Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31st 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Guard Breaking, Single Under Pass

Had a different group than the average Friday morning.  Ray, Darjio, and Brian L.  Whom hence forth will be referred to as "Bendy" Brian.  Greg kept with the theme of the week so I had another opportunity to work on breaking the closed guard.  Not much to report about the techniques otherwise except Brian has really long legs and good technique is needed to break his guard.

Rolling: Closed Guard Position (6 x 2 min rnds)

Greg read my mind (or my blog from Tuesday) and had us work specifically on breaking the guard.  I had a pretty hard time with Brian, I tried everything and even got ankle grab swept when I tried the standing break.  I asked Greg about this after class since this is the 2nd time this has happened to me recently.  He gave me 2 possible changes.  The first was to try a pistol grip instead of the normal sleeve grip since my fingers are a little jacked right now.  Second was to attempt to circle step out of the ankle grips and reach down and grab the sleeve from there.  I didn't have as much trouble breaking Darjio's guard, but we're built similarly with short legs and my experience helped.  I think this is something I'll be drilling in the near future.

We went to just guard pass/sweep/submit drill after that with Ray as my partner.  There was one point when Ray was working on passing my guard and I threw my leg over his head to regain and Greg said something to the effect of "Ray, Josh both of you keep doing what you're doing."  We both paused and chuckled a bit and then continued.  It was great rolling with him and I hope we're in class together more often.  I finished the morning off with Brian and had a little more success when we could do more than closed guard.  I left feeling like I didn't get enough rolling in but hopefully I can make up for it tomorrow morning.

January 30th 2014 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: 1 Legged-X guard entry and sweep

I was pretty excited as I've been wanting to work on this position for a while.  I've done it a little bit with Mike and I've had it done to me plenty of times.  It's pretty similar to the x-guard setups that I know with the major difference of focusing on the near leg instead of the far one.  I worked with Adam for this portion of class.  He had jammed his thumb pretty badly in the previous class and it noticeably bothered him several times.  The key to the sweep was to put pressure outward first then back in and then finish the sweep by pushing back out. 

Rolling: Free Rolling (4 x 7 min rnds)

Everyone rolled with everyone.  Greg was first and I don't feel like I did anything particularly well against him except defend back mount for a while.  There was a little deep half guard but I wasn't able to turn it into anything.

Henry had my number tonight.  Every good thing I did, he was able to slip out of, literally we were pretty sweaty.  He caught me in a triangle/armbar, and some guillotines.  I think I need to roll with Henry more.  Especially to deal with his pace and his strength.  I observed Greg and Henry roll and got some insight of some things that I need to improve on.  Like flowing a little more, being tighter in back mount, stick with him when I've got a choke locked up, etc.

I had a decent roll with Adam.  He got me with an interesting darce setup pretty quickly but after that I was able to play some guard and attack a little bit. 

The highlight of my night was with Conan. He allowed me to pass and take side control from there I worked my game and did my best not to be lulled into any of his traps.  I attempts north/south choke and transitioned to guillotine and then I was able to get back to the north/south choke and finish it.  I put the pressure on methodically and hand fought to get the correct grips and sunk as low as I could and he eventually tapped.  Second roll Conan was not as pliable and ended up passing my butterfly guard and grinding me down in side control until he setup a tight kimura. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 28th 2014 - Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: Standing Headlock Defense, Guard break and single under pass

A new guy, Nick, joined us today as well as Bhuvana, Fuji, and Jordan.  The headlock defense consisted of blocking the far arm and then going to a valley drop type of takedown.  It was done a little differently than I'm used to by making more of a circular stepping motion in front of them before performing the trip.  It worked way better.

The guard break was standard, but we don't practice the single under pass that often.  There were a couple of key things that I didn't know specifically.  Like grabbing the gi collar with the thumb inside and putting pressure straight forward and getting their hips off the ground before moving around to complete the pass. 

Rolling: Guard Position (4 x 2 min rnds, Free Rolling)

I partnered up with Fuji and Nick for the guard position.  Fuji and I both gave each other a hard time and we were able to pass each others guard.  Nick did well for his third class.  He had a pretty good base and didn't just crumble in guard.

Fuji trapped me in lasso guard the both times we rolled.  I have no good answer for that currently but I'm working on it.  I spent a little time on top our second roll and it was futile for me to try north/south choke, but I did anyway.  He eventually submitted me both times with his brabo stuff from side control.  Jordan seemed more solid today.  I had to work pretty hard to keep him from passing my guard.  Grip fighting was key, which made my already sore fingers ache a little more.

Theme & Techniques: Guard Break and single under pass, paper cutter assist

One of the cool things about doing both Tuesday classes is we often review the same techniques in the second class so I can get more reps.  In the past I might have thought it was boring but now I'm of the mind that drilling techniques is as important as rolling.  I worked with Jerad and Henry for this portion of class.  We took turns causing the other person to make the "sounds of success" which is the noise you make when your knee is put to your nose and the opponent uses their pressure.  Greg reminded everyone that to create the good pressure you should not raise your butt in the air but instead stay low push into them.  Jerad complimented me on the ability to do that well.  This was cool and I owe it to working on the over/under pass so much and trying to get over the butt in the air problem. 

