Monday, February 27, 2012

Training Day: Monday

Got caught in a bad half guard situation today training with Kyle. The crossface was the main problem limiting mobility, and I've got to spend a little more time drilling my halfguard counter to the crossface (i.e., bridging or recovering full guard)

What's Working: Spin move to back from side control. Handcuff pass v.s. closed guard.

160.4 on the scale, post-train. Heavy. But it's Monday.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

You and Your Human Highlight Reel

One of the best things you can do to improve your jiu-jitsu over time is to keep a journal. But rather than keeping track of everything that happens, only write down the things that worked well: the successful sweep or guard pass, the incredible stamina that made you feel like you could train forever that day ... Whatever is working, you make sure you note it in the journal. You can be as celebratory (though please don't be an ass) or as a matter of fact as you want in describing the event. But the journal should include nothing but success after success after success.

Dealing with your weaknesses is important. But there's nothing more important than being good at what you are good at. If you don't know what you are good at, then this is a very straightforward and practical way to both find out and remember.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Training Day: Saturday

A very vigorous class with Prof Carlos - both the Fundamental and the Competition team. We worked a lot out of the standup, with an ankle pick counter to the seoinage, a knee on belly leading to the spinning armbar finish. Here, some of the key details included:

1. posturing into the seionage to defend rather than turning to the side
2. stepping with the inside foot and turning the attacker in a circle down and toward you
3. leaving space on the takedown to enter with the knee on belly

We also worked on some takedown/takedown defense drilling, with the attacker having the gi down around the biceps to limit reach and the defender having hands behind the back. We worked this for awhile and it was both great conditioning and great fundamental drilling.

Some mount/submit from mount shark tank work finished things off for the instructional class.

I got in one good Live Training session with Dave a four-stripe blue belt who I've been training more and more with on Saturdays. And I'm continuing to find myself dealing with aggressive knee cross passes against my proto-half guard. I got in a lot of nice flow work afterwards with one of the white belts, which is always a great way to end a training day.

158.2 on the scale post-train. Nothing to brag about, but as long as Monday's post-train weight is near that, I'll be fine.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flat on Friday

Feeling a little beat-up today. Busy-ness at The Daily Planet kept me off the mat this afternoon. But the truth of the matter is that between my finger and my knee and my back, it probably wasn't the worst thing in the world to take the day off.

Looking forward to a very martial Saturday, though. Mid-morning training tomorrow at Gracie Barra Seattle. Afternoon with the Ultimate Absolute NYC 2. And UFC 144 in Japan with Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson tomorrow night.

One of the more productive aspects of Thursday's training was definitely working the "waiter sweep" out of the deep half. After feeling a little stalled out in that position for the past several weeks, it was very nice to get some new flow moving through the same old muscles. Thanks.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Training Day: Thursday

Brock led the Thursday night class, which focused on moving from side control to knee on belly using the guy's lapel to pin the farside, underhooking arm to the mat and a grip on the collar behind the neck, and then finishing with the baseball choke. I've been wanting to work on this choke for awhile after seeing the Mendes brothers finish with it in a number of their matches. So it was great to get the extra focus on the move.

Some good Live Training after a "king of the hill" guard specific drill to close out the instructional. Trying to work a lot more out of the X-guard from deep positions and Rap Star guard from regular range. Ideally, the X-guard will become one of my go-to moves from taking the back from deep, while Rap Star, with its choke/armbar/triangle/omoplata combination - and potential transition to the baratoplata - would be the go-to set for finishes.

160.2 on the scale post-train. Not as low as I'd like to be, which means next week could be a more traditionally "weight-cutting" oriented week than I'd hoped. But the final, one-week-out count is still two days away.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

None Dare Call Them Cadre

One of the smartest people I know when it comes to conditioning, Joel Jamison of 8 Weeks Out makes an exceptionally provocative case against group training when it comes to conditioning, or at least when it comes to elite conditioning.

But what is most compelling to me about this charge is not so much what it says about conditioning, but what it says, potentially, about any kind of instruction, including fundamental jiu-jitsu instruction. In other words, is the "group instruction" model of teaching BJJ simply a stage in the evolution of the art? The "mass" or "pop" stage of BJJ?

