Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30th 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Scissor Sweep
Rolling/Game: Guard Position, Free Rolling

Good class today as usual. Greg had the kids do piggyback rides as a warm-up and my kids have a hard time with that while the other kids don't seem to.  They did well with the scissor sweep but for some reason there was a bit of a breakdown while switching partners at times.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Justin, Dave, Derek, Jerad, Drew, Mo
Game Plan: Hunt for waiter sweep

I asked Greg for a goal of some type for training today. He suggested that I attempt to waiter sweep everyone that I rolled with. Reasonable enough and challenge accepted.  The baseball bat choke was working very well for me today which led me to teaching it to a few people.

Justin: It was a damn tough couple of rolls.  There was a lot of escaping to turtle and attempted back takes for both of us.  I gave him some pointers on technical mount because he was a little low with it.

I wasn't able to hit the waiter sweep until the last roll and it felt like a mistake leading into it because I gave him half guard but he got farther than I wanted with an underhook and crossface. I used the butterfly half to make some space and get to deep and complete the sweep.  I had some nasty forearm burns by the end.

Dave: He was in good spirits today as due to a career change, he gets to train regularly again.  He was doing pretty well but there were a couple of times when he continued to rush headlong forward when he probably should have backed up a bit and regained posture.  I playfully said to him a few times "you sure you want to do that?" That seemed to get him thinking and he would work the right thing.

Derek: He just recently came back to LBJJC.  He's also a fellow former Marine. Between rolls we had a little discussion on the Marine Martial Arts program with which he received a brown belt.

After we rolled a bit he asked me about the baseball bat choke so we worked on it for a while. He was very into learning it and seemed to have an aha moment when he figured out how it worked.

Jerad: We rolled and he sufficiently destroyed me. Needless to say I wasn't able to complete my goal of waiter sweeping him.  He caught me with an americana from mount when I thought he was setting up the mounted triangle like he usually does.  Later I asked him if he thought I was too predictable. He knows what I like to do and works his hardest to stay away from it.  He did compliment me on being more aggressive recently.

Drew: He is another guy that came to the old school a few times, hopefully we'll see more of him.  We rolled a couple times and then I gave him a crash course on defending and attacking from back mount.

Mo: We didn't really roll just went over some finer points of deep half.  One issue he was having was his shoulder wasn't under my leg enough. He was also running into the problem that I had where people were stopping him with their legs as he was attempting to sweep. I think telling him to get higher under the leg helped.

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Side Control Tripod Escape, Kimura from Side Control
Partner: Brian (Sweeney)

I gave Conan a bit of a hard time because he started teaching the americana from side mount instead of the kimura.  Otherwise business as usual.  Still working on making the tripod as natural as possible.  It's been a while since I've seen Brian as he took some time off from training, I'm happy to see him back and hopefully he can get past the "it's tough starting again" phase. 

Rolling: Side Control (4 x 4 min), Free Rolling (5 min)
Rolled With: Brian, Zac, Jeff

Brian did some good things while rolling and showed that he still has some skills.  He was doing a good job from the top trying to isolate my arm and he had me worried for a bit that I may not get out of it.   He also did pretty well from the bottom to keep me from submitting him. 

Rolling went well today.  I felt like I was in the bottom of turtle more often than usual.  I guess that's an inevitability when working on the tripod.  Zac was able to get me tied up at one point with my lower lapel.  I was scrambling to get out of it and made it to full guard, but it was still too tight and I had to tap.  That was frustrating!  When I started on the top I tried to repay the favor.  I went for my own collar chokes which I didn't complete but it did help keep him on the bottom.

It's also been a while since I rolled with Jeff, although he probably just attends classes that I don't.  I felt a little bad with our size difference so suggested that I start on my butt instead.  Seems like he's used to starting on the bottom because he was a little hesitant to come up and try to pass.

Office Hours Partner: Conan, Zac

We did some 5 min rounds of rolling.  Conan frustrated me quite a bit as I felt like I couldn't do anything to him today.  I might be too predictable at this point and he knows what I'm going for.  I did well with Zac but it was tough dealing with his strength.  It's starting to sink in that I need to focus more energy into preventing my guard from being passed rather than spending energy getting out of side control.  So focused on framing and grips.  I was successful with the cross guard and the omoplata crucifix position.  I'm finding this to be a recent successful submission for me, mostly because I blew it in the last tournament.

I felt pretty crappy after class about my performance and it took me a while to figure out why.  I did some good things and got some good training in.   I think the reason was that I felt so helpless while rolling with Conan.  This isn't the first time and definitely not the last that this will happen but can't always keep the ego in check.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Side Control Tripod Escape, Kimura from Side Control
Partner: Byrav, Bhuvana

One thing that Greg emphasized today was straightening the arms to finish the kimura where we hold it close to out chest when doing it in guard.  I've had this discussion with Mike before too about how to use the kimura and I don't feel like I've got it totally figured out yet but I am aware of it and it's something that I'm working on.  Just know there is more to a kimura than grabbing their wrist and then grabbing your own wrist with the other hand and cranking it.

