Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 25th 2013 - Gi (Bachweek #7)

It was just as hot and humid as any other day in the past week.  Mike and I had a little warm-up slow rolling which was pretty fun.  After the regular warm-up we worked on the basic reversal from mount and regaining guard from side control as precursors to the 8 minute drill.  I was having a bit of a problem with the side mount but after being told to bridge more and use my arms a little more it came together a lot better.

Mike was my partner for the 8 minute drill.  2 minutes in each position doesn't seem as tough as it once did.  I probably am worst at attacking Mike from the mount.  I don't feel like I can get low enough to take up the space between us.  Side control I did a little better staying close although it was still difficult.  We had quite a battle from back mount where I struggled to get an armbar for quite a while, we rolled around a bit and just when I was straightening his arm the timer went off.  I also rolled with Adam and Stanley.

I think my body is ready for a couple days of rest.  I held together pretty well for this long week despite it being so hot and two classes in a row was both mentally and physically tough.  I iced my knees after every practice and while I did have some discomfort and pain occasionally I never was worried about injuring myself.  One take away is that I'm going to try to up my pace during class.  Knowing that I can somewhat make it through a second class makes me think I can give a little more in a single class.  Greg and I talked about some things I need to improve on and he made that comment that I need to fight for every inch.  I think I get what he means, there are times when I give up when things start to go south and I accept a bad position and reset before I start fighting again.  I need to fight back sooner.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 24th 2013 - Gi (Bachweek #6)

Last night was my final double class of my week without the wife and kids.  They're coming home tomorrow and I'll be very happy to see them.  It's been a long, fun, informative, tough week but I'm ready for things to be back to normal.

Last night ended up being a big guy class with Ray, Adam, Fuji, and Chris.  After our warm-up Greg had us do a few half guard techniques.  The first one was done from the guy on top having the under hook and smashing you.  You reach over their shoulder grab their gi then go for a butterfly hook with the outside leg then pull them back on top squared up.  I can't remember what the other hand does but from there the inside foot bases and bridge and kick them up and switch to full guard.  It was pretty slick.  The second technique was from a better position with the underhook but the guy on top is trying to complete a darce.  From there we grab their sleeve and by their knee with the other hand and then roll under them to a nice sweep.

We trained from half guard after that just rolling with 3 minute rounds and switching top and bottom and then partners.  I rolled with everyone but Ray I think.

I brought an extra gi top again but considered not staying for a second class.  Since Jerad was the only one I decided to stay and Greg was nice enough to take it easy on me.  We worked a self defense technique from a standing guillotine first.  It consisted of monkey pawing the wrist, grabbing the back of their gi over their shoulder and then circling around their legs to the opposite side and then clipping the back of their knee with our thigh for a takedown.  We then did a similar defense from within the guard but we applied downward pressure with the shoulder to make them release.

We talked a little bit about the curriculum and some of the techniques that would be on the blue belt test.  The cross choke came up and I mentioned that I had some problems with it.  So Greg went over that from the guard and I think I have a better understanding of it now.  I would get a good deep grip but I was not bringing them into me and putting my elbow on their chest before securing the other grip.  We then trained guard passing and Jerad smoked me in every possible way from top and bottom. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 22nd 2013 - Open Mat (Batchweek #5)

I'm still bachen it up until Wednesday.  It's been a great experience so far and has given me great respect for people that are able to train several hours a day.  

I rolled with the two Jerads, Bryan, and Bauer.  Greg was there too but we didn't get the opportunity to go.  I went no-gi the whole session.

My rolls with the roommates Jerad and Bryan were very similar.  I mostly played guard and swept when I could but they were both pretty slippery at getting out of my positions.  I should have probably put more pressure on in side control.  I did however switch sides a lot which was working well for me.  I was also able to implement the kimura to help improve my position a few times.  I ended up stalemating quite a bit with both of them but did end up with some armbars eventually.

