Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Training Day: Wednesday


5b. Tue pm, Wed am, Thu pm
1. Standing Guillotine against double leg/shot
2. Standing Guillotine counter/escape (shoulder control) w/takedown
3. Headlock escape on the ground w/back take
4. Side control escape/guard recovery

Monday, March 29, 2010

Training Day: Monday


5a. Mon am/pm, Wed pm
1. Front bear hug with double underhooks
2. Headlock escape/counter on the ground
3. Side control transition to north/south and back (without backstep or hip switch)

Specific training was mostly 60 second side control and escape. Then we did some "king of the hill" guard/pass guard. Unfortunately, I'm still doing a terrible job of practicing my specific focus areas. I did a lot of half guard (what else is new?), but I don't think I went for the transition to deep half once.

I'm also still allowing myself to get flattened out. Even if I've got the skills to regain good position, it's a detour I need to stop pursuing because all it does is (a) waste energy and (b) increase the potential for making a mistake while in a vulnerable or at least semi-vulnerable position.

A good day on the mat. My conditioning felt pretty good even though I'm increasingly going up against larger and larger guys of late. We'll see if what seems to be some modest improvement on that front actually holds up.

Cavalcanti, Feitosa, Almeida on Fightworks

Here's an interesting episode of The Fightworks Podcast: Professors Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti of Alliance, Marcio Feitosa and Flavio Almeida of Gracie Barra on their respective team's training camps and preparation for the 2010 Pan American Championship.

#204 BJJ Pan-Am Preparation with Alliance and Gracie Barra
This week on the show we showcase the preparations made by two of the teams that have historically had the most success at the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship: Gracie Barra and Alliance. In 2006, 2007, and 2009 Gracie Barra won first place, and in 2008 Alliance took home the gold.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lloyd Irvin on Goal Setting

I'm no Lloyd Irvin basher. The truth of the matter is that I've reverse engineered far too many of Lloyd Irvin's video clips, e-mails, game plans, instructionals and competition tips to think anything other than the fact that the man has produced some excellent jiu jitsu competitors in his day.

Here was Lloyd Irvin's thought for the week this week:
So here's your Sunday assignment if you
haven't already set up your weeks goals.

I want you to write this down and monitor
it all week to see how you did.

1. What is the 'focus' of your training
this week? ie. when next sunday comes
what will you want to have accomplished?

2. What is the single biggest area of
improvement do you want to make
this week?


3. What one single transition are you having
problems with that you can work on this
For me, the big elephant in the middle of my training is still conditioning. So my biggest goal is to stick with the General Endurance Training program I started last week.

Beyond that, I really need to take advantage of this post-tournament environment to work on my most critical areas: deep half and passing the guard from standing. Both parts are at an "improving" stage. But if I can push through and really put some emphasis on both over the next few weeks, then I think I'll be in that much better shape when I start my Eight Weeks Out for the July Revolution in a little over two months.

In terms of a most important single transition, it is probably from half to deep half. I do want to work on some half to butterfly transitions, too. But there are so many good things that can flow from a quality deep half guard game that I want to focus on the deep half, even at the risk of letting the butterfly guard same sit on the shelf a little longer.

I always find Lloyd Irvin worth listening to. I see him material as a sort of tutor to the basic instruction I get from Rodrigo and Gracie Barra - or more even like a special, side seminar series or something. In no way does what he offer replace what I learn at the academy every day. But because Lloyd Irvin has such a strong competitive emphasis, I've always felt that there were things I could borrow from him that could only help improve and accelerate my own learning and understanding of jiu jitsu.

So I'm going to try and include some of the more interesting things that come my way by way of his persistent e-mail marketing. Like I said, I've never spent a dime on any of Lloyd Irvin's products or services. That isn't because I don't think that they are worthy. It's simply because he's been generous enough with the free stuff that I don't feel any need for "more" by way of paying for the rest of it.

Lloyd Irvin probably wouldn't be happy to hear that. But if it's any salve, it's a testament to the quality of the material he produces that there is so much benefit even in the material he just "gives away."

Aerobic Capacity/Cardiac Output Training Week One

General Endurance Training Week One

Tuesday / LSD9
371 cal / 115 fat cal
35:04 min 2.25 mi / 9 laps
HR 125-135
400m at 3% at 3.6 mph
400m at 4% at 3.7 mph
400m at 5% at 3.8 mph
400m at 6% at 3.9 mph
400m at 9% at 3.9 mph
400m at 8% at 3.9 mph
400m at 7% at 3.9 mph
400m at 6% at 3.9 mph
400m at 3% at 4.2 mph

Saturday / LSD3
446 cal / 139 fat cal
45-46 min 3.02 mi / 12 laps
HR 125-135
1200m at 3% at 3.9 mph
1200m at 4% at 3.9 mph
1200m at 5% at 3.9 mph
800m at 3% at 4.0 mph
400m at 3% at 4.2 mph

Friday, March 26, 2010

Training Day: Friday

Fundamentals 4A&B

4a. Mon am/pm, Wed pm
Headlock w/punch block to shoulder lock
Guard posture recovery / Guard player spider guard entry
Guard posture recovery w/standing to Bullfight Pass

4b. Wed am, Tue/Thu pm
Self-defense: front bear hug over both arms to sprawl to back to hip toss
Guard posture recovery / Standing break with double underhook setup
Guard posture recovery / Standing break with double underhook pass to watchdog side control

Friday is review day, so we went over both the A and B lessons for the week. I missed the Fundamentals class on Wednesday, so I'm still a little sketchy on the double underhook pass - especially the middle step when you sprawl and set up the second underhook. Hopefully, I can work on it a little bit next weekend before the new lesson take hold.

