Monday, December 13, 2010

Anatomy Lesson

Professor Doc Eddie says it's not Median Nerve Compression. Says it's likely a blown disc in the neck that's pinching the Median Nerve root, but the actual Median Nerve is in the arm, beyond the brachial plexus. Suggested I take it easy for a bit and not train at all (including core work and jumping rope). Then referred me to a neck specialist. Need an MRI. To say that I'm disappointed is an extreme understatement. I can finally tie my new blue belt, but can't break it in. Lovely.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Median Nerve Compression

I'm out...for the most part. Chiropractor clearly doesn't have a clue what's wrong with me. 5 minutes of googling tells me I have median nerve compression or irritation (but not CTS). Going to take it easy for a few weeks and see what happens. Through Christmas Eve, I'll show up to class a couple times per week, warm up, and be very picky about my participation in techniques and drills. No rolling. I'll work my core and other band/ankle weight conditioning instead. Then I'll take 10 days off while home for Christmas. If my symptoms haven't subsided come the new year, I'll have to see a neurologist.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby Blue

5:15-5:30p: Showed up for my private with Gavin early to stretch. First time putting on the Blue Belt. It's an HCK brand and I tried a dozen times or so to tie it properly with the label Such a Baby Blue. Can't even tie my belt. Tsk tsk. Shawn (Purple) was training with some of Spider's top kickboxing guys. He looked beat. Could tell he had a rough (as in good rough) session. Wish I could have been there earlier. Shawn told me to quit my job and show up next week at 4pm. Maybe I'll leave work early with a mysterious illness? ;-)

5:30-6:30p: Private. In many ways this was my favorite private yet. Almost everything we worked I knew, but Gavin refined details. Worked mount and technical mount escapes, half guard to full guard recovery and half guard sweeps, and some closed guard sweeps and subs. Finished with spider, de la riva, and x-guard sweeps.

6:30-6:45p: Stretched and watched Professor Matthias roll with Doc Ken (4-stripe Purple) and Gavin (4-stripe Purple). Good, solid rolls.

6:45-7p: Doc Ken asked me to roll. I was hesitant at first because I wasn't warm and my neck has been...well...problematic to say the least. Ken is a big strong guy and I was feeling pretty fragile. So glad I said yes. It was a great warm-up roll. Challenging. Had a couple solid escapes and guard recoveries from bad spots. Almost pulled off a butterfly sweep to side control, but I'll take the sweep to guard. Ken wasn't pressing me too hard, but he pushed me as hard as I could take and I was pleased with my performance.

7-7:15p: Warm-up.

7:15-7:30: Pummeling and take down drills. I'm not a good dancer. Shot a double underhook take down on Andrew (Brown) and got an electric jolt down my right arm and hand. Arghhh.... No take downs...

7:30-8p: Technique. De la Riva to omoplata followed by koala guard to single leg take down if opponent tries to pull out of the omoplata set up.

8-8:30p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Crowded mats tonight so we grouped in threes. Got Noor (Blue) and Jeremy (White), then Noor again. Three in a row. Lots of technical work. Standing guard passes, sweeps, escapes. Used a new De la Riva sweep Gavin showed me tonight a few times. It's basically a sweep off a pass variation and can tell it's going to be one of my favorite sweeps. Some successful inverted guard to guard recovery. Was worried it would pressure my neck, but no problems. Had difficulty securing positions and lost a number of submission attempts. Need to remember: Position before submission. Managed a gi choke from technical mount. Got kneed in the jaw. Knocked me silly. Had difficulty chewing tonight. Pain...bleh.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Neck Nerve Pinch

My neck on 12/6/10

Apparently my neck is too straight and I have a bulging disc between C5 and C6. Chiropractor says the "trauma" must have happened in past couple years. Since I haven't been in an accident, he thinks it must have been BJJ and suggested a guillotine or another choke (he promotes MMA events and understands BJJ). The only neck trauma I can think of is the RNC at the no gi finals on 10/23. I felt my entire neck and spine crack and I briefly lost motor control. I literally couldn't tap. After Professor Marco broke it up and Cleve let go of his grip, I regained control of my muscles. My neck seized up and was an issue the week after. Didn't think anything else of it until a few weeks back when I began feeling tingles in my right thumb, index, and middle finger. Now my index finger is numb (constantly) and my thumb and middle fingers tingle. I feel a strange pinch in my lower right neck/shoulder. No pain, but very annoying and disturbing.

"Normal" neck profile

The chiropractor says to train, but train smart. I need to tap to all chokes that get close to cranking the neck. No guillotines, d'arce's, gator rolls, RNCs, and I should avoid inverted guard and stretches that involve putting my legs behind my head. I can do that... In the mean time, he says I need a few months of adjustments (3x per week) followed by a month of traction to get the proper curve back in my neck.

I don't know. I'm skeptical. First, is my neck profile really a "problem" or is it just that I kept my neck straight for an x-ray? Second, if my neck is a "problem" is cracking it a few times a week followed by some traction really going to help? My spidey sense is tingling here...not sure.

I'll train tomorrow night and see how it goes. Missing the last two nights...driving me crazy. I must train.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Represents more than 200 hours of mat time, 90% of which involved me getting my butt kicked. Dorian, Ricky, Chris and Nick got the nod tonight as well. Each well deserved. All four under 23 yrs old. I was the token old guy. Caroline got her Brown tonight. I'm really happy for her.

Now the real fun begins. I'll have a target on my back. Getting through this transition without injury will require that I set aside my ego and go for the ride. Do I have it in me? We'll see. Do I "feel" like I have Blue Belt skills? Sometimes yes, often no. But as they say: The belt only holds your pants up. I continue to trust my Professors.

Deep Tissue Relief

11:05-11:20a: Showed up a bit late to class. I have a thing about wearing a fresh gi to every class and my gi wasn't done drying. Should have woke up earlier... All sorts of warm-up drills I'd never seen before. A 4-stripe Blue with a Capoeira background led. He usually trains mornings so I don't see him very often. He's much more athletic and flexible than most everyone else. A couple folks caught on, but most of us looked pretty silly.

11:20-11:30a: Sweep / pass the guard. Started in Jeremy's (Blue) guard. Broke his guard with a standing break, but eventually got swept. Can't recall how at the moment. Got the Capoeira guy next. Broke guard and almost passed with a knee slide. To secure the pass, I had to base out and smash his legs together. Jeremy stepped into my guard. Worked open guard. He eventually stuffed my legs and passed.

11:30a-12p: Technique. Fundamentals. Basic guard break to stack pass. Then bottom guy worked an escape from side control via underhook, hip/switch, and take down to land in guard. Then start over. Added a knee slide pass variation if opponent employs predictable defense against the stack attempt.

12-12:30p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got a visitor (2-stripe Blue), Ricky (White), Instructor Tran (Brown), and Chris (Blue). Great exhausting rolls.

The visitor charged at me hard. 2 minutes into the round I thought I was in for a serious butt kicking. He passed my guard at will and took my back. I was in serious survival mode. Maintained composure and relied on survival/escape basics. Eventually found myself with room to work. Recovered half guard. Transitioned from half to X-guard and got the sweep. Ended up taking his back and got a bow and arrow. A bit later I triangled him from guard. I think that's the first time I've tapped a Blue twice in a roll.

Ricky is always a challenge. Arm dragged me and took my back. Spent most of the roll surviving and escaping back only to have him take my back again. I have no offense against this kid. He's eventually going to tap me. Only a matter of time.

Tran worked with me. Shot a couple triangles but I escaped. I'm pretty sure he was playing catch and release. At one point he took my back and I executed Saulo's scoop and break. He said, "Dang Saulo stuff. It works!"

Chris hasn't been around for a few months. He's about my size. Hard charger. The last roll of 6 consecutive training days and I didn't have a lot to offer. Thought I had a sweep off a pass, but he knew the defense. Dang. Didn't have a backup plan...should probably have a transition from that sweep set up handy since it's not that difficult to stuff... He caught me with a triangle. Surprised he didn't get anything else.

12:30-1:30p: Private with Professor Matthias. Worked half guard passes and a couple half guard escapes in response to common pass attempts. Used techniques from Saulo's Revolution 1 series as the basis, but Matthias added details that aren't on the DVDs. Also worked arm drag defense.

Had a 50-minute deep tissue massage after class. By far the best deep tissue massage I've ever had. Most of the time the masseuse can't dig deep enough. Not a problem for Desiree. She said I have a wicked knot that has receded under my scapula and is likely the source of the nerve pinch. That makes total sense. I can feel the knot and the pressure under the scapula. When I tilt my head to the right and back, it puts even more pressure on the knot and induces numbness. Said to take regular epsom salt baths and I need monthly deep tissue sessions. (BTW, fellow jits blogger Dagney Taggert recommended epsom salt as well (here and here)...will have to get some tomorrow). We even talked jits. She's an avid MMA fan and has been thinking about getting into a martial art. Hopefully she stops by the gym.

Tonight is the NOLA BJJ Christmas party. Should be a wild time. Wonder if I should bring a gi.

Friday, December 3, 2010


5:40-6p: Two short warm-up rolls with Instructor Tran (Brown). Straightened and swept mats between rolls. Tran rolled light. Let me pass guard from standing several times. It was too easy to be legit. X-passes mostly, but one or two step through passes Professor Marco taught a while back. Tran's NOLA BJJ forum handle is "Underhook." Now I know why. His underhook to guard recovery from side control is sick. Finally prevented the escape by switching to reverse kesa gatame. Passed to mount. Set up for a Roger Gracie cross choke variation but got upa'd as I tried to sink it in. Still had the grips from guard, but my top grip wasn't under the neck. Didn't want to smash his face and didn't think to shock snap his head to get the forearm under the chin so I let it go.

