Sunday, September 25, 2011

BJJ 9/25/2011

Some of the guys showed up at 5 to roll, I made it at 5:30 and got in a few rolls with them. I was working triangle setups and finishes as well as the Caio Terra halfguard sweep that I just picked up. It worked fucking awesome every time. I was even able to force it a few times when their hips weren't in the exact right place.
Other folks came in at 6 for my class, and since it was experienced guys showing up we rolled for the whole 1.5 hours pretty much. Worked on a few things, mostly triangles from the back and everywhere else. Worked the spin under to 50/50 to toe-hold sequence, worked my standing passes.... Pretty much just sharpened all of my tools up for NAGA.

Coe and I taught the main class, he showed a couple of techniques for escaping mount when guys get high and you can't pull off the upa or the knee to elbow.
I showed the Caia Terra halfguard sweep and the halfguard bump again.

Moar rolling! Moar triangles! Was hitting triangles like mad on everyone. Also hunting toe holds. I don't feel like I'll be totally helpless in the Expert division, and my spin under loop choke is sharp for the gi division. NAGA on Saturday. Resting up until then.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Training BJJ with Team ROC in Raleigh

So I was up in Raleigh for work and we finished up the work we had to do today early enough for me to hit up Forged Fitness for some trainin! Max (Who people may remember as 'Crossfit' from the last time I went up to Raleigh) was there and was happy to roll with me for about 2 hours and then give me a ride back to my hotel. mad props to him!
Got to roll with him and a couple of other guys, I'll hit him up and get their names and edit this later, but for now I just want to say that Team ROC is awesome. Max would be a purple belt at almost any other school but he's still a blue out there. It was great to get yet another perspective on different rolling styles. Max has a very tight pressure style and was very good at trapping my hooks. It took me a long time to figure out how to work them free, I ended up playing a lot of modified overhook guard with a single butterfly hook and hipping out hard to free the leg and work. The entire roll was very back and forth, a lot of positional movements and good transitions. I kept getting caught in arm triangles which he couldn't finish, and I would say he actually out positioned me on average. His fitness level is just INSANE. Completely INSANE.

Second guy I rolled with was taller than Max, but had a similar game. He was working a lot of single leg transitions so I showed him the halfguard bump to single leg as something he could play with. Same kind of deal with him, a lot of transitions. Both him and Max were extremely difficult to hold positions against, which resulted in a lot of great fun.

Third guy was enormous and strong, I managed to pass his guard early on, and work my way to his back, but while I was trying to work hooks in he dumped me and got on top and from there I spent like 10 minutes just defending submissions and working on escaping to anywhere that didn't involve being in a submission.

Fun times!

I got the opportunity to work a lot of DLR since both Max and the second guy like to stand up to try to pass. I was able to spin through to the 50/50 sweep a few times, I also hit some sickle sweeps that I couldn't capitalize on. I realized I need to work a LOT more guard passing against the long range half guard, I still have trouble getting by it when my main pass gets blocked. Gotta get a second pass against it that works.

All in all I rolled for about two hours with about 5 minutes worth of breaks. It was an absolute blast and I hope to make it back to Forged Fitness for another session at some point in the future and they are always welcome at Megalodon in Athens!

Also, good luck to Max and the other Team ROC guys who have fights coming up!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weightlifting Update 9/19/2011

Hit 8/8/8/7/7 for bench, still 3x10 on the deadlift and 3x5/arm on the rows. That means 12 more sessions of prehab training before the weight starts going up!

Unfortunately I may not be able to lift much this week since I'm being sent to Raleigh for work.

Commentary on Belt Whipping

Slideyfoot has already done an excellent writeup here on what the tradition is and why some people like it and some people don't in general. Since he's the sort of fellow that enjoys getting additional perspectives on things from various people that train I thought I would write up my experience and how I feel about the tradition.

After it was decided that I had successfully completed my test for Purple Belt the class was lined up, etc... Just as described above. I started on the end opposite the instructor and walked towards him while the other students, probably around 30 of them, gleefully battered me with their belts. Through the Gi I barely felt it, but the whole atmosphere was very infectious. I was grinning through it and on the way back started to talk a little smack. Specifically I told them they hit like little girls. As a result I got cat-called a bit about walking through one time without the Gi. I stripped the Gi top off with a grin and jogged back through the line one time which resulted in the bruises you can see in this picture:

That was entirely optional and my own fault. After having the belt tied on me I walked back through with the Gi top on again with my new belt for a total of 4 trips through the line.

