Monday, January 31, 2011

women rolling

Stephanie has posted a great video about women in BJJ on her Jujitsunista blog. Check it out:

Sure looks like plenty of women enjoy the art, doesn't it? Maybe some of the folks who gave their opinion on this Sherdog thread should watch it :-).

I don't usually go on about women in BJJ. I'm the only one at my school. I very rarely think of being different, and I certainly don't feel awkward. There are funny moments, for sure, but the guys at my school and the other schools I visit are totally cool. I couldn't care less for women only classes for me personally. I just think that more women should take up BJJ, and if women only classes get them started, then I'm all for it. I think the video gives a glimpse of how much BJJ means to those women who not only give it a go, but stick with it. Despite the hardships. Or maybe because?

As for me, BJJ is one of the best things I've ever discovered. I couldn't imagine my life without it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

wouldn't it be nice...

...if there was a place on the web where people can look up accurate gi sizes?

Something like a table or spreadsheet where for every gi brand, every model and every size on offer, there are jacket and pants measurements? Maybe a google spreadsheet or some such thing...? Preferably it would have before and after shrinking measurements. Something like the way Seymour does in his reviews, for example see the RDA gi review. If the gi manufacturers were so kind, they could provide this information. Otherwise, it could be added by people who buy gis. Eventually, it could end up being quite a complete collection of sizing info.

I'd also love to see a collection of links to all gi reviews made for every gi type. Again, to help people decide on what they require. 

It would make gi buying so much easier! 

It bugs me that there is such a vast difference in sizing. Every new gi purchase is a guessing game. I have bought A3s that fit, A3s that were too big, A2s that fit, A2s that were too small and A2s with sleeves too long and pant legs too short :-(

If the makers can't decide on a sizing standard, then at least it would be a very good start to have a central place where all the measurements are kept.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

hit and miss

The hardest, yet most fun part of this blog is to think up titles. Sometimes I can't think of something clever to say, other times it's easy :-)

Another whole week has passed. It was a shorter week than usual (from a training point of view) as we missed the two Wednesday classes because that was the Australia Day holiday. I also didn't make it to Geelong this week, because one of my cats hurt it's leg. So it was off to the vets with the furry critter. Poor sod has a broken toe, but the leg is ok.

Monday night's class was yet again on back contol escapes. Again, we did a bit of drilling the escape from back control, from mount and then from half guard, then sweeping to side control, go to north/south and do the boatramp to get back control. Rinse and repeat. Then we did positional rolling, starting from the back with hooks in but hands on shoulders. Everyone had a turn with everyone else. Good news is that I had a lot more success with this than last week, both holding the back and doing chokes and getting out. Even the bigger guys were more "manageable". Most memorable part of the night (for me) was when I started the last roll with one of the beast men, my nemesis. He'd waved me over with that look of "step here, I will end your suffering quickly" :-). As I sat down to take his back, I showed him my hands and said: "See these? They are KILLER hands". Beware!". So we start. And I was going to have that choke. One way or another. It took some doing, but I choked him. Yeah! Killer hands! :-)

Thursday and Saturday morning we did something a bit different. We were paired up. One partner put on boxing gloves. Then we practiced mount escapes with a few variations. First just a bridge and roll, then a frame and push on his hip while hip escaping. The latter works well if they sit back to take a good swing. Aim for both scenarios was to get to our feet and back away. So it was either pass guard and back away or shrimp out and then do a technical standup.

Today we also had a play with the scenario where someone punches while in our closed guard, and then in our open guard. We drilled that for a bit and eventually went to rolling from open guard where the person with gloves on can strike, the other must wrestle only.

It is just amazing how much the game changes when we need to watch out for punches. A lot of stuff came flooding back to me. It's over a year now since I've done any standup/punching but I seem to remember how to cover up :-) Mixing punching with wrestling is highly interesting, and I think it gives you much greater awareness of where your opponents hands are. From a self defence point of view, this is a reality check for sure.

Friday night's open mat was good fun. I had my arse kicked big time by a senior blue and a purple belt. I got out of a bit of stuff but I really, really need to think of my legs!! They are constantly under attack now and I still don't see it coming early enough. I did some interesting thing where I nearly ended up getting back control after I had my guard passed when my partner had his back towards my head. I was pushing on his head, shrimping backwards and then grabbed hold of his top arm. It nearly worked, and he commented on it later. Something I will investigate further..

