Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Guillotine from Guard Defense, Straight Footlock and Escape
Partner: Josh

My first Wednesday morning session at LBJJC and I'm so happy that my job is cool with me taking an early lunch.  The class was a decent size with 7 of us. 

Had a little trouble with the ankle lock today.   It was hit or miss but I think I need to focus on the toe positions.  If the foot was in the right position putting the elbow underneath and my forehead to the floor worked really well. 

Rolling: Closed Guard (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Josh, Brian, Janice, Greg

Guard went pretty well.  My fingers were a little sore today from gi gripping lately so I had a little bit of a hard time with breaking the guard open.  I didn't go for any ankle locks, which I should have, maybe the next time around in the curriculum this will be my goal.  I went to cross guard a couple times from the bottom and setup the omoplata sweep.  Probably the coolest thing that happened was a triangle attempt that I made after a failed omoplata.  I tried to lock it up but wasn't able to, but the kimura presented itself.  Janice was on her third class and needed a bit of coaching.  At first I walked her through a couple things and then I just told her to try not to let me pass her guard.  She seemed to have fun although being a bit overwhelmed.   

I got to roll with Greg twice.  I didn't do much of anything offensively and he caught me with 2 omoplatas, one that he submitted me with and the other he came up into turtle with after I got my arm free.  He did some floating when I attempted to get half guard at one point, where I would usually get half guard on someone else, he used his shin over my calf to keep his leg out of danger. 

Office Hours Partner: Greg

Didn't roll after class, but I requested some pointers on finishing the baseball bat choke.  I think we determined that one key piece that I was missing was the position of my forearm across his face.  As I'm turning to north/south to put my head down I need to keep the non-choking hand at an angle more across their neck.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28th 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: Guillotine from Guard Defense, Straight Footlock and Escape
Partner: Bhuvana

This is one of the weeks that I want to put the most attention to.  Footlocks have been very low percentage for me and I don't remember the last time I finished one during rolling.  There were a few details that I made note of today.
  • Greg didn't necessarily connect his hands
  • The toes need to be seated in the armpit
  • Tuck the attacking arm's elbow under yourself
  • Put your forehead on the floor while arching back
For the defense I need to work on the kick and transitioning into the mount.  The end is very similar to coming up to mount for the double ankle sweep.  The other thing that was very surprising was how strong Greg's leg was when he showed the beginning of the defense by straightening his leg.  He made the analogy to think of it like putting on a boot.

Rolling: Closed Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Bhuvana, Zack, Anthony, Mike (Lawyer), 

Bhuvana had to leave early so we did a couple rounds of up/down/out until she did.  I was a little more aggressive at maintaining guard today.  Whenever Zack or Mike pulled their hips away I followed them up and went shin to shin.  I did a couple deep half sweeps.  Anthony did great at attacking from closed guard.  I'm a little concerned with his future guard.  I attacked Mike from the back for a long time but was unable to complete a submission.  He eventually escaped into my guard.  I had a huge forearm burn at the end.

Office Hours Partner: Zack

Zack wanted to do the defense from bad positions drill with 3 minute rounds.  I was pretty happy with my attacks from the back.  Almost getting bow and arrow led to trapping his arm and moving to crucifix.  I went for a collar choke but he defended that well, finally I was able to isolate his arm for a kimura.  He gave me some trouble from mount and side mount.  Zack is pretty good at stiff arming hips and regaining the guard with it.  A couple times in mount I went to a triangle but he was able to keep his shoulders wide enough that I couldn't finish it.  We finished with top half guard which was pretty even for both of us. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25th 2015 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique/Game: Armbar from Mount, Basic Side Control Escape, Mount and Side Control Position

The boys only worked with each other today which would often end up in them screwing around too much.  Minus being silly a few times they kept on task.  The armbar was still a little difficult for them but they made progress.  I had to skip a few of the steps in the side control escape and told them to just go for full guard.  Sometimes if they know the main goal they naturally do some of the things to accomplish it without harping on the minor details.

