Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 28th 2013 - Open Mat

Kids Class

My lovely wife's parents were in town for Christmas and were able to come to watch our kids do some Jiu-Jitsu.  Class went as usual with Jerad and Conan teaching.  As usual the kids enjoyed foot tag and blob tag.  They had a little bit of an off day with their shrimping and animal walks, I'm not sure how to motivate them that these are the important things.  They also worked on shooting for the double leg, which turned out pretty well.  They even completed the takedown today.

Open Mat

Since I had a family get together at 1:00, I went to class early and Jerad was the only one there to roll with.  He got the better of me most of the time with some one legged x and his ability to pass my guard.  He finished me with a mounted triangle and an armbar.  During one of our rolls I had a good volley of submissions and ended up attempting a north/south choke, then went to kimura, and finally an armbar.  Something like that doesn't happen often with Jerad.

I spent the majority of my roll with Fuji in his mount and finally side control.  I feel like I defend the submissions well but I don't feel like I have an escape plan.  I may need some positive thinking, but it seems like Fuji has my number and I'm not making much ground against him.

It's not often that I get to roll with Gina, predominantly because we attend different classes.  It's quite a different experience rolling with her.  There are things that she can get out of that I give others a hard time with.  My main objective was to take her back, but for some reason she was always able to twist out of it even when I got to the full position with hooks in.  She did make the mistake of telling me that arm triangle was her kryptonite recently so I used that information against her. 

Mike and I had a great long roll.  I was in side control for a lot of the time and I had to stick close to him.  I transitioned from north/south choke to guillotine and then kimura.  I attempted to take his back but he defended his collar well and didn't allow me to get any hooks in.  I screwed up though and he ended up in my guard and was able to escape the choke.  From there he passed my open guard quite easily and after some top work submitted me with a gi choke.  I'm just happy that I got to train this week.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23rd 2013 - Gi (Forearms-a-burnin)

Theme & Techniques: Weird Lasso Sweep Type thing with kimura and roll over variation

As I entered the school, Conan said that he heard I was suffering from Jiu-Jitsu withdrawal.  Ain't that the truth.  I'm assuming my wife made mention of this earlier in the kid's class.  With being sick and then having a limited holiday schedule for the next two weeks I'm going to be going crazy without my BJJ fix.  Luckily I was able to attend the beginner class tonight.

Conan started off class saying that as a Christmas present we'd work on something a little more advanced in the beginners class.  We started out the sweep by moving to a shin spider guard then kicking one leg through and going over to the opposite armpit and kicking through all the way to the knee.  Keep holding on to their sleeves and then kicking them forward.  If they resisted and moved in the kimura was there, if they sprawled back you just rolled the opposite direction.  It's difficult to describe so I won't go into more detail.  It seemed to work well and I may try it while rolling.  I ended up working with Ross and he did well for only having done a couple classes so far.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Guard Position, Free Rolling

Had a lot of success in Up/Down/Out but I mostly went up against the new guys.  My pass of choice for the evening was Toreando while I used a couple of different sweeps.  The scissor has been my stand-by lately while the omoplata has not been bearing any fruit.  Mike and I discussed it after class, and it's just natural that the school as a group are learning and responding to a technique that I was good at for a while.  I also hit the spider to x-guard to technical stand-up sweep.  I think this is the next thing to be added to my a game as it's been high percentage lately.

Conan stayed around after class and let us roll since this would be the last until Saturday.  I rolled with Brian first who's kids attend class with my boys.  I guess I'll refer to him as glasses Brian not to be confused with Air Force Brian.  This is the first time I rolled with him and he asked me what we were doing.  The question kind of confused me, but I guess if he's only ever been in beginner class he may never have free rolled.  That being said he did fine for a beginner.  His posture and base were good but I just have several more tricks up my sleeve than he does for now.

I finished out the evening with Wess.  We haven't rolled since classes at Roseberry's so I was interested to see how he's progressed.  Soon into our first roll I already started to feel a forearm burn.  I did my best to keep top position and spent some time in back mount.  His hand fighting was very good and frustrating which just made my forearms and fingers more fatigued.  During our last roll I almost felt like asking to quit because my arms had nothing left.  I had the best success with collar chokes as every time I tried to do an armbar he was good at keeping them tight to his body.  If I were to give him any advice, it would be to focus on standing guard passes and using the pant grabs to setup a pass.

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20th 2013 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Drilling Omoplata, Side Control Escape

I was the only one to attend this morning which was okay since I'm getting over a cold.  I did a couple variations on the omoplata besides the submission like the sweep and then the armbar we worked on a few weeks ago.  I had a little trouble keeping it in the armpit but only because I thought holding the elbow was more important.  I worked on the stiff arm side control escape which I have seen some success with lately.  The major improvement I needed was to turn on my side more in the beginning.  Greg worked on a back take from turtle that he learned from Marcelo Garcia's website that would be pretty cool to pull off.

Rolling: Free Rolling

We had a couple of good rolls where I totally dominated and didn't allow him any position that he wanted or to establish a decent guard.  I then pulled off a slick trick by floating from half guard into mounting him followed by a gift wrap to backmount.  I submitted him with with an RNC and then later on a straight ankle lock that I've been working on.  And, that would all be awesome if it was what I did and not what Greg did to me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 17th 2013 - Gi (Coworker)

Theme & Techniques: Self Defense against standing RNC, Mount Upa Escape & Cross Collar Choke

My coworker Bhuvana decided to try out a class yesterday.  She was hesitant for a variety of reasons but seemed to enjoy the class nonetheless.  She took a couple of hard falls with the first throw and commented that her insides were a little shook up. I ended up being her partner for the rest of the class.  There were a few times where I had to remind her to relax because she was trying to muscle the technique.  In the end, Bhuvana said that she had fun and left wanting more.

Rolling: Mount Position, Free Rolling

Somehow amazingly I was able to escape Greg's mount and regain guard.  The second time he ended up taking my back with a gift wrap.  Jordan and I rolled after class for a little while.  I had some success with the spider guard to x-guard that Greg often does to me.  I was also able to setup the mounted triangle that I turned into an armbar. 

Apparently everyone that competed did well at the tournament this past Saturday.  I haven't got too much information about what happened but a lot of medals were brought home.

I've been sick as a dog since yesterday and had to miss the evening class.  Hopefully I'm well enough for tomorrow's class.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13th 2013 - Gi (Throat Punch)

Theme & Techniques: Takedown fit-ins, Mount Hip Escape, Drill Comp Stuff

I was still a little sore from yesterday and from the weights lifted on Wednesday.  I forgot to mention that Bauer hooked me up with a basic routine to help me get started with lifting.  My goals are to improve my back and knee strength and just generally improve BJJ.  He's having me do some body weight squats, dead lifts, bent over rows, as well as pull-ups and push-ups.  I've only done it once so far but I liked it, hopefully a good addition to my current workout schedule.  I'm taking special care to make sure I'm improving myself instead of raising the chance for injury.

The mount escape was going fine until Brian accidentally elbowed me in the throat as he was practicing the escape.  It didn't hurt as bad as it could of, but it came out of nowhere and surprised me.  We continued and I didn't think much more about it.

Brian reacted a little differently than I'm used to with the omoplata from cross guard.  It made it difficult to do the omoplata but the pendulum sweep was right there.  There were a couple of times I was able to transition to the right thing to do when he reacted differently whether it be finishing the sub, or him rolling over into side mount, or having to straighten out and do the sweep.  I was trying some of the different things Adam was doing with the over/under pass but Greg convinced me to keep doing it the way I have been.

Rolling: Slow and Free Rolling

We did some slow rolling, which was new to Brian but he got along fine.  We may have been a little stiff and had too many pauses between our turns. 

After class I rolled with Greg and had a great time.  He obviously kicked my ass but I did some pretty good things.  Deep half guard presented itself a couple of times and I kept myself out of submissions a few times.  It ended with a kimura that he set up from north/south.  One of the most noticeable problems I have with his style is the way he uses his feet and shins to prevent me from regaining half guard.

On the way to work I kept thinking that my throat was hurting.  I was trying to figure out if I was getting sick, but then I recalled the elbow to the throat that Brian delivered earlier.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12th 2013 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Footlock Defense for straight ankle and heel hook

I've been hoping for a footlock class for a while and Greg thought it would be a good time to refresh defenses before the tournament.  Things to remember included: don't try to spin out of a straight ankle; don't move in straight on a heel hook; get rid of their foot on your hip.  Adam and I were both a little tentative because we don't like having ankle locks done to us.  Will was our third partner and he helped me out a couple times when I wasn't getting up to my knees properly.

Rolling: Takedown sparring, free rolling

The guys competing on Saturday drilled and did more safe activities to be fresh for the tournament.  Greg, Adam, Jordan, and myself did some resistance training.  During standup I tried to setup the Russian tie but rightly so it wasn't happening with Adam or Greg.  I had a little more success with Jordan but still probably over-thought my game too much. 

