Sunday, August 29, 2010

show your feet

We all know that BJJ can take it's toll on the body. There's aches here and pains there (never mind the occasional injury). My classes bunch up towards the latter half of the week, and by the time Saturday afternoon comes around, I'm ready for a day off. It was again like that today. Achy back, sore fingers, stiff neck, dodgy shoulder, blah blah. And my triceps were complaining, no idea why. But basically a fairly typical Sunday :-)

Usually, by Monday evening, I'm pretty much fully functional again. Which is why it's I'm glad we have another BJJ class. That way, my body never gets out of the habit of feeling abused.

I do tend to have a massage every couple of months. That takes the worst kinks out of the back, neck and shoulders. Should really do it every month. My massage lady is great. She is a 3rd degree black belt in Karate, and something similar in TKD. So she knows a thing or three about abused bodies. She is very good at finding those irky knots in my muscles, and attacks them with painful, steely thumbs :-)  I'm sure my muscles just go: OK, ok, I'll relax, just STOP prodding!! Truth be told, most of the massage is very relaxing and enjoyable, and the moments of pain are well worth it, because I feel so much better for days and weeks afterwards. My right shoulder has an old rotator cuff injury, and the massage really loosens things up.

My body is begging to make a massage appointment in the very near future!

What prompted my reflection on the hazards of BJJ is that I looked at my feet the other day. Honestly, my feet are downright ugly:


I stepped out of the shower and noticed (not for the first time), the multitude of coloured patches. So I took a photo. I know, I know, that's strange. I guess I was a bit shocked. Not that I ever had the sort of pretty feet and beautiful ankles that would help win a beauty contest... but now they look like they've "been in the wars".

Well, I guess I'm stuck with them :-)

At least they go well with my calloused knees and elbows. I even have toughened skin on the backs of my shoulders. Oh boy.

But hey, the news isn't all bad. I'm fitter and healthier than before, I am stronger in general with good grip strength. I'm keeping up with the young guys in class. Hey, I make them puff when I tak warm ups.... In fact, I have no problem doing 6 classes per week, and could probably do more. So I'm not complaining and consider myself lucky indeed.

My sister is 6 years younger than I. She's had a couple of children and had to quit doing JJJ/Judo for the last few years. She also injured her knee and needed surgery. She is planning on going back to training but says she won't compete again because of the knee. And for that, she envies me.

Strangely, the issues I've had with my own left knee (must be a family thing??) have never given me issues. Once someone slammed into it sideways and I had to take a week off. But that aside I have no problems. Also, a once easily crinked neck is now so muscled up that some collars feel too tight, and I have to really, really abuse it to feel pain. Still gets a bit stiff here and there, but the training has improved it tremendously.

So aside from the fun I'm having, all in all my body is benefitting. I know the feet look ugly. But I can live with that :-)

another crazy gi


It's been so wet. Near record rainfalls for the area for the month of August. So it's near impossible to do much outside. Guess that's why I have time for more crazy gi designs.

Don't forget to submit your own crazy designs, the competition is open until mid September. for more details, check out the Meerkatsu's crazy BJJ-gi design challenge blog  and the page on FB.

more neckties, grading and other stuff

Wednesday night, we ran through the Peruvian necktie yet again, though not in so much details. We also looked at possible escapes (roll forward, roll sideways), and what attack opportunities that opens up. There were armbars, taking the back and a crucifix. Also there is the possibility of going for a D'Arce choke, depending on whether you can maintain your grip when they roll. Also, a transition from a D'Arce to the necktie. Good attack combinations!

Open mat on Thursday was fairly short, for some reason everyone was ready to head home after about an hour. As we had sort of started slowly, talking about this and that, and some people going over the D'Arce and the necktie. I only ended up rolling a few times, and with the same guy. Missed out on having a roll with one of the purple belts, as he had to go early. Had some more success than normal in escaping hips and getting knees in when my opponent got top position. But all in all, felt a bit lacklustre. And felt I was making old mistakes and giving opportunities away. But one problem I have resolved is that I no longer turtle all the time, and that forces me to deal with regaining guard and having more mobile hips. Ok so that's frustrating at present, but I can feel some improvement already.

