Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 30th 2015 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique/Game: Double Ankle Grab Sweep, Tripod Sweep, Close Guard Rolling, Flag Tag

I ended up being the assistant instructor today.  We showed up a little early and the boys participated at the end of the younger kids class since there was only 1.  They did some sumo and the girl that was there was kicking their butts.  I was happy that they didn't get too upset about losing like they have in the past.  Then we played some blob tag.

Very small class for the older kids class.  Jayden is still a little unmotivated to try hard in the warm-ups but I do see progress.  They didn't do too bad with the technique portion.  I did it with them a couple times each which I think helped.  Rolling from guard was fine they like this part.  They do need to learn both some guard retention and passing. 

They're going to start going 3 times a week starting next week, so we'll see how that goes.  Hopefully working on the same techniques 3 times a week I think will make a huge difference instead of new techniques once a week. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Josh, Jerad, Lucas, Greg, Bhuvana, Adam
Game Plan: Bottom - Deep Half, Top - Spiral Armbar

Josh: He felt kind of beat up and just wanted to drill.  He was working on a side control reversal that was Conanesk, where you reach over their back and grabbing the belt and then rotate your body to get underneath them and roll them over.  I took some turns with it and Josh did a good job of explaining some of the things I was screwing up.  After drilling it he wanted some ideas for followup submissions.  I suggested kimura, armbar, and north/south choke.  After drilling the kimura for a while we went over the NS choke because he was unfamiliar with it.  I drilled some deep half guard stuff.  He gave me the right amount of resistance as I would start from half, get to deep half, then attempt a sweep or take the back.  I was pretty winded by the end so I think I need to do this more often.

Jerad: Had some early success after passing his guard.  I felt like I was doing well attacking from the top and tried to keep him busy defending.  I ended up in a north/south choke and he turned away.  I locked up the deep guillotine and tried to put my legs around him and go to guard.  This is where I made my mistake I fell to my butt and started lifting before I secured his hips down.  Then he was on top, but I didn't just fall apart as I sometimes do when I lose a good position.  I went to butterfly guard but eventually got passed.  He spent a lot of time in a position in between mount and knee on belly mostly to prevent my quarter guard.  He submitted me with the bow and arrow choke twice.

Lucas: He is nothing short of a monster being quite a bit bigger than me and well versed in wrestling.  I sat to butterfly guard with a collar grip and then the pressure started.  I was forced into half guard and started to give up some ground.  I knew I didn't want that to happen so I did my best to keep my frame above all else.  I got back to full guard but I couldn't hook my feet behind his back comfortably.  He kept pushing forward and while he was putting his hands up by my head I couldn't turn it into an armbar.  I attempted collar chokes, a kimura, and even my cross guard stuff but couldn't get the leverage.  Finally I attempted a scissor sweep which gave him the chance to pin my leg to the ground and get over to side mount.  Now I was in big trouble.  I brought my elbows in and put up with some nasty crossfaces.  Then his elbow flared out and I saw my opportunity and went for the elbow push escape.  He kept pushing back but it actually caused him to fall over and I went to the top.  Whew!  He seemed pretty tired by this time and a Rickson choke came pretty easily. 

Greg: Rolled with Greg a few times and dealt with a crap load of knee on belly.  I noticed that I had the desire to go to an underhook from here but due to recent experience with Greg my mind kept smacking down the desire to do that.  Probably the best thing that I did was at the beginning of one of our rolls I started out with some spider guard and decided to just go for the basic sweep.  He went right over to his back.  But, I didn't pull my spider hook back to start my guard pass and he just got back up and started passing my guard.  He caught me with a pretty nasty kimura that I had to tap quickly to because my body was pinned and I couldn't come up with it at all.

Bhuvana: We went over a couple techniques like the NS choke and the tozi pass.  We rolled for a little while.  I started off giving her top side control so I could fight out of it.  In the end I was attacking from mount for quite a while and she was defending quite well.  I went to side control and started setting the baseball bat but had a tough time getting to her collar.  Finally, we went over the sickle sweep and she wanted to know how to set it up and I tried my best to give a few options of when they stand to break the guard or if someone is attempting toreando and you can break their grip.

Adam: Had a quick roll with Adam.  I started out strong and almost swept and ended up on top but he went belly down and wrestled me back to guard.  I stayed strong and aggressive but he eventually tied my legs up and got to side control.  After a lot of defending he submitted me with a kimura.  He gave me quite the compliment and said to let him know whenever I was training in the evenings because he'd like to train with me more often.  From my point of view I feel like he always kills me, so maybe I just need a little more confidence.