I don't so much envision a return to the "private lesson" based teaching that defined much of the initial BJJ instruction in the States. But in thinking about it - and after spending several days thinking about some of the conversations from a recent instructor's meeting led by Prof Rodrigo - I can't help but envision some synthesis in the future in which higher belts are more frequently and regularly used as assistant instructors as part of the regular course of instruction (maybe in exchange for reduced training fees, access to private lessons, or even something far more informal)

I say this also because I think that the biggest obstacle to learning jiu-jitsu is the critical role of muscle memory, and that when it comes to muscle memory, the most important aspect is the "perfect rep". And the only way to ensure that the reps of students learning new material are as close to "perfect " as they can be (and so to build correct, effective "muscle memory") is to make sure that someone is watching to make sure that bad habits aren't being ingrained from the very beginning.

And therein lies the rub: can one professor, regardless of his or her talent as a teacher, ensure the perfect reps of 10 students in a given class? How about 15 students? 30?

Not to put too fine a point to it, but there is nothing more long-term damaging than sloppy training. And the definition of "sloppy training" is any time you are not completing a "perfect rep." In other words, you are either doing it poorly or you are doing it perfectly.

It's a high bar. As Griff reminded us all last year when talking about jiu-jitsu and kids: "this stuff is pretty hard." But there is a way of making it easier, in the long-term if not the immediate, and it's never too late to pursue that change. And that's as true for those of us working on our own games as it is for those instances when we are primarily focused on helping others work on theirs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Courtesy of a Little Successful Super Bowl Speculation ...

I cannot overemphasize how important putting the hours into each technique truly is. As I described previously, my grappling philosophy is to always attack, to never give my opponent time to think. The flipside of this approach is that I will not have time to think either. To be a step ahead of my opponent, I have to already know my next move.

--Marcelo Garcia, Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques

Training Day: Tuesday

For the instructional, Prof Rodrigo had us working on adding grips to the X Pass (collar and knee), and then working on a triple attack with the cross choke, spin move armbar, and a brabo choke that you finished by rolling under and putting the guy in guard to tighten and get the tap. Very nice to spend as much time as we are on techniques from the same general area.

Live training was full of tough rolls: Jason, Prof Rodrigo, Ethan and Frank. One thing that I'm really noticing is how overly reactive my game is. Too often I'm either waiting to counter or initiating a single move without really having an overall attacking strategy in mind, as if I'm only rarely thinking more than a move ahead. To be fair, the tougher the competition the harder every thing is anyway. As Charles Barkley famously reminded us, "the other guy is out there trying, too." But I'm feeling more and more that this BJJ astigmatism is at the root of everything that has been most frustrating about my jiu-jitsu - from competition to "conditioning" - for years.

The trick is to deal with it directly. Just training more frequently won't fix the problem - though I credit my increased training pace over the past month as helping to reveal the problem more clearly than I've ever seen it. The good thing is that I can start small, very, very small, and with most of what I need at hand.

161.9 on the scale post-train.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fightworks Podcast: #254 Marcelo Garcia

#254 Marcelo Garcia
Join us this week as The FightWorks Podcast sits down with Garcia one-on-one in person at his school in Manhattan for a conversation about how the humble star began jiu-jitsu, details of his journey in the martial art, and his current plans.

Training Days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Combining three training reports in one post is only a few parts laziness. It also means that I'm finally training at a really good clip.

This week marks the second week in a row when I've trained five times (Mon/Wed/Thu/Fri/Sat). My 4-week training moving average is above 4.0 for the first time in a very, very long time. And while I'm feeling a bit of the stress on the body, I'm pretty pleased at the pace and wondering if things will only get better as the weather warms up and coming out of hibernation each day becomes that much easier.

Training this much also has allowed me to focus on some of the lessons of the week better than usual. I got to train both the spin-move pass v.s. the butterfly guard, and the toreano/X-pass footwork on three different occasions, really helping to burn the moves into my muscle memory. That's especially true with the spin move, which integrates well with my growing crucifix guard passing theory (more on that later).

Some very good sparring over the past few days with some lighter folks - as well as my regular doses of casca-grossas like Professor Casey. I got to train with Bennie from up north on Saturday, as well as Joe, both of whom were very tough rolls as always and a nice mix up and change of pace from some of the smaller folks I've been lucky enough to train with of late.

