Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 30th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Single Over Pass/Knee Over from Combat Base, Same Pass as Counter to Spider Guard
Partner: Will

Before class I asked Henry if he'd like to slow roll and he obliged.  We both flowed through some good stuff.  I don't know about him but there were a few times that I had to remind myself not to take it seriously and just be chill. 

This was a good technique to work on.  At first I thought it was basic and I wouldn't get much out of it, but there were some things to glean from it.  A lot of it is similar to the over under pass that I use in that we loaded their leg onto our shoulder and then slide our knee over their thigh to staple it down.  From there the person on the bottom has their flexibility put to the test as the top person puts pressure down and back steps followed by side control. 

The Counter to spider guard was awesome.  Spider guard has been tough for me to deal with lately and I get stuck in it often lately unable to remove one spider hook to complete a pass.  First you place your knee on their thigh which should allow you to circle your hand under to grab their pants.  Then step up with a hip bump to remove the other hook.  This puts their leg into the perfect position to go right into the pass above.  It was very slick.

Rolling: King of the Mat Guard Positions
Rolled With: Anthony, Mike, Jerad, Greg, Adam, Will, Fuji, Gina, Henry

In my first roll with Anthony, I setup the omoplata fairly quickly and went for the sweep.  I felt a twinge in my bicep femoris muscle (according to self diagnosis through google image).  I ended up completing the sweep but decided to make sure my leg was okay and resigned my kingship.  It was just a little tight and didn't feel like a serious injury.  After some stretching and walking it off I got back in line.  It feels okay now as I write this, but I suspect I may feel it in the morning, so we'll see.

The farthest I made it today was butterfly guard, which was pretty good, but Mike dethroned me with a sweet armbar.  I did some good against Adam and held on to guard a lot longer than I thought possible with some fancy leg work.  While attempting to pass Greg I attacked from half guard for a while and got a little excited that I might pull off a pass, but he was able to turn it into a single leg x sweep.  I finished the evening with a sweet omoplata combo with Will.  He was able to roll with my first attempt and tried to pull my arm into his own omoplata, I rolled again and was able to finish it the second time. 

My cross guard is feeling great lately and I'm very happy that I've refocused my efforts into this position.  After class I asked Greg about ending up in single leg-x after pendulum sweeping from cross guard and he showed me that I needed to change the angle and pendulum my leg quite a bit more.  Then I should end up in a good armbar position.  I suspect I was just pushing them over and then gave them too much space to be able to fit their knee in.  I'll be working on improving this soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Technical Stand-up, Hip Bump Sweep, Kimura from Guard

Had a great class today as usual.  Bhuvana was my partner for the technique portion.  She was doing okay with the technical stand-up, but not really guarding her face or moving so I put a little more pressure on to help her get up and go.  As usual Greg mentioned that it's good practice to make it a habit of standing up this way in daily life.  It's a good feeling when you finally start doing it without thinking about it.

Greg showed me a variation on the kimura for when someone hides their arm and postures up to defend.  It should give the opportunity bring the other leg around their head and gives a lot of leverage to pry their arm into the lock.  I made the comment that you could also do an omoplata from there and Greg said something to the effect of , "yeah, but you wouldn't want to let go of the kimura."  Oh yeah, who would want to do that?  Of course I know he's right, but I just love omoplatas.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Guard Position, Free Rolling Post Class

Had some good matches in up/down/out.  From the bottom I mostly played cross guard and either went to omoplata or swept from there.  If they were savvy with hand fighting I went to the 2 on 1.  I set up cross guard early on against Ben and then he accidentally moved his body into the direction of the omoplata.  I tried to warn him he didn't want to do that but it was too late.  He asked me to show him how to defend it later. 

From the top it was about hand fighting and standing guard break.  I ended up in half guard a few times with Tim.  The first time I attempted the choke that Jimbo showed me from Saturday and it worked perfectly.  I showed Tim and Greg after class and it seemed like Greg liked it.  I liked it since it worked but more research must be done.  The second time I transitioned to knee slide, but must have had my hips too high because he rolled me over and almost swept me so kudos to him.

I rolled with Tim, Bhuvana, and Anthony after class.  At one point I had back mount on Tim and was working as hard as I could to complete the RNC.  I got under his chin and I thought I was in but as soon as I went to complete the choke he was able to get his chin down again.  Greg showed me later to pry and inch a little more, pry and inch until I can grab the shoulder. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 26th 2014 - Cross School Open Mat at MAMA

Today our school was invited to Mid-America Martial Arts here in Lincoln.  It was a fantastic idea and it seemed like everyone had a good time and I didn't witness any bad blood or injuries!  They set up four different rings with a ref and a someone to keep time.  Whenever a match ended they asked for 2 more volunteers for the next match.  There were no brackets or weight classes just first come first serve.  I think we represented our school pretty well and from my point of view the skill levels were consistent by belt color. 

