Saturday, February 27, 2016

February 27th 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Cross Collar Choke
Rolling/Game: Guard, Sharks and Octopuses (possibly octopi)

Good class today they were especially excited for the game.  They did have a few negative moments in that Jayden didn't want to hustle during hip escapes and Jace got upset when he couldn't figure out the collar choke.

I did see some good things in sparring. They're both getting better at understanding guard and breaking posture. But breaking guard needs some work.

They got stripes on their belts!

Open Mat
Rolled With: Tate, Jerad, Bhuvana, Craig
Game Plan: Guard Retention

Tate: This was the longest toughest roll I've had in a long time. We must have rolled for 20-30 minutes.  It was both tough physically and mentally. There were several times when I thought about giving up but I kept fighting.  There were good submission attempts mostly guillotines and there were some bad ones too, I went for a few ankle locks I shouldn't have.. Spent a lot of time in half guard and deep half.  Ultimately he caught me in a type of neck and shoulder crank.

Jerad: I think I did better against him dog tired. He commented that I didn't hold things that weren't working as long as I usually do.  I think a big part of this is also the recent shift in how I retain guard along with more movement and controlling my breathing better when escaping.

Bhuvana: We rolled a bit before working on some guard retention. I passed along what I had recently learned from Conan about not reaching with the feet to retain guard when they're standing. She seemed to get it right away and take it to heart.

Craig: He was happy to make it to open mat today and get a chance to roll with Greg for the first time. He commented on how Greg's little movements and adjustments made a big difference. We had a good roll like usual.

Friday, February 26, 2016

February 26th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Basic Triangle Setup
Partner: Craig, Jesus

Conan did a different warm-up to emphasize falling properly.  It was a little like the small kids' class in that we circled up and did some break falls from sitting, crouched, and standing.  Then some rolls landing in the appropriate falling position instead of getting up right away.  I showed off a little bit when he had us do a jumping roll since we did that so often in Hapkido.  I think this was probably great for Jesus since it's his second week of training.

Rolling: Closed Guard (4 x 4 min), Free Rolling (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Craig, Zac, Ty

Felt good about my rolling today.  I was able to setup a few triangles and had some guard passes.  I focused on some guard retention and playing some de la riva at times and basic open guard.  Something that has been very strong for me lately has been getting 2 on 1 and moving to a butterfly sweep, if that fails they usually adjust enough that I can hit the arm drag and take the back or sweep. 

Office Hours Partner: Conan, Zac

Had some tough rolls and felt like I held my own today.  Conan commented that I was difficult to pin down today.  I was thinking a lot about readjusting whenever Conan would start to move to a passing position.  Where usually I would try to stop him in some spots I instead tried to hip out and make space.

After we rolled Conan said that often when you start to defend a technique that a person is good at they eventually stop attempting it even if they are close to finishing it.  He has been saying lately that there are times when you need to keep attacking something to eventually wear them out.  I have a hard time figuring out when this is the case or when I'm wasting energy on something that won't work. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

February 25th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Basic Triangle Setup
Partner: Dave, Byrav

Turned out to be a small class today which is fine.  I've trained for 11 days straight now so it's good to have an easy day. 

Here are some tips for this week's techniques:
  • Koshi Guruma: I have trouble with this too, but it's important to reach all the way around the neck.  Too many people stop at the shoulder instead of locking it up tight.
  • Triangle: Taking up the space is very important.  Being able to put your foot on their hip or thigh and raise your hips to prevent them from getting their arms involved is ideal.  Also for us short legged people it's good to get your knee as high as you can over their head to get the correct angle to close the triangle.

Rolling: Full Guard, Free Rolling
Rolled With: Dave, Byrav

I liked seeing both Dave and Byrav attempt the technique of the day.  They had a great match where Dave was almost passed and Byrav kept shrimping to get his knee back in. 

Free rolled with Dave today and did my best to put him through the wringer.  I did my best to work on the triangle from class and found it very challenging.  I ended up doing some other triangle setups that helped take him a little off guard.  He did a good job getting his grips and doing the standing guard break which led me to failing miserably at the star sweep and ending up in turtle.  From the top I tried to be methodical and do the passes

He was a little discouraged after the roll but I tried to let him know that I wasn't getting everything I wanted and often had to change to different guard passes, subs, sweeps when he defended the others.  Have to count the little victories.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February 24th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Koshi Guruma, Basic Open Guard, Triangle
Partner: Byrav

We did a judo warm-up where Mike would have us run around the room and then grip fight when he told us to stop.  I got a pretty good sweat going after that.

