Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Session and 2013 Weight Plan

The academy was closed today but I joined a seasoned Blue and Professor Antonio for a bit of competition training this morning.  The Blue and I are competing at the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials here in San Diego and Professor Antonio is heading to Lisbon for the European Open at the end of the month.  I got my butt handed to me.  The Blue destroyed me.  Must have tapped me six times.  But when he wasn't tapping me he was racking up points.  Faired a little better against Professor Antonio, but I don't think tapping me was his number one priority.  He was definitely working on things.  After about 4 rounds or so each they began a strength circuit with kettlebells and ropes.  I joined about half way through.  I'm definitely out of jiu-jitsu shape.

Speaking of being out of jiu-jitsu shape, I start my diet for the 2013 competition season this Wednesday.  I need to lose about 5lbs for the World Pro Trials; however, I can weigh in the day before so I don't really need to cut for that.  But I want to make slightly better choices, restrict my portion sizes, and reduce beer consumption to lose fat while increasing muscle mass through more strength and BJJ training.  Hope to be down to 200lbs or so by mid-March.  Then maintain that weight through Master/Senior Worlds in the fall.  That's the goal anyhow.

Week in Review

Start weight:  209.0 lbs.
  • Mon 12/23:  45mins light cardio and core.     
  • Tues 12/24:  Rest day.
  • Wed 12/25:  Rest day (work interrupted).
  • Thurs 12/26:  1hr cardio (6.2 mile run).   
  • Fri 12/27:  1hr strength and conditioning.
  • Sat 12/28:    45mins light cardio and strength. 
  • Sun 12/29:  1hr cardio (6.2 mile run).      
Final weight:  209.2 lbs.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  208.4 lbs.
  • Mon 12/16:  1hr light strength, core, and balance.     
  • Tues 12/17:  1.5hrs BJJ.
  • Wed 12/18:  1hr strength and conditioning.
  • Thurs 12/19:  30mins cardio (3+ mile run).  
  • Fri 12/20:  Rest day.
  • Sat 12/21:  1.5hrs BJJ.  
  • Sun 12/22:  1.25hrs cardio (16 mile cycle and 3+ mile run).    
Final weight:  209.0 lbs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2wk Hiatus

Trained tonight for the first time in two weeks.  A combination of illness (cold), work, and triathlon training conspired to keep me off the mats.  Good news is the cold is gone and the triathlon (turned duathlon due to bay pollution from rain) is over.  More on that later.

Training went fairly well.  After warm-ups we worked a few butterfly sweeps.  Then specific training followed by rolling.  Got a late 20s Brown and early 30s Purple, both about my size and far more experienced.  6min rounds.  Managed well enough.  Survived the round with the Brown.  Got a nice take down from a transition from the spider sweep off a pass.  Been working that since I thought about it after failing to sweep my opponent in my division at Nationals.  So it felt good to see the transition work in a live situation against a more experienced jitsuka.  Also had a couple passes to knee on belly that I couldn't seem to secure.  Doubt I would have got the points.  Got a spider sweep on the Purple too, but that's about all I could get going against him.  He ended up choking me with 2secs remaining in the round. Drats.

Rolled with my son for 10mins before the end of class.  His instincts are remarkable for only his 7th class.  Attacking arm bars and triangles from guard with vigor.  Also quick to transition to tripod and spider sweep set ups as soon as I open his guard and stand up.  The best part though was his near instantaneous shrimp to guard recovery when I stepped around his guard via torreando or x-pass.  And his response to my side control was almost as reflexive:  bump to underhook to belly down to elevator takedown from knees.  Really impressed.  And not just saying that because he's my son.

As for the duathlon on Sunday, I did alright for my first race.   It was a 12 mile cycle and 4.5mile run.  Finished 36th overall out of 180 registered (turns out only 150 showed up) and 17th in my division (out of 35).  Averaged 22mph on the cycle and 8:30sec miles.  Felt good, despite the lingering cold.  Looking forward to a real triathlon.  Maybe in February.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  207.2 lbs.
  • Mon 12/9:  Sick day.     
  • Tues 12/10:  Sick day.
  • Wed 12/11:  45mins light strength and core.
  • Thurs 12/12:  Sick day.  
  • Fri 12/13:  45min light strength and cardio. 
  • Sat 12/14:  Rest day.  
  • Sun 12/15:  1.25hrs cardio.  Duathlon (12 mile cycle and 4.5 mile run).    
Final weight:  208.4 lbs.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  209.2 lbs.
  • Mon 12/3:   45mins cardio and core.   
  • Tues 12/4:  1.5hrs BJJ.
  • Wed 12/5:   2hrs BJJ plus 1hr strength and conditioning.
  • Thurs 12/5:  1.25 hrs cardio (16 mile cycle plus 3 mile run).  
  • Fri 12/6:  30min run. 
  • Sat 12/7:  Rest day.  
  • Sun 12/8:  Sick day.  :(
Final weight:  207.2 lbs.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  205.2 lbs.
  • Mon 11/26:   1hr strength and conditioning.
  • Tues 11/27:  1.5hrs BJJ.
  • Wed 11/28:   20 mile cycle (including 4mile sprint) and 2.2 mile run.
  • Thurs 11/29:   Rest day.  
  • Fri 11/30:  1hr strength and conditioning.  
  • Sat 12/1:  2hrs BJJ.
  • Sun 12/2:  25 mile cycle (including two climbs up/down Mt. Soledad and Torrey Pines).
Final weight:  209.2 lbs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saturday's Open Mat

