Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bleh, No ATL Open For Me

Something went sideways with my ATL Open registration. It sat in some kind of 'pending' status for 3 days, then my name didn't appear on the list for my division. I have no idea what happened, but I'm kind of annoyed by it.

In better news, I'm up to 4 sets of 10 with 65lbs on all of my lifts, which  has me on schedule to be doing 5x5 with my bodyweight by the beginning of summer, and 3x3 with 200lbs by the end of the year.

So if nothing else I'll be in great shape for all of the rest of my competitions this year.

Friday, January 16, 2015

More DLR work

Couple of things going on. I realized I'm walking around at the top of the 151 weight class by being 144-146, so I'm just going to stay where I am. No need for a cut. Second thing is that I'm retuning my Tomoe Nage to give me a better entry and more control over the sweep and the followup. Previously I was coming straight in and sweeping my opponent straight over my head. I ran into problems when my opponent was very agile (Like at Newbreed), and in loosing contact after completing the sweep and diving right into triangle chokes while trying to lock down side control.

I did some chatting with some of my Judo homies and was told that I need to be coming in at an angle, so that my foot is parallel with my opponents belt, not perpendicular. Some further discussion determined that it's also possible to fake Tomoe Nage into X-guard from this execution, and it's easier to drop your opponent into an armbar, AND post sweep you are tighter and already past the legs. Happily we got to drill takedowns today so I got in about 50 reps with the new version and it felt really good.

After that was work on the same DLR sweeps. The sitdown sweep when your opponent goes to one knee to avoid your normal DLR shenanigans and you just make them fall over with your body rotation.
From there you can follow up with the berimbolo, or you can slide across to take mount.

After that we did some 'Fun Friday' cardio work which involved tug-of war, then some crazy game involving trying to pile all of the boxing gloves in the middle of the mats, or in the corners. My team lost, we did sprawls, I was sad.

Next more work from DLR, I didn't feel as fluid with my DLR sweeps this time. I felt like I was not being as aggressive about inverting and not as forceful with the DLR hook as I was on Monday. I need to really dig the hook deep and MAKE my opponent fall over. I also got outscrambled a few times, I need to work on that as well. And finally, I'm still having trouble finishing submissions right now. I need to pick a couple and really zero in on them. Probably the nearside armbar since it combos with my takedown, and then work on transitioning into the single collar choke from more places.

I'm improving for sure, but I still have a lot more work to do.

I'm still hitting the non-BJJ gym a few times a week and running and lifting. My strength should be starting to improve over the next couple of months, but not soon enough to make a real difference for the Atl Open.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ramping up to the ATL Open

I have been training! But I have not been updating. Mostly because nothing much interesting has happened lately. Just getting in the gym, putting in the work, trying to get to that next level.

This past Saturday I went up to Team Octopus for a Team Traven group training session. Master Traven showed us some very slick foot on hip spider guard transitions into X-guard and to some sweeps if you don't quite make it to X that I liked, but I won't be able to play too much with in the short term since I'm trying to get my game properly put together for the ATL Open at the end of the month.

That means a lot more weight lifting, and a weight cut for the first time in years. I'm walking around at 144 and I want to weigh in at 141 with my Gi on, so I've got a ~7lb drop to hit, which shouldn't be hard.

I'm also refocusing on my guard retention since I think it's weaker than it should be. My passing and top game have improved, but my guard is lagging. Time to step that game back up.

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Training of the New Year

Weight lifting has been going decently well, I'm on 4x10 with 65lbs, which is brutal for upright rows. I'll probably stick at that weight for rows for a couple of extra weeks at let it lag behind. Thanks to hitting the gym and running my cardio didn't take much of a hit over the holidays, so I was back on the mats and feeling strong today.

Technique was sweeps from DLR.

First tech was the overhead sweep. Go to DLR, get collar and sleeve control, load your opponent and send them flying. Easy.

Second tech was a nice push sweep. When you are setting up the overhead sweep if they posture up to break your collar grip you bring the far side foot over to the near hip and push while you extend. Down they go.

Third tech was the 'Kiss of the Dragon' back take. From DLR you go for a deep DLR hook, then insert the front leg behind the opponents near knee, rotate to their back and grab the belt, at this point they are sitting with your shins in the back of their knees, so you just extend and drop them and take back control.

After that cardio was working open guard passes in groups of three, starting from DLR, sweep or pass, winner stays on bottom. I did ok, was working with a blue belt who had GREAT top control, but I had better passing, so we passed each others guard a bunch, I managed like 1 sneaky sweep on him.

Got to roll a couple of rounds, the first one with that same blue belt and his top pressure was just as insane there, as was his grip control. He was too greedy for positions a few times though and I was able to catch him in X-guard and sweep him. Other than that I was on defense almost the whole time.

