Friday, June 24, 2011

Standup night

June 22
Tonight we worked two basic judo throws, which I totally totally sucked at.  So frustrating, because I really think I understand what I need to do to execute properly, but it felt wrong 9 times out of 10. Also did a quick grip fighting exercise, which, as important as grips are on the ground, it must go doubly so when on foot.  Due to my disgust with my ineptitude, we mercifully now skip to the fun part of the night. 

Rolls: Got Big Steve (new Blue).  Steve moves better each time I roll with him, but he seems to have the same problem I have, namely committing to stuff against good guys (not that I’m one of the good guys!)  I threw up a lazy triangle to see if it would stick, and he totally caught the leg in such a way that he could have used it to pass, but he was still in defense mode, even though it didn’t fell to me like I had him in danger.  Caught him with a front gi choke at the bell, I should go for those more, both to keep people honest and to have some semblance of being able to choke with the gi. 

Next Chuck (new Purple). Started from his guard. Tried hard to fight his grips and avoid getting broken down.  He opened up, and I tried to do that climbing the leg pass that Collin demo’d for me the other night, but he killed the pass and then took a minute to show me the proper way to pass, which involves throwing one arm up and over the arm pushing down on your head and switching hips and resetting.  That’s why I love rolling with Chuck, dude can switch flawlessly from intense rolling to breaking down technique so that even my dumb ass gets it.  After we reset, he ended up getting an awesome scissor sweep on me, and I luckily got him in my guard. I was pretty boring from guard, but Chuck didn’t seem too bothered about it. Love rolling with that guy. 

Finally, rolled with Chris (blue belt and four stripe chemist).  Felt like I moved alright against him.  Passed his guard off of him attempting a front gi choke (man, those were in the air tonight)  (oh lord).  He went right to turtle.  He totally feels comfortable working from there, which is not my experience of turtle at all. If I’m there, I’m usually panicking.  Fought futilely for darce or anaconda grips.  Sort of got Bow and arrow grips, and got the hooks in, but he defended it really well.  Stretched the non-choking arm out, and pushed the hook out with his knee, turned in to me, and then he was in my guard.  Beautiful.  Time.

After class, got another roll in with Chris.  Started from my guard, which he popped open and then I started playing open.  He got to half, and I tried to do that hip bump sweep from half that Vaughn showed, with no success.  Couldn’t get charlie’s reverse scissor sweep where you turn the guy over and pull on his belt.  ( I think I might have, or been close at one point)  So I used that guard to get back to full guard, which is sort of a neat trick; from here tried to work open.  Did two things different: I put my foot on his hip and my knee in chest, like Vaughn does, seemed to work ok for keeping him off.  Also tried to grab his arm while keeping my arm at my side, again like Vaughn does.  Interesting.  Also, remembered to pop the guys elbows out (ala Matthias) when he post on your body.  Used this to get him down, and threw up a piece of shit triangle that I gradually worked a bit tighter, but still not proper triangle alignment.  Switched to attacking the kimura, he gave up his posture to defend, and swept him. Tried to finish with a mounted triangle, but couldn’t hit it.  He pushed me off and I wound up in guard I think. Might have missed a step.  Anyway, as soon as I was I guard I quickly threw up another triangle, and this one was a little tighter than the first.  Attacked with the combo armbar and got the tap.  Chris is definitely one of my toughest rolls at blue belt and we usually go pretty even, so it felt good to get the sub, even if I knew it was mostly from him being exhausted from showing up an hour early for class.   Fun night, even tho I didn’t get to roll with Charlie or Andy after.  

