite for some reason.  If I get anywhere near the deep half position with him it turns into him taking my arm and kind of taking my back and somewhat triangling me there.  I think I need to take a different approach when it comes to him.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 28th - No Gi

Conan had something to do, so for the first 5 minutes of class I was the teacher until Jerad got there.  I ran us through a little warm-up of shrimping and other stuff up and down the floor and then armbar and omma plata drill from guard.  Jerad had us work on some guard passes which was great because I've been thinking about working on them lately since I've been more comfortable with getting on my knees again.

We worked on several passes starting from the regular hands on the stomach knee in the butt then turn sideways guard break.  From there we did a couple versions of the knee over pass with and without underhooking the leg and then sliding to the other side.  Then we did single and double under passes using stacking and pressure on their legs.  The final thing we worked on was to break the guard by standing up and dropping their butt over the shin, which is always fun.

Open mat with both Adam and Jerad went better than expected for me.  Adam and I had quite a battle and I felt like I really took it to him and defended well.  I did a lot of squirming and regaining half guard or going to turtle when I could.  Lately I've had limited success with the inverted triangle from bottom side mount which seems to at least annoy people and help me get to some kind of guard.  I used it a couple of times with Adam as he likes to put me in north/south.  I also tried some wristlocks on him since I know he doesn't like them.  Finally I went for a heel hook but it wasn't meant to be.  After that he smashed me in side control and secured a kimura.

I got lucky with Jerad during the first match.  I don't remember what helped me get on top but I was able to take side control and somehow worked into the inverted triangle.  We struggled there for a while as I tried to tighten it and he tried to get out eventually I saw and opportunity and reached down for his foot and put him into a toe hold.  With him in the triangle he had no where to go so he had to tap.  In our second match I almost got him into the inverted triangle again but he wasn't going to let me do it twice.  I remember making it to deep half once and actually completing the sweep but not to the extent that Ray was showing me with a leg drag so I need to work on that.  Somehow I screwed that up and he was able to get back to the top position and all the way to mount.  Lately he's been getting me with the gift wrap position from here so I've been taking special care to defend that, I guess he was expecting that and he threw on a mounted triangle as soon as I pulled my arm down.  It took me completely by surprised and I wasn't able to put up much of a fight.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 26th - Open Mat (Foot Locked)

Made it to open mat with a couple groups still rolling.  I rolled with Mike first and we started from standing.  He pulled guard and we assumed our usual from there.  Like usual I had a hard time passing his guard, but I'm a lot less worried about his chokes without a collar to grab.  My best bet lately to passing him is to get in tight with half guard.  This led to him getting deep half on me which I was then able to get my foot free and work into an armbar.  After some work and avoiding Mike's legs I was able to break his hand grip with the hip grab and roll.  It's very rare for me to even threaten an armbar on Mike much less finish it so I was pretty happy about that.  During our second match I had attempted a couple of foot locks as well but Mike was able to roll out of them.  I don't remember the setup but Mike was able to secure a heel hook and I tapped as soon as I could.  This was only the beginning.

For the remainder of the time I rolled with Ray, who ankle locked me all over the place.   We did talk about some of the Jeff Glover stuff and I tried some of it while rolling.  I was able to make it to deep half quite a few times but like usual I would get caught in the triangle kind of guard area whenever I tried to sweep.  Ray told me to focus more on pulling on their knee as I tried to sweep and then leg drag as I came up.  It seemed like I would be doing well and had success defending most of Ray's submission attempts but once he smelled ankle there was no stopping him.  The worst was when I'd have him in closed guard and I thought I was safe.  But, as soon as I opened up he would sit back and it was over.

Something that he mentioned later that I didn't realize that I was doing so much was using wristlocks while defending.  Ray said it was pretty annoying when he would be setting something up and I'd throw a wristlock on.  While he could get out of it, the lock made him reset and have to start over with his submission attempts.  The last submission he caught me in was from the 50/50.  Right away I claimed that it wasn't fair since I've only attended one class that taught this position and Ray was the one that taught it.  My only defense was to try to hand fight and triangle my legs.  It was inevitable though that he got a heel hook.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 25th - Gi (Worth the Trip)

Couldn't get off work early yesterday to make it to class on time but I arrived in time for the open mat portion at the end of class.  After some stretching and watching other people roll I got to partner up with Mike.  We assumed our normal position of him fighting from his back and me trying to pass his guard while defending his collar chokes.  Unfortunately I wasn't defending them well because I had 2 close calls where I had to act fast to avoid getting choked.  I almost passed his guard one time with an over/under pass but I think I stopped pushing too soon and he was able to shrimp out that one last time and keep me at bay.  He finally had me in a loop choke which I defended but turned into an arm in guillotine, with both chokes I made gurgling noises but the last one I felt I had to tap to or I would have gone out.

