Sunday, December 28, 2014

December 28th 2014 - Weekly Review

Focus of the Week: Half Guard Sweeps, Triangle and Deep Half Hunting

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Standing RNC Defense - O-Soto Gari, Back Mount Escape, RNC from Back Mount

Smallest class that I've seen in a while for a Tuesday noon and it seemed to go by in a blur.  Maybe with fewer people Greg can keep a better eye on when we've had enough reps.

Technique wise a few things came up.  Greg emphasized using the head to get to the other side to start the back escape.  Then for the RNC after controlling the underhooked hand then the choking arm pulls back fast and then grabs the hand on its side.  I think he taught this last time as well but it didn't stick with me.  I felt better about inch worming my arm to the choke.  I helped Ben with the squeeze as he was doing more pulling than squeezing.  We also discussed doing the RNC on your knee after class like Eddie Bravo shows in this video: Eddie Bravo On: The power of the Sqeeze.  I used to do this while watching TV or hanging out at home and it helped my RNC quite a bit I think.

Had some good rolls with Ben, Sam, and Greg.  Greg rolled with me after class and pretty much destroyed me.  I did some good things but they were few and far between and never made much of an improvement on my position.  Here is a video that Bhuvana took for me, let me know if it doesn't work: Greg & Josh roll

Open Mat

Had a great open mat session and got to roll with some people that I haven't seen in a while like Moe and Brian (Sweany Todd).  Also got to roll with Gina and helped Bhuvana with some guard passing.  Jerad and Bauer were my toughest rolls of the day.  I am trying to take on the persona of keeping it playful and not caring whether I win or lose.  It seemed to do me well and I think it kept things more exciting and less inhibiting for me. 

Drilling: Greg asked me if I wanted to drill some techniques with him and I'm happy that this is becoming a regular thing during open mat.  Due to my recent bouts with big guys from half guard I've decided to focus on some of the sweeps from bad half guard positions.  I started with the twist sweep and was having a little trouble with it.  Eventually with some help from Mike I saw that I was not coordinating my movements very well at all.  I need to bridge just a little and then push on their knee and squeeze.  It was really burning my thighs working on this and Greg was a little surprised by that.  In the end I think I got it, but I'm going to drill this a lot more.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 21st 2014 - Weekly Review

Focus of the Week: Deep Half to Double Under Pass, Triangle (Yes, Really)

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Double Leg Takedown, Upa Escape from Mount, Cross Collar from Mount

I enjoyed the double leg practice and really tried to smooth out the steps.  The penetration step is probably the piece that gives me the most trouble.  The cross collar choke works well during drilling but I feel so clumsy trying to get my grips deep enough.  I tried it during rolling a few times but pretty much abandoned it. 

I've been trying to setup triangles as much as I can lately and I think it's bearing some decent fruit.  My biggest problem was controlling their posture when I grab my shin and I feel like I'm tightening that up a little more. 

Robert stayed after class Tuesday for some great rolls.  We had the battle of the north/south chokes and expressed admiration for each others skill.  I went for deep half a few times and he threatened a guillotine which stopped all of my momentum.  I discussed it with Greg later and he said that I should just continue through it to deep half, so I will try that next time.

I rolled with Ben and Ross Friday morning during office hours.  I showed Ben some of the finer points of the arm triangle which he seemed to appreciate, so look out everyone.  Ross' guard passing is getting a lot better.  I'm starting to play more of an aggressive guard with him rather than the more flowy lazy guard that I'll play when I'm trying to be cool.  We talked about darce a little bit and how to defend it.

Advanced: Half Guard Leg Torque Sweep and Variations

This is a sweep that Greg has been drilling quite a bit lately and I'm starting to like it too.  We had a blue belt visitor (Tony) from Houston come in and I got to work with him on the drilling portion of class.  I'm always stoked to work with someone from another school and get a feel for how they do things differently and the same.  We did king of the mat from half guard.  Here are some highlights as I don't remember everything.
  • Greg was amazing at getting the underhook from the bottom.  There were a few times that he made me feel like I knew nothing about the half guard.  I hung on a couple times but every time he swept me very smoothly using the torque sweep.
  • Mike and I had a few battles.  I was trying my best not to use strength on him but it felt really limiting.  I hit a waiter sweep on him but wasn't able to get up from it.  A different time I had him in a guillotine and as he was getting out of it I recovered full guard.  He was able to sweep me with a tornado sweep that was pretty slick. 
  • I screwed up a deep half guard sweep with Jordan and he was able to free his leg and go right into north/south.
  • I think I only fought Henry from the bottom and I did a good job both times, but he eventually passed.  Still working on my Henry game plan.