Friday was essentially just rolling (while the people due to grad on Saturday were working on their stuff). Again, didn't do fantastic work and felt accordingly miffed with my performance. We mostly started from standing. I notice everyone is avoiding my closed guard like the plague, and I have to make a real effort to get it now. One guy is using a guard pass that's a real bitch for me. But as I was driving home grizzling about it, I realised that instead of holding on tight, I should push off him and go to open guard. Duh. Sometimes the obvious things really aren't obvious...

What was good about Friday is that we had a visitor, a purple belt. He used to come to our school occasionally and teach a few classes, but who has been off sick for a while. Also back on the mat was one of our big regulars who's been out town recently. Oh yeah, just like in the olden days, I got flattened :-) Hehe, we started from standing and he wasn't wearing a gi. So I was contemplating what to do, as my fingers can barely close around his wrists. So how to get grips?? Anyway, I didn't have much time to worry, as he didn't waste time coming in for a takedown. I feebly did something defense, and actually upset his balance a bit, but I still ended up on the bottom. Being in his high mount sucks! And that's before he casually peels out one of my elbows to do something nasty to my arm :-) Oh well. 

Anyway, our visitor came up with a couple of suggestions how I can improve my chances of escaping mount (even on someone BIG). Basically go for a series of small bumps to get elbow and knee to meet. Rather than try for a big hip escape. Makes sense. Will work on this !! Another thing he showed me (after watching me fishing for lockdown in half guard bottom and failing as Mr.Big had his leg up), was a way to get the locked leg stretched out so I can get lockdown. Or go for a sweep. I need to go drill that one....

Saturday was grading day. Six guys went for their second stripe, and two went for their first. I really only went along for the fun and to help. But it transpired that we had a female visitor from an other school, and next to no info about her experience level. So to begin with, while the white belts were doing their grading stuff, two of our bluebelts, the visitor and myself had (yet another) play with the necktie. And for the rest of the time, once we'd drilled the basics several times, we did some situational rolling. Somehow time passed pretty quickly.

At the end of the class, after the guys where given new stripes, one of the blue belts did some rounds in preparation for the comp. He asked the bigger of the white belts to start in top position. They took turns going hard on him :-).

Meanwhile I had a roll with the little guy. I've never seen anyone so cheerful about getting submitted :-) I pulled him right into a front choke, and he tapped. Came up smiling saying it was awesome. Made me laugh. We went again. I can just toss him around, that's so weird, as I'm the one who usually gets the rough end of the deal.. I feel such a bastard, but it's good because it allows me to try and flow from one spot to another. And several times, I paused and let him work, too. He was all smiles again. So positive. I must take a leaf out of his book.

I went over to watch how our big blue belt was getting on. He'd been going hard for a while. Someone arlocked him. Then he waved me in. Ok, started in knee ride. As he rolled into me, I went for a D'Arce, but he trapped my leg. So I grabbed his opposite collar which pinned his arm. He pushed over so I pulled guard and held the grip. And after a bit of a fight, got the cross collar choke. Went again this time I made the mistake of letting my left hand go near the mat. That's his bread and butter. Grab hand, pin down, feed behind back. My own fault. So eventually he passed my guard, to north/south and head/arm choke. I'm such a dope at times :-) Still, those were two enjoyable rolls. And he commented after, that the other guys were good to wear him out test him and then he had to deal with me on a more technical level. Good times.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

revisit the Peruvian necktie

Today's lunchtime class was small again. We went over the necktie yet again, which was great. One of the guys had not yet seen it, for the other two of us it was the third opportunity to get some reps in. Great.

We also looked at what option we have if the opponent manages to pull his head out. If the grips are in good and the leg is on the back of his head by the time his head goes to the floor, it's unlikely he call roll out (around his own axis). But if he feels the setup and decides to try and roll before his head is completely blocked in, we need to change our approach because the choke is lost.

