Sunday, August 29, 2010

Conditioning 8/29

Skipped out on JiuJitsu because my little bro is about to leave for Israel and we had a little going away party for him at my parents.
Did some light conditioning, 25/20/15 w/ squats, pushups, crunches, and bent over rows w/ 36lbs. Just enough for my arms to feel it and to get my blood flowing. Gonna probably do a full rest day tomorrow and get my weights set back up, then lifting tuesday and conditioning + jits on wednesday.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Conditioning And Jits 8/27

Went to class early to see if anyone would show up to play. I did some conditioning for about half an hour. 25,20,15,10,5,5,10,15,20,20 of Squats, Pushups, Crunches, and dumbbell rows (Each arm) with a 20lb weight. Took a brief rest after the ladder down and another after the ladder back up. Could have done more of everything except the pushups. Arms were completely on strike.

Had a warmup roll with one of our Ammy fighters, Brian, his standup is awesome, but his ground game has been highly reliant on his athleticism until the last few months. He's finally starting to settle down an start working the technique, though he still tends to fall back on just being in better shape than everyone else sometimes. We rolled for a while and I caught an elbow to the trachea. Didn't stop the roll, but it got uncomfortable later. Not videos this time around because class was so small, had no one to run the camera.
Talked to Casey about getting a beginners class going and he agreed to it, so long as he didn't have to come do anything. I'm going to talk to Coe and Darnell, the two purple belts, about working up a schedule and a curriculum for it.

Technique was a counter to the far side underhook escape from side control. Bottom guy gets the underhook, turns in and pushes you off. You backstep for stability and then step over into technical mount with the overhook. Next you work your foot on the overhook side up to your opponents head and then squeeze your knees towards each other (EVen though one of your knees is still on the ground, yes) resulting in an omoplata like shoulder lock.
Next technique was the same setup, but you feed your leg across for the Gogoplata. Final technique was same setup but you feed the leg across and sit back for a wicked armbar.

After that some specific sparring from side control. I got to move over to the Gigantor side of the room to even things up. Rolled with GiantNewWhiteBelt guy who I discovered is named Brent, Darnell, Brian and Casey. Played as defensively as I ever play which means looking for sweeps and subs while not completely ignoring the fact that I'm about to get tooled. Darnell shut me down completely today and even Got me with an ezekiel while I had an overhook and he was in my full guard. Sneaky.
Casey dominated me in hilarious fashion as usual. The best part about that is the split second between me making the key mistake and him putting on the sub. It's just a huge "OHSHITISHOULDN'THAVEDONETHAT" moment and it's always from something seemingly innocuous.

Brian I was able to sweep a few times early on, and generally handle just fine, but once I started to slow down it was all over. The guy does NOT get tired.

Sparring was with Brian, Darnell, and then one of the guys my size, Kris. More of the same with Brian, while I Was fresh I could handle him, but as soon as I started to get tired it was everything I could do not to get mauled.
Darnell continued to shut me down.
Kris I was able to sweep a bunch, throw around, an generally handle the way I handle all of the whitebelts my size. At one point he went for an ankle lock of some kind, so I defended and slapped a toe hold on him. Apparently I tweaked it a little hard for his taste, but he's fine. I don't go for leg locks on white belts unless they start in it first, but I probably need to start working that toe hold on the higher belts a little more....

By the time I got home from class lifting the gallon of milk to pour me a glass felt like the heaviest thing in the universe. That's how I know it was an good day.

Conditioning 8/26

Weights are still in storage so Conditioning again:

Wearing my 20lb weight vest: 25/20/10 of Squats, Pushups, Situps and Upright Rows w/ 36lbs.

That shit is tough. My conditioning really needs the work, so I'll probably stick to the conditioning routine even once I start lifting again.