I'm pleased that I'm feeling opportunities to sweep, and consciously make the necessary adjustment to get them. That is a vast step forward for me. The other thing which is finally happening is that look ahead for submissions. An example: after several rear chokes I wanted to chase something else. Got to mount and decided on a triangle, so I set up for getting a leg over one arm and then went straight for the triangle. Another: while rolling with one partner wearing gloves and punching, I decided on armbars, one each side. Did the first one from guard, the second one from mount. And I was the one wearing the gloves :-) 

I'm in the fortunate position to have two white belt guys (good three stripers) who are my size and a bit smaller. Both are nice and quick, so they can be quite a threat, and both have caught me on occasion. What is great about rolling with them is that I can work on sweeps. And because I get top control relatively often, I feel my top game developing. On the one hand, I feel a bit of a bastard because I've smashed and choked and armbarred my way through them all week. On the other hand, I certainly have paid my dues in that respect for quite a long time. I need to work on attacking, sweeping, smashing. So why should I feel bad about it, when I'm not unduly rough or arrogant about it? I miss no opportunity to tell them when they have done something well or when they have really threatened me. And if one of them legitimately gets a sub, I won't thrash out of it, I will tap. For their sake and mine.

We all have ups and downs. Sometimes we think we have a down when in fact all is well, but people around us have an up. I was trying to explain that to someone the other day. Just because some technique worked for us for a while, doesn't mean it will work forever or on everyone. For starters, our partners in the dojo learn which our fave moves are and they learn how to avoid or get out of them. Then we have to get better, more cunning in the set up or move on to a new technique to catch them out. It's a constant evolution. And that's how we have to see it. That constant pressure evolves our game. And that is why tapping is part of the learning curve. We pressure test our technique in live rolls. We must try and we must fail until we find what works. And then we have to keep on evolving our game to stay ahead. Everyone around us on the mat also evolves. Everyone has their own direction and speed though. So at times we come up against seemingly insurmountable difficulties (like me with my nemesis!). Well, we just have to keep trying new stuff and learn from our mistakes until eventually, the previously inconquerable becomes merely another step in our evolution.

As we grow our trickbag of techniques, or balance, strength, resilience and general knowledge, we also grow as a person. This growth can't happen while we are motivated by the number of taps we get. It can only happen if we look at everything that happens as a learning opportunity. So what if I haven't tapped anyone all night, or even all week? It's totally irrelevant. I don't need to hang my head in shame if I spent all week improving myself.

Oh, and next time I'll feel down in the dumps, I will come back and read that :-)

But for now, I'm looking back on another fun week, where the world was in order because some of the time I had my arse kicked and some of the time, I kicked arse. Beware the killer hands, you big brutes!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

more back control

We spent the rest of the week on back control escapes. Also on mount and half guard escapes. So by the end of the week, we were doing drills where we were stringing it all together.

The idea being that if we manage to escape back control, chances are the other guy will go for mount. Although we try and block him from doing that, he may succeed. At the point of realising he is going for mount, we should start escaping mount, rather than wait for him to settle.

So the drill was that we escape back control and our partner starts to mount. Right away, we connect our bottom elbow and knee and start the mount escape. Hopefully, he won't even get mount that way, but end up in half guard. Next step, again without waiting for him to settle in, we go for the half guard escape we covered last week. From there, we transition to side control. Or, if  he exposed his back during the half guard escape, we can take his back.

The point was to learn to string escapes together to maintain the initiative, rather than letting our opponent settle. This requires the ability to figure out where his next move might go or at least recognise his next move in the early stages. Of course, it was also great to really rep out these escapes lots of times. I certainly found that I was getting quicker and smoother with all of them.

But the thing that most stuck in my mind is the concept that stringing things together works on the defense side of the roll as much as on the attack side. Ceasing the initiative and keeping it can this way can soon turn a bad position into an attack.

We had a look another technique called the boat ramp. It tied in with our back control oriented week. The boat ramp allows us to turn a north/south position into back control. We looked at the grips for no gi as well as how to use the lapels for grips.