A couple of tips from the techniques today:
  • Koshi Guruma: make your legs stable by angling your knees out at 45 degrees and keep them bent.  I aim to get my hips below their belt knot to get under their center.
  • Tripod Escape: Going off of yesterday I found that telling people to change the angle of the tripod made this way more doable.  
  • Kimura: Controlling their head with your legs is pretty important.  At first I was just putting my knees around their head but getting their head trapped between my calf and thigh goes a long way to help break any defense that they try.

Rolling: Side Control (4 x 2 min), Guard King of the Mat
Rolled With: Byrav, Bhuvana, Jordan, Tim, Harvey

With Byrav I gave him some openings and coaxed him into doing the techniques that we practiced with a little more resistance.  I think this helped him with the techniques that we worked on a little bit.  I say coax because it seemed like he expected me to just destroy him quickly and not give him a chance.

Tim is a new student that I met at the no gi class last Friday.  He did pretty well for being new and made me thing he'd had some type of training.  He knew how to put some pressure down and stay out of trouble for the most part.  I think I'll check in with him in a couple weeks and see how quickly he picks stuff up.

Office Hours Partner: Robert

Robert asked about a top half guard technique to take the back.  We ended up working on some other back takes from quarter guard and turtle with Greg showing a few things.  I showed him what I like to do from top half guard to pass such as hip switching, cross facing, and using the leg weave.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Side Control Tripod Escape, Kimura from Side Control
Partner: Ben

For the throw Mike had us step down the floor to get our partner to move into the throw. I like this exercise and I think it helps with kazushi.

I feel like I was able to get the tripod escape consistently for the first time. A combination of getting a deeper underhook and angling my hips allowed me to keep my shoulder down where I usually end up on my elbow.

Mike had a great idea to combine the tripod escape to getting the kimura as they're trying to prevent the guard pass with another underhook. Using a similar principle that Tinguinha taught on Friday.

Rolling: Side Control (4 x 2 min), Guard King of the Mat
Rolled With: Ben, Mike, Morgan, Dave

We started with the underhook in the bottom of side control. I attempted the tripod escape as often as I could and hit it once. The other times I ended up in headlock position or turtle.  One thing that helps a lot with the underhook for me is to use my leg as a brace by putting my hand on my knee or thigh and using it to get the hook deeper.  From the top I was kimura hunting and tried to avoid doing my normal side control knee on belly and stuff.

Mike and I had an interesting couple rolls.  We ended up in donkey guard and he was fighting for a toe hold while I was fighting to escape.  He eventually finished it.

Office Hours Partner: Morgan

He had attempted some cross guard on me during rolling so I asked if he wanted to drill some. I went over some contingencies and tightening up the position in general. For myself I worked on the back roll type stuff.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26th 2016 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Kimura from Guard, Kneeling Guard Break to Double Under Pass
Partner: Zack (Visitor)

It felt like Greg was doing something a little different with his leg or hip while he fell to his back for the kimura. Maybe I've just never had him do it in no gi but I don't think that should matter.

I like the guard break but am not that confident in when I should do it when rolling yet.  Driving both hands into their closed guard requires good timing and body positioning to create enough space. I think the detail that was most difficult for Zack was moving his own body down and back to get double unders rather than try to force my legs forward into it.

Rolling: Guard Up/Down/Out
Rolled With: Robert, Zack, Harvey,

I attempted to setup the guard break a couple times, got it to work a little but was also shut down a few times.  I had better success using the double wrist grab standing guard break but it's not nearly as easy as in the gi.

One of the rolls with Robert was quite a battle.  I transitioned to multiple guards in my attempts to sweep.  Starting from closed guard to turtle to half to deep half to x guard to single x then back to turtle. Eventually Greg had us call it a draw so we could switch partners but it was an exciting match.

Office Hours Partner: Harvey, Mike A

The possibility for an inverted kimura occurred while Robert was in my guard.  Mike was there watching and gave me a few pointers on finishing it.  A little change to the hand configuration was what I needed to get the correct leverage as well as stepping on the hip. Too soon to tell if I'll be able to incorporate this into my repertoire.

Another important piece of information that he imparted was that my underhook was too loose.  I need to try to grab their hip bone instead of just draping my arm across their back.  Great no gi tip where I'm used to grabbing the pants or belt.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 23rd 2016 - Tinguinha Seminar

Kids Seminar

Busy day of Jiu-Jitsu starting with the kids seminar.  Both of my boys did well.  Tinguinha started off with some jogging around the room and various other exercises.  They worked on several techniques with a good mix of new things and things they were familiar with.
  • O-Soto Gari
  • Defense against O-Soto Gari with O-Soto Gari.  This was interesting in that the defender takes a step back changing the angle for their own throw.
  • Guillotine Defense.  This was a tough one for my kids.  They had a hard time getting around to the side to do the takedown.  
  • Americana is defended and then switching to the armbar.  In my opinion this is one of the best ways to teach how to transition from a failed technique to another one.
  • Butterfly Guard Head Stand pass.  Kids seemed to have fun with this one, they don't have any experience with butterfly guard yet, but doing a headstand is always fun.
They did some stand-up games like sumo and takedown sparring and all of them did well.  I saw a few decent throws but also some good body control and push/pull.

