Friday, May 31, 2013

May 30th 2013 - No-Gi

Walked in on the last 15 minutes of the beginner class.  It looked like they were drilling a triangle setup from guard.  Oh, how I wanted to throw my gi on and train with everyone but I got some good stretch time in while watching them train.

For no-gi after the regular warm-up and stretching we also drilled the triangle but from the SW (Shawn Williams) guard.  We talked a little about defending ground and pound and how this guard will allow you to control your opponent's posture as well as keep them from effectively punching you and then setting up the triangle or omaplata.  I worked with Adam on this and we were both having a little trouble with the initial setup of getting up and bracing ourselves before pulling them into the SW guard.  Otherwise everything else about the technique worked great.  I did feel some fatigue in my knees while practicing this mostly because Adam is pretty heavy and I had to spend a lot of time on my knees while he worked the setup.  I kept stretching though in between reps and took a few breaks.  I'm probably overreacting a little bit but I want to make sure I don't re-aggravate anything and stay healthy.  The felt much smoother with the technique when we switched to omaplata, triangles have always been difficult especially against Adam.

We trained guard passing from closed guard king of the mat style.  I'm at a little bit of a loss for effective passes that work for me in no-gi.  I may have to go back to YouTube and research some viable options.  I think leg drag is where it's going to be at, so I'll start there.  I rolled with Jerad after class and had one shining moment in deep half but made the mistake of not hiding my inside hand.  Something I should already know to do but Mike informed me about it later and we delved into deep half a little bit more. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 28th - Gi

It was dark and cloudy but also hot and humid last night.  I was sweating before class even started.  Jerad and I also slow rolled a bit before Greg had us go through the warm-up. Before the technique portion of the class we did a few minutes of fitting in with a throw of our choice.  I chose to do the sacrifice shoulder throw which is a little difficult to do as a fit-in.

The theme of the class was collar chokes from the back.  Starting with the basic cross choke which I have some problems finishing.  I got it right a couple of times but still don't have full confidence in it.  Then we moved on to the bow and arrow which is one of my favorite techniques and probably my highest percentage in the gi.  I worked with Mike and Roland on the technique and some variations on how to get it.  Greg showed us an entry into the bow and arrow from standing but I didn't feel I was ready to try it or have it tried on me.  We also did a variation that was an add on to a couple of weeks ago where we trapped the arm first in back mount, that's getting added to my repertoire.

We trained with partners from the back with 2 minute rounds.  I had some good escapes and a couple of submissions.  I'm especially proud of catching Jerad with an Ezekiel choke, but he got me back later with an arm triangle.  When we were finished Greg showed us some pointers to help defend against the arm triangle.

I rolled with Mike and Roland from the knees to finish out the class.  Mike was all over me like usual and we ended up in an awkward donkey mount at one point and neither of us could get out.  I eventually had him in a reverse triangle but couldn't finish it.  With Roland I tried to focus on getting to the back and working set-ups to the bow and arrow.  I really love that technique.

After class my gi felt several pounds heavier from sweat, it felt good to shed it.  I really love the cord style draw strings in my new gis, they are so easy to loosen when my gi is soaked.  We chilled for a while after class, it seemed like everyone was pretty warn out.  Greg mentioned that he liked seeing everyone trying new things while rolling instead of just playing safe.  That's definitely been the philosophy that I've been trying to implement.  The only way I'm going to get better at new techniques is if I keep trying to incorporate them into my game.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 25th 2013 - Open Mat

Here I am, writing this 3 days after open mat took place.  I remember rolling with Fuji, Jerad, Greg, Adam, Claire, and Bryan.  Here are some of the highlights:

Fuji: Started off letting me be on top.  Was able to pass his spider guard and then used his gi lapel around his shoulder to hold him down for a while until he swept me and returned the favor of choking me with my lapel. 

Jerad: I bum rushed him and passed his guard and went right for a north-south choke when he just wanted to warm-up slow roll.  Whoops.  He handed me my ass after that several times.

Greg: I rolled the wrong way to escape an omaplata, I should have known better.  Continuously get caught in his spider to x-guard move.

Bryan: Took his back a couple of times and then worked with him on some basic back escapes.  Demonstrated the bow and arrow choke for him a couple of times.