One thing Rodrigo and Lance pointed out is that I've got a habit of keeping my elbow wide when I change levels during underhook passes. It's an easy enough thing to fix. But the problem is that I don't do underhook passes often enough to make the new, good habit stick. My guard passing game is very much smash-the-leg oriented.

So maybe this is an opportunity to fix that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tempo Training Week One

Here's my Thursday morning workout during the General Endurance Block (currently 6-week). Each week I'll increase the sets and/or reps until I get to 5 sets of 10 reps. Rest between sets will go from 40 to 30 in the second three weeks.

1 lap 3% grade at 3.9 mph
3 sets of 8 tempo weighted lunges (four count, 40 seconds between sets)
2 laps 4% at 3.9, 5% at 3.9
3 sets of 8 tempo weighted lunges
1 lap 6% at 3.9
3 sets of 8 tempo weighted lunges
1 lap 3% at 4.2

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Live Training: Wednesday

A lycanthropic episode kept me from training the full class on Wednesday. But I was able to make it for a pretty good live training session. Guard/pass guard specific with a couple of blue belts and a tough white belt I've gotten to train with a few times recently.

I'm trying to incorporate the moves of the day - or at least of the past week or two - as well as work on my own material. Especially when working with blue or white belts who I think can really benefit from training the new moves in a live or semi-live setting, this is something I want to do. It also really helps to understand the move to see someone working it against you.

I think this is the key to training every day: changing the time of day, only doing live training some days, probably only doing the Fundamental lesson other days (though I can't honestly see doing that!). If ever there was a time when I could train 4-5 days a week regularly, now is probably it.

161.8 post train. I trained on an empty stomach, which makes it a little inaccurate I guess, but I'll keep the number.

An Interview with Jacare

Courtesy of Global Training Report
Question 4: How is the training going in Extreme Couture? How is it different from your training in Manaus?

Jacare: . Regarding training days per week, I train more days in Manaus. But there are training part 2 and part 3 in a day here to cover resting days. I am also doing a physical training which I've never done so far. My condition is good, and my power is going up.. But what is the best thing here in Extreme Couture is that it's very comfortable to be after all. I enjoy training with the other guys and I can sense my progress.. All members of the team train hard together for four hours without a let up. Wanderlie Silva, Gilberto Yvel, Randy Couture, Forest Griffin, Phil Baroni, Tyson Griffin, Mike Pyle, all together.

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Praise of Short Round Sparring

I'm watching the NCAA wrestling Division 1 championships that I DVR'd from this past weekend (3rd place matches right now). And among the many things going through my head presently is how great it has been that GB in general - and my academy, GB Seattle/Washington in specific - has embraced short, 90 second rounds for specific training (ex. guard/pass guard).

I think a part of me is still getting used to it. But the more I train it and the more I think about it, the more I think that it may be one of the best parts of the whole Grace Barra "Back to Basics" project.

"My" Pan Am 2010 Divisions

If I were competing at this year's Pan Am, then these would be the divisions I'd be looking at. Leve, with a max weight of 167.5 with the gi is by far the most likely. But given the lack of competitors at Pena, I can't help but wonder what it would take to get to 154 com kimono (roughly 149 without).

Actually, the ideal would be to compete at Senior 1 Leve (36-40 yrs) this year, where there are four competitors and none from Gracie Barra (unlike Senior 2).

Interestingly, the brown belt divisions at Senior 1 and Senior 2 are relatively small. Senior 1 Pena and Senior 2 Leve both have one competitor so far. Senior 1 Leve has 2 and Senior 2 Pena has none.

Training Day: Monday

Professor Fabiana taught the afternoon class today.

4a. Mon am/pm, Wed pm
Headlock w/punch block to shoulder lock
Guard posture recovery / Guard player spider guard entry
Guard posture recovery w/standing to Bullfight Pass

Notes: (1) Look inside. Block the punch. Feed punch to other hand from back. Step out and back (perpendicular), looking up with outside foot with grip on headlocking wrist. Duck and step back against back and shoulder lock headlocking arm. Release trapped punch arm and choke from staggered stance (choke leg in front) (2) Need to ask about the spider guard entry: spider guard far bicep or near bicep? (3) Remember to put weight behind toreano grips (punch the mat). Move quickly to side with shoulder to watchdog (head control then hip control).

Tatame was a little scrappy. Part of my goal with improving my "cardio" is that I think it will allow me to be more relaxed and patient when training. I need to focus on the underhook passes we've been working on - especially now that the toreano is on the schedule for this week. I had a few opportunities for underhook passes today, but just failed to execute.

At least ATM is back in effect. I'm going to start weighing in with my gi pants (and pads and T-shirt/rashguard) on so that I'm tracking the Revolution competition weight as I go. Today was 165.2 post-train, which is fine given that I'm several weeks away from competition (July). Ideally, I'll hit 162 pre-train during the eight-week training camp leading up to the summer Revolution.