Saturday I'm adding an extra set of 5 to the end, so 25/20/10/5, then probably Tuesday I'll add 4/3/2/1 to it. Bringing me to 25/20/10/5/4/3/2/1. To increase I'll add to my fresh set until they are all at 25. So 25/21/10/5/4/3/2/1, then 25/22 and so on with a goal of 25/25/25/25/25/25/25/25 with a short rest between each set of 25. That should be enough of a goal to keep me working for the next 12 months or so.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pressure as a Concept

Many people talk about having "Good Pressure" or "Being Heavy" in jiujitsu without really thinking about what that means or why you would want it. For a while I was really obsessed with being heavier with my opponents, really crushing them down whenever I was on top. Then I realized that I got swept more often against bigger guys when I did that. Linking so much of my weight to them gave them more control over me while sacrificing my mobility advantage. Against people my size the conventional notion of pressure was fine, but against larger people I was getting too enthralled with the idea.
So I stepped back and asked myself WHY I wanted to be heavy. Why did I need "good pressure"? There turned out ot be several reasons. One was to give myself more opportunities for a submission. If I'm heavy my opponent has to work harder, has to open themselves up more, has to give me more opportunities. Another was to make my opponent tired, but again the end result of that is to give me more opportunities for a submission. To prevent my opponent from escaping, again to give myself more opportunities for submissions.
So I looked at these goals and then I looked at what I was doing and thought, "How can I accomplish these goals most efficiently?" Having good weight distribution and being heavy is one way, but it's not the only way and it's not always the best way.
As a small person I'm frequently going to run into people for whom my weight, no matter how well placed, is negligible. In those situations I can't rely on being heavy. I have to rely on other types of pressure.
To find other ways to generate those same results I thought about what pressure really means in the abstract sense. It means stress. I want to create stress in my opponent to make it harder for them to plan, harder for them to implement their game against me. I've started more and more to do that by being increasingly mobile. I'm heavy where I can be and when I can be, but I don't get committed to the idea of crushing someone with my weight. I use my agility and my mobility to continuously move and attack my opponent and keep them from implementing their game plan or being able to work against me. I keep good pressure by making my opponents react to me.

So don't get too attached to what you THINK something means, back up a step and look at what you're trying to accomplish and see what works best for you to accomplish it.
Remember, the best thing about jiujitsu is that if something works, it's good jiujitsu.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weightlifting 8/24

So due to visitors coming up this week my weights are in storage in my closet for a while. In the meantime I decided to bust out my old weight vest. It weighs 20lbs.

I threw the vest on and did
20 Squats, 20 Pushups, 20 Situps
20 Squats, 20 Pushups, 20 Situps
10 Squats, 10 Pushups, 10 Situps.


My muscular endurance needs work, so once I hit 200 on the bench I'm switching over to doing working towards 100 pushups with the weightvest on while I work on my squats and deadlift. I figure that should keep my bench from going down while I'm not benching as often. I'll max with it once a month or so just to make sure I can still hit 200.

Jiujitsu 8/20

Videos will be added to this post tomorrow:

Techniques were all Omoplata attacks. Standard Omoplata from guard first, then a counter for when they try to roll out of it, you roll with them and keep your underhook of the far arm, establish a crucifix and escape your hips out for the omoplata finish.
The last one was for when they try to power straight up, you underhook the far shoulder again and this time you do a flower sweep type motion with your legs and roll them over into a very uncomfortable stacked position, then wrist lock them for the final humilation. I got to be the test dummy for the last two. Fun times.

Drilling was just from closed guard, bottom person has to sweep or submit, top person has to pass. I vaguely remember sweeping a bunch of people and passing some guard. Then I rolled with one of our purple belts who is about 220lbs, I kept trying for my leg hook guard and whatnot, but was having none of my shenanigans. Finally I ended up on my side balled up under him and with one butterfly hook. I snagged his ankle and went for the butterfly sweep and it worked. Made it all the way up into guard too. Serious cheers for me there since the guy has proven well nigh impossible for me to even unbalance, much less sweep. I'm clearly getting trickier.

Sparring is where I have videos to share. The first round I have was against my instructor Casey it was hilariously crushing. He tied me up and took my back and went for a bow and arrow choke, I defended long enough that he sort of pretzled me up and then armbarred me.
Reset and essentially the same thing happened though this time I spun out of the bow and arrow and was able to avoid getting subbed again until time ran out.

Then I rolled with Johnny who is a monstrous wrestler. He's walking around close to 200lbs again, but he was down at 185ish for a while and really should get back down there again to compete. His top pressure is just brutal. He smashed my legs raced past my guard, and ended up in my halfguard working the darce. Eventually he got past my halfguard and I knew I wasn't going to escape, so tappity tap. Repeat that procedure only he went to NS and went for a Kimura, I spun out of it using a decidely risky escape and ended up under side control where I don't remember what the hell happened and can't tell from the video, but I think it involved me tapping.
After that I played it cautious, spikey ball, no attacking. Time ran out before much could happen.