There were no back takes during rolling which was a surprise.  Jace attempted 2 americanas in a row on Jayden and got them, but on the third time, Jayden was able to defend it and roll him over.  Hopefully I'm driving home the importance of learning the techniques during the drilling portion of class so they can use them during the rolling portion.  Jayden did a great job of maintaining mount and I think he kept it the whole roll.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Adam (NP), Brian (AF), Ross, Bhuvana
Game Plan: Deep Half

Adam: The brothers from North Platte came in for a visit again, always happy to have them.  It appears he's been practicing his x-guard because he was able to sweep me with it.  I ended up in half guard and full for a little bit, but couldn't get much going.  He ended up passing and spending a lot of time in side control as I defended brabo grips.  He finally caught me with a choke where you put the opponent's lapel under your knee in side control along with the brabo grip and then work your way into a bread cutter.  Pretty cool.  Our second roll went better for me in the beginning.  He put me into x-guard and while I struggled to stay afloat I was able to eventually get my leg free and move into side control.  I had 3 good attempts at a baseball bat choke but I was unable to finish.  I think I needed to move my hips around a little more.  I gave up on that and went for a farside armbar but my leg was not secured over his head and he ended up coming to the top and worked me over until he got another gi choke.

I had several attempts at side control escapes but my lack of confidence in escaping got the better of me.  I need to focus my efforts into escaping bad positions and guard retention.  Maybe more of the latter would do me some good, preventing bad positions before I end up there, is ultimately preferable.

Brian: I showed him the cross guard pull that I learned from Tinguinha's DVD.  He seemed to really take to it.  When we rolled he jumped across to my back right away.  Luckily I got my shoulders on the floor before I got too deep, but it was a wake-up call to take him seriously.  There was a point where I went for a farside armbar and he pushed my leg into half guard at the same time.  The armbar was a no-go but it did put me in a great position for a kimura.  In our other roll I worked hard for the north south choke and even had Conan come over and give me some pointers. Brian did a good job of bridging and turning and keeping my hands from coming together.  With the help of my knee and keeping my base low I finally got my hands together.  We went over defending the over/under pass and doing head push stuff in general. 

Ross: He flattered me by asking for some help with deep half guard.  So I tried to go over the most important details that I've learned lately.  During entry into the position bury your head to prevent crossface, grabbing the thigh and pulling it into the shoulder, keeping good posture with your head and not letting your neck bend, and keeping your knees pointed up.  We went over the Homer Simpson sweep a few times. I showed him a couple ways that I entered the position and that mount escape was one of the major ones that worked for me.  We rolled a few times and I went to deep half and did the sweep for good measure.  I don't remember too much from our roll besides that.

Bhuvana: She wanted to work on defenses so asked if we could just start rolling and then walk her through escapes once I got into a good position.  From mount I got the deep collar grip and talked her through upa, but instead I based out with my leg and had her go for half guard instead.  We talked about going from quarter to half by leveraging the ankle with the thighs and pushing their knee down with the hand.  Eventually I went to back mount via rolling back take and attacked a bow and arrow collar grip.  I showed her that she wanted to get my arm from behind her head by getting her head into my armpit and the floor. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Kesa Getami Over Head Reversal, Ezekiel from Mount & Top Half Guard
Partner: Austin

The escape went well.  There was a few times where I felt like pulling my head out and taking the back was the better option rather than rolling him over.  Not sure if it was something that I was doing or if he just wasn't giving enough resistance.

Ezekiel felt good.  I focused on grabbing the inside of my sleeve with a tighter grip.  Too often when trying this technique, I end up having a finger come out and making the choke weaker.  An important key for the choke that I've found to help is focusing on where my elbows are.  When we flip the choking hand into the neck we want that elbow on the floor, but then when executing the choke both elbows come up.

Rolling: Mount (4 x 2 min), Half Guard (2 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Austin, Ross, Josh, Dave, Zack

I attempted a few ezekiels today, some of them were defended but a few got through.  From the top of mount I was pretty relentless in going for submissions, but in keeping with the theme of the class, I allowed my partner to work on their attacks a little more.  In half guard I gave Josh some pointers on using his legs instead of just his upper body; It makes sense that it's a common theme for beginners in half guard.

Dave came out more aggressive than usual by getting his pant grips and then attempting to pass; I appreciate it.  He worked from side mount but made the mistake of taking a huge step to try to go to mount.  He said it before I did, "got greedy!"