June 20

Unfortunately this will be a truncated version, as I am exhausted (and nothing supercool happened).  Passed Charlie’s open guard (b y luck), Chris passed mine.
Techniques: submission finishes from leg lasso sweep.  1st: stepover armbar.  Switch your feet on the trapped arm, then step over his head after securing the arm.  Switch directions, you got it. 2nd :kimura from when you don’t trap the arm. The trick of this one was dragging the guys arm over his body by gripping beneath his arm with your right hand, then bringing your left hand through for the kimura grip.  A bit tricky, but it seems like a way to not muscle something I normally muscle.  Wish I wasn’t so tired.
Rolls: Ricky ( Blue Belt).  He broke my guard open, but then I swept him with that same sucker leg lasso sweep.  I need to stop going for baseball bat chokes til I know how to set them up, because I’m seriously wasting a lot of time on it.  Some okay back and forth, but I’m dissatisfied with how this roll went.  Should have been a little more ambitious.
Wylian (new Blue)  This kid is scary good.  He almost got me with the same choke mike put on me the other day, and I got out of it by passing his guard in desperation.  Need a better technical answer.  Passed his guard once or twice, but couldn’t do anything with it. Need a top game!
Jeff(blue):  I was pretty tired by this time, and Jeff handled me pretty good.  I finally started to rally just as time was called, but I didn’t do anything to noteworthy except horribly botch an anaconda attempt.  Oh well, get it next time.

Post class rolls Andy (brown) Always nice to get handled.  Andy moves so well, and thinks so far ahead of me its ridiculous.  He’s so good at funneling all my activity, so that I’m forced to play his game.  He let me pass his guard toward the end just to see what I’d do.  Answer: not too much.  As dismal as this entry sound, I actually had a great time tonight, and although I’m pretty tired and about to pass out, if I could do it again right now I would.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Guillotine Friday

Walked in to beloved gym, and there were a bunch of guys I didn't know warming up.  Earlier in my training I might have felt a tad territorial to new comers, especially talented ones.  Let me tell you, that sentiment is totally gone, and has been replaced by joy that I get to roll with new people and rip off the bits of their game that I like.  One of the guys was a GB guy I've rolled with before, a guy named Kevin who's training for an mma fight in July.  He's as tall as I am, and will be fighting at 170.   He should have huge reach against whoever he faces.  Nice guy, wish he trained with us more. 

Anyways, we drilled as normal, then Collin began teaching.  Technique was how to give the guy a bad single leg from butterfly, or open guard, and then a series of subs off that.  The part i felt most comfortable with, and will ultimately be of most use, is what to to when the guy is in turtle but has a leg.  My fav two that he showed were the japanese necktie and a one handed guillotine.  To get the neck tie, you put darce grips in as deep as you can, then gable grip and sort of crank his head down, almost as you would to turn him over for an normal darce.  Begin sliding around to his side, then use your far foot to catch the foot closest to to you.  Put right shoulder on his head then roll over it.  Tap should be instantaneous. 

For the one handed guillotine, cup the underside of his chin with your hand, bring your armpit down on top of his head tightly, and pinch your elbow in tight to the side of his head. throw right leg underneath and away, and fall to right shoulder.  Left leg comes over the top to prevent the roll.  Drive elbow towards knee.  Both of these felt a little out of my grasp, but functional.  I could forseeably add either of these to the arsenal with a bit of practice and drilling. 

Rolls: Got Vaughn first.  He was damn close to tapping me with a triangle that he scored off a botched double underhook pass from me, but I struggled my way out.  I got some criticism from Big Mike (blue belt) after this roll that i never seriously attempted to pass his guard.  I'm tempted to say that I agree.  Partly though,  I'm just way out of practice passing guard nogi, and have forgotten what works.  Both Vaughn and Mike refreshed my memory.  This roll underscored for me how dangerous a well-played open guard can be, even without the gi to grab.  I passed Vaughn's guard for like two seconds, but without the gi to grab, i couldn't maintain it.  Another part of my game which needs work. 

Next was Kevin (blue).   I think this guy just wanted to see what i had, because it didn't seem like he was trying too hard.  I caught him with a guillotine and a triangle where i put my foot underneath and kicked out.  I saw this guy at the last tournament, and he looked like hell on wheels, getting kimuras from everywhere, so either he was being really nice or the fact that i have 40 pounds on him may actually count for something.  I need to remember to go check his fight out if I can. 

