Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26th 2013 - No Gi (In a Haze)

Theme: Takedowns, Drilling, Conditioning

Tonight was not one of my finest moments.  I woke up this morning with a head cold and a little bit of a sore throat.  I felt better throughout the day and thought that I might be okay to attend class. 

We did 10 fit-ins for double legs, single legs, and then our choice from a collar tie.  After that we did fought for the takedown.  My wrestling is poor compared to everyone else in attendance and not to mention my feeling of weakness from my head cold.  It was pretty frustrating, but it's all the more reason to keep working on it. 

Greg had us pick what we wanted to drill and had us go to it for 7 minutes.  Adam chose the half guard sweep we did the other day and I chose the leg drag again.  I was having a little more success on my right side than the other but finally figured out that I was putting the incorrect knee down.


During free rolling I tried my best not to over exert myself.  I was able to do that with everyone except Henry.  I gassed out after dominating for a little while, but my body decided I was done once he mounted me.  I should have just defended like I had done with everyone else but maybe this was a little ego coming out.  I felt pretty good just defending with everyone else.  I kept my arms in tight and threatened half guard when I could.  I spent most of the time in side control.  Greg had everyone start out in side control so I did play a little offense, but it never lasted very long.  Man, I need to learn how to do that.

I've decided not to make the trek into class tomorrow morning and get some rest.

WHOYA: September 26th 2012 - Morning Open

Sounds like it was a pretty good session for me.  I was able to pull off some decent techniques and transitions against Ken and James who have more experience than me.  I make mention of not being able to wait until I was completely healed.  If only I had known that I would require surgery.  But it goes to show that I was still improving at least a little bit at a time while injured.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 24th 2013 - Gi Noon and Evening

Noon Beginner Class

Theme: Scissor Sweep

I was surprised by the turnout this morning.  Fuji, Jordan, Sara, and Kori were all in attendance. The technique was to secure a collar and sleeve grip and then attempt the sweep.  From there we added the cross collar choke, which I've always had trouble with.  Ultimately the problem was how I twisted my forearm, I was using the flat part more than the blade like I should have been.

Training: Pass/Sweep/Submit from Closed guard

I trained with Fuji, Jordan, and Kori.  I felt pretty good about my technique and completed a flower sweep, tried some spider guard, and some leg drags.  Unfortunately the class only lasts for an hour which seems to go by way too quickly.

Evening All Levels Class

Theme: Half Guard

I partnered up with Adam and Will.  One thing that stuck out for me was the diamond starting position.  I was putting my hands in the right place, but I wasn't nearly framing my elbows enough to keep the crossface or underhook at bay.  We worked on getting the underhook and taking the back and then replacing the guard if they blocked the back take. 

We also worked on passing the half guard by getting the underhook and putting our head down on the other side, then do the skinny jeans shake until the knee is free.  I had some problems with this until Greg pointed out that the more I stepped my foot up and straightened my leg the easier it was.  That solves that recurring problem for me.  I just had to think about it a different way. 

Training: King of the Mat and Free Rolling

We did KOTM from half guard starting with the diamond posture.  I actually became king and held the position for a while.  I had great rolls with everyone.  I ended up getting a side stitch after a good exchange with Mike.  I had a couple over/under pass completions as well as being able to recover full guard a couple times.

Greg partnered me up with Henry to roll with.  I started off in guard and did my best to sweep and/or submit.  I felt pretty wiped at this point but I wasn't going to make it easy on Henry, so I did my best to overcome the stitch.

WHOYA: September 24th 2012 - Gi (Counter the Counters)

Conan taught Omaplata counters in this class.  However, I don't think I had taken much of a shining to the technique at this point.  It looks like I did quite a bit of free rolling getting my butt kicked by Mike, Conan, and Ken.  Not sure if I can glean much more from this post.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 21st 2013 - Open Mat

My little Jiu-Jitsu Guys
I took my boys to kids class this morning and they ended up being the only ones in attendance. They still had a blast.  Greg and Jerad had them do some animal walking (shrimping, crab, bear, scorpion).  Jace was doing great at shrimping, I was very impressed.  They also played games like foot tag and another game called sumo wrestling.  Finally they worked on the hip bump sweep, which may have been a little too difficult, but eventually they got the gist of it.