Byrav did pretty well with what we were working on.  It was a little difficult for him to try to stand and break my guard though as I'm a little heavier than him.  When we started working with the triangle he did a good job at following Mike and I's instruction to try to fix everything about it.  Grab your shin, put your foot on their hip, turn perpendicular, put your leg over your foot, too far flex your foot, okay now squeeze.

Rolling: Closed Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (3 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Byrav, Ben, Chris, Jerad, Mike

Had some tough rolls today and I'm really liking the recent addition of Chris and now Jerad as well.  This will help to make up for all the advanced classes that I'm missing out on. 

Byrav: I can see him improving and getting an idea of some things to do from top and bottom guard

Ben: His grip fighting is noticeably improved, he did a good job preventing me from getting the lapel grips from the top.

Chris: He always surprises me with his ability to create angles from the bottom of turtle when I think I'm about ready to take the back.  I had to hold on and try to out maneuver him a few times.

Jerad: I did a couple good things.  I started off a little behind and was put into quarter guard.  I was able to recover to full guard after a pretty good bridge.  I wasn't able to turn it into a cross guard like I wanted to but I made a good effort out of it. 

Mike: First roll he was taking it easy on me, somehow I got to x-guard and then setup a toe hold.  He said fuck this and he set his thrusters to ludicrous speed.  After a pretty tough back and forth he caught me with an armbar.

Office Hours Partner: Tom

We worked on some deep half and he had a couple of ah-ha moments.  He asked about if they are pressuring you over.  I showed a little of the back take and we practiced that a few times.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 23rd 2016 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Closed Guard Kimura & Hip Bump Sweep
Partner: Ben

I think I really made a difference in the way Ben does these techniques today.  He obviously had the basic concepts down on what needs to happen and how they work but a few little changes made them more efficient and take less effort.  With the kimura after he got his grips it felt like he was trying to push my hand off the ground to get the lock where I had him secure my elbow to his chest and then think about putting his shoulder down on the mat changing the angle seemed to take a lot less effort. 

For the hip bump sweep we focused on preventing half guard at the end of the sweep by not being lazy with the feet as the sweep is completed.  I also went a little off the books and showed him some deep half entries for the person getting swept to recover to. 

Rolling: Closed Guard King of the Matt
Rolled With: Greg, Robert, Mike, Bhuvana, Ben, Tom

Had some great rolls and it worked out that I went up against Greg, Robert and Mike quite a few times.  Sometimes when we have king of the mat I end up not facing them because of the way the line works.  Some cool things that happened:
  • I went for some leg locks.  I didn't get them and made some mistakes but I'm putting in the mat time to make them better.
  • I defended some leg lock attempts against me.  A few of Greg's did ultimately get me.
  • I gave Greg, Mike, and Robert a hard time (I think).  None of my rolls were over quickly and I threatened quite a few passes and did a decent job in top and bottom half guard, butterfly, and single leg-x. 

Office Hours Partner: Robert

Tough roll after class with Robert as usual.  Good to have a gut check often from him.  Like usual I have to fight for everything that I want and rarely see a top position.  Probably the only place I felt like I was out of danger was when I made it to deep half, but once I got there Mike and Greg were telling me to off balance him and start sweeping.  Needless to say I shouldn't be resting there.  I tried to sweep with homer simpson, but he would really hunker down so I worked my way into a waiter sweep to which he moved to stack.  I then responded by trying to take his back but he was able to turn back into me and we ended up in half guard again.

Greg gave me a couple pointers from there.  For that back take I should have used both hands to secure his hips and keep him from turning.  I had one on the floor to keep me stable but both hands on him would have been better because I would either follow him or pull him down into my waterfall sweep.  I think I may get someone to drill that with before class tomorrow.  The other option was to transition with my free leg into a reap for a heal hook or single leg-x I'm assuming, I may drill this a few times as well. 

Another things I screwed up was a point when I was in single leg-x, he stripped my foot off his hip and he sat on my butterfly hook.  I should have planted my foot and kicked him forward to reestablish the position. 

I feel like this type of stuff is the great part about writing this blog for me.  Unfortunately for the reader it may not mean that much for their skill level or their particular game.  But me recounting it and thinking of how to word it and type it out helps me retain the information that much more for next time.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

February 20th 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Cross Collar Choke
Rolling/Game: Guard Position

Super proud of how Jayden did in sparring today!  I think he finally got tired of getting his guard passed so easily all the time. He went for grips used his legs and ended up with a couple sweeps.  He still needs to work on his hustle during warm-ups but we'll keep working on that.

