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June 10th, 2010

12:12 pm: Landed my first triangle this week. And then I landed another one yesterday. Took a private and figured out I have to squash the knees if someone goes to z-guard. Flexibility in my hips is finally allowing me to get triangles. I couldnt even sit indian style when I started doing jiu jitsu 10 months ago.

May 11th, 2010

03:00 pm: Open Guard
This week and next we are doing open guard. Yesterday we started work on butterfly guard, two sweeps. One was an armdrag and the other was the hook sweep. I love the hook sweep and have used it a few times when someone tries to crash into my open guard, but haven't really used the armdrag to taking the back much.

My partner was the Rainman, the guy who sweats like crazy. The first part of class was good. I had pretty good success with both the hook sweep and the arm drag. But then the sweat really started to get in the way. I seriously could not grab his arm for an armdrag and I could not secure the overhook for the hook sweep. It was incredibly frustrating.

I definitely think I could drill the hook sweep 1000 times. I love the sweep and could really use alot of drilling.

During the live portion, I went for an omoplata again. I'm beginning to sense how my bottom strategy is shaping up. If I'm playing guard, I threaten the armbar and try for a triangle. I can't seem to finish a triangle, probably due to having short, fat legs, but it provides me a great opportunity to transition straight to an omoplata. And once I get the omoplata, the sweep is almost always assured. That is the key for me. I want to sweep to get on top, and I want to stay on top.

April 28th, 2010

05:47 pm: Rear Defense
Man I hate rear attacks. Hear me out for a second, since I know a lot of jiu jitsu players love taking the back. Here's why I do not take the back:
1) Going from a positionally advantageous position to a positionally disadvantageous position (On top of turtle to on the bottom of rear mount).
2) Limited number of submission attempts from rear mount (Rear Naked Choke and a situational armbar).
3) Ease of losing the position and remaining on bottom.

That being said, my rear defense is terrible. If I were to give myself a score between 1 and 10 on my proficiencies in rear attacks and defense, I would probably give myself a 1.5 or a 2 (and this is based on going against other people in my beginners class, not more advanced students).

I have a hard time maintaining back control and getting the choke and I have a hard time escaping back control and defending the choke. It seems that everytime I have the opportunity to escape, I end up getting mounted. This is bad and I need to work on it. I'd much rather end up in someone's guard then end up mounted. Positional hierarchy FTW!

My choke defense is getting better. But my choke defense relies on grabbing their wrist and never, ever letting go. This defense does nothing to improve my position and my ability to defend the chokes continues to deteriorate as I get tired and as we get sweatier.

However, I did attempt my first omoplata! It was awesome! We were drilling escapes, and I tried to escape but got mounted. I was able to escape mount to half-guard and went to re-guard. I grabbed my opponents wrist, forced his arm behind my leg, and tried to whip it over his shoulder. My leg went far enough up so I could grab it, almost like a pseudo-rubber guard, but I couldn't get it far enough to use my foot to push his face away. And I could not get my other leg free, he held onto it for dear life, to really swing my hips into the omoplata. It was still awesome though! I really think I'm going to like my platas!

I did make a guy puke though. That was entertaining. He said before we started rolling he might puke. So I suggested we roll lightly. He agreed and then proceeded to be incredibly explosive and fast. Now, I'm not just going to let someone walk all over me, so I became just as explosive and got him with a nice head and arm choke from mount(mount is my least favorite position).

This post really has me thinking about my own positional hierarchy. I think for most people, the hierarchy from best to worst goes (1) mount, (2) rear mount, (3) side control top, (4) half-guard top, (5) guard bottom, (6) guard top, and then working backwards from there.

For me, it really goes (1) side control top, (2) mount, (3) half-guard top, (4) guard top, (5) rear mount, (6) guard bottom, etc.

Maybe I'll go into my own jiu jitsu game in a later post.

Needs work:
-Escapes from rear (!!!!!)
-defending the choke from rear (!!!)
-Maintaining rear mount (!!!)
-Rear Naked Choke (!!)

April 20th, 2010

08:59 pm: 1/4 Guard
This week and last week has been 1/4 or quarter guard. Last week was quarter guard bottom and this week has been quarter guard top. I couldn't make it to jits last week because I had a conference in Dallas, but I was able to get to jits one day where we did a peekout. I wasn't very good at the peekout and need to work, but I definitely see the merit in continuing to practice it. Getting up to my hands and feet provides me with more opportunities then just sitting on the bottom.

