Wednesday, October 27, 2010
It hurts to turn my head to the left or to put my left ear towards my shoulder. So that sucks. I'll probably still go to class tonight but definitely no training AT ALL, and I might have to be careful what I drill even. I should be ok as long as we don't practice something crazy, like the inverted guard, or how to avoid getting stacked from the triangle choke. I'm a little worried; I've heard so many horror stories about neck injuries that never go away. I'll probably be fine in a week, but I'm paranoid about messing up a disk or something.
In other news, I bought some protein from proteinfactory.com, and it should be arriving soon. I'm looking forward to lifting and putting on some muscle. Not being able to train means less calories burnt in class, which means I may be able to gain some weight finally.
Friday, October 22, 2010
It was during my first no-gi class in over a year, and since we start from the feet, I decided to immediately sit down and buttscoot forward to sitting up guard. As I scooted I kicked my partner in the shin with my toe and heard it snap. It hurt some at the time but more after I finished training. It started to swell, but I trained another match. Now, over a week later, it's still swollen and bruised. There's not much I can do except tape it. I tried training some but it probably would be better to let it rest for a couple of weeks at least. I don't really want to though.
Even drilling hurts. Heck even walking hurts. But I have noticed that when I'm training I'm hyper aware of what's happening because I have to be so careful about where I place my foot. It's interesting. I think this heightened sense of awareness is something that makes a really good grappler. Hopefully I can hold on to this after I've recovered.
The other fun thing is that everyone lets me win!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Second class was also awesome. We did another round of jogging, then the drill where you shoot under your partner's legs and leapfrog over his back. Then we drilled the throw of your choice. A lot. Then Zak showed a counter to an X-guard sweep counter. It was pretty slick. Then more crazy tough training and that was it. I'm surprised I didn't puke. I was planning on lifting this morning but it was a pretty intense class and I didn't get much sleep so I didn't.
Everyone is getting so tough it's ridiculous. I wish we had some lightweight whitebelts in class. There's a lot I'd like to work on but I'd like to try it on a beginner, not someone like Eli or Steve. Armdrags for one thing. Zak has a sick armdrag and I'd like to work on it a lot but if I mess it up I get put in a bad spot quickly.
I'm considering doing a submission only tournament in November. That should be interesting. I rarely hit submissions in class so I will be focusing more on that.
Monday, October 11, 2010
After class on Saturday I often have a "deathmatch" with my friend Samanatha. She is close to me in weight, and very technical and flexible, and is one of my favorite training partners. She jumped guard on me, but instead of wrapping her legs around my waist, somehow jumped her ass into the side of my knee, which hurt a lot and scared the crap out of me. Fortunately nothing popped or snapped and I'm training today. But it was a scary reminder of how quickly shit can go bad.
Anway, I haven't made any dramatic improvements in my game or anything, I just feel like I've been training hard and consistantly since April or May and it's paying off. I'll probably do one or two more tournaments this year then chill a little during tax season. There is a slight possiblity I may try to do the worlds in 2011. I should probably start mapping out a training schedule for that now. If I don't make any excuses and put 100 percent into preparing for this tournament I think I will make a lot of progress.
I'd like to start an early morning drilling session with someone, like get to the gym around six, drill some techniques, and roll super light for fifteen minutes or so. It would be a good way to start the day, and very helpful. There's always so much I want to work on and get nailed down. Also, this weekend is the last weekend Sam will be around to train, which is a huge bummer. I am looking forward to visiting her in San Diego and seeing all the progress she's made though.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I got there just at the tail end of weigh-ins. I weighed in at about 130 with my jeans and stuff in my pockets. The promoter, with the unfortunate name of The Good Fight, uses a modified Madison bracketing system, so I had no idea what my weight class might go up to.
As I was warming up and the brackets were being made I heard my name called on the speaker. I went to the head referee table, and the nice guy there informed me that the next lightest person competing that day weighed about 150. The next lightest after him was about 160. He asked if I still wanted to compete and I said, yes of course. After all they already had my money, so why not?
So my first fight I pulled guard, got x-guard, swept. Couldn't stabilize my pass, and he went to x-guard. But he reaped the knee, and the ref DQ'd him. Sucks, but that's the game.