Aside from the gimme passes and the mount to cross choke attempt, Tran had me on defensive most of the time. While trying to prevent the cross face to set up an escape from side control, he pointed out that I should keep my elbow to the mat and against his hip. I asked how I could do that and prevent the cross face at the same time. Instructor Rusty (Brown), who had been watching, assisted. They showed me how to switch between cross face prevention and good side control survival posture. Nice. I've been so focused on cross face prevention I was creating another -- but equally dangerous -- hole in my game. Thanks guys!

6-7p: Self defense class. Review of the arm bar techniques taught on Wednesday. Great! Love to see techniques again. I have too much swirling in my mind already. Arm bars from mount and step around from side control. Then looked at a kimura option from north south when opponent defends the side control step around by grabbing belt. Rusty's lagniappe for the night. Loved it.

Almost called it a night. Asked Matt if he wanted to bail and head to dinner. He shamed me in to staying. Fifth night in a row and given my neck pinch and tingly fingers plus general soreness, I wasn't looking forward to class. But thanks to Matt, I'm glad I stuck it out.

7-7:20p: No gi. Warm-ups and drills. Asked to show some new drills I've learned at other schools. Added some strange stuff. The no gi class seems to have more upper belts compared to the gi classes so these went over a bit better than when I introduced some of the same drills to the gi class.

7:20-7:30p: Single leg take down to sprawl/stuff drills.

7:30-8p: Technique. Over my head. Learned a wrestlers stuff from sprawl of single leg attempt. Then learned gator roll and d'arce. Good to see the gator roll and d'arce again, but I'm still far from comfortable with these subs. I'd much rather learn how to avoid and escape them. More on that later.

8-8:30p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got Sammy (White), Dr. Steve (Blue), Ben (White), and Will (White). Got a RNC (White) and set up an X guard (White) and had him stretched out quite a bit. But without a gi lapel, sleeve, or belt to grab on to I didn't know how to finish the sweep. Also got to and maintained mount for over a minute. Good that I maintained mount for so long, but trying to get a submission from mount without a gi is tough. Too slippery to lock in the arm triangle. Too slippery to tie down an Americana. Too slippery to pull of the arm bar from mount reviewed in self defense twice this week. TOO DANGED SLIPPERY. Definitely something to work on.

Dr. Steve destroyed me. Americana from running escape posture. I really didn't think I was vulnerable until it was too late. Didn't feel good at all. I don't think I'm hurt though. But that wasn't the embarrassing part. Steve caught me in 4 D'arce chokes during the roll. From butterfly, half guard, side control and who knows what else. Fish out of water without my gi... I'll figure it out...eventually. Prediction? Dr. Steve gets his Purple in May or June.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Upper Belt Access

5:30-5:50p: Warm-up / standard drills. Mike (Purple) led. Did bride carries. Mike was my partner. Ugh. He's 6'2" or so and 220lbs or so. Thighs still sore from Monday's fireman carries and squats.

5:50-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Got swept twice. Scissor (4-stripe Blue) and a silly off-balance sweep from failed standing pass attempt (Purple). What's new? Posture...bleh. Didn't get swept, but I gave up an attempt to a 4-stripe Blue who set up a go-go plata after a minute or two trying to pass. No submissions in this drill, but he had the set up and started pulling on the head. Had it been a roll I would have tried to escape, but I'd tried to pass his guard unsuccessfully for too long and the fact that he surprised me and set it up meant it was time to move on. I screwed up. Next time.

6-6:30p: Technique. Side control escapes. Traditional and underhook to hip switch and drive take down. Then worked a guard recovery technique if opponent sprawls out on your take down attempt. Good review.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minutes. Mike (2-stripe Purple), Alex (Purple) and Caleb (4-stripe Blue). Nice! Mike and Alex are taller, heavier, and stronger. Caleb is smaller, but solid and quick! Aside from another 4-stripe Blue, these three were the top ranking guys in class tonight. Nice!

Survived the 6 minutes with Mike. He was attacking hard. Lost a contact. Never had that happen before. Almost got my face ripped off from an RNC attempt. Struggled intensely to maintain good half guard posture. I think the only reason why he didn't submit me is because he was trying so dang hard he forced me into survival mode. I didn't try any sweeps or attacks. It was survival/escape 101. Probably had to do with a certain "challenge" issued earlier this week.All in good fun. Although very uncomfortable, I loved every second.

Then got Alex. Awesome. Two Purples in a row. Never happened before! Good roll. Started on top. Got scissor swept after not too long and fought for guard recovery most of the time, but I managed an X guard set up and butterfly sweep...sort of. The butterfly sweep set up and execution was solid, but he scrambled on the landing and had a good grip of a lapel. I couldn't get side control and landed in his open guard. Immediately pressed for a guard pass as he pulled me in. I was too eager. Left arm exposed. Arm bar. Happened so quickly my elbow popped. I deserved it. Tapped as quickly as I could, but it wasn't soon enough. Fortunately it's not sore at all. I could tell he was tired. Glad he had to work for it. I grabbed him immediately and pulled him back into the fight. No resting on my time buddy! I don't get to work with Purples too often, so no rest until after Professor calls time!

The difference between my roll with Alex and my roll with Mike? I suspect it was that Alex took it relatively easy on me and let me work. I got caught because I was acting out of my comfort zone and pressing an attack. I never had a chance to try anything with Mike. He forced me into survival mode. Had Mike let me work a bit, I'd have messed up and he'd have caught me at some point. I'm sure of it. I don't think I've ever had a Purple fully test my survival. Usually Purples, Browns, and Blacks work with me. They try new stuff and give me opportunities to work. When I get a sweep or a solid escape, it's because they are working on things they don't get to work with their peers. I realize that. But that also frustrates me a bit. I want to get my arse kicked. I can "work" with Whites and some Blues. So it was good to test my survival skills against a fully attacking Purple.

Last roll with Caleb. This kid is wicked quick. Impeccably fit. I tried survival mode, but he eventually extracted the left arm for the arm bar from technical mount. Not sure what I did wrong, but he found a hole and exploited it. I'm just glad I got away with only one arm bar. Last time we rolled, he caught me twice. Oh...escaped X guard once...using the technique learned the other night...but he recovered guard and set up a different X guard variation we learned a couple weeks ago resulting in a sweep. Great to "see" his mind work. I recognized what he was doing, when we learned it, and executed the break and pass learned in class. Nice.

I've had more than my fair share of access to upper belts recently, but tonight I hit the mother load. Sweep / pass the guard drills and training. Loved it. I feel really confident in my survival skills for only 7-mos experience. Hope to keep focusing on survival / escapes for my entire journey. The rest of the game will follow...with time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Exhausted + dehydrated + sore = absolutely worthless for training. Should have stayed home. Made it through self defense class (6-7p), warm-ups (7-7:20p), and sweep / pass the guard (7:20-7:35p) ... but only barely. Self defense techniques included three responses to various sucker chokes from behind. Then reviewed Machida/Rampage failed arm bar attempts and drilled the correct technique from mount and side control. Observed the technique portion of sports BJJ class. Sports BJJ class techniques included X guard sweeps from butterfly and half guard set ups. Couldn't believe it, but I started to doze off. Bailed before the rolls started. Just wasn't going to happen.

Injury Report: Not sure what's wrong, but my right hand/thumb has been tingling regularly for the past few days. Something's pinched in my neck/shoulder. Don't think it's training related. I developed a kink and first noticed occasional tingling after an uncomfortable flight and night's sleep a couple weeks ago. But now it's regular. Hasn't affected my training...yet...but definitely something I need to pay attention to.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Challenge

Alcohol and BJJ don't mix well. Apparently I called out my good friend (and Purple Belt) Mike at the Gracie Barra Comp Net after party in late Oct. Allegedly issued a challenge: If I survive 15 minutes, I win. Simple challenge, right? All have to do is last 15 minutes without tapping and I win. Ok, not allegedly. With Shawn's encouragement, I laid it down. All in good fun of course. Mike is my BJJ "father". He's the one who challenged me to show up that first April Wednesday evening. But...the challenge match never happened. We forgot about it...until tonight. Out with a few guys (and a couple Professors), we revived the challenge. It's taken on a life of its own. Apparently it's on. Thursday night at class. From stand up. 15 minutes. Ouch. Of course, I have nothing to lose. I'm a white belt. Of course a taller/heavier/stronger Purple Belt with 6+ years experience is supposed to destroy me. But...part of me wants the challenge. I have only one goal. SURVIVE. Can I do it? Doubtful. Is it worth the try? I suppose. Why not? Oh...btw. Even if he submits me within the first 30 seconds. . . No . . . WHEN he submits me 15 times within the first 7 minutes. . . we go the full 15 minutes. We'll see. Maybe it's all drunk talking.

Short post tonight to record the training:

5:10-5:30p: Rolled with 17-yr old 180lbs 4-stripe White Belt Nick. Challenging roll. In my opinion, he's the most technical and best White Belt in the academy. No submissions, but he clearly had the upper end after our 20 minute roll. Despite a few sweeps on my part, he took my back a couple times and went for an armbar. I escaped, but he definitely earned the advantage for the effort. Good roll. I'm just glad I can hang in there with a young buck with a couple years experience.

5:30-6p: Warm-ups, standard drills, and sweep / pass the guard. Got swept...twice. Sucked.

