Monday, October 31, 2011

Homework Assignment for November 2011

Time for a new homework assignment. If you haven't done any of the previous ones that's ok. This one isn't connected to any of the others. I still recommend you go take a look at them and work through them, but you can do this one on its own.

The assignment is for the entire month of November, so get ready to pay attention for an entire month. We're going to keep a limited food diary for 30 days. It's limited because we are ONLY going to worry about what you eat in the 2 hours before you train.
So here's what I want you to do. Every day that you train keep track of WHAT food you eat, and roughly how much of it, as well as how much time elapses between when you eat and when you start training. Include what you DRINK as well.
Then AFTER CLASS record how you felt in that class. Were you sluggish? Were you hyper? Did you feel weak? Strong? Happy? Irritable?

Keep this log for the entire month and see if you can draw any conclusions about what foods best fuel you for your training.

*UPDATE* Just wanted to add a note, it's OK if you want to keep a full food diary, but not part of this particular assignment.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

BJJ 10/26/2011 - Gripwork Continued

Started class by warming up with a guard pass we've been working on. Instead of the traditional knee centered on the tailbone, your knee is slightly off center under one hamstring of your opponent. Your same side arm is based on your opponents belt or the base of their ribs. You post behind you with the opposite side leg and sit back onto your heel while pushing the opponents opposite side leg down to open the guard, then pass as normal. Worked a few variations of it.

Technique was passing the DLR guard by popping the front foot down and out and turning and sitting down into a sort of halfguard. You want to get your arm under your opponents head to control them, or get very high up on their chest, even with your ribs right under their chin if you can, to keep them from pushing you down and escaping.
Second part is when your opponent tries to roll into you, secure the wrist, establish the kimura grip, and finish.
Third part is the fancy variation. Your opponent triangles their legs together, so you reach across with your far hand and grab their foot, then you do a shoulder roll that puts your head on the opposite side of their body, near their feet, and at the same time make a big arc with your legs. This rotates your opponent around and allows you to take the back. It also opens up the knee slicer/calf crushed finish if you want to go for that.

Drilling was starting from DLR with one sleeve grip. Several times I started with the cross grip on the near sleeve since I was only letting myself use one arm (Preserving the injured shoulder) and was able to sweep and take the back or side control with only the one hand. Continuing my gripping study. Being unable to use both hands to help break grips really makes it difficult to avoid getting swept from DLR, but I did manage to get some counter gripping in and make it work a couple of times.

Rolling let me really get my grip work started and first thing I did was try out the "Fruit Roll-up Grip" that BJJGrrl mentioned Monday. She was nice enough to make me a drawing since I couldn't figure out exactly how my hand should align:
This was actually really helpful. I used it from guard and once I rolled it up it was so tight and so secure that I was able to easily isolate the arm with it and just work my way to a casual armbar. This is a great grip. I messed with it thumb towards elbow and thumb towards wrist. I liked it best with thumb towards the wrist since that seemed like the optimal angle for what I was doing, which was jamming my opponents arm across the center line. Then I reach across with my other arm and grip the back of his tricep and just hip my way around for the easy armbar.
Continuing to make gripping a priority had me easily hitting triangles and transitioning them to armbars, completely pinning people from side control and mount with very minimal effort, and shutting down almost every bit of offense that anyone could bring against me today. And all with almost zero effort. I absolutely felt like I had barely done any work even while after a 10 minute roll with a guy 30lbs heavier than me.

If anyone else has some good grips they want to throw at me I would be psyched to see them. Also, if anyone knows a good book or DVD specific to gripping for BJJ I would love to hear about it. I'm becoming a serious convert to the cult of gripping because of the huge jump in my game I've seen in just the 8 or so days that I've been concentrating on them.

Oh! I was also reminded that I promised to film the DLR Ric Flair counter. I will do that next week and get it put up.

Monday, October 24, 2011

US Grappling Videos are UP!

 Ok folks, commentary is welcome either here or on the videos themselves. I felt really great about this whole competition. The videos have some match commentary in the descriptions.

 Trying to setup my next tournament outing to be US Grappling in Richmond for their submission only tournament instead of doing grapplers quest in dalton. I would just RATHER do US Grappling tournaments. Better organization, better atmosphere, just plain better.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

US Grappling - 10/22/2011

This will be the writeup of my tournament experience over all with a brief description of the matches. The videos will be up monday in their own post.

