Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review - 2015

Just like everyone else on the planet I begin to reflect on the last 365 days of my existence as the year comes to a close. This year was fairly momentous for me in several ways. I was unable to train for the entire first 6 months of the year except for a few random Saturday classes, then I bought a new house and moved which is itself pretty awesome. After that I was able to start training again but at an entirely different school. And finally, for the first time ever, I went to a tournament and won every match. It was only 3 matches, but for me that's still a pretty good deal. I'm going to try to carry that success into 2015 with a nice list of goals for the new year.

1. Compete 6 times.
2. Lift weights 3 times a week or more.
3. Train 3 times a week or more.
4. Brown Belt

That's a pretty hefty list of goals for me, and there are some subgoals that will go with that 4th one, like finding out what the Brown Belt criteria is for my new gym/association, but I have the time this year to dedicate to my training in a way that I haven't been able to since just before I got my purple belt.

Hopefully everyone had a great 2014, and will have an even better 2015. I certainly plan to!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Strong Like Bull!

So I won't be back training until after Christmas, but I am able to get to my regular gym finally and I've started lifting weights again on a 30 week program. I went last night and did 30 minutes on the dreadmill (not a typo, I hate that thing) doing interval sprints between 3mph an d 6.5mph, finishing off with a 7mph leg.

After that I hit the weights for 4x10 with 45lbs on Squats/Bench/Upright Row. Those are the only three lifts I'm doing and I'm going to be adding 5 lbs each week, going 4x a week for the first month, then it starts bumping up on the first set of 10 for the next month, then it starts a staggered program.

Long story short, at the end of 30 weeks the goal is to be doing 3 sets of 1 rep with 200lbs on each lift.  Realistically with plateaus and whatnot this is probably a 50 week program, but I'm happy with that too. If I can stay on track for the first 15 weeks I'll actually be back up to a place where I can bench my bodyweight for multiple reps again, which is kind of my minimum strength requirement.

Not being able to do that right now really bothers me.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Newbreed 12-6-2014 Tournament Report

Slept well last night and woke up about 9:30am, Chris arrived a little after 10am to pick me up and we made it to the venue by 10:45 and the rules meeting was still going.

I weighed in, 146.5 with my jeans on, and made my self comfortable. I took a nap from about 11:30 to about 1:30 and then got called up to the weigh in area again because my division was empty. I told them to put me wherever, I'd roll with anyone, and then I went and changed clothes in case they got my division going early.

They called me up a couple more times to make sure I was ok with whatever division I had going and I ended up with 3 divisions. Adult Gi Purple Belt 149 and under, Masters Gi Purple Belt 149 and under, and Masters No-Gi Advanced, 149 and under. So I actually ended up with all of my opponents being in my weight class which is a rare event.

I only had 1 opponent in each division though, and my opponent for both Masters divisions was the same guy.

We started out in No-gi and I wanted to generate a takedown, but he kept his posture low and had stronger head control, so I opted to pull guard thinking that I could maybe hunt some leg locks. My guard pull was SUPER SLOPPY and I ended up battling against d'arce chokes from halfguard for a while. We went back and forth with him hunting the d'arce and me trying for a sweep, until I finally rolled him over and got on top, popped out of the choke, and hit the same knee cut pass that has been the bane of my existence at the gym the last few months. I cut right to mount and collected my points and rode out the last 50 seconds.

Second match, Gi, same guy. This time I was able to get a sleeve and a collar, so his bent over posture let me hit the Tomoe Nage immediately. I tried to come up into the armbar, but he caught my leg and started inverting trying to berimbolo me. I stuffed the berimbolo and ended up in his guard and up 2 points. He had really strong head control again and was able to maintain his closed guard for a while until he opened it to shoot for an armbar, I tried to pop out and he still had enough head control to get a triangle locked up, but I felt it happening and was able to bring my hand back in and lock it up to defend the triangle.

I then spent the next 3:30 just stopping him from finishing the triangle on me and then won 2-0. My opponent seemed fairly annoyed by the results, which I guess I understand since I spent the majority of both matches fighting off his submission attempts and then won on points, but Jiu-jitsu has always been about defense and survival first to me, and submissions as an afterthought. I was better at defense than he was at offense, then my passing was better than his pass defense. Today I was the better competitor and I feel pretty good about it.

My third match was Adult Gi, and it was against a 16 year old kid named Duncan. I gripped up, got my collar and sleeve and went for the Tomoe Nage, but he had some serious agility and managed to land on his feet THREE times when I had him all the way up and going over. Since I couldn't make the Tomoe stick I pulled guard with grips. He picked me up trying to break my guard, but I held it until he over-committed trying to break it and I was able to hit a backsweep to mount.

From there I worked for an Americana, he pulled his elbow in, but left me the grip, so I was able to transition to the armbar and finish.

He was really game though, and I wish I had been a purple belt at 16. He's been training since he was like 5 years old and I imagine will sit at purple belt for a few years while he develops and end up being a monster.

This is the first tournament I've been to where I haven't lost a match, and also the first one in a LONG time where everyone I faced was actually in my weight class for real. I feel great about my performance and I'm going to be redoubling my efforts at weight training as well as working hard to make 3+ classes per week.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Toes... Ouch

Trained Wednesday as my last class before Newbreed. The break from my car accident hasn't hurt me quite as much as I expected it to, so I'm still feeling decent about it.

Class was more work from the back, this time working the clock choke if the back take is blocked, then if they bring the hand in to defend the clock choke the step over rolling bow and arrow. 

I actually have videos from an Ian McPherson seminar for both of those techniques so I'm not going to describe them in detail here. 

After that we played some bear crawl soccer and crab soccer for cardio and I managed to smash two of my toes up really good kicking another guy in the foot. So that sucks, but I don't expect it to be a factor on Saturday. 

I just need to keep myself focused and work my gameplan.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Training for Newbreed

So, despite my car accident I am still competing this Saturday.

With that in mind I went into class today focusing on grip control and being assertive.

Normal warmup, then some takedown work. I drilled tomoe nage for 4 minutes and it felt really smooth from a variety of setups even against resistance. I practiced my followup a lot to make sure I don't run into the same problem I had last time where I hit the tomoe then can't capitalize on it.