I then rolled with Conan who dominated me like usual.  However, I felt like I did better than usual.  I was able to move him a bit more and regained half guard a couple of times from his side control.  The worst part about being in half guard with him is that I always get caught by his crossface so I'm learning to look for it more now and get lower to prevent it.  I was defending his submissions from side mount when finally he put a shin over one arm and then started the kimura with the other one.  I grabbed my pants to defend but then could feel that he was going for the magic grip that we talked about on Monday.  I immediately let go of my pants and told him I knew what he was doing, but guess what?  That just gave him the kimura, so lose, lose there.

After that Conan lent me his copy of Jeff Glover's deep half guard dvd.  I watched most of it last night and I am now even more in love with this position.  I can't wait to watch it again and start drilling and incorporating some of the techniques from there.  So even though I was late, it was worth going into the Dojo yesterday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 22nd - Gi (Magic Grip)

Jerad taught class yesterday with the focus on the kimura.  We started from side control and worked on the basics first.  If they grabbed their gi we stepped over their head and did the pull in the other direction before to break the grip. 

The next technique that we did was new for me we put our opposite arm deep and kind of hug their elbow.  From there put the knee on their stomach and then step over their head, from there we did a shoulder pull/separation.  The final technique was my favorite where we reached past their arm and grab their pants with the"magic grip" and from there take their back and do a modified bow and arrow.  See video below.

We did king of the mat from closed guard pass/sweep/submit drill.  I surprised myself by staying in several times in a row.  I feel like my game has improved from here with cross guard, hip heist, and flower sweep as my A game. I found it's a lot more tiring to stay in several times in a row.

During open mat I asked Jerad to work with me on tornado guard and we each did a few reps.  We rolled for a while after that.  I tried to work on bull fighter pass and failed a little bit.  Jerad was able to take top position and he quickly passed my guard.  It wasn't long before he got me with a bow and arrow.  Mike shared some helpful bull fighter techniques after that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 21st - No Gi (Quiet Class)

The Kobudo group was having a testing during our class time yesterday, so we put up the black curtains separating the mat from the wood floor and tried our best to keep quiet.  We did similar a warm-up to the recent previous classes.  Lately we've been working on a guard recovery drill called crazy legs which I've found myself using during rolling.  It's cool to actively notice something that we've been working on lately getting incorporated into my game.

We did further drilling of someone turning their back to us in side control and then taking the back from there by sitting them up and rolling to the other side.  Then if they turned toward us we would smash their head and circle to their back and take their back in a similar fashion.  We then did some guard passing and passing defenses.  Starting from double unders and did 2 defenses like rolling all the way over or the other one from last week where we end up in crucifix.  We finished class with a couple or passes and then a defense from a failed scissor sweep attempt.  Then Conan showed us a technique that will beat David, so I won't share it here.

During open mat I started with a quick roll with Conan.  Once again he sort of allowed me to take the top position, but quickly swept me.  I felt pretty good about my performance from there as I kept guard for a while.  However, just before I was going to submit him (yeah right) he noticed some blood on the floor so we quit to clean it up.

Mike and I had an epic roll, I had multiple toe hold attempts and he had multiple guillotine attempts.  We also covered a lot of ground starting at one corner of the mat and ending up in the other corner.  I think with my attempts I needed to secure him with my legs a little bit more so he couldn't roll or flip out of them.  On the plus side I'm getting pretty good at defending the guillotine and hand fighting.  I need to revisit guard passing and figure out my a game when it comes to my passing.  My opponent's knees seem to get in the way far too often.  At the end of our roll I ended up saying something like "damn" and forgot that we were supposed to be quiet.  We decided to stop, I know I was exhausted and it didn't seem like either of us was going to get the upper hand today.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 19th - Open Mat

It was good to make it to open mat since I haven't made it in a while.  It's just too bad that I couldn't get there earlier.  There were still quite a few guys engaged in rolling.  I slow rolled with Adam for a bit to warm-up.  Once Conan was free Adam wanted to roll with him, so I waited for someone else to roll with.

