Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 29th 2015 - Weekly Review

Focus of the Week: Half Guard

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Seio-Nagi, Double Ankle Grab Sweep, Butterfly Hook Sweep
Partnered and Rolled With: Josh, Ross, Mike (Lawyer), Austin, Zack, Bhuvana, Robert

On Tuesday, Bhuvana and Zack let me drill some half guard stuff before and after class that I picked up from the Ryan Hall DVD.  Using the knee shield I grab the sleeve and use it to create an arm drag.  I really liked how much control it allowed for and the other possibilities I saw and can't wait until I can try it in free rolling. 

For the throw I focused on doing the uppercut motion and keeping a fist instead of grabbing the tricep.  For the double ankle sweep we went over grip breaks quite a bit.  Greg showed us both a palm strike and the circular thumb wedge thing.

Bhuvana was pretty happy with her progress on the hook sweep.  It is very technical with everything having to fall into place.  For me I had trouble with my head control and falling to the side.  Her biggest problem was rolling to her elbow and stopping herself instead of rolling to the shoulder. 

On Friday morning I worked with new guy Josh again.  Didn't have to correct too much stuff on the throw.  Just had to mention to keep his hip out and feet closer together.  He seems to be very serious and expect a lot of himself.  I would think maybe his expectations are a little too high at this point.

I felt pretty good about teaching the hook sweep.  I'm able to relay this info pretty well recently.  My butterfly guard also felt better during the rolling portion of these classes.  I'm starting to understand the head position in relation to the underhook.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Andrew, Jerad, Ross, Adam (NP),

Andrew: He and his brother drove in from North Platte for open mat.  I was hoping to warm-up a bit with some drilling but he wanted to go right into rolling instead.  I treated it more like a flow roll which lead to him passing my guard a couple times, but I did a good job of recovering.  I caught him with cross guard omoplata a couple times but each time his arm disappeared into his sleeve.  This was a new problem that I may have to discover alternatives for.  I fell into the good part of a half ass crucifix position with him, but was unable to finish.  I attempted a collar choke but couldn't get it under his chin.

He asked me to work on somethings for when a person is standing and I'm sitting.  I told him it's not my strong suit but I showed him the entry to single leg-x and sweeping and switching to full-x.  Greg came over and gave a key piece of info that I was missing.  I was coming at it from straight on with pulling their leg and kicking into the position, but Greg says he does it more like a butterfly guard sweep and falls to the side.  Makes a huge difference!

Jerad: I was able to actually use what Greg just showed me on Jerad.  Where I couldn't even move him before I made it to single leg-x and then to full-x and swept.  That was the highlight of my day.  After that there was a point where I was trying to pass his open guard and he grabbed my sleeve with 2 hands on one side.  I felt in a little danger for a triangle.  I grabbed his belt and did the Tinguinha belt grab pass controlling his foot and trying to get to north/south.  It worked pretty well.  Something that didn't quite go my way was when I had him in deep half and was able to sweep, but apparently he slipped on some sweat and put him a little farther away from me than I had anticipated, which gave him enough space to come up into a knee tap.  He was able to submit me a couple times with an armbar and a wristlock.  I told him he could do a wristlock there so he was a little hesitant to count it.  There was a great exchange when I was in bottom half guard and had a great underhook.  Many sweeps were attempted and came close to completing but eventually I got lazy and he pulled his foot out.

Ross: I gave him some pointers on defending the kimura when he's in top half guard.  Dwight had caught him with one.  I showed him how to posture and break free.  We rolled a couple times.  I caught him with a north/south choke after he defended one.  I'm finding that to happen often lately.  That I'll go for a NS choke and they'll defend and I'll regroup and start to go to another position but then attack the NS choke right away and be able to finish it. 