Friday, May 29, 2015

May 29th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Head Lock Defense w/ Tani Otoshi, Kneeling Guard Break, Single Under Pass
Partner: Josh

Josh did well today and I enjoy working with him, very on point and asks good questions.  We worked on hand fighting a bit during the guard break and gave each other a little resistance.  Greg gave a pointer that I hadn't heard him mention earlier.  When sitting back to break the guard it's better to start with your thigh vertical and keep it vertical a little longer so they have less of a chance to ride up your thigh.  Greg caught me flaring my elbow a couple times during the guard break and I was surprised that I was being lazy with something like that.

Rolling: Closed Guard (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Josh, Zack, Dave, Conan, Austin

Some good rolling happened.  Zack and Conan both gave me a hard time and I was huffing and puffing by the end of it.  Hopefully I get used to this humidity soon.  I used the kneeling guard break a few times successfully, I went to over/under pass and knee slide instead of the single under pass.  I was able to pull off the north/south back take that I've been looking at for the first time in rolling.  I got the gi open and under the armpits and then jumped to my feet and put the bottom hook in.  There were a couple moments where I was close to back mount but didn't make it to the position. 

Office Hours Partner: Conan, Greg

Didn't roll after class but I showed Conan a tozi pass variation that I saw on youtube and we spent some time troubleshooting the situation.  I talked to Greg about a deep half technique to use when they step over your head that I saw on the Faria DVD.  He thought it was good, but if he got a hold of my outside leg he could prevent it.  So the main solution is to not let them step over my head as it was before.  More posture! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 27th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Head Lock Defense w/ Tani Otoshi, Kneeling Guard Break, Single Under Pass
Partner: Austin

We joked a bit about making a daytime advanced class since there were 4 blue belts present this morning.  We're probably a few years away.  Once again with the guard pass I focused primarily on getting the grips and then doing everything else smoothly.  Nothing else to report.

Rolling: Closed Guard Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling
Rolled With: Austin, Mike, Cat, Will

I tried a few Tozi passes today but didn't complete any of them.  None of them got me in trouble but I had to reset every time.  Greg commented that I was turning my hips too soon before I got their leg smashed.  Also from the top at one point I was in the middle of passing half guard when the ezekiel presented itself and it felt automatic. 

I've been picking on Cat a little bit by catching her with omoplatas and pointing it out before I complete it.  She seems to be catching on though at what I'm looking for and getting her elbows against her body.  

Mike caught me in an omoplata and I couldn't shake him off.  He stuck to me through trying to get beneath him and trying to get my arm free until he could finish the sub.  On our second roll I took a little risk in putting his lapel across his throat.  He went for the armbar and I pulled back in time.  It took some doing but I was able to pass his guard by tying him up with an arm triangle and I made it to quarter guard.  I kept the pressure and stepped over to the other side to free my leg.

Had an interesting roll with Will.  He pulled guard and after a few attempts at toreando I was able to complete a leg drag.  From there I was in north/south and really wanted the back take from last week.  I got his gi out in the right position and lifted his back up off the floor, but his hips seemed too far away for me.  Later after discussing it with Mike the thing I fucked up was that I stayed on my knees.  I just needed to pop up to my feet and it's so much easier.  Anyway, to defend Will brought his legs up and put me into a leg lock position and went for a toe hold.  I saw it coming and defended a little bit but was a little surprised that he attempted one.  No big deal since he didn't crank it or anything, but I kind of wish I knew it was a possibility.  When we restarted, I fought hard for a butterfly hook sweep and finally got it as the buzzer went off.

Office Hours Partner: Mike

We discussed the back take thing and then he showed me an armbar that he's working on from x-guard.  Seemed pretty legit, so be on the lookout for it.  We rolled to finish up the day and I had some good deep half guard work.  I still had some trouble completing any sweeps but felt like some of my movement and off balancing was good.  At one point he went for a knee bar and I went for a toe hold we separated and he ended up being on top side control and then taking my back.  I'm having trouble recalling how he submitted me. 

We discussed deep half for a little while afterward and I decided that I may just focus on the position and unbalancing for a while rather than individual techniques.  So once I get to deep half I'm just going to try to roll people over and get to my knees as quickly as possible.  Then I think the other stuff might open up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26th 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: Head Lock Defense w/ Tani Otoshi, Kneeling Guard Break, Single Under Pass
Partner: Robert, Morgan

Before class Zack and I worked on the Tozi pass a little bit.  I wanted to try the lower grip and head position and I think I will play with that for a while.

Feel good about the techniques of the week.  Pretty much just focusing on getting everything right with the kneeling guard break.  Just a couple things came up as we were training.
  • When doing the throw keep your back leg straight you don't want them to sit on your knee almost do it like a walking break fall from the beginning of class
  • Crossface before stepping the leg over into mount
  • During the kneeling guard break I like to bring my shoulder up over in line where my fist is on their stomach, then make a U motion with your knee to make sure it's in the right place.
  • During the pass make the other person uncomfortable, make them want you to pass.
  • Bring their knee up to their nose and keep it there as you bring your hips around
  • Keep your head down the whole time.

