Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 29th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme and Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Side Control Escape knee in to recover guard, Far Side Armbar from Top Side Control

I worked with Fuji for this portion of the class.  Who better to work on side control escapes with than the person that makes me feel helpless from this position.  Regardless, after a few reps, I felt great about my pace and fluidity with the technique.

With the armbar Greg taught one thing differently than when I normally do it; he showed us to grab our own gi collar to secure the arm.  I had a little trouble with Fuji trying to do this, but I can see how it would be useful. 

Rolling: Side Control Position, Free Rolling

I rolled with Fuji first and he is still working his brabo grip.  I don't have a any good answers from the bottom of Fuji's side mount except to survive.  I emphasized movement and stay as north/south as I could when I was on top.  I've been caught with my weight too far forward too many times to be wary of him rolling me over.  

I rolled with Jordan for the next round.  We had quite the battle of me trying to get to half guard that I had to pull out all of the stops for.  After class ended Greg showed him the other side control escape and then Jordan and I rolled a few times.  He's improving and getting more difficult to deal with. 

Theme and Techniques: Double Leg Takedown, Scissor Sweep, Triangle for Blocked Scissor Sweep

 I worked with a new guy, Andy, for this portion of the class.  He seems pretty chill and was good to work with.  We talked for a little bit and he's been involved with MMA for a while and has won some fights.  He's a little new in the gi though, so his grips aren't there yet, but he's competent otherwise. 

The double leg was pretty cool as I was just showing Mike before class a version of a single setup very similar.   We did two on one to break the collar grip and then grabbed both sleeves and shot in while pulling them over us. 

Scissor sweep was the same as I've done hundreds of times but the triangle set-up I haven't seen for a while.  If the opponent is blocking the leg you want to do the scissor, with we would put our shin over their bicep and break the grip, then shoot our leg up and attack the triangle with a deep collar grip.  It was pretty cool, but I often had trouble with cinching up the triangle.

Rolling: Guard Gauntlet, Free Rolling

Blue belts were each given a specific guard position to start in (Me: Half Guard, Will: Full Gaurd, Jerad: Spider Guard, Mike: Top Full Guard).  Then we did 2 minute rounds with Pass/Sweep/Submit.  I didn't get a count of how many white belts were there tonight but it was a lot.  The cool thing was no one passed me, my goal was to sweep everyone, which I did not complete.  I got smashed to my back a lot and felt a little like there were things that I should have been doing but couldn't think of what.

I rolled with Will for the free rolling and both of us wanted to start out sitting in guard, so I finally decided to start trying to pass.  I eventually made it to side control and then started setting up a north/south kimura.  I went for an armbar instead and we scrambled and I ended up in an inverted triangle position on the bottom that I couldn't finish and started to go for tke kimura again.  Time ended up running out right after he got free.  Not sure what I should have done differently but I think I should have completed that armbar.

WHOYA: October 29th 2012 - Gi (Punishment)

 I don't recall how it started but David, Mike, and I decided to have a friendly round robin tournament.  I ended up losing to Mike this night by advantages.  Apparently I did a pretty good trip to get him down to the ground but did not put him all the way on this back so, it didn't count for any points.  The rest of the match he attacked from his guard and I defended.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 26th 2013 - Competition Class & Open Mat

Competition Class:

Due to the upcoming tournament Greg scheduled a tournament class and met with each student planning to attend.  We each picked a guard technique and a guard pass and then a miscellaneous technique.  No surprise, my guard technique was cross guard to omaplata, my guard pass was the over/under, and my miscellaneous is the single leg takedown. 

We spent quite a bit of time discussing rules for BJJ tournaments and rules for the upcoming tournament.  One strange thing about this tournament is that there are no points in the first half of the match and then points do count at the end.  I think it's one of those ideas to encourage people to go for submissions rather than play for points and stall. 

We did many of the same partner body weight exercises from Tuesday.  This time I was partnered with Will and he was a lot easier to lift than Adam. We drilled our guard techniques and guard passes which I felt pretty good about. 

We finished the class with a couple of tournament style matches.  I ended up going against Jerad.  It was a lot more fast paced then I've been used to.  I felt pretty good about my performance even though Jerad made me tap. 

I feel pretty good about the class structure and my areas of focus.  The single leg is the technique I need the most work on, so it will be good to focus on that for a while.  I'm also looking forward to getting everyone else ready for the competition. 

Open Mat:

I didn't stay very long for open mat and Mike ended up being my only opponent.  Things ended up the same as usual with him running around my guard and then would spend most of the time in side control.  At one point I tried to be more aggressive than usual and it seemed to be working, I at least created some interesting scrambles.  It's pretty frustrating to get continuously dominated by him.

