Archive for December, 2010

Fim do Ano

December 31, 2010


Yesterday was signification for two reasons.  One, it was the last class of 2010.  Two, it marked a year since I got my Blue Belt.  Time does fly when you’re getting tapped.  Looking back I definitely see that I’m much better than when I first started; however, I still think I still suck.  Definitely have LOTS of room for improvement, which is not a bad thing.  I’m not saying that I going to quit or have a problem; I think that every Jiu-Jiteiro will agree that they never feel like they know anything or at least are not an expert in anything.

I see this journey as a marathon, not a sprint.  I am not worried that my mount escapes are HORRIBLE because I know that I’ll eventually make them better.  Eventually, I will improve my offense and eventually my overall game will improve.  I don’t measure myself against the people in my class.  I can’t hold a candle to them, but I do measure myself against the guy on the street who wants to fight me.  I am confident that with my skill and techniques will help me win a fight.

I’m very satisfied with my B.J.J. journey so far and I look forward to more growth in 2011.  I definitely learned a lot.  Doing Jiu-Jitsu with my eyes closed has improved my game.  I “listen” to my opponent more.  I can feel his weight better and can find the places to escape or I can avoid being swept because I can feel where they are trying to attack me.  It also helps me relax and not panic when things are starting to look scary.  Because I’m so focused on feeling I use less strength and thereby conserve energy.

Enough of me waxing about my yearly experience.  There’s only so much reflecting one should do.  Eventually have to put your learnings into action (that’s my brand manager speaking now).

Anyway, Thursdays class was another no gi session.  This is the most no gi I’ve ever done.  If I could make this noon class more often that would be awesome, but that’ll never happen.

Our instructor couldn’t start the class because he was having trouble so BB Ian took the reigns and we went over defenses and escapes from the key lock (Americana) from the mount.  Not surprisingly I have been using the wrong defense.  Apparently, you’re not supposed to fold your hands together and squeeze against your opponents weight as he tries to bring your arm to the floor.  Lo and behold, I’m an idiot.

All I have to do is turn slightly (you don’t want to be completely on your side) and tuck the elbow of the arm being attacked into your hip.  Look at that so simple and effective so of course I would completely miss that.  Eventually, the guy will either give up or try to roll you completely to your side so he can attack your other arm or go for a choke of some kind (I know a few gi chokes from that position, but since this is no gi the number of chokes may be a lot less).

Anyway, the next step would be to escape that position should your attacker continue to go for something rather than just returning to the full mount.  This one requires a lot more timing.  As he is attempting to go to the side mount position (I don’t know what to call it, but it’s not the regular side mount where you’re chest to chest, but your opponent is on his side, your have one knee at the back of his head and the other leg over him with your foot into his hip) you bump up and bring your hips back creating space between your hips and the leg that’s coming over your body.

That space allows you to slip your leg in and and pin his leg against your shin.  Then, you just turn towards him and push his leg (the one now pinned to your chin) away from you and he should go over.  You then finish him off with an ankle lock.  I had a little trouble with this so I closed my eyes and my timing go way better.  I also had trouble with the ankle lock (not a surprise) with the ankle lock because when I first learned it I learned it with a gi and without one I had no idea where I should put my hands.

Ian walked over and helped me with that (thank you Ian) and then everything was fine.  That was class for me because I had to leave to get together with some friends before they all left for their respective New Year’s vacations.

I couldn’t do open mat, but I did roll with BB Luis before class for about 15 minutes.  He didn’t get me and I didn’t get him, which was fine by me.  If I can go long amounts of time without getting tapped than I’m doing a good job.  There’s no way I’m going to tap the majority of the guys at my school are better than me.  It’s all good.

Well, this is my last post of this year.  I’ll post again after my next class next week.  I hope all of you have a Happy New Year and that you achieve all your Jiu-Jitsu goals in 2011.

Chau e Bom Fin do Ano!



December 30, 2010


Class was another awesome class.  It was similar to the 12/21 class where there were very few attendants.  At first it seemed like it would just be 3 of us, but then 3 others showed up, but that was it.

3 of the guys were new so Joe had us work on basic self defense: headlock escapes.  First we worked on what to do if someone tries to get you into a head lock while you’re standing up and then while you’re on the ground.

I was partnered with WB V (he has a weird name so everyone just called him “V”) who is in the army so you can imagine how my neck is feeling right now.  It was actually good to work wit him because of the fact that he’s so strong.

