Archive for February, 2011

Fazendo Bem

February 27, 2011


Good class today.  Got there way early so just warmed up slowly and discussed tonight’s UFC 127.  My opinion is that it’s not worth the PPV fee and I think Penn is going to win, but it might be an ugly match.  I am not a Fitch fan and I don’t see him really challenging Penn in any way.  I don’t care about the Bisping fight as I really don’t like watching him fight. That’s it in a nutshell.

We started the class working on closing the distance from a standing position, clinching and going for a take down.  Then, we moved onto defending against the arm triangle from the mount position and the application and defense of a triangle from the mount.

Joe was really trying to make sure that we applied the techniques correctly because they are a bit intricate so he was going around to everyone to make sure they were doing it correctly. I had a lot of trouble so it was good to get pointers from him.

Then, we lined up for mount escape drills.  I started off on bottom and the rule was if you escaped the mount you continued escaping.  I did really well during the drill.  Not a single guy tapped me.  I did really well escaping, which was great.  I guess the vacation did me some good.

Finally, we started the open mat and I rolled four times with 3 different partners (I was with PB Steve twice).  I got caught 4 times, but spent most of the time either defending or attempting a technique.

All in all a good class.  It felt good to be out of that funk I was in a few weeks ago.

Chau e bom dia!


Voltando a Treinar depois das Férias

February 26, 2011


Was on vacation for a few days early in the week, which was much needed.  Work has been really stressful and as you’ve been reading in my posts my Jiu-Jitsu has been stressful too.  So vacation was all about relaxing and taking it easy.  I took it so easy that I read 4 books:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Theif by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sea of Monsters by same

The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

Flim Flam by James Randi

So after catching up on work I hit the mats on Thursday.  There were a lot of new guys, which is good.  We need more new guys in the school.  Joe is such a good teacher and holds true to Helio Gracie’s philosophy and training methods.  He deserves to have more students.

Because of the number of brandy new white belts we worked on basic defenses from the feet.  An attacker attempts to go for a takedown, you sprawl and then put them into a guillotine.  The new guy I was working with is a cop who is already pretty strong and fast.  It took some time to get him to slow down and do things correctly.

Then we moved to the ground and worked on applying a triangle during a guard pass attempt.  He did better at this because he had to slow down since he wasn’t used to having to move his hips and shifting his legs at the same time.  Overall he did pretty well with it.

We worked on applying an arm bar should the triangle attempt fail.  He had a lot more trouble with this because he kept forgetting to squeeze his knees together.  Then, we worked on applying an arm bar should the first arm bar attempt fail because the guy tries to stack you.  I had a lot of trouble with this because it involved spinning on your shoulder.  You’re not supposed to use your legs to push off, but I was having trouble, plus my partner didn’t know how to stack me and would sort of stand up rather than apply pressure.

He had a LOT of trouble with it as well even though I was doing things correctly.  We kept having to call Joe over to help him with this and that.

After that we lined up for guard passing drills.  I got a white belt in my guard and swept him so it was then my turn to pass.  I did really well with this.  I did mostly standing passes because the new guys were using a lot of strength and getting all spastic.  I have found that standing guard passes are better with those guys.  I avoid getting muscled and getting a joint injured because of some guy’s spastic reaction to my technique.

I was doing really well for twenty minutes when during one particular guard pass I didn’t sit down and reset when my partner was attempting a sweep.  I lost my balance and had to go back to the end of the line.  I went with two more guys who really muscled their passes.  I tried to warn them that guard passing is tiring enough as it is and that they aren’t going to help themselves win a fight if they are so tired after just one technique.  Hopefully, they’ll learn.

After 30 minutes of this Joe called for the open mat.  I didn’t participate because I was so tired from all the guard passing.  Vacation rust I guess.  I’m heading to class today and will definitely participate.  I’ll let you know how I do.

One thing I did notice is that some of our higher belts didn’t participate in the open mat.  And I found out later that’s their MO.  One of my friends told me he doesn’t remember the last time when one of those higher belts trained in the open mat and this friend goes to class 4 times a week and has been training non-stop for 4 years.

I found that really interesting.  Why wouldn’t they?  Especially being higher belts.  Do you guys have classmates who hold a higher belt and don’t train?  Let me know what you think.

Finally, here are two little gifts.  One is an awesome MMA knockout I found on and the other is a street fight between two Brazilian women.  I love them crazy Brazilians.  Reminds me of my family down there.  Enjoy!

Ai O Meu Nariz!

February 13, 2011


Got to class about 45 minutes early and got warmed up quick.  I had to go to a party last night so I wanted to a get a roll in before class started since I wouldn’t participate in the open mat.

I asked BB Luis to work with me on mount escapes.  So we got into position and once again I learned that I need a lot of work there.  A lot of work!  Apparently, I’m making the mistake of allowing my attacker to get his hand too deep into my collar.  Also, I’m missing the timing on an escape when he attempts to get into position to attempt an arm bar or inverted triangle.  I tried to internalize that as much as I could and hopefully I’ll be able to use that in future rolls.

The only problem with this roll was that I took a hard knee to the nose that gave me a small nose bleed.  It hurt worse than it looked as it didn’t drip out, the blood just accumulated inside.  That’s why the title of this post translates to “Ouch, my nose.”  It bothered me for most of the class and it was another reason why I didn’t particiapte.

Class focused on defensive techniques leading to an offensive technique.  First, an attacker attempts to sucker punch you.  You clinch, trap his arm by using your arm to pinch it to your side.  You put your hand on the shoulder closest to your head and put your elbow into his throat.  You stop forward with the foot on the side you have the trapped arm almost like your stepping past him.  As you do that you raise the elbow in the guy’s throat to the sky thus leaning him back.