After that technique of the day was sprawl, then take the back, shoot for the collar, bring the knee in and roll to back control, then attack with the collar choke from the back, or the arm triangle, or the ezekiel, depending on how your opponent defends.

We drilled that for a while, then did cardio. Cardio was 10-9-8...1 of sprawls, then firemans carry your partner down the mat and back. I made it through that without dying and then got to roll.

Three rolls, first with a blue belt who is one of our MMA guys, who at the moment just hates the gi. I continued to contribute to his hatred by being very assertive with my grips, then when he stood to try to break my guard I monkey flipped him and took mount. Rode that for a while and eventually ended up in 50/50, worked nearside sleeve control and hit the armbar.

Second roll was with a purple belt who is about my level of athleticism, slightly bigger, and has a few stripes. I hit him with a teleport pass vs combat base and transitioned to mount. Worked for the kimura but it was on my weak side so I lost it. Eventually he also stood up and I monkey flipped him, took mount, and was able to get the kimura on my strong side and finish it.

Third roll was with Chris and I flat out can't do anything with him except stall his passing for a while. I need to work on getting under him better to take control of his hips. His base is just insane and I can't disrupt it as easily as I can the other guys. And when he stands up he always picks me up with him. I probably should have dropped and tried to shoot the double on him, but I didn't have it in my head until after class, so I missed the opportunity.

Still, I felt as good as I've ever felt, so we'll see how Newbreed goes.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

We'll call it a draw...

The above is a picture of my car post confrontation with a 6 point buck in the middle of I20 at 1am. So I've missed a little bit of training time.

I came through it mostly ok, but the car is totaled.

I won't be back training Jiujitsu until after thanksgiving, but I was able to get in the gym tonight to do some prehab-rehab.

I did half an hour on an elliptical, then 3 sets of 10 with 65 lbs on the bench, and 1 set of 10 with 45 lbs along with 3 sets of 10 squats with 115 lbs. Just enough to assess all of my limbs and make sure everything still worked properly.

Followed that up with a 20 minute massage and now I feel like life is pretty good. I'm still going to be competing at the New Breed tournament Dec 6th no matter what.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Leglocks are fun!

Missed the rest of last week training due to work project and being kind of sick. Back on the mats this morning though.

Chris and some of the other guys were out in Cali for Worlds Masters, so they weren't back yet which left a small gaggle of us hanging out at the beginning of no-gi november. We were chatting about random stuff and somehow leglocks came up, so I ended up teaching an entry to the saddle (inside leg triangle) and knee bar and heel hook attacks from there, then basic heel hook defense, and then the specific defense against the saddle position.

We drilled that stuff for a while and then rolled gauntlets for like 45 minutes or an hour. I got to roll for like 20-25 minutes with a purple belt who is slightly bigger than I am, and slightly better, which was a lot of fun. We would go back and forth positionally a bunch and then eventually he would catch me with something that he was just slightly better at doing than I thought he would be, including a really smooth transition to an armbar from the back, and a really nice reversal from side control.

This is the first time in a while I've rolled without having done a bunch of conditioning beforehand, and it felt really good. I was able to put together a lot of stuff against some of the bigger guys and I really felt good about all of my jiujitsu. Most problematic rolling partner is still a very energetic and athletic multi-stripe blue belt. He's really really really good at 2-3 things, and pretty good at everything else, so he can frequently get 90% past my guard with a leg drag, and then I have to fight to reset to guard, then we do it all again. And he has great pressure, and great base, so he's very difficult to sweep. He's an awesome partner to train against because of the good mix of intensity and skill.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Putting in the hours

I'm doing well keeping my class time consistent, that's probably the biggest single factor I need to concentrate on.

Chris was running a bit late this morning, so I grabbed a white belt and we did some relaxed rolling to warm up. Once Chris arrived we jumped right to Knee on Belly flow drills.

Pass to side control, block the hip and pop to KoB, hook the far arm and walk it up, go to mount, partner shrimps, you go to tech mount, they push your leg over the head, you breakdance to side control, they turtle and roll through back to guard, repeat.

We did 5 minutes apiece on that drill, then went to KoB techniques.

Thumb in grip under the back of the head, pop up to KoB, palm up grip on the collar, knee slide down on the bicep and step around for the baseball bat choke.

Second one was KoB gets blocked, so you reach back to the hip, use your body to push the knee down, step unto the pocket, free your hand and walk their arm up while driving the knee over to take mount, then trap the arm and complete the straight armlock.

We worked each of those for 5 minutes, then started conditioning.

Final countdown of shoot under, leap frog, pushups, sitouts, squat jumps starting at 10. I was pretty much done by the end of that, but we immediately started rolling.

My first partner was a white belt who was also a beastly wrestler. He wasn't even tired, so I was in 100% defense mode and still got subbed like three times. I just had no energy for the guy.

Second roll was with another purple belt who is stylistically similar to me, so we had a lot more fun. He eventually D'arced me, but it was a much more flowing roll than the first one.

I'm having a VERY hard time maintaining an assertive roll while I'm that tired, hopefully adding in tues/thurs weight lifting will help further improve my conditioning and by the time Dec 6th rolls around I'll be in good shape.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Stripe? That's pretty cool!

So, for the first two years of my BJJ career I did only No-Gi, so no stripes, and no belts. Then when I trained with Alliance I didn't get any stripes. I went from white to blue, and blue to purple. But now that I am training at a Roberto Traven affiliate stripes are a thing, and today I got my first stripe.

I'm actually pretty psyched by it. It's a good signal that I've managed to return to my pre-layoff skill level and I'm now actually getting better at jiujitsu. This is a nice boost for me going towards the New Breed tournament in December.

Today was the same halfguard stuff from monday plus cardio via running back and forth, shooting under one partner, then jumping over them, then getting taken down and the partner doing the running and whatnot. Fun stuff for 5 minutes, then grueling for the next 5.

After that was work from halfguard, 5 minutes on the bottom, then 5 minutes on the top. I hit a couple of Caio sweeps, but I need to work more on forcing the arm to the inside in order to get the reverse scissor sweep and the back take to work, and generally mess with my opponents posture more. I'm too lenient about letting my opponent flatten me out and going for the Caio or setting up waiter sweeps and things.

