Friday, August 30, 2013

August 29th 2013 - No Gi

Greg was going away for the weekend so Conan took over class. I partnered up with Mike to do some pummeling drills before getting into some ground techniques.  The first technique we worked on was regaining butterfly guard from a bad half guard position.  It took a little doing to get the first butterfly hook in.  Once the hook is in we push the hips and rock the body up to allow the other hook to get in. 

The second technique that we worked on was a bread cutter from side mount.  I actually don't like this technique very much.  It sucks to have it done to me and it's a technique that I haven't quite figured out yet.  It felt a little better today, but I'm not ready to add it into my arsenal.

We did up/down/out guard passing starting from butterfly guard.  I had some good moments in guard, a few deep half sweeps and some good scrambles.  From top I had a few issues attempting passes.  Both Mike and Adam were able to grab my leg and put me into a leg lock position.  It was mostly due to attempting the hip switch pass but putting my leg close enough to be grabbed.  Later Conan and Mike helped me figure out that I was putting too much pressure into my opponent instead of hunkering back, I was thinking about it all wrong. 

We did some 4 minute round free rolling to finish out the class.  I ended up going with Will, Mike, Henry, Adam, and Conan.  I got submitted a few times and dealt out a few of my own submissions.  Some good training was had.

I did a check against my blog labels to compare who I've been instructed by the most.  Conan is still ahead with 85 then Greg with 70 then Jerad with 59 and Ray with 23.  I've attended 179 gi classes, 73 no-gi, and 83 open mats. It seems like a lot of classes, but I know I'm just scraping the surface of Jiu-Jitsu.  I'm excited to see what another 335 classes will bring. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 27th 2013 - Gi

Felt great about class tonight.  Greg had us fill out a sheet to select our preferred times of the upcoming morning and lunch time classes. I can't wait!  Worked on a few spider guard things with Adam and slow rolled with Jerad for a bit.  We had 3 female visitors check out classes tonight.  It seemed like they got along fine and hopefully will return.

After our warm-up, the theme for the class was guard break and passing.  We used our standard straight arm double lapel grip to kneeling sideways to break the guard.  I ended up working with Adam as usual.  He is the one that asks me usually mostly because I'm the closest to his size most nights.  Blue belt Jerad joined us for some reps later on.  We switched to the inside collar grip and then cross choke if they defended the pass.  We had a little trouble getting under the jaw at first, but the more they turned in to defend the sweep the deeper the choke got.

We did up/down/out/passing/sweep/submit from the closed guard.  We had enough students to do 4 groups at once.  I feel like I did really well, and I don't believe I was passed during the session, although there were a few people I didn't get the pleasure of rolling with that could have passed.

After class I showed a couple of the guys my omaplata sweep and gave some of my finer points with it away.  Later Greg shared some funny Jiu-Jitsu stories from the past, sorry nothing I'll repeat here.  Mike and I talked a little about the differences I've noticed being a blue belt.  I haven't given it too much thought.  The only thing I could really think to say was that it felt good to be a part of the small group of blue belts at our school.  Thinking about it more now, I think there is a little bit of pressure to perform at a higher level in class.  I want to make the white belts work and earn any pass/sweep/submission they get on me.  I don't think my ego will be bruised if any of those happen, but I do feel like I've stepped up my game a little bit. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

August 24th 2013 - Open Mat

Had a great morning of tapping frequently.  It was worth every minute.

Mo: He seemed to be focused on the arm-drag.  It's cool to witness someone adopting a new technique as their own.  I gave him a few pointers and helped him with it.  I also did it to him a few times.  My goal in the roll was to work on the RNC that we did Thursday with the arm trap.  So, the armdrag to back take and the RNC worked well together.

Conan: I did some good things right away and surprised him with an omaplata.  Amazingly he got out of it and put me in side control which is where I spent most of the time with him.  After getting put in the americana several times we discussed side control escapes and that I should be bridging more and attempting the knee in to regain guard.  I all but abandoned that escape since my knees were injured.  So I have decided to add it back in and focus on it for a while.  While it didn't work for me today it actually helped my other escapes work a little better.  

Jerad: I was on top for a while in the beginning and even thought I was going to get a north/south choke, but he escaped and I don't think I used very much offensive techniques after that.  I spent some time defending his mount, but I can't really recall how he submitted me but I'm pretty sure it was twice.

Greg: I'm starting to see a pattern when I roll with Greg, he always takes my back and chokes me.  Sure he beats me other ways too.  I think he got me with a couple armbars today as well.  He especially loves to take the back though because I've witnessed him pass-up other perfectly good submissions from mount and side mount to take the back.  My best defense was occasionally I was able to reach deep half guard, and while I was able to finish one sweep, he regained guard right away.  One position that I need an answer for is the half x-guard.  Because he is always putting me there. 

