Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Help Seana's Fight Against Cancer

Please watch this video:

Seana is a Purple Belt who got ovarian cancer at age 26. She needs help.

More information at: 

I donated through PayPal. You can too.  Also, please do what you can to spread the word.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Is it normal... be so sore and achy all the time?  I try to work out 30-90 minutes, six days per week.  BJJ training only 2-3 of those days plus an hour of strength and conditioning twice per week and a couple mile jog or the Ab Ripper X (part of the P90x series) on the 6th day.  When you think about it, although a fair amount of exercise, it's not a lot.  I can't seem to accept that a 35yr old who has trained BJJ almost two years should hurt all over all the time.  I know I've been off the mats for a while, but I maintained other exercise and overall my strength and conditioning feel good.  Also, even before my neck gave out in December I struggled with significant and disheartening aches and pains.  Do I just need to tough it out and push harder?  Or are these aches and pains warning signs of another devastating and debilitating injury?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ultimate Absolute 2: NYC 2012

I watched the live stream yesterday. All 4.5 hrs. Reilly Bodycomb, an instructor at NOLA BJJ, competed along with 15 other monsters. Unfortunately Reilly lost to Mike Fowler in the first round. Justin Rader v. Samuel Braga was the best fight. Here's a shot from perhaps the most exciting moment.

Here's the video:

Watch it all, but really start paying attention at around 2:50 for the human knot.  Rader's calf slicer attempt was wicked and, despite obvious pain, Braga countered with an arm bar. Both escaped.  I really like the mutual respect shown at ~5:20 after the disentanglement.

Braga's guard is unbelievable. And Rader's cardio blew my mind. Relentless top attacks for 10 mins with Hall, then 10 with Braga, and after 20 mins in the finals with Celsinho, he showed no sign of letting up. Unreal.

Here's a bootleg of the final with Celsinho:

Quite a bit of controversy at the end of the final.  It appears to me that Rader was robbed.  They were clearly out of bounds and, according to Rafael Lovato, the ref said "stop" several times.  Rader clearly dropped his guard thinking they would reset at center mat but Celsinho pressed and took him down.  There was a lot of commotion and somehow the judges awarded points for the take down.  Too bad there wasn't a clean finish.  It was a tough fight.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This is Gonna Take a While

Good training session today. Grip breaking drills were brutal. I didn't improve my technique one bit during my time away from the mats. Heh. Worked two standing/squatting guard passes, both involved controlling opponents hip at the belt. First was an x-pass variation and the second was a stack pass variation. Both felt awkward. Trained with a Purple (about 150lbs or so) and twice with a White (180lbs or so). Purple turned me into a pretzel and tapped me several times. Worked on relaxing with the White. Tried not to force anything. Caught him a couple times. At one point I shot a triangle and had it locked in. He started stacking. I let it go. Not worth the risk to the neck. He took my back toward the end. If I learned anything today, it was that recovery will be a long road and that my visions of glory at Pan Ams this year are just fantasy. Still...looking forward to the next time I can get on the mats.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm Back!

First full class today since early December. 1 hr beginner class plus 30 mins of open mat. I'm on cloud 9. Very sore toes and groin but otherwise feel great. Techniques included a guard break to combat base to knee slide pass. Then positional sparring. During open mat I worked with a Green (my age but 40lbs lighter), a White (early 20s and maybe 80lbs lighter), and a Purple (10yrs older and 60lbs lighter). My goal was to keep moving but not gas. Each training partner was a perfect complement. Some solid flow rolling. Taking time off seems to have cleared my head. I wasn't overwhelmed with trying techniques I only half-remembered. Instead, did what came naturally and looked for opportunities to apply leverage. I attempted whatever came to mind even if what came to mind wasn't something I'd been shown in the past. My time with the Purple was particularly instructive. He was visiting from an affiliate academy, but I hope to get more mat time with him.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

UNIJJ Class Photo

I'm the bald guy in the back next to the tall dude...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sore Upper Inner Thighs

Wowzers.  Haven't been this sore in a while.  Walking bull-legged.  It's from yesterday's back maintenance and guard pass drills with the Brown.  Well...I'll just say that it's REALLY hard to keep a grown man in between your legs when he's trying desperately to escape.

Light Drilling w/ Ryan Hall

No no no... I wasn't drilling with Ryan Hall, so if you came here to read about that, go ahead and leave. Instead this post is about some light drilling work I did with a Brown Belt yesterday w/ a Ryan Hall video link with heated discussion about his loss to Bruno Henrique at the Houston Open last weekend. Here's the link:  (discussion on Facebook:

A few friends from NOLA BJJ competed at the Houston Open and watched Hall's match. My thoughts? Rules are rules I suppose. But I wonder if Bruno considered conceding the fight to Hall. The dude got beat, official results notwithstanding.