OK, weights over the past few, nothing spectactular. The next two weeks will represent the real push to 154, a weight I've made before, but not in the gi (I've weighed in as low as 152.1 as a blue belt years ago, no gi).

Thu: 160.5
Fri: 159.1
Sat: 158.6


One of the chokes I've been most vulnerable to has actually come after I've passed guard. A good reminder on the importance of maintaining posture from Os Bros Mendes.

At seminars we’re always talking a lot about ‘posture,’ how you position yourself so that even if you’re light you make yourself heavy, and even when you’re heavy you manage to be quick. Posture comes first, before pass techniques, since if you have good posture, you can frustrate your opponent, keep your base firm and attack at the right moment; when you don’t have good posture, even if you know thousands of guard pass variations, your opponent will sweep you before you get to try the first of them.

Gui Mendes: Pass to Spin Move to Toquinho w/Kimura

The initial backstep move is very similar to the one Prof Rodrigo shows us a number of times last week when passing the butterfly guard. It's all about those elemental movements.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Patience Deception Agility: Grandmaster Helio edition

Everything I know about Jiu-Jitsu a lot of other people know too. The difference is that I execute the same moves but without using force.

I don't have the vigor or physical prowess anymore but I'm still evolving, using less and less force, getting less and less fatigued. That helps me to subconsciously relax my muscles. You may try not to exert force by controlling it mentally, but if I poke you, you'll contract your muscles. Turning relaxation into something instinctual is a lot harder and takes longer to accomplish. I'm always relaxed, whether asleep or awake. Whenever someone readies for attack, his muscular contraction tgives him away and, since my reflexes are quicker, I preempt him and defend. No one catches me off guard.
--Grandmaster Helio Gracie, as quoted in "Extra fundamentals" by Raphael Nogueira, GracieMag

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Training is Training

Watching Frank Mir take extremities to extremes in the highlights before his first match with Brock Lesnar reminded me of watching a couple of world-class jiu-jitsu guys train a few months ago. No point in naming names. But I was impressed by how quickly they conceded submissions when caught. Admittedly, the concessions in this roll were fairly one-sided. But the point of the matter was that it was far more worthwhile for these two top guys to just go ahead and restart and get more training in than it was to waste a lot of time fighting over the penultimate moment before a submission succeeds or fails.

Training Day: Wednesday

A nice day of midweek training. Professor Carlos was following up on some of the work we did on Monday, taking the back against the turtle and finishing with the choke. One of the great things about taking the fundamentals classes all the time is that many of the critical little details become extremely easy to see. Nothing against the Advanced class. But I'll admit to having gone back to my Gracie Barra Fundamentals DVD more than a few times when I was having trouble with a certain move.

Today, for example, the emphasis was on only stepping the toes inside when going to insert the initial hook before taking the back. This gives you much more leveraged because you haven't locked your entire leg (and, more importantly, your entire hip) to the other guy. This and leaning forward to block the roll-side shoulder were some of the best points of the day.

Live training with Glenn (twice) and Professor Casey. It was good to work my deep half counter, as well as my Feitosa pass - though neither was a perfect performance. One of the things I'm realizing about the Feitosa pass is that I need to bait the guy into the option that I want, rather than just "taking what he gives me" - especially when that guy is as good as Casey.

I can't say enough about the "training after the training" though. I swear, if you stayed after jiu-jitsu class for 30 minutes every time you trained for a year, I'll guarantee that you would increase your skill acquisition 50% faster. After class seems to be when the black belts professors really start to share what they are working on. It has always been some of the best "training" you can get, and today was a perfect example. I feel as if I've got three new transitions out of my beloved half-guard after just half an hour with Professors Rodrigo, Carlos and Casey. If there is a reason why I'm less likely to buy jiu-jitsu DVDs or pay for seminars, then Wednesday afternoon was a great example of why. I've got everything I need right here at GB Seattle.

161.4 on the scale post-train. A bit of a bummer since Monday's weight was so hysterically on point. We'll see if I can get this thing back down to the mid-150s by Friday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rei Kimura?

BH: One of my last questions before I send this to Ben was that one of the things that struck me about the book was the variations on the kimura grip. You could just tell reading the book that this grip was special to you and the possible adjustments were extensive. I felt that this grip was important to the system; am I correct in saying that?