Last was Steve (purple) aka the artist formerly known as old man Steve.  Tonight was a huge milestone, probably never to be repeated, involving me outwrestling Steve.  We started from knees, he came in hard, and i somehow reversed him and went right to side  AAAAHH! It was awesome.  He immediately went to turtle and, having watched a bunch of stuff on the interweb today about darces and anacondas, I made an executive decision to not worry about any of the stuff Collin showed tonight and to try to get the darce or anaconda.  Steve's so good at playing turtle tho, and he frequently gets all the way out or even reverses me from there.  But tonight I kept a lot of pressure on his head and this seemed to help a bit. More satisfied with my attacks on turtle than i ever have been, even tho nothing landed.  At least i was able to neutralize him for a bit there.   Somehow or another, he got out from under, and went to half and then side on me.  Started raining down guillotine attempts (One handed, no less.  Applying what we learned in class? Isn't that sort of like... cheating?)  Anyways, sure enough, one of them went deep, and he flopped back to fully commit to the choke.  I don't know why, but I freaking hate tapping to one handed guillotines, so I resisted pretty much as hard as i could, and sure enough, I somehow got the hell out of there and got him back in half guard.  We had one of those awesome jiujitsu moments then where we wordlessly acknowledged each other's performance, then right back into it.   

And this is where i did the one other genius, milestone thing of the night.  I somehow found myself setting up brown belt Andy's trademark butterfly halfguard, and using it to get back to full.  I don't know why, but I somehow understood how to use it tonight, and even tho I'll probably never use it correctly ever again, it still feels pretty cool.  Anyhow, right as i put him back to full , he kind of dove forward as if to pass, I threw up a normal guillotine and caught him.  He's another of those guys who it feels like if you caught them, you must be having a really good day, because they don't make too many mistakes. 

Overall, a pretty damn good night.  Only complaint, as always, is that it seems to short, and that i didn't get to roll enough.  Could have stood for a roll with Collin and Big Mike, as well as several of the visiting guys, but i guess all in all I can't really complain.  Got to roll with several awesome jiujitsu players, and if that's not a good Friday night, I don't know what is. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Slugged out grill + more leg lasso open guard.

On time!  Lets see how long that streak lasts, now…  Normal warm-ups, then guard pass.  Normal today, but I still tried to play a lot of open.  White belt Jamie got a pretty good pass from me fumbling around trying to play open, when usually I try to break him down.  Interesting thing, I had a much harder time getting the leg lasso than I normally do.   In technique portion, Marco addressed how to properly do it.  Wait for your opponent to start sliding his knee forward, and straightening his arms.  When he does, bring the legs up and pinch knees together, pressing his arms together.  Hips sideways, then go for the lasso while pushing away with the foot (in his hip) and pulling both sleeves.

So anyway, guard break drills.  Things of note: I have absolutely nothing for Marco.  I tried not to get excited  and to be really deliberate, but of course, the second he let me get to half, I thought to myself, “This is it.  Here comes the glory.  I shall pass this black belt’s guard with ease, then crown myself the king of all jiujitsu.  You there, servant boy! Bring me your finest meats and cheeses.”  Needless to say it didn’t quite work out like that for the kid.  I went flying, and I don’t even know exactly how he did it.  I was able to pass Vaughn’s guard with some difficulty, then I got blue belt Nick in my guard.  We had some good back and forth, then I took a pretty big knee to the right eyeball.  I stopped for a second, then somehow got the leg lasso sweep from him having me in north-south. Pretty proud of that, the kid is good.  Then a purple easily passed, same one as before whose name I don’t know.  Time.

In techniques, we looked at rolling to an omoplata and rolling to a triangle from leg lasso.  For both of these, start in normal leg lasso, then slide right foot underneath to go into turtle next to the guy, using the leg lasso foot on the guys hip to move around.  Then either roll over shoulder closest to the guy and kick out (for omoplata)  or half roll and turn back in, throwing leg over guys shoulder for the triangle.  Need to drill this way more.  After class Vaughn showed a cool variation of this, where you establish cross grips on the guy’s sleeves,  then roll straight into the triangle. He said you can set that up from half guard if your quick about it. I MUST remember to try this, it felt way tighter to me than the first way.  We also went over that hip bump sweep from half guard. I need to remember to post my arm BEFORE I attempt that sweep.  I think it will work.