Rolling: Closed Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Greg, Harvey, Zack

I ended up in deep half guard a couple times but felt a bit of paralysis from analysis.  I have some paths to take but I'm still in a phase where I'm not good at picking the best technique with the situation.  Maybe it was easier when I only had the Homer Simpson sweep and I would go right into that.  Now that I have a lot of different deep half guard techniques floating around in my head but not the best context in which to apply each technique I feel like I'm freezing up.  I'm going to have to focus in on a few things and try for them specifically.  Maybe a back take and a sweep.  He ended up stepping over my head over and over again.  Eventually he passed my guard.  From the top I fought his 2 on 1 the best I could and even stopped it the first time.  The second time I ended up in a triangle and got my knee in the right spot to pry it open but I still got choked. 

Harvey got the grips for the kneeling break but I opened my guard and put him into a scissor sweep instead.  He tried the same thing on me when he was on the bottom but I kept his knee from passing over my belly and saw that as the reason that I was able to do it to him.  So hopefully a good teaching moment.

Zack and I rolled and I started out well.  I played half guard bottom mostly.  He did eventually pass and I had to defend from side control.  I don't think I was in danger of getting submitted but I kept a close watch and prevented any collar grips.  He did attack back mount when I went to turtle and almost had a bow and arrow but luckily I got my head to the floor under his bicep. 

Office Hours Partner: Robert, Zack

Robert and I went 3 x 5 minute rounds.  Humidity was killing me.  I started out pretty strong and had some good moments through the rolling, but he mostly dominated.  I ended up in a couple of deep half guard positions and was on top half guard for a little while but was never in side control or mount.  He ended up submitting me with an americana using the brabo grip but otherwise I defended most things off.  This really made me want to work on and improve my cardio, but I'm not sure the best way to do that outside of BJJ.  Swimming is on the top of the list as something that I can do during lunch but I'm not that motivated to do it right now. 

Zack had me roll with him starting from side control.  We had a good roll but eventually I gassed out.  I attacked a kimura for a while and had kind of a back mount for a while too but couldn't complete anything.  He's been giving me quite a few compliments lately that I'm not sure I'm deserving of while at the same time tearing himself down.  I really enjoy having him and Robert at these classes because they push me to work hard.  Their games are both very different and effective at the same time which is another plus.  I'm motivated to keep grinding it out and improving.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

All School Training and Belt Promotion (Plus Announcement)

The first thing that happened was Mike and I were announced as instructors for LBJJC.  It was the best part of the day for me.  Of course I've known for a little while so it wasn't a surprise for me, but Greg had also said some kind words about our abilities in being able to relate BJJ.  Besides the pleasure I get out of being able to sweep and submit people I also get a lot out of teaching and helping my fellow students.  It's truly a great feeling when I'm watching someone roll and they use a technique that I just gave them some pointers on.  For now I will just be filling in when needed, like when Conan and Greg go on vacation this summer.

Like last year we separated the mat so the adults weren't stepping on the kids during the warm-ups.  The focus of the day was guard passing and Greg had asked me the day before if I would teach over/under pass.  It is probably my highest percentage pass and not one that is taught in the white belt curriculum so it was a good choice.  It was a little daunting at first because I taught a group of maybe 20+.  The important steps that I tried to get across for the pass include:
  •  I usually do it off of 3 different entries: the basic kneeling guard break, the Standing guard break, and butterfly guard
  • Control their foot between your legs because if that gets free you will most likely get caught with a triangle.
  • After burying the foot take the other arm under their opposite leg and grab the belt and connect your ear to their thigh
  • The other arm on the buried foot leg goes over the knee and grabs the pants down by the ankle
  • Elbows should be tight
  • Do a plank and make sure your butt isn't too high in the air
  • Punch their leg down between your legs and backstep
  • Set your knee on their hip and slide yourself up and get the cross face
The rest of the class I helped with the kids.  They played some flag tag and then Jerad taught the knee slide pass.  My boys had a little trouble with motivation for doing the technique but they were happy with flag tag and both had some good matches.  At the end they rolled from guard position as did the adults but I didn't see too much of it.  Such is life of an assistant instructor.

The promotion ceremony took place after and quite a few people got promoted.  Among them were new blue belts for Bauer, Mike (Lawyer), and Zack.  All 3 of them I've had many great rolls with on the mats.  Of course we'll have to find a way to break their belts in. 

My boys and I all received one stripe each putting us all at 3.  My youngest was very into the ceremony and instead of being shy was cheering along with everyone else and walked across the floor a few times.  He was especially cute in his tiny gi.  He didn't earn any stripes though. 