After rolling with 2 blue belts from MAMA (I wish I could remember their names) my forearms were pretty burned out.  I think that was the major take away from today.  I've got to ease up on the death grip in my early matches.  I also rolled with Air Force Brian, Jimbo, Josh H., Mike (tumbleweed), and Ray.  I was hoping to roll with one of their purple belts to see what it was like but it never worked out. 

Some personal things of note.  The north/south choke was working very well for me today.  I wasn't able to always finish it but my setup is coming along pretty naturally.  I used cross guard and omoplata sweep when I could.  Didn't finish the submission though.  I think the only person that submitted me today was Ray with a straight ankle lock.  Otherwise I lost one other time to points against one of the MAMA blue belts (Ron maybe), he was very good at guard passing.  After getting over my forearm burn I relaxed a lot more and felt like I was able to move a lot better. 

Jimbo and I hadn't met in person before today, but we've been friends on Facebook.  We sat and talked for quite a while about our past jobs and found out we were both Marines.  We also discussed how much teaching highschool was similar to being a correctional officer.  Then we had a light roll and took it easy on each other or tried to anyway.  After we rolled he showed me this pretty cool half guard pass to a bread cutter choke that I want to try. 

I felt better about my performance with Ray than usual.  I at least off balanced him a little with my cross guard.  Made him say "damn cross guard!"  He setup a straight ankle eventually but I did mount a decent defense up until that point.  Conversely when I rolled with Mike I attempted a knee bar out of nowhere.  I wasn't able to finish it and converted to a straight ankle which I couldn't finish either.  I think my inside foot was ending up in uncomfortable places for him. 

After taking the picture below they brought in some hamburgers and other food.  All I could stomach was some watermelon that hit the spot.  There was some good comradery going on.  Hopefully this is the first of many open mats.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 26th 2014 - Kids Class

The boys did great today.  The only bad thing I can say is that Jayden is not keeping his head off the floor during back falls.  Otherwise they did well in animal walking, rolls, the technique, blob tag, and especially flag tag.  Since there were only three kids today, I decided not to suit up so I could watch and take some pictures. 

Check out the video below to get an idea of what flag tag is like.  It's training them to focus on good hand fighting and control the opponents arms.  I think they're looking really good!

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Shoulder Throw, Back Mount Cross Choke, Guillotine from Guard

Practiced the throws with Darijo and Dave and then worked with Tim on the rest of the stuff, who made a rare Friday morning appearance.  All was well with this portion of class and I only gave him a few pointers on the guillotine.  It was mostly about arm position and how to get a deeper hold on it.

Rolling: Back Mount Position (4 x 2 min), Guard Position (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (5 min rnds & Post Class)

I wasn't feeling good about my back attacks today.  Apparently everyone is getting better at defending them.  I was doing a good job of keeping my chin down on their shoulder and letting go of a hook to push off on the floor.  Also the single leg pry to get a hook back in has been working great for me lately.  For back defense I focused a lot on my head position to get to the side I wanted and then preventing any collar grips.  Ross was doing a good job with his grip fighting from the back.

I rolled with Greg for guard position and felt like I was doing pretty good with some cross guard to 2 on 1.  He had stood up at one point and I was able to feed his arm between his legs and almost got the sweep but he kept his far leg away and I ended up trying for a back take unsuccessfully that turned into a leg tangle to inverted half guard to him passing.  We went over the 2 on 1 sweep after class which I feel a lot better about. 

I rolled with Ross after class with the goal of working on my cross guard/omoplata.  I am feeling more confident in the modified pendulum type sweep that I've been doing from there when I can't get the omoplata.  I noticed some improvement in his stiff arm side mount escape.  I'll give myself a little pat on the back for having something to do with that.  Before we left Ross mentioned that he's not used to anyone going for the omoplata to which Greg said something to the effect of "No one attacks it as often".  I'll take it as a compliment. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 23rd 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Drilling: Guard, Guard Passing, Submissions

I partnered with Adam for the drilling portion.  Greg told us to work our A game with our partner not resisting.  For guard that consists of cross guard to omoplata and the variations that follow, scissor sweep, and some 2 on 1 to pendulum or back take.  Guard passing consists of standing or kneeling break to knee slide, bull fighter, over/under, and smash pass.  Submissions were my favorites: omoplata, bow and arrow, farside armbar, kimura, north/south choke, and many others.  The teammates that will be competing in Chicago had to do 10 burpees each round and I felt a little bad just sitting there and watching them.