DC: The kimura grip is my #1 grip. I believe the kimura grip is the best offensive/control grip possible in jiu jitsu and if it's not your grip, pick up the book and I'll make it your grip.
--An Hour with Dave Camarillo

I remember one of the Mendes brothers saying much the same thing. Definitely worth thinking more about. The book is Submit Everyone. Here's a review of the book from the ever-resourceful Aesopian.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Training Day: Monday

Trained with Bryan today, working on different elements from the fundamentals program: side control escape to turtle position, turtle to taking the back with an emphasis on putting in the hooks by rolling over the shoulder, and finally putting it all together and attacking with the choke.

Three rounds of Live Training: J.M., Bryan and Chaim - tough rolls all. One thing that is very clear about training from my Cobra guard position is that I need to re-emphasize the arm control that Marcelo uses from this position. I'm just allowing far too much movement and grips, and not doing enough to take advantage of the fact that I'm in a relatively unfamiliar position for most folks. That 2-on-1 grip is critical to avoid the guardpasser getting momentum and confidence about the pass by putting him initially on the defense (trying to escape your 2-on-1 control).

Also thanks to Professor Carlos for the help with the Ryan roll. I'm feeling pretty good about attacking with the roll from the backstep against the half, and from the deep half the way Ryan did at the Houston Open last weekend. But I still don't quite have the feel for the straight half guard version, where you walk the guy into exposing his back by doing a Roger Gracie half guard pass, then turn 90 degrees toward the back and execute the roll. Trying it a time or two with Bryan, I didn't get the initial move right. Fortunately, I remember Prof Rodrigo showing us this move a few weeks ago. I'll have to remember to ask him about it this week.

So I need that review, plus a little drilling with the deep to X and RDLR to back transitions and then I'll be ready to put in some serious drilling volume on all of these variations.

A very wonderful 156.5 on the scale-post-train in the gi. Maybe it was the scale, but that is almost exactly where I want to be on a training day-in, training day-out basis. Eu sou pena, after all!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

On Hall in Houston

One of the most impressive things I've seen all weekend was Ryan Hall's performance at the IBJJF Houston Open.

Down 2-3 (takedown - guard pass), Ryan finds himself on top against a deep half attack. He goes right to the move that he shows on his DVD: grabbing the leg and crunching to break the guardplayer's posture, then slipping into a watchdog top position against a regular half and setting up the rolling back take.

I count six separate times in less than 45 seconds that Ryan goes for this move. Full roll and kicking. No go. Half roll and searching for leverage. No go. Adjust. No go. Complain to the ref. No go. Start over. Full roll, half roll, angle, leverage, momentum ...

On the SEVENTH try, he gets the reverse to take the back. With seconds left, however, Ryan loses the match because, in crossing his ankles, he was not awarded four points for taking position. Time runs out before he can readjust his ankles from crossed to hooks.

Ryan was not amused by the decision (though he was respectful to his competitor). And there's sure to be all sorts of petit controversy on the interwebs.

But all I'll say is that the fact that we were denied a J.T. versus Ryan final is a far greater outrage than the ankle-crossing rule for getting points after taking the back.

3 for the Next 3 Weeks

RDLR to back

half top roll to back

deep half to X to back

AM Conditioning: Explosive Repeat

"To improve your ability to perform short, repetitive, explosive bursts of muscular work."

Week One, Day One:

8s work/60s rest. Six cycles. Three stations.
KB swings, Thrusters, Explosive pushups
Active rest: 12-count matwork

30 total reps: 32/20
matwork: 40/29
48 total reps: 33/21
matwork: 44/34
56 total reps: 33/25

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Battered, Beat-Up and Ready to Roll

Thinking a lot about this post from last year after my performances today at GB Bellevue's grand re-opening.

Mundial Notes from Shawn Williams

One thing I've always encountered, after more than six years of jiu-jitsu competition (BTW, I just found a copy of the flyer from the very first BJJ tournament I ever entered in September 2005, three weeks after I started training), is a sort of "contact shock" when the match begins. In short, it takes me forever to warm-up to the contest and, instead, I remain in a sort of fatigue-imitating paralysis that makes it almost impossible to compete effectively after about three minutes of grappling.

