Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Training Day: Wednesday

Right now, the plan is to do conditioning on Monday and Wednesday morning, and train Monday and Wednesday evenings. I'll also get whatever time I can on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (in Federal Way), shooting for two out of that latter three for a 4x average.

Lesson-wise, we worked on the same material from Monday night. This I like a lot. Quite frankly, learning one technique a week (or one set of techniques from a given position) is plenty for my brain to handle.

This time Rodrigo showed us a conversion to a head and arm, no gi style brabo choke at the end which was a little hard to follow, but something I want to ask him about next time just to see what the steps are.

I think the main thing to do is focus on trapping the arm. There are a ton of options from there, but you have to get there first. Watching the Ultimate Fighter season premiere tonight after training, I saw how the fighter who ended up winning the match had countless opportunities to trap the arm. It's a technique worth learning.

Rolled with black belts tonight: Lance for about 10 minutes and Prof Rodrigo for about 20. Even with my morning conditioning, I felt pretty good, with just a little general muscle fatigue. In this, I think the little bit of weightlifting I've been doing over the past two weeks has helped. Matwork is good. Matwork is great. But at the end of the day, matwork is bodyweight conditioning, and jiu jitsu involves a hell of a lot of resistance.

So while it's been great - and will continue to be great - to do matwork at least once a week, bringing back the Man Maker Mondays and the Berardi/LSD on Wednesdays will likely fill a gap in what I've been doing.

The interesting thing about training with black belts is that you're best moves get countered very efficiently, forcing you to think about the necessity of recounters to everything you do. For example, I used to have a great recounter to the backstep half guard pass. But tonight, my recounters were countered again with a new challenge (specifically a tight leg triangle that prevented me from threading my far arm through into a leg rope - under the near leg and over the far leg - that usually allows me to get to the side against this pass.)

Some nice things did work. The seatbelt grip break worked very, very well (I had many opportunities to defend back mount rolling with Lance and Prof Rodrigo). And I'm doing a much better job of engaging when someone retreats from my half guard. I didn't ever come particularly close to passing, but I felt more comfortable than usual in the guard, standing often and fighting the guard with my legs more than my hands.

159.5 on the scale post-train. Light as a feather I am.

Gracie Barra and the Pan 2011

There was a thread in message board somewhere in which someone was lamenting the absence of Gracie Barra medalists.

Clearly this person was focused on the adult black belt division only. If you look at the overall point score for adult, masters and seniors, and female divisions combined (novice and juvenile excluded), you see a very different picture:

Gracie Barra 156
Gracie Humaita 141
Alliance 118
BJJ Revolution Team 72
Lloyd Irvin MA 70
Atos 42

If you include all divisions, then Gracie Humaita edges out Gracie Barra by about 6 or 7 points. But those gains come from the novice division exclusively and, at the end of the day, I'm not sure what to make of a novice division championship.

Ryan Hall in Liverpool

Ryan Hall Seminar - MMA Academy, Liverpool, Feb 2011 from stuart cooper on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mendes/Atos Omoplata from Side Control

Training Day: Monday

Back on the ATM train. Rodrigo had us working from above and below the turtle, first the sit-out escape (head to left, crossgrip to left kneecloth, left widestep, stay tight), with an instant transition to the back and the clock choke. One point of emphasis here was to really pull on the wrist with the non-choking hand, opening up the elbow to prevent the rolling escape.

The rolling escape was the counter we trained. Here, the bottom guy closes that elbow to prevent it from being opened up, grips the far leg with the free hand, steps out on the same side and then rolls over the far side.

You end up in a sort of watchdog crossbody position where you want to continue to back into the guy's upperbody to drive the arm over the head. Here, there's an opportunity to use your knee and then bring your arm around behind the guy's head to trap the arm.

From here there were a variety of attacks, from armbars to chokes. The chokes seemed to work far better for me, but I know that I've become pretty biased in favor of chokes these days.

Live Training was not bad: two long sessions of around 12 minutes each. Mixed success with the Ezekiel from mount, but some nice work with the Faria sitting guard to back move I've wanted to try since the Pan last weekend. I need to work some kinks out of it. But anything that has me getting to the back is a good thing.