The rest of the time I spent with Jerad.  He started out by letting me take side control and then I moved into mount.  He was able to bait me into thinking I could isolate his arm and then he reversed me.  From there I kind of got stuck in a loop.  I'd gain half guard and Jerad would knee cut pass me.  I'd regain half guard and Jerad would knee cut pass me.  I'd regain half guard and Jerad would knee cut pass me.  Finally I decided to try to be more aggressive and it helped a little.  I was able to sweep him from half guard once or twice and I took top position again.  Although I fell for a similar trap when I went for an armbar from side control and got rolled over.  I had to defend multiple different chokes, since it's still choke month for Jerad.  He finished me the first time with a straight arm lock.  The second time we ran out of time but he dominated me. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 18th - Gi (Tornado)

We had an even spread of experience from purple to white in class today with me in the middle.  We had a pretty quick warm-up and then split into two groups white belts led by Conan and colored belts led by Jerad. 

Jerad had us work from the Tornado guard.  I have really only been showed this once or twice by Mike and I've never practiced it myself.  It seemed that it was relatively natural for me, compared to some other things anyway.  The technique is from half guard, you grab their pants of the leg you have trapped, your other hand is on their collar.  When you see the opportunity, you swing the outside leg around and invert between their legs and then complete the sweep. If they were to block the sweep we also worked on going to a triangle. 

The last technique that we worked on was a kneebar from reverse dlr in combat base.  This gave me some flashbacks to a kneebar that had been put on me in the state games.  What I liked about it was that is was an option B if trying to do the back take failed.  You grab their knee and do a similar inversion as the tornado guard but the trick was you do the kneebar on the other leg that has the knee on the floor.  Awesome.

Instead of open mat we did the 8 round position drill.  Apparently it was Conan's first time with it so there was a little confusion at first.  I started on top with Will for this drill.  I was not able to submit Will but I felt pretty dominant during the exercise.  We each had our good moments and I think we both challenged each other.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 16th - Gi (Challenge Accepted)

I was able to make a rare appearance to a Tuesday class since I took Monday and Tuesday off this week.  It ended up being a decent size class with Conan teaching with a focus on the double unders guard pass.  It's one of my goto passes.  Before class started David called me out and said that we were going to roll during open mat.  Of course I accepted. 

After we had a quick warm-up continuing on the theme of several reps of Jiu-jitsu related individual exercises Conan started us with learning how to execute the pass.  From there we learned several tips and defenses starting with trying to hook their thighs and the shoulder submission from there.  The next technique that we worked on moved from hooking their thighs to kind of sprawl position and hooking their arm and then rolling over the top to crucifix.  Which was cool. 

We broke into king of the mat with 3 groups with the starting position of double unders.  From there we were trying to pass/sweep/submit.  I had a few successes, but for the most part Conan, Ray, and Adam were the kings.  I was able to out wrestle Ray one time and pass him, but it was a short lived victory as he was my partner again right after that.  Conan toyed with me, making me feel like I could complete the pass, but I couldn't get the right pressure and ended up on the bottom somehow.

After we bowed out, I tried to get in a match with David and I with only five minutes remaining.  We started from our knees and I accepted guard and moved to closed guard.  As we were working Conan and Ray made us call it a day.  So we have some unfinished business.  There's been talk on Facebook of a 3 man super fight round robin tournament between myself, David, and Mike.  I'll keep you posted with the date/time, location, ticket prices and odds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 15th - Gi

Jerad taught class tonight with a focus on armbar from guard.  We had a pretty good warm-up and did the neck stretches which I'm still feeling.  We started out doing a lot of reps of armbar from the guard trying to be as technical as possible.  From there we worked on when the pull the arm out which our answer was to shrimp away and switch our hips and armbar the other arm that was still in.  We worked on reaching for the far leg and somewhat inverting to take the side armbar.

To finish up the class we discussed and worked on some techniques to break the grip when someone was defending the armbar.  We went over several different ways and then kind of tried out whatever we liked.  The most popular one was grabbing the hip and rolling to our side.

We trained with guard passing king of the mat with 3 groups.  I don't feel like I did so well, but it was good training.  I think once I have faith in my knees again guard passing is going to be my number 1 goal to improve. 

I rolled with Ken a couple of times during open mat and he kicked my butt.  I'm having a really hard time with his legs.  I feel like I'm doing the right thing by going to deep half, but all too often I get caught in kind of triangle/armbar/kimura danger area.  Not sure what I'm doing wrong or how to fix it.  Maybe I just need to not hang out there anymore like Mike has been telling me.  He ended up submitting me from mount with a straight armlock and from deep half he transitioned into an armbar.  Ugh, time to change it up a bit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 14th - No Gi

Conan was already on the mat when Sara and I walked into the Dojo.  He had warm-up drills on a couple of notebook pages ready for us.  We did a good progression of Jiu-Jitsu related warm-ups and calisthenics. 