Second fight was with this dude who frankly I thought I would tool. And I should have. I dominated him positionally the entire match, surfed his guard, smashed his hooks, did everything except score a clean pass unfortunately. I swept him two or three times, but each time I almost got a pass he would turtle and scramble into a single or double and get points for a takedown. It ended tied and he won by an advantage. I am a little annoyed at myself for not sealing the deal. I really should have passed his guard at least once. He gave me several opportunities and I hesistated; instead trying to pass straight to mount. But oh well, lesson learned.
Everyone else did really great, and we took home like five medals. Fun day overall, and it was awesome when I saw that Zak and Brian came to coach and a bunch of people came to watch.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Regis was back for a week and it was one of the best BJJ weeks of my life. I came to every class, went down to MD to do his seminar, and took a private on the above butterfly guard position. I feel like I have made more progress since training full time at the new gym than in all the time at Maxercise. Smallish classes, mostly blue belts and above, and lots of personal attention really make a difference. Regis went over a bunch of new positions, and covered some new details and cleaned up some old ones. It was great watching him train with Brian and Zak as well.
I've slacked off on the lifting too, I should get back into that. I haven't noticed a difference in class, but I am a lot more sore the next morning that I had been when I was doing weighted chin-ups and such.
Last night I fought what was probably the most technical match I've ever had. I was paired up with a very strong and agressive blue belt who has smashed me several times. We had a back and forth battle that lasted the entire ten minutes or whatever it was. I have been working on Saulo's running escape and it worked perfectly, and my x-guard was strong too. I really need to clean up my passing game though. I got to half guard with tight head and arm control, but couldn't get the pass.
I'd like to drill some more outside of class but it's hard to find the time and a partner that will commit to it.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Even though I won both matches at Rupture I feel that I fought very sloppily and made a number of mistakes that a more seasoned opponent would have capitalized on. The good thing is that I was very relaxed when I fought, compared to earlier experiences. I didn't blow my grips in the first match, and I kept my head fairly well and listened to my coach the whole time. I used to be a nervous competitor so this shows that you apparently can learn to control your emotions, which in my opinion is what BJJ is really about.
I went to both with my roommate, who is also a blue belt. Unlike me, he is a monster and cleaned up both his weight class and the absolute division. He doesn't have a blog because he is too busy chasing down animals and eating them raw. We coach each other during our matches and I feel that I've learned as much from that as actually fighting. I'm also greatful to Lex for taping one of my matches and putting it on youtube so I can watch it over and over and nitpick every mistake I made.
I was happy to run into some old friends from Maxercise, and I'm glad there's no hard feelings there for the most part.
I noticed that not many people use the standing method of opening the guard as it is taught at our school. I guess this is a good thing? I feel that it's the most powerful way to open the guard, but I see a lot of people insisting on opening from the knees or using the terrible method of standing and trying to force a choke to get the guy to open. At the DE tournament I saw a lot of de la Riva guard, but not a lot of x-guard. Every tournament where I have gotten to a solid x-guard I have gotten the sweep so I'm going to continue to develop that position as my go to guard. I'm also going to keep working on my standup game and the next local tournament I do I'm going to at least attempt a takedown or throw.
After hearing an interview with Loyd Irvin, I've decided to follow his model and use local tournaments to test out different stuff I'm working on and bring my A-game to larger tournaments. Now if only I had an A-game I'd be in good shape.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I had been focusing on my guard game quite a bit, and I felt like I was making progress there. I had neglected the passing game though, and it showed when I went to the NY Open. My opponent immediately pulled guard, and I missed several opportunities to pass, and eventually got triangle choked. So when Regis came out the next week I did a private on passing, which helped. The next week I did another private with Brian on the same thing, which really helped cement everything. I noticed a definite improvement almost immediately.
We didn't really cover anything new, just went over the details of the cross knee pass, with some variations. We also covered a butterfly guard pass that Regis often uses. These details, while occasionally tedious (not really, inside joke), are what makes techniques work against a good, resisting opponent. I don't think you're going to get these details off of a DVD set or from the internets.
With Regis I covered a variation of the knee cross where the opponent is on his side with his top knee against your hip. You need to drive your knee to the ground and post your foot closer to his head. You can smash his knee and pass, which is what I have been doing. The butterfly guard pass is one that I have done before, but didn't have a lot of confidence in. Regis forced me to open my legs much further apart on the pass, which helps alot. We also worked on the timing of it, another big issue to get a technique to work.
One thing I've noticed from watching a lot of Marcelo videos during my layoff is how quick he is t to make grips. Zak is the same way. He gets the grips he wants while you're still thinking about what you're going to do. Definitely have to work on this.