Possibly this time next year I'll be eligible for my purple.  Thinking back I've come a long way in a year.  I've taken interest in certain parts of my game like deep half and cross guard and added a couple of passes like x-pass and smash pass.  Who knows how much my game will change in another year.  Probably need to take a good hard look at my perceived deficiencies and work to correct them.  I'd like to improve my wrestling and scrambles especially which may be my next focus.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22nd 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Cross Collar Choke and Armbar from Guard
Partner: Robert

Big class for a Friday morning with a total of 9!  Still trying to get comfortable with the cross collar choke.  I think I just need to practice getting my second hand in the collar over and over again.  It seems like if I start with my left hand and I get the deep grip with that, my right hand has an easier time being the second hand. 

Seems to be a little bit of issue with order of operations with the armbar.  Both Will and Conan like to put the foot on the hip before putting the hand on the collar, where Greg taught to grab the collar first before opening the guard.  I can see the benefits to both.  I'm not sure which one I prefer because I hardly ever complete an armbar from guard that I setup.  I'll get an armbar off of a failed omoplata sometimes but at that point their arm and posture is already controlled. 

Rolling: Up/Down/Out Closed Guard
Rolled With: Jordan, Greg, Zack, Robert, Anthony, Josh, Conan, Dave, Morgan

Focused on the kneeling guard break when I was on top and when that didn't work I went to standing.  Didn't hit any omoplatas that I remember. 

I had a good battle with Conan.  I ended up in x-guard but he turned his foot in a way that his knee came down on me.  We kind of reset and then he passed easily.  I almost hit a scissor sweep on Greg but he popped back up.  He appreciated my effort afterwards.  I ended up in deep half with Robert and was a little disappointed.  I tried a couple different sweeps but had a hard time sweeping.  I attempted the basic sweep first, then the waiter, and finally using the lapel from the Faria DVD.  He ended up stepping out of it and passing.  I guess the good thing is that I controlled the position for quite a while, I think I was a little frantic and should have taken my time to setup the sweep a little more.

I went for the tozi pass against Zack once which ended me in half guard and we had a tough battle from there.  He got me in lockdown a couple times and I would get my leg free.  I'd get the underhook and then he would.  I'd switch my hips he'd bridge.  Eventually somehow I ended up on his back without hooks but we were falling off the mat.  I was spent, the combination of humidity and not getting enough sleep last night. 

Office Hours Partner: Zack

Got some help from Greg and went over the side control to triangle.  The major focus was trapping the arm first by moving down their hips and pushing their legs to the other side and then moving up the elbow.  I also saw how easy it was to transition into the spiral armbar. 

We also went over the back take from north/south that I saw Keenan Cornelius do in the video below.  The huge take away from the class was getting the hooks in after standing up.  The first time I tried it, I sat to my butt and tried to put both hooks in and failed.  Greg told us to come up and put the hook in on the side we were going to fall too.  Huge light bulb moment and something that makes a lot of sense that I didn't realize.  See the back take at around 3:45, he then proceeds to put the hook in that he falls to.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Cross Collar Choke and Armbar from Guard
Partner: Josh (Beard), Will

Asked Greg about the look at the watch part of the throw and he said it's more proper Judo but doesn't cross over to no-gi.  Still had trouble with the cross choke but the princess wave and getting off line helped and I was doing better by the end.  I think I am getting a feel for when it is wrong.

Rolling: Closed Guard Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Greg, Cat, Josh, Anthony

I made an honest attempt to focus on the techniques from class today.  Primarily the cross choke.  It didn't happen for me.  Everyone's arms got in my way and I had a hard time controlling posture.  Omoplatas however rained from the sky.  I'm finding a lot of success in going straight for the omoplata sweep instead of for the submission first.  If the sweep is stopped they're usually stretched out enough that I can bring my arm up around their waist and get the submission.  From the top I attempted the tozi pass a couple times but had no success.  Used the standing guard break to knee slide instead.

Office Hours Partner: Greg

I got nowhere with Greg today but I'm happy that he rolled with me.  He stopped me at every turn.  I ended up in single leg-x and then got swept by the technical stand-up sweep.  I am also being caught over and over again with the spiral armbar type position.  I'm getting the underhook from side mount but I'm not able to do anything with it.  Then when he steps over into mount the underhook is there for him to armbar.  He's been catching me with it a lot lately.  He denied my attempts at deep half as well.  After rolling he commented that he liked what I was doing with butterfly guard but I was allowing too much space for his upper body and not controlling his arms enough.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19th 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Cross Collar Choke and Armbar from Guard
Partner: Robert

During the hip throw I focused on keeping my elbow high in the look at the watch position.  I think it helped a little bit with the throw. 