I weighed in Friday night at exactly 135.5. The weigh-in was quick and uncomplicated. My info got put into the computer and off I went. The whole process took maybe 10 minutes. After that I hit up longhorns for some awesome dinner and by the time I went to bed I was back up around 141.
We arrived at the venue at about 9:45 thanks to there being no traffic and I had a breakfast of banana, some awesome chobani yogurt and a blueberry muffin and some water. Checked in at the tables and found out that my division got rolled up since there was only one other advanced no-gi competitor close to my weight. Another one showed up a little later and they made the division a 3 man division.
The purple belt division turned into a three man absolute division as well since there were only three purples that showed up. The low turnout was the ONLY thing that wasn't awesome about the event.
The rules meeting was well organized and smooth with everything being covered well and questions being addressed as needed. I got changed right before the rules meeting for my no-gi division and about 10 minutes after the meeting I was on the mats getting ready for my first match.
First match I drew Bumpkin from Team ROC who is a slick brown belt. After much shenanigans I ended up with the exact same omoplata that we worked on during my visit to Alliance HQ a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to finish it using the alternate finish we had worked on. I was frankly astonished at my victory, but super happy. I don't think Bumpkin was feeling 100% though.
After a break I took on Bubby Mitchell of RUSH MMA. I was hoping I could use my reach to catch him from guard so I pulled an guard early, but he had absolutely great top pressure and was able to pass and setup a really slick D'arce choke for the win.
After that he went up against Bumpkin since we were doing a round robin for the division and lost to Bumpkin via triangle/armbar I believe.
We had a brief break after that while they redrew the division since we each had 1 win and Bumpkin had to go up against him a second time. This time Bubby was able to avoid the submission and grind out a win on points. Bumpkin had to pull out after that as he apparently was starting to feel super nauseous and I believe had upchucked his breakfast at some point. So I went up against Bubby again for 1st and 2nd. This time I played a more aggressive standup game, but he nailed a beautiful double on me for two points. I was able to keep him in guard this time and slow him down, I hit a near sweep eventually and we ended up back on our feet, then I was able to stuff a takedown and end up on top for 2 points. I was working to pass his halfguard, but hadn't established it strongly enough to get an advantage yet when time ran out and he won by 1 advantage. I felt pretty damn good about my performance there considering the experience disparity in both of my matches. 2nd place felt great.

A brief break and then the absolute no-gi advanced division started. I was up against some 170ish pound guy. I pulled guard and made him work as best I could, but he eventually armbarred me after some very nice transitions.

I had about 30 minutes to rest, grab some water, eat a banana, and review my matches before the Gi matches started. The gi division was rolled up into an absolute division with just three of us. First match was against Clint/Quint/Kint, not sure how it's spelled (My wife informs me that A. It's KENT like CLARK KENT, and B. I'm an idiot) who was about a 180lb purple belt. With my recent empahsis on GRIP GRIP GRIP I was concentrating on establishing my grips before pulling guard. I was able to overhead sweep him, but not establish the position well enough for points, but then I hit a sickle sweep and was able to get to halfguard top and get two points out of it. He swept me back over at some point and we were tied at 2 and 2, then I can't remember what happened but I managed another sweep, which he tried to turn into a kneebar, I defended, got on top, and actually had my single collar choke locked up when time ran out and I won 4 to 2.

After that I went up against a VERY TALL purple belt named TJ who put on an absolutely spectacular display of grip work by controlling my limbs in every possible way after taking me town with a hilarious  trip with his super long legs. It was, quite honestly, a pleasure to be part of such excellent ground work. His grip work was fantastic and with my new emphasis on grips I was really watching what he was doing and could appreciate the artistry.
The other fellow had to bow out due to fatigue instead of going up against TJ, so I ended up with 2nd place in the Purple Belt Absolute division. So this time out I won 2 out of 5 (Edit: I actually had 6 matches, I forgot to add in the no-gi advanced Absolute division match) matches, good enough for 2nd place in 2 out of 3 divisions.

And I was done by 1:30pm. The entire tournament ran so incredibly smoothly that I just don't have enough good things to say about it. I can only say that US Grappling  earned my wife's seal of approval and I plan on making them my primary tournament. I'll probably replace both of the other tournaments in my season with US Grappling tournaments.

Again, videos will be up some time monday.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Homework - The Perfect Tournament Round

This is the second homework assignment in the series, if you haven't done the first one then you should go here and do that one first. Then come back here and do this one. The other assignments can be done in any order, but generally having done the first one will help you with the rest.

You should be drawing from techniques which appear in the gameplan you wrote down from the first assignment in order to put this one together.  The idea is to create your ideal progression so that you can drill that sequence constantly at varying levels of resistance until it's second nature. That way you won't have to think about it when the time comes. Your body will do it for you, leaving your mind free to deal with your opponents responses. Of course, the more you drill it and the more resistance your partners eventually give the more you will have automatic counters to your opponents counters. 
So now the assignemtn is to create a gameplan that consists of the perfect tournament round.  Something like this:
1. Achieve collar and sleeve grip
2. Tomoe Nage (Sacrifice throw)
3. Setup baseball bat choke
4. Finish
1. Achieve collar and sleeve grip
2. Pull guard
3. Setup scissor sweep
4. Sweep to mount
5. Setup baseball bat choke
6. Finish
Once you have those, you should spend at least 10 minutes of each class drilling one of those sequences starting at low intensity and working up to high intensity.

Friday 10/21/2011 - Homework Assignment

This weeks homework assignment is more mental than physical. People have many different "styles" of jiujitsu which are mostly tied to their body type and their attitude. Many people pickup nicknames based on those styles, and a lot of them are animal related. Which leads me to this weeks assignment.

