Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Worlds: Right Around the Corner

Here's coverage of the preparations for the Gracie Barra team from Gracie Magazine.
How’s preparation of the Gracie Barra athletes in California going? How did you organize things after the 2009 Pan?

We’re training every day, seven times a week, at 1pm, with two-hour sessions and we’ve revamped the leadership in training. I lead some days, Roberto Tussa others, Phelipe Furao helps too, as well as Flavio Cachorrinho. Yesterday Renato Babalu came over and taught the standup part, the double leg, the single leg, because he has good experience in that from wrestling and MMA. And on Monday Carlinhos Gracie came down and took over. He’ll be leading training throughout this final stretch.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cameron Diffley

Here's his recent superfight with Johnny Hendricks

And here's a recent interview with On the Mat.

Interview with Cameron Diffley

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Training

I expected Cindy to teach the no gi class Thursday, but while she was there for the kids class - and to help do a little impromptu striking instruction with Angela - she ended up taking off and Steve led the class.

Steve did another great job. I forgot that he used to teach in China - it makes sense that his classes are so well-structured. After a moderate, but full-body oriented warm-up, we did a crossover sweep/situp drill with a partner (50x each), then worked on the crossover sweep, the kimura off the crossover sweep, and a counter to the crossover sweep that has you hug the body tight between your arm and shoulder, stuff the knee inside with your other hand, take a big deep step with that leg and slide around to the back with the harness/seat belt grip.

It's a great move, and even though my leg cramped massively when I went for the crossover during the sparring, it is still one of my favorite sweeps and one I'll be sure to incorporate more into my game from the bottom.

A good day on the mat. I'm feeling better and better about my conditioning even if my weight has remained higher than I'd like (161.2 after training!). I'll start tightening things up in June.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Training

About halfway through the Blackhawks/Red Wings first period, still 0-0 (I DVR'd it) ... Hoping the Blackhawks can at least make a series out of it ...

It's been a week since I was on the mat, taking a little time off on both ends of the Memorial Day holiday weekend to soak up some extra rest and recreation. It was nice to be back. Stephen taught what I thought was a very well-structured class from warm-up to finish. Good pacing, a nice steady aerobic pace ... hopefully he'll join the cadre of GB Seattle instructors teaching regularly once he gets his black belt.

The instruction was the balloon sweep, pulling on both sleeves near the elbows and pushing up with both feet on the hips to roll the guy head over heels. One detail Steve highlighted was how you want to rotate your grip on the elbows to help bring the guy's head down to the mat, a rolling motion that reminded me of the way you'd flip-roll a towel if you wanted to snap it at someone like a whip. It really helped.

From there we worked on an armlock attack from the balloon sweep. Essentially, say you are attacking the guy's right arm. Once you've got him "ballooned", you want to rotate him slightly so that you are moving his head a little away from you and his legs a little closer. This is to improve the angle of the armlock by getting him more perpendicular to you. Actually, it's kind of the only way to rotate him - go the other way and you see that the armlock becomes almost impossible.

Again, attacking the right arm you would then drop your left foot off the hip, which will make his right side start to fall first. Push a little on the other hip with your right foot to help turn him more if necessary.

As he drops, swing your left leg over the face and your right leg up under the arm. Keep it tight. Grip the wrist. Thumb up. Hips up.

We did a sort of specific drill with this (I was working with both Reuben and Jared). Then Stephen had us do a king of the hill drill with side control/side control escapes where everyone remained down for an 8 minute session. I felt more and more comfortable swimming for the underhook. The more aggressively you attack with one escape, the more others open up. I saw this in particular during the sparring with my half guard. But more on that later.

After the side control specific we did some paired sparring and some open mat. My cardio was in pretty good shape given not being on the mat for a week. I think the LSD work - and the fairly regular training - has started to pay off. I feel like I'm thinking a little more clearly when I'm rolling - another huge benefit from cardio improvements.