On top my passing is light years better than it was even before my layoff. Having an instructor who is my size means all of the guard passing tips and techniques are better tailored to smaller people so I've been really able to tune my passing game.

After that I had time for one roll with a 3 or 4 stripe purple who's a bit bigger than I am and is also one of the MMA fighters. He has a solidly intense rolling style with a great mix of clever techniques and crushing pressure. A couple of months ago with I rolled with him I was able to accomplish exactly nothing, this time I was able to generate a sweep, a near sweep, a couple of close guard passes, and defend almost everything. I went down to an armbar that was setup with insanely good pressure, but I didn't feel as completely outclassed as I did last time.

So, getting the stripe felt great, and I'm going to be working even harder now since I still want to have a shot at my brown belt in the next 18 months.

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Weekend... Next Weekend... Whenever...

Once again updating here has fallen by the wayside a bit. Business with work, training, and owning 26 acres and a 150 year old farmhouse are eating up all of my time, but I'll try to do better since I need to keep some notes on my training.

Last week Chris tried to kill us all. We warmed up with armbars, triangles, and omoplatas, then spent 30 minutes doing some kind of Crossfit style masochism consisting of (for me) a 35lb bar and a pair of 10lb bumper plates, then 40 reps of back squats, front squats, strict overhead press, overhead push press, clean and press, and jerks.

By the end of this I wasn't sure what was going on and was pretty much as exhausted as I had ever been in my entire life. Then we rolled for a good 45 minutes. I spent the entire weekend barely able to move because of how sore and stiff I was, but it was awesome.

Went back today and we were decidedly lighter. Worked on some halfguard stuff.

First technique was a slick sweep against the wizzer that I love and want to work on more. You get your underhook from half guard. The opponent wizzers you and you circle your own hand back inside and trap their wrist, then you roll back and pendulum sweep. It's nice and flashy.

Second one was the standard reverse scissor-sweep, current gym calls it a Wing sweep. Also played around with the immediate backtake off of this one.

Third one was for when they block your knee from coming in for the wing sweep, you bring it up on top and pinch the shoulder and rotate to face the feet for the armbar.

Then our cardio for today was an exercise in guard based on some stuff that happened at the tournament over the weekend. Your opponent is in guard and stands up with you, you open your guard and immediately change levels for the double leg, then you stand up and pick your partner up and they do the same thing, back and forth for 5 minutes. Then you start in mount, your partner reguards, you stand up, they monkey flip you into mount, you reguard, they stand, you monkey flip them. Back and forth for 5 minutes.

Then we did some positional sparring from halfguard. I was able to get some decent technical halfguard going with a successful waiter sweep, a technical stand to single leg, a butterfly sweep, a couple of caio sweeps, finally got got tricked by the blue belt in our group and he caught me with the top half guard bow and arrow. When I came back in on top I immediately passed guard using the tricks I picked up a few weeks ago that have really altered my passing game against halfguard.

The focus on driving the elbow down to block the knee really changed how my passing works and upped my success rate. Ended up with a couple more passes in similar fashion, then had to shower and head out to work.

My conditioning is steadily improving and I feel like I'm rapidly returning to my previous technical level, which leads me to.... Competition Time!

I was going to head up to Virginia for the US Grappling Submission Only competition Dec 13th, BUT I couldn't find anyone who would give me a ride from the airport to the venue and back, SO there's a Newbreed tournament Dec 6th right in town that a bunch of guys from the current gym are going to, AND there's a Roberto Traven seminar on the 13th. So instead of paying for a plane ticket, I'm going to see if I can do the Newbreed comp and the seminar instead. It will be my first time competing under my new teams umbrella, so I'll be training pretty hard leading up to it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Completely Forgot....

I didn't realize I hadn't been updating this...

I took a couple of weeks off to prepare our house for the winter, went back to the gym this week and I'm feeling good. Improvement is steady. I will update with more details this weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I had something for this...

I had a relevant title for this post, but I forgot it, because.... reasons.

Anyways, good class this morning, more mount escape work. Rodeo drills, then cardio and rolling.

Getting to the point where I can reliably beat up on the blue belts again even when exhausted, but my sweep and pass completion needs a lot of work still. I'm not assertive enough when I'm completing them still. It's definitely better than it has been in the past, but not as good as it should be.

I'll be at the Atlanta Open at the end of this month as a spectator filming for people. Looking forward to that.

Oh. Almost forgot, my elbow that I tweaked a bit monday is fine. Barely any pain or stiffness.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Americanas are Serious Bizness!

Got in and did some drilling with one of the blue belts for 20 minutes, 5 on top and 5 on bottom each. Worked mostly grip controls and sweeps, just rebuilding some of my chains and reflexes. He's got a competition coming up so he worked a lot of passing stuff.

Technique was Mount escapes, standard knee and elbow to halfguard, and standard upa.

Drilled those for 20 minutes, then did rodeo drills for... a while. Felt like eternity.  Was probably 7 minute rounds.

Cardio was sprawls while partner sprinted the mats, partner does pushups and sprints back, then you sprint down, do pushups, and sprint back. Pushups were done countdown style, 10 on the first lap, 9, 8 ,7. and so on. It was brutal.

After that we rolled, and at this point it's mostly a blur. I do remember defending an americana a little too long because it was super sloppy and it felt like I was about to escape the entire time, and then he suddenly started doing it right and I felt my elbow pop once. So that's not good, but probably won't be too bad. In retrospect I should have tapped about 20 seconds earlier, but the dude doing the americana was a purple belt, and it was white belt sloppy, so I felt like I could defend and escape it. But the guys top pressure and control is 100% purple belt, so he was able to keep me there while he cranked on my arm, and then suddenly he shifted and finally brought my elbow down properly and the americana went from 'meh, whatever' to OMFG TAP. So that sucked.

I remember getting MAULED by the instructor in hilarious fashion. At one point I swear he was posting on just one hand and I still couldn't generate a sweep.

