Monday, March 31, 2008

The Scale: 163.6

My weight was just awful after training: 163.6. That's about what I weighed for my first white belt competition back in September 2005. Granted, what is a bad number for me now wasn't the worst number in the world for me then. But it sucks to have the final weigh-in of March be the heaviest.

I know that I'm eating more to deal with work stress, stress that's not likely to let up until after April when this major project is done. What makes it all the more nerve-wracking for me is that it involves managing other people, instead of just being responsible for my own work. In some ways, it's every writer's nightmare to have to deal with anything other than words and sentences. Hopefully, after April, I can steer clear of that kind of assignment.

Tomorrow should be a lean day: oranges and black tea for breakfast, steak and brocoli for lunch, and lamb with salad for post-training dinner. I still need to finish a week at 156.6 or better soon. Why not a seven-pound week this week?

Last March Monday

Last training day of the month. Out of a total possible 21 days in March(Saturdays and Sundays excluded), I managed to hit the tatame 12 times. That's an average of four times every seven days.

I had a very nicely intense week from the 17th to the 21st, when I trained four times for the first time in many months--if not ever. I felt a little beat up come Friday. But that likely had as much to do with the relief of the workweek ending as anything else. I've thought about alternating 3x/week with 4x/week. We'll see. That would make this a 4x week.

I managed to get to the academy in time for the open mat. Actually I was there early enough to do some of the specific sparring from the guard. I could have made it to class sooner. But there was no way that I wouldn't be late. I've decided that if I can't get there on time, then I'm just going to try and time it so that I arrive in time for the sparring.

At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I don't want to set a bad example by coming to class late all the time. If I can make full classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then maybe it won't be a big deal to just spar on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It might also cut down on the wear and tear that much training would inevitably produce.

I think I've finally made a key work adjustment that will allow me to do this much training. The thing I love about writing for a living is that you can figure out how to be as efficient as possible and get rewarded on productivity rather than maintenance, so to speak. I've thought that I had it all figured out before, so all of this is subject to change. But given the fact that I've just had my first pair of 4x/3x training weeks in many moons, I'll take what's working so far.

Some quick notes:

Collar choke from mount: Keep working on it. I got rolled instantaneously when I went for the choke today. But that's fine. I just need to keep going for the move and work on maintaining my balance (and switching to the double attack!)

Half Guard Pass: A bit better with the Watch Dog pass. Do whatever it takes to create some space.

Side control escape: I'm starting to get a little sloppy on this, relying on body rolls instead of the basic THROAT / SWIM / WALK / KNEES / PULL / BOOM ...

I need to figure out what I want to do with the open guard. Something in me continues to resist the butterfly guard as a real attacking guard--which means my butterfly guard is a complete disaster right now. I've got to decide whether or not I'm going to commit to it, or pick another open guard to work. I've been doing some lazy half and some general Pe de Pano style open guard. But there's no focus. With the next gi tournament still more than three months away, this is the perfect time to develop an open guard game.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Collar Choke

Some nice fundamentals from the good folks at Abhaya up north.



Pinky down


And get your knees up high under his armpits when you've got the mount and are going for this choke!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Miscellaneous Jiu Jitsu Notes

Ezekiel Choke:
I've been having a hard time finishing with the choking hand. The problem is that I don't wrap the head deep enough in the pocket of my elbow. Wrapping the head that deeply also does a better job of limiting the guy's head movement, another plus.

Half Guard Pass:
I've been trying the Watchdog pass and having a hard time getting my knee wedged up inside. I think I need to extend my trapped leg a bit to make space. If necessary, even a half-stand might be necessary.

Double Attack:
Here I need to make sure I get the choke attack under the arm. Otherwise the armlock option isn't so good.

Collar Choke:
Look for arm stuffs and arm drags off of a defense of the collar choke from the guard. Flower sweep might also be an option.

Kimura from Crossbody:
Pin the far arm right at the elbow rather than over the bicep for greater control. Also let the guy turn into you a bit, which will further isolate his arm for the lock.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Training

We worked a couple of open guard drills to warm up: the sweep I called the back sweep mostly. After that, we did a lot of positional sparring and I spent several minutes working my guard.

