Archive for April, 2010

Seminar de Jiu-Jitsu

April 25, 2010

So today was a three-hour jiu-jitsu seminar held by my instructor.  This differs from our regular class in that it’s 3 hours long versus the regular 1.5 and it’s non-stop.  We learn a technique and then drill it for three minute rounds.  We switch partners, learn a new technique and repeat until the end of the seminar.  It was exciting, it was grueling, it was painful, it was awesome.

After an extended warm up (if you’re going for three hours straight, it’s prudent to get the muscles warmed up and the body flexible).  We learned a few stand up defense techniques like closing the distance to your attacker when he throws a punch.  Also, different methods of taking him down from there.

Then we worked different techniques that’ll help us escape the mount.  I’ve mentioned how I need to work on mount escapes before so it was good to go over everything again and practice it over and over and over.

I actually saw some progress in my technique over the seminar, which felt good.  I still have a lot of work to do, but at least I improved a little and I can see where I need more work.  For example when I try to escape the mount via an elbow escape I’m not putting my knee all the way to the ground so that I can slide it under my attacker’s leg.  I also need to move my hips a little more as I’m completing the escape.

One thing I did struggle with is my cardio.  Work had to running around at all hours of the day last week so I was really tired going in.  Lacking in cardio didn’t make it any better.  I was breathing really heavy an hour into the seminar and that’s not a good thing.  I also allowed my weight to climb up again.  I dropped 15lbs by changing my diet, but I went off the wagon and put the weight back on.  Extra weight is not very good for your cardio if you don’t already know.

That about wraps up the weekend for me.  I am going to try to remember what I learned and use those techniques when I spar.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Until then…chau e bom dia!


As Ondas de Progresso

April 18, 2010


The title of this entry is “As Ondas de Progresso,” which is Portuguese for “The waves of progress” or a better translation: the ups and downs of progress.   That’s because that’s how I feel after my performance this week.

Tuesday’s class was the crest of the wave.  We started out defending ourselves from an attacker who grabs your jacket by the shoulder.  The movement is a little too complex for me to explain (I’m not that smart), but it’s quite effective especially if the attacker has big arms.

Next we moved on to training the guillotine from the guard and linking movements off of that should the guillotine fail.  Should your guillotine attempt fail you go for a kimora.  Should the kimora fail you pin the arm your trying to apply the kimora to your body, raise your hips and bump your attacker over and now you’re in mount.  Should the bump fail because your attacker posts his arm, you then transition back to the kimora.

I absolutely love when we train these techniques that link together.  It not only trains your body, it trains your mind.  We worked on that for a while and then switched to some drill work.  We worked on passing the guard drills and this is where I hit my stride.  I worked with Todd, who is a blue belt.  He’s pretty strong and in some cases a little too rough.  I usually have trouble with him, but I passed his guard.  I couldn’t believe it.  I have never been able to do that to Todd ever.  And here I was sitting in side mount with my eyes wide open.

Then, we switched where I had Todd in my guard and I was able to keep him in my guard for three minutes.  And it did it without using any strength, I just kept counter acting everything he tried.  I felt really good and then it got better.  We started the open mat and I went up against Purple Belt Steve.  Lots of good back and forth.  I would end up in mount and then get reversed and I would start the whole thing over again.  He only caught me once, which surprised the heck out of me.  I usually tap to him several times.  I was totally in the zone.

Then, I went up against Blue Belt Neal.  Neal is really good and VERY strong.  I usually find myself fighting to survive for a few short minutes before I tap, usually to one of his triangles.  However, he was about to get me into one, when I successfully escaped it.  I postured up, brought his collar across his neck thus forcing him to open his legs so I could drop into side mount.  Oh I definitely tapped to other submissions he threw at me, but it felt to do things correctly and have them work out.

And as any wave crests, it always crashes and that’s what happened to me on Saturday.  I struggled with basic techniques like the arm bar from guard and the triangle.  Struggled is too nice a word.  I totally sucked.  I couldn’t get my hips out enough to put myself at an angle to my attacker.  Couldn’t get that first leg bite for the triangle correctly.  It was ridiculous and profoundly pathetic.  I was so mad at myself that I didn’t participate in open mat.

I will train harder on Tuesday and this Saturday I have a BJJ seminar, which I’m really looking forward to.  Wish me luck!

Chau e bom dia!

Curso Duro

April 11, 2010

Today was a beautiful day in NJ.  The sky was blue, the sun was shining bright and there was this cool breeze that gave the day a sense of tranquility.

And the great day was reflected in my jiu-jitsu class.  We started off with standing up in base in a situation to ward off an attacker.  You are seated in the ready position to stand up in base.  You’re just relaxing and hanging out.  An attacker approaches you, you kick your leg out aiming for his knee, as your leg bounces off you stand up in base and you’re ready to defend yourself.

It’s pretty affective because I don’t know of anyone who would keep moving forward as their knee is being bashed.  And maybe you don’t connect, but at least you scare your attacker so they jump back.

We worked that for a little bit and then worked on mount escapes.  I’ve been waiting for this for a while.  I’ve been having a lot of trouble escaping after being mounted so I was really excited to review the techniques.