6-6:30p: Technique. Standing guard break to combat base to stack pass. Knee slide for second option in response to typical stack pass defense. Review, but it's been a long while and I forgot many of the details. Great to see again.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got Tiffany (White), Jeremy (Blue), and Ricky (White). Tiffany was tough. Although only 115lbs or so, she's quite strong, fast, and aggressive. Good roll. Jeremy is new to our school. Has an MMA background, but hasn't trained regularly for a couple years. Tough roll. He caught me with an RNC. Haven't been caught in an RNC in gi in a long time (if ever). Sort of pissed at myself. How did I let that happen? Still not sure, but I didn't see it coming. Professor Matthias asked who among the White Belts I wanted. I had a dozen or so to chose from. Ricky was the obvious choice. Nick had already been assigned and Ricky is easily the second toughest White Belt in the group. He breaks my posture at will and his arm drags to back are sick. And he's big. Taller and probably 30lbs heavier than me. I'm determined to work from the top against him as often as possible until I can improve my guard break and pass (err...posture maintenance and arm drag avoidance). Results were asi asi. Managed to break guard and almost pass using the technique taught tonight, but that didn't last long and he still managed to take my back. Never seriously threatened, but I was on defensive most of the roll.

7-7:10p: Stretched.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bad Habit That Won't Die

6:15-6:30p: Arrived a bit early. Stretched. Watched Professors Matthias and Marco roll. Also watched Professor Doc Eddie roll with Ross (Blue). Solid. Although exhausted from only 5 hrs sleep and a fairly rough day at work, it sure felt good to be back on the mats.

6:30-6:45p: Warm up. Professor Matthias asked me to lead. No problem until Professor Marco wanted me to introduce some new stuff I've learned at other schools. Bleh. I can barely lead familiar warm-ups let alone introduce new stuff. I don't think the handful of new drills went over too well. I try to keep warm-ups to 15 minutes, so the new stuff forced me to rush and short the time for stretching. Bleh.

6:45-7p: Drills. Open guard sweep/pass, side control attacks/escapes, and turtle attacks/escapes. A couple minutes at full speed before switching top/bottom. Terrible guard passing. What's new? Ricky (White) passed my guard after a couple minutes of failed sweep attempts (spider and half guard). So busy working on my half guard sweep set up, I gave up the cross-face. That's been a problem lately. Had a few solid guard recoveries (via north south and turtle) against a Blue Belt.

7-7:30p: Technique. X-guard passes. Couple different variations. Too difficult to describe, although I recognized them immediately as Mike (Purple) at UNIJJ used them both to escape my x-guard set ups on Saturday. Oh...the second pass we learned is very similar to the "Break & Pass" shown as Technique 34-2 in Jiu Jitsu University.

7:30-8p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds, but felt longer presumably because I was exhausted. Got Ricky (White), Shawn (Purple), and Caleb (Blue). Both Ricky and Shawn outweigh me by at least 20-30lbs. Not a big deal, but transitioning from these big guys to Caleb who is relatively small (about 5'6" and 150lbs or so) was striking.

Ricky can break my posture at will. So...I started in his guard in an attempt to work on my posture and guard passing. Hmm...I worked on it alright, but didn't get very far. Ended up getting swept via arm drag variation and forced to defend the back a lot. When I managed to recover half guard, I gave up the cross face...again...Doh!

Shawn was on the attack the entire roll. Started in his guard and it didn't take long for him to sweep to mount. Happened again later in the roll. Doubt he played guard more than 30 seconds of the roll. I was defending the rest of the time. Some solid survival/escapes (triangle, arm bars, a choke attempt) and a few guard or half guard recoveries, including one from north south to inverted to open guard. Gave up the cross-face from half guard. Again...too busy working my escape set up. Geez. Bad habit just won't die! Shawn caught me with an arm bar after rolling out of two attempts. For a moment I thought I was going to escape. Wrong. Good roll.

Caleb simply destroyed me. Two arm bars. One from guard (how does he move his hips like that?) and one from technical mount. He moved so quickly I had no idea where he was let alone how he got there or when he moved on. I tried my best to "feel" his movement around my back/sides, but it was hopeless...I was clueless. I hope that this sort of "feeling" will come with time. But focusing on cross-face prevention when setting up a half guard sweep is a bad habit I can and need to correct now.

8-8:05p: Stretched a bit. Amazing how much more flexible I am post-training compared to pre-training.
Need to figure out how to get to sleep earlier. Late training makes it tough. Blogging makes it tougher. Hmm....

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Got back from Hawaii late last night. Too much great (read bad for you) food and only 2.5 hrs of jits in over a week. I needed some mat time! Stopped by Saulo and Xande's place, UNIJJ, this morning for open mat. Got my butt kicked by Sean (blue), Mike (purple), Frank (purple), Yoad (blue), and Sean (round two). 8-13 minute rounds. Tapped to a few arm bars, but got a handful of nice sweeps from spider, x, and half guard. Solid technical escapes as well (arm bars and back). Guard passing needs work. Really enjoyed the long rounds. Long sparring sessions provide ample opportunity to work your game and no matter how you try to pace yourself you get one heckuva workout. 205 lbs post-training with sweat soaked gi. Not bad.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Haven't been this sore in a long time. Upper body is fine, but legs are in knots. Calves, quads, strings, glutes, groin... Can hardly walk straight. Yesterday's training at Team HK was no joke. I feel like the day after first day of snowboarding season. I couldn't have trained today even if I had the opportunity.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Team HK: Honolulu, HI

In Waikiki.  Took a cab from the hotel. Bad move. $15 when I could have taken the bus for $2.50. Bus would have only taken 10-15 minutes longer, which would have been fine since I arrived 30mins early.

Team HK is a Relson Gracie affiliate and Andy's (brown) home school. Andy recently moved to New Orleans for med school and has been training at NOLA BJJ. The academy shares space with a Karate school on the third floor of a commercial building. Plenty of space. Clean. Good training environment.

11-11:30a: Warm-up. Yup. A full half hour. These guys really warm-up. All sorts of drills that I've never seen before. Worked up quite a sweat. I was the biggest guy there by at least 35lbs. Poor Damon (white) who had to fireman carry me a dozen or so times.

11:30a-12p: Take down / throws. Worked with Damon most of the time who has a bit of judo background. Also worked with a Purple. All new techniques (to me). Talk about a confidence building experience. I think I can get good at take downs. Also defended the purple's takedowns well during the full speed portion.

12-1:10p: Technique. Yup. Over 1hr of technique. All sorts of great stuff from running escape / turtle. Too much to recap now ( and... Frankly too much to learn in one day for this white belt) but some solid principles to take away. First, bailing to turtle isn't necessarily defensive. Instructor Brian (brown) showed how to turn a very defensive position into an attacking position with arm lock and kimura options in response to typical attacks. Second, hip movement is crucial (duh). But he really showed how a bit of hip shifting can really turn the tables on an attacking opponent. Brian also showed some an escape from typical arm bar attacks after turning over to give up side/back and set up the running escape. Slight variation of Saulo's armbar escape from bottom.

1:10-1:40p: Rolls. No set time. We just went for it. Worked with Damon for 20 minutes and Brian for 10 minutes. Never rolled with someone for 20mins before. Good time. Damon and I exchanged sweeps. Got to mount a few times and set up numerous chokes and arm bars, but his defenses were solid. We both worked up quite a sweat. Great roll. Time with Brian was great too. He clearly took it easy on me. At one point he let his guard down a bit too much and I shot a triangle. Felt like I had it deep too. I started thinking he was either going to tap or pass out. Ha. Yeah right. He was just toying with me. But then I got stubborn and kept straining for it. Little voice in my head said to give it up. Another voice in my head said to squeeze harder. Finally gassed myself and let it go. Rest of the roll was pretty sloppy. We ended when I realized I left my arm exposed for an armbar and he didn't take it. He had me. Guess he thought there wasn't any point in tapping a visiting white belt. No matter. I knew I was screwed.

With Brian after the grueling 2.5hr+ training.

Had a great experience at Team HK. Wish I could train here a couple more times before leaving. Don't think it's in the cards though.  Have 3.5 more days packed with fun. Maybe next year. If you have a chance to train in Honolulu, be sure to check out Team HK!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hello Inverted Guard!

5:20-5:30p: Stretched. Grabbed Chad and experimented with a sweep off a pass to x-guard transition I'd been thinking about today. Not very successful.

5:30-5:45p: Warm-up / standard drills. I led. Had everyone do drills before core work and stretches. I like to transition from jogging to drills to core to keep heart rate up and then cool down with stretches. We usually stretch before drills, which brings the heart rate way down far too early (in my opinion).

5:45-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Lost top position from first guard pass attempt (Blue). Wasn't really a sweep, but I certainly didn't pass. Got a standard knee pass from combat base (White) then a sweep off a pass variation (White). Got my guard passed (4-stripe Blue), but only after I transitioned to go go plata set up. No submissions with this drill, but I surprised myself by being able to bring the leg over the arm and across the chest (below neck) before getting passed to the opposite side. I thought I had a sweep opportunity, but then got distracted when I realized that I was actually set up to go for the go go plata.

6-6:10p: Self defense technique. Attacker grabs your collars with two straight arms. Step in, hook arm under and around to back of neck, turn in and hip throw. Secure arm on the way down, apply leg pressure, center gravity over arm, squat, lay back slowly and apply arm bar.

6:10-6:30p: Fundamentals technique. Arm drag from guard to take the back. Started with two different grip breaks. Added the Professor Doc Eddie special. Open guard arm drag and take the back via pendulum-ish motion. Never tried an arm drag while sparring. Never seem to recognize the opportunity with a resisting opponent. Some guys get it on me all the time, so I should recognize the opportunities...