I'm doing a terrible job of working on my butterfly/Cobra guard. Save for the poosh sweep, I've really not done what I need to be doing if I'm going to make butterfly/Cobra guard a mainstay. Guard specifics are the optimal time to work on it--especially since Rodrigo has been letting the bottom guy stay whether or not he gets the sweep or submission. That way, at least to my way of thinking, the guy on the bottom can work harder to get his guard work in, without being afraid of losing out and having to go back on the wall.

Rolled with a couple of guys: Lindsey, who was tough as nails, Brian and a few white belts. I'm definitely getting my mat time in these days. The trick will be to keep it going at this pace (i.e., three days a week training alternating with four days a week training).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More Pan Ams Coverage

Back in 2007, they managed to do a streaming videocast of the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championships online. What I wouldn't give for a videocast of the Pan Ams this coming weekend ...

A Constellation of Stars at the Pan Ams

Rigan's X Guard Sweeps

Here's a quick look at a pair of sweeps by Rigan Machado using the variation on the X-guard.

Rigan's variation has him put both knees pointing on the front side. He then uses his hand to check the guy's leg since he doesn't have the Marcelo Garcia style "one on top/one on bottom" to pin the leg.

The sweeps look nice and are very fundamental. To get the front sweep, he monkey foots the one leg, extending it out, and just rotates his body forward. Rigan trapped the guy's southmost arm (the one nearest to his legs) to keep him from bracing against the sweep, which is something to watch for.

To get the back sweep, it looks like he lifts at the ankle while pulling the leg with the underhook. Then as the balance is lost, finishes off with the higher hook under the thigh.

A lot of the basic X-guard rules still apply: the guy's leg needs to be on your shoulder, not just under your arm. Also you want to extend your body as the main way of keeping him off-balance. Rigan uses the higher hook under the thigh as a way of upseting the balance of his opponent here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pan Ams One Week Away

The deadline for registration is midnight tonight, Pacific time. I won't be competing, and I'm not sure if there are many folks from Gracie Barra Seattle who will be this year. Last year, if I remember correctly, Tommy, Griff and Lindsey were among our guys who made the trip to L.A. for the event.

Rebecca and I were actually talking about the Pan Ams earlier today. I could conceive of a situation where I competed at next year's event. A part of me thinks that it's the kind of thing everybody should do at least once in their jiu jitsu career: compete in a really major tournament. I certainly won't be heartbroken if I never get around to it. But it's something to think about. If I have a year like I had this past week, where I managed to train four times, then I might find myself making the trip to L.A. after all.

Great training this past week. I managed to make it to the academy four times: Monday and Wednesday afternoons, Thursday night and then again on Friday afternoon. I'm a little beat-up and worn out today for it. But I'd love to be able to train that often on a regular basis. If things at work would just chill out a bit (yeah, right) ...

Weighed-in at 156.6 after training on Friday. A great number. By the end of the next six week period leading up to the Submission Wrestling League event on May 3rd, I'm going to be needing to START the week around that level if I'm going to make 149.9.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cindy v. Megumi

Ran into Cindy at training Thursday night. She said that video of the fight had been up at You Tube, then down, and was now back up again. So, as long as it lasts, here's the fight.

It was great seeing Cindy. In a way, she's sort of the star of Gracie Barra Seattle, competing both in mixed martial arts and at the highest levels of grappling at Abu Dhabi. She was showing one of our purple belts some of her "little foot things", a variety of sweeps and escapes that all look initially like toehold attacks, but are remarkably effective.

In the Fujii fight, Cindy had to make 115, which meant losing nearly 30 lbs total. Fortunately, she says that she had a great time in Japan, that the Japanese fans were incredible and that SmackGirl is likely to have her back--and at something closer to her natural weight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rap Star

In honor of my closed guard series, Rap Star, I present MC Solaar.

Jiu Jitsu Flow & the Future

I'm having an incredible time on the mats these days. A lot of it has to with the fact that I'm doing a lot of things right: standing to open and pass the guard, being much more active from the bottom ...