We worked on several head lock escape techniques for a solid hour and then started the open mat.  I started with BB Luis.  I spent most of the time on my back trying to defend myself.  In the entire 8-minute round he only get me once with a wrist lock.  However, the rest of the time I was on my back defending everything.  Very little offense.

Then, I partnered up with WB V and spent the round controlling him.  He was too strong to apply any kind of lock or choke so I just maintained position.  Going to train at the noon class tomorrow, which will be good.  Hopefully, it won’t be as cold as the last one.

Chau e bom dia!

Quase o Fim do Ano

December 27, 2010


I have to apologize.  I forgot an important detail about my training on 12/21.  PB Steve who now reads this blog and pointed it out to me.  At the end of class we did “Team Jiu-Jitsu.”

You’re probably saying, “Huh, BJJ is an individual event, how does a “team” situation work?”  Well, it works if you have an even number of guys.  You split into 2 teams and stand at opposite ends of the mat.  Some yells out go and you run at each other and try to take each other out.  Who ever gets tapped gets out while the rest keep going.  So you may start out one on one across the board but eventually you get to two on ones, three on ones and so on and so forth (obviously depending on the number of guys involved).

Well, there were only 4 of us: BB Mickey, WB Keith, PB Steve and me.  Keith and Steve teamed up against me and Mickey.  Round 1: Mickey and I agreed to go after Keith first and then after Steve.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work.  Mickey grabbed Keith, but couldn’t take him down. I grabbed his legs and brought him down, but didn’t protect my neck and Steve got me with a mate leao.  Then, they took out Mickey.

We re-set and tried it again.  This time I got to Keith and started rolling with him.  Mickey was busy with Steve, but got tapped.  Then, I was against the two of them.  I didn’t last long.  Mickey and Keith had to leave so we ended it there.  Hopefully, we’ll take that up again some time.  That was pretty cool.

Now onto Thurday’s class.

I had off from work so I went to the No Gi noon class.  It was a good, but short class due to Joe having a private scheduled.  We reviewed techniques that deal with an attacker who gets you in a bear hug.  Your reaction is quite simple.  You step back and slip your hands between you and their chin and then push away.  Just another example of the power of BJJ.

Then, we worked on defenses from the arm bar from the guard.  Also, we worked on stopping from sweeping you from the guard.  That’s a difficult one because it relies on really good timing.  Get that wrong and you’re going over and end up mounted.  I’ve been thinking about a way to combat that sweep for a while so it was good to finally go over it.

That’s about all we covered in class.  Then, we did an open mat.  I partnered up with BB Luis and had a good 8-minute roll with him.  He got me once and the rest of the time I defended mostly.  Then, I worked with PB Art who didn’t get me, but I spent all of my time on my back defending and trying to get out from under his side control.  Not bad.  I was glad that I was able to go the whole round and not get tapped.  Then, I rolled with BB Kevin who tapped me twice.

He got me with two triangle/arm bar combos as I was trying to pass his guard.  The reason being is that while I was stacking him up I paid more attention to keeping my base versus keeping the pressure on during the stack and getting him to open up his guard.  That was it for me.

It was good to put in two solid days of training before Christmas.  And boy was Christmas good.  My wife got me two new Padilla & Sons blue, gold-weave gis.  I can’t wait to try them this week.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Chau e bom dia!


December 21, 2010


Class last Thursday was awesome!  Just awesome.  And here is why: there were only 4 of us in class so it was like a semi-private.  I requested that we work on mount escapes (of course, what else would I work on?).  Rather than just show us the techniques Joe mounted me and asked me to escape.  That way he could see what I was doing wrong and corrected it.

First and foremost I’m not paying attention to my opponent.  If he gets a hand in my collar and ships his weight to the opposite side I do the right thing by trapping the arm, trapping the leg and waiting for the right time for the bump.  However, a lot of times my opponent won’t switch his weight or go for the other collar.  So I end up just laying there.  What Joe pointed out was that I was ignoring his attempts to free his trapped arm.

When I he pointed that out I realized I could time the bump when he pulled his arm back.  Duh!  How did I not see that before?  So dumb.  So we worked on that for bit.  Then, Joe reviewed how to avoid being knee locked from that position by simply elbow escaping.  Same thing: I’m a dummy because I didn’t see it.