Trained for two hours Saturday.  More than a dozen rounds.  5-7mins each.  One Brown, a few Purples, and some Blues and Whites.  Mostly good rounds.  Survived the round with the Brown.  Tough, strong, big guy.  Got my face bashed in by a young female Purple.  That was fun.  Another male/smaller Purple tapped me at least once.  Maybe twice.  Primarily focused on berimbolo sweep and back takes with the others.  Also worked a number of improvised back takes using some of the concepts from the berimbolo to back.  Gas was good.  Sore as snot on Sunday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  206.6 lbs.
  • Mon 11/19:   1hr strength and conditioning.
  • Tues 11/20:  1.5hrs BJJ.
  • Wed 11/21:   1hr strength and conditioning.
  • Thurs 11/22:   Turkey trot (5k) plus 20miles cycle.  
  • Fri 11/23:  Rest day.  
  • Sat 11/24:  2hrs BJJ.
  • Sun 11/25:  15mile cycle plus 2mile run.
Final weight:  205.2 lbs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Trained a full 1.5hr class last night for the first time in almost a month.  Still very sore from Grappling X on Saturday (Took 2nd btw.  1 win and 2 losses to the same guy - double elimination tourney).  Rolled hard with a tough 24yr old Blue (185lbs).  Almost caught him with an armbar.  Still not sure how he got out.

Toward the end of the round the side of my head caught his knee square.  Jolted me pretty good.  Instant zinger down my left side.  Numb hand.  Dead arm.  Stopped the round and sat out the next.  Started feeling better so I finished out with three rounds with smaller and lesser experienced guys.  I think I'm going to be okay.  My face/head is sore today from where I got hit.  But the neck/arm feels fine.  I'll know more in a couple hours, during strength and conditioning today.

Beat the guy on the left 15-0.  Had bow and arrow choke and kimura opportunities, but couldn't finish.  The big guy (250lbs) arm barred me the first round and beat me 10-2 in the final.  I made a number of mistakes, but, overall, I'm pleased with my performances.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  206.2 lbs.
  • Mon 11/12:   1hr BJJ (light) plus 6hrs painting.
  • Tues 11/13:   4hrs painting. 
  • Wed 11/14:   1hr strength and conditioning plus 4hrs painting.
  • Thurs 11/15:  1.5hrs cardio (18mile cycle plus 3mile jog) plus 4hrs painting.  
  • Fri 11/16:  30mins cardio (weight cut).  
  • Sat 11/17:  Grappling X.  3 fights.  About 18mins.  
  • Sun 11/18:    8hrs painting.    
Final weight:   206.6 lbs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back on the Mats

After two full weeks without grappling and almost no exercise, I hit the mats tonight for an hour.  Beginner class. We worked knee on belly attacks and escapes.  Got choked 4x by a tough younger Blue about my size during specific training.  Even after the instructor said, "Your number one goal is to not get choked."  Hmm.  So much for that.  But overall I was pleased.  Neck feels good (enough) but my lower back is a bit achy and it's only been 1.5hrs since class.  We'll see how it feels tomorrow.

Oh!  Signed Collin up today.  He's now officially part of the UNIJJ/RJJA family!

Week in Review

Start weight:  206.2 lbs.
  • Mon 11/5:   R&R
  • Tues 11/6:   R&R
  • Wed 11/7:   R&R
  • Thurs 11/8:  R&R
  • Fri 11/9:  1hr strength and condition (light).  
  • Sat 11/10:  R&R
  • Sun 11/11:  1hr bike and 16min run.  
Final weight:  206.2 lbs.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  204.8 lbs.
  • Mon 10/29:   R&R
  • Tues 10/30:   Took Collin to class.  Watched.  
  • Wed 10/31:   R&R
  • Thurs 11/1:  R&R
  • Fri 11/2:  R&R
  • Sat 11/3:  1.25hr fast-paced walk.
  • Sun 11/4:  R&R
Final weight:  206.2 lbs.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sidelined - Neck Issues

I'm out for a while.  Not sure how long yet.  Fingers numb/tingly.  Achy trap.  Spamsy pec.  Dull pain. Flaring herniated c5-c6 almost certainly the cause.  Not much I can do about it.  Taking muscle relaxers and trying not to get too bummed out.  Been here before.  Twice.  First time kept me off the mats 6 weeks.  Second time almost 3 months.  But both times I made it back.  It will pass again this time, I'm sure.  Can't wait to get back on the mats.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  No scale.
  • Mon 10/22:   Rest day (return travel from NOLA)  
  • Tues 10/23:   1.5hrs BJJ.  
  • Wed 10/24:   1.5hrs strength and cardio.
  • Thurs 10/25:  Rest day.
  • Fri 10/26:   1.5hrs strength and cardio.  
  • Sat 10/27:  45min run. 
  • Sun 10/28:  1hr strength and cardio.      
Final weight:   204.8 lbs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Son's First Class

My 14-yr old boy joined the adult beginner class tonight.  He took a one hour intro last week, but tonight was the first night in a mixed class.  He did really well and I'm super duper proud of him.  I hope he sticks with it.  If anyone has any advice on how to gently encourage him to continue, I'd love to hear it.  Thanks.

