Sunday, February 28, 2010

in the pit

Friday evening.

While a couple of the no-stripe white belts practiced their drills for the Saturday grading, the rest of us played a new game.

We went no-gi. Basically, two uf us were "in the pit" and the rest took turns going in against them. We always started with the pits people having to pass guard, and the incoming fresh person on their backs trying to sweep. Once someone was passed or swept, a fresh person would come in. After so many minutes (more than 5, less than 10.. not sure), the pit people were relieved by a new pair.

It was a fun variation to the standard guard passing routine. And because the people in the pit couldn't rest on their back but had to pass, they were constantly working hard.

I liked it. I'm still one of the easiest persons on the planet to sweep, but I'm starting to pull off sweeps myself on people other than rank beginners :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday grading

I did it :-) . Got my fourth stripe.

Did my technique demos. Had a bit of an issue with a rollover sweep which is part of a headlock escape sequence. But after initial failed attempts which made me want to hide in the cracks between the mats from sheer embarrassment, I succeeded. Not on someone my size, someone twice my size (though, admittedly without much resistance from him...).

Then wrestling, with four different partners. I cannot remember all the details! But I showed 20 different techniques. I suppose a lot of them were escapes |-). However, there was a triangle, there were chokes, there was an armbar. And I could always think of what to do at any given time. The two big fellows gave me a wee bit of space occasionally, so I could work for escapes and then try to do horrible things to them. It was all over in no time, it seemed. At the end of it, I dripped all over the mat though... :-)

Sensei said some nice things about how I did, he made me blush ;-). The guys who were there and helped me were great. As always, this grading was hard work but fun and I'm all fired up to go on and get better.

I had commitments at uni in the afternoon, as I'm starting studies next week, and I went and signed up for unisports membership (gym and pool access!!!). Between one thing and another, and knowing I had to feed horses after coming home, I piked out on the evening BJJ class. I was tired and keyed up all at the same time, and a bit stuffy, as though there may be a cold in the offing. A cold wouldn't be good, least of all now. But we'll see how we go.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

closed guard attacks

Monday night we worked on how to break down someone in your closed guard.

We were shown and then practices flaring out the elbows and then grabbing the head or getting over and underhook. Then we had a look at options when their wrists are planted below our floating ribs. Aside from that, there were hints on how to use the legs at the same time to facilitate posture breaking.

We had a brief look at rubber guard and how to set it up, then how to get the arm to the mat and lock it in there. From that we ran through the steps of going for omoplata, or jiu-claw, if our legs are stretched out. I'd only seen that in Eddie Bravo's book, and was surprised how effective that straigtening of the legs is in getting the opponent flattened out and taking away the most effective omoplata escape, the forward roll. Nasty, nasty.. I like it :-)

Then some free wrestling from closed guard, with an emphasis on breaking down the opponent in guard to set up submission, or alternatively, try to posture up and pass. I did't set the world on fire with this. Break down and control - yes. Set something up - fail... I have much work to do!

Lastly, one round of free wrestling. I scored one of the blue belts. He toyed with me. Gave me a wee opening to get out of a shitty spot (which, at least - I used!), just to catch me in another bad or worse spot as soon as I got out. Yikes! Once I could have gone for a very low single as he stood up, but I saw the edge of the mat behind him and refrained. Good things to report: I escaped an armbar with a technique I recently learned and again, my closed guard

Monday, February 22, 2010

Melbourne - week 3

This session was very similar to the one a couple of weeks ago.

Firstly, two hours of BJJ training. Rather than a warmup, we did joint mobility exercises. Then, one minute rounds of either holding a dominant position or getting out of it, two minute rounds of guard passing. Then 5 or so minute rounds (depending on ranking) from standing, competition intensity.