Then, we worked on my final issue.  I’m usually late for the collar choke.  However, I do attempt to bump and roll my opponent, however my opponent will usually lay on his side and sink the choke in deeper and I’m screwed.  So Joe pointed out that by laying on his side my opponent has opened up space for me to pull my leg closest to him in between me and my opponent.  That allows me to push away and go for an ankle lock.  So simple and so obvious and of course I miss it because I’m dumb.

We worked on that for a long time.  Because it’s all about the timing and boy does my timing work.  Such an awesome class.  It was great getting the personal detail from Joe and working on things slowly.  You can focus and you don’t have to worry about taking up too much class time with questions.  Loved it.  Hopefully, it’ll happen again over the next two weeks with the holiday.

Open mat was good.  I rolled with PB Steve and had a lot of back and forth.  We probably went for 20 minutes even though I had set the clock for 10 minutes.  Apparently, I never hit the “go” button.  LOL!  Still good.  I’m surprised that I’m able to go that long and still have some gas in the tank.  That’s big for me.

I’ll be back later to post about last night’s class.

Chau e bom dia!


Todo com Paciência y Técnica

December 15, 2010


Yesterday’s class was awesome.  We’ve done this type of class once several months ago, probably the summer.  We worked all stand up techniques and all of them had to do with closing the distance between you and an attacker.

The techniques are a little too complicated for me to explain effectively here so I’ll skip that part, but it was great to go over these REALLY important techniques.  If you’re in a fight on the street this is something you may have to do.  The Gracies do it to great effect in the “Gracie in Action” DVDs.

The key is to be patient and use technique (hence the title of this post).  I did really well although there is always room for improvement.  Some of the techniques that lead to a takedown could use a lot of work.  I tend to not land the right way and there was one technique where you hang your weight on your attacker’s waist to bring him down onto his back.  You’re supposed to tuck your arm in and roll over it instead of landing on your forearm which is just a natural reaction I have.  That’s not good because it’s only OK to do that on the mats.  You do that on the street and you’ll get a broken arm.

We worked on all these techniques for a solid hour and then did a unique drill for this type of training.  3 guys got MMA gloves on and the rest of the class lined up.  If you were on the wall your goal was to close the distance to a clinch twice.  No take downs or attacks, just close the distance and that’s it.  The attacker’s job was to strike at you (obviously not to the point of killing your opponent).

I did…OK with it.  I needed to be more patient.  There were a few times where I actually went after my attacker instead of making him chase me.  And one instance I didn’t time it correctly and took a hit to the side of the head that had it been a real fight would have taken my head off.

Then, our instructor called the end of class and we went into open mat mode.  I partnered up with WB Nick and went for 8 minutes.  He didn’t get me, but I didn’t get him either.  He was playing the spazzy white belt with strength game so I just let him roll around and focused on defending myself.  No big deal, I think that’s actually useful training.

Then, I partnered up with WB Chris and after a few seconds of him in my guard I got on top and tapped him with a key lock.  We reset and I tapped him with a key lock from side mount.  That was it for me.  I was tired from staying up too late the night before and I felt I had gotten enough training in that I was good to go.

I’ll be training on Thursday this week because my band has a gig this Saturday.  Should be fun as PB Steve will be there.  Class is always better when he’s there.

Chau e bom dia!

Muita Técnica

December 12, 2010


Saturday’s class was way too much technique for me.  I’m not saying that I don’t like technique over strength or anything.  It’s just that I’m not really smart so when we go over very intricate techniques I get overwhelmed and struggle.

We started some simple arm locks from standing should an opponent grab your collar.  Then, we moved to the ground and variations of getting out from under side mount.  There’s the basic one where you post the leg furthest away from your opponent and push your hips away from his body thus creating space.  You bring the knee of the leg closest to your opponent across his waistline.

You push off of that knee, which should bring you straight under him.  The leg you posted on goes around his back and you bring your other leg around and in you’re in guard.  That’s about as much detail as you are going to get for this class.  The rest of the techniques were so complicated that I barely learned them.  Again, I’m not that smart.

Me and my partner, BB Bob were struggling, although he eventually got one of the 5 variations we learned whereas I couldn’t grasp any of them.  I kept having to ask my instructor to look at what I was doing because I could tell that I was messing up.  He had to correct me a bunch of times and even then I had problems.

