Archive for July, 2010

O Que Passou?

July 24, 2010



Class started with a variation on a take down we’ve been learning for a while.  Your attacker is throwing punches at you, you back up timing their punches.  Once you get the feel you jump in and close the distance and grab their waste.  Normally you would grab the leg closest to you, wrap your leg around it, push your hips forward and drop the attacker to the ground.  Instead, you remain standing and push your hips up and lift him off of his feet and then drop him on his back.

Eventually we got to the take down variation I’m used to and worked on that for a while.  The falling and getting back up totally wrecked me because the heat was already making me tired.  We then worked on a keylock from side mount.  I love the keylock.  When you can get it, it’s really hard to get out of and when it’s really tight your attacker will tap really quick.  Either that or scream his butt off as his shoulder is torn from its socket.

Then, we worked on an armbar from the same position.  You hook your arm under your attacker’s arm as if you are going to apply the keylock, but instead you sit up and turn them onto their side.  You put your hand on their neck and step over putting yourself in a squat position over the head.  Make sure you squeeze your knees together or he’ll get out.  Then, you turn and layback and end up in an armbar position.  I’m not really describing it well, but it’s not that easy to explain (I’m not that smart anyway).  But it’s a great way to apply an armbar if you can keep yourself tight to your attacker.

Then, we worked on an inverted armbar where you crawl over your attacker so that your knees are on the floor on the other side of their body.  While you’re doing this you maintain a grip on your attacker’s arm and then end up when your shins across your attacker’s body, your head on the floor and your opponent’s arm on your shoulder.  Then, you place your arms under their elbows and squeeze.  I’m sure your eyes are bleeding from this terrible explanation, but it totally reflects my performance with such a technique.  I couldn’t get it to work and will definitely have to review that one again and again and again.

I didn’t do the open mat because I was too gassed from the first techniques we learned and it was just too hot.  So I changed and went home.


Whoa…just…what…what happened…That’s how I felt leaving class on Thursday.  There were two shocks that left me speechless which you’ll read below.  Now it wasn’t really class.  I had to go to a photo shoot for some new products and the shoot was happening 2 hours away.  I got to class about an hour and half after my class.  I changed into my gi and partnered up with a white belt named Michael.  Nice guy, very strong, but he’s a black belt in Judo so he has a martial artist’s calm.  He doesn’t freak out like any typical white belt.

The only thing I learned was this armbar technique from side mount.  You go from side mount to north/south then to the other side, side mount.  While you’re transitioning each time you are attacking their one arm.  This is a distraction because as you get to the other side of the body you hook under the other arm while pinching the original arm you were “fake attacking” and pinch his elbows together.  Then, you bring your leg over their head and while keeping your attacker’s elbows pinched together you bring your other leg over and cross your leg.  Then, you dig out the closest arm and apply the armbar.

It seems like a great technique if you can maintain the pressure and control.  Loosen up in the wrong place and your opponent can get out.

Then, we started the open mat.  I set the timer for 5 minutes while everyone partnered up.  I got with Alex, a BB, who is extremely athletic.  He does all sorts of unpredictable moves.  Very tournament oriented.  I did my best with him and was able to pass his guard, which surprised me.  Then, I had him in side mount and waited things out.  I controled him for a little bit, but then lost control because I let my mind wander and we ended up scrambling for different positions.  At one point he got to mount, but I reversed him and we just kept scrambling.  Eventually he caught me in an armbar.  I don’t remember how, but I got stuck in gi cloth and couldn’t get out.  No big deal.  He did compliment my side mount as feeling like a ton of bricks on his chest.

Then, I partnered up with my good friend BB Luis.  We tussled for grips and eventually I pushed him back and got into his guard.  I worked and passed to side mount.  I kept my weight on him and controlled him pretty well.  I stayed there for a minute looking for an opportunity.  I couldn’t mount him because he would block it when I tried.  I almost got to it on one attempt, but ended up in half guard, but worked my way back to side mount.  Then, I did something were I wedged my arm under his arm and was able to apply a key lock.

That was the first shock.  I NEVER get Luis.  NEVER.  I couldn’t believe what happened.  I was in complete shock.  I tapped Luis.  That has NEVER happened.  We reset and got to rolling again.  I got into his guard again and during a guard pass attempt he went for a triangle.  I stacked him up on his neck and was able to pop out to side mount.  I just laid there because I was still in shock from tapping him.  Time ran out and I barely noticed it.  He said, rounds up, bro.  Time to move on.