From his intro class, 10/16/12

Worlds and Louisiana Open

I'm behind on my posts, I know.  I went to the Long Beach Pyramid for high expectations of a solid performance at the Master/Senior Worlds a few weeks back.  It didn't happen.  I botched my guard pull (landed in half guard) and it was down hill from there.  Lost 3-0.  My opponent went on to take Gold, handily, and earned his Purple on the medal stand.  Good for him.

Poor performance at Worlds notwithstanding, Master Saulo found me worthy for promotion the day after my loss.  This past Saturday was my first tournament at Purple Belt.  Had four fights at the Louisiana Open in New Orleans.  Scored over 50pts.  My opponents scored 0; not even an advantage.  I caught one guy in my division final (choke from back).

I got tapped by the Ultra Heavy champ in the Open final after being up either 3 or 5-0.  I was in top have and basically put my skull in a vice grip.  He's a very large, strong, southern boy.  He got a hold of my head in a modified head lock and started squeezing.  I wasn't choking but the pressure and pain was intense.  My neck felt threatened.  I calmly thought through my options.  Pain?  No problem.  I can put up with it.  But how long would I have to wait until he let go?  But what if instead of letting go he started cranking and twisting?  Good chance my neck would be jacked.  What if I tried to muscle out?  Good chance I'd hurt my neck.  So I tapped.

Overall I'm very pleased with my first performance at Purple Belt.  Looking forward to Grappling X in San Diego next month.  And the IBJJF Fall Open in December.

8 mats.  Packed house.  Great tournament.

Plenty of knee on belly this tourney.  Getting quite comfortable with sweeps and passes to knee on belly.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  201.8 lbs.
  • Mon 10/15:     1hr strength/conditioning plus 3/4-mile open water swim.   
  • Tues 10/16:    1.5hrs BJJ.  
  • Wed 10/17:  1hr Sambo. 
  • Thurs 10/18:  1.5hrs BJJ.  
  • Fri 10/19:    Rest day.
  • Sat 10/20:  Louisiana Open.  4 fights.  About 18mins.  
  • Sun 10/21:  Rest day.    
Final weight:   No scale. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

A New Belt and a New Focus

Last week I had the great honor to be promoted to Faixa Roxa by Master Saulo Ribeiro.  I have to admit that I'd hoped to stay Blue a bit longer (I've only trained 2.5yrs), but have to trust in the good will of my instructor.

If I compare myself to others my age/size (when sparring) and consider my competition record, then I'm very comfortable with the promotion.  But my "game" is pretty narrow.  I have a real hard time with many positions that I would think should be basic for purple belts.  So after I get back from NOLA next week I have decided to focus on those weaknesses.  It's time to broaden my base and improve my overall game.

I plan to start with closed guard.  Instead of avoiding closed guard or opening my guard as soon as possible, I will fight to get to closed guard and keep it there as long as possible to work subs and sweeps.  Once I've developed something that resembles a competent closed guard game I'll move on to half guard.  That's my plan anyhow.

Here's a video of the promotion ceremony, including two Black Belts.  My highlights are at 10:45 (promotion) and 19:25 (gauntlet)

Week in Review

Start weight:  No scale.
  • Mon 10/8:     6mins BJJ plus promotion ceremony.   
  • Tues 10/9:    1.5hrs BJJ.  
  • Wed 10/10:  1hr strength/conditioning. 
  • Thurs 10/11:  Rest day.  
  • Fri 10/12:    Rest day.
  • Sat 10/13:  1.5 hrs strength (legs) and cardio.
  • Sun 10/14:  Rest day.  ADCC and Metamoris.  
Final weight:   201.8 lbs 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  201.4 lbs
  • Mon 10/1:  5hrs laboring on the remodel.    
  • Tues 10/2:   6hrs busting up and moving concrete.  
  • Wed 10/3:  1hr BJJ. 
  • Thurs 10/4:  4hrs laboring on the remodel.
  • Fri 10/5:  Rest day.  Traveled to Long Beach.  
  • Sat 10/6:  Rest day.
  • Sun 10/7:   5mins BJJ at Master/Senior Worlds.  
Final weight:  No scale.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Last Training before Worlds

Spent a brief hour on the mats tonight.  First time since Saturday and last time until Master/Senior Worlds on Sunday.  Overall, I feel great and ready to fight.  I'm determined to leave it all on the mats.  I'll fight with extreme aggression and tenacity.  I will not beat myself.  I wouldn't want to be standing across the mat from me on Sunday.  OSS.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  199.2 lbs
  • Mon 9/24:  2.75hrs BJJ plus 1.5hrs moving 20-40lb chunks of concrete.    
  • Tues 9/25:   Rest day (Saulo's orders).  
  • Wed 9/26:  3hrs BJJ (mostly seminar) plus 1hr strength. 
  • Thurs 9/27:  Rest day (Saulo's orders).
  • Fri 9/28:  2hrs moving 20-40lb chunks of concrete.  
  • Sat 9/29:  1.5hrs BJJ.
  • Sun 9/30:   18 holes of golf.  
Final weight:  201.4 lbs

Monday, September 24, 2012

Too Much Prata at Azul

Unacceptable...IT STOPS AT WORLDS

Week in Review

Start weight:  202.4 lbs
  • Mon 9/17:  1.5hrs BJJ plus 4hrs busting up concrete.    
  • Tues 9/18:   1hr strength.  
  • Wed 9/19:  45min run (with hills) plus 30min open water swim.  
  • Thurs 9/20:  1.5hr BJJ plus 45min run (with hills).  
  • Fri 9/21:  45min strength plus 18 holes of golf. 
  • Sat 9/22:  4hrs BJJ plus 1hr moving 20-40lbs chunk of concrete. 
  • Sun 9/23:  Rest day.  
Final weight:  199.2 lbs

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Haven't posted much, but I've been training.  I'm hungry.  Very hungry.  Hungry for gold.  Master/Senior worlds drawing near.  Not dropping to Med-Heavy.  Gonna eat well, hydrate, train, and lift for another week.  Then taper.  Go into the tourney feeling rested and strong.