Rolling: King of the Mat Guard Positions, Tournament Style Matches

This was a pretty cool idea as if the person on the bottom was able to sweep their first opponent from closed guard, they would then use spider guard with the next opponent.  Followed by butterfly guard and half guard.  I started with Gina in my closed guard and utilized my cross guard to omoplata sweep as gently as I could.  Henry was able to pass my spider guard next but it took a while.  I then had 2 long rolls in Adams guard which both turned out to be half guard battles.  I fought for underhooks and cross faces and did my best to stay out of lock down, but it was so difficult to get out and when I felt like I was close he would turn into me and standup. 

I was paired up with Will for the first match.  I pulled guard and went for cross guard right away.  I was able to sweep but as I was trying to get a good top position he was able to put me into single leg-x and then x-guard and sweep me back.  I got an overhook but wasn't able to do much with it, I felt like I was stuck flat on my back and couldn't get off to the side like I wanted to.  He eventually pulled his arm out and I attempted cross guard again but was too far away and he was able to pass to side control and then submitted me with an armbar.

I volunteered to go again and Greg was my partner.  He beat me to the punch on pulling guard and went to butterfly.  I did my best to keep my base low but he eventually swept me to side control.  He caught me in an omoplata that I was able to escape from and then prevented a back attack.  Finally he setup a farside armbar and I attempted to defend it but I stupidly let go of my grip to attempt to put his leg into half guard. 

I'm not feeling too good about my performance today.  I'm in a bit of a rut and not really progressing right now.  I have an urge to make a change in my training but I'm not sure what it would be.  I had sent Greg a message few weeks ago (below) to which he answered that I am on the right path and just some little changes are the difference to me now and future me.  I just need to trust in this and carry on.  

"When I see high level matches I don't see too much stalling/being stuck in a position. So I'm trying to hypothesize how the later belt version of me may be different and try to work towards that. When you roll with big people you're not going to get by with some of the things that I do that depend on my size/strength so I figure there has to be a more Jiu-Jitsu way of doing things and I'm not cultivating it."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22nd 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Shoulder Throw, Back Mount Cross Choke, Guillotine from Guard

Worked with Harvey on the technique portion.  He seems to learn best by talking the details of each technique out.  It did get a little slow at times but hopefully he learned something.  I appreciate how he get's excited when he figures something out or learns something new.  He had the common problems that everyone has: didn't have his hip over far enough for shoulder throw; had some trouble with wrist position during the cross choke; moving the hips back to make some space to get a good arm position on the guillotine.

Rolling: Back Mount Position (2 min), Guard Position (2 min), Free Rolling (5 min rnds)

People have described Harvey as having old man strength and after today I would agree.  When I had him in back mount, I kept him under control, but he got a hold of my choking hand and I could not get it back for the life of me.  I was able to escape his back mount once, but the second time he did a great job with his hooks to keep me from getting free. 

I went with Mike (lawyer) for this portion of class.  I was hoping to rekindle my focus on cross guard, but he did a great job of keeping his hips way back right from the get go.  I was just barely able to keep him from passing, I resorted to using leg over head recovery and the kimura to attempt a back take but settled for regaining guard. From top he did almost get me in a triangle but my posture saved me.  I was am way too lazy dealing with sleeve grips in guard lately. 

Robert and I had a great roll.  There was lots of back and forth.  As soon as I would pass his guard he would be able to get a knee back in.  I've got to figure out how he's doing this and figure out how to make my side mount better.  I did have an arm trapped at one point and we had a bit of a scramble where I ended up on top. 

I worked with Harvey on some grip breaks after class and gave him a short version of July 2nd's class.  Then I worked with Bhuvana on the half guard sweep that she's been working on.  I like the approach that she's taking as this is the position that she is ending up in very often, so she's researching and drilling a technique to deal with it.  I attempted a technique from Tinguinha's cross guard DVD but didn't quite get it to work.  I lent the DVD to Greg today so I watched it a few times recently.  Bhuvana and I rolled for a little while.  I decided not to go for submissions and tried to flow from position to position as smoothly as I could.  There came a point when she was panicking a little bit and I talked her through calming down and then using her bridge to make the position a little less uncomfortable for her.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19th 2014 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids' Class

There was only one other kid besides my own.  I feel like I motivated my oldest a little bit before class.  He tried a little harder and did a good job at the animal walks, the double leg takedown, and flag tag.  He was a little lazy during falling and rolling though.  I'm going to keep trying to motivate him about class but try my best to not turn him off to it completely.  During flag tag both boys were sufficiently aggressive.  There was some good hand fighting and pummeling for the flag.  There were occasions when one kid was trying to push the other out of the ring only to have their flag pulled. 

