Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 29th 2015 - Kids & Open Mat (North/South All Day)

Open Mat
Rolled With: Roland, Jerad, Henry, Adam, Tim, David, Austin
Game Plan: Look for Back Control, Attempting More Hip Escapes in Bottom Side

Had a lot of great rolls today and felt like I was on my game.  A couple things happened repeatedly, the north/south choke presented itself multiple times and I also found myself in unorthodox armbar positions from mount.  I won't go into too much detail with every roll, because with so many rolls I don't remember a lot or it all muddles together.

Roland: He's gained some skill since the last time we rolled.  He was a lot more difficult to push around. 

Jerad: Had a great couple matches.  I felt like I had some new answers for some of the things Jerad does to me on a regular basis.  I'm shrimping a lot more and attempting to bridge more.  I was able to pass his guard on our second roll and went from side control to the north/south lapels under armpits back take.  I made sure I got my bottom hook in and fell but I also should have secured my under hook on the opposite side because he was able to escape after that. 

Henry: Had an interesting exchange with him.  I feel like in general my dealing with wrestler types has improved.  I'm at least adjusting to the side control escape.  There was a point where I had his back and went for a bow and arrow, he was able to defend that but I moved to what could be called a side triangle that gave an option for an armbar.

Adam: We started out with a battle from butterfly and half guard with him on bottom.  I surfed as much as I could and prevented a couple sweep attempts but eventually I ended up on the bottom.  My new side control escapes are still no up to par to escape his but I did see some things to improve on.  I believe he submitted me with an americana or kimura

Tim: He is here for school and did some MMA/BJJ in Minnesota.  We did no gi and he had some pretty good movement and defense. 

David: We also did no gi which we determined was a mistake soon after because we were slipping all over the place and not able to get a good hold on each other.  We started off pretty slow in my full guard and we kind of felt each other out with neither of us wanting to make mistakes.  I ended up in an armbar position with him, but had a hell of a time trying to get his arms apart.  I ended up in a triangle position still trying to go for the armbar.  I couldn't get the arm free or finish the triangle, although after we finished the roll he said I was very close to finishing the triangle.  

Austin: Our roll was over fairly quickly if I remember correctly.  Nothing really sticks out as being notable.

I tried to help Alejandro with some standup practice but was pretty tired out by that time.  Had a good discussion with Ray about Uchi Mata, it's good to have him back.

Friday, August 28, 2015

August 28th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Defense Against Wall to Neck Crank, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass
Partner: Morgan

I did a couple quick reps on uchi mata before class started with Dave.  I've got to actively seek someone every class.  Conan had us do some different warm-ups like last week with partner situps, guard standing and lifting, and monkey boy.  I felt sorry for Morgan and did the situps with Zac instead.

Morgan was much better with the guillotine escape than Tuesday.  He didn't let up with his posture at all.  We played around a little bit with hand fighting or riding up the leg on the closed guard break.  At the end of the drilling portion, Conan went over some double under defenses that I think everyone appreciated.

Rolling: Closed Guard (4 x 4 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Morgan, Ethan, Dave

Good training today.  I resorted to the standing guard break after the kneeling would fail, but still wanted to try it.  From the bottom, I played cross guard or 2 on 1 pretty successfully.  I ended up hitting some hip bump sweeps in transitions where my cross guard failed as they struggled to remove the cross grip, this is new thing for this game.

Morgan's long legs are something that I have to deal with.  Just try to keep my elbows in.  I showed him later that he may have some success with pulling a hand across and looking to take the back or sweep. 

Ethan was pretty tough, this was the first time I rolled with him so I didn't know what to expect.  He was pretty decent at finding the moment to scramble just when he was about to be put on his back.  I had to work hard to stay ahead of him a couple times to complete a sweep.  He was able to catch me in a single leg one of the times.

Had a good free roll with Dave.  Afterward we went over some guard passing starting with toreando and then leg drag.  Then I found out he had not done an armdrag before so we worked for a while on that.  We did it from standing and then from butterfly guard and then came back to the leg drag.  Hopefully not too much info for one day.

Office Hours Partner: Morgan, Zac

Morgan and I rolled a couple times and I went pretty light and tried to flow as much as possible. 

Zac wanted to cover the north/south choke as I have become the goto guy for that.  He seemed to like how it worked and setups and follow ups that I use.  We also talked about back mount and not putting the top hook in if the bottom hook is out.  I showed him using the butterfly hook to roll them away to regain that hook.

I saw the video below earlier today and was really surprised at how Marcelo Garcia uses his hooks differently and sometimes not at all.  His upper body control and harness are so strong and impressive.  This video reinforces my thinking of the standard hooks for back mount not being as important as I thought.  The legs still do stuff and that's what I need to investigate but I don't necessarily have to have both hooks in all the time to have a successful back attack game. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Defense Against Wall to Neck Crank, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass
Partner: Ben

Just me and Ben today taking up all of the personal attention.  Part way through the floor exercises we decided instead of walking back to the other side of the room to start the next lap we would just turn around and continue.  This saved a lot of time, but damn if we weren't breathing a lot harder by the end without the walking rest breaks.