Open Guard Seminar

It was completely awesome that the seminar was based on a large part of my game.  Plus having it taught by the 5th degree black belt who made a cross guard DVD that I own is just frosting on the omoplata cake.  Fuji was my partner which was good since he's usually the one that prevents my omoplata.  He gave me some good pointers that will help prevent being stacked.

Close to the end of the seminar Tinguinha gave us a chance to ask some questions and I was able to ask for tips on preventing being stacked and finishing the omoplata.  He walked me through the submission setup using the pant grab and the major detail I was missing was that I wanted to move back diagonally instead of just straight to the side.  Tinguinha gave a couple other people pointers too.  After the seminar we all took some pictures.  I asked Tinguinha if I could "feel his cross guard" which was a poor choice of words because the other guys gave me shit for it and I don't think I'm going to live it down for a while.

Anyway, Tinguinha demonstrated it on me and he did clamp in the cross guard with his legs a lot tighter than I do.  He let me try it on him and said the major reason I was getting stacked is that I wasn't engaging my omoplata leg to curl and push them away enough.

All in all a great day of Jiu-Jitsu ending with a group dinner at fireworks supplied by Conan's brother, thanks Brian!

Here are the techniques that were covered:

Cross Guard
  • Omoplata set-up
  • When partner uses posture to hide the elbow, back roll to both knees on the mat kind of like star sweep.  I've never had confidence in this, but I think I understand when to do it now a little better than before.
  • Same as last but if partner sprawls their leg out roll back to omoplata
  • Partner postures up using leg, point knees outward to omoplata sweep, transition to mount
  • Partner stands with posture, star sweep
Spider Guard
  • Partner is kneeling in combat base, butterfly hook foot to extend their leg and sweep
  • Partner toreando passes with sleeve grips roll directly to side and bounce back into spider guard
  • Partner kneeling on back leg.  Use leg to swing up and hand off their sleeve under their leg.  Grab their knee and drive them back for the sweep.
  • Same as last but partner pressures back, post hand and move around behind them until you can get your knees on the floor until they go down.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 22nd 2016 - No Gi with Tinguinha

Theme & Techniques: Americana Progression from Side Mount
Partner: Ben

Greg's coach Tinguinha is in town for a couple days to train with us. We had a huge turnout tonight for no gi class and tomorrow there will be a kid's seminar and an adult gi seminar.

The main theme was a response to the person in bottom side control pushes up on your neck.  Instead of fighting against it we turned our shoulders and went with it.  From there we grabbed their wrist and used our head to push them into americana position.  Then transitioned to straight armlock and kimura.  One detail Tinguinha showed that made a difference for the straight armlock was to put the elbows tight in close to their arm.

The other technique was looking for the modified arm triangle with their elbow in the armpit.  I've never been good at finishing this technique but doing this setup made it a lot tighter.

Rolling: Side Control, Free Rolling
Rolled With: Bauer, Mo, Mike Jerad, Fuji

For rolling we were split up into blue and above on one side and white belts on the other.  Making all of my rolls tough. I was controlling Bauer pretty well from the top and when he was able to opa I went right into omoplata, but his posture kept me from finishing. I still have some work to do with it.

Fuji also gave me a hard time when I attempted the omoplata. I feel like I'm ending up in an overhook guard position half way to the omoplata often but I'm not able to capitalize like I should. I'll bring this up with Greg when I get a chance.

Mike really has my number lately especially when it comes to back takes and ankle locks. He's also shutting down my deep half by stepping over into knee bar. So frustrating but I need Jiu-Jitsu brothers like him to help me get better.

Jerad and I had a good roll after class.  I didn't feel like I was able to mount any offense but it was a fun thought provoking roll.  I asked him about a quarter guard position that I felt stuck in, I just needed to try to move around behind him.  Both he and Mike claimed that my defenses make me tough to submit, but it doesn't feel like it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21st 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg, Americana from Mount, Bread Cutter
Students: Robert, Bhuvana, Ben, Byrav, Harvey, Megan

Greg had to run some errands so I was able to teach again today.  I had them do some partner warm-ups with leg lifts, Standing Guard Break motion, and Armbar from Guard drill.  Some of the movements were a little difficult for the new people but I think they still got a good warm-up.

Technique portion of the class went pretty well.  I emphasized a lot of the things that I mentioned in yesterday's post.  I think most were helped during the bread cutter choke by the shoulder moving down on their ribs to help get the back of their collar grab. 

I recently filled out a worksheet that I got from I think it's a pretty good mental exercise to help you get an idea of where you may have some deficiencies in your overall game.  Like if you can't think of anything to put in your bottom half guard box, it may be in your interest to research the position a bit and find something that reliably works for you.

Here's mine:

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

There were even partners for the first couple rounds so I wasn't able to jump in, but I felt like I got in some good coaching practice with Megan and Byrav.

Ben made me work quite a bit to get a sub.  He was defending everything that I was throwing at him much better than previously. 

When I rolled with Robert I tried to be a little less passive and try to get on top more.  At one point I was able to stand for single leg but as I was trying to force him down he shucked me past him and I had to work from the bottom of turtle.  We talked about the headlock position for a bit after class and he mentioned that when he's on the bottom he focuses on hand fighting and then turning the corner to go for a single to a double.  

