Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 29th 2014 - Gi All School Training and Rank Promotion

We had a special class this morning with everyone of all ages invited to come train.  Naturally I brought my boys.  We had a packed house with quite a few adults and kids.  They split the room to separate us from the kids with good reason.  After some shrimps and other exercises and calisthenics we worked a few techniques each taught by a different instructor.  I worked with Tim for this portion of class. 

Jerad taught arm triangle from back mount first, something that he's got on me a couple times. Although it probably didn't seem like it to him, Tim did pretty well for his first time with this technique.  I know it took me a long time to figure out where to put my head and arms and how to apply pressure to get this technique right. Conan taught an arm bar variation from butterfly guard.  This is something that I did often in Hapkido from standing so I didn't have any problems doing or teaching it as it does take some finesse.  Greg taught standing guard break knee slide pass.  This is something we do quite often so I just worked on doing it smooth without much thought. Adam taught double leg takedown which we didn't have room for but managed by taking turns in large groups.  We finished the class with Up/Down/Out from closed guard.  

I looked over at the kids a couple times and saw that they did a lot of the regular class stuff all of the games as well as a new game.  Looked kind of like sumo + flag football as they tried to pull the flag off of their opponent.

Greg gave out stripes for all of the kids with my boys getting 4 since they had been there since the beginning of the kids program.  I could see true joy as Jayden and Jace both smiled ear to ear after Greg put all that tape on. 

Henry, Robert, and Jordan received their blue belts.  All three of them are well deserved.  I received my first stripe on my blue belt.  My lovely wife, Jennifer, asked me several questions that I don't know the answer to like when I would be testing next.  I doubt I'll be testing for purple any time soon and I'm perfectly fine with that. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Scarf Hold Escape, Roll Over from Turtle to Side or Back Mount

In attendance this morning were Air Force Brian, Darijo, and Cesar drove in from GI.  Being the closest in weight I worked with Cesar. While working on the lap belt turnover from turtle I showed Greg that I had been grabbing the near side lapel and then jumping to the other side when I couldn't reach the normal way.  When we worked on taking the back I had some trouble with Cesar being able to return to turtle as I attempted to slide my knee in.  Eventually I figured out I could go straight for my hook because of the way he was getting up was leaving a lot of space.

Rolling: Scarf Hold Position (2 x 2 min)  Turtle position (8 x 2 min), Free Rolling

I had some trouble getting out of Cesar's scarf hold at first.  By the end I figured out some ways to move out of it, but it is definitely not a position I like to be stuck in.  I also decided that I don't like to be on top of the scarf hold.  Sure, I can make it uncomfortable for the other guy, but once the position is lost I'm almost assured a bad spot.

Had some great training from the turtle.  My main objective from bottom was the granby roll.  It got me into trouble a few times but worked out a few times as well.  Kudos to Brian who caught me with a bow and arrow choke while trying to prevent his back mount.  I had to step up my game a bit to prevent that from happening again.

I also had some awesome scrambles with Greg.  One of them starting with me on bottom, I went to roll and he countered with double unders, I then was able to stiff arm his sleeve and almost get to butterfly, then he leg dragged and I shrimped.  Then another time when I started from the top I headed off his granby roll and was able to do a leg drag of my own, to which he stiff armed my elbow and I wasn't able to gain any traction as he recovered guard.  Later on I told him that I think I would have done better if I hadn't been celebrating in my head every time I did something good against him.  Maybe celebrating isn't the right word, but I remember thinking things like "Wow, I can't believe that worked!"

I rolled with Cesar after class and he seemed immovable at first.  I tried to work butterfly but was unable to get the leverage or the underhook I needed.  I also worked the deep collar grip but couldn't get under his chin or collar grab him.  Eventually I got him to move enough to get underneath him in x-guard.  From there technical stand-up is my best friend.  Once on top I moved to knee on belly and work for the for the baseball bat choke from there.

March 27th 2014 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Half Guard Gordo Sweep #1, Wrist grab Roll Back to Defend Darce

We had a return visit from Eric from Colorado.  He had been here back in July 6th 2013 Open Mat.  The cool thing is that he gave me some pointers that got started with the cross guard to omoplata sweep which I've expounded upon and is a huge part of my game now. 

I worked with Adam on the half guard stuff.  The takeaway today was that Greg mentioned that the elbows need to be at 90 degrees or more while in the diamond position.  I think that is why I get smashed every now and again in half guard.  The second technique was great.  I've seen it in the gi before but haven't tried it during rolling.  I think the hardest part is the grabbing of the wrist/sleeve and at the end Greg showed us a little trick to make it a little easier.

Rolling: Free Rolling (3 x 10 min)

Although we did 10 minute rounds the time seemed to fly by.  I was able to keep Adam from submitting me and I felt like I was able to maintain guard longer than usual, but side mount was inevitable.  I was able to escape once with an underhook back to butterfly.  He kept doing what he called the butcher every time I tried to turn into him.  I've got to figure out how to prevent that.