Rolls tonight, I got Ricky(blue), Nick (blue) and Mike( blue). All awesome rolls.  With Ricky I started with him in my guard and resolved not to break him down, to play open.  I’m glad I did, I caught him one of my first ever standing open sweeps.  I leg lasso’d, grabbed the opposite foot, then put my other foot on the lasso’d bicep.  This felt good. I got him above my hips and he pretty much went straight over. I need to scramble better tho, because it was anyone's game there for a minute.  I went to knee on belly looking for baseball chokes, and he of course got deep half.  Swept me.  I some how got my leg free and threw up a triangle.  He got his hand in just in time.  I sort of kimura’d him from there, cause his arm was trapped in such a weird position.  We reset, then time called. 

Next was Nick.  Started from his guard.  It seems like the whole roll was spent trying to pass his guard.  I finally did, went to side control, knee on belly, and started looking for baseball bat choke.  Got swept, wound up in guard.  Hard to break nim down, but I think I finally did.  This roll was pretty technical.  I went to mount at one point and tried to play technical mount, but he got to turtle.  Tried to darce him, but he sat back to his guard.  That’s such the right move for when I try to darce you, because I freak out and let go immediately.  Time .

Last roll Mike. Mike showed some finesse in this roll that I wasn’t expecting.  At one point we wound up on knees.  He grabbed my lapels and threw himself down sideways.  Came pretty close to getting the choke, but I somehow got out of that.  After that I baseball choked him from knee on belly (finally! The only fraking move I went for tonight!)

After class, I drilled for a bit with Jamie, who as I said is really learning quickly.  Managed to catch another shot to the face, so i have matching bruises today.  

Thoughts.  Work on ALL unorthodox sweeps.  Figure out the best way to set up baseball bat choke form side.  Maybe its from knee on belly, maybe it would work better from someplace else for me.  Practice the techniques shown tonight, because they are supercool.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

spider and Lasso guard

Late as usual, but I still got to do most of the warm-up.  In guard break drills tonight, the rule was, start from spider guard.  This didn't work out too well for me.  Passed twice on a fellow blue belt who, like me, doesn't play much spider.  Did I sweep anyone?  I think i got one, but it wasn't too technical.  

Technique tonight was setting up lasso guard, the sucker sweep from lasso, and couple of arm drags.  The first arm drag involves scooting further away, circling the foot out from under his arm, pulling the arm in to your belly and the mat as you kick out and sit up.  Go to seat belt or take the back.  2nd arm drag occurs when the guy passes towards the side not getting lasso'd.  Abandon the lasso, and use that foot in the guys bicep to stretch the guy out, then replace with the other foot.  Swing the lasso foot out to create momentum, and drag the arm on the left.

Not enough rolls tonight!! Only got two, what kind of business is that?  I felt like Bob Sapp in that Japanese promo where he yells "The Beast is always hungry!!!" and slams his fist down on the table full of terrified Japanese reporters' recording devices.  First up was one of the four or five blue belts named Chris.  Passed his guard with the fist in arm pits, butt in air, knee in ass pass, to knee on belly.  He scrambled for half and got it easily.  We went back and forth with him digging for sweeps and me cross facing.  At some point he turned over and i took his back.  Got a bow and arrow choke.  God thats such an easier finish than fighting for the rear naked.  We reset from my guard, and i tried to play open, which i think he passed. Time.

Next was big white belt Jamie, who's getting to be quite a handful.  Got my first ever stepover arm bar, and it was technical so I'm happy about that,  more that I can see the opportunity for those than that i landed it.  I want to diversify my attacks, especially from side.  We reset, and he was so close to getting a sweep that i stopped and started teaching. I did it again when he was real close to another sweep. He didn't seem to mind, which is good, because sometimes it drives me crazy when people do that.  I guess you just have to ask yourself whether stopping and teaching will help them considerably or just make you feel good about how much you know.  Anyway, I like rolling with him a lot.  

After class, reviewed some sweeps from guard when the guy stands with Vaughn.  Pretty helpful.  Basically just collapse into a "V" and the push in with the knees while you grab the ankles.  He also showed me a variation of the pendulum sweep where you block the guy from being able to base with your body, instead of just grabbing his hand.  Will have to give this a try.

Wylian finally got his freaking Blue Belt!  LOOOONG overdue, IMHO.