Doing the follow up paper cutter technique was pretty rough.  If someone isn't letting you pass, you grab their belt and lift their hips up a little higher and then drive your forearm into their neck.  They often help you pass after that.

Rolling: King of the mat Closed guard position, Free Rolling

Jorge and I had a pretty good battle from his guard.  I just couldn't get his guard open.  He did a good job of fighting grips and messing with my posture.  At one point I went for the standing guard break and was being a little too hasty and impatient and he almost swept me with the double ankle sweep.  I was able to recover and just kept working until he eventually opened his guard and I wouldn't let him close it back up again until I passed.

I also had a few battles with Jerad.  I tried to work all configurations of my guard passing game leg drag, torreando pass, over under, knee cut, rinse repeat.  Finally a leg drag worked and I was able to get in to back mount.  Our second time I felt about the same working really hard to throw every pass at him and then he blasted up to a perfectly timed double leg out of nowhere.  That was awesome.

Jerad and I rolled in free rolling.  We spent a majority of time with me trying to pass his guard again.  Eventually he ended up in my guard before time ran out.  I don't remember much more than that.  Jorge started off by passing my guard which was a lazy mistake on my part.  From there I regained half guard and had a little trouble getting into the position that I wanted against his pressure.  I eventually swept and then passed the guard just to have the time run out.  Kudos to Jorge, I've got to keep my game sharp with these new guys coming up.

After class I got some pointers from Jerad on the low knee cut.  It's a pretty cool idea how he was doing it against two butterfly hooks with some distance.  Ray gave some pointers on deep half.  I think I may need to review some of the techniques from there as this position has been presenting itself in rolling lately.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26th 2014 - Open Mat

Had a good hard day of rolling.  It was a little tough to keep up with my "Sense of Urgency mantra.  I realize now that I have been training pretty lazy lately.  This is already showing signs of difficulty but it will be worth it.  Someone on one of the podcasts I listen to said something to the effect of "if you're not always moving then you're not attacking."  I've been trying to reconcile that with my game.  I participated in some wars today, although I don't remember a lot of it.  I'll just summarize some of the people I worked with.

Jerad: He controlled me pretty well from mount and ended up triangling once from there and once from guard.  The only good thing I did was pass his guard and knee him in the head (accident). 

Mike: We battled for quite a while and it seemed like he was huffing and puffing as much as I was.  I spent some time on top in north/south and attempted to take his back for a little bit.  I thought I was ahead of the game until I fell into his loop choke and that was it. 

John: He did a lot better than the last time I rolled with him.  I had a little trouble passing his guard at first.  I got him stuck in side control for a while and afterwards we went over the underhook tripod escape.

Conan: Conan allowed me to take side control from the beginning.  He said later on that I had him defending and if I would have kept it up I probably wouldn't have lost control of him and gotten swept. 

Will: Will and I rolled non-stop for probably 20 minutes.  It was great exercise in pacing and not giving up.  We both had our moments on top and bottom

Jordan: I didn't roll with Jordan but I went over some of my tips for the north/south choke.  He seemed to get it in the end. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Hip Throw, Armbar from Guard, Pendulum Sweep, Cross Collar Choke

Thankfully, Air Force Brian and Ross showed up this morning.  Apparently Greg had been keeping with a theme this week of armbar and other appropriate techniques from the guard.  While drilling the armbar and pendulum sweep, Greg pointed out a couple things that I was doing incorrectly.  It's a tough pill to swallow being the senior person in class and having the illusion that I'm good at the techniques we were practicing.  So, I made the corrections as best I could. 

My cross choke is definitely getting better.  Greg talks about it being a technique he had a lot of trouble with until something finally clicked.  I'm not sure how to describe what made it click except now I just think about pulling my chest to my opponent while twisting my wrists. 

Rolling: Free Rolling (3 x 5 min rnds)

Rolling got increasingly more difficult as my partners changed.  Ross is strong and doing very well at picking things up, but he's still only been around for a few weeks.  I didn't take it to him like I have been, but my goal was to not give up any points.  Eventually talked him through passing my guard to side control.  Brian gave me a little more trouble than usual, while I did some good things and kept control of the roll, he kept me from submitting him.  Greg seemed to step it up a bit.  Possibly in response to the waiter sweep I hit yesterday and partly because I was a little tired from the previous night. 

January 23rd 2014 - No Gi (Sense of Urgency)

Theme & Techniques: Personal Drilling (2 x 10 min)

While we were warming up, the subject of the Karate Kid movie came up and Bauer started playing the tournament montage song as we were shrimping up and down the floor.  I know it should have probably felt silly but it was actually a little motivating.  So now I'm watching Karate Kid as I write this. Damn you Bauer!