One huge ah-ha piece of the cross collar choke was when Greg was working with us and Robert and I both had some issues with our second grip.  Greg told us to change the angle of our upper body and then princess wave to get the grip deeper.  Moving the body away made a huge difference on the angle of the forearms and allowed me to get the grip right.  I've got to experiment with this during rolling the rest of the week.

Armbar felt natural and smooth.  The only help I gave Robert was with kicking the armpit forward to break my posture.  We messed around with transitioning to triangle and omoplata towards the end of drilling the technique.

Rolling: Guard Position (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling
Rolled With: Robert, Zack, Morgan

Had a good day of rolling.  Actually hit an omoplata sweep on Robert and made sure I kept the pressure on so he wouldn't just get up after.  At one point I had him in a triangle but he postured way back and I wasn't going to I was in Zack's open guard trying to pass and he got an overhook with my gi and was setting up a collar choke.  I felt like passing may make the choke tighter and I hesitated to pass, he ended up sweeping me with it.  When I was on the bottom of guard with Zack I ended up in half guard and used the knee shield primarily.  I attempted a couple shaolin sweeps but didn't have the right grip on his sleeve.  Need to gain some confidence in the technique because I think I'm close to a breakthrough with it.  Rolled with Morgan and after completing a couple submissions I talked him through regaining guard and doing the armbar from class.

Office Hours Partner: Morgan

I really appreciate when people stay after class.  I know everyone can't but I know I've benefited a lot from extra rolling after class.  We went over breaking the guard and knee slide pass and then rolled a little bit.  He's still really new and I didn't have too difficult of a time doing the techniques I wanted.  I did some deep half.  I should have went after the triangle or the cross collar choke to really challenge myself.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

May 16th 2015 - Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique/Game: Double Leg, Kneeling Guard Break and Single Over Pass, Guard Position, Takedown Sparring

Kids did fine today.  There were a couple of hick-ups that mostly stem from who gets to go first during drilling.  The rolling portion went well and after class I tried to drive home the importance of practicing the techniques to use them during rolling. 

They finished class with some takedown sparring and I was happy with a lot of the matches that I saw.  Some kids were doing pretty good Judo throws and I saw a few double legs.  There were also some almost takedowns that resulted in scrambles and lead to a different takedown.  Jace hit his signature move of taking the back of someone in turtle.  Jayden wanted to do a couple more matches after class and another kid was willing to go up against him.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Morgan (New Guy), Bhuvana, Jordan, Greg, Adam
Game Plan: Bottom - Half Guard Top - Baseball Bat Choke

Morgan: Greg had me go over the upa escape from mount and the basic side control escape.  He seemed to have a little bit of experience.  I played pretty light and methodical.  A couple rolls into it I went over breaking and passing the guard. 

Bhuvana: She wanted to work on a lot of things and so we did.  We went over elbow escape, half guard, but mostly north/south choke.  I showed her some of my personal setups and tried to get across that she needs to take up all the space.  She complained a little bit that it was too much information but thanked me all the same.

Jordan: It's been a while and it was nice to roll with him again.  I started off playing guard and somehow ended up in a triangle and I was able to finish it!  That almost never happens.  On our last roll he ended up passing my guard and spent a lot of time attacking in side control.  I defended for quite a while until I regained half guard.  I went over the kimura setup from the north/south mostly on isolating the arm because he was in that position with me a couple times.

Greg: The one cool thing that happened was I pulled off a perfect x-pass into side control.  He regained guard right away again, but the feeling of seeing the opportunity and then automatically going for the technique was awesome.  Otherwise he destroyed me.  I ended up in the same position as yesterday in the spiral armbar position as he stepped into mount.  He was setting up the side control to mounted triangle, and I blocked it but my arm was caught up in his hip.  I'm thinking about trying this setup more often myself.

Adam: Had time for one more and couldn't pass up a roll with Adam.  I wasn't able to mount an effective defense.  After he passed my guard I defended side control for quite a while.  I eventually got an underhook and regained half guard.  I did pretty well there for a while but wasn't able to sweep.  He eventually put me into an americana and finished it from mount.

Heard that Sam took double gold and Mike took silver in absolute at the Circle of Iron tournament.  Not sure about anyone else from the school yet.

May 15th 2015 - All Levels Gi

Theme & Techniques: Rear Naked Defense with Shoulder Throw, Farside Armbar from Side Control, Scissor Sweep
Partner: Austin, Josh

Not too much to report today.  Helped my partners a few times on little details like keeping their knee up instead of it getting crushed under the person.  Also to squeeze their knees together when completing the armbar.  I'm getting better at remembering to push on the head, it actually does cause some disruption in the bottom person.  One thing I could feel first hand as Greg demonstrated on me.

Rolling: Side Control (4 x 2 min), Closed Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Greg, Anthony, Josh, Zack, Austin

Had some success with the omoplata sweep today since I went right for it instead of attempting the submission first like I have been.  With Austin I almost swept him but he was able to put his leg on the floor to base.  I then switched to the submission and then ended up in a triangle.  From there I swept to mounted trianlged and we reset.

