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....