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.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16th - No Gi (Ebullience)

Today I wanted to title my post (Feeling Good) but I decided that was a little boring and doesn't necessarily give the whole picture.  So I went to google, paid my 50 cents and looked for some synonyms.  Ebullience was the most obscure meaning: overflowing with eager enjoyment or approval.  That describes a lot of what I'm feeling after today's class.

Conan had us work on passing the butterfly guard today with a focus on hip movement.  While I was a little weary on all of the knee bending that would take place, I ended up avoiding too much discomfort.  Because of the size difference between everyone in class, Adam and I were paired up for the majority of it. 

The first pass that we worked on was the head stand to a hip switch and then side control.  Several variations on this were used throughout the day.  The second technique that we worked on was probably my favorite which had to do with getting kind of an over under and grabbing their lat and then hip switching one way while twisting their body the other way.  Hard to explain but very cool.  Other techniques involved the head stand and hip switch.  Another pass that we did was kind of a surprise hip thrust over their legs right into mount.  Which we then modified as an open guard pass next to kind of stack and use in kind of a double under pass kind of way.

During open mat I rolled with Adam for a good 15 minutes or so.  I felt a little more comfortable coming up on my knees and attacking for the guard pass but didn't do too much of that.  I mostly played half guard and was stuck in bottom mount and north/south for quite a while.  I felt like I was defending a lot of his submission attempts fairly well.  I even controlled him on top side control for a bit and mounted him.  It didn't last and he eventually finished the roll with a banana split from the twister position.

Finally I rolled with the new guy Jerad for another 20 minutes.  I underestimated him a little at first and he did a great job of defending my attacks.  I stayed on my butt for the most part and tried to play some open guard.  I had top sprawl position on him and he was able to turn it into a kind of single leg.  From there sitting on my butt I secured a kimura.  As I worked for the submission he began to roll out of it but instinctively I turned it into an armbar which surprised me.  I had other opportunities for submissions with armlocks and chokes but he seemed to be pretty good at slipping out of them.  I don't remember feeling like I was in too much danger except for a couple of guillotine attempts, but I felt like his positions were pretty good and he knew what he was doing.  We finally got tired and called it a day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 13th - Gi

Got to class late due to work yesterday.  After getting dressed in my new all white Fuji gi I stepped onto the mat.  Conan was working with a group of 6 or so white belts on what appeared to be guard passing and Mike was working with Gina and Sara on some butterfly sweep.  I jumped right in with the upper belt group although butterfly is probably my least doable position right now. 

I had trouble with the sweep that we were working on from both angles because it requires grabbing their ankle and then pushing on the knee with your foot.  So being on top hurt me a bit and being on bottom was difficult because I couldn't bend my knees enough.  But we worked it out a little bit and I got some reps in.  I know in a previous post I said I use my injury as an excuse for sloppy technique, but I think I was wrong and my injury does still hold me back.  However, I will continue to work to overcome it.

Next we worked on cross choke from the mount.  I've always had problems with this choke no matter the position.  I don't know if it is due to my massive forearms or what.  I liked the way Mike taught this from mount.  We would put our weight to one side then get our deep grip inside the collar.  The opposite hand would then walk it's way over and around their head and finish the x on the other shoulder or collar. From there the head goes to the floor and elbows pull back.  Once that deep collar grip was in, it seemed very difficult to defend the other hand from getting into position. 

Mike and I did a couple of three minute rounds starting from butterfly.  I think he's getting pretty wise to my game so I'm going to have to expand a little bit more.  Once he get's behind me I have a hard time facing him again. 

I rolled with Sara next and I was very impressed.  I recently watched her roll with Jerad and liked what I saw.  I could not pin her down or get a good position on her.  I was trying to stay on the bottom as well because she is so easy to crush and I didn't want to be too mean.  I eventually setup a north/south choke and was able to get her to tap. 