What kind of animal is your jiujitsu? Is it otterjitsu where you are laughing and playing on the mats all the time, just looking to roll playfully with everyone all the time? Is it wolfjitsu where you play the long hunt and never let your opponent rest until they are so tired they just give you an arm? Is it bearjitsu where you crush your opponent down and then maul them? What kind of attitude do you approach your jiujitsu with?

I'm a spider monkey. I use my feet as a second pair of hands, I like to play clever tricks on my opponent, and I climb all over them attacking. That trickster mentality is what really affects the way I roll though. I want to deceive my opponent. I want them to think one thing is happening, and then BAM! Something else happens. I live for that surprised look when suddenly they are being choked.

So, figure out what kind of animal your jiujitsu is and then look at how that affects your rolling habits and patterns. Now CHANGE ANIMALS. You're normally a wolf? Be a tiger for a day. The quick spring and savage finish instead of the long steady chase. When you play differently and change gears you'll find that different techniques and strategies start to open up to you. Different ways to play the same game will appear as you adjust your attitude towards the roll.

Also, I'll be in Suwanee, Ga tonight weighing in for US Grappling (At 135.5 lbs for the first time in two years) and I'll be competing tomorrow, so if anyone wants to meet me just look for the guy blue Megalodon Gi tomorrow. I probably won't have time to talk to anyone tonight since I'm on a tight schedule for feeding myself back up after this weight cut, but I'll be absolutely willing to hang out and chat tomorrow if anyone is around.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Get Your Grips and Move Your Hips

So after my experience up at Alliance HQ over the weekend this thread popped up over at JiuJitsuforums and Jack weighed in with some tips about the importance of getting grips, everyone piled on to agree and Jack threw some really good tips in.
I approached all of my rolls in class today with the intention of concentrating fully on grips before trying to implementing anything else. The result was a huge increase in the number of finishes that I was able to get. Was able to shut down everyones game, hit sweeps on people that usually are able to resist me, and generally ran amok on all of the lightweights. Gripping is definitely key. Win the grip fight and you win. End of story.

Techniques today were open guard passes, so that worked well with my grip concentration.

Weighed in after dinner (couple of delicious chicken breasts) and rehydrating and tipped the scales at 139.2. Will probably wake up at 136.5. No problem making it to 135.5 by saturday.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Training at Alliance HQ

So, by my definition of "Winning" while training I won like 5 times yesterday at HQ. For anyone not familiar with my definition here it is, "You only win in training when you learn something new. Nothing else matters." I learned a TON.
The warmup was the nice kind of functional warmup I like. There was an initial round of jogging, but then it was straight to the ground for shrimping, reverse shrimping, and shrimping around a partner while they advance. That led right into no-handed armbars from guard, then triangles, then omoplatas. Which led directly into the technique of the day which was the Omoplata.
From feet on hips, with double sleeve control and your knees on the inside of your opponents arms and putting pressure out on the elbows you extend one leg and shrimp out, pulling both of their arms towards your hips and extending them. Then bring your top leg over, foot on your opponents back, and put knee pressure on their elbow. You CAN get an armlock here, but most people will rotate their arm to relieve the pressure, which gives you the omoplata. So when they rotate the arm you extend your leg over their shoulder and pull your bottom leg through. It's important to retain control of their bottom sleeve the entire time here. That's a huge key detail that I was missing before that makes it SO much harder for them to escape. Once your legs are crossed and extended you can release the bottom hand and switch your grip, then grab your opponents belt and pull yourself upright. Move your hips away from your opponent slightly to break their balance and then reach across and free up their opposite lapel. Pull the lapel up and grip it with both hands, bringing your elbow down across your opponents back. Keep your weight anchored DOWN on the shoulder, not across their back. Now bring your knees up under you in an "S" shape and push your hips forward to finish.
The second part of the technique was for when your opponent is really strong and postures up after you cross your legs. You pretty much just swing your upper body around with their momentum, underhook the arm you aren't omoplataing and grip the shoulder and pull them down tight while you scoot your hips away to finish.

I really liked doing one technique with a lot of depth. It's a nice contrast to the broader, but more shallow multiple technique style that we have at Megalodon. It's nice to learn 3-4 techniques in one class, but it's also nice to go in depth with detail on 1 technique sometimes. Another reason why making regular trips up to HQ will help me.

