Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3 for 1

Trained last Thursday morning, Monday night, and Tuesday midday. I need to deal with an increasingly obvious and absolutely massive hole in my game. What? Cardio. I simply cannot keep up with the class pace and my training partners. Not even close. I'm going to have to work extra hard.

Technique for all three classes emphasized koala guard passes and sweeps. We drilled the same couple of passes against fulling resisting partners for about an hour between the three classes. One of the passes is quite effective (and drilled into my head). The other pass still feels awkward. Especially if the opponent employs a "duh" hook. I say "duh" hook because almost anyone who knows what they are doing would apply this hook and make the pass very difficult. But although I struggled to deal with the hook, others were able to beat my hook without too much trouble.

Rolled with two Browns and a Purple Monday night. Got manhandled by one of the Browns. Must have tapped me four times in five minutes. The other Brown tapped me a couple times, but I had a few sweeps and a slick guard pass (thanks to Revolution 2!). Almost caught the Purple in an arm bar. He almost had me in a front gi choke. Rolled with a Blue yesterday (before losing contacts forced me to stop). Very aggressive. In fact, all training rounds have been very aggressive lately. Have a nice scrape on the side of my face, bruise on my gin, bloody lip, and a blood vessel burst in my eye. Yeah. A lot tougher than I'm used to. I have a lot of work to do...

Heading back to New Orleans to train at NOLA BJJ through July 4 weekend. I've only been gone a few weeks but am already looking forward to training with everyone again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Color on the Mats!

Work kept me from training today. Bleh. Will do my best to make the 7:30a class tomorrow.

Trained on Monday but either too lazy or busy to write. Showed up for the "Advanced" class Monday night. It followed the "Beginner" class, which was wrapping up as I stretched. Beginner class had about 12-15 White belts and one brand new Blue. As folks started to roll in and suit up for the Advanced class, I started counting upper belts. By the time Saulo lined us up to start class, I counted two Blacks (Professor Saulo excluded), six Browns, five Purples, a dozen or so Blues, and one White. Geez. Some assortment of color! Training didn't go so well. I ate too much too soon before class and felt sick the entire time. Stuck with it though. Struggled terribly with grip fighting and take down setups, learned two neat koala guard pass variations, and had a pretty forgettable three 8 minute rounds rolling with Blues. Just glad I made it through the night without hurling. Hope tomorrow morning is better.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tight Joints at 7:30a

Yesterday's class started with a nice slow warm-up. 7:30a class is nice because it's always great to start the day with BJJ. That said, it sure takes a while longer to get the joints moving that early. Felt sooooo tight. Warm-up followed with variations of the muscle sweep and sub transitions. Three days in a row learning variations from the root position (muscle sweep off standing guard break attempt). It's been great. So many options depending on how your opponent approaches the guard break/pass attempt and so many more options depending on their reaction to your response. Love it!

Got a Purple and two Blues for the rolls. 6 minutes with 90 seconds between rounds. Did surprisingly well against the Purple. A couple solid x-guard sweeps and a two or three guard passes, including an x-pass that I've been working on. Rolls with both Blues went better than expected too. A couple more x-passes, x-guard sweeps, a knee push sweep, and two sweeps off a pass (one from spider, the other from lasso). One of the Blues was clearly going light and flow-rolling. Had him in a few bad spots (unusual for this particular blue) and he worked himself out without too much trouble. At one point with the other blue, we were tied up in a knot...almost 50/50ish... I noticed his left leg was caught posting in an odd angle and thought that a slight hip shift, frame, and nudge would make him fall back and allow me to come up on top. Worked just as I imagined it would. Notable because although exhausted I had the presence of mind to recognize the vulnerability, develop an action plan, and implement. Definitely encouraging.

The past few days at UNIJJ have shown me a few areas that need improvement:
  1. I'm getting my guard passed too easily. Bailing to turtle seems to be my default. It's very comfortable - I can usually recover open or half guard from turtle - and if it were a tourney, I'd be avoiding the pass points. But I'm starting to wonder if I should force myself to survive/escape side control instead of bailing. My side control escape to guard recovery is terrible. I felt like tapping (nearly puked) from the Purple's side control alone. Miserable.
  2. I'm losing position too often. I pass guard or take mount only to loose position to half or open guard far too often. I've been quite impressed with how quickly (and instinctively) my training partners have recovered a guard.
  3. My survival/escape skills are slacking. I need to get back to basics and build up.

Oh! World Champ and newly minted Purple Michael Jr. taught today. At 17, he's already an excellent instructor. Check out his 2011 Mundial's highlight vid.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Arrived a bit early this morning to stretch. Warm-ups and standard drills followed at a good pace. Then open guard maintenance drills...with hands in belts. More of a drill for the bottom than top. Forced emphasis on hips/core movement. One hand (other in belt) next. Surprised how much I sweat and the impact on my gas. Technique picked up from yesterday. Arm bar feign against standing guard break attempt when top guy bases against muscle/under hook sweep. Transition to triangle when s/he defends arm bar. Then switch to proper arm bar if stack prevents triangle finish. Followed with an omoplata to sweep from same standing guard break and muscle sweep defense position. Worked each position many times. Worked up a good sweat. Not typical for the technique portion of class.