Greg had us go right into drilling what we personally wanted to work on.  I worked with Adam and chose the straight arm side control escape and butterfly hook sweep to farside armbar.  I'm feel like the stiff arm escape is coming along pretty well.  I still have some problems transitioning to the roll if they attempt to step over the head.  The focus for improvement on the hook sweep to armbar was keeping low while stepping over transitioning to the armbar.

Rolling: Free Rolling (3 x 5 min rnds)

I rolled with Adam first and it probably felt the best out of any of our previous rolls.  The biggest improvement was that I insisted on sitting up and not giving up guard easily.  He maintained top position and had me in side control a few times but I was able to recapture guard and even pull him into full guard a couple times. 

Mike destroyed me with ankle locks.  I think I tapped 4 or 5 times with heel hooks. Later on he mentioned that combat base was the cause for my trouble and made it easy for him to get to the leg lock position.  I may search youtube for some no gi matches to get a feel for guard passing styles.

Greg made a comment after we rolled that my rolling is a lot better since I've added more aggression.  Everything felt faster but not I didn't feel like I was completely on the defensive like usual.  My claim to fame for the night was going to deep half guard and then hitting the waiter sweep.  He bounced back after that, but I think this would be the first time I've completed a technique that would have scored points.  For most of the roll he had me in mount and he ended up tapping me with an armbar.

It didn't seem appropriate to say that I was going to start rolling harder.  While that is somewhat true, officially I'm thinking of it more of rolling with a sense of urgency.  I'm always working toward some type of goal instead of previously I was more focused on being reactive to my opponent. With someone better than me, I'm almost guaranteed to be behind from the start.  This is the great thing about competing in the tournament.  I feel my focus on training has been rejuvenated.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 21st 2014 - Gi Noon & Evening (I Must Insist)

Theme & Techniques: Hip Throw, Armbar from Guard, Cross Collar Choke from Guard, Personal Drilling

First class since the tournament.  I've been racking my brain trying to figure out the best way to go about improving based on my performance.  My idea is to be more insistent on what I want, especially from guard.  I'm not sure what that means yet, but rolling a little harder is one of the aspects.  I think I currently play a little too safe and too lazy especially in guard.

I worked with Jordan for the technique portion.  Both techniques caused me a little trouble.  With the armbar it was tough to get my hips in the right place.  For the choke getting my forearm under his chin was the issue.  However, the rest of the choke is coming together finally.  Greg had us choose a technique to work on drill it for 5 or 6 minutes.  I chose the side control stiff arm escape. 

Rolling: Free Rolling

We rolled with everyone.  I felt like I picked up the pace with Jordan and Greg.  Jordan is getting much better and I fear he's close to catching me one of these days.  It was fun to roll with Greg as I pushed the pace more than usual.  I ended up catching Jordan with a north/south choke.  I felt like I held on to guard a lot longer but inevitably he armbarred me and then took my back the second time.  I did take a kick in the lip from Greg during the armbar, to which he was very apologetic for.  I also rolled with John and played a little more loose with him.  Did some spider guard until I could sweep and then attacked from top.

Theme & Techniques: Armbar from guard, Triangle from guard, Knees together sweep

We did the same armbar from guard as the noon class but then followed it up with a triangle if we couldn't pull their arm away.  Adam and I both had trouble locking up the triangle but we could usually finish the triangle armbar. We had fun with the knees together sweep.  It seemed like I naturally went to the same side every time.

Rolling: Guard Gauntlet, Free Rolling

For guard gauntlet, I was assigned full guard with the intent that I would play cross guard.  It worked for the most part.  I had the most trouble with Mike, Jorge, and Brian, but in the end only had my guard passed twice I think.  I just have to keep in my head to be more aggressive from guard and go for what I want.

I rolled with Jerad first and probably surprised him a little bit by being more aggressive from the start, plus it was first roll Jerad.  I attacked from the top and hit my north/south choke which has miraculously returned as one of my go to moves.  I then received the wrath of second roll Jerad which turned crazy fast where he was always just a little bit ahead and I defended the best I could.  This is the kind of rolling I need to get better I think.  It's better for my cardio and better to prepare me for future tournaments.  I went with Jorge next and after sweep to side control I was able to secure my 3rd north/south choke of the day.  I wonder what has changed to make this technique viable for me again.

Tournament Videos:

Here are 3 of my 4 fights from last weekend.  The one missing was my third match against Nolan.  He dominated me thoroughly in that one from side control so probably boring to watch.  I may upload it at a later date. 

Follow this link to see all of my teammates' videos: 2014 Circle of Iron LBJJC

Josh vs Nolan #1
Josh vs Nolan #2
Josh vs Kassius (Open Division)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 18th 2014 - Circle of Iron Tournament

It was a long day and I have to thank my wonderful gorgeous wife for being cool with me competing.  Like most tournaments there was a lot of waiting and the most difficult part was figuring out when to warm-up.  Don't want to do it too early and risk getting cold, but you also don't want to wait too long and have your ring called without doing any kind of a warm-up.