Again, I hit a really flat spot after the first hour, just before we started the proper rounds from standing. Promptly, I slipped into my DEFEND mindset. My first opponent was a woman, considerably younger and bigger than myself. I was reefed down as she pulled guard and while I was thinking of how hard guard passing is, she choked me. Duh. Embarrassing. Stupid! Went again, this time I shot. But I was too half arsed so she sprawled in time and I was flattened out, and the rest of the time she fought for as sub and I fought to get out, variously from back control, side control, mount, turtle. She wasn't just heavy, she used her weight wisely. The bad news is all I managed to work was my defence. The good news is that it worked well :-)

I went pretty similar when I rolled with the blue belt lady. Although I find that if I roll with people more my weight, I do a lot better with my escapes. Anyway, from memory another less than stellar attempt at a double, but this time didn't quite get flattened. But as usual, I did end up on the bottom and from then on it was a repeat of the last round. Good defence, but nothing that would score points, let alone win a fight.

I had another round with a young guy and must admit to my shame that I can remember nearly nothing. I think we reset after he subbed me (how??), but the rest is gone from my brain. All I recall is that he thanked me and said good work. I think I actually pulled guard on him once, and I know I'm fairly successful at breaking people's postures. Only I wish I were better at translating that into submissions... I guess one problem is that the second I open my closed guard, I usually get passed. Presumably because I'm too slow and/or too telegraphing in setting up a sub. Anyway, I didn't come away feeling too much of a moron from that round...

Afterwards, we had a couple of minute long rounds of grip fighting, where one person was squatting, and one with hooks in.

Finally, the fitness session. Same as last time, it was 5 x 3 minute intervals, the first, third and last of which were fast stuff, the other two jogging. This time, our fast intervals consisted of alternating 15 seconds of burpees (he asked for 7, but this person managed 5) and 15 seconds of slow and technical pummelling. A very short break after that. Then another set of 5 x 3 minute intervals, this time the fast sessions being shuttle runs (15 seconds sprints, 15 seconds jogging on the spot). As is was pretty hot, that's all we did.

But that was enough... :-) I survived. Again. And unlike after the first session, no sore legs during the days after. Only my lower back was stiff - oh how I HATE burpees!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday evening

We were shown a way to secure the near arm from short base side control by using our gi lapel. It's not that easy to describe and I'm a bit hazy on the details as I didn't pull my finger out and write it down straight away. But basically, we pull out our gi lapel on the side where his head is, pass it across and make him think we are threatening his neck or far arm. But then we pass it back to the same side hand and we've wrapped it over his arm near the elbow. As we push him up on his side facing away from us, we then hold that gi tight, and step over for the armbar

I can't even remember what the other two attacks were which we covered :-(. When I think of them, I'll edit this post...

Stayed behind for open mat which was short because everyone had to leave relatively early. My recollection is that I pretty much got trashed by everyone I rolled with. Did some good escapes, only to land "in the shit" again. Ah well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

midweek - cruising

As I won't be in town for the next grading at the end of the month, I'm being put through my paces, so to speak.

Wednesday midday class saw me going though syllabus drills and other stuff, all the first to third stripe stuff. I was, for some reason beyond me, nervous. Why? Maybe because I'm the only one, and I hate being made a fuss over. Don't know. It couldn't have been the ... hey guys, today you'll take turns to flatten Chris, she's grading! type of peptalk ;-) Anyway, I settled down, got through it all and even did the two sweeps I don't like much quite well. So with that out of the way, next Wednesday will be the more fun stuff, the fourth stripe moves and the wrestling part of the grading.

Once I'd done my stuff, I went through the syllabus stuff again with one of the guys, because he'll be grading at the end of the month. And while it was just drilling and practicing, it was a really good class.

Wednesday evening, we learned some escapes.

Escape from figure four from mount: turn towards the locked arm so I'm nearly on my side, which pins my elbow to the floor. Then buck up and as he braces, I suck my elbow in. And I'm in a good position for a knee-elbow escape.

