Monday, January 31, 2011

Feeling Great!

5:45-6:15p: Private with Professor. Chatted a little about the Strikeforce fights while stretching. Then messed around with the knee bar and omoplata from guard from a Machado you tube clip (thanks Steve!). Followed by 15 minutes or so of rolling. Exhausting. Can't say that I did anything particularly well, but I managed a few sweeps from butterfly set up shown in Saulo's Revolution 1. Doubt theynwere legit sweeps though. We were just goofing off. That said...I was exhausted. First time I'd exerted myself for 15 minutes straight in 6 weeks. Exhausting.

6:15-6:30p: Stretched. Ran out to my car to get an extra gi for a new guy. Lots of new folks lately. Hope they stick around.

6:30-6:50p: Warm up / standard drills. Could only finish less than half the push-ups from knees. Sooooo weak.

6:50-7p: Grip break drills from stand up. Terrible showing. My stand up doesn't deserve a white belt.

7-7:30p: Technique. Side control maintenance and escapes. Transitions to multiple positions, including north/south. Worked with a new White Belt. Although I have more experience/technique, he had more muscle and determination. Threw me every which way...but gassed in the process. Still, I was a bit embarrassed how easily he swept me from...side control.

7:30-8p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got a first day White Belt my first round. She said she trained a few weeks in Pensacola at a Pedro Sauer school. 3 weeks? Really? She was pretty solid. Aggressive. Good instincts. Not a bad roll. Got two Purples my last couple rolls. Roll with Purple number one was a blur. I'd rolled with him before, but not like this. Perhaps it was my 6 week hiatus or perhaps he was going easier on me before, but I really struggled tonight. Only thing I remember is he caught me with a straight ankle lock and I escaped an arm bar attempt. Plain tired. After the roll, Purple complimented me on my "A" sweep, but encouraged me to work on transitions to a "B" and "C" sweep when he posts out on the "A" sweep. I wish I understood what he was talking about. I was so stinking tired...I don't recall the "A" sweep or my failure to recognize opportunities to implement "B" and "C" sweeps. I was too will be a bit of a haul until I'm in shape again. Last roll with a Purple who is commmited to working guard passes. He passed my guard every time, but I did my best to frustrate his attempts. Wore myself out even more in the process.

8:30-8:35p: Worked with a White Belt after class. Mostly guard passes. Managed a couple of sweeps to mount, followed by chokes. He's a lot stronger with a much stabler base than in the past. Noticeable improvement. Nice.

Although utterly exhausted after class, but I feel amazing. The post-train high is incredible.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


5:30-5:50p: Forgot my gym bag today. No gi. No belt. No tape. No mouth guard. No nothing. Purple had an extra gi...whew...I was really looking forward to training tonight. Glad it worked out. Another Purple led a tough warm-up tonight. Lots of odd drills. Couldn't finish all the push-ups and some of the core work, but I kept moving. Felt good.

5:50-6:05p: Pummeling to throw set ups plus double-underhooks attempts. Then guard breaks from busted posture at full speed. Worked with a second day new guy without a gi. Went ok.

6:05-6:30p: Technique. Guard break from busted posture. Stand, insert knee through butt crack and break to torreando grips to double leg stack pass.

6:30-7p: Crowded mats. Groups of three. Brown Belt picked me and a 15yr old White Belt who rolls like a solid Blue but isn't old enough yet for the Blue. Watched them roll first. Brown played light catch and release, but I thought he released a bit too early. I don't think White understood that he didn't have legitimate escapes...maybe...but maybe not. I rolled with White next. Started off well enough. Got a couple of sweeps. He came at me pretty hard. Swept me a couple times. One of the sweeps...think it was a tripod or variation...dropped me back and I landed on my head/neck/upper back. Immediately felt three snaps in the neck (not the chiropractor adjustment type...the scary type) followed by immediate ringing in both ears and a jolt of electricity down my left arm. I tapped...and rolled over. Couldn't focus my eyes for a while as I tried to assess the extent of my injury. No significant pain. Could feel everything. Nothing numb or tingling. But I was in a bit of shock. Shaking a bit. Sat out a while. Missed my opportunity to roll with Mr. Brown. Drats.

Eventually convinced myself that nothing was serious is wrong. The 2nd day White Belt I worked with earlier tonight asked me to roll. Sure...why not. He's bigger than me. Lots of muscle. Should probably have said no, but it went fine (i.e., I didn't get hurt). He tapped 5-6 times but I didn't try to tap him. I had intended to play a little catch and release, but he tapped before I could even secure a position and begin to lock in a sub. No problem. He clearly understands the value of the tap = opportunity to start over and try again. Seems to really like BJJ. NIce. Hope he sticks around because he'll make a good training partner.

