Monday, October 27, 2008

Rubber Guard, Fo Realz

We've been doing rubber guard stuff the last few weeks which I love. First couple of weeks was just breaking down to Mission Control, getting to New York, Chill Dog, getting the Pump. Today we got to the fun stuff (for me) omoplata time. Since I have so much trouble actually finishing the OMo on people I was happy to see this stuff.

Ways to get the Omo:
Jiu-Claw: Extend the legs and squeeze on the arm, keep the body rigid. When opponent postures up spike them back down and use the momentum to sit up and move from seatbelt on legs to seatbelt on waist.
Seatbelt: Keep the legs wrapped TIGHT. Both legs. Gumby can take mount and triangle you if you only get the near leg, even if you still have his arm trapped.

What to do if you can't get the Omo:
Side Control: When opponent rolls block the leg to slow them and maintain control, tuck the elbow in and drop in to side control.
Triangle: If opponent postures and turns back into you just open the Jiu-Claw and let them drop right into it. Easy as it can be.
Sweep: Underhook the leg instead of seatbelt, extend the arm out, when they try to jump, roll with it and take sidecontrol.

After drilling those for a while we got to roll, I rolled with tall-skinny-blonde-kid whose name I can't remember and swept him about, mounted him, and triangled him. He's getting better, but I still have way stronger wrestling than he does. And I use my short stumpy legs to make space and trap him with sneaky triangles.
After that I rolled with some huge guy who was really good, he was nice to me, let me work stuff without crushing me. I omoed him and got to side control. Everything else was me fighting to not get Darced as usual. After that rolled with another huge guy who was very good. Again he was nice and let me work. I almost managed to Z-guard sweep him, was able to fly him around a bit with it which was cool. He kneebarred me eventually, but it was a fun roll.
At this point I moved away from the behemoths and rolled with Gumby (Mark). As always he's one of my favorite people to roll with. This time I went straight for the rubber guard Omo hoping to just use it to sweep him to side control and try to set up the same armbar from the back when he eventually escaped. I put on the omo and tried to seatbelt the legs, but I missed his far leg. He stepped it backwards over me, turned and mounted me while I still had his arm. He escaped the Omo by putting me in a mounted triangle. He locked it on and I tapped. Craziness. I love rolling with him. After that we went back and forth a little until time ran out. Then I jumped in with Kegan. I've never been able to tap him even when I've locked in triangles and squeezed and pulled and everything, so I thought I would try something knew. So right off I start setting it up, I fake a triangle attempt and then switch to a bicep splicer when he defends it. I cranked down as hard as I could and got nothing. He eventually passed my exhausted guard and got side control, but he was in Kesa and wasn't careful with his hips, so I bridged, loaded him up and rolled him over. I tried for mount and was sloppy, my hips got too far forward and he dumped me back over. Then he Darce'd me from an odd angle that I couldn't figure out how to defend. Very fun roll.
Finally I rolled with a guy I've rolled with previously, he's only been in the Monday classes a couple of months I think. I worked on some combos and had some fun. Went for a situp sweep, he tucked his arm, I pushed his elbow down and kicked my leg around for a triangle, he locked his hands together, I attacked the opposite arm and swung over for the bicep splicer. Quick tap. After that I triangled him, then rolled back and let him get to side control. He went for an armbar with an odd setup, but I was able to block him from getting his leg over my face. I sat up into it and he tried to turn it into a belly down armbar but was too loose on my arm and I hitchhikered out of it and took side control.

All in all I have a pretty firm idea of where I am technique wise. I'm moving up the hierarchy a little and I think with continued regular class attendance I'll continue to move up. I doubt I'll ever catch Ralph and his fanatical devotion but I think I can get back to where I give him trouble if I can combine my improving skill with some improving fitness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eddie Bravo Extravaganza

We jut finished up several weeks of Lockdown + Whip Up + Dogfight stuff. It helped refine my half guard game a lot since I've been using the Lockdown from day one, but have had a hard time getting the whip up and the various sweeps. Actually getting to drill them a few times with people has already upped my percentage on old school quite a bit already. I still have a hard time whipping up because people are just so heavy, but I'm getting better at that too. For the moment I just whip up as hard as I can and get to my side, then fight the Darce while I work old school. Seems to be doing OK against everyone who doesn't have monster Darce chokes.

We started Rubber Guard last night, which I love. I've played it on and off since I started BJJ because Eddie's "Mastering the Rubber Guard" was the first BJJ book I got. Not because I knew anything about it, but because it was the best written and illustrated out of all of the books I looked at. I can already move through the Misson Control -> New York -> Chill Dog -> KungFu Move -> Omoplata sequence pretty quick. But then I get stuck fighting to finish the Omo while people try to jump over me, so I generally turn it into a sweep and take side control instead.

My biggest problem is when I can't get their hand to the mat. I usually lock the arm up, switch back to full guard and use the armcrush+pendulum sweep. Has worked a couple of times.

Rolling last night we split into weight classes (FUCKING JOY!!! No 200lbers crushing my head!) I had Gumby, Thomas, someone whose name I should remember, but I don't, and some dude who was just balls OUT the entire time. I rolled with ballsout guy first and immediately hit him with an armbar and swept him over. Didn't have the power to break his grip in time to finish it, so ended up back in guard. From there It was all defensive. Escaped a bunch of stuff for a while then got sloppy and got ankle locked and had to tap. Took a break then rolled with Gumby, we had a blast. I swept him, he contorted himself onto my back, I rolled out of it, etc... etc.. Fun times. After I rolled w/ the guy whose name I should remember. We also went back and forth a lot until we both ended up going for ankle locks and defending them. Ended up with our legs tied up in the last 10 seconds or so of the round.
After that I rolled with Thomas. He likes to guard pass by just pressuring down and walking to the head. Well that plays right into my favorite sweep so I had him mounted within the first 20 seconds or so of the round. He shoved right out of it of course and we battled back and forth, I almost caught him with a triangle, and almost caught him with an armbar, but he is incredibly strong so I was never able to do more than get to the lock before he escaped it. Once he got to half guard I curled up and let him go for the Darce so I could work Old School, swept him a couple of times and got Side Control. I spent a lot of time fighting off Americana's from half guard and he finally subbed me with a partial RNC, he actually had to turn my head far enough to press my mouth into his shoulder and cut off my breathing.
So positionally I'm still doin pretty good. I just want to be stronger. On that front HCG is expanding, taking over the entire building and putting in some more weightlifting equipment. Even with the extra lifting stuff it should almost double the mat space. My plan is to go down there early on Tuesday and Thursday to lift in addition to going to class.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finally updating