Oh... about my light drilling. It was the second time on the mats since early December. Showed up for the 7:30am class and the only other person who showed was a Brown I know only in passing. The doors were locked so after 30 mins of waiting we decided to sneak into a gym located nearby and drill a bit. I was hesitant at first, but hey, he's a Brown. I'm just following my elder's lead! (Actually, I'm older than him by 3mos) We warmed up with sweeps from half guard. The sweep allowed us to get into a groove and sweep back and forth. Then he showed me a new choke from mount. Basically feed your gi lapel under the guys head and pass to opposite hand. Dismount to side control and finish in modified north-south. Pretty slick, although I'm not sure I will be able to control a guy during the transition from mount to side to north-south. Regardless, it was good to see a new technique again.

We finished with drills. He worked back escapes while I attempted to sub. Initially we were going to switch off, but while demonstrating a one armed choke, I think he crushed my windpipe. I heard it pop and I still can't swallow right. So... no back escapes for me. Instead I worked guard sweeps/subs while he attempted to pass. Worked up a decent sweat over 15 mins. Although he's only 160lbs or so, I couldn't control him from the back at all. He escaped each time, except for the last attempt when I choked him when he raised a hand to clear his hair. Got lucky. I swept him twice. Sweep off a pass and omoplata. He passed several times. Once I got stuck under his half guard. Miserable. He felt like 250lbs. How do people do that? Finally, out of exhaustion, I gave up the pass.

Before leaving I stopped back at the gym. Doors were open and folks were starting to arrive for class. Hmm... I guess the schedule changed when I was gone. Had to get to work so I couldn't join the class. Now I have a copy of the new schedule. I guess things like that happen when you stay away from the gym for months. . .

Sunday, February 12, 2012

UNIJJ 5th Anniversary

Today was the fifth anniversary open mat and party for the University of Jiu Jitsu. I haven't been on the mats in 2.5 months so I purposely showed up late and stayed on the side lines as long as possible to avoid the temptation to over do it. The last thing I wanted was to hurt myself on my first "day" back.

To say the mats were crowded is an understatement. I'll update this post on Monday with pictures, but...let's just say I've never seen anything like it. Packed to the max. It was good to see everyone again still training hard. Several White Belts are now Blues. A couple Blues are now Purples. A purple is now a Brown. To quote Mr. Miller, "Time keeps on slipping (slipping...)..."

I jumped in with another Blue about my age and weight for the last six minute round of the session. Survival was my goal. As Professor Matthias from NOLA BJJ advised, i went 50% and played defense. Well...sort of. I went 50% at first and tried to play defense as best as I could. I recall getting into some trouble quickly. He had me cross-faced but hadn't secured side control. Felt smashed and claustrophobia alarms started going off. Eventually he secured the side control and advanced to knee on belly. I recall escaping to turtle and rolling out to open guard. Open guard to x-guard sweep. Then pass to knee on belly. He turtled out and I set up the back attack but he rolled out again to guard recovery. From guard he set up a front gi choke. But it wasn't the typical front gi choke. He looped a forearm around the head and smashed a wrist blade across the face. Same move three times and third time was a charm. He had it tight and I tapped thinking he left me with a fat/blue lip fo sure...

Shortly after resetting from the tap, I laid back into open guard. Got a spider grip left side. That used to be my go to side for sweep off a pass, but given that I'm 50% (at best) on the left Tricep and otherwise weak on that side, I wasn't sure if I could hold the position. Well, it held. I got the sweep without too much trouble and immediately transitioned to the arm bar. He tapped verbally as I arched my hips. But I cold tell something was wrong. He was holding his upper arm and said his shoulder dislocated. Said it's the seventh time in his life and third since he started training BJJ. Master Saulo and Professor Santos looked concerned and told us to sit out the rest of the round. He quickly reset the dislocation and said he's ok now (just can't tell his wife about or no more BJJ for him...).

Hmm... Hurting my training partner upset me. Was I too aggressive? Did my ego and pride take over allowing me to crank too hard on the arm? Would a more skilled fighter have cotrolled the sub setup and provided more time for the tap before injury? These and other thoughts have been running through my mind all afternoon/evening.

Injury to my teammate notwithstanding, my first five+ minutes on the mats in 2.5 months couldn't have felt better. I didn't gas. My neck seemed safe the entire time. I felt...well, fantastic. Can't wait to resume training next week.

After the open mat, Master Saulo and Judo Sensei Lizumi gave rousing talks about the virtues and martial arts and the master-student relationship. I'm proud to be part of the UNIJJ team and, God willing, look forward to many more years of safe training.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Tentatively plan to return to training in two weeks. Strength and conditioning going strong, but I'm still having trouble with the left tricep. 25-30lb skull crushers on the right tri compared to 12lb on the left. Bench pressed 15 reps of 65lbs this morning (yes...that was a challenge). Although still weak, I can now stand up in base from a left side post.

I'm looking forward to being a spectator at San Diego's Grappling X tourney on 2/12. Pans are in the back of mind too, but still a long way from knowing if I'll be comp ready by the end of March.