Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Closed Guard Sweeps: scissor and hip bump

Had a visitor during class today who is also named Josh.  His son has been to a few classes with my boys so he thought he'd try it out.  This made it a true beginners class this time instead of the usual bromoplata class.  Fuji also was in attendance and I ended up working with him on the throw and sweeping techniques.

I felt pretty good about both sweeps, I had to work on generating momentum a bit with the scissor and Fuji gave me some good pointers with the collar grip for the follow up choke.  I also tried to correct a habit of using my elbow when I should have posted my hand on my right side of the hip bump.

Rolling:  Closed Guard Position (2 min rnds), Free rolling

I worked with Fuji and Josh during positional rolling.  I was actually able to pull off a omoplata sweep and I passed the guard with the over/under on Fuji which was surprising.  Although he got me back with his signature lasso sweep and leg drag pass.

Josh got his first taste of rolling and he seemed pretty surprised how difficult and technical it was.  After sweeping him a couple of times I gave him some pointers and on our second time around Greg talked him through a basic double under pass.  Hopefully we got him hooked.

I rolled with Jordan after class and he did pretty well today.  I had a couple of good sweeps, I tried the lasso sweep and Greg gave me some advice to help complete it.  I also pulled off the x-guard technical stand-up sweep.  I had a heck of a time passing his guard though.  I attacked the north/south choke and he defended it well a couple times but I eventually got a step ahead of his defense.

Theme & Techniques: Dealing with standing opponent in closed guard: Underhook leg sweep & Star Sweep

Greg had us do a lot of reps in the circle portion of warm-up; the abs were feeling it by the end.  I worked with Adam and Conan on the guard techniques.  The first sweep was working pretty well.  We worked out the best way to land since none of us wanted our feet under our opponent in the end while mounting. 

I felt a little twinge in my left knee a couple times while Adam did the star sweep.  It worried me a bit so I decided to sit out for the remainder of the drill.  I stretched and felt it out and it wasn't hurt or swollen.  I probably overreacted because the pain wasn't unbearable but I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to exacerbate a real injury.  I did some test rolling with Adam and seemed fine.  

Rolling: King of the Mat closed guard

I monitored myself closely during kotm and didn't have any problems.  I took it pretty easy for the most part and made sure I didn't end up with a start sweep scenario.  I was king for a couple of rounds but ended up getting passed by Henry.  He has really stepped up his game recently.  I had a pretty good battle with Adam mostly in half guard.  I was so close to passing but it wasn't meant to be. 

Had a nice chat about guard passing after class and some of his strategies to deal with Greg's 2 on 1 grip.  I think I'm going to go to youtube and watch some competitions, mostly with a focus on observing grip fighting from top guard.  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday I won't be training for 3 days.  Come Saturday I'll be salivating to get back on the mat. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 23rd 2013 - Competition/Open Mat

Competiton Class

Our class was down to 5 yesterday but we still had a tough session.  Greg setup stations with 4 minute rounds to work on our guard pass, guard technique, our third technique, pulling guard, and conditioning.  The worst part by far was the conditioning with lunges, push-ups, triangles, and finally burpees.

Rolling: Tournament Rules Matches with everyone

I didn't feel great about my performance but I suppose that's to be expected with the people I went up against.  I successfully pulled guard on Fuji but when I went to underhook his leg his knee landed firmly in my face.  There were some expletives and I eventually wriggled my way out of it but it sucked.  It finished the same as usual in side control.  I pulled guard again but he passed my legs by pretty easily we ended up in a nasty knee on belly. 

Probably the highlight of the morning was a dropping shoulder throw that I pulled off on Henry.  I had thought about the throw before the match and he and I went back and forth a little bit before I decided to try it.  I worked for his back and almost had a bow and arrow but he defended it well.  I screwed up after that, I gassed a bit and once points started Henry turned it up and passed my half guard.  He gained a lot more points after that with mount and knee on belly and I wasn't able to come back. 

I rolled with Jerad and Will as well but don't remember as much about those matches.  I know Jerad shut me down pretty decisively.  Will and I stalemated although I was awarded the win for passing the guard early in the match.

