Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LA State Championship Results

I have to admit…my interest in this training log is beginning to flag. I’m cutting corners in my posts and, as a result, the blog’s utility as a training tool is diminished. That said, I’m not quitting. Just contemplating a format and post-frequency change. We’ll see.

I trained last Thursday. Sort of. Work made me very late. Got there about 10 minutes into the technique. I stretched. Then joined the group for the rolls. Got absolutely destroyed by a Purple. Rolled with a couple other Blues and a White. Pretty light going. Just wanted to get the joints moving before the tournament.

Oh yeah. I competed on Saturday. My first tourney as a Blue. Louisiana State Championship. NOLA BJJ did fantastic as a team. Closed out a number of brackets. I had three fights, lost two – both against the same guy.

Master, Blue, Super Heavy division only had two folks. Me and Steven Springer (aka Nemesis). Thought: “Hmm… My normal game won’t work. It doesn’t in training. Why would it work now?” So I implemented Plan B. Go buck wild. Started with a totally botched drop seoi nage. Somehow managed to save half guard. Got the half guard sweep. Failed x-pass attempt. Failed muscle-brute pass attempts as I tried to dodge some wicked open game work. Escaped a triangle shoot. Almost got caught with a second triangle. Got caught in an arm bar on my way out of the triangle. That’s how my foggy brain remembers it going down.

Matched against a seasoned Blue in the first round of the Open (…I assume seasoned because he said it was his 3rd Statewide tourney as a Blue…). Taller than me, but about 10lbs lighter. Took him down. A bit sloppy leg trip. Landed in his half guard. Passed his half guard. Attempted to advance position to knee on belly. He blocked. Switched to north-south. Couldn’t trap an arm for a kimura or other sub. Felt my body rise too high and across his chest center line (from side control) several times. Heard my corner cautioning. Fortunately he didn’t do anything with it. Eventually took his back. He spun around into my guard. Seem to recall shooting an arm bar. Bailed into turtle. Rolled from turtle into an x-guard set up then settled into half guard. Got the half guard sweep. Passed again. Up 14-0 before finishing it with a step over choke from side control. Saulo special. Unfortunately (for him) he responded to the step over by laying flat on his back. That changed my angle of attack and turned it from a true choke to a pure pain submission as the inside of my left knee smashed and cranked on his jaw/neck as it wedged against my left forearm wrist. He yelped a bit as he tapped and rolled over. Didn't get up for a while. Probably didn’t feel good at all. I felt a little bad. I had him crushed. Didn't need to go for the kill. Then again. It’s about the experience. I saw the opportunity for the sub. I took it.

Met Nemesis again in the Open Finals. My Plan B (i.e., spazz) didn’t work the first time so I decided to back off and play my game. I knew he'd beat me, but I was fine with that. Although we share the same rank (1-stripe Blue), he's clearly better than me. No doubt about it. Pulled guard. Worked a bit of lasso and spider. Thought I had a sweep a couple times but his base was impeccable and I couldn’t adjust my hips to recover the proper angle. He eventually broke free and was on his way to pass. I seem recall a bit of inverted spider work and a brief open guard recover before landing in half guard. Unlike our first fight when I got the sweep, he cross-faced me early and hard. I couldn’t establish an underhook and sweep set up. He began to pass. At some point I bailed to turtle to avoid pass points. He ended up getting my back with hooks. Tapped to a choke with only seconds on the clock. I deserved it. I bridged right into his choke. Silly.

I’m sure I have some details wrong. I have videos of my Open fights. (Thanks Matt Washington!). Will post he vids and photos as soon as I get a chance.

Congrats to Steven and the rest of my NOLA BJJ teammates for a great tourney. Competing is a win for your journey, even if you didn’t win a fight. You showed up. You fought. Others didn’t. Ergo you won and they lost. TO PLAY IS TO WIN.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2 for 1

Yes. I've been slacking. Life interrupts. Trained Monday and Tuesday. Here's a brief summary.


Private with Professor Matthias. Reviewed a takedown combo and De la Riva pass to the "negative side" from Revolution 2. Followed by sweep / pass the guard warm-up and a fairly long stretch of rolling. Completely gassed at the end. Made me weak and queesy for class.

Tough tourney prep the rest of class. Well...tough for most of the class. I worked with a new guy during the full speed partner drills. We went very slowly. I think we had 7 five minute rolls. Tiring.