A couple bits of advice that I picked up on or seemed to help Ben were:
  • When putting your knee on the sit bone to the point of doing the guard break keep your thigh as vertical as possible to prevent them from riding up your leg.
  • It may feel stronger to grab higher up on the leg to break the guard but if you're elbow is not on the inside of their thigh or knee you may have a bad time.
  • The double under pass may seem more brute force than technical, but there is a technique to it.  Don't push forward from the start pull them back and up onto your legs.  Raise their hips up high enough so their legs can no longer affect your arms.

Rolling: Guard Position (4 x 3 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Ben

I did my best not to give anything up.  There were a couple close calls and Ben is no slouch.  I'm pretty happy with my closed guard game even though I haven't been working on it for a while.  Breaking the closed guard on the other hand seems like a lot of work to me right now, I'd rather they just opened their guard for me.

Probably the most frustrating thing during the free rolling was making it to mount and being unable to get through his defenses to get a submission.  This may be a turning point because I should be finding ways to make my opponent make mistakes for me to capitalize on.  Now I seem to depend on them making mistakes on their own to a certain degree. 

Worked a bit on the uchi mata.  I'm hopefully going to get some reps in with every class if I can find a willing partner.  Right now I'm working on getting my feet in the right place.  It seems difficult to do with slow fit-ins. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25th 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Defense Against Wall to Neck Crank, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass
Partner: Robert, Morgan

Before class I had Zac help me with some Uchi Matas.  I decided to research this throw and see if it's for me.  The video at the bottom of this post has been pretty helpful so far.  I'm really interested in finding some more stand-up techniques because I often don't feel confident with my takedowns. 

Not much to say about techniques this week.  Just want to point out that when defending the guillotine I like to think about scraping them up the wall and getting posture.  Bring your chest forward and up and don't use your neck to push against their arm.  Once you break the choke keep your posture because if you look down again they'll be able to pull you back down.

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

It feels like it's been a while since I trained in the closed guard and I enjoyed it.  Morgan did a good job from bottom with getting collar grips and attempting to break me down.  When I was on bottom I felt very comfortable and started playing my cross guard and 2 on 1.  I feel like I have a lot of options from here and maybe I should focus more on getting back to full guard. 

Had an almost did something good with Greg situation.  I went to cross guard but he put a wall up and got my leg out of the space that I wanted.  He started to do a standing pass and somehow I ended up with a kimura grip.  I attempted to do the rotating back take technique but got stuck.  I went for half guard but I probably shouldn't have.  From the top Greg got me in 2 on 1 and eventually led into a triangle. 

Office Hours Partner: Robert

Did the last roll with Robert and than another 5 minutes after class.  Like usual I ended up in half guard a lot.  I was able to use a butterfly hook a couple times to regain butterfly guard but he seems proficient in defending butterfly, maybe need to revisit that position soon.  I went to deep half a lot, but didn't feel confident in the position with him.  He seems to be able to beat it.  I ended up in side control at one point and was able to implement some of things that Conan worked with me on this past week.  Greg said he saw some pretty good stuff from both of us during our rolls.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23rd 2015 - Beginner No Gi

Theme & Techniques: Side Control Escape to Single Leg
Partner: Darijo

Couldn't make it to open mat yesterday but was fortunate enough to make it no gi today.  Conan had us do a couple partner warm-ups that I enjoy with the switch sides armbar from guard drill, sit outs, and armbar from mount and recovering mount. 

This was similar to what we worked on Friday, but Conan really wanted to bring home the addition of an extra shoulder twist to defend the crossface.  This made a huge difference in what I thought this move was as there have been many times when I've gotten close to escaping side control only to be put back flat by a crossface.  It also got me focusing on bridging with the intent of knocking them over.  Doing this seems to cause a lot more openings.

Rolling: Side Control (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Darijo

Despite talking himself down a little Darijo did great and challenged me from the top and bottom.  I don't have nearly as many attacks in no gi so I felt like I had to move a lot more and switch sides.  My hand was constantly trying to check the hip.  He did seem a little susceptible to the kimura grip so he may want to look into keeping his hands closer to his chest.  When I was on the bottom it took a while before I found the right moment to attempt to escape and then I felt like I gave a half assed attempt at what we drilled.  I just don't feel strong in my bridge from there but I feel like it was a good week to start focusing on side control escapes.