No gi tomorrow and hopefully I'll get on the mat Friday, as well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Return of the Dragon

Lyoto Machida
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There was no point at which I thought that Rashad Evans was likely to beat Lyoto Machida this past Saturday. As I said to a teammate a few days before, I just don't find any reason to bet against Machida.

Thinking about it in the wake of Machida's dominating victory, I wrote at one message board that Machida's most challenging opponent would be either one with a comparably effective long-range striking game (a la Anderson Silva) or a top, close-the-distance oriented strike/clinch/takedown game (a la Fedor or, arguably, vintage Couture). I still pretty much feel that way.

Watching Machida's karate reminds me of the tae kwon do I grew up with at Jhoon Rhee's D.C.-area karate monopoly, the point fighting tournament circuit of the early 1980s ... I always resented point fighting for the same reasons I grew to resent boxing: it seemed to be a game rigged for the length, the long-limbed rangy fighter I would never be. To me, the ultimate point fighter was a guy, Hakim Alston, who I remember from my Jhoon Rhee days: a long, Praying Mantis-bodied guy with super-fast reflexes who fought with a sidekick like a jousting pole and a backfist like a whip.

But hats off to Machida, who if nothing else is bringing back the art of kicking as a way of creating space, determining range and establishing tempo. I still have enough karate in me to see the difference in between Machida's kicking game and the leg-kick centric kicking game of Muay thai and the powerkick mentality of the kickboxers. It's fun to see.

I like Machida to defend against Rampage, who will try to stand with Machida and will lose, and matchup with Shogun. I still like Machida over Shogun. But right now, Shogun presents the most interesting stylistic matchup - assuming he's on his game. That's the one I'm really looking forward to seeing.

Elsewhere, Forrest Griffin has a number of rematches lining up: Rampage, Evans, Jardine, Shogun ... all of which make his upcoming bout with Anderson Silva even less sensical. The UFC is in a bit of a panic mode over its MW division, which is encouraging them to "make fights" instead of simply continuing to build the division.

Bitten by the Holiday Bug

I didn't make it to the academy Thursday night. I would have loved to - I haven't been to one of Cindy's no gi classes since she opened up shop over at the Bellevue location. But the long days and late spring sun - and the bliss of a three-day weekend - were calling to me HARD.

So that's my excuse. The weather was just too damn nice and I was too ready for a three-day weekend.

You'd think I worked at coal mine or something, rather than the occupational heaven-on-Earth that is life at The Daily Planet over the past year and a half. But liberation from the samsara of punching a time clock - however otherwise wondrous that time clock might be - has been a goal of mine for many, many years. And a three-day weekend spent reading, writing, gardening, and working out was - save the absence of jiu jitsu - a mighty incentive to stick to the path.

I've been working on elements of my conditioning routine, simplifying the tabata, trying out the armoplatas (verdict: excellent). I think I've got an HICT (high intensity continuous training) routine to alternate with my LSD cardio work that is based around the tabata, armoplatas and the 360s. It's not HICT in the strictest sense that Joel of 8 Weeks Out. But I suspect that it will serve a similar purpose in increasing muscle endurance.

In fact, what I'm thinking is that what the matwork might lack in intensity (read: resistance, since it is all bodyweight work), it definitely gains in sport-specificity. At root, I can't see any other way for it not to improve my muscle endurance and muscle memory in some of the key movements I need to improve my fundamental jiu jitsu.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Uchi mata and Seoi nage

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Training

Stephen led Wednesday's class, with Rodrigo on vacation. He had me do the warm-ups, and I took the opportunity to take us once around the track lightly, as it were. One of these days, I'll have my own jiu jitsu conditioning class and I'll get to do some of the routines I'm working on for myself. In the meanwhile, it's all about the squats, pushups and crunches.

Steve's instructional was simple but something I'm definitely going to be looking for when it comes to guard passing. Essentially it's a push-stuff move where you've got both grips on the knees and you want to drive one leg/knee back toward the guy's face (the push), while pushing the other knee laterally across (the stuff).