Bauer and I had our usual battle.  He smashed me well from half guard for quite a while and set up a pretty nice armbar during one of my escape attempts.  Jerad took it to me as usual and setup a really nice darce by tricking me into going to my knees and then locking up his hands.  I've been avoiding that choke from him for a long time, maybe he's picking up some new tricks to set it up.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 20th - Gi/No-Gi (Bachweek #4)

I did it.  Survived 4 days in a row of BJJ for a total of 9 grueling hours on the mats.  I think the training finally caught up to me because this night, although not as hard as the previous nights, kicked my ass. 

The beginner gi class started off as usual with the warm-up.  I found out really quick that my back was raw from gi burn and it hurt every time I bridged.  So I jumped into the locker room and threw a  rash guard on under my gi and felt better but it got a lot hotter.  We worked on escaping side control using the under hook and moving into a single leg.  We took it in chunks again and drilled bridging to tripod individually.  We then partnered up and worked it a little further into the single leg grab.  After several reps of that we completed the take down by either going to the back or sweeping by posting their knee.  We then trained escaping from side control with 2 minute rounds top and bottom. 

Adam was the only addition to the no-gi class and Jerad and Patrick stuck around.  We went through the warm-up again and even though I changed my clothes I still left a snail trail down the floor as I did my shrimps.  We practiced taking the back from the opponent turning away in side control.  This actually wasn't to bad even though I was exhausted.  We added on to the technique by the opponent trying to escape and we would use a butterfly hook and keep the seat belt and then reset to our original back take position.

We trained from the back and partnered up with everyone for 2 minute rounds from top and bottom.  This killed me and there were a few times I felt like I was going to hurl.  Greg allowed me to sit out a bit and cool off in front of our new fan (thank you Jerad!).  Our next drill I'll call the freeze and switch.  We started rolling and then after a minute and a half Greg would call out freeze and one of the people would get out and the next guy would go in and claim whatever position they wanted based on where the previous person was frozen.  After everyone taking the back Greg made the rule that you couldn't copy the previous positions.  Then it got a little more interesting.  I used deep half and crucifix on my turns. 

It was a rough night once I got home.  My stomach was freaking out but I didn't feel like I could hold anything down for a while.  I had to drink water slowly because I was so nauseous.  Laid there and did nothing for quite a while until I felt okay and finally had dinner around 11 pm.  Woke up feeling pretty good though and I've been pounding water all day.  Hopefully resting today will prepare me for tomorrow.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 19th - Gi (BachWeek #3)

What an interesting night.  Greg warned us from the beginning that it was going to be a rough night; it was no lie.  It was good to see Ken in class as it's been a while, although we didn't get the opportunity to train together.  Warm-up and stretching went as usual.  Greg must have still been recovering from being sick because he didn't participate. 

Greg had us think of a personal technique to work on during the warm-up and then we drilled it with a partner for 10 minutes.  I chose the cross-grip to omaplata that I've had some success with and chose Jordan as a partner.  It ended up being quite an ab workout to constantly shoot my hips and legs up into position.  My main focus was getting my arm out from the underhook on their leg to around their waist, so I had Jordan try to step over my head after several reps to make it more difficult.  One thing I learned was if I shrimp away before trying to free my arm it puts the weight on the underhooked leg, this allowed me to free the arm.  So I'd say it was a successful exercise.  Jordan trained kimura from guard and did a couple of setups from hip heist to me just putting my hand on the mat.  He appeared to improve.

Next Greg had us in 2 lines across from each other starting with 5 on each side.  He dropped the bomb of 9 minute rounds of rolling.  We did 3 rounds of 9 minutes then 2 more rounds of 7 minutes.  So 41 minutes of grueling rolling.  I won't go into the specifics of my rolls because I don't remember much.  I rolled with Jordan, Fuji, Patrick twice, and Robert R.  I did my best to pace myself and probably got submitted 2 times.

There were 2 unfortunate accidents that occurred during the class.  Gina and Ken collided heads during a roll and both shed some blood.  Gina had to get some stitches and you can see a picture and read the rest in her blog post.  They were both out for the remainder of the class.  Then during our 3rd round I believe Mike's head ran into Fuji's knee and he also sustained a cut and black eye.  It's very odd for us to have this many injuries in one class.

