Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rehab Workout

Went to the academy today thinking I might be able to do some training. But I've still got no strength in my right knee LCL and Prof Carlos was working on armbars from the mount, so I did a solo workout instead.

40 Three-Step Drop Seoinages with Kouchi Gari

Five sets of 20 technical lifts, 10 medicine ball swings,  10 medicine ball squats

Cool Down:
Five sets of 20 hipscapes

No real discomfort in my knee, though I did notice that my left LCL isn't exactly feeling like Kevlar, either. I'm looking forward to loading up on the Super Cissus in a few days.

Tomorrow I'll get in a little cardio. I was 166 in the gi after conditioning today which is a low-down, dirty shame - injury or no.

Spent some time working with Sean (Connor's dad), whose decided to put on the gi and do some more formal training. It was a great time going over some fundamentals and details, and explaining something to someone is always just another way of teaching yourself all over again. Hopefully there will be much more of that to come from the lunch time training session.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

BJJ Scout Presents Ronda Rousey


Less than a month to go before my eighth anniversary as a Gracie Barra student, I've already reached a major milestone.

Last training year, August 2011-July 2012, I trained 161 times, averaging 3.35 times a week. This training year, running from August 2012 - July 2013, I did myself one better, literally, racking up 162 trips to the mat.

At least as of Friday. My knee kept me off the mat today (that and a little rendering unto Caesar, as the kids say), and I won't be able to train tomorrow night. I'm going to see if I can make it to the Academy on Wednesday, which will give me a 14 training session July. That's one shy of the 15/month that I like to think is an above average month of work. But given that it was injury-induced - and won't screw up my new overall, training year record - I'll cut myself some slack.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On the Case

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Knee-Poppin Daddy


There was absolutely nothing at all dramatic about my latest injury. I'm defending a deep half shin sweep, but my leg is a little too gathered up at the knee and a little move here and a little move there and pop! goes the ligament. At least that's my guess. The pop was audible and the inability to put any lateral weight on my right knee is pretty manifest. But I can walk and there's no crazy swelling so I figure a worse case scenario will have me non-sparring for a month and a half or so.

I've got a class to teach on Friday, and was planning to do another double. But the second half of that plan is 100% out of the question - as is the notion of training Thursday night that I'd been toying with up until my knee gave out.

Overall, I still think I'm doing okay as far as injuries are concerned. 2013 has been a little rough historically speaking: I popped my rib back in January, and looking back on my calendar for the previous training year (August 2012 to July 2013), it looks like I was back on the mat and training regularly by the beginning of March. So I'm hoping for a similar bounce back. In a perfect world, I would have gotten this injury two weeks from now; work is going to kick into high gear again at the beginning of August, so that would have been as good a time as any to slow things down.

165.3 on the scale, post-train. Plump as a plum, still. I don't imagine being sidelined for a little while will be great for keeping my weight down, but I've got to believe that 165 is at or near some sort of semi-natural limit.  I've got this trick with the pena weight class I'm been trying to do ... but you know that.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Train and Learn

Trained twice today and paid for it, in some ways, with my flagging performance during a ten-minute sparring session. For weeks, my mantra has been to quit when I'm ahead, to reach drop-dead fatigue AFTER training during a post-train conditioning workout like HICT. The idea being for weakness to remain 100% under my control in the training context.

But you don't know the edge until you test it, and with the prospect of not getting back on the mat until Monday, it seemed worthwhile to stick around for Friday's Live Training, even if there wasn't much left in the tank.

A good week on the mat. My training numbers are starting to creep up (back to 2.75 in the four-week moving average). This morning was essentially a private lesson with John since he was the only student to show up for Dawn Patrol. We worked on a couple of different entries into the DLR, which was a treat for me also since I almost never use the DLR in training.

The noon session was vigorous - a lot of drills out of side control (the turn to turtle and the scarf hold switch counter from Wednesday). During the Live Session I found myself working a lot of my older game from the top (handcuff and Flat Pass) from the closed guard, and even forcing the closed guard when my partner switched or tried to switch to an open guard.

This was ultimately a mistake, as it prevented me from working more thoroughly the Toreando pass game I've been wanting to focus on in the second half of 2013. It led to worse than that, by some measures. But at the end of the day, not pursuing the opportunity to attack the open guard and instead opting for what I thought at the time was an easier closed guard attack (the same closed guard attack I'd already used successfully three times in the session).

Train and learn. 162.7 on the scale at the end of the week. Ideally, this number will be 3% lower in a month or less.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Upcoming Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments in the Pacific Northwest

Northwestern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Challenge - August 10 - Vancouver, Washington

Proving Grounds Submission Only Tournament - August 24 - Bellevue, Washington

Oregon Open - September 7 and 8 - Hillsboro, Oregon

Chess on the Mat Invitational - BJJ Submission Championships - October 6 - Tacoma, Washington

The Revolution - November 9 and 10 - Bonney Lake, Washington

In Times of Peace, Preparing for War

Going with the philosophy that the best time to prepare for the next tournament is the day after the last one, here is some great advice from the Big Brains over at Bishop BJJ.