If he rolls more around his own axis than over my leg, and exposes his arm, I can underhook that arm and go straight for an armbar. Crucial part is to get the leg over his head to make sure he's locked in.

Other alternative is when he rolls over and ends up on my bottom leg. The best option then is to change my grips to a seatbelt grip, as he's giving up his back. He'll still be a bit on the side, so I need to force him over further so I can insert my knee on the bottom, roll him back and get my hooks in.

We drilled the getting hooks in with only a seatbelt grip in place from the back a few times. And then got in some more reps to get either the armbar or back control from the PNT setup.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

latest gi

Here is another design which uses the flying horse, which is my own logo.

teaching new guys

Monday night's class was fairly big and mostly guys with one stripe or less. Plus to brand spanking new guys
who were there for their first class.

So the class was split into several small groups. There is a grading on Saturday, so everyone got to practice their stuff for the level they'll test for, supervised by someone senior.

Together with another four-striper, I scored the two new guys. We demod and explained the major positions and started teaching two of the basic drills which teach transistion from side control to mount and back, back control with hooks in, how to bride, how to hold mount etc. The whole hour passed very quickly.

It wasn't quite as much fun as rolling, but sometimes it's fun to teach stuff, too. I marvelled yet again about the tenseness and awkwardness of the guys, while knowing full well that (not tooooo long ago), I was just the same. Simple little things like being able to stay on the balls of my feet and pouring pressure into my victim's chest, that they found difficult. Even maintaining that "plank" :-) Oh, and being guys, they felt ever so awkward putting weight on me, and every time someone bumped me, it was "sorry!". Ah well, they'll learn :-)

I like to actually demonstate stuff for them to watch, and then have them on the receiving end of the technique, so that they not only see it, but feel the pressure and the weight, and the shift during a transition. That seems to help.

Monday, August 23, 2010

another gi

more Peruvian neckties

Waaa, I don't seem to keep up with this. There is so much going on around me at present, that I sometimes don't have the necessary drive to update this blog. I continue to attend 5 BJJ classes most weeks plus open mat, so I'm getting the time in on the mat. But I seem to struggle to keep my blog and other notes up to date.

Of course, if I weren't spending so much time designing crazy-ass gis, I would have more time :-) ... As if I needed another addiction...

Anyway....

I won't bother going into Thursday's open mat or Friday's class. Other than to say we rounds from standing on Friday. And I've finally decided that my best course of action is to put aside my pride, forget about fancy takedowns and just bloody well pull guard. Because I like guard. It's the place from where I seem to be able to dish out most trouble to my opponents. And I avoid the likelihood of a botched takedown and someone sprawling on me. One severely bruised knee was enough.

So, on Saturday, we did more drilling of the Peruvian necktie. As last time, I seem to get it fairly right most of the time, and I was able to help my partner with it a lot.

After that, the newer guys worked on some of their syllabus stuff (grading next Saturday). I had a round from standing with the only blue belt who came to class. He's a biggish fellow. I managed to strip his grips a couple of times and got the grips I wanted and pulled guard. Straight to closed guard, where I managed to break him down nicely. He did his goto move (and for some unknown reason I always forget and fall for it!!)), which is pin one of my hands to the floor and feed it under me while he does a low smashing pass to the other side. I did fight it for a fair while and he resorted to strength. Until he got the pass. The instructor gave him a bollocking for that :-) I cunningly used that moment of inattention to hip out and regain guard and started attacking him again with chokes and an armlock. However, don't remember how, but he passed again and finally got side control, went to north south finished me with one of his favourite moves, a head-arm choke.

I received a big compliment for using good technique and keeping the attacks up from every position and for defending well. And the start of the round, getting him into my game. He was told that he has great technique, but wasn't using it, and only got out of my subs and succeeded with his because he muscled his way though. It must be difficult though, as he is very strong as well as 30kgs heavier than I. The temptation would always be there. I think there are lessons for me as well. For starters, there is a guy smaller and lighter than I who comes to classes. I can outmuscle him, but I don't want to. Anyway, it was nice to get some positive feedback about where I'm at, espcially so close to the next comp.