Adam: I started out passing and playing some side control.  He was able to recover guard and I passed again.  He escaped side control by going to turtle I tried my best to stay with him but eventually ended up on the side of him in a half ass back mount.  I clung on for dear life but it was the wrong thing to do.  I ended up in half guard and by pressuring my underhook side down he worked his way to mount.  From there I defended a lot and while I almost escaped a few times it never happened and eventually he grinded me out to get an americana to armbar.  So the couple of takeaways are I have to figure out contingencies when I have the half back mount in turtle and what to do when my underhook is pinned in half guard.

Bauer: We didn't roll but he worked with me on a side control escape that he's been experimenting with.  I also showed him the elbow push and how I deal with the crossface from the bottom.  He seemed to appreciate it.  We talked about our games and he really wants to focus on drilling the techniques for the blue belt test.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22nd 2015 - Weekly Review

Focus of the Week: Bottom - Deep Half Back Takes & Waiter Sweep, Top - Spiral Armbar, Back Takes

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Guillotine defense against wall, Basic guard break,  Double Under Pass
Partnered and Rolled With: Sam, Zack, Greg, Justin, Austin, Anthony

Everyone I worked with seemed to have some trouble with the guillotine defense.  It mostly boiled down to trouble with gaining and maintaining posture.  Usually if I tell someone to scrape the opponent up the wall it solves the problems.  I think they just want to lift their head back with using their neck instead of moving up and into the opponent.

For the guard break I've been trying to make it as slick as possible.  I start each time with hands at the sides and then go.  Lapels together, straighten arm, hand on the label, elbow inside, raise body with shoulder over hand, slide knee to sit bone, other knee goes back and twist to open.  I'm trying to get rid of all unnecessary motions so as soon as I get my grip it should just happen.

On Tuesday, I asked Zack to work on a mini-pendulum sweep that I saw in a video recently.  It worked pretty well and Greg made a few minor changes to make it better.  This may be a new addition for me.  We worked on some followups for if they defend by basing their hand out and it has a lot of good options.  Zack wanted to work on some half guard and getting the underhook.  We kind of messed around with it and rolled a bit.

On Friday, Greg showed him some harness grip back mount recovery techniques that we both worked on a bit.  The big takeaway was the first hook to put in should be of the choking arm not the underhook arm. 

Zack wanted to work half guard bottom more.  I suggested that he should use his legs to affect my balance more rather than just triangling them and just using his arms to fight.  I felt pretty good teaching that stuff and felt smooth as I was demonstrating it.  Hopefully the points that I was trying to make made sense.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jerad, Dwight, Bhuvana, Mike (Tumbleweed)

I didn't get to roll with as many people as I would have liked Saturday.  When I was free it seemed like everyone was changing and leaving or rolling with someone else.  It seems like there are more and more people that I never roll with and I'm not sure why that is.

Jerad: We slow rolled a bit to get warmed up.  I felt uncoordinated and did some silly things that didn't quite workout but I guess that's what it's for.  We had 2 or 3 good rolls.  He dominated the first although there were some good points.  The second I was on top and attacking from side control for a while.  I ended up getting reversed from the position and spent the rest of the time defending.  His mount is very difficult to escape and I commented on it later that he's able to squeeze his knee together more than anyone else that I roll with.  Which prevents mount escapes and prevents me from entering deep half guard.

Dwight: We rolled gi this time and I started in guard every time and played some butterfly, closed, and some open.  He was good at stepping over my head whenever I went for an omoplata and kind of nullified that game.  I had some success with butterfly sweep though.  I caught him with a few things and we got in some good rolling.

Bhuvana: I had a couple of goals to take her back or go to deep half if the situation presented itself.  I never was able to take her back completely.  I did have mount and side mount and was working toward a few things but she seemed to be a little timid today and tapped early a few times.  Then we would discuss where she was and if she really needed to tap.  She allowed me to work on the waiter sweep a few times, it's a little difficult working with someone who doesn't know deep half guard because she fell over pretty easily the first few times. 

Mike: He had me from the get go.  He started with a cartwheel pass that I kind of scoffed at, but it put him on my back and I was defending from then on out.  I never really did get him off my back except for a short stint in an inverted triangle.  He eventually got me with a wristlock and seemed pleased as I usually don't tap to those.