BTW, Professor Fabiana has been training at GB Seattle for the past several weeks in preparation for the Pan Am in April. Here is some footage of the Professora in action:

Spring General Endurance Block

Starts today. 6-8 week focus on both standing and ground conditioning.

First 3-4 weeks will be aerobic capacity twice a week (one LSD/one matwork-based), HICT once a week and tempo training once a week. After that, threshold training will be the main mode of conditioning, with aerobic capacity (probably LSD since the threshold training will be matwork-based) and HICT once a week (though two sets of 10-20 minutes instead of one set).

One of the things Joel says about the general endurance block is that it's a good time to focus on technical improvement. This is when you are more than a few months from your next competition, and can gain the most by being experimental and adding elements to your game.

To that end, I'll be trying to train 4-5 times a week for the next month and a half or so. I've got a more modest set of techniques to work on, extensions of what I'm doing now rather than more exotic variations (paging cross guard) that I'd spent a little too much time on late last year.

I'm hoping to take a long-overdue vacation in early May - which may end up being just a long weekend. But it may end up changing the scheduling of the program. In any event, the next six weeks are set.

The main goal is to give me another 3-4 minutes of mat endurance when it comes time to compete. I think that endurance is the difference maker between winning and losing right now. A second goal is that better endurance will allow me to maximize my training time, being able to effectively execute the techniques I want to work on whenever I want to - as opposed to when I feel physically able to.

And a third goal is to see if a focus on endurance conditioning right now can help keep my weight at a somewhat lighter than usual sub-155 level. Properly charged, I think that's where my motor is most likely to run at its best.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Flash v.s. Hellboy

For the Dream Featherweight Championship.

Here's OntheMat's preview of the fight.

DREAM.13 title fight: Bibiano Fernandes vs. Joachim Hansen
On Monday, March 22, 2010 in Yokohama, Japan, while most North American fans will be sleeping, DREAM will be hosting their first event of the year at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. DREAM, which is the MMA promotion run by leading Japanese combat sport promoter FEG (whom also promotes K-1), has quickly turned into Japan's premier MMA organization since the demise of the once great PRIDE organization exactly 3 years ago. DREAM.13 will feature seven action-packed MMA fights and will air live in North America on HDNet, starting at midnight PST/3:00 a.m. EST.
Here's a highlight of Bibiano "The Flash" Hernandez.

And here's a highlight of Joachim Hansen.

Pan Am 2010 Updates and Classic Moments

Here's the update on the Pan Ams for this year - only a few weeks away. The Gracie Barra competition team began training yesterday on Saturday for the April 8, 9, 10 and 11th event.

With live internet broadcast, Pan discount ends Monday
To heat things up even more for this 16th installment of the Pan, opened its vault to reminisce about some of the most classic moments in the event’s history.

15. Rigan Machado vs Roberto Roleta, 1996

Never had anyone passed Roleta’s guard with such ease, not even in training. But “Rigão”, without an inkling it was impossible, went out there and did it, scoring 3 to 0 and winning his second absolute title at the Pan.

14. Eduardo Jamelão vs Jean Jacques Machado, 1996

After holding out against a deeply sunk kneebar, Jamelão rose to the occasion, making it to Jean Jacques’s half-guard and winning the middleweight division.

13. Marcio Feitosa vs Vítor Shaolin, 1998

At the 4th Pan, Marcio passed the guard of the Nova União revelation twice, running into danger from a snug americana.
For the rest of the list, be sure to visit Gracie magazine.

Visit Georgette's World

Discovered a new blog today, Georgette's World. I think the blog has been around since 2006 - or at least "Georgette the blogger" has been.

But the blog has a lot of information about what's going on in her jiu jitsu world, some interesting notes on competition, women in grappling, and more.

Most recently, Georgette was the guest of Caleb and Friends over at The FightWorks Podcast. The topic is one near and dear to my heart: what to do and not do when coaching during competition. I was relieved to find that, with the possible exception of yelling yourself hoarse, I am not a great offender when it comes to poor cornerside coaching in jiu jitsu - at least as far as Georgette is concerned.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Training Day: Friday

3a: Mon am/pm, Wed pm
Front choke counter with jabstep to back to hip throw
Posture recovery with guard open standing
Guard open standing with single underhook pass

Notes: (1) Measure strike, step aside with lead leg, jabstep with inside leg, to the back with clinch, then head back in front for hip throw. (2) & (3) Same posture recovery as 3b with drop knee and head fade. For standing pass, feed collar, drop to knee of attacking grip. Bring knee to opponent face and look away to pass. Elbow over. Inside leg shoot along side to block hip (watchdog).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meet John Danaher just published a great profile of Danaher as he helps prepare GSP for his upcoming UFC welterweight title defense against Dan Hardy. Danaher is someone who is much talked about, but infrequently experienced. This piece from Sherdog provides some interesting insights.

Danaher a Behind-the-Scenes Sage for St. Pierre, Others
The New Zealand émigré holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as well as a Masters degree in Philosophy from an Ivy League school. Not that the two are diametrically opposed, but Danaher seems convinced they are much more congruent than most would believe. One may wonder what philosophy and jiu-jitsu have in common. The Renzo Gracie protégé makes a compelling argument that has sold many a fighter and even more jiu-jitsu players.