I've been slacking on this blog since I started work on We went to NAGA again and Johnny moved up to the Intermediate division, he took 3rd, finally got beat by someone. Guy was essentially Johnny in another year. Hugely strong, big wrestling background, way more BJJ experience. So that gave him some stuff to work on. He finally got a job, so once he gets settled in there we're gonna see if his schedule will work to get him up to HCG somehow. Ronnie was in a HUGE novice division and took 3rd, got beat on points by a guy who was gigantic. But he wonhis other 3 matches all by sub. So we were happy. I got kneebarred in the first round of my division by the guy who took 1st.
My shoulder is 100% better now and I've managed to get to class twice a week for the last few weeks and I think I'll be able to keep it up. I'm still screwing around with different workout things. I've started running again (which I hate) and started getting back to my lifting. My roommate moves out in 2 months and I'll have a weightroom with a decent bench and everything. That might help with my lifting progress.

On the BJJ front we just wrapped up a month of 10th Planet style Half-Guard work using the lockdown. I was pretty comfortable with this since one of the first things I got when I started BJJ was Eddie's Jiujitsu Unleased book, and then the Mastering the Rubber Guard book. So I was pretty familiar with the idea behind all of this stuff anyways. I still have two big problems working in halfguard, the first is when I'm just not strong enough to get the whip up and end up just trying to worm my way down and make something work. The second is when I go for the Old School and immediately get Darce'd. I know why it happens, I just need to practice it more. If I can make it up to dogfight I do just fine though.
I've started playing Z-Guard all the time because I got tired of having my knees gouged by peoples elbows. I really just have two sweeps from there and know nothing else right now. Been looking for videos or books or something to get an idea of what other options I have . More and more frequently I find myself getting guys like Ralph and Patrick into places where if I had the strength I could sub them, either I need to find ways to get my whole body involved without exhausting myself or I just need to get stronger. Probably some of both.

I've been nailing the basic hipbump sweep all over the place and have managed to hit a couple of armbars from mount, but only on guys who are less experienced than I am.

I need to figure to figure out a way to stop Patrick from escaping my triangles by stepping over my face and falling down. I get stuck stretched out and can't bring any pressure to bear on him.

My guard passing has gotten better, mostly by virtue of me baiting armbars/triangles and then slipping out of them. Dangerous, but easier than fighting against people trying to crush me with their legs.

The better my techinque gets, the smoother my transitions get, and the more often I end up with superior position on people the more frustrated I get with my inability to finish people. I just need to be stronger.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shoulder injuries, crossfit, weightlifting

I found out right before Casca Grossa that I've been running around with my shoulder partially dislocated, got that fixed and did ok at CG. Took 2nd. My boy Johnny destroyed his division again despite the weightclasses being changed at the last second. He was down to 195lbs expecting to be in the 199 division. They changed it up though and he was in the 190-215lb division. The other guy I took got 3rd, which was great since it's his first ever grappling tournament.
I'm still working out with them on Fridays, but my actual BJJ is going to be sporadic because once again my downfall was not a lack of skill or technique, but a lack of strength and endurance. So I'm continuing with my lifting and starting Crossfit this friday. For the next few months my emphasis is going to be on conditioning and strength training instead of Jiujitsu. Hopefully my friday workouts and my general screwing around will be enough to keep me from losing too much skill in the mean time.
I added deadlifts in to my lifting also, and everything is still sitting at 95 lbs. Getting 5x5 reps of overhead press w/ 95 has proven to be difficult with my shoulder healing, but it's mostly there now, so I'm going to give it a try again tonight.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Twice in one week? OMFGWTFBBQ!

Yeah, so made it to class again today. It was my favorite kind of class, all rolling. I rolled w/ Patrick and got less murdered today. I took his back and rolled for an armbar, but I broke his grip with the wrong foot (The one by his head) and he rolled up and out of it. Other than that, I didn't really get any opportunities to finish him. Though I did find that EVERYONE is too strong for me to Kimura from guard off of a failed situp sweep. Then I rolled with.... dude whose name I forget who doesn't seem to ever tap to anything. Triangled him twice and tried to "Teepee" him, but couldn't get it tight enough. Then I caught him in an Omoplata, but he drug me around and I couldn't lock it in, so I turned it into an Omegaplata (Omoplata locked in, extend the top leg across the throat like a Gogplata and reach up and grab your foot.) but couldn't get enough pressure to tap him with that either. He kept trying to Darce me from halfguard, but he wasn't getting his weight on top of me enough so I was able to sit out, posture up and spin, I pushed him over and took side control twice. As well as sweep him a few times and end up in mount. Which was like trying to stay on a freaking crazed bull.
After that me and Gumby rolled, which was a blast as usual. He's not as heavy as the other guys and not insanely stronger than me. He's also only a little more flexible than I am, which makes for some crazy shit. We ended up with some crazy double leg lock on each other, when spinning out of that I ended up with an ankle lock, which we then rolled out of and I ended up with side control. I even managed to get an arm triangle, but he peeled me off with his feet. All kinds of good positional stuff. Tons of fun. Unfortunately I have shit to do every day next week and won't be able to make any classes. I might not even be able to lift, which would blow. But we shall see.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ugh. Going in Reverse sucks...