I showed up again later for open mat.  It didn't turn out to be my day, as I spent almost all of my time on the bottom.  I rolled with Ray, Greg, and Mike and didn't do much with any of them in the way of offense.  Ray was very difficult to deal with as usual, he puts on a lot of pressure and doesn't let up.  Greg was very different and much more fun to roll with, he allows me to move and always seems to be springing a trap for me.  Mike had my number yesterday.  At one time I thought we were on equal ground, but his technique has exceeded my size advantage as of late.  He mentioned that I need to get more escapes from mount and side mount in my repertoire because I try the same few over and over.

The whole session brought me down a little bit.  I didn't really feel like did anything particularly well, which is different from the way I feel after class lately.  I have to remind myself that Jiu-Jitsu is a marathon and I'm in it for the long haul.  I'll have good and bad days, but I just need to keep moving forward.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20th 2013 - Gi (Start the morning off right with half guard)

Just myself and Bryan attended the first 6 AM class.  After the regular warm-up stuff we did some throw fit-ins with o-soto gari and shoulder throw. 

Theme: Half Guard

As usual I feel like I got a good number of reps in with each technique that we worked on.  We did taking the back, recapturing guard, and what Greg referred to as Gordo sweep #1.  The last one was the reaching deep under their shin, then exchange hands grabbing around their leg and sweeping to side control.  I have always had a little trouble with the last part of this technique.  I have a problem figuring out the angle that allows my hand to reach their foot.  This used to be one of my go to moves but it hasn't worked well for me in quite a while.

Greg joined us for training in the half guard after that.  Bryan hasn't had much experience with this position, but I think now that he's gotten a feel for it that may start playing with it.  Of course this is just going off of my own personal experience since I fell in love with the position for a while.  The hardest part of Greg's half guard was dealing with his knee shield.  I don't have a good answer for that yet.

All in all, the class was worth getting up for.  The only bad thing about it was, having to sit in a meeting room the rest of the work day.  

WHOYA: September 20th 2012 - Gi

Apparently this was the first and one of a very few times that I worked on berimbolo.  I've dabbled with it a little, but I've never been able to encorporate it into a real roll.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19th - No Gi (Time Flies)

Drilling: Leg Drag

Greg had us do 8 minutes a piece of drilling a technique of our choice.  This must be why it felt like the class went by so fast.  Who better to practice leg drags with than Jerad, as he gave me a lot of pointers.  By the end I felt smoother with the technique, mission accomplished.  Greg said we are going to do this a lot more and I approve, I just need to have some go to techniques on hand.

Theme: Triangle from Side Mount

This was a brand new technique to me, which hasn't happened in while.  I actually thought that it wasn't a possibility from side mount but the set-up turned out to be quite slick.  We would trap the near side arm in our hip and then threaten mount with a knee on belly.  If they blocked the knee on belly with the other hand, then we would grab it like a kimura and swing our leg around like a mounted triangle.  From there I usually practiced the armbar option, which I can't wait to try on someone that wasn't there for the class.

We trained from side control for a couple rounds.  I went with Jerad and then Adam, who were both frustrating, but in a good way.  We did free rolling after that where my partners were Greg and Henry.   

WHOYA: September 19th 2012 - Morning Open

The thing that really stands out from this post is this phrase: "Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a loop though and keep going to the same techniques over and over."  I no longer experience this but remember the feeling.  I'm not sure if it's an illusion and I just have more options now to repeat or if that was a natural phase in BJJ.

Got to call it a night.  I'm looking forward to the first 6 am class.
Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a loop though and keep going to the same techniques over and over. - See more at:
Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a loop though and keep going to the same techniques over and over. - See more at:
Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a loop though and keep going to the same techniques over and over. - See more at:
Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a loop though and keep going to the same techniques over and over. - See more at:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 17th - Gi (Got My Reps In)

The first Tuesday noon class was today and it was a pleasure to attend. The only downside to the noon class is that I don't have enough time or the means to shower afterwards.  However, it's an awesome break from the workday.