Rolling got me paired up with a guy that is apparently a Judo black belt and I think a BJJ blue. He was very lanky which gave me space to move under him pretty well, so I was able to at least attain a couple of superior positions. We were pretty much even, though after the roll my grip was wrecked from trying to control him.
The second guy was a purple belt who MIGHT have weighed 160, but felt like a truck was parking on me. His grip control was outstanding. None of my normal tricks played AT ALL. Every time I moved I would get halfway through my escape and then find out that he still had my gi in a vise grip and I couldn't get anywhere. His transitions were also killer. I would think I was in the middle of escaping and he would just flow to a new position, frequently with an armbar or a triangle. It was awesome and I was able to FEEL how the flow that I want to develop worked.
The third guy was a blue belt that's only been training for 18 months, but trains 4-5 times a week. Again, grip control was insane. His transitions weren't QUITE as smooth as the purple belt, but were still really slick. Again he frequently transitioned smoothly right into submissions as I was escaping from places. He also got me with the "Move of The Day" omoplata when I started just trying ridiculous shit to try to pass his guard. All of those guys have that damn long range halfguard that I CAN NOT reliably pass.

So, list of things I learned I REALLY need to work on:
1. Stand up to pass
2. Grip control - Break opponents grips, secure my grips.
3. Pass LRH
4. Transitions into submissions

I'm going to write up a training plan to address those items and post it here a bit later, probably tomorrow.
Next trip to Alliance HQ is scheduled for Nov 19th. That will be after the two tournaments I have coming up, and will probably mark a transition in my training focus to include more trips up there in place of competition. At the beginning of the year I'd like to make it twice a month, and then if at all possible sometime next summer move to every saturday having a trip up there to train.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

BJJ 10/14/2011 - De la Riva MADNESS!

So only a handful of us showed up at the beginning of class. Me, Casey, Coe, Katy, and Yoshi, so we decided that the three higher belts would each show something crazy and teach it to everyone.
Coe started us off with a DLR hook, then you pass your front leg over the arm that you have a grip on and put pressure on. You can sometimes get the arm lock there, but if you don't you underhook the near leg and spin under, corckscrewing yourself under your opponent and then they just fall over and you take side control. The difficult part was getting spun under your opponent, but we found you could make the sweep work with the barest bits of your legs if you got under them right.
That reminded me of another DLR trick I had seen, so I showed that. You get the same DLR hook and cross your leg over the opponents arm, but this time you tuck your foot under their thigh and and extend your leg to put additional pressure on the arm. That forces your opponent to lower their head, you then situp and grab the belt, or the gi, or the tricep, whatever you can get a grip on, and roll backwards while lifting with the leg to flip your opponent over in awesome fashion. Key is to SIT UP as far as you ca.
That reminded Casey of a move for when your opponent is fighting off your DLR hooks and pushing into you. You have a slight DLR hook, but your opponent keeps squaring back up against you, so you put your non DLR hooking foot in his hip, get a little bit of a grip with your DLR hook, and execute an overhead sweep. Worked a treat. Key is to drop your knee towards your chest about 3 inches, then extend as you swirl your arms out and down.
That led into a bunch of other crazy DLR stuff, including variations on all of those techniques. And then I found out I could set up the Ric Flair Figure Four leglock as a counter to the DLR. You just have to push the DLR hooking leg in on top of the non DLR hooking leg and then sit back like you are going to do a straight ankle lock on the non DLR hooking leg and kick your nontrapped leg over. It's super complicated to describe, so next week I'm going to do a quick video on it. It's 100% comedy submission, but it DOES work if you are pimp enough to pull it off.

Antony and big white belt whose name I forget showed up somewhere in the middle, so we had a couple more people.

Rolling was one big guantlet. Fun times!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday 10/14/2011: Homework Assignment

Ok, so I've given BJJGrrl, and by extension Georgette and Slideyfoot, a couple of homework assignments over the last few weeks just in the form of tips to help with developing your game. A lot of it is stuff that I've gotten from Lloyd Irvin and some is from other sports trainers just adapted for BJJ. Last weeks homework was to create your "Perfect" tournament round. Describing exactly how you would want the round to go, then from that you create a sequence of techniques that you then can rep until it's second nature.

Since people have started adopting the assignments and doing them I decided to move them over here so that it would be easier for the people who are interested in them to find them. I hope at least a few people will find each one useful.

This weeks homework assignment is a defensive one that will require a little research. First identify the position from which you have the WORST escapes, mine is bottom of north south, next find a NEW escape from that position. Not one that you've tried before. It can be one that you may have seen and thought "That will never work for me" or it may be one that you kind of repped way back when you were a white belt and then forgot about. You might have to go digging through youtube or ask your instructor or a friendly higher belt, but find one.
Now your homework proper is to do 100 reps of that escape starting with 0% resistance and then increasing every 10 reps until your last 10 are against 100% resistance.