A continuous issue with helping teach the kids' class is knowing when to coach and who. I try my best to coach everyone equally and I don't want to only coach my own boys.  It also can be difficult to coach against them.  I know the kids probably don't always understand but it's more important to me that they are trying to do techniques well rather than trying to win at any cost.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Josh J, Henry, Adam, Mo, Greg, Connor
Game Plan: Maintain Guard

Josh: Happy to welcome Josh to his first open mat. By the end of class he said that he'd be attending more often.  We rolled quite a few times with my main goal being to setup the spiral armbar but it never really presented itself. We went over some mount defense and a few other things before switching partners.

Henry: It was just as much a mental battle as a physical one rolling with Henry. Whenever  I'd do something good and try to slow the pace down and he'd get out of it and scramble again. I hate that feeling of disappointment after I just worked so hard for a sweep only to have it taken away.  I need to overcome this thought process and go with the flow.

Adam: Always a pleasure to roll with Adam. I did a few good things and hopefully made it more difficult to submit me than usual. I was able to keep guard a little longer than usual and also recovered guard a few times. My practice with controlling my breathing with bridging is paying off.

My best attempt to get him was when I set up cross guard and went for an omoplata. He stacked and stood to defend.  I'm still not ready to attempt the back roll yet though.  He eventually caught me with a straight armlock.

Mo: I'm going to have to start taking him more seriously because he almost caught me a couple times. At the beginning of our second roll I wanted him to play deep half but I must have been too obvious because he thought I was trying to set him up for a trap.  We went over transitioning to mount from a low side control.

Greg: I was lucky enough to get asked to roll no gi a couple times with Greg. But, not lucky enough to complete any meaningful technique. He stopped my butterfly guard attempts, he caught me with a kimura, an armbar, and head and arm choke.  There was one point where I thought I had pulled him into closed guard but he went to a tozi pass and got out.

Conor: This was his second class so we just drilled a few basics and rolled a bit.  It seems pretty common for new people to try to fight guard by pushing straight forward.  Does anyone else remember how long it took you to get over this?

Friday, February 19, 2016

February 19th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Headlock Escape to Back Mount, Kneeling Guard Break, Knee Slide Pass
Partner: Morgan, Jeff

Cool write up on a leg lock seminar that Greg did during his recent trip to California: Rise Again BJJ

Quote of the day goes to Sam.  In the middle of drilling she said something to the effect of, "your testicles aren't so great!"  Without context I was puzzled about what could be going on over there.  Apparently they were discussing the importance of testicles to ovaries or something. 

Another training session in the books.  Since I don't have much to talk about technique-wise today here's some blog/training stats: According to the counts on my blog I've made 729 posts.  I've made a post for every class, seminar, and tournament.  So I've "done" Jiu-Jitsu 729 times usually for an hour and a half if not more each session (So somewhere on the higher end of 1093-1458 hours).  I've completed 424 gi classes, 120 No Gi and 170 Open Mats.  My teachers have primarily been: Greg 306 classes, Conan 124, Jerad 62, Ray 23, Mike 12, and apparently I've taught 30.  I've competed in 5 tournaments and attended 4 Tinguinha seminars. 

Rolling: Kesa Gatame (2 x 3 min), Guard (2 x 3 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min), Open Guard King of the Mat
Rolled With: Conan, Craig, Morgan, Jeff, Sam, Josh

I was partners with Conan for kesa gatame, my all around least favorite position to defend and attack with.  It went as expected, he crushed me a bit from the top and I had to wait for him to give me some space to try to escape.  While he was able to escape me a couple times easily.  Once his head started popping out I felt very precarious and was reminded why I hate the position.  

The rest of rolling I tried to be very methodical in my passing and always looking for the knee slide.  I was able to do a few cross guard sweeps, some butterfly sweeps, I escaped side control once with the granby escape.  I enjoyed the open guard king of the mat as we had one person stand and one person sit.  I attempted to play some sit up guard and single leg-x, but I wish I would have went for some de la riva too.  All in all a good day of rolling.  

Office Hours Partner: Zac, Conan

Conan covered a huge pointer for guard retention.  Zac was doing the same thing that I usually do when someone is making space when they pass by reaching out his leg to try to keep them from moving.  This actually opens up the space that they want for side control so just suck the leg back in and look to sit up and/or get grips.  I find that sometimes I can reach and pull them into half guard but the really good people can get me way over extended and then pass.  I need to fight this urge to stop guard passes with just the tips of my toes and focus on movement and space control instead.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

February 18th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Headlock Escape to Back Mount, Kneeling Guard Break, Knee Slide Pass
Partner: Frank, Harvey

Retraction: I missed one piece of information when I taught the headlock escape yesterday.  I forgot to tell them to pull the arm out to help escape the headlock.  I apologize for ruining Jiu-Jitsu for anyone affected by this in class yesterday.