We went over an interesting back mount arm trap that I think I'm going to develop myself.  It's kicking the leg over the underhooked arm but turning your body before hand to get a different angle on the kick and hooking your leg behind them.  I can definitely see the value in it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 15th 2015 - Weekly Review

I was rolling with Ben at our usual pace and flowed into a scissor sweep.  Unfortunately he planted his hand in a way that put some weird torque on his elbow and he felt a lot of popping.  When he went over and shouted, I thought the worst.  I was expecting to see a bone sticking out of his arm but after a trip to the hospital I was later informed that nothing was broken and he was given some meds and told to keep an eye on it.

Hopefully this doesn't affect his job too much and he can return to the mats soon.  I keep replaying in my head if there was a way that I could have prevented this, it happened too fast.  I know it was an accident but I still feel like shit. 

Focus of the Week: Bottom - Deep Half Top - Spiral Armbar

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Koshi Guruma, Side Control Tripod Escape, Kimura from Side Control
Partnered and Rolled With: Josh (New), Mike (Lawyer), Robert, Jordan, Conan

On Tuesday, Greg asked me to work with new guy Josh because he has confidence that I will help teach him all the stuff and Greg didn't have to check up on us as much.  Great compliment!  Had to go over some basic throw stuff like keeping the feet closer together and sticking the hip out and securing the head and finally how to fall.  He made the connection between the side fall that we do in the beginning in class and why we do the legs the way we do.

I had a little love hate relationship with the tripod escape this week.  One thing that helped was Greg pointing out that after getting the underhook we want to move down so our head doesn't fun into their knee.  I think this is the biggest problem I've had in the past with this technique.  I feel like I'm too flat and don't bring my butt up high and end up with my shoulder on the floor like it's supposed to be.  By Friday I felt a lot better about the position.

Got my butt kicked by Robert on Tuesday and Conan on Friday.  I didn't sleep well this week and I felt slow and tired.  Working with Robert made me want to improve my wrestling.  I'm constantly losing from the headlock and turtle position because I'm not confident in fighting from there.  I can go to deep half but maybe now it's time to improve the direct approach.  I showed Conan the spiral armbar that I've been working on and he liked it enough that he wanted to teach it for Sunday no-gi.

I had a nice conversation with Greg after Tuesday class.  Yes I had a shitty day but it didn't bother me that much.  I really think my outlook has changed for the better since I dealt with some ego issues a few months ago.  My ego is healthier and I'm not going to get upset about gym losses but I can still analyze them and figure out what I need to improve on.

I also brought up getting stuck in quarter guard and getting overwhelmed recently through the conversation I came to the realization that I need to limit the times when I think I can rest.  Just getting to half or quarter guard is not good enough for me to think I'm safe and take a breather.  I need to be going right into the next thing to sweep or progress to a better position.  Thinking about it, there is some type of mental reset that I do when I get to quarter guard when I think okay now I can start doing these steps.  That either needs to happen quicker or not happen at all and I just need to keep going.  This is definitely something I'm going to be focusing on and monitoring for the next couple of weeks. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Darijo, Fuji, Jerad, Bauer, Ben, Ross, Bhuvana

For the hour between the kids class and open mat I stayed around and drilled some stuff with Greg and Jerad.  With Jerad I drilled the spiral armbar and felt pretty good about it.  Greg drilled the wrecking ball spider guard pass that he saw from a Keenan video.  I learned some details and practiced it a few times myself but didn't really like stepping on my opponent's leg.  Jerad had a variation that he also liked and practiced.  We also worked on another guard pass that was like a crescent kick to leg drag.  It was really cool and I can see myself using it.  However, I think I was a little overzealous while learning something knew because Greg had to tell me to relax a couple times.

Darijo: My main goal of the day was to get to deep half and play with the position.  He didn't really let me do that.  I did make to deep half once and was able to sweep.  One thing that helped was focusing on posture with my head.  I need to push the back of my head against my opponent's thigh, and that will give me the best mobility and strength under their base.