During free rolling Adam and I had quite the half guard battle that went back and forth.  I may need to take Fuji's advice from last Saturday and be a little more mean with my crossfaces and pressure.  I executed my game pretty well with Jordan and was able to maintain back mount for a while using a gift wrap entry.  Greg schooled me pretty well, however I was not falling into some of the traps that he was setting for me.  There were a couple of pauses where I knew he was expecting me to use a deep underhook so he could setup his monoplata armbar whatsit.  I guess I'm unconsciously picking up things not to do with Greg, so I got that going for me.  He did end up submitting me with an RNC from back mount. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 10th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening (Fingers had it Rough)

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Guard - Hip Bump sweep & Kimura

Attendance is starting to pick up at the Tuesday noon class; there was 5 of us plus Greg.  Ross who was on his second class, Bearded Josh, Jordan, Air Force Brian, and me.  I ended up working with Josh due to matching pretty closely size wise.  He kept questioning if he was doing the hip bump correctly, maybe because it felt too easy.  Of course that technique heavily relies on timing and the other person's posture to be effective in rolling.  Hard to simulate during drilling.  Greg and I both tried to assure him it was correct

The kimura from guard has always been difficult to setup for me.  I think it's because where you put your arms is so important for the top guy that in the words of Kurt Osiander if you get put into a kimura from guard, "you fucked up a long time ago, bro!"

Rolling: Guard Position, Shark Tank for Brian

This was the start of my finger pain.  I did so much gi gripping today that they feel like they were rubbed with sand paper.  Went with Josh and the question of how do I roll with new people ran through my head.  He hasn't gotten the basics down of grips and posture so I do my best to make my techniques as smooth as possible using the most leverage.  Eventually I give him some pointers describing what I'm trying to do and how he can defend it.  Greg was next and I feel like I did some good things.  I had a few sweep attempts that I chained together but it wasn't enough to bring him down.

To give Brian some extra tournament prep, Greg had Jordan and I take turns rolling with him under tournament rules for 4 rounds of 5 minutes.  Like I always say, he's doing great for how new he is to BJJ.  We put him through the ringer and he came out pretty well.  I was able to setup the farside armbar from side control twice and told him afterwards to not put his arm on that side of my neck. 

Theme & Techniques: Competition prep reps

Brian returned for the evening class for more prep.  Class was run similar to the Saturday competition class, which I'll be sad to see go.  We did 4 minute rounds of working on our guard technique (omoplata) guard pass (over/under), and our #3 (Arm Drag to Single Leg).  I worked with Adam on all of these and he helped me out quite a bit with the over/under pass.  He does a few things slightly different that I'm going to start incorporating into this technique.

Rolling: 8 Minute Drill, Tournament rules matches

I worked with Adam again for the 8 minute drill and I'm happy with my performance.  I was able to escape every position except side mount, he is a boss at that position.  There were a few times that I could feel his strength and size being a helpful factor in him escaping. 

I did matches against Adam, Brian, and Moe.  Between the matches Greg had the guys competing do some calisthenics to make rolling a little more difficult.  I felt bad just watching them, but not too bad.  I kept Adam in guard for quite a while but eventually he got ahead of me and I remained in side control for the rest of the round. Brian almost made the same mistake as earlier and I reminded him of the far side arm bar.  Later on somehow the kimura from guard presented itself disproving my earlier assumption that I suck at setting it up.  Moe pulled guard as soon as he got grips but he wasn't able to lock it up and fell pretty hard on the mat.  It probably looked like I slammed him.  I took it easy on him due to him being worn out and made him work to escape my mount when he wanted to give up. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 7th 2013 - Kids & Competition & Open Mat

Kid's Class:

I've been going to the kid's class every Saturday and a few Mondays, and it's been a blast to be able to be on the mats with my boys.  I've had some worries that they wouldn't like it or lose interest, but now that more kids have been joining they seem to like it even more.  We've had our struggles with shrimping and crab walks being hard and not wanting to partner with other kids but it's getting better.  They love the games foot tag, blob tag, sumo wrestling, sprawl ball, and crab walk soccer, which all have applications to BJJ.

They've covered several actual techniques as well: scissor sweep, side control to mount, upa from mount, o-soto gari and a couple others.  We even worked on scissor sweep and escaping back mount at home last night.  My wife was so proud (she was being half sarcastic).

Competition Class:

This was the last comp class before the tournament next week.  Greg took it pretty easy on us partly because attendance was the lowest we've had.  Robert Rojas had fought the night before and I guess it went pretty late.  Apparently the fight went very fast and Robert won in the first round by TKO.

I worked with Fuji starting with drilling side control escapes and then did a couple of interesting drills.  The first was to implement our ideal game with little resistance.  Off the top of my head I used 2 of my three techniques that we've been drilling.  Arm drag to Single leg, over/under pass to side control, to far side arm bar. 

The second drill was to deal with someone stalling in full guard.  The opponent would just lay their head down and keep their elbows tight.  This was to simulate that the person on top is ahead by 2 points and you need a sweep or submission to win before time runs out.  Both were great exercises to prepare for a tournament.

Open Mat:

Not very many people stayed or showed up for open mat.  Jerad had to take off for work so we got a couple rolls in quickly.  I'll have to look back and count how many times he's handed my ass to me and then add 2 more to the count.  I did well in the beginning of our second match as I passed his guard and attempted some submissions from side mount.  Once he escaped it was a lot of the same.  He is one of the few people that likes to attack from mount.

I spent the rest of the session with Jorge.  We rolled a couple times where I spent most of the time on top in side control.  He is very difficult to submit.  After that we went over side control escapes mostly focusing on the tripod with underhook.  In our last roll I focused on knee on belly as I haven't been doing it that much lately.  He really made me work to keep control and maybe I need to take Fuji's advice and be a little more mean with my positions.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6th 2013 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Back Mount Escape, Rear Naked Choke

It was a bitter cold morning but Air Force Brian and Bearded Josh ventured out to attended 6 AM class.  Nothing really new, but reps are always useful.  We practiced the back mount escape in both directions (going towards or away from the choking arm).  Greg then went over the basics of the RNC. 

Rolling: Back Mount Position (2 min rnds)

We partnered up round robin style and each got a chance to attack each others back.  I probably should have insisted on the rear naked choke that we worked on in class.  Instead, I went for bow and arrows and succeeded a few times.  It probably wasn't fair to Josh because he hadn't seen the bow and arrow yet and according to many BJJ practitioner it's better to go for the techniques that we cover in class to solidify the instruction in the memory banks.  I was able to use the defenses that we worked on a few times although they are much more difficult when the other person is resisting.

WHOYA: December 6th 2012 - Gi

After reading through this, I'm surprised at how many techniques were covered in one class.  We did 3 De La Riva techniques and 3 omoplata defenses.  The structure of the classes has changed so much since the new school opened.  It used to be an hour of instruction, usually several techniques, followed by half an hour of free rolling where you pick your own partner.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this and was still learning a lot.

Now We work on 2 (sometimes 3) techniques in one night and rolling is always structured.  Greg picks the match-ups and we usually do some form of positional sparring whether it's king of the mat, up/down/out, or the 8 minute drill or free rolling.  It seems a lot more efficient and I've seen everyone improve immensely in this short amount of time. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5th 2013 - No Gi (Just Takedowns)

Theme & Rolling: Takedowns with KOTM and Partner

After our warm-up we went right into takedown sparring for the majority of the class.  Eat your heart out Henry.  I felt more confident during stand-up sparring than I ever have.  I realized later on that this is the result of my reps with the arm drag to single leg in the competition class.  I actually completed a few takedowns.  Greg mentioned that I didn't look lost while standing up and I heard a few "nice arm drag attempt".  I focused the most on keeping my front hand down by my knee at all times.  I also felt a little better about pummeling although I need some more go to options.

Adam instructed us in using the Russian to transition to a double leg.  I had been attempting to get to the Russian position all evening but it never worked out.  After the confidence I've gained from working the arm drag to single leg, this may be something I focus on and add to my reps.  The double was a little awkward at first but once I figured out how to get deep with my shot, it worked a lot better.

I received Tinguinha's Cross Guard DVD yesterday and I've seen bits and pieces of it.  I can see some value in it already as it relates to my current game quite well.  It is providing answers to the problems that I've had with the position and broadening my horizons with stuff I would have never thought of.  I'll try to do a full review in the future.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 3rd 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: Upa Mount escape, Cross collar choke from mount

Bearded Josh joined us again, he has signed up and hopefully will stick around for a while. The most significant thing about practicing the escape was that Greg noticed I was taking a short pause at the top of my bridge.  Changing that made a big difference.

I think I made some improvements on the cross collar.  Instead of trying to bring my opponent down to me I would try to pull myself into them.  This seemed to keep my elbows from flaring as much.  This is a technique that I constantly struggle with and I'm always striving for any improvement.

Rolling: Mount Position (4 x 2 Min Rnd), Free Rolling

Worked with Greg and Josh and they couldn't have been more diametrically opposed experiences.  Greg easily turned my mount into some type of guard several times and then didn't give me a chance to do the same.  So naturally I did the same to Josh, but gave some pointers when he asked.