I rolled with Mike next and we had a good exchange.  His guard is very difficult to pass and I believe he eventually swept me using a guillotine.  He spent some time in mount until I was able to reach deep half.  From there I took the advice he's been giving me and swung to my knees.  I then ended up with my own guillotine and he went into side control to defend.  I had to keep low but keep attacking.  I attempted a north/south choke, guillotine, kimura, I thought about armbar but felt I would probably lose it and sat him up into back mount instead.  Select for spoilers Finishing with an RNC!

Jerad was last and while I spent some time on top it was short lived.  It seemed like he was going to go to deep half for a second which would have been the first time I've seen him there but decided against it.  I spent a lot of time in his mount as he eventually setup a triangle to armbar.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 25th 2014 - Gi Noon & Evening (On Fire?)

Theme & Techniques: Scarf Hold Escape, Roll Over from Turtle to Side or Back Mount

Worked with Bhuvana today and after a little pep-talk I got her to complete the scarf hold defense.  It was using a frame and then hipping out to throwing a leg over the head to sweep them in a pendulum motion and then finish with an armbar.  I think she was hesitant at first because it seems like it requires a lot of flexibility but it has more to do with hip position.  She did the turtle techniques very well following.

Rolling: Turtle position (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling

I got to work with Robert today.  He's been out since he broke his hand.  I've always admired his positive attitude and the way he's always smiling. 

I rolled with Ben a few times after class.  He's very strong and has some good pressure which I found out later was due to rugby and football.  I went over some guard passing basics using pants grips since it seemed like he was much more focused on trying to grab my sleeves.  It seems like I've gone over this with a few new people lately, I may have to look back at my blog to see when I started using pant grips to pass guard, because I know it was a turning point?  

Theme & Techniques: Scarf Hold Escape, Lap Belt Turnover from Turtle to Side or Back Mount

I worked with Ray on this portion.  Luckily he didn't put me in his real scarf hold, because of his Judo it is virtually impossible to get out of.  Greg changed the name of the "Judo Turnover" to something like "Lap Belt Turnover" on the blue belt requirements sheet.  Which I like better because it's more descriptive.  I did have to ask Ray to take it easy on the turnover part because every time he yanked me I could feel it in my spine.     
Rolling: Turtle position Up/Down/Out, Guard Gauntlet (2 min rnds)

Greg split us up into a big guy group and a small guy group with the cut off being 185 or something like that.  The smaller guys seemed happy to have enough wee people to segregate themselves from us. I felt pretty good about my performance.  There were only a few times that I was put into side control or where my partner recaptured guard.  At one point Ray made the comment that I was "on fire!"  I was able to use the Lap Belt Turnover to back mount a few times but would have some trouble getting both my hooks in.  From the bottom I usually ended up in half guard.

We remained in our size groups during the guard gauntlet.  I was assigned closed guard.  I think the person that gave me the most problems was Wes.  He's doing pretty well at opening my guard and keeping me down.  I feel like my last line of defense is starting to be figured out as well.  Often I'll catch someone's ankle as they try to pass knee over and then get the underhook.  From there I can sweep or get to turtle, but now people are fighting my underhook a lot better.  I may need to work on preventing this position sooner because without the underhook it's nothing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 22nd 2014 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids' Class

My boys had a good time as usual in kids class this morning.  There were only four kids in attendance which is a lot less than usual.  My youngest is always hurting himself at home and there were a couple of times during class I had to add more tape to a little scrape on his thumb. 

They played sumo for their first game and although they had fun, I wish I was able to help them get better.  I've tried going over some moves that they could try like push pull type things but it seems for now they just want to try to push.  Eventually through training they'll pick it up on their own and I don't want to be too critical of them and make it all about winning while they're having fun.  Since there was so few of us Greg had the adults go with the kids too and I ended up battling both of mine at the same time in 2 on 1 sumo.  They really enjoyed that.  We then worked on the scissor sweep and finished the day with some blob tag.

Open Mat

I was feeling a little blah again today; everyday can't be great.  I got quite a few good rolls in regardless.  I feel like I spent a lot of time in quarter guard off to the side with an underhook.  I can usually make a scramble out of the position but it's not anywhere I can attack from.  My main goal was to just go with the flow today and always be moving.  It worked to some extent

Fuji: I felt like I did a little better defending from the bottom than usual.  I did my best to try to fight off his brabo grip before it's established but I've still got a long way to go.  There was one point in our roll when he attempted the quarter guard back take but without securing my leg before he rolled, which worked out well for me to fight his turtle.

Jerad: It's always a highly technical roll with him and he's been capitalizing on my mistakes.  The thing that he gets me with the most is the leg drag pass which I've been trying to add to my game.

Mike: We also have very technical rolls and end up in some pretty crazy positions often.  There was one point when he was close to locking up a triangle and I was able to tuck his shin between my legs to prevent the submission.  I tried to use it like an over/under pass but without my arm under his leg it didn't work. 