Zack also came out with strong guard passing.  I felt like I dealt with it a little better than I usually do and controlled with the collar grip and tried to keep my legs ahead of him and brought him into closed guard.  I attempted the cross guard omoplata and thought I had it but he was able to posture out of it.  A lot of back and forth happened after that and I remember being on top of his turtle and trying to pull him to his back.  I pulled him on top of me where I should have gave him space to fall to the floor instead.  Time ran out without either of us submitting the other.

Office Hours Partner: Ross, Zack

Ross and I rolled a few times after class. During one of the rolls I ended up in an armbar position but he did a good job to get his elbow free.  I moved to a mountish position and started working for the omoplata but my leg was in the way across his chest.  I had a good butterfly sweep setup.  At one point I ended up in his guard and he started working for the 2 on 1.  He was doing a good job and I just had to make sure my elbow stayed on his hip.  He opened his guard and I stuck one of his hooks in between my legs.  He allowed me to get the underhook which helped me pass.  I ended up in top half guard and he battled for the underhook and got it, however he left himself open for the ezekiel that we just practiced.  I showed him that I like to use my shoulder more in the underhook, it keeps my opponent up higher and gives me a lot more control. 

Zack wanted to work on omoplatas today and I was more than excited to share.  To go along with the butterfly that we've been working on I showed him the shin on bicep setup that I use from open guard.  After that we worked on the cross guard and while I was giving some of the finer points I realized that I've been pretty lazy with it lately in rolling.  I think my attitude with it lately has been that if I get it, great.  If not go on to something else.  But I think I should be more insistent on doing the technique correctly. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21st 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: Kesa Getami Over Head Reversal, Ezekiel from Mount & Top Half Guard
Partner: Zack, Harvey

Good day at training.  Relatively small class for a Tuesday but a good group all the same.  I found the Kesa escape to be easier than previously.  I was caught once letting my bridge back down before fully rolling over but did it correctly the times following. 

Ezekiel is one of those techniques that I struggle with but I have success with from time to time.  Usually my problems stem from which part of their neck do I need to jam my fist into.  There are some different schools of thought on that for sure.  One key thing to remember doing this choke from the half guard is that I don't want to bring my free knee off the floor.

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Mount & Half Gaurd
Rolled With: Robert, Zack, Anthony, Harvey

With only five of us there was only ever one person resting at a time and sometimes you didn't get any rest.  I got a few ezekiels today from both mount and half guard and set them up just like we practiced.  My bottom mount defense felt really strong and I was able to pull everyone into half guard if memory serves.

I had a couple notable battles with Robert and Zack.  It was very difficult to pin Robert and get him into side control.  Every time I thought I was passed his guard he'd stay on his side and keep me at a distance.  If I tried to hop to the other side he would get up to turtle and then win the wrestling match from there.  One cool thing with Robert was that I got him to say "dammit" once when I made it to deep half guard.  Zack and I had a few scrambles that could have gone either way.  He's making me better at watching for collar chokes.  My deep half guard really came in handy today, but I also made a couple mistakes and got into no-mans-land where I had my opponent's hips on top of me but no good control over their legs or torso.  Just have to keep experimenting and learning.

Office Hours Partner: Robert

We rolled for 2 5 minute rounds.  Started from standing and he was able to take me down twice but I ended up in half guard both times.  One time I did a yank on his collar which brought him right into a single leg.  He stayed on top for a majority of the rounds but I also had a few sweeps including a gordo sweep that flowed really nicely.  He kept me out of good top positions but neither of us had any meaningful submission attempts. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 18th 2015 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class Technique/Game: Mount Cross Choke, Armbar, Mount Position, Underhook game

Boys did pretty well today.  It was probably the biggest kids class I've seen.  Jayden took less drink breaks during the warm-ups and seemed to be trying his best.  We still need to work a bit on the alligator crawls and the front shrimp though.