Concluded with three six minute rounds. Got a Purple, Blue, and White. Purple pushed my limits the entire time. Not sure I did anything particularly well. He caught me with an arm bar from top. Possibly technical mount when I was in a turtleesque defensiveposition. I knew it was coming and even employed the proper escape first. Couldn't see it through though. Blue simply destroyed me. He's much bigger. Younger. 4-stripes on his very aged looking belt. Caught me in a choke from north south, a bow and arrow, and omo plata. I really had nothing to offer this guy. It was a drubbing. Pure and simple. Last was a tall, strong, young white belt about my weight. He came on strong. Had to bail to turtle to prevent guard pass. Recovered guard. Caught him with an arm bar and mounted triangle before it was all over. Stretched briefly after class.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Transitioning Schools

I'm leaving New Orleans around the July 4 holiday to return to San Diego. I'll be in San Diego for at least 6 months and I'm not sure if I'll get another field assignment in the great crescent city. Last Thursday was the first of a handful "last days" training at NOLA BJJ. I'm going to miss the school terribly. I've learned a ton from my training partners and professors. Special kudos to Professor Matthias Meister and Asst Instructor Gavin Murray. Although everyone contributed, these two really helped develop my game during the first year of my journey. I hope to make it back to train with everyone often.

Training at NOLA BJJ last Thursday was good. Got two Purples as the first of what I expect to be several going away presents. Had some good moments. Some not so good moments. Survived one of the rolls with a couple guard passes, couple sweeps, and some aggressive top work (almost had an arm bar from technical mount). Got choked from north-south by the other Purple. Spent most of the roll under his weight trying to figure a way out of north-south. No go.

Although I'm leaving my NOLA assignment in early July, I'm actually in San Diego now through June 20th. Instead of paying visitor fees for two weeks, I signed up with University of Jiu Jitsu. I'm now a team member of Saulo and Xande's flagship academy for the Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Association. I'm really looking forward to developing my game under the tutelage of these world champions.

Today's initiation class was quite instructive. After a brief warm-up we reviewed a sweep against standing guard and two transitions to subs: omo plata and arm lock. Good stuff. Three 8-min rounds with 1-min breaks between rounds. Got two Blues and a White. I'm a two-stripe Blue, but these Blues are clearly more experienced (and better) than me. On defense the entire time against the first Blue. White caught me in a kimura from north-south. First time I've been caught by a White in over 9 mos. He earned it. Although ~6'2", 225lbs, and 22yrs old, he didn't muscle it. He passed my guard appropriately and secured the position before going for the kill. Solid. Hope he sticks with BJJ. He'll be a great add to the team. Second Blue is bigger than me, but not by much. Apparently an MMA fighter (has a fight this weekend). Did surprisingly well (in my opinion). Got a few key sweeps, guard passes, and escapes. He provoked a tap when he had my left shoulder locked up and I felt VERY vulnerable. I've had two surgeries on that rotator cuff and I just felt like the slightest tweak one way or the other and ... kaput... So I tapped and apologized for being lame. I just don't know this guy and didn't want to risk injury. Quite tired from the 8-min rounds with minimal break, but overall things went well.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stripe 2

I've only trained 1.5x since my last post. Last Thursday (1) and last night (0.5).

Thursday was a good night. Worked two side control escapes. The first from Kesa Gatame and the second from traditional bad spot side control. Rolled with Professor Matthias and a Purple (among others). Pleased with both sessions, although Purple worked me over pretty good. Survived/escaped back attack. Oh. Got a second stripe Thursday.

Last night started ok. I felt well (enough) during pre-class stretches. A larger White asked to roll. I've been watching this guy roll a lot the past month or so and know he's a handful. He obviously has experience. Finished stretching and started to roll. Struggled a bit. He had me in a few bad spots; his top pressure was intense. Great weight placement and distribution. Forced me to bail to turtle. Then flattened me out. Couldn't get hooks. Thank goodness for turtle to x-guard. Managed a couple sweeps. Passed a couple times. Took his back. Mounted. But he had solid technical answers for all of it. Especially impressed with his back survival/escape. Textbook Saulo stuff. Turns out he has a significant rassling background plus no gi experience. Just starting gi. My guess is he won't be a White much longer.

Gassed out. Unusually so. We didn't roll that hard either. Warm-ups were a bit of challenge. Sweep / pass the guard killed me. Had a few sweeps and a couple passes (including a 4-stripe Purple via standing guard break to x-pass), but I literally collapsed when Professor called time. Felt extremely noxious. Sat out technique. Didn't feel any better. Decided to call it a day. Feel fine now. Not sure what was up.