My boys also participated in their first kids class.  They ended up being the only kids there but they had a good time.  Greg got them interested by playing a foot tag game that tricked kids into learning the basics of how to shoot.  They also worked on some shrimping, rolling, and mount escapes.  They are excited about the next class on Wednesday, so we'll see where this goes.

Noon Theme: Sweeps against an opponent standing in guard

Greg was finishing up a private class with a perspective student when I arrived.  Fuji was already there and we worked on some spider guard stuff until class started.  Fuji and I ended up being the only ones who attended.  We did some stand-up fit-ins with hip throw and Osoto Gari.  I'm glad we only did fit-ins because Fuji's Osoto Gari is brutal.

We did two sweeps from someone standing in guard.  First a double ankle grab and putting our knees together and bridging into them.  From there we pin their leg, grab the lapel and work our way around one side in a circle to mount.  The second technique was the sickle sweep.  We drilled both techniques for several minutes each.


We did two 3 minute rounds attempting to pass the guard with a stand-up pass.  I didn't fair too well especially from the bottom.  He was pretty much killing my guard.  I did get one omaplata sweep. 

Evening Theme: Sweeps against an opponent standing in guard

We ended up working on the same techniques from the noon class with one addition.  Adam was my partner.  We did a simpler version of the sickle sweep by just blocking the back of the knee and pushing on the hip with the other leg.  My usual difficulty with these types of sweeps is pulling my legs back at the right time to get the momentum to come up, but I think I did pretty well today.


We did up/down/out with guard passing from open guard standing.  I felt pretty good about my performance here as I was even able to hit a modified sickle sweep with some help from my spider guard.  There were quite a few new people in attendance, so I tried my best to work the techniques that we worked on during class as usual. 

WHOYA: September 17th 2012 - Gi

It was one of the few classes where Will was the teacher.  He had us work on Shawn William's guard which is something I don't explore too often.  We also did a king of the mat and I rolled with Will.  I complain about my knee a bit which was pretty common.

At the end of the post, there's a little bit about the desire to get my blue belt.  I talk about how things would change and not change.  All in all, I think the attaining of the blue belt has been a good experience for me.  I'm right where I should be.  I feel like I represent the school well when new people or visitors come in and I'm feeling confident in taking my game to the next level.  There is a little bit of an overwhelmed feeling of how much I could be working on, but I know the best way to focus on little chunks.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 14th 2013 - Open Mat

My goal was to work on deep half guard today and I was able to get some practice in with it. I also have been working on a way to bridge that I heard about on a podcast from a Rickson Gracie black belt.  Basically you bridge straight up and then turn you head.  It seemed to really help today.

Free Rolling:

Brian: I felt like I had really good control of Brian today.  However, I wasn't ever in a position to go to deep half, I was on top most of the time and prevented his escapes.  Watching him improve though inspires me to keep on the ball and progress.

Adam:  I need to come up with a new strategy when facing Adam.  For now he starts off our rolls in butterfly guard until he can do some type of sweep and end up on top and then grind me out in side control until he can set something up.  My only real hope is to pass his guard before any of that happens.  Today he submitted me with what seemed like a combination of the Rickson choke and a brabo grip.  It was pretty surprising to both of us, how well it worked. 

Henry: I stayed as relaxed as I could against him.  I payed for it a couple times as he was able to pass my guard and put me into side control.  I made a few attempts at deep half, but ended up having to defend a kimura from foolishly leaving my arm dangling.  We went back and forth several times with my new bridge method helping regain guard. 

Greg: It's getting more and more fun rolling with Greg.  While I most definitely lose every time, I am allowed to move and try things and he plays off of my mistakes more than trying to force me into something.  He submitted me with an americana, which Fuji made fun of me for, and an armbar that he set up with an underhook that I gave him. 