The push is the critical part. That's what get the guy back on the small of his back and more vulnerable to being moved. After all, that's where he wants to be when he's attacking from the guard, for example. But when used against the guy, it gives us the opportunity to spin him around.

So, push with the one knee grip and then "stuff" the other knee underneath, across your body. As you do this, you want to twist your body, toreano-style, lowering your shoulder into the guy's hip as you pass the guard.

It's a real basic "concept" kind of pass, the kind that you can leverage into a lot of different situations. It's not as acrobatic as the Leite passes I've been working on, which is a plus.

Tatame was brief but intense. I rolled with Nate for about 20-25 minutes or so. It was pure survival mode, as I fought off a barrage of chokes for nearly the whole time. I would have liked to have been more effective with guard replacement, or even half guard replacement. The roll reminded me of my last roll with Lindsey in some ways. I wasn't "successful" in any conventional sense. But I negotiated the "survival" and (to a lesser degree) "escape" modes fairly well. The next step is to have a guard that keeps me from being so often in survival and escape modes against bigger and better guys.

Probably should have stuck around for another roll after taking a breather. But I'd done some LSD work earlier in the day (4.26 miles) and was starting to feel it after rolling with Nate. That and the fact that after a brutal northwest winter, the long days and sun are calling to me like the days of old back in Tucson. If it keeps this up, I'll be lucky to make it on the mat before the full 3-day weekend euphoria kicks in.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Training

ATM hit its sixth week in a row today. That streak may or may not be broken next weekend, with the Memorial Day holiday and all. Then again, there's a halfway decent chance that I'll take the early class on Monday (if its available). Lindsey said tonight that the Monday evening class will be an open mat, probably starting around 5 p.m.

The instructional part of today's class had us working on three different counters to the single leg. The first was the turn and kick counter. The second was the figure four lock and stomp, where you reach into the space between his arm and your leg with your inside arm (all the while stiff-arming the back of the guy's head with the far arm). Hook your inside arm on the back of the wrist of your stiff-arming arm and, with that lock intact, stomp down with your trapped leg as you pull up with the lock.

The third move was my weakest. Here, Lindsey had us use the trapped leg to do a sort of uchi mata throw. I've never been good with the uchi mata, and this exercise actually helped show me why. I never swing my leg high enough backward with the uchi mata. In Gene Lebell's book, he talks about even going up on your toes to get all the elevation you can. I also remember someone else saying that your uchi mata "kick" should be so deep and high that the top of your body, your head, should swing toward the mat, almost like the top of a pendulum.

I remember when I first sparred Sauleh years ago he caught me with an uchi mata. He put so much of himself into the throw that we both tumbled to the ground. The uchi mata isn't a sacrifice throw. But when executed at full force, with the full pendulum action, a lot of movement can take place.

Tatame wasn't bad. I rolled with Benny and Lindsey. The biggest thing out of the tatame was my crossover sweep from half guard, which worked when I had an opportunity to use it today. It is definitely a keeper and going right into the "competition game plan", as the kids call it.

160.8 on the scale. It could have been 158.8 if I had another 5-10 minute roll, I suspect. All in all, not a terrible Monday weight for the beginning of Week 3 of a 10-week training camp.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Women's MMA Update

Yuko Yamanaka
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Jewels 3rd Ring Results and Review
TOKYO -- Former Smackgirl open-weight champion Yuko “Hiroko” Yamanaka defeated Shannon Hooper, an understudy of Josh Barnett, by decision in the main event Saturday of Jewels 3rd Ring at Shinjuku Face.