Then, we worked on 3-minute side mount drills.  I went on bottom while BB Bob attempted submission or to go to mount.  I kept him from going to mount and from applying any submissions (although that’s not easy when you roll with BB Bob, his technique is that damn good).  However, I couldn’t escape his side mount.  He would go from left, to north/south, to right over and over again and I couldn’t get the timing right to get him off me.  That’s not good, but at least he didn’t catch me with anything.  I’ll take that at this point.

Then, I partnered up with WB Chris.  I got out from on him twice, but spent the rest of the time avoiding his submissions.  Not too bad.  However, when I got on top he could not shake me off and I applied a few submissions, which was good.  I got him in 3 arm triangles and a kimora.  Not bad.

Time was called and we started the open mat.  I partnered back up with BB Bob and we went for 8 minutes.  It was good.  Lots of back and forth.  I tell you, his standing guard pass is awesome.  If mine could be a 10th of his I’d be in a better place.  Once he stacks you, you’re done.  There’s nothing you can do and no where to go.  He got me at one point and I just said, “Go ahead, I’m not doing anything here.”

There was a lot of back and forth between the two of us.  I’d get to mount, he would bump me and end up in my guard.  He’d pass my guard, get into side mount and then get to mount.  I would bump him and the whole process would start all over again.  It was good.  I like rolls like that.  All technique so you have to think more.  I actually get more of a workout with guys like BB Bob than I do with some of the new guys with a wrestling background.

Unfortunately, due to a party I was invited to I couldn’t roll any more after BB Bob.  So I got changed and left.  Will be back on Tuesday.

A quick post script to class:  Our instructor announced that the school is moving.  The place we’re going to will be in a newer building with a bigger training area.  That’ll be cool.  We should be moved in by February.  The good part is that the school is about 10 minutes closer to my house and it’s right off of the exit so no more in-town lights/traffic one has to deal with when getting off of the highway.

And finally I saw UFC 124 this morning (I was at a party so I couldn’t catch it Saturday night).  Georges St. Pierre proved once again why no one is in his league.  That guy can do anything.  It’s pretty amazing to watch him fight.  If the pundits are correct and Pierre fights Anderson Silva it’ll be simply amazing.  I liken it to the Titans fighting the Olympians.  It’ll be glorious and brutal.  Can’t wait!

Chau e bom dia!

Pasando a Guarda

December 9, 2010


Tuesday’s class was great.  It was short, focused and productive.  We worked on 2 guard passes (hence the title of this post) and that’s it.

First we worked on applying an arm bar from standing.  It’s a high risk move that I don’t think I would ever use in a street fight.  There’s too much risk involved.  First, you hope that you’re opponent isn’t going to react.  Second, you hope that you don’t mess up to the point that when you fall to the ground you hit your head and knock yourself out or risk some brain damage.

It is beautiful to watch it get applied because of it’s simplicity and how fast it can be applied, but I’m too conservative to try it any other place but in school.

Then, we worked on the two basic guard passes.  Under the leg and over the leg.  The reason we focused on that was because Joe had a private at 8PM so he decided to keep things simple.  That’s fine by me.  I think it’s awesome if you can work on one technique for 30 minutes before moving on to the next one.

Guard passing is something I’m finally starting to grasp.  I’m not having as much trouble as I used to when I was a WB.  Regardless of how comfortable I am with that technique there’s always room to improve it.  And that’s what Joe focused on.  Most of the people in class had learned these so he paid close attention to what everyone was doing and corrected things here and there.  It was great.

So that was class and we started the open mat.  I worked with this WB named Chris.  He’s young and a Brn Belt in Judo.  I let him get to side mount and then I reversed him.  Passed his guard and worked side mount for a while.  I didn’t attack I just focused on putting my weight in the right place and keeping it there.  I’ve noticed that when I transitioned to North/South or to attempt to go to full mount I would lighten up and my partner would escape.

So in this session I was going to keep the weight and that’s it.  I just kept switching from left-side mount to north/south to right-side mount.  And kept doing that for a while until I felt that I had Chris under control and could keep moving back and forth without any risk of him escaping.  Then, I went to mount and attempted a few submissions.  I almost got a collar choke on him, but he bumped and rolled and was in my guard.

I swept him so that I was in side mount and got to mount again and this time I locked in an arm triangle.  We reset and I got in his guard.  I did a standing guard pass to side mount and locked in a kimora.