Open Mat

Rolled with too many people to try to describe each roll.  So I'll just bring up what's worth mentioning.  I rolled with Henry, Jerad, Fuji, Greg, Mike, Austin, Tim, and Ross.


Greg seems to be working on a particular armbar setup lately because I feel like I've been defending them a lot.  I am getting to the bicep grip (kind of like RNC) to help push the leg off my head.  He still would complete the armbar though.  

I had to defend a few Brabo grips today from Fuji, Mike, and Greg.  The one that Mike setup was pretty nasty as it had my arm locked up and I eventually tapped because it was compressing my elbow and I didn't want to risk injury. 

I felt like I defended a lot of knee on belly and side control today, but I do feel like I'm getting better at it.  I'm having some trouble with a few peoples mounts, Jerad especially.  Also Henry is noticeably better at this position. 

I need to improve my getting to half guard from quarter guard because I am stuck there way too much.  I did successfully use the cross bicep to regain guard more than once.  I'm still having a little trouble trusting it, but it's served me well so far.  I was thinking a lot about my knee placement during butterfly guard.


I went for a lot of 2 on 1 today and was able to turn it into a back take a few times.  Unfortunately I did lose back mount to a few people, Henry and Fuji, mostly because of my position on their side when they went to turtle.  I think I need to be more proactive from this position.  I attempted the RNC on a few people and had a lot of trouble getting under the chin.  I think I'm going to put in a request to Greg for him to just attack RNC from back mount to observe all of his tricks.  I stayed away from the bow and arrow but did go for the armbar if the RNC wasn't happening.

I was able to submit utilizing a few omoplatas, some north/south chokes, a bow and arrow from side control, and some armbars that I can recall.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Osoto Gari defense for RNC, Basic Back Mount Escape, RNC

 Worked with Anthony this morning as we are of similar size.  I experienced his Judo background today with the first throw as I seemed to meet the ground faster than I'm used to.  I think his ability to time his upper body lean with the reap had a lot to do with it. 

I gave Anthony a few pointers on controlling the underhooked hand and then getting his arm behind the head.  My takeaway from this portion of the class was working more on the prying my forearm up under their chin to sink the choke in deeper.

Rolling: Back Mount Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling  (2 x 5 min)

For the first portion I went with Anthony, Will, and Austin.  Felt really good about my escapes and focused on my head position especially.  From the back I wasn't able to get too many chokes but I kept pretty good control of the position. 

I had a hard time with Will's guard during free rolling.  He was doing a great job of tangling me up and almost had me in a triangle at one point.  I think I eventually passed just before time ran out.  I caught Anthony with a north/south choke pretty early and I gave him some pointers on how to defend it.  Near the end of the roll I attempted a butterfly sweep but he was able to kind of hop over it into side control.  After class, Greg gave me some pointers on going more upward and over with my butterfly sweep rather than straight across and getting my knee out of position.  Something to think about.

Dave rolled with me after class and I played some 2 on 1.  I remember telling him to not do a few things and giving him some pointers.  He was pretty surprised when I regained guard off of his knee slide attempt.  I was using Conan's cross bicep method which is starting to come around for me.  I really enjoy rolling after most classes (except Wednesday) so I'm usually game if anyone still has some energy.  You may have to get to me before Tim, Dave, or Bhuvana though.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 16th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Guard Pulling: Closed, Open, Butterfly

It's been a little while since I've worked some stand-up which made this a great class but I'm pretty exhausted.  I apologize in advance if there are more spelling and grammatical errors than usual, because I'm going to get done with this as quickly as possible.  I worked with Conan and felt a little sorry for him having to hold me when I jumped guard.  Personally I'm wherry of jumping guard, flying armbars, etc during training, I feel like I'm too heavy to be doing stuff like that and I don't want to hurt anyone.

The thing learned from pulling open guard is that we grab low on the sleeve near the wrist to prevent them from grabbing your leg after sitting.  We played around with the push-pull concept of open guard, something I need to get a grasp on.

Pulling butterfly guard was new information for me.  From the regular Judo stance we grabbed the collar and then used the other hand to either grab the belt or grab the pants by the knee.  This prevents them from jumping over your hooks into mount.  From there I felt the most comfortable going to one legged-x guard since they're usually still standing.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Stand-Up with Takedowns/Guard Pulling, Free Rolling (4 x 5 min)

The idea of the UDO was to get to the ground in some way.  Even though you don't get points for pulling guard it was considered a stopping point once you secured the position.  My first couple rounds I used my cross guard guard pull.  It worked pretty well for me even though I haven't used it in a while.  I didn't always get the omoplata but the closed guard usually was right there.  Once with Greg I felt pretty confident with it and was moving to omoplata but he was able to control my other leg and eventually pass.  I had one of those moments where I thought "Oh my god, I'm doing something really good against Greg, I can't believe this!  Oh wait I'm losing it, and my guard is passed."