We started out working on the hip heist and a couple of variations if they defend it.  We then defended the hip heist by pushing the leg to half guard and working to the back.  It was a nice little transition and something that fits into my game as I'm usually good at pushing a leg into half guard during a transition or scramble.  Next we worked from taking the back if the turn away in side control.

We did some training starting from turtle.  I worked with Mike and we pretty much free rolled from there.  After a lot of work, somehow we got in kind of a truck leg lock position and while he attempted a banana split I went for a toe hold and after some adjustment I got him to tap.  We rolled again but I do not recall the outcome, must be selective memory or Conan might have had us stop before it ended.  I believe I rolled with Jerad next but I don't remember the outcome of that either, I should really write these posts sooner.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 12th - Gi

I've been rather happy with the direction our classes have been going lately.  It may be because I'm healing more but our warm-ups have been better and I like the focused training after the technique portion. Jerad warmed us up and then Greg took over. 

The focus was on regaining guard from the the turtle position.  Basic principles were to hand fight and not let them get any good grips or secure chokes.  Next we did a sitout kind of motion to slide our shin under into guard and then recover fully.  I worked with Mike for the majority of technique time which was good because turtle position still causes me a bit of trouble and I can't sit my butt all the way back yet, so working with someone lighter made it a little easier to take. 

Next we worked from someone to the side.  We did the granby roll first which is basically doing a forward roll and then swinging your leg into guard.  The thing that causes the most trouble with this is fighting their hand off that is around your body.  I like the resistance I get with Mike, he doesn't just let you do anything but at the same time he doesn't over fight and he gives good advice.  The final technique was more like the first one from the front headlock with sliding the shin to regain guard.

We did a few rounds of top and bottom for 2 minute rounds then switched partners.  Mike had no trouble regaining guard, which isn't that surprising.  I however, did have some problems.  I went with wrestler Jordan next and he didn't seem difficult to deal with at all.  I was surprised because I thought turtle would be his home.  But maybe he just needs to work on his jiu-jitsu positions a little more.

We went to free rolling next and I had the honor of rolling with Greg first.  I can't tell if I'm doing good against him or if he is just taking it easy on me.  I spent most of the time on the bottom doing various half guard type stuff.  The one time I did get on top he put me into x-guard which was cool to see.  I used my new love of the baseball bat choke to regain guard at one point.  Hopefully that surprised him.  I can't recall how he submitted me, it might have been a bow and arrow choke because I remember trying to defend that for a while.

I finished the day with Fuji.  He's been working on spider guard so he tried to put me in that right away.  I grabbed his pants and tried to prevent it and completed the bull fighter pass to knee on belly.  I stayed on top for a good long while, but really couldn't make anything happen.  I don't know why but I made the comment "This is weird Fuji, usually you're talking shit to me."  From then on he started talking smack and eventually I lost top position.  He kept me in side control and knee on belly and I couldn't do anything to get free and it sucked.  Eventually time was up so I avoided getting submitted barely.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 8th - Gi

Jerad lead class last night focusing on the darce choke.  It was a great class but like most choking classes was really rough on my neck and throat.  It was a decent size class of 10 and I was glad to be on the novice site of the circle so I could work with all of the advanced people.  We started with the armdrag to trip takedown that we practiced on Sunday.  We also did a pretty good warmup with a lot of abs, arms, and then the neck exercises.

We started working the darce from turtle position and I had a real tough time locking up the choke.  Once I was able to roll them to their back is when I could really lock it up.  Usually I feel pretty good about this choke but I was having a few problems yesterday.  Once we moved to side control it was much easier for me to reach.  We also did a guillotine if they defended the darce.  One thing I learned from this is that to finish an arm in guillotine you are supposed to crunch instead of arch your back.  The final technique that we worked on was a setup from mount.  Where as someone tries to hip escape we move to sidemount and do the darce from there.

We trained from mount and switched top and bottom doing 2 minute rounds.  I trained with Adam for the first set.  I did okay escaping, I think side control is his preferred position to mount.  I was happy to be able to escape once.  When I was on top I came close to an armbar with him but he was able to roll over and stack me.  I went with the visitor Adam next and had a really hard time with him.  He kept a pretty strong mount and locked his ankles together underneath me.  I was pretty relaxed the whole time and kept trying to work technique eventually I got out and he was huffing and puffing.  When I was on top he was using a lot of strength again and pushing his arm straight out trying to bench press me, I went for armbars a couple of times but he was able to roll out of them to both.  The third time he tried it I took his back instead of going for the armbar.  He had to quit after that due to being out of breath.  I spoke with Jerad when we broke for a water break and he said I should have used the cross-face more in order to setup the armbar.