They did a lot better dealing with tickling each others necks during the cross choke.  Usually it would be a deal breaker but maybe having a third partner with them helped out.  I don't think there were exactly getting the choke but progress nonetheless.  The armbar was a little more difficult, they weren't able to grasp the concept of position their hips behind the elbow to keep them from escaping.  During the rolling portion, they continued with the theme of always trying to take the back.  Or maybe always giving their backs up from the bottom.  They both did better at getting their hooks in this time.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jerad, Fuji, Henry, Austin, Mike (Lawyer), Adam

Not my best day, but I did get a lot of rolling in.  My foot was a little swollen and I tapped if anyone came near an americana on my right arm.  Jerad pointed out that everyone appeared to be going for it.  I kind of feel a little sluggish and like I'm lacking some aggression lately.  This may be the effects of not doing the advanced class anymore and rolling with my betters. 

Jerad: We rolled a couple times and I actually gained some confidence in my deep half guard with him.  Usually he shuts it right down.  One thing that he was getting me with was to hover with both hooks in from the top as I'm in a somewhat quarter guard.  He gave me some pointers on dealing with it afterwards, by pushing on the knee and working back toward half guard. 

Fuji: He really took it to me today.  I had a hard time passing his guard and eventually he reversed me to the bottom.  I was able to play some defense pretty well for a while.  I was able to get an underhook and he would switch sides on me.  I'd get to my knees and he'd push me back down.

Henry: I played pretty defensive with him because I was too tired to do otherwise.  He gave me a lot of trouble.  Every time I got him in a semblance of half guard he would knee slide out of it.  I was persistent though and eventually got all the way to deep half.  I was able to pull off the deep half to double unders.  I didn't last long on top though and I ended up on the bottom after escaping a guillotine.  I ended up in an omoplata at one point from an over hook in guard I came so close but could not figure out how to seal the deal.  He ended up controlling my hips and smash passing me down.  I was pretty spent after this and we just kind of quit.

Austin: My goal was to try to get him with a triangle and I came pretty close, but was unable to lock it up completely.  He did a great job defending a lot of the stuff I was throwing at him. 

Mike (Lawyer): Mike was working on some of the blue belt curriculum and I did my best to help him and Bauer out.  I had forgotten the guillotine against a wall defense at first but Ross clued us in.  We went over the rest of the standing stuff.  Mike and I rolled a little bit and it was a good roll.  I recall a butterfly sweep and some work with the overhook to omoplata.  He then asked me to quiz him on techniques from the blue belt curriculum.  I tried to keep it pretty flowy and if we were in mount I'd have him do a mount submission like armbar and then flow to a guard sweep, etc.

Adam: We went no gi because I didn't feel like putting my gi-top back on after taking a break.  I did fairly well until he put me in side control.  There were a couple times when I passed his guard but he ended up recovering it right away.  I made him nervous with a few wristlock attempts but couldn't complete them.

Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Basic Open Guard
Partner: Dave, Zack

My foot was bothering me a bit the last couple days, but I thought it was well enough to do class this morning.  Had a little trouble with the floor exercises and skipped one round of alligator crawls, but otherwise felt okay the rest of class. 

Dave was a little too tense with his grips at first.  Once Zack told him to relax them a bit he did a lot better with the push/pull.  I really noticed the similarities between this position and half guard.  You have to be on your side and use the top leg a lot for movement. 

Rolling: Open Guard Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling
Rolled With: Dave, Anthony, Greg, Zack

I felt pretty good with maintaining the position in the rolls that I was in but didn't feel the submission set-ups were there.  I was able to set up an omoplata or two but wasn't able to complete a triangle even though I tried.  From the top, I was able to use my elbow and weave in my other arm under their leg.  Instead of focusing so much on passing I allowed my partners to play with the open guard position more.

I came very close to passing Greg with a double unders.  He went to turtle and I started attacking the back.  I rolled him to the other side and he told me I shouldn't have because I put his feet back on the floor.  He ended up on top of my guard, but I'm happy with what led up to that.  From the bottom Greg passed me twice with the same half guard pass and made the comment that it may be my kryptonite.  Have to look into that.

Free rolled with Zack and setup a loop choke in the beginning while I was standing.  I tried to get back down to control him but it allowed to get his head out of the choke.  Not sure what I should have done differently.  Maybe pushed him to his back to sweep rather than trying to sit back into guard.