I'm starting to get a nice feel for a certain type of sweep from the half-guard. I'm not even sure what it is I'm doing, but it's become a relatively high percentage sweep for me. I'm using my hooks 200% more over the past few days, and seeing great results both in maintaining an open guard as well as getting sweeps from the half.

The two guard packages I've dedicated 2008 to--Rap Star and butterfly guard--are still pretty underdeveloped. I haven't gotten a single sweep or submission out of any of the Rap Star cuts, and I haven't gotten a single clean sweep out of the butterfly guard. But I'm seeing a lot of things I like on the margins. I'm doing a better job, for example, of remembering and trying the techniques we learn in class during sparring. Like I said, good times on the tatame.

You can always gain by spending more time on the mat. But I really think that if I can ramp it up this year, get in three trainings a week on average for all of 2008, I'll be extremely grateful come 2009.


Based on the Gracie Barra belt progression system, I figured the following some time last summer:

Got blue belt Dec 2006
4 months to 1st stripe: Apr 2007
5 months to 2nd stripe: Sep 2007
5 months to 3rd stripe: Feb 2008
5 months to 4th stripe: Jul 2008
5 months to purple belt: Dec 2008

We are not a very strict Gracie Barra school in this regard. But it is an interesting way to compare your actual progress to the rank GB "officially" accords that progress. It's also interesting that GB bases this progression on what I consider to be a very generous two gi classes a week.

I figure that I missed somewhere between six and nine months of training in 2007 due to the book I was writing that spring and summer(which allegedly is finally in production mode!) and repeated corneal abrasions. That would move my target range for getting my purple belt to June 2009 to September 2009.

Frankly, if I am able to get my purple belt by that December, which would mean three years after getting my blue belt, I'd consider it an awesome achievement.

Stay healthy. Train consistently. Compete frequently ... That's my mantra for 2008--and for 2009, as well. I'm thinking that if I can avoid injury, average three training sessions a week and compete at least three times in 2008 and 2009 each, I just might have an incredible Christmas present under the tree come December 2009.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sweep Counter to the Knee Through Pass

The most insidious half-guard/guard pass ever invented: the knee through pass ...

Just. Met. Its. Match.

Courtesy of Saulo Ribeiro. Jiu Jitsu Revolution # 10.

The trick is to be quick. As soon as the knee goes through, you want to put your hook in.

From there, you grab the collar and sleeve (inside hand to sleeve, outside hand to collar). Wait for his momentum to go forward, then lift with the hook and roll on the inside shoulder, taking him head over heels.

With your grips in place, you do a "bus driver turn", lowering your inside hand and lifting your outside hand as you lift with the hook.

Saulo's Open Guard

Is a modified De La Riva guard. The most important thing is to keep a tight grip on the ankle. The second most important thing is to keep the knee of the hook leg up. One of the main ways people will try to beat this guard is to push the knee over and move to your side. Staying on your back and keeping that knee up--while lifting with the hook--is key to keeping the guy off balance in terms of trying to pass your guard.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

8 Tips to Improve Your BJJ

from Jiu Jitsu Life.

1) Never back down from sparring the toughest guys in class - Each sparring session, put your ego aside and roll with the best guy you can find, also spar with heavy guys, quick guys, and guys with unlimited endurance. As a beginner, you are under no pressure to be brilliant, so use that time to open up your game and test the positions you know against guys who know what they are doing.

2) Work on a new area until you feel it is one of your strengths, then move on to another. Work on keeping your guard, for example, until it is almost impossible for any other equal belt to pass, and really difficult for someone advanced to get by. Then add your sweeps. Once you are sweeping same belts easily and higher belts on occasion, move to submissions from the guard, etc...

3) Find positions that fit your game and work them in sparring until you can rely on them against just about anyone. Against tougher guys you need a technique you can go to from every position . Against guys at your level you can work your entire game and not worry too much about forcing them into your best positions.

