Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 28th - Gi

Had a great class yesterday with Jerad teaching attacking from back mount.  We started with some basics of the position (where to put the hooks, how to clasp in seat belt, which side to roll to based on the underhook.  Another thing that Jerad brought up which is probably obvious but I haven't heard it brought up before is you need to keep the underhook and then the opposite leg hook to keep control.  If you have the underhook and the leg hook on the same side they can easily turn into you.  From there we focused on choking using rear naked, x-choke, Ezekiel, and finally bow and arrow.

I like partnering with Mike because he tends to find flaws in my techniques.  Sometimes I get a little annoyed with his teaching style because he can be pretty blunt at times, plus my ego.  I just need to keep reminding myself that I still have a lot to learn even with things that I feel like I'm already good at.  My problem last night was with staying tight on his back and keeping close with my seat belt grip.  Normally I don't hold myself that tight to my opponent from the back and even with just drilling Mike was escaping my hooks easily.  So I choked up a bit on my seat belt grip and put my chin in tighter on his shoulder and was able to control him better.  I think I was used to bigger guys and that my hands hook at a certain place in my seat belt, but I think I need to be choking up on everyone from now on.

We did king of the mat at the end of class with guard passing.  There were 3 groups and I was able to pass several times and then defend several times as well.  It seems for me I'm at a skill level where I decisively beat the new people and I decisively get beat by the people more experienced than myself.  Which is probably how it should be.

Jerad and I were the only ones to hang around and roll afterward for open mat.  This was really good for me, besides destroying me, he went over some pointers and a pass that we worked on before.  We discussed knee on belly defense which is something I need to work on a little more. 

I feel like I may be plateauing right now and to overcome it I may need to find an aspect of Jiu-Jitsu to focus on.  So I extend the question to anyone that reads this, send me your suggestions on what specific things I should try to improve?  So if you've rolled with me or watched me roll others and thought, "Josh would be so much better if he improved X" please drop some knowledge on me.

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 27th - No Gi

I got to request that we work on some side control yesterday due to my recent shortcomings in rolling.  As I have posted recently I have been told that I lay on my side and stay there when put into side control.  Mostly what Conan focused on was having us create space and regain guard. 

We did a lot of reps of the basic shrimp and then knee in to guard.  From there we did a couple of sweeps using the scissor sweep position.  We worked on making space when someone was in close in side control by getting our hands inside as a frame to push their chin away.  Another interesting technique we worked on was when one arm was trapped to not allow them to get the other arm free to finish the submission.  This is something that I hadn't thought about and turned out to be an informative exercise.

During open mat I rolled with Adam quite a bit.  He appears to be all about ankle locks now because that's what he got me in several times.  Other than that I did okay. 

I rolled with Wes as well and implemented some stuff that Conan and I talked about before class.  I've been having trouble with the half way back position where I have passed their arm but can't fully get up to take the back.  I relaxed a little more and instead of fighting to get up I allowed him to twist a little more and was able to sweep him into back mount.  I had him in mount another time and he still hasn't learned to keep his arms in and kept pushing up with straight arms so I was able to armbar him.  No worries, I remember having a hard time getting over that myself.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 25th - Open Mat (Nemesis Stalemate)

Made it to the end of open mat yesterday.  Apparently Jerad and Mike had been there quite a while already.  I'm excited to be able to make it to open mat again and not worry as much about getting injured.

I rolled with David first and surprisingly held my own.  I remember a time when I would roll with David and feel completely overwhelmed.  I started in guard and was stuck there for a while.  I had a couple of armbar attempts and took his back for a moment.  He did put me in full guard where he wanted me for a time.  It was very frustrating probably for both of us because he would try every way to get my arm into a place to get a triangle and I would try to keep my posture and keep pulling my arms away.  Eventually he had to go so we left it as a stalemate. 

I rolled with Fuji next and while I caught him with a heel hook at one point I felt dominated at all other times.  I think once I become more comfortable with the turtle position this might help me escape side control but for now I get smashed a lot there with him.  He got me a few times with americanas.

I finished off the session with several rolls with Mike.  He pretty much trounced me as well.  We got into a couple of leg lock battles from 50/50 which I lost.  I get really frustrated with his side mount.  Every Time I try to escape he switches to the other side.  Mike says that I just roll to my side and stay there, so I need to do something about that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 24th - Gi

Conan was busy building what looked like forts out of mats yesterday as we were stretching before class.  It turned out to be more like an obstacle course.  We low crawled under the fort and then jumped over the stack of mats.  We then did some dips and pushups using the mat stacks.  We then started in on some wrestling sit-outs and shooting up and down the floor.  I guess it was only a matter of time before we worked on standup again.  I did what I could and if I did any shooting just used my right knee to the floor.

