Monday, February 28, 2011

Cruise Control

5:20-5:45p: Great stretching and got to watch even greater rolling. Professors Matthias and Doc Eddie plus the Murray brothers Colin (Brown) and Gavin (Purple). Fun to watch.

5:45-6:15p: Private with Matthias. Mostly guard break/pass review. Each time we review I pick up on a small detail that I've been missing. Will keep using these 30 min privates to drill these basic techniques into my head. He also showed me how to counter a particular half guard difficulty I've been having. Simple solution really. Just never trusted my position/balance enough to even consider it as an option. Didn't have the opportunity to use it today, but I get stuck in the the position often enough it's bound to come in handy.

6:15-6:30p: Stretched a bit more.

6:30-6:50p: Warm-up / drills. Oddly...breathing a bit more than usual during the jogging portion. Out of shape. Had problems with the push-ups...nothing new.

6:50-7p: Sweep / pass the guard. Stepped into a Purple's guard. Tried Saulo's standing break. Need to do more squats. I couldn't stand up. Ended up with busted posture. Then trapped in a whizzer and he reached under to my cross-side lapel with a tight grip (did I mention my posture was busted?). Sort of a stalemate for a while. Then I got the bright idea to peel his thumb off. Purple (jokingly) cried out for a ref. Didn't know you couldn't peel a thumb. Illegality worked...but no sooner that I broke the grip and whizzer, he swept me. Standing in line (awaiting my next victim...ha!). Asked Collin (Brown) for suggestions on how to get out of that jam legally. He basically told me I was screwed. In a real roll situation he would have given up the omoplata attempt and work an escape from there. Next up a very large new White who clearly muscled his way through a Blue's guard. Stepped into his guard and he was clearly still in muscle mode. Struggled to maintain posture. Eventually got control, the break, and pass. Took more energy than I would have liked, but technically it was a sound pass. Got a young aggressive Blue next. Almost got a couple closed-guard sweeps. Opened the guard and immediately switched to a spider variation. Then to a De la Riva variation for the sweep. Felt pretty clean. A very large 4-stripe Blue stepped in next. Only seen him a couple of times. Big barrel chested guy. We struggled a bit. He eventually broke and worked a torreando. I maintained and forced him around to north-south. I went inverted with feet into the biceps and spider grips. Shot an inverted triangle with intent to sweep over to inverted mount...but Professor called time as I shot. Could have been interesting.

7-7:35p: Technique. Pull guard to De la Riva set up and standard sweep. Then a switch to a koala-type set-up and sweep. Finished with what to do if opponent employs typical De la Riva defenses. First option to recover and finish De la Riva. Second if they attempt a knee slide pass employed a scissor knee and stiff-arm of their posting arm to drop them on their stomach. Finish by taking the back. All great techniques. I use spider and de la riva a lot. A few of tonight's techniques will go into my arsenal immediately (fingers crossed).

7:35-8p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got two much younger and brand new Whites plus a more experienced Blue. All three fun rolls. Didn't have to work at all with the White's despit their superior strength and roughly equal or greater weight advantage. Just played around. Sweeps at will. Tons of positonal advantages and submission opportunities. Played a little catch and release, but mostly didn't try to for anything. Took a few opportunities to reset and show a technique or two when they asked what they should do from this position or that. Finished with the Blue. Another fun roll. Got dropped on my arse a few times via tripod. Had a couple sweeps, but couldn't secure the position. Blue is very good at scrambling. Got my back taken a couple times, but avoided both hooks. Breathing quite hard after the roll. Good time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

When in Doubt Improvise

5:20-5:30p: Arrived early enough to stretch a little. Nice.

5:30-5:50p: Warm up and drills. Did "6 minute abs." Guess that means we did abs for six minutes straight. Felt like forever. Likely 300-400 reps. Also 60 push ups. Well...others did 60 push ups. I did about half that from knees. Did my best.

5:50-6p: Pummeling drills. Got a new White Belt. Know how to pummel, but not well enough teach a newbie. Professor saved the day.

6-6:10p: Judo Ouchi Gari and ankle pick option if opponent employs typical Ouchi Gari defense.

6:10-6:20p: Arm bar drills from mount. 20 ea.

6:20-6:35p: Technique. Mount to key lock (Americana) with straight arm lock and kimura options. Kimura option involved a front roll to finish. Not really a big guy jiu jitsu move.