Claire: She seemed pretty rusty but stronger than she was before.  She asked a lot of good questions about what she should have done in certain situations.  I saw her implement the x-guard after being showed it once against Adam.  Good to have her back.

Adam: Played a little guard in the beginning but eventually he smothered me in side control.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 23rd 2013 - No-Gi

It makes me a little sad when I show up to Jiu-Jitsu while the beginner class is going on and I am not a part of it.  I just have to remind myself that I have a family and I am fortunate to be able to attend as many classes as I do.

Conan and I slow rolled a little before class started.  He was definitely taking it easy on me and just playing guard and messing around with his butterfly hook game that he likes to play.  It was a good way to practice guard passing though so I'm not complaining. 

The theme of the class was the Kimura starting from side control.  Conan, Chris and I took turns getting our arms wrenched.  I had two problems with this technique, the first was that my arms seem too short sometimes and I would often not be able to lock up the figure 4, and the other was stepping the leg over their head when they tried to defend it with their arm. 

We rolled from our knees with 5 minute rounds and switched partners.  I actually transitioned into x-guard against Greg although it was short lived and he passed it easily.  This felt great because Greg likes to use this position himself and previously this position would hurt my knee and I didn't have any pain being there.  I think if I had gotten a hold of his ankle I might have been able to have done something with it.

After class Greg and I discussed some no-gi guard passing and he showed me some options with leg dragging and what to do from the over/under position.  And, I feel even more overwhelmed with the things that I know that I don't know and the things that I don't.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 21st 2013 - Gi (Requires Drilling)

Greg had us work on the bullfighter pass last night.  I've been lucking out lately as we've been doing the techniques that I've been wanting to work on, except for that day we did turtle.  Like most guard passing classes we start off with breaking the guard open.  The technique we used was to grab the sleeve and two lapels with a straight arm and then standup.  From there, switch sleeve hands and break the guard by pushing just below their knee.  This is the number one thing I picked up yesterday, instead of grabbing on top of the knee I needed to grab below the knee so there wasn't much play in the pants and I could push on the shin, that made the technique so much easier.
From there we did the bullfighter part.  I'm noticeably better on my right side than my left.  I felt pretty good with my timing of pushing and then moving to the side and slipping in to knee on belly.  Adam and I worked together for most of the day and he really whipped me around with the bullfighter motion.

We did up/down/out guard passing with three groups.  Our only stipulation was to only use standing passes.  I utilized the new guys to their full potential last night as I got to work through some things that I wouldn't have got to try with the more advanced guys.  I was able to use some of the passes from the videos that I've been studying lately as well as a few bullfighter passes.  I was especially impressed with how well the Leandro Lo's face crank pass was working for me.  It's something that I'm going to keep drilling and try to perfect.

These sessions have seemed a lot longer lately than they were at the old dojo.  I felt like a cold was coming on yesterday before class and questioned if I should go in to class or not.  I'm glad I went but as soon as I changed out of my gi all of my powers were lost.  During our after class discussion we got onto the topic of relating Jiu-Jitsu to having a girlfriend/wife, those of you that were there know the punchline. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 18th - Open Mat

I really should write these posts right after class because I've probably forgotten a lot of what happened.  My goal for the weekend was to get some practice with guard passing above all else.  Which worked out well because Jerad and Ray both played guard and gave me a chance to do some standing passing.  I attempted to incorporate a lot of what I learned from the youtube videos I've been watching.  Mostly keeping my elbows connected to my knees, keeping one foot in front, and then side stepping and using my grips to push their knees the other way.  I felt like my timing improved and that I wasn't as much of a spaz trying to pass as I usually am.

Another thing that improved was my confidence in my knees.  Part of standing passing requires knee bending and changing directions to pin their leg with my shin or knee slide to complete the pass.  I really didn't feel any discomfort and later that day I felt pretty good instead of my leg feeling fatigued.

I got a chance to roll with Conan, Jerad, Bauer, and Ray.  I got submitted by everyone to varying degrees, but I feel great about the improvements that I made to my guard passing.  I think I'm going to continue on this way, taking a piece of Jiu-Jitsu and work on it for a while. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 16th 2013 - No-Gi

Was very excited to make it to class last night.  I have researched guard passing videos for the past two days and wanted to see if I could apply any of the concepts that I learned.  Easier said than done, especially since a lot of what I was studying depends on having a gi, but also because it's difficult to learn things from videos.