They started off with the kids division.  I have to say I was impressed with several of the kids' movement and their tenacity.  The women went next as well as the lighter men divisions.  There was a break as well as a super fight between 2 brown belts that was quite entertaining.  They continued with the rest of the adult matches.  Our team won the trophy in the picture by winning the most medals.  Not bad for a school that is less than a year old.

My division ended up only being myself and a guy that I had faced in the last state games, Nolan.  We talked a little before and after our matches and he's a good guy.  At the last tournament he beat me decisively, so I was interested to see if anything had changed since then.  I went straight to my game plan in the first match.  I got the sleeve grip I wanted and pulled guard right into the omoplata cross guard position.  I was unable to sweep or submit and he eventually ended up in my guard.  A lot of the rest is kind of a blur.  I ended up sweeping and maintaining top for a while.  I had a farside armbar setup but when I went for it, I lost it and lost position.  That was it for my gas tank in this match, he took control and passed my guard and eventually had enough points to win the match. 

Match 2 went a lot better for me.  He pulled guard instead and I passed with an over/under.  I stayed in side control and attempted the safest submissions and maintain side control.  Kimura, north/south choke, to guillotine not really able to finish anything.  He got me into half guard several times and I passed back to side mount.  Finally he stood up on me and I attempted a guillotine but his head popped out.  He scored some points and almost caught up.  This was the only match I won for the day.

I didn't do much offensively in the 3rd match.  I pulled cross guard again but didn't do anything with it.  He passed my guard way too easily and then spent the rest of the match in side control trying to submit me.  I couldn't find a way to escape and lost on points.  Nolan and I talked after the match.  We both agreed that whoever ended up on top of that last match would take it, because both of us were pretty tired.  It happened that he ended up there today.

Several people dropped out of the blue belt open division leaving just 3 of us.  I ended up getting a bye due to my opponent dropping out, although I was a little worried because he was a very big boy.  I fought Kassius for first and second.  We stood up for a little while and I pulled guard.  The best thing I did in this match was get to butterfly and attempt a sweep.  I must not have controlled him enough because he was able to create enough space to escape and then get to side control.  He then worked to mount and submitted me from there.

I felt like I was in a weird mood after the tournament.  Not upset, but also not happy.  I was doing a lot of reflection.  I know I tried my best and gave it my all.  2 silver medals from 1 win and 3 losses.  Doesn't really seem right and I think that is what bothered me the most.  In reality, my performance probably shouldn't have earned me any medals.  After watching my matches on video again.

What should I improve on?  Cardio is the number 1.  Tournament matches are a lot different than rolling in the school.  Everything is faster and tighter and my opponents seem stronger than they normally would.  Side control escapes and not ending up on my side is number 2.  Number 3 maintaining open guard.  This is the most important thing to gain from a tournament experience.  It exposes my deficiencies and what I should spend my time trying to improve.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Scissor Sweep, Cross Collar Choke, Farside Armbar, Breaking Armbar Grip

Had an easy morning.  My fingers were a little sore from rolling with Mike the night before, so I may consider taping them at the tournament.  I worked with Bearded Josh all morning.  Didn't have any huge epiphanies today, but the cross collar choke felt tighter than usual.  I could tell Josh was a little frustrated with the choke.  There is something different about collar chokes than other submissions.  It seems like it takes some time to understand them and then they eventually click.  I worked on the stutter step that Greg showed me the other day for the farside armbar and that's getting a little better so my foot doesn't end up in the armpit anymore.

Josh had to take off for work and Greg and I talked a little more.  He assured me that I should be fine in the tournament, which this and class last night helped.  As I haven't felt as nervous today as I did yesterday.  We didn't roll, but we did discuss some politics while cleaning the mats up.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16th 2014 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Fit-in Takedowns, Guillotine Choke from guard and a follow up

I showed up with my brand spanking new rash guard that I just received in the mail before coming to class.  Lo and behold Conan and Jorge also had the same idea.  We got made fun of a little but it's still a cool rash guard and I'll wear it whenever I want to.

I asked Greg if it was okay for me to train gi during no gi class since it was going to be the last class before Saturday's tournament.  However, I am now planning on going back tomorrow morning, so I'm going to make this post short.  My nerves have been shot all day and I've found it difficult to be my calm laid back self (at least that's how I see myself).  I switched my music during work to some rock ballads and tried to get my mind off it as much as I could.  I know I'll do fine and I feel good, but it appears this is something that I can't control because it happens every time I compete. 

I was partnered up with Henry, Monsieur Guillotine, for the technique portion of class.  The follow up technique was the cool part.  If they were hand fighting the choke, we would butterfly sweep them into a quarter mount tripod position and then use our knee to slide on their bicep and break their grip.  Apparently this is another one from Marcelo Garcia.