Wes: He and I had a very long match.  Some of it was a little repetitive.  He's be passing my guard, I'd trap him in quarter guard and get an underhook I'd regain guard and start all over.  He was able to pass a couple times and I tried to keep my cool and just keep moving.  It was tough because I spent most of the match on the bottom in half guard.  After several sweep attempts I finally hit one and after that I was going to do my damnedest to keep the top position.

 Henry: He's been a hard nut to crack lately.  I did some good things in our roll but predominately felt behind the game.  I was able to pass his guard and had him in side control momentarily, he turned away and I went to take his back from turtle.  He ended up shrugging me off and it went down hill from there.  I've got to figure out how to deal with that.

Austin and Tim: Had a couple of short rolls with both of them.  Focused on my 2 on 1 techniques but didn't get as much practice as I would have liked. 

At some point during the session I heard Ray and Fuji talk about my blog a little bit.  Good things I think, but I'm unsure of the specifics.  Recently I have thought about discontinuing this blog.  I kind of feel like it's become a little repetitive and maybe served it's purpose.  I've been trying to get away from posting submissions that I've completed and focus more on things in a general way to avoid hurting anyone's feelings.  Then I think that I've written a post for every class that I've attended in 3 years of Jiu-Jitsu and now is not the time to stop.  If my view statistics are accurate, I'm getting more and more people reading it with every post.  So I ask if anyone is willing to respond and help keep me motivated.  You can either comment on the blog, on Facebook, or send me an email

What do you like about this blog?

What do you dislike about this blog?

Are there any topics that you'd like to hear more about?

Are there any topics that you'd like to hear less about?

Do you feel like I treat my fellow Jiu-Jitsu brothers and sisters with enough respect when writing about them? 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 21st 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Half Guard Tripod Pass, Granby Roll from Turtle

Pretty small class this morning with myself, Mo (who seemed very tired), Brian (of the Sweeney Todd variety), and Shawn.  Shawn trained at Roseberry's before my time and until this past week hasn't been training with us, but I'd see him every now and again at tournaments or events.  It's very cool to see people return to Jiu-Jitsu after a break.  I feel for them too because I'm sure it's difficult to kick the rust off and get back to the level you were at.

I ended up working with Shawn on the technique portion and we got quite a few reps in.  His technique and pressure felt pretty good.  I was still having a little trouble with holding the overhook and doing the knee slide on the half guard pass, letting go to post makes it so much easier.  Greg observed that since he started making a theme per week he has to teach a lot at the beginning of the week but by the end he's pretty hands off just correcting minor details.  I think the change has been great.

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

Felt really good about my performance this morning.  I didn't have much luck with the half guard pass.  I did try the double unders to complete the pass, which worked a little.  As I've said before my most successful pass is the hip switch, however it seemed like everyone was working knee shield today.  With turtle I used a lot of movement and went for the cross gi grab around the waist and then attempted to take the back.  From the bottom I did more pulling guard than the granby roll. 

During free rolling I mostly played open guard.  It lead into single leg x a few times which also led into full x-guard.  I'm a little unsure about the best way to go about generating the proper leverage to complete the sweep from single leg x, I'll have to ask about that tomorrow.  No cross guard or omoplatas today, which was weird.  I also hit a rare sickle sweep. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 20th 2014 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Take Down Fit ins, Takedown Up/Down/Out, Rolling Backtake from quarter guard

I had planned to not workout tonight because my beautiful caring wife had texted me that she wasn't feeling well.  She is weeks if not days away from having our third child.  Mentally I was prepared to stay home, so when she told me to go anyway I was a little unsure if I should.  I ended up going but I felt a little guilty.  All through warm-ups I was disconnected as everyone was having conversations and talking about Jiu-Jitsu related things.  I went went about my business feeling oblivious.

Takedown sparring felt good today.  The overly awkwardness has gone away.  I'm still not good at shooting but I think my stance is coming along.  I ended up in the big guy group with Adam and Henry and Greg would cross over to both groups.  Everyone there is way ahead of me wrestling wise which is fine, all the better to learn from them.  I had some good moments of sprawling and escaping a couple takedowns as well as locking up some guillotines and a very close sacrifice shoulder throw.  I didn't do too much offensively.   

Adam and I worked through the rolling back take and while it looks fancy, there really isn't too much to it.  The only thing that still gets to me while rolling is I'm hesitant as to which side I'm supposed to roll over.

Rolling: Free Rolling (6 x 5 min)

I got a chance to roll with everyone (Greg, Mike, Henry, Will, Adam, Jerad).  My main focus was the leg drag which I attempted quite a few times.  I'm still having trouble completing it and I think the main reason is that I'm trying to throw it by instead of connecting it to my hip.  The highlight of my day is that I was able to get to single leg-x transition to full x guard and then completed the technical standup sweep.  I also ended up in deep half a few times but I keep stopping there in the position to get my bearings.  Mike keeps reminding afterwards that I need to be off balancing from there.  I think my problem is that I want techniques to be perfect that I miss opportunities when I'm trying to choose the best response instead of just acting.  Henry had me in a pretty good guillotine that I rolled out of but in the process my neck popped pretty loudly and Henry was concerned.  It turned out to be a good pop so no big deal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 18th 2014 - Gi Morning & Evening

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Half Guard Tripod Pass, Granby Roll from Turtle

Today was a good day for Bhuvana.  She didn't have any problems with the throw, which she's been nervous about in the past.  She got the half guard pass with just a little extra instruction.  Finally she was so pleased that she figured out how to do the granby roll.  It was one of those things that all she needed was one little piece of advice and she went from insisting that she couldn't do it to completing probably 10 rolls.  She wasn't really tucking her head and shoulder and I just told her to reach for her ankle and boom level up.