WHOYA: October 26th 2012 - Open Mat (Foot Locked)

I rolled with Mike and Ray and according to the title, plenty of footlocks were delivered.  I had also just started my journey into the deep half guard.  This position especially has come a long way in a years time.  I remember being very frustrated when I would get there and it would lead to my demise.  Now my options are many and I know when to abandon something if it's going to put me in worse trouble.

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25th 2013 - Gi

Theme: Triangle Choke, Side Control Escape

I had a little trouble dragging myself out of bed this morning and thought I was going to be the only one until Air Force Brian showed up.  Triangle is a really cool technique and probably one of the few techniques that a layperson would recognize.  However, it is not something I pull off in practice very often.  I have the basics of the technique down pretty well but body type and my past knee issues make it a little difficult to complete.  We drilled it several times using a collar grab and punching their wrist to their body as the set-up.

We then worked on the basic side control escape bridging and then knee across the belly.  For some reason the first time I tried it I had some trouble rolling to my other side but I figured it out as we drilled. 

Rolling: Side Control Position, Free Rolling

Brian did a good job of preventing my escapes.  It's starting to sink in that I need to spend more time figuring out defense from this position.  I think I may have to bite the bullet and start from this position more often.  With certain people it's inevitable that I get there but with the newer guys it might be beneficial for both of us to have them start out on top.  If I get submitted, so be it.

I tried desperately to set-up the 2 on 1 from closed to butterfly guard and it wasn't happening.  So I failed at accomplishing my main goal for the roll.  Regardless we both did good things and he's doing very well for how long he's been doing this. 

WHOYA: October 25th 2012 - Gi (Worth the Trip)

This was one of the classes where I wasn't able to make it on time to an early Thursday due to work getting in the way.  Seriously, damn priorities!  Conan and Mike handed me my ass with loop chokes and magic grips during the open mat portion of class.  I also mention that I borrowed Conan's Deep Half Guard DVD and I still have it a year later.  I better return it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24th 2013 - No Gi (Gorilla Warfare)

Theme: Attacking from Back Mount

I wore my new Tatami Zen Gorilla rash guard tonight.  It may be a bit out there compared to the plain solid color stuff I'm used to wearing, but it's very comfortable and fits me just right, I'm glad I went with a large instead of x-large.  I also got a fair share of compliments on it.  Apparently Henry has a Angry Panda rash guard coming so we foresee a Gorilla vs. Panda match going down in the near future.

Due to some that Greg had been asked about ways to attack from the back, he showed us a really cool retention technique.  When the opponent moves to the underhook side and tries to flatten out our leg, we would release our hook and the shrimp and pull them back to the side we want.  Then if they put up the knee to elbow barrier, we would cross our feet over their other thigh and hip into them to stretch them out.  This worked great to get them to open back up and allow the hook to go right back in.  It was really very simple but I had never seen it before.

Rolling: Back Mount Position, Free Rolling

We did positional rolling from the back for 3 minutes a piece.  I went with Adam, Mike, and Henry.  I feel pretty good about my performance.  There were a couple times I escaped back mount to side with Adam and Mike but couldn't improve after that. 

Free rolling I rolled with Adam, Henry, Will, and drilled with Mike.  Mike has a hurt rib from training so Greg asked him to take it easy and just pick something to drill.  He did a guard pull from the clinch to single x-guard and then sweep.  Pretty slick move.  I drilled the waiter sweep from deep half and felt pretty good about it.

Henry threatened me with a lot of guillotines today.  My neck must be sticking out too far from half guard.  He even got me to give up position at one point.  I was able to defend all of them off but they disrupted my attack game and made me go on the defensive. 

The thing I dislike about no gi is the sweat factor.  We are all so slippery and it makes it really difficult to complete submissions.  I missed some armbar opportunities because of it.  I guess the argument could be made that my technique wasn't tight enough and I need to work on that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 22nd 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening (All By Myself)

Theme:  Drilling

Being the only person to attend class is a little bit of a mixed blessing.  Yes I get awesome private instruction and the class is tailored to things that I need improvement on.  However, if the attendance of the class doesn't pick up I'm assuming eventually the class will be eliminated.  Let's hope that doesn't happen because I am getting the perfect amount of mat time with the new schedule.

We each picked three things to drill for 7 minutes a piece I believe.  I chose 2 on 1 to butterfly guard back take, Omaplata, and the side control stiff arm escape Greg has been working on.  Mostly with the omaplata I worked for the submission, but I also did a few reps with the roll if they posture to defend.  I think we finally figured out what the problem was, I was pushing with my leg too much instead of just using my shoulders and torso to do the back roll.

Rolling: Free Rolling

Greg had more backs to take during our rolling session.  That's pretty much all there was to it.  I defended over and over but a lot of my effort was for not. 