Hooper's biggest obstacle was Yamanaka's length, as the CSW product wanted to keep the fight on the feet. The American could not get in close enough to tee off on the Japanese fighter with her quick, tight punches. Yamanaka stayed on the outside, circling just out of Hooper's range while throwing the occasional crisp jab between countless cracking low kicks that made Hooper's left leg red and purple. Yamanaka also caught Hooper in the Thai plum several times, where she delivered knees to the body, though the American deflected most of the blows.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Training

I've said before that I've thought Rodrigo and Mamazinho were mind readers. I can't tell you how many times I've been thinking about a certain position or escape, only to have that exact situation be the topic of the class that week.

I had been struggling against Rodrigo's de la Riva guard on Wednesday - and had been spending some time studying counters to the DLR guard in Saulo's Jiu Jitsu University. But, as things would turn out, Rodrigo was already working on the lesson plan.

Rodrigo showed us two different counters to the DLR guard. In both instances, the trick is to collar tie the neck and pull up, crunching the guy's body and making it harder for him to have the leverage he wants to stretch your base out with his pushing leg.

Also here you want to squat down into the DLR guard. This strengthens your base and puts pressure on his hook.

The actual pass had you step back a bit with your far leg (the one not being hooked). This will get the guy's legs and knees lined up so that you can do a knee through pass between his bended legs. With the hand on the far side you want to shoot for the underhook to keep the guy from circling to your back.

The guy may still have a grip on your heel as you slide through. If this is the case, then what you want to do is this: kick your leg backward to break the grip, then drive the knee of that leg inside (as if preventing a guard replacement) and then backstep your other leg free.

The other version is in case he doesn't give you the angle to slice the knee through. If this happens, then instead you want to do a knee-through, Royler style pass to the other side.

Be careful because you likely won't have an underhook when you shoot to the opposite side. Because of this, you want to square yourself perpendicular to his body as soon as you escape the legs. Knee-through, pass, and then swing around to control the upperbody and avoid losing the position.

A good night of training as Thursday's tend to be. Still a little weak on the sprawls, but I felt like I had good energy throughout.

Rodrigo's vacation starts tonight. He'll be in Hawaii for a couple of weeks I think. In his absence, Lindsey, Jessee, Andrew, Stephen and Cindy will be teaching classes. After three weeks of training three times a week, I'm tempted to really turn it up a notch heading into the three-day, Labor Day Weekend. Four classes, at least, and maybe give.

155.3 on the scale after training. Cool beans. I'm up to 4 miles on the LSD, adding a quarter of a mile each time I go out. This week, probably on Thursday, I'm hoping to add in mat work as a cardio routine to breakup all the LSD monotony. Trying it out a little bit on Thursday morning, some of the routines are going to work better than others as a part of mat work - and there's no way that I'm going to be able to start with a full minute each. I may have to make each station shorter and just rotate through the whole circuit twice as many times. Sixty seconds worth of sitouts - at least at this point - is just asking too much.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Training

Wednesday was all about deep half guard - another position that is going to be a fundamental part of my guard game. Rodrigo focused on getting deep, your head should be on or under the hips, to avoid the crossface. This is something that I've struggled with from time to time with my own half guard: letting the crossface get through.

For the most part, I've been blocking the crossface with the sticky paw grip. The sticky paw is also a great entry for the sweep I'm calling Aesopian, even though I don't know if he uses it. Actually, the set-up kung fu move is the Aesopian, the actual sweep is still the crossover.

I want to keep evolving away from the toe grab sweep. I don't want to lose that sweep, but I want to make sure that I've got a couple of other nice sweeps from the half guard as well: the twist back, the crossover, deep half to the back, kimura sweep ...

Some nice Tatame tonight. I tried to get that brabo choke with the collar going in my roll with Rodrigo (guard/pass guard specific) but, unsurprisingly, it didn't work out so well. I should have tried it on some of the other guys I rolled with. I was trying to avoid going to half guard as much as possible since I ended up rolling with a couple of white belts and have promised myself to work on broadening my game whenever I'm rolling with white belts: traditional closed guard, open guard, spider guard, even butterfly guard. Anything that I'd be terrified to do in a tournament, basically.