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to roll with Fuji, Claire, Ray, or Henry.  I didn't really have a chance to, I hardly rested and when I did, everyone else was occupied.

Probably the best part of the session was that Jerad and Greg complimented my guard passing.  It did feel strong today.  I can only describe it as feeling like I always saw several options and could transition between those options when one of them failed.  I tried the hip switch pass several times but it's still not working for me, but I'll get it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 22nd 2013 - No Gi (It's a Trap)

In terms of how I felt, tonight couldn't have been more different than Tuesday.  I had a lot more energy and didn't feel as concerned about hurting myself.  I went to the doctor earlier today and after some x-rays and discussion we decided to wait and see.  One option was a cortisone shot, but I didn't feel that I needed it at the time.  If it does reoccur then a shot or an MRI might be in order.  She said to use heat before workouts and then keep icing afterwards.

Looked like the theme of the beginners class was the half guard and I was a little jealous that I missed it.  It was a good size class as well.  In between classes I asked Adam to drill the hip switch guard pass from butterfly guard.  I had a few problems with it, but I'll keep working on it. 

The theme of the class was the RNC from back mount.  We used the method of trapping their arm with our leg and then completing the choke. The worst part about the technique is the forearm grind under the jaw when they don't cooperate.  It's just automatic for me to put my chin down when the choke starts happening, which isn't conducive to practicing the choke.  I had to mentally keep myself from defending in this way to make it more comfortable.  In order to deal with the jaw problem we added a hand switch and then pulled back on their forehead to get the choke.  Once again, I felt like we had the opportunity to do enough reps.  Working on 6+ techniques in one class has become a thing of the past.

For training we did 2 minute rounds from back mount both top and bottom with each partner.  We ended up training with everyone in class (7).  It went as I expected, having trouble with the people that I normally have trouble with.  I tried my best to observe how people escaped and the things that I could do better.  I was having a little trouble getting caught in the arm triangle so I watched Greg escape and prevent it, and got some ideas on elbow movement from that.  All in all a productive class.

I found a Star Wars Admiral Ackbar toy that I had when I was a kid.  I presented it to Greg as our school mascot since we are all so fond of the admiral's catch phrase.  "It's a Trap!" works so well when you finally realize the submission that your opponent has setup all too late in the game.  We were trying to figure out someway to work it into our school logo without being sued.  Greg also handed out some school flyers for us to distribute.  I've already posted one at work. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 20th 2013 - Gi

It's been a full week since my last post and the lack of BJJ has been getting me down.  Last Thursday, when I woke up and got out of bed, I wasn't able to put weight on my right leg.  I had massive pain in the back of my knee.  I was able to hobble along and make it to work but any extension or weight baring was excruciating.  The next day it was a little better but the pain kept me up the night before.  I called in sick on Friday and spent most the day in bed with my legs up. 

With some online searching it's possible I may have a bakers cyst.  I've self diagnosed myself improperly in the past before so I made an appointment with my orthopedist this Thursday.  I may request an MRI to make sure that I don't have a torn meniscus in my right knee as well.  Although I don't have any reoccurring pain in my right knee, it was the original one to get hurt and it hasn't been completely the same since then.

Regardless I felt pretty good this evening and I had conducted my Sunday class as well with no issues.  Before class I drilled the standing guard break with white belt Jerad; he gave me a little resistance which made for good training.  Greg ran us through the regular warm-up with a few butt-scooting additions.  We followed that up with some throw fit-ins using the three white belt throws for 5 minutes.  I worked with Adam on this and for the rest of the techniques.

The technique of the day was the hook sweep from butterfly guard.  We started with our knees wide and hands close in between with the intent to hand-fight our way into a good position with an underhook.  From there it was the basic sweep.  Adam and I did a lot of reps and that combined with the humidity wore me out pretty good.  The second technique was a knee check if they postured way back to prevent the sweep.  I had a little trouble getting up on this one.  It was a little difficult for me to get up, but with changing my body angle and going with Adam's pull back I was able to complete it a couple of times.

King of the mat from butterfly was next.  It didn't feel like my night, however blue Jerad was on fire.  He swept me with the hook sweep probably 3 or 4 times.  It was pretty disappointing but also informative.  Maybe I need to rep this technique more and figure out what he figured out.  Most of the battle is won with the underhook, the rest is snatching their arm so they can't prevent the sweep.  I had a few good moments but mostly I felt off.