Second roll was with Chris and his damned unbreakable grips. Good training to start the year with!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review - 2015

Just like everyone else on the planet I begin to reflect on the last 365 days of my existence as the year comes to a close. This year was fairly momentous for me in several ways. I was unable to train for the entire first 6 months of the year except for a few random Saturday classes, then I bought a new house and moved which is itself pretty awesome. After that I was able to start training again but at an entirely different school. And finally, for the first time ever, I went to a tournament and won every match. It was only 3 matches, but for me that's still a pretty good deal. I'm going to try to carry that success into 2015 with a nice list of goals for the new year.

1. Compete 6 times.
2. Lift weights 3 times a week or more.
3. Train 3 times a week or more.
4. Brown Belt

That's a pretty hefty list of goals for me, and there are some subgoals that will go with that 4th one, like finding out what the Brown Belt criteria is for my new gym/association, but I have the time this year to dedicate to my training in a way that I haven't been able to since just before I got my purple belt.

Hopefully everyone had a great 2014, and will have an even better 2015. I certainly plan to!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Strong Like Bull!

So I won't be back training until after Christmas, but I am able to get to my regular gym finally and I've started lifting weights again on a 30 week program. I went last night and did 30 minutes on the dreadmill (not a typo, I hate that thing) doing interval sprints between 3mph an d 6.5mph, finishing off with a 7mph leg.

After that I hit the weights for 4x10 with 45lbs on Squats/Bench/Upright Row. Those are the only three lifts I'm doing and I'm going to be adding 5 lbs each week, going 4x a week for the first month, then it starts bumping up on the first set of 10 for the next month, then it starts a staggered program.

Long story short, at the end of 30 weeks the goal is to be doing 3 sets of 1 rep with 200lbs on each lift.  Realistically with plateaus and whatnot this is probably a 50 week program, but I'm happy with that too. If I can stay on track for the first 15 weeks I'll actually be back up to a place where I can bench my bodyweight for multiple reps again, which is kind of my minimum strength requirement.

Not being able to do that right now really bothers me.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Newbreed 12-6-2014 Tournament Report

Slept well last night and woke up about 9:30am, Chris arrived a little after 10am to pick me up and we made it to the venue by 10:45 and the rules meeting was still going.

I weighed in, 146.5 with my jeans on, and made my self comfortable. I took a nap from about 11:30 to about 1:30 and then got called up to the weigh in area again because my division was empty. I told them to put me wherever, I'd roll with anyone, and then I went and changed clothes in case they got my division going early.

They called me up a couple more times to make sure I was ok with whatever division I had going and I ended up with 3 divisions. Adult Gi Purple Belt 149 and under, Masters Gi Purple Belt 149 and under, and Masters No-Gi Advanced, 149 and under. So I actually ended up with all of my opponents being in my weight class which is a rare event.

I only had 1 opponent in each division though, and my opponent for both Masters divisions was the same guy.

We started out in No-gi and I wanted to generate a takedown, but he kept his posture low and had stronger head control, so I opted to pull guard thinking that I could maybe hunt some leg locks. My guard pull was SUPER SLOPPY and I ended up battling against d'arce chokes from halfguard for a while. We went back and forth with him hunting the d'arce and me trying for a sweep, until I finally rolled him over and got on top, popped out of the choke, and hit the same knee cut pass that has been the bane of my existence at the gym the last few months. I cut right to mount and collected my points and rode out the last 50 seconds.

Second match, Gi, same guy. This time I was able to get a sleeve and a collar, so his bent over posture let me hit the Tomoe Nage immediately. I tried to come up into the armbar, but he caught my leg and started inverting trying to berimbolo me. I stuffed the berimbolo and ended up in his guard and up 2 points. He had really strong head control again and was able to maintain his closed guard for a while until he opened it to shoot for an armbar, I tried to pop out and he still had enough head control to get a triangle locked up, but I felt it happening and was able to bring my hand back in and lock it up to defend the triangle.

I then spent the next 3:30 just stopping him from finishing the triangle on me and then won 2-0. My opponent seemed fairly annoyed by the results, which I guess I understand since I spent the majority of both matches fighting off his submission attempts and then won on points, but Jiu-jitsu has always been about defense and survival first to me, and submissions as an afterthought. I was better at defense than he was at offense, then my passing was better than his pass defense. Today I was the better competitor and I feel pretty good about it.

My third match was Adult Gi, and it was against a 16 year old kid named Duncan. I gripped up, got my collar and sleeve and went for the Tomoe Nage, but he had some serious agility and managed to land on his feet THREE times when I had him all the way up and going over. Since I couldn't make the Tomoe stick I pulled guard with grips. He picked me up trying to break my guard, but I held it until he over-committed trying to break it and I was able to hit a backsweep to mount.

From there I worked for an Americana, he pulled his elbow in, but left me the grip, so I was able to transition to the armbar and finish.

He was really game though, and I wish I had been a purple belt at 16. He's been training since he was like 5 years old and I imagine will sit at purple belt for a few years while he develops and end up being a monster.

This is the first tournament I've been to where I haven't lost a match, and also the first one in a LONG time where everyone I faced was actually in my weight class for real. I feel great about my performance and I'm going to be redoubling my efforts at weight training as well as working hard to make 3+ classes per week.