Escape from armbar from mount: I grab the opposite collar with my trapped arm to buy time. With the other hand which is now free, I pull his high leg back over my head. Once my head is free, I push it back over the leg and keep pushing until I'm through with my shoulders, then start turning into him. If I keep my hand on the collar until I'm in guard, I avoid being armbarred from guard straight away and I'm in a good defensive postion.

Escape from guillotine choke from short base side control (he is on my right side): my left hand grabs his wrist to buy time and stop the choke from coming on straight away. I buck slightly and to my left, so I can get my right hand past his left elbow and up over my head, in an arc towards my left shoulder. I want my right hand near my left shoulder because he can no longer complete the choke as his left elbow is blocked by my armpit and can no longer go to the floor. Then I start escaping his side control.

The rest of the class was free wrestling, first with gi, then without. Firstly had a newish guy, so I helped him in how to get good back control and then try for the RNC. Then I escaped it :-). We did a little bit more until I caught him in something. He was good, not spazzy or using all his strength. With the next guy, started no-gi. We had three rounds in all. He's not done a lot of wrestling, and some at another school, so he had a couple of attackes I hadn't come across, and he was pretty fast. We did a lot of sweeps and rolls and it was quite funny because it was a bit like a rollercoaster. I triangled him once. I told him how to avoid and how to watch out for it, also gave him some pointers on posture breaking when he has someone in his guard.

Our other rolls finished with a choke each. I got him in a front choke from guard or half guard (can't recall). I learned something from his choke: when he had me in headlock (switch base side control) and I got my arm around his middle to escape by working for a sweep, he applyied an ezekiel choke. I couldn't let go of my grips fast enough to escape the choke and had to tap. If I had been fast enough to get his forearm off my throat, I would have abandoned the escape and left my right arm in a vulnerable position. Good attack, I'm sure I'll use that one!

I managed another roll with one of the senior guys. I pulled off turning him over when he turtled, which is something I've never managed before (thank you to the guys who showed me this one a few weeks back!). After that, I worked on position change to attack to the next position change, until I ended in high mount. Except he worked and worked and got out the back door. And I couldn't stop him. From then on it's a bit of a blank but he ended up in my guard. I'm not bad at breaking people's posture down, but don't manage a lot of attacks yet. In any case, he reached back for my feet so I snaffled his arm behind his back and he was doomed :-) But truly the best part of it was the flow of it and the fact that at no point was I clueless what to do next. THAT, for me, was great.

So coming home, I felt I'm cruising. Finally, I'm getting somewhere. At least part of the time, I'm the squasher, not the squashee :-) And this is just the type of motivation I need going into the competition!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday fun

After missing Friday night and Saturday training, I felt like I'd been away too long ;-)

We practiced going straight from a standard sweep (leg across belly) to an ezekiel choke. All we need to do is let go of the sleep and hold that bottom arm out as he lands, so our forearm is right behind his neck. As we complete the sweep and land in mount, it's so easy to bring the other arm across the front of his neck and finish.

Then we drilled what I think is the flower sweep. I don't know if he called it that, but I've seen it in books and that's what it was called. Useful for when someone tries to pass guard and puts that leg where we can get our hand on it! The important bit is to put our hand near his foot and then bring that hand around along the mat with an outstretched arm to above our head. That way it's easy. If I just push upwards with that hand, it's much harder.

As an alternative, we can reach for the other leg, where the knee is still on the ground. Grab either the pant leg, but better, the foot. The mechanics are slightly different for this version. Where the first version wants me to lift my leg and then swing it across to sweep him, the second version is more of a kick downwards. So it feels quite different. I found the first version a lot easier.

The last sweep we did was a rehearsal of the heart attack sweep from open guard and an alternative if he braces out at the last second, which is similar to the flower sweep, because we use that braced out leg as a lever.