Next I rolled with Antony who is another blue belt my size. I like to work my sweeps and top game against him so I immediately set up my leghook guard, got the sweep, went to KoB and worked from there, alternated between side control and KoB and North south for a while. He caught me in halfguard, I tried something weird, he rolled me and stood up and dived past my guard. I turtled (I turtle against him because he does the SAME thing every time) and grabbed his elbow for the fatboy roll, he recovered guard and I worked to pass. Settled down in side control and bounced around there until time ran out. I always like rolling with him because he stands up to pass and he's generally pretty fluid and fun.

Net up I rolled with one of the gigantic new white belts. He has had some training somewhere in the past, but it reveals itself only sporadically. I think this is his fifth or so class maybe. I Work my normal game, leg hook to sweep, he stiffarms me and I reset and retry. I get on to and he flings me off, I reset and start attacking, I essentially bully him over and he sort of powers out of it and we end up in neutral again. I start working full guard and hit a scissors sweep. He tries to push me off of him so I spin to an armbar. I ended up showing him why not to push up on peoples chests for the rest of the round.

Final roll was against Darnell (Whom you will remember as the purple belt I swept earlier) I work to establish butterfly and go for the same sweep I got him with earlier. That fails so I move to full guard with the over hook and manage to catch the Mir lock. He gets sideways defending it and I'm able to sweep him over. I should have kept the arm and switched to the inverted shoulder lock thing that Ian McPherson used and I believe I posted about previously. Instead I got all excited and tried to take side control. That didn't work out, he turtled and I tried to control him, ended up back in his guard and tried a funky knee compression because I couldn't think of anything else.

I'm extremely happy with my sweeps and my guard work in general. I need to work against Johnny more to shore up my weaknesses against his explosive guard passing though. All in all, I feel I'm making decent progress.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weightlifting 8/19

New PR on the Benchpress, 193.5 went up slow but steady. Tried Squats at 227.5 and did two reps but not low enough for me to count it. I was able to get a successful 187.5 though and I'll work my way up. Deadlift I tried 283.5 and couldn't budge it, did 3 reps with 217.5 though and 227.5 went up. So I'm calling my powerlifting total right now 190+185+225= 600 even. Pretty crappy from a powerlifter standpoint, but not too shabby for a random 148lb person.
Starting saturday I'll be working on getting my squats and deadlift up. I want to put 50lbs on both of those by the end of the year and I don't think it will be a problem. I'd like to put 75 pounds on by squats and 100 on the DL, but I don't know if I can pull that off. It'd be ecstatic if by my birthday next year I was putting up 225+260+325 = 810. That's a very respectable total even for a power lifter and I think it's possible for me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weightlifting 8/17

Worked on overhead press, Hit 107.5 for a few reps, then hit 113.5 kind of shaky. I wasn't happy about it so after an hour or so of break I went back and tried it again and put it up for 4 reps. I might put 123.5 on there and give it a shot saturday, but tonight is my first attempt at 193.5 on the bench. If I hit that I'll probably give a ~220lb squat a try and then see if I can pull 270 on the deadlift again. If I'm successful I'll have 193.5+223.5+273.5 = 690.5 as my powerlifting total. Not winnin any awards, but not horrible for a 148lb bodyweight, which is what I'm at right now. My goal is 225+300+450 = 975.

That means I'm coming in right now at the bottom of the powerlifting chart, a class IV according to thee numbers:
With a goal of getting to a class 1. It's going to be hard to keep my bodyweight at the 148lb range, but I think it's a good goal. This means that starting at the beginning of the year I'll have to become more serious about my lifting as well as about my jiujitsu since my goal is a purple belt by the end of next year. If I can put together some good progress towards my powerlifting goals I think that will help with my jiujitsu progress as well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weightlifting for 8/16

I put up another set of 4 with 167.5 and followed it with a set of 2 with 173.5. Along with some miscellaneous overhead press, good mornings, and squats. I'm very much on track for my 200lb goal by the end of september.