Fortuitously Greg taught guard passing as our theme for class.  We did two passes using the same guard break of hands on the biceps, standing up and then fitting the knee into their guard to kneel and then open it up.  From there it was underhook and knee slide.  One pointer that Greg gave me was I needed to put my head down on the floor on the opposite side of my underhook.  Then if they were to block that path we'd go over the other leg and keep the guard open by bringing the knee up.  From there we had 3 different paths of just pulling the leg out, a double knee slide (not sure how to describe it), and windshield wiper.

We rolled to finish off the class.  I trained with Adam, Jordan, Mike, and Greg.  I had fun with everyone, except Adam crushed me a bit and kept me in side control/north south for quite a while.  Mike also gave me a lot of trouble as we spent most of the time in his guard and nothing that I tried worked.  I did change a few things though which I think helped.  I made sure to connect my elbows and knees a little more to prevent an arm getting isolated.  Mike said that I need to get in close if I'm going to pass his guard.  I was able to get to deep half on Greg but not do anything with it, other than that he mounted me the rest of the time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 14th 2013 - Gi (Ninja class)

Everyone except Greg and Jordan were wearing black gis last night; it probably looked like ninja class to anyone walking by.  Greg added a new exercise to our warm-up, it was like a half Homer Simpson walk on one shoulder and then rolling to the other shoulder all the way down the floor.  It was pretty good for keeping pressure while in side mount or passing. 

The theme of the class was passing the closed guard with the double under pass.  We started out with breaking the guard open using the double lapel grab along with the pants grab then turning sideways.  If that didn't work we would grab the pants with both hands and step back again.  From either of these spots we would pull the elbows in to get double under grips on the belt and then pulling them onto our thighs.  From here to complete the pass we used our exercise from earlier to put pressure on their legs while walking around into side control position.  One key thing that I took away from this is how important it is to keep your elbows tight to their legs otherwise they will be able to counter the pass by grabbing your sleeves.

We trained from the closed guard with king of the mat.  Greg and Adam were crowned kings as they spent a majority of the time out there.  I felt like I was pretty close a couple times with Adam, but eventually he was able to get to his knees and I don't have an answer to his wrestling from that position.  My goto was the armpit grip to standup and try to shake them off or pass from there.  Greg and Jerad swept me a couple of times.  Greg really frustrates me with his spider guard and more people are starting to use it as well.  I rolled with Gina at the end of class and she noticed that I was doing my best not to crush her.  Greg showed her a cool way to remove my grip on her pants with kind of an RNC motion and grabbing the gi.  I will be adding this to my repertoire.  After that she was able to effectively use spider guard on me as well.

I am diverting my attention to the study of passing the guard and finding answers to the spider guard.  I watched a few videos last night and I'm going to continue to immerse myself with videos and drilling until I understand it a little better and become a true guard passing ninja.

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 11th 2013 - Open Mat (Mike's Advice Corner)

Showed up to find Bauer at the school already Saturday morning.  It's been a quite a while since we rolled together and I was confident that I would tap him out.  I ended up being wrong.  I got stuck on the bottom both times we rolled and couldn't do anything from half guard.  I was using too much strength which was not the thing to do against him.  He ended up submitting me twice with americanas.  It was no big deal to lose but I was surprised that before we started that I had the feeling that I would defeat him easily.  I may have to reassess my attitude.

After that I rolled with Greg, Mike, Jerad, and a couple of visitors.  I was noticeably slow and felt a little fatigued.  I think the strength that I used against Bauer might have had something to do with that; I also haven't been sleeping very well lately.  I got some deep halfguard pointers from Greg and some standing pass pointers from Mike.  Maybe I should have a weekly section called Mike's advice corner or something.

This week on Mike's advice corner we talk about not reaching out for knee pants grips when attempting a standing pass.  Keep your arms in and elbow on your knees then move your body in until you can get your grips.  If you don't you will most likely get caught in spider guard or de la riva or some combination of the two.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 9th - Gi and No-Gi (Aches)

For better or for worse I got the chance to attend both classes last night.  Of course it was more better than worse, but I felt like a zombie at the party afterwards.