I didn't feel so well during open mat.  Ken had his way with me and caught me in a couple things that he normally doesn't.  I was in kind of a weird mood and didn't feel up to the level that I usually fight him at.  He made me tap with from my back with kind of an armbar but I really felt it in my shoulder.

I then took a break and felt a little better rolling with Jerad.  I've found that I need to change my game with him because he prevents me from getting half guard and I end up getting a lot of quarter guard while he's standing, which makes it easy for him to pass.  He got my back and we both fought for and against the bow and arrow choke.  It was only a matter of time before he sunk it in.  It came on fast and it was a little scary because I almost didn't feel like I had time to tap.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 7th - No Gi

Conan taught yesterday starting with a focus on the triangle choke.  It was a different setup than I usually try, in that we get the overhook and just kept scooting away until our foot would pass their arm.  Usually I do the jump rope method (not that it works that often).  We worked on using the fist to complete the choke if they tried to reach around the leg, which really sucks for the person being choked.  We also worked on kicking out if they compressed the leg to block the triangle.

We then switched our attention to side control.  We set up various techniques from the opponent defending kessa getama and then trapping their arm with our shin after they defended.  From there we went to farside armbar and inverted armbar, I think we did another technique but I can't seem to remember it.  One key aspect was that we did the windsheild wiper with our legs to switch from one shin to the other on their bicep.  We might have done kimura but I'm not sure.

For open mat I went with Conan first and we had a pretty good match.  He still dominated me like usual but he was out of breath by the end so I'll take that as a win.  He started out playing possum and gave me his side but quickly he was defending my guard passing attempts.  His guard seemed more active today than it usually does with me.  Once he got me on my back with his Conan sweep he was cross facing me all over the place and kept me pinned on the bottom.  I was able to regain half guard several times but was passed again quickly.  I don't feel like I was ever in a position to put a submission on but I do feel better than I have against him in the past.  I don't recall how he made me tap.

I rolled with Jerad a couple of times and we started from standing.  He ankle picked me once and I think my second throw failed and I ended up pulling guard.  He choked me with a darce that he had been trying to setup for the entire first role.  He kicked my butt thoroughly but gave me the compliment later that I wasn't giving him anything and he had to resort to the mean bread cutter choke in our last match.  I had to defend a lot of guillotenes so I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong.  My one shining moment was when he was stacking me in closed guard and I pulled off the underhook back roll to ankle pick, which eventually lead to a toe hold attempt.   

I went with Adam to experience more crossfacing.  There is usually quite a bit of hand fighting between us.  If he gets a hold of my wrist it's pretty tough to deal with.  I don't feel like I did much good with him and he squashed me like a bug.  He eventually finished me with a kimura.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 2nd - Gi

I decided to attend the final Tuesday evening class last night since I won't be able to make it this Thursday.  The class was relatively small but good with myself, David (Judo brown belt), Mike, and Will in attendance. 

Mike asked if we could work on half guard from the bottom.  We did "The" half guard sweep, as Will put it, first.  I've seen this done many ways and he does it slightly different than I do.  We also did some recovery if the opponent gets you flat on your back.  Finally we went over some 10th planet lock down and some dog fight type stuff.

I rolled with Mike first during open mat and we had some pretty good battles.  He played a lot of spider guard from the beginning.  It's becoming more difficult to deal with as if I get one arm free he can still use the other one to get me off balance.  Grip fighting is huge when fighting with Mike and  We stalemated on our first match and switched partners.

I rolled with Will next and it must have been my day because I felt pretty dominant with him.  Early on I threatened a wristlock from side mount that had him flopping around quite a bit and he eventually got free.  We had a few scrambles but I was able to get some key sweeps and came out on top and mounted him.  From there I worked the americana, he did a great job of keeping me from completing it, but I used it to setup an armbar which worked perfectly and made him tap.

I rolled with Mike again and we started from standing which was a little iffy for me, but since I outweigh him by quite a bit I wasn't as worried about getting hurt as I would have been with Fuji or Adam.  During one of my throw attempts he ended up taking a pretty bad nut shot and had to sit out for a little while.  When we continued he ended up pulling guard and we worked from there.  He almost had a repeat with the bow and arrow choke from Monday night but I was able to defend it with both hands in.  However, he eventually got me into a crucifix and after some fighting he applied a choke from there.