I rolled with a blue belt that I had talked to a while back about focusing his weight better when he was on top and he apparently took it to heart because this time whenever I had a frame or anything his weight was immediately 100% focused and just splattered me back flat. I finally eventually managed to hit x-guard, sweep, and pass and stay on top for about 15 seconds.

Might have been some other stuff that happened

Friday, August 15, 2014

Indian run? What's that?

So, today I learned a new method of torture called the Indian Run. But first, I worked with one of the other purple belts who is just getting back from a long layoff trying to rebuild his technique library. We worked on some spider guard sweeps and stuff for about 20 minutes, then technique for the day was Knee On Belly. Two armbars and an escape.

The two armbars were the standard nearside when they roll away, and the farside where they push on the knee but flair the elbow out.

The escape was one I have actually never seen before. Inside arm cups the opponents knee, outside arm supports the inside, hand over hand. Elbows in tight, you turn away from the opponent  while pushing hard with your frame, then shoulder roll to guard. Felt a bit awkward the first few times, but then I got the hang of it and it's pretty slick.

Now, back to those Indian Runs. I had never done these before, but as it turns out you form a line with everyone and start jogging, and the person at the back of the line SPRINTS to the front of the line, then you repeat. We did that for... A mile I guess? Something like that. Then we split into groups of 3 and one person carried the second person, while the third person motivated, when person one couldn't continue they became the motivator, the motivator became the carried guy, and the previous carried guy did the carrying. Trust me, it was super hard. We did this in full gi in the middle of the day.

Once we got back to the gym we did 4 rounds of rolling. I had a roll with the purple belt from earlier, a roll with a largeish white belt and a roll with a blue, then a break and a roll with the instructor. My Gi game is steadily rebuilding itself. I was able to sweep and work to the top a lot, even managed a legitimate guard pass on the instructor which I felt good about. Still a lot of work to do, but steady training should mean that I actually end the year better at jiujitsu than when I started, so that will be nice.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

No-Gi Work

Made it to the gym for some no-gi today and rolled with the same gigantic guy I rolled with last week. This time I had a bit more success and was able to use my hips better, keep better frames, and generally keep my structure aligned more productively which led to me being able to get to top position and his back a few times and control him.

I also was able to finish a chin strap choke off of the attempted back take and accidentally jaw crushed him while trying for a Von Flue choke.

He has grips like a vise and great top pressure, but he was making some mistakes that let me bypass his attributes some. He was also getting tunnel vision on his north/south chokes and passing up opportunities to attack my arms. I pointed a few of those out to him and he started mixing it up a little better which led to several solid armlock submissions for him, so that should help his overall game.

Good class, good work.

Monday, July 28, 2014

You Know It Was Good Training When You Almost Black Out In The Shower

Hit the Gi class today and it was killer. Worked the Y-grip break that Xande put out:

And got a feel for it. Then we worked Z-guard/Quarter Guard passing and I was able to pick up some details that I think will help me. A lot of it is just getting more experience with the passing system that this gym uses, which I really like. It plays well into parts of my old passing game while being superior in every way because it's tailored a little better to people under 200lbs.

First pass you get the a collar grip on the same side that your opponent has the knee up on, and grip the bottom leg with the other hand under their knee. Next you step up with your leg on the pinned side, and then you step up with the other leg and square their hips up. Keep them pushed down with the collar grip and backkick your leg to clear and pass to KoB.

Second pass they block the collar grip, so you go to the belt or pants on the back, then with your other hand you bump the kneeshield towards the outside and drop your head down into your opponents ribs. This should slide your shoulder down to their ankle to pin the leg. If you don't get deep enough then you will be open to the shin-in pendulum sweep. Your other hand pins their bottom leg flat down and then you tripod up and walk around them to complete the pass.

Third pass they block the collar again, so you weave under the top leg, grip the bottom leg, grab some gi towards their bottom collar with the other hand, but not too deep, and then sprawl hard on the same side hip as their blocking knee to force it down towards the bottom leg. You want your weight posted entirely on that knee, your shoulder connected to opponents knee. Now walk it around to take side control.

You can also walk it towards the back if you want to from there and try to take the back.

After that it was cardio time and we did partner drags up the mats and back. Luckily I was partnered with a 150lber and a 115lber. I had to drag the 150er, the 115er had to drag me, and the 150er got to drag the 115er. My legs were on fire by the end of it. Oh, and while the other team was doing drags, you had to do pushups. Pretty sure I'm going to feel crippled tomorrow, but it's the only way to get my cardio back.

After that We rolled 7 minute rounds, I started out with another purple belt and flubbed a tomoe nage due to limp noodle legs. I spent the entire time defending and framing with high success. Ended up getting armbarred once, but it was from a position that a fresher me could have escaped. I just didn't have the ability left to make the adjustments without giving up the armbar. I felt like that was a successful use of defense.

Rolled with the instructor after that and it was mostly the same. I did manage to hit a sloppy sickle sweep since he likes to come at me standing. Also managed to get a shot at a loop choke, which I had deep, but not deep enough and not with enough control to sweep him or finish it. After that it was just me framing and shrimping for three more minutes or so.

Hit the showers and stood under icy cold water for a bit and tunneled and almost dropped. Definitely a tough class for me because I'm so out of shape, but I'm working on fixing that.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ow... My face hurts.

So this happened today:

Caught a stray elbow while in halfguard that put a pretty wicked cut on the inside of my lip. No further damage done, but it stings like a mofo right now.

Mostly spent my time working on prioritizing head control and maintaining and regaining hooks on the bottom. I REALLY need to do something about my passing game in no-gi. My sweeps are ok until everyone gets so sweaty that I can't maintain control, but my guard passing is terrible. I can't keep control of the legs long enough to complete my normal passes, so I need to drill some more no-gi specific passing stuff to clean that whole process up.

Still, slowly improving. Going to hit up the Gi class tomorrow, and try to make 3 Gi classes next week. We'll see how that works out for me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7/22/2014 No-Gi Training

Did about 30 minutes of cardio then rolled for an hour with a massive guy who has been training BJJ about 2 years and wrestled a bit in high school before that.

