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.