I don't like to get into the politics of the dojo on the blog because a lot of it is kind of petty and I don't need to concern myself with it.  However, I really don't understand why this class was cancelled.  There are other classes going on at the same time with Iaido and the sparring class and they have less students attending them on average.  Is this the Jiu-Jitsu class being treated as the black sheep of the dojo that I've heard about?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 1st - Gi

Before class started I had an impromptu roll with Will.  I just came over while he was lying on the mat stretching and tried to pass his guard with bull fighter pass.  To an onlooker it probably looked similar to when my cats fight as one will come over to the other and nudge them a bit and then bite their neck out of nowhere.  We slow rolled and had a good time.  We both had our moments of being on top and trying sweeps.  At the end I was able to get to deep half and almost take the back.

I ended up being the least experienced person on the mat last night.  It's not that often that I have to stand at the end of the line.  Greg put us through a pretty good warm-up which seems to be a good change from him lately.  Unfortunately I couldn't partake in the class team leapfrog that took place.  My knees are getting closer though.

Our focus was on the opponent stopping our butterfly guard and putting us on our back.  From there we did a couple of ways to complete the sweep by pushing them away and to the side and then using the overhook and pulling their base arm in.  If that didn't work we worked on doing the triangle.  We then trained from the butterfly position taking turns on top and bottom with and without the underhook/overhook.  I worked with Fuji and James. 

We then had some six minute rounds which I was paired with Mike.  Mike always gives me the compliment that I use more technique and less strength than others, which I appreciate.  I did some pretty good things like using the baseball bat choke to pass his butterfly guard, I couldn't complete the choke though.  Later on he went for deep half guard and I worked fast to get my leg out from between his which allowed me to work into some type of an upside down triangle.  I couldn't get it tight enough to choke him but it allowed me to mess with his arm and I eventually got him to tap from a wristlock.

Mike got me back in our second match when he grabbed both of my wrist and jumped into mount.  From there we were stuck for a little while as neither of us wanted to make a mistake.  I eventually was able to scramble but I made some bad moves and he kept going for my back.  He then was able to get my collar and put on a tight bow and arrow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

September 30th - No-Gi

Ray taught the no-gi class yesterday with a focus on top half guard attacking techniques.  Good stuff since I normally am just trying to pass half guard instead of submit from there except for maybe the darce a la Jerad's instruction. We did Kimura, Darce choke, then Guillotine choke if they defended the darce, and then a knee bar by sitting back over them and taking their leg which I had not done this way before.

We trained the half guard after that with partners and king of the mat.  I wasn't really able to pass anyone but half guard has been one of those positions lately that is dangerous for my knee, especially the lockdown.  So, I tried to take it easy from here and not do anything that would aggravate them.

During open mat I rolled with Jordan several times.  He seemed to improve quite a bit since last time we rolled.  He did a good job of exploiting my weakness but standing up and moving around my guard.  I think I'm going to play around with some inversion going forward to prevent this.  I caught him in a couple of arm bars and a rear naked, but I feel like I had to work a lot harder for them than previous weeks.  We talked a little bit about half guard and I showed him some things that I like to do to make it work like the importance of the underhook.

I rolled once with Jerad and we had a long active roll.  I spent most of the time playing open guard and half guard.  He did a really good job at defending my deep half and it was a little frustrating.  There were a couple of times when I was able to come up to like an over/under pass but that pass is so difficult for me in no-gi.  In the end he got me with an arm triangle that he set up from my back which was really tight.

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 27th - Gi

I was going to ask Conan to work on armbars today from mount or guard and magically that's what Conan had in mind.  We started with the armbar from the mount drill.  We then set it up with a collar choke.  From there we mostly focused on things to do if they locked up their arms and you couldn't straighten them.  We did a little progression starting with a triangle by slipping the leg under their arms, then if that failed we went back to armbar and if that didn't work we did a cool ankle cross choke kind of thing.  We also did a little progressing using bicep cutter with just the arm and then kicking the leg over.  I had a little trouble with this and the triangle, mostly just hesitant to push my knees too hard.