4) This one should be #1...Consistency - Set a schedule for yourself and do not let anything that is not really major interrupt it. Some guys get good really quick, but the best guys have all put in countless hours to get there. You will never see your game go up if you are missing classes or weeks of training.

5) Study everyone else's game - When you are not sparring, study your teammates games and try to pick up their effective moves. Go over it in your head as they spar. Think about when you would be able to use that move, or how you would counter it. Ask them what little adjustments they made to make the technique work.

6) Your cardio is important- You may know a lot, but you will not be able to express it well if you are worried that you are going to run out of air. You can really open up your game and keep pressure on your opponent if your lungs can handle the constant movement and explosiveness.

7) Drill - Although it is boring, many of the best guys I know devote a portion of every training session to drilling a basic movement with a partner. The key here is to make sure it is a BASIC movement you are drilling.

8) Finally, share your tricks with anyone who asks. As they get better, they will be more competition for you. When you have tough competition, you will inevitably get tougher to beat yourself.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Afternoon Roll

Didn't finish my CG3 work until sometime after 11, but I mananged to make it to the academy for the post-class sparring today. I was so glad to be there that I didn't even bother to warm-up. I rolled with Hakim, a new white belt with some good size, for about five minutes, then rolled for 30-40 minutes straight with Rodrigo.

What a day! It really is a testament to Rodrigo's skill that I am able to feel like I'm getting a good opportunity to work my game, while at the same time Rodrigo gets to work his. He caught me in two or three armlocks from the mount or scramble, at least a pair of triangle chokes, and another pair of collar chokes from rear mount.

I, uh, didn't catch him with anything in particular. Or anything in general for that matter. But what can you expect?

Nevertheless, it was great training. I got to work some butterfly guard (the official guard of 2008), and a lot of half-guard, which is just my default guard and the sooner I come to accept that fact the happier I'll be. Rap Star wasn't going anywhere, even though I managed to get the arm-wrap a couple of times. But I've been working some odd sweep from the half guard that I'm really not sure how it works. But I've had some surprising success with it in the past. And it was fun to try and work it against Rodrigo.

As I was telling Rebecca (or, truth told, as she is always telling me), I never regret the hours I spent on the mat. It is so much fun and such a great workout. I could easily see how people could dedicate their lives to teaching and training jiu jitsu.

One thing that I've figured out is that I've just got to go in and train whenever I get a chance. Full class, half class, post-class sparring, open mat .. whatever. There's nothing stopping me from getting in an hour of training Sunday morning, for example. I'm still unsure about evenings--I can make my work a lot easier by getting the next day's writing done between about 4 pm to 8 pm, which makes night training a problem. But I'm determined to get my three sessions a week in, one way or the other.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What's Your Move?

One of my favorite commentaries by Lloyd Irvin. From The Grappling Blueprint.

"I remember I had this student a long time ago and he would always come to class with new BJJ tapes he just got off of the internet from Brazil. No matter what techniques I showed him he only wanted to practice the moves he saw the BJJ celebrities do on tape. You know what happened to him. Not only didn't he learn what I was trying to teach him but he NEVER learned the moves from the tapes either. He looked good rolling because he could mimic the movements. But underneath there was no real substance to his technique.

Well what does this have to do with you? Well let's see. If you're like me and many other people in the World there's nothing better than learning a new move. Especially a really fancy one. I was hanging out at my instructor's house watching tapes a long time ago and he had something most people won't ever have the privilege of seeing. You know how some people at grappling tournaments video tape all of their matches and how they tape different tournament? Well my instructor had matches of him competing since he was a blue belt. As I started watching his tapes I started to see people like Mario Sperry, Allan Goes, Roleta, Nino, Marcello Grosso, Murillo Bustamonte, Wallid and a bunch of other BJJ celebrities. I know what you're thinking. SO has ever one in the world that has ever seen a BJJ tournament tape. Well these tapes were a little different. Most of the BJJ celebrities in this tape were blue belts at the time. He had tapes of all of these guys as blue belts, purple belts, brown Belts and Black Belts. After watching over 20 different tapes and seeing all of these guys at the different BJJ levels. I noticed one thing. When it hit me it I thought to myself that there has to be something to this.