During the week I had a few frustrations during rolls. We did a lot of situational rolling from back controls. As before, I had a lot of trouble with the bigger stronger guys. They simply shut me down. I described the feeling of having one of them on my back as "being strapped to a post". Not good if you can't move to even start an escape... Hmmm, there's a lot more work for me yet. It was a bit of a reality check. In days gone by, I wasn't too worried about giving up my back, I could hang out there, defend and eventually escape. As the guys are all getting better, it's no longer a safe place to hang out!

I was a bit disheartened in how I fared against some of the bigger guys on Wednesday night. But truth be told, it was during a class which was my fourth hour of BJJ within a 24 hour period, the evening after the Geelong visit. I had a big guy to drill with all evening before we started rolling. He's a fantastic partner, but it is more hard work than being paired with someone smaller. I was actually very fatigued by the time we started rolling. That in addition to always struggling with the big boys anyway, made it a tough session. But I did stay positive.

I will just have to keep working and get better :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

to Geelong in style

On Tuesday, I went to Geelong with Warrick. He decided to take his Trans Am for a spin :-) Ha, that rides a bit different to the cars I'm used to (both the Landcruiser and the Starlet!!).

We did the advanced class taught by John Will. Theme of the night were armbar escapes, both the running one and another which is good when the opponent does not have the leg across the belly. We did drills using both escapes. We looked at attacking the trapped arm with an omoplata if our opponent does the running escape.

We had a good amount of rolling. The advantage (for me) in going against higher belts is that they have a tendency to play more open guard, instead of smash and crush and smother... This gives me opportunities and I find I can work both my escapes and my top game and attacks. It's much more fun! I threatened both blue and purple belts with all sorts of things. Of course I didn't get all those things :-) But I got some. And I got caught in loads of things. The most memorable being three twisters by two different guys. A purple belt sprung the first one on me. Having never had it done to me, it was a surprise. Mind, I knew what it was when I was.. well... twisted.

Second time though I saw it coming, but not early enough. And by the time I realised, it was too late. Then, several rolls later, I was lucky to be paired with a black belt. We went here and there and then he starts the set up from half guard. I was wiser to it by this stage, but no matter where I went, and although I half escaped a couple of times, eventually he got me. I need to learn from this, one of my defensive positions gives an opening to lock my legs in. And I am fond of half guard bottom, which is another dangerous place to hang out.

After that, we stayed on for the intermediate class. The Bear had a car breakdown and couldn't make it, so a purple belt took the class. We started off with rolling with the fresh white belts. It is nice to see a young woman in this class. She is lighter than everyone but she has the best attitude and seems scared of nobody. And believe me, there are some big fellas i this class! I had a couple of rolls with her but mainly I helped her with things and played very lightly. I had mixed success with the guys. It's hard(er) when I'm already a bit tired and they come in fresh. After all, they are stronger at the best of times :-)

The class was about two guard passes, one standing one from closed guard and another from open (hooks in guard). We drilled those a fair bit which was great. They were very different passes, and I had a few problems getting my hips low enough to control his leg on the open guard pass. But eventually, I figured it out. It is exactly the thing I need to work on.

Then we played the pit game, with four in the pit whose guard had to be passed. They could choose open or closed guard. As with the rolling, I had mixed success. I got swept a few times, but when my turn came in, I also swept some people. Ditto with the passing. But by this stage of the class, I really was quite tired.

And then, right at the end, we had to do 20/10 tabata intervals with burpees, pushups, situps, lunges. Oh oh. Not fun, I must admit. It was only six minutes all up, but it sure felt longer than that!

And then we went home. By the time Warrick dropped me off, I really, really had trouble getting my aching and stiff body out of that infernal deep Trans Am seat. Oh man!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

back control

Monday night we worked on back control.

There were some fairly new guys in the class, so we started with the basics of back control: the seat belt grip and the hooks. Then everyone had a go at keeping back control when their partner started rolling around a bit.

Next thing covered were the two most common chokes form the back, the rear choke and the collar choke. Not from the point of view of applying the choke, but from the point of view of defending it and escaping back control. With a grip on the collar, we drilled escaping from back control. First, grab the choking arm with both hands, then fall to the side where he has our collar (or if you like: to the side where his choking hand points) so we can get our shoulder to the floor. Now we kick our bottom leg straight to dislodge his hook on that side and put weight on his bottom leg. Next step is to use our bottom hand and grab the pant leg on his top let. This is to ensure he can't come over the top and go to mount. Now it's a case of turning into him and we are in his guard.