Fuji: Fuji let me take top position to start both of our rolls.  So I passed his guard by using a modified over under.  I got right into the farside armbar setup position and took my time completing the setup.  He said something like, it's there, go for it.  Eventually I was able to get his arm free.  The second time we rolled he turned it up a notch.  I passed his guard again but I had to deal with his turtle.  I was able to turn him over into back mount and started working for a bow & arrow, but he was eventually able to work his way out of it and move into my guard.  He's really good at smashing my omoplata I might have to stop trying that on him.  He got his brabo grip and that was all she wrote after the pressuring and smashing.

Jerad: I had some success early on.  After being swept, I pulled him into closed guard.  I started working for the omoplata and had his arm isolated into my hip.  Once I freed my other leg and went for the full technique he really postured up and I went right into the back roll.  I kind of ended up in a mount but he had a frame that kept me from getting full mount.  I think I should have windshield wipered and moved to side control but it didn't occur to me.  He recovered all the way to butterfly guard and swept.  From there he dominated and eventually submitted me with something.

I mentioned that I felt like I was on a bit of a plateau or a slump.  I've been getting my guard passed more often lately and my usual stuff isn't working as well.  He assured me that I was still difficult to roll with and said that maybe it was time for a different focus.  I've been working on deep half for quite a while now, mostly because I had the DVDs at my disposal.  Maybe a little break from the position will give me some perspective when I return to it at a later date.  I think I may look into sitting guard or butterfly. 

Bauer: We didn't roll because he wanted to drill the scissor sweep.  I gave him a few pointers and did some reps for myself.  I like to think of it like a judo throw and really get them to load up before kicking them over.  Eventually we moved into the cross choke and he was pulling his elbows out and once that was fixed he was doing fine.  We combined the 2 techniques together and repped them for a while.  Finally I asked him to help me with deep half and give me a little resistance.  It turned out to be a good workout and I had some trouble but some of it worked out.  I really need to focus on my grips next for the back take type stuff. 

Ross: I was still a little shocked from Ben so I was extra careful with Ross.  I don't remember much of what I did, except a north/south choke that he defended at first and then when I regrouped and went back to it, it was even tighter.  He asked me if I had any tips for him and we talked about recovering half guard from quarter.

Bhuvana: She wanted to work on mount and side mount escapes and I was happy to oblige.  After some rolling I eventually ended up in the mount and setup the spiral armbar.  I went for it but she was able to get up and stack, that shouldn't have happened, I wonder what I did wrong.  After that she drilled the elbow escape and I gave her some pointers on how to get the elbow in and then use it like a crowbar or the jaws of life.

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 8th 2015 - Weekly Review

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Double Leg Takedown, Americana from Mount, Paper Cutter from Side Mount
Partnered and Rolled With: Anthony, Dave, Greg, Jordan, Zack, Bhuvana

Training seemed to go by too fast this week.  Not too much to say.  I did the double leg on my left side because my toe was swollen and bothering me a bit.  I focused mostly on trying to wrap my hands around the calves and my penetration step.

I'm getting better with the bread cutter.  I was previously having trouble with trusting the footwork.  When Greg demonstrates it he moves his shoulder down the body to give a little extra stability.  I asked Greg about trying to walk out and switch hips with good timing to defend the bread cutter.  He seemed to think it was possible to defend it that way and we checked to see if the choke could be finished from the bottom.  Might be a possible escape for this technique but the choke is still possible.

Rolling was great.  Mount escaping is much stronger than my top game.  I had some especially tough rolls with Zack and Greg.

Open Mat
Focus of the Week: Ankle Locks Offense and Defense, Deep Half
Rolled With: Aquila, Ray, Henry, Adam, Austin, Bhuvana

Not too many easy rolls this week.

Mike ran into a wristlock from backmount and wondered if it worked.  We tried it a few times but it wasn't really affecting me that much so it was a little bit of a bust.  When I tried it on him it felt like I had to contort myself too much to finish it.  I attempted a deep half to bow and arrow that I saw a video for this week.  I think I missed a few details but it gave me hope for something that I could try.  I put the video down below. 