So I had been training really well up until my Staph. I went to class to observe last night, and since I rarely sit trains out I enjoyed the opportunity to watch my friends train. I was particularly impressed at how Brian, even though injured, still trains with the biggest and toughest guy in the room, and basically "houses" him without any effort. There's no dodging anyone or making excuses for himself.
In addition to regular training I have been lifting in an attempt to get into some semblance of an astetically pleasing shape. That stopped when I had Staph, but I was back the last couple of days. I've lost some muscle but not too much strength so it should come back quickly if I eat right.
I'll probably train again Tuesday, and I can't wait.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
He also taught a variation of the esgrima pass that is in Saulo's book and I have used and I know Eli uses it on me all the time, where you control the elbow with your hand and put pressure and weight on the guy's chest with your elbow and allow him to come up on his side. He went to the negative from there. Given my druthers I'd rather just pass from there and go for the armlock, but it's not always possible if the guy hides his other arm.
Wednesday at Bainbridge Brian taught the more typical way of passing to the negative done by Regis and Marcelo, and I worked on it with one of my trains with John P. I have a hard time with both variations, partly due to my lack of weight, and partly do to my bad positioning when I step around. It's hard for me to keep the guy flat. Fredson's version leave me vulnerable to the guy on the bottom sweeping me with a butterfly hook, although I know you can step over his knee to hop to the north-south it's easier said than done.
Training was excellent and super tough. Zack G. choked me out at least six times, Eli was all over me, Rob smashed me with that half-guard pass he does really well, and Kevin armbarred me like five or ten times. I got to train with a visiting blue belt which was cool, swept with a scissors sweep, then tapped him with an x-choke from the mount. Then swept with an x-guard sweep but got lazy passing and got caught in a triangle armbar. It seems like guys who haven't seen that x-guard entry and sweep don't really have an answer for it. As long as you slide yourself underneath them and don't just try to yank them on top of you.
I've been working on playing a more sitting up guard type of game and only using the de la Riva guard when I get pushed back as a secondary defense. It gets me into trouble because I suck at it but I'm making progress slowly. Passing, I'm thinking about the squatting position Fredson showed and that's getting me into trouble because I'm thinking too much about that, and not passing quickly. Also everyone has such a good half-guard and open guard it's a different world than what I have become used to. Then a quick soak in the hottub and a nice walk home in beautiful spring weather. Good times.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The first technique was a single from the sitting up guard that Marcelo plays a lot. The second was a double leg from the same position. I didn't love the double that much, but felt more comfortable with it by the end of the night.
Training was fine; I trained with Katie, Lex, Owen, and Ray. Ray finally brought out the elbow on bell technique that I've heard so much about. I'd like to learn that. I'm really focusing on the butterfly guard, and trying to force myself to get to the regular hook sweep. It's hard enough just to get to the position I need to start it. I really need practice with it.
Since Monday night is so short I've been staying for Judo although I don't get home until 10:30. We didn't do any specific stand up technique but we did a cool drill where you went for a sweep every time you stepped. Since I know about two and a half judo techniques I just basically kicked the poor guy in the leg whenever I got a chance. Then we drilled whatever technique we wanted and the guy I was working with threw me so high with an ippon seonagi that my feet hit the metal pipe on the ceiling. It was fun though.
Randori was also good. I tried not to play too much like a BJJ guy, bent over and stiff, and I tried not to be totally defensive but I know so few throws and I'm not comfortable with any of them so it was tough. I got thrown a bunch of times which is fine. My gas was not terrible actually.
Newaza was good, Ray taught a couple of basic BJJ techniques. Newaza randori was also fun. Again, I tried not to play a BJJ game, going for a pass and a pin rather than hunting for submissions out of a transition, and trying to be mindful of a ref that would stand us up if nothing was happening. Attacking the turtle is really tough when guys just tuck the chin. It's hard to get past that I obviously I don't want to just do a chin crush. I did fight a BJJ blue belt from another school. It was his first Judo class, so we definitely had more of a BJJ fight. But I enjoyed it.
Afterwards I felt pretty good, although my back is a little sore today it should loosen up. I will not be able to train tomorrow due to an eye doctor's appointment, but I'm going to try to get to the Barn on Thursday and see what's going on there.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Saturday was a great class, although there weren't a ton of people there, it was still really tough. Zak led some particularly strenuous warm-ups consisting of lots of that crazy running on all fours drill and lots of bear crawls and mat cleaners which are the worst. I actually felt like I was going to puke afterwards, which is great. I need more of that.