Starting to taper for Saturday's tourney. I took it extra easy. Almost lazy actually. Got my butt handed to me by a Purple. Caught me with two arm bars and something else...escapes me. The arm bars were slick. Had no idea I was vulnerable until it was too late. Apparently I was pushing up from bottom. I recall using a bit of a stiff arm to help brace him while I attempted to shift my hips, but given the angle, I really didn't think I was vulnerable. Thought wrong. Obviously. I thoroughly enjoyed the schooling.

Observation: Chokes from guard seem to be getting better. Got several chokes using different variations of palms up, palm up / palm down, and even one with one hand.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Cutting weight is one of the least pleasant things I've done in a long while. Daily caloric intake under 1200 for 5 days now. And I trained M-Th! Light headed, a bit dizzy, and somewhat noxious the past couple days. What a drag.

205.0 post train last night. 207.6 this morning. Drank a lot of water last night. 208.2 after work today. 212.4 with my lightweight gi. Have to lose at least 5lbs in 7.5 days. If I'm not <203.9 come Monday morning I'm going to abandon ship and jump to Super Heavy. I should have started cutting earlier, but Jazz Fest intervened. If you're not from New Orleans or have never been to Jazz Fest, you couldn't possibly understand...

As I mentioned, I trained last night. Tried to post, but Blogger was down for maintenance. Oh well. I can miss a day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Bit Too Much

Exhausted. 90 mins of Bikram Yoga before class tonight. Showed up to class 20 mins early and stretched (not that I needed it). Felt funny. Light headed.

An upper belt asked to roll. Sure. Hadn't rolled with this particular guy in a long time. Months maybe. Passed guard and transitioned to north-south. Tried to lock in a reverse triangle, but apparently I didn't have the arm trapped. As I started to go for the kimura, I thought... "Something's wrong. It cant be this easy." Then I remebered he'd been rolling for quite a while before me. Probably just seeing what I was up to and went along for the ride. Tried for the kimura but couldn't free the arm because I didn't pin the bottom arm with a shin or lock it back with the reverse triangle. Regardless...I didn't have the position so I didn't get the submission. Tried to transition back to side control but I recall that not turning out too well. From then on I struggled to maintain various survival postures. He had incredible control of my legs and hips. Unsettling really. At one point I set up to recover guard from modified inverted spider. Shot the inverted triangle. He struggled. Stepped around my head to negate my angle. I kept it locked and turned attention to his left arm. My real aim was the straight arm lock. But the more he struggled, the more I clamped down on the inverted triangle. Started to stretch him out and squeeze. Again, my goal was the straight arm lock. Got a tap. But not from the arm lock. Not from a choke. Apparently I was straining his neck pretty good. My bad.

Not going to recount the warm up and drills. Drills were intense. I felt like passing out a few times and had to slow down. Took several water breaks. Fought dizziness. Got a judo throw during the take down portion of class. It's one of the throws I learned in Hawaii back in November. The Blue I threw is quite large and heavy with a good base. Pleased with the timing, execution, and result.

Rolls were pretty sloppy. Exhaustion and near delirium made for untechnical sparring. Got two Blues and a Black. Brute force didn't work like it had in recent rolls. Busted posture. Bleh. Not much good came out of the rolls. Black caught me with an Americana from side control and an arm bar from back. I'm pretty sure I tapped to one of the Blues but I don't remember what he caught me with. Anyways...not my best showing tonight.

205.6 post Bikram/training.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brute Force Works

5:15-5:30p: Stretched. Felt like an old man. Achy knees and hips. Glad I got there early. Needed that stretch session.

5:30-5:45p: Warm-up / drills. Counted almost 30 on the mats. Lots of big scary White Belts. Couldn't help but go down the line and think, "avoid him, him, him, and...uh...definitely him". Lame I know, but my achy knees and hips were talking for me. Enjoyed the gynastiical natural component.

5:45-6p: Core drills. Butterfly lift/extend drill, guard pull sit-ups, and inverted leg wraps plus spin around. Tough to describe. Partner a few pounds heavier, my height, but much younger struggled. Clearly wasn't used to core movement like that. I think he was a bit surprised by how easily I worked through the reps. Yeah kid...keep training. :-)

6-6:30p: Self defense technique involved two takedowns in response to sucker RNC attempt. First was a standard hip throw. Second was a throw over your leg if attacker bases against hip throw. Both with arm bar finish. Sports BJJ technique involved fundamental guard break to stack pass plus an alternate pass when opponent employs a heavy leg in response to stack attempt. (Thanks again to Matt for pointing out what I missed.)