Mike showed me a good deep half guard transition if someone steps over my head.  Usually I would struggle pretty hard to take the back but this was so simple that I just needed to come up and shoot for the underhook.  It takes a little timing, but it is so much more efficient than what I was doing.  Mind blown!

Open Mat

I did some drilling with Greg and he was doing some more half guard sweeps.  Looking back I think I need to focus on some of these.  Deep half is good, but if I can't get there I need something to fall back and I need to work on how to get there too.  I drilled the sweep from deep half that Mike helped me with on Wednesday and Greg approved.  Then I drilled the sweep to double unders and got it pretty well figured out on both sides.  I think I'm going to look into the back takes as well as review the entries next as the sweeps seem to be coming together. 

Our friends Andrew and Adam visit from North Platte.  I only rolled with Adam and he ended up challenging my ego a bit.  We've rolled before and I think we're pretty even for the most part but if he gets on top he's very difficult to roll back over.  We had 2 good rolls where he ended up grinding me out into half guard and then side mount and mount and then submitted me.  I did some good things during the rolls with an omoplata setup and I was in side mount for a while and attempted a baseball bat choke. 

I was a little disappointed in my rolls with him, but I thought about it on the drive home and I really have no reason to be.  I was thinking I should beat him because I just assume that he doesn't train as much as me or with as good of people as I do.  I really had no evidence to base that on; also, who the hell am I.  I'm not so awesome to have the expectation of submitting every visitor.  This does make me want to train harder and diversify the techniques that I focus on.  In the end this is just a game and learning from losing is the best type of learning.  He won the game yesterday and hopefully I will play it better next time.  From now on I need to limit the expectations I put on myself and just roll.  As I write this, I may be blowing my feelings out of proportion a little bit.  I hold no ill will toward Adam or anyone else that submits me but pride can mess with me from time to time.

I rolled with Kat, who was visiting from Lincoln MMA.  She had some good technique and was competent.  I did my best to keep from smashing her though as I don't want to be that guy.  She moved well and had me in side control a few times.  The thing I probably tried the most during our rolling was putting her in x-guard because she kept leaving her combat base leg out pretty far.  We had a good couple of rolls and I hope she returns.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14th 2014 - Weekly Review

Focus of the Week: More Deep Half, Over/Under Pass

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Head Lock Defense w/ Tani Otoshi, Kneeling Guard Break, Single Under Pass

With these particular techniques I'm working on speed and minor details.  My guard break is pretty solid once I get the first hand position on the chest.  For the single under pass I focused on weight distribution and made sure my head never went too high.  I also did some experimenting with immediately going into the Rickson Choke off of the single under pass since the hand is already in the correct position on the collar.  While I didn't have too much of a problem with the throw, during the last couple of reps I discovered I should have been doing more of a circular stepping.

Rolling was great on both days with some guard positional and some free rolling.  Still the classes are too short and I'm glad Ross, Harvey, and Brian (Backdraft) were all willing to roll with me after class.  I attempted the Sao Paulo pass a couple of times that Conan had shown the week before.  I did get stuck in the bottom of half guard a few times which slowed my momentum.  I'm thinking I need to readjust how I frame and maintain space from the half guard.  I often give up too much ground and then have to fight to regain it.

Advanced: Drilling: Deep Half Waiter, X-Pass, Baseball Bat Choke, Sacrifice Shoulder Throw

It was a relatively small class Wednesday night so Greg had us drill techniques of our choosing instead of the normal way.  We did 4 minutes each with a guard technique, guard pass, a submission, and a take down.

I did deep half to waiter with Adam as my partner and even though we were just drilling, his weight and solidness were still something I had to deal with.  The techniques still went well I just need to focus on using my free leg to help pendulum a little more.

My legs were killing me for the x-pass.  My posture felt a bit off and Greg and I both agreed that I was leaning forward too much.  It killed my thighs by the end with all of the squatting and back kicking I had to do.  The posture thing is something I'll have to pay attention to, but I think it also has to do with looking at my grips which I'll have to get over.

The main focus for the baseball bat choke was to get my hands as close together as possible and I think I got some good reps doing that.  My problem may be that I usually just settle with getting my thumb in their collar near the back somewhere before going north/south but touching my hands together made a huge difference during drilling.

Conan complimented me on my sacrifice throw.  It's one that I hit from time to time but I can also put myself in a nasty position if it fails.  The major thing I focused on was being tight on the shoulder before dropping and then paying attention to hip connection.  If I leave too much space or if they are able to sprawl the hips away I'll end up in the bottom of side control and that is no good.  The hip connection thing was a pretty big realization that I'll explore further. 