During open mat I rolled with Adam for quite a while.  He allowed me to start on top and I was able to pass his guard off the bat with the bull fighter pass.  I tried my best to keep him in side control and succeeded for a little while until he finally jumped up and attacked the double leg out of nowhere surprising me.  From there I spent the rest of the time on the bottom.  As I've been complaining about, I'm really having a problem defeating standing guard passes mostly because of knee mobility and not wanting to try to fight for half guard with all that pressure.  Conan saw I was having some trouble and gave me some pointers on defeating the bull fighter pass.  There was a point when I was going for deep half guard and got a really bad cross face from Adam that felt like sandpaper on my lips.  I blurted out "God Dammit" and had to stop to check for blood.  It turned out to not be as bad as I thought but it sucked at the time and I'm pretty embarrassed by my outburst.  There were a couple of times that I switched to turtle briefly and then also tried the running escape which worked a little against his dominant side control.  I don't think he ended up submitting me and we quit to bow out.

Shihan is having us stop the Tuesday and Thursday evening classes that just started due to low attendance.  I haven't been able to attend yet because I spend most evenings with my family but thought it was a good idea to help get some more students to join.  It looks like we're supposed to cancel the Wednesday morning class too.  So it's a little disappointing. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26th - Morning Open

Ken and James showed up with me this morning and we got our roll on.  Since there were three of us I set up the timer for 5 minutes and we took a round robin approach.  By the way if anyone is interested in coming in Wednesday morning and if you are a member of Roseberry's you are welcome to come train with us.  Just let me know if you are interested. 

I had some good almost moments.  I almost had an oma plata on James and then a triangle when he tried to escape.  I did take his back with an arm drag and then moved to mount, but he escaped.  I passed Ken's guard and had a gift wrap but I lost it with his flopping fish defense.  I also completed a deep half sweep, but the next time I tried it Ken messed with my arms which really screwed it up. 

I also had my share of being stuck in mount by both of them.  I don't believe James submitted me today but he did dominate for the most part.  Ken caught me with a couple of arm locks.  I was telling Ken that I couldn't wait until I was completely healed because I feel so limited and feel like I have to give up positions easily. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 24th - Gi (Counter the Counters)

Last night, Conan made a rare appearance to a Monday night class.  Before class Mike, Fuji and I were discussing some youtube videos we had seen and practiced an oma plata counter-counter that we had seen.  It was similar to what Conan has us do by grabbing the far side arm.

Due to this, Conan focused the class on oma plata specifically grabbing the far arm.  Oma plata especially lends itself to counters and then counters to the counters.  So we worked on countering by trying to get under the body and then countered that.  Then countering by stacking up and moving to side control.  There were some parts where you had the top of someones foot against your cheek that were not comfortable at all.

During open mat I started out with Mike.  We had a good back and forth and he ended up dominating me for the most part.  He had me in mount for a good portion of the match and I worked hard to prevent him from doing the cross choke that he showed me a couple weeks ago.  He did a good job of keeping his feet locked under my butt.  I was able to escape but it wasn't long before he was dominating me again.  We went off the mat with him on top in side control.  We went to center back up but Conan asked if I would roll and Mike and I didn't continue.

Conan whooped me thoroughly.  He let me start on top trying to pass and I screwed up it fairly quickly.  I didn't do much good after that he passed my guard and took my back.  He then sat me up and put me in a neck crank.  I thought I had a window to escape but it didn't work.

I rolled with Ken a couple of times after that and I wasn't really feeling it.  I tried some of my wristlocks and things when I had closed guard for a while but it wasn't really working.  Ken has a similar tactic from standing as Mike as they both stand-up when I'm on my butt and work their way around me.  I'll have to figure out a better way to defend this.  Ken got me in an armlock that turned into a wristlock.  After our roll we discussed some transitions that might work well after trying a wristlock, more research is needed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 23rd - No Gi (Fiddy Fiddy)

Ray taught class yesterday with a focus on attacking the ankles from 50/50 guard.  Besides ending up there with Mike a couple of times I have had zero experience in the position. We went over a couple of ways to get the heel hook and a compression lock on the Achilles and then my favorite the Toe Hold.  I was a little worried about hurting my knees but I didn't really feel any discomfort besides just fear for being hurt.  I worked with Adam on this and it went pretty well because we were both quick to tap when the lock was right.

We then did some position drills from open guard to work into the leg lock position or pass.  Which then fed into some king of the mat guard passing with two groups.  Adam and Ray pretty much dominated.  I can't wait until I feel 100% again and start working on my guard passing.  I came close to passing a couple of times or so I thought.

During open mat I went with Jordan for a little while and took it pretty easy.  I mostly just played guard and found myself focusing on the hip heist and kimura combo.  He and I took turns trying to submit Ray and failing.