I've known this for years. And, what's worse, I've known the antidote for years. But Shawn Williams was the first person to really put it to words. I don't think everyone is like this - especially younger, more athletically gifted folks. But for those of us who are, or who have become, hard-gainers, training and competing "a little tired but loose" - as Professor Lance once put it in the middle of his second training of the day - is far better than training and competing "tight but rested", as has been the case for me far too often.

One note here. The biggest issue here is making the sacrifice to be able to do this preparation, recreating the schedule to make room for what needs to be done before and after training. Count that among The Commitments.

Move for Memory

If you only work on technique, without real speed, you'll surely lack quickness in competition. Your body has muscle memory. If you don't train it to be quick, you train it to be slow.
--Raphael and Guillermo Mendes

Friday, February 10, 2012

Training Day: Friday

A brief warmup and then joining the class for Live Training. I got in two sessions with Abel and one with Michelle (?), who I've only trained with once or twice before. Felt much better in the second session with Abel, who's becoming one of my more regular training partners and an inspiration to, among other things, lose about 10 pounds. Although I won't pretend to be a huge fan of the "little guy" game at the highest levels of jiu-jitsu necessarily, it is always nice to be able to train with folks who are closer to your weight.

Feeling okay heading into tomorrow's event. I'm treating it just like an opportunity to get in some Saturday training rather than a referendum on my competition game, per se. I've had a harder time than usual feeling the fire in a competitive sense (to steal from Clint's classic phrase). But I've never shied away from an opportunity to train.

160.2 on the scale, post-train.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Training Day: Thursday

All technique and drilling tonight. That, and focusing on a number of basic movements like the sit-out to set up guard replacement from the turtle, or the 4-square "sit-to-one knee" maneuver to execute a one-hand, outside-to-inside elbow tap to break a knee grip when in sitting guard. Just like on Saturday, when we worked on the armdrag attack from sitting guard that uses what I call the "hip split" to throw your legs to the outside and drive up into the guard passer. I'm actually thinking now of replacing the old-fashioned armdrag from my matwork solo drill with that 4-square movement (Kid Peligro also demonstrates it in The Essential Guard.

So excellent on that score - especially since I'm a big sitting guard guy these days and constantly have to defend very aggressive toreano, knee-grip type passing (Chaim in particular has been especially effective against me with this kind of passing, as has Professor Doug and Brian).

Ran the Live Training session tonight, so I didn't get any rolling of my own tonight. Fortunately, I got in an overdue conditioning workout this morning (50 pound eccentric-less rows, presses, tri ext., and bicep curls + two, 12-minute rounds of box step HICT), so the requisite daily activity was met. This was the second time in the past week that I've been tasked to do black belt-like things around the academy, and I have to admit it is nice to have a little extra responsibility matside.

161.2 on the scale post-train. Given the lack of sparring, I'm not going to complain about that mark.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Slippery Hills

When we see people practice effectively, we usually describe it with words like willpower or concentration or focus. But those words don't quite fit, because they don't capture the ice-climbing particularity of the event. The people inside the talent hotbeds are engaged in an activity that seems, on the face of it, strange and surprising. They are seeking out the slippery hills. Like Clarissa, they are purposely operating at the edges of their ability, so they will screw up. And somehow screwing up is making them better. How?
--from "The Sweet Spot," The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Training Day: Wednesday

Just finishing up my work for The Daily Planet - no wonder I'm no longer training evenings regularly.

Conditioning and sparring today. Seionage warmups (60 broken reps) and then joining the class to drilling taking the back through mount (through S-mount). From there, we got in some positional sparring, King of the Hill mount/mount escape with the higher belts on the defense. I got to train with some sizable guys which is always a good thing when it comes to positional sparring and realizing what really, really works.

For Live Training I got to train with David V from GB Federal Way, an ideal training partner at purple belt and 160 or so, as well as with regulars like Glenn and Professor Casey. David definitely tested my half guard with some very good bear hug passing that reminded me that I'm not "in position" until I've gotten small in the half, rather than just achieving the leg triangle. Glen had me thinking and rethinking my approach to the closed guard and Professor Casey was Professor Casey. It's funny to think that I've probably spent more time training with Casey over the past few weeks than I have in months. In any event, I'm very much the better for it.