I spent quite a bit of time with Ray in both gi and no gi.  I did some ankle lock work with both he and Mike.  I think I may be focusing on them soon.  While I feel more confident with Ray than ever, it still feels like my options are limited.  Many of the chokes that I attempt on him are easily shrugged away.  At least I'm able to move and play a little guard on him.

Henry and I had a pretty tough battle.  I started out in a great position and attempted several submissions.  He turned the tables eventually though and I wasn't able to handle his explosiveness.  It made me think about what I would need to do differently.  More cardio?  

Probably the best bit of information I got from the class was learning how to correctly execute the spiral armbar.  I've been getting to the starting position but I was never sure how to finish it, I thought you had to step over their head like a regular armbar.  Greg showed me that I had to turn the hips and sit tucking my foot under their head and keeping their wrist in the armpit and squeezing the knees tight.  I think this is going to instantly be an addition to my game.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March 1st 2015 - Weekly Review

Focus of the Week: Preventing Opponent's Grips, Back Takes

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Standing Headlock Defense Hammer Lock RNC, Elbow Escape From Mount, Armbar from Mount
Partnered and Rolled With: Anthony, Dave, Zack, Greg, Conan, Robert, Jeff, Zack

I think I realized for the first time this week that the objective of the elbow escape is to get them to lift their leg.  I always thought I was trying to shrimp out between their knees and if they came up that was a plus.  Kind of silly now that I think about it.

Helped my partners with a couple things here and there.  Like for the headlock defense to not go down to your knees too soon.  If they're not down yet they may be able to push against you and gain some leverage.  For the mount escape, my partner wasn't always covering my calf before freeing the first leg.  I caught myself doing this a couple times too.

On Friday to make this go faster we added in the scissor sweep.  So once we did our escape we would go right into scissor and the other person would be in mount.  2 techniques for the price of one.
During mount positional sparring I felt pretty good about my mount escapes but not so good on my mount attacking.  I got some upa escapes and the elbow escape but mostly went to half or deep half.  From the top I wasn't getting any good collar grips and even if I did I don't have much faith in the cross choke.  Ezekiel is always there but people have been doing better at blocking it lately.

Advanced: Turtle farside single leg counter - Leg americana, Roll to Reverse Omoplata, Switch Reverse Omoplata
Partnered and Rolled With: Adam, Mike, Brian (AF), Will, Henry

Ido Pariente was in town and came and taught class Wednesday night.  It was a pretty tough warm-up.  I got through it all so I guess I'm still in okay shape, but don't get me wrong I was huffing and puffing at the end.  We did some jogging and various animal walking and Jiu-Jitsu type movements down the floor.  Some of the guys were having trouble with the cartwheels and other more gymnastic like motions.  I need to improve on my back roll to hand stand.  One exercise that he made clear was important was a four point movement where you turn 90 degrees four times going from bear crawl to crab walk.

The techniques were pretty cool although I don't end up in the position too often.  It's when you are attacking from top turtle and they grab the far (wrong) leg.  The first movement was to make a knee strike motion to their elbow so the other leg could scissor the arm for the americana type motion.  I got Adam pretty good the first time and I think it scared him a little bit.

The second move we did the windshield wiper type motion to switch their hand to be under the other leg.  Then take the outside arm and feed it under their leg to grab their pants near the knee.  Then rolling.  At first only half way to see if they roll or not.  If they don't you can get the tap there.  If they do you follow them switch hands on the knee grip and put your other hand in their armpit.  Then taking the legs back to the side.

The alternative was mostly for bigger guys like Adam and I.  Instead of rolling after switching the arm we reached across to the opponent's leg for a switch type grip.  Then putting belly pressure down on the back of their head.  Also effective but I had a little trouble connecting my hands.