Rolling: Light? Free Rolling, Drilling

Henry had to take off which left me and Mike as the only gi wearers.  We did a couple of matches that were supposed to be light but we got carried away a couple of times.  You really can't give him an inch because he'll find a way to stick a foot or knee in that space and exploit it.

After we rolled we drilled pieces of our respective game plan, which I won't go into.  Mike had some good tips for me on a few things that we were working on, which helped determine what I drilled.  I consider him a true asset to our school.

It's probably being a little paranoid but I already know a few people from other schools in the area that read my blog.  I suppose if you've read previous recent posts you know what I'm good at and like to do and probably would I'm bad at and get caught with.  Fuji directed me to some videos of a few guys that are potentially in my division, so I would assume that many would try to do this type of research.  So for better or worse, my Jiu-Jitsu is cataloged in this blog.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 14th 2014 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: Shoulder Throw RNC Defense, Farside Armbar, Scissor Sweep

My coworker Bhuvana returned once again, we'll convert her to BJJ yet.  John and Air Force Brian were also in attendance.  I guess Jordan's schedule has changed so he may be missing our noon bromoplata sessions.

I worked with Bhuvana for the technique portion of the class.  She seems to be doing well at breaking down the moves and following the directions step by step.  She had a little trouble with the first one, mostly because a shoulder throw is a little daunting at first but I let her down nicely.  It took a little time but she was able to throw me without any trouble.

The other techniques went about the same she'd memorize the steps and then carry them out in order.  Later back at work, we equated BJJ to software programming with Guard being a our main class which inherits from position and defining collar grip as a variable and calling the shrimp class etc.  Well, I guess it's kind of an inside joke.

Rolling: Side Control & Guard Position, Mock Tournament Match

It took it pretty easy on her but tried to make her work for the techniques that we worked on in class.  After that Brian and I started from the feet and I did the best I could to not give up any points and maintain my gas tank.  On our third roll I was a little too lax and he got me in side control and then took my back off of a failed straight arm escape.  I've been working on this escape, so I'm a little confused what happened.  We drilled our techniques for a while after that.  For some reason work is more important than BJJ, so I had to leave after that.

Theme & Techniques: Knee in Side control escape, Farside Armbar, Breaking Armbar grip

Greg offered to have me come in a little early and drill some variations on the straight arm escape that he saw on MG in Action.  Pretty cool to get some extra reps in and be asked to stop by a little early.  The technique was a response to if they sucked their arm in instead of allowing it to go straight.  I tried looking for a chance to use it today during rolling but it never came up.

Anthony, a potential student, named showed up for class tonight.  He had worked out with us a couple times at Roseberry's and did some Judo in the past so he was able to jump right into class.  I ended up partnering up with him for the technique portion.  I'm getting better with the side control escape, I think the main factor that I was missing before was pointing my knee to the sky, that seemed to make all the difference.  The gem of the day was a slight tweak to the far side armbar.  I asked Greg if there was a way to avoid getting the foot caught in their armpit and he said to either knee slide over their arm or make a shuffle step before going farside.  That made all of the difference and hopefully my armbars won't be foiled by that technicality in the future. 

Rolling: Side Control Gauntlet, Free Rolling

Greg, Jerad, and I started on the bottom of side control and then after each round we would get a new white belt victim.  After we went through everyone, then the roles reversed and the upper belts were on top and cycled through all of the white belts.  I feel quite good with my performance from both positions.  I used the straight arm escape several times and I'm getting a little better at rolling when they try to step over my head.  Henry gave me the most trouble, he did a great job of preventing my half guard and always threatening to pass again.

I then rolled with Anthony, Greg, and Jerad.  Greg was on a back hunt and succeeded several times.  Although I did surprise him momentarily with a scissor sweep that he recovered from all too quickly.  Anthony seemed to be gassed a little bit and while he knows what he's doing I think his major problem was being a little too greedy by trying to pass guard right into mount and things of that nature.  I don't think it would take him long though to tighten up his game and eliminate some of those mistakes. 

Jerad lately has probably been the most frustrating person to roll with.  He seems to know my game all too well.  Later on he said I am waiting too much for him to do something instead of mounting my own strategy and attack. He often knows what I want to do and he won't give it to me so I'm forced to either resort to alternate techniques or keep attempting the one I want.  We later discussed this and he gave the same advice that I'm hearing from Mike, to be more active in guard.  I have to impose my game on my opponent.  He also went over a cool quarter guard trick that will be very useful from this day forth.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 11th 2014 - Kids, Competition, & Open Mat


The boys did pretty well today.  They both did all of the animal walks without any problems and they tried a little harder during 1 on 1 foot tag.  They practiced the knee escape from side control, which went pretty well except for getting off track a couple of times.  We finished the class with blob tag and the kids got a little crazy towards the end.  I could tell it took a little bit out of Greg.