Open Mat

Everyone was pretty wiped after class but I had to go home soon to the family so I decided to roll with Jorge.  I was able to sweep him okay and reach side control, but I spent a lot of time trying to submit him.  He's doing a great job of protecting himself but I eventually wore him down to catch him with an americana.  He asked me about some alternative side control escapes so I showed him the underhook tripod escape to single leg.  We rolled once or twice more after that.

Ray systematically destroyed me.  He worked very methodically to pass my guard take side control then mount and not give me any space to work with.  I did a little better during our second roll but not much.  He did put me in back mount which was weird for him, I escaped it, back into mount though.  He ended up submitting me with a couple of kimuras I believe.

WHOYA: November 23rd 2012 - Open Mat

I returned after a hiatus to open mat.  It sounded like a pretty good time, I rolled with Mike, Buaer, Greg, and Ray.  This was still at a time when I thought my knee was going to heal on its own.  It seems like my roll with Ray was similar to yesterday with him spending most of the time on top.  The roll with Greg made me realize that he has changed his game recently.  For a while it seemed like he was always working toward a guillotine now it seems like he focuses on butterfly guard and then hunting for back mount. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22nd 2013 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Escape side control with straight arm, Under hook shovel side control escape, Omoplata back roll counter

Had the first signs of winter last night with a little bit of snow and ice.  The other students must have decided to stay home in their warm beds instead of attending the early Friday morning class.  After a warm-up Greg and I drilled 3 techniques each.  I've been a little disappointed in my side control escapes lately so requested to work on the straight arm escape.  My confidence in the technique was raised a little bit, but I know I need to work on it some more. 

The 2nd technique is an alternative to the first one that I kind of like.  I get my first hand on the opponent's bicep the other arm fights for the underhook.  From their try to get under the opponent rolling them over you.  It worked pretty well in practice, I'll have to see if I can make it work. 

I'm feeling a lot better about the omoplata back roll when they posture.  I've practicing being explosive with back rolls during the warm-up and it seems to be helping.  Greg also suggested to cause a reaction in the opponent to drive them down with the leg before back rolling.

Rolling: Free Rolling (2 x 7 min)

Both rolls were an exercise in delaying an inevitable back take and RNC.  There were a couple of times where I almost accomplished something with guard or trying a guard pass but it was all for not.  Before taking off, Greg and I discussed rolling with new guys and how aggressive I need to be.  I've been sort of worried that I may be taking it a little too easy by focusing on technique above all else.  Greg didn't necessarily see it as a bad thing and said that I'm going down a good path but couldn't hurt to up my intensity slightly.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21st 2013 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Omoplata from shin on bicep guard, Escape side control with straight arm

Another omoplata setup to add to my repertoire.  I have practiced this before but don't find myself in this position too often, but I may play around with it in the weeks to come to see if I can make something of it.  Greg equated the position to about as close as you can get to spider guard in no gi.  It's a little like butterfly guard but you have your shins on their biceps and your hands holding their arms in place by grabbing the triceps.  You then pick your side and bring both hands over to that arm, kick up and voila, omoplata!

Continuing with Escapes Week, we did the no gi version of the side control escape that Greg has been drilling lately.  I felt a little better about it today during drilling but once we started rolling I wasn't able to implement it.  I'll have to keep working it as well as stringing together my side control escapes in general.

Rolling: Side Control Position (3 minute rounds)

Adam and I partnered up first and I kept him at bay from the bottom but was not able to escape.  I had some pretty decent attempts though.  From the top he seemed to have a pretty easy time.  I need to pay more attention to the crossface and his hips, but it's so difficult to hold him down.  Mike and I had a great roll and we both stalemated each other from both positions.  I had a lot of submission attempts from top and he was all over the place with a lot of movement every time I attempted an escape.  Jordan did a good job of moving from the top, I was able to squeak into half guard once or twice but it took some doing.  From the top I setup the north/south choke a couple times by attacking for mount and getting him to bring his hands away from his neck. 