I was pretty fatigued after my last roll with Danny. Very, very tough guy who reminds me a little of Garcia in terms of speed and agility. I'd like to think that a lot of my lagging though had to do with my four-week training average dropping to its lowest level in a year. But I'll have a better idea of all of that after a week or two of regular training.

163.9 on the scale, post train. Not the worst place in the world to start, assuming it's a start.

Jiu Jitsu as Dessert

Here's something you won't find in The Gracie Diet Cookbook.

BJJ Cake

Monday, March 28, 2011

UFC Fight Night 24: Gracie Breakdown

Spring Training: The Road to the May Revolution

Technically, I'm in Week Two of the 8WeeksOut camp for the Revoution tournament in May. I'm hoping to use the momentum of missing the March Revolution due to late injury and still-fresh memories of a great Pan JJ Championship this weekend to get my training off to a solid start.

The big change is going to be in my training schedule. Training during the day is just too stressful, right now, and I feel too much as if I am constantly in a rush - both to arrive on time and to leave to get back to The Daily Planet.

So what I'm looking at over the next two months is this training Monday and Wednesday evenings, Friday afternoon and at the Live Training/Open Mat at Gracie Barra Federal Way on Sunday afternoons.

This locks up a four-day training week. If I can train on a Saturday, then maybe I'll skip the Sunday training. But we'll see how that goes.

With regard to conditioning, I'm focusing on aerobics early, of course. But I'm also doing more weightlifting than I have in a while - albeit mostly for muscular endurance purposes. I'm also stretching 6 times a week, alternating upper body and lower body to keep the sessions brief (and to keep myself from dreading it each evening).

I'm starting from a pretty low training ebb, with my four-week training average down to 1.0 after missing nearly three weeks with the toe/foot hyperextension. So it will be worth seeing how fast I can get that number up to 4.0 - Week Five of camp, at the earliest, doing the math.

One of the things that comes up time and time again in these interviews with guys and gals that have won the Pan is the focus and dedication that goes into it. A large part of what I have to do now is to figure out just how much I want to win - both in the runup to the May revolution, as well as in the run up to what will hopefully be my first appearance as a competitor at the Pan in 2012.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

9 Quick Notions on the Pan

What a great weekend of art and martial arts! The Nick Cave exhibit as the SAM was incredible, and the jiu-jitsu waiting for me courtesy of Budo Videos when I got home - to say nothing of the action on Sunday - was equally mind-bottling.

Here are a few quick thoughts about what I got to see and hear.

Absolute and heavyweight gold medalist Rodolfo Viera's incredible top game and pressure against Bernardo Faria (among others). In a world of deadlier and deadlier guard games, Viera's performance warms this guard passer's heart.

The show of sportsmanship between Raphael "Barata" Freitas and Felipe Costa as they waited for a judges decision after an extremely close match.

Michelle Nicolini's great triangle/armbar comeback from behind to submit Fabiana Borges.

The way Team Alliance rose up to drown out those who began to boo Gabi Garcia during her gold medal match.

Claudio Calasans brutal wristlock of Lucas Leite in under a minute.

Renzo Gracie black black belt and guest commentator Shawn Williams' insistence that watching tournaments and competition footage was "without question" the best way to get better. Asked if he had any regrets over his 14 years in jiu-jitsu (nine as a black belt), Shawn said, "I regret quitting competing when I did."

Caio Terra's calling out of the steroid users in jiu-jitsu, saying competitors should be tested ahead of the Worlds this summer.

Bocheca's great choke from mount against veteran Bastos, to win gold at superheavy.

Wishing desperately for more competition at feather and lightweight for Atos and Alliance. Both divisions were closed out, with Atos even closing out the semifinals of the featherweight division!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Training Day: Friday

Back on the mat after nearly three weeks. Incredibly, except for a little wind, I don't think I'd lost very much. Admittedly, I stuck with my bread and butter. But it was nice to see that not too much had slipped through the cracks while I was teetering and tottering around in convalescence.

Rodrigo had us working some moves against the turtle from the front, both spinning to take the back and reaching under to pull the far arm out from under the guy. I got to work with both Mark and Clay - GB Seattle's newest blue belt, insofar all of us arrived late.