Feeling increasingly comfortable with the Flat pass (Rodrigo actually turned the tables and passed to half guard with that pass on me!). It's still a very new pass for me, so I'm giving myself a little leeway in trying it on white belts. But it is getting better. I'm doing a better job of getting to the side and staying there after the dive. One weakness is that I'm still "wrestling" the ankles open instead of using my legs the way that Justin Garcia shows in his absolutely vital Flat pass instructional.

Another technique of note was the crossover sweep from the full or closed guard. I was reading a point that Saulo made in his book that he likes to attack with the crossover at the elbow rather than at the shoulder. This adds a little whip to the sweep, which I liked when I attacked with it today. It also seems to require a little less control over the guy, meaning that it is easier to set-up without telegraphing your sweep.

My Zeke choke was working well tonight, very well in at least one instance. I want to make sure that my Zeke choke is as clean as possible. Nothing but blood. I can't think of a faster way of becoming THE asshole on the tatame than by hitting guys with trachea Ezekiel chokes ...

A good night. I'm in a weird drifty mode with the next tournament still a month away (the next GB Seattle Invitational on June 20th). And I'm not yet at the nervous stage about my appearance at the L.A. Trader's Expo (the weekend of the Mundials - and my birthday). This is the time when I think I can make some stealth gains: tightening up my toe grab sweep, bringing the crossover up to speed, developing some go to attacks from the mount and maybe, just maybe, developing a coherent guard passing game - before the final month leading up to the July Revolution event. A little focus now may go a long way.

158.6 on the scale. Not bad. I had a breakfast of leftover cod with tomatoes and green olives and a cheese quesadilla, about 6 ounces of chicken and an arugula salad for lunch. Some snacking on walnuts and almonds during the day. That's about the speed I want to maintain. With the cardio back on line starting tomorrow (my right quad was fine tonight in training), I should see the south side of the 150s on a consistent basis before too long.

Mundial 2009

I'll be in southern California during the Mundial. But instead of being in Long Beach on the tatame, I'll be in Pasadena at the L.A. Trader's Expo doing workshops and panel discussions on ETF trading.

It looks like I might have Friday free (workshop Thursday, panel discussion Saturday). How easy is it to get from Pasadena to Long Beach and back again?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

World BJJ Pro Results Are In

Tarsis Humpreys takes black belt absolute. Cobrinha, Marcelinho finish second in respective divisions

Here's the Cobrinha final against Rafael Mendes.

Here's the Humpreys final against Braulio Estima

And here's the Garcia final against Michael Langhi

Too much good stuff.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Training

Monday Lindsey had us working from standing. No instructional techniques, per se, though he showed us some of his favorite throws, knee picks and ankle picks. It was more of a "specifics" session, which I didn't mind for a bit. There's something about Monday training that makes you want to jump in and starting rolling as soon as the warmup is done.

I worked with a couple of guys, including Stephen. It's good training to see how well your takedowns work with the resistance and stiff-arming a gi provides. I still feel far more comfortable with ankle picks and countering leg throws with hip throws and kubi nage (headlock throw) of my own than with most other takedowns. And there's always the infamous half guard pull ...

We also did some specific king-of-the-hill work from the half guard. It was nice to have complete license to attack from the half. I worked my standard toe grab sweep well, but should have probably taken the opportunity to work the underhook guard or the high half. Then again, it was Monday.

Speaking of the half guard, my crossover sweep from half guard continues to work. It is definitely something to add to the competition gameplan, so to speak. I do need to work on passing the half guard as soon as I get the sweep, capitalizing on the suddenness of the reversal to stay yet another step ahead. But otherwise, that sweep is the best new thing to happen to my half guard.

I've been wrestling for it and using the Aesopian kung fu move to get into position. I'm starting to think that a kimura attack would also work. Just when the guy feels like he has escaped the kimura by pulling his arm out, he exposes and opens up the whole side of his body for me to overhook and then pull into me for the crossover.