It's pretty amazing to see the responses to the injuries on Facebook.  The uninitiated friends of Mike and Gina are posting things like "OMG, why do you do jiu jitsu again?" or "Oh Michael smh" (which means "shaking my head", had to look that up).  It sucks that this is there impression of BJJ.  If only they knew what a positive thing this is.  

I seriously considered skipping the beginner class.  I was dead tired, but Jerad threw down the challenge and said that he was going to stay.  Then me deciding to stay guilted Adam into staying.  Greg was nice to those that did both classes and let us skip the warm-up, so Brian did the floor stuff by himself.  The class consisted of the basics of X-guard.  We started off by getting there from a defended butterfly sweep and drilled the entry for quite a while.  I had no concept of time and had to struggle to get off the floor for each technique.  My left knee bothered me a little bit in X so I tried my best to keep it to my good side.  My knees and the rest of my body were bothering me a little bit in general.  I was glad that I brought an extra gi top as it did make a difference in class #2.  We trained butterfly guard with 2 minute rounds and switched top and bottom. 

When I got home I was dead to the world and it took me a while to get something to eat but I felt better after that.  I considered not going to class today, but I woke up feeling great and refreshed so I'm going to see the week through with both classes tonight.  I welcome a day off Friday though.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 18th - Gi (Bachweek #2)

Another hot and humid day at Lincoln BJJ.  It turned out that Greg had gotten violently sick the night before so he had Jerad teach class last night. 

Jerad had us focus on the standing guard break to bullfighter pass that we recently worked on.  We took the pass in small chunks which is perfect for learning/perfecting a technique.  We worked on the grab and push the sleeve first with the stand-up to posture.  Next we added in the break and getting good position, and finally we added the pass.  We also isolated the pass by itself for some extra work on the bullfighter.  Bauer was my partner for this exercise.

We moved on to king of the mat starting from closed guard.  I did pretty well against most people, but Mike is an animal from closed guard.  At least against me he seemed to have an answer for everything I tried.  My goto has been to do the armpit grab and sit way back and low, he took complete advantage of that where most would allow me to stand-up and work the knee in he took a higher guard than I would have liked and armbarred me.  I'll have to figure out what I did wrong.

We did a couple rounds of free rolling and I ended up with Bauer first.  He must have been wiped out because he allowed me to do a lot of things he doesn't normally.  Kudos to him for sticking it out instead of quitting but I'm not going to count any of those submissions against our vendetta.  I rolled with new guy Brian next and he caught me in a pretty good triangle.  That shouldn't happen.  I kept calm and defended it properly and eventually he let it go, but good on him for going for it.  Other than that I took it pretty easy and tried to work on things I'm not good at.

With 2 days in the books I'm looking forward to 2 classes tonight.  I'm prepared with 2 gi tops, one for each class.  Water consumption is going well, and I'm actually not bothered by drinking so much.  I do need to take care of my fingers tonight, as they are a little sore from gi grabs.  I'm going to have to tape them up a little better.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 17th - Gi (Bachweek #1)

My wife took off with the kids and left me.  Don't worry she just took them to her dad's for a little vacation.  So, I'm bachen it up for the week and plan to train Jiu-Jitsu as much as possible.  It started off with a double header of advanced and beginner classes.

Advanced: 10 or 11 people showed up for class including Robert Rojas who I haven't seen in a while.  We did a regular warm-up with the addition of the Homer shoulder walk.  Hand stand walking is getting easier and my wrists didn't hurt afterwards like usual.  Neck exercises also seem to be getting easier to handle.

The technique of the day was the over/under pass.  Probably considered my goto pass from kneeling.  It can be deceptive to someone unfamiliar with it as they often think that they are setting up for a triangle until I'm in side control.  Of course I have a problem passing my betters with this pass.  Mike helped quite a bit tightening the technique up.  He's so small and low to the ground that it was difficult to get good position on him sometimes, but I felt more confident in the pass at the end of drilling.  Greg added a contingency leg drag if the pass wasn't a success which I think will be a great addition to my game if I can remember to do it.

During king of the mat I spent was able to pass a couple of times and had some really close calls.  I was even able to setup my cross grab to omaplata on Ray but ended up not being able to sweep or submit and getting passed.  I may need some brush up instruction on this technique.  After each round I felt like a hot mess.  Humidity was getting to me again but I think my increased water intake might have helped a little bit.