First we started with bumping your attacker if they are going for a collar choke.  You trap their wrist with one hand and use the other to grab their sleeve at the elbow and pull them down.  Trap their leg on the same side that you’re trapping their arm.  Raise your hips until their head hits the floor roll over your shoulder and you’re in their guard safe and sound (relatively speaking now that you’re not being choked and are off your back).

We then worked variations on the escapes that deal with different strategies your attacker may employ.  Such as laying out both hands on the floor at your shoulders or sticking his leg out as you try to bump.  Your best strategy should that happen is go for an elbow escape.

We worked that for 45 minutes, which was great for me.  I could’ve kept practicing that for 24 hours, that’s how much practice I think I need.  Then, we worked on mount escape drills.  5 guys on the floor and it was our jobs to try to submit them while the mounted guys try to escape.  We did that for another 30 minutes.  Very good stuff.  I almost caught a things.  Yea!

Then, we started the open mat and I went for 30 minutes.  It was great.  I did really well.  The guys who usually dominate me had to work more to catch me in things.  And one of our best guys, Sean, complimented my improved guard passing.  I was quite happy with that.  I’ve been working on that a lot so it felt good to hear that it was paying off.

I was really satisfied with my performance, especially given how poorly I did on Tuesday.  Great way to start the weekend.  Now I’m off to watch UFC 112 with some friends.  It’s looking like a good card.  Can’t wait.

Chau e bom fin de semana!

Que patético!

April 8, 2010

Ai meu dios!

I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am over my performance at Tuesday’s class.  For your background, I have been working really late and getting up really early due to a bunch of projects at work.  Bottom line: I’m not sleeping enough.  I was up at 4:30 in the morning on Tuesday, in the office by 5:30 and then traipsing around town for a project that I’m working on and didn’t stop until 6PM.  I should have realized that I should not go into class and just go home and sleep.

The class started off with defending yourself from a bear hug with your attacker’s arms inside your arms.   I did pretty well with it.  So I thought OK this is going to be a good class.

Then we started to work on headlock escapes on the ground.  One or two of the moves were no problem as I’ve done them in the past so it was a review for me.  However, about half way into the class we started to go over new variations of those escapes that required a little more physical activity and all of a sudden I hit a wall.

I hit a wall HARD!  My energy was gone and I lost all sense of coordination.  I just couldn’t get anything to work.  After another half an hour I was done.  I had nothing left.  I got off the mat with head hanging really low, got dressed and left.  That was it.  So bad.  I haven’t had that happen to me ever.  I felt horrible afterward.

However, I will make up for it this weekend.  My wife is going to be away so I have plenty of time on my hands to train.  My friend, Purple Belt Steve is going to be there and he has keys to our school so we agreed to stay extra late after class to keep rolling.  Can’t wait.


April 6, 2010

Well, I wasn’t able to train this weekend due to the holiday.  I had to pay the requisite visits to family members.  Believe me, I’d rather be on the mat, but you gotta do, what you gotta do.

Although I didn’t train at class I spent some time with my grappling dummy.  Yes, I have one.  Yes, it’s silly especially when you watch me work with it.  However, I have found that it makes a sufficient supplement to training.  Think about it.  Isn’t it better to train with a dummy than not train at all?

Here’s what mine looks like:  The only thing is that mine is 70lbs and I only paid $150 for it.  Now, this does look pretty utilitarian, but I had to do some modifications before I could use it.  I cut open the bottom of the feet, pulled out the stuffing and a long piece of bamboo in each leg.  That way the legs are flexible enough so that I can work on passing the guard, foot locks and other techniques.

I also bought a really cheap gi from my instructor (he sells them for $50) and put that on it so I can work collar chokes.  Now, I like working with it a lot, but it comes with some limitations.  It’s dead weight and doesn’t resist, which is obvious and the one technique I can’t do properly is the triangle.  That’s because it doesn’t have a defined head and shoulder area to get your legs around.  Maybe if I had longer legs it would be easier, but nature didn’t bless me with those so I have to make due.  It’s just one technique, nothing to cry about.  I think at the end of my session I’ve gotten a decent enough workout.

I usually start out with some basics as a warm up.  I use a boxing ring timer set to two minute rounds with a minute break in between.  I’ll work an arm bar from mount as many times as I can in two minutes and then rest.  Sometimes I’ll do it for two rounds others only one.  It depends on my energy level at the time.  Then I’ll move onto collar chokes or key locks.  Then, I’ll go from there.  I’ll usually go five or six rounds and I’m done.

I would never say that it’s a replacement for class because it’s not.  I use it to work on techniques slowly so I can refine them for the next class.  It also allows me to work on techniques from the left side.  I’m awkward on a normal basis so image how awkward I am when I try techniques from the left side.  Ouch.  I usually avoid it because I feel like I waste my partner’s time with my sloppiness.  I’d rather learn the proper technique and then try it on the other side with the dummy.

Well, I’m off to work on the dummy.  I’m going to class tomorrow and will report back.  Can’t wait.

Chau e bom dia!