3 Tips to Improve Tournament Jiu Jitsu Performance
Guess what, the best in the world don’t just “see what happens”. The best in the world make it happen! You should do the same thing. If you haven’t checked out our series “It’s Science”, you should study up. One theme that comes across rather quickly is that the must successful competitors have a few things they are really good at, and then they put themselves in position to implement those strategies.
The rest is well worth reading.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Old School Meets New School: Renzo Gracie e Paulo Miyao

If this doesn't warm your heart, you may have no heart to warm.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Cardio & Resistance: LSD and Shoulders/Arms

My Big Picture goal is to earn my third degree by 2020. I'll be eligible for my first degree late next year. And if that goes well, I would be eligible for my second degree in late 2017. Obviously, I'll be promoted if and when my professor feels the time is right to promote me. These goals are just an expression of the kind of commitment to my academy and the art I am determined to make over the next several years.

So to that end, I'm focused on longevity. I'm bringing post-train/off-mat conditioning back into the game which I think/hope will both make me more effective now and more likely that I'll be in good shape to continue training consistently over the next 7-10 years.

Sunday has always been a great day for LSD (long slow distance) training. So I managed to get back up on the treadmill for half an hour or so today.  I'm taking a page (actually the whole book, which I recommend) from local trainer Joel Jamieson's Ultimate MMA Conditioning, and focusing on cardiac output for the next month before turning the intensity up a notch.

There are other considerations. To compete again or not and, if so, whether or not the dearth of lightweight black belt competitors (or even middleweight), means that I need to start thinking about no-gi competition, where the intermediate and advanced ranks are always available.

But that's another conversation for another day. Right now, the idea is to improve my conditioning, get a little stronger, lose a little weight (my kingdom for a 70 kilo print!), tighten up my game (Rickson/Kron from the bottom/Leandro Lo from the top), and just see where that leads me.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bonney Lake: Jiu-Jitsu Capital of the Northwest

Another Revolution tournament in the books. At this point, I don't know which team won. But the event was another reminder of what a tremendous jiu-jitsu culture we have in the Pacific Northwest.

I couldn't be more proud especially of my Gracie Barra teammates - especially the tons of women competing. I heard someone from another school make a pretty snide comment about Gracie Barra after one of our folks won a close match, but I'll tell you what: I'll take our "Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone" approach over the "Only the Strong May Apply" ideology every damn day of the week.

It's true that a tournament is fundamentally an opportunity for competition and skill testing against new and unpredictable adversaries. It's also true that the Revolution tournaments are like a "Gathering of the Tribes", an opportunity for old friends to catch up and enjoy a jiu-jitsu atmosphere right here at home that would have been hard to imagine 10-15 years ago.

Congratulations to Jeff, Gina, and the rest of the Revolution team for another great event. See you in the fall!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Screaming For Ice Cream

One of my big goals for the coming training year is to simplify my game.

When it comes to the top, to the art of passing, I'm studying Lo.

And now, after much reflection, I've finally figured out who I'll be studying when it comes to the guard.

I'll have a lot more to say about this in the weeks to come. A lot of very intelligent things have been said about Kron Gracie, especially by BishopBJJ - whose The Science of Jiu-Jitsu is must-reading on the BJJ blog circuit.

But one description of Kron's guard, the idea that his guard game is "basic", is a notion I want to challenge. Not because it is incorrect, but because I think that description may be a bit misleading, especially for those like myself who are trying to learn an approach to guardwork that, the more I study it, owes more to his father's philosophy of the guard than I ever realized.

The secret to Kron's approach to the guard, I think, can be found in this fascinating quote he provided after his exciting submission victory over Octavio Souza at Metamoris I.
"I don't think I would necessarily change the point system. The point system is great. I think what's stopping the sport is the grips. Guys will get a grip and then they'll stop when they want to. It's very easy to do that and it's really hard to break the grips. Guys are taking steroids, guys are really strong, it's hard to break those grips. So, I think when the guy grabs a grip and he stops and his intention is to hold those grips and not intend to go to the next move, I think that's the problem. So if you just take away the-- you know in Judo, guys only have 20 seconds with a grip or 15 seconds with a special grip or they have to let go-- I think that should be the rule in jiu jitsu. The guy should have a special grip, you can do what you want to do, but if you don't do it then you gotta let go. You can't just hold the fight and stop the fight. I think jiu jitsu has great rules, great time. Ten minutes is enough time if the guys are not holding and stopping the position."
Again, food for thought. And for study.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Toward Training Every (Other) Day

With one month to go before the end of the 2013 training year (my training year begins in August), it's nice to see that even with subpar training in May and June (i.e., less than 12 sessions), I'm still in a good position to finish out the year at a new annual PR of more than 161 sessions in a year (average of 13.4 sessions/month and 3.35 sessions/week). A 12+ July is all it will take, which is imminently doable.

That said, what I need is a 15+ July in order to match TY2012's six months of training 15x or more. I don't think that should be too much of a challenge either, especially if I can fit in a Saturday or two. The July Revolution is the 13th (a week from this Saturday), so that will be one less opportunity to get my number.

The goal continues to be a training year with an average monthly training of 15+. That would make for 180+ sessions a year, and give me the "I train every other day" equivalent I've been longing for.