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