6:35-7p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got picked by a Brown and two Purples. Got worked over most of the time. Swept a lot. Guard passed at will. Lots of turtle and back survival. Tapped twice (both arm locks). Had a nice improvised sweep. Surprised me. Had some nice hooks and a good grip...then recognized the opportunity to leverage for the reversal when he tried to pass. Couple other sloppy/forced sweeps. A few really solid arm bar escapes. Saulo's trusty escape continues to pay dividends. Took mount on a Purple from back position, but I started with his back so he could work escapes and managed to transition to mount during one of his escape attempts. Mount didn't last long at all. Next thing I know he's setting up an arm bar from back/side. But he knows I like the Saulo escape so he was extremely tight and didn't give me the space I needed to defend. Tried to change to another no avail. Exhausting but had a great time tonight. A bit unsettling when a roll with a smaller Brown leaves me utterly gassed but leaves him calm as can be. I have soooo much to learn. Love it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


(co-author credit to Matt Washington)

5:30-5:50p: Warm-up / drills. Less strenuous than usual from the Purple who led tonight. Managed all push-ups...but from knees only. Still too weak to do "real" push-ups. Noticed a few odd looks from the newer and younger white belts. Yeah...I'm not ashamed. I can't do regular push-ups. Has something to do with my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hyper mobility disorder) or the neurological issues from my two herniated discs in the neck. So what? I'm still here. Trying...

5:50-6:05p: Take down technique/drills. Two basic grip grips to arm drag and single leg take down. Pretty basic, but the single leg was new to me. Emphasis on placing the neck inside the leg and committing to the takedown lest you get caugt in a guillotine. Caused a bit of trouble with the neck. Some tingly fingers. First time with tingly fingers from training in several weeks. Bleh.

6:05-6:35p: Technique. Worked guard posture breaks. A few different techniques. Elbow into elbow. Drop feet, squeeze knees, and raise hips. Jump hips over knee to bait an arm drag and take the back.

6:35-7p: Rolls. 6 min rounds. Huge class. 28 plus two Professors. Groups of 3. Looking around the room, I was a bit anxious about the rolls. Lots of big, strong, young and “green” White Belts. Had premonitions of injury... Fortunately I got paired with two Blues. Both lighter than me, but one was taller. The other was much smaller. Both much more experience. Got two taps. Sloppy arm bar from mount via a couple rolls and Ezequiel from mount via roll to guard. Never subbed this particular Blue so, despite the sloppiness, it felt good enough. Got Omoplata'd by the other Blue. He transitioned to the Omoplata after a failed half guard pass attempt. I knew I was screwed when he recovered full guard (high full guard). My posture was completely busted. After a couple minutes of futile escape attempts, he finally locked it in and I had to tap. Afterward he said that's all he had. BS. He's money. Watched him set up and almost lock in a couple Go-Go Platas... Good stuff. Other than that...rolls were fairly sloppy and muscly. A few cool sweeps and some turtling (mostly stall tactics) but not much else to write home about.

oh...Matt rolled with a blue belt and a white belt. Defended a few arm bars and a triangle attempt. And got caught in an arm bar, kimura, and at least two other submissions. Still, a very good showing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

UNIJJ Open Mat

11:30a-1:30p: Spent last week in South Lake Tahoe snowboarding. Thought I'd be too sore for open mat today but felt surprisingly good. Too bad that good feeling didn't last long.

After stretching and a brief warm-up, I grabbed a large White Belt in his late 20s. Said he started in December. Has a rassling background. Rough roll. We went 14 minutes before I got an arm bar from guard. He smashed through triangle shots, half guard, knee push and de la riva sweeps, etc. Got a nice roll over to side control from top turtle position (as shown in Revolution 1). But...mostly...exhaustion.

Got in six minutes with a 20yr old Orange Belt who started training last Aug/Sept when I trained at UNIJJ for the summer. He's much better. Took my back from guard. Didn't see it coming. Crazy strong for a smaller guy. Other than a couple sweeps, didn't have much to offer.

Rolled with two Purples...sort of... So exhausted. Managed to survive, but I doubt they were trying too hard to tap me. One of the Purples danced on my back as I rested in turtle. I admit it...I was stalling...big time. Trying to catch my breath. Lame.

Got a round in with a 16yr old Blue. Small guy. Probably 140lbs. He crushed my guard and half guard. Swept him several times, but he managed to recover in the post sweep scramble. Quick kid. Took my back at one point and had me locked. Couldn't escape...but a well timed scoop ensured he couldn't finish. Spent the last ~90 secs of the roll in this stalemate.

Last roll with the new big White Belt again. More of the same from our first roll. Caught an arm bar from guard. Pretty textbook. Felt good. Could have shot an omoplata at one point, but I hesitated and didn't want to commit. Should have gone for it.

Finished the session working on various open guard sweeps with the White and Orange Belts. Caio Terra's spider sweeps (as shown here), Saulo's knee push and sweep off a pass, also a little De la Riva.

My lack of conditioning was embarrassing. I rolled lazy and gassed. Under the crushing weight of a couple bigger guys the following thought crossed my mind: "This is not fun. Why do I do this? I should quit. Not for the day, but for good." Never had those thoughts before...

205.8 lbs post-train without gi. Not good, but given my lack of training and atrocious diet the past couple months I suppose it could be much worse.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For Posterity

I trained tonight. Rolled with two Blues. Got my arse kicked. 'nough said.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ego: friend or foe?