Had some free rolling with Greg and did okay. He caught me with a spiral armbar that I saw coming but couldn't stop.

Office Hours Partner: Zack

Zack did his blue belt test and did fine. I won't go in to any details, but just say I enjoy helping out with these types of things.

Afterwards I showed them a few things from the Faria DVD like the rolling back mount escape.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Rear Naked Defense with Shoulder Throw, Farside Armbar from Side Control, Scissor Sweep
Partner: Henry

Fantastic class today.  Had Mike and Henry in preparing for the tournament, I'm always happy to train with other blues. 

Henry launched me a couple of times with the first technique.  I think I was a little too centered on his back a few times.  I think the most important part of this technique that's difficult to train is automatically reaching up and grabbing the wrist as soon as someone puts their arm around you.  I feel pretty confident in my reaction to this, due to me repeatedly foiling Jerad's attempts to sneak up on me.

On the armbar I focused on pushing the face as much as I could.  Henry pointed out that I wasn't using head pressure as much as I should which does feel stronger.  Nothing really to report on the scissor sweep.  We both talked about pushing their foot into half guard after being scissor swept.

Rolling: Tournament Prep Hell Drill (4 x 3 min), Free Rolling Shark Tank (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Henry, Mike (Tumbleweed)

Greg had us do half of the hell drill for the competitors.  So I was on the attacking end.  The one change was that they weren't supposed to stop if they escaped the bad position, they were supposed to keep going to a submission.   Had some good things happen.  I attacked some bow and arrow type chokes and maintained each position for a while.  Ultimately I ended up in bottom half guard several times and passed to side mount 2 or 3 times.  I don't think either of us submitted the other, but I could be misremembering.  There were a few times where I felt like I should have went for an armbar as he was escaping backmount, not sure what was holding me back besides worried about losing position, which happened anyway. 

Me and a new guy Luis did 3 straight rounds with Mike.  With our rolls it was a very technical battle with a lot more leg movement than I'm used to.  Mike swept me with a tornado sweep, which is a very difficult thing to accomplished.  He explained it to me after class that it's about creating momentum.  I had to deal with a lot of his guard retention.  Whenever I felt like I was getting close to a passing position a foot would be on my shoulder or he would threaten a choke with a deep collar grip.  I went for a north/south choke at one point but wasn't able to finish it and went to guillotine which led to him regaining guard.  At a different point he attempted a collar choke where he stepped over my head with a collar grip but he couldn't make it tight enough.

Office Hours Partner: Mike

He gave me some pointers on the north/south choke, that I didn't need to necessarily have it perfect from the start and I just need to connect my hands and then as I moved away it would eventually get under their chin. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 12th 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: Rear Naked Defense with Shoulder Throw, Farside Armbar from Side Control, Scissor Sweep
Partner: Bhuvana

She did fine with the throw, but just had a little trouble connecting the shoulder turn with the hip bump.  I think the cause was her legs were already straight by the time she was going to turn the shoulder.  In the end she was bending the knees enough to get the extra oomph to complete the throw.

I'm getting used to pushing on the face when stepping over.  I used to feel like it was too mean, but it's really no big deal when it's done to me.

Scissor sweep works for me in a pinch when rolling.  Mostly from open guard though and I can get someone coming forward.  Today Greg added kicking out their knee as a possibility that he usually doesn't include in this class.  I think the most important thing was to get a good collar grip first because it is very versatile.  don't worry about the sleeve grip until you're ready to open up for the sweep.

Rolling: Side Control with Arm(2 x 2 min), Closed Guard (2 x 2 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Greg, Harvey, Zack

We started from the bottom with our arm already trapped for the farside armbar.  I got nowhere with Greg.  There was one point where I went for the armbar but stood up way too high.  I think it was nerves trying to get over his stiff arm.  Otherwise he escaped by being able to get his knee in between us every time.  From the bottom I don't think he caught me with an armbar but he did go to mount and swept me a couple of times.  I think I got a sympathetic laugh from Brian (Backdraft) on the side lines for my efforts.

From the bottom with Harvey I ended up in a shallow omoplata position.  I ended up in double unders but it wasn't as clean as I would have liked.  I attempted the scissor sweep couple times with some success.  From the top I passed once and then helped him work on the sweep with some resistance.

Had a good roll with Zack.  Was able to pass to side control, but he kept me from attacking from there.  My arm was trapped in his leg and I had to work it out.  I went for a north/south choke but he was able to hide his neck.  He then kept getting his knees in the way to recover guard.  Time ended before anything else occurred.