I've used this escape plenty of times. Yet I didn't know about the hand to block his top leg. Which probably explains why more often than not, I ended up in mount as I scrambled to try and turn and end up in guard. So, a valuable lesson for me. Did I mention before that I pick up something every time we revisit 'basic' techniques??

We also looked at why it's unwise to cross feet when we have back control. It was just my luck that I happened to be the demo dummy for that part of the evening's proceedings. Ouch.

After that, we had a few rounds of rolling starting in back control. We were allowed hooks in, but hands only on shoulders. Just so our partners had a chance :-)

In my first roll, I started on someone's back. Ha, I snaked my right arm around his neck so fast it was scary, choke, bang! That elicited a giggle from the instructor who was walking past. I'm sure it will just make him say I'm mean ;-) After that, there were several other rolls. I was annihilated by a blue belt. He started on my back, and somehow I ended up in a scarf hold. From there, he pulled off his favourite, the armchair (I think that is what it is called). That is nasty. Do not like.

Then I ended up with a brandspanking new white belt. Big guy. On my back... I escaped but as I turned into him, I made the mistake of not blocking the top leg and he ended up in mount. I escaped that and got guard. He strained and pushed and tried to stack me, all the while attempting a figure four. That didn't work of course and when I tried to collar choke him, he started to grab my collar. If he had been my size, I would have just laughed, but a big boy like that, using all his strength is a different matter. So I went for feet on hips to keep him away. Somehow he realised I had gone to open guard and he grabbed my ankle and shoved it over, landing in side control. I didn't feel dreadfully threatened, but he was heavy. He smiled and told me it's good to be big and heavy. I nodded sagely (how could I argue?) and started escaping :-) . Some place in that roll I also ended up turtled and once I was in mount, but he just tossed me off...

Still, it is good to be reminded what new guys do. I'm pleased to say that while the big new guys still give me loads of trouble, they no longer freak me out. If they do muscle a submission it means I was careless and I need to work on that. But mostly, they get nothing, and I use the opportunity to hone my escapes and my open guard techniques.

Last couple of rolls were fun. Someone more my size. Less experienced, but explosive and squirmy. I caught him in a cross lapel choke from guard. Don't know how I got there. Next round was lively, but time was called. Great fun and we had a good laugh, too.

Monday, January 17, 2011

rolling, lots of great rolling

Yes, that about sums up the rest of last week!

We had classes on Thursday and Saturday and open mat on Friday. The classes were split so that the guys worked on stuff as needed. Two totally new guys were going through their first couple of basic drills, and some of the three stripers were practising their fourth stripe stuff, like knee ride escape and headlock escapes.

So I spent some time teaching/helping with those things, some time getting one on one help with stuff I needed to work on and a lot of time rolling inbetween.

The thing I worked on on Saturday was the hip bump rollover sweep. That's one of the things which I occasionally manage to pull off, without ever quite knowing why it worked, because generally it does NOT work for me. Haha, very little escapes our instructor, so I wasn't suprised he picked that one out for me :-) It seems like most of it came down to hand placement. The hand that braces and pushes off. We did some tweaks and I spent some time practising and eventually I got the hang of it.

As before, I came up against the issue of self-destruction. What do I mean by that? Well, sometimes when I've learned a new technique, I try it out and it doesn't work so well (wow, now ain't that a strange and unusual thing!!). I have a fantastic habit of finding an explanation, be it that it's hard against big people or whatever. But the main problem is that I tell myself that I can't do it. And that is the real problem. I set myself up for failure for every other time I happen to try again. I have the expectation it won't work, so I'm half-assed when I do try and then lo and behold, I fail - which yet again reinforces that belief. I know I do it. I know it's stupid. And I still do it. GGRRR!

So at one point when I became frustrated, I actually stopped and said that the biggest problem is that I'm defeating myself. BUT that I wasn't willing to be defeated. Deep breath. Tried again with focus. And... made visible progress.

The main difference is that I now understand the technique better and the additional information will help me to tweak it further to make it work better. It's no longer a black box. But the revisiting of the technique has restored my confidence. I now believe that I can do it, even to the bigger guys. So watch my sweeps!!