Office Hours Partner: Chris (?), Mo, Dave, Jeff

This doesn't usually happen, I always try to commit everyone's name that I'm going to mention in the blog to memory.  I think his name is Chris, this was the first time we rolled, but I've seen him in open mat quite a few times.  After our first roll he asked about what he should be doing when starting from the knees.  I'm very confident in what I have to say for this in the gi, but no gi without pant grips I'm often lost when I'm attempting to pass the someone that knows what they're doing.  I have a few tricks but would much rather be in the gi. 

Had a good roll with Mo, he attacked me with a couple things that I did not expect.  I made it a point to put him into deep half a couple times since he's interested in it.  I also ran my N/S to guillotine series that he was able to fend off.  I noticed a couple times that I was probably putting too much weight on him since I'm quite a bit bigger.  While in top quarter guard, I figured I'd go for a rolling back take and as I began my roll he stuck his hand on my shoulder and was able to reverse the position on me and take my back.  What!?  I wasn't even aware of this movement but he told me he's hit it on a couple other people and it's legit if timed right.  To make up for this I did a rolling back take from twister side control later on.

Rolled with Dave and was surprised at how much better he's gotten since last we rolled.  He felt stronger but I think that had a lot to do with having a better base.  One of the goals that I have is to get better at a triangle and never skip the opportunity to attack one on the white belts.  Like usual he was able to defend it through posturing up against my stubby legs.

I had seen Dave rolling with Jeff previously and noticed that he had back mount without hooks and was trying to put the top hook in.  Later on I showed him why it was a bad idea and why I've been focusing on getting the bottom hook lately.  I also showed him and Jeff my interpretation of Greg's seat belt grip.  It seemed like they both appreciated it.

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21st 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Throw Kuzushi, Side Control Escapes
Partner: Zac, Conan

Small class today but informative all the same.  We practiced using stepping back to pull the our opponent into the throw.  I practiced a mixture of throws and have been thinking about uchi matta lately.  I'm not sure if I'm doing it right, but I like the idea of the throw. 

Similar to the tripod escape but instead of bringing the butt up he would more bump himself down the leg.  It seemed similar to what I've seen wrestlers do to me.  We also talked about the concept of controlling one arm which Conan does a lot.  This doesn't make him worry as much about getting trapped or submitted and often when I am in side control with him there are times when I don't feel like I'm the one in control even though I'm in the dominant position.

Rolling: Side Control Position (4 x 4 min), Free Rolling
Rolled With: Zac, Conan

Both of them were difficult to deal with today.  I didn't feel good about my performance from top or bottom but I think I discovered an issue with defense.  I kept pulling Conan and Zac higher up on top of me.  Which in turn pushed my arms up and I can't move.  I've noticed that I've been in this spot with Conan many times before and started to realize I'm doing it on purpose.  It feels like I'm trying to do something that I would do in half guard to get lower but without any control on their leg it's really bad news.  So good realization that I'm going to work on preventing.

Some things of note I was able to do the elbow push successfully a few times.  I had some success from the top with switching sides a la Ryan Hall.  I had a very quick roll with Zac where he got an arm drag off the bat and attacked from half guard to top half guard and then got me in a collar choke.  I'm getting better at defending these from him, but he's still got some tricks up his sleeve.  Zac helped me with the basic side control escape and noticed that I wasn't moving my hips away like Conan was.  I'm pretty much bridging straight up and down.  This is another game changer hopefully.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Gueruma, Side Control Tripod Escape, Side Control Kimura
Partner: Alejandro

Not too much to report on the technique side of things.  I got to work with Alejandro which is always a pleasure.  There were a couple times where we didn't quite stick to the techniques that we were working on and went to some different guards or submissions.  He was pretty light and gentle with the kimura and didn't ever take it all the way to the tap. 

Rolling: Side Control (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Alejandro, Fuji, Greg, Tom, Casey

Alejandro started out with the switch grip side control but modified it a bit to include an oil check.  That was a little uncomfortable but I fought through it.  He submitted me once with an armlock but I don't remember which one.  From the top I don't remember doing much.  Fuji and I were both able to regain guard on the other.  This hardly ever happens for me, so it's worth mentioning. 

I regained guard on Greg!  I believe he was stepping over into amount and I caught his leg with a butterfly hook.  I was able to sweep but as I came up I got a knee to the chin for all of my hard work.  He played it off like it was an accident but I know better.  Just kidding, he felt pretty bad about it.  Luckily the mouthpiece saved the day again.  From the top he regained guard quite easily but I don't remember much else.

Had some good rolls with Tom and Casey.  My latest goal during rolling is to focus on guard retention and not letting anyone pass.  After that I focused on controlling from side control trying to emulate the way Alejandro does it.  I attempted the kimura that we worked on a couple times, I wasn't able to complete any but I ended up with an armbar and a north/south choke.  I also played around with the double lapel backtake from north/south with very little success with various people today. 