“[Fighting] is a problem solving activity, and the people who do best at it tend to be people with rational, inquiring minds,” Danaher says. “And so, the relationship between philosophy and mathematics has to do more with human beings using their rational faculties to solve problems, rather than, in the case of jiu-jitsu, blind strength, anger and aggression.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Training Day: Tuesday

3b: Tue/Thu pm, Wed am
Front headlock counter to armbar from side control
Posture recovery with guard open on knees
Guard open on knees with single underhook pass

I'd like to get the exact names for these moves. But I never think to write them down when I'm training since my schedule means maximizing training time from the minute I arrive to the minute I've got to leave. Plus, there's probably something to re-writing them in my own language if it helps me remember them better. I'm pretty determined to get through the entire fundamentals course in real-time at least once without missing any days. I'm almost grateful for the fact that we haven't started doing the advanced program officially yet. It gives me more time to focus on the Fundamentals.

Notes: (1): Check hip, check behind inside knee. Sprawl back and take attacker's weight. Step back with far leg and let attacker take you to mat. Post with arms. Inside knee shin against back. Step over with outside leg to S.mount. Hands in face/posture up with headlocking arm trapped for armlock. (2) & (3) Inside control to and drop knee back, slide back and out in drop knee direction. Remember to feed collar to attacking grip. Grip deep.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Revolution? Well, You Know ...

Where to start with this Saturday's Revolution?

Top of the list, we lost the Adult Team Gi Championship to Lotus Club. I don't know how close it was. We did really well with blue belts, picking up 7 out of 21 possible medals, but really struggled at white belt where we only picked up one. Purple belt was also a rough division for us, with only Brock managing to medal.

My division, Purple 162 and under, was stacked with 12 competitors - by far the largest division I've been in for years. I didn't end up fighting Enoch until my second match, after closing a relatively close opening match to the eventual 3rd place winner from Megaton-Gracie Humaita (takedown and guard pass versus my takedown).

The Wilson fight was very much like a lot of my old blue belt fights. I spent entirely too much time in the guard and eventually got reversed. I ended the fight in a pretty bad position - though not especially vulnerable to submission. Still, it was a pretty subpar finish on my part.

I'll fill in the details over time (or maybe not). There were a few big mistakes - one of the biggest probably being my paranoia about making weight (I weighed in at 159 with my gi pants on, 3 pounds under the limit) and my forgetting to eat after the weigh-in. In both my fights, I hit the wall somewhere around 5 minutes in. I'd been winning or at least tied up to that point in both instances. But when I was done, I was pretty much done. I think there were probably tactical things I could have done that would (or might) have mitigated things. But that's another conversation for another time.

If nothing else, I no long suffer from the delusion that I'm completely outclassed by the average guy who competes at my level. With all due respect to my victorious opponents, I was in or winning both fights - at least up until I didn't.

There a few things I'll be working on over the next few months. But the vast majority of them were things I had planned to work on any way. For one, I really need more flexibility of attacking options from the half guard that I feel comfortable with. To that end, I'll be emphasizing the deep half and the hooks guard, especially transitioning from regular half to hooks guard. These options will deal with the most common challenges to my half guard right now.

Conditioning wise, I'll start an 8 week general conditioning camp on Monday the 22nd. Nothing but aerobic capacity and tempo training for eight weeks. Over that time, I also hope to switch my BJJ training schedule to MTRF, with the occasional Wed or Saturday live training thrown in, maybe.

So that's it for the spring run. Not an awful outing on my part, but clearly plenty of room for improvement. I also want to add the fireman's carry/kata guruma on the left side as a nice takedown when I switch from my right grips to my left grips. That is something that appeared as a vulnerability on Saturday, even though my standup was pretty solid (again, at least until it wasn't.)

Taking Monday night off. A little soreness in my bad knee and in my right quad that cramped pretty hard last week. I'll be back on the mat Tuesday.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Training Day: Friday

Just when I was starting to think that I might actually put together a halfway decent showing this weekend, I learn that my first round opponent has more mixed martial arts victories by submission than I have victories by, well, anything.

Enoch "The Animal" Wilson

As my last all-too-swift outing at the Revolution intimated, the purple belt division has increasingly become the home of MMA guys looking to polish up their jiu jitsu skills. And I suppose, as a fan of mixed martial arts who would like to see more and better submissions in the sport, I should be supportive of this initiative.

On the other hand, my terrible competition record means that to the extent that I continue to compete at the Revolution, many of those mixed martial artists will be using me as their whetstone.

Made it for the full Friday class. A good review of the 2a and 2b material from the week. I got in about six minutes worth of guard/pass guard specific with Bryan and then maybe four minutes sparring with one of the bigger blue belts I've gotten to know (I want to say "Kevin" but I can't recall right now). Not the most confidence-boosting session, particularly less than 24 hours before competing. But that's just how that goes.

158.8 stripped post-train. 160.2 with sweaty gi pants. Closer than I would like (I was hoping for a sub-160 gi pant weight, and maybe with another 5-minute roll I would have gotten it). I'm going to have to be careful tonight. But there's no reason I should miss my 162 number tomorrow morning.

Starting to feel that odd, dissociative, PCP feeling that I get instead of nervousness. It's probably a defense mechanism - though it didn't work out so well at the Revolution last fall. I'll get a little food in me and then take it easy tonight - maybe watch some of these college tournament games (Georgetown v. Syracuse was great in the earlier rounds).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Training Day: Wednesday

Just live training today. The break between the Fundamentals class and the Live training component isn't as clear in the early class as it is in the late class. And I felt a little like I was sneaking onto the mat even though Rodrigo had just ended the Fundamentals part and was giving those folks a few minutes before starting the specific training (guard/pass guard).