Rolling: Half Guard Position (2 x 2 min), Turtle Position (2 x 2 min), Free Rolling

Bhuvana and I partnered for half guard and my main goal from bottom was to complete a shaolin sweep.  For some reason I'm not figuring out how to get the other person's weight on top of me.  I may need to revisit the setup for this sweep because I thought I was doing this a lot better at one point.  From top I did my best to work the pass from today and not resort to the hip switch that I normally play.

I was put with Fuji for turtle position and my face must have gave away that it was going to suck.  I feel very inadequate with both sides of this position against Fuji.  When I'm on top it is a very fine line where I can put my weight and try to hold him to keep him from rolling or if I go to high he can easily shrug me off.  Then from bottom, I'm a little hesitant to granby because if done incorrectly I run the risk of getting smashed.  That said I did recover guard a few times and also put him into side control once or twice, but he predominately won that exchange.

I rolled with Tim after class a few times.  He was doing a good job of defending submissions from the back.  I've been focusing more on RNC rather than defaulting to bow and arrow.  I wasn't able to get over the hand fighting and didn't complete the choke but I'll keep at it.  Later on I was using my cross guard and when I went for the omoplata he put his arm around my other leg.  Greg told me to go for the triangle at that point which I was able to transition to but not finish but it led back to the omoplata with his arm in the desired place. 

Fuji and I rolled after that and I had a little success from top at first in both of our rolls.  I tried to be active with my basing and use a cross face to keep him from turning into turtle but never really got to attacking from the top.  Once he got me into side control I was able to use the underhook to get back to turtle momentarily which is a sign of improvement as usually I feel pretty stuck once I'm on the bottom of Fuji.  After that He wanted to work just from bottom half guard a little bit which I was happy to oblige with.

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Half Guard Tripod Pass, Granby Roll from Turtle

Partnered with Ray, which is a pretty rare occurrence.  He used a little different grip for the throw more in front of the shoulder, which I may play around with a little more as it took a lot of the looseness that you get when grabbing the collar. We both had a little trouble with the pass, mostly with maintaining the overhook grip and trying to stay low and knee slide.  To deal with it we would post our overhook hand to give the body a little more room to slide. 
Rolling: Up/Down/Out Half Guard & Turtle Positions (2 x 15 min)

I felt pretty good about my half guard from both top and bottom today.  Seemed like I had answers for most of what was thrown at me.  I had a pretty epic match with Mike where a few times I was just barely was holding his leg in quarter guard and he would go to inverted half.  He stood up a couple times and I feel like I'm getting better at dealing with that by going shin to shin.  Jerad and I had an epic battle as well during the turtle portion.  He kept denying my deep half guard and I felt like I spent most of the time holding on in quarter guard.  The coolest thing of the day was when Greg was attacking my turtle and I did everything to setup the granby roll and then pulled full guard. 

After class I asked Greg about not being able to lock up the triangle from cross guard from earlier in the day.  He suggested that I attack a twisting armbar if the triangle is not there for me which was awesome and another thing to add to my arsenal.  I also asked about a reoccuring problem when I sweep someone in crossguard often I end up in a position where I can't get up or reach a dominant position.  From there he suggested I go for an armbar or if they don't give up the arm punch it in for a triangle.  So it feels like the puzzle pieces for this aspect of my game are falling into place.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 15th 2014 - Kid's Class & Open Mat

Kids' Class

Had some new kids in class today who seemed to enjoy it.  They went over hip bump sweep and played sumo and blob tag.  I've been trying to teach them some strategies for the games that we play but they don't seem ready to take too much advice yet.  They both want to just push or pull and I've seen some of the other kids spin or kind of snap down.

Open Mat

Open mat seemed to go by fast today.  I rolled with Jerad, Fuji, Conan, Ray, John, Mo, and Tim. Claire also came in as she was back in town for spring break.  I didn't roll with her, Mike, Wes, or the other Mike.

Jerad worked with me on some leg drag stuff that I tried to implement later against some of the new guys. Had a good couple of rolls before he had to take off early for work.

Fuji drilled some omoplata from lasso and I drilled the 2 on 1.  We rolled and it ended the same as usual with a brabo choke in side control.  I was on top for a little while, but once he got to turtle and ended up falling to guard.  I've got to figure this problem out.

Rolling with Ray and Conan felt about the same.  They feel immovable when they want to be.  One good thing I did against Ray was complete a back take from deep half using a butterfly hook.  However, as soon as I got there he was able to ankle lock my hook.  We went over how he does that, which was informative and I may try to use it myself.