No time for a proper post tonight. Started with a 30 min private with Professor Matthias. Sat out most of the grip break and take down drills. Odd number of training partners and I didn''t want to risk injury. Technique included side control to mount and a triangle transition from side control. 3 rolls. Around 6 minutes each. Got a Blue and two Whites. The blue and one of the whites likely outweighed me. 100% on the guard pass attempts. Major improvement. Roll with the lighter White is the focus of tonight's post. ~20yr olds. Maybe 190 lbs or so. Wrestling background with ~4 mos experience, but he apparently took a few months off. Didn't recognize him. Wild ride. Had I kept my ego in check, I wouldn't have picked him - and I certainly would have forced him to play my game. Alas..I did neither. I chose him and I allowed his pace and intensity to dictate the round. Shot 3-4 arm bars from guard, to no avail. He stacked each and I had to rework guard. Several sweeps including one from spider. Had him in north-south and locked the figure 4 to execute kimura. Had it cranked more than 45 degrees and got distracted. He couldn't be that flexible could he? I lost focus. He managed to escape. I transitioned to arm bar. Had it tight...he didn't tap. Extended hips and pulled harder. Still no tap. REALLY? C'mon. Time ran out. Crazy ego-filled roll. Instead of slowing him down, I went with his pace and shot arm bars when I should have bailed to a sweep set up or side control survival / escape. When he stacked those attempts, I ended up having to sweep from side control or recover guard anyways. At one point he locked in a d'arce set up when i set up a butterfly guard sweep, but didn't know how to finish it. Anyways...ego is my foe. I risked injury trying to show that a Baby Blue Belt, enven a middle aged baby blue, could handle the most athletic and aggressive White. Did I handle him? I suppose. Didn't submit him, but the roll was crazy tough. I could have done a better job controlling the roll. Oh well. Next time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


5:30-5:45p: Warm-ups / standard drills. Short. Sweet. Fast paced jog. Good.

5:45-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Having trouble remembering... Got swept by a Purple. He grabbed my left sleeve cuff and would not let go...Errr...I couldn't break his grip. He managed to work to his knees and set up the take down. Game over. Got a new White Belt next. He's young, strong, athletic...former college football player. Just passed a Blue Belt's guard. I stepped into his guard. He tensed up. Worked a standard guard break to knee slide pass. Didn't take long. He wasn't too happy though. Purple stepped into my guard. Same guy as my first round. He eventually passed. Have no answer to the torreando. While in line I chatted with the new White Belt football player. He just got worked over by a Purple who had him in spider. He seemed a bit frustrated. Wanted to know how to counter. I couldn't help but chuckle.'ve been here 5 days and you think I can explain how to break a Purple's spider grip and pass his guard in a one minute discussion? I showed him how to break the grip, but warned him that a Purple would just shift to something else. Explained that the actual answer to his question is mat time. Nothing beats mat time.

6-6:30p: Technique. Kesa gatame escapes. Three variations. The first I sort of recall from self defense class. The second and third escapes were new. Simple and very effective. Only problem is I don't recall the last time anyone had me in kesa gatame. Professor said Judo folks like to use it.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 4 six minute rounds. Got a Purple, two Blues, and a White. Got tapped by a Blue - arm bar that started from technical mount - I think - but ended up from his guard. I thought I was going to escape. Tapped the White from mount, but not until after he had me in the strangest bear hug after I set up butterfly guard. Took me 2+ minutes to escape. Then after finally escaping he was gassed and needed a couple minutes to recover. I was sort of ticked that I couldn't figure out how to escape the bear hug. Pretty much got worked by the colored belts the rest of the time. None of my bread and butter sweeps were working. Passed with Torreando countless times. Found myself in turtle a lot. Forced to play a little inverted guard several times as a means to escape north-south. The only good thing about that was side control defense seemed solid enough to force transition to north-south. Popped my knee when a Blue passed. Made a loud snap. Felt strange, but no pain. Knee feels fine now. Don't think it was a bad pop. Anywhoo...not impressed with my performance tonight, but not disappointed either. Pretty routine. That's a good thing.

Dropped by Gayton's tonight to pick up a couple tickets to tomorrow's RMMA fight. It's his pro debut. Defending the 185lb title. He's a solid Purple who walks around at 210+ or so. He looked real thin tonight. Hadn't seen him in a couple months. Can't imagine cutting 25 lbs for a fight. Noor is fighting too. He's a new Blue and it will be his MMA debut. I'm supposed to fly out tomorrow night. But I got an e-mail from Continental saying my flight might be delayed or cancelled. The plane is coming from Houston, which is expected to get snow through the night up to noon tomorrow. I'd love to go home for the weekend, but watching Shawn and Noor isn't a bad alternative if I can't get out of town.