Jerad: Today, I felt completely owned by him.  My guard retention is what really bothers me.  It doesn't seem like I have any good answers for his guard passing.  He set me up with a funky armbar after I made a miscalculation with my deep half guard 


Greg asked me if I would drill with him and of course my answer was yes.  He and I did several reps with a spider guard pass.  Greg ran a timer on his phone to determine when we would switch.  The technique was to bring your elbows close together and pull them so they can sit up.  Then circle one hand around and get a controlling grip on the pants, then A couple of things occurred.  I got really sore in my back and neck.  This technique required a lot of bent knee squatting movements.  Then being in the spider guard, even though I tried my best not to, I was probably pulling too hard because my fingers were screaming.

Greg also did some reps with a single x-guard setup.  This hurt my shins a little bit, but was very cool.  Instead of doing some reps with this I asked for some pointers on my deep half and did some reps with that sweep.  More drilling needs to be done.

WHOYA: September 13th 2012 - Gi

My knee was bothering me during this class and working on butterfly guard didn't help.  It's great to be healthy now.  Mike taught the cross choke from mount which I have used a little bit, but I think it's something I can revisit as I usually go for armlock submissions from mount but when that isn't available the back-up should be some type of choke.  It's funny because I remember this class well as I had just bought a new gi.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 12th 2013 - No Gi (Conditioning)

Theme: Conditioning and Takedowns

It was a unique class tonight.  There was no instruction time followed by drilling, just a lot of movement and drilling.  We started with a shuttle run type of exercises where we sprinted across the mat and then do a takedowns on people waiting on the other side.  We did double legs, hip throw, single leg, and knee tap.  We then did double leg to fire carry across the mat and collar tie to back take and carry across the mat. 

Next we did standing grappling with everyone as a partner.  I felt like I had a little paralysis from analysis.  I was so worried about defending that I didn't attack or press the action like I should have.  Next time we do this, I'm going to forget about not wanting to lose and try to overwhelm my opponent with attacks.  I will probably get taken down more times than not, but it's going to be the best way to get better.  The other problem I had was that I gassed out.  Probably a combination of the previous exercise and my lack of confidence in my stand-up.  Mike stressed that I need to keep my front hand down more in no-gi, which I wasn't aware of but makes perfect sense.  The one technique that did work for me was the sacrifice throw that I've been working on. 

After that we drilled knee slide pass, leg drag, and leg drag to side control.  All things I enjoy drilling and need improvement in. 

We finished the class with 2 rounds of 4 minute free rolling.  Greg was my first partner.  Today he put me into ankle lock position twice but didn't actually attack the lock.  He did end up submitting my from mount with the monoplata to armbar thing he's been working on lately.  Next I survived the wrath of Adam.  He seemed to be setting up the arm-triangle but I was able to slip out of it a couple times. 

WHOYA: September 12th 2012 - Morning Open

Ah, the days of early morning Jiu-Jitsu.  Ken and I spent a lot of rolling time on those early butt crack of dawn Wednesday mornings.  I'm looking forward to the early Friday classes starting next week, but dreading getting up at 5:20 AM.

I mention ending up in deep half guard a lot but not being able to do much of anything from there.  I have improved on this position over the past year but I haven't been focusing on it as much as butterfly or cross guard.  Unfortunately I haven't trained with Ken in quite some time.  He used to be very frustrating to deal with, but I hope he's doing well.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 10th 2013 - Gi

Theme and Techniques:Triangle Choke and armbars from the triangle position. 

Before class we were all talking about and playing around with an omaplata to collar choke that we saw in a Clark Gracie YouTube video.  Moments like these have been repeated time and time again where someone finds a video of someone doing something cool in competition and we all try to figure it out.  I'm really inspired by the video below, mostly because it's showed me some more things that I can do from the omaplata position.

I worked with Moe during the technique portion of the class.  Although triangle is one of the fundamental techniques, I'm still always trying to improve it by focusing on the little things.  My focus last night was to use the foot on the hip and squeeze with the knee more effectively and then shoot my hips up to hook up the choke.  From there we worked on a couple of different arm bars by pulling their arm across and crossing our feet or bridging into them (which I liked a lot).