Then, I partnered up with BB Luis.  He’s a tough one.  His defense is amazing and will make you work when he’s on the attack.  I can’t remember what he tapped me with, I think it was an arm bar, but it was pretty quick within the round.  After we reset he attempted a bunch of submissions,which I thankfully defended against.

Then, I rolled with WB Lee.  He hasn’t been to class in a long time due to work and school.  He’s really good and because I got distracted he chocked me from mount REALLY quickly.  Got to be careful about stuff like that happening in the future.  We reset and I got into his guard.  Passed it and got to mount.

I stayed there for a while because he kept trying to buck me so I just secured my base and let him tire himself out.  I then got him in a collar choke.  That’s probably the 2nd time I’ve ever tapped someone with that technique.  I usually have a lot of trouble getting it.  We reset and after some back and forth I tapped him with a kimora.

And that was class for me.  Very basic and very good.  Loved it.  Looking forward to Saturday.  A lot more people show up to that class so I’m sure I’ll get some more rolls in, which will be good.

Chau e bom dia!

Todo Doi

December 5, 2010


Had a great class yesterday and now my body is paying the price for it.  I’m really sore, especially in the area around my left knee.  Ouch.  Getting old sucks.

So started the class with a 15-minute roll with PB Steve (who now reads this blog).  I can’t remember, but I think he tapped me once or twice.  Even so, it was really good.  A lot of my mount escapes actually worked and I was able to fend off a few of his arm bar and kimora techniques.

Then, we started class with our basic warm ups and got to training.  I partnered up with BB Mickey and we worked on a single leg take down technique.  When an attacker is punching at you, you step in so that your lead leg is next to theirs thus closing the distance. As you’re doing that you duck down and grab their waste.  As the attacker pushes his weight forward to keep from moving backward you take your weight off of your lead leg (it should be able to swing easily as all your weight is on your back leg) and swing it down, wrapping it around your attacker’s lead leg.

Push your hips forward as your knee comes to the ground and if you’re doing it correctly they should fall back with ease.  You shouldn’t feel like you’re throwing them or having to push at all.  Your hips do all the work and the attacker should feel weightless.  PB Steve was partnered up with WB Roy right next to us and for some reason we are all in a silly mood so we would mess around with each other.  Once PB Steve was down so me and BB Mickey would pretend like we were punching him and stuff.  It was really funny.

Then, we worked defending a punch from the guard and applying a kimora.  I love this move because once you defend the punch you have your attacker locked in and can impose your will on them.  Then, we worked on an omaplata from that position.  That is a nasty move if you apply it correctly and if your opponent has no idea how to defend it you pretty much own them.  It’s actually not a fun place to be when an omaplata is applied on you.   You feel completely helpless because you can’t pull away from your opponent and all sorts of body parts are exposed like the back of your head, your shoulder or your face if they decide to grab you by the back of the head so they can slam you down into the pavement.

Then, we worked on applying an arm bar from the guard.  If that fails because your attacker gets his arms out you grab his sleeves and bring him back to the punch defense position.  Pull back and bring your leg over his head and apply a triangle.  That was completely new to me and I never realized it was available to me.

It was good to practice that for a while as I feel I’m finally getting how to apply a triangle correctly.  We worked on that for a while and then Joe told us all to get to the wall.  It was time for guard passing drills.  4 guys laid down and 4 guys got into their guards and passed.  If you passed you stayed in and passed.

I got my guard passed a bunch of times until finally I swept BB Bob.  Believe me that’s not an easy feat.  BB Bob is all technique so if you do anything to him you should be proud.  It’s not easy at all.

I passed a bunch of guards until I got into BB Mickey’s guard.  I had a lot of trouble with him because he’s REALLY good.  He’s deadly know as a BB and is only 19 years old.  When he becomes a black belt he’s going to be murderous.

Time was called and we started the open mat; 8 minute rounds.  I rolled with PB Steve again and he got me a bunch of times.  Once with a weird choke using my gi jacket that I didn’t see coming (have to remember to ask him what he did).  All in all it was a good roll.  Despite all the tapping I did I was happy to see some progress in my game.

Then, I partnered up with WB Roy and we had a good roll.  We didn’t finish each other, but it was a good roll nonetheless being that we had a lot of good back and forth.  That was it for me as I had to get going and prepare for dinner with friends.

Excellent class and great time.  Looking forward to the next one.

Chau e bom dia!