4hrs on the mats today.  1hr fundamentals class followed by stretching and training.  15, six-min rounds with 90sec break between rounds.  It was brutal, but I made it.  193.2 lbs after class, even after drinking a large coconut water, 4 gatorades, a protein shake, and misc water during the session.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  202.0 lbs
  • Mon 9/10:  Rest day.    
  • Tues 9/11:   1.5hrs BJJ plus 4hrs home remodel demo.    
  • Wed 9/12:  1hr strength plus 5 mile (45min) beach run.  
  • Thurs 9/13:  1.5hrs BJJ plus 2hrs home remodel demo.  192.6 lbs after class.  
  • Fri 9/14:  1hr strength plus 4hrs saw cutting concrete. 
  • Sat 9/15:  1.5hrs BJJ. 
  • Sun 9/16:  Rest day.  
Final weight:  202.4 lbs

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gracie Mag Appearance

So honored to share the same pages of the Gracie Mag with Master Saulo Ribeiro.  Second time this year some editor at Gracie Mag decided to include my ugly mug.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

RJJA: 2012 American Nationals Champion!

Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Association took the team title at the 2012 American Nationals!  So glad to be part of that win.

2012 American Nationals Recap.

Took second in my division and second in absolute.  Second, second, second.  Getting tired of second.  Bleh.

Won my first division fight 13-0.  Lost final 2-0.  Was down an advantage with 15 secs or so remaining.  Both standing.  Shot a desperation take down and he used my momentum to reverse me for a takedown.  I know what to do next time to beat him.  Just couldn't think of it during the fight but he left some gaping holes.

Won my first two absolute matches by submission.  First opponent was Med-Heavy.  Got him with a choke from technical mount.  Not sure what the score was but I had to have been up at least 9-0.  Second opponent was Super Heavy.  Armbar from mount after he wouldn't tap to palm-up / palm-down choke attempt.  I think I was up 7 or 9-0.  Not sure if I held knee on belly long enough before transitioning to mount.

Absolute final was a battle.  I knew it would be.  He was 2012 Pan Am Med-Heavy champ and I've seen him fight at other tourneys.  Very technical.  Aggressive.  Great scrambler.  Tough.  I pulled guard and swept him.  He scrambled so I couldn't secure him and he got a very good deep half position.  Swept me and I was in his half guard.  But he landed in a strong position.  I was flat on my back and cross-faced.  He fought hard and passed guard.  Down 5-2.  I escaped and reversed when he attempted to mount.  Poured on the pressure and forced him to turtle.  Got one hook and worked for the second hook, but time ran out.  Oh well.  Next time.  And there WILL be a next time.  Master/Senior Worlds.  Next month.  :)

Some other photos from the tourney.

Division final.  Was very pleased with my guard recoveries from turtle. 

Absolute final.  In a bad spot. 

Breathing exercises. 

Linda.  :)

Week in Review

Start weight:  202.0 lbs
  • Mon 9/3:  4hrs home remodel demo.  
  • Tues 9/4:   1.5hrs BJJ plus 3hrs home remodel demo.    
  • Wed 9/5:  1.5hrs strength and cardio plus 3hrs home remodel demo. 
  • Thurs 9/6:  4hrs home remodel demo.  
  • Fri 9/7:  4hrs home remodel demo.
  • Sat 9/8:  American Nationals - watched.  
  • Sun 9/9:  American Nationals - 5 fights (about 20mins)
Final weight:  202.0 lbs

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nationals weight

Not cutting to Med-Heavy for Nationals.  I would have had to cut 5lbs this week, which I could have done with a bit of struggle, but there are only 4 in Heavy (including me) and there were 6 others in Med-Heavy.  Going for the guaranteed team points and free ticket to Absolute.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  202.0 lbs
  • Mon 8/27:  ~2mile beach run.  
  • Tues 8/28:   2hrs BJJ.  Weighed 194.0lbs after class.  
  • Wed 8/29:  1.5hrs strength and cardio. 
  • Thurs 8/30:  1hr BJJ.  
  • Fri 8/31:  Rest day.
  • Sat 9/1:  1.5hrs BJJ plus 3hrs home remodel demo.  
  • Sun 9/2:  18 holes of golf.  
Final weight:  202.0 lbs

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lots on the Mind

Missed a few posts.  Lots on the mind.  Let's see...   I trained at Outliers in Santee on Tuesday and Gracie Barra Arcadia on Thursday.  Beach run and strength and conditioning on Monday/Wednesday.  Training's been good enough.  I have some gaping holes in my game that are proving difficult to remedy.  At least I'm conscious about them.  Ran into a really tough 45yr old white belt about 40lbs lighter than me at GB Arcadia.  Dang.  I mean really tough.

American Nationals is next weekend.  Weight is stubborn even though I'm not eating much at all.  Holding steady at 194-199lbs.  I need to wake up 189-191lbs next Saturday am.  Hmm...  Not sure what else I can do to drop the weight.