It could have been worse. That's about all I can say. Missing an entire month of class I came back and could feel how much ground I had lost. Guys that I could beat were holding their own against me, guys I could stalemate were smashing me. I really have to find a way to make it to class more often.
During the first part of class we worked Open Guard and I got to play with my butterfly guard a bit which worked reasonably well. I'm getting better at it, but I still feel like I don't have enough leg strength to make it work against people 30+ lbs heavier than I am. I was able to pass a few peoples open guard and generally just got to work on my passing which has improved a lot even with the backsliding.
After that we worked on "popcorn" which is using small explosive movements chained together to escape from a tight hold. I'm not particularly good at it making a whole bunch of movements, but I never seemed to need more than 3 or so to get a knee wedged in.
After that we went live and I rolled w/ Gumby which was a blast. We ended up in some strange positions and generally just had a good time. I was mostly able to defend against everyone and even ended up with mount on a couple of people, an omoplata that I just couldn't finish and a gogoplata that the guy just wouldn't tap to, I think it was the same guy in two different rolls actually... Then I rolled w/ Ralph and that boy has gotten slicker than shit. He's half asleep and choking me silly now. I can't wait to see his first Ammy fight coming up. I expect him to steamroll his opponent in short order.
Lifting weights tonight, then class on Thursday. Meeting Johnny and some of the guys on Friday to work on my wrestling too.

Monday, June 30, 2008

At least I'm making one class in June....

So after missing almost the entire month of June I'm going to class tonight for the two hour monday class. I've had a hell of a month at work but I made a lot of money off of it, so I can't complain too much.
I've been able to start lifting weights again and worked out with Johnny a few times. He's dropped 40lbs since we started working out together and is now at 195lbs. He's planning on staying there until after Casca Grossa on the 19th, then dropping down to 185 as his final weight. Considering how he manhandled the guys at 225 I can't imagine what kind of path of destruction he's going to wreak at 185.
Working with him has kept me from completely deteriorating during my down time, but I'm really looking forward to getting back to class. Follow up post later tonight.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Attacks from the top of Side Control

I made it to the Monday and Thursday classes this week, whoot.
We've been working attacks from the top of Side Control all week, which is something I need a lot of practice with.
Adam laid out a five point guide for it:
1. Control the Upper body
2. Control the Hips
3. Kill the near arm
4. Attack the far arm
5. Stay mobile (I think this was the 5th one...)

I can do 1, 2, and 3 pretty damn well. I was able to hold down pretty much everyone I could get side control on. However the second I start attacking the farm arm I either free up their hips or their head and they escape. I need to figure out how to attack that arm without losing pressure.

Monday rolling was all from halfguard, I was making my sweeps work pretty well and even escaped from George when he got sloppy armbarring me.
Today we went live for the last 20 minutes of class, which is always fun. I rolled w/ Ralph for a while and we scrambled back and forth w/ sweeps and escapes. He triangled me and his legs are too short for Mikey's ankle lock escape to work, so I tapped. He also arm triangled me very very smoothly and RNCed me. I armbarred him, couldn't finish it, so did the foot across the forearm deal which he tapped to. I then found out that bicep splicers are frowned upon in the gym and so will no longer be using them.
I then rolled with some tall guy with a bunch of tattoos on his right arm. No idea what his name was, but he was pretty good. I defended well but he was able to Kimura me once and RNC me once as I recall. The mats were really slippery so mobility was pretty hard. Was some good rolls though.

Monday, May 19, 2008

NAGA Wrapup

I've been too lazy to update the blog, but I've finally gotten motivated to do it.
Our trip to NAGA was awesome. Johnny destroyed his division and took 1st place. I absolutely dominated my first opponent, got double underhooks standing and secure a nice bodylock, then picked him up and slammed the crap out of him. He fought his way back to standing and I tripped him down and landed in his guard. From there I postured up and dug my hands into the space under his lower ribs and let him wear himself out a bit, then I passed his guard, ended up in mount, got the "Who's Your Daddy?" choke but couldn't finish it, rolled back and put a triangle on him couldn't finish it, swept him and sat on the mounted triangle, still couldn't finish it. The guy was seriously game. I crushed him on points and looked good doing it.
After that match I couldn't even muster the strength to open my water bottle my grip was so blown. My cardio was fine, I wasn't really TIRED and my legs were fine, but my forearms were gone. My second match I need not describe since I got video of it, but I lost 6 to 3. Still had some good sweeps and escapes, but in the end he just had more strength/energy than I did.
The other guy who went with us, Ronnie, had his match at the same time Johnny had his finals match, I was busy coaching Johnny and didn't even know Ronnie was on the mats, so he lost on points basically because he had no direction. I'm proud of him though, it's the first competition of any kind he's ever been to.
Ronnie is now heading off for 3 months of Army Training, and Johnny is about to graduate with his Accounting degree. As soon as he gets employment he's coming up to Hardcore to sign up, he's also dropping down to 200, he's gonna be a monster at that weight.

I took a week off from class after NAGA while I tried to get my nutrition in order. I'm eatting better and have almost fixed my iron deficiency which was giving me problems previously. I'm also spend more time working on the Rower since my cardio is still crappy and I'm working on grip training.
I'm heading to class tonight for the two hour monday class. I'm going to try to roll 100% the entire time if I can.

Oh, Videos are:
My second match:
Johnny's first match:
Johnny's Second Match:
Johnny's Third Match:
Ronnie's Match:

I'm too lazy to make them all links right now.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Wait... why am I driving home? Did class end...oooh...