Jordan surprised me after rolling by asking me to keep attacking him with the north/south choke when we roll.  I think that's a great attitude to have and I equate it to all of those times I was darce choked by Jerad.  I'm way better at defending the darce now because of that time period.  Hopefully I can oblige Jordan in his request.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme and Techniques: Omoplatas, Turtle escape to guard

Just Jordan and myself again.  I'm just finishing up with the cold I had, but I still have a lot of congestion and the whole class was a little bit of a struggle.  We each did a 7 minute round of omoplatas.  We both paid special attention to keeping their hand in the hip.  Doing that many omoplatas for that length of time actually turns into quite a full body workout.  The abs and legs get involved as well as a little upper body looking for the underhook and extending them out.

We worked on defending from turtle if they had the farside lapel grip, by grabbing their far knee, sticking our leg up behind them and then sitting using our shin to regain some type of guard. 

Rolling: Turtle Position, Free Rolling

I didn't have too much trouble with either side of the turtle position.  I was able to regain a couple times and roll him into side control.  Greg had us roll together for a 10 minute round.  I may have played a little too lazy because he was able to pass my guard using the bull fighter pass a couple of times.  I was trying to implement spider guard but I seemed to be one step behind.  It took some doing but I regained butterfly guard and was able to eventually sweep and slid right to a north/south choke. 

Theme and Techniques: 1 Escape each from Mount, Side Mount, Back Mount, Turtle

Greg deemed this week "Escapes Week" and escapes we did.  I partnered with Adam as we went through umpa from mount, bridge and knee replace from side control, back to the mat leg flatten escape to the underhook side from back mount, and the granby roll from turtle.  We did it in rounds so each partner got a lot of reps in a row of each escape. 

Rolling: 8 Minute Defensive Drill x 2

I guess several of the new guys had never been through the 8 minute drill previously.  It has been one of my most favorite and hated drills since Greg introduced it.  It's gotten more bearable over time but doing 2 in a row was tough especially with 2 of the most experienced guys (Adam and Jerad).  For the most part my defense went pretty well with both of them.  I didn't give up too many submissions, an americana from Adam and a triangle from Jerad.  My offense with both of them did seem to be lacking.  I should probably study what they are doing a little bit more because I would like to be able to escape like they do. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 16th 2013 - Competition/Open Mat

Competition Class

I ended up missing Thursday and Friday classes due to a nasty cough.  Quite a bummer.  I went with my kids to the morning class and worked out with them and felt pretty good so decided to come back for the competition class.  I still have a bit of a cough but it's manageable.

We ended up with an odd number of students so Greg got creative.  He chose 5 different exercises each for a minute: lunges up and down the mat, Pushups, Guard Lifts, Guard Situps, and finally Burpees.  My thighs were burning by the end.  Will and I each drilled our 3 techniques for 4 minutes a piece.  Very tough class.

I had a pathetic tournament match against Fuji next.  He did a great job of snapping me down and I feel like I've got nothing against him from standing.  Once we were down he quickly passed my guard and worked me over using the brabo grip.  So frustrating.

Open Mat

John showed up for open mat and while everyone was wiped out I decided to oblige him in some rolling.  It wasn't difficult to not use strength because I had very little left.  I also rolled with Will and was able to setup a triangle near the beginning of the roll.  A technique I never am able to finish, but I took it as slow as possible and made sure to control his posture.  During our second roll he caught me in an armbar from guard.

Fuji and I did some more stand up.  This is not fun for me and is a little scary.  I'm mostly scared of landing wrong and getting hurt but I'm not sure if I'm overreacting. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 12th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: Cross Guard Omoplata to Armbar

Just Jordan and I today continuing our Bromoplata tradition.  Today Greg showed us a counter to the opponent grabbing our opposite leg while attempting an omoplata.  From there we would cup their elbow kick out and then armbar with their wrist in the armpit.  This is another great piece to this guard that I need because I run into this problem often now that people are savvy to my cross guard.  To further this position, I ordered Tinguinha's Cross Guard DVD and can't wait to study it.

Rolling: Closed Guard Position, Free Rolling

Greg joined us for guard passing and frustrated me as usual.  He played the 2 on 1 that he's been working on and I only realized it too late.  It's so strong but it hasn't been working for me as much as him.  However, it is cool to see how things get incorporated into his game. 

I did well with Jordan, although he seemed a little tougher than previously.  I had to work pretty hard to pass his guard and also to keep him in my guard.  I did setup a cool lasso sweep towards the end. 

