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.