So, awesome day for me at class yesterday. Another day heavy with rolling. First up I got to roll w/ Chad, who is one of the instructors and just plain awesome. We were going light, so he didn't murder me completely. For the first 15 minutes I was actually able to fend him off, caught an achilles lock and even managed to pass his guard to side control for a few seconds. We took a break for a couple of minutes and then started again. I managed to surprise him and get mount, ok well, what really happened was I surprised him, was going to get mount, then thought "No way is this going to work on Chad." and bailed to guard. He told me I should have kept going and gave me mount anyways. So semi legit. It lasted for all of 4 seconds, but still. I managed to pass to side control again after he showed me what I was doing wrong with my weight, gotta remember to keep my hips DOWN when I'm pinning the leg to pass. I got flipped over like a dozen times before Chad showed wtf I was doing wrong. After that it was straight to Kimura town from under side control about a dozen times. I would push him up to escape, but I wasn't getting my shoulders and head up, so he would just step over to headmount and take my arm. I need to remember to get up OFF the mat if I'm going to put my hands in his armpit and push. I also need to keep constant pressure on it.

After the 20th or so kimura in a row we took a break and I moved over to the other side of the room to roll w/ "anyone who is not chad" for a little while. I ended up with TJ who I've rolled with before, but who is NOT the person I kept thinking he was. TJ != to super flexible guy who takes my back from the bottom of north south, side control, etc...
He's been doing this about the same amount of time as I have, but is a little stronger. He had essentially no defense against the situp sweep, so I hit it relentlessly. He was good at getting out from under mount though and even when I could hold it I wasn't able to isolate an arm to finish him.
When he did pass my guard I frequently tied him up in half guard until he pushed all of his weight up onto me, then swept him over to side control. One of those times he reguarded and caught me in a triangle, which I defended for a while before he finally pulled my head down to get the tap. A little while after that he managed to pass to side control with a VERY tight arm triangle. As I was thinking "This is really tight, don't think I can fight out of it, I should tap..." I suddenly was driving home. I began to think, "Wait, why am I driving home? Did class end...?" Then I woke up on the mat. That's the first time I've been choked out.
No ill effects though, we went back to rolling and I continued to sweep him mercilessly and eventually caught him in a triangle and was able to finish it.

His sub defense is really good, but he has absolutely no defense against that situp sweep.

So, fun times. More or less held my own against Chad, got choked out by TJ. Funtimes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I made it to the monday 2 hour class yesterday. Adam is recovering from a nasty fever he got over the weekend so Rory was teaching today. We started out playing some open guard practicing passing, which I desperately need. I figured out a better way to open the guard using the bottom of the ribs to push up which helped, but I'm still having a hard time pinning a leg down without just getting shoved over. I did hit a cartwheel pass, which was fun. After that Rory answered questions from people about any problems they were having with passing or stopping the pass. The guy I had been rolling with asked about avoiding getting pulled into halfguard and Rory showed him how to hide the leg that is in the ground and use it to pin down the leg you are passing over so that your opponent never gets an opportunity to grab it. We rolled for a couple of minutes with that in mind and he did a lot better at not letting me pull halfguard while he was passing. Another round of questions about what to do if your opponent is shoving your head to the side and stuffing your pass attempts and what to do if you are in combat base but can't get tight enough to pass.
Answers: Get higher on their body to make it harder form them to push the head, make sure you block their hips with your elbows to kill their leverage. If you can't get tight from combat base stand up and do a standing pass (I like the cartwheel from there.).

We then rolled live starting from guard. Top man had to pass, bottom man had to sweep or submit while stopping the pass. I had fun working rubber guard and trying to nail the Omo/Gog/Triangle combo.
I was able to hit a very nice Omoplata when my opponent stuffed my leg and tried to pass over it, I hooked his far leg and slapped on the Omo anyways, he couldn't roll out of it and I tapped him. After that I rolled with a few more people and did fairly well. My halfguard/lockdown is really tight and I was giving people fits trying to pass. I do keep getting stuck in Darce attempts while trying to go out the back or hit Old school from halfguard though. I think a big part of the problem is that I'm being too lazy with my underhook from halfguard and leaving too much space. I need to work on that. The good part is I've gotten so good at defending the Darce that I can sit in it for 5 minutes without being in much danger.

11 more days to NAGA. I'ma win my division this time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

1 class a week, better than nothing....

I made it to class on Thursday and it was a "Brazil Night" just pair up and roll. I rolled w/ Ralph and a guy whose name I keep forgetting, but his older brother works for one of my clients. Anyways, This guy usually wrecks me in short order, but I held him off and was nailing my sweeps like mad. He caught me in one heel hook when I escaped an armbar attempt, and I had him locked into a triangle, but he's really really really good at riding those out, so instead of fighting like a mad man and maybe getting it I was content to get it locked in and then let it go. I also managed to spend like 5 minutes in mount before finally getting frustrated and throwing a sloppy armbar attempt which was easily countered.
Ralph was rollin' light be not letting me hit anything and again my sweeps were on point. He caught me with an armbar, I caught him with a achilles lock, he caught me with an RNC, I caught him with a modifed triangle. I was actually really proud of the triangle modification I used.
I locked on the triangle, then when he tried to posture up I put my right arm behind his head and locked in a good grip on my left arm and pulled him down. When he went for the dive bomber escape to my right (the correct direction and everything) I was able to use the my arms to trap him in a version of the triangle that used my forearm on one side and my leg on the other to finish.
After a bit of a break me and Ralph picked at each other a bit and he said he was gonna choke me out this time, I bet him he couldn't and we got started, after a brief flurry we had to move to the other side of the gym, after the restart he ended up taking my back, but couldn't finish me before we had to stop. Moral victory for me.
I'm psyched about NAGA, my two friends that I workout with on Friday's have decided to go compete just to see what it's like, they'll be in the novice division. I expect Johnny to do REALLY well, but I'm not so sure about Ronny, he has no competition experience at all really and I expect him to adrenaline dump in his first match and gas out, but his cardio is ungodly, so he might be able to fight his way through it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fun times!