Knee is feeling good, I'm sure it will be 100% by friday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Deconstructing my Rolls

Today I've got a handful of videos of me rolling with a couple of our white belts that I'm going to breakdown and talk about, but first an update on my lifting situation. I hit 167.5 for a set of 4 last night. New personal record. Also hit 152lbs bodyweight, then went out to work in a warehouse for a day and dropped 10 lbs. I'm back sitting around 148 right now. I'll be trying for a set of 5 with 167.5 again on Saturday. I'm taking a week off of Jits to let my knee finish healing, so I won't be back to class until next friday, but in the meantime I'll be lifting and watching vids.

Now, video time!
First video is against an ex football player who weighs maybe 20-25lbs more than I do. This is his fourth class, so he is still very spazzy and doesn't really have any idea what he's doing.

As part of my Guillotine project I decided I would do my best to only sub him with guillotines. So right off the bat he tries to tackle me from the knees, I sprawl, get my hand under his chin, and fall back for a guillotine. No strength needed.
I have to explain to him that we get to keep going.>:) He moves in aggressively and I mess with his legs, mostly I just work on maintaining guard while I let him try various things to pass until he gives me my favorite sweep at one minute in. Notice how i use my hips and knees to keep him away from me. I'm not pulling him in and encouraging him to lay on me. I'm using hip mobility and my legs to keep him on the outside of the circle so that I can beat him around to any pass attempts.

This is the leghook/bicepslicer sweep that I've been using a lot. Most of the guys in the gym are wary of it now and so run away from my leg hook the second I get it, this guy hasn't rolled with me before and had no idea what was about to happen. He landed with a bit of a thump and I gave him a second to catch his breath.
After that I complete my transition to Knee on Belly, I could have dropped onto his arm for the Bicep Slicer finish there, but chose to try to setup another guillotine. He pushed me up, I rode it around to north south and locked in the guillotine.

On the restart I grabbed his collar for a snapdown, athletic noobs will frequently over commit their upper bodies at the beginning allowing for easy transitions to the back. I abuse this liberally. You'll see I went to some weird knee on back position for a second before getting bucked off, I was fishing for a far side collar grip so that I could do a comedy forward roll, but I couldn't find his collar.
So I set up the triangle from the back, used that to get the torque to sweep him, and went back to KoB, then let him come up to his knees into another guillotine. After that I messed around looking for an Omoplata, but ran out of time.

Next video is with a friend of mine who has been training about six months. He outweighs me by about 70lbs most of the time. He has good natural balance and is a quick learner.

I open up looking for a collar grip, but he gives me an arm so I hook onto that and fall back to attack it, he pulls away, but I use that opportunity to get the collar I wanted in the first place. I transition to the other collar because I didn't want to put too much pressure on my injured leg working the leg hook guard.
You'll notice that he is WELL aware of the implications of that leg hook and works very hard to avoid letting me get it. I see an moment when I think he's off balance and try to move to the top, but he beats me to it and I spend a few seconds in halfguard bottom.
Notice that I do NOT let him settle onto me. I'm driving my knee up the entire time, not giving him a place to get comfortable, and I get back to open guard. I trick him with a pull -> push and start working to pass his guard. He's strong so I get shoved around a little, but I keep my weight down and don't allow him a chance to sweep me. Even when he does get some leverage I ride with it and maintain my base.
We run out of time as I'm working to pass his guard.

Despite his 70lb advantage I NEVER allowed him to settle on top of me. I kept at least one knee wedged up between us at all times and I used my feet equally as often as my hands to maintain my space.

We were doing 3 man groups doing 3.5 minute rounds, fresh man comes in at the 3.5 min mark, so you roll 7 minutes in a row. So now we're back with the first guy.

I open up by establishing butterfly hooks since he likes to charge forward. He plays right into it and I hit the monkeyflip and roll to mount.
I'm not worrying about being particularly heavy, I mess with his arm he starts trying to stiff arm me and just rolls himself over. I let him establish a solid turtle so that I can practice breaking it down a bit. I get underhooks on both sides and then start frogkicking out to flatten him down. Easy choke follows.
I fail a leg hook variation sweep, but I use that to catch a grip on his arm and set up the triangle, he tapped a little early to the triangle. I started letting him work side control, but even then I keep a knee up to never allow people to settle in completely on me. This round was a little short due to the guy needing some water, he still has cardio issues.