The first class was a gi beginner class.  Dave Ossian joined us after taking 2 years off from martial arts.  He also brought a buddy and we were joined by another David that I've seen around at tournaments and the dojo.  The beginner class wasn't much different than an advanced class, we just did less exercises and reps during the warm-up.  The focus of the class was on the turtle position.  We worked on regaining guard using a forward roll first to give an idea of the position, then we worked on pulling them into side or back mount.  The turtle still isn't my favorite position, I can't get as low as I want to and that is important for defense in this position.  At the end of class we drilled the position with both people trying to get to a better position.

Switched to no-gi and started the process over again.  Shrimping is actually easier in no-gi, but 2 sets of neck exercises is exceedingly tough.  I got to show off my handstand ability before class, I knew trying to learn capoeira on my own would come in handy someday. 

During the technique portion we focused on back mount with one escape and some ways to complete the RNC.  The escape was new to me and specifically for no-gi.  We would shrimp downward and break the seat belt grip, free a leg, and then put both of our arms under one of their hooks.  This would turn into a slick double unders pass.  For the attack portion we first worked on trapping one leg.  This was really awesome as it was a different way than I was used to.  We would grab the knife edge with the underhook hand instead of the wrist and then use the overhook arm to push their arm under our leg.  This left our overhooking arm totally free to do the choke.  Then we worked on some nasty stuff like using our knuckles and a forearm flick to get under their jaw. 

We trained from the position and I had quite a few successful defenses.  It must be my wide shoulders that helps keep me from getting choked.  However, I didn't have as much success attacking.  Regardless of the outcome,

We had a fun little get together at Lazlo's afterwards.  Both old and new Jiu-Jitsu practitioners were in attendance.  Unfortunately there were also some missing.  Conan was doing his best to talk some of the former members to come back.  Eventually the group dwindled down and we had a nice discussion until closing.  I did my best to keep it together as I was tired and aching from class.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 7th 2013 - Gi

Was really excited to go to class last night.  It was a hell of a workout throughout.  Warmed up with shrimping and rolling down the floor followed by some abs and neck exercises. 

For the main portion of the class we worked from guard on the concept of pendulum sweeps.  I felt like I was doing pretty well with this as this sweep is something that I already incorporate into my game.  Although I usually only do it if I have the giftwrap.  We set this up by wrapping their gi around their back instead.  Then we load them up onto our legs and make a huge armbar motion and then sweep the leg back and use the momentum to rock them over.  I ended up practicing this with Adam and Patrick as there was an odd number of students. 

We followed that up with two submissions.  The armbar which was difficult for us big guys to get our leg around their head from the pendulum position.  Then we worked on a collar/darce/arm triangle choke thingy which was really cool.  I had it demonstrated on me several times and almost went out because it was so tight.  We used the gi around the back to switch to a cross grip then pull their elbow across and bury it under our bicep.  From their we just pull down on our head making a very tight choke.

We spent the rest of the class with training guard passing up/down/out.  It really kicked my ass and it seemed like everyone got pretty tired.  One cool thing that happened was I pulled off a cross grip to omaplata on Greg which I wasn't able to finish or sweep but it seemed to surprise him and he gave me some kudos afterwards.  I had a lot of problems with Jerad in my guard standing up and then leg dragging me.  Greg gave me three options of going to dlr (de la riva) or reverse dlr or spider guard.  I am in the process of researching dlr as I don't know much to do from there.

I love that we stretch now after class.  I think that it is going to help a lot as workouts get harder.  Regardless I felt so wasted after class last night.  Went home and had a big glass of chocolate milk and vegged out for a while with my ice packs and feet up.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 4th - Open Mat (Jiu-Jitsu Jealousy)

I am so glad that I went to open mat this morning.  I rolled with Jerad (new guy), Jerad, Mike, Caesar, and Greg.  There were a couple of other guys like Eddie, Ray and Patrick that I never got the chance to roll with.

I felt really good for the most part, but didn't spend too much time on top with anyone.  Mike was very nice by avoiding leg locks on me.  In our third match he dominated me from the top and shared some advice with me after that.  I was spending too much time on my side not doing anything when I was on the bottom.  He suggested that when I attempt to regain guard and don't get it to go back to my back, this would help prevent people from switching sides and taking my back.  It made a lot of sense and something that I hadn't considered or actually thought was wrong.  Cool.

