Friday, October 29, 2010

Inspiration Struck

So I've been hit by inspiration in the form of this kid Rebecca "Mini-Beast" Forsyth. I've seen her at NAGA a few times when I was there and she's a super fierce little kid. She crushes the competition. Well a co-worker is thinking about putting his daughter in a martial art and I of course suggested BJJ. In order to show him an example of a girl about his daughters age competing I looked up some of Becca's vids from NAGA.
While watching them I noticed two things, firstly that the girl has only gotten more dominant in the last 8 months or so since I saw her compete last, and secondly that she has honed her situp sweep and armbar into a victory machine. She hits the situp sweep almost every match and frequently finishes with the armbar. That kind of dedication to just a handful of offensive techniques has given her a really sharp game. I also liked her technical standup about two minutes in to this video which is one of the cleanest I've ever seen. She follows it up with a nice takedown as well.

So in honor of the Mini-Beast I will be spending the next FOUR, that's right FOUR months working situp sweep and then armbar from the top. Nothing but those two techniques.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UGA Grappling Club 10/25

We were sharing the room with what appeared to be an Indian girls dance troupe of some sort this time around, which was interesting mostly because they kept screaming at each other about whose fault it was when their routine got messed up.

We started off drilling situp sweeps and mount escapes, then I went over the Kimura -> Guillotine -> Situp Sweep combo and we worked on the various parts of that for a while. Then because I had it as a request we did the Darce choke from top of halfguard. This is probably my single WORST submission, but I went over it anyways and we drilled it a little. I went over a halfguard sweep by request as well. My go-to sweep where you overhook, trap the same side leg, and upa. Everyone kept getting 2/3rds of the way through the upa, and then instead of pushing their opponent away EXTRA hard to gain separation and get to side control they would switch to hugging their opponent and land in top of halfguard. I corrected that and then we did positional sparring from the top of halfguard.

We had a couple of people come in towards the end of the positional sparring that have previous Tang Soo Do and Takewondo experience. I rotated them in as we started rolling to see what kind of folks they are. They weren't overly spazzy and both of them are fairly light, so not dangerous. One kept trying to canopener me or something, the other one attempted to get rubber guard from the bottom of side control. I answered that attempt by mounting him, letting him sweep me over, then immediately running through Mission Control -> New York -> Chill Dog -> Kung Fu Move -> Omoplata on him.

It seemed like a good class. It was one of our smaller ones with only 10 people in it, but I expect attendance to pick up again once the dance troupes are all done practicing.

I'm still floundering around a little trying to figure out how I want to proceed with my own training. I think I should revisit some of my old No-Gi basics for Gi since the Situp sweep and Triangle choke used to be my bread and butter, but I don't really hit either in Gi that much. Unless I get some brilliant stroke of inspiration by wednesday I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks just working on situp sweep and triangle. There is a triangle choke setup off of the failed situp sweep, so I want to work that as well.

And as long as I'm talking about triangles, I figured out WTF I'm doing that's lowering my triangle choke percentages in Gi. I figured it out because I did it in No-Gi last night. I'm leaving my hips far too close to my opponent and being far too lazy about the sub. In fact, I've been far too lazy about everything while working on my flow. I've just been flowing with people and looking for openings and then if I get too much resistance just transitioning off to something else. If I'm going to go through all of the trouble to setup a triangle and get halfway to it, I need to go ahead and work harder to finish it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bit of a slump

So after talking several other folks through how to deal with their slumps over the last 8 months or so I've hit one myself. The guys in my class that I'm better than I'm just plain better than. The guys that I'm not better than are gigantic purple belts or gigantic wrestlers and the gap between us is pretty big because of that. So I'm having a hard time bridging the gap between where I am and where I want to be.

Luckily I know the answer. Drill. Drill my A-game. Drill my B-game. Drill my backup plans. Drill my go-to-hell plans. Drill drill drill and drill some more. So tonight I'm going to abuse my position as instructor for the UGA Grappling club and get some No-Gi reps in of my A-Game no-gi sweeps and a few other things. See if I can break myself out of the rut.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

JiuJitsu 10/14

So true to my resolution I continued working on my A game and my general flow last night and I can definitely feel the improvement over where I was six months ago.

Techniques were an ezekiel from the back where you rotate so that you are looking in your opponents ear, drive your bottom wrist around to on top of their far shoulder, grab your sleeve, and ezekiel.
Then a quick armbar from the back, then an armbar from the back with a kimura grip for greater control.
And finally an armbar vs the turtle where you scoop their far arm with your far arm then roll onto your side. You can finish there or have the option to flip them over and finish.

We did specific sparring from the turtle, Rugby is getting better already, he was able to shake me off a couple of times and get back to guard. Once was my own fault since I felt the triangle setup that I use and automatically went for it, resulting in him escaping to a neutral position.
My single collar choke setups are getting sneakier and sneakier as well.

Rolling was with Ankhor and Katie. Ankhor is one of the super athletic guys that does Muay Thai and BJJ, he's got an MMA fight coming up at the end of those month. A few months ago he was giving me absolute fits because of how strong he is, but over the last 3-4 months I've gotten a lot stronger and improved my technique. So last night I was able to breakdance all over him for the first time in a long time.