Very brief free wrestle where I caught my partner with a an ankle lock because he crossed his legs while he had my back. I don't think he meant to cross them, we were rolling around with me trying to escape, so it just worked out that way. But being sneaky and mean, I capitalised on it. Well, I've fallen for the same silly thing in the past which I told him and we had a laugh.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Melbourne - week 2 - no gi competition

I'm back from Melbourne. Even through I had an early start to be in good time for signing up and weighing in, the drive today didn't feel so long. Made it in about 1 hour, 45 minutes today (a bit longer going home, as there was more traffic at the Melbourne end - Victoria Street, Richmond is a busy place!).

The tournament was no-gi, round robin. Everyone had four fights in their weight classes. As there were only two girls, we both ended up competing in the lowest (under 68kg) division. It was a fairly small affair, like a club thing, but there were people there from other schools. Most who competed are taking part in the 7 week thingy.

I had an attack of the nerves this time. Couldn't really say why. I mean, it's ridiculous, I like grappling, I've gone from standup before, I've done no-gi before, I've tapped out a million times before etc. I've competed at a BJJ tournament once before, and competed heaps in horseriding events in another life. So what's there to be nervous about?? Yet, briefly I felt dry-mouthed and light-headed. The way I do if I have to speak publicly (hate it!).

I got a grip though. I warmed up, I gave myself the don't-be-an-idiot-of-course-you-can-do-it speech and then it was on. No waiting. And once I'm on the mat and have shaken hands, I'm good. Unlike in my first competition, I knew what I was in for :-)

I'll say right here right now that I can't give a blow by blow description. I have an awful memory for details which is a pity. One day I hope someone will take a video of me fighting, so I can see where exactly I stuff up. That might help in getting better.

Ok, first fight was a young muscled up guy (I think that's called ripped these days??). Sheesh, I can't even remember if I attempted a takedown and messed up or if he took me down. All I remember was me in side control, then mount and him attacking my arms full on, inbetween some forearms across my neck and an attempted ezekiel choke. Come to think of it, he might have nearly had my back, but I avoided his hooks and then came the other stuff. I balled up like I tend to, defending neck and arms, getting half guard. Even had a lockdown. But couldn't get in deep enough for a sweep because he flattened me out. In all that, he eventually peeled out my arm and I had to tap to a figure 4.

Second fight we clinched while standing and then he took me down pretty hard. It knocked the wind out of me for a second, by which time he had a good position. Whatever happened didn't take long, and I am trying to think what I tapped for??? Damn!

Third fight started better. He was a bit tentative and I scored a double leg takedown. He got his arm around my neck for a front choke but it wasn't very tight and I had my hand in it. I got to side control with my head still trapped. And then foolishly went to mount (head still trapped). Then he bridged and rolled and when he arrived in my guard, I finally got my head free. Now, was that stupid or what?? In any case, I kept breaking him down in my guard and looked for something. I was a bit irritated by his constant hands or forearms on my throat, but I wasn't aggressive enought in using his extended arms for a sub. When an armbar finally stuck out like dog's balls and I had his arm, he started stacking me and I couldn't get my hips in position. Sometimes I hate my creaky old body.. But the truth is: my subs are sadly lacking. No excuses. I need to get better. Anyway, time was called and lo and behold, I'd won on points. Whooohoo!

Last fight was against the only other girl in the comp, and I outweighed her by 10kg. She had been a bit roughed up by a couple of the other guys. After winning against one guy in her first fight, the next two guys manhandled her and she was a little upset about it. We both weren't in the placings anyway, so I didn't go full bore. I didn't drive hard into the takedown so she got full guard, and from there it went to open, and from there it went pear-shaped for me and she finished me in a nasty tight triangle. Don't trust pretty looking blond girls :-). Naw, but seriously, she deserved it, and she is a lovely person.

So that was my day out at my first no-gi tournament. What I took away from it was:
I need to be more proactive/aggressive (what's new??)
I need to work attacks (what's new??)
I need to have more confidence/worry less
I am not hopeless, some of the stuff I did was fine
I need to get better
I want to do this more often :-)

On that note, I'll sign off, make myself dinner and have an early night :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010


On Wednesday, in the small lunchtime class, we went trough attacks from side control.