Beginner: I was pretty out of it for this class.  The warm-up was especially difficult; I could barely shrimp down the floor due to sweating so much and not being able to get traction in my sweat trail.  We trained some hip throws and then taking mount from reverse kesa side control.  I worked with Adam for pretty much the whole class.  Then we did a few rounds of position rolling starting from side control.  For sure on Wednesday I'm going to bring an extra gi as it was pretty gross once it was soaked.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 15th - Open Mat (Hydration)

Highlights from Open mat Saturday:

Jerad: Started off on top with Jerad attacking as much as I could while it lasted.  I feel like I did a great job passing and keeping away from his stiff arm reversal, but I couldn't seem to set anything up sufficiently and eventually got swept.  We rolled a couple times and he submitted me both times.

Robert: It's been a little frustrating dealing with Robert the last couple times.  While I seem to get to the positions that I want to, I am unable to finish.  I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong with the RNC, because I can't seem to dig it in deep enough.  If I feel like it is, he's able to attack my other hand as I try to hook up to my bicep.  So, there's room for improvement there.

Ray: I know he's been trying to improve his standing passes and I'm happy to be the dummy for that.  I don't recall too much more of our match.

Greg: I feel like I'm getting worse instead of better going up against Greg lately.  It seemed like his goal during this particular roll was to go for back mount over and over again.  And, he did.  If I prevented that then he went to mount or side mount and then got back after that.  It was pretty ridiculous.

It was very humid Saturday which didn't help.  My Gi was soaked and I felt pretty wiped out.  We got on the topic of hydration as I was struggling to get changed.  I actually thought I was drinking plenty of water per day but apparently not.  So I'm more than doubling my intake and it seems like I've tripled my bathroom visits for the day.  In fact, typing that made me have to go again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 13th - No Gi

Kind of a small class last night for no-gi, not too many stayed after the beginner class.  It was cool to see some new guys training when I arrived.  I'm looking forward to our school growing and I'm excited to get in on the ground floor.

After our warm-up we worked on a wrestling take-down that resembled an ankle pick.  We started this from a collar tie grip and then get them to bend over by going to your knees.  From there we lifted their ankle and pushed them to their butt and then prepare for guard passing.  Bauer and I worked together on this.  I didn't have any problems with it, but I was a little hesitant to practice it. 

The meat and potatoes of the class was the armdrag from butterfly guard.  I've worked on this quite a bit so it felt pretty natural for me on both sides.  From there we also did a couple of responses to someone defending the armdrag.  The first was if they push you to your back which puts them into a position to butterfly sweep them.  The second was where they lift their leg, we would then kick our way into x-guard. 

For the end of class we rolled with 7 minute rounds and everyone in class partnered with everyone else.  So 28 minutes of rolling amongst the 5 of us.  I feel like I did pretty well.  Got submitted 2 or 3 times.  Bauer and I neutralized each other and had a good back and forth.  I watched Jordan do a great job of maintaining and recovering guard against Bauer, he's really progressing.  I also had to work hard to pass his guard.  Mike caught me with a slick armbar early but after we continued I was able to take his back for a while but I didn't have my hooks in.  I held onto his back for a good portion of the rest of our roll but wasn't able to finish anything.  I kind of took Greg's back as well but as soon as he rolled I ended up in kneebar danger that I had to escape from.  After that Greg put on a clinic of attacking the guillotine choke to taking side mount to attacking the guillotine to avoid my half guard to taking mount and then start over. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 11th - Gi (Spent)

It was a rough night last night.  It was a little humid when we got started so I was already sweating a little.  Mike showed me a spider guard variation that was used in the Metamoris event which eventually turned into some light rolling.  We went right into warm-up and stretching after that.  I'm starting to get used to the neck exercises which I dreaded before.

The theme of the class was the guard recovery technique from side control that I mentioned in last Thursday's post. So everyone can thank me or hate me for all of the times that we drilled it.  The technique is performed when there is a little space before the top person has sunk into side control.  You shrimp out slightly and then go for an armbar and your other knee slides across their belly.  From their you recapture guard by bringing your leg to the other side of their head and then making space to bring your other leg around into guard or triangle.