Mostly worked my standing against the guard in training with Bryan. I got to work a bit with a young white belt also, and tried to make it worthwhile. You really have to pay attention when you are rolling with newer folks if you want to get the most out of the session for both of you. It's especially rewarding, to be sure. And something I'm really looking forward to as I continue to train.

Access to the scale was a little problematic. But I managed to get on quickly for a 160.8, post-train with gi pants and rashguard. That probably puts me around the 158-159 mark, but it was probably a good idea to weigh-in with my gi pants on. That will give me a little extra room.

Rodrigo said that a caravan was leaving from GB Seattle at about 8 am on Saturday. I'll save myself a few minutes and start out around the same time from my somewhat more southern location. Plus, that way I get to zone out on my favorite pre-competition caravan on the out and my favorite synchronized chaos on the way back.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Training Day: Tuesday

I knew that Tuesday would be the hardest training of the week. Tuesday includes the Advanced Program (along with Monday and Saturday), which right now is a circuit of moderate pace alt takedowns, armlocks from the guard, squats and pushups. After that, guard/pass guard specific and rear mount/rear mount escape specific, then an 8-10 minute sparring.

Good hard work. I worked with Nick (the gamer tech), and trained a little with Andrew, Benn and Benny. I was pretty whipped by the end of the session, holding positions rather than being able to advance them. I'm not especially happy about that, and I can tell that there are still too many instances where I'm working too hard. But that is fixable in the intermediate term, if not shorter.

Here's the Fundamentals program for tonight:

2B: Tue pm, Wed am, Thu pm
1. Hip throw counter to standing choke
2. Hip push sweep from guard against standing
3. Armlock from guard against standing

Notes: (1) From tricep grip, penetration step with far side leg and "elbow uppercut", reach around head as if for headlock throw, reverse pivot - Rodrigo and Fabiana included a regrip on the triceps where you swim your arm over and inside and regrip. I'm not sure if I understand this regripping. (2) Knees together for better leverage. Hip split as you come up, plant with one hand and pull up on the collar with the other. Slide the knees in tight to secure the mount. (3) Split the elbows. Crawl the legs. Grip. Underhook off leg and pivot. Swing leg over for armlock.

I really tried to work in opportunities for #2 with the white belt I was working with (Corey, I think). There's no better time for someone to try out a new position than shortly after he or she has learned it. So I'm trying to make it a priority to work the Move of the Day into the initial specific sparring when I'm working with white and blue belts. Benny joked that we ought to have some "thing" we do everytime someone does the Move of the Day in the specific sparring. I think it's a great idea - just some sort of cheer or commendation. We'll see what happens.

Down to 158.0 post-train. The LSD workout I did earlier in the day probably helped that a bit. And I've started dropping calories, too. So far so good.

Omoplata Counter from Mike Fowler and JT Torres

The latest gift from Lloyd Irvin, Mike Fowler and J.T. Torres: Omoplata Escape.

I don't know how long this will be up - or at its current location. So I wanted to get a screen capture of at least one of the critical steps in the counter.

Here's a quick transcription of the main idea:
"When JT gets me in the omoplata, what I need to do know is I need to step up. So, watching my back leg, I'm going to put my leg up. From here, I'm going to slide my foot in like I was doing a butterfly sweep right here. My feet are together and my knees are out. Now what I want to do is I want to push using my arm and shoulder into him and put him up on his shoulder. I'm going to be going right to my butt. Now here's the thing: I don't want to fall to my back. I want to go from my knee to my butt to my other knee. As I roll him over like this, I want to control his pants. And I'm going to push him all the way over. That way when we land, my arm is now in the back and I'm kinda out of the danger of that omoplata ...

The second explanation.

"From here, I'm going to step my foot up, slide in - and from here, remember, don't keep your head up so high - keep everything locked in nice and tight. That way when I step up and slide in and go from here to here, I've got a nice strong base and I'm not going to be stuck with anything else. Now here's what you need to watch our for. JT is going to look out for that triangle as I come up too. That's why I'm waiting for him to unlock. So as I come up, I'm going to block and keep his legs open and now I can come out and now I've got his legs open and I can start working for a pass ..."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Training Day: Monday

Fundamentals Class:
2A: Mon am/pm, Wed pm
1. Standing two-handed, "rape choke" counter
2. Armbar from the guard
3. Triangle choke from the guard

Notes: (1): Tuck chin, step back and to the side under (or through) the wrist grip of the attacker. Be sure to keep forearms in position to defend against knee strikes. (2): Here, I was making my major mistake of not getting perpendicular on the swing. I've got a drill I used to do that will fix this - but it's a drill I haven't done in some time. (3): I'm definitely a proponent of catching the shin and then stepping off to adjust the angle.

The live training/specific training was pretty good. Rodrigo's been doing short rounds (90 seconds), alternating with sweeps only and sweeps and submissions for the guard player in the guard/pass guard specific. The short rounds are very, very nice (they are longer in the advanced program) because you get conditioned into operating with a fairly finite period of time. Another great addition as Gracie Barra Seattle 3.0 continues to be rolled out.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Jiu Jitsu and WEC 47

What's not to love about World Extreme Cagefighting?