Theme and Techniques: Conditioning, Judo Turnover to Side Control and Back take

We went through a series of partner exercises for which I was partnered up with Adam.  The exercises included: Standing Guard break pick-up, Sit-ups from lifted guard, Rowing our partner, benching a sprawled partner, Sit-ups, leg pressing a sprawled partner.  I had a hard time lifting Adam over and over, which probably was the reason we took the longest to finish.  It was a great workout and my body held out just fine.

The rest of the class was spent drilling the Judo turnover which is just reaching under and grabbing the lapel from turtle and grabbing a sleeve and pulling them over while getting out of their way.  The back take slide felt really natural and smooth from both sides.

Rolling: Turtle Position & Free Rolling

I did turtle position drills with both Adam and Will.  I did well with being able to escape a couple times from bottom and end up in side control from the top position with both partners.  The granby roll was working where in the past I'd hesitate while trying to figure out which way to turn my head.

I free rolled with Alec and stayed as close to him as I could.  His small size allows him to take advantage of any space given.  I think I did well matching his game though and playing some butterfly, x-guard, spider stuff.

Chris and Adam were my next opponents and both crushed me pretty good.  Chris neutralized my half guard game.  I feel like I use way too much energy and strength trying to defend him.  I want to relax but my technique isn't to a point yet where I can flow with him like a want to.  Eventually he put me into side control and then put me in a far side armbar that I saw coming but couldn't escape.  Adam played half guard bottom and I was able to defend a while by threatening a guillotine.  He eventually took top side and put a lot of pressure with knee on belly until he secured a kimura.

Can't help but be a little discouraged by how I was man handled by Chris and Adam.  It just makes me want to get back to the mats and drill more stuff.  It's a good thing that there are plenty of people around that are better than me.  I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle skill wise at the school and probably most of the new guys think the same way about me as I do about Adam and Chris...and Jerad and Mike and Fuji and Ray and Conan and Greg (probably forgetting some people).

WHOYA: October 22nd 2012 - Gi (Magic Grip)

Jerad taught with a focus on Kimuras.  I remember this class well as a video had been circulating the dojo that contained the kimura magic grip.  I think I might try to bring this technique back as I'm finding myself in this position lately but I've never been good at finishing a kimura. 

We did some king of the mat and I express some confidence in my guard playing and mention cross guard which has been huge for me lately.  I also worked with Jerad on some tornado guard and Mike on the bull fighter pass.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 19th 2013 - Open Mat (Don't Settle)

Attendees: Fuji, Jerad, Greg, Bauer

I felt really good about my guard passing today and lately.  I feel like I have a lot of options and can easily transition from one pass to another.  I find I'm having to deal with the knee shield more and looping my arm around their top leg and grabbing the pants of their bottom leg is working well.

Greg showed Bauer and I an awesome butterfly guard setup that I had no idea about.  It was simply awesome.  From closed guard we would get an armdrag arm position and then work our way to butterfly guard.  From there their arm is locked up for either a back take, a sweep, or a stiff arm.  I'm going to be practicing this more.

Rolling Highlights: 

Greg had warned me at one point not to let Fuji settle into side control after he had swept me.  This is probably the most important takeaway for the day.  While it may expend more energy up front, if I can avoid a sunk in bad position I won't have to work completely uphill. 

Bauer and I had one of our epic battles.  I played guard for quite a while and was able eventually sweep him with one of the recent techniques I got from a Cyborg video.  I felt like I was pretty chill during the entire roll, but he made the comment that I felt tense when he was in my guard.  So, I'm not sure which it is, I was monitoring myself as best I could to make sure I wasn't going to gas out.  While I might have had the better of him today, we're evenly matched either one of us could submit the other on any given day.

I was able to pass Jerad's guard. But my top game didn't last long.  He was very tricky from mount and setup an armbar with the potential for a lot of other subs.

Greg gave me another session on how easy it is for him to take my back.  I'm so miserable from that position but he did compliment me on my defense.

WHOYA: October 19th 2013 - Open Mat

Back at the old dojo, I had to sneak out of work a little early on Fridays to try to get some open mat time in.  I was still getting there late and people had taken off or already had gotten several rolls in before I got there.  On this particular day I rolled with Jerad and make mention of him passing my half guard over and over again.  Some things never change.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 18th 2013 - Gi (All to Myself)

Theme: Drilling

I was the only one to show up this morning, allowing me to receive some awesome private instruction.  Greg and I each did 6 or 7 minute drilling of a technique of our choosing.  My choices were the omaplata from cross guard and the waiter sweep from the previous night.  One key discovery from the omaplata was when switching my grip from under their leg to around their waist I learned to time my kickout and situp and then the transition a whole lot better.  I feel so much more confident in the waiter sweep after today.  Some finer points were grabbing their wrist or sleeve after underhooking the leg.  Then the use of the pendulum sweep motion to get them over.  Finally the hip switching to at least get half guard and not expecting to go directly to side mount.