Office Hours Partner: Tom

Rolled with Tom a couple times after class.  I ended up tricking him into the NS choke again.  So we went over some defenses for it.  I also went over some guard playing and passing strategies that I use when starting a roll.  He seemed to appreciate it and he may turn into my regular Wednesday office hours partner since I don't really have one right now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 18th 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Gueruma, Side Control Tripod Escape, Side Control Kimura
Partner: Bhuvana

Bhuvana is in a little bit of a vicious cycle in that she is relaxed on all of the fit in throws and then when the 5th rep comes when we throw she drops her hips and makes the throw exceedingly difficult.  So, before our last set I told her that I was going to throw her on one of the throws before 5.  She was a little worried but I ended up making sure she was relaxed on the first fit in and then threw her three times without any problems.  She was surprised that she fell well without getting hurt.  Greg commented that it was because she was more relaxed.

Everyone has trouble with this side control escape.  It's difficult to push off your foot and staying on your shoulder.  I still have problems keeping my shoulder on the floor.  I do use the underhook to escape a lot though.

Since I've learned this kimura setup from Greg it has changed my defense a lot from side control too.  You pretty much cannot have your outside hand resting on either side of their head.  There's either the kimura or the farside armbar.  I'm always ready to hide my hand under their shoulder.  I've been in the spot several times since learning this technique where my arm was on their shoulder and they are pushing forward to finally get the kimura grip.  It's almost inevitable that the kimura is going to happen, but you have no choice but to keep your hand up on their shoulder for as long as you can.

Rolling: Side Control (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Bhuvana, Robert, Ben

We started with the switch grip, but I don't think it lasted long in any of my rolls.  Pretty much everyone hid their hand as soon as we started.  I tried to get the kimura but couldn't set it up.  Mount was a little easier to achieve.  From the top Bhuvana was going for the north/south choke.  She didn't quite get passed my defense but she didn't get easily reversed either.  Robert gave me a hard time and was able to escape a couple times.  

Had a good roll with Ben.  Once I was in mount, I had my sights set on an S-Mount armbar.  I'd get under his shoulder and bring my foot under his other elbow, and begin to lean to bring my foot over and he would buck and center up.  I'd recover and maybe try something else but then come back to the S-Mount.  Finally he stuck his other arm out too far while bridging and we ended up in an inverted armbar position.  Not sure what I could have done differently to keep him from getting out of it or follow up technique that I should have went for.

Office Hours Partner: Robert

He drilled a half guard sweep a few times before we rolled a couple five minute rounds no-gi.  I ended up in deep half a lot when I was on the bottom.  I don't think he had me in a bad position too often.  He did catch an arm triangle in half guard and subbed me with that.  There was once or twice where he allowed me to sweep on purpose because he wanted to work on being on the bottom more. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15th 2015 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class Technique: Half Guard Pass to Mount 

Rolling/Game: Half Guard Position, Crab Walk Soccer

I helped teach today and there was only 1 child in the younger kids class.  My boys helped with a couple of the games and the technique.  We played some foot tag and flag tag and had fun.  From there Greg showed them the arm drag to help with flag tag. 

For the bigger kids class Jayden had some trouble getting motivated and skipped a lot of the warm-up.  They both did well with the technique although had their silly moments.  They're getting a lot better at starting from half guard and knowing automatically what side to be on. 

Rolling together was pretty good, but close to the end that had a bigger kid added to their group and he was able to sweep them with some brute force.  Hopefully they took that as a lesson for next time to be a little more stable and get the crossface or underhook as soon as possible.  Crab walk soccer is incredibly difficult for an old guy like me.  We divided into teams and I saw some good team work with everyone passing to each other.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Henry, Jerad, Tyler, Alejandro, Adam

Tough day of rolling.  My kids came with me so I cut the session short and tried to get in as many rolls as I could.

Henry: I'm starting to see improvement from working on attacking the turtle and maintaining side control are starting to manifest.  I was able to prevent some of the things that he usually get's me with like going to turtle to escape side control and going for a single leg.  It's good to see drilling a deficiency paying off.

Jerad: I started out well and swept Jerad from deep half right into an over/under pass position.  He's been great at defending this lately so I tried to stay a step ahead and went right into a double unders pass.  It was going great until he got a hold of my elbow and countered that back to a butterfly guard.  I don't remember how he swept me but I ended up in mount and defended that and back mount for quite some time until he submitted me with an armbar.

Tyler: He tried to barimbolo me a couple times and I went with it.  He was able to take my back and was actually pretty good at maintaining the position.  I eventually got free and passed him with over under pass.  After we rolled I showed him the defense for the over/under.  I took his back a couple times as well and he defended well.  He's no slouch. 