This week has been really good since I've been learning more submissions. I FINALLY god to learn the anaconda and darce chokes. I had tried to use the darce in my competition, but I had no idea to finish it. I ended up trying to finish a choke I had no idea to finish. Naturally, I couldn't finish the guy.

But with finally being taught how to finish a darce, I feel much more confident if I catch someone in a darce. At first, my darce was more like a crank, but after a little additional advice, I was able to get my darce to choke. I just need to remember to roll my opponent more onto his side to really press the choking arm onto his neck.

During the live rolling portion, I couldn't land the darce but I did land the anaconda. In fact, I really like the anaconda much more than the darce. Maybe its the ease of sliding the choking arm into position, I dunno. But now that I know how to finish both, I'm really going to try and incorporate both of them into my game.

April 6th, 2010

09:53 am: No more Tuesday Jits
Well my run of 5 days of Jits a week is coming to an end. I can no longer do jiu jitsu on tuesday afternoons. My workout schedule for the past 2 months has looked like this.

Monday/AM: Weightlifting-upper body
Monday/PM: Jiu Jitsu
Tuesday/AM: Jiu Jitsu
Tuesday/PM: Boxing(sometimes)
Wednesday/AM: Circuit Training
Wednesday/PM: Jiu Jitsu
Thursday/AM: Jiu Jitsu
Friday/AM: Weightlifting-lower body
Friday/PM: Open Mat

But my workout partner can't do circuit training on wednesday afternoons anymore. He's been doing circuit training on wednesday and then doing full contact MMA on wednesday nights. When we first started doing this schedule, our head instructor warned him about wednesday nights and being dead tired after circuit training. Well our head instructor was correct. He's been getting his ass handed to him in the full contact MMA advanced classes on wednesday by the pro fighters. So he can't do wednesday circuits anymore

Now we're going to move circuit training to tuesdays and do jiu jitsu drills on wednesday. We'll do all of the basic movements(shrimps, hip heists, etc.) and then drill whatever we've been learning that week. For istance, this week has been attacks from the guard and yesterday we learned triangles and omoplatas(briefly). Come wednesday we'll probably drill triangles, omoplatas, hip-bumps, and swinging armbars. I'll have to review my Drilling DVD by Stephen Kesting.

As for guard attacks last night, it was a good class. Everyone congratulated me on winning 2nd place over the weekend, which was really nice. And I finally figured out how to get a triangle to work, though its anything but efficient. During the live rolls I paired up with a guy who joined the gym the same week I did and I smoked him. Badly.

I also got my question about the sweep from knee on belly. There is no reason why I couldn't complete the sweep from knee on belly if the guy has me crossfaced, however, it will be difficult. If I want to perform it, I'll really need to crossface him HARD and probably with the blade of my arm right on his adams apple.

Still must ask adam on how to successfully complete his "bonus move" for escaping side control.

--Get the overhook and work an angle from guard.
--I was finding success with standing up when my opponent was posturing in my guard. This might be a good technique.

Needs improvement:
--Getting the overhook and working an angle from guard.
--Getting the leg free to get to a triangle.
--Getting the leg free to get to an omoplata.

April 4th, 2010

12:43 am: 2nd Place!
I got 2nd place in my weight division in No Gi! There were only 4 people, but I still consider that quite the accomplishment.

There weren't enough people competing so they rolled the novice and beginners brackets together and rolled the adult into the teens. This meant that the two rolls I got were against high school wrestlers. And they were pretty good.

The first match was really fast. The guy tried a hip toss but failed and I ended up on top of him. He tried to work couldn't sweep me. We rolled around like crazy after that and I can't really remember much. I just remember hovering over his open guard alot as he tried desperately to sweep me. I remembered what Adam, one of my coaches, said if you get into a position you don't know what to do with. He said to stand up and try to pass their open. So everytime the guy tried to grab my ankles, I just backed off and tried to pass his open guard again.

Near the end of the first round, I thought I was up on points since I had at passed his guard several times, landed in side control, and mounted at least once. But at the end of the round I went after a d'arce choke, which I have no idea how to do correctly, and couldn't finish it. I won on points but was dead tired.

I don't think I warmed up enough since I had no idea when I would roll. I finished the match and practically collapsed. My whole upper body was sooooo sore already. I knew I would not do very well in my next match because of this.