Another detail that Greg taught that I didn't think to was grabbing the pants at the knee to help you step over as you start your knee slide.  Something I do when I need to but didn't think to teach at the time.

Rolling: Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 4 min)
Rolled With: Harvey, Frank, Shane

During rolling, I did my best to attempt the knee slide pass with any opportunity on the top.  I had more success with going to quarter guard and then switching back to knee slide or transitioning from knee over pass to knee slide.

From the bottom I was able to foil a few knee slides when they left room for my underhook, overcoming this made a huge difference in my guard passing.

Office Hours Partner: Frank, Harvey

During our roll I ended up with a hook in turtle and a collar grab on the same side. I felt a little stuck as I didn't have the leverage to roll him either way but I didn't want to let my hook or collar grip go either. Eventually I worked into the sliding lapel choke which we figured to be the best course of action.

Harvey and I worked with the knee slide a bit more and I worked on spiral armbar.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February 17th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Headlock Escape to Back Mount, Kneeling Guard Break, Knee Slide Pass, Knee Through Guard Break
Students: Mike, Frank, Morgan, Ben, Tom, Byrav, Jordan, Dave

Nice sized class for a Wednesday morning!  We also had a drop in, Frank, who trains at the old school with Ken.  I also met him at a Hapkido class that I visited some time back. Always happy to have a visitor, especially if they've trained.

Tips on this week's techniques:

  • Headlock Escape: I emphasized focusing on moving your shoulder underneath you instead of trying to pull your elbow out.
  • Knee Slide Pass: After breaking the guard it's important to bring your knee up right away and connect your elbow and knee.
I showed the knee through guard break because it sets you right up for the knee slide and gave the guys that have done kneeling guard break a bunch a different option.

Rolling: Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Tom, Frank

We had even partners during the guard portion so I watched and tried to coach where I could.  I tested Tom's butterfly guard again today and saw some improvement.  He even had a decent attempt at shin on shin to single leg x.

I tried to be pretty flowy but precise with my techniques when rolling with Frank.  He had some skills and knew what he was doing positionally. He seemed to be a little worn out so I didn't want to push him too much and gave him a little bit of room to work.

Office Hours Partner: Mike, Ben, Tom

More discussion on shin on shin, single leg x and x guards.  I commented to Mike that it seemed like shin on shin was having an insurgence in our school lately as I've taught it to a couple people recently and seen it taught by others.  So word to the wise stay away from trying to pass in combat base.
Had an Epic roll with Mike.  I'm happy about avoiding ankle locks but did run into a bit of a problem from bottom turtle.  I went to turtle to escape side control but he took grips on my belt the back of my collar and I couldn't move without giving up my back.  To make matters worse he would double knee ride to make the experience more demoralizing.  I ended up giving up my back but I defended well enough to get my shoulders to the mat.  Somehow I ended up fighting for a toe hold and used it to get up and pass the guard making him turtle and eventually take his back.  In transition I got a cross collar grip and sunk in a tight collar choke from the back.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 16th 2016 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Butterfly Guard Passing Kneeling Headlock Pass, Standing Knee Cut Pass
Partner: Tom, Ben

Got some good information in class today.  We did 2 different guard passes against butterfly guard.  Greg was saying how standing to pass was sometimes better against bigger guys and the kneeling pass would be better against someone smaller or decent at leg locks. 

The first pass I sort of taught last week in the gi class.  The end result is pretty much the same but Greg's setup is much better.  As the butterfly guard guy goes for his underhook you collar tie them and pass their head to the other arm in a guillotine.  Then you decide to post on the floor and walk around or grab their ankle and spin them into side control.

The knee slide from standing I use quite a bit.  Stepping your foot in between their legs then simultaneously driving for the underhook and knee sliding.  The pointer that seemed to help my partners was to kind of throw yourself into the pass cross body like.  So don't try to put your knee straight across their thigh but turn the knee out and straighten your body. 

Rolling: Butterfly Guard (4 x 3 min), Free Rolling (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Ben, Tom, Greg, Mike

Butterfly guard felt good for me today on both sides.  I was able to do both passes a couple times today so mission accomplished there.  Recently I got away from trying to focus on the techniques of the week as much.  I think it's still a good thing to do but for a while I was focused on being more aggressive for the tournament.  Lately I've felt like I've been teaching more and haven't been rolling as much in the beginner/all levels type classes.  Regardless I think the important thing is that I'm actively focusing on learning something specific in class.

