Friday, April 30, 2010

Welcoming Noobs

I'm not sure what the normal way to welcome Noobs to class is, but I've always felt that "jumping them in" was a good policy. I mean, who wants to go to a martial arts class and flail around like a spazzy noob and come away feeling "Well, that wasn't too bad, those guys didn't really smash me...". I mean, if that's the case why bother taking a martial art? Just lift weights and be a strong spazzy noob. It's even more important of the noob IS Strong and spazzy. If they come and you let them just smash away at you and they leave feeling like they won then they might not come back.

If instead of feeling like they won, or even feeling like they held their own, they get completely dominated for five minutes by someone they outweigh by 50lbs then obviously what they are there to learn WORKS and is worth while. Towards the end of class, or on their second class you can let them work on stuff, give them pointers, etc... But that first class should be a clear demonstration that they are completely helpless against a trained opponent.

So the next time you get a first day noob in the class do him a favor, jump him in.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Combos and Persistence

I was watching Cobrinha's DVDs again a couple of nights ago and noticed something that I had previously missed. He is VERY persistant. He has a specific technique in mind and he KEEPS WORKING it until he gets it. The specific thing that made me notice this was one match where he continually tries to pass his opponents sleeve off to the opposite hand to trap it, his opponent fights it, breaks the grip, fights it, etc... Cobrinha moves briefly to a different attack as if he's given up that idea, then as soon as the guy starts defending that attack its BAM right back to passing the sleeve off, which he gets this time, and right to the sweep that he's been working on for like 4 minutes. It was like everything that Cobrinha did was designed to further his application of that single technique until he hit it.
So taking that in mind I decided to try to maintain that same kind of mindset to go with my new increased commitment to individual techniques. Now I've dedicated myself to the single collar choke. So last night I was spending time trying to set that choke up. Sometimes one of my feints would work and I would get a sweep or another sub along the way, but the plan really came together rolling with super athletic dude Brian. I kept throwing triangles, armbars, and sweep attempts at him while I continually attacked his collar and worked for the grip, just before time ran out I finally got it and started to sink the choke on, unfortunately time ran out on us before I could finish it, but I definitely consider that a successful night.

So to elaborate on the whole idea, commit yourself to a single technique every once in a while at least. Pick one sub or one sweep and make that your entire focus for a night. See how you can use your other techniques to set that one up, see what places you can hit it from. Commit yourself entirely to that technique for just one night. Make it happen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Don't Pull Guard You Noobs!

If you've seen any of my videos from competition you'll likely be wondering WTF I'm on about with the title of this post. I clearly pull guard about 90% of the time. Except that I don't.
When people say "Pull Guard" they generally imagine flopping onto their back with their legs spread like a five dollar hooker. That's not going to help you win anything. I recommend instead that people think of it as Establishing Guard.

Pulling Guard makes you think of a desperation, defensive technique. Something to avoid the takedown and hope you can do better eventually. That's a defeatest mindset and leads to people flopping to guard and then playing defensively. When you Establish Guard you are creating a position from which you can attack your opponent. You are getting your desire grips and foot placement and preparing to launch an assault that will lead to victory.

So don't Pull Guard, Establish Guard.

Monday, April 19, 2010

No Movement Without Purpose

In the midst of this whole mental shift that I've been undergoing in jits lately I stumbled upon a concept that that I'm sure I've been introduced to before, but just didn't internalize at the time. The idea of making sure that everything I do has a purpose. I had gotten to the point where I was throwing up sub attempts and sweep attempts incoherently just to be doing them. There was no real connected purpose to the techniques I was using.
With my recent slowing down and increased commitment to my attacks I've found that I just move less. I attempt a sub, latch onto it, and stick with it while I look for a second attack from that same position. I don't throw for a sub, fail, then abandon it and return to my guard. That would be movement without purpose.
To that end I'm continuing to shrink my library of techniques and refine them, choosing the ones with the strongest connections to each other and attempting to achieve excellence with those techniques. I want to win the blue belt and intermediate divisions at NAGA this time around and move up to Advanced/Purple belt with the goal of winning there and getting my purple belt by the end of next summer if not sooner. The only way to do that is to continue to refine my set of techniques and work on my fundamental posture and base.
To that end I'm still trying to get more mat time, but haven't had much luck extending it beyond an extra 30 minutes before a couple of classes each week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lifting update 4-12-2010

Did Bench and Squats tonight. Hit personal bests on both.
Did 157.5 for 2 reps on the bench and 197.5 ass to grass for 2 reps on the squats.
Warmup on the bench was 10 reps at 87.5, then a set of 4 at 137.5, then I did another set of 6 with 127.5 after I put up 157.5.
Squats I did a set of 10 ass to grass front squats with 87.5. Then went straight to 197.5. Then did a set of 6 with 147.5 afterwards.
I feel like I'm finally lifting some real weight. The goal now is to be putting up 157.5 for 3x3 on the bench and 197.5 for 3x3 on the squats. Whoot.

From Craptacular to Spectacular

So after that one crappy class I took a look at the way I was approaching rolling and decided to make some changes. My previous strategy took a big page from the school of "The best defense is a good offense" and I spent my time throwing constant submission and sweep attempts at my opponents to keep them from mounting a defense. That has worked fine for me as long as the level of competition I was working against couldn't capitalize on my failed attacks to pass my guard and punish me for them. That's no longer the case for most of the guys at the gym. We now have a solid crop of Blue Belts and a big handful of White Belts who will probably be promoted this year. So my sub attempts have been leaving me open to getting passed and they are now taking advantage of those openings. With this in mind I resolved to slow my game down a little and commit more to each attack.
That has worked great. I now spend a little more time setting up each attack, and about twice as much time working it before giving up and moving to something else. I've been able to re-establish dominance over a couple of whitebelts that were starting to catch me and I even managed to sweep and armbar my buddy Johnny (Who is a monster) for the first time in over a year. In addition everything has felt better and more secure. I don't feel rushed when I'm on top, I just relax and work, as long as I'm on top there's no hurry.
I still like to play an aggressive style, I've just relaxed it back a step to increase the success percentage of my attacks.

Class has been a lot of X-Guard stuff. I like X-Guard, but my biggest problem is establishing the X-Guard. I *know* a lot of ways to get to the X-Guard, but I haven't really been able to put them into practice yet. I plan on continuing to work on it though and hopefully be able to use it with confidence by June.

And next up, the move that I got Johnny with Friday I also hit Sunday, since I hit it Friday pretty much as a fluke I thought that since I got it again on Sunday there might be something to it, so I made a quick reference video of what I'm doing:

It's pretty easy, your opponent is passing your halfguard so to block him you reach out and grab his wrist, then swim your arm under his head and reach over the shoulder for a Kimura grip. Now you give up half guard and let them pass. Continue to put pressure on the Kimura trying the normal Kimura sweep from the bottom of side to force them to North/South. When they do that move your hips out and come up to your knees on the other side, again continuing to maintain pressure on the Kimura. Then just sit back and force them down into the armbar. I'm pretty sure there are some other options from here as well, I just haven't had a chance to explore the space yet.