Thanks for your hospitality Professor Lucas! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  203.0 lbs
  • Mon 8/20:   3hrs BJJ.  Weighed 194.9 lbs after class.  
  • Tues 8/21:   1hr cardio, core, and balance.
  • Wed 8/22:  1.5hrs strength and cardio. 
  • Thurs 8/23:  1.25hrs BJJ.  Weighed 194.3 lbs after class.  
  • Fri 8/24:   >1/2mile open water (ocean) swim and >1/2mile beach run.  
  • Sat 8/25:  3mile brisk walk.  
  • Sun 8/26:  1.5hr strength and conditioning. 
Final weight:  202.0 lbs

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tornado Guard

Looked forward to class today.  First time since returning from Rio.  Technique included a smash pass from top half.  Good technique for my body type and game, but I couldn't execute the pass during the specific training.  When on bottom I went tornado to defend against the pass.  First time experimenting with tornado.  It's definitely my type of guard.  Training included five, 6-min rounds with 90 secs break between rounds.  Got  a Purple, three Blues (two which are Juvenile World Champs), and a White.

Didn't have much for the Purple.  He passed my guard and got my back a couple times and tapped me.  I'm doing something wrong.  Worked a lot of inverted, tornado, and a mix of spider and tornado with one of the young Blues.  Got a knee bar set-up and curu-curu sweep.  Got tied up in 50/50 with the other young Blue and didn't know what to do.  He eventually untangled the mess, got to my back, and choked me.

Had a tough roll with the third Blue.  Much smaller, but very tough guy.  Visiting from Philly.  Lots of grip fighting.  At one point he snapped my grip so hard I tweaked my right pinky.  It's taped up now.  Very painful to shake hands or pick things up.  Not pleasant.  Ended up catching him in a gi choke.  Not sure what it's called actually.  Had a clock choke grip with him in turtle and me in north/south on top.  As I spun around to the back I secured the other lapel and he began to roll into guard.  Instead I used his momentum to put him in my guard in a way that busted his posture and tightened the choke until he tapped.  Surprised myself because it was absolutely improvised.

Worked a lot of arm bar set ups and attacks from closed guard with the White.  At one point he spazzed and tried to front roll out of an arm bar.  It racked my neck a bit.  Hmm...  I need to figure out how to execute arm bar and triangles from guard without putting my neck at such great risk.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


My body has been revolting the past couple weeks.  But for some reason I woke up this morning feeling fairly well.  So I went to class tonight.  3hrs.  So glad I did.

The first hour included basics from Jiu-Jitsu University.  Worked guard recovery from stack pass, double underhooks, and smash pass.   Master Saulo taught the advanced class.  Worked a De la Riva pass that shuts down the berimbolo.  Struggled a bit with this technique, but it's not out of the realm of possibility for my game and body type.  Need more work.

Training included 8min rounds.  Got a Brown and three Purples.  Two Purples were my weight (but a few years younger), but the Brown and other Purple were about 20-30lbs lighter (but roughly my age).  Overall it was a good night training.  Got tapped multiple times and didn't tap anyone.  But I wasn't worried about tapping.  Tonight was about testing what I know and what I want to know.

What I know.  Spider sweep off a pass.  Yes.  It worked.  Every time.  Minor complications easily adjusted.  So  I worked other open guard options.  Knee push, 50/50, curu-curu, de la riva, berimbolo, etc.  Got many sweeps.  Got many more almost sweeps.  Struggled with guard passing.  Also got swept too many times due to exhaustion and superior technique from my opponent.  But tonight wasn't about the negatives.  I put myself in uncomfortable positions with upper belts to test what I know and what I need to work on.  Overall, pleased with the results.  But I have a lot to work on.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week in Review

Start weight:  202.2 lbs.
  • Mon 8/13:   2hrs BJJ, 1hr palates, and 50 push-ups (am).    
  • Tues 8/14:   1.5hrs cardio, core, and balance.
  • Wed 8/15:  1.5hrs strength and cardio. 
  • Thurs 8/16:  1.25hrs BJJ. 
  • Fri 8/17:   Rest day.    
  • Sat 8/18:  5hrs helping parents move.      
  • Sun 8/19:  45mins strength and balance.  Wasn't feeling it today.   
Final weight:  203.0 lbs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beat Down

My body's beat.  Beat down to parade rest.  Not sure why but I ache all over.  Especially the elbows and upper back/lower neck.  Went to noon class anyway.  Technique included a half guard pass.  Required good timing and pressure.  I'll need to work on it more.  Trained with two Blues (both Juvenile World Champs) and a Purple.  One Blue caught me in a triangle.  The other Blue caught me with a straight ankle lock.  Both had me contorted in all sorts of positions and swept me at will.  I caught one of the blues with a knee to lip.  Poor kid.  Split open, really fat, and gnarly.  Welcome to California!

I had nothing for the Purple.  Nothing.  Typical for this particular guy.  I tweaked my own elbow trying to sweep him via butterfly.  At one point he passed and I couldn't move.  He transitioned to north/south then to mount and finish.  Think it was an arm triangle.  I had no space and no energy to try to make space.  I feel badly because this guy's my weight and a Master.  So I should be able to put of some kind of fight.  But I can't seem to get anything going with him.