We finished up the class with some free rolling.  I went up against Jerad and Adam.  They both dominated me from the top.  Jerad submitted me with a baseball bat choke and then we rolled a little bit more until the time ran out.  Adam didn't submit me but he did grind into me with crossfaces quite a bit.  My goal was to take everything in stride and not try to use strength.  It actually paid off a bit as I was able to regain half guard quite easily from a mistake that Adam made by windshield wipering to his other leg.

Even though I didn't feel like a performed well, I was still happy to be able to train.  My knees feel a little worn out but a little ice and relaxation and a good nights rest should do the trick.  I've got a lot of classes ahead of me to improve.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 13th 2013 - Gi

 I slow rolled, sort of, with Bauer before class to get the blood pumping.  I wanted to drill something but couldn't think of what.  At the start of class, Greg made the comment that it would be a difficult training session.  Announcing something like this actually makes me relax a little more and try to go with the flow, worrying about it won't help.  We did the normal warm-up with the addition of a push-up ladder to 7 and resting in the plank position.  We then worked on the double leg takedown with removing a collar grip first with a downward elbow movement.  I worked with Mohamed on this and the techniques that followed.

We did a couple escapes from side control starting with the basic bridge to knee across belly to guard recovery.  I had to coach Mo a little on putting enough pressure down from top and then on hip movement from the bottom.  It looked like he improved with this technique quite a bit.  We then went over the tripod to single leg escape which I still have trouble with.  Greg mentioned during the instruction that we may need to scoot down after getting the underhook to have the room to tripod, which did help.  I can do it fine alone, but with a partner I have trouble keeping my head and shoulder on the ground.

We did king of the mat next, with the king starting in bottom side control.  Not a great place to start from.  Mike and Adam dominated the session.  Although Bauer, Claire and I were kings for a little while as well.  I thought I was doing well against Adam but every time I think I'm about to get somewhere, he's able to get to his knees and single leg me.  Mike is tough for different reasons.  His flexibility and prowess in inverting doesn't allow for people to leave much space.  He's also so low to the ground and wirey that it's difficult to keep pressure on him. 

We did two rounds of rolling after that.  I went with Air Force Brian first and took it pretty easy.  I probably should have been a little more aggressive because he did pass my guard in the beginning.  I was able to regain half guard and eventually somewhat sweep and work to his back.  I was working on a bow and arrow choke when the time ended.  Adam and I went next and I was already pretty tired.  He submitted me with the Rickson choke that I was attempting on Bauer earlier but was unable to complete. 

After class, Mike drilled some single leg defenses on me, although I felt a little like crap and probably wasn't the best partner.  I asked about completing the Rickson choke and got some pointers from Greg and Mike.  It turned out to be an issue with how I'm setting it up and not keeping pressure on the opponent's arm.  I think I'm going to focus on this technique for a while as I'm seeing opportunities for it lately and it goes nicely with my north/south game.

Mo seemed a little discouraged and asked why techniques weren't working for him.  If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'd know that I've had my ups and downs with BJJ and it taken time to gain confidence in my abilities.  We all tried to assure him that if he would stick with it, he'll see improvement and it's supposed to be difficult.  I told him, that in a couple of months when some new guys come in he'll definitely see his practice pay off. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 10th 2013 - Open Mat

I was excited to get to open mat since I had to skip Thursday and otherwise haven't been doing as much BJJ lately.  My ringworm from Tuesday  is no longer contagious according to the websites I read but I'm still applying my medication and I taped my feet up.  I made sure to let anyone know that was rolling with me that I did have it and no one seemed to mind.

I rolled with the new guy, Phil, first.  He did seem to know some basics so it wasn't a complete slaughter.  I tried to work technique as much as I could with an emphasis on guard passing no-gi. 

I rolled with Ray next.  He let me get away with some things in the beginning but he usually ended up on top in side control or mount and he felt exceptionally heavy today.  I did a couple of things well, I had him in turtle for a little while and attempted to use the judo turnover and was almost was able to take his back.  He ended up submitting me with a straight ankle lock, a kimura, a calf crusher and a modified cradle that stretched me out pretty good. 

Will and I had a pretty long roll.  It started out with him being a little more aggressive than me.  He was able to keep me at bay with a good collar grip from butterfly guard.  I wasn't able to pass and in an effort to avoid a loop choke he ended up sweeping me.  I spent some time in side control but was able to regain half guard.  Somehow I was able to get back on top and eventually made my own series of attacks.  Attempting north/south choke, kimura, and far side armbar.

I felt a little sick after that and sat out for a little while.  Maybe my lack of activity and bad diet lately caught up with me.  After cooling down in front of the fan and sipping some water I felt a little better, but it got a little iffy there for a while.