I did this a couple of weeks ago for north south and chose an escape where you get control of one sleeve of your opponent, get enough space to wedge your knee in, use that knee to make enough space to wedge your other knee in, then transition your way to upside down spider guard and either spin out to guard or sweep. It helped me look at the mechanics of north/south bottom from a different angle and improved my OTHER n/s escapes by proxy.
Picking a brand new technique in a position and spending a day with it is a great way to change your perspective on a position where you have been frustrated in the past.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

UGA Grappling Club - Halfguard

I visited the UGA Grappling Club last night to teach a guest class and had a great time. Since there were quite a few new people and many of them in general haven't been training very long I started the warmup with just a brief series of fundamental movements. Showed them how to shrimp, had everyone shrimp down the mats, then showed upa and sitouts and had them do some reps with those as well then moved directly into teaching techniques.
I taught four halfguard techniques, two passes and two sweeps. The first pass was a basic knee cut pass to the inside. You lock down a solid halfguard and posture up onto the balls of your feet, staying well based, get your knee up past your opponents thighs (Via bouncing usually) and then cut your trapped knee towards your other knee and to the ground. At the same time drop your hip down on your opponent and begin to free your leg. If your opponent clamps down really hard on the ankle then place your untrapped foot on their bottom knee and push as you pull the trapped foot free. Then take side control.

Second was a fancier pass to the back. Start with the same halfguard and posture your hips up, then drive your knee through on the outside, moving towards mount. Your opponent clamps down on your ankle and you posture up a little to give them an opportunity to try to push your knee back down into halfguard. When they start pushing the knee you reach under their head with your opposite arm (So if they are pushing on your right knee, you reach under with your left arm) and then hug them up to you and sit down, then roll to your back and insert your second hook to take the back. That last bit can be complicated to describe, but it's a great transition to the back and usually gives you half of a choke on the way.

Next up was the first sweep. I taught the Caio Terra sweep that I've been using recently since it's so incredibly simple. Your opponent has a good halfguard on you, so you shrimp out to the side of the untrapped leg, and then bring that leg over to hook your opponents leg, then shrimp under the OTHER direction to bring their hips all the way up onto yours. Now take your trapped leg and hook your opponents outside leg and drag it in close. Finally  block the arm on the same side as the leg you just trapped, then remove your outside leg and plant it to Upa over into halfguard top.

Final sweep was again fancier. You are on your side in halfguard with an underhook and your opponent has a wizzer. Base up on your free elbow and push into your opponent some to force them to base. Use your free hand to grab your opponents wrist on the arm then are using to wizzer you, now bring your underhooking hand in to also grab that wrist and pinch  your opponents elbow. At the same time switch your legs so that the outside leg is trapping your opponents leg. The underhooking arm should be putting some pressure on your opponents bicep here and already starting to sweep them. Next bring your trapped leg up so that your knee meets the elbow of your bottom arm. This will give you a hook on the inside of your opponents leg. Now roll flat to your back and drive your underhooking arms elbow to the mat. At the same time lift with your bottom legs hook. If you try to go to mount from here you will usually get caught in halfguard, so I recommend using the space created to just take side control.

That took up most of the class time, so I briefly showed a partner drill that has one partner performing the first guard pass to side control, then the other partner shrimps and regains halfguard and executes the first sweep, then passes with the first pass, then the first partner regains halfguard, sweeps with the first sweep, and repeats. I'll show that to Antony in class tonight so that he can have them drill it thursday.

After that we rolled for about 30 minutes. It was fun, but those guys are all rolling at a higher intensity than I was willing to engage in on a tuesday night after fish and chips. The first kid ended up on my back with 75% of an RNC pretty quick. The second kid was a very tall lanky guy who kept grabbing my pants, which was very annoying in a no-gi context where I had no similar grips to use. At one point he grabbed my pants, kneed me in the face as he was passing to side control, and then while I was stunned grabbed a power guillotine. As I started to defend it he pulled me to standing, as I went to trip him back down I realized the choke was too tight for that and started to tap, I THINK I managed to tap BEFORE I blacked out, because while I was waking up on the floor they didn't seem to realize that I had been put pretty much completely out. It wasn't as fully as the first time I was put out since I didn't have any vivid dreams. But I was definitely out. That kid has a WICKED guillotine. He kept trying to get it over and over and over after that and I rolled with him for another 10 minutes or so just preventing him from passing the guard and waiting for him to get tired enough for me to get a hold on him.
Rolled with a few other folks, but at this point I was gunshy about letting them actually work anything since I had already run into two of them that clearly were trying to rip my head off. I did have a fun roll with the one other guy that had a gi which was a little lighter and more relaxed and technical. Everyone else I just prevented from passing my guard or immediately escaped back to guard. It was fun, and underlined some things I need to work on as far as dealing with people who are athletic and intense, but it wasn't as fun as the more relaxed and technical rolls that I prefer.

So, things I learned from the UGA Grappling club this time around:
1. Fish and Chips is NOT the best pre-workout meal, no matter how delicious.
2. Don't underestimate anyone.
3. Never wear my gi pants to a primarily no-gi class.

I will probably visit again next semester, but I'd like to get a couple of the more promising ones into class at Megalodon where they can reach their potential.

Monday, October 10, 2011

BJJ 10/9/2011 - Self Assessing Against Higher Ranks

This one is a two part post, so if you are more interested in my musings than the technical details of class you can skip to the bottom section. Otherwise, continue on!
Kris showed up about 6:30 for the beginner class and so we rolled for about an hour, just working on random stuff. He found a couple of good places to dig up toe holds when I wasn't being careful so I had to start really keeping my feet out of danger all the time with him. He did keep feeding into arm triangles somehow though and we couldn't even really figure out if he was making a mistake or if I was just forcing them well. It was a good hour of rolling though.