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got Richard (White), Ricky (White), and John (Blue). Richard is 51 and in town visiting from GB New Mexico in Albuquerque. He's been training since June, but has a Tae Kwon Do background. Had an easy-going roll. Ricky has been quite the challenge lately. Got swept. He took mount a couple times. Took my back. Unlike last time when I got stuck for most of the roll, I managed a few escapes. Was still on defense most of the roll. He's much larger, younger, stronger than me. I can either play defense and wait for a mistake (my default) or use a lot of muscle/force (increasingly less appealing as a strategy). Patience worked in that I survived, but had it been a competition, I'd have lost handily. But...there is no winning vs. losing in training. To Play is to Win!

Roll with John was fun. He's a bit smaller. I probably have 40lbs on him. Fast though. Got swept a few times. Got a few sweeps. Got knee on belly and a cross choke attempt, but no finish. Made a serious attempt at inverted guard for the first time. I'm flexible enough. Although completely inverted with knees pushed to mat behind my head, I feel little pressure and have no trouble breathing. Just have to get passed the instinctive voice in my head that tells me, "No...this can't be good!" But I don't know what to do from inverted guard. There has to be something there...just need to figure out. Sweeps? Subs? Saw an opportunity for a reverse triangle, but couldn't execute. That said...I'm a relatively big guy and I don't see many folks my size working inverted guard. Something I'll continue to explore.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top Game Blues

6-7p: Private with Gavin. Reviewed survival/escapes. Turtle, back, mount, triangle, and omoplata. Also reviewed half guard sweep to use if opponent flattens you out with a cross face. Then we rolled. About 10 minutes. I felt like it was a bit sloppy, but Gavin said it was a good roll. Said I need to be more aggressive with attacks. Apparently he gave me an arm bar to see what I'd do. I didn't know why he was exposing his arm like a rookie so I gave him a strange look and moved on. Apparently I was supposed to attack. ;-) Next time.

7-7:20p: Warm-up / standard drills. Rusty (Brown) led. Included push-up trivia. Hold push-up position while he asked trivia questions. Monty Python, history, geography, etc. Never done that before. I cheated on the push-ups. Too much shoulder pressure.

7:20-7:30p: Sweep / pass the guard. Passed guard (4-stripe Blue) with the pass Matthias showed me last week. The only top game positive note of the night. Got a few sweeps from bottom, including ground de la riva (Blue), sweep off a pass (White), and half guard (Blue).

7:30-8p: Technique. Half guard transition to x-guard. Drilled that a bit then added the x-guard sweep. Never seen x-guard before.

8-8:30p: Rolls. 5 or 6 minute rounds. Got Mr. Steve (4-stripe Blue), Richard (Blue), Rusty (Brown), and Ricky (White). Been feeling that my guard game is progressing at a much quicker rate than my top game so I worked top every opportunity. Start of rolls and after getting submitted. Posture was horrendous on every roll.

Mr. Steve caught me in a gator roll (or d'arce...still trying to figure out which is which), omo plata (did my best to implement Gavin's survival/escape technique), arm lock from guard via whizzer, and I think an arm bar from technical mount. Humbling experience. Steve, Richard and Rusty put on a north-south clinic. I suppose that's good because side control defense forced them into north-south, but I couldn't execute any technical escapes. Just had to wait for an opportunity to mix up the back.

Ricky got an arm drag right at the start of our roll and took my back. Spent the entire roll defending back attacks. Almost escaped via standard Saulo scoop, but no go. Ricky almost had a choke, but didn't quite have the angle. Burned a lot of energy trying though. I almost got an arm lock when he reached over for the RNC. Not sure what I did wrong. Thought I had the leverage.

Oh...Got kneed in the eye when I dove in for deep half during one of the rolls. Blurry vision. Sore. Not black...yet.

8:30-8:45p: Worked with Ricky after class. Spider guard, sweep off a pass, spider escapes, and transitions from spider to knee push, tripod, and de la riva. Good time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5:20 to 7p

5:20-5:30p: Stretched. Huge difference between pre-workout flexibility and post-workout flexibility. Very tight before workout. All the more reason why I need to arrive early and have a good warm-up.

5:30-5:50p: Speaking of a good warm-up! Mike (Purple) led and kicked our butts. Standard stuff plus leap frogs, sit ups from guard, push ups from wheel barrel, and leg lifts to the left/center/right with partner assistance. I sat out the wheel barrel push-ups. Did them from knees. Left shoulder still a problem.

5:50-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Passed guard (Blue). Used a knee slide technique shown by Professor Matthias last Thursday. Got a de la riva sweep from ground (Blue) and a scissor sweep (White). Jeremy (White) passed my guard after an extensive chess match. Jeremy's an early-20s Black Belt in Judo. He escaped two sweeps off a pass from pure athleticism and superior balance. Pure awesomeness. Matt (White) deflected my knee push, spider, and de la riva sweeps before succumbing to the scissor. Oh, congrats Matt on the 2nd stripe!

6-6:10p: Self defense technique. Bully head lock escape to arm bar. I worked with 135lb newbie Jay. His instincts were good for his second week.

6:10-6:20p: Guard pull drill. Worked with Jay again. Start at 50/50 judo grips, place foot on hip, swing to side and pull opponent into guard.

6:20-6:30p: Transition from guard pull to tripod sweep. Professor Matthias said Purple and Blues should have this sweep down - should recognize the opportunity. I'd read about it in Jiu Jitsu University, but never saw it live or tried it. Worked with Jay again. VERY tense. Tried to get him to relax a bit.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Crowded mats again, so we grouped into threes. Got Chad (Recently promoted to 4-stripe White!) and Will (White). Will is from Brazil. Two of his schools closed and he said he only spent 1.5 years on the mats since starting in 2003. When not training he said he learned from instructional videos and magazines. Now that's dedication! Tonight was his first night back in two years. Solid technique. No spaz. He'll make a great addition to the academy if he can stick with it. Got several sweeps tonight (de la riva, deep half, half, roll over from full guard) and an armbar from technical mount, guard (via triangle transition), and a bow and arrow choke. Also got swept a couple times and forced a couple guard passes. I say "forced" because the passes were questionable. Well...not the passes per se...but securing side control with technique was questionable. Had to really use my weight to displace the defending knee/elbow and lock in the side control. The last roll with Chad was the best. Flow roll. Both took turns working passes, sweeps, escapes, etc. A little catch and release. I should find time and willing training partners to do that more often.

Oh! I had a dream Saturday night about a sweep off a pass transition to omo plata. Thought about various ways to implement. Tried it tonight with some success. Couldn't finish the omo plata, but did have it set up to where - with a little work - I might be able to turn it in to a legitimate attack!

Ideal BJJ Schedule/Program

A bit bored with my current work assignment so I decided to write up an ideal BJJ training schedule and program.

Private (1 hr): Learn handful of techniques and focus on them all week.
Warm-up (15 mins): Jog, core, shrimps, etc.
Drills (15 mins): High rep arm bars, triangles, etc., emphasizing core and hip movement.
Self Defense or Helio Gracie Fundamentals (15 mins): One or two techniques.
Spar (30 mins): 3 eight minute rounds.
Cool down (15 mins): Stretch.

Warm-up (10 mins): Jog, core, shrimps, etc.
Drills (10 mins): High rep arm bars, triangles, etc., emphasizing core and hip movement.
Spar (30 mins): 3 eight minute rounds.
Cool down (10 mins): Stretch.

Private (30 mins): Mid-week review of techniques from Monday’s private.
Warm-up (15 mins): Jog, core, shrimps, etc.
Drills (15 mins): High rep arm bars, triangles, etc., emphasizing core and hip movement.
Self Defense or Helio Gracie Fundamentals (15 mins): One or two techniques.
Spar (30 mins): 3 eight minute rounds.
Cool down (15 mins): Stretch.

Warm-up (10 mins): Jog, core, shrimps, etc.
Drills (10 mins): High rep arm bars, triangles, etc., emphasizing core and hip movement.
Spar (30 mins): 3 eight minute rounds.
Cool down (10 mins): Stretch.

Self Defense or Helio Gracie Fundamentals (30 mins): Review and drill the week’s techniques.
Warm-up (15 mins): Jog, core, shrimps, etc.
No Gi Technique (30 mins): Stuff that’s specific to no-gi.
No Gi Spar (30 minutes): 3 eight minute rounds.
Cool down (15 minutes): Stretch.

Warm-up (10 mins): Jog, core, shrimps, etc.
Drills (10 mins): High rep arm bars, triangles, etc., emphasizing core and hip movement.
Spar (30 mins): 3 eight minute rounds.
Cool down (10 mins): Stretch.

Blessed day of rest

I realize that my ideal schedule is quite selfish in that the bulk of the technique is taught in private lessons…but that’s why it’s an ideal. I feel like I’m exposed to far more instruction in daily group classes than I can reasonably absorb. Struggling to find the learn/implement balance.

Monday, November 15, 2010

6:35 to 8:05p

6:35-6:45p: Brief warm-up / standard drills. Showed up late to class, but judo ran over so I didn't miss anything.

6:45-7p: Sweep / pass the guard. Passed a couple guards via stack pass (Blue) and from half guard (Blue). I recall a sweep and getting my open guard passed once or twice.

7-7:30p: Drills. 50 arm bars from guard. First time I could actually swing my hips (well...sort of). Full speed mount drills - 1.5 minutes escape/maintenance and 1.5 minutes with submission attempts from top. 30 triangles. Core sore by now. Full speed side control drills - 1.5 minutes escape/maintenances and 1.5 minutes with submission attempts from side. Survived the submission attempts, but struggled with escapes.