While rolling with John, Mo, and Tim if I was on top I was attempting the leg drag.  From the bottom I was mostly trying to play spider guard and keep from getting passed because the new guys are starting to get some chops at passing guard.  I went over some various things with each of them.  Mo and I went over my knee on belly game, North/South Choke with John, and underhook to tripod escape from mount with Tim. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 14th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Half Guard Gordo Sweep, Roll Back

We had the biggest morning class ever.  Conan, Brian (Barber), Brian (Airforce), Mike (new), Ross (Todd), Eddie, Cesar, Parker, Roman and Me.  I think Eddie and Cesar brought Roman and Parker who both looked very young.  I told Conan we should take a picture, but I forgot after class.

Conan used me to demonstrate on as he taught 2 of the escapes as last night.  I ended up working with Roman and Parker.  Parker seemed pretty new to BJJ so he needed a little more help.  Roman seemed excited to work with me and asked me questions about my favorite BJJ guys are and dropped several names of the people he liked.  There really isn't any popular grappler that I don't like.  I've studied Xande, Cyborg, and Marcelo the most.  

Rolling: Half Guard Position Up/Down/Out, Free Rolling (3 x 5 min)

Didn't have too many problems in up/down/out.  I don't like starting in half guard that much because I don't feel getting to full guard is a good enough reason to stop, but what else are you going to do to work this particular position.

During rolling, I played a little spider guard and then it was mostly knee cut pass and then working in side control.  Eddie called me out right away, I think to get me while he felt fresh.  He had me worried at one point when he secured a tight inverted triangle.  I had to use knee on belly to get free.  I also rolled with Parker who is pretty inexperienced, so after a while I went over bullfighter pass with him for a good portion of the roll.  Ross was last and he's getting better.  I'm not sure if I submitted him today.

I rolled with Roman no gi after and I was pleasantly surprised by his skill level.  He was great at recovering guard.  I played a lot of guard which it didn't seem like he was used to since he's the smallest guy at his gym.  I had to keep very tight on him because every time I allowed any space he would fit his knee in.

Afterwards he asked me what I thought he needed to work on and I was taken a little aback.  I don't know if I'm qualified to answer that question.  I don't feel like I have a good idea of what I need to work on.  I get where he's coming from and I've asked this question to others before and could sense they were hesitant to answer the question.  I don't think rolling once is enough to get an idea of his game, but I told him to start working on his top game.  Passing and maintaining top positions.

Before our visitors left they mentioned that they had been reading my blog.  Always happy to meet with my fans.  But, seriously it cool to know that there are more people reading than the ones that I see at class.  As we were leaving we noticed that the vapor shop next door had been broken into and the police were there.  I guess the thieves had no fear of breaking into a store next to a Jiu-Jitsu school while class was in session.  Unfortunately we didn't hear anything.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13th 2014 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Half Guard Gordo Sweep, Roll Back, Butterfly hook recovery

Small class today, but enjoyable as usual.  I worked with Mike on the drilling portion which is a rare occurrence now that we generally pair up by size.  Adam worked with Harvey.  I learned a few tidbits today.  When completing the sweep I need to bring my head up higher on their chest, Mike annoyed me with a guillotene attempt a few times, and bringing my head up higher prevented that and helped pin him down.

Next we talked about using a body lock when I'm not able to suck their knee in to complete the sweep.  The body lock has a lot more too it than I previously thought.  It wasn't complicated just something that hasn't been explained to me.  I equate it to a body triangle with your arms with the addition of head pressure.  I'm not sure I have it totally figured out yet but it has opened a new door. 

Rolling: Half Guard Position (4 x 5 min), Free Rolling (5 min)

With Mike, I felt a lot better about my bottom half guard than my top game.  I'm not able to take up all of the space that he needs to escape and improve his position.  On the bottom I can move a little more and use the floor to my advantage.  He still got the better of me in both positions.

I might have been a tad bit rude to Harvey, he was asking specifics about what he should do or what was the best way to hold me in half guard and I kind of told him to just start and he'll figure it out as we train.  Probably what someone should expect if they participate in the advanced class.  He did figure some stuff out and after I recovered guard a few times he started to catch on.  I worked on the butterfly hook recapture the most because I need to get better at it. 

Adam passed my guard early in free rolling and I wasn't able to escape his dominant positions after that.  I didn't get submitted but there was quite a bit of crossfacing and some head pressure trying to pull my arms away from my body.  When I tried to escape side control he has a go to move where he holds my wrist and then switches to the other side preventing me from turning into him.  I have no idea of how to deal with it. 

After class we discussed the body triangle some more and I worked on my deep half guard.  One thing that Mike has been trying to push on me for a while is to just come up from there if they have a good base and I can't off balance them.  I was so focused on wanting to do the Homer Simpson sweep that I didn't realize what he was talking about.