Rolling: Free Rolling

Greg put a back take clinic on me.  I don't think I ever had any real type of guard at any point.  Every time I came close he would start a knee slide pass.  From there he worked me into gift wrap and took my back.  I was only able to escape back mount once, but I escaped into mount and he just turned it into back mount again soon after.  I defended as best as I could but at such a disadvantage it's only a matter of time.  Many RNCs were had.

October 17th 2013 - No Gi

Theme and Techniques: Takedowns, Guillotine Choke setup from Side Mount

We did some fit-ins first with groups of three techniques.  I worked with Jerad for this part and we both worked on a combination technique of a throw attempt to a knee tap.  It's very slick and I can see it becoming a part of my stand-up game, just got to put in the reps. 

We then did kind of an up/down/out with stand up going for the takedown.  Jerad was the floater going from our big group to the small guy group.  I felt a little better about my performance today than I have in the recent past.  Adam still had to remind me to keep my front hand down to prevent shooting on my front leg. 

The guillotine was setup from them using the underhook escape from side mount.  Allowing them to get to their knees and then locking up the choke and using the forearm over the shoulder to make it suck for the other guy.  This is a great technique but it's hard on the throat to practice.

Rolling: Shark tank for Alec, Free Rolling

Alec is back on leave for a little while from the Air Force and to welcome him back Greg had him attempt to pass each of our guards in turn as we swept him over and over again.  A shark tank is usually an exercise where one person has to roll with everyone in class without a break.  He's pretty fun to work with as he's a very light guy, flexible, and difficult to pin down. 

Had several good rolls during free rolling.  Rolled with Jerad, Mike, Robert, and Alec.  I had great rolls with everyone.  The highlight of the night was a waiter sweep that I had just learned from a video that I was able to setup from deep half guard on Robert.  Without any prior practice.  He did help me complete it as I had the angle wrong the first time I attempted the sweep part, but getting there was very cool.

Jerad and I worked on it a couple of times after class with some help from Greg.  I'm really liking this technique, and after watching some videos during lunch at work I have a few other things I want to try in the gi.  This is shaping up to be a fruitful experiment. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 15th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Thanks to everyone that read and commented on my last post Who Am I Supposed To Be.  Writing the post turned out to be very therapeutic.  I also might have been a little over dramatic about the situation.     

Theme and Techniques: Cross Guard Omaplata, Standing Guard Break to Knee Cut

Jeremy joined us for class today, which was the first time we got to train together.  I've seen him plenty of times in passing but never in the same class.  We also had a visitor from out of town show up a little late but jumped in a trained with us a bit.  As usual, my Tuesday bromoplata brother in arms, Jordan was also there.

I worked with Andrew (the visitor) on the omaplata.  He mentioned that he had some experience, but not much in the gi.  He needed a little help with the specifics of the two techniques that we worked on but he picked them up fairly quickly with minor mistakes here and there.  Which was understandable since we worked on the standing guard break which has several steps in it. 

Rolling: Guard Pass/Sweep/Submit

Andrew and I were partnered for the first round.  He had a good base and wasn't easy to sweep.  I kept him from passing my guard, but it wasn't easy.  I had a failed attempt at a cross choke when he had sprawled back.  Greg said later that my grip wasn't deep enough.  I think I may look deeper into this technique.  Jordan was my next partner and we had a good battle.  We both cancelled out each other omaplatas so we had to go to other things.  I played some spider and tried some techniques that are always done to me.

My technique of the day turned out to be the scissor sweep though.  This has emerged as a goto technique lately when other sweeps have failed.  I had actually abandoned that technique as it had stopped working for me a while ago. 

Theme and Techniques: Hip Throw, Standing Guard Break to Toreando Pass

I worked with John on both techniques.  In the end of working on the standing guard break he made noticeable improvements.  The piece of this technique I need to work on the most is maintaining the straight arm on their chest, but otherwise I feel very competent with the technique.

Rolling: Closed Guard Pass/Sweep/Submit, Guard Gauntlet, Free Rolling

We had a new visitor in class tonight with a wrestling background.  He wasn't used to being in someone's guard but he had a great base and was athletic.  He caused me a little bit of trouble but he made the mistake of trying to collar choke me from within my guard.  My next partner was Mike and he made me feel like a beginner while passing my guard.