Alejandro: Rolled with him a couple times and didn't feel like I accomplished much.  When he started on the bottom he would always get the basic open guard position and he's quite good at it.  I didn't realize this was the position at first but we discussed how I should pass his guard and he showed me that my posture really needs a lot of work.  I'm leaning over too much with straight legs, where my butt really needs to be down.  He also commented that he enjoys the blog and looks forward to reading it.  Awesome.  Sometimes I'll go for a while without getting any feedback so I'm not sure who's reading it or who likes it.  Or, heaven forbid who dislikes it.

Adam: I had nothing for him today.  I was able to prevent one guard pass but on his second attempts he locked my leg down and was able to step around to side control.  There was no getting free after that, only defense.  He attacked a lot of brabo type chokes and I defended a few of them but eventually he did one with his own gi. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg, Americana from Mount, Bread Cutter from Side Mount
Partner: Brian (Sweeney), Will

Worked on the double some more.  I was having some trouble with my penetration step and then Greg said just pull him over me more.  That made a big difference.  A couple times Brian almost caught me in half guard and not sure if that was something that I was doing or if it was his reaction, but I usually don't run into that with others.

My elbows were pretty tight from the americana the day before so I seemed to tap a little sooner.  I'm really not flexible for this submission in the first place.  The bread cutter also got a little tough to take after a while with the constant gi across the throat.

Rolling: Mount (4 x 2 min), Side Control (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Greg, Brian, Will, Morgan, Casey

Greg's mount was awful to be stuck in.  He got both of his feet under my legs and took away my ability to bridge.  Then he worked to pry an arm isolated and I think he was going for the arm triangle choke.  I survived the entire round but I was eventually going to be submitted.  From top I wasn't nearly as effective and he escaped a couple times.  There was one point when I was trying to walk his arm up with my fingers and he bridged hard to that side.  My fingers got stuck and bent back just enough to hurt and I had to stop the roll.  No damage and we got back to it, just scared me a little.

Brian did pretty well in mount.  His movements and defense especially were good and hard to deal with.  I rolled with Will and Morgan from side control.  I did my best to prevent the collar grip for the bread cutter choke by blocking the bicep as they both went for that choke.  Side control is always difficult to escape and often a scramble is created.  At one point I did get the elbow push and I made sure to commit to it and get onto my back hand because lately I don't think I've gotten up enough with it.  From the top I also went for the bread cutter but couldn't cinch up the second grip.  I played some knee on belly and had to switch sides a couple times. 

I rolled with Casey, who had just mentioned to Greg that we needed more small guys in the gym.  That affected me a little while we were rolling and I got to a top position and I tried to be a little lighter on him than I probably would have.  I did do some knee on belly though to even it out.  He defended an omoplata that I put on in our second match well enough that I had to settle for the sweep instead of the submission.

Rolled with Greg again to finish the class off.  Started off in butterfly which is always a mistake with him.  He passed right to half guard and it went downhill from there.  I did a couple of good things and recovered half guard at one point, but didn't do much offensively.  He attacked from mount again and I think he was looking for the arm triangle. 

Office Hours Partner: Morgan

During our roll from side control, he tried to get under me to take my back and I mentioned that I'd show him a better way after class.  So I just went over if they are turned away and you can get harness or gift wrap then bring the knee up high under their shoulder, step over and sit to the other side for back mount.  It seemed like he was focused on getting his hips under me to take the back instead of getting hips above, if that makes sense.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11th 2015 - Gi Beginner

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg, Americana from Mount, Bread Cutter from Side Mount
Partner: Tom, Mike

Making my double leg smooth is what I'm going to focus on the most this week.  Shortening the time between shooting to turning the corner mostly.  One thing that I saw from others on this one is the penetration step.  Don't drop your knee straight to the floor you have to move your hips forward to penetrate the space between their feet.

For Americana from mount position your shoulders above their shoulders, push straight down into their shoulders you won't be as powerful if you attempt to push their arm up. For the bread cutter I'm getting better at turning on my side to get all the way to the collar.  I used to just settle for the back of the gi, but the collar cinches this technique up so much better.  So take the time to get this grip.

Rolling: Mount (2 x 2 min), Side Mount (2 x 2 min), Free Rolling (5 min)
Rolled With: Tyler, Bhuvana, Shane

I'm very impressed with Tyler's mount and think if we were the same size I would have a lot more difficult time with him.  Bhuvana was pushing forward a little bit too much on top and we went over sinking the hips more instead.  When I was on top she did a good job of attempting to escape, I had to switch sides several times but eventually ended up in north/south.

Shane was very fast and strong right off the bat.  I used it as an opportunity to work on controlling the pace.  Instead of trying to match his intensity I found my position and then didn't let him move as much.  It's a work in progress.  There was a point when I was in top side control and ran into his hair a little bit when going for a cross face.  It was a little frustrating as I don't want to hurt my partner but his hair is also in my way for something that I'll usually get no problem.  Sometimes I'm nice and I'll do my best to navigate their hair to get what I want, but I was thinking that I'm giving that person time to escape where a person with short hair would not have that luxury.  I've come to the conclusion that it's the person's job with long hair to keep it out of my way.  If I put my knee on it or if it get's caught in my fingers, you'll have to deal with it.  Rant over. 