161.4 on the scale, post-train. Not great, at all. I'd rather have been closer to 158 and change, which is what I suspect I'll weigh after tomorrow night's training. I'm suspecting that I may not make it to featherweight (a walk-around weight under 150) without a more concerted effort than I have been making in terms of conditioning, training frequency and, to a lesser degree, diet. To be fair, a walking around weight of 150 would be my lightest in a decade. But to the extent that we're only talking about 10 pounds ...

Saturday's "Friendly" looms before me. I wish I felt in a more regular training routine, which probably has something to do with my disrupted schedule. At the end of the day, there's a good chance that I'll participate - after all, how am I supposed to pass up a submission-only in-house?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"Train to Maximize your Strengths and Minimize Your Weaknesses"

If you have the genetics to be strong and powerful, but you've always had endurance problems, your training should focus around improving your endurance to the point that it gives you the opportunity to use your strength and power. Likewise, if your endurance is endless but you're weak and get pushed around, you will need to improve your strength while staying conditioned."

The bottom line is that you need to learn to work with what your genetics have given you and use them to your advantage. Don't think you can go from being stronger and more powerful than everyone else to also being a conditioning machine that can outlast every one, because chances are you can't. What you can do, however, is develop the conditioning necessary to use your strength and power to your advantage to get the win.
--Joel Jamieson, Ultimate MMA Conditioning

Monday, February 06, 2012

Training Day: Monday

More conditioning and sparring. Two sets of 10 ct threshold training (41/30 and 40/31), as well as the usual reverse pivot/double leg warmup was all I could fit in before joining the Monday group for Live Training.

My first time picking partners! Not always as easy as it seems, but it was nice to have the honor. I trained first with a blue belt who was around my age or maybe older, then a round with Chaim, a round with Mark and a finishing round with Angela. Overall about 24-odd minutes of training, which is about ideal.

Mostly trying to work on movement as a way of creating openings for attacks and escapes. A very diverse group of training partners today, so I got work on a lot of different things: more classic closed guard with Robert and Mark, deep half and passing open guard with Angela, guard replacement and defense for the most part with Chaim.

A good start to the week. Hopefully I'll start adding evenings back this week, starting on Thursday. I have no idea if I'm going to compete at the event this weekend. I've not felt like I've had a really good day-in, day-out training rhythm, even though individual training sessions have been good to very good. We'll see.

160.2 on the scale, post-train.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Training Day: Saturday

A very hard training session today, conditioning-wise. I hadn't planned on getting the chance to train today, but when the opportunity popped up, I couldn't help but jump at the shot.

Led by Prof. Rodrigo, we started off with arm drags against a standing opponent, using the hip split to throw your legs to the outside and then "climbing" up the guy's arm and leg. I was finishing in a back drop/high crotch position most of the time, with my head on the outside. But I really liked using the hip split to both get the legs out of the way and to set up the "stand" that helps you come up to the top.

Getting back to your feet from the guard was the theme of today's training. We worked next on a butterfly sweep to what I used to call a Cobra guard stand up. I had some trouble getting enough space to adjust my leg back for the standup, so that's something I'll have to work on.

The last technique that we worked on was getting into X-guard from butterfly, using a deep underhook on the leg. This was a very nice one for me, and something I'll probably use when I get in the very inside.

We did several rounds of specific training, focusing on attacking with the butterfly guard for six minutes at a time while taking on fresh (or relatively fresh) passers. Good work here. And we finished up with some Live Training, me getting in 8-min rounds with Ron, Prof Rodrigo and Prof. Carlos.

With Saturday being my last training of the week, I got in my HICT (high intensity continuous training) with a five-minute session of technical lifts followed by a five-minute session of hipscape laps. Both were fairly brutal - my quarter-minute HRs were above 40 after both sets. But it's the kind of thing I can build up over time into something that will be very, very beneficial to my overall conditioning.

158.8 on the scale, post-train.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Breen on Getting Better at What You're Good At

Nick Diaz did something that I think you see as a trend in top level mixed martial arts athletes. And that is, they find a style that works, and with each successive bout, they tighten it, rachet it up a bit. They get better at doing what they are good at.

Georges St. Pierre isn't out there doing new stuff every time he goes out. He's not throwing capoiera kicks and that sort of thing. He finds more effective ways to set up that knee tap, to set up that power double. He finds more ways to confused guys with the switch-step superman punch, when to jab and when to like it.