And now back to my friend. I'm being a little more aggressive in this round, digging for the collar and practicing breaking him down into my guard. Normally I wouldn't be playing closed guard against him, but it's part of my Guillotine project for this month.
[Edit: Realized I didn't upload this video, oops. So this one is listed as part 5, but is actually part 3]

I break him down a little, he escapes, etc... just working the grip. Then I get a couple of deep collar grips and mess with a collar choke. He was gurgling, but I couldn't quite seal the deal with it so I transitioned out.
Notice that I keep my foot in his side the entire time to give me the best chance of ending up on top. He's able to dodge back and avoid it, but I end up with full guard and him broken down, which lets me move to an armbar. I had no intention of finishing the armbar against him, so I moved around to a bicep slicer, which again I had no intention of finishing, then time ran out.

This one is a good example of how I stop larger people from passing my guard by continually attacking them to keep them from getting settled and working to pass. I never gave him a chance to stop defending and try to pass.

The final video is half the new guy and my friend, then when the new guy gasses I hop in to roll again. I come in at about the 1:50 mark. I decide I want to get on top this time, so I just pile in and work on passing his halfguard.

Notice, MOBILITY. I move back and forth switching my pass from one side to the other until I get past his arms. Then I settle in to a north south choke and start sliding back. It was close, but he had enough of a grip on my Gi to keep me from moving far enough down to finish it.

All of these videos demonstrate that as a Blue belt you shouldn't really be having trouble with athletic white belts. Guys who outweigh you by 70lbs? No problem. You just play a different game. Keep your knees up, be mobile. There is no reason you should be letting big noobs get on top of you unless you specifically want to work out from under those positions. I plan on filming a lot of my rolling in the coming months and picking out 1-2 good ones each week to post on here and discuss. Feel free to throw some comments out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August is Guillotine Month

I hit 2 sets of 3 with 167.5 last night, ready to try a set of 5 tonight, if that works out for me then I'll be trying 193.5 on thursday. I jacked up my right leg doing throws last week before I went out of town, so I've had to leave off the squats for a few more days, but I'll be back on those next week.

This month at Jits is going to be all about Guillotines. I was looking back over some of my notes and things and it turns out that I've actually got more successful submissions with Gogoplata's than with Guillotines. So I've decided to sharpen up my guillotines and their setups all this month. I picked up Din Thomas' 1001 submissions videos and he has several slick guillotine variations on there I plan on trying, and Tony Desouza has this video out: that Zapruder hooked me up with which was most informative.

Back at Jits tomorrow and we'll see how things work out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


So yesterday was probably one of my bigger lifting days. I did one of my normal sets of 2 reps with 167.5, then put up 3 reps of 167.5. Then I put up 3 sets of 5 with 147.5 which is a huge improvement for me as far as work capacity is concerned. I also did a set of 5 overhead press with 80lbs, then hit 2 reps with 100lbs which is a new personal best for me. Then I knocked out a couple of sets of 5 on the squats with 167.5. That's more lifting than I've done in one day in a long time and I feel great. I feel stronger than I've ever been.

I'm still working hard at class to take things to that next level where I feel like I can make a run at my purple belt. I think I'm making good progress towards it. I feel strong against everyone, even the two giant purple belts. If all goes as planned I'll crush me some NAGA next July in my final run at the Blue Belt division and go for my purple some time late next year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Armdrags and Weightlifting

I moved my squats up since my knee has been feeling better and better. Did 3-4 sets of 3 with 167.5 spread through the day on thursday, then a couple of sets of five, then saturday did several sets of five. I'll probably do that again tonight and look to move up later this week. Bench press I hit 187.5, dropping back down to 167.5 to work for more reps. I want to hit a set of 5 before I try to move up to 193.5.

In jits I've been re-visiting Armdrags again. When I first started BJJ I briefly tried making them work for me with poor results. I tended to yank on someones arm and nothing happened. About a year ago I tried them out again with better results against the complete noobs, but still not enough success to make them part of my main game. The last few weeks I've been slowly mixing them back in and making them work more and more. My current favorite is from butterfly guard Marcelo Garcia style. I also discovered that I don't have to be explosive with the armdrag to make it work. Just get the grips, force the arm far enough across that I can block it with my body, and hip out to the side.
This has led me to several sweeps and a high percentage of the time gets me my opponents back. I think I've finally gotten to a point where armdrags will be a part of my primary game.

It's almost time for me to do a new MindMap as well. I'll probably start from scratch so as not to pollute my new mentality with my old roadmap. Then I'll compare the two.