10 minutes is all the time I got to try and recompose myself after my first match. When the second one started, I got taken down immediately and we ended up in half-guard. I did a really good job of preventing him from going straight to mount and from getting to side control, but I was just too tired. This would've been an excellent time to try and do a half-guard sweep and I will have to remember this in the future. I was also in really good position to try a deep half-guard sweep that my coach, Adam, showed me. Next time, next time.

The guy ended up sitting in side control with the cross-face for almost the entire round. I do remember at once point going for a bizarre straight armbar in the very few moments I had in my guard. I also pulled off a really nice ankle sweep when he stood up, but I couldn't get on top of him and ended up on my back again. He kept trying to goto mount via knee on belly. I hooked under his leg for the sweep from knee on belly which brings me to question number two on monday.

If my opponent is still crossfacing me but tries for knee on belly, I can sweep him while he's so low or do I have to wait for him to posture up?

In the waning seconds of the end of the round, I was finally able to escape to my knees but he locked on an arm-in guillotine and I was forced to tap out. Still, taking second place against two high school wrestlers is pretty good. 6 months of training against their collective 5-6 years.

Ask adam about deep half-guard sweeps.
Can I use the knee-on-belly sweep if they never posture up?
Adam's bonus side control escape, I kept ending up on the other side of side control. What am I doing wrong?

--I was able to really prevent anyone from mounting me again. A combination of straight jacket, near-side arm.
--Maintaining top position. Though I got swept a few times, I always tried to come back to top.

Needs work:

April 1st, 2010

12:03 pm: Guard Passing
This week has been all about guard passing. My personal favorite is the double-under pass, but I worked some nice over passes as well once I got to combat base.

One of the major problems I have with guard passing is being able to posture up correctly and then break the guard. Last night I was able to ask alot of good questions about my own personal passing problems. 1) I don't have much of a problem posturing up, I have a problem keeping posture once I posture up. 2) When going for a standing pass, I always get pulled back down. 3)I have a hard time breaking the guard open.

I'm usually very good at passing the guard when my partners open their legs. I almost immediately move to the double-under pass since I seem to have problems staying close when moving to combat base. The problem lies when my partner's only offense is to stop me from passing. And they do nothing else. They'll hold my wrists with a death grip, pull on my head like their life depended on it, etc. Basically not threaten with submissions or sweeps, just hold me in guard. This is annoying. This is when I have problems passing the guard.

My partner last night was the really sweaty guy again. He does not have an active guard(and by active I mean threatening sweeps or submissions). Since the whole class was based on live rolling, isolating guard passing, sweaty guy would just hold me in guard. This pissed me off to no end and by the end of the first round I was digging my elbows into his thighs and stomach, cross facing and stacking the shit out of his throat/face, etc. How am I supposed to get any meaningful reps if you don't even play guard, just stall? I admit it, I lost it. Elbows in the stomach/thigh, thumbs in the ribs, cross faces and stacks. I just wanted to punish him for being a douche.

At the end of the round, I apologized and said I didn't want to have to do that, and told him how I felt. After that, he loosened up and we both got very meaningful reps in for the rest of class. If I'm learning technique the last thing I want to do is revert to dirty wrestling.

Tournament this weekend. First tournament ever. Nervous. Must lose 2lbs to make weight.

Notes to self: Remember to keep your hips rolled forward, this will help maintain posture. In the future try and break the guard from a safer position.

--Stop people from going straight to mount from side control (been figuring this out. Straight jacket helped alot)
--Stop people from going straight to knee on belly (see above)
--Threatening hip-bumps and armbars from guard
--Maintaining proper posture in guard
--Rolling the hips forward when posturing up
--Double-under pass straight to n/s (this makes my double-under MUCH tighter than if I goto N/S instead of air tight)

Current weight: 216.4


March 24th, 2010

11:04 am: When on the Bottom of Knee on Belly
Forgot that this week is the bottom part of cross side miscellaneous. Damn bottom of knee on belly! After spending a full week doing knee on belly drills, the last thing I really want to do is more knee on belly drills. My stomach and chest are so sore from having 220+ pound dudes rest their knees on top of me. However, this has caused me to really defend people from going straight to knee on belly/mount from side control. This is good.