Had a lively roll with Greg, I think.  I can never tell how much he's letting me work and what I actually am able to do on my own volition.  I started on the bottom the first couple of times and tried to work some butterfly with little success.  I ended up in half guard instead and did a good job of making space when I needed to.  I went for a couple of kimuras and was excited that I may actually get somewhere but I allowed him too much space and he jumped out of my half guard to side control so I let the kimura go.  The following rolls he just grabbed both my ankles and flipped me up and then went for a heel hook pretty easily twice in a row. 

I wanted to avoid any footsie with Mike today and I was lucky to try the double ankle grab that Greg had just done to me and got a pass out of it right into north/south choke.  I had to deal with his inverted guard a bit but got around that, but he was still able to get his hand on my chin and break out of the choke.  I went for the choke again later on and the same exchange ensued.  I just couldn't get my head low enough to avoid his hand on my chin.  He eventually got his legs around for an inverted triangle and as I tried to escape it he got a kimura grip. 

Office Hours Partner: Mike, Greg, Tom

After class Mike and I talked about the north/south choke and how to avoid his defense, I think a lot of it had to do with his size too.  Tom was asking about butterfly and Greg had me try to pass him for a while.  A good discussion followed going from butterfly to shin on shin to x guard and single leg x.  Talking about the best sweeps from single and full x guards etc. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

February 13th 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: Drop seoi nage
Rolling/Game: Standup Sparring, Free Rolling, Flag Tag

Jace has been sick for a few days and was not able to go to class today.  I'm happy with how Jayden did on his own.  He still has some trouble with the partner exercises like pulling across the floor and giving piggyback rides.

I was impressed with how well him and his partner did with the drop shoulder throw. They both seemed to enjoy it.  It's one of my favorite throws.  During stand up Sparring he would start off well but eventually he'd get stuck bent over with his head down. We'll have to work on that.

Open Mat
Rolled With: Andy, Sam, Hiro, Dave K, Morgan, Derek, Henry
Game Plan: Bottom - Deep Half, Top - Knee on Belly

Had quite a few rolls today, which explains why I'm so tired.

Andy: I was able to foil his nefarious plans to choke me with a baseball bat choke from the bottom.  I'll probably eventually have to show him how to defend my over/under pass.

Sam: After a couple roles we got on the subject of the single leg x entry from butterfly and we worked on that for a while.  I was surprised that she had never worked on it before, but she made the comment that Mike caught her with it all the time.

Hiro: He was a visitor from MAMA who is planning on interviewing some of us for his thesis.  We went no gi and I soon realized that he was more experienced than me.  I felt like I would almost get somewhere only to be blocked.  I had a little success from deep half and almost swept with a waiter sweep but couldn't turn my hips over. He eventually got me with a guillotine from the top of half guard and I couldn't defend anymore.  He complimented me on my toughness, which I'll take.

Dave: Had a couple of tough rolls. I was able to use the shin on bicep to set up the omoplata and went to the crucifix position. In our second roll he was able to trap me in half guard for quite a while before moving up into mount and while transitioning to back mount he caught me with a tight head and arm choke.

Morgan: Had a good couple of rolls and he was able to surprise me with regaining guard from north/south. But, the notable phrase from our roll was when I had him in a cross collar choke from the back and he said, "Can we have a beard break?" At first I thought he said "beer break" but the hair of his beard was caught in my collar grip.

Derek M: He wasn't up for rolling but we drilled some regaining guard from half and side mount before he had to take off.  Probably a good thing because I was pretty worn out and he's a beast.

Henry: I thought I had enough gas in the tank to do another roll but I was wrong. It started out well with some back and forth but there was a point after he turtled and I was a little high on his back with a collar grip. He shrugged me off and I began to get a decent cramp in my ribs and basically gassed out.

Friday, February 12, 2016

February 12th 2016 - Gi All Levels (Impromptu Lab)

Theme & Techniques: Step Over Pass
Partner: Conan, Zac

It was just myself, Conan, and Zac today so we made it more of a Jiu-Jitsu lab and worked on a pass that Conan has been using lately.  It's kind of like the hip switch guard pass but triggered off of a knee slide pass instead. For reference watch at about the 3:50 mark of the video below.  It seemed a bit out of my comfort zone as it dealt with creating much more space between me and my opponent than I'm used to.  All in all it seemed like our normal Monday morning where we've been getting together to do this type of thing.  Message me or Conan if you're interested. 