He shook my hand and told me I did a good job.  I was still in such shock that I barely understood what he said.  I then partnered up with a PB named Brian.  If he’s not the best jiu-jiteiro in the school he’s definitely one of the best.  I always get owned by him.

I was able to throw him from the knees to his back and got my knee on his belly.  I made sure I was tight, applied the right pressure and slowly made it to full mount.  I sat back and got my base and set my self in a good position.  He tried to buck, but I kept my weight centered on him and he couldn’t get enough space for an escape.  I tested his arms to see if I could get something.  I attempted a collar choke, but couldn’t get it deep enough and he attempted to trap it so I got my hand out of there as quickly as I could.

Then, I worked on his right arm looking for a possible key lock.  Somehow I kept his other arm from applying the defense, but for some reason I couldn’t get my one arm into position.  However, I ended up raising his arm towards his head and got my head underneath it.  I put my other arm under his head and I was in position to apply an arm triangle.

I hesitated at first because I couldn’t tell if his arm was in the right position or if it was in a defensive position.  So I waited a little bit and adjusted his head to sink it in deeper.  I felt like I had it and locked my hands and stepped over.  I inched my body up towards his head and squeezed.  And he tapped.

That was the 2nd shock.  I was like whoa…what…happened?  Did I hear that?  Did I make him do that?  Was he joking around?  I couldn’t believe it.  This has NEVER happened to me.  Two taps in one night?  I barely get lucky enough to attempt one versus actually getting two.  Time ran out, I shook Brian’s hand and stepped off the mat.

I was in shock.  I couldn’t believe that happened?  I changed and drove home in silence.  I couldn’t believe it.  It felt so good it’s not even funny.  And it wasn’t because I tapped higher belts or anything like that.  It just felt so good because it showed me that I actually could perform the techniques I’ve been working on.  That I actually knew a little jiu-jitsu.  After all these months of feeling frustrated with my progress and then this happens.

It felt good.  Still feels good.  I’m sure I’ll be analyzing it all weekend.

Chau e bom dia!


Sem Titulo

July 18, 2010


This was a good week.  On Tuesday we started with a lead grab that lead to a take down.  Then, we worked on how to defend against those take downs.  All of the falling down and standing up in the hot room totally wore me out.  Fortunately, we did that for only 45 minutes and then we moved onto basic mount attacks and defenses for the remaining 45 minutes of class.

The attacks were collar choke and the box choke.  The defenses were two parts: stopping the choke and then escaping.  As I was running out of steam the escapes got harder and harder.  Especially the bump and roll.  The elbow escape wasn’t as bad, but tiring nonetheless.  I didn’t participate in the open mat afterward because I was too tired.  I was disappointed in myself for that, but I’d rather walk away and return for another class than train tired and possibly hurt myself.

I’ve seen that happen and it’s not fun.

On Saturday we worked on nothing but the two basic guard passes.  Under the leg and over the leg.  That’s it.  The reason that happened is because the lowest level in the class was me (blue belt) so our instructor felt that it was time for us to work on stuff specifically because we shouldn’t be making white belt mistakes.

So we worked on those techniques over and over again while our instructor walked around and checked on us.  He would put your hand in the right place if you had it wrong, tell you that your posture was wrong if it was wrong and other errors he found.  Although it wasn’t that rough of a class it was still tiring because it was so detailed.

Then, we did some guard passing drills.  If you passed the guard you kept passing the guard.  Unfortunately, I was not on top and had to keep switching partners to guys who would pass my guard.  No big deal, but I did hold my own against some of the higher belts.

Then, we started the open mat and I partnered up with BB Bob.  I can’t believe he’s 55 because his game is SUPER technical.  He worked me over something fierce and barely broke a sweat.  I loved it.  I love rolling with Bob because of his technique.  I get to think about what I’m doing and trying to be two or three steps ahead instead of getting muscled around and stuff.  Bob tapped me once and we hit a stalemate after that.

Then, I partnered up with PB Steve who has been out for a month because of his new baby and we had a great set of rolls.  He caught me every time and when you’re a PB who has been training as long as he has of course he’ll tap me.  No big deal.  Saw a lot of stuff I needed to work on, which is fine.

Good week of jiu-jitsu.  Looking forward to next class on Tuesday.

Chau e bom dia!

Trate de Treinar mas Nao Podia

July 9, 2010


If you haven’t heard there is a heatwave hanging over the northeast.  The heatwave took its toll on my jiu-jitsu.  On Tuesday we worked on nothing but a takedown that could lead to a variety of sweeps.  It was a really good class, but I was so tired at the end I couldn’t do open mat.  I was completely gassed and covered in sweat.  It soaked through my street clothes.