Song of the night: Gf playing Redemption Song and Closer to the Heart.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A lovely Friday NOGI class

Small class as usual, which is part of the charm. Myself, Oldman Steve (new purple) and Vaughn (visiting 4 stripe blue), as well as Collin and Gavin.  All escape from sidemount stuff tonight.  Fight the cross face with a hand on the bicep, then flare the elbow and push his elbow waay to the other side.  Keep it pushed, sit up using the other hand, the shrimp away. 

Rolls:  Got Vaughn first.  He really thwarted all my offense tonight.  We neutralized each other pretty good, but he hit another awesome sweep, grabbing both ankles then pushing against my hips.  Really clean.  Fun roll.

Next was Gavin, who I did alright against, but who still had position on me basically throughout the roll.  I seem to remember tapping to something, oh wait, it was a rear naked.  How he got there I have no idea, because he was in my half guard when he started setting it up.  So awesome.  Should  have asked him about it.  Still, I felt like I moved better against him than I usually do. 

Next was Collin.  I swept him earlier in guard pass drills, so I thought I'd try it again.  Nothing doing.  It turns out that Collin's not actually a tadpole, and has a memory that lasts longer than 15 seconds.  That sweep was doomed.  DOOMED!!! However, the rest of the roll was not too bad.  The only 2 thing I really remember were trying to get that deep half guard from knee on belly and being shut down, and doing a decently technical escape from a mounted armbar.  He set it up, i somehow got both of my wrists behind his leg, then bridged wound up on top, then snuck a knee in to put pressure on his elbow to escape.  He later told me that only works from some grips. 

Fun night, although too short for me...  Where was Charlie?

New sweep: the Collin

In Drills today, I realized I basically don’t know how to shrimp.  My shrimping looks horrible next almost everyone else in there, and I don’t know if the way I practice it is functional in sparring.  Gavin (4stripe purple) taught tonight, which is always awesome.
Guard pass drills; worked a bunch of open, started playing that half butterfly, half de la riva sweep (henceforth called "the Collin"), with mixed and interesting results.  Playing open requires so much less body strength. 

Swept three guys, then Alex (purple) got an easy pass.  Passed some 2nd day white belts guard, then triangled a white belt when he fed me his arm. Time.

 We drilled some self-defense stuff which I forgot instantly, then worked more mount escapes.  One arm across the guy’s hips to keep in from coming up, other on the knee to put pressure.  Plant right foot high, straighten left leg(I screw this up a lot).  Do a few normal shrimps, maybe one big one.  Then switch to Tran’s shrimp: one hand on hip, one on knee, push hard and stick butt out. Combining this with normal shrimp is gonna revolutionize mount escape for me.  Worked another escape where you stuff the guys leg into half guard and immediately switch hips and get the underhook.  Don’t know if this will work as well for me. 

Rolls.  First with another first day white belt.   Pretty good, had a wrestling background.  Mostly a teaching roll.  Tapped him once, with a triangle/armbar.  He moved well. 

2nd, rolled with Ken (purple). Good roll, my first non boring roll against this guy( I usually take guard and get too scared to do anything).  I passed to half and he swept me easily.  He played around from side then set up a beautiful baseball bat choke where he used his leg to kill my arm so I couldn’t resist the choke barely at all.  Very slick.  We reset, and I moved okay, I might even have passed at some point.  I swear I had side when time was called, but that might be wishful thinking.

3rd rolled with Tran.  This roll was awesome.  The most back and forth I’ve ever had with him.  He definitely was playing, I was trying to keep the pressure high. Two botched triangles that I don’t think were very close. Some okay escapes from him having superior position.  Good, fun roll, wish I got to roll m ore with him.  He probably thinks I’m a muscly spazz and he might be right about that.

4th.  Rolled with white belt named Lev.  I think this dude was exhausted.  He said he wanted to work guard passes, so I let him in my guard, and got him with several sweeps, including “the Collin.”    Fun to drill the sweeps, but felt bad that he didn’t really get to work passes.  Oh well, next time I see him we will.

Stuff to remember:  Tran’s mount escape shrimp technique!!!!