Ido tried to roll with everyone that he could, unfortunately I wasn't one of them.  I did have some great rolls regardless.
Adam: I struggled to keep my guard and felt like I made some good moves.  Eventually he passed and I dealt with quite a few butchers and was never able to get any semblance of guard back.  I kept him from submitting me but it sucks being on the bottom.

Mike:  I sat guard and we had a decent exchange as I played some de las riva and deep half guard.  He finally passed my guard when I was in deep half and he got his leg free.  Eventually I regained before the round was over.

Brian: I wasn't able to submit Brian this time, he did a good job defending.  I was mostly on top in side control and mount.  I attempted to setup the rolling back take but I think he was wise to my scheme.  I was working on isolating arms trying to pry them off while dealing with his monster bridges.  I'm feeling pretty good about my mount control lately but not about my submissions.

Will: I haven't seen him for quite a while.  He gave me a little bit of trouble as I was passing his guard.  What finally worked for me though was the back stroke to knee grab and push that I saw Greg do a couple Tuesdays ago.  I think this may be one of those times when something is automatically enveloped into my game.  I ended up keeping him in mount for a while.  He attempted his inverted escape but I was just barely able to get low enough to stop it.  I ended up in technical mount after attempting a bow & arrow and switched to an ezekiel that I slipped in without him being able to defend.

Henry: I kept him at bay today.   My half guard control is working much better against him and I think the aggression that I'm putting into it to keep the space is helping.  I went to deep half guard a couple of times and felt like I had good control although I never was able to sweep him yet.  I went from turtle to deep half.  Even though I had an underhook he kept pushing me back down with his overhook.  He did pass my guard at one point but I was able to regain it back. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Austin, Ben, Bauer, Tami

Got in some drilling time with Greg between the kids class and open mat.  He was drilling some back take stuff.  I drilled the Rolling back take from mount first.  Some of the big takeaways were putting the second leg over their shin before rolling.  Controlling the arm or hip after kicking their leg over.  The second thing I worked on was the back roll from the omoplata when they posture.  The big thing Greg suggested was to be more explosive with it.  I also need to keep a hold of the wrist as I'm going over.  The last technique I worked on was the basic butterfly sweep.  I thought I had this down pretty well but he gave me some valuable pointers.  I wasn't squeezing their arm enough on the overhook arm.  Then I was trying to get out of the way when doing the sweep.  Greg actually wants me to push into them more and this made a huge difference but it was only a little different movement.

Austin: He did a good job of defending my armbars today.  There was one point when I had him in an omoplata and he initiated the roll.  I decided to roll again for good measure.  I was trying to work on my butterfly guard, but he kept standing up so I went to x-guard.  He said that kept happening to him, duh if you try to stand up in someone's butterfly you get put in x-guard. 

Ben: I hit a mounted triangle from side mount that I was surprised worked out so well.  I did miss putting his arm high into my hip.  I think after last week he's enjoying going a little harder with me and not holding back.  Not that I'm being mean but the thing that I won't let him have is grips of any kind.

Bauer: Always a pleasure testing myself against him.  From technical mount I fed his collar to my under hand and then controlled his head.  It was kind of a bow and arrowish choke.  In our other roll I went to single leg-x at one point and did the technical standup sweep.  I was able to submit him with kimura from north/south.  I attempted an omoplata from mount at one point but couldn't figure out how to put my leg over his head for the twisting armbar. 

Greg showed him an escape from the hip switch half guard escape and Bauer and I drilled it quite a few times.  You grab the belt and use your elbow to keep them from getting too high on your chest.  Then wrap the leg and attempt to move to mount, if they push back you go to back mount.  Bauer also worked on the gordo sweep and the triangle choke.  I gave him some pointers on pushing the knee that I saw in the video to make the triangle tighter.  He was having trouble keeping bigger guys' posture down when transitioning to the side.

Tami: She is very good at defending.  I was surprised at how well she defended her neck and kept her arms in.  I attempted some collar chokes that she got out and fought her turtle a little bit.  We rolled a couple times and I gained some respect for her defenses since this was the first time we rolled together.