7:30-8p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got Mr. Steve (Blue), Jorge (White), and Cleveland (Blue). Mr. Steve is how I'll distinguish between the 40 something Blue whose kid is a high school national wrestling champion (and just started jits) and Dr. Steve, the Blue I work with (and write about) most often. Mr. Steve destroyed me. D-e-stroyed. Started on top and got swept in no time. Spent most of the roll trying to survive/escape side control and north-south. Not much luck. He got an arm bar from technical mount. I fought it for too long. At first it was because I really thought I could escape. Then I got stubborn. Wasted about 45 seconds of the roll delaying the inevitable.

Rolls with Jorge and Cleveland were fun. Plenty of sweeps and guard passes. Giving and taking. Got a de la riva from ground position. Was setting up for spider, but his defense to the spider (kneel and post knee to peel grip) left the opening to insert the de la riva hook. Locked it in and pushed on the knee - over he went just like Professor Matthias showed last Thursday. Also got a sweep off a pass variation and a couple of half guard sweeps. A couple arm bar attempts from open guard, but both Jorge and Cleveland stuffed them without too much trouble. Some mount work, but I couldn't capitalize. Lots of chances to work open guard passes Just went for it and got swept quite a bit mostly because the techniques are new to me and my base/posture/timing wasn't right.

Got a step over choke from side control on Jorge. Unfortunately it didn't choke him. After the tap he looked a bit peeved and said it was a neck crank. It was a legitimate choke *attempt* so I don't think it was technically a crank (i.e., I wasn't pulling on his head at all). I've replayed the submission in my mind multiple times and even went back and watched Saulo teach the step over in Revolution 1. I had all the steps right, but perhaps: (a) he wasn't far enough on his side; and/or (b) I didn't pull his head up high enough to place the exposed part of his neck against the back of the knee. Maybe I didn't have the angle to pull his head up high enough to get the backside of my knee on his carotid because he wasn't all the way on his side...hmm... Maybe next time.

8-8:05p: Stretched. Great training tonight. Tough. Challenging. Fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Heavy Training Day

Off work today due to the holiday (thanks vets!), so lots of mat time.

10-10:20a: Warm-up / drills. A Blue I've never met led. Lots of tough gynastica natural moves that I could not come close to executing. Wow. I'm sooo not smooth.

10:20-10:35a: Sweep / pass the guard. Alex (Purple) hip bumped me. Professor Matthias said my posture was too high. Passed a 3-stripe Blue's guard, but only after he stuffed multiple attempts and almost swept me a couple times.

10:35-11:10a: Technique. Gator roll and brabo plus their respective escapes. A few weeks ago I didn't know what a gator roll or d'arce was. Then I got caught with them in no gi class. Still didn't know what they were doing - only knew that they forced me to tap...quickly. Great to learn these techniques.

11:10-11:30a: Rolls. 5 or 6 minute rounds. Worked with Eddie (White) and Professor Matthias. Eddie is fairly new, but he's catching on quickly. Let him work guard breaks and passes. Roll with Matthias was good. He set an aggressive pace from the start, which surprised me a bit. I ramped up my intensity a bit in an attempt to match. Soon, I was breathing nice and hard. Got a knee push sweep from reverse de la riva. A bit sloppy with the rest of the roll though. Biggest mistake I made was to allow him to cross face me when I had him in half guard. I was so busy trying to secure the hook and half guard I forgot to defend the cross face.

11:30a-12:15p: Private with Matthias. Worked guard passes from combat base. Basically review from Saturday's private, but I had so much trouble with the passes this week I wanted to see them again. Also worked de la riva set up and sweeps. A bit too much to remember, but the biggest take away that will stick is that I had the set up all wrong. We rolled a bit and looked at the cross choke from mount before calling it quits. Hesitated on top during the final roll. Thinking way too much. Afraid to do the wrong thing. Analysis paralysis.

5:15-5:30p: Showed up a bit early to flow roll with Matt (White). He's a smaller guy and unfortunately gets smashed during training and rarely gets a chance to work techniques he's learned. We took turns working passes, escapes, and sweeps. Nice and easy.

5:30-5:40p: Short warm-up / standard drills.

5:40-5:50p: Sweep / pass the guard. Got a visiting Professor Dominic (from Maui). He eventually swept me, but said I did well and complimented my base. Apparently I countered a number of legitimate attempts before he finally got the sweep. Got Professor Marco second. Wow. 2 Black Belts in one night. Marco swept me without much trouble at all when I rushed a pass attempt. Bleh. Last pass attempt vs. Ricky (White) went no where. He kept busting my posture and brought me down into his chest. A bit frustrating.

5:50-6p: Back attack/escape drills. Worked with a strong, fast high school kid (White). He was so stinking fast and slick he could literally spin around and land in my guard. I couldn't keep the back hooks long at all. He took mount on me a couple times when I botched the back escape. Started getting better with the control and had a legitimate douple lapel choke. It was deep, but he wouldn't tap. I held it long enough that he should have passed out if I really had it, so obviously I didn't have it. Let it go then transitioned to arm bar. Never got an armbar from the back before.

6-6:30p: Back escapes. Three techniques. Professor Marco showed two and Professor Dominic showed a variation of the second technique shown by Marco. The first technique is right out of Jiu Jitsu University. Elbows in and tight, protect neck, and scoop hips. Shoot single leg out while popping elbow to the mat to release hook. Hip out toward the other leg, then hip switch and come around for a single leg and commence guard pass. Second technique for when you are late and opponent gets a cross face lapel grib to set up a choke. Suppose it could work for double underhooks as well. Hold attacking arm with both hands (one on wrist and other on elbow/tricep), bridge to the back and side opposite the attacking arm (if right arm is attacking, bridge to left). Put shoulder/back to the mat while smashing the leg on that side to scoop hips out. Defend against the mount attempt by framing the opponent's top leg. Hip switch to side control. Dominic's variation for technique #2 involved a head frame to keep a lot of space.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minutes. Crowded again tonight. Groups of 3. Got Chet (White) and Will (Blue). Chet and Will went first. Quite a struggle. Both guys pretty tired. Sparred with a tired Chet. Got a solid guard pass (one that Matthias showed Saturday and earlier today) and a choke form the back. Will locked me up with a D'arce. I wasn't choking and it didn't hurt too badly, but I wasn't going anywhere. I was pinned. Will said he was stuck too. Eventually let it go and we moved on. Had him in open guard for quite a while. Attempted reverse and traditional de la rivas. He eventually passed. Good roll. After class Will said I had him completely off balance with the de la riva and all I had to do was push him and he'd have fallen backward. Had no clue... I was trying to force a sweep to the opposite direction. Maybe next time.

After 4hrs training on the 4th day in a row, I feel remarkably well. No unusual soreness or fatigue. Is that good or bad? Shouldn't I be more sore?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No winner vs. loser in training

5:30-5:40p: Quick warm-up.

5:40-5:50p: Grip break and take down set up drills. Increased resistance each round.

5:50-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Purple (only seen him around a couple times) caught me in a kimura. Hard too. Woody (Blue) had me tied up in spider knots. The spider break Dolph wrote about tonight is my go-to break, but I couldn't get it.

6-6:30p: Technique. Spider sweeps (arm dragish) and submissions (triangle and bicep slicer). A bit too much for one night for me, but wrapping a leg around an arm instead of putting it straight into the bicep and extending was new and something I can build from in the future. I've seen it done before, but never really went over it so that small nugget will stick with my game. I'll need to see the other techniques a few more times before I try to add anything to my bag-o-tricks.

6:30-7p: Rolls. Got Richie (Blue), newer White (forgot his name), and Woody (Blue). 6 minute rounds. Great sessions. Lots of reversals/sweeps (all around). Woody caught me in a triangle. I tried to remember the escape Gavin showed me on Monday, but no...had it all wrong. Woody set me straight after the tap. The newer White is smaller than me. And stronger too! He had no problem completely destroying my posture with pure force. Surprising actually. Spent most of the roll trying to pass his guard. Finally passed and took mount, but he reversed. After Professor called time, he said something to the effect that it was a draw. Caught me off-guard. Draw? Really? I didn't know we were keeping score. To me...draw infers there is such a thing as winning and losing in training. I don't subscribe to that approach. To play is to win. I won by getting triangled. Woody reminded me of the escape. I think we're both better for the experience...we both won.

7-8p: Self defense class. Worked four techniques. (1) When someone grabs your coat/shirt/lapel with one fist grip. Cup the grip from underneath. Keep your other arm close to side. Push attacker's elbow out. Step once, step twice, to bring elbow around and behind back. Apply arm lock, wrist lock, or take back. (2) Attacker grabs neck with both hands from behind. Base out. Shrug and bring chin down. Reach behind to grip both attacker's hands. Choose one. Peel off and step out. Apply wrist lock. (3) Bully head lock escape. Base out. Extend arms and hips. Control outside arm to prevent punches. Hold head lock hand and step out once, step out twice, and pull arm behind attacker's back. (4) Attacker pushes you against the wall with a single fist in center of chest gripping shirt/hacket/lapel. Inside hand comes in to break wrist angle. Outside hand grips behind elbow/tricep and pulls arm into your chest. Creates a wrist lock.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

5:20 to 7p

5:20-5:30p: Stretched a bit, but Aaron (Blue) grabbed me and asked me to show him what I've been learning. Showed the north-south escape Professor Matthias taught Monday. He based out so it wasn't quite as effective. Showed him Roger Gracie's cross choke from mount. He worked it on me. Showed him a couple variations that Saulo teaches. Then demonstrated a knee push sweep from reverse de la riva that I've been working on. He grabbed the back of the gi and pulled up to prevent the sweep. Hadn't seen that defense before... He also stepped to the outside. At first I didn't know what to do, then remembered what Saulo showed in Revolution 1 to turn that into a different sweep. Mike (Purple) jumped in and demonstrated a de la riva variation that allows you to take the back. Professor Doc Eddie jumped in... Fun stuff. Wish I had more time for that sort of meeting of the minds.