The first class Zak reviewed the basic arm bar from the closed guard. I picked up some details on how the traps the shoulder with his legs. Say you're attacking your opponent's right arm. Instead of going straight for the arm lock, cross your feet over your opponent's right shoulder first and pull him close to you to prevent him from pushing his shoulder back in. I tried this on Sunday against a bigger guy and had a hard time with getting there. I may need to adjust the angle of my hips. After you're there and have the guy sucked in, push on his head and extend your hips and move your leg over his head to complete the arm bar.
The second class Brian taught an awesome entry to the Ezekiel choke. This is my favorite submission ever, not the highest percentage move by any stretch of the imagination but it's pretty darn cool when you get it. Anyway the entrance Brian showed was from the old school double underhooks stacking pass. You have to jack the guy pretty high up, then when he pushes on your knees you trap one of his arms with your leg, use your elbow to force him to a half-turtle position, get the seat belt, then roll or flip to an Ezekiel choke. Its pretty hard to describe exactly, and honestly, I thought I would never use it, but I hit it on Sunday, I just got a little sloppy with the choke at the end and my opponent escaped but it still gave me clean side control.
Training was great, got to train with Tim a couple of times, Zak, Brian, and a blue belt and a white belt. It's always fun to train with the higher belts, and very humbling. Training with the blue belt can be frustrating because he constantly sits back to an open guard which he uses constantly. He's very good at defending the pass but has no real offence from that position. And if you do pass it he basically just crosses his arms, turns to the outside and stalls. The first time I passed somehow, then took his back and submitted him with a rear naked choke. He may have had his chin tucked a little, and I think he got a bit of a chin choke. We shook hands, then he sat back to guard again, giving me two points, not that it matters but it's a bad habit to get into, and one of our less politically correct Brazilian teachers specifically called us a bunch of faggots for doing it. I saw it coming, and immediately bull passed. I went to knee to belly and he tried to bench press me off him. I sat back for the arm bar and accidentally smashed his face with my leg. I swear to god it was an accident. I really hate injuring my training partners, especially the face, having been the recipient of a few permanently irritating injuries myself. I hope there's no hard feelings there, BJJ is a rough sport and I try to be nice when I train, but basically, shit happens.
Anyhoo Sunday's team train at Maxercise was fun. We did the typical maxercise warm up, a two point train, some positional trainings, and regular trainings. I really sucked at pulling guard. I really really really need to work on that and get it cleaner. There's just no excuse for how bad I am at it. I hate starting off the feet and it just puts me in a bad position from the get go. I wouldn't mind doing a whole hour of two point trains just to get better at that.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Anyhoo, had a great train at Optimal on Saturday, worked attacks from cross-side, specifically how to mount, and a fairly evil choke that Urso used to do to all the time when he was last out here. I have a hard time with the mount on bigger guys, but I've had a little success with the choke, almost got it on a bigger purple belt, but couldn't quite lock it in. Getting more taps from side control and knee on belly would be a good thing, at least being more dangerous from there would open up the mount more.
Monday and Wednesday at Maxercise were also fun. Monday night is a little short for me, and the Judo class seemed a bit too intense so I skipped it. Wednesday was longer and lots of fun. We've been working a lot on some Judo, which I love big time and I wish we had been training these moves for a lot longer. I really like uchimata. I have no idea how hard it would be to hit in a competition but I love throwing it just because it feels so neat for some reason. Training was pretty good, although the only higher rank was Maggie. She's always a fun train.
So we're starting the team training for the Pan Ams this week and I'm looking forward to two more nights of training. I'm very excited actually. I make a lot more progress with four or five training sessions in the week than just three. Also my friend Brett invited me back to the Barn, and I may stop by there on Thursdays depending on if they're doing gi or no-gi. Brett's pretty close to my size, but I don't really want to wrestle spazz white belts there in uncontrolled conditions.