Office Hours Partner: Harvey

Harvey mentioned that on Tuesday he was blanking with what to do from top half guard.  So I showed him the passes that I like to do with hip switch, tripod, and leg weave. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Double Leg, Americana from Mount, Bread Cutter, Step Over Choke
Students: Jordan, Tom

Pretty small class today but we still got some good work in.  We went through the regular material pretty quickly with just the three of us so I added in a few things.  After practicing the basic setup, we did the bread cutter off of the single under pass.  Then I showed the step over choke that I've been playing around with lately.  Tom actually seemed to take to the choke quite well.

Here are some tips for this weeks techniques:
  • Double leg: I suggested Tom look around his partners back when turning the corner.  This seemed to help line up his hips and be able to drive them to the ground easier
  • Americana: The detail that I'm telling most people lately is to straighten their arms and then move their shoulders over their hands to compress their partner's wrist into their shoulder.  Don't attempt to push their wrist up just push it into them and you have a better chance of it eventually collapsing to the floor.
  • Bread Cutter: Don't settle for less than a collar grip with the under hand when drilling this technique.  It may happen during rolling that you don't get it all the way but when drilling you should be able to position your shoulder to enable your hand to reach all the way to the collar and still keep good pressure down.  I find the shoulder position being too much in the center of my partners body was the problem for me previously, but once I started sliding down to the ribs a bit I could reach the collar much better.

Rolling: Side Mount (3 min rounds)
Rolled With: Jordan, Tom

We did round robin style to get each partner and the top and bottom of each position.  I was able to catch both of them in half guard as they stepped over to mount so we had a discussion and practical app on the transition.  We also talked about pressure in side mount and not leaning in so much.  Probably the coolest thing for me was when I was setting up a baseball bat and it was being defended I was able to transition into the step over choke.  Both Jordan and Tom tried it a couple times and Tom almost caught me with it.  I can see it becoming a technique that he would be good at.

After class I worked with Tom on my north/south->guillotine->to mount series that I do.  Followed by working on the single leg.  I think he picked up some new details. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19th 2016 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Twist Sweep
Partner: Robert

I've had a huge love-hate relationship with this sweep mostly on the hate side.  I feel like I made some strides into making it serviceable today.  The biggest problem has been trying to figure out if I need to bridge a little and then how much, where my feet are supposed to be, don't forget to trap their arm and then push on their hip with the other arm.  It's just always come out as being uncoordinated for me.  Probably the thing that helped the most today was focusing on pinching the leg above all else.

Rolling: King of the Mat Half Gaurd
Rolled With: Robert, Casey, Tom, Robert, Harvey, Ben

Greg encouraged us to try the sweep by having the top person start with the underhook and cross face.  And, I was able to hit the actual twist sweep 4 or 5 times!  So this class was a huge success for me.  I also noticed that both Robert and I were ending up in the kimura position from top half that we worked on last week and were able to use it to pass.  Also had a pretty cool back take off of the kimura where I was almost rolled over and hip escaped out and climbed back up, I felt like Ryan hall for a second. 

Office Hours Partner: Greg, Tom

Greg helped me with completing the butterfly sweep when someone puts more pressure on the side I want to sweep from (ahem Conan).  He told me to drive for the underhook deeper and get more behind them on that side by basing with my hand and turning the elbow up. 

I helped Tom a bit with the smash pass and we talked about guard against a standing opponent in general.  Like me not too long ago, he was getting caught with his feet in the air and was getting passed easily.  So I told him to keep his feet down so he could always make space when necessary.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 16th 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Upa Escape from Mount, Americana from Mount
Rolling/Game: Mount Position

It was a little difficult to get the boys there this morning, but once they were, they enjoyed class.  It was a good size of 10 kids. Hopefully we'll have as many next Saturday for the kid's seminar with Tinguinha.

They're pretty good at these 2 techniques so not too much supervision was needed. When it came time to roll I would still like to see Jayden try a little harder. Sometimes a switch will flip and he'll use pressure or fight for the top position and succeed but I haven't figured out how to flip that switch.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Bauer, James, Henry, Mike A, Bhuvana
Game Plan: Be aggressive

Bauer: We did some drilling with a couple of barata plata variations. One that I kind of liked from the north/south kimura position that I think I can readily use with a little more practice.

We rolled a few times and there was some decent back and forth. I was doing my best to try to go after him and not sit in guard too long.  I was able to attack from mount a couple times but not set anything meaningful up. I attempted the spiral armbar a couple of times but he was able to flatten  his shoulders each time.

I asked Greg about the setup and he showed that I needed to not only step further forward but it seemed like he also was pulling up on the elbow with high posture. I've been just trying to get my partners on their sides so I think this is the key I've been missing.

James: We went no gi and kind of stalemated each other. I was moving from omoplata position to close guard when he would posture up.  I wasn't on top very often but I made several sweep attempts some ending in single leg.

Henry: Stayed in no gi. I started out attacking and staying on top but had a hard time keeping him controlled from side mount.  In a scramble we ended up in a leg lock battle that I eventually lost to heel hook.