Main class was more open guard in no-gi. Starting out with double wrist control and feet on hips you first stretch your opponent out by pushing the hips and pulling the wrists (PROTIP: When you are grabbing the wrists grab in the depression right above the hand where the bones of the wrist are just above the hand. There are nobby bits of bone there that give you a better grip), next push on your opponents knee on the side you plan to attack, then feed your knee up through the middle of your arms and then over to the outside on the side you plan to attack and thread it down under your opponents leg. This puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder and  takes away a lot of your opponents strength on that side to stop them from breaking your grip.
Next move your hips towards your opponent a little so that you can get your other leg alongside their based leg, then lift with the hooking leg and chop with the other leg to sweep your opponent. You can move immediately to a mounted triangle from here.

Second technique is the same setup, but your opponent bases out so that you can't sweep them over, so you take the easy triangle choke and just kick your leg over and lock it up. Your opponent is generally already stretched out pretty bad, so it makes it hard for them to defend before you have to completely locked.

Third technique is the same setup, opponent bases out, but you don't think you can get the triangle for whatever reason, so your non-hooking leg passes over the outside and over your opponents head and tucks in next to your other hooking leg under your opponents leg. You are now sitting almost entirely on your opponents upper arm and putting a TON Of pressure on the shoulder. A lot of us had to tap at this point just from shoulder pressure. Next you free your original hook, and just step over and take your opponents back.
Before you go to the back you can try to finish by pushing your opponents wrist up as if you are finishing an Americana and see if he taps. Some people will, some won't.

Drilling was from that same double wrist grab w/ feet on hips. Everyone pretty much immediately broke grips on me, which was fine. I worked my tournament game with scissor sweeps and triangle chokes, rarely branching out to other things. Passing guard I was working more on getting low and tight when passing to keep my opponent from having space to work to defend.

Rolling was a full gauntlet, more of the same mostly, but I got to roll with my instructor Casey and was able to execute a guard pass, hold side control, then take his back, then transfer to the crucifix when he escaped that. I was able to outposition him during the roll. Now, I know he wasn't going 100%, but that leads into my topic for the second part of this. How do you measure your progress against higher ranks, especially black belts?

So I know my instructor wasn't going 100%, but I also know he's not in the habit of just GIVING me guard passes or anything like that. So how do I know whether he was just being more relaxed today or if I was on my game today or if he was evaluating my ability to take advantage of opportunities? The answer is that I don't, and that I shouldn't worry about it. I got to flow through several positions and chain together a bunch of transitions and attacks against someone that I knew wasn't spazzing out on me but who would technically defend things.
I know we're all tempted to evaluate ourselves based on how we perform against higher belts, but that's a mistake. Our evaluation should be in how well we paid attention and remembered the techniques taught in class, and how well we stuck to our gameplan for the class. Did I attempt to implement the techniques I wanted to practice? Did I attempt the move of the day? Was I a good rolling partner for my teammates? Those are the criteria that we should judge ourselves by. Above all we don't want to be trying to guess how much the upper belts are letting us work or how intense they are being compared to their 100% level. That's a recipe for frustration.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sexism and BJJ: Manto Edition *UPDATED*

Everyone has had the discussion about BJJ and sexism. People make sexist or homophobic comments in class, women are uncomfortable in the environment, female grappling is constantly barraged by juvenile comments whenever it shows up in video format. I've had to smack down some of the whitebelts at places I've trained for making inappropriate comments while women were rolling, but I've never been involved in any situation that demonstrated a blatant sexist viewpoint.
Until now of course. I previously reviewed a pair of Manto shorts, which I liked. However it seems that Manto's marketing department is laboring under the mistaken impression that they are selling pornography instead of grappling apparel which has resulted in this advertisement:

Now, maybe they think that their target market won't buy their gear unless half naked women are rolling around in it, but I see this as an entirely stupid way to market BJJ gear. I don't WANT my jiujitsu sexualized. When I'm on the mats I don't care about peoples gender, race, sexual orientation, political affiliate, or religious views. I'm there to LEARN JIUJITSU not to find a date. Trying to hyper sexualize the gear you are selling me just irritates me.
If you want to show female BJJers wearing your gear in competition then that's awesome. Promote women in the sport in a positive way, but showing two models groping each other is a terrible terrible way to advertise your gear.
I get annoyed enough at the constant models on display on the MMAHQ/BJJHQ ads, but they are normally just standing near the person wearing the product, or they are wearing it in a way that just displays the product on an attractive person. Not anywhere near as annoying as the softcore pornography masquerading as ad copy that Manto has produced.
I assume they have someone on staff that understands english over there, so I've sent them an email at directing them here and sharing my distaste with their advertising. I suggest that everyone else that is tired of fighting an uphill battle against the sexualization of women in grappling write them as well. It may not make a difference, but then again it may.

