Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Complete European BJJ Championship Coverage

Courtesy of the good people at Bloody Elbow

Monday, January 30, 2012

The King of the Old Country

Rei Rodolfo does it again.

Rodolfo rules in Lisbon

The Ezekiel: BurienTopTeam's Choke of 2012

A month late, it has nevertheless been decided.

2013 will be the year of the brabo/d'arce. This year, it's all about the Ezekiel.

Training Day: Monday

Just some conditioning and sparring today.

3-step seionage and double leg drills, standing breakfalls, pushups, and some light running forward and backward to warm up. Then did two sets of threshold training with matwork (10 reps/10 exercises) before joining the Monday class for Live Training. Here I got in an eight-minute session with Brian and another with Prof. Casey. Ideally, in a perfect world, I would have been able to get in a third session for a full 24 minutes of sparring. But time was running a little late and I felt like I should get back to yonder grindstone.

Very good feeling today. Maybe not as much energy as Saturday. But a lot of fluidity.

162.4 on the scale post-train.

P.S. Quarter-minute cardio splits for threshold training were 41/28 and 41/29.

3 February Transitions from the Half

Half to deep half to Homer/Stack
Deep half to half to Gordo/Twist Back
Deep half to X to Technical Lift/Back

Skill and Will

All field, court, and combat athletes reach the highest levels because they're the best at playing their sport – not because they're the best in the gym!

All you need to do is look at the NFL combine results for proof. Out of the top five bench press records in NFL Combine history, only one player, Brodrick Bunkley (Florida State, 2006) became a remotely successful player.

The 2008 article titled, "Few recent combine stars have become productive NFL players" stated that:

"Seventeen of the 128 very best combine performers since 2000 went undrafted. Twelve of them never played in an NFL game. Forty-three weren't in the NFL last season. Ninety-five have started fewer than half of their potential regular-season games since they shined at the combine."

And from the "10 Greatest Scouting Combine Performances in NFL History," half the names on the list never panned out into even halfway decent players. However, the other half of the names on the list became superstars.

All these athletes had "raw" physical ability, but what separated the zeros from the NFL heroes was their ability to use that talent as a platform to express their will and skill to actually play the game.

In other words, physical ability is meaningless if you stink at your sport! And physical training will just make you a bigger, stronger, faster dude who still happens to stink at his sport. It's your skill and your will that makes you a winner.

The Truth About the Bench Press -- Nick Tumminello

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Training Day: Saturday

I've said it before: there is nothing better than training on a Saturday morning/afternoon.

One of the best things about today's training was getting to work on two passes of my 3 Blind Mice half-guard pass series: the knee cross and the cross wedge. The timing couldn't have been better since I was just thinking about how I need to tighten up my pass game in general, and my half-guard passing game in specific.

I felt like I had a lot of energy for today's training, and was moving much better - especially from the guard - than I have in a long time. I never, ever attack with traditional moves from the closed guard. But today I was able to attack effectively with both armbars and omoplatas from the guard. Again, it is hard to say how surprising it was - and I'm going to credit the little bit of closed guard drilling I did literally one week ago today for giving me the muscle memory to launch into those attacks when the opportunity presented itself.

Finished up with some HICT work (five minutes of hipscape laps) and cardiac output (three 1-min rounds of spin move). Again, felt very good energy-wise with max HR at 160 BPM at the end of all sessions. I'm really starting to think that there is something to be said for the Warrior Diet/Longevity Diet approach of keeping calories low and activity high. Not only does it seem to make it a lot easier to train longer, but it's probably the easiest way to a walking-around weight nearer a buck fi'ty.

Speaking of which, 160.4 on the scale, post-train, dressed to yonder nines as shall be the custom going forward.

P.S. Someone please tell me what the hell happened with Demian Maia tonight. He looked more sluggish out of the gate than I've ever seen him. I wouldn't be surprised if we find out that there was some sort of issue during training camp, like an illness or something, that affected his stamina.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Training Day: Friday

Passing the butterfly guard was the theme of today's training. Struggled with the first version, pinching the knee and backstepping to side control, but did fairly well with the second version, where you allow the sweep to develop a little and then "step through/knee through" into a folding pass/leg drag like position where passing to the mount is a good option.

With the first version, the issue has to do with getting your ear on the near inside shoulder and not being too high up on the body (i.e., your chin above his head). Part of the trick has to do with the way you move the guy's body beneath you, spinning him around a bit with your grip on the belt. It's not fluid with me, at all, right now. Hopefully, I'll get to work on it some more this week.

The critical detail for the second version was that you want to drive forward to counter the sweeping direction of the hook sweep, not to the side. By stepping forward rather than to the side with your outside leg, and the driving your inside leg straight through with your knee tight against the guy's body, you have a much better chance of getting a high-quality outcome than trying to finesse a knee-cross pass once you've gotten too far away from him (i.e., lost "the connect.").

