Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 30th 2014 - Kids, Competition, & Open Mat

Kids' Class

About 10 minutes before we left for class, Jace was brushing his teeth and yelled that his nose and mouth were bleeding.  I came into the bathroom to find a crime scene.  I kept him relatively calm as I cleaned him up, but he said that he didn't want to attend class today, but he came along anyway.  He ended up getting his gi on anyway and did fine.

Despite a few minor times in the beginning of class when Jace wanted to get in Jayden's lane they were really good.  The both did well with falling and rolls and they even did their forward rolls without the ball quite well.  They played flag tag and Jayden didn't win which seemed to bother him a little bit.  Greg added an extra flag to make the game a little more complicated.  The technique of the day was getting a high collar grip from mount, which tickled them both.

Competition Class
Focus: 2 on 1 Back Take, X-Pass, Deep Half Sweep
Partner: Jerad

Greg kicked our butts with some partner exercises today.  Did several sets of burpees in between lunges, leg lifts, sprints, wheel barrows, piggy back, and bench pressing our partner.  That took a lot of the fight out of me. 

From there Jerad and I did our sets of techniques.  Major takeaway was that I was releasing my leg too much in my entry to deep half from knee shield, which is where Jerad usually catches me.  We had a competition style roll and he shut me down badly.  He was up 10-0 before submitting me with a bow and arrow choke. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jesse, Tim, Ross

I noticed a dog tag tattoo on the new guy Jesse and we ended up talking for quite a while about the Marine Corps.  He had quite an impressive hardcore career that I won't go into too much, but it was a little intimidating rolling with someone who would have outranked me and was definitely a badass in the Marines.  He didn't have much experience with BJJ though so I ended up doing more positional sparring with him and explaining some of the basics. 

I wanted to continue my guard aggressiveness with Tim and Ross, but it was difficult to maintain after the competition class.  I was hitting some omoplatas from open guard which seemed to fall into place.  I also hit a couple deep half guard sweeps.  I went over an escape for omoplata with Tim, which he was able to use in our next roll.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29th 2014 - Gi (Office Hours)

Theme & Techniques: Scarf Hold Escape, Roll Over from Turtle to Side or Back Mount
Partnered With: Anthony (Bandana)

Before class started, Dave made the comment that he considers the after class rolling that I do as my "office hours."  I'm flattered considering I am not a professor...yet.  For me the rolling that I do after class has been indispensable.  I know not everyone can stick around and I make sure that Greg is okay with us staying.  I usually use it for extra rolling time and I'll often give or get pointers on things that come up.  

Went over some instruction on the scarf hold from the top with Anthony to help him understand the pressure of the position.  I put a little more pressure on him toward the end of the exercise to show how important getting the elbow free is.  He didn't have any real problems with the turtle stuff except for moving up the hip placement during the back take.  Seems like he's picking things up very well.

Rolling: Turtle position (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled with: Anthony, Ross, Brian (FF)

Turtle position went fine, Ross came the closest to taking my back.  I didn't have as much success with the granby roll, but no one was looking for me to regain guard. 

On the way to class I decided to rekindle my aggressiveness in guard initiative so instead of laying back and letting them come to me, I tried to push forward and attack.  This resulted mostly in putting me in a good position for butterfly guard sweeps or in single leg x-guard.  I was especially seeing the hand fighting to underhooks that Greg was showing a couple weeks ago to the advanced class.  This makes a lot of sense why people have been passing me lately, I'm in the mid-range, that is better for the passer, when playing more aggressive I was able to get more under my partner and control their posture more.  I will be experimenting with this.

Office Hours: Dave, Austin

After playing a little more with my aggressive guard, I stopped at one point in mount on Dave and asked him what he would do to get out of it.  I then walked him through the upa escape, a guard pass and a farside armbar with a little resistance.  Kind of like the perfect gameplan drill.  The next time we rolled I joked with him and told him it was serious this time.

The first roll with Austin I took advantage of his really wide combat base and slipped into single leg x.  He complained that all of the blue belts did that to him, so I showed him that he needed to tighten up his combat base.  Then let him practice single leg x on me with a wide base and see easy it was to get to the position when all that space is there.  Later on I caught him with a head and arm choke to which he had a hard time defending.  I showed him the under knee grab defense and on our following roll, setup the same choke so he could try it. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 27th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Takedown fit-ins, Standing Guard Break to Knee over pass
Partner: Adam

I lightly rolled with Gina before class and got a little warm-up in.  For the takedowns we had to do three different techniques in a row: a shot, a sweep/trip, and a hip throw.  Adam gave me some pointers on a low single, that I may try to work in my game some time in the future.

The standing break we did was interesting, instead of the usual way where we hand off their sleeve to the other hand we just push on their knee from there and staple their thigh to the ground.  It seemed like it would be better, but I wasn't able to use it during training today.