5:30-5:45p: Warm-up / standard drills. Louis (Blue) led. Twas ok. Hardly breathing at the end though. Doc Eddie pulled me out of line to work the double leg teg down drill. I've always struggled with this drill. My toes feel like they are going to dislocate. Not sure what's going on. But it was good to see the details with someone in front of me. Simulating that take down with a phantom opponent has been tough. I plan to slow it down and work on the steps while avoiding (as best as possible) the odd pressure it seems to create on my toes.

5:45-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Missed some of this while working with Doc Eddie. Stepped into John's (Blue) guard. Eventually passed. Took a while though. Steve (White) stepped up. Professor Matthias has encouraged us to work open guard, so I released and began to switch to open when Steve stood up and back. Couldn't recover points of contacts. Passed. Bleh.

6-6:30p: Flow technique. Stack pass to side control. Partner gets underhook and switches hips and comes to knees. Top guy bases out, cross-faces, and moves around to set up to take the back. Then rolls to insert hooks and secure a standard two lapel grip choke. Also learned an escape that usually results in half guard. A second escape was too complex for me...too much in my brain for one night.

6:30-7p: Crowded mats tonight. Groups of 3. 6 minute rounds. Got Steve (White) and Lance (White). Both guys outweigh me. Lance is a few inches taller and perhaps 35-50lbs heavier. I thought I was in for a rough time. Fortunately...I guess...Lance and Steve went at it first while I made sure they didn't collide with anyone. And boy did they go at it. Looked like a furious and exhausting battle. Gassed both guys. I didn't think either of them would be up for another roll. Although we rolled, they didn't really have much left to offer. No problem. Transitioned between positions and played lots of catch and release (with a few keepers). After two back-to-back 6 minute rounds, I was hardly breathing. Again. Hmmm...

Forgot to stretch. Probably not a big deal though since I didn't exert myself much tonight. But that's a cop-out. I need to stretch.

Monday, November 8, 2010

6 to 8:40p

6-7p: Private with Gavin. Worked kimura, d'arce, and brabo survival from half guard and a nifty half guard sweep when opponent has you crushed and flat on back. Also worked arm bar, triangle, and omoplata survival/escapes from within guard.

7-7:15p: Warm-up / standard drills. Shawn (Purple) led. Good warm-up, although I could have jogged a bit longer.

7:15-7:25p: Sweep / pass the guard. Submissions allowed this time. Cleveland got a scissor sweep on me. My foot got stuck and wouldn't give way to the sweep even though all my weight was moving across it. Scared me and hurt like crazy, but I think it's fine. Collin (Brown) caught me in a front gi cross choke as I thought I was passing his guard. He baited me good. Doc Ken (Purple) got me off balance and stood up... I clearly didn't learn anything on Saturday...need to review the posture maintenance and guard passing techniques. Hard to practice techniques that are apparently quite hazy in my own head.

7:25-7:50p: Technique. Transitions between different side control positions. Learned a paper cutter choke and another choke that uses your gi lapel.

7:50-8p: Full speed drills from side control. Top tries to submit. Bottom tries to escape. Worked with Rogelio (White). Escaped to guard recovery well enough and got a paper cutter.

8-8:30p: Rolls. Four 5-minute rounds. Really? Too short. Wish we would do three 8-minute rounds with no more than 2 minutes between rounds. Maybe some day. Got Nick (4-stripe White), Rogelio (White), Richie (Blue), and Shawn (Purple).

Nick's hip bump sweeps are wicked. Defended a few, but he got one. Escaped his mount and recovered guard. Got a sweep off a pass. I really couldn't do much else. 5 minutes was up and we both felt like we were just getting started. With Cleveland's recent promotion, Nick's easily the toughest White Belt in our academy (in my opinion...).

Rogelio is pretty new to NOLA BJJ. He's a big kid (I think he's 18 or so) and likes to roll hard. Not sure what I did wrong, but he took my back during a pass attempt. But most of roll was about controlling the pace and executing sweeps and submissions slowly and deliberately. Got a sweep from closed guard (not sure what you call it) and a sweep off a pass. Also got an arm bar from mount (technique Professor Matthias taught a couple times the last couple weeks - transition from grapevines to technical mount with knee up next to head and switch to s-mount with both arms locked up before posting and bring leg over) and a front gi choke from guard. Again...control was the goal.

Never rolled with Richie before. Tall guy, but probably 30-40lbs lighter than me. I've seen him roll and am very impressed. I don't remember much, other than I didn't really have a lot to offer. I believe I passed his guard though since I remember how easily he inserted the knee and recovered guard. Took my back as well and tied up my right arm. I thought he was about to shoot for an arm bar from the back, but it never came. Eventually I escaped. Again...5 minutes is too short.

Shawn showed me how he approaches a palm-up / palm-down choke from mount. His approach is very similar to Roger Gracie's. 3 minutes left to roll. I was Shawn's cool down. I almost passed his guard, but he recovered half guard and then full guard. Not sure what I did wrong, but he shot an omoplata. Good thing Gavin showed me how to survive the omoplata! I survived for quite a while, but could not escape. After a lengthy struggle, I ended up off the mat and we reset as time expired. Might as well have tapped. Although I was comfortable defending and never felt any serious pressure on the joint, I couldn't get out.

Is it a problem that I can finish 4 rolls without breathing very hard? I know I'm working under a New Normal philosophy, but geez.

8:30-8:40p: Stretched. Felt great. I can now comfortably put both legs behind my head. Nice. If only I could do the splits!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Me at 255lb

Photo of me back in early 2006 inspecting Katrina damage in St. Bernard Parish. 255lbs or so and size 40W pants. Lovely.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

10:30a to 1:45p

10:30-11a: Stretched then rolled for 10 minutes or so with a Purple Belt visiting from Gladiators Academy (where Tim Credeur trains) in Baton Rouge. Forget his name... Great roll. Loved it. On defense almost the entire time, but some of my escapes landed me in good position to attack from the top. Didn't last long though as he quickly put me back on defense. He caught an arm bar at the very end. I had escaped the same attack two other times, but the last time he figured out what I was doing and adjusted.

11-11:20a: Warm-up / standard drills. Professor Matthias led. Fantastic warm-up. Could only complete 10 of the 20 judo push-ups. Left shoulder still not 100%.

11:20-11:30a: Sweep / pass the guard. Had a draw, lost a scramble, and got swept by a visiting Purple Belt (not the same one I rolled with before class) who was going completely crazy. Seriously. Never experienced anything like it. All muscle and force. It was like he was trying to hurt me! Allowed that sweep just so I could get away from the guy. Too old and gimpy to work with someone like that.

11:30a-12p: Technique. Review. Self defense technique first. Front choke escape to take down set up. Then fundamentals. Side control escape to elevator and single-leg set up. Partner stuffs the single-leg attempt, cross faces, circle around and establish base while partner turtles. Get grips and roll to back. Then a standard two lapel gi choke from back.

12-12:30p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got Dr. Steve (Blue Belt), Matt (White Belt), and Louis (White Belt). Training with Steve is always a great experience. He caught me with an arm bar. Seems to be the only guy who regularly and soundly defeats my trusty escape. Need to think of something avoidance. Gave Matt a few guard tips. Louis is the very large White Belt that gave me one heck of a time earlier this week. Not sure what was different today, but I didn't get stuck and managed a couple sweeps, took mount a few times, and got a gi choke from mount. Maintaining side control and mount was extremely difficult. Louis did a great job frustrating my attempts to secure each position before advancing.

12:30-12:45p: Watched Professor Matthias roll with the visiting Purple Belt from Gladiators Academy. Matthias played catch and release. Always in control. Several solid, slow technical sweeps. Made it look easy. Great to watch.

12:45-1:45p: Private with Matthias. Worked on cuff grip breaks, posture maintenance in guard, guard break and pass, open guard posture and toreando pass, north-south escapes, etc. Almost too much information - which was my fault for asking too many questions - but I picked up a few good tips and had a couple "light bulb" moments when he explained how a couple instinctive responses are almost the opposite of what I should be doing.

Friday, November 5, 2010


6:40-7p: Self Defense class. Arrived late...again. Work getting busier and forcing me to leave when traffic seems to be peaking. Arghhh... Walked into a mount escape lesson. Good tips on how to feign yielding an arm when attacker tries to move to high mount. Keep arms tight and rock body to side while taking the opportunity to insert opposite arm/elbow between body and attacker's thigh to better position self for elbow escape. Looked at a couple other things, including Americana defense. I didn't know you can get a wrist lock if attacker incorrectly applies the americana. Not only did I learn how to apply the americana correctly, I learned how to respond to an incorrectly applied american and turn it into a submission!

7-8:30p: No Gi class. My second class without the gi. Started with pummeling. What? No warm-up? My body isn't ready for pummeling without a warm up. Sat out and stretched. Joined the group with an arm drag to take down drill. Then worked a closed guard posture break technique that sets you up for an arm triangle or sweep. Finally, worked a straight arm lock from guard. Similar to Saulo's closed guard arm wrap on pgs 99-100 of Jiu Jitsu University.