Which brings me to another topic that I've been thinking about lately.  There are concepts and techniques that I am learning now that I wasn't ready for previously.  Things that I'm picking up on now that I know I was taught before or I saw someone else doing and I just couldn't integrate it into my Jiu-Jitsu.  An example is the low knee cut pass and pushing their legs to the opposite side that I discussed a month or two ago.  Yeah, I was taught it at one point but wasn't ready to use it.  Or, the head position thing from back mount that I picked up on a few weeks ago.  Similarly today with the deep half guard I've been so focused on wanting to do it a certain way that I wasn't ready to accept new information and now I think I am in this case.  I wonder if this is a common phase in the learning process for others?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 11th 2014 - Gi Noon & Evening

Theme & Techniques: Half Guard: Escape to Back Mount, Recover Guard

Since it's spring break, My beautiful wife and kids came by to watch class.  At first they enjoyed seeing us do some different warm-ups than them up and down the floor.  Ultimately, I think they got a little bored. 

I ended up working with Harvey for the majority of the class.  He did some training at Roseberry's previously and just started with us again recently.  He very graciously accepted any pointers I gave him and was good about talking the techniques out as he was learning them.  It was a little slow going but it's worth it if he got something out of it.

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

Harvey was my partner for position sparring as well.  From bottom I only attempted to work on what we did in class.  Eventually I helped him a bit with some ideas from the top as he was pretty lost there.  From top I just kept a good base and tried to use as little effort as possible to keep him from recovering guard.  Close to the end I helped him recover guard with a little more resistance than we used during drilling.

I attempted to show off for my wife while rolling with Tim and Jordan.  Although, I don't think she was impressed and most likely doesn't know how cool my moves were.  I worked the loop choke a little bit that I went over with Mike last week.  I'm still having trouble breaking posture.  I've had a couple people comment on how good my guard retention has been lately.  I feel more relaxed and more willing to throw my legs up or invert or stiff arm a sleeve if it comes to it. 

Theme & Techniques: Half Guard Tripod Pass

Jerad taught this evening and I worked with Austin for this portion of the class.  I had to do quite a bit of teaching as it didn't seem like he was that familiar with half guard.  It was some minor things that make a big difference like keeping a hold of my leg the whole time and making it more difficult to pass or shoulder pressure and lifting his butt up high during the pass.  It may just be that he's not sure how much to resist during drilling.  Somewhere in between sparring level and dead fish.  Being a dead fish while drilling doesn't really help the person performing the techniques, but there is a point where too much resistance can also be unproductive.  By the end I felt that he had improved a lot.
Rolling: Half Guard Position Up/Down/Out, Free rolling (4 x 5 Min Rnds)

We made it very difficult for the person on the bottom by starting with the underhook.  I'm assuming most of the time the passer was able to pass.  In the middle Jerad switched it to the diamond position to make it a little more fair.  I think I may have to refocus my efforts on the half guard position as I don't feel as confident with it as I once did.  Most of the time I just regained full guard rather than sweeping from half guard.  I don't have too much trouble passing from half except for a few people that are awesome at retention.

To everyone's dismay, Jerad got confused and tried to cut class a half hour short.  I think he had already been there 2 1/2 hours so it's understandable.  Once everyone let him know he had us free roll for the rest of the class.   I rolled with Jerad, Conan, Ross, and Nick.  Jerad and I had a good roll which he got the better of.  His leg drag pass has been getting the better of me and I think I may explore that next. 

With Conan I decided to just play my game.  Often even when I get in a good position, I feel so frantic and jumpy because I want to prevent him from doing what he wants to do.  Consequently I end up not doing much of anything and he sweeps me.  This time I said screw it, I'll just throw all of my attacks at him and if he sweeps me or reverses me, so what.  It seemed to go a lot better.  We got stuck in the over/under pass position as I attempted to pass.  I almost would and then he'd push my head or hip out and then we'd start over.  I even came close to completing a far side armbar.  Hopefully this is a turning point that I can build upon.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 8th 2014 - Kid's Class & Open Mat

Kid's Class

The boys did a little better in 1 on 1 foot tag this time.  They were starting on all fours in the beginning but changed to mid crouch by the end.  They kept getting their heads pushed down.  There was still a little running in circles but not too much.  Changing this to 1 on 1 has been great.  I'm seeing the kids doing some Jiu-Jitsu techniques naturally like getting grips and sitting out.  They did the paint brush as a technique. 

Open Mat

Had a lot of good rolls today with Jerad, Matt, Fuji, Mike (new), Will, Conan, Mike (Tumbleweed), and Darijo..  A face from the beginning, Matt, returned for a visit.  He's been training in Texas and recently got his blue belt.  It's nice to see that he's kept with it.  Greg drilled a rolling back take with me a couple times during the session, which seems like a great technique.  Jerad and Mike both commented on how good my defense feels in that they had to try everything to get me to tap.  It doesn't seem that way to me, but I'll take it.

I didn't have many opportunities to use the 2 on 1 today although I wanted to.  In fact I don't remember playing much guard at all. So I failed my goal for the day to work on that. 