Friday, August 20, 2010

more crazy gis

Here are two three more designs I thought up this morning:


gi design challenge

Seymour of Meerkatsu fame has issued a challenge:

Design your own crazy-ass BJJ gi challenge

In his words:

Well folks, the cat is out of the bag, I invite you all to submit your most imaginative but personal and unique gi design! Lots of prizes courtesy of our sponsor: Tatami Fightwear for the best designs plus, a winner will be chosen (either by a panel of judges and/or public vote) who will have their creation custom made just for them. I know, crazy isn't it?!!!


For more info:

Meerkatsu's original blog page
Facebook Group
Crazy BJJ Gi blog
Template for your gi designs

Email your designs to seymouryang at gmail.com



And here are my first submissions:


Peruvian Necktie

The Wednesday lunchtime class consisted of yours truly and two blue belts.

We spent most of the session on learning about the peruvian necktie and the little details that make it work. We learned it step by step and did about 20 reps on each step. It's very interesting, very tight choke from turtle top. The setup is really easy, and it does not rely on arm strength at all. It works gi or no-gi. I think I might describe the details at a later stage, as we've been promised we'll work on it some more. I got it right several times in a row, and I'm sure it'll make a nice addition to my arsenal.

At the end of the class, had a couple of brief rolls with the bigger of the two blue belts. We are heading towards a competition on September 11, so I should be thinking of working on my good stuff. Somehow, I hadn't exchanged the "let's roll" easy program in my brain with the "let's roll to win" program. So I was being indecisive and pissing around with open guard. Got pulled up on that. OK. Then tackled the big fella with a bit more oomph, while the instructor pulled us up a few times to point out stuff we should (respectively) be working on. That was interesting and helpful. The funniest thing was when I hit a hip bump sweep. Came out of the blue, as I don't usually even try it on the big guys. But this one worked sweetly. Of course I held mount on the barrel chested Rugby player for about 3 seconds, before things went all wrong... Comment: cool sweep but maybe you should consider NOT going to mount!

Wednesday night was essentially just rolling for me and the senior guys. We had a huge turnout of new and newish white belts, who took up 2/3 of the mat and learned some stuff. The rest of us had the remainder of the mat and worked our stuff.

I nearly hit a necktie on one of the guys but for some reason I deliberately let it go. Ah, still using the wrong program!! I heard one of the bluebelts chuckle and say that looked familar :-). Yeah, should have gone through with it though... Anyway, I felt I had a reasonably successful evening, getting several near subs and a couple of actual ones. Triangles and chokes. I also pulled off some sweeps, though nothing as awesome as that hip bump sweep at lunchtime ;-)
 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

sweeps - mixed allsorts

Last Friday we drilled various sweeps, including the scissor sweep, the simple hooks sweep and a butterfly sweep. I picked up a detail on the sweeping angle of the last one which might make it work for me from now on.

No class on Saturday, as I headed off to the far west of Victoria on horse related business. It was a long way by car, the weather was foul: wet, cold, windy. Totally forgettable. I am glad that I have at least one hobby now which takes place indoors! Anyway, I returned home with two new horses, so I guess it was worth the trip.

Monday we did more sweeps. For the sake of the white belt guys who will need to know for their next grading, we went over the four syllabus sweeps: scissor sweep, simple hooks sweep, forward and back sweep. I'm not a fan of the forward sweep, but I had one of the light blue belts to work with. So I actually managed to sweep him forward multiple times in a very orderly fashion, not even needing to rely on momentum. Very happy!

The rest of the class was free guard passing, to see if we could hit sweeps. Managed several, also passed guard a few times.

It was good to work on sweeps, as I'm slowly starting to hit some when we roll, but there is lots of tweaking needed to make them more reliable. And every time we drill something, I pick up some new detail.