Sweeping him was beastly hard but I was able to pull it off a few times and transition to the back a few times. Came close to finishing a N/S choke, but nothing else was what I would consider close. His top pressure was stifling most of them time, but he was still making a few random mistakes that I helped him clean up, which immediately resulted in him being more effective at crushing me, which is good.

I was able to effectively apply some of the framing concepts I've been reminding myself of to relieve a lot of pressure, and was able to fight off quite a few things. It was a lot of good work, forcing me to work hard while rolling and keeping me from being lazy.

I was also able to control and pin him pretty effectively once I was on top and I found myself using some of the concepts from Cobrinha's top control that I was looking at last night in his match against Jeff Glover here:

I feel like my guard passing has suffered the most from my layoff though, and I really need to just get in and do some positional drilling on a few passes and rebuild my passing game both for Gi and No-Gi. I'll probably spend some time this weekend watching Lucas Lepri videos since I feel like his passing style is the one I want to emulate.

Gi class is tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to that. My elbow and my ankle are both running about 90%, but my elbow yelled at me when I tried to do pullups, so whatever weird muscle injury I have there is taking a while to recover.

Friday, July 11, 2014

When am I going to be good at this again?

Second day in the Gi and I feel like a train hit me about 25 minutes into the class.

This time I made it on time to drill top and bottom, worked mostly omoplata setups and grip fighting on the bottom, and trying to work passes when my opponent has both sleeves controlled on top. Results were mixed but I'm start to recover some of my working knowledge of gi.

After that we worked the same three guard passes from wednesday, then another 20 minutes or something insane of cardio work. Jogging, then partner drags around the mat for a lap, then 5x20 pullups and pushups, then things start to kind of blur, I think we went from there to the people competing tomorrow doing a Q&A on rules and stuff, while the few of us who aren't competing went to roll.

I do remember that I rolled for about 20 minutes with one of the blue belts and just got mauled. I was chasing with my feet, feeding into armbars and triangles, and generally just fumbling around like I'd never done jiujitsu before. It was bad. Probably going to be a month or two before I can perform in the Gi while completely exhausted with any competence. Right now I just don't have the unconscious reflexes I did before the break.

The beatings are good for my soul though.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

100% Wrecked

Best class EVER! Back in the Gi and beginning the training camp for the Atlanta Open. Just like getting back to no-gi I feel like a scrub.

Got there a few minutes late, but still got in some drilling. It's essentially game-plan drilling, 5 minutes each of drill what you want from the bottom, then from the top.

From there we went right into technique which was passing guard.

First pass, you break guard, acquire combat base, opponent goes to feet on hips, you take the outside pants grip on your down leg side, bring the down leg up, then backstep that leg and shove the opponents knee down and through, then backstep the inside leg around for knee on belly. I'm pretty sure this is one of the passes Emily Kwok does, and I am terrible at it. Definitely need to work on my standing passing.

Second pass, same stuff but opponent switches to DLR when you bring the leg up. You do the knee flare remove the DLR hook, then drive in and legdrag. Post legdrag if your opponent maintains the ankle grip from DLR you windmill your knees down onto their wrist side, pop the ankle free, then windmill back to the otherside.

Third pass, same stuff, but when you knee flare they return to feet on hips, you pressure in with the hips, feet back, and execute the standard X-pass.

At every point you have to address any offensive grips your opponent has before you execute. If they have a collar grip, strip it.

After that we did like 10-15 minutes of cardio during which I almost died. I am hideously out of shape. Might have been 20 minutes. It felt like 3 days. I barely made it through that and then it was time to roll.

Got to roll against a purple belt my size who is also better than I am in at least a few ways, which was awesome. I'll be able to train with a similarly sized and slightly more skilled person for the first time ever! We baseball bat choked each other, and then mostly stalemated I think.

Rolled against... other people too? A blue belt I think, and maybe a white belt, then closed it out with the same purple belt. OH! Also rolled with the instructor Chris, who I barely barely barely managed to sweep off of a straight ankle lock. Then I got immediately reswept. By the end of it I was dead, barely managed to make it into the shower and an ice cold shower has never felt so good in my entire life.

Going to do some No-Gi tomorrow and try to do some conditioning too, then more Gi work on Friday!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Holiday Work on the Home Gym

Trained today, rolled with one of the aspiring MMA guys again, different one than usual, who has a fight coming up in September as well. He had good heavy pressure, but was making a few small fundamental errors that I helped him clean up with his passing which immediately made him much more effective. I broke out my omoplata/triangle game again which worked well but he was definitely better in the scrambles than I was, so I failed to capitalize on several sweeps.

In bigger news I started work on my home gym. I have a 10'x18' outbuilding on the property that I'm going to convert into mat space and lifting space.

This is a picture of the current outside, after I cut down a bunch of huge bushes that were trying to take over the building, this is also post bug bombing since it was infested with spiders and stuff:

I took it at night, but you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Then here is a close up of the area that will be mat space:

This space is 10'x'10, give or take a few inches, and there is a wall currently dividing the two parts. I'll be taking that wall down and then putting in a nice sturdy wood floor across the entire space, redoing the walls, putting in a little AC unit, and then building in pullup space, and possibly a power cage. I'll be posting updates as I work on it, but I don't intend to be finished with it until possibly early next year, or even mid summer next year. It's going to be a leisurely project.

Training tomorrow is supposedly back in the Gi, so I'll be showing up rocking my grappling pajamas, and if we do no-gi then I'll ditch the jacket and roll in pants.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Light Week, Improved Ankle

Skipped class today to take my dogs to the vet to have their sutures removed from being neutered, but I went in yesterday to roll no-gi with the MMA guy who has a fight coming up. His heel hooks are steadily improving, good pressure to immobilize the knee now and he's much more cognizant of when he's vulnerable to heel hooks, so we're making a lot of progress with that.

I worked on tuning up my Omoplata setups and finishes after being unable to finish two last week and was able to sweep with one and finish one. Overall a good roll and a good pace and I still feel like I'm getting better each time. Another month or two and I will feel like I'm better at BJJ that I was at the beginning of the year.