Katie is like 14 and is Casey's daughter. I'm not sure how seriously she takes JiuJitsu, but she's there pretty regularly and I try to give her tips on how to make stuff work when you are 100lbs lighter than everyone. Sometimes she seems to be working hard at it, sometimes she doesn't seem to care. But I think if she had some more people her size that she could see the stuff working on it would motivate her more. Instead the next lightest person is like 40lbs heavier than she is and probably 5x as strong. Definitely not a recipe for morale building.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Workin' my A game

Ok, so normally I would entering a new month of experimentation, digging through youtube, reading Subs101 or lockflow, generally just casting about for new techniques to play with. Instead I've decided to go for another month of consolidation on my current game and try to bring it up a level against our purple belts and a couple of the big athletic blue belts. I know there are tricks I can use on them that will work, now I'm going to make a concerted effort to work this tricks and refine them. Time to take things to the next level with my current game until I find a place where I don't have the proper tool. At the moment I think I have plenty of tools to work with.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weightlifting 10/7

I'm thinking of switching to only updating my lifting stats once a month or something.... 4 times a week makes for a bunch of short little posts with no content.

That being said, hit 5 reps at 127.5, 3 at 147.5, and 5 reps at 163.5 on the bench. That's a personal record of volume for me. Whoot!

Hip Control

I had mentioned to BJJGrrl that controlling the hips was one of those things that was crucially important to a lot of aspects of JiuJitsu, and everyone told me that for years, but I never really understood what it MEANT or how to accomplish it until recently.

I've worked out that there are three ways to kill someones hip movement, the direct method, the indirect method, and retreating. With the direct method you are using solid pressure directly onto their hips. An example would be when you are in someones closed guard and you put your hands on their hip bones and drop your weight on them. You've directly shutdown their hips in order to work on opening their guard and passing. This method requires that you be able to solidly manage your weight, keep it centered, and "drive" down into your opponent. This is probably the first method that most people discover for controlling the hips.

The Indirect method is the method that I've actually found to be most useful though. With the indirect method I'm not attacking the hips directly, I'm removing the levers that control that hip motion, the legs. Every motion of the hips requires that the legs be involved to generate the torque and force required to accomplish anything. Shrimping, bridging, all of it involves driving with the legs. Because of this my primarily method of hip control has become the legs. An example is from mount when you grapevine the legs, it does add some direct pressure to kill the hips, but it mostly just takes the legs out of the equation. I expand on that concept whenever I'm on top and work to lift my opponents legs off of the ground to prevent shrimping. For example, in side control I will turn slightly towards my opponents feet and grab their FAR leg at the knee and pull it up off of the ground. This makes it very difficult for them to shrimp and makes it easier for me to transition to mount if I want to. I follow the same idea when I'm passing guard. I hug the knees, sprawl and then turn and lift to keep my opponents feet off of the ground. This stops them from shrimping away or chasing me with their legs.

The third method is retreating or transitioning. This is the method I use the most now and it's even LESS direct than the direct method. I feel like this method is best suited for a smaller person who is working against a larger person and is still applicable even against people of the same size or smaller, it's just not as necessary. With this method you just remove yourself from where their hips want you to be. If you are in side control and they start to shrimp to regain guard you transition towards north south then pop to Knee on Belly as they follow you. If they try to bridge you off there you spin and sit down on their head for headmount/northsouth. If they start to escape that you slide down to side control on the opposite side and start the process over again. You have to be pretty sensitive to when your opponent is moving to make this work though.

Now, the BEST method, and one I'm just starting to reliably be able to use, is a combination of all three. When I'm moving to KoB I like to grab the far leg at the knee and pull up to prevent shrimping away from me. At the same time I use the KoB to drive heavily into the hips to pin the hips. When I'm sweeping someone I maintain control of their hips either with leg pressure across the hips directly, or with a hook under the knee, or with a handful of pants. Concordantly I work to keep my hips AWAY From my opponent. This flipside of this entire thing is that controlling your OWN hips is just as important as controlling your opponents. If they have your hips locked down you can't do much to them. So again the legs come into play. If your hips are pinned by direct pressure you have to be explosive even if it's a tiny explosion. Just enough to unfreeze your hips on one side and pop out. If your legs are being lifting try to pull your knees up to your chest and pop them open like butterfly guard. If someone is using fast transitions then trick them. Fake shrimping one way the roll to your knees on the other side.

Above all look at ways to prevent your opponent from using their hips while finding ways to maximize your own hip movement.

JiuJitsu 10/7

Worked on a takedown for a bit, then flower sweep variation and a triangle combo with it. Fun times.
Did some specific sparring from guard where I played around trying to figure out what I want to work on this month, then rolled for a while.

I had a couple of big guys to play with and spent my time letting them start in side control or mount so that I could work out of it. One of them managed to spark my rage for a moment when he tried to use gorilla strength on my head to keep me from taking his back. Whenever someone big does that it momentarily releases my normal mental block, so I immediately smashed him to the ground, drive my forearm into his neck/jaw, then armbarred him when he tried to defend against that. Everything was super hard and fast until the armbar went on. I never completely lose control, but that contained rage is something I've been trying to harness so that I can let it out at tournaments when it would really be helpful to be moving twice as fast as I normally do. He also tried to americana me from inside my guard, instant armbar again. He's a good guy, and I look forward to how good he's gonna be when he gets some more training time in, but he's only been training for a week or two, so he still has some bad habits to grind out of him.

This is an "Experiment" month for me, but I have no idea what I want to try out... Gonna have to browse lockflow/sub101/etc... and find some stuff to play with. Or I might hit the Roy Dean purple belt DVD and make it an Experimental Combo month and see what I can put together.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weightlifting 10/2 and 10/3

Benchpress was only 6 reps at 155 I believe, don't have my notes with me right now.
Overhead press was 9 reps with 90lbs which is very solid for me.
Tomorrow will be squats again which puts me starting my third week of 5/3/1. Overall I'm feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I'm looking forward to maxing out again at the beginning of December to see where I'm at.