Henry kicked my butt pretty well in the first free roll round.  We started out with a pretty good scramble and I thought I was going to take his back but he used his magic and turned to face me.  He went to mount a few times, which I'm not used to him doing.  Wonder if he's working on that.  He set up a cross collar choke very well and was able to get me to tap.

I rolled with Greg next and didn't feel like I had anything for him.  I spent most of the time defending from bottom side mount.  I did have a little success with my armbar defense in staving off the armbar a little longer.

I tried to relax as much as I could with Adam.  I played some open guard and attempted to setup the 2 on 1.  He defended it well by swimming his arm and grabbing my hip.  From there he was able to pass my guard, I did attempt the stiff arm defense and we were stuck there while he pinned my legs we eventually ended up in side control.  From there he was working on some brabo grips and chokes.

I rolled with Gina last.  I felt like I may be too tired to control my weight against her so I attempted to pull guard, even though I know she likes to be in guard.  I set up a loop choke and thought it was really sunk in but her neck ended up being too small and I think I should have used my legs a little more.  I kind of turned on my side and used it as a sweep, but I wasn't able to choke her.  We had an interesting battle when she was going for kesa getamai and I was going for her back and we fought for my left arm for quite a bit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Osoto Gari defense for RNC, Basic Back Mount Escape, RNC

Worked with Robert today on the technique portion.  We kept a pretty good pace and got in a lot of reps.  We both noticed the importance of the head position to help with the back mount escape.  The biggest nugget of information that I gleamed was when Greg gave us an extra RNC setup.  The idea is to control both of their hands and coax them into bridging and driving their head way back.  That should open up their neck for the choke.  I may play around with this in the near future. 

Rolling: Back Mount Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling

Robert was very tough to deal with and we ended up stalemating each other.  Neither of us escaped nor submitted the other.  I attempted a few bow and arrows, but he did a good job grabbing his gi collar to defend.  When I was in his back mount he had me stuck in arm triangle land for a while.  I was able to bring my leg up to grab and defend off the choke.  I couldn't break his grip, but was able to be safe until time ran out.

I was able to escape a couple times against Will, although I was in danger along the way of bow and arrows, armbars, and arm triangles.  I don't think I came close to submitting him but I was able to recover back mount a few times when he attempted to escape, using the harness grip and butterfly hook technique. 

I went with Bhuvana last and was assuming that I'd easily choke her.  She did a great job of defending her neck though and I couldn't get my arm anywhere near the RNC.  However, that opened her up to the armbar though.  After class she requested to work on some things.  I gave her some pointers on the basic side control escape.  Her biggest problem is that she kept sticking her arms out straight to push me away while bridging.  I had her help me attempt a back take from deep half that I saw online and Greg assisted to help figure it out a little bit.  Bhuvana and I rolled a little bit and I stayed pretty relaxed and coached her through some defenses a couple of times.  My main goal was to work on the deep half sweep and I was able to get there a couple times.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 12th 2014 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids' Class

Only 3 kids in attendance today.  My kids are a little bummed that their friend Conor moved up to the older kids class.  However, I told them that they would have to show Greg that they wanted to be in the older class by doing great in the class they're in now.  It worked pretty well as they both tried very hard with everything.  Jayden still doesn't want to count during falls and I'm not sure why.  They played capture the flag and I saw some good things.  A lot of good hand fighting and being aware of their flags.  They both did well with the paintbrush technique.  Jace did laps around the room when it wasn't his turn, I appreciate anything that will use up some of his energy.  We finished the class with blob tag.

Open Mat

Jerad: I hadn't warmed up before we rolled so we did a little slow rolling and he let me drill the smash pass 10 times or so.  When we started seriously rolling it was his day for armbars.  I'm pretty sure he submitted me with 3 of them.  The major reason for this was that I was allowing him to control my arm too much with 2 on 1 and stretch it out and control my hips with his legs.  Despite all of this there were some great scrambles.  I tried the smash pass a few times but he prevented me from getting the underhook and foiled it. 

Henry: This was an awesome match with a lot of action.  I think working with Henry has improved my scrambling immensely.  We went back and forth from guard to side control to half guard to turtle, rinse and repeat.  There were a couple of points where I felt like I was beginning to gas out, but I felt like I eventually got over a wall and was able to keep fighting instead of giving up like I have in the past.  The specifics I remember were defending his collar grips for baseball bat choke as if my life depended on it; him avoiding back mount with his turtle magic; being in bottom half guard and attempting the half guard sweep that Greg showed earlier this week that at least got me guard; also completing a deep half guard sweep.  I ended up in a high guard in the end and went for the kimura, he rolled out of it but I was able to turn it into an armbar. 