Neck is a bit tight and sore, but I think I'm ok. Scared the crap out of me though...

Monday, January 24, 2011

No Longer Taking Names

6:15-6:30p: Stuck in traffic. Thought I was 15 minutes late, but turns out I've been away from the gym so long I forgot what time class started on Monday nights so I was 15 minutes early. Whew. I hate being late. Stretched.

6:30-6:50p: Warm-up / standard drills. Nothing special.

6:50-7p: Take down drills. Essentially judo. Skipped the first set. Didn't want to risk neck injury. Participated in the second set, but worked with someone who was also wary of injury and we didn't finish the throws.

7-7:10P: Sweep / pass the guard. After class tonight...over a few beers...I was gently admonished for posting the names of classmates. So, I've resolved to stop taking names. I'll only refer to rank. Although this is supposed to be MY training log, I realize that quite a few classmates have found my blog and read with some regularity. So...referencing rank should allow me to track my relative progress while also protecting the innocent. First up tonight was a Brown Belt. Stepped into his guard and pretty much got owned. No submissions in this drill, but in my zeal to pass his guard Mr. Brown let me know he set up but did not execute several submissions before sweeping me. Professor also told me to relax a bit lest I hurt my neck. Didn't think I was pushing it, but if it caught Professor's attention...guess I was overdoing it a tad. Next up a White Belt who had managed a few consecutive sweeps so I got him tired. Passed his guard with a smash pass. Not the most technical, but he"s huge, young, strong, athletic, etc....I'll take what I can get. A White Belt stepped into my guard. Sweep off a pass in no time. Blue Belt up next. Swept her after she attempted a floating pass. Upon further reflection, I muscled the sweep. Lame. I apologize. Blue Belt stepped in...time ran out before we could get anything going.

7:10-7:30p: Technique. Basic guard break and knee slide pass plus a feaux cross choke to knee slide pass. The feaux cross choke to knee slide was new to me.

7:30-8p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got three Blue Belts. Crowded mats tonight so I felt like I was stopping mid-roll multiple times to reset. Fortunately my training partners were experienced and took it all in stride. Got swept on my ass from inverted guard after several minutes trying to pass. Not sure what happened. Professor said it was a You Tube sweep. Ok... Got worked. Got drilled by the second Blue. He had me in an arm bar from mount but we ran into another group so we yielded. I didn't tap but he would have had me if we didn't roll into the other group. Other than that I feel like I gave him a hard time from guard. Almost swept him with De la Riva and spider a couple of times...but didn't quite pull it off. Last roll was good. Ran into other groups a few times and had to reset, but I managed to take mount and finished with an arm bar from technical mount. Had a few sweep set ups too. Overall, very pleased with the rolls tonight. No neck/tingly issues at all. I hope that I can train a couple nights per week without too much trouble. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Neuorologist Weighs In

I had a neurologist check me out over the Christmas break and sent him my MRI results for review/comment. Here's a summary of his comments:

1. Reversal of cervical lordosis is suggestive of muscle spasm as the neck should be C shaped and mine is more straight. Not a major finding.

2. At C5-6 there is moderate narrowing of the spinal canal but no cord
compression (good).

3. Bony narrowing of the canals on both sides of the neck at C5-6 where the nerve roots come out of the spinal cord and go into the arms. Similar but less severe
findings at C6-7.

Diagnosis: Tingly symptoms and weakness in arm/hand are probably from irritation of nerve root in tight bony foraminal canal in C5-6, but C6-7 could be contributing. In other symptoms are from disc degeneration and bone spurs.

Treatment Options: Not based on MRI, but symptoms. Significant pain, muscle weakness, or persistent tingling could indicate time for surgery. Surgery may involve a cervical fusion at C5-6 AND C6-7 --(fix both levels while they are in there). Surgery is called ACDF anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. Based on my symptoms (which seem to get better every day), he doesn't think surgery is mandatory...yet. Although I can delay the surgery, he thinks it's probably inevitable. He doesn't advise steroidal injections. Says my problem is anatomical. Injections hurt, are expensive, and only treat symptoms. Physical Therapy has a better chance of helping my condition, but not likely to be the source of major long-term improvement. Said it's worth a shot though.