Office Hours Partner: Dave, Zack

Worked on the deep half back take and had a little trouble because he kept falling on his butt prematurely.  This does seem to be a problem with practicing the position.  A lot of people seem to fall over while I'm getting into the position while drilling it, where if we were rolling they wouldn't fall over that easily.  I need to practice the back take more, I had a few good reps but had a hard time putting his hips onto my chest.  Zack made a comment about my choking and said that when I get into the bow and arrow collar grab I could use my hips to put some pressure on and get the choke, but I'm so focused on doing the grip right that I've got tunnel vision for a perfect bow and arrow choke. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14th 2015 - Gi Beginner (It's Back)

Theme & Techniques: Basic Open Guard
Partner: Anthony

This is one of the few weeks in the curriculum where we only work on one thing.  Granted it's a big thing and a good intro to open guard.  Getting into the position seemed to come pretty natural to me.  I think this is mostly because the beginning motions are so similar to a scissor sweep.  Anthony had a little trouble because of his long legs it took him a little bit to figure out where to put his hips. 

Rolling: Open Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Anthony, Ty, Zack

Working on the position with Anthony and Ty, it appears that the elbow on the bottom leg can be a real killer to the position.  If I was able to get the pant grip and bring the elbow down I was able to eventually get an over/under or double under position.  On the other hand if that arm is pulled up to the chest, the push/pull of the position really presents itself.  From the bottom I found that I was constantly scooting my hips around in like front shrimp motions.  I made sure to stay on my side instead of falling flat to my back as well.

Free rolling with Zack I started out strong.  I passed his guard and went to side control and then turtle and then a back take.  I was just a good grip away but he fought my hands very well.  He was able to turn into me and I ended up in butterfly guard.  There was a moment of clarity there were I kind of felt like I was on a downward slope and I should have done something to stop it.  I ended up in half guard and he started to attack an americana, I thought I had stability and I hipped into it like I have done before.  It was the wrong thing to do because something kind of popped in my elbow.  It ended up being okay and not having any pain at the time.  It's a little sore now but I think it was just a tendon moving or something and nothing serious happened.  I learned a lesson and I'm not going to try to escape that way again.

Office Hours Partner: Robert, Zack

Robert asked to go a couple rounds after class and I gladly said yes.  We started from standing even though he had his ankle wrapped.  I was surprised he came in so close instead of trying to keep me away and stiff arm like I'm used to.  I attempted a reaping throw and switched to a knee tap, but he was a little ahead of me and was able to get me down and I landed in guard.  I went into a loop choke from half guard and got it locked in more than I thought I would, but I had no hip movement to make it tighter and he eventually got his head out of it.  He felt pretty strong and it may be due to the weather change because I'm still feeling a little tired and slow.  It may be a mental block too because I'm really only feeling tired against people that usually beat me.  There was quite a bit of half guard and I was mostly on the bottom.  I did come up to turtle and felt stronger keeping my head down and pressed against him but I eventually was put back on the bottom.  He eventually submitted me with a tight arm triangle.

Our second round went close to the same.  A lot of half guard bottom for me.  At one point I got the butterfly hook in and gained butterfly guard.  Can't remember how I screwed that up but I ended up in mount.  The timer went off without him submitting me but he was in control for the majority.

Zack wanted to work on more butterfly guard and we just rolled from the position a few times.  Sometimes I passed and sometimes he swept.  I gave him a few pointers one what I thought and there were a few times where I told him that he was there to just try the sweep.  He may be waiting until everything is perfectly in place which is something that I am all too familiar with.  We went over hand fighting and how I get into the butterfly position and he seemed to take to it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12th 2015 - Weekly Review

I'm thinking of making the blog public again this weekI've worked out what I want to share and the hangups I've had about it before.   

Focus of the Week: Half Guard, Maintaining Backmount, Triangle

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Koshi Guruma, Triangle with punch setup
Partnered and Rolled With: Anthony, Greg, Zack, Josh, Dave, Mike, Robert

I think I've finally found the pieces of the triangle that I've been missing.  It has seemed so simple for the people that I've tried it on to posture out of it.  During the instruction portion, Greg mentioned that he wanted newer students to move the arm over to the other side before completing the triangle but he felt like he didn't need to any longer.  Once I started moving it over in practice it seemed to make it more difficult for them to posture.