We did king of the mat from closed guard.  While I had some good attempts at passing some guards, it was not my day to be a king.  It seemed like it went by faster than normal and we broke for some free rolling.

I rolled with Chris first and thought I was doing great at the beginning because I swept him with an omaplata sweep and took top position for a little while, then he was able to roll to his side and wrestle me down and I spent the rest of the time on the bottom defending.  I rolled with Moe next and decided to work on spider guard and completed a couple of sweeps which was cool.

WHOYA (What Happened One Year Ago):
The post titled September 10th - Gi (The Bees Knees) stated that I went to the orthopedist and had my left knee looked at.  Unfortunately the Dr. didn't think it was a torn meniscus like it turned out to be. So I kept training and reinjuring myself.

Greg taught knee on belly with farside armbar and kimura.  Farside armbar is one of my main submissions, but I've had a little trouble finishing kimuras but I've tried to figure it out a couple times recently.  Apparently I wasn't able to train much knee on belly a year ago due to my knee injury.  I also rolled with Mike who took it to me pretty well.  This has not changed in the past year.
Gi (The Bees Knees)
Gi (The Bees Knees)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 7th 2013 - Open Mat

I talked Craig into coming to open mat yesterday morning, however we didn't get the chance to roll together.  It's okay, we made up for it this morning.

I rolled with Ray, Greg, and Jerad and felt quite inadequate against them as per usual.  Ray appeared to be missing leg locks because he put me in 3 of them with little difficulty on his part.  Greg and I had our average bout of him tricking me into x-guard and having to deal with that.  The only thing different is that he's been working on some mount submissions lately and has stated that mount isn't his strongest position.  I attempted to pass Jerad's guard several times to no avail.  He eventually swept me and worked from top setting up far side arm bars and bow and arrow chokes.  I guess I'll just have to keep getting better.

Air Force Brian is becoming quite the beast.  He was already athletic coming into BJJ and now that he has some techniques under his belt, he's becoming more difficult to fool.  Which means I have to be more creative and versatile.I was able to pull off a Shaolin sweep which took a couple of attempts to get him loaded up, but it was cool to get a technique to work that I've been attempting for so long.

I had a new idea for a section of the blog.  I'll call it WHOYA for "What Happened One Year Ago" and it will be a look back to my blog post from a year ago and see if I've improved or if I forgot about the lessons of the past.  Hopefully this will be a productive learning exercise for me.

September 7th 2012 - It was a no-gi class taught by Jerad with a focus on the arm drag.  Now the arm drag is an essential part of my game and something that I don't think about that much, but it is something that everyone uses.  I also make mention of my knee injury and how I was trying to baby it and keep it from getting hurt again.  Knowing what I know now, I wish I had gotten the surgery done back then. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 5th 2013 - No Gi

Greg announced some additional classes starting in a few weeks.  Tuesdays at noon and Fridays at 6 am.  It conflicts a little with my current training but I'll work it out, I may have to switch to Monday/Wednesday.  It will be a great to get a few extra classes in per week.

Warm-up seemed a little tougher than usual for me.  I think it may be due to my sleep lacking a little lately.  I've also been trying to hit the YMCA a little more.  Yesterday I swam and today I rode the stationary bike.  I have made a goal to improve my leg strength and flexibility.  Namely being able to complete one legged body weight squats.  Plus I want to prepare myself a little more for the extra classes.

After the floor exercises we did some takedown fit-ins.  Next we sparred for the takedown.  Adam must have been playing with me, because I kind of felt like I was doing well against him to a certain extent.  However, he took me down several times.  I also worked with Henry which was also a good bout.  It seemed like he was working on a really low ankle pick, which he tried a couple times.

Greg had us work on attaining backmount from a seat belt grip when they turn away in side control.  From there we tightened up to their back and stepped the leg over and then rolled them into backmount.  Next we dealt with their attempted pin the leg escape by using our butterfly hook to kick our self back to the starting position.  If they went to the underhook side then we would flatten out to the stomach and sit up into backmount.  All finishing with getting the choke.