The take down was pretty cool, you’re in the standard stand up position.  You step back pulling your attacker towards you, you then drop onto your butt and kinda on your side and as they come over you, you put your hook into their knee and bring them over so you’re not on top.   Then, we worked on sweeps from that position should the take down not work.

The techniques themselves weren’t quite difficult, but working them over and over again non-stop coupled with the heat and my inefficient body proved to be too much for me.

I was so bad that when I got home my wife could smell me before I walked in the room.  So I took an extra long shower to get good and clean.

Last night there were a lot of visitors to the school who wanted to watch a class.  When that happens our instructor likes to work on basic stuff to give the spectators an idea of his teaching style and an idea of some of the moves.  That was pretty cool because I had been thinking about going over some basic stuff.

We worked on the armbar from the guard and a sweep from that same position should the armbar fail that leads to an armbar.  Again, a very focused class and that’s all we did.   Then, we did some guard passing drills.  I kept this one white belt in my guard, really controlled him by keeping my hand in his collar, pulling him down to my chest and keeping his hips controlled.  Then, I passed his guard several times.  I went really slow.  I basically trapped his hip, defended any choke attempts and when I had enough I stacked him up on his neck, broke his guard and passed it.

Then, I partnered up with BB Luis.  I knew this was going to be a challenge so I controlled him from the most part the way I controlled the white belt.  He just laid there and then realized that I was waiting on him while he was waiting on me.  It was pretty funny.  He passed my guard once and once I swept him.  That was it.  The rest of the time it was a stalemate.

Then, I tried to pass his guard.  I controlled his hip for a while, but he swept me a few times.  I did pass his guard once.  He tried to get me in a triangle, but I stacked him up and controlled him effectively enough that I was able to pass his guard.  We spoke afterward about what I was doing and we agreed that we would talk more today.  I’ll give him a call and get his feedback.  I didn’t do open mat after that because of the heat.  It was just too much and I felt that the guard passing drill was enough for the week.

Not training this weekend because I have to help a friend with some a home project, but that’s OK.  There’s always next week.

In other news me and PB Steve have entered into a weight-loss challenge.  Whoever loses 10lbs by 8/4 has to pay for a semi-private for the two of us with our instructor.  If we tie then we split the cost.  I’m doing pretty well.  I was 210 when I started and I’m already down to 206.  I’m going to throw in another work out day at home to increase the weight loss and have radically changed my diet.  Lots of proteins and no in-between-meal eating.

Wish me luck!

Chau e bom dia!

Extra Trainar

July 5, 2010


I didn’t attend a class this weekend because school was closed due to the 4th of July weekend.  Instead PB Steve and me got together to train on our own.  Steve has keys to the school because he’s an assistant instructor so he can use the school any time he wants as long as he tells our instructor ahead of time and cleans up after he’s done.  Steve hasn’t been able to train on a regular basis because his job has completely consumed him as well as having a 2nd baby on the way.

So, we got together and rolled, worked on some techniques and rolled some more.  I have to say it was awesome.  The best part was that I realized that I know more Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu then I thought I did.

We started from the feet, which is something I’ve never done before.  We usually start on our knees due to the fact that there is usually a lot of us rolling at the same time.  We traded a lot of grips back and forth.  After some time Steve raised his leg, I think he was trying to go for a flying armbar or something, which I clinched with my arm, he dropped to the floor so I followed him making sure that I landed in a good base position and my arm landed on my knee so he couldn’t finish.  He tried to close his guard, but couldn’t because of the way my legs and arms were positioned.  I pulled him in tightly to me and passed his guard.

I tried to get something in side mount, but there was nothing there so I tried him and got to mount.  OK, now comes hard part I thought to myself.  Mount is a great, dominant position, however you have to do two things at the same time.  Maintain your base while trying to pull off a submission.  For a higher belt that’s not that difficult, but for a new BB like me it takes more work.

I tried for a collar choke, but he was able to defend it and reverse me.  He was in my guard for a bit as I tried to keep him from passing while looking for a submission.  No submission was to be found and he eventually passed my guard.  The next thing I knew he tricked me with a clock choke and mounted me.  Then, I miss-timed a collar choke defense I he got me.  He proceeded to get me a bunch of times afterward.

At one point I thought I had a good armbar defense set up, but he was able to apply some form of a bicep cutter and I had to tap.  That hurt.  My bicep is still a little sore.