6:30-7p: Rolls. Think 6min rounds. Groups of three. Got two Blues. One taller and possibly heavier. The other a bit shorter and about 15-20lbs lighter. Both good sweaty rolls. Can I declare victory if brute force worked yet again to counter arm drag and posture busting attempts? This particular Blue (the bigger of the two) is one of four Blues at our academy who give me a heckuva time in guard. Posture busting arm dragging back taking masters they are! Unless he was taking it easy on me, my brute force attempts to keep him down and break his guard seem to work. Didn't have many sweeps tonight. In fact, none come to mind. Passed guard a few times. Got swept a few times. Got stuck trying to pass half guard. Like a chess match. We both know Saulos half guard passes and sweeps fairly well. Turned part of a roll into an interesting stalemate. Got a kimura from north-south. Got a tap from a sloppy triangle during transition to straight arm lock. Got to knee on belly once. Started to set up baseball bat choke when time called. Lost a couple arm bars from mount. Solid defense and my poor sense of timing...lost the sub. Position before submission!.

208.2 after training. Can I lose 7-8lbs in 10.5 days? Gonna give it the old college try.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Am I Serious?

About making Heavy? LA State championships May 21. Weighed in a pudgy 217 this morning...in the buff...pre-breakfast. Hmm... Not exactly on track to make 207.5 in a gi...especially when weigh in for my division appears to be ~3p. Good news is that 217 was likely lots of water and backed up piping from a crazy fun weekend of Jazz Fest food and drink. I was 209 after training tonight. 200-201 nude in 12 days is doable. Do I have it in me? Am I serious? Time will tell.

6:45-6:50p: Work kept me. Missed my private and warm-ups. Brief stretch and jumping jacks before joining class.

6:50-6:55p: Sweep / pass the guard. Stepped into a Blue's guard. He almost always beaks my posture and outright owns me...well just about always actually...but especially when I'm in his guard. Decided the only way I had a chance to survive was to employ brute force. Kept thinking about the Gigante seminar a while back. "If you no get it, squeeze harder. Still no get it? Push harder. No? Pull harder." Or something like that. You know. Big guy jiu jitsu. Ha. Yeah well it worked. Sort of. Managed to stop the arm drags and other posture dominating maneuvers. Did have my posture busted a couple times, but forced a recoveries. Not sure how it happened but I ended up in his half guard. Missed a cross face and got swept.

6:55-7:05p: Pummeling and drills to double under hook. Wow I'm bad at this stuff.

7:05-7:20p: Rolls. Six 6-min rounds. Got a Blue and five Whites. Blue and I kept bumping into guys rolling around us who were taking up about twice as much space as they should have. A bit annoying but whatever. He caught me with a choke. I think it was from half guard (him on top) but maybe a loose side control. Not sure how I got into the mess, but once in I couldn't get out. Rolls with the Whites were pretty loose. Just went with the flow. Caught a couple chokes and arm bars but only if they gave it to me. Pretty tired after class. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tourney Prep = Grueling

6:30-6:45p: Stretched. Very sore today. Tired too. Left knee felt strange. Weak.

6:45-7p: Purple called me over for a warm-up roll. Struggled a bit, especially in his north / south. Couldn't trap an arm and recover guard via inverted and spider like I'm used to. I seem to recall tapping to something at one point. Think I got a sweep too. Not sure though. Recollection fuzzy.

7-7:20p: Warm-up / drills. Solid. Just what I needed.

7:20-7:30p: Stand up. Grip fighting and take down set ups. I'm so bad at stand up... That said, I timed a guard pull to de la Riva set up on a Purple.

7:30-7:45p: Sweep / pass the guard. Passed a White's guard. Got a couple sweeps and gave up my spot. Got swept by a Black.

7:45-8-45p: Rolls. 10 rounds, 5 minutes each. 2 minutes between rounds. Pretty brutal. Won't even try to recount each roll. Things I did well? Not much. Got a few sweeps on upper belts. A couple successful rolls from turtle into x guard with sweep finishes. Things that didn't go so well? Lots. Blue triangled me from mount. Posture destroyed by multiple Blues. Tapped when I got a finger stuck in a Blue's sleeve. That sucked. Thought it was dislocated for a moment. Turned out to be ok. Lost countless guard passes and top position over turtle. Got swept a bunch. Overall sloppy and lazy rolling at times. Too aggressive with a couple smaller Whites. Should have worked with them a bit more. Had my posture completely busted by a few Blues and a Black. Gave up my back a few times. Almost Broke a White's fingers when I literally fell onto his stomach after a sloppy torreando. The list could go on...but there's no point. Tired rolling is sloppy. Need to tighten up.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Still Can't Pass His Guard!

5:20-5:30p: Stretched.