One of the blue belts showed me a way to block the scissor sweep. It was a matter of punching an arm to the floor. For example, if his right shin is across my belly, I put my left fist to the floor between his legs. That blocks his legs. I didn't get much chance to practice this, so I'll need to clarify the details. From memory, he then put his weight on my legs and passed. But how exactly, that I need to see again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Matt Hughes choke

I'm sitting here at uni with time to spare, so I might as well write about our lunchtime class today. Our instructor was ill so one of the blue belts took the class at short notice.

So we played with head arm chokes: the D'Arce and the Anaconda. And we tried to figure out how Matt Hughes did his choke in the last UFC. We came up with two possible ways. One way, using a gable grip on the tricep and dropping the head to the floor on the same side worked for the guys with the longer, skinnier arms. Another variety worked better for a couple of the more barrel chested guys. They grabbed onto the opposite arm's sleeve or cupped the tricep to sort of cross their arms in front of their chest. Then they buried their head between the bottom guy's armpit and their own upper arm to reduce the gap while pressing down on the guys's shoulders. Finally, flexing the biceps. I tried both and found they work. They don't feel like there's that much pressure, but the bottom guys surely tapped! In the end I thought I preferred the first version.

It's Friday and seeing I was interrupted the other day, I didn't get a chance to post it. Meawhile, I've been to a Wednesday evening class and Thursday open mat.

Wednesday evening we had two of the blue belts showing various chokes. With a group of mainly white belts, most of them 1 stripe or less, we stuck to the basic cross lapel choke from guard and a lapel choke which Roy Dean shows in one of his DVDs. I don't know what it's called. It works like this: we start with our right hand having a deep cross lapel grip on the person in our guard. We pull him down with that arm. Maybe flare his right elbow out with our left hand, and bring our knees towards our hand. That breaks his posture. We push our right forearm up under his chin and wing up our right elbow up to lift his chin. He will expect a cross lapel choke and probably block with his hand. Insteat, we reach over his neck with our left hand. It helps to have his head more on our right hand side. Then we insert the left hand into the crook of our elbow, so that the forearm is pushing against the back and left side of his neck. We push up with our right elbow and down with our left forearm, using the back of our left hand against the inside of our right elbow as a fulcrum. Worked sweetly.

The four most senior ones amonst us worked on a drill that involved a mount escape to half guard, then lockdown and a variety of sweeps. That was good to get quite a few reps in. The only thing I hate about drilling anything with a lot of lockdown is how sore my ankles get. Mind, this time it was my drilling partner, who was moaning and complaining about his legs, he reckoned they were getting so sore, he was ready to tap out :-).

I had a few rolls on Wednesday, and several yesterday during open mat. I'm happy to say that I coped well against two fairly spazzy newish guys. One quite new which I managed to sweep and submit with a kimura from north south. Another a bit less new, but straining and breathing raggedly (boy, he has to learn to relax!!), who started the roll with "I'm not getting in YOUR guard!". Hehe. Ok, so we had a merry roll with him on top for a bit, and on the bottom for a bit. I wasn't careful at one point and when I disengaged he got my back. He went for the beginner's favourite, the RNC, but I hung in there and peeled his arms off although he strained so hard he nearly popped a vein, I reckon. On it went the details of which I can't recall. Then, him in side control, I hipped out and got full guard. It was funny to see the look on his face :-) . I said "you didn't want to be here, did you?". Vigorous head shaking.... I tried a choke, he defended, I set up a triangle. And just as I clapped it on, one of the other guys came past and started coaching my opponent: "posture up", "watch that arm". Diddums! He smashed out of my guard and I was back to side control bottom. Then they were calling time, counting down 30 seconds. Hip out, get a knee in. Get a hook in. Couldn't budge him, so bottom knee in to get the leg out the other side against his knee. Seconds to go! Grabbed his arm and pulled it in, pulled him down and Wooohooo - sweeparoochies, right on the knocker. So sweet :-) So much fun. And while I had a good glow on, all the heavy breathing came from my opponent. Ah, he will learn, too.

Had another few good rolls. Though I had to tap out every time, I got near submissions most times, got sweeps, gained and held top positions and felt like I was moving well. It's just the best feeling when I feel like it flows back and forth. The next step up will be when I start stringing stuff together. To a degree I do it now, but happends ad hoc. I try a sub and if it fails I try another. When I start to set up two or three in a row from the beginning, using his defence against the first as a setup or trap for the second or third, then things will be even more fun. Not there yet, but I'm sure it will come.