Heading to San Luis Obispo this weekend.  Bringing my gi, but not sure I'll be able to break away for some training at Paragon SLO.  I'll try though.  I love visiting there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Outliers: RJJA affiliate in Santee, CA

Made the trek out to Outliers, an RJJA affiliate located about 25 miles east of my house.  Jeremy Barden (Brown) is the head instructor.  Jeremy and his son, world champ Angelo (Blue), went to Brazil for the camp and Rio Open / International Master-Senior comp.  I know a few others from Outliers well so I didn't feel like a total visitor.

The academy is very nice.  Extremely clean with good mat space, a changing/locker room, office/store area, and restrooms for both men and women.  I arrived half way through kids class.  Counted about 12 kids with four adult instructors.  The 1:3 instructor/student ratio allowed Jeremy to keep firm control of the class while still making sure the kids had fun.  Especially since there were a few kids that were aged 3-6!

The adult class started with a typical warm-up.  Jeremy taught some of the half-guard techniques shown by Professor Rodrigo Pagani in Brazil.  It was good to see them again because I'd already forgotten.  First was an underhook bait to calf-slicer finish.  Second was a pass to side control when opponent releases half-guard to prevent the calf-slicer.  Third was a sweep from bottom half to pass when opponent changes position in response to your goose-neck defense of the cross face.   Training was great.  Rolled with Jeremy the first round.  No time.  After 10-15mins (maybe 20mins?) of careful, technical training he caught me in a triangle.  Great roll, but I really need to learn to stop falling into triangles.   I also need to work harder to prevent the guard passes.  He passed my guard many times.

Got another Brown for the second round.  This time we had a clock.  6 min.  I passed his guard once.  Got swept several times.  He had an arm bar, but let it go in favor of a strange choke from back that I'd never seen before.  I tried to put my back on the ground on the side his hand was pointing to, but that seemed to make the choke tighter.  Odd.  Worked with a smaller female Blue for the last round.  She's fantastic.  One of the most technically sound Blues I've trained with in a long time.  I must outweigh her by 70lbs, but she's tough as nails.  Replaced guard like we were just playing.  I wasn't playing.  I was smashing.  Smashing hard.  But she didn't care.  Wow.  She just graduated high school and is heading to Cal Poly SLO in a month.  Chris, Mallory, and the rest of the team at Paragon SLO are very lucky to get her.

I'm really glad I made the trip to Santee.  I've been meaning to visit, but it's hard enough to make an evening class at UNIJJ, which is located only 5mins from my doorstep.  I'd hoped to make a Sunday open mat by now, but I seem to either find myself out of town or tied up with family activities.  I hope to make it back soon.

Week in Review

Start weight:  202.8 lbs.
  • Mon 8/6:   1.75hrs strength and cardio.    
  • Tues 8/7:   1.5hrs BJJ plus round of golf.   
  • Wed 8/8:  1.25hrs strength and cardio. 
  • Thurs 8/9:  1.25hrs BJJ. 
  • Fri 8/10:   Rest/travel day.  
  • Sat 8/11:  Las Vegas Open.   3 fights.  About 12mins.  
  • Sun 8/12:   Rest day.    
Final weight:  202.2 lbs.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Brazil Experience

Stuck in the Vegas airport.  3hr delay to comfort me after a disappointing performance at the Las Vegas Open.   I'll write about that experience later, but this post is about Brazil.

I went to Brazil with few expectations.  I had been training very well leading up to the trip, but scared my body wouldn't be able to handle the 10 day camp.  I'd been training very hard and started having some warning signs of another neck setback.  Tingly fingers.  Dull ache at the base of the neck.  Tense traps.  I continued strength and conditioning, but stayed off the mats for almost two weeks prior to departure.  Turned out to be a good call.

The flight was fantastic.  Got upgraded to first class both legs of the flight.  United Gold: definitely one of the perks of traveling a lot for work.  I'd never travelled first class internationally.  Great experience.  Large 14" TV.  Seats laid back flat.  Watched the Hunger Games and slept like a baby.  Still can't imagine paying more than $8k for the ticket (yeah...that's how much they usually cost).

Professors Rodrigo and Renato picked me up.  I had no idea what they looked like or how they'd find me.  But there they were.  Rodrigo was wearing an RJJA sweater and Renato has the RJJA logo tattooed on his calf.  I spotted them before they spotted me.  Easy enough.

The drive across the bay to Niteroi was pleasant.  Eyes wide open the entire way trying to take in the scenery.  Made it across the bridge and was surprised to see how much further we had to travel.  The camp was at Rodrigo's house in the Charles Darwin State Park, adjacent to Itacoatiara, far from downtown Niteroi.  Washed out dirt roads shared by walkers, bikers, and horses.  Beautiful location.  Peaceful.

Professor Rodrigo began building the dojo adjacent to his house a few years ago.  I was the first camp participant to arrive and the work wasn't finished so I grabbed a paint roller and helped Renato paint a few walls while a couple brothers (turns out ... two of Saulo's first black belts) installed some lighting.

Camp was a bit of a blur.  We trained two sessions most days.  Morning sessions were about 2-3hrs.  Started with yoga, gynastica natural, drills, and then lots of training.  Usually 6min rounds, but a couple days we tackled 10min rounds.  Evening sessions were more like standard classes back home.  Warm-up, drills, technique, and training.  Professor Rodrigo taught the technical portion.

After 9 sessions in 4.5 days (and after 5 days of rain) we finally had an afternoon off at the beach (Itacoatiara).  Couple hours swimming and body surfing capped off with a nice long hike up Mt. Itacoatiara.  The views were amazing and quite the reward for a good hike.  After the beach we went to a local night club.  Good times and a nice break for the team.  Hit the mats hard again Saturday.  Took Sunday off.  Didn't do a darned thing.  Beyond exhausted.