I rolled with Jordan after class with the objective of maintaining guard as long as possible and looking for sweeps.  He was able to pass it once so I got to work on my side control escapes as well.  He did a great job preventing north/south choke; I was looking for it but he kept his hands in the right places that I didn't make an attempt. 

Theme & Techniques: Closed guard armbar and pendulum sweep

For some reason several toes on my right foot felt swollen.  Not sure if it was my gout acting up or if I hurt them in the noon class.  Thankfully, they're okay today.  It affected me a few times but once we started rolling I was able to ignore it. 

I am confident with the armbar we practiced, setting it up is something I need to work on.  The pendulum sweep from being stacked was very informative.  Previously I thought the sweep had to be at a 90 degree angle but from the armbar position we sent them at a different angle that wouldn't allow them to base out.  Genius!

Rolling: Guard Gauntlet, King of the mat from closed guard

Didn't make the cut to be on the guard side of the gauntlet, but hopefully I gave the other guys a run for their money.  Jerad gave me the worst time.  His butterfly guard is difficult to deal with.  I did go into it with the goal of standing up to pass which seemed to help.

During KOTM, I had some successes and a few times, not so much.  One lesson to come out of today is that I need to work on my posture and grips more from inside the closed guard. 

WHOYA: December 3rd 2012 - Gi

It looks like this was the introduction to up/down/out.  Greg taught and went over some spider guard.  I think during this period Greg started introducing a lot of new things that would be used in our new school (warm-up, up/down/out, etc).  I also make mention of showing off some of the techniques from the Jeff Glover DVD, which I still need to return.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November 30th 2013 - Competition & Open Mat (Bad Day?)

Competition class

Missing a few people again today but we had even numbers which helps Greg out.  We skipped our usual conditioning and went right to drilling:
  • Drilling guard pulling back and forth
  • 4 rounds 4 minutes of guard pulling with Henry and Adam
  • 4 minute rounds of our guard technique
  • 4 minute rounds of our guard pass
  • 4 minute rounds of our 3rd technique (single leg)
Throughout the whole thing I had some trouble with my cardio.  Not sure if I just had a bad day or if I still have some congestion lingering.  I may have to get back in the pool for some laps to get in better shape.

We finished the class with tournament matches and I was partnered up with Henry.  I was doing quite well in the beginning and was in side mount for a majority of the first half.  Somewhere along the way I lost top position and ended up in guard then half guard and then he passed.  Eventually he was way ahead on points and I wanted to give up.

Open Mat

Conan gave me some pointers from bottom half guard.  The position hasn't been working as well for me lately and it's been bugging me.

I rolled with Mike for a while and he smoked me pretty well.  It feels like he's got me pretty figured out and I'm going to have to expand my game if I'm ever going to challenge him again.  He spent most of the time in side control where I felt like there was no chance of escape.

Conan felt immovable.  Everything I tried felt like running into a wall.  He beat me fairly easily a couple times.

Dwight showed up with 30 minutes left and Mike and I rolled with him no-gi.  I felt pretty good in the beginning working some butterfly guard and half guard.  The most progress I made was with an overhook from guard otherwise I wasn't very offensive.  Everything was going well until he went for a heel hook. 

So if you haven't noticed this post was pretty negative.  Although I know that there are ups and downs in BJJ and this is definitely a down, I'm having a tough time getting over it.  I've just got to stick this out train through it.  Looking back on some posts from last year, I'm at least thankful to be able to train without hurting. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Closed Guard Sweeps: scissor and hip bump

Had a visitor during class today who is also named Josh.  His son has been to a few classes with my boys so he thought he'd try it out.  This made it a true beginners class this time instead of the usual bromoplata class.  Fuji also was in attendance and I ended up working with him on the throw and sweeping techniques.

I felt pretty good about both sweeps, I had to work on generating momentum a bit with the scissor and Fuji gave me some good pointers with the collar grip for the follow up choke.  I also tried to correct a habit of using my elbow when I should have posted my hand on my right side of the hip bump.

Rolling:  Closed Guard Position (2 min rnds), Free rolling

I worked with Fuji and Josh during positional rolling.  I was actually able to pull off a omoplata sweep and I passed the guard with the over/under on Fuji which was surprising.  Although he got me back with his signature lasso sweep and leg drag pass.

Josh got his first taste of rolling and he seemed pretty surprised how difficult and technical it was.  After sweeping him a couple of times I gave him some pointers and on our second time around Greg talked him through a basic double under pass.  Hopefully we got him hooked.

I rolled with Jordan after class and he did pretty well today.  I had a couple of good sweeps, I tried the lasso sweep and Greg gave me some advice to help complete it.  I also pulled off the x-guard technical stand-up sweep.  I had a heck of a time passing his guard though.  I attacked the north/south choke and he defended it well a couple times but I eventually got a step ahead of his defense.

Theme & Techniques: Dealing with standing opponent in closed guard: Underhook leg sweep & Star Sweep

Greg had us do a lot of reps in the circle portion of warm-up; the abs were feeling it by the end.  I worked with Adam and Conan on the guard techniques.  The first sweep was working pretty well.  We worked out the best way to land since none of us wanted our feet under our opponent in the end while mounting. 

I felt a little twinge in my left knee a couple times while Adam did the star sweep.  It worried me a bit so I decided to sit out for the remainder of the drill.  I stretched and felt it out and it wasn't hurt or swollen.  I probably overreacted because the pain wasn't unbearable but I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to exacerbate a real injury.  I did some test rolling with Adam and seemed fine.  

Rolling: King of the Mat closed guard

I monitored myself closely during kotm and didn't have any problems.  I took it pretty easy for the most part and made sure I didn't end up with a start sweep scenario.  I was king for a couple of rounds but ended up getting passed by Henry.  He has really stepped up his game recently.  I had a pretty good battle with Adam mostly in half guard.  I was so close to passing but it wasn't meant to be. 

Had a nice chat about guard passing after class and some of his strategies to deal with Greg's 2 on 1 grip.  I think I'm going to go to youtube and watch some competitions, mostly with a focus on observing grip fighting from top guard.  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday I won't be training for 3 days.  Come Saturday I'll be salivating to get back on the mat. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 23rd 2013 - Competition/Open Mat

Competiton Class

Our class was down to 5 yesterday but we still had a tough session.  Greg setup stations with 4 minute rounds to work on our guard pass, guard technique, our third technique, pulling guard, and conditioning.  The worst part by far was the conditioning with lunges, push-ups, triangles, and finally burpees.

Rolling: Tournament Rules Matches with everyone

I didn't feel great about my performance but I suppose that's to be expected with the people I went up against.  I successfully pulled guard on Fuji but when I went to underhook his leg his knee landed firmly in my face.  There were some expletives and I eventually wriggled my way out of it but it sucked.  It finished the same as usual in side control.  I pulled guard again but he passed my legs by pretty easily we ended up in a nasty knee on belly. 

Probably the highlight of the morning was a dropping shoulder throw that I pulled off on Henry.  I had thought about the throw before the match and he and I went back and forth a little bit before I decided to try it.  I worked for his back and almost had a bow and arrow but he defended it well.  I screwed up after that, I gassed a bit and once points started Henry turned it up and passed my half guard.  He gained a lot more points after that with mount and knee on belly and I wasn't able to come back. 

I rolled with Jerad and Will as well but don't remember as much about those matches.  I know Jerad shut me down pretty decisively.  Will and I stalemated although I was awarded the win for passing the guard early in the match.

Open Mat

Everyone was pretty wiped after class but I had to go home soon to the family so I decided to roll with Jorge.  I was able to sweep him okay and reach side control, but I spent a lot of time trying to submit him.  He's doing a great job of protecting himself but I eventually wore him down to catch him with an americana.  He asked me about some alternative side control escapes so I showed him the underhook tripod escape to single leg.  We rolled once or twice more after that.

Ray systematically destroyed me.  He worked very methodically to pass my guard take side control then mount and not give me any space to work with.  I did a little better during our second roll but not much.  He did put me in back mount which was weird for him, I escaped it, back into mount though.  He ended up submitting me with a couple of kimuras I believe.

WHOYA: November 23rd 2012 - Open Mat

I returned after a hiatus to open mat.  It sounded like a pretty good time, I rolled with Mike, Buaer, Greg, and Ray.  This was still at a time when I thought my knee was going to heal on its own.  It seems like my roll with Ray was similar to yesterday with him spending most of the time on top.  The roll with Greg made me realize that he has changed his game recently.  For a while it seemed like he was always working toward a guillotine now it seems like he focuses on butterfly guard and then hunting for back mount. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22nd 2013 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Escape side control with straight arm, Under hook shovel side control escape, Omoplata back roll counter

Had the first signs of winter last night with a little bit of snow and ice.  The other students must have decided to stay home in their warm beds instead of attending the early Friday morning class.  After a warm-up Greg and I drilled 3 techniques each.  I've been a little disappointed in my side control escapes lately so requested to work on the straight arm escape.  My confidence in the technique was raised a little bit, but I know I need to work on it some more. 

The 2nd technique is an alternative to the first one that I kind of like.  I get my first hand on the opponent's bicep the other arm fights for the underhook.  From their try to get under the opponent rolling them over you.  It worked pretty well in practice, I'll have to see if I can make it work. 