I ended up being a little late to class and missed the warmup drills, but I then we started rolling. Standard deal, 6 groups of 2 with 2-3 people rotating in as people got subbed. It's been a while so I mostly remember a lot of getting mauled by Ralph's smooth setups. Was generally just fun, I don't remember many specifics but things seemed to be working pretty good. I did manage to armbar a guy. I think he was only 180ish but it took every bit of strength I could get to straighten his arm out. I also made some of the halfguard escapes and side control escapes from the last class work, which made me feel good. I'll be back in class tommorow and hopefully we'll work guard passing. That's still the worst part of my game by a good margin.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More half-guard of DOOM

I made it to a two hour class on Monday, which was awesome. Did some cross side escapes, a couple I had never worked before and FINALLY the one with the hand in the armpit that everyone kept using on me. I really like that one and I want to work on it some more. Also did some mount escapes, the same ones I'm familiar with, though I learned a couple of new tricks about the elbow-knee escape to help me with the larger people.
Unfortunately after working all of those non-halfguard related escapes we spent the next hour rolling live from halfguard. I did a million times better this time. I was able to avoid the darce by posturing "Up", instead of crunching my head down while going for the leg. I even got a couple of sweeps and managed to pass a couple of times. Rolled a little with Ralph and he's now lightyears beyond me, that boys work ethic is incomparable. I hope he goes to NAGA in May, he'll almost certainly win the beginners division this time.
I rediscovered that my half-guard top game blows chunks. If I work really really really hard I can hold my opponent down and do nothing. As soon as I make a pass attempt though it seems like I'm just getting tossed off and swept. I need to find a pass that works better for me than sitting out towards their feet and trying to work my leg free. I just don't seem to be able to quite pull it off. I guess maybe I could just practice that one a lot.....
I still feel like working with Johnny (235lb 4 year wrestler) has really helped my basics, keeping calm while being crushed and working out from under bigger guys. His top game is so strong and he's so explosive that I can almost never submit him, but I've managed to sweep him a few times and take his back. It's also helping me figure out what I can do vs stronger guys reliabley, which is a huge help. I'm hoping to make it to NAGA on May 10th, I'm also hoping to make Monday and Thursday classes every week until then. *fingers crossed*

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Flying Omoplata FTW.

So with much joy and happiness I returned to class last night. It was a small class because everyone was downtown watching UFN and TUF which I will address in a bit. I did some light rolling with TJ who is super crazy flexible and fun to roll with, we went slow with half hearted submission attempts and it was a good way for me to get warmed up after being gone for a while. After that we did some basics, Arm Triangle from mount and Americana-Kimura-Armbar combo with a new variation on the armbar that I hadn't seen before. Instead of moving to the straight armbar when your opponent straightens out of the american attempt you scoop the arm up and spin to an armbar. A good refresher after being gone and a new nuance to a familiar technique. After that we got to roll, I took at easy at first because I didn't want to totally gas myself, I didn't try to force anything, just looked for subs where they might appear and spent my time defending. Frist roll was against a larger guy with curly hair whose name I can not remember. I ended up defending a bunch of americana attempts and holding him in my guard, I dropped a couple of triangles on him but he was able to posture up and power out each time. At some point he was able to pass my guard a few times, but nobody got subbed. After that I rolled with a wrestler, same kind of deal he would pass my guard, I would reguard, etc... He tried an armbar and I hitch-hikered out of it and passed to side, but he just shoved me off. Again, no subs. Just some fun. Then I rolled with a tall blond kid who I've rolled with before and whose name I also don't remember because I suck with names. He's got way less experience than I do and his long limbs are easy to trap. He's gotten a lot better though and was able to catch me in a guillotine, but not finish it. Then we rolled again and I threw a flying omoplata on him, which was sweet. After that I took a break for a few minutes and then rolled with the wrestler again. This time I wasn't worried about getting tired since it was the last few minutes of class, so I went more or less full out. After some gripfighting I pulled guard with an overhook and started working my omoplata/triangle combo. As he defended the triangle I pulled my foot over to go for the omo, he centered back up on me so I locked my hands on his head and wedged my shin into his throat for the Gogoplata, he managed to rip his arm free so I threw my leg over his head for the Triangle. After some fighting I got his hand out and had it cinched in, he swept himself trying to escape and I tightened the triangle up some more in mount before rolling back and to the side to finish it.

All in all I felt really good coming back. My time working out with my friends on fridays kept me from getting too rusty, and the fact that one of them is a 220lb wrestling standout has helped my game a lot against the bigger, more explosive wrestlers. I'm looking forward to class today as well.

I've also been reading Mastering the Twister and Mastering the Rubber Guard and watching Eddie Bravo vids. My Rubber Guard is a little stronger now than it was and I get the Omo a little more often, and it combos well with my current Omo/Gogo/Triangle combo that I'm favoring. It's no substitute for the solid basics, but it gives me some fun tricks to try.

Now on to UFN. I got home just in time to watch Bullshido poster boy Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon take on Kenny "I'm a raging Douchebag" Florian. In the early moments of the first round Lauzon ended up in Florian's guard and Florian proceded to spike him repeatedly in the back of the head with his elbow. J-Lau was bleeding profusely from the back of the head and got a minute or two to recover, he didn't seem to use much of his recovery time and jumped right back into the fight. He was actually able to take Florian down repeatedly and made several attempts to finish with heel hooks in the first round, unfortunately Florian, despite his douchebaggery, has mad JiuJitsu skillz and was able to fight him off every time. In the second round Florian finally got a takedown and was able to pass Joe's guard, after a brief struggle he got mount and started working Joe over. Joe gave it a good effort but just couldn't shake Florian off of mount and eventually the ref called it. Joe didn't look hurt and probably could have continued to defend until Florian punched himself into exhaustion, but that might have taken 20 minutes. A Good showing by both guys, it elevates Florian to the status of title contender with maybe one more win between him and a title shot. And the great showing against a BJJ blackbelt actually helped J-Lau's rep a little in my opinion, not as good as a win would have, but not bad either.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Transportation problems, I has them.

So a combination of work, transportation problems, and generaly insanity has kept me from class for the last month. It sucked hardcore. However I will be back training on Tuesday and Thursday this week, and back permanently towards the end of April when everything is all fixed up. I've been trying to stay in shape during the down time, but I'm fairly sure I'll gas in the first 20 minutes I'm back.... Ah well. I'm looking forward to being back on the mats!

