Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not to get all negative, but...

So Fredson, a wee little black belt visiting Maxercise, taught the classes there on Sunday and Monday. He went over his personal way of passing the half guard to "the negative", by sitting on the hips and controlling your opponent's leg between your legs, keeping an upright posture. I got to train with him on Monday, and it was pretty fun. He has an interesting choke where he attacks under your arm and tricks you into thinking that you're safe, but then you realize it's an arm triangle.

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

I Confront My Fear of Heights

So I have trained three days in a row, and plan on training tonight. Last night we worked on two positions I recognized from Marcelo Garcia's playbook. I've been meaning to add them both to my game, and have had a lot of success with the first one already so it was a great review.

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

Lots of training

Well I've been lucky enough to continue to get to class on a regular basis. Assuming nothing else crazy happens in my life I may even get to train six days a week for the next month. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Maxercise, Thursdays at the Barn, Saturdays at Optimal, and Sunday for the team train at Maxercise.

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.