Hopefully this doesn't come across as a dig against Shane or long haired people in general because I enjoyed our roll regardless and think he's getting better.  What do you guys think about rolling with long haired people or if you have long hair what is your opinion?

Office Hours Partner: Sam

Had a good couple rolls after class.  We talked about starting in butterfly and how I like to start with a cross collar grip and use it for a loop choke or to get my underhook. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

August 8th 2015 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Half Guard Recover Full Guard, Passing Half Guard  

Rolling/Game: Half Guard Position, Free Rolling

Kids were good this whole week.  Jayden is still a little slow on the warm-ups and has to be told to hurry back in line often, but he seems to be trying more.  I'm hoping that they can keep coming at least 2 times a week once school starts.  During drilling they both did well with the techniques minus forgetting to switch feet every now and again.  Jayden had a success today during rolling with his brother.  He showed that he really wanted it from the top position and passed his guard using the technique from the drilling portion of class.  Jace is my little back taker, he seems to be able to find back mount quite a bit while rolling. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jerad, Darijo, Alejandro, Fuji, Will, Mike (New)
Game Plan: Bottom - Deep Half Waiter Sweep Top - Ezekiel

Jerad: Had several tough rolls with him.  I actually reached deep half on him and swept, that was a first.  But, he prevented my over/under pass sufficiently.  Eventually he was on top again and I felt like he was forcing me to think more than I'm used to while rolling.  He caught me with a cross collar choke, mostly because I didn't think he could finish it.  During another roll I spent some time on top.  I attacked as much as I could attempting NS choke, guillotine, and kimura but I was never able to finish.  Eventually he reversed me and eventually worked to a submission. 

Darijo: He has gotten better since last time we rolled and did a few things that were tough to deal with.  He was pretty good at defending my deep half, I went for waiter but he went forward too much so I had to come out the back.  I should have probably went for the x-guard. 

Alejandro: I'll call it a good day since I made it to deep half on him, where I usually can't manage to get to any type of meaningful guard.  I almost defended an armbar as well using the RNC hand position defense, I came up on it but he eventually pried it free.  Other than that he destroyed me. 

Fuji: In the beginning I felt pretty good about retaining guard.  I eventually messed up and he passed and I spent the rest of our roll on the bottom of side control.  The rolls following he had me attack from back mount and side control.  I did a good job of controlling him and floating when I needed to.  Eventually he always escaped though.  It's always a little frustrating to roll with him, but I know it's good for me.

Will: This was probably the most methodical roll I've ever had with anyone.  He started on top and we ended up in half guard.  He slowed the pace way down and did his best to prevent me from moving as he attempted to progress his position.  I ended up in butterfly and full guard off and on with him still keeping good top pressure.  Eventually I got a sweep and came on top, I surprised him with an ezekiel choke soon after.  I watched some youtube videos on the technique recently and saw that many would drive their hand to the other side of their neck before putting pressure with the choke.  I tried this probably 4 times today and was very successful.

Mike: He's still pretty new so I did my best to challenge myself with some different sweeps and passes.  After a few rolls I gave him some pointers on starting from bottom and top and protecting himself from side control.  He wanted to roll a few times more and thanked me for my advice.

Friday, August 7, 2015

August 7th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Elbow Escape from Mount, Armbar from Mount
Partner: Conan

Turned into an advanced class today with just Conan, Zack, Alejandro, and myself.  Conan gave us a couple variations and showed how he makes the elbow mistake work for him.  A big factor had to do with putting their weight on the knee that you want to bridge to.  He really emphasized how hard the bridge should be. 

With the armbar we moved into an s-mount setup.  This was pretty straight forward although it's usually not the way I get it myself.  Maybe because I feel like it's a little mean since the s-mount puts a lot of weight on my opponent and I'm usually heavier than them. 

Rolling: Mount Position (4 x 4 min), Free Rolling (3 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Conan, Alejandro, Zack

I didn't have much success today due to my competition being so good.  I don't believe I escaped either Conan or Alejandro's mounts and got submitted.  I prevented several submissions but they were both good at lifting my arms and getting underneath them.  Alejandro gave me a lot of trouble with his feet on my thighs.  From the top I was unable to put their arms where I wanted and that was probably the major difference between our defenses.  Not sure what I'm missing but it's something to be considered. 

I rolled with Zack but he wanted me to start on top of mount.  It was a good roll and I attacked the back a bit and almost got some collar chokes.  He told me afterward that my grips were there I just needed to position my body better. 

Rolling with Conan I attempted butterfly guard and felt like I was close to the right position, but allowed him to move to the side I didn't want him to be on.  From there I was passed and stuck in side control and couldn't budge.  He does such a good job at pinning. 