Austin:  Worked on a couple of things during my roll with him: setting up the loop choke; setting up the mounted triangle; I played around with the open guard position from a couple months ago.  I asked him if he was working on anything in particular to which he said kimura/hip bump/guillotine from guard.  So we went over some setups for those and I showed him what works for me to combine them together.

Other Notes: Unfortunately I only rolled with 3 people today instead of the usual 6.  FYI for anyone that reads this, if you are at open mat when I'm there, I want to roll with you.  So if you are thinking of getting changed and leaving early and you haven't rolled with me, you're wrong.  I had a talk with Greg about an idea that I had that I'll probably go over in a later blog post.  He assured me that my Jiu-Jitsu is on the right path.

Tim had dislocated his toe during rolling and he ended up going to the hospital to get it fixed up.  It looked pretty nasty but it ended up not being broken and he should be back on the mats soon.  Mend well Tim!

July 11th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg Takedown, Upa Mount escape, Cross collar choke

Worked with Austin during this portion of class.  My toe was bothering me a bit and wasn't cooperating with my double leg shoot.  I did the best I could but don't like having this stupid gout ailment. It's not really a full on attack right now so no need to worry, I can still walk quite normal.  Austin had a few problems with the choke like everyone else, but it didn't take too many corrections to get him to choke me correct. 

Rolling: Mount Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling (4 min & Post Class)

Felt pretty good about my mount offense and defense.  A couple of things I'm proud of with Greg, I setup the mounted triangle but he was able to turn on his side and get free and I kept him from submitting me when I was on bottom.  I also partnered with Mike and Dave for the mount position.  My top game usually consists of:
  1. Get a forearm under their elbow and get my hand to the floor then attempt to pry their elbow up over their head. Use the floor and walk with your fingers.
  2. Grab their wrist and attempt a mounted triangle by shoving their one hand down between my legs. I usually finish with an armbar instead of the triangle.
  3. Threaten the Ezekiel choke and when they try to turn in to defend it I'll move to technical mount and work for the back, gift wrap or collar grab for bow and arrow, or armbar.
I free rolled with Dave next and like always he had a great attitude.  He was excited about realizing some things that I was doing and that I was taking it slow.  Pretty much I was just trying to use as less strength as possible and try not to force anything.  With Brian I could tell that the competition classes are doing some good, he hesitated a little less and was always moving during our roll.  He did make a mistake though when trying to escape my side mount by turning his back to get to turtle and I took it.  He did a great job hand fighting and defending the chokes I attempted. 

I rolled with Ross after class and had a great time.  I was revisiting my cross guard today and attempted to swing more into the omoplata.  I've been getting stuck lately half way and that didn't used to happen so not sure if people are wise to it or if I'm getting lazy or what.  After a couple rolls I asked him if there was anything that he wanted to work on and he said he was having trouble with escaping side control.  I said that it's tough and reading the first several months of this blog everyone would see I had a lot of trouble with side control as well.  There is a reason that it's a dominant position.  I'm not sure if that was an effective pep talk for him, but we went over the basic defenses and then I went over the stiff arm escape with him and we repped that for a while.  Just remember straight arm, Straight Arm, STRAIGHT ARM!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Smash Pass

It was an unusually small class with myself, Henry, and Matt (a potential blue belt transfer from New Jersey).  Matt was a little bigger than me and he mentioned that he's been training for about a year and a half.

Now that we've completed the first cycle of the beginner curriculum and techniques are repeating.  It is awesome to be able to attend this advanced class and get some new input.  I'm familiar with the smash pass as I've had it done to me on many occasions usually by Greg, but I've never drilled it.  A couple things that I need to improve on for this pass are: 1. Figuring out the timing of when to do this pass.  2. Make sure I take big steps.  3. Keep my hips down and my pressure to on their knee instead of on their thigh. 

Rolling: 8 Min Guard Drill, Free Rolling (3 x 7 min)

Instead of the dominant position drill that we usually do we did 4 different guard positions for 2 minutes each instead.  Closed Guard, Spider Guard, Butterfly, and Half guard.  I soon found out that Matt was a lot to deal with.  He controls his weight well and I felt like I had to work really hard to prevent getting passed.  He ended up not being able to pass me but it got pretty close a couple of times and I didn't feel like I was ever in a position to sweep.  I might need to work my cross guard game with some bigger people and figure out how to prevent my leg getting smashed.  I did a little better from the top but not much.  The over/under pass served me well but it wasn't easy.  Thinking about this I think I did much better from the top because I can control the distance and move a lot more.  In the guard I always felt pinned down or that I had to be tight.  I felt like I should have moved more from the bottom.  The ego probably got in the way and I felt safer hunkering down and preventing passes rather than loosening up and trying some sweeps.