Closing Note: He wrote: "Mixed martial arts may not be the best thing for you neck" and said he didn't know how good "wrestling" is as a form of exercise for someone in my condition. Good thing I don't train MMA or wrestle! Ha.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Full Day Back

5:30-5:45p: Warm-up / standard drills. Henry (White) led. I think it was his first time leading. Did a great job. My belt is too small (or I`ve grown a bit in my time off). A wee bit uncomfortable.

5:45-5:55p: Partner drills. Sit-ups from guard. Leg lifts to each side and center. Back-to-back squats. Leap frogs. Legs quivering. Exhausted. Couldn`t finish all the reps.

5:55-6:10p: Sweep / pass the guard. Stepped into Nick`s guard. Defended the hip bump and other sweeps for a while, but eventually succumbed to a hip bump. It was Nick`s third round in guard so he gave up his spot. Swept a first day guy without a gi. Not as easy as it should have been. Got Cleve (Blue) next. Almost swept him from x-guard. Botched it and Cleve took advantage and passed.

6:10-6:30p: Technique. Guard break and stack pass review. Worked with Alex (Purple) and Chet (White). Explored ways to maintain base and avoid getting swept while inserting knee in butt crack to initiate break.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got Woody (Blue), brand new guy, and Alex (Purple). Very pleased with my performance after 5+ weeks off. Tiring but I didn't gas. Got several sweeps. Got swept even more. Passed guard a few times. Had my guard passed a couple times. Took mount. Got mounted. Got a straight arm lock. Tapped to a step over choke via gi lapel wrap around. A bit sore now, but not too bad. The post-workout high is incredible.

Friday, January 14, 2011

MRI Results = Sucks to be You!

MRI results:
  1. Reversal of the usual cervical lordosis.
  2. Moderately advanced C5-C6, C6-C7 level degenerative disc disease/hypertrophic spondylosis with related central canal and foraminal stenosis, at the C5-C6 level somewhat asymmetric to the right. Findings at the C6-C7 level include an eccentric left posterior central or paracentral disc herniation though with evidence of asymmetrically pronounced right-sided foraminal stenosis at the same level.
  3. Comparatively mild degenerative changes referable to the suprajacent C4-C5 level with small midline focal posterior central C4-C5 disc protrusion.
  4. More cephalad, evidence of asymmetrically prominent left-sided C2-C3 and right-sided C3-C4 foraminal narrowing which would appear likely at least in part developmental.

Might have well said, “Sucks to be you!”

Likely to see a specialist to determine next steps.

BTW, if anyone reading this is a doctor, feel free to translate. Might be a while before I can see a specialist.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Made it to class tonight for the first time since December 8th. After 8mos training almost non-stop, taking a month off was rough. Gained 15lbs and generally feel miserable. I need to train. This neck injury and numb fingers be damned! So when I heard a friend Aaron was up for his purple tonight, I had to make it to class. Congrats Aaron!

5:30-5:50p: Warm-up / drills. Mike (Purple) led. Good partner drills. Sit ups from guard. Leg lifts. Leap frog. Etc.

5:50-6:05p: Sweep / pass the guard. Stepped into Mike's guard. Ended up with him in turtle to elevator take down. Guess I was a bit over eager 'cause Professor Matthias told me to take it easy on account of my neck. Mike had been in a couple rounds so he let me stay in. Got a young athletic white belt next. He thrashed and smashed but I ended up with a sweep. New white belt stepped in. He also thrashed and smashed. Had easy triangle, front gi chokes, and other subs, but this drill was sub-free. Played a little catch and release while waiting for a sweep to come to mind. Supposed to work for sweeps. Mind drew a blank...rusty... eventually let him take my spot...

6:05-6:30p: Technique. Arm bar and triangle from guard. Review, although the triangle is a variation that I'd struggled with in the past. Got one good electric zing down my arm and hand from one of the arm bars. Fortunately that was the only incident of the night.

6:30-7p: Rolls. Jammed pack tonight. Took it easy. Worked with Mike (Purple) a bit and then Matt (White). Mike worked guard passing. Got one sweep when he was trying stuff, but he didn't have a lot of trouble passing the rest of the time. Roll with Matt was a bit awkward. Wasn't sure what I was doing. Showed him a sweep from closed guard that landed him in mount. Struggled to recover half guard or escape the mount. Struggled but never could really recover. Caught him with an arm lock from guard via whizzer. the whizzer!

It was really good to be back on the mats tonight. Having a bit of post-training numbness, but nothing serious. Going to schedule an MRI tomorrow. Hope to find out what's really wrong with me soon.