We assumed the common scenario, where the far arm is around the back of our neck. We are in short base. Firstly, having established the postion, I could sit there for a second or two, with my left hand on my left ear, in case my opponent brings his right hand around the front of my face to push me off. In that case, I can just slam down my left to the floor, trapping his wrist and I'm set up perfectly for a figure four.

Alternatively, I can slide my right forearm under his left arm, making sure I'm high up in his armpit. I sit up and pull, so that he is on his right side. Immediately, I move my left knee over his head and push my shoulder down on his left arm. That pressure pushes his arm against the side of his ribcage, made worse by the fact that my forearm is in his armpit. It's not comfortable!

From there I have two options: armbar or figure four/kimura.

This makes a neat three option attack combination. I like it as I'm not a speed wiz, and it enables me to set up a nice tight armbar or figure four whilst staying in good base the whole time. I like it :-)

Did a brief free wrestle and was partnered with Sensei for the first time in a long time. Didn't take long before he had my back. I went for some time avoiding a RNC, but none of my usual escapes from back control worked. Just as I thought I finally could get out, I realised the little opening was just so he could get the other arm in. After I tapped and we talked about it, I realised that our time would have been better spent tapping earlier and spending time on other stuff. Like as in: as soon as I realised I couldn't get out of back control. Duh. So the only good thing that came out of it was that my defence is improving.

The second session was a brief rehearsal of the butterfly sweep we worked on a couple of classes ago. Then we were shown a cutting armbar from butterfly guard.

That though was only the lead-in or fake to get the opponent to turn his arm and leave it exposed for a sweep. I don't know what it was called, but it involved hipping out the the side opposite the trapped arm, cupping his chin and then hipping back in under him before rolling him over for the sweep. Don't know if I'll be pulling this one of in free wrestling for a while yet... But I'm only beginning to realise how many ways a person can get swept!

For the rest of the class, we did some free guard passing first. Had one of the bigger guys for a partner. Couldn't pass his guard for the life of me, and he swept me every which way. :-((

Then we did some free wrestling. Had a young guy with some grappling experience. I suppose it was unfair that some of us had taken the gi off (including mysef), and he still wore his gi top. We tumbled and rolled some with several interesting postions
here and there. My closed guard gave him a lot of grief :-). But in the end I did some fancy move from bottom turtle and got to switch back side control where an armbar did the trick. Don't ask me how that happened. I only remembered that I looked up at one of the guys who was watching and said: now was that an inspired move or what?? I'm such an idiot at times ;-)

Last guy was a very new guy, it was only his fourth class or so. So I ended ups showing him stuff and pointing out the danger of triangles during guard passes etc.

It doesn't seem so long ago that I was where he was :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday and slowly recovering

As an after-effect of Saturday's training, I had sore calves and forearms starting Sunday evening and all Monday. Funny how different muscle groups take different times to go through the delayed soreness stages. Wasn't really bad, but I was glad that I did a thorough stretching session on Sunday. Shoulders and right arm are still not happy, but since after the Monday night class, they are improving.

Aside from still feeling a bit tight and stiff, it was pretty hot yesterday. For some reason my appetite hadn't been good all day so I had not eaten much, either. A little inner voice whined "... you can just stay home". But having spent all day in front of the computer, I figured the exercise would do me good, so I packed my bag and went.

But I was very happy we had a quiet sort of a class :-). We basically went through syllabus stuff, getting in reps and ensuring that we're technically correct come grading time at the end of the month. And of course I was glad that I went!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Melbourne - week 1

I'm taking part in a 7 week competition preparation course at Dominance MMA in Melbourne.

Every Saturday, starting yesterday, there is a three hour training session. The last weekend of it is the Victorian Championships in Melbourne on March 19+20. Next weekend, there is a no gi mini competition so they can see us competing. All other Saturdays we have two hours of BJJ including competition style rounds, followed by a one hour long conditioning/strength session.