Review of Tran mount escape: Tran showed to a tech. escape from mount where you place your right forearm across the guy's waist, and left on the guy's thigh/knee.  Put your left leg straight, and use right to bridge. Use this to get up on your side.  Once your hips are in sideways and in between the guy's legs, he'll probably pinch tightly with the knees, making it difficult to shrimp normally.  Here's when you do the Tran Crazy Mount Escape shrimp.  Both legs straight, one hand at the knee, other at the guys waist, push and pull your butt up and stick it out.  Alternating this shrimp with the other should make mount escapes much easier.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mount Attacks and Open Guard

Warmed up, then straight in to Guard pass drills.  I sat down as one of the four initial guys, which i hate doing but don't know why.  First up was Henry (white belt), who i swept with open guard.   Truth be told he kind of gave it to me, i didn't feel like i nailed the sweep.  He'll be a good guy to train open with, because its really hard for me to break his posture.  Then I got Big Steve (new blue belt), who i got with another open guard sweep, i think.   Next up was a purple belt whose name i don't know.  Broke him down ok, but he kept good posture, so I switched to open.  Then i chickened out and  and tried to hip bump, which he kind of just stepped over.  Its ok, tho, because I tried it from a position I don't normally go for it from.  I definitely need to open up and try different moves during guard drills, that's something I'll try to work on. 

Technique was more working from mount.  Worked on setting up technical mount.  When the guy tries to go to his side, bring your foot tight to his chest and sit on his side, facing the same direction he is.  It also looked like Marco was flaring his knee out towards the guy's hips to trap them in place as well.  Could be some deep black belt technique, or i could be totally overthinking it.  Next was a bow and arrow choke from technical mount.  Had a bit of trouble with this one: it involves getting a grip for an armbar, then feeding the collar on that side to the opposite hand,, which goes BEHIND THE GUYS HEAD (the part i screwed up).  Then you bring your legs up over his grip, and give up the armbar grip to get a good grip on his pants at the knee, and lean back, pulling on the knee.  Pretty freaking cool, will have to remember to try it.  Then we reviewed armbar from technical mount, which i basically understand, i think. 

First roll was with Vaughn, a four stripe blue belt from another school.  Got him with the good old triangle/armbar from guard, then again with a guillotine from a scramble. Third time we went from his guard, and I'm so glad we did.  His style is so different, he traps the arm differently, puts his knees different places, just totally had a unique style.  He nailed me with a beautiful sweep, but i scrambled back to neutral.  Very eager to try to pick up some of his guard game.

 Next was a huge white belt who i think was also named Steve.  Being a Steve, he quite naturally had a very strong game and new how to move and use his weight.  I subbed him once, I forget with what, and then decided to take a break.  Bad move.  I threw up a lazy sub and he got the pass.  I then wound up in my personal hell: Side mount from a big guy when I'm tired.  I resigned myself to possibly puking, and then committed myself to trying to get the heck out of there.  Mixed results.  He got to mount, then I got a  knee in a tried to work some half guard.  Not so great honestly, still have a lot to learn from this position.  Some how swept him and passed his guard, had knee on belly when time was called.  SUCKED.  Stuff that this roll reinforced:  Figuring out escapes from side needs to be a huge priority in the coming weeks, and getting a solid half guard just as much, if not more so. 

Last roll was with my sadistic mentor Charlie (purple).  I was pretty gassed, so i threw up a desperate sub basically the minute i had okay grips, and caught him.  Weird.  I basically had my standard cross-collar and left sleeve grip.  He started standing with his right leg, then i switched grips to right sleeve, pulled like hell, and threw my legs over for the armbar, which somehow landed.  Its funny, Charlie's always telling me to pull the trigger on subs, to really commit to them, especially against good guys.  I guess if you expect it to fail, it probably will.  Maybe he's finally getting through to me.  Anyway, we reset with me in his guard, and he swept me from a position that i thought i was secure from.  He has an amazing knack for doing that, and its yet another thing i want to steal from his game.  He finished me with a variant of the move Ed finished me with on Monday, but it was more armbar and less choke.   Awesome.  Have so much to learn from this guy. 

After class, Charlie, Henry and I talked with Collin (brown) about his recent trip to Mundials.  He showed us an awesome sweep from half de la riva, half butterfly.  Its useful for when some one tries to put up a knee in your guard.  You basically get the de la riva hook with your left leg, a butterfly with your right, then break their posture down( i.e collar and hand grips) pull them over you and kick the guy over your head.  I am sooo excited to try this out.  Cant wait till guard pass drills!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Intense Night.