Frankly, I enjoyed the experience. It was definitely a bonding experience with the rest of the class and I feel more comfortable with the idea of  going up there to train with them and I feel like I earned a place within the Alliance Family by participating in the same ritual that all of the other people have participated in.

On that note, I did NOT get a belt whipping when I got my Blue belt. I don't know why, but I agree with the lack. I think that achieving the purple warrants a little hazing and initiation as it shows you're definitely committed to JiuJitsu, whereas the Blue is still that introductory rank. I'm sure some people will be appalled at the bruises, but I'm completely unbothered by them.

I don't know that I necessarily wholeheartedly approve of the tradition, but it's right for me and it's something I will likely continue when I eventually have a school of my own.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Purple Belt: Achieved!

So, I traveled up to the Alliance HQ gym in Atlanta again yesterday for another try at my purple belt test. The last try was derailed by construction in 285, so this time we took a less direct route that avoided that exit altogether and managed to arrive on time. Jacare was at Fort Benning doing a seminar, but Alliance Black Belt DJ was there to handle the test for me and did an excellent job of taking me through everything. He had a helpful comment for almost everything which was awesome, I picked up several details on everything. I had a couple of missteps with the takedowns because we don't practice them enough, so my entry for them was shaky, I was also nervous as hell, but in the end I passed and now am the owner of a shiny new purple belt!

Up next was the traditional belt whipping, and being the person I am I ended up talking a little smack on my second pass through the line resulting in me doing the third pass without my gi top on. As a result my back is covered in bruises.

Next I got to roll with folks! First up was a black belt named Adam (Ok, it sounded like it would be spelled Adam, but I'm not 100% certain on that) who loop choked me a couple of times, nailed me with a one handed guillotine, and threw me around like crazy. His arms were like steel cables. It was great to see a black belt with a different style from Casey's too, it was equally impossible to do anything with him, but he would let you get to different places before springing his trap.
Next I got to roll with a couple of purple belts, both of whom I managed to catch with my roll-under loop choke while letting them pass to side control. One I also caught with it when he was standing up to try to pass. The first guy caught me with a very slick triangle setup, and the second guy was just a blast, very flexible, lots of flow, we both rolled for upside down guard simultaneously at one point.
Finally was a blue belt that had a very strong game. I caught him with the loop choke as well, but every time I went to pass his guard he would catch halfguard and then bump me forward and grab a single leg. EVERY time. It was awesome. I got him to show me what he was doing at the end of the roll so I could take it and use it for myself.

As your opponent is passing your halfguard you bring your top knee up and bump them forward, reach around and hug their leg and turn it into a takedown. Works Gi or No-Gi.

So, now at the 4 year and 10 month mark of my BJJ Journey I am a Purple Belt. Now I plan to enter the refinement stage of my training, selecting a handful of my best techniques and drilling them mercilessly until my personal game is at black belt level. That starts today at no-gi class. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Picking things up and Puttin' them down again

I have about three more weeks of Pre-training on my weight lifting before the weight starts going up and the reps start coming down. I should finish pre-training right before NAGA on Oct 1.

Currently I'm at 3x7+2x6 w/ 120lbs on the bench. 3x10 w/ 130lbs on deadlifts, and 3x5/arm w/ 55lbs on bent over rows.
Once the pre-training is done I'll be adding in squats and starting to reduce the reps on bench and increase the weight. The deadlifts will start going up as well and the reps going down.

I should settle in to my normal 3x3 routine by december some time at 185lbs on the bench and squat, and probably a single set of 5 with 220 on the deadlifts and start eeking the weight up again. Rows will most likely stay the same.

First competition of the season is creeping on me, but I'm feeling good.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The State of The Union: What's my game?