I rolled with Henry first and already felt a little warn out.  I feel like I should have tried harder but I also felt like I had to conserve some energy.  He spent most of the time in my half guard, we fought for underhooks and guillotines.  He eventually passed to side control and setup his infamous baseball bat choke.  I was able to prevent it for a little while and then saw a avenue to mount, big mistake.  I was better off defending from the side using a knee shield to keep distance.

I didn't have much energy with Greg.  I spent a lot of time in his side control as he attempted to use the baseball bat to armbar trick, which I escaped once.  He did put me into a triangle, which turned into an omoplata, which finally turned into an armbar.  Smooth moves! 

Finished off the class with Matt.  I think we were both pretty tired, he ended up sitting guard.  I slowly worked my way to passing his guard which took a few attempts.  I tried setting up the kimura but couldn't seem to turn him on his side, but I was able to slide into a north/south choke attempt.  I kept getting tighter and tighter and just when I thought it was almost sunk he did a big explosive bridge attempting to roll me over, I was able to stay on top and keep side control but the submission was thwarted.  I'm predicting that this would have gone differently if I had sat to guard and he took the top position.

I think I may be hitting a bit of a plateau.  I'm not really sure what I'm focusing on or improving right now.  I have a lot of things that I'm decent at, but don't feel like I'm excelling at any position currently.  I think the answer may be to follow the competition class route by picking a guard technique, a guard pass, and a third thing.  Off the top of my head Pendulum Sweep, Smash Pass, Deep Half Homer Simpson sweep.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8th 2014 - Gi (Superhero)

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg Takedown, Upa Mount escape, Cross collar choke

Ended up working with Ben on this portion of class.  While I know the basics of the double leg, it and other takedowns still require a lot of thinking power and I'm still a little hesitant to shoot to a knee at times.  We started out the Upa escape with the opponent on top doing a cross face with the forearm behind the neck.  Then after a several reps Ben and I did some other ways of trapping the arm.  He got a little frustrated with the cross collar and Greg and I both tried to assure him that it takes a while to understand.  He eventually got it a few times after a couple minor adjustments.  The usual stuff of keeping the wrist straight and pulling them into you with a row like motion.

Rolling: Mount Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling Post Class

Starting with me on top, Ben did a great job of covering up and keeping his arms in.  He's learned that lesson.  I had a few tricks from the bottom, mostly a good buck and upa attempt that I can turn into a elbow escape if they don't go over to get to half guard.  Otherwise I'm pretty good at getting to quarter guard but that sometimes stalls the roll for a while.

I went with Rob and Will next.  There was really only time for each of us to escape once, as we battled for every inch.  I was very close to getting to deep half at the end of Rob on top and he was able to escape at the end to guard.  I had to really pay attention to my cross face a couple times when I ended up in side control.  I was able to get to half guard with Will from bottom and Will had a nice single-x kind of sweep. 

I was telling Greg after class that I'm very happy that they have been coming to Tuesdays because I'm having to work a lot harder when partnering with them.  I think at times I get a little lazy when I'm the only blue belt in class.  I'm still trying to work on my stuff but I hardly ever feel in danger of being submitted.  It's a very cool feeling, almost like being a super hero at times.  Don't get me wrong it's not a top tier awesome super hero like Spider-Man or the Hulk more like someone way down on the list like Speedball.  I can still kick some butt against a mere mortal.  However, Captain America would easily put me in my place.

Edit: Forgot to add the post class

After class Greg showed Tim and Bhuvana the perils of straightening your arms as a mount defense.  He discussed waiting for the person on top to commit or make a move rather than reaching up and trying to trap an arm.  Then Tim and I rolled which was fun as always.  When I had his back at one point I had to resist the urge to use the bow and arrow choke.  I had reverted back to using it as my goto from the back for a while but I've decided to focus on the RNC again.  He made me work for it and I had to be a little mean to get under his chin.  I am also paying a lot more attention to my head placement which I have neglected in the past; Greg really uses his chin to help keep his victim under control.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 2nd 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Breaking Collar Grips

A familiar face joined us for class, Ken!  I was just thinking about him recently while rereading my old posts.  He was a huge part in my early Jiu-Jitsu development.  Unfortunately we didn't get to work together today.

After floor exercises, Brian (Sweeney) and I partnered up for some extra work.  3 Sets of 20 Leg Lifts, Push-Up Pyramid to 6, and lunges up and down the floor.  Good stuff, but I could do without the lunges.

