Thursday, March 31, 2011

Self Defense Hour

Last night was supposed to be an off night, but I showed up for Rusty's (Brown) Helio Gracie fundamentals or self defense class. Glad I did. Although not physically demanding, the techniques taught are a great complement to sports BJJ training. We worked guard recovery and subs (kimura and a choke) plus strike avoidance from a side control wrestler's pin. Also worked strike avoidance and escapes while under mount. I think I'm ready to add Rusty's Wednesday 6-7p class to my two-day per week sports BJJ routine. The neck will let me know if it's too much...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


5:30-6p: Brief warm-up with extended core work and drilled six fundamental BJJ motions from back. Should have sore abs tomorrow. Nice!

6-6:30p: Three mount escape techniques. Three Purple belts each showed a different escape. Gayton taught me a new BJJ term: quarter-guard. Almost a year into this sport and I think that's the first time I'd come across the quarter-guard.

6:30-7p: Rolls. Seemed short. 4-5 minutes? Not sure. Got a Purple, Blue, and two Whites. Struggled quite a bit.

Purple caught me in a d'arce. First time I've tapped to a d'arce while wearing the gi in a long while. Caught by the time I realized I was in trouble. Got swept a couple of times, including a tripod that was just silly. I saw it coming and almost didn't care. Retreated to guard. Got a couple of decent sweeps, including a De la Riva and one from butterfly where I trapped the leg ala Saulo's Revolution 1.

One of the Whites gave me a heckuva time. I think he's in high school. Doesn't show up very often. Probably 50-60lbs lighter than me. He took my back and almost got an arm bar. He neutralized my open and inverted guards. Good for him.

Roll with the Blue was, as expected, quite the struggle. I started in his guard and he immediately busted my posture. I really couldn't do anything to regain. He shot a triangle when he probably shouldn't have. Thought I was more vulnerable to the omoplata. Thank goodness he shot the triangle though because I needed a way out of his guard. Once out, I seem to recall that I basically pulled guard. Wasn't going to try to pass again. That said... I couldn't really do anything from guard either.

Last roll with a White who has come a very long way. Felt solid. Left his arm extended and exposed when trying to open my guard. I took it. Arm bar notwithstanding, his game has improved considerably in the past couple months.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easy Does It

Internet down at my place again. Posting from the i-phone is not my favorite. Will skip the formal post tonight. Work made me 20 mins late to class. Stretched a little and joined the group for a little sweep/pass the guard. Technique included an arm drag to back take set-up followed by a clock choke variation from top of turtle. Rolled with three Whites. Fun, light, working rolls.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Volunteer Co-Instructor

6:10-6:30p: Stretched. A lot. Felt great. A friend from Howlin' Wolf's Den showed. He trains stand up / striking and some no gi BJJ at another academy. Introduced him to Professor Matthias before class started.

6:30-6:50p: Warm-up / standard drills. 6 minute abs.... Bleh. Did more push ups than normal, but more likely because I didn't want my visitor friend to see me doing "girl" push-ups. Lame, I know. I'm human.

6:50-7p: Sweep / Pass the guard. Got swept by a Purple after an improvised response to De la Riva. Passed a White's guard with more weight than technique. Got a nice x-guard sweep on a Green, but only after a healthy struggle. Prediction? Green will be a Blue soon. Gave up the spot to the Green for the excellent effort.

7-7:30p: We had four new students. Professor asked for a couple volunteers to work with them while he taught the advanced class. Another Blue and I volunteered. It was an interesting experience. Never taught a technique portion of class before. We showed a front gi choke, basic posture break techniques, guard break techniques, and I threw in a technique to frustrate an opponent employing a basic guard break technique. Lagniappe. I really enjoy working with newbies. instructing is definitely a separate skill set and I look forward to more opportunities to hone those skillz.

7:30-8p: Rolls. Worked with two of the new guys, including Wolf's Den buddy, Went really well. Wolf's Den buddy's no gi and MMA experience showed. He wasn't spazzy at all. Didn't know a lot of gi techniques, but still adapted very well for the first day in a gi. The other new guy is a very talented kick boxer. I worked with him a bit a few months back when taking kickboxing after BJJ. I really hope he comes back because I think he has a bright future if he commits to the sport.

8-8:05p: Rolled with my co-instructor, a fellow Blue. Fun roll. At one point he took my back and I recall cursing myself for letting him sink in the hooks. I thought I could escape from a modified turtle position but his transition was tight and I didn't have a way out. Managed a couple butterfly variation sweeps and finished a foot lock (while he had my back) and an arm bar that started from technical mount, but not only after a good struggle (including a couple rolls).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Enjoying Inverted Guard

10-11a: Private with Professor Matthias. Reviewed the open guard sweeps and subs shown in the latest Gracie Mag. The first straight arm lock is about all I'll try to incorporate into my game for now. Worked guard passing most of the session. I have only rare success with the basic pass techniques during live spars. Will keep working on it. Finished with inverted guard from north/south. Looked at a few options for inverted triangle. One results in a triangle finish. Another uses the triangle to lock the opponent while I attack the arm with straight arm lock or kimura. Also played around with open guard recovery from inverted.