I really have no answer for Ray as many of the things that I usually do to people have no affect on him.  His head and neck make it difficult to choke him and anytime I felt like I was going to take his back he'd ankle lock me.  I did do some good things from the bottom and continued exploring some different wristlocks and some attempts at straight arm lock.  I made it to deep half a couple of times but lost him by going out the back door like Mike has been complaining about.  We discussed deep half a bit which helped.  I got some good ideas for technique changes that I'll be trying to implement.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 20th - Gi

Conan taught class yesterday with a focus on passing the butterfly guard.  It was a similar class to Sunday's except with the gi this time.  It was good to review so soon with some minor adjustments.  I didn't feel any huge pain but had to watch it when they were supposed press down and squish my butterflies.

Instead of going straight into open mat Mike asked me to drill some berimbolo, which I haven't worked on before to my knowledge.  I find that I usually can pick things up quickly but this took several times of Mike demonstrating it for me to finally get and even then I could only do it on my right side.  That was a weird feeling.  I like to be equally good on both sides of my body which is a hold over from my Hapkido training.  Not sure if this is a bad thing or good thing, but I know several good Jiu-Jitsuists that have certain techniques and sweeps that they only do on one side.  I know this is probably true for me as well, although I practice every rep equally on each side.

Conan called out something like "2 minutes left" so we abandoned our drilling and went into free rolling.  It was fast and furious.  I don't think either of us established any position until the very end when he somehow ended up in my closed guard but then we had to quit and lineup.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19th - Morning Open

Felt really good this morning, still not 100% but I'll take what I can get.  I started rolling with Craig from standing first, and it appears that he has adopted the arm drag into his arsenal since that is what we both tried to do to each other.  After a couple of attempts from each of us I decided to go for the sacrifice throw that Ray taught a couple of months ago and it worked beautifully.  From there I took it easy and would transition from side control to mount and then if I felt any pressure I'd go to some type of guard to avoid injury.  The half guard sweep was really working for me today so that would usually get me back on top again and working for side control. 

Ken and I had several epic battles this morning.  I made several good attempts at passing his open guard and failed most of the time.  We also spent a good deal of time in my closed guard, due to a conversation we had on Monday, I was attempting some wristlocks and trying to keep attacking so he couldn't focus on his defense.  He ended up submitting me with a couple of unorthodox but effective armlocks. 

Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a loop though and keep going to the same techniques over and over.  I suppose this is natural, but it really tells me I have to grow too.  As an example a common occurrence is that if my closed guard is broken, I'll go for half guard.  Then I will go for the underhook and get low and grab the shin to try to sweep them.  If they base out I'll swing my body to deep half guard and then try to swing to kind of an over/under position.  With some people I'll go through this same process within the same roll.  Not sure if this good or bad for me at this point.  While it feels natural and like I'm doing techniques properly and that it's flowing smoothly it also feels like I shouldn't be repeating myself and I'm giving my opponent the ability to defend against my game easily.  Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be because eventually everyone will learn how to defend what I'm good at and I'll be forced to change.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17th - Gi

Pretty small class again tonight.  Will taught with a focus on Shawn William's guard and omma plata.  I worked with Garrett for most of class as we went through 5 or 6 different techniques.  Nothing was too new for me but I did have some understandable trouble with the gogo plata. 

We did a king of the mat pass/sweep/submit drill after that and I had a good little run at one point.  My game has improved in the some parts of the guard I feel like I'm getting better at loading up onto my hips and working for the armbar or flower sweep and then also going for cross guard and the omma plata.  However, with my injury still healing it is very easy to open my closed guard and I often give up knee cut passes way too easily.  But, that comes with the territory of trying to heal and train at the same time.  Got to swallow my pride and just accept my limitations and find other answers.

I rolled with Will during open mat and had a pretty good match.  There were a couple times where I had to escape and give up position because of a deep butterfly or pressure on the knee.  I went for the bull fighter (not bull rider) pass and ripped Will's pants.  Apparently he was wearing his first gi.  I felt a little bad for I let it go.  I spent most of the time on the bottom in full or half guard.  I even had a couple of opportunities for triangles that we both fought for and against for a couple of minutes.  I didn't want to push too much though because triangles can be hard on the knees.  Will eventually got me in a straight ankle lock.  

I've been thinking about blue belt a lot lately and what I would need to work on to earn it.  I'm having a little internal ego battle about it.  On one hand it shouldn't matter and I should just train to be my best regardless of what's around my waist.  On the other hand I feel like I'm ready for more of a challenge to live up to.  Will my senior training partners take me more seriously?  Will I be hunted by the white belts and visitors?  It's quite motivating to ponder.