I'm feeling a lot better about the omoplata back roll when they posture.  I've practicing being explosive with back rolls during the warm-up and it seems to be helping.  Greg also suggested to cause a reaction in the opponent to drive them down with the leg before back rolling.

Rolling: Free Rolling (2 x 7 min)

Both rolls were an exercise in delaying an inevitable back take and RNC.  There were a couple of times where I almost accomplished something with guard or trying a guard pass but it was all for not.  Before taking off, Greg and I discussed rolling with new guys and how aggressive I need to be.  I've been sort of worried that I may be taking it a little too easy by focusing on technique above all else.  Greg didn't necessarily see it as a bad thing and said that I'm going down a good path but couldn't hurt to up my intensity slightly.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21st 2013 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Omoplata from shin on bicep guard, Escape side control with straight arm

Another omoplata setup to add to my repertoire.  I have practiced this before but don't find myself in this position too often, but I may play around with it in the weeks to come to see if I can make something of it.  Greg equated the position to about as close as you can get to spider guard in no gi.  It's a little like butterfly guard but you have your shins on their biceps and your hands holding their arms in place by grabbing the triceps.  You then pick your side and bring both hands over to that arm, kick up and voila, omoplata!

Continuing with Escapes Week, we did the no gi version of the side control escape that Greg has been drilling lately.  I felt a little better about it today during drilling but once we started rolling I wasn't able to implement it.  I'll have to keep working it as well as stringing together my side control escapes in general.

Rolling: Side Control Position (3 minute rounds)

Adam and I partnered up first and I kept him at bay from the bottom but was not able to escape.  I had some pretty decent attempts though.  From the top he seemed to have a pretty easy time.  I need to pay more attention to the crossface and his hips, but it's so difficult to hold him down.  Mike and I had a great roll and we both stalemated each other from both positions.  I had a lot of submission attempts from top and he was all over the place with a lot of movement every time I attempted an escape.  Jordan did a good job of moving from the top, I was able to squeak into half guard once or twice but it took some doing.  From the top I setup the north/south choke a couple times by attacking for mount and getting him to bring his hands away from his neck. 

Jordan surprised me after rolling by asking me to keep attacking him with the north/south choke when we roll.  I think that's a great attitude to have and I equate it to all of those times I was darce choked by Jerad.  I'm way better at defending the darce now because of that time period.  Hopefully I can oblige Jordan in his request.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme and Techniques: Omoplatas, Turtle escape to guard

Just Jordan and myself again.  I'm just finishing up with the cold I had, but I still have a lot of congestion and the whole class was a little bit of a struggle.  We each did a 7 minute round of omoplatas.  We both paid special attention to keeping their hand in the hip.  Doing that many omoplatas for that length of time actually turns into quite a full body workout.  The abs and legs get involved as well as a little upper body looking for the underhook and extending them out.

We worked on defending from turtle if they had the farside lapel grip, by grabbing their far knee, sticking our leg up behind them and then sitting using our shin to regain some type of guard. 

Rolling: Turtle Position, Free Rolling

I didn't have too much trouble with either side of the turtle position.  I was able to regain a couple times and roll him into side control.  Greg had us roll together for a 10 minute round.  I may have played a little too lazy because he was able to pass my guard using the bull fighter pass a couple of times.  I was trying to implement spider guard but I seemed to be one step behind.  It took some doing but I regained butterfly guard and was able to eventually sweep and slid right to a north/south choke. 

Theme and Techniques: 1 Escape each from Mount, Side Mount, Back Mount, Turtle

Greg deemed this week "Escapes Week" and escapes we did.  I partnered with Adam as we went through umpa from mount, bridge and knee replace from side control, back to the mat leg flatten escape to the underhook side from back mount, and the granby roll from turtle.  We did it in rounds so each partner got a lot of reps in a row of each escape. 

Rolling: 8 Minute Defensive Drill x 2

I guess several of the new guys had never been through the 8 minute drill previously.  It has been one of my most favorite and hated drills since Greg introduced it.  It's gotten more bearable over time but doing 2 in a row was tough especially with 2 of the most experienced guys (Adam and Jerad).  For the most part my defense went pretty well with both of them.  I didn't give up too many submissions, an americana from Adam and a triangle from Jerad.  My offense with both of them did seem to be lacking.  I should probably study what they are doing a little bit more because I would like to be able to escape like they do. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 16th 2013 - Competition/Open Mat

Competition Class

I ended up missing Thursday and Friday classes due to a nasty cough.  Quite a bummer.  I went with my kids to the morning class and worked out with them and felt pretty good so decided to come back for the competition class.  I still have a bit of a cough but it's manageable.

We ended up with an odd number of students so Greg got creative.  He chose 5 different exercises each for a minute: lunges up and down the mat, Pushups, Guard Lifts, Guard Situps, and finally Burpees.  My thighs were burning by the end.  Will and I each drilled our 3 techniques for 4 minutes a piece.  Very tough class.

I had a pathetic tournament match against Fuji next.  He did a great job of snapping me down and I feel like I've got nothing against him from standing.  Once we were down he quickly passed my guard and worked me over using the brabo grip.  So frustrating.

Open Mat

John showed up for open mat and while everyone was wiped out I decided to oblige him in some rolling.  It wasn't difficult to not use strength because I had very little left.  I also rolled with Will and was able to setup a triangle near the beginning of the roll.  A technique I never am able to finish, but I took it as slow as possible and made sure to control his posture.  During our second roll he caught me in an armbar from guard.

Fuji and I did some more stand up.  This is not fun for me and is a little scary.  I'm mostly scared of landing wrong and getting hurt but I'm not sure if I'm overreacting. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 12th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: Cross Guard Omoplata to Armbar

Just Jordan and I today continuing our Bromoplata tradition.  Today Greg showed us a counter to the opponent grabbing our opposite leg while attempting an omoplata.  From there we would cup their elbow kick out and then armbar with their wrist in the armpit.  This is another great piece to this guard that I need because I run into this problem often now that people are savvy to my cross guard.  To further this position, I ordered Tinguinha's Cross Guard DVD and can't wait to study it.

Rolling: Closed Guard Position, Free Rolling

Greg joined us for guard passing and frustrated me as usual.  He played the 2 on 1 that he's been working on and I only realized it too late.  It's so strong but it hasn't been working for me as much as him.  However, it is cool to see how things get incorporated into his game. 

I did well with Jordan, although he seemed a little tougher than previously.  I had to work pretty hard to pass his guard and also to keep him in my guard.  I did setup a cool lasso sweep towards the end. 

We free rolled a little bit and had a great time.  I'd rather do that for another hour than go back to work.  There was one point where I was in knee shield half guard and I was setting up the spin under omoplata but I had tunnel vision and as soon as Jordan moved it all fell apart.

Theme & Techniques: Judo Turnover to side control or back control, Taking back from side control

Ray showed up last night so he ended up partnering with Adam.  I worked with Henry instead which was a good change of pace.  We did adequate reps of everything and would challenge each other every now and again.   Nothing too terribly new here.

Rolling: Back Control Up/Down/Out, King of the Mat Guard

Greg separated us into big and small groups by size.  So Adam, Ray, Henry, and I were on one side of the room while Mike, Mo, Brian, and John were in the small guy's group.  Greg floated to both sides.  I did some pretty good things here.  Probably the most impressive was when Ray tapped to an arm lock on his inside arm when he escaped to deep half.  For some reason though I thought that when I would finally tap out Ray there would be fireworks and fanfare but from my end I was more like, "Wait are you sure?"  It's also not as brag worthy being that it was positional sparring and I started in a good spot.  So I'll wait for that day when I can do it off of a legit roll. 

When we did King of the mat next from guard Ray and Adam ended up squandering away the majority of the time.  When Greg announced there was only 1 minute left I grabbed Henry to get some more sparring in, but it didn't feel like enough.  I still wanted to train more after class but it didn't look like anyone else was game.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 9th 2013 - Competition/Open Mat

Competition Class 

Had a little change up in groups this week.  Jerad and Will were both absent and Bauer and Mo showed up.  Bauer and I ended up together which made the workout a little more difficult than the previous weeks.  Greg had us do the basic back mount escape timed and then he gave an instructional on pulling guard.  We then drilled pulling closed or open for several minutes.  During my first attempt I totally slammed myself instead of locking up the closed guard, I decided to practice pulling open after that.

We ran through the conditioning set ending with burpees, which sucked verily.  We did several rounds of each of our predetermined techniques.  Bauer provided some motivation when I started slowing down during the over/under pass.  Probably the most difficult part of the class for me physically was the single legs.  I'm not sure if I'm just not used to them or if I'm doing something wrong, because my back gets fatigued quickly. 

Open Mat

I rolled with Jorge and Derrick.  Jorge continues to be more challenging than I new guy should be.  He does a good job of keeping his arms in already.  I had to be pretty crafty while rolling with him as well as conserve my energy.  He was having some trouble getting out of mount so I showed him the step over to recapture half guard escape.  My main focus with Derrick was the Ezekiel choke which I pulled off a few times.  I also coached him a bit on the bullfighter guard pass and tried to get him to get good grips while attempting to pass.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8th 2013 - Gi (I learned it from watching You!)