Last night's event was another great show from the little guys (155 and under). For all the worrying about what will happen with the WEC vis-a-vis the UFC, it seems more and more clear to me that the smaller weight divisions have more than enough fighters to go around. I'm thinking that the WEC will be just fine.

More to the point, props to a number of fighters for their submission finishes Saturday night. Great finishing guillotines from Jorgensen and Benavidez. And elbow-popping armbars from Palaszewski and Javi Vasquez.

Read Sherdog's play-by-play coverage of the event here.

Why I Read GracieMag

"35 tips on how to become a champion" April 2010 #156

"A champion should ask himself: 'If I were to compete against myself, what would I practice to beat me?' It's a simple hint, but one that works in setting up your training program and fight strategy." --Leo Viera

"It's not enough to be strategic. First comes being complete. If your Jiu-Jitsu is full of flaws, your strategy won't work in practice. The virtue of the champion is being able to apply his strategy; he has the versatility and knowledge to do so." --Marcio Pe de Pano

"Understand that the competition starts the moment you open your eyes upon waking up in the morning." --Saulo Ribeiro

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Underhook Pass Variations: Royler

Here is that set of guard passes I've been looking for. I think Rodrigo might have gotten them from the seminar that Royler did last year.

Tuesday Training

Friday, March 05, 2010

Training Day: Friday

Just live training today. There were two black belts, Brian Ford and Rique, who stopped by, so Rodrigo did an extended specific training for about 20 minutes. After that, there we did partner-swap sparring 3-4 minute rounds. I got in one roll with Bryan before I had to skeedaddle.

My goal on Friday is to spend more time by arriving a little earlier. Wednesday's I don't mind just doing live training. But Friday is a great chance to review the lessons from both Monday and Tuesday, so I'd rather take the whole Friday class when I can.

Got to roll a little with Brian Ford during the specific. Rodrigo has been encouraging all the black belts to train more often, and hopefully we'll see more of Brian at GB Seattle over the next couple of months.

With the Revolution one week away, there are a few interesting areas where I don't feel my game is as tight as it could be. I've been so single-mindedly focused on guard passing that I think I've lot a little of my feel and sensitivity in some areas I used to almost take for granted.

No reason to get too preoccupied. I'll do a little extra drilling over the weekend and look for opportunities to do more early in training on Monday and Tuesday.

158.6 on the scale, post-train. I have to credit at least a little bit of that to caloric restriction. But I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Interview with Rafael Lovato Jr.

Courtesy of ScottontheNet: A Journal of Jiu Jitsu.

Answers on Conditioning and Jiu Jitsu from 8 Weeks Out

Courtesy of Joel Jamieson of 8 Weeks Out

Is Gi Jiu Jitsu Aerobic-Lactic?

It's going to depend a lot on an indvidual's style. Some guys are higher pressure and faster paced than others. Some will sit there and hold position and slowly work until they get something then they'll explode, while others work work work until their opponent makes a mistake and they capitalize. There is probably more lactic system that comes into play than MMA, but how much more has a lot to do with someone's technique and tactics.

BJJ/Grappling Conditioning vs. MMA Conditioning

The biggest difference between the two will come into play when you're getting closer to a match and start getting really specific in your conditioning. In MMA, you have to work both standing and on the ground and takedowns as part of conditioning, which in BJJ you just need to work conditioning specific to that sport. There are also some differences in which muscles need the most muscular endurance, and as I said before you need to incorporate more static holds/positions in your BJJ strength and conditioning routine. I have a post somewhere on here where I talk about how you can do conditioning drills for BJJ that are more horizontal and in positions similar to on the ground, this is something you'd want to be doing as you transition from general to more specific training.

Also, I have to say that when it comes to BJJ and the ground game, a HUGE component of your conditioning comes from your technique and how you learn to conserve and use energy. Guys who try to muscle everything and use strength/power instead of technique will gas themselves out much faster than someone who might not be in as good of shape but has better technique and knows how to conserve their energy.

Learning how to utilize your energy as effective as possible and use the least amount of energy possible is the real KEY to conditioning on the ground. I've watched Matt time and time again wear someone out until they had nothing left just by being smart with how he used his energy and his weight to make them work much harder than him. This is something that takes years to learn but it's hugely important on the ground for wearing your opponnent down and winning. I'm sure if you've ever gone against someone really good you know what it feels like to have someone make you work much harder than they are, you feel like you're busting your ass and they're barely moving or exerting any eneryg at all. It's like playing an old guy in racquetball that has you running all over the court killing yourself while they are just standing in the middle all game long barely moving. If you want to have good conditioning in BJJ you have to learn how to be the old guy.



Terere: "Let Them Know I'm Coming Back!"
When a voice sounded over the Nextel radio of Professor Elan Santiago (Alliance), he couldn’t believe what who it was.

- Hey, man! How’re you doing?

So Elan answered. It was the lively voice of the old Fernando Tererê, the Jiu-Jitsu champion who has been hospitalized in a rehabilitation clinic in Sorocaba, Sao Paulo state, for the last two months. So they had a conversation like they hadn’t had in years.
I've contributed to the fund to help defray the costs of Terere's rehab - and am likely to do so again over the next few days. There's a Paypal link at the bottom of the Gracie Magazine article. If nothing else, please send a few positive thoughts southward today.