We then went through shooting to sprawling to sit-out or recapturing the leg with a partner.  So pretty much a whole class on wrestling.  It turned out okay and I didn't go away with any pain.

During open mat I rolled with Erik.  Although he's been away for quite a while his size and experience still make him hard to deal with.  I struggled quite a bit from the bottom at first, had a couple successful reversals and a close omma platta.  I got to side control a couple of times using deep half guard and almost took his back at one point.  I was finally able to get him into another omma platta and with a lot of sliding and movement I finally got him to tap.  I had a huge forearm burn after this, my fingers all cramped up and had to sitout for the remainder of open mat as I stretched my wrist out.  It will be interesting if I roll with him again, as I probably won't get the same move.  While I never felt in trouble I did use too much energy fighting him.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 18th - Open Mat (Unaggressive)

Jerad and Mike were nice enough to hang out for a little while and roll with me.  After submitting Mike with a toe hold in my first role, they took turns dominating me from there.  I had my share of good moments but I spent a lot of time in side control/knee on belly. 

I'm still pretty hesitant to go to my knees, but this is probably my biggest problem and keeps me from being aggressive.  Before I had my injury this is what I was working on.  Trying to wrestle more and get up when I had the opportunity.  Another problem I have is that I want everything to be perfect and not waste any energy.  I don't think it's laziness at least I hope it's not.  I mostly feel like I'm doing it wrong if I use too much energy to do something.  I'll have to think about this.

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 17th - Gi

Nice large class pretty well split with experience yesterday with me falling in the middle.  Ray had us do some partner warm-up stuff with carrying each other up and down the floor, I was partnered with Wes which wasn't that big of a deal, I just wish I could have done the squats at the end in the fireman's carry.  Then we did some Judo fitting in and some throws up and down the floor. 

The Ray broke us up into groups and there seemed to be some confusion as to which group I was supposed to go with but Ray used me to demonstrate an armbar from guard on for the white belts and then let me go play with the senior belts.

Jerad had us do some sweeps from open guard.  The first one was a little difficult for me because I'm not sure about the pressure doing the shin sweep puts on my knee.  I did like the sweep though.  The second (sickle sweep) was more comfortable for me and I liked how it worked.  Next Will sent through the wrestling switch which I am a little shaky on when and how to use it.  I like it but need to know more about its applications.

We did the 8 minute drill next.  I did a full round with Jerad and then a have of one with Mike being the attacker.  I felt pretty good for the most part and I don't really get gassed out anymore during this drill.  My knee was getting fatigued by the end of class but it held up pretty well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 14th - Gi (Invisible Piano)

Got to show off my new gi last night.  Jerad had us work on some gi chokes from guard.  We worked on the cross choke a few different ways and the loop choke.  I've never really felt confident in these types of chokes, it always seems like I don't have my forearm in the right place or there is just enough space for them to get out or wait me out.  The last couple of classes using these chokes have made me want to drill them more and add them to my game.
Invisible Piano Stance

I felt pretty good about the loop choke by the end of class once I figured out it's more about the elbow coming up rather than the hand you feed into the elbow.  Chris and I were killing each others throats after that.

We did king of the mat guard passing from closed guard.  David and I had a couple of good matches.  He wouldn't open his guard for me and eventually swept me with a flower sweep twice.  I've got to figure out an answer for this.  I passed a few people and swept a few.

Jerad and I rolled 3 or 4 times during open mat.  I guess I'm done with my no open mat rule, I don't know?  My knees are doing really well since I started biking and doing some knee extensions and curls during my lunch break at the Y.  There's still something there but no where near as bad.  I was impressed with some of the things that I pulled off against Jerad.  I hit a couple of sweeps and I submitted him with a straight armlock from the top.  He also took me apart when he wanted to passing my half guard whenever he wanted and then knee on belly or north/south side control always hunting for the bow and arrow.  Later he and Mike paid me some compliments and said that he wasn't going to take it easy on me anymore.  Kind of a bitter sweet compliment as I didn't know how much he's been taking it easy on me but cool that he sees me as a threat.

Ken took some pics of me in my new gi.  Apparently I'm making of the "Invisible Piano" stance as Kilgor pointed out on facebook.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 13th - No Gi

Conan taught class yesterday starting out with just myself and Mark.  Mark tried Hapkido out with me several years ago for a short period of time.  He had a good attitude and picked up on a lot of things quickly.  Adam and Wes showed up a little while after the warm-up and we were well into working on armbar from guard. 

We did the basic setup of trapping the arm putting the foot on the hip to help turn and then throwing the leg over.  It puts your skill into perspective seeing someone learn these things for the first time and having to tell their body what to do with every single movement.  Muscle memory is truly amazing.  Conan said something to the effect of "Now that we've shown you how to do it, you will never get it in a fight."  I think he meant we wouldn't get it using that particular basic setup which is true for me.  Usually when/if I get an armbar it's in conjunction with trying other submissions like triangle and omma plata.