After rolling for a good 40 minutes, we rested and Steve asked if there were techniques I was having trouble with.  Of course I said “escaping the mount.”  So he analyzed what I was doing wrong, and there was a lot, and gave me tips on what to do.  Basically, I’m not timing certain defenses correctly and I’m focusing too much on one thing and missing a lot of clues.

For example, my attacker has a hand in my collar.  I’m not stopping his other hand from getting into my collar before defending it.  Another example is really trying to sink in a collar choke in I’m completely missing that his weight has shifted so I can bump and roll him.  we worked on that for a long time and then went back to rolling.

It was awesome.  He got me in an awesome double leg take down.  He mounted me and this time I listened to what he said and reversed him.  Here’s where I amazed myself, I was trying to pass his guard when he attempted a triangle.  I was controlling his hips enough that I was able to get out of there without the usual struggles.  He complimented me on that, which made me smile.

While I was enjoying myself he reversed my side mount and then got me in arm triangle because I wasn’t paying attention to where I had my limbs.  I tapped and we called it a day.

It was great.  We talked about how productive it was to train like that.  No distractions no other people in the room.  No timers or switching partners.  We just trained.  We’re definitely going to do it again, hopefully sooner than later.

I have the day off from work today so I’m going to relax and get back to training tomorrow.

Chau e bom dia!

É Bom Obedeçer a Tua Estratégia

July 1, 2010


So far this has been a good week and a bad week.  It been good because of my jiu-jitsu class, but it has been bad because Portugal lost to Spain.  I’m like the typical Portuguese guy.  I love my soccer team even though they really don’t stand a chance and even though I know they aren’t going to do well I still feel a sting when they lose.

Anyway, this blog isn’t about Portuguese soccer.  It’s about jiu-jitsu so let me stop digressing.  Class was great.  My instructor announced that we are all going to work on nothing but guard passing for the next month.  Awesome.  Love it.  Keep it coming.  And that’s what we did the entire class.

And these weren’t flashy guard passes; they were all basic ones.  It was great.  I was able to identify a few things that I have been doing wrong and a better way of controlling my opponent’s hips.  For some reason I made blocking my opponent’s choke attempts a higher priority than controlling his hips.  Looking back on it now I realize how stupid I was.  Fortunately, I got to work on that a lot so I was able to make it muscle memory.

We worked on the basic under-leg guard pass and the basic over-leg guard pass for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Then, we worked on guard passing drills.  We lined up against the wall, our instructor called out 4 random guys to lay down and then the next guys in line go into their guards and tried to pass.  If you pass the guard, you kept passing, if you were able to sweep or submit the guy passing your guard, then, you took over guard passing duties.

We did this for another 15 minutes.  I didn’t get to pass anyone’s guard.  I just kept getting my guard passed.  No biggie.  I was impressed with my performance with BB Neil.  He’s REALLY good, but at some point I got really snug on him and he didn’t have any opportunities to move.  I just kept moving my hips and controlling his head.  It actually amazed me.

After that we started the open mat.  I rolled with a PB named Ian who is just short of amazing.  In 10 minutes I think he tapped 100 times.  No biggie, I didn’t make it easy for him and I was glad to see my defense has been getting better.  Even he commented on it, which was cool.  Then, I rolled with this new white belt who I never met.  He must have trained at some point because he knew a few things, but not a lot.

I passed his guard and after fighting out of a half guard I mounted him.  Then, I was able to apply an arm triangle.  As I was applying it and feeling it sink in my eyes were wide open.  Where did this come from?  How did I know to go there?  I was in complete disbelief.  He tapped and it took a second to register because I was so shocked.  And it was all because I paid attention to my strategy.  I was patient, I didn’t release a position and let him give up the submission.  Such a good strategy.  It’s so obvious, it’s good to obey your strategy.  I made a promise to myself that I would never forget that.  Hopefully, I will follow through.

This time I let him pull guard and then I did a standing guard pass because he was really fighting to not let me pass his guard.  I got him in side mount and did the same thing I did to another white belt a few weeks ago.  I maintained the position, controlled him and waited.  I almost got to mount, but the bell rang.  No big deal.

I walked out there really happy.  I texted a few of my other jiu-jitsu friends who were not in class and they all said the same thing: told you so.  I went home so wired I didn’t fall asleep until 1AM.  Then, I spent the entire day today telling everyone at work.

Well, due to some obligations I have to take care I can’t train the rest of the week, but I will definitely be back next Tuesday.

Chau e bom dia!