We finished the class with some great rolling with Adam, Gina, and Greg.  Adam twice which turned out to be very tough, but I think I'm learning how to deal with his butcher technique.

Open Mat

Had a lot of fun in open mat.  Got to roll with Mike (tumbleweed) after he's been out with some injuries.  We had an awesome roll and I really felt confident in my guard in the beginning.  I passed his guard once and worked for a north/south choke for a while but didn't complete it.  I went for the baseball bat but had a hard time getting around his arms and constantly defending his legs from inverted guard.  He eventually got back on top and we ended up in a kimura position.  I was defending well but I decided to tap because he had me.  This paragraph doesn't really do the roll justice, there was a lot of movement and a lot of technical stuff.

I don't remember much about rolling with Conan, so I'll put the same thing that I put for every Conan roll lately.  I did pretty well in the beginning but I eventually fucked up and got put into side control.  Conan grinded me out and took away my limbs one at a time until he got a submission.  I might as well save that to my template.  He was complementary at the end and said that I did well.

Jerad and I had another epic couple of rolls.  He also complimented me after rolling even though he pretty much dominated.  Our first match he caught me with a crucifix after I fought hard for some type of takedown.  I thought I was doing well until my arm got locked between his legs and he went over my back.  I said some thing like "Stupid!" and Mike chimed in that he has some videos of me saying funny shit while rolling.  I am known for shouting "Nooooo!" or "Fuuuuck!" when I get caught with something that I see in advance but can't seem to stop.  It's never in anger but more pissed at myself.  The other two rolls there were a lot of back and forth and a lot of half and quarter guard.  There was one point where we were scrambling and he stood up, I had a sleeve grip and was able to sweep him with and omoplata, that felt great.  He submitted me with a mounted triangle the last time.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 7th 2014 - Weekly Review

I didn't post last week because I was very busy with work and only ended up attending 2 classes anyway because it was Thanksgiving week and I didn't feel there was much to report.  We did go over farside armbar and Scissor Sweep in the beginner class and reviewed a few of the gi chokes from the seminar.  

Focus of the Week: Baseball Bat choke, Deep Half Guard, Over/Under Pass, Nothing New 

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: O-Goshi, Guard Techniques - Cross Collar Choke, Armbar

Cross collar choke is among the triangle in techniques that I rarely attempt.  I do the technique fine during drilling, but never feel like I can get my hands in the right place during rolling.  Armbar from guard felt great and I did attempt a few during rolling this week.

Conan showed up to Friday morning class and we ended up having a great roll.  He sat and I started from the knees.  He let me get pant grips and I stood and bobbed weaved to complete the toreando pass.  I made sure to prevent any type of butterfly hook as he can work magic with them.  I did it!  I made it to side control.  I went to knee on belly and started attacking the baseball bat choke.  He used his shins effectively to almost regain half guard a few times, I went to north/south choke but he turned his head.  I went back to side control and knee on belly.

Finally I made a mistake or he caught up to my movement and timing and was able to secure an arm under my knee on belly shin and grab the back of my gi.  He then reversed me and during that process I said something to the effect of, "this shouldn't be happening" or "how could this happen!"  I defended from side control for the rest of the five minutes.  Thinking about it now though I might have won if that was a tournament match because he wouldn't have gotten any points for that reversal.  It's a stupid rule.  He showed me the reversal after class, but I may have him show me again next time I see him.

Conan showed a closed guard pass after class that I'm still not sure about the name of.  From within the closed guard you take an underhook and then walk to the opposite side smashing their leg and then unhooking their ankles to escape guard.  I think Will was working on it for a while.

Advanced: Distant Belt Grab Pass - To North/South, w/Foot on Hip, Start of Lasso

I liked these techniques when we did them in the seminar but I realized that I don't run into this situation during rolling too often.  I'm hardly ever standing without any grips already.  I had some great rolling during up/down/out.  We did sitting guard against standing opponent and dealing with this situation has come a long way for me.  I primarily have Mike and Jerad to thank the most for that.  I rolled with quite a few people and I'm so happy with being able to attend this class for the material and my fellow blue belts that kick my ass.    

Open Mat

I only rolled with 4 people this past open mat.  I used to average 6 or more.  Of course they were quality rolls including Jerad and Greg so I'm not complaining but there were a few times that I was sitting wanting to roll and no one was available. 

Brain AF did a pretty good job of defending, I can see some improvement and he's getting dangerous with his inverting, going to turtle, and backtakes, however weak at north/south choke defense.  Bhuvana asked to work on some guard passes.  I showed her the knee over pass and the one that Conan shared the day before.  I rolled with Jerad the most and we went back and forth quite a bit.  Greg did some pretty cool backtake setups and just shut me down in general.