*Update* This post is part of the "Homework" series, so I wanted to put a little info and background in front of it to explain what's going on. Everyone has a "comfort" zone of techniques that they use regularly. The ones that fit your style,  body type, and experience level and that you feel you are the best at. That is your "Game". One of the more productive things that you can do with your BJJ that isn't actually going to class is to get your game down on paper so that you can look at it and shore up weak spots in your comfort zone or expand your strengths. It also will give you an idea of what to drill before a  tournament. If you don't really have any idea what your game is, then you should pay attention while you are rolling for a couple of weeks and make a note of anything that happens more than three times. If you're doing something every single session, then it's part of your game.
So the homework for this assignment was to document your "Game". If you're just now looking at the homeworks, then this is where you should start since it will help you figure out the rest of them.

Well, it's been a WHILE since my last mindmap, and I haven't made an updated one, but since BJJ GRRL finally wrote up her current game I'm going to go ahead and lay mine out to show I'm not afraid to take criticism either! Don't want anyone to think I'm just goin around picking on folks! I liked her position layout, so I'm going to copy that format

From Knees: (I ALWAYS start with either combat base or sitting/butterfly guard. No knee wrestling)
Double underhook pass, or Teleport pass.
Pull feet on hips spider guard and transition to somewhere else
Loop Choke

Opponents Guard:
Guard break via whatever method followed by one of the following passes: Teleport Pass, Double underhook Pass, Cut through pass
Standup with knee or ankle control -> Toreador pass to KoB
The Reis/Chim pass is my current guard passing project, have about a 40% success rate with it right now.

Opponents Butterfly guard:
Backout and get knee/ankle control
Hug knees together and sprawl pass

My Butterfly:
Over/Under sweep
Kick out to Scissor Sweep
Armdrag to the Back.
Loop choke

My Guard: (Aww yeah, this is where the fun REALLY starts)
I'm going to get into a little more detail here because this is where my strategy really comes together.
My primary goal is always to sweep. I want to get on top. My primary methodology for that is to set up the over and under hook and use the over/under butterfly sweep with a half butterfly hook. My secondary is the Scissor Sweep.
If people are posturing away from me really hard I try to snag an underhook, then technical stand and rush them over. To help me with that goal I use the following submissions to set things up:
Loop Choke
Single Collar Choke
Guillotine -> 100% Sweep

I almost always establish an immediate cross collar grip and a same side sleeve grip to let me setup to try the scissor sweep. If that fails because my opponent bases out I can transition to a collar choke that will force them to bring their basing arm up to defend. I can then grab the sleeve of the defending arm and move to an armbar.
If they posture up against the scissor sweep instead I will start to technical stand and push against them hard to make them base back into me, then with my same collar and sleeve grip hip out to the opposite side and push their arm across while I drive my elbow to the mat and either take the back, or reach over and fish for the Gift Wrap or the Single Collar choke.
If my opponent is moving out around my guard and has disengaged while I still have the cross collar grip I will work to pop my elbow over his head and spin under for the loop choke, which I primarily use as a sweep to get on top. I will also aggressively pursue this option when starting from combat base.
In the event that my opponent is playing a tight, low posture game I will work to achieve an overhook and a high guard and transition out to the omoplata or triangle. The object is to force them to posture up to allow me to get one of my preffered options working, but I'll take the sub or omo sweep if I can get it.

In Mount: Arm Triangle setup with Side Control finish
Mounted triangle
Baseball Bat Choke
Transition to Tech Mount
Transition to KoB
Americana setup with finish in side control
Underhook to spinning armbar or N/S kimura
I really prefer to move to KoB to launch offenses from here

Knee to Elbow escape (Works 100% of the time.)

Half Guard Bottom:
90% of the time I reguard via the Retard Sweep
10% of the time I get lockdown -> whipup -> Old School

Half Guard Top:
Pass via baseball slide pass
Or Prybar
Or basic walk your foot up and pop their knee off and drive to mount.
I will occasionally go ahead and work the baseball bat choke setup and then start the baseball slide pass. Makes it very difficult for them to figure out what to defend.

Side Control Top:
Baseball Bat Choke
Transition to KoB
Arm Triangle
Far side underhook -> N/S Kimura
I REALLY like to just pop to KoB and back from here to force my opponent to work as much as possible on the bottom. Having a good transition game from Side control to KoB to N/S is necessary to avoid being reguarded constantly.