Monday, February 11, 2008

OWwww my neck...

Well, class tonight was an hour worth of me getting tooled completely.
We started out from halfguard, I started in Ralph's halfguard and couldn't keep him flattened out. He balled up as soon as I tried to pass and from there it was just a matter of time before he swept me. I then got swept or passed about 19 more times by everyone.
Halfguard = 0/~20.

Then we did the back. First up I started with the guys back, hell I started with the RNC halfway on. No good, I couldn't finish it and after a minute or so he pried my arm off and started to turn to escape, I rolled into him and switched to mount, and he pretty much just threw me off of him. After that I spent 15 minutes fighting off RNC attempts. I managed to win one round via opponent boredom when he just got tired of cranking my head around and went to do something more interesting.
The Back = 1/~15.

Next up was butterfly guard w/ 2 underhooks. Half the people either just picked me up with their feet and dropped me on my side, or picked me up and pushed me over before I could do anything. The other half were slightly more forgiving in that I could at least TRY to pass their guard. I think I passed one persons guard. I was getting beat so fast from this that I didn't even get tired. I just kept moving from spot to spot.
Butterfly = 1/~25.

This is the first class I've been to where I felt like I didn't belong in it. Ralph has passed me completely since he goes to 2 classes/day 4 days/week and frequently makes it to friday and saturday classes. So everyone in the class is stronger than I am AND better. It makes for some very very frustrating times. I felt like I didn't learn anything in this class except that bigger people who are more experienced than I am can kick my ass. I didn't need to get my neck fucked up to learn that.

I'm hoping I will feel less frustrated after the 6:30 class tomorrow, but right now the whole endeavor feels pointless. I just don't see how a technique is going to work when a pre-requisite is always "control an arm" or "Control their head" or "Control their hips" and I can't control someone who can just fling me away one handed. More than once I've gotten into a position to armbar someone from my guard and they lock their arms up and stack me until I have to give it up and do something else, or even if I do get the sweep I have only a split second to finish the armbar or the just rip away from me and escape. I feel like everyone is powering out of every submission attempt I make. The only thing I ever seem to get to work is triangle from guard and that's usually a godawful battle to avoid being picked up, or having them step over my head. I have people standing up while I'm hooking their leg and pulling down with everything I can manage.
At this point I'm having a hard time seeing how I'm ever going to overcome the gap between me and any of these people. It's going to take me years just to overcome the size/strength gap with skill. The amount of skill I'm going to have to acquire in order to actually hold my own against any of them, much less beat any of them is pretty depressing.
I really hope I feel better after tomorrows class.

Knee is betta! YAY!

My knee is finally feeling 100% again, so I'm going back tonight to the 7:30 class. Whoot! While I was out of commission here I started up a new technology blog at that I'm using as a tech support blog. Development on that has been going pretty well.

I was happy see Frank Mir is back to his old self after a quick tooling of Brock Lesnar. Lesnar looked good for only having a year of training but his submission defense looked non-existent.

I'll have a real post up tonight after class.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Knee Injuries, I hates them!

I'm out for the rest of the week with a knee injury. It's been twinging ever since the 7:30 class on halfguard when someones shin dug into it, but my Dog smashed into my leg sunday night and it REALLY started to hurt. So now anything that's not a gentle walk hurts pretty bad. I'm wearinga knee brace and taking it light. Hopefully I can get back to things next week.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Open Mats: I love 'em!

Open Mats today, my favorite day. I came in and rolled with a dude whose name I SHOULD remember by now, but I never can. In the past he has been beating my ass pretty thoroughly, and that was not the case today. He was still a little ahead of me, but we were damn near even. Then I rolled with a newer guy who was pretty strong, it was mostly me fighting him off and looking for the sub, eventually I triangled him. After that I rolled with a new guy who was unbelievably strong. I came near to armbar and triangle and omoplata on him, but he eventually he tapped out due to gassing. Which doesn't surprise me. He spent like 8 minutes trying to hit the POWER AMERICANA on me with everything he had. Then yet another guy who wasn't as new as the first two, but was still fairly new at this point my legs were super tired so he was passing my guard pretty easy, eventually we got into a scramble and I got his back and worked an RNC and got the tap. It was fun, not particularly educational, but it let me try out the stuff I've been learning. I've gotten the hang of shoving the hand into the armpit to avoid getting stuck under side control, I've gotten a million times better at getting back to guard from under SC if they do get there, and I'm getting better at setting up submissions with technique instead of fighting with the POWER to try to lock them on. My top game still sucks though.

Feelin good about Casca Grossa. I'ma get me some more triangle choke victories.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

All about HalfSideGuardControl Escapes

OK. Had a seriously good class on Side Control and Half Guard today. I'm mostly gonna be trying to write down the important points from Half Guard.

1. With Underhook + Arm Under Head: Switch the hips out so that I keep my under hook and deprive him of one. I will end up in sort of Twister side control version of half guard, back towards my opponents head, facing his legs. From there I can push his knee down and go to mount or side control.

2. With both underhooks, or a more secure underhook and head, to pull the leg out sprawl out with the free leg, base on the knee, then bring your foot up to your butt and wedge your toes in. Use that as leverage to work your trapped leg free.

Working these two things should up my pass percentage IMMENSELY.

Most of what I got out of working side control again was that I'm pretty good at capitalizing on ANY mistake in weight management that my opponent makes. If the weight gets onto my hips I get the sweep. Popping up and snagging half guard is still pretty high percentage for me.
From the top I can hold side control pretty well, my weight management is getting better, but I still suck at finishing things from the top. About the only sub I can hit truly reliably on almost anyone is triangle from guard. Everything else turns into a strength contest with me pitting my entire body against my opponents arm or arms, and losing. I really need to work on being able to finish from the top.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No Escape, No Surrender!