I received a surprise compliment from a couple of the young guys. We were talking about the comp coming up and working with people about your size etc. Also the fact that one of them finds it so easy to get my back, which he reckons is due to my lack of bulk and because of some strength differential. I sort of disagree on the strength part of the argument. But in any case, they were saying that I was one of the few people in class lighter and less strong than they are, so they pull off stuff on me they can't get on the other guys. I said that aside from wrestling with the little guy, basically everyone is always bigger and stronger and it's a fact of life on the mat for me. Because I can count on a few fingers the number of times a girl comes to class every year. Next thing they tell me I'm amazing. Gosh! I think I'm more like crazy or something. But it's good for the soul sometimes to get a wee pat on the back. And these are two of the guys who I always look at and say I wish I could wrestle like.

Ah well, I'm sure that sometime in the near future, I shall be flattened under a big guy and all my thoughts of being a grappling phenom will vanish, like the breath from my sqashed chest :-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

figure fours galore and sore shoulders

Somehow I was roped in to do the warm up. Yes, yes, I had them skipping and running serpentines and making silly looking movements. It wasn't lost on our instructor :-)

Monday night we drilled figure fours from side control. Top and bottom. I guess that's Kimura and Americana. We also looked at wristlocks from those positions and cutting armbars if the opponent straightens the arm. So it was essentially a drill of separating out the far arm and then going through an attack sequence using all those techniques.


The new thing I learned was about placement of the thumb. For a lower figure four (kimura) on say his left arm, if we hold his wrist with our right hand, and we have our left arm under his elbow and gripping our own right wrist, we keep his wrist to the floor while lifting the elbow. Critical here is to have our left elbow near his left elbow to make it effective. In that situation, the palm of his hand will be towards the floor, and depending on angles, limb length and flexibility, his elbow will need to be lifted considerably, as his wrist flexes.

If we change our right grip so that we hold his hand and turn it so that his thumb is on the floor, we limit how much he can flex is the wrist, and as a result, the elbow does not need lifting anywhere near as much. This potentially makes the figure four more effective. Also, from here, it's easy to bend his wrist and get a gooseneck on it, as we already have a figure four grip to facilitate that wristlock.

At the end we had a few rounds of wrestling. One round with one of the young aggressive guys was fun. All manner of weird stuff happened (no instant armbars tonight, sunshine!) and we ended up standing up. I looked for an armdrag, but he was faster and got my back. And the long and short was he got me in an RNC. It was a bit more of a crank than a choke, but he got it fair'n'square.

The other roll was with a bigger guy who generally smashes me. He has the tight control of an anaconda and grips of steel. There were times I literally feared rolling with him, as it always hurts and I could never, ever get anything. Of late, there had been little signs of improvement, and yesterday, I finally had a breakthrough. I managed to pass his open guard. I got mount. As he tried to heave me off over his head, I saw a triangle and got my legs crossed and rolled over. Then he tried to stack me, which usually works. But somehow I always moved my shoulder and changed his angle so that he actually fell over. And while I had trouble getting the right angle, I cinched the triangle tighter and tighter. His inside arm was hooked under my leg, and at one point he tried to grab my right arm and feet it under my back to that hand, but that failed. On the other hand, I couldn't get his arms for an armbar. I guess I just didn't let up and just worked on the choke and in the end I got it. It was a bit of a revelation. I know that in the past, I've been stacked up and smash passed by him that many times, it always got to a certain pain level and I'd let go. This time, there was a small change in my alignment and the downward force he applied kind of was deflected. Hard to explain, it was only like a small movement of my shoulder. And I guess I was oh so determined to get this triangle :-)

I sure don't want to brag about the submission, that's not the point. I think it's more like I've broken through a barrier which prevented me from believing that it's possible. And that has positive repercussions. After my crappy performance on Saturday, it made me a bit happier, too. And from the technique point of view, I think I've cracked the biggest problem that this guy used to give me.