Mike: He's been pushing the pace with me pretty hard lately and I've got to be on my game when we roll. It seems like any mistake I make results with him on my back.

There was one point where I was in sort of deep half but didn't sweep him all the way. I came up to over under but made the mistake of trying to fight a kimura grip by reaching under his leg. It turned into a crucifix and fuck that position.

Bhuvana: We started off drilling the cross guard to omoplata. She was having trouble with the toughest part for most people, lifting the hips backward instead of using your legs to push off of the partner. We rolled a couple times and I setup a north/south choke so we drilled that a few times too.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Head Lock Defense to Hammer Lock to RNC, Mounted Armbar, Elbow Escape from Mount
Students: Zac, Craig, Morgan, Anthony

Did a couple of the advanced warm-up exercises added with the normal ones like side rolls, butterfly guard walk, and Homer Simpsons.  Then we did some takedown fitins in pairs.  An exercise that Ray used to have us do, where you attempted one throw or takedown and then trying to move to flow to another one if that one failed.  Then we did some grip fighting and finished the last round with trying to fight for the Thai clinch position.  Everyone seemed to appreciate the extra standup work.

I felt good about teaching the self defense and the armbar, but for some reason the elbow escape didn't work out as cleanly as I would have liked.  Not sure if I could have guided Zac to respond differently as I was trying to explain it and demonstrate it at the same time, because he didn't move the way I was expecting.  Not that it went completely bonkers but it wasn't the best performance from me.  Otherwise everyone seemed to drill the techniques well with me giving a few pointers every now and again. 

Rolling: Mount (2 x 3 min), Free Rolling (4 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Everyone

I tried to focus on a few things during rolling.  Above all else I'm looking to keep my elbows in from the top and prevent any arm drags.  I'm looking to pass with the x-pass or torreando.  Open guard I wanted to work into spider and then lasso.  In deep half I'm trying to go right into the waiter sweep or the homer simpson as soon as I can.  If both of those fail, I'm going to start looking for the lapel grab.  I accomplished a few of these things and kept myself out of danger pretty well. 

Office Hours Partner: Morgan, Zac

Morgan and I were talking about preventing getting his guard passed.  I noticed that he was pretty much putting both his feet on their hips to keep them from passing, which is a problem I've also been having.  I showed him some de la riva with the caveat that I don't have much experience using it myself but I've been looking into it.  I showed him the sweep that Alejandro pulled off on me every time I rolled with him. 

Zac showed me some more details on collar chokes and went into some of the contingencies that he uses.  I think I'm starting to understand how he gets so much torque.  Can't wait to try some of this stuff.  I went over some half guard stuff to arm drag and that I've been trying to prevent the arm drag lately.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 14th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Head Lock Defense to Hammer Lock to RNC, Mounted Armbar, Elbow Escape from Mount
Partner: Byrav, Ben

Small class today.  Noon class attendance has been fluxuating quite a bit lately.  But as long as there is a partner for me I'm happy. 

I worked with Byrav on the head lock escape and the armbar.  Greg preferred that we step up the foot under the armpit to assist with the turn where Mike and I were teaching to not set the foot down the day before.  It seemed to help Byrav get it better.  Another improvement was that he was trying to not put any weight on me, once he did it made a huge difference.

Greg had Ben and I work on the foot trap mount escape to half or full guard.  It's something that I use very often.  We also used it for the deep half entry a few times.

Rolling: Mount Up/Down/Out
Rolled With: Harvey, Ben

There is definitely a learning curve in learning top mount.  It is a dominant position for sure but personally it took me a while before I felt confident in the top position.  I think it has a lot to do with your opponents hips being under you so they can move you by bridging.  I also realized over time that I didn't need to hold my legs really tight all of the time to keep them down.  I like to float a lot more and feel free to go to technical mount as needed.  I'm also always trying to attack by isolating an arm or attempting a choke. 

When I'm on the bottom I try to stay relaxed and look for my moment to either bridge, hook their leg, or elbow escape.  Often from there if that fails I try one of the other 2 choices.  I've been focusing on being more explosive with the trap, trap, go. 

Office Hours Partner: Harvey

Harvey wanted to go over the elbow escape again and he was appreciative of a few extra details that I gave.  I drilled a few deep half to waiter sweeps and I'm feeling pretty good about it.  I'm still working on when to let go of the foot as I'm coming up during the sweep. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Head Lock Defense to Hammer Lock to RNC, Mounted Armbar, Elbow Escape from Mount
Partner: Byrav, Jordan

Mike had us do some drilling a technique of our choice from guard as a part of the warm-up.  Great idea.  I worked on cross guard and tried to play around with getting the position differently by pushing a pulling in different ways.  This actually kind of wore me out a bit and made me think that I need to get back to drilling this again.

Some tips on techniques from today:
  • Head Lock Defense: After taking them down to their butt keep them leaned back so it makes it difficult to use their legs to push into you.
  • Mounted Armbar: When going off a push from the person on the bottom using the cpr method, I like to think of it like the gymnast pummel horse.  Keep my butt low and turn around their arm sitting on their tricep.
  • Elbow Escape: plant your elbow on the floor and hip escape away from it.  It's more difficult to try to push them away with your elbow.
Mike also had us do a variation on the elbow escape that resulted in x-guard when their leg stays straight.