Let me tell you what I noticed. Every last person on those tapes have been basically doing there same patented move since they were blue belts. I mean the guard pass you see them do on the tapes as Black Belts is the exact one they were doing ten years ago. The fancy helicopter sweep wasn't something they just threw together, they've been working on it for a long time. Let me get to my point. If you watch any videos and see a particular move being done by a Black Belt you better bet that it's probably been in his or her game for a long time. They've been developing it since the early days.

So what does this have to do with you? Simple don't get bored with something that you're doing well now because you can carry it all the way to Black Belt and beyond. It's really easy to get sidetracked with trying to learn the next new move of the month and 5-10 years later you realize you're really good at NOTHING.
So, here is my suggestion: Think about one move that you have in your arsenal that you either have great success with or you're always getting close to pulling it off. I don't care if it's a submission or a sweep, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you find something that you're getting some type of positive results with. Let me make this clear, if you're almost sweeping people with a certain technique that's fine.

Now this is what I want you to do. Promise yourself that you will not give up on this technique for at least 18 months and that you will try to practice and improve this move for the next 18 months. How does that sound? You can practice anything else that you think will help your game, you just can't stop something that is working now. Who knows, this may be your technique that takes you to Black Belt. You never know.

I was really good at lapel chokes in my early days but after awhile I just couldn't do them anymore, I was getting frustrated and I just stopped doing them. It was almost an entire year before I started to do them again. You see the problem was that everyone I was training with had gotten used to them and had gotten used to my set ups. But when I went to tournaments they worked like a charm. There are moves you're doing really well in class but they may not be working as well as they once did. Don't worry, it may just be that your entire school is on to your game and your particular move. If this is the case, your move will still work if you go somewhere else. Don't give up on it, just make some new combinations to confuse your teammates. You'll find that the new combinations that you make up to counter what your teammates are doing will broaden your arsenal even more.

There are many students that will give up on a move that could very well have taken them to the Black Belt level but somewhere along the way they lost confidence in it. Understand this principle. Of course you can try to add new moves here and there but they must fit into your game. The problem is that people are trying to put a game piece into their arsenal and it just doesn't fit. As a matter of fact it'll end up unbalancing the entire game sometime.

There's a reason that the Champions always do the same move, the same pass, the same take down, the same sweep, the same choke. It's their move."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Megumi v. Cindy Coverage

Sitting here watching a DVD of Pride Fighting Championships: Bushido 8 before getting back to work and, surfing the Internets, I stumbled over this old review of the Valentine's Day SmackGirl event published over at This is the event almost a month ago where Cindy Hales squared off against one of the pound-for-pound best female MMA fighters in the world, Megumi Fujii.

I haven't seen video of the fight. But according to this review, Cindy more than held her own, especially on the feet. When the fight hit the ground Megumi went for a leglock, which was apparantly pretty tight, that Cindy managed to escape. That was late in the first round. Megumi managed to pull guard and secure an armlock from the guard early in the second.

Mega Megu Victorious at SmackGirl

Coursework: Guard Open Pass and Choke

Back on the mat this afternoon ... Monday's have been the easiest days to train, in part because I can get a jump start on the workweek on Sunday night. Happiness is finishing a few hours of afternoon jiu jitsu training, going to the locker room and NOT finding a message on my cell phone from The Office.

Rodrigo managed to bundle up a variety of things in today's lesson, which was nice and simple. We moved from a guard opener, to a guard pass, to a clock-type choke from the back--all in one process.

The Guard Opener

The guard opener was Rodrigo's wedge opener: control the collars with one hand, put one knee under the hip (not quite "in the middle" as Saulo warns), one knee out perpendicular to the side, and wedge out.

The add to the wedge is to use your free hand to slide up and under the leg to break the legs open. This is a Perfect Invitation for a Triangle Choke UNLESS you keep your collar-controling elbow tight and low.

The Guard Pass

After you open the legs with your free hand, you want to scoop the leg and, reaching over, up and across the guy's body, grab the opposite collar near the neck.