Mike kept me at bay similar to Will with that stupid collar grip.  He didn't have a hard time passing my guard which was a little discouraging.  He stuffed all of my side control escape attempts and eventually took my back after switching side to side over and over.  As I tried to escape the back mount to one side I allowed him to setup the arm-triangle and finish me.  We talked about breaking collar grips and he showed me how to press the opponent's hand to weaken their grip.  Good information and something that I haven't been using.  

It seemed like Greg's goal to deal with me was to take my back and then dig his fist into my chin.  Before that I did at least one good thing in getting to deep half guard, although I didn't finish a sweep.  He finished me twice from the back and then once with a monoplata/wrist lock, which I wasn't familiar with. 

All in all a good day of training.  I'm going to practice more of the grip breaking and incorporate that into my game.  It's definitely something I'm lacking answers for.  I also need to review the technique from the seminar and start working on some of them.  Finally, I've been making progress with my reps website hopefully I'll have something to show within the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 6th 2013 - Gi (Being That Guy)

Tonight I was that guy that came to class with some form of ring worm and I'm pissed at myself for it.  I did notice some redness on the top of my foot but didn't really think that I would have ringworm.  It's said to be very contagious and can spread through a gym relatively easily.  So I hope I haven't spread it to anyone else.  I trained for a little bit before Greg noticed it and then I taped my feet up.

After our warm-up we did some shoulder throws with fitting in and then finishing the throw.  After that we worked on armbar from the guard.  I didn't have any real issues with this except I'd forget to place my hand on the collar sometimes, my habit previously was to underhook the leg, so I have to get over that.  We worked on the guillotine from guard following that.  Adam and I took turns choking each other, which is always fun. I did have issues remembering to put my leg up around the body to prevent escape.

Greg suggested I sit out of king of the mat and I agreed with.  It sucked but I just watched.  I saw some good things from the new guys especially Brian.  He did a lot of twisting to prevent some sweeps.  He had some good battles with Adam and Mike.  I witnessed some of other new guys picking up on some things as well.  There were quite a few hip heists being completed, so much so that Mike, Greg, and Jerad gave some pointers about posture in the guard after class.  

I stopped by Walgreens on my way home and got some anti-fungal cream.  I applied it as well as some spray that I have as soon as I got home.  Hopefully that will take care of this issue.  I have been missing some good training lately.

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 1st 2013 - Gi (Just Visiting)

Just returned from our family vacation in Chicago.  I found a school relatively close to my brother in law's place, Randori Jiu-Jitsu.  My wife had our whole week planned out to visit the aquarium, Legoland, and a few museums so the only class I could attend was their Thursday 6 AM class.  For some reason Google did not want to cooperate and gave poor directions.  Finally after driving down the road a little further I found the school with the huge Jiu-Jitsu sign above the door.  Even though I was 10 minutes late I decided to go in anyway and maybe I could at least watch.  However, they were very welcoming and after filling out a waiver form and jumping into my gi I was out on the mats with everyone else.

There were only 4 of us.  A brown belt instructor, Troy, and two white belt men.  They appeared to be working on open guard with a cross collar grip like we had just worked on in Tinguinha's seminar.  Then after I stretched a bit I was included in the class as we started to work some basic spider guard.  Quite a coincidence that the 2 things we worked on I had just practiced in a seminar.

Troy seemed to be feeling me out and trying to determine if I was a dick.  I gave some spider guard tips to the guy I was working with and did my best not to overstep my bounds.  Troy demonstrated the remainder of the techniques on me and then we took turns working with the white belts.  We worked on some good things but it was a little bit of a hodgepodge.  We did a standing guard pass drill, and then some high mount in to taking the back and the bow and arrow choke. 

Then we rolled with five minute rounds.  Troy rolled with me first probably to make sure I didn't have bad intentions.  It was a good idea and a sign of a decent instructor, as you can't be sure if a visitor is coming in to hurt people.  He pulled guard on me and he kept a really good collar grip as I tried to fight off his sweep attempts.  I stayed low and tried to keep my base.  I wasn't able to pass his guard or fight off his grips and eventually he took my back.  I defended for a while but eventually he tapped me with a bow and arrow. 

The white belts didn't really cause me any grief, they were both pretty new.  I pulled guard on the bigger guy and he fell into my omaplata sweep trap and then setup a farside armbar from there.  The other guy was still on his first week of training and he had to quit because he was gassed.

Afterwards we talked a little about the school and other students.  Everyone gave me the compliment that I felt very heavy.  They invited me to come back and were a little disappointed that I wouldn't be a regular.  The bigger guy said he travels to Nebraska often for work and may be able to stop into our school some time, very cool if that happens.  We discussed a little MMA as well, but I'm not very up to date lately.  It was great to get some BJJ in while on vacation and I will most likely go back there the next time we visit family.