I woke up with a pretty stiff and sore right shoulder. Guess all that grinding took it's toll.. Funny thing is.. I came off a horse on Saturday morning, and crash landed in the steel rails of the arena. My left shoulder has a fantastic bruise. As nothing was broken, only sore, it didn't stop me from training, and it's actually fine now. Well much more fine than my right shoulder :-) . All in all I have less bruises from being dumped by a horse than I have from a few hours of BJJ. Go figure...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't

We've had four new guys start in the last week. One with dreadlocks. That should be fun to watch. Wonder how he'll cope with a knee pinning his head to the ground. Ouch. :-)

I never seem to have the time to write after every class, and frankly, I don't see the point in boring readers to tears with all the gory details. I keep a training log anyway, so from now on I think I'll just write about things are are new or funny or that give me big AHA! moments. Or generally about my progress (or lack thereof?).

Ok, so I'll write about my progress. During rolling on Thursday and Friday, I did better than usual. Though getting triangled, armbarred and killed otherwise several times by various of the senior guys, I submitted one of the bigger white belt guys not once, but twice (Usually he flattens me..). First time, I had kesa gatame and put on a figure four armlock using my leg as fulcrum. Second time was a lapel half nelson from side mount.

The miraculous thing for me wasn't the submissions, but actually getting to places where I could do submissions :-) . That tells me that I must be doing something right. The policy of avoiding turtle is certainly helping. But I'm not only escaping better, I'm avoiding getting under big guys more often. Maybe my open guard is more effective. Probably a whole lot of stuff is coming together. There's Jiu Jitsu in there somewhere!!

There is a young guy who is actually smaller and lighter than I am. Well, he is also relatively new, I think he's been doing BJJ for about 2 months or so now. When I roll with him, I work sweeps and I try to find a happy medium between working my top game and letting him work. Not sure if I do that well. On the one hand, I get jolly little time to work my attacks, on the other hand, I feel like a jerk for attacking him because of the size/experience discrepancy. Oh well, I guess that's the same dilemma I've given others for all the time I've been doing BJJ. 

On Saturday, there were four white belt guys, two of them one stripers. So my turn take warm them up again (it still feels weird to be the most senior student on the mat...). I try to not do the boring same stuff every time, and it delights me to make them do silly looking circles with their noses, hip gyrations which would appeal to belly dancing aficionados, and skipping like little girls do. Haha, my revenge on the young guys :-) But more seriously, I look to lubricate most joints, warm the body and generally get us all ready and into a frame of mind to do some BJJ. I've certainly had no complaints, even if I throw in a bunch of pushups, situps etc.

We did some guard passing drills with sweeps and chokes from mount and guard. At the end of the class, it was announce that I would wrestle any comers. What?? When did I vonlunteer for that?? Haha, but then the little guy volunteered. I give him his due, he's game. I pulled guard, tried to choke him, then swept him. Tried to get an arm but he turned to his side, so I tried a lapel half nelson choke. Didn't have his arm secured enough to do it, so I rolled him over on his belly and got my second hook in. Tried for a collar choke, then rolled him over on top of me and finished the choke. I felt I muscled through stuff a bit, but I did everything slowly and deliberately and went from one attack to another. It flowed, it felt good. When we finished, Sensei asked what I thought of it. I said "I think I might have muscled my way through". He smiled in a non-committal sort of a way. Then he said that I used the very same attack sequence which he favours and has successfully used on me several times. Hehe, no wonder I didn't have to think hard!! I could just feel it in my bones :-)

Then I had another taker, bigger than little ole' me. I've rolled with him before. He might be new to BJJ, but he's been rolling with the other boys. So his technique might not be polished or subtle, but he knows the basic subs and he's faster and stronger than I. And stupid I, straight from grappling with a little guy, committed the stupid beginner mistake of NOT going for the "kill". Instead of going in hard and getting top position I was off in lala-land and before I could say "what-the-..", I was on the bottom, with my open guard passed and him in side control hunting for my bloody arm. How dumb am I. Strategy? What's that? Yes, he was rushing, yes he was muscling and yes he got the damn figure four. I didn't even defend well. After 22 months of BJJ, that's the best I could do??? I could have crawled under a bloody mat!