Will and I had the epic match of the day.  It was probably around 15 minutes and a good indication of how long we've been rolling is if we end up no where near where we started on the mat.  We both had our moments on top and in guard. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

March 7th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Neck/Hip Throw, Standing Guard Break & Toreando Pass

Smaller class this morning with myself, Darijo, and Austin.  When there's only three of us we have to kind of treat it like up/down/out to make things go faster.  I saw Austin improve greatly in the passing technique during this class.  Darijo's technique was looking good as well.  We finished the drilling portion of class with the knee on belly switch if they try to escape.

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

My goal from top was to practice the standing guard break and toreando pass from the drilling.  It worked quite well and I think it helped the other two realize that the technique does work and some ways to adjust to prevent it.  By the end they were keeping me from getting the grips I wanted and I had to be more crafty if I wanted to pass their guard. 

From the bottom my main focus was the 2 on 1 and it felt like it was really coming together today.  It may be a little unfair to the other two guys because doing the standing guard break puts their sleeve right where I want it for my 2 on 1 grip.  I played a little cross guard too but for the most part I got my 2 on 1 grip went to butterfly guard and then attempted to hook sweep or arm drag.  Greg told me that he ranks the arm drag as his go to technique from this position which makes sense, I was thinking the hook sweep would be the #1.  I also need to do more with pushing or punching their arm into them to help get a reaction. 

I rolled with Darijo after class a few times and I can see that he's making some progress.  I used some single leg x, as well as the knee on belly switching from earlier to setup the baseball bat choke.  He did concern me one time when he sat back for a straight ankle lock, he must be following in his coworker Ray's footsteps.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6th 2014 - No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Side Mount Kimura & Variations

Pretty small class tonight.  Conan taught with a focus on the kimura from side control.  Our first technique was from hooking up the lock from the bottom.  Then when they spin around to counter with the armbar we'd time it to push them over.  Greg also pointed out the switch to backtake and we worked that for a while.  We moved on to the top position and worked on a couple ways to finish it.  Most notably Conan's genie lock which I've never seen anywhere else since I started.  I worked with Adam on this portion of class and we were both a little tight.

Rolling: Free Rolling (3 x 8 min rnds)

I did a good job preventing Adam from passing my guard for at least half of the roll.  He eventually got around me and I had to fight to keep my arms out of harm's way.

Mike and I rolled nonstop for the entire 8 minutes.  I spent a lot of time in half guard while he stood trying to pass.  I didn't do much attacking accept I did almost pull off the backtake kimura we worked on earlier, it at least got me back to guard for a little while.  At one point I setup a heel hook from single leg x but he was able to roll out of it.  Soon after he setup a toe hold beautifully.

I had a terrible time with Jerad's guard.  I am so much more confident passing guard in the gi and I haven't been able to find my no gi strategy yet.  There was one point when I attempted to go to the hip switch from half guard and he caught me with a kimura on the way in.  To relieve the pressure I tried to move in closer but it only locked it up worse and he fell back.  I had to yell tap very quickly and it sprained my arm a little bit.  It's better now, hopefully it feels okay tomorrow morning. 

After class Mike and I rolled from 50/50 a few times working for ankle locks.  I am such a novice from this position.  I need to work from it more and I should probably watch some tutorials on the position.  After that we talked about my deep half a little bit and he told me to control their knee more.  I think it finally sunk in.  I had so much sympathy from my own knee problems that I didn't really want to grab anyone's knee.  Not that I would hurt them but I think I just wanted to treat my opponents knees with care.  I think this is going to be a huge change for me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 4th 2014 - Gi Morning & Evening

Theme & Techniques: Neck/Hip Throw, Standing Guard Break & Toreando Pass

Jordan returned today from a month off due to his ear injury.  He said a few times that he felt "out of grappling shape"  I feel for him and know that when we have our third child next month, I'll spend some time away from the mats. We also had a visitor, Zack, for his first class today.  I helped him out with a lot of the warm-up stuff.

I ended up working with Ben who I thought was named John for some reason.  He's pretty intense and good to work with.  Not spazzy but holds his breath and uses more strength and energy than he needs to.  We did several reps with the guard break and then the pass.  I was having a little trouble with pain in my fingers during the sleeve transition and went to a pistol grip instead a couple of times, but it wasn't good enough.  I'll have to tape a little bit more tonight.

Rolling: Guard Position (6 x 2 min rnds), Free Rolling

I partnered with Ben, Zack, and Tim for the positional sparring.  I didn't give up and passes from the bottom and had a few sweeps.  I did my best to only work on the standing break that we worked on in class from the top position.  Zack made a comment about how hard it was.  Tim seemed to be getting a little frustrated, until I made the comparison of me doing this for 3 years and him for 3 weeks, plus I out weigh him by quite a bit.  I'm seeing improvement in him big time, but it's very difficult to measure your progress when you're first starting out.