Then we rolled. I think it was 6 minute rounds. Got Dorian (4-stripe White Belt), Allan (White Belt), Dr. Steve (Blue Belt), new Chris (Blue Belt), and Shawn (Purple Belt). Although I was in a bit of a funk due to the lack of warm-up, the rolls didn't completely suck. If memory serves me, I think I survived all rolls without submission. and finished an ankle lock, arm bar, and triangle (against White Belts). Passed guard and took mount multiple times. Had an interesting time in deep half during several rolls. The escapes I know don't seem to translate well to no gi. But then again, a few hours after class I remembered the key step in the techniques learned earlier this week that I had forgot...

Thought I had a triangle on Chris, but he defended well and executed a nice technical escape. Fought off countless submission attempts. Spent a lot of time in turtle and trying to establish back survival posture. Steve could have had me with an arm bar (I know from experience...), but said he was working on a technical finish. I managed to escape. Had he forced my arm free, I'd have tapped. Shawn played catch and release. He almost had me with a couple kimuras, an arm bar, and a few chokes. I suspect that he would have finished in a heart beat if he was so inclined. Still, rolling with someone of his caliber felt good.

8:30-8:40p: Stretched.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2 for 1

Two training sessions in one post. Went to see the Aggrolites at Tipitina's last night after class. Great show. Ended up talking to the keyboard player for too long after the show. Turns out he was a fan of a band I managed and produced years ago. He was still in high school. Man, I'm old. And definitely too old to stay out so late on a school night.

Wednesday 11/3/10, 5:30-9p

5:30-6p: Stretched and a mini-warm up.

6-7p: Private with Gavin. Mount survival and escapes. Turns out I know the best techniques given different mount scenarios. I just need to improve timing and practice...practice...practice...

7-8:30p: Good class. Learned three half guard sweeps. All new. One involved pushing a knee forcing the top guy on his belly while allowing you to take the back. Nice. Rolled with Shane (White Belt) and Suleman (new guy). I've decided to distinguish between White Belts and new guys... A new guy is someone usually in their first week or two but still uses a borrowed gi top and belt. They usually wear shorts. A White Belt has signed up and has a gi and belt. That's how I'll track them for blogging purposes. Anyways...Shane and Suleman are both 17. Shane is really good for 17 and only a few months experience. Passing guard wasn't too much trouble, but he kept recovering guard. Took a while to really control from cross body.

8:30-9p: Hung out a bit and watched a couple guys roll. Grabbed Dorian (4-stripe White Belt) for a roll. He escaped all sorts guard passes and attacks and turned them around on me forcing me to survive and escape. Challenging roll. Forgot to stretch before leaving...geez.

Wednesday 11/4/10, 6-7p

Late leaving work and traffic kept me from the first half hour. Felt sluggish from the long night before and I missed warm-ups and drills?!?!?! I really really need to warm up. It was going to be one of those days.

6-6:30p: Technique. Take the back when you have your opponent in north-south from turtle. First technique was a standard double lapel choke. Review. The second variation was new and too complex to describe (I'm just feeling particularly lazy right now...).

6:30-7p: Rolls. 5 minute rounds. Too crowded tonight so we split into groups of three. I got Dr. Steve (Blue Belt) and Cleveland (promoted to Blue this week! Congrats Cleve!), Steve is bigger and heavier than me. Cleveland is bigger, but my weight. Both are among my favorite training partners. Started off confident, but from the moment Cleveland first destroyed my posture and arm dragged me, I knew I was in for a schellacking. Both guys got me to spaz...a lot. I managed a handful of escapes, but only a couple were technical. The others were simply the result of spazzy luck. Spazzing didn't always caught in a couple arm bars, a kimura, and probably a choke...don't recall exactly. I recall being in bad positions under attack most of the time and feeling a bit embarrassed at how much I spazzed. Oh well...tomorrow is another day. Forgot to stretch after class...again. You've got to be kidding me. Where is my head?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5:35 to 7p

5:35-5:50p: Arrived a bit late. Missed jogging. Andy (Brown Belt) led. Andy's a recent transplant from Hawaii. He mixed it up a bit. Even had us do cart wheels and head stand to front rolls. Woah!

5:50-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Passed Henry's (White Belt) guard then had my guard passed by a visiting White Belt from Hawaii (Andy's friend). Dwitched back and forth between spider and tripod set up. Almost had him with a sweep off a pass, but he hopped over and regained balance. To get the pass, he walked into my spider to eliminate the angle. Nice. Never seen that before!

6-6:30p: Technique. Side control escape to underhook to hip/switch to elevator and single leg attempt. Partner then sprawls out and forces turtle before circling around, consolidating the position and setting up to take the back. First option is very similar to the method Saulo teaches in Revolution 1. Second option responds to a good defense of first approach - move directly behind the turtle, grab both lapels, pull head down to control, then roll transition from turtle to sink the hooks and take the back. All review. Seems like a lot of review lately, which is NOT a bad thing.

6:30-7p: Rolls. ~6 minutes. Got Louis (White Belt), Woody (Blue Belt), and Kirk (Blue Belt). Roll with Louis was a challenge. He's really big. An inch or two taller and has 30-40lbs on me. That shouldn't matter though since I think he only has a couple months experience. Spent most of the roll stuck under him holding on to half guard. Managed a couple half guard escapes, but lost control and ended up back in half guard each time. Hardly breathing at end of roll. No use forcing anything under such weight. I just waited for an opportunity and took it but maintain control on top. Now Rolls with the Blue Belts went well. Passed guard a couple times. Took mount a couple times. Got an arm bar from technical mount. Woody almost caught me in a guillotine. Kirk passed my guard and transitioned to north-south with ease. Eventually caught me with a wrist lock after a 90-second arm attack barrage (kimura set up, arm bar, etc). The wrist lock and tap came with only 4-5 seconds left. Drats.

Didn't stretch after class. Geez. What's wrong with me? First training session in months without taping my toe. Feels fine. Overall a bit achy today despite 4 days break from training. Left shoulder still doesn't feel right, but (fingers crossed) I don't think I aggravated it tonight. Trying to make 5 consecutive classes this week. Healthy shoulder makes 5 days more likely...and certainly more enjoyable.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cooper v. Schembri

Incredible match last weekend in San Clemente, CA.

Motivating and de-motivating at the same time. Motivating because...well...did you watch that match? Are you kidding me? A bit de-motivating because I know I will never move like that.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

5:45 to 7p

5:45-5:50p: Had to put out a fire at work just as I was about to leave for class. 15 minutes late. Hmmpfff. I need to warm up. They must have had a long warm-up because they were still doing core work when I stepped on the mat and joined them for stretches.

5:50-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Mike (Purple) swept me with ease. Posture. He said I was too high. Weak. He had been down for 3 rounds so he let me take his spot. Andy (Brown) stepped in. Great... He's just another guy in class, right? I did surprisingly well. Knocked him off balance a bit when he attempted his first guard break. I'd say I almost swept him but that would be stretching things just a bit. Ha. He changed tactics and broke the guard. I switched to open guard (modified spider). Andy let me play for a lot longer than I thought he would. He finally passed with a slick leg/hip flick from stand up to pass my last hook.

6-6:30p: Technique. Review. Side control to technical mount to s-mount to arm bar. Then two choke options from mount. Standard palm up / palm up choke. Then a palm up / palm down option if opponent defends the first grip. Good to see these again for a second time in such a short span.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Crowded mats tonight. Groups of 3 with one sitting out to watch out for collisions. Steve (White Belt) and Lance (first day guy) in my group. Steve and I went first. Passed guard and got swept. Got stuck in half guard. I mean stuck. Almost got a sweep once, but no go. Stuck.

Lance stepped into my guard. Lance is a big older guy (40s?) and seemed to want to brawl. Spent a few minutes defending an onslaught of gi choke attempts from within my guard. Nothing too threatening, but he is very strong and persistent. Transitioned to set up arm bar attempts several times, but he was moving so fast I couldn't control anything. Finally got my chance when he stood up and leaned in to get the gi choke. Arched off the upper back/shoulder and shot the arm bar...and let one go in the process...Georgette style. I'd never done that in class before. I got the tap, but it was a bit embarrassing. Also implemented a technique of the day (side control to arm bar from s-mount). I could tell Lance thoroughly enjoyed himself. He asked for my number and said he'd be back. Nice!

Rolled with Steve again before calling it a night. Much better this time. Actually worked my way out of half guard. One of Saulo's sweeps from Revolution 1. I'll likely continue to explore that sweep when working with Steve. I need to avoid deep half a bit longer and work that technique with smaller and/or less experienced training partners until I can figure out what I'm doing wrong that makes it so easy for him to cross face and put me flat on my back. Also got a front gi choke from closed guard, but only because Steve made a silly mistake (he won't make it again). I was far more pleased with the half guard sweep.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Matt's Birthday Present

Apparently this was a Blue Belt's gift via a wicked spider guard. I've had my share of bruises, but nothing like this. As Saulo says in Revolution 1, "You no want to hurt your training partner. Your training partner should be your best friend. You no want to hurt him" (paraphrased of course...).

5:45 to 8:45p

5:45-6p: Stretched. Left shoulder felt horrible all day. Woke up this morning in some of the worst shoulder pain I've ever felt. Fortunately it subsided a bit as the day wore on. Maybe it had something to do with my nightmare last night. Dreamed I was leading warm-ups in a living room of an old Uptown New Orleans bar with couches and other lounge furniture in the middle. At first, I had five or six white belts warming up with me. Upper belts were standing off to the side. The white belts slacked off one by one until I was the only one jogging. I got a bit peeved and said something to a blue belt who seemed pleased that the white belts weren't going along with my warm up. I think it was Koscheck actually. He mouthed off. I went crying to Professor Matthias who was putting up Christmas lights. Matthias said he had my back. Next thing I know it's morning and my shoulder was absolutely killing me.