Rolling: Mount (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling
Rolled With: Jordan, Mike

I feel pretty good about my mount escapes.  I'm still working on my attacking from the top and it's especially tough with smaller guys.  At one point I was able to isolate one of Mike's arms and was trying to get him to break his grip he was able to time letting go and bridging just right to knock me off balance a bit and regain guard.

Office Hours Partner: Mike

Played around a bit with the crucifix position with Jordan but still don't feel great about the position. 

Mike and I had a pretty good roll with a lot of back and forth.  Before we started I did a quick shake off and said that I was going to try not to think and just act.  It seemed to help a little bit but he was still able to arm drag me and take my back.  I was able to escape the back attack and ended up in deep half.  I was able to get a lapel grip that Faria does a lot in his deep half guard and even though Mike was working on a kimura it was strong enough under his leg for me to sweep and almost take the back.  He gave me compliments on my pass attempts and we talked about why I get arm dragged so often.  I'm going to work on keeping my elbow in more and not extending my arms when starting a roll.  My elbows are out way too far.  So good information and some good rolling.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 12th 2016 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Kimura from Top Half Guard
Partner: Robert

Good topic today! Using the Kimura to pass half guard has been in the back of my mind lately.  I actually do use the setup the Greg taught often as I often like to pass with the hip switch.  I had a little trouble at first keeping Roberts lower arm from getting under my body.  I was supposed to stay closer to the floor and ride up into his armpit instead of putting my weight onto his chest and raising up to fit my knee in. 

We did a couple variations based on the defenses the opponent did.  If they got their hands together to defend we passed and then went to far side armbar.  If they went flat on their back we would switch to a straight armlock.  I've felt a little iffy about this in the past but the way Greg demonstrated it and how close to the elbow we got made it much more reliable in my opinion.

Rolling: Half Guard (4 x 3 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Robert, Ben, Jordan

Always good to roll with Robert.  After working so much on getting the kimura off of an underhook I was a little hesitant to go for the underhook from the bottom.  So when I did go for it I made sure to off balance or go lower.  Had a pretty difficult fight from the bottom and ended up in turtle/headlock position for a while.  From the top he ended up with a single leg for a bit that I turned into a crucifix but wasn't able to finish.  I really don't have enough experience with this position, especially in no gi.  At least in gi I would have attacked some collar stuff.  Greg showed me how to do the armbar on the trapped arm, I would also like to do the 1 handed RNC that Marcelo Garcia does.

Ben and Jordan gave me some challenges as well.  Jordan is really squirrely lately in his guard and retention.  At one point I had swept him and we were kind of in a limbo position where Greg suggested that I quit trying to pass the guard and just finish the sweep.  Hm, this is new information or at least goes against my normal strategy.  It makes sense but I'm not quite sure when to apply it.  Ben did a good job at hand fighting and defending and I felt like I had to turn it up a little bit with him. 

I finished out the class with a free roll with Robert.  I felt pretty good about our roll and even had a pretty decent sweep out of half guard.  Toward the end he caught me with a guillotine while I was in the bottom of half guard.  Greg was trying to coach me but I was already coming up to the top position allowing him to finish the choke.  Later Greg gave me the pointer that I should look to position my head in the middle and stay flat on the bottom instead of coming up.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

January 9th 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Upa Mount Escape
Rolling/Game: Mount Position

Mike led the warm-up and had them pretty warm by the time he was done.  It was a fairly small class of 5 so they were all able to roll together with 1 student on break.  I saw a lot of good stuff from back takes to armbars and some escapes to guard.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Jerad, Lucas, Caroline, Austin, Chris, Derek
Game Plan: Attacking the back

Jerad: It seems like I do a lot better against him when I'm fresh than if we roll closer to the end of open mat.  We had an epic roll.  I started out with the upper hand after passing guard but never felt like I was able to attempt a serious attack. Eventually he swept and tapped me out with an armbar. We discussed the x-pass for a while and how we were looking for the 2 main grips and not necessarily a certain position. We also talked about not accepting a position like side control just to get to a position that you know. An interesting concept that I'll ponder on.

Lucas: A friend of Caroline's and pretty good wrestler. I had a tough time trying to move him around.  Probably one of the most impressive things was when I sunk in an RNC he was able to bridge up and put my head on the floor and kind of crank my neck until I let go.  Haven't experienced that escape before.  After we rolled I showed him some basics of guard passing.

Caroline: It's been a while since we rolled and she's improved.  There were a couple of times where I had set up a sub but she was able to position just enough to prevent it.

Austin: It's probably been months since I rolled with him which is probably the last time he shaved his beard ;).  He expressed that he was ready to come back on a regular basis.

Chris: This week he wanted to work on escaping side control.  We only drilled a few techniques focusing on how to bridge and make space and then getting an underhook toward the end.

Derek: Finished off the session with a pretty tough roll.  Derek wrestled for many years and it shows.  I was able to get to closed guard and tried to work from there but had a tough time trying to sweep, armbar or omoplata. I was also playing cautiously because I didn't want to end up on the bottom of a bad position.  It makes me want to drill my cross guard even more though. We ended up stalemated after a while and decided to call it a day.