I received a response to my email from Manto and am posting it below. I'm still not entirely satisfied with that explanation considering the giant MANTO banner behind the girls, and will be sending them a reply requesting some further clarification:
Hello, thank you for your feedback. Please read our explanation here:

Ok, some explanation is needed regarding our now infamous "2 semi naked girls" post: 1. The "mma themed" photoshoot was organized by one of mainstream's men's magazine for which we were asked to provide gear and mat space. We had no creative control over the photoshoot. 2. Our comment to the picture posted was aimed at rather unconventional "back control technique" when the model rather then locking her hands to secure the grip was more interested in holding the opponent's breast. Admittedly, the choice of words was unfortunate and we can now see that it may and have offended number of people, for which we are genuinely SORRY. In no way we were trying to be disrespectful towards female jiu jitsu practioners or women in general. The goal was for the post to be sarcastic, not sexist. 3. Despite 95% of our range being men's products, we have for years been sponsoring (also with cash, which not many other brands do for women competitors) multiple female athletes at both amateur and professional levels, and we will continue to do so. To all offended once again: sorry. OssssssMANTO Team

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Showed up at 6pm to teach the beginners class and Will and Kris both showed up. Kris showed up first and needed to know some better guard passing techniques, so I showed him a closed guard pass and a butterfly guard pass.
Starting in closed guard you get a two on one sleeve grip on your opponents left sleeve. You have to keep their left leg pinned with your elbow at first to make sure your opponent can't swivel to attack your arm, so you don't want to just hang out with that grip. So, you then yank that sleeve up and push the arm across to the other side of your opponents body and stiffarm it down to the mat with your left arm. So now your opponents left arm is pinned across his body and you are stiffarming it down with your left arm.
Next you stand up with your RIGHT leg first. This way they can't try any shenanigans with grabbing your leg. Next stand up with your left leg slightly further back to keep it out of harms way. Make sure you keep pressure down on the wrist the entire time with your stiffarm. Now you can bounce a couple of times to loosen the guard, then grab their left pants leg at the knee and push it up towards their head, then swivel it out and around towards their pinned hand and settle into side control. You should have easy access to the collar to continue on to the bow and arrow choke.

Second pass was a smash pass against butterfly guard. Starting in butterfly you scoop your right arm under your opponents knees as far as it will go, then bring your left arm to meet it. You don't want both of your arms to be the same distance through the legs because that will make it harder to sprawl out on your side. So with your right arm fed through and hopefully gripping the outside of your opponents right leg and your left arm supporting the grip you sprawl backwards on your right shoulder and hip. Your right shoulder should be driving your opponents left knee down against his right one. Now walk around towards the front of your opponent a couple of steps, and then switch hips and drive your LEFT shoulder into your opponents solar plexus and at the same time scoop up on your opponents legs to stop him from being able to shrimp.
Finally reach up with your right hand and grab your opponents belt, then reach up with your left hand and secure the head and settle into side control.

Did some rolling after that with him just trying to point out places where he could improve things. One big thing was that when he stands up to try to pass he is very bent over and gives up the monkey flip (Tomoe Nage?) all the time.

Will showed up about then and I tried to get then to do some flow rolling, they are still both trying to figure out what "Flow" actually means, so it was a little spazzier than I wanted it to be. But I tried to coach them both to THINK about what they were doing and once they got tired they started to flow better. Also rolled with Will a bit, just regular stuff. Sweeps and control, working the collar choke and trying to get him to think about his movement and move with purpose.

Main class was more leg hook guard.
First move, establish your leg hook and pass the sleeve off to the opposite hand, then reach over the top and get a grip on your opponents opposite trap or shoulder. Dig your leg hook in under the opponents opposite leg (So, your right leg to their right leg) and get everything tight, then shoulder roll back and lift your leg to sweep your opponent over and take side control.
Second move, same setup, but your opponent is too based for you to manage the sweep, so you pop your knee out and come up onto it, while securing a belt grip on your opponent, then put your head down and roll forward into an omoplata.
Third move, same as the second, but when you roll your opponent resists hard and tries to posture up, so you kick your leg around and secure the triangle choke.

Drilling was from feet on hip spider guard. I hit some triangle chokes, some sweeps, and did some passing. Standard stuff. Got in reps of most of my good stuff. Some more monkey flips. I'm still not happy with my guard passing. I feel like I'm not being technical with my passes. It's not like sweeps where if you do it right your opponent just magically ends up under you. Passing is a battle the entire way and requires that I fight each step to block my opponents attempt to stop my pass and reguard. I need to remind myself of that and realize that I won't always just melt through my opponents guard.