Take your collar-controlling hand and put it under his butt. It's a basic stack pass: roll him over his far shoulder and come around to the side that your free arm is on.

The Choke

The choke applies if you are able to roll the guy over--which he might prefer as opposed to having his guard passed. If so you want to reach over his back and yank the collar on the far side down . You can grab the collar about midway.

The reason you do this is so that you can reach under with your inside arm and access the collar easily right under the neck.

Once you get the choke set, be sure to reach under to control the guy's far arm at the wrist as best as possible.

There are two ways to finish the choke. The first is the traditional clock choke, where you step up and through with the inside leg and sit on the shoulder.

The second version Rodrigo showed us was different insofar as you put your weight on the back of the guy's neck and lean into the choke. Rather than stepping up and through, you step around with your outside leg and keep the pressure on his head as you pull up to finish the choke.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Grapefruit Diet

It appears as if the classic grapefruit diet is the same sort of low/no carb fare that would be popularized decades later by the Atkins and South Beach diets!
I don't know if fried meat should be given quite the pass suggested here. But the basic contours of the diet: protein with every meal, carbs mostly from vegetables, caffeine from the coffee or tea ... are all pretty sound. And I've read that grapefruit does have some excellent fat-fighting characteristics.

I also just prefer to eat less frequently. I understand the idea of eating a lot of small meals throughout the day. But I'd rather have as little food in me as is necessary. I think one of the things about jiu jitsu compared to other sports or even other grappling sports is that it really helps to maximize your body's ability to move and bend. There are three main ways to do this: get leaner, get more flexible and avoid encumberances (such as a belly full of food). I'm looking to accomplish all three.

The Original Grapefruit Diet

1/2 grapefruit or 8oz pure grapefruit juice
2-3 Eggs any style
2-4 Slices of bacon
Black coffee or tea

1/2 grapefruit or 8oz pure grapefruit juice
Any Meat cooked in any style including fried
Salad using any red and green vegetables with lots of dressing
Black coffee or tea

1/2 grapefruit or 8oz pure grapefruit juice
Any Meat or Fish cooked in any style including fried
Green or red vegetables with lots of butter
Black coffee or tea

8oz Tomato or Vegetable juice

Take a multivitamin daily
Do not eat between meals
Eat till you are full at meals, double helpings if needed.
Drink six to eight glasses of water a day
FORBIDDEN VEGETABLES: Potatoes, peas, carrots, corn
RED AND GREEN VEGETABLES: Celery, red onions, peppers, radishes, broccoli, cucumbers, green onions, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, pickles.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Me and My Half Guard

I spent a little time on the carpet this afternoon, trying to breakdown the mechanics of why I'm having such a hard time coming up to the elbow, then up to the knee in half guard. It's a critical part of the main half guard sweep, the one Eddie Bravo calls "Old School."

Like a lot of problems in jiu jitsu, the problem here was not where I thought it was. I thought the problem was in my upper body. And I was trying to figure out how to rock my upperbody up in order to create space to come up on the elbow.

The problem is there's no leverage to do that. And if you've got your underhook up high under the armpit, you've got a harder time moving your upper body off the mat in order to create space.

Once again, when it comes to the half guard, the solution is to get small. The reason is because half guard is really all about attacking the hips. Look at the Minotauro/Monson half guard sweep. Look at Jeff Glover's half-guard game.

It's easy to get caught up in dealing with the guy's upperbody with your underhook and sticky paw grip. And then to get caught up dealing with the guy's legs with your legs. No attention at all to where the center of gravity, the center of action, really is: the hips.

What I need to do is lower my underhook so that I'm attacking the hips, not the side of his chest. Since I've got his legs, that's where he's most vulnerable. Get small.

The sticky paw grip shouldn't last forever. It should only be a tool to keep from getting crossfaced. My goal with my attacking hand should be the guy's free leg. I'm either looking to pull at the knee or scoop the knee.

It's really a lot like Rap Star: Get the lock on the one side (underhook for half guard, arm wrap for closed guard). Get on the lock side hip. Attack the free side (sticky paw grip to knee for half guard, the free arm for closed guard).