The other part that we discussed earlier in the week was to treat the beginning of the triangle like a back mount harness grip.  Once I cross my feet my hips should be up and my knees should be flexed outwards.  Then he added another gem that I've never heard him say before, when putting the shin into the crook of the knee, pull their head toward you a little bit.  It makes it much easier to tighten up the triangle!  Who knows I may start triangling people now, but I won't hold my breath.

Worked with Zack a little on butterfly guard again and Greg gave us some pointers on maintaining back mount after losing position and hooks.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jerad, Adam, Mike, Sam, Conan, Dwight

Jerad: Had a great roll with Jerad.  A lot of the same but I felt good about some of my performance, I'm stopping to think a lot less I think.  I was able to pass his guard with an x-pass that went pretty well.  I stayed on the top for a while and threatened some things that never came to pass.  He was able to reverse me and from there we dealt with a lot of half guard.  I defended some darces from him, seemed like he really wanted one today.  I don't recall what he got me with in the end.

Adam: We flow rolled for a while before actual rolling.  He started out in guard and I passed to half for a while.  I feel like I did a pretty good job controlling him and squashing his under hook.  Eventually he was able to get to his knees and I wasn't able to guillotine.  He went for back mount which was odd for him.  I don't recall what he tapped me out with either.

I picked his brain a little bit on wrestling and scrambles.  I showed him that I was getting stuck when I came up to turtle from quarter guard with an underhook and he showed me that my head was up too high, I should have been pressuring with my head a lot more to get the far leg.  This is pretty big, as I've been losing in this spot lately or forced back to half guard.

Mike: I had a lot of success with deep half with him.  He said I was pretty close on taking his back with the technique that I've been working on.  There were a few times where he was attempting collar chokes and I was able to nullify them by going into deep half.  I was able to hit a double unders pass from deep half.  He eventually regained guard though and during a scramble we ended up in leg lock position and I tapped from exhaustion, although he would have inevitably got it.

Sam: With her I played some butterfly guard at the start.  I swept her but ended up in her half guard.  I noticed that she's been working on it lately because she went right to an underhook and started the gordo sweep.  I was able to cross face her though and regain composure.  I eventually caught her with what I thought was a barratoplata but it turned out to be more of a cutter, I've got to get my forearm across deeper.  We rolled again and I ended up in a mounted triangle.  Conan came over and helped us figure out an escape plan for the submission.

Conan: I started out strong with Conan, but slowly I became tired and didn't feel like I had anything.  He does a good job at squashing and isolating things, even within my own guard.  Somehow he took my back, probably from side mount and then started a bow and arrow type choke.  I swam my head to the other side and thought I was on my way out, but he had just enough to finish it.  We rolled again but I had nothing in the tank.  He passed my guard and put an americana on me from side mount.

Dwight: I don't know why I rolled with Dwight because I was already feeling pretty worn down, but what the hell?  We went no-gi and we were both so slippery it was hard to pin each other down.  The best thing about this roll was I worked a lot of deep half guard.  I went for the waiter sweep twice and got it both times.  Although I did get stuck for a little while before I was able to sweep.  I think I was trying to push away too much instead of opening a whole for him to fall into.  We ended up quitting the roll after a while because a submission didn't seem likely for a while and we had been rolling for probably 10 minutes.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 5th 2015 - Weekly Review

Focus of the Week: Deep Half Back Take, Half Guard Knee Shield Arm Drag

Theme & Techniques
Beginner/All Levels: Kesa Getami Escape to Backmount, Standing Guard Break, Knee Slide Pass
Partnered and Rolled With: Anthony, Jordan, Dave, Bhuvana, Brian (New), Ty, Zack, Robert, Brian (FF)

I was able to attend a rare Thursday evening beginner class and drilling open mat this week.  I miss being able to go to the advanced class but I've got to keep my priorities straight. 

I felt like I helped quite a few of my fellow students this week which felt nice.  The standing guard break is something that I feel confident about.  Had some good rolling and I'm seeing a lot of improvement from people in the beginner classes like Bhuvana, Dave, Jordan, and Anthony to name a few that I work with regularly. 