Some very good training with JM, Angus and Tom in the Live Training. I'm focusing too much on bread and butter stuff right now, which is probably a testament to the relatively modest training schedule I've put in for January (I'm on pace for a particularly low 10-11x training month, in part due to the snow closures last week). One of the things I'm looking forward to about picking up the training pace is being able to do more exploring of my favorite positions.

Part of not loathing the meia-guarda is learning how to appreciate it more by way of variations like the active deep half (not your granddaddy's deep half!), the X-guard and single X ... To the extent that I'm continuing to work on bread and butter guardwork like the gordo and Twist Back, I need to start working them from my southpaw side.

As far as the guard pass goes, right now I'm thinking that I need to play a much more deliberate range game. Tight? Force half guard and work the 3 Blind Mice. Open? Feitosa series. Middle game? Knee cross or Marcelo series. It's also going to be a major task to start working these options not just left and right, but in combination as well. I'm thinking that focusing on just these four situations: 3 Blind Mice, Feitosa series (3 passes), Knee Cross, and Marcelo series (3 passes) might make things that much easier. There will always be the Flat Pass ...

162.4 on the scale post-train. Another four pounds over the next four days would be just fine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Training Days: Saturday, Monday

Some very good training over the past couple of days following the Seattle Snowpocalypse. On Saturday, we had a packed class with some visiting high school wrestlers joining in the Fundamentals session and Prof. Rodrigo leading us through some sitting guard drills and following up with a more precise version of my new favorite transition: the spin move. Specifically, Rodrigo's technique takes care of one of the more problematic parts of the spin move, namely, getting around the head.

This version also included arm control that made getting to the back a little more difficult. But the trade off was more control, including having the arm.

On Monday, Prof. Carlos had us working on headlock escapes on the ground, the bump and roll, specifically. He added an a spinning armbar finish, and focused on controlling the near-side leg almost as much as the arm - either with a pants grip or an underhook grip of the whole leg. One detail here was the way that Carlos balanced with the knee on belly, almost lying on his side on top of the guy. This made it easier to both pass the leg over the head and to secure control of the near-leg as you slipped into position.

A nice moderate day/heavy day sequence in terms of Live Training. I worked with the smallest group on Saturday and on Monday sparred with Brock, Hakim and Prof. Carlos. Not a bad way to train, alternating more moderate and more intense training (albeit with a day off in between). My weight hasn't been fantastic: 161 on Saturday and 165+ on Monday in the gi. But hopefully I can get that back under control as I get my training regimen back on track.

Put in some HICT work earlier today, two ten-minute sets. My heart rate is starting to average lower, which means that it's time to kick those sets up to 12 or 15 minutes next time out.

Got Your High Percentage Guard Passes

Right here.

Mundials 2004: Best Guard Passes: BJJ DVD Project

Or at least through the World Championships of 2004. If the highest percentage submissions (courtesy of Lloyd Irvin Labs) are the RNC, kimura and triangle, then the highest percentage guard passes (and who doesn't need one of those?) are somewhere in the data above.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Cobrinha

Here's something from Cobrinha's e-mail newsletter about drilling that makes the case pretty plainly.

A lot of people have been asking me how they can still keep up with the full time athletes when they have other priorities. For some people it is job, a family, or anything else that takes your time away from the mat.

One thing that will dramatically improve your jiu jitsu is drilling.
Here is a short story from my life: When I was a blue and purple belt, I had a full time job, I was teaching capoeira, I had a girlfriend and I was training jiu jitsu. I found time to train every day and I was finding a partner to drill with before and after class in order to catch up because I wasn't able to train full time like most of the kids were doing. I saw the other people were impriving and i needed to find a way to keep up. If I had 30 minutes, 20 minutes whatever. iIt helped. By the end of the year if you add up the minutes of the drilling I did, it is a lot of hours total.

If you train three times a week you have to make time for drilling each week. You should drill either before or after class for at least 20 minutes.

Let's calculate this together. There are 365 days a year which makes 52 weeks. You should drill 3 times a week. Let's say you can only get in 20 minutes for each class you are able to attend, so 1 hour a week. Adding it up:

52 weeks x 1 hour each week= 52 hours a year. That's a lot!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Deep Practice

"Frank Shamrock told us he would teach him one thing a day, just one thing only. BJ will do it five, six hundred times and he'll have it in his arsenal for good. They'll use it the next day, and they keep building and building."

--Jeff Blatnik, speaking of B.J. Penn during the B.J. Penn/Din Thomas fight at UFC XXXII

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Training Day: Tuesday

Very nice to get to train the deep half transition to regular half as part of Prof. Rodrigo's class Tuesday night. Too often I still get stuck in a "deep half or bust" or "straight half or bust" mindset, that really limits my ability to be effective. That's why I've had the occasional "love/hate" relationship with the whole House of Half Guard.

Some of this is related to what I touched on in the last post. Some of this has to do with movement and trying to develop a much more agile, dynamic jiu-jitsu. Prof. Rodrigo also had us work on a rolling backtake against the deep half as part of a "transitions-only" advanced class that may be a sign of things to come. It took me a little while to get this one insofar as I kept trying to roll forward instead of curling the attacking leg, falling back and then tossing the guy's body in the direction of your legs. One trick I saw Ryan Hall do with a similar move was to use your outside, free foot to push against your attacking, hooking leg to help give you leverage to move the guy's body around.