5:30-5:50p: Warm-up / drills. I led. Didn't push it too hard. Incorporated a few gynastica natural moves and odds and ends I picked up from UNIJJ.

5:50-6p: Sweep / pass the guard. Started on bottom. Big White stepped in. When I say big, I mean big. 300+ lbs? Mid 30s. Apparently he trained at the gym a year or so ago and decided to come back out after finding this blog. Wow. Really? So cool to know this training tool may be making an impact in our gym. Anyways... He crushed my guard. Bailed to turtle to prevent the points. Prevented points but for the purposes of the drill I was done. Stepped into a White's guard next. Passed via sloppy knee/hip slide. Sloppy. A bit embarrassed actually. Remember getting a sweep next, but don't recall the details. Time.

6-6:30p: Technique. Self defense included punch defense to a throw with arm bar finish. Then went to classic arm bar from guard and a triangle from guard.

6:30-7p: Rolls. 5-6 minute rounds. Crowded mats. Groups of 3. Got a Blue and a White. Blue .... ARGHH.... Can't pass his guard. Rolled with him a couple weeks agp. Same story. Spent entire roll in his guard. He almost swept me a couple times via scissor variation. Tough time. Still can't pass his guard! White. Wow. Man Dime has improved a ton. Even the other Blue acknowledged. His guard felt solid. Grips too. Fantastic hip movement. His recent 4th stripe promotion = well deserved! A Brown called me over to roll in between Blue and White. Geez. Some of the tightest guard passing I've ever encountered. He had complete control over my hooks and hips. Passed and secured side control with ease. At one point I had a front gi choke set from guard. Didn't have it deep enough and held on far too long. Burned a lot of energy and he turned it into a pass. Swept him twice. So he says... I recall only one sweep. Escaped an arm bar from turtle. Saulo's trusty escape continues to pay dividends.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Slipped Away

Trained tonight. Gynastica Natural warm up. Nice for a change, although there wasn't enough room for the inverted rolls. I really need to work on those rolls too. I should be much better at the inverted rolls given how flexible I am, but no...terrible.

Sweep / pass the guard went ok. Got two sweeps. One sweep off a pass via lasso and a knee push. Had a takedown opportunity from a scramble after failed lasso sweep, but gave up my spot to the scramble effort. Got swept after failed knee/hip slide pass when the Blue turned it into an arm drag and took my back. Worked a lot of takedown technique and drills. Then rolls.

Got a Blue and a White. Rolled with the Blue twice. Think they were 6 minute rounds. White is a really big younger guy. He's improved a lot. Got a baseball bat choke from knee on belly. One successful transition to x guard sweep from turtle.

Blue has always given me trouble. Faired better tonight than any prior roll. Passed his guard a couple times, but it never lasted. Not sure I would have got the points. At one point I thought I had him in a front gi choke, but as I adjusted to get a deeper collar he escaped. Had a grip on a collar for a clock choke or bow and arrow set up from turtle, but...again...as I adjusted for a deeper grip he defended and escaped. Heard Professor Saulo's voice from Revolution 1 in my head: "you no need a deep grip for this choke...".. I let the subs slip away. Arghhh. Escaped an arm bar attempt. Lots of scrambling. Transitioned from turtle to x guard, don't think I. Got the sweep. Seem to recall it turning into a bit of a scramble. Had trouble defending cross face while working spider from inverted. Overall, very pleased with my two rolls with this particular Blue.

Trained with a big strong young White after class. He swept me with a hip bump to mount right out of the gate, Nice move! Crushed me several times and almost passed my guard, but I kept my cool and either recoverd or bailed to turtle. Another transition to x guard sweep from turtle. Ended up with an arm bar and a kimura from inverted triangle (top position facing north-south). Worked arm bar escapes with him before calling it a night.

Not Even Playing the Same Game

Trained at UNIJJ last Thursday night. No time to post after class and headed to Vegas for the weekend...so this short post will have to do. Good solid warm-up. Technique was review from Monday's class. Chokes from mount. Rolled with a White, Orange, Blue (ha!), and Purple. White and Orange rolls were instructive rolls. The Blue destroyed me. Seriously destroyed me. Big guy. Heavier, taller, younger, in better shape... He only caught me once (one of slickest arm bars I've ever been caught with), but that doesnt count. He clearly wasn't trying. Like a cat toying with a mouse. We weren't even playing the same game. Roll with the Purple went much better. He's older, about 10lbs lighter, and far more experienced. Fun roll. I felt a bit sloppy, but the Purple complimented me after saying he liked rolling with me cause it's tight and technical. I'll take it. Especially after getting my arse handed to me by the young Blue.