Rolling: 5 min rounds with half guard, side control and free rolling

I had a very difficult time trying this during rolling.  Trying to set this up with my foot planted off to the side presented the most challenges for me.  I kept getting pulled into deep half or some type of bad half guard.  It was a little discouraging but you got to fail if you ever want to learn anything new.  I was also having trouble knowing where to put my hands at any given moment. 

Zac was challenging himself by starting on the bottom of side control with each roll.  So I got to attack quite a bit in rolls with him.  Conan gave him some pointers on controlling the top person and not letting them setup their submissions.  Later Zac said he was impressed with my neon belly and asked if we could work on that on Monday.  I look forward to that. 

When I rolled with Conan I think he assumed I was having a bad day because I was getting killed trying to complete this pass over and over again.  When we started free rolling I came out of the gate ready to go and he kind of let me pass his guard a bit.  I wasn't able to submit him but I had a better time than I usually do. 

The other day Conan seemed a bit concerned about my emotional state after I wrote that I was put in a bad mood after he destroyed me one morning.  One of the problems with writing this blog is walking the line of what to share.  I share what I'm working on, what I'm good and bad at, what frustrates me, etc.  While trying to stay away from bragging and talking about the submissions that I get I also try to stay away from too much self deprecation and self pity.  So I'm always concerned about how people will take being mentioned in here and if I offend them.  It honestly used to be easier to write this blog when I sucked really bad.  I'm in a pretty good place right now where I feel like I'm consistently progressing at a good pace and it's good to be reminded that I still have a long way to go.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 10th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Seoi Nage, Double Ankle Grab Sweep, Butterfly Hook Sweep, Butterfly Guard Pass
Students: Mike A, Chris, Morgan, Ben, Tom, Cassey

Welcome back to Chris!  Good to see him back after some time off.  He was the first person that I competed against in my first tournament.  Also, he's still a beast and I hate him for it.

I didn't feel the best about my instruction today.  I said everything I needed to but I felt like it wasn't concise enough and I kept going back and remembering details.  I may need to review the techniques before class and go through in my head how I'm going to teach them so the lesson seems cogent.  I repeated the warm-up exercises from last week with combination throws, grip fighting and pummeling.  Some tips on this week's techniques:
  • Seoi Nage: The biggest issue I saw was allowing too much space when starting to lean over for the throw.  I try to connect their shoulder to the back of my shoulder so when I lean over they come with me.
  • Double Ankle Sweep: Mike made a very good point when he said it should be called double heel sweep instead, the lower you grab on their feet the better.  Also as you begin to pass sit on their leg and move your weight to that knee and allow as little space as possible.
  • Hook Sweep: Posture is so important in this sweep.  Keeping yours and breaking theirs.  Keeping your head up and having your underhook elbow high really goes a long way.  I still keep in mind what Greg told me about hanging off of the opponent to break their posture.
I showed the butterfly guard pass Saolo Ribero shows in the Jiu-Jitsu University book.  I've had some success with it and I thought it would be a good addition to this class.  It's for when the guard player doesn't do the underhook well and you can put your hand on the floor then go for a guillotine grip.  Get to your feet and get over their knee to side control.

Rolling: Butterfly Up/Down/Out, Free Rolling (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Everyone

Had quite a battle with Chris and while I did a little better against him than I did before he left he doesn't seem to have lost much of a step.  He was even able to put me into x-guard and passed my guard once.  With Mike I've been ending up in reverse half guard a lot and he's able to control my pants enough to free his leg.  I'll have to figure this out.

I sat out while everyone else free rolled and coached where I could.  Probably the highlight was witnessing Ben get a deep half guard sweep.

Office Hours Partner: Mike, Tom

I showed the youtube video below that has a few tournament clips of Marcelo doing a farside armbar and kind of sitting to his side.  We played around with it a bit and thought it was pretty cool.  I may look into it more and ask Greg what he thinks about it.

Mike has been drilling a spider guard sweep that seems to be coming along very well for him.  I drilled some deep half and switched between waiter sweep and taking the back.  I've been feeling pretty good with the position and not getting as worn out trying to do techniques like I was before.  I do need to nail down the back take a little more.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 9th 2016 - No Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Kimura Setups
Partner: Robert

The main technique that Mike wanted to teach was the front roll into kimura setup, but he thought it better to work some basic setups first for the newer guys.  The takeaway for me today was if you are working on finishing the sub you hold their elbow tight to your chest, but if you are using the kimura to move then you want to straighten your arms.  This is a rule that I can embrace for now.  We also did a pretty brutal crossface trying to reach for their armpit a couple times I wanted to tap to Robert's.