Next week Chris comes back from training with Traven on tues/thurs, so we'll have official no-gi classes on those days and be back in the Gi on Mon/Wed/Fri. I'm going to try to hit 6am Mon, and then 10:30am tues-fri classes starting next week now that I feel like I'm back up to speed.

My ankle improved rapidly from barely being able to walk on it friday afternoon, to barely having any stiffness or pain this morning. I'll wrap it for training tomorrow and probably keep it wrapped next week just to be sure, but I think I can consider it healed.

I'm still not going to be ready to compete at the ATL Open this year, but I do want to try to hit a couple of tournaments before the end of the year. I might try for USG Va Beach... Still trying to figure out budget and schedule for all of that.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Takedowns, Halfguard, and Ankle Injury

Missed an update for the Wednesday class, which was one of the most physically demanding I've done yet, well, up until that point. More half-guard work, some rolling which included a round with a 190ish lb guy who just won gold at the Mundials as a blue belt, so that was fun. A lot of work, which is good for me.

Today we started out with some takedown sparring which went reasonably well for me for once. I kept baiting the single and converting it to no-gi tomoe nages, then on the second to last takedown the guy shot in for a double, I got underhooks, he tried to convert to a bearhug trip. I turned with it and got the throw for the reversal, but rolled my ankle at the same time. So that hurts like mad now.

After that we drilled more halfguard. Halfguard passing this time.

First, basic pass to mount. Farside underhook, nearside arm under the head, knee in the armpit, then hip switch to the free hip, walk the trapped leg up, pop the leg off with the elbow, and drive through. Spider walk the underhooked arm up to control it, and windshield wiper your free foot over to the thigh to help complete the pass to mount.

Second pass was the same up until you clear the trapped leg, then opponent blocks the knee drive, so you pop up and drive to the inside for the baseball slide pass.

Third pass, they grab the underhook before you can flatten them, so you backstep, your outside hand goes to their knee to block them from following you, you scoot your hips up a bit and then free your leg.

Fourth pass is just like the third one, but you decide to get greedy and go for the kimura, they defend by hiding their arms behind your back. You grab the toes of their inside leg, and then roll over your shoulder and via crazy rolling sorcery take the back.

After that did work in half-guard, guy on top passes or submits, guy on bottom sweeps, submits, or reguards. Got some stuff to work, felt fairly good in general. Did the second round with a new guy who seemed a little frustrated that I was sweeping and passing on him very easily, so I tried to encourage him and help him out a bit and he seemed to be ok at the end.

Got in a couple of rounds of rolling after that, one of which was against a guy with silly triangles. Twice I thought could beat him to the escape and couldn't, and one of those involved me getting leg-in triangled in hilarious fashion. I was able to get halfway to the omoplata on him pretty reliably, but wasn't able to finish it.

Again a very physical class, my ankle hurts like hell now, so I'll have to wrap it and ice it when I get home, but I'l be back at it Monday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No-gi work and MMA coaching

Back on the mats today, once again with just the one MMA guy there to roll. I'm starting to feel like a purple belt again in No-Gi, getting the proper grips, developing the right defensive movements, framing my hips properly to get the sweeps. I'm definitely 100x better today than I was when I first got back on the mats 3 weeks ago.

I've been pretty dedicated to using the 'saddle' (inside 50/50) and heel hooks as my primary no-gi submission against bigger guys, but I need to develop my pressure and control well enough to be able to apply a larger variety of submissions.

I got a little bit of deep-half work, and a couple of deep-half to x-guard transitions, in but mostly worked butterfly and knee shield variants.

After about 45 minutes of rolling I sat around keeping time and helping coach the 3 guys working MMA rounds in the cage. Just basic advice, but generally helpful. I'm enjoying doing some coaching and I'm trying to plan a trip out to Wild Bills to watch the guy fight in August, but I may not have the cash for it, or the time, depends on when it happens.

Overall I'm feeling good about my jiujitsu and I'm feeling more and more confident that 6-8 months of 4+ day a week training might actually get me ready for a run at brown belt.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Deep Half Sweeps

Three times in one week! For the second week in the month! I've now trained 7 days this month, which is about equal to the number of times I trained all year up to this point.

Basic warmup, the right into deep-half sweeps. This is a position I've been working on for a while with limited success, so I was happy to get the chance to work it here.

First the basic entry to the deep-half, which I CONTINUALLY mess up. I frequently lead with my underhook on the leg, and leave my head behind, which results in me getting d'arced. You can't do that, you have to dive head and arm together, ear on their thigh, to avoid the d'arce.

Once you get there you gather up your opponents foot/leg with your halfguard and then pendulum to bring their weight forward and get control of the leg.

First sweep was a basic waiter sweep. You have rocked them forward, they post to avoid you simply ducking out to the back, so you underhook their ankle and pendulum again. A detail I need to pay attention to is making sure that I sweep my penduluming leg under me as I come up so that it doesn't get tangled up when I take top.
Now you control their ankle until you get your knee on the mat and pinch their leg, then you can complete your pass.

Second sweep was the same entry, but this time when you attempt to underhook the leg for the sweep you can't reach it. You pinch their leg (I usually scoop it with my inside leg instead) and insert your outside legs shin into the crook of their knee. Now execute exactly the same pendulum and come up on top. If you get bogged down trying to complete the pass on the inside for some reason you can switch and pass to the clear side.

Third sweep, same setup, but this time when you try to sweep them over they move and post with their arms. You loosen the underhook on the leg, swim over their posting arm and around the head, then plant your inside foot and backwards roll to top.

I need drill all of these more, but just getting to drill the entry with Head + Arm instead of leading with the arm helped a LOT once we started rolling.

Rolled with the idea of working towards the deep half and was able to execute some version of the waiter sweep multiple times against varying partners. Not as often as I would have liked, but enough for me to feel like I made some progress cleaning the technique up. I also dealt with way fewer D'arce attempts since my head was in tight the whole time.

The rounds were super long, I have no idea how long, but pretty sure it was longer than 6 minutes, and I stuck around an extra 20 mins or so to roll since I didn't have to be at work as early today. That meant I rolled for somewhere around an hour with very small breaks. I feel good about my cardio recovery so far based on my improving performance rolling.