11-11:20a: Warm-up/standard drills. Finished about 75-80% of the push-ups from knees. Painful.

11:20-11:30a: Sweep / pass the guard. Sweeping machine today. Think I had 9-10 sweeps. Flower, De la Riva, Sweep off a Pass, and several others I don't have a name for. Guard passing was so-so. I passed both attempts, but they were sloppy passes against smaller Whites. I really should have been tighter.

11:30a-12p: Technique. Review from Thursday with minor variations. Basic stack pass, triangle when stacker is sloppy, arm bar from triangle transition when stacker postures to defend the triangle, and closed guard recovery in response to stack attempt.

12-12:30p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds. Got a first day White and two Blues. Worked the stack pass technique with the new guy. The rounds with the Blues went well. Did some things well but could have done other things better. Had a real solid open guard with the first Blue and one pleasing sweep. Got a sub too from guard. Had to have been an arm bar. I'm really out of shape because I was nearly gassed after the roll.

All I remember about the second Blue was the awkward execution of a reverse triangle from modified inverted guard. Locked in the reverse triangle, but his inside arm wasn't across his body so I couldn't finish. He stacked and twisted too so both subs i worked on before class were unavailable. Worked for a kimura, but that wasn't happening. Set up a wrist lock and started to apply pressure, but remembered one of our guys broke a poor visiting gal's wrist a while back... Never practiced a wrist lock before so I didn't want to be "that guy" who tries a sub the first time in a roll and hurts his training partner. Let it go and finally angled my body properly for the arm bar. Utterly gassed though when Professor called time.

I'm really starting to like inverted guard. Funny because I transition to inverted guard most often from under north/south. As my side control prevention got better, training partners would go north/south. Inverted guard to guard recovery became my go-to escape from north/south. Now I'm not only comfortable with being under north/south (err...with some training partners that is...), I actually look forward to the opportunity to work out of the position.

12:30-12:35p: After class roll with Brown. Uh...that would be stretching it. I was fully gassed and had nothing. I couldn't do anything right. He basically said I was rolling like a White Belt. was a poor showing. Exhausted and demoralized I turned down an offer from a Purple to roll. I hate doing that. Need to get as much time with upper belts as possible. Bleh.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Internet Down

Recently moved to a corporate apartment and still don’t have internet set up. Trained from 5:30-7p last night and wanted to post. This shorter write-up will have to suffice. Enjoyed the inverted guard drills. Techniques = Stack pass, stack pass to guard recovery defense, and triangle if stack passer gets sloppy. Rolled with a Blue, Green, and White.

Blue destroyed me like I haven’t been destroyed in a long time. Kimura, couple arm bars, likely other subs. Had a terrible time in his guard. Posture all busted up. Glad to hear he got a stripe the night before because he’s leaps and bounds better than me. Have a fat lip and red marks on my face. Lovely.

Green Belt roll was fun. She’s new to our academy and has been training a couple years. Not afraid to mix it up with the boys. Worked x-guard set ups, a few sweeps, and some back attack work. Some catch and release. Kept the flow going and kept the heart and breathing rate up. After the roll she asked how it felt and if she was keeping tight. Roll felt good and she was keeping her arms in well and not leaving too much space. I advised her to make it harder to secure spider or pistol grips. Suggested she focus a bit more on grip fighting because I basically had free reign to take whatever grips I wanted. She seemed to appreciate the feedback.

The White is pretty new. She showed up a few weeks ago and seems to have some martial arts background. Notice she attended the women’s class on Monday. Started in her guard. She has long legs and kept the guard closed…tight. I didn’t want to dig my elbows in (try to avoid that in general) and didn’t want to force my way out so I cupped a sleeve and stood up. She asked me to stop and explain what she should do from there. Said guys keep doing that to her. My theory is they do that because her closed guard is so tight the guys stand up so they don’t hurt her. Showed her a classic sweep and she seemed pleased to know there is something she can try when it happens again. Later I passed to side control and she instinctively rolled out and gave up her back. Said she hates side control. Suggested she fight that instinct and instead turn in, shrimp, and connect knee to elbow. She knows the shrimp drills, but probably hadn’t realized the practical application. Enjoy working with new folks who are genuinely interested in learning.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tourney Prep Mode

I'm not going to Pans, but a small group will be representing NOLA BJJ at Pans this year. That said, the entire academy is training as if we are all competing in a couple weeks. Fine by me...I'm about 90% sure I'm going to compete in the Louisiana State Championships May 21st. Need to drop 10lbs and get into the comp mindset.

6-6:30p: Traffic forced me to miss my private with Proffesor Matthias. Bleh. Stretched and watched others roll. Managed to get a few tidbits from Matthias anyway. We briefly reviewed a guard pass detail I've been missing, then worked through a couple techniques from the latest issue Gracie Mag.

6:30-6:50p: Warm-up / standard drills. Actually managed 10 regular push-ups before finishing the set of 25 from knees.