Here is a peek at the "old" Terere if you need a little inspiration.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Training Day: Wednesday

Made it to the academy for the live training session today. The class was pretty big, and all the regulars of the early class were there: Steve, Bryan, Jaime, Benny, Ro, Glenn (I think) ... I got there in time for the specific training (guard/pass guard) and a single roll of live training. But even the 20-30 minutes was well spent in at least a few ways.

One of them was in finally getting to train the deep half guard. At this point, I'm still working on the entries. One trick I noticed was to make sure that you do get too high up in the guy's body when you finish the deep half. The first time I tried it with my sparring partner today, I literally spun him onto my back.

I think that it's helpful to realize how much momentum you can generate with the deep half guard entry, and not to let that momentum carry you too far up the guy's body. Like Jeff Glover says, you should be facing in the same direction, but with the back of your head in his lap. This will make it very hard for the guy to take your back.

Right now, I"m working on the take the back and flip back sweeps. The Homer Simpson, as Glover calls it, is a nice way to gauge the guy's balance (if he looks likely to sit, then use the front hook and flip back - if he's posting and pitched forward, then use the back hook, duck under and lift forward with the hook), but I'm not sure if I like the sweep itself from that position. Again, we'll see.

159.2 on the scale post-train. My first consecutive sub-160 weigh-in all year.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

More from The General on Guard Passing

From Gracie Magazine
If you could point out the five greatest passers in Jiu-Jitsu history, who would they be, yourself excluded? Can you point out the qualities of each of them?

In first place, Rickson Gracie, who has as his main quality the fact he perceives each adversary's point of discomfort and doesn't let him get out of this point ever. In second, Murilo Bustamante, who has great reach and a strong "bull-fighting" pass. Cobrinha comes in third, for his impressive movement, adjustment and balance. In fourth, Royler Gracie, who is a light guy who would pass guard as though he were heavy. In fifth is Roger Gracie, who makes incredible guards seem nonexistent. Roger has size, weight and refined technique.

Training Day: Tuesday

Another good night of hard training. At the end, Rodrigo gave us a break on the second 10-minute sparring session at the end of the Advanced Class. I think I could have made it through it. But I won't pretend that I wasn't a little relieved to be done.

I think I'm only a few weeks away from being able to do two, good, back-to-back, 10-minute sparring sessions with partners at or near my level. Over the past few days, for some reason, I've been thinking about some of those matches that Rickson won by exhaustion, like the match with Rigan Machado. Asking to stop due to exhaustion in jiu jitsu is really just another tap, it seems to me. But when I combine it with something else I read Fabio Gurgel (founder of Team Alliance) say about Rickson Gracie's guard passing ("his main quality the fact he perceives each adversary's point of discomfort and doesn't let him get out of this point ever") I start to see an offensive version of jiu jitsu that is relentless without being aggressive, overwhelming without being violent, and powerful without requiring much in the way of its own energy.

That's what I think Rodrigo is trying to get across with these extended sparring sessions. Can you move, can you attack and defend for 20 minutes - with a two minute "halftime" - without giving way to exhaustion? There's a great video of Master Carlos and Professor Feitosa training for about 20 minutes straight that I saw awhile ago. I can't think of the last time I saw such incredible flow, a training flow in which each of them was, again, relentless without being aggressive.

Anyway, those are the deep thoughts of the evening. Here are the nuts.

Fundamentals Class:
1B: Tue pm, Wed am, Thu pm
1. Clinch to Back to Hip Throw
2. Pulling Closed Guard from Standing
3. "Crossover" or Hip Bump Sweep

Notes:(1) From a traditional fighting stance, reach down and check the opponent's potential striking right hand at the wrist while defending your face with the other hand. With your left clamping on the right wrist, step forward and reach around and get a body lock with the right arm around the waist. Shuffle a step or two to the back. Step in front with the left leg, then inside pivot step in front with the right leg and execute a hip throw. Remember to keep both feet facing forward and between the opponent's legs. Lift up on the right wrist that you have checked.

(2). Make sure to hipstep with the same foot as the triceps sleeve grip, not the collar grip side. (3). Grab near the elbow, don't go over the shoulder in the antiquated version of the sweep. Trap that arm and prevent the potential post.

Advanced Program
1. Alt takedown setups
2. Armbars from the guard
3. Alt takedown setups
3. Armbars from the guard
4. Alt takedown setups
5. King of the Guard (6 minutes in the guard with fresh passers)
6. Live training 10 minutes

Like I said above, Rodrigo had originally planned for us to do two 10 minute sessions. But I think he felt that we were already pretty worked out. A few guys - Benn, Lance, Lindsey and Jeff - rolled for a little while longer. But the rest of us were done.

My guess is that by late spring, a lot more of us will be able to do that second 10-minute spar. A lot of guys, the higher belt guys, are just coming back to regular training so it may take a little while for everybody to get back up to pace. But one thing about Rodrigo's training is that, sooner or later, we are all pretty much guaranteed to get there.

159.4 on the scale, post-train. I've been desperate for a number under 160. Let's see if I can keep it.

Fatigue Brain Death Spiral

While watching the white and blue belts finish up the Fundamentals class on Monday with some guard/pass guard specific training, Alex made an interesting off-hand observation:

"I don't think I could be a white belt again. It just takes too much energy."