Can't make jits tonight since it's my girlfriends birthday. That's three nights this week without boxing or jiu jitsu. Just gonna have to spend an hour at open mat on friday and hopefully hit up the jits/mma class on saturday. Last time it was brutal where I got stuck in a triangle. It wasn't a tight triangle so I wasn't being choked, but I was repeatedly punched in the face like 50 times. Defending the triangle left me open to punches, defending the punches left me open to get triangled. It was a lose lose situation and I ended up getting a bruise under my eye. No matter, after I tapped out I came back with vengeance and landed some sick hammer fists from side control for like 5 minutes. Hopefully this next mma class will be just as good.

Todays weight: 217.8

March 19th, 2010

08:17 pm: Open Mat!
Big Man's Jiu Jitsu. I learned a valuable lesson about it today. My workout partner, who is now in the advanced class and who is bigger, stronger, and better than me, rolled with me today. After several rolls, he got mount and as I was escaping, I thought he was going to go for an armbar but he didn't. He fed the arm he could armbar across his face and got me in an arm triangle. Afterwards I talked to him about why he didn't go for an armbar when it was right there for the taking. I should've expected his response. He said why risk it. Why risk giving up the top position. If the arm triangle/americana/kimura he could've all gotten fail, he's still on top, possibility in mount. But if I escape the armbar, he's now on bottom. And the last place you want a big man is on top of you.

After he submitted me like mad, I took a break and started rolling with a new guy who I've never seen before. I completely decimated him.  I nailed him with the newly learned straight armbar from side control like 3 times. It was awesome. I seriously subbed him 7 times.

In the end he got me one time. It was a really explosive americana that I didn't see coming. Like, he just passed my guard after numerous scrambles and as he landed he grabbed the americana and cranked it. It was so fast I had no opportunity to defend it. 

A good day of open mat!

Today's weight: 219.6

March 18th, 2010

01:38 pm: A good day for BJJ
Wow what a great BJJ day today for me!

Continuing on the theme of knee of belly/cross side top, we worked on the spinning armbar from knee on belly. It was a breakthrough day for me and my armbar is MUCH tighter. Adam taught today, so getting the bigman's BJJ perspective is incredibly helpful. Now, I learned this armbar originally from Ryan Hall, who is a phenomenal grappler. The only problem is that Ryan Hall competes at 155lbs. I weigh nearly 70lbs more than him. So what Ryan Hall can do, I cannot necessarily do. Adam weighs 260, so when he gives instruction it's always from a big man's perspective, which will work for me more readily than what Ryan showed.

And today, I picked up Adam's approach to the farside armbar from knee on belly MUCH more quickly. Everything just clicked. We also went over going for a kimura instead of the armbar which is great for a big man. From what I can tell, the big man's BJJ game is most definitely a TOP game. The last thing I want is 260lb dude on top of me and vice versa. If my partner escapes, going for the kimura instead of the armbar keeps me on top. Which is VERY important for me.

We had two 5 minute rounds with our partner, switching top and bottom only at the end of the rounds. My partner caught me several times when he was on top of me, which is great, but when I got on top I went bonkers! N/S choke again! I did the monson choke AND I got the variation of the arm triangle from north/south! I've seriously been working on these two chokes for like 3 or 4 months now, ever since I first had someone go to n/s on me. It feels really good to nail those chokes after so much work I've put into them.

We then had 10 minutes of live rolling. My first partner was pretty good. He's a guy who's been doing jits for about 6 or 7 months more than me, but he should probably weigh 140-150 but instead is coming down from 200+. Needless to say, he is not nearly as athletic as I am despite similar weights. So my game has come along much faster than his, even though he still poses LOTS of problems. I was able to tap him with a kimura and when we retarted he passed my guard almost immediately. I was finally able to retain it and time ran out with him in my guard. I consider that pretty successful for both of us since he does not want me on top.

My next partner is a pro fighter. He won his pro debut not too long ago, so he's not a really experienced pro fighter. His jits game needs alot of work, but for a heavyweight(the dude weighs like 260) he definitely has a big man's jiu jitsu. We started with me in side control, I isolated an arm, slipped my arm behind his neck and nailed the arm triangle from north/south! Two different opponents! Of course he made me pay for it as the round went on since he tapped me a few more times, but damn it was good to nail that choke!

-Must work on side control escapes more
-Figure out the N/S choke finally, hopefully.
-MUST work on stopping people from going straight to mount/knee on belly.

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