Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Same old story; the busier I get, the more stuff I let slip, including this journal.  Training has been going pretty well.  I seem to have shifted most of my training to the secondary location, as the primary one moved its hours too early for me to get in there and still have a reasonable hope of completing my degree. 

Stuff that’s been somewhat working:  Have been nailing Doc Ken’s sweep off the arm drag where you reach around their back and just grab their lat and pull ‘em over the top.  This has been working like a charm.  Downside: tried it on Matthias and he laughed at me as he passed my guard off this.   Still, must remember to thank Doc Ken and tell him this has been working for me. 

Stuff that’s still no good:  Escaping side mount.  Working from half guard.  Establishing an attacking base from half guard.  Passing the open guard of just about anyone who knows what they’re doing.

Stuff I should look up:  Setups for baseball bat choke from side.  Anaconda from turtle.   Saulo’s x-pass to the open guard.  Stacking and smashing pass.

Notable taps since last entry:  Don’t really remember how long it’s been since I updated. Pretty far back, I caught brown belt Tran with an armbar from guard. 

Caught Eddie (black) with an arm triangle from mount  last night, but in fairness, he was pretty exhausted.  Also, I can see him letting me get the tap to prove a point or teach a lesson.  In a way, he’s the most selfless of the blackbelts, although he definitely rolls the hardest out of the three (which I love).  

Set up a darce on Marco.  He was DEFINITELY letting me work and seeing what I had, but the entry into the position still felt somewhat legit; it was Charlie’s gable grip and dump from turtle.

Tapped Gavin with a guillotine from darce in nogi.  Pretty sure this was a legit tap, although Gavin is also very selfless and lets me get position all the time.  I only think it was legit because it felt like we were going pretty close to full out.  Which brings me to my next point-

Whining:  I miss training at the bigger school and getting all kickass training partners. I miss Collin and Gavin teaching nogi, and I’m not really interested in checking out the new Sambo class which fills up that spot.  I miss training with Andy all the time.  I’ll have to figure out a way to get back in there.

Random thoughts:  I like how Marco teaches.  Matthias is also an awesome teacher, but he teaches right to the middle of the class.  I feel like Marco, intentionally or not, teaches toward the upper half of the bell curve, and frankly, I feel like that benefits everyone.  Rising to the level of the lesson is a good thing.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lots of Mat Time.

Caught the nogi class last night, but the teacher wasn't there so we mostly just rolled after reviewing some triangle stuff.  Then today, went across town to another gym and trained with a couple fellas preparing for an mma fight.  Totally fun, but a little different than i thought it would be.  I thought it would be rolling with strikes, but it was just rolling today.   

Rolls were all good and challenging   Hit a tripod sweep live against charlie, which felt pretty cool.  Reviewed a couple of sweep options from open with Gavin and did some slow rolling.  Got mauled by Shawn (but had a good time) and had a decent roll with Chris.  Hit a darce on some guy who's name I can't remember, and hit two armbars on Dorian.  That shouldn't matter for his fight though, it sounds like his opponent is a boxer, so if it goes to the ground, it'll be on Dorian's terms, most likely.

Good training.  Am a little banged up, but would love to work out at that gym again especially if its all good guys like today.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Quick Update

Made it in a little late, we were working on standup.  Hopped in the mix, and did pretty well, much better than i thought.  Went against Marco twice, and once time I got his back (and hopped on it, like a clown) (Charlie yelled at me for that, and told me always bear hug and throw him on the ground), and the other he kind of missed my leg and I got his back.  Awesome.  My whole theory of standup is a Frankenstein's monster combination of arm dragging (Marco and Eddie), posture (Gavin), and composure (Doc Ken).  I had more fun with it last night than I ever have before.  

Rolls:  1st up was Charlie.  I passed his guard with the knee over the leg pass. He turtled, I went for the loop choke we did the other day (which I didn't record because I was too busy praising myself), set it up wrong, and he reversed me.  I turtled, he darced me good.  If I don't beat those grips, that attack is over before it starts, especially with Charlie.  We reset, I muscled the sucker sweep from leg lasso, and time.  Roll seemed really, really short.

Next was Ricky (Blue).  Passed his guard after a fight.  He played de la riva, and I think it was working for him.  (after Class, richard showed a pass for de la riva where you throw his left leg across your body and collapse your right knee to his side.  Seemed legit.)  Tapped him twice but I forget with what.  God, his half guard is strong.  As time was being called, I had baseball bat grips, and was already trying to crank on it as I tried to pass his half guard.  Once Ricky realizes he's better than me, I'm not gonna stand a chance against him.  Also, this roll convinced me that de la riva is the future of my oopen guard, as it slowed me way down when he played it on me.