We free rolled after that.  Robert was preparing for a fight so whoever went against him started in his guard and he attempted to get to a top position or get back to standing.  I also rolled with Adam and Jordan.  It was a great training session.

I've been thinking about restructuring my blog a bit.  I feel like I am maybe writing too much or being repetitive.  I may switch to sections like "Class Theme", "Rolled With", etc.  Please send me feedback of what you'd like to see more or less of from the blog.  Have they been too long?  Are some parts uninteresting or boring?  Does it sometimes sound like I go on and on like "and then I did this, and then we did that, finally we did this other thing?"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 3rd 2013 - Gi (Announcement)

Great class tonight.  I decided to leave my knee sleeves in my bag and try training without them.  It was a success, I didn't have really any issues besides some minor fatigue, but that could have been because we practiced the standing guard break so many times. 

After the warm-up I partnered with Adam and Greg had us do the standing guard break in small chunks.  Probably the toughest part about this was having to lift Adam's body weight each time, but it encourage me to use better technique.  We did 10 reps and then switched so the other person could do their reps.  We finished the break with the bullfighter pass.  One thing that I noticed about not wearing my knee sleeves, was that my leg hair often got pulled when someone grabbed my pants, ouch.

We did up/down/out with guard passing from the closed guard.  Greg limited the guard passer by only allowing them to do the bullfighter pass for the first 10 minutes or so and then allowed any standing passes, and finally all passes were allowed.  While it was difficult, I think it was the best way to get everyone to practice what we worked on in class live while it's still fresh.  I was able to complete a few passes and from my back it seemed my omaplata sweep came in handy tonight.

Jerad was very frustrating and seemed to pass through my guard like butter.  He and Mike gave me some tips afterwards that I think will help.  Mostly if they are able to stand and get distance to where I don't have good grips, I should sit-up and use a shin shield which led to other things.  Another thing for me to play with or explore. 

I announced to everyone in class that we are expecting our third child in April.  It's been difficult keeping the secret but we had an ultrasound last Tuesday and shared the news with our parents and grandparents over the weekend.  Looking forward to having another future Jiu-Jitsu student in the family. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August 31st 2013 - Open Mat (Where's Everybody At?)

This morning was the smallest group I've seen at LBJJC.  It started with Jerad, Adam, and myself; Moe showed up a little later.  Adam asked me to work some takedown fit-ins with him as a warm-up, which was a great.  Who better to work takedowns with than our resident wrestler.  After that, with only 3 of us there, we took turns with guard passing. 

When Moe showed up Adam and I free rolled a couple times.  I don't think I ever gained any ground on him.  He started off playing guard and it seems like the same thing has been happening to me lately.  I try to pass and they are able to control my leg and establish x-guard or half x-guard and sweep me.  I've got to be more conscious of my legs.  Adam put me into side control and got me with a couple of farside armbars.

I had a plan before class that I was going to try to work on the Ezekiel choke today.  My only chance to really work on the technique was with Moe.  I played guard with him at the beginning of each roll and worked my way into as many forms of Ezekiel that I could.  I had a hard time completing it from closed guard, he kept pulling his head out.  However, from mount and back mount I was able to complete it.  Moe didn't wear a gi this morning and choking him with the use of my gi is probably a little bit ironic.  I helped him a little bit with knee on belly and transitioning to mount, I think he picked it up okay.

I tried my best to coach Moe while he was rolling with Jerad.  Of course, I don't do well against Jerad, so I didn't have much success in telling Moe what to do.  He said that he appreciated it afterwards though.  I learned a few things from rolling with Jerad.  For the most part his guard is difficult to pass.  I told him later it feels similar to the style of the brown belt that I rolled with on my Chicago trip.  I did get to spend some time on top with him, whether that was because he let me or not is debatable.  I tried and failed several submissions from Ezekiel to north/south choke to the Rickson choke.  He showed me a great setup for the Rickson choke that is really going to up it's success rate.  After establishing the collar grip to use their leg to keep them from turning in until you're ready to complete the choke.  So I'm pretty stoked about that.