I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone point out more succinctly the world of white belts and new blue belts when it comes to training - whether it is specific training or, and maybe even more so, live/open mat-style sparring. One of the things you begin to realize as soon as you have been training for four or more years is just how much energy those who have only been training for one or two years have in their jiu jitsu.

It's a trap you can fall into even after you have been training for awhile. I know (or suspect) that a lot of my weak performance late in the training session has had to do with losing focus and what I've thought of as the fatigue brain-death spiral. A little fatigue causes your brain to slow down and work less efficiently and creatively. In jiu jitsu, that tends to mean less technical skill and more athleticism and energy to make up for it. This leads to more fatigue which makes cognition even harder. So more technique is sacrificed. In the end, you are totally exhausted and almost bewilderingly confused. If you're still standing at this point, this is when you get swept. If you're in a bad position, this is when you get submitted.

The ultimate solution to this is better circuitry, having a sufficient number of options very well ingrained into "muscle memory". For example, I've been increasingly stymied when trying to get my basic half guard sweep when it's been late in the training day. But I notice that the main counter to my #1 half guard sweep actually opens up a different guard attack (the deep half) with a whole other set of potential sweeps. And this is to say nothing of the option to go back to regular half guard.

Another, more moderate, solution will be drink more frequently from my recovery drink (Gatorade + whey protein). By the time live training rolls around, it has usually been about five hours since I last ate or drank anything significant. Insofar as I take the time to make the drink, I need to do a better job of grabbing a few quick sips whenever there is a break. This will be all the more critical as it heats up over the next several months.

Interestingly, most of my current grief is coming from the guard. The focus I've put on passing the guard - especially from standing - has really made a huge difference already in my energy expenditure from the top. I'm still not nearly as a effective passing the half guard as I should be - and that will be another major focus for this year. But I like what I'm seeing so far from the top.

So for now, from the bottom, it's half, deep half, and the shin guard-to-X-guard against standing. If I've got to play closed, then the guillotine/crossover/kimura with the back-take option, seems like the way to go for now.

Monday, March 01, 2010

"Your Head Will Collapse If There's Nothing In It"

Pixies - Where Is My Mind (Live)
Uploaded by spotless-mind.

Training Day: Monday

First official day of Gracie Barra 3.0. In some ways, and for most of us, there wasn't much different Monday night from the past few nights. We did have our laminated class cards. But other than that, you couldn't really tell the difference from Monday's class and the classes from the past several weeks as the transition began.

Once I get the official names for the moves, I'll start using them instead of my own feeble attempts to describe the techniques of the day. That will help when it comes time to review what was learned on a certain day - and hopefully make it easier to post in general.

Fundamentals Class:
1A: Mon am/pm, Wed pm
1. Breakfalls and technical standing ("the lift")
2. Scisssor sweep
3.Palms up choke from closed guard

Notes: (1) Be sure to post with the same side as the extended leg. Also be ready to back up to create space in order to stand. Keep your blocking hand a closed fist, not open fingers. (2) Make sure to bring the top knee across and into the armpit. Don't pull too much on the collar. Let the scissoring action - especially with the lower leg block against the knee - do most of the work. (3) Use the elbow of your initial choking arm to lift up the chin and create space for the second grip.

Advanced Program:
1. Alternating takedowns at 10%
2. Armlocks from the guard drills
3. Guard/Pass guard light specific at 30%
4. King of the Guard specific (6 minutes in the guard with fresh guard passers)
5. Live training (10 minutes)

A good first start with the new program. I needed the armlock work - and the takedown work, too, insofar as I was completely uncoordinated with what used to be my favorite Jacare ankle pick. Fatigue started to set in by the time we got to the King of the Guard drill (particularly when my six minutes arrived), and my live training with Lance was pretty abyssmal. Considering that I had been training for 90 minutes by that time, maybe I shouldn't be so distracted by it. But given the fact that I've spent the past six weeks doing off-mat conditioning in order to last longer during training, Monday's late performance was a bit of a bummer.

Of course, Lance's skill and impassable inverted guard probably had something to do with it also.

With two weeks to go until the Revolution, I'm making the executive decision to stop most of my off-mat conditioning - at least on a training day. I'm planning to train every day for the next two weeks, and I want whatever energy I've got devoted to my preparation on the mat. We'll see how that works, but given that I'm doing to probably start some modest caloric restriction by mid-week, I don't want to overdo it at the "home gym."

Good to see Casey back - as well as Angela who is sidelined while recovering from cornea surgery. It was also interesting to see Fabiana from GB Yakima, who is in town preparing for the Pan Ams a month from now and teaching alongside Rodrigo.

161.2 on the scale post-train. Not great, but my lowest Monday/Tuesday post-train weight since January 4th (160.8).

Return of Thinking About Passing the Guard

Gracie Magazine:Are there any other factors you would like to bring up?
Fabio Gurgel: One factor I believe to be essential is patience. I see a lot of folks miss the chance to effectuate a pass for rushing to make it to the side. Most of the time one needs to make the adversary remain in a bad position preceding the pass a little while longer.
From "The Passer's Secret", Gracie Magazine

Never Sacrifice Sure Footing for a Killing Stroke

"We can teach you to become truly invisible ... understand that invisibility is a matter of patience and agility ...

Theatricality and deception are powerful agents. You must become more than just a man in the mind of your opponent ..."