I rolled with Gina for just a short while because her back was a little injured.  I started off trying to do a bull rider pass a couple of times.  I was a little successful but this pass generally leads to knee on belly, which is not comfortable for me.  I eventually tried to roll her over and take bottom but she wasn't having it and seemed content to play guard.  We kind of ended it there.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12th - Morning Open

Had some good rolls with Ken and Drew this morning.  Ken and I had some clashes when we both wanted to pull guard.  He's been keeping off of his knees too.  So there was some leg jockeying for position.  I feel okay standing up or on my butt but I'm leery of going to my knees.

I seemed to make it to deep half naturally but like on Monday with Mike I wasn't sure what to do next.  So I end up in this almost reversal, almost in back mount, almost in a triangle position.  I know I've been told not to hang out there, but I really don't know where to go and not hurt myself at the same time.  I'll have to do some research.  I felt really good in the beginning of our matches and Ken and I were shutting each other down move for move.  Eventually though he got through my defenses and was able to submit me with some armlocks.  I had my moments where I came really close to passing his guard or taking his back but would always hesitate and make sure I wasn't going to injure anything.  No pain today so I'm happy.

Drew doesn't have very much experience so I went between coaching him and trying to be as fluid as possible and using good technique.  I ended up coaching him against Ken and felt good about my advice.  Although Ken was taking it pretty easy on him, for a second I thought I was coaching Drew to do better against Ken then I would. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 10th - Gi (The Bees Knees)

Went to the doctor this morning and got some X-Rays on my left knee.  He said the x-rays looked good.  We talked for a bit and then he jerked my knee around.  I was a little hesitant with some of the ways he pushed but didn't feel any pain.  That made him think that it's probably not a meniscus tear and I shouldn't require surgery.  From his experience, he didn't think I needed an MRI as well.  He told me to keep doing what I'm doing.  Will Do!

Last night was another relatively small class.  Greg taught with a focus on knee on belly.  Right away I knew I was going to have some problems.  It went okay but for most of it I could only do one side.  We did a lot of reps with only 2 different techniques which I really like.  I worked mostly with Ken and David and let them do more reps on me then I'd do a couple just on my right side.  We did far side armbar and then kimura, which I hadn't worked on as a setup from knee on belly before so that was cool.

We got with partners and drilled knee on belly.  I sat out the first couple of times and then only went on the bottom with Ken.  I felt like I was doing pretty well with my regaining guard and preventing full mount.  Finally we did some free rolling and I spent the rest of the night rolling with Mike. 

I had a lot of fun rolling with him and he paid me a couple of compliments.  As usual though I get the good with the bad and he is not shy about telling me what I do wrong.  I'm thankful for that but it can be hard to hear sometimes and I've liked using the excuse of my knee lately for all of the improper things that I've been doing.  I pretty much played a form of open guard with him until he got behind me then he would just move around me whenever I attempted to turn into him.  He caught me several times, which I really didn't mind because I was playing pretty loose and just trying to relax and protect myself by working within the confines of my current game.  He gave me some really good advice on deep half guard as well as reverse dlr.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 8th - No Gi (What a Drag)

Jerad taught class yesterday with a focus on the armdrag.  This has been very useful for me lately especially against people that have no experience with it.  It's so easy to take the back.  With Jiu-Jitsu a little bit of knowledge over your opponent can go a long way.  I think back to when I first started learning it and I believe I thought it was either too hard or not for me.  I think Adam solidified the importance of learning this technique for me since it's such a huge part of wrestling and he uses it from standing to set up wrestling moves like single and double legs. 

Unfortunately for Garret and Jordan, they had not been exposed to the arm drag yet.  So Jerad thought starting from standing would be the best introduction.  After we did several reps we moved into the Valley Drop throw which is one of my go to throws.  I was a little hesitant about getting taken down though but I just tried to relax as much as possible and not get in my partner's way as they did the throw.

Next we worked the arm drag from butterfly guard.  Jerad also introduced instead of initiating the wristgrab ourselves that we would do the drag off of the opponent grabbing our wrist first.  This makes a lot of sense and probably helps with the surprise factor.  I'll have to start working on it.  I did have some trouble completing the technique and taking the back.  Finally we worked on countering the arm drag with an arm drag right back. 