First we worked on it as a defense where we would reset each time and perform the escape.  Then Greg had us treat it as an ongoing drill to escape and then the top person tries to pass on the other side and we would then do the technique on the other side rinse and repeat.  This got to be pretty difficult.  I didn't have too much problem with the bottom except for my timing probably not being perfect.  However, the top killed me.  It was very knee intensive with a lot of movement around my partner's legs.  We did this drill 2 times with 2-3 (it felt like a long time) minute rounds.

Then we did king of the mat, with a new caveat.  If you swept or submitted your opponent from guard, before your next partner you had to do push-ups.  Then the push-ups multiplied starting with 5 the first time and then 10 the next until you reached 25.  So it was a way to test the kings a little bit more and it seemed to work.  I ended up having to do a total of 10 push-ups.  I believe Jerad and Mike also completed some push-ups, but Greg took the cake by reaching the 25 and ultimately completing 75 push-ups.  I was probably quite a sight at the end.  My gi was soaked through with sweat and I could barely move.  I didn't quit but I wanted to a couple of times.

There was a point when the new guy (Brian?) had me in a weird kind of crucifix situation.  Pride took over a little bit and I didn't allow him to get a better position.  Now if it had been Adam or someone else better than me I might have just gave up and accepted the perceived inevitable outcome.  Probably need to restructure my thinking in these situations or else I'm always going to make it easier on my betters and we can't have that.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 8th - Open Mat

A good crowd of Greg, Conan, Jerad, Ray, Fuji, and Robert were in attendance at open mat yesterday.  Not too much out of the ordinary to report.  I'll sum it up with the highlights per roller.

Fuji: He pulled guard both times we rolled and I was able to do some standing passes.  I then struggled to try and submit him using brabo grips and attempted the new choke Jerad showed me last week.  During that time I had to make sure he didn't get up through a combination of cross facing and switching sides.  He inevitably got me over and smashed me and submitted me, but I feel like I did a little better than usual before that.

Conan: He started off playing possum and let me try to pass his guard like usual.  Eventually he got bored with me trying to submit him and swept and submitted me. 

Robert: We had quite the battle.  I was wearing a gi and he was in shorts and a t-shirt, so I started off with a little disadvantage that way, but he did a good job of avoiding gi grips.  I had him a couple of times from back mount but he did a good job of defending chokes.  I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't finish from the back.  

Greg: I really didn't have anything for Greg.  He pulled off the reverse dlr back take that turned into a sweep and then side control and mount.  There are so many times that I try things that work on other people but Greg has a better answer for.  I've just got to tighten up my game.  We also drilled a spider guard pass but I was pretty wiped at this time and didn't complete as many reps as he did.

I didn't get a chance to roll with Jerad or Ray, they seemed preoccupied with each other for most of the session.

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 6th - No Gi (Thanks to the Newbies)

Once again I had to sit through the end of the beginner gi class and watch while everyone had fun training.  Apparently it was the largest class so far, from memory there had to be at least 14 students.  They finished the class with up/down/out guard passing.  For only an hour class everyone seemed to get a pretty good workout.

We had our regular warm-up and I feel like I improved a bit with the hand walking.  I'm at least going in the right direction now.  The technique of the class was north/south choke which is one of the few techniques I consider my own.  I made a few improvements working my bicep into the choke a little more.  Adam seems to be my go to partner lately when we are both in class and we choked the crap out of each other over and over again.  The second part to the technique was if they tried to roll away and escape we would convert it to a modified tight guillotine choke.  This was awesome especially if you could take it all the way to guard.

We trained starting from side control and then rolling from there for 3 minutes, then we switched who was on top and went another 3 minutes.  I rolled with Greg, Mike, Roland, Adam, Bauer, and Robert.  Adding that up 36 minutes of good rolling went by fast.

I came to the realization last night that I'm thankful for all of the new guys that have been coming in.  My teammates that are better than me make me better by putting the pressure on me and submitting me over and over again.  The new guys allow me to work on new things.  I can practice something and screw it up and then reset and try again.  The catch is that I don't want to always smash them and use my "A" game.  To utilize their full potential I usually try to do what we worked on in class or something I'm not good at but want to be.  Lately I've been mimicking Greg's game a little by trying to setup guillotines from top half guard as well as do some fancy foot work.  I also pulled off a couple north/south chokes last night.