The other blog worthy thing is that apparently John recommended me for Saulo's Hell Test. I'm not sure exactly what it entails but I assume I fight a bunch of tough guys until I'm totally exhausted then demonstrate a bunch of techniques. Possibly not in that order. I have to brush up on my Judo terminology and get hip to some basic techniques that Saulo teaches that I don't use that much. Also I need to save up some dough. Frankly I'm just excited because I'm the only person that I personally know that's taken this Hell Test and it just has a really cool ring to it. If it's not in a room with iron braziers and deadly traps and ninjas jumping out at me I will be sorely dissapointed.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
First on Saturday I trained at the class on Bainbridge. Tim taught a technique that used to be my go-to sweep. I haven't been using it recently; I have been working on other guard positions, but I got some great details that made me want to invest more time in it.
Starting from a sitting up guard position you trap his lead leg (right) between your left shin and your left arm. Grab your lapel with your left hand. Grab his left sleeve with your right hand and feed it to your left hand. This will compromise his balance and cause him to lean forward. Reach over his shoulder as deep onto his back as you can, and fall to your right, kicking up your left leg like a butterfly guard sweep as you push his left knee with your right foot. It sounds complicated but it's basically a glorified butterfly guard sweep as Tim succinctly put it.
The second technique is one that I'm terrible at and would like to spend some serious time on. If the guy puts his knee on your stomach from the sitting up guard position, which he probably will try to do, you use your hook to lift his leg and go under his left leg, whcih will probably be posted out. Bring his leg up to your shoulder then bracing his right knee with your elbow bring your left leg up to put him in deep half-guard. It's hard. I sort of used it last night but my opponent wasn't putting much pressure on me.
Monday and Wednesday I trained at Maxercise. Both nights we worked on an arm drag from the butterfly guard. I like how John focuses on the same techniques all week, it really gives me an opportunity to get into them and practice them.
Basically if you're sitting in the butterfly guard andyour opponent grabs your left pantleg with his right hand make a pistol grip on his sleeve with your right hand, grab his tricep, break his grip by kicking his leg, then launch yourself backwards, pulling his arm. Post your hand on the ground, come up to the back.
Before I came to Maxercise I trained a lot of no-gi and I used armdrags all the time. I evenually kind of got tired of them because I relied on them so much. Last night I hit that armdrag so much it was almost unfair. I want to try it at the Bainbridge class on Saturday and see how it goes.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I really have come to loathe breaking the guard from the knees. I don't think anyone that doesn't outweigh me by 50 pounds or more has successfully used that open against me in over a year. I much prefer to stand up, it puts you in a much better position to pass and it seems so much more effective.
We did some situational training which is always good. I was reminded how critical it is to position yourself when you're on the bottom, it a way that doesn't allow your opponent to control you, and to make your grips first and get to a place where you can fight. If you spend time fumbling around for grips, a quick opponent with a good bull pass with blast right through your guard.
Saturday's class was at Brian, Zak and Tim's club. Zak taught passing the half guard when your opponent has his knee across your hips. It was nice to cover this again; I've been having some issues passing the half guard recently, and I picked up some good details.
Training was excellent. I went with Tim several times and Brian, and Sam once during class then afterwards. She trained especially well, took my back several times. I like the way she comes in low to pass, it makes everything more difficult, and I've been emulating it.
Hopefully I can make it to class tonight, although I will be late for sure.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Last Saturday was quite a fun day for me. I think I spent more time in my gi than out of it. I started my day training with Brian and Zak, and it seems that most everyone is back from their holidays as class was full. It's always impressive to see a long line up of the students there, I think there was five brown belts, and several purple belts. Also plenty of tough blues.
Brian went over a technique that was sort of a continuation of what we had worked on last week. Basically it was how to take the back if your opponent turtles to avoid your bull pass. We covered back attacks not too long ago at Maxercise so it was a nice comparison and review.
Training was absolutely awesome! I didn't touch anyone lower ranked than a brown belt all class. I trained with Brian, Zak, Dr. Joe, and Tim four times, as he's coming of an injury. Training with Tim so much really helps and gives you a different perspective on things. He was able to provide me with some insight as well.
After class I had my now traditional death match with Sam, who was especially fiesty and it was fun as per usual. Soaking in the hot tub was a perfect way to end the class.
I went from the class to the Saulo Ribiero seminar at Maxercise. I was pretty tired and starving so I hoped that it wouldn't be too strenuous, but actually we didn't really drill or train anything, mostly Saulo lectured about his history, his association, Jiu-Jitsu University, and some concepts about jiu-jitsu. I'm sort of processing everything but he did hit on some subjects that I've been thinking a lot about which I'll talk about later.
Thanks for reading.