Alright, but aside from all that, I had loads of time on the mat to "just" roll :-)

Gustavo joined us again for a class and for open mat. More rolling time with a black belt. Whoohoo!! He also showed me two of his lapel chokes from mount. Using his lapels. Both so simple, so tight. I prefer chokes over armbars/armlocks, so I'm sure I'll find some use for these. The caveat is that I need to get mount first :-)

But as luck has it, I'm actually getting mount these days. Gone are the days when I'd last all of .5 of a second mounted on someone (once every three weeks on average!) before getting rolled off. In fact, several rolls I had with some of our white belts, I got mount and maintained it well, even getting subs from there. For me, that is relatively new territory, but a nice place to be :-) In fact, one of the guys said that it felt very tight and controlling when I had mount on him, comparing it to one of the purple belts. Well, I must be doing something right :-)

Ok, so I can get good positions, I'm getting better at keeping them and I'm able to actually do some damage from there. So now I hit subs which I learned ages ago but could never get because of lack of good positions or lack of time there. So for example, I got the head/arm choke twice. And nearly a third time on one of the purple belts (he told me I was close, but I thought it wasn't working and let it go).

I'm getting sweeps, and I'm starting to be less proned to being swept. I think that I'm paying much more attention to posture and hip pressure. Some of it is conscious, ie: I'm thinking of positioning, I'm deliberately adjusting. But some of it is just happening on auto pilot. Then I go: oh, I just managed to base out, how did that happen?

But oh yeah, I still get swept plenty, and I still have ample time to practice my defences and escapes. Got a big compliment from a purple belt about making him string together a whole bunch of attacks before he finally succeeded in ripping my arm off. Ha, soon I'll be escaping and ripping HIS arm off ;-)

Another thing I did for the first time: I volunteered to start off in a bottom position for a roll with one of the white belts. I let him choose. We did some from half guard bottom, some from side control bottom. I figure I will benefit from the opportunity to work more escapes. Oh, and a couple of times I didn't succeed and I had to tap. Well, that gave him the the chance to work his top game.

So rolling went exactly how it should be: I worked my top game and assorted attacks on the white belts and worked my defence and escapes with the higher ranks. I had enourmous fun, whether I was hammering people or getting nailed.

I said to our instructor that I have the feeling that I'm starting to connect some of the dots. Stuff is starting to fit together in my head. Learning isn't just a case of adding new stuff, but to broaden the existing knowledge base and to find relationships, which help to deepen the understanding.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wednesday with a surpise visitor

I was fortunate to make it to two classes yesterday.

We are continuing to have the big wet. With the exception of yesterday afternoon, it's been raining more or less solidly since Monday morning. It is nowhere near as wet as it is in Queensland, but it's record rains for Victoria for this time of year. Thankfully the place I call home is not in a floodprone area...

With the big wet, humidity is near 100%. It's pleasantly warm. Last night, when the sun came out for a while, it soon warmed up some more and it felt much like being in the tropics. So much for the famous cold Ballarat weather :-). Anyway, as expected, the dojo was like a steambath, especially for the evening class. I took the warm up for the lunchtime class and we didn't need much warming up before starting to drip.

Then we had a surprise visitor. A guy walked in and asked if he could join in. Turns out Gustavo is a Brazilian BB, second degree. Do fish swim? Sure he could join in! We only had a small class with four white belts, a blue and myself and he looked like he wanted to roll.

Firstly, we did a few more reps of the arm drag techniques we did on Monday, and our instructor had a few rolls with Gustavo. Didn't get to see much of that as I had some issues with the technique we were practising  until I finally figured out where all my limbs had to go. We were interrupted to watch a cool technique demonstrated by Gustavo. It started with a feint armbar, then the arms (both) were trapped with a gi lapel and then there was a forearm choke for the submission.

Then it was my turn to entertain Gustavo ;-) Honestly, I cnn't remember many details. He allowed me to get some good positions, only to sweep me at will. He seems to like chokes. He also likes to use his gi lapels to either choke people or to hold them or tie them down. So many of my usual escapes didn't work simply because there was always a hand, foot or gi lapel blocking my path.

He showed me a technique that beat one of my usual defences, which means that I'll have to think of something else now. Hm. As expected, I was doing all the work. In all, I had the impression that he sort of surfed on me :-) His control was either flowing or tight, and he was always several steps ahead of me. All roads led to being choked! What a learning experience. And what a nice guy.