My philosophical ramblings are still cementing themselves, so that post will probably come together some time in the next few days since I want to make sure that I'm saying exactly what I mean when I write it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Old Tricks and Triangle Chokes

Made it into the gym today, and again just had one of the aspiring MMA guys to play with. This time a much less experienced one who had some wrestling background, but seemed pretty new to the BJJ side of grappling. He clearly hadn't quite adjusted his wrestling and had a lot of habits that are good in wrestling, but bad in BJJ. After the 3rd time I caught him in a triangle choke I showed him how to posture up out of them, gave him some tips on passing to the 'easy' side, and had about 45 minutes of good rolling.

I'll be back in the gym tomorrow for one of the larger classes to get some more good drilling in, but a lot of my no-gi game has come back together over the last few weeks to the point that I'm busting out tricks I haven't used in years from the overhook, including omoplata to triangle setups, and other shenanigans. I'm actually enjoying No-Gi again.

Today is probably going to have a double post, since I've got some philosophical musings rattling around in my head, so look for that later this evening.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heel Hooks and No-Gi DLR

Showed up at the gym today and the Tues/Thurs class is still kind of informal while the instructor is training up at Unit2. Only one guy was there, and he was waiting for guys to show up for MMA sparring. He offered to roll until they showed up though, and so I got in a solid half an hour. I hit him with a couple of single leg x-guard transitions to heel hooks, then showed him how to stop them.
He also tried a flashy rolling back take from top of quarter guard, so I showed him the super easy version of the same back take. We had a good 30 minutes of rolling then his MMA guys showed up so I watched them spar and offered some minor pointers on the grappling bits that happened.

I'll be hitting the gym up again every day this week, and maybe even saturday morning. So there is a chance that I will train 5 days this week, which would be a first time ever kind of thing.

Damn it feels good.

Friday, June 13, 2014

One Day of Training Is Better Than No Days of Training!

Felt good enough to get into the gym this morning, and found out that contagion had ripped through the whole place last weekend and the first part of the week, so I wasn't the only one just getting over it.

Jogging warmup to get the blood flowing, then Drill to Win this week was flower sweep to mount, then partner does knee to elbow escape and flower sweeps you back.

Key points to remember are not to GRAB the wrist, but to hug across and trap the wrist in the crook of your elbow, and cup the back of the opponents triceps. Then concentrate on moving yourself, not trying to move your opponent. Pop your hip out, scoop the leg up and roll them over the shoulder of their trapped arm. Remember to roll them at an angle, not straight sideways.

Techniques were related, from bottom guard you armdrag and pop out  on your hip, then post and kick over to take the back, then drag them to the side and finish with the choke.

Second technique, they shoulder in and prevent you from popping up to the back, so you keep the arm trapped under your arm, and switch off to the flower sweep, to S-Mount, to double armbar attack.

Third technique they frame on your face/neck as soon as you try to armdrag, so you pop your knee up to block them from freeing the arm, then rotate, hand on the face, standard armbar.

Drilled with a couple of other purple belts for about 20 minutes, which was awesome.

Split up to roll and I'm still getting better, getting some of my rhythm back. I was able to hit quite a few sweeps and transitions, and I realized that this is a whole new gym of people who don't know all of my tricks, so I was able to hit one of my old omoplata sweeps.

Establish your overhook from full guard and start working off to the side like you are trying to hit a triangle, as they posture up to avoid the triangle you bring your foot across to trap the arm and start threatening the omoplata, they keep posturing up, and you switch vectors and roll backwards to take mount. I haven't hit it in forever because everyone at my old gym knew I was trying it.

I'm also really enjoying rolling with multiple purple belts who are at MY size. I think there are only a couple of people in the gym who aren't under 180lbs, which is AWESOME.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sick and miserable

I missed out on class Monday while my HVAC was being installed in our new house, which also involved me running about 50 feet of 10/2 and installed a 50 amp breaker in my breaker box, which it turns out does not have a master cut off. So I spent the day working in a live electrical panel which is never fun.

I also managed to get myself dehydrated enough to get sick. So I missed out on class yesterday and today as well to avoid spreading the contagion to my new teammates. I'm slowly improving though, so I'm hoping to be able to catch tomorrow and Friday still, and maybe sneak in for open mats on Saturday even though I have to dig holes for fenceposts.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Settling In To The Routine

Back in the gym this morning at 10:30am. Same warmup, then same drilling of upa to situp sweep. Techniques were the exact same guard passes from the last class, which was AWESOME. I'm not used to getting so much time to drill a technique set. I was able to troubleshoot some issues in the first one I talked about and really work on the hip twist that goes along with the knee cut pass.

Drilled for 10 minutes each, so about 3:30 per technique, then split off to roll. Had some fun, still working on getting back in shape, and getting back into the mindset. Made some stuff work, other stuff not so much. Got to roll with my new instructor for the first time and I was really impressed with the precision of his gripping in no-gi, he's only a little heavier than I am, maybe 15lbs, so seeing how he grips and moves is a nice change from my old instructor who was about 210 and had a totally different game.

This is the first time I've trained 3 days in a week in over a year I think, and I'm feeling it. Definitely feel on the tired side today. I'm not as sore as I expected I would be, but I have to dig some fence post holes tomorrow for our horses, so I'll probably feel it then.

Back on the mats Tuesday as our HVAC is coming in on Monday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I Don't Remember JiuJitsu Being So Much Work!

Today my muscles made a few attempts to remind me that I have done hardly any jiujitsu and that maybe I should take it easy, but I told them to suck it up and quit complaining.

As a result, back on the mats at 10:30am this morning. 12 or 14 people in the class, which was awesome. Started out with a jogging warmup, then drilled Upa mount escape followed by sit-up sweep for 5 minutes each.

After that we worked 3 no-gi guard passes, one of which I had never actually drilled before.

The first one was the standard kneecut. Pop the guard, combat base, drive the knee in, opponent blocks it, you cut to the outside and bring the non-cutting knee up and walk the foot up. Flat palm to push the knee off and clear your leg, backstep and push the far knee to the mat to kill the hips.