Live training was good, getting in some time with both Brian and J.M. I also got to drill the tagarela choke with J.M. a bit afterward, which was nice.

162.4 on the scale post-train, which is a very good number given my time on the sideline. I wouldn't mind doing a better job of keeping that figure in check over the next two-odd months to the May Revolution.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Budo Streams the Pan Live

I'll admit to have spent more than a few hours before a computer screen watching the good people at Budo Videos live stream jiu jitsu tournaments in the past.

And that was before I got the 20" HD monitor.

Ms. Burien Top Team and I have a date with the SAM Saturday morning. And if anything even remotely like this weather holds through the weekend, then I'm sure to be spending much of Saturday and/or Sunday afora. That said, this live stream is a blast and a great deal if you can carve even a couple hours of jiu jiutsu time out of the first full weekend of spring.

Buy the Budo Pan stream here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Young Jon Bones Jones

Pan Am Preview

Looks like Griff's got three matches to the win gold at Purple Senior 1 Super Heavy. Pat's got four to gold at Purple Masters Medium Heavy. As does Professor Carlos at Black belt Adult Medium. Prof Christiano has 3 at Black Master Feather.

See for yourself here

Update: Almost forgot Jeff B., whose gold at Brown Adult Rooster lies on the other end of a duel with a fellow Galo from CheckMat.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Choke from Team Atos

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pan 2012 or Bust?

6 registered competitors in the brown belt leve senior 2 division for this year's Pan.

The plan had been to wait until I earned my black belt before trying my luck at a real IBJJF event.

But two weeks on the shelf and probably far too many minutes watching and rewatching Marcelo Garcia train with Lloyd Irvin's J.T. has my competitive blood on "simmer" if not "boil".

Jose Aldo Rolling with Manager Ed Soares

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Andre Galvao's "Pan Am Choke"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update: Revolution 3/12/11 Full Results

Full results from the Revolution tournament last weekend are up here.

Props to the very many great performances from GB Washington, including special "parabens!" to gold medalists Glenn, Ben, Rilla and Blake (13 second armbar!).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gracie Barra WA - Revolution 3/12/11 Overall Team Champions

Jeff B. reports the team title here, though more details will be available later.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Down. Out. Not Over.

I injured my foot sometime during training on Saturday. I didn't go to the doctor - and don't plan to insofar as the swelling is minimal and the pain only intermittent. But I'm pretty sure I have something along the lines of turf toe.

If this had happened a few weeks ago, then I think I'd've been fine for the Revolution this weekend. But, as it is, I'm still hobbling around, exacerbating the problem a bit by trying to walk and putting too much pressure on the ankle I've only recently stopped taping when training ...

Right now, I'm hoping to get back on the mat on Monday. I think what happened was a combination of a good hard week of training and my return to the treadmill after many months off the machine. I've probably put more hours on it than I should have - especially over the past week - and it looks like all that flexion has finally caught up with me.

Up until the craziness at The Daily Planet, I was feeling pretty good about competing in March. Not great, but "better than the last time", which is significant. Last week, when things started getting Soprano-like, I'll admit that competing was the last thing on my mind (as was moving to the other side of the country). But it's the bad hoof that seals the deal. It's not as if I was headed into the event as much of a favorite in any instance. There's little point of competing at 60% - or less. If I'm not in good enough shape to train, then I'm not in good enough shape to compete.

So that's that. Hopefully I'll get another opportunity to compete between now and the May Revolution. Maybe at a 3rd Seattle Open in April ...

For what it's worth, w/re2 the "offer I can't refuse", I know there's a lot of great jiu-jitsu in the north Jersey/NYC area. But I'm not going anywhere. So I'll either be watching and training a lot of jiu-jitsu here in Seattle in 2011 or I'll be watching and training a WHOLE lot of jiu-jitsu here in Seattle in 2011.

Terere: Return of a Champion

Friday, March 04, 2011

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Kesting and Paulson

A whole herd of incredible side mount armlocks, chokes (and cranks, of course) from master catch-as-catch-can man, Erik Paulson

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Training Day: Wednesday

So a guy walks into a bar and says, "My buddy told me to tell you to move to New Jersey or you're fired."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011