And so ended my Saturday :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

more chokes and how to enjoy rolling

Monday night's class was about chokes again: lapel half nelson, RNC and double lapel from the rear. We also went over the points that make up a good seat belt grip and how to effectively control someone from side mount using shoulder pressure.

To get the chokes from the rear, we looked at the transition from side mount to back control. I like the name for this transition: the boat ramp. I must admit I struggle with this, and I always end up with my partner stuck too much on one side. Something I'll need to perfect. However, as most people are heavier than I am, I'm not fond of pulling them on top of me, even to get to back control, and I'd probably be inclined to attack from side mount instead.

For a change, we had another female being on the mat for the night, and aside from a a few drills which were part of the warmup, I was partnered with her.

After the drills, we rolled from harness grip on in side mount start to submission. Well, we had fun. We didn't giggle, we laughed. She is a bit rusty with her stuff, so I could have pushed for submissions, but instead, I set stuff up and then let it go so she could work some as well. I was in stitches though, whenever she lost a position, she would say "Oh crap!" or "Oh No!" several times in a row and we would laugh. It was nice to not have to go balls out and just enjoy the roll. Ok, that happens when I roll with some of the senior guys, too, but with them it's not so cruisy for me, and I can't make mistakes, or they'll have me... So this was good fun as well a leaning for both of us. At the end, someone started to count down from thirty seconds to go. I'd just let her pass my guard and she had scarf hold. So we turned on the juice. And to the sounds of "oh no!", I got my elbow to the floor, took her back and went for an armbar :-). With 3 seconds to spare! The worst part was breathing while laughing.

And at the end, our instructor commented on everyone doing good work and how good it was that people were enjoying themselves, for BJJ should be fun. And fun it was :-))

Monday, August 2, 2010

Friday & Saturday

Friday evening's class was mostly just wrestling.

It was good, I had lengthy rolls with a couple of the senior guys. I managed a couple of hooking sweeps and had the opportunity to hunt for things. I spent a lot of time escaping and defending, but at least it was mostly successful. I feel that I am making progress.

I fared less well with a very large white belt guy (he's nearly blue). He hasn't been in for a while, and it was good to see him back for a change. With him, my game is defense only. However, he had to work longer and harder to catch me than what I remember from earlier days. He said that, too. So that is progress as well.

Saturday's class was very small. There were four of us on the mat only, and one guy watching from the sidelines with an injured thumb. I took the warm up. I amused the guys with asking for more complicated hip movements than simple circles. And then confused/amused them further with arm exercises that move all the joints, with to them looked like crazy dancing moves :-). I find they do my shoulders and neck good and lubricate the joints before activity.

We worked on chokes again: the cross lapel choke from mount and guard and the lapel half nelson from side mount. Also, the RNC. For something different, we practiced the RNC from standing, and then letting our partner down slowly and gently. Like you would if they really went out and you didn't want them to fall forward and hurt themselves.

After that, we looked at some takedowns from clinch. Starting position: he has his hands on my lapels, I have my left hand cupping his right bicep (or grabbing his gi behind his elbow), and my right hand is cupping his neck. From there, I push his right elbow across his centreline and push his neck to his right (my left). I step back and to my left and this breaks his posture and makes him fall to his right. Ideally, I hold on to his right arm and can go straigth to knee on belly position. An alternative, if he resists having his elbow pushed across, and he pulls away from my trying to posture up: I hold on to his right elbow and move my right hand off his neck to his left shoulder, palm out. I shove on his shoulder while pulling on his right arm. This also off balances him and he falls the same way as in the first type of takedown.

We drilled that a few times, including going to kneeride and straight to a submission. My partner (largish new whitebelt) didn't know armbar from knee ride so he did the lapel half nelson from side mount. I alternated between the choke and the armbar.