Theme & Techniques: Elbow Escape from Mount, Ezekiel in Mount

It started out with Air Force Brian and I this morning working on the mount escape.  Nothing terribly new for me here.  With the Ezekiel choke I did find out that Greg prefers to use the forearm more than the fist.  The fist has been working for me but when he said to try to lift both elbows off the floor, it made a lot of sense.  We choked each other quite a bit before Greg told us to chill out.
Rolling: Mount Position, Free Rolling

After a round of positional rolling Caesar showed up.  He wasn't sure why but he had in his head the class started at 7 instead of 6.  He joined us in free rolling after getting dressed.  I felt pretty good this morning even though I was a little sore from the night before.  

One awesome thing that occurred was at one point Greg used a deep underhook in a scramble and I used it to set up an omoplata.  He was able to escape but before he did I made the comment, "I learned that from watching you!"  For those of you that don't know it's a reference to an anti-drug commercial from my childhood.  I had some good rolls with Brian and Caesar as well.

I've been repeatedly viewing the video by Jason Scully below.  While it's not an instructional video, it provides a lot of possibilities in a short period of time.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7th 2013 - No Gi (B.E. A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E)

Theme & Techniques: 2 on 1 to butterfly guard, transition from full guard, arm drag to back mount

Had some visitors tonight from North Platte join us.  We've been working on this hold from butterfly a lot lately, but in the gi.  Setting it up no gi is not nearly as secure but it still works.  The piece that made this easier was using a grape vine from guard to put their legs back to get our butterfly hooks in.

The other awesome thing that we did tonight an addition to the arm drag.  After setting up the 2 on 1 we would bring 1 hook out and scoot forward then kind of jump sit back.  Hard to explain but very useful.  Greg has been learning some great things from MGInAction

Rolling: Free Rolling

Greg had us roll with everyone tonight, I think with maybe 5 minute rounds.  The two visitors were a little bigger than me and knew how to handle themselves in no gi.  Technique pulled me through but it wasn't easy.  One of them (Adam) was able to setup a toe hold to knee bar that I tapped to.  I wasn't sure how to feel about that.  I felt like it shouldn't have happened so ego reared its ugly head, but there is also a BJJ saying: "If you're not tapping, you're not learning."  I did ask Greg if we could work on leg locks in the next no gi class.

Mike took it to me pretty well.  He's still nursing his ribs although you wouldn't know it.  His objective was just guard passing and he took it to me like he usually does.  Once he was able to open my guard and stand up he had the upper hand.  We talked after class about some things I should do and we both thought that my problems were stemming from a lazy guard.  I need to be more aggressive in guard and impose my will.  Attack sweeps instead of always waiting for the other guy to make a mistake.  He said that when I'm in a top position he can see that I'm focused on my guard passing or going for the submission from side mount, but in guard I play kind of willy-nilly.  My guard needs to be more purpose driven.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 5th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening (Finally Got It?)

Theme and Techniques: Arm Drag to Single Leg, Omaplata roll over, Over/Under Pass

Greg gave Jordan and I the option to choose what to work on so I requested my focus techniques from the competition class. I feel pretty good about completing the single leg, but getting there is where I usually fall short.  I've been researching some setups for this technique on YouTube focusing mostly on the gi.

I think we finally figured out what I've been doing wrong with the omaplata counter to when they posture.  Greg took videos of me doing the technique and then of him doing them.  We discovered that I was under my opponent too much, mostly due to me holding the underhooked leg tight to my head.  Once I made space between us I was able to roll over just fine without running into them.  Technique Achievement Unlocked!

Rolling: Guard Position, Free Rolling

I felt pretty good about my guard today and kept from getting passed.  There were a couple times that I just squeaked by barely.  Since we are both getting versed in the cross guard, I'm trying the best I can to be sneaky when I set it up.  I used quite a bit of spider guard and tried my best to setup sweeps by grabbing his opposite leg.

We free rolled after class for 5 minutes where I mostly played guard.  I was able to take Jordan's back at one point and work my way to a bow and arrow.  During our second roll I had him in a strange side triangle position and we kind of got stuck there as I couldn't figure out how to finish it and he couldn't escape.

Theme and Techniques:  Butter Fly Guard Hook Sweep, Knee Slide to pass Butterfly Guard

Worked with Chris today who is always a great partner.  We both challenged each other to have good technique.  One constant battle for any type of guard in the gi is grip fighting and it's something that we addressed repeatedly by keeping our hands forward and legs flat.  When passing the butterfly guard we'd grab the knees and step into their butterfly and went for an underhook or grab their neck to go for a knee cut pass.  This was a new technique for me and one that I'll keep in mind.

Rolling: Guard Gauntlet, Free Rolling

I was on the other end of the guard gauntlet for once with Chris: Spider, Jared: Butterfly, Adam: Half Gaurd, Mike: Full Guard Top, Greg: Side Control Bottom.  Hopefully I gave everyone a little trouble (well except Jerad, he had my number tonight). 

I rolled with Jerad first and he kicked my butt some more.  He was able to mount me and then setup an armbar that was pretty slick.  Jorge was up next and he really tried to take it to me in the beginning.  He's a little too overzealous and should probably slow down and work some technique but it was good for me.  I kept calm and was able to pull him into full guard which led to the scissor sweep to mount.  I tied some collar chokes and then switched to side control.  I never got a sub, but I controlled him pretty well. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 2nd 2013 - Gi Competition/Open Mat

Competition Class was pretty similar to last week minus the explanation of tournament rules.  So, it was horrible but in a good way.  Everyone returned from the previous week, so we commenced with the same partners.  Which meant Will had to lift me repeatedly once again.  We duplicated the partner drills and Greg tracked our counts.

We did reps for time of the basic side control escape, our guard pass (over/under), our 3rd technique (Single Leg), and finally our guard technique (cross guard to omaplata sweep).  I wish I had kept count because I did a lot of reps.  Everything felt pretty smooth by the end but the over/under pass especially killed me. 

We each had a match tournament style and I was put up against Will.  It is definitely a different feeling than just regular rolling.  Everything happens faster, more frantic, and supercharged.  I felt a little gassed afterwards, but not during.  Very early on he pulled guard and then setup a pretty tight armbar that I just barely got out of.  I had passed his guard right before points took affect.  I wasn't even thinking about this but I should have been.  I did go for knee on belly points after that though got the points and setup a baseball bat choke.  I didn't consider it a clean choke though as I wasn't deep enough.

Like last week most everyone cleared out after the competition class.  I rolled with Mike a couple of times and did a little better than last week.  I took some of his advice and made a point of sitting up and fighting for grips whenever he was standing up trying to pass.  It turned out to be great advice and I was able to stave off his passing a little longer. 

WHOYA: November 2nd 2013 - Open Mat (Setback)

One of a handful of times that I injured my knee last year.  After this time I decided to take some substantial time off still hoping it would heal up on it's own.  At the time I wished I hadn't attended that one class, but surgery was inevitable.  As a result I also mention practicing Jiu-Jitsu for the long haul.  This is something that has affected my rolling to this day.  I've tapped several times when it was probably a little too early, especially when it comes to leg locks.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1st 2013 - Gi (Morning Crew)

I still have teeth, I'm just wearing a mouth piece in the pic
Theme & Techniques: Tripod Side Control escape, Butterfly Guard Sweep

One after the other people kept showing up to early Friday Jiu-Jitsu until there were 6 of us including Greg.  Hopefully we can keep this up.

Matching up size wise I ended up working with Adam.  I felt pretty good with both of the techniques we worked on.  My tripod to single leg is still not as strong as I'd like it to be, so I may need to put more attention into that.

As Greg worked with the other group on some of the finer points of the butterfly sweep, Adam and I were challenging each other a bit.  The person being swept would hunker down or make the sweeper switch sides or use the overhook instead of the underhook.  It was very productive training remaining within the confines of what we were working on.

Rolling: Side Control Position, Butterfly position, Free Rolling

Side control defense has been frustrating me lately.  I feel like I should be better at it than I am.  I think I need to revisit the basics and work on refining the tried and true techniques.  Adam bullied me from the top for quite a while but I was able to stave off a submission just barely.  I was able to escape Brian a couple times but I felt like I was missing opportunities or telegraphing my moves too much.

Who better to drill butterfly with than the man himself.  Even when he let me get position he would figure a way out of the sweep and pass my guard.  When he was on bottom he took the opportunity to setup the two on one grip stuff that we've been working on.  Of course, it worked great for him.  It was very hard to deal with and made me want to include it in my own game more.

I free rolled with Alec to finish up the class.  As usual it was enjoyable as we usually end up in unusual positions.  A lot of butterfly hooking and attempted back takes, etc.  That was until he was attempting to take my back and then he started to bleed all over the mat.  I wasn't sure what I did, but it turned out to just be an existing scab that fell off from rubbing on my gi. 