6-7p: Self defense. Worked street-fight mount maintenance drills. Basically techniques you can use to secure the position against a flailing guy with little to no jiu jitsu. Then worked a maintenance technique for skilled practitioners. Not really grapevines, but use the leg hooks against back of hamstring and drive waist to chest into opponent to create a tremendous amount of pressure. Then worked a transition to technical mount and take the back if person on bottom turns onto side or starts to roll over. Finished up with proper technique to sink and maintain both hooks and taking the back with a mata-leon / RNC finish. Learned a lot from the hook maintenance technique. Big Steve (White Belt) was my training partner and I had serious problems breaking his hooks when he sunk them properly. He had similar issues with mine. Solid. Now I have to figure out how to counter.

7-7:10p: Warm -up / standard drills. Short and sweet.

7:10-7:20p: Sweep / pass the guard. Got swept a couple times. Didn't have a legitimate guard pass, but a couple upper belts who had been in bottom for a while gave up their position and let me work from the bottom. Collin (Brown Belt) passed my guard with ease. Probably 10 seconds. Geez. Got a nice sweep though on a White Belt who tried to implement the basic GB guard break technique.

7:20-7:30p: Take down drills. Tried to take Charlie (Purple Belt). Not a very good showing. He got his hips close and under mine with an underhook and a belt grip before tripping a leg. Nice. Need to work the stand up more. Only attempted the one take down. Too much shoulder pain.

7:30-8p: Technique. Professor Marco showed a side control maintenance to choke from knee on belly using a gi lapel. I've only had one submission involving a loose gi lapel and that happened by accident. The thought that I can use someone's loose lapel as a weapon rarely if ever occurs to me during a roll. But I could see myself trying this technique some time. Professor Doc Eddie showed a variation that leads to a step over choke.

8-8:35p: Rolls. 3 rounds at 5-6 minutes each with plenty of time between rounds. Got Rusty (Brown Belt), first-day 18 yr old with a name too difficult to pronounce, and Patrick (Blue Belt). Bonus after-class roll with Dr. Steve (Blue Belt). Shoulder pain was intense before the training rounds, but the pain declined with the rise in adrenaline. Had a couple submissions tonight. The first was against the new guy. It was his first day and he was completely spazzing and using a ton of muscle. Not a small guy either - almost my height and I probably had 10-15lbs on him. Waited patiently. Missed a bunch of opportunities to to control him, but finally got a sweep, established mount, and took my time setting up for an arm bar from technical mount when he rolled to his side. Executed the arm bar very slowly. I normally wouldn't submit someone on their first night, but: (a) he was spazzing; and (b) I enjoyed the challenge of implementing a game of pure technique with little exertion in the face of a spazz onslaught. Got a choke from mount on an upper belt tonight too - a palm up / palm down choke I learned at UNIJJ. Tried it many times, but tonight was the first successful implementation. Got a sweep off a pass and flower sweep on upper belts tonight as well. Kept giving up my back to Rusty. Steve caught me with a triangle /arm bar combo. Not sure if I tapped from the choke or the arm bar or both. Just knew I was kaput. Had a great time though.

8:35-8:45p: Stretched a bit and chatted with Steve.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

5 to 7p

Abbreviated post...Matt's birthday dinner at K-Paul's tonight. See Matt below about to open a can of whoop ass on some poor featherweight on Saturday. Happy birthday Matt! It took 36 years, but at 37 with one tourney under your White Belt, you're finally a man.

5-5:30p: Stretched and solo warm-up. Did a bunch of solo drills and some gynastica natural I learned this summer t UNIJJ. Felt good.

5:30-5:45p: Led warm-ups, stretches, and standard drills again. Good, steady pace. Ended exactly at 15minutes. Nice!

5:45-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Got swept...A lot. Silly stuff really. I'm having serious trouble passing guard. It all comes down to posture issues.

6-6:15p: Technique 1. Side control to mount transition. Great. I learn a few tips yesterday about how to escape side control and Professor Matthias shows everyone how to counter those very same tricks and get to mount. ;-)

6:15-6:30p: Technique 2. Two different chokes from mount. First a fairly standard palm up / palm up and lean forward choke. Second was a Professor special. His go-to choke from mount. If opponent defends the first palm up grip, take a deeper palm down grip on the same side while retaining the initial weak palm up grip. Put your head on the mat to the other side and base out with a leg opposite your head. Then work the palm down grip around the back of head until side of wrist is against neck. Bring both elbows in and move head toward center. I'm not sure I'm ready to try it. It put a tremendous amount of pressure on my wrists and I couldn't maintain a tight grip. Maybe when my wrists are stronger.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got the champ, Cleveland (White Belt), Ricky (White Belt), and Steve (White Belt). All great rolls. Some deep half work. Lots of spider guard. Couple sweeps. Got swept a bit. Got to work the side control to mount technique of the day a couple times and had a couple unsuccessful choke attempts (both resulted in upa reversal). Add mount maintenance to my list of serious problems. That said, I was very pleased with the training.

Forgot to stretch. Drats.

Monday, October 25, 2010

5:40 to 8:40p

5:40-6p: Still very sore from the competition, but nothing hurts (as in bad hurt). Stretched and rolled a bit no gi with Paulo. I wasn't prepared for true no gi, so I just went without the top. I'm not sure what belt Paulo is, but I know he's been around a long time. He just hasn't trained gi BJJ since I've been at NOLA BJJ. Although he regularly contributes to the NOLA BJJ forum, I only met him in person Saturday.

Paulo caught me in an arm bar from an odd position (turtle-esque). Actually, I tapped before he actually got the arm bar. He could have had a kimura as well, but I wasn't going to mess with it. He had me. Kaput. I managed to avoid a number of choke attempts, including what he called a Peruvian necktie. I'll have to look that up. No clue what that is. Good time though and I worked up a good sweat before my weekly private with Gavin.

6-7p: Private with Gavin turned out to be a 2-for-1 deal. Gavin's brother Collin (Brown Belt) helped out since Gavin was his ride. We worked side control survival postures and escapes. Discovered a couple fatal flaws in my escape from a tight cross-face gable grip. First mistake I'd been making = I thought I had to bring my inside arm all the way down to the mat. They explained how it was more important that I keep the frame on the hip. If I can do that with my elbow on the mat, fine. But if not, so long as the hip is blocked, I should be fine. Second mistake I'd been making is I would bring my outside arm up and around the face to create a frame for the escape. Collin showed how exposed that left me to americana and arm triangle attacks. He showed a tighter way to obtain the same position. From here, Gavin showed how to use the frame to create the space, hip escape, and insert the knee for guard recovery. Collin showed how to flair the outside elbow to create extra leverage and space. The focused demonstration of these nuances was very helpful and should made a big difference. We also reviewed a running escape and a shin pressure break of another common side control position (not sure what's it's called and I'm too lazy to attempt to describe it). Also reviewed underhook to elevator and take down or guard recovery. Good stuff. Gavin and Collin are great instructors and their styles are very complementary.

7-7:20p: Professor Matthias asked me to lead warm-ups. Did the standard stuff, although I felt like it was taking longer than a usual warm-up. Rushed through the stretches. Helped a new guy (Wes) with hip shrimps.

7:20-7:30p: Sit-ups from guard pull position. I sat out and chatted with Wes and two other new guys (Ahmed and...Suleman? Can't recall for sure). Then worked a leap frog drill with Wes.

7:30-7:40p: Sweep / pass the guard. Patrick (Blue Belt) and Chris (Blue Belt) swept me. Almost passed Patrick's guard with the technique Marco showed at the seminar last weekend, but I didn't deal with his left foot before stepping into the pass. Got swept. Chris swept me in no time. Posture...posture...posture...

7:40-8p: Technique. Side control escapes from cross-face/cradle. First was standard and the same basic technique I worked on during the private. Steve (White Belt) and I worked the techniques with Ahmed and Wes. Professor Matthias taught a variation that creates an arm bar opportunity on each arm. It looked awesome, but Steve and I didn't get to work it since we were working with the new guys. Last technique was an underhook to knees/elevator to side control. Key detail involved catching the opponent's foot before driving from elevator.

8-8:30p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Good amount of time between rolls. Got Chris (Blue Belt), Ahmed (first day guy) and Dr. Steve (Blue Belt). Had a fantastic time with Chris. Lots of small movements for position with an occasional blast of technical transitions and reversals. I took technical mount at one point and forced Chris turtle a bit later, but attacking from those positions didn't last long. Survived and we were both breathing pretty good afterward.

Roll with Dr. Steve was great too, but we were both pretty tired at that point. Had a nice sweep off a pass, but he recovered full guard just like Henry did at the tourney. I'm supposed to land in knee on belly or side control from that sweep. Will have to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Stuck in half guard for a while. A bunch of turtling. Steve got a nice sweep to mount. I think it was a hip-bump. Spent too much time finding off a kimura from north-south. Steve could have forced a break to apply the kimura, but he gave it up and stopped the roll. I could tell he was exhausted. With a little over a minute remaining, we decided to start from stand up. He almost caught me with a judo throw. We ended the roll with me in his guard.

I should have allowed my training partners to pass to side control so I could work the techniques of the day - especially after my private. I need to be more disciplined about steering my training rolls toward the technique of the day. It's incredibly difficult to implement when the technique is a submission. But when the technique involves escapes from side control, I have no excuse. I can almost always allow side control and work escapes from inferior position.

8:30-8:40p: Chatted with our three new guys a bit. I explained that they'd likely be very sore tomorrow, but they shouldn't be discouraged. I hope they come back. Almost walked out the door and I remembered to stretch. Small victories are always nice.