Office Hours Partner: Zack

I asked to work on the Faria half guard stuff that I've been watching.  I'm still not totally sure of the best way to setup the Faria half guard.  The problem is mostly that I have to grab his pants with the arm that is underhooked, so I have to figure out some way to make the other person want to bring their knee out.  Will they just do it naturally?  Do I have to trick them?  He makes it look pretty simple on the DVD.  More research required.

He had me attempt to pass his butterfly guard over and over.  Sometimes I passed and sometimes he swept.  He seemed to be focusing more on double unders.  Definitely the major determining factor for winning this battle was who controlled the grips.  I left feeling a little unfulfilled and wanted a few more rolls.  Oh well, better to leave wanting more. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5th 2015 - Gi Beginner (Just Watch)

Theme & Techniques: O-Soto Gari, Basic Side Control Escape, Americana from Side Control
Partner: N/A

My gout has come on strong this week, so I decided to torture myself by just watching.  Noticed a few things that I wouldn't have if I had been out there.  There are some details that I know Greg says but people are not necessarily doing when they do the techniques.  I don't mean to disparage anyone because I have experienced multiple times that I wasn't ready for a technique or a specific detail of a technique.  It will hopefully happen over and over again even on techniques that I already think I know. 

So a couple of things that I saw:
  • Not stepping up next to the opponent for O-Soto Gari
  • Planting the sweeping foot for the O-Soto Gari instead of swinging through
  • Resting foot on thigh in bottom side control to block mount
  • Knee or foot dropping during side control escape
  • Keeping elbows nice and tight while setting up americana

Rolling: Side Control Position
Rolled With: N/A

Saw some great things from everyone.  This is the hardest part for me to watch and just sit there.  I won't make too many comments on specific rolls, but I did see Anthony setup a triangle and finish it,  Zack and Robert had quite a battle, and it's always fun watching Bhuvana and Sam work diligently to gain ground.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2nd 2015 - Kids & Competition & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique/Game: Side Control Escape, Side Control to Mount, Side Control and Free Rolling

Only had a little bit of trouble during the technique portion today.  There was some tickling and getting in each others faces to make the other laugh.  Otherwise they were trying during the warm-up and the rolling went very well.  Jayden was a little sad that Jace kept stepping over into mount, but I saw him do some good things from the top and when the actually free rolled he got a sweep.  I can see them moving their hips correctly to get to their knees and get on top.  It's very fun to watch them roll.  Hopefully they'll realize how important taking the technique portion of class seriously is.

Competition Class
Focus: Guard: Omoplata Sweep; Pass: X-Pass, Smash Pass; Takedown: Cross Guard Pull 
Partner: Henry

Greg had us warm-up with some different grip breaks with 2 minute rounds.  The first two were ones that we commonly use, the third one was a defense against a stiff arm on the lapel where we kind of compressed it into our opponent.

The humidity was tough to deal with today and I felt a bit out of shape.  I got winded doing so many reps of the omoplata sweep and the x-pass was tough on my legs.  It felt good to join in on the competition class though.  I think focusing on the omoplata sweep during rolling is going to be a good idea.  I was setting up a wrist lock or going to the spiral armbar as a follow up.  During the guard passing portion I had Henry grab my ankle after a while to deal with it since it's a common problem from the position.  

Open Mat
Rolled With: Conan, Adam, Jerad, Mo, Bauer
Game Plan: Bottom - Anything Deep Half & Cross Guard, Top - Baseball Bat Choke, Spiral Armbar

Conan: I had asked him yesterday if he had any pointers on the Tozi pass since he's been working on it.  He basically took me through a whole class.  Several things that I didn't know were brought to light.  He lays on his side more than I do once the thigh is smashed down.  His head doesn't necessarily need to be up by their head but can be in the armpit too.  He will also push on their hip with his free hand.  A lot of good information that I collected today.  I don't think I ended up in anyone's close guard after that so I didn't get to use it today.

We rolled and I started out pretty well.  He ended up sweeping me from half guard with an underhook.  I almost regained a couple times and was able to mess with his balance but it was only a matter of time before he submitted me.  I think it was either an armbar, kimura, or americana.

We went over dealing with the knee slide pass and keeping my arm under my leg to keep him from grabbing it.  Also controlling my opponents knee and not letting it hit the floor by pulling it into myself.

Adam: Had some good things happen with Adam but ultimately I felt weak against him.  He eventually passed my guard and while I regained to half guard and then butterfly, I never came close to a top position. 

I struggle with how much energy I need to conserve.  Yeah I can keep him from submitting me for quite a while in side control, but how much more effort would I save if I used it on preventing being passed?  Maybe that is an experiment that I need to conduct.  Focus all of my energy on maintaining guard and sweeping.

Part of my problem is also not trusting my technique with the better guys.  Sometimes an opportunity will present itself for the makings of an omoplata or something else I'm good at, but I'll think that they're too good to fall for that and not try it or be too slow to try it.  Need to work on getting some confidence in my technique and throwing a little caution to the wind for a while.