I rolled with Tim after class and focused on playing with the 2 on 1 grip.  I used it to arm drag and butterfly sweep.  From there it was top game as per usual.  Greg discussed the bad habit of resting an ankle on your knee while defending in side control due to ankle locks with both Tim and Jordan.  Jordan and I rolled after that and I tried to work the 2 on 1 again but he did a good job of stopping it.  I also did some lasso and attempted a shoalin sweep from half guard.  Greg gave me some pointers on it later.  I surprised Jordan close to the end by switching sides and going for the cross guard on my weak side and hitting the omoplata.  I've been going for the submission more first rather than going directly for the sweep like I used to.  It's usually obvious when the sub isn't going to work and the sweep usually presents itself.  Where before I had no chance of finishing the sub.

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guard Break & Toreando Pass

During the warm-up Greg had us take turns trying to stand on the stability ball.  The best I was able to do was get one foot into standing position.  That is harder than it looks.

Worked with Ross for this portion of class.  My fingers are pretty sure from all of the sleeve pulling.  We got a ton of reps in and I can see now from working with both Ben and Ross today that the most difficult part of this technique is posturing up at the top.   

Rolling: Guard King of the Mat

It was the first time I can recall the guard passer was the one that stayed in king of the mat.  I had quite a few great matches.  One with Chris that really stood out was getting stuck for a long time with him in over/under pass, and he eventually ended up sweeping me.  Greg told me later that my butt was up a little high and I needed to straighten my arm out more and punch it.  Another time I had a nice collar grip and almost pulled off a loop choke but he was able to get his head out.  Mike gave me some pointers on the choke afterwards.  I was missing falling to the open side of the choke.  I also had a few good rolls with Israel, our visiting purple belt.  He does have a different style than we are all used to which will make us all the better as we learn to deal with it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 1st 2014 - Kids Class & Open Mat

Kid's Class

My boys did great today.  I was really impressed with their falls especially.  The technique they worked on was escape from side control.  That didn't go as well.  They just had a hard time getting into side control.  They played Sumo Foot tag and it was very fun to watch.  It's interesting to see the kids use a strategy and then modify it over time.  However, there was a lot of running in circles.  We finished the day with blob tag.

Open Mat

I had a couple of things that I focused on today.  I also focused on the 2 on 1 guard and had some success with that as well.  Single leg-x guard has been a reoccurring theme as of late and I was able to set it up from the 2 on 1 a few times.  I did get stuck a couple times and couldn't complete the sweep.  The cross guard also served me well like usual.  

I rolled with the following:

Henry: Did a better job of not gassing out, still got submitted though.  His baseball bat choke is coming along

Conan: After he demolished me a few times.  We talked about the shin to shin guard retention he was doing to prevent me from passing.

Nick: New guy who is in the ROTC with Jorge.  After a few rolls I went over the toreando pass with him.

Tim: He was having a pretty good day on the mats, so I did my best to crush his spirits.  Not really, we had a few good rolls

Wes: I rolled with him the longest and experimented with the 2 on 1 quite a bit.  Afterwards he showed me some cross guard stuff that he learned from Saulo Ribero.  

Bauer: Had some good rolls.  I used cross guard to the best of my abilities and ended up with the pendulum sweep a couple times.  I spent some time in mount and almost ended up in a barata plata, but I didn't know how to get into position.  I went over some cross guard stuff with him after that.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 28th 2014 - Gi (Swiss Army Knife)

Theme & Techniques: Technical Standup, Hip Bump Sweep, Kimura

Even though I've been given an extra hour to sleep on Fridays, I feel like it's more difficult to get up.  Had a good group this morning of Air Force Brian, Darijo, and Austin.  Darijo was my partner for drilling.  All of the techniques felt pretty good, so nothing interesting to report.

Rolling: Guard Position (6 x 2 min rnds), Free Rolling (5 min rnd)

From top I focused on the standing guard break and torreando pass.  From the bottom I tried the 2 on 1 and had some success.  Brian was preventing me from getting to butterfly.  Greg told me to hook the shins in order to pull their legs out to get the position.  I had a few butterfly sweeps from there and then also one legged-x for when the brought up their opposite side leg.  I free rolled with Brian and felt pretty good. 

After class we were talking about when things start to make sense.  Brian asked what it felt like to be able to have a plethora of techniques and be able to transition from move to move.  First I take it as a compliment that he thinks that.  I told them that after a year or so of training when new guys start coming in everything will start coming together. 

Thinking about it more later and to use a silly analogy I think Jiu-Jitsu can be equated to the creation of my personal Swiss Army knife.  Eventually in Jiu-Jitsu you find a technique that works for you from a certain position.  I'll use my side control game as an example.  Farside armbar was the first technique I felt confident with which will represent the basic blade.  You can get a lot done with a sharp blade, but there will come a time when it isn't the best tool for the job.  So then I started adding pieces to my knife to make it more versatile.  North/South choke probably came next and that could equal the scissor tool on my knife.  If people are insistent on keeping their arms in and protected it often leaves their neck exposed.  Followed by other techniques: baseball bat choke equals a saw, Rickson Choke equals a toothpick, kimura equals a cork screw, etc.  I keep attempting to add techniques to my game that serve a purpose that my existing techniques don't fulfill.  So just like I would choose the can opener over the scissors to open a can of soup, I would choose a  darce choke over a norh/south choke if my opponent turned hard into me.