Rolling was a full gauntlet, so lightweights and heavyweights all together. Rolled with a newer white belt whose name I learned was Jeff first. I secured my cross collar grip and popped into the spin under collar choke on him three times in rapid succession. Then triangle choked him. Then some more collar choking. He seemed enthusiastic about it. I think I spent the whole round subbing him from the bottom. Did pretty much the same thing to all of the other whitebelts, though with Kris I ended up working up some modified collar chokes replacing the collar with the lapel.
Had a nice round with Darnel, the ~220lb purple belt. Essentially stalemated, which I feel good about. He's really really solid. Also had a great round with Casey. He kept trying to establish one-legged x-guard while I was trying to pass, but my legs are short and I'm quick, so he kept having to bail on it and I eventually managed to beat him through and get to side control. I also was able to at least threaten a couple of sweeps, which was nice. It felt like just a really really solid day.

Closed it out rolling with Jeff for ten minutes. He didn't seem to mind getting subbed a bunch and I tried to let him work a little as well. Let him pass to halfguard once while I forced a leghook bicep crusher. He kept fighting it off at first, but couldn't free his arm. So I was able to just make it happen. I like him, hope he comes back.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We are officially WWW.JoshJitsu.Info

The .com was available, but it will be a cold day in hell before I pay 12$ a year for a domain name.

BJJ 10/05/2011

So I got brutally sick before NAGA and wasn't able to recover in time to go compete. So that completely sucked. My next opportunity will be US Grappling on the 22nd.

Class tonight was Open guard techniques using the Leg Hook guard (I think also called lasso guard?) that Braulio Estima uses.

First technique was my old favorite bicep crusher. You establish the leg hook by twining your leg over the outside of the arm you are attacking and threading it back through so that your shin is pressed against your opponents bicep and their forearm is pinched between your calf and thigh. Next you get trick and drop your other leg to the ground to allow your opponent to pass your guard and settle into side control but their arm is still pinned by your leg hook. So you triangle your legs, then reach up and grab the shoulder/tricep of the arm you are attacking and pull down while you extend the hips putting pressure on the bicep and elbow for the tap.

Second technique is the same setup, but instead of just dropping your leg and letting your opponent pass you take your non hooking foot and place it on the same side as your hooking foot with your shin pressed across your opponents stomach/lower chest. Now you rotate perpindicular with your opponent and load their weight onto your knee. Finally, underhook the leg and then rock forward and extend the hips to sweep.
I prefer to land in KoB instead of trying to finish the crusher from here, but the finish is an option by locking down side control and then extend your hips back away from your opponent and pushing down to the ground.

Third technique was the Fancy Technique of the night. You are setting up the leg hook, but your opponent is having none of it and stands up. You underhook the near leg and spin under, ending up in an omoplata position with the arm trapped. Next pass the arm you have controlled to the hand that is underhooking your opponents leg. Un-triangle your legs and kick the outside leg through as if you are doing a pendulum sweep and roll your opponent over and sit up. You will be sitting on their shoulder and upper chest, which gives you several options. My preferred option is to turn a bit and take the mounted triangle. But there are some armlock options as well.

I mixed in with the heavyweights for drilling and was able to continue executing my game plan of hitting the spin-under choke on one of the big white belts. Also was able to hit a tricky reversal on him when he was passing to side control, stiff armed his nearside arm so that it was extended under him as he passed, then grabbed his belt and bridged and rolled, taking him over into side control. Tried the collar choke on Johnny and was never able to trick him into it before he crushed past my guard. I'll have to come up with some new tricks for that.

Tried it against Casey, as well as comboing it with a couple of different sweep attempts. Came close with some one legged X-guard and a couple of other attempts, but ended up getting subbed with an armlock from an odd position on bottom, then got about halfway through a guard pass and stalled out trying to avoid getting swept over via trickery and ended up in a collar choke off of half a triangle that I absolutely did not believe was a threat until it locked in. Fun stuff.

For rolling a was paired up with Will (Larger white belt from drilling earlier) who has been out due to his new job for like six months, but is still very strong and fairly athletic and Antony who is always fun. Was able to continue implementing my gameplan with the collar chokes and the triangles, but I felt like my guard passing was a little weak. I'll need to work on maintaining my pressure better. All the same I was able to implement my game plan well.

Had a new guy in class with some previous experience. He had good shrimping and hip movement, and was very acrobatic. He passed my guard briefly with a flying cartwheel the first time, but I monkey flipped him and generally ran all over him. Same spin under collar choke and triangle game plan was working well.

Continuing to drill that same series all the way until US Grappling as well.

Oh! Final thing. A technique came to me in a dream (Which means I probably saw it in an instructional video some time in the last few months and it finally put itself together in my subconcious) and I tried it out with Antony after class.  From closed guard choose a lapel, I'm choosing the opponents right lapel. First I establish a thumb in collar grip on the back of my opponents neck with my right hand, then I pull the lapel free with my left hand and feed it up over my opponents back to my right hand. Pull it tight and then push off your opponents right hip with your left leg and rotate for the arm bar. If you get it, great, if your opponent feeds their head under the collar to avoid the armbar then you swim through on your left side for the overhook, reach up over the back of your opponents neck with your left hand and feed that lapel up to the left hand then just ratchet your elbow down for a SUPER tight collar choke.