For me, it's a 2 hour trip to Melbourne, which is a pain in the behind, but the drive home is worse |-). I'm lucky, most of it is either freeway or quiet country road, but the problem is sitting cooped up in the car after the exercise. I was pretty knackered when I got home yesterday. Had a rest and then dragged myself out to feed the horses. After a good sleep, I had enough energy this morning and not enough soreness, to go for a two hour horseride. Or maybe I'm just an idiot ;-)

My shoulder hurts because I tweaked it Friday night. I didn't have time to worry about it yesterday, and found with things like that they hurt only when I'm cold, not when I'm warm and working. But they make up for it when I'm cooled off! Having worked it hard, it hurt like a bitch on the way home in the car but is better today. I did also manage to do something to my right ring finger. It's swollen on the knuckle near the hand and it's stiff. I taped it up when I went riding. My friend thought that was so funny, she took a photo. Yeah, haha?! My shoulders are generally stiff, but the rest of me is in pretty good shape, aside from a missing piece of skin on a big toe due to matburn.

Was it hard? Yes. Did I last? Yes. I even moaned and groaned less than quite a few others, and I wasn't so washed out after the conditioning session that I needed to lie down and die. I could have even kept going. But it was tough and between now and the March comp, it will get tougher. Several times, I did ask myself the obvious question: why am I doing this? Still looking for an answer...

The BJJ part of it was a quick introduction, then a warmup (joint mobility), then 2 minute rounds holding positions and the partner trying to get out, taking turns (back, mount, side control, guard). Then guard passing from open guard in groups of threes with one person resting. After that, competition style rounds from knees, then comp style rounds from standing. From recollection, that pretty much filled the two hours. We were urged to go hard, with constant reminders to keep up the pressure if on top and to look for a sub. If on the bottom, get out and do something!

I reverted to my usual game of protect, survice and try to get out. I had girls as partners for the rounds. That's kind of novel to me :-) But it was good and certainly painfully showed the obvious holes in my game. I have a lot of work on before the comp in March. But at least the blue belt girl commented that my defence is really, really good, she could get nothing forever and had to work hard for it. In the course of a few rounds, I managed to pass guard a couple of times and get some positions, but nothing came of it. Work to do!!

I wasn't the only one struggling against fatigue. Really, very far removed from the casual rolls in class ;-). Totally different intensity, and only brief rests.

Aside from that, we did some drills working on grips, taking turns getting and defending grips. I was told I have good grips :-). I did show my partner a way to peel hands off her collar which she then promptly used against me. She showed me a way to get her hands off my pant legs, so we both benefited. She was an excellent partner anyway.

The conditioning hour was basically three lots of 15 minutes (about 5 minutes break between). Each 15 minute session was divided into 5 three minute intervals, the first, third and last interval being intensive, the other intervals were jogging. The work intervals were in bursts. First session was sprints/jogging. Second session was burpees/jogging and the third interval was pummeling hard/slow. I have never thought it would be possible that I should look forward to jogging |-), or that I can recover so well by jogging for three minutes. And I managed to maintain a jog. A no time did I walk or shamble, and it didn't take the ungentle motivation and jibes of the fitness coach to keep me going (there was a lot of walking going on!). I found that astonishing as I never run or jog, as I hate it. And I don't even have sore legs. Maybe a bit tight in the hamstrings, but that's about it.

It is amazing what I discover about myself. I'd never been pushed hard physically until I started martial arts. And since then, I've been pushed hard a few times, but yesterday was a notch up again. It will be interesting to see how well I'll survive the next few weeks :-)

Anyway, I think I'll take the rest of today nice and easy, maybe ice my hand again. I'm going out for dinner tonight. That will be lovely. And then I'll be fit and well enough for regular training tomorrow night!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday - sweeps and side contol

We went over a couple of the open guard sweeps from Wednesday night. I helped the guy I was paired with as he hadn't been here that night. For me, it was good to get some more reps in, especially that reverse hooking sweep.