Greg had us do 3 different variations on the collar break from the closed guard.  While I have come a long way with grip fighting, there are still some key things that I'm overlooking and Greg was quick to point them out.  The main thing was using my palm to weaken their grip on the thumb.  After the basic 2 on 1, then we brought a knee up to help push, and finally we based a hand against their forearm keeping the elbow tight inside and rolling our head under their arm making it much easier to break their grip. 

Rolling: Free Rolling (5 x 7 min)

Greg: I felt relatively good about my performance with him, apparently he didn't feel the need to turn it up like last time we rolled.  I started up and was sucked into his 2 on 1 guard.  He's been working a sweep from standing lately that I'm a little interested in too.  After he swept me I was able to prevent a few pass attempts, I even pulled out the cross side stiff arm that Conan showed me to recover at one point as well as putting up a good fight from inverted half guard.  It wasn't enough.  He spent rest of the time setting up the brabo grip and completing the choke and he also completed an armbar from side control. 

Gina: Fun couple of rolls with Gina.  She made it very clear that she would rather start in guard than trying to pass, so much so that she tried to pull me off my butt into her guard.  Our size difference is very difficult for her to overcome, I did my best to keep my full weight off of her.  At one point I took her back and had to work pretty hard to finish the choke by switching top arms and take up all of the space because her neck is so small.  I did end up stuck in her guard at one point and had to work fairly hard to get out of it, good posture control.

Jerad: I felt like I pulled out all of the stops to pass his guard.  It was very fast paced grip fighting and pulling and pushing and I eventually found myself in position for the over/under pass and I was completing it until he started to control my elbow.  From there he was able to stiff arm me and get to top position.  I was spent and felt like I could only do the bare minimum to defend while I recovered.  He eventually caught me in a mounted triangle and I did my darnest to use that escape that he taught me but he was able to turn it into an armbar.  I think I need to review what I do with my arm when I go for the cross face, I should be focusing on keeping it tight so my elbow can't be snatched up and controlled.

Mike (Lawyer): Had some great rolls with him, although he is dealing with a shoulder injury.  He does a pretty good job of keeping his hips away while pressure passing so it was a little difficult at times to keep my guard.  I really feel like my side control attacks are coming together nicely.  With Mike I was able to coax him into dropping his arms to defend knee on belly which helps setup my north/south choke. 

Adam: I came into this roll with a higher level of confidence.  It has been a long time since we rolled and I found this to be somewhat of a benchmark to see if I've improved.  The good thing is that I kept my guard for a lot longer than I used to.  There was a lot going on mostly with open guard but there was a point that I felt I was losing it and I was able to pull him into closed guard.  From there I probably should have went for broke and attacked more but I was more concerned with trying to control his posture.  Eventually he was able to pass my guard and I was not able to escape again.  He attacked some brabo, some farside armbar, and lots of cross facing.  In the end he caught me with an americana pretty close to the end of the round.

I watched a video today of Andre Galvao vs Rodolfo Viera from earlier this year.  I really enjoyed this match mostly for the guard retention that Galvao has through most of the beginning of the match.  I think the next thing to focus on is throwing my leg over to prevent a pass.  There are times I try it now but my timing may be off and I try it too late.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1st 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Standing Headlock Defense, Guard break and Single Under Pass

A post was recently dedicated to me in Gina's blog: Josh, Josh, Josh.  One thing that I had completely forgotten about was that I had visited Roseberry's for a Judo for Jiu-Jitsu seminar back in September 2010 which was my first step into training with all of these fine Jiu-Jitsu-ka.  Thanks for the shout out Gina, I appreciate the nice things you said and for the nickname (Triple J). 

I worked with Bhuvana on this portion of class and with a few pointers here and there everything went swimmingly.  She panicked a bit during the headlock escape and tried to use strength to get her head out and still couldn't do it.  I helped her relax and talked her through how to use more leverage and she improved after that.  The only major gripe I had with her for the guard break was keeping her arm straight when placing the knee.  

Rolling: Guard Position Up/Down/Out

Another enjoyable Up/Down/Out.  One of my first rolls was attempting to pass Greg's guard.  I did a standing break and after several pass attempts I attempted a leg drag and I must have misjudged how he was going to react because I kind of tripped over my own feet and fell over.  I completed a couple good sweeps like pendulum and an omoplata.  For passing I used the pass from today a few times as well as some knee slides.

Tim must have had to take off after class cause we didn't get our weekly roll in.  I went over the sickle sweep with Bhuvana with the help of Greg and she was pretty excited to get it a few times at the end.  We rolled a little bit as well and she kept saying "wait, wait, wait!" but I wasn't going to fall for that.