The thing that I admired about Alejandro's game today was his grip fighting.  I had a very hard time getting what I wanted and even when I thought I had the grips I wanted it wasn't good enough and he took a different grip that counteracted it.  He swept me with dela riva again and caught me with a couple armbars.

Office Hours Partner: Zack, Alejandro

Zack and I worked some turtle defense and then some half guard position.  Alejandro showed us a basic de la riva setup and sweep. 

Zack commented that I was a little quiet today.  I was pretty much being thoughtful about what I need to do to get better.  I'm kind of back to mentality again and if I need to be rougher or more aggressive.  I have no idea.  He tried to assure me that I'm on the right path and am being too hard on myself.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5th 2015 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Standing Headlock Defense Hammerlock to RNC, Elbow Escape from Mount, Armbar from Mount
Partner: Tom

Had a few visitors today to make for a good size class.  Tom was one of those visitors with a couple stripes on his white belt.  He told me later that he's been training on and off for quite a few years and even trained at LMAC before I got there.

Training the techniques went pretty smoothly.  Probably the only thing I'll add from yesterday is when you take down the opponent and lock in the RNC lean them back a little bit and don't allow them to sit straight up and get their hips under them.

Rolling: Mount Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Tom, Morgan, Tyler, Ross, Mike A

Mount went pretty well for me.  I'm feeling more confident in maintaining the position but it often takes me a while to setup a submission.  From the bottom I was even able to use the elbow escape which I generally don't rely on.  I went for a few ezekiels, I'm still not sure about the angle to choke the best at because Morgan said it sucked really bad to be in it but it wasn't necessarily choking him.  I was impressed with Tyler's (high school senior) mount he seemed to have some skill from there in attacking. 

I got to break in Ross's new blue belt with a nice roll.  I've been having to fight a little harder at the start because he's getting better and more aggressive with his guard passing.  I was able to pull him down into deep half.  From there I felt a bit of confidence that I haven't experienced from this position.  Sometimes I get a little paralysis by analysis with all of the options that I've been working on but I took a quick inventory on what was available while doing that I was getting underneath and trying to unbalance him a bit and the basic sweep just happened.  He did catch me a little bit coming up and I wasn't able to go right into the leg drag but instead went for the over/under pass.  After rolling I showed him to push on my head to help prevent the pass.

Mike asked to start in over/under pass position to practice fighting it.  The first time he was able to prevent it pretty well and eventually get was in side control and taking my back.  He submitted me with a shoulder lock after I tried several escapes.  In our second roll I started a little tighter and had to switch sides on the over under and ended up in kind of a split pass.  I was almost passed (or not) when the timer went off.

Office Hours Partner: Mike

We went over that split pass and he showed me how the posture was different.  It was something that he picked up from the Ryan Hall guard pass DVD that I hope to borrow when he's done with it.  Also to finish the split pass he used windshield wiper to move off to the side. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 4th 2015 - Gi Beginner (My Way)

Had a good discussion with Conan yesterday that helped put my mind at ease.  The last couple weeks I've been focusing on being more aggressive and insisting on what I want.  Mostly this was brought on by having troubles with our resident wrestlers.  He recalled going through a similar phase and getting passed it.  A lot of it had to do with controlling the pace.  We also discussed what "insisting on what I want" meant.  While this was an informative couple of weeks and I feel like I've improved, I don't think I need to focus on it going forward for now.  I will find answers to my problems in my own way while staying true to my personal style. 

Theme & Techniques: Standing Headlock Defense Hammerlock to RNC, Elbow Escape from Mount, Armbar from Mount
Partner: Bhuvana

Bhuvana had some issues with the first technique in that I pretend punched her in the face 20 times while attempting the defense.  It was pretty much just order of operations.  1/2. Keep your posture and be prepared to defend from a punch; 3. Trap the far arm; 4. Grab the headlocking wrist; 5. Change your angle; 6. Duck under to hammerlock; 7. Kick the Back of the knee; 8. RNC

The elbow escape is not something that I use by itself.  It will sometimes come up while trying to escape the mount but it's usually not something I'll get by just focusing on it.  So don't worry too much if you find it not working for you off the shelf.  Try to use it in conjunction with the upa escape.

For the armbar I like to think about using a gymnast pummel horse move as I push myself up and kick my leg over their head.  This analogy seems to work for me.  Also I like to sit on their shoulder and try to slide under it.  This prevents creating additional space during the technique.

Rolling: Mount Position (6 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Bhuvana, Ben, Greg, Robert

Great day of rolling.  Mount position went fine.  There are really only a select group of people that I fear when they get me in mount.  From the top I feel pretty methodical.  I have several options it's just getting an arm out that I take most of the time doing.  Bhuvana and Ben were both good at defending and keeping their arms in tight.