Side Control Bottom:
Ghost Escape
Shrimp to guard
Trap far arm, then sneakily execute inverted triangle and sweep to top.
Sneakily shrimp bottom knee in, then kick top leg over to secure ARMBAR FROM BOTTOM OF SIDE CONTROL!! (has worked exactly twice, but is awesome)

Back Mount:
Bow and Arrow choke
Use bow and arrow grip as control to set up single collar choke from Tech Mount if I can't get the leg.

Back Mounted:
Get shoulders to mat, then bring knee up to intercept mount attempt and regain butterfly guard
Get both of opponents arms on the same side of my head and turn into them to guard.

This is just about where I live on top. It makes transitions so easy...
Baseball bat choke
Far side armbar
Single collar choke setup
Transition to N/S
Transition to Mount
Rolling toe hold (Rarely, but sometimes!)

I also am always looking to maintain a cross collar grip whenever I'm transitioning so that any movement my opponent makes to get UP frees space for me to wrap up a loop choke.

And now I've given up all of my secrets!

BJJ 9/7/2011 + Teleport Guard Pass

A little bit late with this update, been very busy with work.
Ended up having a lot of people show up for the Wednesday class which was awesome. Warmup was more no-handed armbars, then triangle and omoplattas. Technique was all from failed scissor sweeps. Super fun stuff. The knee lift sweep that I use all of the time was the first one. You go for the scissor sweep and your opponent bases out, putting one hand or forearm on your ribs, anywhere that lets you cross grip the sleeve and pull his arm across. Next you pin that arm with your body and reach around his back to grab under his armpit. Now you just roll back and lift with your knee, spinning your opponent awesomely in the air and landing in side control with the near arm pushed across your opponents chest.
Second technique was same setup, but your opponent bases on the mat behind your back instead of on your side, so you overhook their basing arm and reach through to secure a grip in their collar/lapel area. Then shift back to full guard, grab some fabric with the other hand and execute a very nasty collar choke. Third technique was again your opponent basing on your ribs, but this time you pull their arm across, post on it, and pop your leg free and swing over to their back. KEY POINT: Keep your sleeve grip THE ENTIRE TIME. Pin their hand to the mat and use it as a platform to base with. That keeps them from scrambling. Fourth Technique, Omoplatta. Opponent bases out with their arm over your back again, so you pop your leg free back to guard, but at a 90 degree angle from your opponent and push your opponents head away as you kick over to secure the Omo.
Fifth Technique, Again, opponent bases on your ribs. This time you grab the sleeve and pull across as you hip out on that side, then reach over the back of their neck and grab their wrist or sleeve to secure the gift wrap, then complete the gift wrap sweep.
Sixth Technique, Opponent bases on the mat, you use your cross collar grip and upward elbow pressure to make space, execute a technical stand, and then immediately snap down and across your body as you move to take their back.
BONUS MOVE: Same setup as Tech 6, but instead of snapping them across to the back you pop your arm over their head and roll for the loop choke.

Drilling was from guard, I made sure that all of the new guys I drilled with got an opportunity to hit at least one of the Techniques of the Day as well as working on it a lot myself. Spent some time working with Antony since he's trying to recover his old guard which he let languish over the summer.

Rolling paired me up with Ian (about ~190, blue belt) and Justin (~220, white belt). Worked inside Ian's guard for him since he's also working on guard retention. Teleport pass worked quite well. I still need to work on my defense against the North South choke. Whenever I end up on bottom of side control I tend to give up the N/S transition, and then I tend to get choked by the bigger guys sliding into that N/S choke with good base. That's definitely a point to work on for me. I spent the entire time working solely baseball bat chokes from various places. Got to it on Ian, but should have rotated more and didn't finish it in time. First roll with Justin I played around with open guard, just letting him work so I could evaluate him a bit since he's been gone for about 6 months. He eventually passed my guard to side control shortly before time ran out. The other rolls with him I put him on his back and dug for the baseball bat choke. Finished it a couple of times. I'm getting much more proficient with setting it up and finishing it. Which is my goal.