Rolling: Guard Position (8 x 2 min), Free Rolling (3 x 5 Min)
Rolled With: Adam, Henry, Gina, Greg

I was a little sluggish today.  It might have been because Adam and Henry were monsters.  Gina was doing a good job of recovering her guard during my pass attempts, but eventually I worked into a double unders pass.  From there I coached her through the stiff arm escape.  Adam was able to pass my guard a couple of times and had me in side control for a majority of our free roll.  I had to fight hard to keep from getting submitted.  Henry was passing my half guard at will and I thought I was about to take control a few times but he did well with the scrambles.  I was able to hold on to him in deep half for a while even though he was standing up and trying to shake me off.  He eventually setup an armbar that was locked up pretty quickly and I yelled tap to make sure it didn't get any tighter before I hit the ground. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Scarf Hold Escape, Roll Over from Turtle to Side or Back Mount
Partnered With: Anthony (New), Bhuvana

Great class today.  I ended up taking on more of a teaching roll during this portion of class.  The scarf hold escape has quite a few steps in it.  The hardest part for both Bhuvana and Anthony was the armbar at the end.  Putting the foot and shin in the right place and taking up the space as they sat proved difficult.  The roll over to side control and back take, feels pretty natural now.  The only thing I had to stress for my partners was to lock the elbow on the hip before attempting to roll them over.

Rolling: Turtle position Up/Down/Out, Free Rolling Post Class
Rolled with: Ben, Moe, Bhuvana, Brian (FF), Anthony, Greg, Tim, Harvey

Felt pretty on my game today.  I kept everyone from taking my back except Greg.  I mostly went for backs as well using the technique from today.  What works best for me is to get my lapel grip on the near side and then jump to the other.  I saw Moe do some great things against bigger guys.  He was doing a great job of attacking the back and not getting rolled over.  Hang in their Moe!

I rolled with Bhuvana a little after class and I showed her knee on belly and 2 on 1 only because she asked.  

Tim mentioned that I was pretty much running through him.  I said I was getting him back for nominating me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Here is me and Jace doing it.  We talked a bit about feeling on some days and off others.  It can be difficult to gauge progress when there are so many variables.  I can tell that he's getting better, I remember when he first started and not having any problems passing his guard or worrying about him passing mine.  That's changed, I have to work harder and not be as lazy. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 23rd 2014 - Kids, Competition, & Open Mat (The Scraps)

Kids' Class

Kids were better than usual.  I think my deal with Jayden is working pretty well.  I just have to figure something out for Jace.  The did some sumo matches for their first game.  I was impressed with both of them.  Jayden was doing similar techniques to an armdrag to get behind them that they may have picked up from flag tag.  They weren't really into the technique of the day which was getting certain grips from both top and bottom of guard.  Finished up the class as usual with blob tag with several kids from the older kid class.

Competition Class
Focus: 2 on 1 to back take, Smash & X Pass, Deep Half Sweep
Partner: Henry

Not sure if 2 on 1 is working out for me.  I've been trying to incorporate it into rolling lately and it hasn't been working out for me.  It may be time to move on to something else.  Drilling seems fine but I think a lot of people have had to deal with Greg doing it and they've become wise to the technique.

X Pass feel great and I got some pointers on the smash pass from Greg.  I was not putting my head up by their head where it needed to be was the biggest thing.  From there it's more uncomfortable for my partner as it twists them up a bit more.

Had a competition match with Henry and didn't do too great.  I didn't get submitted but I was way down on points mostly because he passed my half guard several times after I regained it.  Eventually towards the end he went for an armbar and I was able to counter and get on top, but it was too little too late. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jerad, Mike, Sam, Tim

I can always count on Jerad to keep my grounded.  I have a real hard time dealing with his open guard and top half guard.   We were talking about my shortcomings after rolling and he said that I don't seem to flow with him as much as other people and a lot of that is probably mental.  Which is true, I'm a little more cautious with him and others that I know are better than me.  I did hit an omoplata sweep and had side control for a little while, but he eventually escaped. 

Mike and I rolled for a long time.  He was still wearing a brace on his finger from the dislocation a couple of weeks ago so he was a little limited.  That said, he was still a handful although I did feel bad a couple of times for taking advantage of his injury.  We got stuck in some berimbolo type positions and for a little while I was caught in a turtle where he was attempting to take my back or armbar or triangle.  Somehow I was able to pass his guard and eventually setup a north/south choke which was a battle to finish.  He'll probably be getting me back as soon as he's 100%.

I was a little surprised when Sam asked to roll with me as I think we've only rolled one other time in open mat.  I figured I must have smashed her or something in that roll.  I was impressed with her shoulder pressure from side control and I think in general she knows what she's doing.  She seemed a little disappointed a few times when I passed her guard.  I went over the farside armbar setup with her from side control.

Tim did pretty good today and had me in a nice tight side control at one point.  I attempted some 2 on 1 but failed miserably.  There were a couple of pass attempts that he had, where i ended up regaining full guard and he had to start over attempting to pass.  I don't recall how our roll ended. 