2008 may be the year of the butterfly/Cobra guard. But it should be no less the year that I get my half guard back to where I want it to be. At this point, it's pretty clear that my bottom game will be built around the half guard more than anything else. So I might as well get around to mastering it: one sweep at a time.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Kimura Sweep from Half Butterfly

Monday afternoon I got two kimura sweeps. The guy was almost in mount both times, working his way through my half-guard. But my leverage on the lock enabled me to get the sweep twice, the second time eventually ending with a straight armlock from the crossbody.

Here's a kimura sweep from the half guard, through a transition to half-butterfly guard. It's from the local boys at Foster BJJ a few minutes south of here in Auburn, Washington.

I broke the steps down as:

1. Attack outside arm with kimura lock
2. Get far outside leg on the other side with butterfly hook, inside leg keeps half guard lock on leg
3. Center hips, straighten inside leg
4. Lift hoook, turn hips and pressure the kimura lock
5. Follow opponent over in a roll over your butterfly hook side shoulder
6. Finish kimura lock from crossbody

Monday, March 03, 2008

Monday Mat Time

Starting off March right with a Monday afternoon class. Rodrigo was away with a sick daughter, so Brian, then Casey ran the class.

I still feel as if I'm trying to get my feet wet, again, to at least feel like a blue belt. I've got some good instincts still intact, and I did pretty well with Old School from the half-guard during a guard-specific drill. But I don't yet have the facility I think I should as a blue belt. Still too many basic flaws.

Missed a great opportunity to work the butterfly guard during the guard-specific drill. If I'm going to rely on the butterfly/Cobra guard, then I need to work it at every opportunity.

A few submissions today: a guillotine from Cobra guard. A straight armlock from crossbody.

The class Brian led was mostly armlocks from the mount and armlocks from the guard. The basic drills. I'm not sure I'm every going to be armlocking anyone from the guard any time soon, but it was nice to get in the armlock from the mount work.

Weight post-training was 161.2. Not great, but not terrible for a Monday.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Twice in February

That's how many times I trained. The Monday after the Revolution event on the ninth (see "0-2") and the last Thursday of a leap year February.

Truth told, I had a great training Thursday night. I'll post the specific coursework separately, but we did some nice fundamental top game work from side control to mount with americana and armlock attacks for the class, then Stephan led the advanced training session where we mixed stand-up and ground sparring and switched partners.

My cardio was great. I was exhausted by the end. But I'd done the whole session from warm-ups through post-advanced class sparring with Stephan. It's got me rethinking the whole conditioning thing, which is another topic for another post.

My technique was off, of course, though I did manage to get a good americana late in the evening from top half guard. For better or worse, that's my submission. It's like having a good, go-to-the-basket move: it's not always there and you can't force it. But when it's there, it's there on anybody.

To the point: I'm not going to have the luxury of being able to decide in advance when I'm going to be able to train and when I'm not. The last two weeks--from the trip to New York to the post-trip follow-up assignments--blocked out the whole middle of the month. While I can't believe that kind of workload is going to be typical, it does suggest that I'm going to have to be opportunistic and train when I can as opposed to when I've set time aside for training based on an arbitrary schedule.

If that means Monday morning/Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, so be it. That's far from optimal, but if that's what it takes to get my 3 square meals of jiu jitsu a week, then that's what I'll do.

That means the more writing I can get done on Sunday, the better chance I have of getting on the mat sometime Monday, day or night. If I can stay one day ahead--or even half a day, really--then I should be able to get in the other two days one way or another. But getting a jump on the week by training on Monday (instead of assuming I'll be able to wait later in the week) is the way to go.

Great post-training weigh-in, too, by the way. 159.0. I did do some conditioning in the near three weeks I missed (12th through 27th). But a lot of it was definitely caffeine and caloric restriction in the post New York period, so to speak. I hit the scale at about 155 this morning on the home, "unofficial scale", an unbelievably good number. Maybe getting under 150 for the Submission Wrestling League event on May 3rd (just over two months away) won't be as impossible as I'd started to think.