We free rolled a little bit and had a great time.  I'd rather do that for another hour than go back to work.  There was one point where I was in knee shield half guard and I was setting up the spin under omoplata but I had tunnel vision and as soon as Jordan moved it all fell apart.

Theme & Techniques: Judo Turnover to side control or back control, Taking back from side control

Ray showed up last night so he ended up partnering with Adam.  I worked with Henry instead which was a good change of pace.  We did adequate reps of everything and would challenge each other every now and again.   Nothing too terribly new here.

Rolling: Back Control Up/Down/Out, King of the Mat Guard

Greg separated us into big and small groups by size.  So Adam, Ray, Henry, and I were on one side of the room while Mike, Mo, Brian, and John were in the small guy's group.  Greg floated to both sides.  I did some pretty good things here.  Probably the most impressive was when Ray tapped to an arm lock on his inside arm when he escaped to deep half.  For some reason though I thought that when I would finally tap out Ray there would be fireworks and fanfare but from my end I was more like, "Wait are you sure?"  It's also not as brag worthy being that it was positional sparring and I started in a good spot.  So I'll wait for that day when I can do it off of a legit roll. 

When we did King of the mat next from guard Ray and Adam ended up squandering away the majority of the time.  When Greg announced there was only 1 minute left I grabbed Henry to get some more sparring in, but it didn't feel like enough.  I still wanted to train more after class but it didn't look like anyone else was game.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 9th 2013 - Competition/Open Mat

Competition Class 

Had a little change up in groups this week.  Jerad and Will were both absent and Bauer and Mo showed up.  Bauer and I ended up together which made the workout a little more difficult than the previous weeks.  Greg had us do the basic back mount escape timed and then he gave an instructional on pulling guard.  We then drilled pulling closed or open for several minutes.  During my first attempt I totally slammed myself instead of locking up the closed guard, I decided to practice pulling open after that.

We ran through the conditioning set ending with burpees, which sucked verily.  We did several rounds of each of our predetermined techniques.  Bauer provided some motivation when I started slowing down during the over/under pass.  Probably the most difficult part of the class for me physically was the single legs.  I'm not sure if I'm just not used to them or if I'm doing something wrong, because my back gets fatigued quickly. 

Open Mat

I rolled with Jorge and Derrick.  Jorge continues to be more challenging than I new guy should be.  He does a good job of keeping his arms in already.  I had to be pretty crafty while rolling with him as well as conserve my energy.  He was having some trouble getting out of mount so I showed him the step over to recapture half guard escape.  My main focus with Derrick was the Ezekiel choke which I pulled off a few times.  I also coached him a bit on the bullfighter guard pass and tried to get him to get good grips while attempting to pass.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8th 2013 - Gi (I learned it from watching You!)

Theme & Techniques: Elbow Escape from Mount, Ezekiel in Mount

It started out with Air Force Brian and I this morning working on the mount escape.  Nothing terribly new for me here.  With the Ezekiel choke I did find out that Greg prefers to use the forearm more than the fist.  The fist has been working for me but when he said to try to lift both elbows off the floor, it made a lot of sense.  We choked each other quite a bit before Greg told us to chill out.
Rolling: Mount Position, Free Rolling

After a round of positional rolling Caesar showed up.  He wasn't sure why but he had in his head the class started at 7 instead of 6.  He joined us in free rolling after getting dressed.  I felt pretty good this morning even though I was a little sore from the night before.  

One awesome thing that occurred was at one point Greg used a deep underhook in a scramble and I used it to set up an omoplata.  He was able to escape but before he did I made the comment, "I learned that from watching you!"  For those of you that don't know it's a reference to an anti-drug commercial from my childhood.  I had some good rolls with Brian and Caesar as well.

I've been repeatedly viewing the video by Jason Scully below.  While it's not an instructional video, it provides a lot of possibilities in a short period of time.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7th 2013 - No Gi (B.E. A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E)

Theme & Techniques: 2 on 1 to butterfly guard, transition from full guard, arm drag to back mount

Had some visitors tonight from North Platte join us.  We've been working on this hold from butterfly a lot lately, but in the gi.  Setting it up no gi is not nearly as secure but it still works.  The piece that made this easier was using a grape vine from guard to put their legs back to get our butterfly hooks in.