Zack has also been my drilling buddy after Tuesday and Friday classes.  We both have some things to teach each other.  He's been focusing on butterfly guard lately and I've found as I'm relaying things that I like to do in the position I'm figuring some things out for myself as well.  An example is how important using your head and it's position is.  I remember having a really hard time with my head when I was first learning the position.

Drilling Open Mat: Half Guard Knee Shield to arm drag, Deep Half Position
Partner: Mike (Tumbleweed)

Mike worked on some straight foot lock stuff and it was very impressive.  He's definitely ahead of me with foot locks.  I drilled the knee shield to arm drag in no gi and it still felt strong without the sleeve grip.  We discussed why it worked so well and he seemed impressed with it.   The second round I just worked the position and it was pretty difficult with Mike.  A big takeaway was that I need to focus on where his knee points and try to go in that direction with my sweeps.  I attempted the waiter a few times and it put me in trouble for foot locks.  Not cool. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Henry, Jerad, Josh, Bhuvana

I did some drilling between the kids class and open mat with Jerad and Greg.  I worked on my back take from deep half and it's coming along.  I also worked the knee shield arm drag.  Unfortunately Jerad laid his glasses down not far from where we were working.  He showed me a back take that he was working on and I base out placing my hand right on top of his glasses and they completely crumbled.  Fortunately he said he just mad a visit to the eye doctor and is getting a new pair soon.

Henry: He played guard and I was able to pass it with my over/under.  I started working some side control attacks and he left his neck open for the north/south choke.  I was in pretty deep right away but he decided to rotate away and try to escape.  I locked up a really nice super guillotine.  We scrambled to control the leg positions and where are hips were but ultimately I was in too tight.  I did okay in our following rolls as well but I wasn't able to match his relentlessness.  I played a lot of half guard and noticed that he was mostly escaping by standing and pulling away from me.  Something for me to think about and learn how to deal with.  He submitted me with an armbar off the baseball bat choke and another choke that was probably a baseball bat. 

Jerad: I had some good and not so good moments with Jerad.  I was on top for a little while and threatened a pretty good bread cutter.  Later he told me he just barely escaped it.  I could have done it better and grabbed his collar rather than settling for his shoulder.  I was in north/south and he exploited a point when my legs were close together and rolled me over.  I feel like I'm doing better with dealing with his knee pass but still need some more work.  I'm at least moving a lot more and affecting his balance.  He submitted me with armlocks I believe.  

Josh: Haven't rolled with him for quite a while.  He definitely wanted to play guard because he would grab me as I was sitting and attempt pull me into closed guard.  My immediate reaction was to bring my knee up and not allow him to close.  My main goal was to focus on going with the flow and taking what he gave me.  I played back mount a bit as well as some north/south and side control.  I heard him tell Fuji later that our roll was educational for him.  I'll take that as the compliment of the day!

Bhuvana: I went over some more omoplata stuff with her and gave her a few extra pointers.  Like triangling the legs and how closely related it is to the triangle.  She was doing better with the leg position to finish, this may be something viable for her to learn.  We rolled a bit and I gave her a hard time from side control mostly.  After rolling we went over 3 options for side control escapes that I think she can use and what I use.  The basic guard replace, hooking with the far leg and then the under hook.  I showed some options for how to put them together and it seemed to trigger some light bulbs.

Greg: Greg said he would drill a few things with me when the mat cleared early.  I went over the deep half back attack again and he drilled his crescent kick to leg drag.  I gave some resistance for the leg drag that disrupted him a bit but he was able to find a solution by stepping on the other leg.  For my back take he said maybe I should try an exercise of getting to the first part with their hips on my chest and just hang out there with some newer guys.  That will help me understand the position a little better and learn how to deal with common escapes instead of always rushing to the back attack and potentially losing the position.

So I had said a couple weeks ago that I was going to set aside the deep half for a while but when I talked to Greg about something new to focus on he encouraged me to stick with the position.  So I've been playing the Deep Half DVD every night while I'm playing Call of Duty and I've been picking up a few things along the way that I'm taking a piece at a time.  I'm pretty happy that I'm sticking with it now because a couple of weeks ago I thought the position was getting pretty stagnant for me.