Friday, January 8, 2016

January 8th 2016 - Gi All Levels (Zac is Back)

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Wing Choke, Bow and Arrow
Partner: Josh

It was Zac's first day back after an injury induced hiatus.  It's good to have him back and he doesn't seem to have missed a step.  I was beginning to worry that he wasn't going to come back.

After doing some normal fit-ins, Conan had us do some 3 step walking backward kasushi which I enjoyed.  I'm still trying to perfect the lifting and timing getting the hips under but I'm feeling better about it.

My throat was bothering me a bit during the chokes.  I felt like I was gagging a little too easily, maybe it's from working on them for the past three days and being the demonstrator each time.  It's not that Greg or Conan are choking me hard or anything but I end up being stuck in a light choking position for a longer period of time as the person teaching explains all of the details.  I know, "assistant instructor" problems.

Rolling: Back Mount (4 x 4 min), Free Rolling (4 min)
Rolled With: Josh, Zac, Anthony

Had to work hard to defend my back against Josh and Zac.  They both did a good job of getting the collar grip, although not deep, I didn't like it.  When I was attacking I felt like I did a good job with positioning, I did go for head and arm choke a couple times but wasn't able to get my arm in the correct place. 

Free rolling with Anthony I went over my basics of guard passing with him, since he started to grab my collar instead of my legs.  I worked a bit to try to setup the lasso guard to omoplata that I've been working on.  I also attempted the step over choke a few times that I saw a video about recently.  This is a fairly basic choke that I'm surprised I haven't heard of before. 

Office Hours Partner: Zac, Conan

I showed Conan the step over choke and we talked about how we would defend it and how best to set it up.  I may mess around with it a little bit more as I can see some contingencies and some setups that work with some of the other stuff that I do.

We said that we were going to go light since it was Zac's first time back. Easier said than done I guess as things often escalated.  Zac got me a couple times with attempting the armdrag from bottom half guard.  I'm not sure what I'm doing to allow this to happen, but I've got to make a change with where I place my arm to prevent this.  I got a lot of work with my over/under pass. 

I was able to hit a waiter sweep and did it without hesitation.  In the recent pass I have been taking my time with getting to deep half, then reassessing and deciding to go for the homer simpson, the double unders, or the waiter.  Lately I've been trying to off balance them more and go right into 1 of the 3 sweeps without a pause.  It prevents them from settling in as much.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January 7th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Wing Choke, Bow and Arrow
Partner: Harvey, Byrav

When I sit down to write these I always feel like starting off with, "it was a good class today"  I can't really remember there ever being a bad class, so it's kind of redundant to write that every time.  I guess some of those classes where my knee wasn't quite right before I had surgery weren't the best classes for me and I'm thankful that for the most part my body has been holding up quite well.

I noticed a few things that Greg taught differently than I did the day before.  He likes to lay back during the bow and arrow while I like to keep my head up.  The major positive to his way is that your bottom leg is a lot more free to assist.  He said the way I taught was fine and still had the same base details. 

Another detail that I took away from today was during the wing choke he made a pretty substantial sweep motion to get behind the neck to help get their arm up.  It is very difficult to lift their arm anywhere near the armpit.

Rolling: Back Mount (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Harvey, Anthony, Byrav

I'm still trying to figure out how to use my chin in the back mount.  I feel pretty good about my harness and using my feet to either hook, push down, or as a butterfly.  But, it seems like I'm not doing my best to keep my chin next to their head to limit their movement.  At one point I had transitioned into an arm triangle and was slowly working to finish it when Greg said I should move my chin across his forehead.  I tried it and it seemed to tighten the choke up a lot quicker than normal.  Black Belt Magic!

Defending went fine.  There were a few times when I should have been smarter about my elbow placement or fought to go to the underhook side where a more seasoned opponent would have choked me.  Probably should focus more on doing the right thing rather than what I think I can get away with, with the least amount of effort.

Office Hours Partner: Harvey

We went over some grip fighting stuff concerning stripping collar grips from guard etc.  I was able to drill the rolling omoplata from lasso and Greg said I needed to shoot my arm up as soon as I rolled to prevent getting stacked or pushed on my side, that is going to help a lot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 6th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: O-Goshi, Wing Choke, Bow and Arrow
Students: Mike A, Ross, John, Ben P, Ben (visitor), Casey, Shane

Good turn out for class today, plus Ross was visiting.  I always enjoy seeing former students that continued training after they left and hearing about their new school.  We also had a visitor, Ben, nice guy that has some skills who trains at Mid-America. 

Some tips on today's techniques:
  • O-Goshi: What I saw people having the most problems with were reaching too shallow around the back. 
  • Wing Choke: I have trouble completing this choke from the back.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get their arm over their head.  I do have success finishing this choke from technical mount though, so I would suggest trying it there to practice it as well.  
  • Bow and Arrow: I think the biggest hint I kept repeating today was to keep your bottom leg from being stuck under your opponent.  I like to turn my hips like I'm doing an armbar from mount, Mike was also telling people to lay back away from that leg, I think that's the way Greg does it to.