Conan went over some real basic defenses for the armbar like putting a hand up to block the leg or turning your head away so you couldn't hook their leg.  We played with that for a bit and then worked on getting the armbar despite their feeble attempts. 

Conan left the four of us to begin open mat and Adam suggested that we do the 8 minute drill.  Which actually turned into a 40 minute drill because we went through once with each person.  I actually wasn't that tired when it was all over.  In each position with Wes and Mark I would escape or submit them a couple of times and then try to coach them after that.  Wes seemed to be getting a little frustrated which is understandable.  I remember those days of not being able to do anything to anybody and I still get my butt whooped by everyone more experienced than me I just do it with more style now.

I rolled with Adam and apparently he wanted an ankle lock badly.  I made sure to go slow and be ready to tap at any given moment.  We were in a leg lock position and he was going for a straight ankle lock but I kept straightening or turning to keep him from getting the angle that he wanted.  Eventually he released his foot that was under my leg to then wrap it around and I seized the opportunity and put him into a reverse heel hook.  It ended quickly and we shook hands and that was it.  Maybe I'm maturing but I thought I would have taken a victory lap after submitting him.  It is not often that I even come close to submitting Adam.

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 10th - Gi

The kimura was the theme of yesterday's class.  After a basic warm-up Conan had us practice the basic technique from guard.  From there we worked against if they defended by grabbing their pants and a few things to do against that like hip heist or moving further down the arm and using your forearm to affect the shoulder more, hard to explain but it's the same same thing just not with the strict grips. 

We got into some more difficult issues like how to pass if you are having the kimura done to you, and then do a farside armbar.  Then we learned how to counter that and roll them over as they go for the armbar.  I did have some issues with the passing and both Mike and Will helped me figure out what I was doing wrong.  I still made some mistakes and Mike was quick to point them out.

I felt like a third wheel during open mat.  I turned down a few offers to roll and just watched and coached a few times.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is going to make me better in the long run.  I did get Will to allow me to drill the over/under pass and troubleshoot it a bit which was nice.

I got my new gi yesterday and it fits perfectly besides the sleeves being a little long.  I'm glad Ray brought his similar gi for me to try on because I was going to go with the smaller size.  I'll post some pictures and a short review of it soon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 7th - Gi

Our regular instructors were absent yesterday so Ken warmed us up and Will ended up teaching the technique portion of class.  Ken did a decent warm-up with the addition of some falls that we haven't done in a while.  I was having some troubles with keeping up due to some pain so I did what I could or stretched while they did some sprints and other running type exercises.

Will had us work on a series from closed guard starting with the x-collar choke.  It's not something that I get very often, usually when I try it I can never get the wrist positions correct.  I worked with Mike on this who really likes these types of chokes and he gave me some pointers.  Next we moved to armbar if they defend the choke.  I worked with Chris and Ken on this and the remaining techniques.  This was Chris's first day back in quite a while and it seemed like his body had forgotten how to do some of the techniques but it was coming back to him.  From there we did the opposite side armbar utilizing the shin if they pulled out the initial armbar.  Finally if that technique failed we went for the triangle.  It was a nice progression, the only thing I would add to it is the omma platta as that is what naturally came to me a few times.

We did the 8 minute drill per my request so I could get some pseudo rolling in.  I worked with Mike and while I did catch him once from the back he completely made me look like a fool in mount and side mount.  I was very impressed by his escaping ability.  Any space that I would give him he'd find a way to sneak a leg in, go inverted or reach some type of butterfly guard.  Some of this was me not being able to use my leg the way I want to but I can't take anything away from Mike's ability.  I don't recall being submitted by Mike, but it's possible it happened.  He kept really good control over me and I didn't escape very often. 

I watched Mike and Will roll during open mat and gritted my teeth when I had to turn down James and Ken when they asked me to roll.  My gi is currently in Wisconsin, hopefully it arrives tomorrow, can't wait!

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 6th - No Gi

Ray warmed us up a bit with some shrimping and inverting exercises, but left when Jerad arrived to go see his brother off.  Jerad had us work on mount which coincidentally I was going to ask for.  It was a position oriented class instead of focusing on submissions.  We worked on getting under their elbows with a couple of techniques similar to arm drags.  We discussed giving them space to turn to setup taking the back and finally we setup the arm triangle from them pushing on your hips. 

We finished class with the 8 minute drill.  I contemplated not participating as this somewhat breaks my no-roll policy.  Since it is very controlled rolling in that we don't switch positions I decided it should be okay as long as I didn't do turtle.  I was partnered up with Tate and from my point of view it was a great match-up for both of us.  I don't think either of us got a submission and we both only had a hand full of escapes but we were very active.