The second week was a bit easier.  Started tapering for the competition.  By Day 8 I was done.  More than done.  Or I should have been done but I trained on Day 9 even though my body and mind was screaming NO!!!!  I felt miserable and tweaked my shoulder.  I thought I was going to be out for the tourney.  Sat out the training portion of Day 10 and rested on Thursday, first day of the tourney.

Friday was my day.  I ached all over and my hands hurt like crazy but I was ready.  My first opponent was intimidating.  He was taller than me and looked very athletic.  I pulled guard and swept within 15-20 secs, just like I had envisioned.  I executed the game plan perfectly and was so stoked that when the ref reset us in the middle of the mat after the sweep I looked at Master Saulo (who was my corner) and screamed.  Wild.  I was in his guard for a while.  Taking my time.  He tried all sorts of sweeps but I maintained a solid base.  Almost passed his guard a couple times.  I actually thought I had passed a couple times but apparently I wasn't completely in control so I didn't get the points.  I recall being in his half guard and blanking on what to do.  He went deep half and swept me.  Sheesh.  Fortunately he swept me into a good open guard position.  I set up my game and shot a triangle.  It wasn't very tight but it made him posture hard and give me his right arm.  I underwrapped his elbow with my left arm and extended my hip.  It was tight, but apparently not tight enough.  I could see pain in his eyes.  Lots of pain but he kept posturing and pulling his arm out.  I thought about cranking his arm but at that point I was in the air and my head was 6inches off the mat.  I was really concerned he would slam me and my neck would be gone.  I also didn't want to break the guy's arm.  So I switched to omoplata.  Unfortunately he hopped over me before I could establish the position and finish.

After a bit of a scramble I bailed to turtle.  Gassed.  I gave everything I had to those sub attempts.  I was so gassed it wasn't even a tight turtle.  He proceeded to sink in both hooks and I thought I was done.  Mentally I was done.  Ref called time and I looked at the score.  6-2 with one advantage each.  I lost.  Or so I thought.  But Saulo was screaming at the ref in Portuguese.  The ref conferred with the score/time keeper and the 4pts were taken off.  The finish time was 5:08.  The guy got the hooks and 4pts after the 5min mark.  Ref and time keeper agreed so they pulled it back.  Came down to ref decision.  I won.  I'm not sure how he got his advantage but apparently my submission attempts were enough to give me the win.  Whew.   No way I would have won that without Saulo in my corner.   I got quite the deserved ass chewing after that fight.  I gave up the half guard sweep when I should have known what to do.  He also chewed my ass for quitting at the end.  He was right on both accounts.  I should have dominated that fight.

My second fight was a piece of cake in comparison to my first.  The guy was about 6" shorter than me and soft.  I knew I'd won before we stepped on the mat.  When he saw he was fighting me his countenance dropped.  Obvious defeat in his eyes.  I know I could have taken him down, but decided instead to stick to the game plan.  Pull guard and sweep.  That's exactly what I did.  Swept within 15secs of so of pulling guard.  Had several opportunities to submit en route to my 14-0 victory but each time I saw the opportunity I heard Saulo yell, "Take your time."  No use risking a mistake when I had an easy route to the finals.

I have to admit.  My finals opponent intimidated me from the moment I heard our names called.  Not only was he a couple inches taller, his chest/shoulders were several inches broader and he just looked mean.  I couldn't believe we were the same weight class.  Looked bigger than all my Super Heavy opponents in comps past.  But this was Heavy!  As we were about to get on the mats I looked over to Saulo.  He saw my opponent and started tapping Xande on the shoulder while pointing.  Then he saw me looking at them and he turned his attention to me.  I heard him say "Pull guard."  That was the game plan to begin with but from his reaction I took it to mean the guy probably has a judo background.

I had some trouble getting the proper grips to pull.  I established my right grip and heard Saulo yelling "Pull! Pull! Pull!"  Figured I was going to get thrown so I grapped a haphazard left grip and threw myself into the pull as hard as I could.  Slammed my upper back into the mat as a result.  But...I got closed guard.  Whew.  My opponent began working to open my guard.  Rather than let him open on his terms I opened when I knew I could get to a good spider position.  Established my spider guard and began sweep attacks.  I almost swept him twice but his base was too solid.  Eventually resorted to inverted guard.  I should have fought harder to recover a traditional open guard from the inverted but instead I stalled there just long enough for him to pass the open guard to north/south.

The ref reset us in the middle of the mat.  Honestly?  I had given up at that point.  Not sure why, but I felt like I'd been beat.  I should have gone a 100% from the reset to escape and replace guard.  But I didn't.  I sat there and let him go to side.  Then?  I have NO explanation what happened next.  I gave him my left arm.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  He took advantage and set a kimura.  But his forearm established the fulcrum above my elbow so the pressure was intense and immediate.  POP POP.  I screamed and tapped.  Intense pain.  Never had my elbow popped before.  Scary.  A couple weeks later and it's still sore, but fortunately no permanent damage.