We did some guard pass drilling after that with 3 minute rounds.  I probably took some unnecessary risks with my knees while I was in guard.   I shouldn't get too comfortable with the rate that I've been healing, because one wrong move could probably set me back weeks and I don't want that.  Other than those times I was pretty easy going.  I didn't get passed too many times except with Jerad.

During open mat I just rolled with Jordan.  I critiqued a couple of things mostly having to do with guard passing with knee cut and the double unders pass.  There were a couple of times where I wanted to do a triangle but that is on my list of techniques to avoid until I heal. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 6th - Gi (Injured Game)

Conan taught class with the focus of getting to Back Mount from Guard.  I didn't have too much trouble with this except I had to keep weight off my left knee while kneeling in top guard.

There are a couple of difficult parts about getting back mount from guard.  One is getting around the opponents arm, you have to clear one of their elbows across your body.  We were using a double sleeve grab and then a hip bump to push it over there.  We also went for an underhook and go for the straight armlock.  From there we would grab the wrist for a gift wrap or grabbing their lat muscle.

Next you have to deal with getting your leg free and taking a hook.  This we accomplished by either letting the opponent pass one leg or by kicking out their knee.  We moved on to other things like rolling them over if they tried to center back up.

I rolled with Jordan during open mat and took it easy.  Like usual lately I pulled side mount and then worked from there.  He was giving me a lot of space to work and when I pointed it out to him, he said that he's never on top.  So, I showed him some things I like to do in side mount and told him he should ask to start in top positions some times so he can work on them.  He got a little better after that.  I'm happy to have another practice of not hurting myself.

Before class I had a long boring meeting at work that really didn't apply to me so I started mapping out my current game with techniques that didn't require the use of my knees.  It's pretty limited and I apologize for my sloppy writing.  In addition to this map I also wrote down the things to avoid:  Turtle, Butterfly, X-Guard, Triangle, Closed Guard top and bottom.  Click on the image to get a larger view.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 2nd & 3rd - No-Gi/Gi

I made a request to Conan on Saturday to work on back mount because it was the best position to avoid knee pain.  He gladly complied with my request.  We ended up working on escapes and defenses.  We worked mostly on the defenses that I've seen before.  However, I did notice that Conan used the scoop that I saw in the University book.  He didn't really bring it up until the end of class when he asked about what we learned.  I kind of liked that addition to the class, because I'd like to hear what everyone else has to say about class.

I rolled with both Adam and Conan who took it easy on me.  I'm learning how to pull side control bottom very well.  There was only one time when I felt a little scared for my knee was where I kind of ended up with a butterfly with my left leg which made me automatically tap.  I felt like the creative juices were flowing a bit because I had to find different ways to get around that didn't cause pain or put me in danger.  I also didn't care as much about winning and just wanted to experiment and find things that worked.  I have no delusions that either of them weren't being super easy on me though.

Greg taught Monday night and I did not have the opportunity to request something to work on that wouldn't hurt me.  But, it turned out better than expected because we worked on dealing with being stacked during an armbar attempt.  So I could keep my knee off the floor for the most part.  The first technique that we did was a flower/pendulum sweep to take mount.  Doing this from an armbar was new to me and I really enjoyed it because I love the flower sweep.  If they put the other leg up we switched the technique to invert and go to the belly and complete the armbar, if they then kept their arm locked up we'd pull on their pants and sweep to take the top position and complete the armbar from there.

I sat out of drilling because they started from the closed guard.  They went a couple of 3 minute rounds and I saw some good things happening.  We then did more of an open mat and I rolled with Ken for a minute and Mike for 5.  I had one good thing happen with Mike when I switched my collar grip to a baseball bat and kind of swept through him.  We were told to cool it soon after by Greg because he didn't want me to hurt myself.  Which I probably needed because it's tough to not be competitive with Mike.