Competition Class:

I partnered up with Jorge again for this session.  Andrew from North Platte, joined us to prepare for the tournament as well.  We did a couple rounds of drilling escapes from bad positions.  Then the tough part we did a minute of each conditioning exercise.  I'm pretty sure we did all of the burpees with some lunges and push-ups in between.

We worked on our techniques.  Everything feels great except I'm still getting a sore neck when practicing the single leg.  I was a little worried that I'd lost my mojo with the omoplata but I think it's coming back to me now as I hit it a couple times today during rolling.

We finished the class with some matches and Greg partnered me up with Andrew.  My goal was to not gas out.  I ended up pulling guard but then immediately sweeping.  From there I spent most match in a dominant position, except for once where he escaped my back mount and rolled over into guard.  But the omoplata sweep was there to save me.

Open Mat:

Fuji and I worked together on the ideal game drill.  I used my secret weapon technique that I am not willing to divulge yet and Fuji worked on his ideal game.  Later on Fuji and I had a talk about last week's roll.  While it was a big confidence boost for me, he said that he also got some encouragement out of it.  It made him want to refocus his efforts on the basics and drill his escapes.  That was pretty cool to hear.  

Conan and Jerad both handed my ass to me.  Although I did spend a little time in mount with Jerad on our second roll I feel pretty helpless against his guard passing.  I thought about it a little bit and I'm not sure how much of that is me expecting him to inevitably pass and instead of fighting it to my best ability, I think I'm conserving my energy.  But, I know it actually takes more energy to escape a bad position than to fight to maintain guard.  Conan pointed something similar out to me.  That I wasn't actively trying to escape his side control but just stave off his attacks for as long as I could.  I think it has something to do with lack of confidence against people that I know are better than me.  Not sure how to get over that.

I did my weekly roll with Jorge which was similar to our other rolls.  I spend all of my time attempting submissions and he defends them.  It's a great workout for both of us.  I can't wait until he figures out some escapes, then it will be interesting.  I rolled with Andrew again a few times and played guard until I could sweep.  From there I stayed in side control quite a bit in order to keep him from turning over into turtle.  After rolling a couple times I gave him some pointers on passing guard with the gi.  Hopefully my pointers were welcome.

Friday, January 10, 2014

January 10th 2014 - Gi (Jittery)

Theme & Techniques: Triangle Choke from overhook w/ various alternatives

I'm going to say right now that the triangle choke is not high percentage for me, however whenever we work on it in class I seem to have the technique down.  The place I get stuck the most is where I get to the triangle position with my ankles crossed but then can't figure out how to cinch it up from there without them posturing up.  While working on it today with Brian I felt the most natural that it's ever felt.  It made me feel like trying to develop it in rolling, almost.

I like the overhook setup as you can keep their posture pretty broken down and under control.  After the basic setup we moved on to trying to armbar and making it a little easier to get our leg over the jump rope arm.  We finally moved into more familiar territory with some omoplata stuff.

Rolling: Free Rolling (5 x 5 min rnds)

I think I get a great deal out of classes where I am the middle experience guy.  While Conan handles me with ease, I have to struggle use my brain, and fight for every inch.  Still I'll lose and get smashed but it's a workout and I hopefully improve my defense.  With Brian I could flow a bit more try some different things I'm working on and be more offensive (hopefully he didn't get offended). 

Probably the coolest thing of the morning was when I pulled off a little trick that I saw in the video below.  I know that Jerad and Mike have been doing this for a while but after watching the video it finally dawned on me how/when I could use it.  I was attempting to pass Brian's guard standing and I felt like I could knee cut over his shin but it would probably just put me into his knee shield.  Redirecting after the cut worked perfectly!

After class I felt pretty jittery and couldn't calm down.  I attribute it to laying off of caffeine for the past 2 weeks and then taking half a 5 hour energy to get me up in the wee hours this morning.  The energy boost didn't last too long, but it's making me think about staying off soda even after the tournament, we'll see.

January 9th 2014 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Obscure Side Control escapes

Once again the beginner class was huge and only a hand full of us were in the advanced class.  Hopefully some of the new guys will be able to start attending the advanced classes, I'm not sure what the criteria is though. 

Conan described the side control escapes as requiring a little finesse and timing.  It's the truth, I've tried the first one we did in the past and have had a difficult time with it.  It's heavily dependent on the other person's leg position.  If they went to a kessa gitama to prevent the first defense then we did the bump and flatten out escape, which I did a little better.  The 3rd technique we did was a little better.  It was a variation on the knee across the belly escape, that we would turn into a modified butterfly sweep.  The final technique was a reverse sweep off of a failed scissor sweep.