Jerad: Jerad called me out early on since we didn't get to roll last week.  I tried to turn on my no-thinking mode and it worked pretty well.  I was able to pass his guard with an x-pass and I attacked from top for a time.  I went to north/south choke, then guillotine then mount and finally switched to ezekiel but apparently I was in the middle of his throat instead of on the side.  Once he busted out of that I ended up on bottom, and he turned it up a notch.  I felt too tired to fight back effectively and my fingers seemed to completely shot.  He submitted me with an armbar maybe, not sure why I'm blanking on the submissions tonight.

Mo: During our roll I went through my north/south choke to guillotine sequence again.  He ended up getting free but I went right into a rolling back take from quarter guard that seems to be getting better for me.  After our roll he asked some questions about the north/south choke and I showed him my sequence and how I go to mount using the guillotine and then post my head and try to connect my hands.  He says that the north/south choke has been working for him lately, so I'm happy to help him with his contingency plan.

Bauer: We had an epic match which took too long because I was late getting home and didn't get a chance to work with Bhuvana.  Bauer, like me, is very good at defenses.  I think we have being the junior guys at Roseberry's before the move to LBJJC to thank for that.  I felt like I was always playing defense there.

I was in mount and couldn't isolate an arm or get the ezekiel, he made me question if I could submit him from mount.  I was able to setup a spiral armbar but when I went for it he sat right up and stacked.  I had a couple of good sweeps after that with a deep half guard sweep and a butterfly sweep.  The butterfly was in transition as he had just reversed me to the top and was going for mount.  I caught his leg in half butterfly, went to full butterfly and swept and went right into knee slide.  I think previously I would have stopped to think or rest once I captured his leg.  I attacked a lot of bread cutter chokes and tried to setup a farside armbar but never felt confident enough to finish the techniques.  Finally I got into a north/south choke and really took my time in keeping everything tight. 

I asked Greg how I could prevent people sitting up into my spiral armbar.  It was simple, I just needed to step my other leg over his shoulder and it made all the difference in the world.  That is a huge piece to that technique that I completely overlooked.  Fair warning to everyone I mount I'm hunting for this particular sub.

Friday, May 1, 2015

May 1st 2015 - Gi All Levels

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

Got some more good reps in today.  Before just doing the technique I worked on just sticking Jordan's foot into my armpit correctly.  Just to make sure I could put the pressure on correctly.  Then I focused on the things from earlier in the week.  Tucking the elbow and putting my forehead on the floor being the most important.  Probably the only thing that didn't flow very much was securing the foot before falling to my side.

Rolling: Closed Guard King of the Mat
Rolled With: Greg, Zack, Jordan, Austin, Anthony, Conan

Unfortunately it never worked out for me to go with Conan, but I did do some great things with.  In fact I passed his guard...almost.  I got into double unders which led to him rolling over to turtle.  He then granby rolled and regained guard, I went for broke with my knee up and went into a knee over pass.  I smoothly went into side control and couldn't believe that I was getting the pass!  Then he did some magic and I was back in his guard again.  What's worse after all that fighting and him sweeping me, it was his 3rd time being king so I had to stay and roll with the next guy.

My guard retention didn't feel up to snuff today.  I wasn't aggressive enough with my sitting up guard and was a little lazy and let some of my opponents get their hips too far away.  I did have some success with the omoplata but I'm back to having trouble finishing it, I might switch to just going right into the sweep for a while.

I did attempt one straight ankle lock today and got it.  Jordan made a funny comment when he realized that I was going for it like "crap" or "damn."  Finishing the footlock felt better than it has ever before, I have a little confidence in it now after the pointers I picked up on this week.  I was in half guard with the underhook having Zack on top.  I thought I was golden but he did a good job of controlling my free arm and he worked himself into top kesa gatame.  This was a little disheartening, but I also felt like there was more I could have done to prevent it but I felt safe in my position with the underhook which was probably being lazy.

Office Hours Partner: Ross

Ross and I had a good couple rolls.  I feel kind of bad because he asked me if I noticed anything that he was doing wrong but I couldn't think of anything, I was kind of focusing on myself.  I showed him the side control to mounted triangle setup to armbar that Greg showed us a while ago and I was surprised how well it worked for me.  I played a little deep half and butterfly.  I tried to setup the half guard arm drag but couldn't get my foot into the right position on his hip.  I also went for a shoalin sweep but wasn't able to complete the back roll, some day will get this technique.

I got the Faria Deep Half Guard DVD in the mail yesterday and I only watched a little bit of it.  I tried one thing with Ross but it didn't go well because I didn't know the specifics.  However, I can now go back and look at the instructional and know what focus on.