Thinking more on the 2 on 1 not working for me, I have a hypothesis that the techniques that become part of my A-game are the scraps from my seniors.  Things like butterfly guard, 2 on 1 are/were prevalent in Greg's game and my fellow students are having to defend these techniques from him on a regular basis.  Then if I come around and do these certain techniques at a lower skill level I get shut down easier.  No one that I know of does cross guard to omoplata, north south/choke, or deep half guard (except Ray) as much as I do.  I'm able to have a little more freedom to make mistakes when practicing these techniques because my fellow teammates don't see them as often.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 22nd 2014 - Gi

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

Low attendance for a Friday morning.  Dave was in rare form, as some jackass had berated him on his way to Jiu-Jitsu for riding his bike too slowly.  He gave Jiu-Jitsu props for keeping him calm and being able to just shrug it off and keep on making his way to class. 

As usual Dave was great to work with and is thankful for all of the pointers and help I gave him with the techniques.  He had the most improvement with the granby roll with rolling a little tighter and getting under himself as well as swinging his leg out a bit more and using his other leg to hook my armpit. 

Rolling: Half Guard & Turtle Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling Post Class
Rolled With: Dave, Anthony (New), Greg

Dave did a good job of locking my leg in tight and not allowing the knee slide.  From the bottom I was usually able to get an underhook and stay on my side. He may not realize how important underhooks are yet but I'm sure it will come soon.

I almost gave Anthony the nickname of Willie for Willie Nelson.  At the beginning of class he wore a bandana and he has a beard and long hair, but he's quite a bit younger.  It may be a little early for nicknames.  At first I imposed the techniques that we worked on in class to hopefully show that they work, then I helped him get through a couple escapes with a little more resistance than he probably faced in the drilling portion.  He seemed to enjoy himself and asked some good questions.

I was excited to train with Greg today.  I was so close to sweeping him, I got an underhook and he moved to inverted half guard automatically I used a butterfly hook on his calf and was able to raise him and almost get to side control. Then Greg performed magic and regained half guard.  My worst showing was in top turtle. I think I need more attacks from there. Switching sides to get grips has been working well though.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Half Guard Tripod Pass, Granby Roll from Turtle
Partner: Mike (Lawyer)

Big takeaways from today.  During O-Soto Gari, Greg did an initial upward pull before the bus turn.  It seemed to help a lot with off balancing while trying it, I also recently watched a fit-in video for this technique that gave me some pointers.  During the half guard pass, I was raising my butt while attempting to cross my instep over the leg.  Greg told me to move over and pull their leg out more which worked like a charm.  I still felt like my butt was a little high at times, but this was a big improvement.  I felt really good about my granby roll, I remember having a problem with knowing which shoulder to roll over and having confidence and waiting too long before going for it.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Half Guard & Turtle, Free Rolling Post Class
Rolled With: Mike, Sam, Harvey, Tim, Jordan (Wrestler)

Felt good during this portion of class.  From the bottom of half guard I was able to reach full guard most of the time, I think everyone was more concerned with getting swept or their back taken than keeping tight on the leg.  With Greg I was able to make it to butterfly but left too much space and he ended up passing with a knee slide on the other leg, felt pretty good about it nonetheless.  From the top I generally weaved my arm and grabbed their bottom leg or did the switch hip pass. 

For top of turtle my grip fighting felt decent, I had to switch sides a couple of times and I was even able to setup the clock choke that Greg and I talked about the other day.  From the bottom my granby rolling was strong and I found that going for it quickly from the beginning ensured a lot more success.  Greg did an awesome trick that I will be implementing Friday morning.  He grabbed my ankle which made me react and open up allowing his hook to come in, pretty simple and effective.

Tim and I rolled after class.  We've been starting from stand-up lately and he has been getting more confident with it over time.  In our second roll I was able to catch him with a drop shoulder throw and we ended up working on it for a while after.  Greg gave us some pointers and I realized that I wasn't even close to getting far enough under the legs.  He also showed us a couple of techniques to get them to move their legs farther apart to setup the throw.  I had Tim in back mount a couple times and tried to relax more and go with the flow.  I think I've expended too much energy in the past.  My hook control and transitioning and regaining back mount seem to be getting easier.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 16th 2014 - Kids, Competition, Open Mat

Kids' Class

Jace had a little trouble focusing today and wanted to annoy his brother through the beginning of class.  Jayden was pretty good about ignoring him while trying to complete all of the exercises.  Jayden and I have a little deal that if he behaves and tries hard for 6 Jiu-Jitsu classes in a row, he can get a mod for Minecraft (computer game).  Class 2 of 6 down.  He even counted the reps during falls which he hasn't been doing. 

They both did well in flag tag as usual.  These games are teaching them some good grappling basics that will help later.  They worked on a wrist grab release as the technique of the day, maybe it had something to do with flag tag?

Competition Class
Focus: 2 on 1 to back take, Smash & X Pass, Deep Half Sweep 
Partner: Henry

I took a couple videos of my drilling to see what these new techniques look like.  2 on 1 seems to be coming along.  I think during rolling I need to trust it more once I get the grip and elbow control, because I'm still hesitant about opening my guard and moving to butterfly.  I originally was only working on the smash pass, but the x-pass has become instant A game material.  I need to get a little lower and more pressure with the smash pass, makes sense that smash is in the name.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Henry, Tye, Gina, Ross, Austin,

It was an odd day of not many people showing up to open mat.  Nevertheless I still got some good rolls in.  2 rolls with Henry one in the gi and other no-gi.  We had quite a battle and I thought I had him a couple of different times but eventually he outpaced me.  My laziness or being tired was a major factor in him tapping me out.  There were definitely times where I sat to my butt instead of pushing forward and fighting for top position like I should of.  Henry finished me with a nasty cross choke that smashed my nose pretty good, in no-gi I don't remember, may have been armbar or guillotine.

Tye surprised me today.  Started off playing a lazy guard and let him pass and he went to mount fairly quickly.  Big mistake as he got in both grapevines and made me very uncomfortable.  I was a little concerned about hurting my knees and played it pretty safe until I was eventually able to get a leg free.  Once I got on top he also did a great job from guard and attempted some triangles and a cross choke.  I eventually turned the tide and got to a dominant position. After the roll was over I told Tye that I would have to start respecting him more during rolling, I do not want to be mounted by him again.

In my other rolls I was able to use some deep half guard, X-pass, the rolling back take and the cross collar drag.  I used a couple north/south chokes which Nic took notice of and asked me about.  It's part of my A game for sure and I feel like I can set it up with little difficulty.  Part of that may be because not to many of my teammates use it often.  However, I have shown multiple people how to defend it so my avenue to it may eventually disappear.  I coached Austin on some armbar defense and Ross on some technical mount defense.

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Defense, Half Guard: Clothesline Sweep, Defend Crossface, Regain Underhook Escape to Back Mount, Recover Guard 
Partner: Ross, Austin

Greg switched it up from Tuesday and had the top person start with the underhook and crossface.  From there we did the clothesline sweep.  He also mentioned later on that he was going to add this technique to the curriculum.  The piece of the technique that gave me the most trouble was squeezing with the knees at the beginning of the technique.  I didn't get it at first and Greg had to remind myself and others to do it several times.  By the end of the class it felt better.  I also had a few problems with the hand position to protect from the crossface, mostly because I wanted to grab the gi.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Half Guard
Rolled With: Ross, Austin, Darijo, Dave

I don't have much to complain about from rolling this morning.  I did attempt a few shaolin sweeps that were denied, can't seem to figure the timing out on that one.  I think it has something to do with how I attempt to pull their arm across to the other side that's giving away the technique too soon.  I went to deep half a couple of times and it's feeling more natural to attempt to sweep right away rather than hang out there.  I tried not to use the hip switch pass too much from the top, I rely on that one too much.  One piece of advice I would give to my fellow teammates new to half guard is when we start with the diamond position to frame well with that top arm so it doesn't get smashed to your body right away and you get put flat on your back.  I felt like I was able to do that to everyone this morning. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 13th 2014 - Gi (Bent)

Theme & Techniques: Basic Throws/Takedowns, Butterfly Guard Grip Breaking, Arm Drag to Back Take, Defended Arm Drag to Butterfly Sweep
Partner: Adam, Bauer

We did fit-ins and then throws and takedowns from the white belt curriculum.  One partner would do these throws in a row: Osoto Gari, Seonage, Koshi Guruma, O-Goshi, double leg.  No problems here for me, except I need to work on getting a better penetration step with my double leg.

I'm pretty confident with my grip fighting from butterfly guard.  I feel like it's improved recently with my focus on attacking more from the guard.  We went from the RNC break on the pants, to grabbing the wrist and kicking our leg out to break, and finally breaking wrist grabs with a Y-grip circular motion.  We did the arm drag off of the kick grip break and used the jump back for the back take.  Finally we looked for the opponent to pull their arm away as soon as we went for the arm drag to leave an opening to close the distance and get an underhook for the butterfly sweep.  I had a little trouble with the timing of this, but got it to work a couple times in practice. 

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Butterfly, Free Rolling (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Conan, Adam, Gina, Mike, Bauer, Jordan (Wrestler)

I was a part of and witnessed some good battles during up down and out.  First Greg had us start in butterfly from a distance and I feel like my passing was feeling pretty strong.  I mostly looked for my pant grips and then was relentless on my passes.  I even almost passed Adam, but missed a key piece of not collecting his sleeve during a knee slide.  He ended up turtling and then I went for his back, but couldn't get my hooks in and he eventually turned into me.  I attempted an x-pass against Conan but he was able to catch me with a butterfly hook which he's been working on. 

From the bottom my guard retention seems to be coming along fine.  I'm finding it easier to weave my legs in when I need to.  One problem that I need to ask about is when I have a cross collar grip my opponent will often post on my leg and pass that way and my collar grip feels useless and it seems like sometimes I almost get my back taken.  A collar drag may be the answer, but I think it's a good question for Greg Friday, but if anyone else has any thoughts please post them, if you know what I'm talking about.

I was attempting to pass Mike's (Tumbleweed) guard and he setup and slick omoplata which I defended by hunkering down and then jumping to the other side of his body.  Suddenly I heard him shouting in pain and freaking out a bit.  One of his fingers had been dislocated and bent at a 30 degree angle and it looked pretty nasty.  He ran over to Greg asking him what he should do, and Greg got him to calm down.  Conan stepped in and straightened it right up.  I felt really bad, as I don't want to be the cause of anyone not being able to train.  I realize it was an freak accident.  Luckily Mike seemed fine by the end of class except for some swelling. 

The roll with Bauer, went very similar to last time.  I played guard and attempted to play my game and he shut everything down.  I did remind myself to try some new things and loosen up a bit, but I still couldn't get anything going.  Eventually I was in half guard and working towards the underhook and then somehow I was on top.  Soon after the timer went off.  It gave me some food for thought.  I have to come up for some contingencies when I can't underhook the leg for my cross guard.  I think the 2 on 1 would have also served me well, but I need to internalize it more.

I tried to take it easy on Jordan and had some fun.  I worked some single leg x and tried to set it up with the shin to shin while he was standing.  I also played around with a triangle attempt off of his omoplata defense, but he did a good job with his posture so I went back to the omoplata.  I also surprised him with the stiff arm defense from side mount to which he said "not that again" or something to that affect.

I got some kudos from Bauer, Jordan, and Adam after class.  They pretty much said that my game feels pretty strong and it's coming along.  Me being a person that is terrible at accepting compliments tried to redirect my progress to how great of a program Greg is running.  Which is true but I also do put a lot of work into this and it's nice to be told that once in a while especially by people that I respect.  Adam even said something like "You make me want to come to class so I can kick your butt."  That probably wouldn't make sense to someone outside of Jiu-Jitsu, but it makes total sense to me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 12th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Defense, Half Guard: Escape to Back Mount, Recover GuardPartner:  Brian (Fireguy)

Took the day off from work to see the kids off on the first day of school for the kids.  Had some good training with Brian, he's a good training partner (I can't actually think of any of my training partners that are poor).  The only thing I really had trouble with was switching legs during the guard recovery.  It's pretty bad to leave their leg unhooked at any time, you get your half guard passed that way. 

Rolling: Half Guard Position (2 x 2 min rnds), Free Rolling
Rolled With: Brian, Ben, Bhuvana, Tim, Harvey

Brian swept me in our first encounter, great job.  I was attempting a knee slide pass and trying to get my foot free and I must have had my weight on him too much because I ended up on the bottom in guard.  I feel a lot more confident from the bottom of half guard than the top for some reason.  From the top, I think I need to work more on my pressure passing.  

I rolled with Bhuvana a few times.  At one point she attempted to tap out from just being in side control, I wouldn't allow it.  I had her at least go through the escape.  I played some kesa getamai against Harvey and we went over how to escape it afterwards.

During stretching, it was made mention that Tim is good at defending chokes and he referenced fending off my RNC several times.  To which I replied "Challenge accepted."  I did a wrist lock to Tim playfully after class and he was pretty surprised by it.  Eventually I took his back and no matter how hard I tried I could not setup the RNC.  I eventually gave up because I had to get home and switched to an arm triangle.  There's always next time.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 9th 2014 - Kids, Competition, Open Mat

Kids' Class

Boys were a little wild today which may be because Adam was teaching instead of Greg.  They started off the warmups by themselves but a few other kids showed up and I think it helped them focus.  Jayden's falls are getting a little better and with some reminders he was keeping himself from hitting his head on the mat during back falls.  They did well playing flag tag especially with their grip fighting.  I saw a few good scissor sweeps, but they had some problems with (accidentally?) tickling each other during the collar grab which slowed some things down.

Competition Class
Partner: Jordan

Jerad had us split our techniques into 5 minute rounds.  We worked on our takedown/guard pull strategy first.  I started out with pulling to cross guard and then mixed in a few double legs towards the end.  For guard passing I gave equal time to smash pass and the x-pass which felt great.  Had a few problems with my 2 on 1.  I didn't feel like I was able to push his hand far enough to the side while kicking out for the back take, I think I may need to push the arm out at a different angle.  I also had some problems with the hand off when he stood up, I'm not sure what is the best way to do this is yet.  We finished the drilling portion with some side control escapes.

We had a competition style roll and I mostly flowed and tried my best not to use any strength.  I used a lot of stiff arm defense when he attempted to pass and swept with omoplata. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Matt, Tye, Phil

Matt had quite a friendly war.  I should have kept track of the time, but I'm sure we rolled for around 10 minutes.  There was quite a bit of back and forth.  We fought from each others half guard a few times.  I would switch hips and attempt to pull my knee out.  Eventually I spent some time in the bottom of his mount and he started to loosen my gi to start a brabo.  I'm not sure how I got out of mount but I felt really claustrophobic a couple times.  I remember working from deep half a bit as well as completing a butterfly sweep.  Eventually I was able to isolate an arm from top half guard and finished with an americana. 

This could have gone either way as there were a couple of times when I didn't feel like I would have the energy to get back on top.  I really hate this feeling when I'm trying to gauge how much energy I have left to use and then I'm wary of trying anything that could gas me, but I need to do something because I'm behind.  Often this bites me in the ass when I should fight my hardest to maintain guard instead of starting to fight hard once I'm in bad position. 

Tye (sp?) was interesting to roll with.  He has some flexibility and wasn't too bad with his pass attempts.  I quite a bit bigger than him and having more experience helps.  At one point I threw on a north/south choke and he asked me to show it to him and how to defend it.  To which I never refuse to show someone a part of my game.  Seemed like he picked up on it pretty well.  Later on he almost caught me in a triangle.  He had my head and arm trapped in but wasn't able to completely lock it up and I used the knee pry to eventually escape, although he did have me a little worried.  I gave him some pointers on changing the angle on the triangle after that roll and he seemed to appreciate it.

It's been a long time since I rolled with Phil and he asked me not to kick his ass too bad.  Jokingly I told him that was up to him.  I played some guard and off the bat attempted a hip bump sweep which he shut down.  I attributed that to being one of the favorite techniques of our friend Jorge.  I eventually played some deep half guard and was able to sweep.  In the end I was able to setup an armbar and after some work was able to separate his hands.  We went over armbar escapes as well as finishing the armbar.  He mentioned that people were able to stack him while attempting the armbar and Will and I advised him to use the leg over their head more to pin them.  Also I went over not trying to pull at the elbow to get the armbar but to attack lower by the wrist to lever it better.

Friday, August 8, 2014

August 8th 2014 - Gi (Plateaus, Fugetaboutit)

First off I wanted to wish my teammates well in this weekend's IBJJF tournament in Chicago.  I've trained with everyone competing and respect them all greatly.  I know if I was competing, I would be beyond nervous at this point with stomach pains and acting all jittery.  I know they will represent our school well and do their best!  Go get 'em Greg, Conan, Mike, Sara, and Henry!

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break & Toreando Pass
Partner: Bhuvana

I might have been a little too hard on Bhuvana today while trying to help her with the guard break.  From the bottom it looked like she was putting too much weight forward and not getting down low enough with her knees.  I think Greg was trying to tell me to ease up by saying she has a different body type than me so it will look a little different.  She did well regardless and I saw some improvement since Tuesday.  Towards the end I practiced a few x-passes and it felt pretty good. 

Rolling: Positional Rolling Feet on Hips Guard various grip restrictions, Free Rolling
Rolled With: Ross

This turned out to be some tough training for a beginners class.  We went 6 x 2 min rounds starting with top person with pant grips but bottom person could not use any grips.  We weren't expected to prevent passes but give the top person a hard time with out legs.  I felt pretty good about my weaving and foot pressure using the hips, shoulder, and bicep but it was inevitable that Ross passed many times.  From the top I was able to get quite a bit of work done using toreando and x-pass as needed

The next round we were only aloud to have one grip and the other hand in our belt.  I started with the cross grip thinking it was going to be the be all end all.  It really didn't work out that way.  Without being able to underhook and control their other leg the cross grip actually caused me problems.  Moving the same side grip made a huge difference and allowed me to stiff arm a bit to keep Ross off of me.  As the exercise went on Ross seemed to tighten up his technique quite a bit and was using more elbow control and good posture. 

The final part we were allowed both grips and by this time I was getting winded but dug deep to push myself through it.  We ended in half guard a few times, but probably the most frustrating for him was when he was able to pass but I used his sleeve to stiff arm and regain guard.  I worked more on the x-pass from the top and it felt great.

With my new affinity for the x-pass I feel like the thoughts of being on a plateau have passed me.  I think the feeling was more about not knowing what to focus on next, but it seems like smash and x pass are going to fit into my game quite nicely.  I can also see the 2 on 1 becoming a big part of my game.  Thanks competition class!

Below is a video of Rener Gracie rolling without the use of his hands that I figured was appropriate to share.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 6th 2014 - Gi (Playing it Safe?)

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guard Break to Knee Slide Pass and X-Pass
Partner: Bauer, Jerad

Greg started explaining the standing guard break but then stopped and said "you guys all know this" and hurried along to the passing part.  Jerad mentioned that I need to work on getting my hip to the floor a little more and I think I was planting my knee too soon instead of sliding down their leg a little more. 

I was not too familiar with the x-pass, so it was great to work on something new.  The setup is very similar to the smash pass as in the grips are the same by grabbing the outside of the knee and grabbing the lapel.  So I can see how these 2 passes can work in tandem.  I've seen Jerad and Mike work this pass from time to time and never really knew the specifics of it. 

The steps are: 1. Standing guard break; 2. Grab lapel and connect elbow to knee; 3. push their foot between your legs; 4. Grab the pants at the knee; 5. Do like a swinging back kick while pushing their knee down; 6. Move to knee on belly.

Rolling: Tournament Style Matches
Rolled With: Bauer, Jerad, Fuji, Gina

I went with Bauer first and after some takedown attempts from both of us I pulled guard attempting to move to cross guard.  He did a good job defending and from there I hung out in closed guard for the rest of the match.  I attempted cross guard a few more times but he pulled his leg away each time, I think I need a go to answer for this.  For a while I had a pistol grip on his sleeve and had it across his body but I was still unable to do anything with it.  My main concern was running out of gas, so I attempted to take everything in stride and try using technique as much as I can.  His strength was difficult to deal with and I didn't want to make any mistakes so I played it really safe and didn't go for some things I probably should have.  I was eventually able to setup an omoplata and had it locked up but he did a great job of defending, I think I could have probably swept at one point but just held the submission instead, but we ended up back in the guard and I was given an advantage.  So playing safe worked out in in this situation, but this is training and not a tournament, I probably should have went for more techniques and took some risks instead.

Jerad dominated me pretty well.  I attempted my guard pull to cross guard on him but he defended it by standing and using good posture.  From there he spent a lot of time in top half guard and quarter guard either attempting to pass or switching and going for mount.  It's pretty frustrating to be in the same place with him every time we roll.  He eventually arm barred me after I fended off his mounted triangle attempt.  Our second roll was mostly the same, except he set up an awesome ankle pick to take me down. 

With Fuji we started from knees and he pulled guard first.  There was a point where he was putting me into side control and I was able to use the stiff arm escape and regain guard.  However, I have a very hard time of doing any type of guard against him.  I went for cross guard and he stacked my leg and then eventually made me invert and I panicked a bit when I felt stuck and gave up side control.  I attempted an underhook to try to get to guard and then he started playing his brabo grips and worked his way to a choke.  I got really frustrated here and a little angry because I didn't feel like I could do anything.  Even though Fuji didn't know it I apologized to him after class for being so mad at him. 

I had to dig deep for some energy to roll with Gina.  We both played a little guard and I worked my way into the setup for the x-pass and attempted it.  I attempted a north/south choke but I don't think I was actually choking her small neck, but she tapped because we weren't really going anywhere.  She jumped on side control while I was lying there and I had to defend from there.  I worked for the stiff arm escape and maybe used a little bit of my size to put her all the way over into my side control.  I then worked my way into back control and had quite a fight to get my hooks in and then the timer went off.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August 5th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Standing Guard Break & Toreando Pass
Partner: Bhuvana

Bhuvana seemed a little more nervous about being thrown today than usual.  Eventually she relaxed when she realized I wasn't going to drop her on her head.  She also got better at throwing with a couple of changes to keeping her feet closer, bending her knees and pushing her hip out.

The standing guard break is one of the most important things the beginner can learn.  It is so powerful when you are unable to open someone's guard the normal way.  Plus passing while standing is very strong.  Again there were only a couple things that I had to correct while Bhuvana was practicing it: Secure their hand against their chest, keep good posture at all times, and connect the elbows to the knees.  My major take away was that I kept stepping with the wrong foot first doing the toreando pass from the left side.  I'll have to work on this.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Guard Position, Shark Tank for Greg, Post Class Rolling
Rolled With: Greg, Brian (Firefighter), Tim

Greg had myself and Robert take turns rolling with him.  Greg is planning on competing this Saturday and an IBJJF tournament in Chicago.  While Robert rolled with him first I jumped in on a couple of up/down/out rounds.  Tim did a pretty good job of preventing my passing followed by Brian doing a good job of preventing my sweep attempts.  With both of them I had to pull several techniques out of my toolbox in order to stay ahead of them. 

I turned up the aggression with Greg and tried to move as fast as I could.  My stand-up was okay, we struggled with trying to throw each other a few times but I both of us ended up pulling guard when we could.  He pulled off an awesome butterfly sweep where it seemed like I was far enough away to regain balance, but he was able to gain more ground by front shrimping or scooting.  Most of the time I spent on the bottom of knee on belly as he setup brabo grips and went for chokes.  I saw him do the same butterfly sweep motion to Robert, which was cool to watch, but I still don't feel like I know how he does it. 

I led the class through stretching as Robert and Greg finished one more round.  After class I rolled with Tim a couple times.  I'm finding more and more success with the bicep stiff arm and after regaining full guard against Tim, I showed it to him and it seemed like he picked it up and liked it.  We also discussed some half guard cross facing.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

August 2nd 2014 - Kids, Competition Class, Open Mat

Kids' Class

My boys were the only two in class again and they were not really on their best behavior.  It was the same thing with Jayden letting his head hit the ground after each back fall, I'll try to work on it with him tomorrow.  Then neither of them wanted to do forward rolls on their left sides.  They do have fun during the games and they want to go to class.  Hopefully someday they'll share the love of this martial art with me. 

Flag tag has been going very well and they seem to enjoy it.  They both have their own strategies as Jace has the most success pushing his opponent out of the ring, while Jayden has success hand fighting and getting around to pull the flag. 

Competition Class
Partner: Conan

I met with Greg before the kids class and we decided on the techniques I would drill during the competition class 2 on 1 to Back Take, Smash Pass, Deep Half Homer Sweep.  Conan was great to work with and gave me some pointers that will be a huge improvement on the techniques that I chose.

Closed Guard 2 on 1 to Back take: Conan gave me 2 changes on this one.  First was a more efficient way to get to the hand position after grabbing the pistol grip.  The second was during the butt scoot to push their arm away more to get them to turn.  Both were huge improvements.

Smash Pass: I had to have Greg show this to me before class which helped.  I think my biggest problem with it right now is not knowing when to use it.  My second problem is the timing of switching to the underhook during the pass motion.  Conan helped me figure out how to keep my hips lower and have been head pressure.  I felt a lot better about this pass after the drilling portion.

Deep Half Homer Sweep: I wasn't really feeling this technique today, and I'm not sure why.  I think I'm still having trouble with the knee control, which may be the problem. I find that my opponent's other leg is getting in the way quite often when I go for the actual sweep.

Ross and I had a tournament style match which I'm having a difficult time remembering.  My first goal was to keep him from passing guard since he was able to pass twice yesterday.  Somehow I went from guard to side mount and setup a farside armbar.  I helped him with his single leg a little bit with the little before the class ended.  Then I showed him my setup for the breadcutter that has worked well for me, that Jerad showed me previously. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jordan, Austin, Conan, Greg

Jordan: We rolled 3 or 4 times where I started in guard each time.  I mostly played butterfly and spider until I could sweep or setup a loop choke.  I stressed to him to fight for good pant grips when starting and we worked on a bullfighter a bit. 

Austin: I made my way to side control and from there attempted a bow and arrow.  The gi was over his chin and he was able to defend off the choke with some good hand fighting.  I moved to back control next and worked on the RNC setup.  I had to lock his arm up with my legs and then used the pry that Greg has described multiple times to work my way into the choke. 

Conan: He was nursing a thumb injury that I hope will heal by next Saturday.  I played a lot of guard against him and even successfully used his cross bicep stiff arm to regain guard like he showed me.  I played a little cross guard and I unbalanced him a little but wasn't able to sweep or did I?  Somehow in the end I was on top attempting to pass his guard, but I think his thumb was bothering him and he had to quit.   

Greg: He rolled with me under the condition that I drill something with him, which I'm more than happy to do.  He wanted to work on his guard pulling which is awesome.  I think I'm figuring out how he's getting to single leg-x but I don't really know how to prevent it...yet.  I don't remember how he submitted me but I defended a baseball bat choke and then an armbar.  I don't remember what he ended up submitting me with though. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1st 2014 - Gi

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

Mostly just worked on some of the finer points of her techniques.  She was having trouble with timing the jazz hands and crunch to get the opponent's hands on the floor.  In the end I think she finally got it, but it will take some time to get confident with it.  Also had to stress the leg across the back during the kimura.

It's pretty ingenious of Greg to put these 3 techniques together.  They all share the same position of 1 knee up, the other leg down, and an arm forward with the other hand back (not so much on the kimura).  From there they differ but they have a commonality nonetheless. 

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Guard Position, Free Rolling Post Class
Rolled With: Darijo, Dave, Ross, Bhuvana, Nic, Greg

My objective today was to give the other guys a chance at the beginning to see what they'd do.  So instead of establishing my own grips and getting to the guard break and pass or working toward my sweep as efficiently as I could, I'd let them establish the grips that they wanted and see what their plan was.  A couple of people seemed puzzled by this, as if I was setting up a trap for them and I had to coax a few people to act first.  I realized how important it is to beat the other person to the punch with getting grips and playing your game first.  I think this may help when rolling with my seniors.

For Greg I did a standing guard break and we fought for sleeve control for a bit.  He switched to an open guard and he eventually setup the single leg-x to full x-guard to finally sweep me with the technical stand up sweep.  I've got to get better at preventing the single leg-x position.  I would also like to learn how to get to this position the way he does.

Ross gave me a heck of a time after class and it was great.  I underestimated him a bit and took him lightly at first like I was rolling during positional rolling.  He was able to pass my guard twice.  He attempted to attack some americanas and the bread cutter which I was able to fend off.  His pressure was good and I had a tough time escaping.  Eventually I started to get a little fatigued and felt like it was time to turn it up, but it might have been a little late because my mind was messing with me a bit.  I recovered guard and was able to pull off a hip bump sweep and went right to a mounted triangle, but he did a great job of hiding his arm and escaping.  I ended up in guard again and had to butterfly sweep.  From there I passed to side control and worked on a kimura/armbar.  After letting him know how hard he made me work he said that it was partly due to our previous rolls and helpful hints.  I'm honored to accept a compliment like that!  I let him know that I wouldn't be taking it easy on him anymore. 

I'm planning on attending the competition class starting tomorrow.  I am not however, planning on competing in the upcoming Circle of Iron.  I may wait for the winter tournament.  I'm planning on working on 2 on 1 to back take as my guard technique and Smash pass as my guard pass. I haven't decided for my 3rd miscellaneous technique but I have some ideas: My Guard Pull  to cross guard, 2 on 1 to arm between the leg sweep, Baseball Bat Choke, Deep Half Homer Simpson sweep or Waiter Sweep.  That list got bigger as I started to think about it.  Hmm.