The other awesome thing that we did tonight an addition to the arm drag.  After setting up the 2 on 1 we would bring 1 hook out and scoot forward then kind of jump sit back.  Hard to explain but very useful.  Greg has been learning some great things from MGInAction

Rolling: Free Rolling

Greg had us roll with everyone tonight, I think with maybe 5 minute rounds.  The two visitors were a little bigger than me and knew how to handle themselves in no gi.  Technique pulled me through but it wasn't easy.  One of them (Adam) was able to setup a toe hold to knee bar that I tapped to.  I wasn't sure how to feel about that.  I felt like it shouldn't have happened so ego reared its ugly head, but there is also a BJJ saying: "If you're not tapping, you're not learning."  I did ask Greg if we could work on leg locks in the next no gi class.

Mike took it to me pretty well.  He's still nursing his ribs although you wouldn't know it.  His objective was just guard passing and he took it to me like he usually does.  Once he was able to open my guard and stand up he had the upper hand.  We talked after class about some things I should do and we both thought that my problems were stemming from a lazy guard.  I need to be more aggressive in guard and impose my will.  Attack sweeps instead of always waiting for the other guy to make a mistake.  He said that when I'm in a top position he can see that I'm focused on my guard passing or going for the submission from side mount, but in guard I play kind of willy-nilly.  My guard needs to be more purpose driven.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 5th 2013 - Gi Noon & Evening (Finally Got It?)

Theme and Techniques: Arm Drag to Single Leg, Omaplata roll over, Over/Under Pass

Greg gave Jordan and I the option to choose what to work on so I requested my focus techniques from the competition class. I feel pretty good about completing the single leg, but getting there is where I usually fall short.  I've been researching some setups for this technique on YouTube focusing mostly on the gi.

I think we finally figured out what I've been doing wrong with the omaplata counter to when they posture.  Greg took videos of me doing the technique and then of him doing them.  We discovered that I was under my opponent too much, mostly due to me holding the underhooked leg tight to my head.  Once I made space between us I was able to roll over just fine without running into them.  Technique Achievement Unlocked!

Rolling: Guard Position, Free Rolling

I felt pretty good about my guard today and kept from getting passed.  There were a couple times that I just squeaked by barely.  Since we are both getting versed in the cross guard, I'm trying the best I can to be sneaky when I set it up.  I used quite a bit of spider guard and tried my best to setup sweeps by grabbing his opposite leg.

We free rolled after class for 5 minutes where I mostly played guard.  I was able to take Jordan's back at one point and work my way to a bow and arrow.  During our second roll I had him in a strange side triangle position and we kind of got stuck there as I couldn't figure out how to finish it and he couldn't escape.

Theme and Techniques:  Butter Fly Guard Hook Sweep, Knee Slide to pass Butterfly Guard

Worked with Chris today who is always a great partner.  We both challenged each other to have good technique.  One constant battle for any type of guard in the gi is grip fighting and it's something that we addressed repeatedly by keeping our hands forward and legs flat.  When passing the butterfly guard we'd grab the knees and step into their butterfly and went for an underhook or grab their neck to go for a knee cut pass.  This was a new technique for me and one that I'll keep in mind.

Rolling: Guard Gauntlet, Free Rolling

I was on the other end of the guard gauntlet for once with Chris: Spider, Jared: Butterfly, Adam: Half Gaurd, Mike: Full Guard Top, Greg: Side Control Bottom.  Hopefully I gave everyone a little trouble (well except Jerad, he had my number tonight). 

I rolled with Jerad first and he kicked my butt some more.  He was able to mount me and then setup an armbar that was pretty slick.  Jorge was up next and he really tried to take it to me in the beginning.  He's a little too overzealous and should probably slow down and work some technique but it was good for me.  I kept calm and was able to pull him into full guard which led to the scissor sweep to mount.  I tied some collar chokes and then switched to side control.  I never got a sub, but I controlled him pretty well. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 2nd 2013 - Gi Competition/Open Mat

Competition Class was pretty similar to last week minus the explanation of tournament rules.  So, it was horrible but in a good way.  Everyone returned from the previous week, so we commenced with the same partners.  Which meant Will had to lift me repeatedly once again.  We duplicated the partner drills and Greg tracked our counts.