Did some good things against Greg.  I attempted a butterfly sweep and it felt a lot better than any previous attempts with him.  Still didn't get him over and directly after he said I should have went for x-guard.  I flowed into deep half at one point and went right to waiter.  But in all the excitement I didn't keep control of his other leg so he stepped over and we were in a strange inverted half guard position.  I don't think he submitted me because he got a phone call from the door repair guys as he was working his way to that goal.

Also had some success with Robert.  Hit a good omoplata sweep that I worked hard for from a modified cross guard.  Then I felt like I was in a rodeo because of the constant anticipation and adjustment from him turning into me or going to turtle.  The last couple weeks of focusing on wrestling has paid off a little bit.  At one point I had him in a collar choke/bow and arrow but he was able to get his fingers in and defend.  As soon as I tired out we stood up and he double legged me.  I was searching for the guillotine but he was able to prevent that and I ended up in side control.  This is something that I need to address.

Office Hours Partner: Ben, Alejandro, Robert

I had Ben in guard at one point with his arms extended and turned it into a sweep.  We discussed the position a bit in how he needed to get his posture back and protect himself from an armlock.

I felt a little better about my performance with Alejandro.  He set up a couple armbars that I was just barely able to get out of.  Eventually he got my back and was attacking a bow and arrow when the time ran out. 

Robert got me back in our last roll.  I spent most of the time on the bottom of side mount and turtle.  I felt like I fought the turtle adequately but it was rough.  I did make it to deep half and then waiter sweep position.  I attempted to go to x-guard but fucked it up big time.  Alejandro went over it with me again soon after.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 1st 2015 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Half Guard Under Hook to back take & Guard Recovery 

Rolling/Game: Half Guard Sparring, Rolling from Knees

The boys did very well in class today.  However, Wednesday wasn't their best day.  Often when they work together they get a little too silly.  I saw a lot of improvement though with something that proved to be a difficult technique for them.  They had problems with the position in general like which way to turn and which foot to hook with.

Jayden is having a bit of trouble with being aggressive.  Like father like son I guess.  He seems to have spurts where he tries hard but will often give up.  I only try to encourage him and not dissuade.  Jace doesn't have this problem at all and seems to rush head long and try his best to win a roll with anyone. 

Open Mat
Rolled With: Tate, Henry, Robert, Bhuvana, Alejandro, Morgan, Austin
Game Plan: Be Aggressive

After this week of trying to be more aggressive I'm wondering if I have the mentality for it.  There have been times in the heat of battle that I realize that I've given up when I could have fought more.  It concerns me a little bit that I may not overcome this.  I'm not sure if it is cardio or if it is mental or how much of a combination of both.  Can continuing to improve my technique and roll with a lighter style be enough to overcome this weakness?  Time will tell.

Tate: It's been a long time since I've rolled with him, since this was the first time he set foot into LBJJC.  We rolled no-gi and it was quite a battle.  I even spent some time in 50/50 and had to defend and attack some leg locks.  I had a couple of good submission attempts but was unprepared for his ability to defend them explosively.

Henry: We worked on some deep half before rolling and also went no-gi.  We also had a battle and I felt pretty good about how our roll started out.  I don't remember much of the details but we finished with a barrage of attacking and defending separated a little.  He then went for a strait ankle and got it. 

Robert: He didn't have much time so we had a quick 5 minute roll.  I was still catching my breath from Henry though.  I tried to rise to the challenge and still be aggressive but I was a little gassed.  We ended our roll with me in deep half attempting a waiter sweep but I was kind of against the wall.  I was trying to think of how to transfer to x-guard like Alejandro showed me but couldn't figure it out at the time.

Bhuvana: One specific thing that came out of our first roll was from side control, I attacked the bread cutter choke and she brought her arms up to defend.  I then went to knee on belly which made her respond by bringing her hands down to defend that.  I then completed the first choke.  Which taught her to focus her defense on the biggest threat and sometimes it's necessary to ignore other threats or at least prioritize them accordingly. 

At the end of open mat we went over the north/south choke.  She was really only having trouble with the angle at which to slide.

Alejandro: I don't seem to be making any improvements while rolling with him.  It feels like he's untouchable.  I've been trying to watch him roll with others and the thing I've been trying to emulate most is his side control.  He had attempted a berimbolo at one point and I somewhat defended it.  He told me after our roll that I had the upper hand at one point but didn't capitalize on it.

Morgan: After a few rolls we discussed the triangle as he had attempted it a few times.  His major problem was that he wasn't controlling my posture and grabbing his ankle to help tighten the triangle. 

Austin: He did his usual thing of being difficult to submit.  At one point I had him in an arm triangle, but he was doing a good job trying to bridge out of it.  I didn't feel comfortable moving my hips over like I should have.  After rolling we went over back mount and I showed him what I had learned about harness grip and attacking the back.  Hopefully it helped.