Second one was guard break transition to achilles lock. Opponent curls you forward to break your posture, you catch yourself in their armpits and bring one leg around and pinch their leg with yours and your elbow. They open their guard to attack or transition and you bring your knee up into combat base. Then circle your arm back (put it in your back pocket) and drop back for the ankle lock.

Third was the one I had never drilled before, it was a very slick transition to the back. Opponent tries to hip-bump sweep you, you block the knee on the side OPPOSITE the one they are sweeping you towards. So the knee they are trying to use to drive you over, you block that one and pop your knee up on that side, then you step OVER their knee. Drop your knee on that side to the ground aiming for their far hip, and at the same time bringing your inside leg up to catch the first hook and bringing your arm around to set up the RNC. Then you just complete the transition to the back with both hooks in and work for the RNC.

After that we did a gauntlet with 1 person starting on guard bottom, I think I got 4x5 minute rolls out of that, I felt slightly less retarded in no-gi today and was actually able to make some stuff work properly without gi grips, so that felt good. A final round of rolling starting from the knees and then I had to ditch out to shower and head to work as it was 12:05.

So far I am absolutely loving this gym. I won't be able to train tomorrow as I will be buying all of the stuff to install a new hot water heater (inline, woohoo!) and run a 50 foot length of 10/2 and a cutoff switch for the HVAC install monday. I will be back on friday though!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New House! New Gym! New Post!

It's done!

Moved our horses and all of our stuff over the weekend down to the new place. It's beautiful and enormous. I have an outbuilding that is going to be rebuilt as a gym with mat space and weights, my wife has a huge barn for our horses, I even have a lake with fish in it.

AAAAND I'm 15 minutes away from Independent MMA, a Roberto Traven affiliate in McDonough. I went down there this morning for the first time to check the place out since they have 6am and 10:30am classes. Their main BJJ instructor is travelling up to Unit2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays right now to train with Traven, so the class was a little light. I got to roll with a couple of guys though and I really felt my lack of conditioning. Both guys were fun to roll with, had good movement, good base, and weren't spazzy or overly intense. It was a good introduction back onto the mats for me and I'm heading back tomorrow for another class that should have more people in it.

Right now they are all No-Gi training for a competition coming up, I'm assuming the Newbreed Crystal Cup event, but after that event Mon/Wed/Fri goes back to being Gi days. Probably a good thing since my No-Gi game has suffered in recent years as I barely trained it. As a result I could feel even more rust than usual. My defense was ok, reasonably good pass defense except against one particular knee-cut pass that I can NOT remember how to stop properly without Gi grips. Lots of submission defense which I find preposterously easy without the Gi, though I did feed myself into a slick improvised No-Arm Triangle variation, and get caught in a bicep slicer while trying to hurricane pass out of baiting a triangle.

Hopefully training 4-5 times a week for the next 3 months will get me sharpened back up and I'll feel like a purple belt again and can start making the push to Brown over the next 18 months.

Oh, and I'll be documenting my buildout of my little gym, so should be photos and stuff of that when it starts in a few weeks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Countdown: 9 days left!

We close on our new house in 9 days, which means I'm about 12 days away from starting up training at a new gym. I've got a lot to be excited about with this, not least of all is the space to actually setup my mats and my workout equipment. I'll have some work to do on the little building I'm taking over, but within a few weeks I should have it in shape... probably.

Just thinking about being able to lift weights regularly, and train multiple times a week has me all giddy!

I should also be able to start posting videos again of technique references and things like that.

AAAAND I am putting together plans to hit up a pair of tournaments between august and the end of the year. Not sure which ones yet, but more news on that as it develops.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

There's an Englishman in my Jiu Jitsu!

More news on the training front, world famous Jiu Jitsu blogger and all around cool guy Slideyfoot came to the states to visit some gyms in the southeast, so I made the trek down to Tampa for the chance to finally meet and play with him and Stephanie (Sister of Allie the Clear Belt). I left work at about 10pm, drove until about 4:30am and then racked out in my Smart Car in a Big Lots parking lot about 30 minutes from where Slidey was crashing.
I woke up about 8:30 and went to pick him up, then we headed east to the gym another hour and change. The guys and gals at Fabio Novaes Lakeland were awesome and super friendly. I rolled with Slidey for a while, then with Steph, and then with one of their purple belts who was a little bigger than I am that was flawlessly hitting a butterfly guard pass that I have been working on off and on, so I got him to show me some pointers on it. I hope to be able to implement those tips when I get back on the mats regularly (News about that upcoming). I also rolled with a four (I think) stripe blue belt who made literally zero mistakes. His positioning and reactions were all as close to flawless as I've ever run into. It was a pleasure to roll with him and I expect that two or three years from now we'll see him taking the brown belt podiums by storm.

Me and Slidey, being the geeky fellows that we are, spent a lot of time chatting about theory and concepts and movement and playing around, but one thing I did really notice about his game is that while his top pressure was excellent, he wasn't very adventurous with his rolling. Branch out Slidey! Take some risks!

A few hours of that and then I rolled back out with Slidey and we hit up an awesome little pizza place (Slidey ate an entire pizza by himself. I was impressed.) and then after hanging out a bit more and screwing around with some shin on shin combat base counters I had to head home. Eight hours later I was back in my own bed.

Additional updates: We close on our new house at the end of this month, which will reduce my commute time by an hour and a half. It will also put a new gym directly in the middle of my route to work, which just happens to have 10:30 am classes. So the monday after we finish moving I will be heading down there to check the place out and make arrangements. With any luck I can still get 130 or so hours of BJJ in this year (4 classes a week, 1.5 hours per class = 24 hours a month, June-Dec = 7 months, so 168 total possible BJJ hours available). Hell, I might even end the year better at Jiu Jitsu than when I started it!

The next update here probably won't be until after I start at the gym there, once that happens the blog will be back in full swing since I'll have actual training to write about again.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DNS Issues Resolved and Training update

Due to some snafu within GoDaddy my DNS servers borked themselves. As you can see that is now fixed!

My training has been steady, but light. I've been making it out on saturdays to our open mats the last few weeks and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I'm in the process of buying a new house right now, so everything is kind of tied up getting that done.

I'm going out to our local Police Academy this weekend to help my instructor with their classes, so that should be fun!