The next exercise I'll call the Guard Gauntlet, Greg had the four most advanced guys in class each take a spot on the mat and we were each assigned a different guard to play while everyone rotated through.  I was designated closed guard, Mike: Spider, Adam: Half, and Roberts: butterfly.  This was pretty fun and allowed everyone good training.  The new guys got to experience a lot of different guards and we got to focus on the assigned guard.  My partners came close a couple times, but I kept them from passing and paced myself well enough to not gas out. 

Mike and I had a nice discussion after class.  We talked about how everyone is progressing as a whole and the good things coming out of the changes since LBJJC started.  I showed him a tornado guard technique that I saw in a Cyborg video and he seemed impressed with my tornado guard.  Greg joined the conversation and the subject of Leandro Lo came up and how Mike had been modeling a lot of his game around his techniques.  He made the observations that Lo's game was compatible to him since they have very similar body types.  I mentioned that I should find a famous Jiu-Jitsu player with a similar body type to model my game after and they suggested that Cyborg may be him.  So, I will start watching some of his competition videos and see if I can glean some new skills.

WHOYA: October 15th 2012 - Gi

Jerad taught with the theme of armbar from guard.  Coincidentally I had tried to setup a few armbars today but came no where near completing them.  I've been considering various techniques to focus on and this might be one of them.

I also talk a little bit about getting caught in deep half.  This has gotten better lately as I've stopped hanging out in the position so much, hide my arm better and I feel like I have a better understanding of when to sweep and when to abandon it.  It's been an interesting journey through the phases of learning this position and it's far from complete.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Who Am I Supposed to Be? (Wondering Why Part 2)

I've been thinking about writing a post on this topic a lot lately.  This post has taken a while to write and I hope all of my thoughts and feelings come through the way I intend them to.  As many of you know before Jiu-Jitsu I was heavily involved with Hapkido.  This will be a continuation and addressing some topics from the previous post: For those of you wondering why.  Please read that for a little background. 

I considered Hapkido as a defining characteristic of what is me.  I have its Chinese characters tattooed on my chest.  One of the reasons I joined the Marines was because my Hapkido instructor is a former Marine.  I created instructional videos for YouTube and got quite a lot of good feedback.  I remember thinking that I would practice and teach Hapkido for the rest of my life.

Looking back, I was delusional about my skill level.  I honestly thought that I could kick ass if the shit hit the fan, but I had really not been challenging myself for a long time.  I tried, I upped our amount of sparring in class, I practiced as much as I could, I visited other martial arts classes.  Alas, ultimately I needed more advanced training partners and I needed to learn more. 

I have come to the conclusion that in order to be good at a martial art, competition is the most important piece (not the only piece).  In my opinion it's the only way to gain confidence in the techniques that you practice.  This sparks several debates in the martial arts community concerning sport vs self defense and techniques that are unsafe for competition. I'm not trying to solve that debate here, but the more I delve into BJJ the more I think the "dirty" or "deadly" techniques are not worth practicing as much as safe reliable "sport" techniques.  I put that in quotes because almost all of the sporting techniques can be devastating if taken to that level.

I've kept a little Hapkido/Ground Fighting going with a small group of people once a week.  Slowly it has been stripped down to a groundfighting class.  I have mentioned to my training partners that I don't feel confident in many of the Hapkido techniques anymore.

Probably the strangest thing is, I don't feel like I am as good at Hapkido as I am at Jiu-Jitsu.  Putting my 20 years of Hapkido against my 2 years of Jiu-Jitsu should be a given that Hapkido would win.  Sure there are aspects within Hapkido that I don't get in BJJ: Punching, Kicking, Weapons, dealing with self defense type scenarios, etc.  The fact that it covered so much ground is one of the positive aspects I saw in Hapkido. I would also contend that it was one of it's biggest faults.  You have to work really hard to be good at all of these things, and there is really only so much time per class that can be spent on a given topic.  Although, I wouldn't be as good at BJJ if I had started with no martial arts experience.  While it may not sound like it, we did train very hard.  I just think the competition piece was missing.

The most difficult part about all of this is losing the relationship with my Hapkido instructor.  Although, I'm bashing Hapkido here, it has been a positive part of my life.  I felt more confident in myself after I started martial arts.  I had a rough time in junior high school and I started to come out of my shell after martial arts training.  I was interested in martial arts from a very young age, and once I was able to do it I poured my heart and soul into it.  It was my personal activity that I felt like I was good at.  It gave me the confidence to make it through Marine bootcamp, to work at detox and the county jail.  I am my instructor's only Hapkido black belt and me quitting may result in his teachings not being passed on.  I looked up to my instructor and respect him still.  However, I have not had an authentic conversation with him since I started my BJJ training.  This makes me very sad and has been hard to deal with.  In a way it has also allowed me to move on.