We were shown a hold down from side control, which is a very safe position where you can hang out and recover while the bottom guy expends energy getting out. Then, when the moment is right, a couple of grip changes lead right to a tight collar choke.

It goes like this: I'm in side control on my partner's right side. My left elbow blocks the left side of his head, my right hand by his right hip. I lift his head a bit with my elbow and rotate my forearm backwards toward me, under his head. I push my right hand up behind his back until I can clasp hands behind his back/shoulders. I'm sprawled out in long base. This way, his head is pushed to his right. My head his flat on his chest so he can't attack it. His right arm position doesn't matter so much, but best if I managed to catch it sticking up. When the moment is right, I work my right hand into the back of his collar. This stops him from turning. Then I bring my left hand around the front of his face, grab the left lapel as deep as I can and bring my elbow to the ground on the right side of his neck.

Free wrestling, no gi: not much good to report, got someone's back but couldn't secure the position. Then it was all downhill from there, ending in an armbar which tweaked my right rotator cuff. Not really bad, more that it probably irritated an old injury. A couple more rolls which were a bit lacklustre, but at least I managed good positions a few times. Didn't hang around for open mat as I didn't want to aggrevate the shoulder and being mindful of tomorrow's plans...

Friday, February 5, 2010

back attacks and sweeps

Wednesday lunchtime class: more on back control and attacks from there

Only four of us were there, two big guys, one guy my size and my little self.

Firstly, we had another go staying on each other's backs. Taking turns, we started from back control with hooks in and then saw how we could maintain position, especially if losing and regaining hooks. Then we had a go spinning around on top. Bottom person was turtled. Also, we looked at the scenario where we might have lost back control, our partner is on his side with his back to us and about to roll over his belly to face us. Keeping weight on him, we spin around his head, so that by the time he arrives on his other shoulder, we are already there behind him again. This means shoulder pressure, as little weight as possible on our legs and spinning fast, like being airborne with the feet. Looks easy. Didn't feel too easy, but a few reps and I got the hang. Sort of..

Then a little bit of rolling, attempting to get the back. However, I ended up with my partner in my guard. Tried to break him down and get his arm across to get to his back but that wasn't working, so went to open guard, feet on his hips while holding his sleeves. He tried to stack me and I shoulder walked. So he couldn't stack me but it didn't improve my position, either. Sensei popped over and suggested I should have gone for the omoplata. He showed me and it was plain obvious. How can I not see these things??

Then anther roll, this time us lighter people got one of the big boys each :-). I have to say that ended up being one of the most enjoyable rolls I've ever had. More like a flow roll. He didn't shut me down with his weight, but he mercilessly swept me when I wasn't watching. So it was an ongoing series of position changes, and what made me most happy was that every time I was somewhere decent, I kept the attacks coming, even going from one to another. And then he'd get out :-). I even managed to roll him out of a turtle into a crucifix. Wooohoo. And then stuffed up attacking his arm. I guess I was too busy gloating about the fact that he said "what the..??" when he landed in crucifix |-). Also, I succeeded in a couple of the spinning thingies when I had top positions. It was really, really great.

And at class end, we all got a pat on the back for looking technical and having wrestled well. What more could one want??

Evening class was bigger and we had a couple of newbies.

We drilled the basic sweep from closed guard with shin across the belly. Then we learned a different one from the same setup. This is a great goto if our opponent resists the basic sweep. We pass the arm across, grab his belt and sweep him the opposite way (same foot position, so he needs to be loaded on our leg). Works a treat and I found that often we landed with his forearm exposed, yelling out for an armwrap or other attack.