The rest of the class, I helped some of the guys with their basics, while our other blue belt had a few rolls with Gustavo.

Best news of all: he will be back because he lives in Ballarat at the moment. So we will have further opportunities to roll with him. YEAH!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Happiness is... being back to normal BJJ classes. What bliss!

We had a very large class last night and it was great to see everyone again after the holidays.

The weather was warm and very humid after it rained most of the day. So, back in gi for the first time in about five weeks, we were all suffering a little bit. The mats were covered in small wet patches at the end of the night :-)

We paired up and did hip escapes. Our partner's job was to push forward and our job was to stiff arm his shoulder to keep distance, and hip escape away. After some laps of this, we turned this into an attack. As he pushes forward, I do a little escape, then I go for an underhook with the arm that has been used as a frame. I cup his shoulder from behind and pushing down on it, pull my leg out from between his to come to my knees. Finally, this became a half guard escape. My outside leg is over his trapped leg, and I use my shin against his thigh for control as I push down on his shoulder and get my other leg out.

At that point in time, I have a choice, either I can duck under his arm and take his back or I can attack his arm. The control is very good as I can exert a lot of pressure on his shoulder and I restrict his movement by having my shin on his thigh. It is not hard to just push into him and flatten him out, giving me side control or even mount.

We tried one more adjustment. Using the outside foot near his ankle, we wing out his lower leg to his outside. This turns his foot away from him and his knee towards his other knee. Now add the shin on the thigh and the underhook to get the shoulder to the floor, and you nearly have a submission. But certainly, it gives much more control over our opponent's body. With his near leg locked up in this fashion, it's impossible for him to try and push back into us, but I still have the option of going for side control, mount or back control.

After that, we wrestled. I worked with a small white belt first. We played for a bit with grips, trying to get the hang of sleeves and collars again. I made a point of going for open guard, managed a nice sweep. He is small, fast and aggressive (in a non-spazzy way), and fun to wrestle with. At one point he threatened me with a triangle/armbar when I did a standing guardpass (which was a bit sloppy...), but a shin on his forearm and small adjustments saw that I passed his guard. As I still had his arm pinned, I went for a kimura from north/south. Second round we didn't finish because we all had to swap partners.

This time around I had one of the very new white belts. He is a lot heavier than I. Again, I worked on open guard, but also on guard transitions. I let him work a fair bit and concentrated on using my hooks and doing sweeps. I talked him through some stuff, and tried to get him to start using his feet, by showing him how to push and pull with hooks, push with feet and shins. Also, after a scramble, to come back pushing in to flatten me. I know I'll regret that later ;-)

I had a really great time, and it was fun to grapple in the gi again, even though I had sweat rolling off me. I sure wasn't gassed or tired (I've adapted to 2+ hours of far harder training..), but the high humidity ensured I was sodden. We all were. But happy face all around!

Friday, January 7, 2011

summer has arrived

We are due to resume BJJ classes next Monday. I'm really looking forward to that, though I've been sneaking in some training this week.

The summer so far has been pretty cool and pleasant, but I think the hot weather has finally arrived. That's perfect timing for training, haha. But I shouldn't complain, our last summer was so hot and started early and lasted seemingly forever.

I was just thinking this morning that it's been about a month of not training in the gi. That's the longest ever since I started BJJ. It's been good, and yet I'm also looking forward to do a bit of gi training. I like both!

I managed to catch up with a few of our local guys for a Monday and Wednesday session. It was really mostly open mat, but we were shown some deep half guard sweeps and we went over the Japanes Necktie and d'Arce choke (which sort of go together). Also, we looked at a lockdown escape and a variation leading into a cartwheel pass. Wheee! But mostly, lots of wrestling. Fairly easy, as people were coming back from time off.

On Tuesday I went to Geelong where one of John's BBs took the advanced class. It was a much smaller class than usual, and there, too, we took it a bit easy.

We worked on takedowns, mainly single legs, and variations on how to get the opponent to the ground once we have hold of his leg. The most interesting was a duck under and roll takedown while we have his leg trapped between ours. We literally duck under and roll over taking him with us. Looked easy, but the first few tries felt awkward. But after a few reps it made good sense and it felt easy.