Rolling: Back Mount Up/Down/Out, Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Everyone

We did up/down/out so I could get some rolling in too.  I thought about doing king of the mat but I didn't feel that back control lent itself well.  I saw a lot of good things from everyone both from a defensive and offensive standpoint.  I'm still working on my back control personally and find it to be a difficult position to attack from actually.  I think I just need to tighten some things up a little bit.

I finished with some free rolling but one of the students had to leave so I sat out and watched until the end of class.

Office Hours Partner: Ben

We worked on some deep half mostly centered around posture and using his head to push with when coming up during the sweep.  I also showed him the butterfly hook to double unders sweep that I also have some success with.  He seemed to like that one, so hopefully it can become useful to him.  I attempted to do one of Hall's back takes but for some reason couldn't remember that steps.  I'll have to watch the video again. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January 5th 2015 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guard Break to Knee Over Pass
Partner: Ben

To make up for the lack of sleeves we grabbed one wrist with both hands to facilitate our stand-up.  From there we pushed the knee down and then stapled over the top of it.  Finally we got the underhook and crossface and windshield wipered our feet to pass to side control.  I asked what the downsides to doing the back step were as opposed to this and he showed that there were opportunities for the bottom guy to use the space that is created. 

Rolling: Free Rolling (6 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Ben, Harvey, Greg, Mike A, Jordan, Dwight

Rolling went pretty well besides my rolls with Mike.  I'm feeling good about my over/under pass in no-gi.  I'm modifying it a bit without the pant grips to use more hips and turning pressure.  I had some back takes from armdrags.  I even finished a triangle which rarely happens.

Mike destroyed me today.  It's been a while since he dominated me so much.  Boom, armdrag to back take with RNC already sunk in, boom, stepped around me and took my back for another RNC.  boom, shin on shin to single leg-x to heel hook.  It was quite demoralizing.  Probably the most interesting thing I did was when I was in side control at one point I saw the opportunity for the funk roll so I grabbed his leg and pulled it over my head and everything was going right until I couldn't move any more and didn't know what to do.  He turned that into a crucifix and then a back take.  Ugh, but I think I know what I did wrong with the funk, I need to switch arms and turn around into him.

Greg was a lot nicer to me than Mike.  I never felt like I had the upper hand which is normal, but I at least felt like I could move a bit.  There was a point when I went to turtle to escape but he had my calf stapled so when I attempted to roll for knee bar or granby he moved right into leg drag position. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January 2nd 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Gordo Sweep
Rolling/Game: Half Guard

Jace and Jayden had a good day. They had a little trouble with doing piggyback rides to each other during the warmup. The gordo sweep was also difficult and made them want to quit. We had a talk on the car ride home about how it was okay if they messed up techniques, all I want them to do is try.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Chris, Fuji, Andy, Adam, Andrew
Game Plan: Kimura Hunting

Great way to start out the new year!

Chris: He requested another mount defense session and I was happy to oblige. He's definitely getting something out of this because it's become more difficult to submit him, he's keeping his arms in and using his legs more effectively. Today I focused on trying to move to high mount and then showing him how to shoulder walk and keep me lower. He still has to put in more time of course but I think it's been fruitful.

I had him attack my mount a couple times to get a feel for what I do and we rolled as well.  He may think about focusing on top mount next, just kidding.

Fuji: I have 2 goals when rolling with Fuji, if I start on top, stay on top. If I end up on bottom maintain guard at all costs.  I didn't accomplish either goal and ended up in side control.  I had my moments of attempting omoplata and getting stacked and defended for a while in the bottom of turtle.  Once he passed to side control I was stuck.

Andy: I find myself being cautious of allowing him to get any type of collar grips. I'm having flashbacks of rolling with Zac. I kept pretty good top control although he defended pretty well.

Adam: He and his brother were up visiting and it's good to roll with them as they're big guys that know how to move and make pressure.  I started off well with attacking a lot but he seemed to be able to defend with very slight movements. I had him in a N/S choke for quite a while but couldn't seal the deal. He then gave me a few pointers on how he likes to finish the choke. One being using a guillotine grip instead of the s-grip that I like to use.  It lifts my wrist and their head up which really helps. Interestingly I was able to catch him with it on our second roll.

On our first roll I'm embarrassed to say that I gassed out. Maybe from all of the submission attempts.  Probably the most taxing was the fight that I had to finish an omoplata. He was also able to stack me and make me pretty uncomfortable while trying to step over.

Another interesting thing was he had a pretty smooth side control escape kind of like the elbow push but it was in my armpit.  Kind of like a Turkish standup, I'll probably ask him about it next time I see him.

Andrew: I also had an omoplata battle with him and had to work hard against him stacking.  So 3 bigger guys gave me trouble with a move that I thought I had pretty well figured out.  Something else to add to the pile of things to work on.

After we rolled we worked a bit on the judo turnover as he was attacking my neck from the top of turtle for a while.

After class we talked a bit about when to exert energy. I was reminded of Conan telling me that it's better to use more energy to maintain guard rather than wait and use energy to escape side control. Greg said that Tinguinha would get on him about this in the past. This is a mindset that I'm ready to adopt.