6:50-7p: Partner drills. Guard sit ups, guard walk around to back, core work, etc. Tried to guard sit ups, but my partner couldn't hold me. Got dropped square on my back. Almost knocked the wind out of me.

7-7:10p Odd sumo-esque push your opponent out of a small square drill. Did well...sometimes. Did terribly most of the time.

7:10-7:20p: Take down drills. Class split into > < 175lbs. Professor called me over to the smaller group. Looking out for my neck. I pulled guard each time. Tried to work a guard pull to de la Riva set up and sweep. Got the sweep on first attempt against a Purple. Never go it again, although I was pleased with the resulting guard position.

7:20-8p: Rolls. Groups of three. 5 minute rounds. Little rest between the back-to-backs. Got two Blues, both lighter and much more experienced. Exhausting. A bit of a haze. Recall getting Omoplata'd and spending a couple minutes fending off an arm bar before finally escaping. Spent a good amount of time in mount, but couldn't do much with it. Made only one weak (and failed) submission attempt (arm bar). A couple good sweeps from open guard. One fantastic sweep attempt from closed guard (opponent standing). Dropped him, but I couldn't transition to mount fast enough and he scrambled to force me to turtle. Spent too much time on the bad end of north-south and side control. Too exhausted to execute what my mind was telling me to do. It was a minor victory. In the past, I'd be so tired I wouldn't be able to think of anything. Tonight I knew what I should be doing, but couldn't muster the strength to execute. Baby steps.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"You Need to be More Assertive"

Had someone tell me that during the Mardi Gras hiatus... Really? Me? The comment had nothing to do with jiu jitsu, but it made me think. Is my game too passive? Too risk averse? Am I taking chances when I see opportunities? Or do I wait for another opportunity with a higher chance of success? Good questions to ponder during Carnival. Unfortunately I trained so much tonight (completely gassed) that I almost always reverted back to passive energy saving survival mode.

5:30-6:10p: Good, long stretch session. Watched three Professors, a Brown, Purple, couple of Blues, and a White roll.

6:10-7:05p: Open mat. 8-20 minutes each roll. Worked with Professors Matthias and Doc Eddie, a Purple, and a Blue. Exhausting. Utterlly. Attempted two straight ankle locks. Fail. First time trying to execute outside of technique portion of class. One training partner said I was close. I was closer with the other training partner, but could tell he was committed to not tap. No problem. Moved on. Had a couple great sweeps. Got swept a few times. Guard passing wasn't so hot. Pushed myself to the limit (which wasn't very far). Tried to be more assertive with the Blue. He has a great guard. After 15 minutes or so he finally got the hip bump sweep. Professor Matthias caught me in a triangle (but played a lot of catch and release the rest of the time). Professor Doc Eddie caught me in a bow and arrow variation. I might as well have tapped to the Purple. I was worthless. He recognized that and we stopped rolling. I tired. I should have died.

7:05-7:20p: Warm-ups / standard drills. Gassed. Sat out most of the warm up. Finished maybe 20% of the push-ups from knees.

7:20-7:40p: Sweep / pass the guard with submissions. We have a small team heading to OC for Pans. Professor encouraged us to press it. All I remember is doing my best to assert myself. Got a solid knee slide pass on a White. Almost had a nice knee slide with another White, but forgot a technical detail and ended up slipping on my arse. Had my guard passed by a White. No worries though. I was taking chances. Trying to be assertive.

7:40-8:05p: Take downs. I sat out. Wanted badly to participate. Still cautious about the neck.

8:05-8:30p: Rolls. 6 minute rounds with minimal break. Got two Purples, a Blue, and a White. Tapped to an arm bar (Purple) and the Blue probably would have caught a number of D'arce, gator rolls, or guillotine chokes but I suspect he was wary of my neck. Since I was way outmatched with most of the rolls (the Blue is substantially better than me), the only real chance I had to assert myself was with the White. Took lots of chances. Played aggressively. Got a couple sweeps. Took mount a couple times. Worked choke attempts but he reversed. He was very patient under a lot of top pressure and took advantage of my mistakes. Caught him in a somewhat unconventional arm lock dater he stacked a triangle attempt. Oh...just remembered that I did assert myself a little with the Blue. He forced me to play a little inverted guard. While inverted I attempted a sweep. It rolled him over and I ended up in a pseudo-reverse mount. Didn't have a clue what to do from there and I'm still not sure if I ended up in a better position because the reverse mount didn't last long at all and I think he ended up taking my back immediately after. I still liked to the attempt and may play around with it a bit more.

206.5 lbs post-train, no gi. That's probably 210 hydrated. Need to drop 10-15lbs to return to October/November 2010 weight (and high school weight). Not sure if that's possible given that I've reduced my mat time by 65% or so. . .

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mardi Gras Break

No training until next Wednesday. Parades make regular class impossible. The gym will have open mat, but getting there will be almost impossible. Being sidelined by injury is one thing. Being sidelined by Carnival is another. Looking forward to next Wednesday.