After class I rolled with Brian a few times.  I worked some spider guard and even pulled off a sweep that I don't usually get.  Taking the back was my main goal, which I somewhat accomplished in our last roll.  He did a great job of defending my hooks, but I kept dragging him out so he couldn't escape and finally tricked him into letting me get a bow and arrow grip.

WHOYA: November 1st 2013 - Gi (Round 2)

I've been doing this section of the blog for quite a while now and one of the things that keep running through my head as I read it is "What a difference a year makes.  I hardly knew anything then.  Old me was really ignorant of BJJ."  I'm hopeful that future me a year from now will look back and see how dumb I am and how much I've improved. 

I had the 2nd match of the round robin tournament with David and while I lost I mention improvement as David smashed me the first several months of Jiu-Jitsu.  Before that the theme of the class was tornado and other inverted guards. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 29th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme and Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Side Control Escape knee in to recover guard, Far Side Armbar from Top Side Control

I worked with Fuji for this portion of the class.  Who better to work on side control escapes with than the person that makes me feel helpless from this position.  Regardless, after a few reps, I felt great about my pace and fluidity with the technique.

With the armbar Greg taught one thing differently than when I normally do it; he showed us to grab our own gi collar to secure the arm.  I had a little trouble with Fuji trying to do this, but I can see how it would be useful. 

Rolling: Side Control Position, Free Rolling

I rolled with Fuji first and he is still working his brabo grip.  I don't have a any good answers from the bottom of Fuji's side mount except to survive.  I emphasized movement and stay as north/south as I could when I was on top.  I've been caught with my weight too far forward too many times to be wary of him rolling me over.  

I rolled with Jordan for the next round.  We had quite the battle of me trying to get to half guard that I had to pull out all of the stops for.  After class ended Greg showed him the other side control escape and then Jordan and I rolled a few times.  He's improving and getting more difficult to deal with. 

Theme and Techniques: Double Leg Takedown, Scissor Sweep, Triangle for Blocked Scissor Sweep

 I worked with a new guy, Andy, for this portion of the class.  He seems pretty chill and was good to work with.  We talked for a little bit and he's been involved with MMA for a while and has won some fights.  He's a little new in the gi though, so his grips aren't there yet, but he's competent otherwise. 

The double leg was pretty cool as I was just showing Mike before class a version of a single setup very similar.   We did two on one to break the collar grip and then grabbed both sleeves and shot in while pulling them over us. 

Scissor sweep was the same as I've done hundreds of times but the triangle set-up I haven't seen for a while.  If the opponent is blocking the leg you want to do the scissor, with we would put our shin over their bicep and break the grip, then shoot our leg up and attack the triangle with a deep collar grip.  It was pretty cool, but I often had trouble with cinching up the triangle.

Rolling: Guard Gauntlet, Free Rolling

Blue belts were each given a specific guard position to start in (Me: Half Guard, Will: Full Gaurd, Jerad: Spider Guard, Mike: Top Full Guard).  Then we did 2 minute rounds with Pass/Sweep/Submit.  I didn't get a count of how many white belts were there tonight but it was a lot.  The cool thing was no one passed me, my goal was to sweep everyone, which I did not complete.  I got smashed to my back a lot and felt a little like there were things that I should have been doing but couldn't think of what.

I rolled with Will for the free rolling and both of us wanted to start out sitting in guard, so I finally decided to start trying to pass.  I eventually made it to side control and then started setting up a north/south kimura.  I went for an armbar instead and we scrambled and I ended up in an inverted triangle position on the bottom that I couldn't finish and started to go for tke kimura again.  Time ended up running out right after he got free.  Not sure what I should have done differently but I think I should have completed that armbar.

WHOYA: October 29th 2012 - Gi (Punishment)

 I don't recall how it started but David, Mike, and I decided to have a friendly round robin tournament.  I ended up losing to Mike this night by advantages.  Apparently I did a pretty good trip to get him down to the ground but did not put him all the way on this back so, it didn't count for any points.  The rest of the match he attacked from his guard and I defended.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 26th 2013 - Competition Class & Open Mat

Competition Class:

Due to the upcoming tournament Greg scheduled a tournament class and met with each student planning to attend.  We each picked a guard technique and a guard pass and then a miscellaneous technique.  No surprise, my guard technique was cross guard to omaplata, my guard pass was the over/under, and my miscellaneous is the single leg takedown. 

We spent quite a bit of time discussing rules for BJJ tournaments and rules for the upcoming tournament.  One strange thing about this tournament is that there are no points in the first half of the match and then points do count at the end.  I think it's one of those ideas to encourage people to go for submissions rather than play for points and stall. 

We did many of the same partner body weight exercises from Tuesday.  This time I was partnered with Will and he was a lot easier to lift than Adam. We drilled our guard techniques and guard passes which I felt pretty good about. 

We finished the class with a couple of tournament style matches.  I ended up going against Jerad.  It was a lot more fast paced then I've been used to.  I felt pretty good about my performance even though Jerad made me tap. 

I feel pretty good about the class structure and my areas of focus.  The single leg is the technique I need the most work on, so it will be good to focus on that for a while.  I'm also looking forward to getting everyone else ready for the competition. 

Open Mat:

I didn't stay very long for open mat and Mike ended up being my only opponent.  Things ended up the same as usual with him running around my guard and then would spend most of the time in side control.  At one point I tried to be more aggressive than usual and it seemed to be working, I at least created some interesting scrambles.  It's pretty frustrating to get continuously dominated by him.

WHOYA: October 26th 2012 - Open Mat (Foot Locked)

I rolled with Mike and Ray and according to the title, plenty of footlocks were delivered.  I had also just started my journey into the deep half guard.  This position especially has come a long way in a years time.  I remember being very frustrated when I would get there and it would lead to my demise.  Now my options are many and I know when to abandon something if it's going to put me in worse trouble.

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25th 2013 - Gi

Theme: Triangle Choke, Side Control Escape

I had a little trouble dragging myself out of bed this morning and thought I was going to be the only one until Air Force Brian showed up.  Triangle is a really cool technique and probably one of the few techniques that a layperson would recognize.  However, it is not something I pull off in practice very often.  I have the basics of the technique down pretty well but body type and my past knee issues make it a little difficult to complete.  We drilled it several times using a collar grab and punching their wrist to their body as the set-up.

We then worked on the basic side control escape bridging and then knee across the belly.  For some reason the first time I tried it I had some trouble rolling to my other side but I figured it out as we drilled. 

Rolling: Side Control Position, Free Rolling

Brian did a good job of preventing my escapes.  It's starting to sink in that I need to spend more time figuring out defense from this position.  I think I may have to bite the bullet and start from this position more often.  With certain people it's inevitable that I get there but with the newer guys it might be beneficial for both of us to have them start out on top.  If I get submitted, so be it.

I tried desperately to set-up the 2 on 1 from closed to butterfly guard and it wasn't happening.  So I failed at accomplishing my main goal for the roll.  Regardless we both did good things and he's doing very well for how long he's been doing this. 

WHOYA: October 25th 2012 - Gi (Worth the Trip)

This was one of the classes where I wasn't able to make it on time to an early Thursday due to work getting in the way.  Seriously, damn priorities!  Conan and Mike handed me my ass with loop chokes and magic grips during the open mat portion of class.  I also mention that I borrowed Conan's Deep Half Guard DVD and I still have it a year later.  I better return it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24th 2013 - No Gi (Gorilla Warfare)

Theme: Attacking from Back Mount

I wore my new Tatami Zen Gorilla rash guard tonight.  It may be a bit out there compared to the plain solid color stuff I'm used to wearing, but it's very comfortable and fits me just right, I'm glad I went with a large instead of x-large.  I also got a fair share of compliments on it.  Apparently Henry has a Angry Panda rash guard coming so we foresee a Gorilla vs. Panda match going down in the near future.

Due to some that Greg had been asked about ways to attack from the back, he showed us a really cool retention technique.  When the opponent moves to the underhook side and tries to flatten out our leg, we would release our hook and the shrimp and pull them back to the side we want.  Then if they put up the knee to elbow barrier, we would cross our feet over their other thigh and hip into them to stretch them out.  This worked great to get them to open back up and allow the hook to go right back in.  It was really very simple but I had never seen it before.

Rolling: Back Mount Position, Free Rolling

We did positional rolling from the back for 3 minutes a piece.  I went with Adam, Mike, and Henry.  I feel pretty good about my performance.  There were a couple times I escaped back mount to side with Adam and Mike but couldn't improve after that. 

Free rolling I rolled with Adam, Henry, Will, and drilled with Mike.  Mike has a hurt rib from training so Greg asked him to take it easy and just pick something to drill.  He did a guard pull from the clinch to single x-guard and then sweep.  Pretty slick move.  I drilled the waiter sweep from deep half and felt pretty good about it.

Henry threatened me with a lot of guillotines today.  My neck must be sticking out too far from half guard.  He even got me to give up position at one point.  I was able to defend all of them off but they disrupted my attack game and made me go on the defensive. 