We did reps for time of the basic side control escape, our guard pass (over/under), our 3rd technique (Single Leg), and finally our guard technique (cross guard to omaplata sweep).  I wish I had kept count because I did a lot of reps.  Everything felt pretty smooth by the end but the over/under pass especially killed me. 

We each had a match tournament style and I was put up against Will.  It is definitely a different feeling than just regular rolling.  Everything happens faster, more frantic, and supercharged.  I felt a little gassed afterwards, but not during.  Very early on he pulled guard and then setup a pretty tight armbar that I just barely got out of.  I had passed his guard right before points took affect.  I wasn't even thinking about this but I should have been.  I did go for knee on belly points after that though got the points and setup a baseball bat choke.  I didn't consider it a clean choke though as I wasn't deep enough.

Like last week most everyone cleared out after the competition class.  I rolled with Mike a couple of times and did a little better than last week.  I took some of his advice and made a point of sitting up and fighting for grips whenever he was standing up trying to pass.  It turned out to be great advice and I was able to stave off his passing a little longer. 

WHOYA: November 2nd 2013 - Open Mat (Setback)

One of a handful of times that I injured my knee last year.  After this time I decided to take some substantial time off still hoping it would heal up on it's own.  At the time I wished I hadn't attended that one class, but surgery was inevitable.  As a result I also mention practicing Jiu-Jitsu for the long haul.  This is something that has affected my rolling to this day.  I've tapped several times when it was probably a little too early, especially when it comes to leg locks.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1st 2013 - Gi (Morning Crew)

I still have teeth, I'm just wearing a mouth piece in the pic
Theme & Techniques: Tripod Side Control escape, Butterfly Guard Sweep

One after the other people kept showing up to early Friday Jiu-Jitsu until there were 6 of us including Greg.  Hopefully we can keep this up.

Matching up size wise I ended up working with Adam.  I felt pretty good with both of the techniques we worked on.  My tripod to single leg is still not as strong as I'd like it to be, so I may need to put more attention into that.

As Greg worked with the other group on some of the finer points of the butterfly sweep, Adam and I were challenging each other a bit.  The person being swept would hunker down or make the sweeper switch sides or use the overhook instead of the underhook.  It was very productive training remaining within the confines of what we were working on.

Rolling: Side Control Position, Butterfly position, Free Rolling

Side control defense has been frustrating me lately.  I feel like I should be better at it than I am.  I think I need to revisit the basics and work on refining the tried and true techniques.  Adam bullied me from the top for quite a while but I was able to stave off a submission just barely.  I was able to escape Brian a couple times but I felt like I was missing opportunities or telegraphing my moves too much.

Who better to drill butterfly with than the man himself.  Even when he let me get position he would figure a way out of the sweep and pass my guard.  When he was on bottom he took the opportunity to setup the two on one grip stuff that we've been working on.  Of course, it worked great for him.  It was very hard to deal with and made me want to include it in my own game more.

I free rolled with Alec to finish up the class.  As usual it was enjoyable as we usually end up in unusual positions.  A lot of butterfly hooking and attempted back takes, etc.  That was until he was attempting to take my back and then he started to bleed all over the mat.  I wasn't sure what I did, but it turned out to just be an existing scab that fell off from rubbing on my gi. 

After class I rolled with Brian a few times.  I worked some spider guard and even pulled off a sweep that I don't usually get.  Taking the back was my main goal, which I somewhat accomplished in our last roll.  He did a great job of defending my hooks, but I kept dragging him out so he couldn't escape and finally tricked him into letting me get a bow and arrow grip.

WHOYA: November 1st 2013 - Gi (Round 2)

I've been doing this section of the blog for quite a while now and one of the things that keep running through my head as I read it is "What a difference a year makes.  I hardly knew anything then.  Old me was really ignorant of BJJ."  I'm hopeful that future me a year from now will look back and see how dumb I am and how much I've improved. 

I had the 2nd match of the round robin tournament with David and while I lost I mention improvement as David smashed me the first several months of Jiu-Jitsu.  Before that the theme of the class was tornado and other inverted guards.