My original idea when starting Jiu-Jitsu was to refine pieces of Hapkido through other martial arts.  I'd train ground fighting for a little while and then bring it back.  Maybe I'd find a good place to learn some weapon techniques, train more with Taekwondo or take up some boxing to round myself out.  I'm loving the BJJ culture so much and have high hopes of someday attaining a black belt that I see the prospect of going back to Hapkido very slim. 

I used to be so gung-ho about self defense.  Which others have cautioned my neglect of.  They lecture me about the drawbacks of BJJ being only on the ground and the lack of striking, and what if you have to fight 10 ninjas with glass, dirty needles, and lava on the floor.  Yes it is true that we primarily fight each other on the ground and don't have good answers for fighting multiple people (really what martial art does?).  But, against an untrained person I like to use the quote "The ground is my ocean. I am the shark and most people don't even know how to swim." 

Self defense no longer concerns me.  I'm having fun and love what I'm doing now.  It's the equivalent of human chess.  It challenges my mind and body.  I have friends that I train with that are just as passionate as I am and we challenge ourselves and make each other better.

So, who am I supposed to be?  A Hapkido guy that's dabbling in Jiu-Jitsu?  A Jiu-Jitsu guy that used to do Hapkido?  Do I need to remove this tattoo or add a new one?  Am I forgetting my roots and being disrespectful to my former art and instructor?  At the end of the day I have to do what feels right for me and I couldn't be more satisfied.

October 11th 2013 - Gi (You Shall Not Pass!)

Theme: Retaining Guard

Due to the conversation that Mike and I were having less than 9 hours prior about my guard retention.  Conan decided to go over some concepts and techniques that are useful when your opponent is standing and trying pass your guard.  I really appreciate him focusing a class around something I need to work on!

Luckily Bauer was the only other soul to make it in for the Jiu-Jitsu class during the wee hours of Friday morning.  We went through several concepts of grabbing sleeves and stiff arming to reclaim guard, or directing their head as they attempted to pass, or using de la riva to take the back or keep them at bay and finally using the butterfly hook to get a shin sweep or stretch them out.  We also went over some passes using a combination of sleeve grab and knee grab to get around them and passing the de la riva by getting free of their hooks.

Rolling: One Standing One sitting trying to pass/sweep/submit

We did four minute rounds of one person up and the other down.  I felt pretty good about my passing until my cardio caught up with me.  It was hard work trying to be mobile and get grips and attempt to pass while avoid Bauer's legs.  It seemed like both of us did much better at passing the guard than retaining it.  I tried a lot of the concepts Conan showed us and was able to put some of them into play.  I kept reminding myself to keep getting up and not lay back. 

It was a very productive class that helped solidify that this part of my game needs to be refined.  Which is good because I've been looking for the next thing to focus on. 

WHOYA: October 12th 2012 - Gi

Greg taught and the focus of the class was regaining guard from turtle.  Not my favorite, but I have had some success in preventing guard passes by going to turtle recently.  We did the three basic techniques that I know: Sit-out, granby roll, and sit-out using the shin to regain guard.

 I rolled with Mike, Greg, Fuji, and wrestler Jordan and things haven't changed much since then.  The one true, funny line in reference to Greg from the post was: "I can't tell if I'm doing good against him or if he is just taking it easy on me."

I can't tell if I'm doing good against him or if he is just taking it easy on me.  - See more at:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10th 2013 - No Gi

Theme: Passing the Half Guard

Small class tonight, it was only Mike, Adam, and I.  Still got our work in.  We went through a couple ways to complete the knee cut pass.  The only submission we worked on was pretty interesting.  It was a kimura that was setup from locked down half guard by controlling an arm, stepping over their head, locking it up and then rolling.  It was pretty slick.  Finally we worked on a Conan special that he like to use against Ray and Adam, so you know I was paying attention.  We would use our head under their chin and move down their body kind of sprawling on them until they released their half guard. 

Rolling: Sweep/Submit/Pass Half Guard, Free Rolling

Was pretty dominated today.  Got smashed by Adam and ran all over by Mike.  I tried my best to be mobile and go with the flow, but it became quite a struggle once I was put into side control.  The part where I would lose the most ground was when they stood up in my guard and backed away.  Mike told me later that I need to be getting up at those moments instead of laying on my back.  He suggested the I work on the one legged X more and I think that's where I'm going to put some focus.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 8th 2013 - Gi Morning & Evening


Theme & Techniques: Omaplata, sweep when they start to roll, back roll sweep against posturing

It was just Jordan and I, so Greg decided to build on the omaplata sweep class from last week.  The first sweep was pretty simple.  Just allow them to roll and let their legs pass.  The only difficulty is that you have to get out of their way.  I had a much harder time with the second sweep.  I still don't think I get what I was doing wrong and it really irks me that a piece of the omaplata game is not coming to me.  We eventually figured out that turning the head and looking to where we wanted to sweep them was very helpful.  I also was able to do it a little better after I tried to direct their elbow where I wanted it.