The thing I dislike about no gi is the sweat factor.  We are all so slippery and it makes it really difficult to complete submissions.  I missed some armbar opportunities because of it.  I guess the argument could be made that my technique wasn't tight enough and I need to work on that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 22nd 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening (All By Myself)

Theme:  Drilling

Being the only person to attend class is a little bit of a mixed blessing.  Yes I get awesome private instruction and the class is tailored to things that I need improvement on.  However, if the attendance of the class doesn't pick up I'm assuming eventually the class will be eliminated.  Let's hope that doesn't happen because I am getting the perfect amount of mat time with the new schedule.

We each picked three things to drill for 7 minutes a piece I believe.  I chose 2 on 1 to butterfly guard back take, Omaplata, and the side control stiff arm escape Greg has been working on.  Mostly with the omaplata I worked for the submission, but I also did a few reps with the roll if they posture to defend.  I think we finally figured out what the problem was, I was pushing with my leg too much instead of just using my shoulders and torso to do the back roll.

Rolling: Free Rolling

Greg had more backs to take during our rolling session.  That's pretty much all there was to it.  I defended over and over but a lot of my effort was for not. 

Theme and Techniques: Conditioning, Judo Turnover to Side Control and Back take

We went through a series of partner exercises for which I was partnered up with Adam.  The exercises included: Standing Guard break pick-up, Sit-ups from lifted guard, Rowing our partner, benching a sprawled partner, Sit-ups, leg pressing a sprawled partner.  I had a hard time lifting Adam over and over, which probably was the reason we took the longest to finish.  It was a great workout and my body held out just fine.

The rest of the class was spent drilling the Judo turnover which is just reaching under and grabbing the lapel from turtle and grabbing a sleeve and pulling them over while getting out of their way.  The back take slide felt really natural and smooth from both sides.

Rolling: Turtle Position & Free Rolling

I did turtle position drills with both Adam and Will.  I did well with being able to escape a couple times from bottom and end up in side control from the top position with both partners.  The granby roll was working where in the past I'd hesitate while trying to figure out which way to turn my head.

I free rolled with Alec and stayed as close to him as I could.  His small size allows him to take advantage of any space given.  I think I did well matching his game though and playing some butterfly, x-guard, spider stuff.

Chris and Adam were my next opponents and both crushed me pretty good.  Chris neutralized my half guard game.  I feel like I use way too much energy and strength trying to defend him.  I want to relax but my technique isn't to a point yet where I can flow with him like a want to.  Eventually he put me into side control and then put me in a far side armbar that I saw coming but couldn't escape.  Adam played half guard bottom and I was able to defend a while by threatening a guillotine.  He eventually took top side and put a lot of pressure with knee on belly until he secured a kimura.

Can't help but be a little discouraged by how I was man handled by Chris and Adam.  It just makes me want to get back to the mats and drill more stuff.  It's a good thing that there are plenty of people around that are better than me.  I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle skill wise at the school and probably most of the new guys think the same way about me as I do about Adam and Chris...and Jerad and Mike and Fuji and Ray and Conan and Greg (probably forgetting some people).

WHOYA: October 22nd 2012 - Gi (Magic Grip)

Jerad taught with a focus on Kimuras.  I remember this class well as a video had been circulating the dojo that contained the kimura magic grip.  I think I might try to bring this technique back as I'm finding myself in this position lately but I've never been good at finishing a kimura. 

We did some king of the mat and I express some confidence in my guard playing and mention cross guard which has been huge for me lately.  I also worked with Jerad on some tornado guard and Mike on the bull fighter pass.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 19th 2013 - Open Mat (Don't Settle)

Attendees: Fuji, Jerad, Greg, Bauer

I felt really good about my guard passing today and lately.  I feel like I have a lot of options and can easily transition from one pass to another.  I find I'm having to deal with the knee shield more and looping my arm around their top leg and grabbing the pants of their bottom leg is working well.

Greg showed Bauer and I an awesome butterfly guard setup that I had no idea about.  It was simply awesome.  From closed guard we would get an armdrag arm position and then work our way to butterfly guard.  From there their arm is locked up for either a back take, a sweep, or a stiff arm.  I'm going to be practicing this more.

Rolling Highlights: 

Greg had warned me at one point not to let Fuji settle into side control after he had swept me.  This is probably the most important takeaway for the day.  While it may expend more energy up front, if I can avoid a sunk in bad position I won't have to work completely uphill. 

Bauer and I had one of our epic battles.  I played guard for quite a while and was able eventually sweep him with one of the recent techniques I got from a Cyborg video.  I felt like I was pretty chill during the entire roll, but he made the comment that I felt tense when he was in my guard.  So, I'm not sure which it is, I was monitoring myself as best I could to make sure I wasn't going to gas out.  While I might have had the better of him today, we're evenly matched either one of us could submit the other on any given day.

I was able to pass Jerad's guard. But my top game didn't last long.  He was very tricky from mount and setup an armbar with the potential for a lot of other subs.

Greg gave me another session on how easy it is for him to take my back.  I'm so miserable from that position but he did compliment me on my defense.

WHOYA: October 19th 2013 - Open Mat

Back at the old dojo, I had to sneak out of work a little early on Fridays to try to get some open mat time in.  I was still getting there late and people had taken off or already had gotten several rolls in before I got there.  On this particular day I rolled with Jerad and make mention of him passing my half guard over and over again.  Some things never change.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 18th 2013 - Gi (All to Myself)

Theme: Drilling

I was the only one to show up this morning, allowing me to receive some awesome private instruction.  Greg and I each did 6 or 7 minute drilling of a technique of our choosing.  My choices were the omaplata from cross guard and the waiter sweep from the previous night.  One key discovery from the omaplata was when switching my grip from under their leg to around their waist I learned to time my kickout and situp and then the transition a whole lot better.  I feel so much more confident in the waiter sweep after today.  Some finer points were grabbing their wrist or sleeve after underhooking the leg.  Then the use of the pendulum sweep motion to get them over.  Finally the hip switching to at least get half guard and not expecting to go directly to side mount.

Rolling: Free Rolling

Greg put a back take clinic on me.  I don't think I ever had any real type of guard at any point.  Every time I came close he would start a knee slide pass.  From there he worked me into gift wrap and took my back.  I was only able to escape back mount once, but I escaped into mount and he just turned it into back mount again soon after.  I defended as best as I could but at such a disadvantage it's only a matter of time.  Many RNCs were had.

October 17th 2013 - No Gi

Theme and Techniques: Takedowns, Guillotine Choke setup from Side Mount

We did some fit-ins first with groups of three techniques.  I worked with Jerad for this part and we both worked on a combination technique of a throw attempt to a knee tap.  It's very slick and I can see it becoming a part of my stand-up game, just got to put in the reps. 

We then did kind of an up/down/out with stand up going for the takedown.  Jerad was the floater going from our big group to the small guy group.  I felt a little better about my performance today than I have in the recent past.  Adam still had to remind me to keep my front hand down to prevent shooting on my front leg. 

The guillotine was setup from them using the underhook escape from side mount.  Allowing them to get to their knees and then locking up the choke and using the forearm over the shoulder to make it suck for the other guy.  This is a great technique but it's hard on the throat to practice.

Rolling: Shark tank for Alec, Free Rolling

Alec is back on leave for a little while from the Air Force and to welcome him back Greg had him attempt to pass each of our guards in turn as we swept him over and over again.  A shark tank is usually an exercise where one person has to roll with everyone in class without a break.  He's pretty fun to work with as he's a very light guy, flexible, and difficult to pin down. 

Had several good rolls during free rolling.  Rolled with Jerad, Mike, Robert, and Alec.  I had great rolls with everyone.  The highlight of the night was a waiter sweep that I had just learned from a video that I was able to setup from deep half guard on Robert.  Without any prior practice.  He did help me complete it as I had the angle wrong the first time I attempted the sweep part, but getting there was very cool.

Jerad and I worked on it a couple of times after class with some help from Greg.  I'm really liking this technique, and after watching some videos during lunch at work I have a few other things I want to try in the gi.  This is shaping up to be a fruitful experiment. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 15th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Thanks to everyone that read and commented on my last post Who Am I Supposed To Be.  Writing the post turned out to be very therapeutic.  I also might have been a little over dramatic about the situation.     

Theme and Techniques: Cross Guard Omaplata, Standing Guard Break to Knee Cut

Jeremy joined us for class today, which was the first time we got to train together.  I've seen him plenty of times in passing but never in the same class.  We also had a visitor from out of town show up a little late but jumped in a trained with us a bit.  As usual, my Tuesday bromoplata brother in arms, Jordan was also there.

I worked with Andrew (the visitor) on the omaplata.  He mentioned that he had some experience, but not much in the gi.  He needed a little help with the specifics of the two techniques that we worked on but he picked them up fairly quickly with minor mistakes here and there.  Which was understandable since we worked on the standing guard break which has several steps in it. 

Rolling: Guard Pass/Sweep/Submit

Andrew and I were partnered for the first round.  He had a good base and wasn't easy to sweep.  I kept him from passing my guard, but it wasn't easy.  I had a failed attempt at a cross choke when he had sprawled back.  Greg said later that my grip wasn't deep enough.  I think I may look deeper into this technique.  Jordan was my next partner and we had a good battle.  We both cancelled out each other omaplatas so we had to go to other things.  I played some spider and tried some techniques that are always done to me.