Got to class just in time for warmups.  Fairly light warmups tonight, which was fine as the humidity has sucked all the life out of me.  Once the blood got flowing, I felt alright.  Guard passed drills:  Swept instantly by Marco (black belt).  Passed Charlie's guard (purple belt), by doing exactly as he instructed in earlier sessions-  Keep good posture, and bring your hips forward as you pass the knee over your opponent's thigh.  Swept Mike (blue belt) and Jamie (white belt), then Charlie passed my guard ( I think).  Maybe Jamie passed, I can't remember.  After guard pass, we partnered up and worked on maintaining/escaping mount.  I went with Charlie, who's mount attack gives me fits.  He bumped me once or twice, and I couldn't escape him at all.  Then we switched partners and went for subs.  Someone sat out, so I went with Marco.  I actually was able to escape to half twice, and never got subbed.  My mount was so easy for Marco to dismantle that it was sort of embarrassing.  Not really though, the guy just really, really knows what he's doing. 

In the technique portion of class, we reviewed ezekiel choke (aka the old testament throat punch) and proper maintenance of the mount.  Drilled with Charlie, who gave more helpful pointers about switching to S mount if the guy rolls to the side.  Whichever direction he rolls toward, bring your foot tight to his chest to trap him there.  Then it was time for rolls.

First got Richard, a monstrous white belt who moves very well.  I believe he mentioned he's done some MMA training.  Like rolling with him, he's intense but friendly.  He did a great job moving me around, and had two unorthodox passes when i shot up sloppy triangles.  Caught him with a keylock from guard when he twisted out of a kimura.  One of those rolls where he'd have been way up on points if anyone would have been scoring it.

Next was Jamie, another monstrous white belt.  He's really figuring things out, and has gotten a lot better quite quickly.  Its definitely worth it to roll with big guys, because you need to know what to do when you can't just break someone down in your guard.  This roll reinforced my idea that I need to play more open guard, because although I got a couple of subs, he was doing a great job of neutralizing my offence from closed.  Last roll was with Ed (black belt).   Before we began I told him my mission was going to be to not give up once he got side control on me.  We began, and he broke my guard open, and grabbed my legs, giving him the option to pass to either side.  I desperately picked a side and guillotined.  Unbelievably, I picked right, and somehow caught him.  He tapped, and told me that he'd been going out from the choke.  Unbelievable.  Always feels awesome to catch someone that good, but if I'm being honest with myself it was mostly luck.  At this point, Ed was done taking it easy on me, and caught me with his trade mark choke from sidemount, which is conceptually pretty simple, but for some reason I am unable to describe properly.  Right as we set up to go again, time was called.  He then took a couple of moments to show me how to fine-tune some of the baseball bat choke setups I'd been working on.  Sometimes those post roll reviews of technique can be just as rewarding as an entire class.

I got one more roll in with Charlie, where once again I was able to pass his guard and actually get to sidemount after avoiding several sweeps from his half guard.  I killed his arm with my body weight (again, as he showed me), then started working the baseball bat choke.  Man I thought I was close, but Charlie's defense is impeccable.  He turtled up, then easily single legged me in to side mount.  Mercifully, Marco told us to clear the mats for the Ladies class.   I'm glad that I picked tonight to start blogging, as I did pretty well against several high quality opponents. 

That's something I've been thinking about that I love about jiujitsu. Charlie basically showed me how to neutralize and in some cases beat his game.  The pay off for him is that it forces him to get better and deepen his knowledge of technical escapes and set ups.  It also gives him a better training partner.  The pay off for me is that I can apply these lessons to whoever I roll with, and hopefully make my game a little more complete.  I just like the idea that in jiujitsu, by making one person get better, everyone gets better.


So, this is my training blog, where I will recount my jiujitsu adventures, brag about the awesome moves I've been able to pull off, and furiously make excuses for myself on my bad days.  I'm a two stripe blue belt, 31 years old with one competition under my belt.

P.S. Thanks to my lovely girlfriend for helping me get started