Attempting the front roll with the kimura was not as difficult as I thought.  There is some looseness to it in that you connect the kimura as you roll and then determine if you take the back or come up for the kimura. 

Rolling: Butterfly Guard (2 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Robert, Mike, Harvey

Working with Robert in butterfly guard was challenging and fun.  We pretty much stalemated each other, but had many positional changes but no sweeps or guard passes completed.

Mike and I had a good roll ending as it usually does lately with him ankle locking me.  I felt a little good about my defenses but it was inevitable from 50/50.  Just got to keep working them.  I think I may need to refresh the basic leg attacks as I'm still trying to piece together when I should be defending and when I should be attacking or doing both at the same time.  When I was trying to pass the guard I was consciously thinking of my elbow placement so that is coming along.

I had some fun rolling with Harvey and tried to go with the flow but maintain a dominant position at all times.  There were a few submissions that I may have been able to get but I felt like transitioning between positions instead and not forcing anything.  To his credit he was able to make me reposition a couple of times and he was able to come up into my guard from back mount. 

Office Hours Partner: Tom, Mike

I wanted to drill the spiral armbar a bit and Mike gave me some pointers on it.  I'm still working on the position and I think I just need to be more patient and not try to force the armbar.  We rolled for a while after that and he has gotten really good at defending my attacks.  He even commented that he feels better about the basics since attending the beginner/all level classes.  He asked about granby from turtle after and Mike complimented me on how well I do with them.  I didn't know that I was known for that but the granby does work for me quite often. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February 6th 2016 - Kids & Open Mat

Kids Class
Technique: O-soto Gari and Counter
Rolling/Game: Stand up Sparring, Free Rolling

Decent sized kids class today. Jerad and Conan did a great job teaching it.  My boys did well with the throw, the counter took a little explaining though.

The kids were  divided by size to do the standup sparring.  I saw quite a few good throw and takedown attempts. They're fun to watch because it seems like they have less fear of failing.

Open Mat
Rolled With: David, Andy, Jerad, Bhuvana
Game Plan: Spiral armbar, maintaining inside space

David: Very long and tough roll to start out the day.  I felt like I did a pretty good job attacking but he was very good at defending. I ended up with burning forearms and worn out fingers from trying collar and north south chokes.  I attempted to setup the spiral armbar a few times but wasn't able to turn the corner on it.

Andy: If I had to give him one criticism it's that he relies on baseball bat choke from the bottom too much.  He's good at them and they definitely work, but I feel like it's too high risk high reward for my blood.  Hopefully that's not too blunt.  Of course it's also good to have someone good at something like this so people get experience defending it.

Jerad: Same as usual. I feel like I hit a brick wall attempting what I'm good at with him. I may need to be a little more unpredictable moving forward. I did have one good sweep from deep half using the lapel to wrap his leg.

Bhuvana: She just wanted to drill a few things like north/south and baseball bat chokes.  I had to correct a few things but in the end she was able to do them pretty well.

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 5th 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Against Wall Defense, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass, Defending the Double Under Pass
Students: Josh J, Anthony, Ty

Pretty much repeated the teaching portion of class from yesterday.  So I got to share the double under defenses with a new group.  I guess I wasn't the only one because Josh said that Jerad went over some of it the night before as well.

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

I played pretty light today and tried to work technique methodically, but also gave the other guys a chance to try to set things up.  From the bottom I tried a little spider guard and I'm having some trouble being smooth with it or setting things up.  At the most I'm able to keep people from passing until I can transition to closed or butterfly guard.  I'm not up to doing the single leg-x transitions that are done to me so often.  I also did some cross guard and was able to pull off the back roll sweep very smoothly. 

Office Hours Partner: Josh

I worked with Josh a bit on the cross guard and holding the thigh to your head so they can't step over.  I told him to put his ear on his leg like he's listening for the ocean.  Then extend your body and sweep.  It seemed to make sense and I remember dealing with this problem a lot when I first started the cross guard. 