Then we looked at how to achieve a takedown if we step both legs around the front of his trapped one, or to the back. Repped these out until they felt pretty consistent. We also looked briefly at entries, and what to do to off balance our opponent and get near that leg. Finally, we did single leg takedowns in a bit more of a live scenario, with our partners resisting so we could feel for which was the most appropriate way to get him down. I saw some very interesting variations, and came up with a couple myself ;-)

Aside from that, we had some rolling. I really don't remember too many details. I do recall getting choked by one of the BBs though.

Then it was the intermediate class. The guys came in for a warm up roll. I scored a very big boy, resplendant with mohawk and Tapout shirt...  Clearly, he thought he'd have an easy time ;-) I wish I could say I kicked his butt, but that didn't happen. And I will say to his credit, he didn't muscle too much and didn't spazz at all. I had plenty of opportunity to switch from one guard to another and I managed to mostly stay out from under him. I attempted armbars from closed guard even. He finally pinned me after passing my guard and got a figure four. By this time, he was nicely warmed up for his class, and he said that I hadn't made it easy for him. Ah - that was as close to a compliment as I was likely to get. :-) I had him for a drilling partner later and found him to be good to work with.

What we worked on were a half guard escape and and escape from lockdown/grapevine.

Then more rolling, where again, I can't remember most details. I know I still spend too much time using closed guard. I did get the back a couple of times, as usual, from closed guard. My submissions tend to be front or back chokes. Time to get working on armbars and armlocks!

Oh yeah, funny moment of the night. I ended up with the huge guy for the last few rounds. My goal with him is NOT get on the bottom. Closed guard on him ends in disaster. Firstly I only just get my legs locked around him, so he can usually bust out, but worse of all is when he leans forward. You do not want to get stacked up under a mountain! So it's open guard and move, move, move! That was reasonably successful, as the fear of getting squashed sharpened my response times. We had to restart a couple of times because we were rolling into other people. From a kneeling start I managed a (sort-of) armdrag and scuttle to his back. Yeah, I thought, I'm in - a choke coming your way right now! Then he just sat back, leaning into me and laughed (!) as he pushed over the top of me. I will say that I converted my stanglehold to a push and my hooks went from around him to underneath him. Not fair, not fair!!!

As we both rolled on the floor laughing, it was time to line up.

So I managed some six hours of training the week before we go back to BJJ classes. Good stuff!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

that was fun

I had a visitor today. Well, actually, it was my best friend's visitor. Her daughter from Adelaide.

Yana started training MMA/BJJ in Adelaide a couple of months ago. When I caught up with her on New Year's eve, I half jokingly said that if she was interested in a roll, to come and visit, for I have mats!!

And surprise, surprise, she turned up on New Year's day :-)  She brought her mum (who came armed with a camera) and her boyfriend (who came armed with curiosity). Well, it transpired that she hadn't been to very many classes, never rolled yet, and was still hazy on some of the basic stuff.

I decided to just go over some of that basic stuff. Turns out the place she trains (I've forgotten the name, and I'm sorry for that) is a Will-Machado afilitate, so they do the same basic drills and things I'm used to. That made it easier.

So as much for the edification of the onlookers (who had never seen BJJ) as for Yana's benefit, we went over some very basic "Basics", ie: a drill that involves side control, mount, dismount, side control via north-south. It's all about the transitions and maintaining pressure. The other drill is the "keep the mount" drill where the top person goes from side control to mount. Then the bottom person tries to escape by bridging first and then rolling to their side. Top person has to keep the mount during the bridging and then transition to side mount, get seat belt grips and hooks in as the bottom person finally rolls over totally and the top person gets back control. The drill ends with the top person flattening the bottom person. A perfect position for a rear choke, of course.

We worked on the back choke for a bit. And then, just for a variation on that theme, I showed her a front choke from guard and turtle top. And that was all we had time for.

No rolling, but it was fun all the same. Here are some pictures :-)

Explaining some stuff before we started. I've no idea why I'm pointing my finger. But I know I have a bad habit of doing that when I work with horses, too ;-)

Explainig concept of guard passing. Notice concern on boyfriend's face. :-)))

Explaining knee through guard pass (as opposed to passing under the leg).

Yana practicing her front choke on me. No other volunteers ;-)

I'm really happy she has chosen BJJ and I think she'll enjoy it. Pity she lives in Adelaide. By the time she visits next time though, we'll be able to have a roll. I'm looking forward to it!