My mount escapes are the main area I want to tighten up, in large part because if I can get to half guard from mount, then feel like I'll have the tools to go all the way from being on the bottom in mount to being on top in side control (i.e., escape mount to half guard, half guard sweep and guard pass to side control ...). Rear mount is pretty important, also. But at least with rear mount I feel like I have my procedures set but just aren't executing them consistently. With mount, there is still a little mix up in how I want to attack and escape (probably calls for a flashcard ...)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mat Work

One minute each exercise. Two trips through series. 10-minute rest. Then another two trips through the series.

Keep a moderate pace throughout. Constant precise movement is more important than quick imprecise movement. Full coil. Full extension.

sit outs
hip splits
360 drill
hook sweeps
scissor pulls
back rolls

Patience .... Deception ... Agility ...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do

With apologies to Mr. Ondaatje.

Bishop Knife Trick

I was working on my latest set of jiu jitsu cardio drills ("mat work") and for some reason this scene from Alien popped into my head.

I've been using the first few chapters of Saulo's book as my "hypnotic" during hour-long cardio sessions on the treadmill. Very basic, foundational stuff like suriving against rear mount, mount and, today, side control.

There are a ton of reasons why LSD cardio is good for you (meaning me, I suppose). The fact that it gives you so much time to meditate and think about what your trying to accomplish can't be understated. By the end of the hour - and after a shower and some rehydration - I was full of energy and ready for the day.

I'm looking forward to adding mat work into my routine. I'm trying to adapt the conditioning concepts I'm learning from Joel at 8 Weeks Out, using tempo methods and extended sessions to develop real muscle endurance.

More than that, though, I'm trying to adapt important jiu jitsu movements into this routine, so that in addition to getting into better and better shape, I'm searing certain fundamental movements into my muscle memory. I've already seen the difference that doing 3 sets of one minute "armoplatas" has done for my armlock and omoplata attacks from the guard.

We've got a huge new bench weight set installed at the GB Seattle location: a full Christmas tree of stuff from leg extensions and lat pulldowns to bench presses and the rest. For me, the possibility of being able to throw in a few sets of leg extensions and lat pulldowns after training is ideal: those are the two exercises I have the hardest time recreating using dumbbells.

Except for the eagerness to get back on the mat, training three times this past week wasn't the worst thing in the world. I definitely felt more energetic on Thursday, failures during the sprawl intervals notwithstanding. Maybe alternating three and four trainings per week is the key.

One thing I do think is the case (and is borrowed from Joel's approach to conditioning) is that I think that heavy volume is important. In other words, when I train, I should arrive early and stay late, soaking up as my experience as I can. If that works out to only be able to train three times a week instead of four, then so be it. I tend to think that four is the magic number to keep yourself improving and fitting better and better into your jiu jitsu. And if I'm not going to be able to train on a given Friday, then I need to make certain I'm on the mat on Monday (the ATM rule).

Interesting goes on over at GB Seattle/Bellevue ... I don't know all the details, but I do know that from the moment Rodrigo told me that he was opening a school in Bellevue, I knew that GB Seattle/Bellevue would be a huge success. It was a no brainer. There are tons of people on the Eastside who would be ideal for jiu jitsu and there is no pure jiu jitsu training on the other side of the lake as far as I know. The facility itself is spacious - you could easily hold two classes at the same time. As I told Rodrigo at the time he brought it up: it will eventually have more students than the GB Seattle/Downtown school. That might be ten years from now. But there's no way that GB Seattle/Bellevue doesn't blow-up into something special.

Enough on that. I'm having a great time in training, feeling some modest cardio improvements, and seeing some technical betterment, as well. Just in time for spring training, so to speak.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thursday Training

I took Wednesday off to let my ankle heal up a little. I tweaked it at some point during Tuesday training and given that it wasn't in the best shape to begin with, I thought a break made sense.