I worked on getting the spiral armbar and he gave me some resistance.  I was having trouble with trusting my posture from here to get into position so I think this helped.  I just have to keep walking forward and raise up high to keep affecting the elbow.  It seems counter intuitive but it's the way it has to be done to get there.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 4rd 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Against Wall Defense, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass, Defending the Double Under Pass
Students: Ben, Tim, Megan, Bhuvana

Did some of those extra warm-up things with some combination fitins, some grip fighting, and fighting for the clinch.  Everyone seemed to understand the kneeling guard break and double unders pretty well so I took some time to show the defenses against the double unders.  The defenses that I showed were:
  • At the beginning of the double unders spread your legs and bring the inside of your knees around their elbows.  Use your hips to make your legs heavier and you may have to shoulder walk to prevent being stacked.  Ultimately if you can get your feet to butterfly hooks you can look for the submission.
  • The 2nd defense is against a bad double under pass where they attempt to throw your leg across.  From here keep your hips up like you're doing half of a back roll.  Once the foot of the leg they pushed over touches the floor kick back like a granby roll to regain guard.
  • The elbow push was the last defense and it was when they have you stacked and are reaching for your collar.  Get your hand on their sleeve over their elbow and keep them from hiding their elbow.  As they turn into the pass stiff arm them and scoot out to regain guard.
Rolling: Guard (2 x 2 min)
Rolled With: Megan

Megan is still pretty new so I talked her through a few things from the top and bottom.  Just basic things like grip fighting and off balancing.  Or I'd get close to completing the pass and then stop and rewind and show her what she could have done to prevent it.

Office Hours Partner: Ben

Had a couple of good rolls with Ben.  He is defending my attacks better and better all the time.  After we rolled he gave me a few compliments and said that I roll different than most of the other people that he rolls with (he meant it in a good way).  We talked a bit about how knee on belly isn't used much by the white belts and we were thinking it may be because it's not in the beginner curriculum that much if at all.  We also talked about mount and how I think it has a larger learning curve than side mount.  I'm going to ask Greg about knee on belly and where it falls into the overall curriculum. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 3rd 2016 - Gi All Levels

Theme & Techniques: Standing Guillotine Against Wall Defense, Kneeling Guard Break, Double Under Pass
Partner: Mike

When I arrived Greg and Mike were getting in some last minute drilling before Greg took off for California.  They were working on some type of toe hold with a calf slicer on the other leg.  As I was entering the changing room I heard Mike say something like "This renders all of the Jiu-Jitsu that I know useless."  Wow that's quite a leg lock and something I need to learn.

While drilling techniques Mike and I messed around with some kicks and stuff like that.  It felt kind of good to dust off some of those techniques that I haven't done in a while.  Maybe I'll find some time to start hitting the punching bag at home and freshen up my skills.

Some tips from today's techniques:
  • Guillotine Defense: Posture is very important throughout this technique.  Once you are able to get your posture and start working for the neck crank don't lose your posture then because they can get the guillotine right back.
  • Kneeling Guard Break to Double Under Pass: It seemed like we were overemphasizing the use of the elbow in the guard break.  It serves 2 purposes, the hand holds their hips down and the elbow prevents the triangle.  I usually think of that arm as the triangle shield when doing single or double under passes.
Rolling: Guard (4 x 2 min), Free Rolling (2 x 5 min)
Rolled With: Mike, Tim

I'm going to have to keep an eye on Tim because he's doing pretty well for a new guy.  It's a combination of being explosive, having some strength, and decent timing.  I really had to have some patience and using persistent deliberate technique and let him struggle a little bit and not give him any space to exploit.  From the bottom I attempted a scissor sweep a couple times but it was strange how he was able to twist a bit to make it less effective.  Switching to 2 on 1 control kept him at bay. 

Office Hours Partner: Mike

Rolling with Mike during class was fun as usual.  When we started from the knees I was being very careful to keep my elbows close and not reach out.  I even mentioned that while shoveling snow I was thinking about my elbows and training myself to keep them in close.  It's something I'll have to keep in mind for a while because it's still not second nature.  I played a little de la riva with him and did okay.  One point that he made was that I needed to prioritize breaking his grip on my free leg.  Otherwise we ended up in a leg battle and he caught me with a toe hold. 

We drilled a little bit after class and I worked on some cross guard with a little resistance.  We talked about using wristlocks when the omoplata got loose and also worked some collar chokes from my new favorite position of omoplata crucifix. 

I asked him if he had any tips for dealing with bigger guys, since he does it so often.  He mentioned having patience and keeping the inside position as being the main things.  For instance your frame in half guard using the diamond.  He also uses sitting up in butterfly guard as the place that he feels the safest and once he starts to get pushed down he tries to find a way back there.  He said the reason that I may get overwhelmed is because I think I should be doing something so I try to force something.  Definitely something to contemplate.