So...that was it.  I lost the final to a beast I would find out trained judo since his childhood.  As a judo black belt he said he started BJJ four years ago.  He's been a Blue over a year more than I've trained.  Yes, he's a better jitsuka than me.  But that's no excuse for me giving up the arm at the end.  I almost swept him twice and had I swept him I feel like I could have won.  Also, I feel like if I had fought 100% at the north-south reset I might have been able to replace guard.  May have still lost but at least I would have had a shot.  Instead I gave up the arm and suffered a popped elbow that prevented me from competing in the open class.

I met some amazing people in Brazil.  Great training and great culture.  I could live there.  Easily.   Maybe someday.  Lol.  The experience taught me a lot about myself.  First, my body can handle a lot more than I thought it could.  Second, although I'm not a fighter by nature, I can learn to be a fighter.  Third, I must "bring it" to every training session, every competition.   Can't wait to visit Brazil again.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tijuca: My Day

Here are photos from Friday, 7/27: my day.

My day actually started the night before.  Just me, by the pool, getting focused.  Tranquilo.

Tijuca showers.  About to gi up.

The long, lonely walk to the bullpen.  The ceiling is about 6' high.  You can feel the vibrations from the crowd above and the cheers invade the space as a low pitch growl. 

About to fight.  

Pulled guard and swept within 15 secs of closing guard.

 Couldn't pass his guard off the sweep.  Got stuck in closed guard.

CBJJF photo.  Lots of grip fighting here.  

He tried all sorts of sweeps. 

 Based out and tried to control pace within his guard. 

Almost passed his guard a couple times.   

 But couldn't...  He eventually swept me.

                                                 Won by judges decision.  Whew! 

 2nd match.  Pulled guard and swept almost immediately.


CBJJF photo of my second match. 

Won 14-0.

Video of my final.  Almost swept him a couple times but he eventually passed my guard to north/south.  I gave him my arm shortly after he switched to side.  

Waiting to get our medals.  My finals opponent is on the right.




Tuesday, August 7, 2012

7lbs is a lot of sweat!

Hot, hot, hot in the gym today. But glad to be back on the mats with the team. Long warm up that culminated in a lot of drills. After 30mins my gi was soaked. Technique was simple. Fundamental guard break/pass and then arm bar from guard with a more advanced variation. Finished with 10min rounds. I got two purples, both of whom picked me apart. I felt like a rag doll. Arms and legs were jello. Tapped far too many times to count. It was quite humbling. Had to sit the third round. Weighed myself before and after class. Lost over 7lbs. That's a lot of sweat.

 Oh! Be sure to check out Professor Tom Oberhue's pics and account of our Brazil camp.

Monday, August 6, 2012

BMI, Body Fat, and Cholesterol

For the first time since high school I am no longer obese (per BMI), my body fat (13.3%) is "excellent" for my age, and my HDL and triglyceride levels are normal.

Week in Review

Start weight:  ???  No Scale.
  • Mon 7/30:   Returned from Brazil.  
  • Tues 7/31:   Weighed 204.6lbs when I got home from airport.  Essentially unchanged from departure weight of 205.2lbs.   
  • Wed 8/1:  Rest day. 
  • Thurs 8/2:  1.25hrs cardio, core, balance, and stretching plus 30 mins brisk evening walk (hills). 
  • Fri 8/3:   1.5hrs cardio, strength, balance, and stretching.  
  • Sat 8/4:  1.5hrs BJJ.  
  • Sun 8/5:   Rest day.    
Final weight:  202.8 lbs.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

First Day Back @ UNIJJ

Popped my elbow in the final match in Brazil so I took most this week off.  Started conditioning Thursday and lifted Friday without much trouble.   Feeling fairly good so I decided to head to UNIJJ for Saturday's fundamentals class and a little open mat.   Overall a good class.  Elbow still very sore and the armbar from guard drills did not feel very good.  I hit a loop choke, guard pass, and curu-curu sweep that I learned in Brazil.  I missed a step on the loop choke though, but managed to muscle a finish.  I was a bit disappointed with my cardio.  Very tired.  Light-headed.  Weak.  Gassed.

I've been cutting all week to make Medium-Heavy for the Las Vegas Open this weekend.  No one had signed up for Master or Senior 1 Heavy.  So I thought I had to go to Med-Heavy to have a fight (other than absolute).  So I cut about 5lbs in three days and I could feel it in class.  Woke up 198.4lbs.  Had a light breakfast and protein shake before class.  Weighed 196.2lbs post-train.

Good news!  This afternoon two more signed up for Heavy.  So I had a great dinner tonight and I'm going to eat well and hydrate all week.  After the tourney next weekend I'll have a month to cut to Med-Heavy for American Nationals.

Friday, August 3, 2012


The world famous Tijuca Tenis Club.  I spent three full days here.  Tried my best to absorb the atmosphere and enjoy.


 The famous green mats.  So soft.  Really.  Must have been from the years of wear. 

Two teammates in the bullpen on Day 1. 

Two Masters:  Paqueta and Saulo.  

Saulo, Terere, and Aaron. 

Rodolfo Vieira


 Professor Rodrigo sets up Curu-curu guard.

Up, up, and?  


Donk.  He smacked his head so hard.  

 Much better pic of the same moment.

 Curu-curu sweep to side.  

Angelo (left)

 Jeremy getting ready. 




Oliver's first absolute win.

Oliver = Absolute Champ!   

 Oliver Campeo! 

Semper Fi GySgt Phil 

 Richie (left) = Division Champ and Absolute Prata


Saramago with Prof Renato. 

Master Saulo in the bullpen.

Master Saulo = Division Champ

Master Saulo and RJJA!


 Master Saulo Campeo