My technique of the day turned out to be the scissor sweep though.  This has emerged as a goto technique lately when other sweeps have failed.  I had actually abandoned that technique as it had stopped working for me a while ago. 

Theme and Techniques: Hip Throw, Standing Guard Break to Toreando Pass

I worked with John on both techniques.  In the end of working on the standing guard break he made noticeable improvements.  The piece of this technique I need to work on the most is maintaining the straight arm on their chest, but otherwise I feel very competent with the technique.

Rolling: Closed Guard Pass/Sweep/Submit, Guard Gauntlet, Free Rolling

We had a new visitor in class tonight with a wrestling background.  He wasn't used to being in someone's guard but he had a great base and was athletic.  He caused me a little bit of trouble but he made the mistake of trying to collar choke me from within my guard.  My next partner was Mike and he made me feel like a beginner while passing my guard.

The next exercise I'll call the Guard Gauntlet, Greg had the four most advanced guys in class each take a spot on the mat and we were each assigned a different guard to play while everyone rotated through.  I was designated closed guard, Mike: Spider, Adam: Half, and Roberts: butterfly.  This was pretty fun and allowed everyone good training.  The new guys got to experience a lot of different guards and we got to focus on the assigned guard.  My partners came close a couple times, but I kept them from passing and paced myself well enough to not gas out. 

Mike and I had a nice discussion after class.  We talked about how everyone is progressing as a whole and the good things coming out of the changes since LBJJC started.  I showed him a tornado guard technique that I saw in a Cyborg video and he seemed impressed with my tornado guard.  Greg joined the conversation and the subject of Leandro Lo came up and how Mike had been modeling a lot of his game around his techniques.  He made the observations that Lo's game was compatible to him since they have very similar body types.  I mentioned that I should find a famous Jiu-Jitsu player with a similar body type to model my game after and they suggested that Cyborg may be him.  So, I will start watching some of his competition videos and see if I can glean some new skills.

WHOYA: October 15th 2012 - Gi

Jerad taught with the theme of armbar from guard.  Coincidentally I had tried to setup a few armbars today but came no where near completing them.  I've been considering various techniques to focus on and this might be one of them.

I also talk a little bit about getting caught in deep half.  This has gotten better lately as I've stopped hanging out in the position so much, hide my arm better and I feel like I have a better understanding of when to sweep and when to abandon it.  It's been an interesting journey through the phases of learning this position and it's far from complete.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Who Am I Supposed to Be? (Wondering Why Part 2)

I've been thinking about writing a post on this topic a lot lately.  This post has taken a while to write and I hope all of my thoughts and feelings come through the way I intend them to.  As many of you know before Jiu-Jitsu I was heavily involved with Hapkido.  This will be a continuation and addressing some topics from the previous post: For those of you wondering why.  Please read that for a little background. 

I considered Hapkido as a defining characteristic of what is me.  I have its Chinese characters tattooed on my chest.  One of the reasons I joined the Marines was because my Hapkido instructor is a former Marine.  I created instructional videos for YouTube and got quite a lot of good feedback.  I remember thinking that I would practice and teach Hapkido for the rest of my life.

Looking back, I was delusional about my skill level.  I honestly thought that I could kick ass if the shit hit the fan, but I had really not been challenging myself for a long time.  I tried, I upped our amount of sparring in class, I practiced as much as I could, I visited other martial arts classes.  Alas, ultimately I needed more advanced training partners and I needed to learn more. 

I have come to the conclusion that in order to be good at a martial art, competition is the most important piece (not the only piece).  In my opinion it's the only way to gain confidence in the techniques that you practice.  This sparks several debates in the martial arts community concerning sport vs self defense and techniques that are unsafe for competition. I'm not trying to solve that debate here, but the more I delve into BJJ the more I think the "dirty" or "deadly" techniques are not worth practicing as much as safe reliable "sport" techniques.  I put that in quotes because almost all of the sporting techniques can be devastating if taken to that level.

I've kept a little Hapkido/Ground Fighting going with a small group of people once a week.  Slowly it has been stripped down to a groundfighting class.  I have mentioned to my training partners that I don't feel confident in many of the Hapkido techniques anymore.

Probably the strangest thing is, I don't feel like I am as good at Hapkido as I am at Jiu-Jitsu.  Putting my 20 years of Hapkido against my 2 years of Jiu-Jitsu should be a given that Hapkido would win.  Sure there are aspects within Hapkido that I don't get in BJJ: Punching, Kicking, Weapons, dealing with self defense type scenarios, etc.  The fact that it covered so much ground is one of the positive aspects I saw in Hapkido. I would also contend that it was one of it's biggest faults.  You have to work really hard to be good at all of these things, and there is really only so much time per class that can be spent on a given topic.  Although, I wouldn't be as good at BJJ if I had started with no martial arts experience.  While it may not sound like it, we did train very hard.  I just think the competition piece was missing.

The most difficult part about all of this is losing the relationship with my Hapkido instructor.  Although, I'm bashing Hapkido here, it has been a positive part of my life.  I felt more confident in myself after I started martial arts.  I had a rough time in junior high school and I started to come out of my shell after martial arts training.  I was interested in martial arts from a very young age, and once I was able to do it I poured my heart and soul into it.  It was my personal activity that I felt like I was good at.  It gave me the confidence to make it through Marine bootcamp, to work at detox and the county jail.  I am my instructor's only Hapkido black belt and me quitting may result in his teachings not being passed on.  I looked up to my instructor and respect him still.  However, I have not had an authentic conversation with him since I started my BJJ training.  This makes me very sad and has been hard to deal with.  In a way it has also allowed me to move on.

My original idea when starting Jiu-Jitsu was to refine pieces of Hapkido through other martial arts.  I'd train ground fighting for a little while and then bring it back.  Maybe I'd find a good place to learn some weapon techniques, train more with Taekwondo or take up some boxing to round myself out.  I'm loving the BJJ culture so much and have high hopes of someday attaining a black belt that I see the prospect of going back to Hapkido very slim. 

I used to be so gung-ho about self defense.  Which others have cautioned my neglect of.  They lecture me about the drawbacks of BJJ being only on the ground and the lack of striking, and what if you have to fight 10 ninjas with glass, dirty needles, and lava on the floor.  Yes it is true that we primarily fight each other on the ground and don't have good answers for fighting multiple people (really what martial art does?).  But, against an untrained person I like to use the quote "The ground is my ocean. I am the shark and most people don't even know how to swim." 

Self defense no longer concerns me.  I'm having fun and love what I'm doing now.  It's the equivalent of human chess.  It challenges my mind and body.  I have friends that I train with that are just as passionate as I am and we challenge ourselves and make each other better.

So, who am I supposed to be?  A Hapkido guy that's dabbling in Jiu-Jitsu?  A Jiu-Jitsu guy that used to do Hapkido?  Do I need to remove this tattoo or add a new one?  Am I forgetting my roots and being disrespectful to my former art and instructor?  At the end of the day I have to do what feels right for me and I couldn't be more satisfied.

October 11th 2013 - Gi (You Shall Not Pass!)

Theme: Retaining Guard

Due to the conversation that Mike and I were having less than 9 hours prior about my guard retention.  Conan decided to go over some concepts and techniques that are useful when your opponent is standing and trying pass your guard.  I really appreciate him focusing a class around something I need to work on!

Luckily Bauer was the only other soul to make it in for the Jiu-Jitsu class during the wee hours of Friday morning.  We went through several concepts of grabbing sleeves and stiff arming to reclaim guard, or directing their head as they attempted to pass, or using de la riva to take the back or keep them at bay and finally using the butterfly hook to get a shin sweep or stretch them out.  We also went over some passes using a combination of sleeve grab and knee grab to get around them and passing the de la riva by getting free of their hooks.

Rolling: One Standing One sitting trying to pass/sweep/submit

We did four minute rounds of one person up and the other down.  I felt pretty good about my passing until my cardio caught up with me.  It was hard work trying to be mobile and get grips and attempt to pass while avoid Bauer's legs.  It seemed like both of us did much better at passing the guard than retaining it.  I tried a lot of the concepts Conan showed us and was able to put some of them into play.  I kept reminding myself to keep getting up and not lay back. 

It was a very productive class that helped solidify that this part of my game needs to be refined.  Which is good because I've been looking for the next thing to focus on. 

WHOYA: October 12th 2012 - Gi

Greg taught and the focus of the class was regaining guard from turtle.  Not my favorite, but I have had some success in preventing guard passes by going to turtle recently.  We did the three basic techniques that I know: Sit-out, granby roll, and sit-out using the shin to regain guard.

 I rolled with Mike, Greg, Fuji, and wrestler Jordan and things haven't changed much since then.  The one true, funny line in reference to Greg from the post was: "I can't tell if I'm doing good against him or if he is just taking it easy on me."

I can't tell if I'm doing good against him or if he is just taking it easy on me.  - See more at: