Monday, September 29, 2014

September 28th 2014 - Weekly Review

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Koshi Gurma, Kimura from side control, Tripod Side control escape

In both Tuesday and Friday I put my teacher hat on for a bit.  Tuesday I worked with Kyle on his first day, his son attends the kids class.  He actually did quite well which may be from watching the kids do it.  On Friday there was a point when Greg was indisposed and I helped some of the other groups with their kimuras.

The piece I focused on the most was during the kimura keeping the hand above the shoulder in the beginning.  A good defense to stop this technique from the beginning is to bury you hand in their armpit so they can't control it using their head and shoulder.  Greg gave us some pointers to apply pressure to the knuckles to help prevent them hiding it. 

Also Greg gave a little extra instruction on Friday adding that we could go to half guard if the opponent put on a really good wizzer as we were coming up during the tripod escape.  Which fed well into deep half guard.

Advanced: Single Leg-X Entry from Butterfly Guard against knees and combat base

We had a visitor, Bethany, who is a purple belt from Florida and a world champion.  She was very skillful and a pleasure to watch, especially because she gave Henry a hell of time on their first roll.  In general it's an enjoyable class when we have a visitor, because I think everyone wants to represent and show how good our school is.  I had the opportunity to roll with her once during KOTM and had a really tough time as well. 

This class made me never want to begin a roll in combat base again.  I already kind of knew this but it is so easy for someone to get single leg-x off of someone in combat base.  The techniques were all similar to the guard pull to single leg-x that we worked on several weeks ago so it was a good review.  I also used this several times while rolling throughout the week. 

I felt in the zone during the rolling portion of class.  Both guard passing and guard retention were flowing well and I was able to pass and sweep some people that I usually don't.  I even almost took Greg's back, but wasn't able to seal the deal.

Open Mat

Had fewer training partners than I would have liked, but got some good training in regardless.  I spent most of my time with Jerad and we had some show and tell between rolls of what we are working on.  I started the day off playing a little lazy and then after Jerad informed me that it didn't seem like I was being as persistent as I usually am, I stepped it up a bit.  I went over north/south choke defense with Brian.  Seems like I've been sharing the defense for that a lot lately.

I was able to work some deep half guard which has been going well throughout the week.  I've watched the first 2 DVDs in the Ryan Hall set a couple times, but I'm saving the third for a later date.  I already feel like there is way too much information to process. 

Esteemed Colleagues and Honorable Mentions

Jerad: He was there for my first class and has been a huge part of my development since.  I have assimilated some of his techniques into my game like the darce choke and more recently the mounted triangle.  The most frustrating thing is that he's able to shut down most of my guard game and things that I'm good at.  I am always challenged by Jerad and he's provided some pretty good and timely advice so far. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 20th 2014 - Weekly Review

I was loaned Ryan Hall's Deep Half Guard which was the coolest thing that happened this week.  I watched the first two DVDs of 3 took some notes and tried out a few of the things in class.  It's a great series so far and I've gotten a lot of great ideas on things I can fix and some new stuff.

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Double Leg Takedown, Americana from Mount, Paper Cutter Choke from Side Control

Double leg is something I continually trying to get a grasp on.  I understand the concept, but it may never feel comfortable since I had my knee issues.  I'm getting a little better with my posture and not leaning over too much though.

It seems like the paper cutter choke has been evolving since Greg taught it the first time.  We're now doing a kind of sitout to a plank position after getting the collar grip to keep pressure on them and keep them from regaining guard.  I tried it a few times during rolling and found it to work pretty well for me but not sure if it will take the place of the leg push method that I use currently. 

I felt good during the rolling sessions.  I was even able to roll with blue belts Robert on Tuesday and Mike on Friday. 

Advanced: Omoplata! Stretch Sweep, Back Roll Sweep

I was pretty excited when I heard that we were working on something I feel like I'm good at.  I was even able to pass on some advice to the class concerning the back roll sweep.  I was having the hardest time with it a year ago and what I discovered was that I shouldn't hold on to the underhooked leg so tight because it wasn't giving my neck and shoulder enough room for the roll. 

I was able to roll with Ken which I haven't done in a long time.  I'm no longer used to his style as there were a few things that he did that no one else does, but I felt like I did a lot better against him than I've ever done.  I was able to get to the omoplata position with Greg and I almost completed the back roll sweep but let go of his sleeve and got my back immediately taken.

Open Mat

Before class I reviewed my DVD notes.  The main takeaway so far is an improvement to my regular half guard using a knee up to block their other hip and then controlling the inside space.  
  • Keep Spine Straight
  • Plant Feet After Hip Escape
  • Knee Up In Half Guard
  • Control the Inside Space
  • Use Wizzer Entry to DH
Rolled with quite a few people today.  There was a new guy, Felipe that is a blue belt from Brazil.  He was pretty fun to roll with as he's a pretty small guy with good technique.  Had a great roll with Jerad and felt like I played open guard a little better against him.  I helped out Austin and Brian AF with some techniques.  Unfortunately I didn't make it to deep half guard, however I was able to do some different things with my regular half guard.

Esteemed Colleagues and Honorable Mentions

Mike (Tumbleweed): It was great to have him around in Friday class.  We discussed some of the stuff from the DVD.  It's cool to bounce ideas off of him as he has a very analytical eye.  The major thing from the past week though is that my side control escape improved dramatically after he gave me a hint about using my arms a little bit more to escape.  He's been a big part of my Jiu-Jitsu development and I have learned a lot from Mike over the past 3 years.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 13th - Weekly Review

As many of you already know, I decided to take my blog underground and not share it anymore.  I feel like it's been a good decision as I feel more free to write what I want without thinking about who's going to read it etc.  I got a lot of good comments on Facebook from my friends saying they liked the blog, so I came up with the idea of doing a weekly review just to keep it going a little bit.  I'd also like to blog here about events like tournaments, belt promotions etc that the school does.  So hopefully this turns out okay.

Also quick shout out to all of my LBJJC family that competed at Circle of Iron.  I have already seen some videos and some hardware pictures.  Respect to everyone that put themselves out there and competed.

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Standing Headlock Defense w/ Hammerlock, Armbar from Mount, Elbow Escape from Mount

I didn't find the self defense technique too appealing, maybe because it reminded me of Hapkido, but it grew on me as the week went on.  Tuesday I got to work with both Robert and Will which is a real treat for a Tuesday beginner class as I am often the only blue belt.  Rolling felt good in these classes all week.  I feel pretty strong with my mount escapes and attacks.

Advanced: Clock Choke, Various Conan Style Side Control Escapes

Greg was absent for the advanced class on Wednesday so Conan went through one of his famous classes.  These reversals actually came quite a bit easier during drilling than they usually do, maybe some of the Conan magic is rubbing off on me.  But, then I rolled with Conan from side control and completely shut me down from top and bottom.  It is very interesting how he put pressure or lock something up on me and I'm not able to do anything.

Open Mat

Had some good rolls as usual.  One huge takeaway was that Mike noticed that I should use some grips a little more during side control and that was an instant change when I tried it during rolling, I'm going to really be looking into this next week.  Greg and I discussed single leg-x defense as well as passing butterfly guard that I will also add to my list of things to work on.

Esteemed Colleagues and Honorable Mentions

Bhuvana: It's interesting to see her go from thinking BJJ was primal and not understanding what was going on to now speaking the lingo with me at work.  She's also a big supporter of the blog and sometimes my proof reader.

Brian (Firefighter): For this comment he made about my blog: "I was judging my BJJ progression by whether or not I got mentioned on the blog. When I did get mentioned, I felt like Susan Lucci when she finally got an Emmy after 30 years of waiting!!"  Not because I saw him in class this week.

Henry: For gi choking me pretty well twice. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

September 5th 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: O Goshi, Back Mount Gi Chokes: X-Choke, Wing Choke, Bow & Arrow
Partner: Anthony (Bandana)

Not much to say here.  Focused on my wrist position and tried not to get Anthony's hair too tangled up in my choking hand.  He seemed to be getting the techniques today and only required a few pointers.

Rolling: Back Mount Position (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling/Competition Matches (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Anthony, Ross, Jordan

Anthony did well with back mount for being so new.  I think his long legs helped with that.  During free rolling I helped him out with some basic strategy and informed him thusly that he didn't want to attempt to collar choke me in my closed guard.  Jordan's guard passing is coming along, but I think our size difference gives me a major advantage on top of having more experience.  I think I've seen a skill jump in Ross lately as he's getting ready for the tournament.  I'm excited to see how everyone does. 

No one wanted to hang out for office hours today.  Probably too many burpees inflicted by Greg.  Greg and I discussed the benefits of the beginner class as opposed to the mixed classes we used to have at the old school.  I was contemplating how different it would be if instead of being thrown to the wolves, I started in a beginner class.  I think the factor that helped the most with my success was the attitude that I went into Jiu-Jitsu with.  At the old school I witnessed a lot of new guys start then get discouraged and then quit.  With already having a martial arts background I felt confident that if I stuck it out and learned the techniques and put the work in it would eventually pay off.  Even with this attitude some days were tougher than others. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September 3rd 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: Takedown Fit-Ins, Closed Guard Brabo Cross Choke and Brabo Choke
Partner: Ken, Will

As always, it's good to see Ken and work with him.  The technique was pretty solid today, although I don't go for the brabo very often especially in guard.  I had a little trouble coordinating the steps of breaking their posture and keeping them down while I worked their gi lapel to the back of their head, but once there the choke seemed pretty easy.

Rolling: Guard King of the Mat, Free Rolling
Rolled With: Henry, Will, Adam, Gina, Greg, Mike, Ken

Had a bit of a rough session of rolling tonight which shattered my ego a bit.  I may not have been in the right mindset walking into class, there have been a few things bugging me that logically shouldn't but some self doubt and other personal insecurities have been creeping in.  So when things didn't go right during KotM it fed my bad mood a little.  Then I got into a bit of a cycle to where I thought if I just tried harder on the next round I'd get through it.  Then when my expectations weren't met it made me feel worse.  Eventually my analytical side was able to talk myself out of it a little bit.  Of course we've all read the memes of "You either win or you learn" or "It's a marathon not a race" things that I've said earnestly to others.  It can be tough to swallow your own medicine at times.  Fuckin ego.

There were some good things that happened.  Had a good bout with Ken where I attempted a standing guard break then he stood up and Judo tripped me but I was able to use the momentum to sweep him.  I had a tough half guard battle with Adam where I used the arm weave against his knee shield, eventually he was able to almost take my back but we ended up in side control. 

By the time I rolled with Adam during the free rolling portion, I felt like my head was in a pretty good place.  My main objective was to keep him from passing my guard and I hung on longer than I expected.  He had me in side control for a while, but I was able to regain butterfly guard and got a little excited but he was able to pass it again.

With Gina I tried to be a smooth as possible without using any pressure; well I probably used a little bit of pressure.  There was a point when I caught her with the head and arm choke and I could feel that she was giving in so I told her to fight out of it and I wasn't going to let her quit.  After she escaped I started in bottom side control and wasn't able to make anything happen.  She apologized later for being a bad rolling partner and I tried to tell her that is never the case. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 2nd 2014 - Gi

Theme & Techniques: O Goshi, Back Mount Gi Chokes: X-Choke, Wing Choke, Bow & Arrow
Partner: Anthony (Bandana)

Probably my biggest take away from this portion of class was with the wing choke.  Greg gave the example that this technique is stronger from a technical or s-mount.  I've never been able to complete the wing choke during rolling, so this gave some hope for it.  Otherwise, I feel pretty good about my bow & arrow and did my best to walk Anthony through the finer points of it.  The advice I find myself giving most often is to get the hips out from underneath the opponent after getting grips like a trap door.  It seems to help.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Back Mount
Rolled With: Corey, Tim, Greg, Anthony, Robert, John, Bhuvana, Sam

Everyone was collar hungry during this portion of class.  So much so that it made it easier to hit armbars and regular RNCs.  I did have to be very vigilant on protecting my own collar as everyone was hunting it.  I felt good by being able to defend a few submission attempts from Greg going from bow & arrow, to an armbar to a triangle and then back to an armbar.  I saw Sam fight for an armbar that she ended up losing, but I saw some good things, she hung in there and countered being stacked.  I finished up with Robert where he was able to escape my back mount to half guard. 

Office Hours
Rolled With: Tim, Bhuvana

Tim and I have kept with our tradition of starting from standing and I took him a little by surprise with a snap down.  We discussed it a little bit and talked about follow ups.  I really need to improve on my stand-up, I think.  At one point I was working toward an americana and I could feel Tim was starting to give up, so I coaxed him with "hey, don't give up!" and he fought through it.  I played some single leg-x with Bhuvana and eventually made my way to mount.  She did a great job of keeping her cool even though I was putting a little pressure on her and attempting some submissions.  She was covering up so much though that I was able to take her back and then had to pry her arm free for an armbar because she was basically hugging herself to keep me from choking her.  We went over what she could have done and a couple reps of the half guard sweep.