Last was exhausted Mark (blue).  I went for a triangle and he tried the smash pass.  I reached underneath my leg to adjust, while placing the other foot in his hip. This seemed to keep things a bit tighter than than reaching over the top.  Will have to try to play this in the future.  Got two triangles, and one time he tapped from knee on belly.  Brother, I've been there, although i don't think my knee on belly is anywhere near as painful as the "Eddie Special."

After class, hung with Richard, Ricky and Henry for a minute.  Tried the Collin sweep a few times on Henry and Ricky.  Richard showed a tripod sweep and a counter to the guy fighting the tripod sweep. Grad near ankle , hook outside ankle with foot, push body with other foot.  

Monday, August 1, 2011


I read all over the place the dangers of using other people in your gym as a barometer of progress, and by and large, I agree.  Ideally, the gym should have guys who you're a lot better than, to try new and risky stuff on, guys who are right there with you, and guys who are way, way better than you , to point you in the right direction.  Also ideally, one should be comfortable enough with  one's ego to not keep a "tap tracker."  Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world, and when I tap someone who I know is much better than me, I can't help but get excited and wonder if this means that I'm finally getting good at jiujitsu.  

Tonight, I tapped out Collin (brown).  This guy is easily one of the best guys at our school, and has taught me more about jiujitsu than just about anybody.  I think he probably understands jiujitsu at as deep a level as anyone at our school, and honestly anyone I've ever met.  I should say right now that I only got the tap because of some weird, fluke position we were in where he was attacking the legs.  Well actually, let me start at the beginning.

We started from my guard. He baited with an arm to get me to open, which I did.  I somehow always take the bait.  So the first breakthrough I had was to not try to leg lasso or do any of the other dumb stuff that i do from open guard.  Instead, even though I really don't know how to play it,  I went right to de la riva.  Now don't get me wrong, he still easily, easily passed, but it slowed him down noticeably more than anything I've tried so far.  So he gets side on me, and I somehow get a leg in and take him over the top. 

This is when stuff gets interesting.  We kept reversing each other in either backwards half-guard or backwards  sidemount. ( I think it was half.)  Then he starts attacking the leg.  I did as Vaughn showed the other night, and figure four'd my legs to slow him down.  He layed out for it, and I rolled and kicked him off. Somehow, I don't remember how, we wound up in that same weird position.  He locked me up tight, almost felt like some kind of slicer.  Some how I wound up on top, and posted my hand in such a way that i could feel my leg coming loose when i stretched.  I used the posting hand to keep him from turning over and to start setting up an arm triangle.  As soon as I came loose, I popped over the top and locked it on.  Put my foot in his ribcage and just squeezed.  

When he tapped I couldn't believe it. I asked if it was a choke or a crank.  He said choke, but I don' t know. It probably was mostly the fact that he had just gone with Marco (black) and didn't want some huge guy on top of him...  In any case, we reset, and I somehow got out of there without him tapping me.  

As weird as this sounds, I felt ungrateful, like I was screwing him over after all he'd taught me and shown me. In addition to being almost ridiculously knowledgeable about all manner of grappling minutia, Collin is also a super nice guy, and a very patient and attentive teacher. He's also the best guy who I get to roll with consistently; because of that in a way, he's taught me more than anyone else.   And although I know its ridiculous to feel bad, I can't help but think it just feels wrong to tap your teacher.  It's tough to explain, but there it is.  

And then on the other hand, as I mentioned before, doing well against someone who's game is way better than yours can be a good sign that you're actually absorbing technique and doing the right stuff naturally.  In any case, I'm proud that I've tapped him once, for the hundreds of times he's tapped me.

In other, sadder news, tonight was Vaughn's last night training with us, as he's headed back to NYU. We caught a roll tonight and he was all over me.  I lucked my way out of a choke, and the rest of the time, he was looking for sweeps or passing my guard.  I swept him exactly once, and it did me no good.  Its almost funny to me how much I learned from him in 10 weeks.  Even tonight, before he left he showed me a version of the toreando pass that I'm excited to try.  Bottom line:  It sucks to lose that guy.  He raised the bar for the skill level of blue belts, and even gave upper belts stiff competition.  

Finally, rolled with this Marine guy who had a black belt in whatever combatives course they offer.  Interesting roll, way different than a typical bjj roll.  He had me in some pretty compromised spots, but I somehow turned one of them into a sweep, and even got my first baseball bat choke in awhile.  Hope he keeps coming.

Interesting night.  As I said, mixed feelings about the roll with Collin, but I have absolutely no doubt I'll pay for it in the very near future.  Stuff to work on:  passing the open guard, pulling de la riva against good guys.