Rolling: Free Rolling (4 x 6 min rnds)

My biggest problem today was my butterfly guard kept getting shut down.  I just didn't feel like I could get in a good position to attempt the sweep.  Conan wanted us to go easy on each other and try to use pure technique and no strength.  While I'd like to think that I do that, I found that I had to remind myself to calm down a little bit.  It was easier to do that with Conan because he has a way of setting the pace, but I'm not sure if Adam got the memo cause it felt like rolling normal with him.  Adam did however play some different positions that he normally doesn't, like knee on belly.  I also rolled with Jordan.  We both spent the majority of the roll trying to pass each others guard.  Probably a good goal for the beginning of the year is to improve my no gi guard passing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 7th 2014 - Gi Noon & Evening (Ladies' Day)

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto-Gari, Side control basic escape and americana

My co-worker Bhuvana attended class again today and Sam also joined us.  Greg took us through one of his classes structured for beginners.  However, I did get challenged with the side control escape.  Once I get my shin across the opponents belt it's not as easy for me to rotate to the other side and put my foot to the floor.  After watching Greg do it a few more times I figured out my main problem was not putting my other leg on their back, this seemed to make a difference.  I also think I was mixing it up with a different escape.

Rolling: Side Control Position (2 min rnds)

Greg had them take turns trying to hold me down.  I think this was great because I felt them improve their position and pressure during this short amount of time.  It still wasn't too difficult for me to escape but that's because I know more tricks than they do.  Greg and I went after that and there was no escaping his side control, the one time I got quarter guard he turned it into a back take which was a wow moment.  He later demonstrated on me how to maintain side control for Bhuvana and Sam and it seemed like he turned it up a notch to make sure I didn't escape.  It was fun but clued me in on how little I know.

Theme & Techniques: Knee on Belly Maintain position, farside armbar, kimura

I ended up being one of two blue belts tonight; Tuesday evening is usually a pretty stacked class.  Sara, who I haven't seen since the seminar, was the other blue and apparently she's back to stay.

I worked with Jorge for the majority of the class.  From the look of things this was several of the student's first time, which was cool to see people playing with it and learning new things.  The most important thing I learned today was when doing the farside armbar, Greg likes to put his elbow on the opponents wrist to keep them from wiggling out of it.  Something I never thought about.

Rolling: Knee on Belly position (2 min rnds), Free Rolling with calisthenics in between (5 min rnds)

I partnered up for the knee on belly exercise with Jorge, Brian, and Sara.  I kept the top position pretty well with everyone and was able to escape mostly to butterfly.  I think I had the hardest time with Sara, because she's so small and I didn't want to crush her with my knee. 

The tournament people (me, Jorge, and Brian) had to do some extra work with each roll.  20 burpees, 20 pushups, and 30 squats.  Burpees suck, and doing them first makes the other exercises suck that much more.  However, I went up against the other two people that did them as well so everything was equal.  I was able to pass their guard and then work from side control.  On my second roll with Brian, he pulled off a pretty good guard pass and put me into back mount.  I was unable to escape before time ran out.  He had tried the bow and arrow choke but with the underhook arm instead.  Which Greg went over the proper bow and arrow after class and I had Brian practice it with me a couple of times.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 4th 2014 - Kids, Competition & Open Mat

Kid's Class

Greg returned to teach class this morning along with Conan.  I was happy with Jayden's animal walks today as he didn't stop in the middle like he has been lately.  Jace however did not want to partner up with anyone except his brother.  It causes a little trouble because Jayden would like to work with other kids, but he's nice enough to work with his brother.  They played 1 on 1 foot tag in the ring, which I enjoy watching.  Sometimes they forget that they need to get the other person's feet to win and both kids play defensively.  They worked on the double leg takedown again, which both of my sons seem to like and do well at.

Competition Class
Drilling: Over Under Pass, Omoplata from cross guard, arm drag to single leg, pulling guard

Wess and his son Tristan, Gina, and Jorge were all initiated into the competition class.  Jorge and I were partnered up due to being closest in weight.  Greg told us not to change anything since we only have a couple of weeks to prepare for Circle of Iron.  We got right into by doing some mount escapes and then went into working on our 3 things.  Everything felt pretty good, Jorge reacted differently with a couple of the techniques so I had to adjust to make everything work.  I applied some things from Tinguinha's DVD to my omoplata and my open guard pulling. 

Rolling: 1 tournament style match

Greg matched me up with Fuji and my only goal was to not end up on the bottom.  I attempted some takedowns and we grip fought until Fuji pulled guard.  Then I knew I had to avoid his spider guard and leg lasso and stay on top by keeping my elbows in.  I was able to pass his guard and mount and finally back mount but it ended up taking it's toll on me and I gassed for a little while.  I knew I was ahead on points by a lot so I had to keep from getting submitted.  Fuji went for his brabo choke and it was very tough to defend.  Time was almost up and when the choke didn't happen he started to scramble to score some more points which allowed me an opportunity to sweep into mount when soon after time ran out.

While this was a huge confidence booster, I also realize that 9 times out of 10 Fuji has my number.  Greg and I also discussed my gassing out as this isn't the first time it's happened during tournament match practice.  I'm not sure how much is mental and how much is actual cardio, regardless I need to improve on it.