With Greg, I'm still perplexed by the way he can prevent guard with his shin movement.  We talked a bit about it after he submitted me a couple of times and it's something that I'll need to study him doing in the future.  We went over the over/under pass in no-gi a bit too.  We both agreed that it's not the best pass for no-gi as it's difficult to keep their hips under control.

I've been thinking a lot lately about a term I heard not too long ago on Reddit.  I think I have a case of Jiu-Jitsu jealousy.  With all of the classes I've missed and with all of the classes that are offered now that I cannot attend, I'm envious of my fellow classmates that are able to train more than me.  I already felt behind the curve as I've been trying to catch up with the other guys' skill levels.  I know full well that I should make this a personal journey and measure my progress against myself, which I do.  However, there is also a friendly competitive element within BJJ and everyone is trying to get better and help everyone else get better.  Regardless I need to just keep reminding myself I should be thankful that I can train again...period.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 2nd - No-Gi (Intelligently Lazy)

I was a little bummed that I showed up late to class last night.  I got confused by Tuesday starting at 8, but Thursdays start at 7:30, so I won't make that mistake again.  My current plan is to attend Tuesdays and Thursday advanced no-gi although I would like to attend a few beginner classes before the blue belt testing this summer.

Last night was fantastic.  I still have a little swelling which makes it uncomfortable to be on my knees but otherwise I'm good to go.  I missed out on the entire warm-up but got right into the main portion of the class where Greg taught butterfly sweep.  While I feel like I'm already pretty good at this, it seems like I always learn something new.  I guess my head position is still not always proper because Greg reminded me to use my forehead instead of the top of my head.  I had a few pains when I was being swept but it felt good to perform the sweep myself.  We did the sweep using an overhook next and I was impressed to see how Greg taught this.  He was very honest in saying that he knows how he does it but hasn't taught it often enough to know how to relay all of the information.  I've had to deal with this problem when I have taught in the past and honesty is definitely the right way to work through it.

We drilled up/down/out from the butterfly guard.  I took it pretty easy to make sure I didn't injure myself.  I still have some questions of how ready I am.  Whenever I could I'd keep my left knee off the ground.  I did pretty well considering.  My cardio does feel lacking in this new environment. 

I free rolled with Will and Jordan.  It seems like Greg is making all of the match-ups for rolling.  I may ask him sometime what he takes into consideration when he decides who rolls with who.  I'm sure size and skill weigh heavily, but beyond that I can only speculate.  I stayed on my back and spent quite a bit of time in bottom side control defending with both of them.  I had a few sweeps and reversals eventually but I didn't feel like I wanted to be on top too much at that point.

We had some good discussions after class related to Facebook, politics, and Jiu-Jitsu stories.  A quote from Greg came up that we should strive to be "Intelligently lazy" in our Jiu-Jitsu.  I've heard something like this before about martial arts in general.  It basically means we are trying to make our technique and strategies so efficient that we don't waste energy when fighting. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April 30th - Gi (Try Outs)

Yesterday was my first day training at LBJJC (Lincoln Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Center).  Although, I'm not 100% and can't do everything yet I was happy with everything I could do.  The warm-up turned out to be rather difficult for me.  We went up and down the floor with falling, rolling, hip escapes, alligator walk, etc.  It was a combination of trying out my knee and feeling a little out of shape from all of this inactivity.

For the technique portion of class Greg made the comment that the Tuesday class would be about getting everyone up to speed on the blue belt curriculum.  So, very basic but also very informative as there are always little bits of information that you can pick up about the basics.  Jerad was my partner for the training portion of the class.  First we did some fitting in and a few hip throws. 

The next techniques were the armbar and triangle from closed guard.  The part of these techniques that clicked a little more for me was the emphasis that he put on hugging their body with the leg of the foot that is pushing on their hip.  This helps prevent them pulling their arm out and keeps everything much tighter.  I didn't have any problems from guard with either technique but having the technique done to me was a little on comfortable kneeling in guard.  I eventually put my foot on the floor to relieve the pressure.

Everyone else drilled guard passing king of the mat style.  I decided to sit out and watch.  I saw some really great things going on and it made me so jealous to not take part but I'm just happy to be able to attend class.  After king of the mat they did some 6 minute free rolling, for which I sat out of the first round.  However, Jerad #2 had to leave so I was able to roll with Gina lightly during round 2.  That felt pretty good, thanks Gina!