It certainly helped cardio-wise. I felt like I could roll all night on Thursday. I was a little muscle fatigued during the first part of class when we were doing pummeling with calisthenics (pushups, choke crunches, sit outs, squats, sprawls) mixed in.

My MEP program is definitely making pushups easier. I can hit about 20 sitouts at a good clip before faltering. And sprawls are sprawls ... they are just killers. One of these years, I'm going to do that 100 burpee challenge and get my sprawls set up right ...

Nice work. I worked with Michael the blue belt during the pummeling circuits and the instructional, which was the same X-guard sweep we worked on Tuesday night. This time, Rodrigo emphasized more of an X-guard posture than a "double X" like on Tuesday. He also emphasized the sweep where you do that sit-to-stand dropstep move (also a pretty good solo drill, BTW) and drive into the guy and take him down.

Good tatame, as well. Still focusing on the Flat Pass and had some pretty decent success. I also got a nice reaffirmation that my tackle sweep from low half is solid - especially against guys who aren't used to fighting it all the time. I also think I'm doing a better job of anticipating the knee cross pass attempt - though I've still got a bad habit of giving up the crossface and having to work out of a flat posture.

A couple of very quick americanas, submission-wise. There really isn't a whole lot I feel comfortable with when attacking no gi - at least, outside of chokes. There was a rear naked Ezekiel that wasn't too bad. And I liked the way I looked for ways to let the guy turn when mounted in order to try and take the back.

Casey was in tonight which was nice to see, having not seen him for awhile. And I got to give him a warm-up roll. Big Mike the blue belt was there - another guy I don't see as much as I used to - as was Stephen W., who ended up missing Subleague with a last minute cold.

A good night on the mat, the kind of training that makes you want to do little more than eat, sleep and train. Speaking of "eat", I was 160.2 on the scale after training, which is pretty heavy for Thursday. I decided against doing my LSD cardio earlier today because I was concerned about my ankle and wanted to make sure that nothing got in the way of my training on Thursday. With any luck, I'll get back on the mat Friday, have a nice LSD session on Saturday and be ready to roll on Monday.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tuesday Training

A solid warmup with sitouts added for extra measure.

The coursework was sweeps out of the X-guard as a counter to a blocked hook sweep from the Cobra guard (one knee up and one down in attacking butterfly guard mode). The prompt is when the guy steps out with his leg to avoid getting swept from a basic hook sweep.

To start the sweep, dive under the step out leg with an X-guard style underhook under the knee. At the same time, lift up with your hook. Assuming that you had your other arm around the back grabbing the belt, transfer that grip to the ankle of the leg that you are foot-hooking and hold that lock Fugitive style.

Rodrigo emphasized this point. The sweep you use depends on where the guy's weight is. If you get a good hook and underhook, then there's a chance that the guy will fall forward more than remain standing. In this case you want to help him keep moving forward.

To do this, you bring your inside knee in - sort of a double Fugitive on the leg. Bring your lower leg up and step on the leg, so that you have a stomp on one side and the hook from your top leg's foot on the other, with both feet putting pressure on the leg. Stretch the guy out by extending your legs and posturing - lifting your underhook farther away.

To finish the sweep. Put your free arm on the ground. Take your hook off and plant that foot on the mat. Bring your other leg back underneath (a sort of reverse sit out) you as you stand up on your plant foot and drive into the guy's leg with your underhook.

The other sweep was for guys with good balance or if your dive and hook doesn't move him very much (bigger guy, for example). Here, since he is likely sitting a bit to keep his balance, it will be easier to take him backwards..

From the double Fugitive position, you want take your bottom leg and hook it behind his leg at the ankle. I'll need to ask Rodrigo about the positioning of your top leg, if you just use the knee to keep pressure or remove that leg in preparation for the move to the top. Like the kimura sweep, you want to recenter your body so that you aren't on your side. This will also make it easier to transition to the top.

In any event, from here, with the guy stretched out, it should be fairly easy to kick that leg out from under him with your bottom leg. As he falls back, sweep that leg aside (to the inside) and move to the pass.