Ok, I promised BJJ GRRL that I would do a writeup on my favorite and highest percentage guard pass, which I call the Teleport guard pass, but which is really just a slightly modified basic knee through pass. The ONLY person I have seen demonstrate it is James Clingerman on this video here. In fact, I highly recommend everyone watch that video. It's just pure gold for guard passing. The pass I'm talking about is at the 5 minute mark. You'll see that he presses the knee down, and his NOT postured up. He's controlling the upper body and he CROSSES HIS REAR LEG OVER before he moves his lead leg. What that does is give you a 100% pass percentage if you get to that point. From there all you have to do is pop that rear knee straight up and you're passed. People will feel like you just teleported through their guard once you get good at it. I now set it up the second I have any space in inside their guard, I just hook my rear foot up as I move my lead knee forward and all of a sudden I pop through my opponents guard. This is far and away my highest percentage guard pass and I can not recommend it enough. Hell, everything Clingerman shows in that video, and in the follow up video is just awesome.
It also helps that he's about my size, so his game is readily adaptable to my body type, AND he's not from a freakin Capoeira background, so his stuff isn't as insane as Cobrinha or some of those other guys. It all is just really tight, fundamental moves with a little bit of spice on top to make them extra awesome.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weightlifting updates

So with my purple belt test being delayed due to the holiday I took the weekend off from Jiujitsu to move 3000lbs of cinder blocks from one side of my house to the other in order to prepare for mortaring my barns foundation. I also hit the weights nice and hard. I'm using relatively low weights at the moment because my goals are a little different right now than they were previously. I'm repping 120 on the bench, 130 on deadlift, and 55 on rows. Very simple exercises but they are designed to complement the movements that I've found I need more strength in when rolling. They also have some vanity application as I'm doing a bit of lifting for appearance as well. I'm working my way up to 5 sets of 10 with 120 on the bench and I'm at 6/6/6/5/5 right now. Deadlifts is 3x10 and the rows are 3x5 each arm. Lifting feels really good and my bodyweight is slowly creeping back up from the low of 139 that I hit last week to 144 last night (Though back to 141.5 this morning) and I'm intaking a ton of protein through the day. I've decided that the cinder block moving makes a great grip strength exercise, so since I've got some blocks left over I'm going to set a few up in my other field and spend some time every day just picking a couple of them up and moving them to the other side of the field. First competition is rapidly approaching and I feel a little bit odd about it. I haven't done any comps this in a while and I'm looking forward to this one a lot. Hopefully I'll have my BJJHQ Rashguard by then.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

BJJ 8/31/2011 - Fight Prep

Warmed up before class with some agility drills, cartwheels, handstands, handsprings, random rolling around, did a little capoeira to loosen up because I was feeling good.

Also worked on some standing loop choke takedowns and the superman guard pass for fun.

Class warmup was no-handed armbars from guard, then triangles, then omoplatas. Technique of the day was omoplata, then omoplata and transition to side control when your opponent rolls out of it, then omoplata to triangle, then omoplata to gogoplata.

Drilled from guard and I spent a lot of time working the Chim-pass on top. I'm finally getting the details worked out on it and it worked for me several times against Antony, who is kind of my yardstick for whether something sucks or not. Since if it works on him it must be pretty functional.

After the drilling I moved over to help sharktank Brian who is getting ready for his fight at Bad Manor. We started in his guard and had to pass it, he had to sweep, submit, or escape.
A lot of the guys were making the mistake of matching strength against him and trying to force their way past his guard, and he's incredibly strong and flexibile, so that's not easy. I had more success by being sneaky and using my normal teleport pass.
We continued sharktanking him and coaching him through stuff and he's REALLY getting his gameplan super solid. At the end we did some takedowns from the clinch with him and I busted out my one TD trick and shot for the firemans carry, then when he sprawled I pulled a wicked sitout and forced him to scramble hard not to get his back taken. That's about all I can do with him, his clinch work is fierce and his takedown defense is really strong. I expect him to win in spectacular fashion next friday.

I've added some vanity lifting to my Mundials prep as well. Just doing 3 sets of 10 bench press with 95lbs in order to pump my chest up a bit for no other reason that I want to look better. Still doing tons of deadlifts and rows for my pulling strength and posture though and it's paying off.

Purple belt test is now two days away and I am slightly nervous about it.