Last night we worked escapes from under side control, under mount, and then worked from halfguard.
I paired up with Will who is a larger guy, but not super huge. When I work the escapes correctly they work. When I spaz out they don't pretty simple. I was higher percentage with knee and elbow to half guard than with bridge and roll. His arms were so long that I couldn't trap one well enough to roll him most of the time though I did pull it off when he tried to sub me and got his arms trapped. From side control I'm good at getting back to halfguard but still have trouble moving from halfguard back to full guard.
From on top of mount I can generally stay on top, though Will damn near subbed me from under mount with some kind of papercutter-esque choke. He probably could have pulled it off live, which would have been embarassing...
I improved some at halfguard, I was able to get some sweeps and fight off sub attempts. From halfguard top I learned the importance of keeping double underhooks. With them I was able to hold him down essentially for ever. Without them he escaped within moments.

At the end of class we worked some Butterfly guard, which is something I want to improve and I learned two things. Thing 1 is that I need to keep my head in front of my hips. Thing 2 is that I need to lock my arms higher up on my opponent, right under his shoulders to allow me to trap an arm when he tries to pummel.

Update: I found out Casca Grossa is the weekend after Superslam, so SCREW SUPERSLAM and their ghetto weightclasses. I'm doing CG instead.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


We worked side control today, which is a position I needed a lot of work on. I was able to build on the improvements I had made when working the Kimura before. Some of the specific things to remember are:
1. Block the hips either with your arm or with your hip.
2. Isolate/Control the far arm.
3. Keep weight and pressure on your opponent by pushing forward with your toes.
4. Be ready and able to adjust your pressure based on what your opponent is doing.

While I was on the bottom I still felt like I was just too weak to deal with a lot of things. I ended up having the most success trying to bail out to the side. I did ok getting half guard. My biggest problem is that I'm not strong enough to keep my arms/elbows in tight. My opponent can control me with one hand and attack my arm with the other. Whereas when I'm on top I can have both arms, my head and my whole body weight on my opponents arm without prying it away from their side and getting it to the mat. My current strategy has been to try to wedge my knee under their body until they are turned away from me then try to take the back.
I'm still having insane amounts of trouble finishing subs from anywhere except guard. I don't think I've hit a sub from the top against anyone except the tall lanky kid who is even newer than I am and just as light.
Tomorrow at open mats I'm going to try to remember to ask someone about finishing the Darce from halfguard and the RNC... and hell, I may as well just as WTF is wrong with my top game and see what I get.
I did get some good sweeps which I'm proud of, I'm still good at sensing when my opponents weight is in a place where I can compromise their base and roll them. I really feel like I'm going to be stuck winning matches on points unless I'm fighting from my back though.

Pro Tip of the Day: Bottom of Side Control SUCKS, don't be there.

Jenn's Corner:
So my fiance is a High School teacher and unfortunately the kids she teaches are about as smart as a bag of gravel. Their parents think the kids can do no wrong and insist that everything be made easier for them while at the same time complaining that the kids aren't learning anything. Most of the kids haven't had the math they need to take Chemistry, but they are in her class anyways. It drives her freaking nuts, and it drives ME nuts. Since fucking when do parents believe that it's the teachers job to remind their 15-17 year old kid to do his fucking homework? Isn't that the fucking parents job? Seriously. As a parent those fuckers need to be involved in making sure their kids are doing what they should be doing and not just dicking around all the time. PARENTS! It's YOUR FAULT that your kid is a fuckwit!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Winter Weather Advisory

I had to skip class tonight due to a snow storm blowing in around 5:30pm. My car can't handle any kind of ice on the roads. So I'm spending the time drinking hot chocolate and doing pushups while the vortex of ice rages above my fragile home.
With any luck it will be enough to shut down the schools so my better half gets the day off, but not enough to keep me from venturing forth to earn the proverbial bread.

Pro Tip of the Day: If you can't pull something off in a controlled setting you sure as hell can't pull it off when the shit hits the fan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day Off

Ran the stairs today, 5 laps with no break. Felt like my legs were going to fall off on the last half of lap 5. That weight vest gets heavier with every step...
I'm going to stick to 5 laps through this week and next week. Then move up to 6.

I'm taking the night off from BJJ tonight so that I can take both of the 7:30 classes this week. After that I'll probably be doing Mon-Tues, Thurs-Fri to give myself a midweek break.

Do WHAT for 30 minutes?!

Last night was my first night in the 7:30 grappling class. Murder would be a kind way to describe the class.
We spent 30 minutes paired off doing half guard. The top person worked to pass or submit the bottom guy, the bottom guy worked to regain full guard, sweep, or stand up. Once one of these things was accomplished the 'winner' stayed in and a new person started on the bottom.
I managed to sweep precisely twice from the bottom, regained full guard once that I remember, and escaped to my feet once that I remember. From the top I managed to pass a grand total of 3 times I believe. It might have been only 2.... To get an idea of how abysmal that is I probably did the drill about 20-25 times. I know the average rest period was under a minute. I learned more about half guard in those 30 minutes than I have in 3 months of the other class. I also learned that my half guard resolutions do make sense, but I need to work on them a LOT harder. I have the bad habit of sitting back on my heels when I get up to dogfight instead of driving into my opponent the entire time, I kept trying to get the WRONG butterfly hook in, and I still can't finish the Darce despite getting close on two attempts. When attempting to regain full guard my foot keeps getting caught on my opponents leg, then trapped. I feel like there must be a way to take advantage of this, but I can't think what it is. I want to just keep it as a butterfly hook and figure out how to sweep with it, but I've had little luck so far.
From the top it's generally just silly. I can't get past peoples legs, at all. My general recourse is to try to scoop both legs up together and work with that, but then most people immediately attack my neck or start taking my back. It feels like the things that are working to let other people pass my half guard aren't working to get me past theirs. I feel like I lack the bodyweight to put enough pressure on them to keep them from just shoving me around. This will require further thought and study.
After that we switched to live rolling in the same format, when one person got subbed a new person jumped in. The average rest time was a little higher for this at first, but as people got tired it dropped quickly. I ended up rolling probably 20 times. I got subbed a lot, a whole lot. And even when I could get a good position I couldn't finish anything. I have GOT to figure out how to finish people when I have their back, everyone just turtles up and waits for the chance to latch on to my arm and pull me off. I also have to quit playing the overhook game from the guard, I can't pull off the omoplata on anyone, and I'm not strong enough to push the arm out for the triangle setup. So, either I have to figure out a better way to manage the triangle setup or I have to change my game up completely.... figuring out how to hit an armbar either with the overhook or while fighting for the overhook would help. Honestly most of that 20 minutes is a blur punctuated by me tapping out.
After we drilled some armbars from top and bottom, then hip bump situps. I was literally SOAKED with sweat when I left. Last nights class definitely gets a 10/10 for awesomeness. It underscored a lot of the weak points I have, well the weakEST points since most of my game is still pretty weak. I think the hardest part is going to be figuring out what to concentrate on first. I want to improve everything all at once, but I know that won't happen. I think my halfguard resolutions are still a good place to work from, though perhaps I should leapfrog finishing people from mount and from the back above that. I still end up there often enough that I should be tapping people occasionally.