I picked up a new side control escape yesterday that I hadn't worked on previously but I've had it done to me a lot.  It's basically making a little bit of space and then fitting your knee in between and kicking your leg over for an armbar.  If you get the armbar, great!  If not you should be able to shrimp away into butterfly or open guard.  I know it's pretty basic but I think it's something that will work well my other escapes.

My ribs are still sore from Tuesday.  It's more of a muscle thing not a cartilage or bone problem so I'll get over it, but it made it uncomfortable to get to sleep last night.  I've been working on a new website idea with the help of Greg.  It will be a repetition tracker where students can log their reps of certain techniques.  I'll post more about it soon and ask for thoughts on what to include in the site.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 4th - Gi (Dig Deep)

Last night was quite a class.  Warm-up and stretching as per usual.   We've been finishing the warm-up with hand stand walking down the floor lately and I've been getting better at it.  Sometimes it's a little tough to go forward but I'm learning how to balance myself better.  My wrists ache a little bit after it and I'm not sure what that's about.

The focus of the class was on the knee slide pass.  Greg demonstrated it with more details than I'm used to.  I usually like to do it exclusively with an underhook but he had us start from open guard and get a good lapel grip and then work our way to the knee slide position and put pressure on their hip with our elbow.  I had a little trouble making my body get low and use my knees the way they are supposed to.  Mostly from habit and a little fear, but I'm not having any pain so I should just get over it.  I worked with Mike and new Jerad through this version and then we did the half guard tripod to knee slide which did use the underhook.

After that we trained hard.  Greg had us partner up in 4 groups.  I was designated to play butterfly guard, while the others in my row Fuji: spider, Adam: half, and Mike: closed guards.  We did 3 minute rounds of trying to sweep or pass and then the other row would rotate.  So I got a lot of butterfly guard practice.  I was amazed at how many basic butterfly sweeps I was able to complete.  I just kept going for the underhook, head under their chin and then overhook the other arm.  Once I got there I could complete it.  There were a few times I had to go to the other side and just switch my overhook.  It worked great until I was sitting across from Greg, then it all stopped worked.  After we went through the whole row, we switched sides and now I was the guard passer against the different types of guards.  As Greg suggested, I tried my best to incorporate the knee slide where I could.  I also did a few half guard side pass (I don't know what it's called but I use it a lot).

After all of that I was dragging ass.  I had to really dig deep to complete my last 3 minute round with Greg and then we did 10 reps of a sweep of our choice.  I thought I was going to lose my dinner, but I made it through despite moving a little slow to reset for each new rep.  I haven't felt this way for a good while.  It was like my body didn't want to cooperate with my mind.

Greg, Mike, and I talked about a lot of things after class.  From how to learn new techniques in Jiu-Jitsu to college experiences to politics.  It was quite informative but I was a little out of it and didn't contribute much.  One positive to last night was my knees did not ache like they usually do after class.  They actually felt strong and normal!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 1st - Open Mat

I know I say this a lot, but you have no idea how excited I get before going to Jiu-Jitsu class.  I could almost describe myself as giddy, but I won't.  It must seem pretty weird for people that don't do Jiu-Jitsu to read my blog because it probably seem like I'm getting beaten all the time and never have the satisfaction of winning.

I actually do a lot of thinking about that.  How can I get better more efficiently?  Should I focus on one technique or a group of techniques, or just hang back and keep my head down while I trudge on class after class?  There is no perfect answer, but I know I am getting better and due to my recent injury I'm just enjoying the process of recovering and improving.  My major focus right now is preparing for a visit from Tinguina (Greg's instructor), who will be here some time in July for a testing and seminar. So fundamentals are on my mind.

I rolled with everyone that was there: Eddie, David M, Jerad, Fuji, Ray, Bauer, and Adam.  I don't think I'm forgetting anyone.  I had some good moments and some bad.  I won't go into any details, but it was a great session with some great training partners.