During open mat I worked with Jordan and Stanley with some more mount stuff.  Watched them roll and tried to coach Stan a little bit and give pointers.  It's pretty difficult to coach someone with 3 or 4 classes under their belt.  They don't know the terminology and expend too much energy.  But, I think both of them took something away from the experience. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 3rd - Gi (Project No-Roll)

So I've been mulling over some ways to finally get over this knee injury.  Right when I think I'm getting better and am able to push myself once again, I injure it all over again.  This generally happens while rolling, so the best thing I figure that I can do short of going on another hiatus is to stop rolling for a while.  It's going to kill me, but I think it's the best thing to do to keep my sanity and heal.  The stipulation on when I can return to rolling is when I can do the butterfly stretch or sitting criss-cross without my knee hurting.

Yesterday Conan taught with a theme of guard passing from within the closed guard.  The first one we did was new to me, if the opponent is controlling your sleeves and you can pin a hand to the floor the reach under their back and grab their sleeve.  From their stand-up and shake them off like skinny jeans.  A couple of the other passes used the same skinny jean shake off.

We then went to double under pass which I know and use.  From there we did a single under which I don't use that often except for the over/under pass which is quite a bit different.  The first one was kind of a knee bar or compression on the quad, it was pretty effective.  One of the main things to remember when doing a single leg over type of pass is to position your arm and elbow on the other leg so they can't lock their ankles together or pull your arm into a triangle.  It really sucks when that happens. 

The last pass that we worked on was putting them into a half butterfly and then smashing their thigh to the floor and escaping over the knee.  I use this pass often as well as it compliments my over/under pass position if I can't get under their leg I resort to this pass instead.

During open mat I forced myself to just watch everyone.  David and Will had a really good match that had a lot of back and forth to it and some excitement.  As well as Fuji and Adam had some good moments.  It kind of sucked being a fly on the wall and having to turn people down that asked me to roll.  I have to hold to my convictions though.  Maybe someone will be willing to drill with me during open mat time.

I also tried on Ray's Tatami gi to get an idea of the size I should order.  His A4 fit me pretty well.  So, I went home and ordered the Estilo Premier 3.0 in Navy blue.  Apparently estilo is Spanish for style.  It looks pretty sharp and I can't wait to get it.  I'll post a short review and some pictures after I get it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 1st - Gi

Yesterday was a continuation of Sunday's butterfly guard.  We started out with just lifting them up and then the basic sweep.  We worked with the over and underhook to go for armbar like submissions and then sweep when they fought the submission.  We also worked with the Conan sweep which is kind of a backward butterfly sweep rolling to your side and using the top leg to sweep them backward when they try to pass.

I had a long tough roll with Fuji who was kicking my ass in the beginning.  He went to his spider guard and then lasso and I had to use my posture to keep from getting swept at first but he eventually got me over.  We covered a lot of mat space.  I spent a lot of time in his side control but after a lot of effort I managed to gain guard back.  He unwrapped my gi and tried to brabo choke me with it.  I was able to weather the storm and get on top into his guard.  Skip to somehow I ended up in guard on bottom I went for an omma platta but we got a little stuck there.  I also had several attempts at an reverse armbar but instead of crunching in I was extending my body too much.  We were off the mat at this point and we stopped once Fuji got free and didn't continue after that. 

I rolled with Mike to close the night out and we were fast and furious in the beginning.  We went back and forth with top positions and I through in some deep half once or twice.  I really enjoy this type of rolling because it wasn't the pin down little movement and pressure type of rolling that usually happens with bigger guys, which I can be guilty of especially when I'm tired.  In the end I was in a good position with side control when I felt a little pinch in my knee.  It wasn't that bad but I decided to call it a day instead of continue. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

December 30th - No Gi

Conan gave me the privilege of suggesting our theme of the day.  Since I had worked on some butterfly guard the day before, I suggested that.  I was pleasantly surprised that we did some techniques that I had not done before.

We started with the basic sweep as expected.  We did quite a few reps with this and each technique.  Probably the most uncomfortable is the spinal lock using double unders.  It's very paralyzing and pretty difficult to counter.  We did a similar one around the shoulders which was new to me. 

We switched gears and worked butterfly against a standing opponent.  This required a lot of shin work.  Similar to koala guard we would grab behind the knee and outside shin on their shin.  From there pull them down onto you either sweep or regain full butterfly.  This was also new to me and was pretty fun. 

I rolled with Conan, Jerad and Wes.  Nothing out of the ordinary to report.  I got beaten like I should by Jerad and Conan, and I didn't have too much difficulty with Wes.  I don't think I was ever in any danger with him anyway.  Conan went over some things to improve my side control which was a little difficult to grasp what he was getting at, but I think I got something out of it.