Running stairs today, goal is 5 laps with no break. If I pull that off I'll probably take a 30 second break and do another lap. Then class at 6:30. most excellent.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Open Mats - Jan 11

Ralph was back for Open Mats today so I welcomed him back with a good 15 minute roll. He still has some slickass triangles and caught me twice. Even when I see them coming he still slides them in there. Using my new found side control skizzilz I was able to get side control on him a few times. I also started utilizing some wrestling stuff I've been remembering from HS and used a headlock sprawl to take his back. I can never finish anything on him, had a shot at a kimura and couldn't close the deal. Couldn't manage to get his arm locked out for an armbar, nothin. I gotta figure out how to finish better at some point.

We had a brief hiatus for a couple of the guys who have fights coming up to do mock fights, they both looked alright and hopefully they'll do well.

After that 10 minutes or so of rest I was feeling completely fresh again and rolled with a tall blond kid that I've rolled with before. He's got a couple months less experience than I have so for once I'm the one with an advantage. I worked sweeps from halfguard a lot and managed to finish an RNC, an armbar, a Duda, and an Omoplata, he fought like HELL out of a triangle. I swept him over to mount with the triangle, couldn't finish it, rolled it back over and tightened it down and STILL couldn't finish it. The crazy.
My Half Guard resolutions worked out well. I was able to work down and sweep Ralph over to side control. I was able to work down and take the back on the other guy. My cardio feels better. I didn't feel like I was gassing as bad this time.

Note to self: Figure out how to finish this choke. I had it twice and couldn't figure out how to get my arms in the right places.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick update

Ran stairs again today. 4 laps, then a 30 second break and a 5th lap. Going for 5 laps with no break next tuesday.

Also, Starting next week I'll be going to the 7:30 Advanced for real grappling class. Whoot. Go Me.
Of course, this is playing havoc with the schedule for the rest of my activities. So we'll see how it works out.
It might also mean I start running stairs 3 days a week instead of just 2. My ideal schedule would be to go to every class. But I think my compromise is going to be Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday or something of that nature.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Take the Back from Halfguard

Stair Running, Day 1: 4 laps, 20lb weight vest.
There are 46 stairs one way in each lap. So that's 184 steps up, 184 steps down today.

New Goal to work on short term before Super Slam:
Get really good at taking the back from half guard.
1. Protect my arms and head.
2. Shrimp down on the same side as the trapped leg.
3. Keep my elbows tight and my shoulders hunched to protect against darce, etc..
4. Use my legs to pull me lower.
5. Get the overhook and explode up onto my elbow at the same time.
6. Harness.
7. Free the bottom leg.

DON'T be flat on my back. DON'T leave my arms vulnerable to Kimura/Americana. DON'T leave my head vulnerable to Darce.

DO get to my side. DO look for the Old School sweep as well. DO look to go out the back if necessary.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Kimura - Wrecking Shoulders since 1955

Tonight we focused entirely on the Kimura from side control. The Path to the Kimura goes as such:

1. First trap the target arm using your head and the arm closes to your opponents feet.
2. Next slide the other arm under your opponents shoulder/arm and grab your own shoulder/bicep as if you are putting an RNC on your opponents arm.
3. Keep your grip tight and Use your head and the arm nearest your opponents feet to force his hand down towards the mat.
4. Apply the Kimura grip.
5. Step the head closest to your opponents head over him so that you end up in headmount.
6. Crank that bitch.

Step 2 and 3 were particularly enlightening. I was previously trying to catch my opponent and just push his hand down and lock on the kimura. Securing the arm first gives a lot more control. This class had the side effect of improving my side control a lot as well, I really got a clearer idea of how to maintain it and work something. I had a lot of trouble losing it before.

All in all, good class. I picked up several good tips to work on.
I'm also being encouraged to move into the more advanced monday/wednesday class at 7:30.

I, for one, welcome our new 2008 Overlords.

I have survived another new year. Huzzah! A look back at 2007 says it was a great year for me. I bought a house, had a solid year of BJJ, Got a couple of new dogs, and managed to eek my way up to 140lbs. Looking ahead to 2008 I have the following goals:
1. Win my division at Super Slam
2. Win my division at Casca Grossa
3. Win my division at NAGA
In order to accomplish these I've made the following resolutions:
1. Start running stairs twice a week. There's a great set of stairs at my office I can hit before class on tuesdays and thursdays.
2. Improve my nutrition. I've been very slack on what I eat for a long time, I need to get my diet fixed up.
3. Continue going to class 3-4 days a week.
4. Start lifting weights.

I'm starting with resolution number one, working to get that one ingrained as a habit, and simultaneously working on number 2 and 3. Once I'm running regularly I'll work on getting number 4 in there.

I'm heading back to class tonight and really looking forward to it even though I'm fighting a bit of a chest cold.

32 days until Super Slam....