We went over an open guard hook sweep. Not the standard hook sweep where you roll over backwards and load him up before going to the side. We're in combat base with the right leg flat on the ground and the other knee up and the foot ready to hook under his right leg. We sit up close and have a left underhook. Right arm blocks his left elbow. Now all we need is to pin him to us and fall a bit to the right, rolling along the axis of our right thigh. This immediately unbalances him, and as he comes over, a little push with the left hook flings him off nicely. I love this sweep, it's so easy.

Then we did a variation which I need to spend more time thinking of, as it was a bit more complicated. Essentially, we aim for going to the other side. So we need to trap his right arm across our body. The crucial part is to reposition our left foot so the foot hooks his left leg, and our knee is more to the left side of his body. Lean back, load him up and do like a crescent kick with the left leg. As we land, we are both on our backs, so I need to follow him and go for side control. This sweep I will need to look at a few more times...

At the end, free wrestling, after taking off gi tops. Scored a big boy. Couldn't do too much, but defended well so he got nothing, either. Had trouble passing his guard but eventually did, spent some time in half guard, ended up in mount, got reversed and after ages ended up in his closed guard again. By that time, our arms were that slippery it was near impossible to get grips on wrists :-) And I couldn't help saying that after all that work, how come I still ended up in his guard?? We went a little longer, I managed my usual smash pass of his guard, even getting switch base side control. And then it was time out....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

can't wait for this dvd!!

I love Roy Dean's instructional dvds. And his music, too :-)

So how good it is it that he's about to release another dvd called No Gi Essentials?? Hurry up, I want it!

Here's the preview:

drills, drills, drills.... a grading looms

Monday night class. The holidays must be over for good, class sizes are returning to normal at last.

Sensei has announced a grading for some time in February. More stripes for us white belts. I'll be going for my fourth.

So, we went over syllabus stuff, making sure our drills are correct and that all the sweeps, chokes, armbars, armlocks and escapes are up to scratch.

Monday, February 1, 2010

gimme your back!

Saturday class. As usual, a small but intensive class. We worked on getting and retaining back control.

The crucial part is the seat belt grip, the hooks help. Sometimes we have to relinquish a hook so we can use a foot for pushing off to help our goal of keeping our chest glued to our opponent's back. Having a good grip is important, with correct hand placement. But the trick is to go with him to maintain the chest/back connection, rather than stiffly trying to use our grip to pin him to us.

With that in mind, we took turns one one another's back. Goal was for the partner in back control to escape and for the other one to keep it. I'm sure that was quite amusing to watch, particularly when my partner stood up at one stage, with his hands on the floor, trying to shake me off over his head. But we really did some pretty creative rolling.

The trick is to stay loose and maintain that chest/back connection with as little energy as possible. It was soon obvious that the person in back control trying to escape was expending a lot more energy than the one maintaining back control.

Then we worked on maintaining and regaining position if we have someone's back and he is on top of us. To escape, he would try to get his back to the floor. To keep him square on us or a bit off to the other side, we can take out a hook, put the foot on the floor and push off with it while scooting our hips back under him. That was very effective.

Finally, we worked on changing grips from seat belt to RNC.

And at the end, some free rolling. But this time, any sub was good, but first person to get an RNC was promised a Mars bar :-). I was partnered with someone my size, less experienced but faster and more flexible (who usually subs me). I don't know, but with a clear goal in his mind, I went him, got his back and had an arm around his throat. Mars bar in reach! And then... He defended by tucking his chin and I couldn't get under it. Waah! So close. Sensei said I should've had that three times over. I just couldn't think of a way to get him choked, even thought he couldn't get out of my back control. How stupid was that?? So Sensei showed me a couple of little tricks to make that neck more accessible, which I'm sure I won't forget |-).

Had another start. Wiser to my arm drag to neck snapdown attack, I couldn't get the back right away. But in some scramble, I got him in my guard and was busy breaking him down. I was actually making inroads into an armdrag to getting his back, when it was time out. So no Mars bar, but I was happy to find myself being aggressive, and being so close to my goal. I even rated a "well done" at the end. I went home a happy girl :-)