Rolling: Closed Guard and Free Rolling

We trained from the closed guard and I felt pretty good about my performance.  The opportunity never presented itself to do the back roll sweep, but I'm pretty hopeful about adding that to my game.  I was able to setup my goto omaplata a couple of times and I was also happy with completing sickle sweep and the spider guard to x-guard sweep that gets pulled on me all the time. 


Theme & Techniques: Overhook setup for collar choke and Triangle, Knee pry Triangle Escape

I worked with John for the technique portion of the class.  Triangles have never been my think but I always enjoy practicing them.  I had a couple issues with flexibility but all in all I was able to do the techniques.  I had a little more trouble with the triangle escape at first.  I focused so much on going down straight that the technique didn't actually sink in until I leaned away a little bit.

Rolling: Closed Guard and Free Rolling

The only person that gave me trouble tonight was Chris.  I thought I was making all of the right moves but he was just a little more aggressive, strong, and quicker than I was.  I wasn't able to pass his guard and he passed my guard a couple of times.  I did setup an omaplata on him but he stacked very well and took away all of the space that I tried to make.  I'm going to have to ponder what I did wrong there.

With everyone else, I tried to focus on techniques that I've been working on: a few omaplatas, a triangle, some spider guard.  Unfortunately the only person I didn't get paired up with was Mike. 

I did have to tell Jorge to chill out a little bit during our roll.  He was spazzing pretty hard and accidentally elbowed me in the jaw.  I bared down and put some pressure down on him in side control.  Afterwards he mentioned that my side control felt impossible to get out of, and I gave him some options for other possible escapes and also said he needed to chill out a little bit and work on more technique rather than rely on brute force.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 5th 2013 - Kids Class & Open Mat

Kid's Class

Greg is doing a great job with the class.  He keeps them very busy and uses the right kind of voice and excitement to keep the kids interested.  My boys love it.  Fuji's daughter was also in attendance.  As usual we started out with some animal walks: shrimp, bear, crab.  Followed by some break fall practice.  Jayden and Jace were doing great with everything. 

We played our first game of the day which was a new one for the kids.  I think Greg called it sprawl ball or ball sprawl.  We stood in a circle and rolled the ball to each other and the receiver would sprawl on the ball.  Fuji and I even got some good practice in.  The kids had a little trouble at first because they kept rolling over the ball, but they eventually learned to keep their legs back. 

There is always a Jiu-Jitsu technique portion of the class and today we worked on transitioning from side mount to mount.  I was impressed with how well the kids did with each detail.  Switching their hand position, rolling to the hip, pulling their legs down, then stepping over.  We finished the class with a game of foot tag.  Which is just like it sounds.  Elsa wasn't feeling it so it ended up being me, Jayden, Jace and Greg.  I'm not sure if Jace understands the concept of tag, because he always wanted to be it.

Open Mat
Rolled with: Adam, Fuji, Henry, Mike

Not too much to say about today.  I spent almost all of my time in the bottom of side control with Adam, Fuji, and Mike. Adam and Fuji crushed me and eventually worked their way into a submission, both with collar chokes using the brabo grip.  Mike was all over me and kept switching sides whenever I tried an escape.  Mike got me with a bow and arrow choke, and a couple armbars.

Henry was a different story.  While I'm more advanced than him at this point, I do envy him.  He's only 22 and just beginning his BJJ journey.  How awesome it would have been for me to have had the opportunity to start at 22.  The highlight of the day is the armbar that I pulled off using the brabo grip setup that Mike had just shown Ray and I right before we rolled. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4th 2013 - Gi

Theme and Techniques: Hip Throw, Mount, Upa escape, paint brush, arm bar

Not too bad getting up this morning, I was a little sluggish but made it on time.  Robert and Jorge showed up as well.  We started out with the trap trap go upa into guard.  We took turns rolling each other over and then the next person jumped into mount.  We practiced the americana followed by an armbar we setup from the americana defense.  Should americana be capitalized?  I never know.

Rolling: Mount and Free

Greg joined us and we did 2 minute rounds on mount escapes.  I did a good job preventing submissions from him, but he eventually got me with an armbar.  Jorge wasn't as difficult to deal with, but he's doing pretty well for a beginner.

I rolled with Robert first and felt like I was doing some good things.  My lungs are still not completely healed from being sick and the congestion caught up to me.  I tapped just from being in kesa getamai and not an actual submission.  That's the second time that has happened lately.  After that I had a coughing fit.  I rolled with Jorge as well.  He decided to play guard so I passed it, but he did a good job preventing submissions.  I just stayed tight to his hip and kept pressure until I could get a head and arm triangle.  He's pretty difficult to submit for a new guy.