Anderson Silva doesn't go out there and try and re-invent the wheel. He finds ways to use the familiar postures he has and then BOOM! Steven Seagal front kick to the face. Lights out.

Jon Jones isn't showing us new looks every time he goes out. What's great about Jon Jones is the way he is able to combine all those weapons in an overwhelming fashion.

So I think Nick Diaz has a bit of that.
--Jordan Breen, Roundtable: UFC 143

Training Day: Friday

Conditioning and live training today, with an emphasis on the latter. After my warmup, I was only able to get through two sets of cardiac power workouts (spin move) before the regular class was over and Live Training about to start. I got in an eight-minute roll with Prof Casey, another eight-min roll with Prof Carlos and an almost 20-minute roll with Brian. Very good work - a lot of choke defense with the Professors, but that's how that goes.

Still trying to settle into my Feitosa guard pass. I'm starting to see the interconnectedness of the variations, the transitions, and looking forward to training it on some of the lower belts over the next couple of days and weeks to tune things up a bit.

As much as the RDLR spin move is popular with DLR players, I'm seeing a lot of utility with it for half guard guys (I'm including the X-guard and single X as half-guard variations). I need to drill it more to get a feel for what seems like an almost impossible way to get to back consistently. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating; Stephen Wanderer says that the RDLR spin move is all they do at Megaton's school in Phoenix. And we saw plenty of it at the last ADCC as well - especially among the smaller guys like Cobrinha and Rafa.

Speaking of smaller guys, 158.4 on the scale, post-train w/gi and belt. A four pound swing lower from Monday's post-train weight-in. More like this.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Training Day: Wednesday

A good midweek session. I arrived in time to do a little 360-type drilling, focusing on entryways to the mount, but spent most of today's instructional as part of the King of the Hill group for a mount specific drill. A nice opportunity to work my defenses from the mount insofar as I'm getting more and more comfortable with my current defense strategy from the back.

Live Training with Brian, Angela and a white belt I just met named Alex. Here, the goal for 2012 is movement, movement to create opportunities, movement to capitalize on opportunities. One of the things I'm happiest about my last roll with Prof Casey is that even though he continues to run an armbar clinic on me when it comes down to it, I'm increasingly able to at least press the pace with more effective offense than in days of old. And a lot of that boils down to not settling into any position that is not a dominant one, to keep working to improve with patience, deception and agility.

160.5 on the scale, post-train. In a few weeks, that will need to be the Monday number rather than the Wednesday number. But for now, midway through Week One (Pan Am schedule, midway through Week Three on the Revolution schedule), I'm not complaining.

Finished January with only 10 training sessions. That number would have been better if it hadn't been for the snow closure week, but insofar as I was shooting for a 50% better attendance rate, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. As February begins, my "nut" is only 14 sessions, so my goal is to make up for some of January's lost time with a superlative February training pace.

My best January is 16x and my best February is 14x. So in order to beat that two-month split this year, with a 10x January in 2012, I'm looking at a 20x training pace for February. I'm not sure how possible that is (let alone 'likely"), but that's the nut right now.

Satoshi: European Lightweight Champion

You've got to give Rodolfo Viera his props for winning at weight and Absolute at the Europeans. But for my money, the real star of the show was Roberto Satoshi and his defeat of both JT Torres and Michael Langhi en route to leve gold.

Oh, and there was this from the European Lightweight Champion earlier in the event ...

Help Me Ronda

Can't get enough of Rowdy Ronda Rousey?

Me neither.

Ronda Rousey Sounds Off On Everything From The Olympics, To Cristiane Santos, To Ring Card Girls
All these companies make millions and millions of dollars to put the Olympic rings as like a logo. I walked into 24 hour fitness the other day. They're a multi-million dollar sponsor of the Olympic games. And they have all these Olympic rings all over the place. They know I'm an Olympic medalist. They know I'm an Olympian. They will not let me in there without paying. I have to pay to go into 24 hour fitness. I have to buy every single Gatorade bottle. That money does not go to the athletes. That money goes into a lot of really corrupt national governing bodies that bounce that money around, they give it to all their friends, and almost none of that money makes it to the athletes. USA Judo is the most corrupt organizations ever, and they hated me because I was not afraid to say it, and they always gave me as little funding as possible.