I'd like to work on it some more - a lot more. The guy I was working with had a hard time maintaining his balance, so I didn't get as much of a chance to work the second version as I'd like. That said, I like these X-guard type of sweeps a lot. They go well with sitting guards. I'll be sure to get a refresher tomorrow.

Tatame was short but sweet. I rolled with a blue belt Ben who was very tough out of the half guard, especially with his lockdown. I've really been struggling to pass the half guard lately, but I still think I'm only a week or two from getting on track with my basic pass series of the knee cross, watchdog wedge, and cross wedge. But I need to reverse engineer the lockdown, which is joining the crossface as my major nemesis (nemises?) in the world of the half guard.

Also tried to work some old school armlock from the guard. I managed to get a weird reverse crossover sweep out of it. But what was really nice was playing with the attack, getting the arm attack, the stomp on the hip ... I did a horrible job of taking an angle. But it was the most aggressive that I've ever been out of the basic closed guard. I need to keep at it. I might end up with a closed guard game after all.

167.4 in the standard gi before class. Just at the IBJJF limit for lightweights (167.5). 158.0 after training without the gi.

Monday Training

Missed training on Friday so last week was only a three-timer. Funny how training three times a week now seems more like a minimum than a goal.

Monday's training was more specific oriented. After one of Lindsey's typically rigorous warm-ups - especially where core muscular endurance is concerned - we went straight into rear mount/escape rear mount, mount/escape mount and half guard sweep/half guard pass. Writing this Tuesday before training, I can't remember if we did closed guard or not.

I always love specific training. So often you don't find yourself in a position often enough to really work on your specific escape pathways. Specific training means that you'll get to work on all of the toughest spots directly, without having to hope that you'll get a chance to work on them.

My escapes are so so. I'm doing a good job getting the Scoop posture when escaping rear mount, but my Mount survival posture (as Saulo calls it) could use some work. I'm not turning on my side enough and I'm not getting my frame set properly with my down elbow tight against my body. I also need to do a better job of keeping my one leg flat.

The Tatame was pretty good. I rolled with Benny for about 20 minutes. As I told Lindsey afterwards, Benny always pushes me and makes me work hard every time. He's got great scrambling and wrestling ability, and if I slip for a second he's either escaped or taken a dominant position on me. Suffice to say that the fact I was able to roll with him for 20 minutes without having my heart explode is probably the highlight of the night.

Other nice notes included some good work with my crossover sweep from half guard. There were, of course, a number of mistakes that I need to fix. For one, I need to remember not to pull on the leg when transitioning from turtle to half guard. Instead, stiff arm the leg, shoot your leg on that side back and make your turn.

Two: be sure to re-center yourself before going for the kimura sweep. You can't get the momentum if you stay at a near perpendicular angle to the guy (as you would if you were trying to finish the kimura).

Three, not really a mistake, but I'm having a hard time getting arm and collar drags with my left pull so I need to switch to dragging with my right arm. This will also make it easier to transition to half guard on my better side if the arm or collar drag fails.

Four, I need to work the moth guard sweeps into my half guard game. I think that in the intermediate term, this will be the best way to get these sweeps into the mix - by working on them as part of my half guard set. Drive into him then, when you feel the pressure come back, dive and go for the sweep.

Five, Benny did a great job of re-centering his hips when I went for the Flat Pass. I need to make sure I dive far to the side and put that leg I want to trap on the mat with my weight on it. It's still a balancing act getting the Flat Pass to work right. But Benny seemed to have too easy of a time adjusting and countering the entry.

Six, on that score, let's work the 101 pass into the mix more. Now is the time to see what I can do with standing passes before the pressure of deciding on a go-to pass for the tournament will be arrives in about a month. Experiment now so that it will be easier to decide later.

All for now. Despite hitting the scale at 161.4 after training (173.6 in the gi before), it was a pretty good Monday on the mat.