Open Mat

I was pretty tired for open mat, but still rolled with Jorge, Henry, Greg, and the new girl Sam.  As I've probably written before, Jorge is great at defending submissions.  I threw everything I could at him but at the same time making sure I didn't get reversed.  Henry and I had a pretty good roll.  I felt like I was controlling the match in the beginning but gassed out again and he submitted me with a mounted triangle.  I really tapped from jaw cramp pain but the choke was there.  I felt worthless with Greg.  I don't remember much but I'm pretty sure he took my back 2 or 3 times easily and made me tap with an RNC.  Since it was Sam's 2nd class and I was tired, I took it pretty easy on her.  I would get to mount or side mount and then walk her through how to escape.  She seems to like BJJ so far, so hopefully she'll stick around as our female population is very small.

Tournament Prep

Diet has been going well.  I'm not snacking as much and haven't had a pop since Monday.  I'm planning on doing some swimming this week as well as the weight workout Bauer sent me.  I think both will be good for my cardio.  I may look into doing some extra rolling after each class.  I also bought some school patches for our gis that I'll get stitched on soon.  They're a really great design and I'm excited to represent LBJJC in a tournament. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

January 3rd 2014 - Gi (Early morning with Conan Schafer)

Theme & Techniques: Side Control Escapes

Had a private class with Conan this morning and it was well worth it.  After our warm-up he asked me what I wanted to work on to which I said either side control escape or retaining guard.  Since we worked on the latter in the last morning class he taught, we focused on side control escapes.  Most of the time he would move around in side control and see what my reaction was and then give me some tips or tell me to do something else completely.  So it wasn't traditional class in that he taught a technique and then I repped it; it was more like flow a bit and then repeat the movement and then he'd throw a wrench in that and we'd move on to the next thing.

The big takeaway of the day was acquiring a pants grip and using that to help me escape.  In a couple of cases he had me use it similar to the straight arm escape which really helped disrupt the opponents balance.  Another thing I need to work on is bumping more and stiff arming in the break dance escape.  I'm sure that's not it's really name but you pretty much spin on your butt underneath them into guard.

Rolling: Free Rolling

I was given plenty of opportunity to attempt some of the escapes that we worked on.  He was always one step ahead but I did feel some progress.  He allowed me top position a couple times and I think I had him a little worried about a somewhat bow and arrow choke that he got out of.  A majority of the roll was half guard and side control with me on the bottom.

We had a good discussion after class about how we learn, ego, and the positives of mat time.  I was encouraged that he still struggles with ego sometimes, which should have been obvious, everyone does, but he just seems to take it all in stride.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2nd 2014 - No Gi (New Year, New Challenges)

Theme & Techniques: Butterfly guard passing and the Conan sweep

The first official classes of the year were tonight.  The beginner class was huge and I saw a couple new people trying out Jiu-Jitsu for the first time.  The advanced class was not nearly as big but we put in good work nonetheless.  Mike and I did some rolling

I worked with Adam for this portion of the class.  We went over the hand stand pass and then a sprawling pass.  We dealt with the sprawling pass from the other side for the remainder of the technique portion of class.  The Conan sweep amounts to a hook sweep with the other leg.  We moved on from there mostly focused on what to do if you got or didn't get the underhook.  The most prevalent thing that I picked up on was when applying the straight arm lock to take up the space first and move back into the armbar instead of going straight for it.

Rolling: Free Rolling (4 x 6 min rounds)

Everyone in class got to roll 1 round together.  I kept Adam from submitting me, not from a lack of him trying.  I felt like I maintained guard a little longer than usual but he ended up attacking from side control like usual.  Mike gave me a clinic on foot locks.  I felt like I was doing better against his guard passing attempts, we had a few good scrambles but it seemed like as soon as I forgot about leg locks he slap one on.  Will and I also had a good battle.  I had set up a farside armbar only to have it foiled by him timing a back roll as soon as I went for it.  We ended up in guard before the time ran out.  Conan used my weakness against me and submitted me with a couple americanas and a kimura.  He did allow me to mess around from side control for a little while but it didn't amount to anything.  It was a great way to start out the new year.  

I asked Mike to go over the foot lock and one legged-x guards.  I feel like it's something I should be familiar with as it's used on me a lot.  It should be pretty simple to pick up, front shrimping is a big part of it and I already feel pretty competent with that.  He also paid me some compliments on my pressure lately which was cool.  I think I can contribute to my knee flexibility returning. 

I signed up for the Circle of Iron tournament on the 18th. I'm cutting soda and fast food out of my diet until the tournament and I'm motivated to hit the gym more often.  This will be the first tournament since my injury and my number one goal is to stay healthy and injury free.  Greg reinstated the tournament class for the next couple weeks.  Next task is to formulate my game plan.  But now it's time to get some sleep for 6 AM gi class in the morning.