All in all, it was worth as usual to show up to class.  I think I'm going to have to pay a little more attention to my hydration and what I eat between the evening and morning class.  Plus I can't wait until my cardio comes back and this congestion goes away.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3rd 2013 - No Gi (I Need a Shower)

Theme: Takedowns, Reverse De La Riva

This will be a fast post because I'm tired and want to get up early for 6 AM class, sorry for anything forgotten or misspellings.  We did some taking turns with ad lib stand-up fit-ins and then some takedown sparring.  Jerad and I were partnered up for the first one.  We could do any takedown we wanted but one person was the defender and one the attacker and the attacker had to attempt 4 shots.  I think this was a good exercise since I'm not where I want to be takedown-wise and I suck at shooting.  The next round I went with Will and besides one embarrassing slip that allowed him to take my back.

Greg had us do two sweeps from reverse DLR.  The first one was a push and ankle trip into a knee slide.  I feel pretty good about the technique, but not about the position in general.  If their foot was too far away for us to trip, the second technique was to situp wrap our arm around their calf and our leg around their ankle and complete a technical stand-up.  This would lead to a single leg or a kind of knee bar takedown.

Rolling: Free

I rolled with Will, Jerad, and Henry.  I feel pretty good about my performance considering all the congestion I'm carrying around.  Henry even had to stop once to let me hack up a lung.  Jerad was probably the most frustrating.  I felt like attempting to pass his guard was futile and the I have to worry about him sweeping me.  He mentioned that he was trying some type of new sit-up thing that he saw in a video but I was too out of it after class to understand.

I mentioned at the end of class that I was starting to hate no gi.  I don't feel good about my guard passing and I feel even worse about my wrestling.  While you would think this would make me want to stop doing no gi, it actually has inspired me try harder and figure it out.  

The mats were so gross after class and I felt like a hot mess.  Henry and I both noticed that our hands were pruney.  I took my water bottle and sat against the wall with a towel over my head for a while.  I ended up producing quite a sweat puddle.  Eventually I got calmed down enough to change and head home and take a needed shower. 

WHOYA: October 2nd 2013 - Gi

Will ended up being the teacher in one of the few Tuesday evening classes we had at the dojo.  We worked on some half guard from the bottom which I'm always happy to do.  It looks like I spent quite a bit of time rolling with Mike and a little with Will. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 1st 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening ()

Noon Beginner

Theme: Cross Guard to Omaplata sweep, Over/Under Pass

Jordan and I were the only attendants.  The class couldn't have been more perfect for both of us.  I can see Jordan picking up on a lot of the things that I have been naturally drawn to.  We did quite a few reps of the omaplata sweep.  I payed special attention to the far side leg to put pressure on the hip and their arm or body, something that I haven't paid enough attention to.

The over/under pass was new for Jordan but it didn't take too long for him to figure out.  To improve this technique I worked on keeping my butt down and also Greg suggested that I put the person's leg higher onto my shoulder.  This felt a lot better.

Rolling: Closed Guard Pass/Sweep/Submit

Jordan had also been sick recently and felt a little queasy.  We only trained together a couple rounds before he had to sit out.  I was able to hit a few omaplata sweeps and he almost hit one on me.  I was happy with my guard passing attempts against Greg, although he hit the spider guard sweep on me multiple times.  I had one string of 4 guard passing attempts in a row that ended with him retaining his guard, but I had the illusion that I got somewhere.

Evening All Levels

Theme: Hip Throw with Neck, Armbar from Guard, Stack defense for the armbar

I worked with Adam during the technique portion of class.  We got quite a few reps in with both techniques.  The major takeaway was the defense using the rear naked choke arm position to prevent the armbar before stacking.

Rolling: Closed Guard Up/Down/Out, King of the Mat, Free Rolling

Had a lot of success here.  Swept or passed the people I should have and got swept or passed by the people I should have.  Except for one.  I was able to pass Adam's guard which is a very rare event for me.  I was in half guard and did the hip switch and then used the brabo grip to assist with the crossface until I could get my leg free.

I rolled with both Will and Moe.  I played around with the triangle from side control setup with both of them with a little success.  Will took it to me after that from top half guard and I was impressed with the amount of shoulder pressure he put on me.  I had Moe work on the bull fighter sweep a little bit and tried to stress when passing guard standing that controlling the pants was crucial. 

WHOYA: October 1st 2012 - Gi

In the beginning of the post I mention that Will and I rolled, which is something that also happened today.  Greg taught that night with a focus on completing the sweep from butterfly guard after being pushed flat on our backs using the overhook.  It sounds like Mike and I had quite the battle.