Another big plus out of tonight's session was a critical detail on the folding pass. Rather than just pushing the leg sideways, you actually want to twist the leg - it's the difference between trying to take the leg from three o'clock to 9 o'clock, say, right through the middle of the clock and, on the other hand, swinging the knee and taking the leg from 3 o'clock all the way around counterclockwise to 7 o'clock. Doing it this way, it was amazing to see how easily the leg/hip could swivel. And as I learned during the specific training with the pass, if the guard doesn't open, then the likelihood of successfully attacking with the knee cross, for example, is pretty good.

159.4 on the scale, post-train. Anything under 160 in the gi is good.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Training Day: Monday

One of the things I notice about training with veteran black belts is how they rarely are playing a specific type of guard in the way that we learn "the guard" as students: closed guard, half guard, spider guard, etc. It really becomes using angles and your legs and grips the same way a boxer uses his or her angles and shoulders and forearms and fists to defend and attack.

The physics, at least to me, are as different (and not so different) as comparing steam engines to jet propulsion. But I'm convinced that the more I see the guard as "the guard", more like "en garde" than "closed guard, half guard, spider guard, etc.", the better my guard will be.

Training a lot with Prof. Casey lately. In the same way that I got to train with guys (and gals) like Stephan, Steve, Cindy, and Lance for extended stretches of time over the years, it's been great to again spend so much time training with a specific, superior, training partner.

162.3 on the scale post-train. 2012 weights will be in the gi to provide an additional visual-freakout incentive to get closer to featherweight. I'd like to knock about five pounds off that +160 number on the Monday 30 days from now.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

PreWeek 1: Conditioning/Threshold Training/Matwork

3 of 10s

alt upas
hip splits
arm drags
hook sweeps
tech lifts

three sets/ten reps = duration

(4 min duration) 36/26
3 min rest
(3 1/2 min) 40/31
2 min rest
(3 1/4 min) 39/31

I'm going to mix in some of the more explosive cardio conditioning work as part of the PreWeek conditioning insofar as I think explosiveness is a lagging area neurologically, especially since I'm not doing any max strength, alactic work. So the next three weeks will include a mix of early stage aerobic conditioning (cardiac output and tempo method) as well as late stage aerobic conditioning like matwork.

I'd also like to work my way up to 20 rep matwork by mid-February, and doing some of this work early in the training camp should hopefully make that more likely. (BTW, best Nick Diaz line ever, "I don't know why they call it a training camp. I don't see any tents.")

Monday, January 02, 2012

Fit Day Journal Entry: August 5, 2005

Okay, here we go again.


AM Cardio:

9 laps
2.26 miles
34:51 min
323/101 cal/fat cal

PM Resistance

6 sets of 9 reps
flat press
flat flyes
incline press

3 sets of 9 reps
alt curl
hammer curl

3 sets of 10 reps
decline sit-up
side bends

Began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu less than two weeks later.

The Baratoplata is Back

I fantasized about adding this submission to my game several months ago when Professor Rafael Freitas from New Mexico showed us the technique and several variations in a seminar here in Seattle. The more I've started to develop that Mendes Brother's inverse kimura set-up from guard, the more I think that it is time to bring back the baratoplata for 2012.

This demonstration of the technique with my Professors Rodrigo and Carlos is among the best out there. Specifically, it shows the detail of needing to get parallel to finish the shoulder lock - the same as you would for an omoplata finish - only facing the opposite direction.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

More from Os Bros Mendes

2012: Still Raining, Still Dreaming

I've been lucky enough to spend the past few training sessions training with one of the best training partners I've had in all my years of training. In the same way that I've been supremely fortunate to train under the same Professor from the very first day I stepped on the mat to the present, I'm also glad to have had a couple of training partners - typically just that much bigger and that much better - who helped me make pivotal transitions from one stage in my development to the next.

There are a lot of characteristics that will make up the training partner you always look forward to training with. But one of the subtler ones for me as been an eagerness to do drills. And not just a time or two, but 10 or 20 reps at a time. Left and right. Two or three techniques at a time.

If you don't believe this significant, try doing it after every other training session for the next thirty days (6 - 9 times most). It doesn't matter if you are drilling fundamentals like triangles from the guard or the latest alchemy from the Mendes Brothers: a month or two later, you and that technique will be well on their way toward being ready for the prime time of live sparring and, potentially, competition.

Think about it. From what I've read, GSP only "does MMA" twice a week. The rest of the time - the other four days - is spent on specific skills, technical and conditioning, that support his MMA. Some days it's wrestling. Some days it's gymnastics.

Imagine spending just half an hour extra each week for a month or two training nothing but your favorite guard pass. Left and right. Ten minutes every other day for 30 days that Mundials winning sweep ...