Now, you bring your other leg around him and lean forward and he should topple over very easily.  If you feel any resistance or the need to push you’re not doing it right.  As your attacker is falling you have to maintain a grip on his arm, not too tight or you might pull you down, but enough to maintain control of him so you can transition to knee on belly and apply an arm lock.

We worked on that for 15 minutes and then worked on defending a punch from the guard to a kimora.  Then, should the guy try to pull away you actually let him to a point, then you kick him in the face and pull him back into a triangle.  I love those types of transitions.  I think it shows the true beauty of B.J.J.

Then, if he gets up, you let go of his arms and go for his legs and sweep him and transition to side mount.  Very good stuff.  Finally, we broke out into guard passing drills.  I did OK.  I started on top, but got submitted by PB Steve so I ended up on bottom and didn’t do much.  Mainly because I was bothered by my nose.  For some reason I kept thinking I was going to bleed all over my partner’s white gis so I didn’t work as hard as I should have.  Class ended and the open mat started so I left.

Hopefully, you all had good training sessions this weekend.

Chau e bom dia!


February 10, 2011


Ever since my last post I’ve had some really good conversations with my friend PB Steve.  As you’ve read I’ve been really down about my performance lately.  Steve was great about giving me perspective as to how much I’ve improved over the last three years and how I need to re-focus on doing the techniques correctly.  Finally, he reminded me that B.J.J. is all about time.  You need mat time to learn and develop and you need time to develop your timing.  Just like B.J.J. is best when performed patiently I will perform better if I’m patient.  It’s good to have a good friend who is able to talk you down from the ledge.

So I got to school early and spent a good amount of time loosening up.  I’ve been jumping right into a roll when I get to class, which is not smart.  That path leads to torn A.C.L.s and that is something I definitely do not want.  I read a lot of B.J.J. blogs and just reading about those types of injuries put me in knots let alone actually experiencing that injury.  So I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to stretch and warm up prior to our official warm ups.

I also read a lot of fitness blogs in order to keep me informed and motivated to work out at home a few times a week.  A lot of them have been speaking about the importance of stretching and flexibility in preventing injury and promoting overall health.  Now I’ve committed to stretching two times a day: right after I wake up and when I get home.  I’ve been doing well with it in that I’m sticking with it and I’ve already noticed I’m already getting a little further than I could when I started.  I do have to say it feels good to be all loose in the morning.

Class last night was all about the basics because there were a lot of white belts there.  We worked on applying an arm bar from a standing position.  That led to applying an arm bar from the guard.  And we worked on variations of that technique from there.

Those variations could be putting your foot on your attacker’s hip or not doing that.  Raising your hips and dropping them quickly in order to get around and grab their arms.  That’s all we worked on for a good hour.

Then, we broke for 3-minute guard passing drills; if you passed a guard you stayed in and kept passing.  Unfortunately, a lot of the white belts training yesterday were all strong monsters.  Rather than try to fight them I just let them pass my guard and moved on.

After about 20 minutes we ended the session and began the open mat.  First, I rolled with WB Roy and we had a good back and forth.  Unfortunately, I left my arm open for Roy to get a hold of and he tapped me with a key lock.  We reset and I tapped him with a key lock.  We both laughed about it, which was good.

Then, I rolled with WB V.  He still has to learn to control himself because he went crazy.  I defended as best I could, but he was using every ounce of strength he had and eventually forced an arm bar on me.  I was done at that point.  I went in and spoke to Joe about my frustrations and how I felt like I hit a wall.

We spoke for a good while and he gave me a lot of pointers that really helped.  He talked about his experiences when he first started training 15 years ago and his difficulties training.  He mentioned that I can’t expect to improve as quickly as everyone else.  Especially when you consider that some guys are training 5 days a week and I’m only there two days a week.

He’s right.  I have to pace myself and be more patient as Steve said.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  And at the end of day if I get tapped, so what?  Who cares?  I should focus on learning from my mistakes and focusing more on timing.  He kept repeating that it’s one thing to know how to execute a technique; it’s another to time it correctly.

It was great talking to him.  I felt a lot better after that and I look forward to getting back on the mat on the mat on Saturday.

Chau e bom dia!



February 7, 2011


The title of today’s post means “frustration” in Portuguese.  That’s to explain the state I’m in.  So my last post described my frustration with my performance and this weekend unfortunately did nothing to improve that.

I got completely wrecked.  I got to class early and PB Steve said let’s go.  This roll went 40 minutes and I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember getting tapped…a lot.  I got caught in a bunch of arm bars and a few triangles.  Some of them came on really quick and I was too slow to react or my defense was really crappy.  I was really disappointed in my performance.  I just couldn’t get anything to work so that started the sense of frustration.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself or maybe I’m being a baby, but I think I should be better.  And that’s not just better in one area; I should be better across the board.  For some reason I feel like I’m regressing.  This is my third year of training and I feel like a white belt all over again.

So we started class with the first stand-up technique: how to escape a standing choke hold.  An attacker goes to put a two-hand choke hold on your neck.  You tuck your chin in, bring your hands up to protect your face in case he tries to punch you.  You step step back, lean down and draw a U shape with your upper body to the right or left side to get away from your attacker.  Make sure you keep your hands up in case the guys starts throwing.  In thinking about it it’s a really important technique to learn.

Then, we moved down to work on several techniques that will help you maintain the mount position.  There were too many to note here plus the detail is really intricate.  I struggled with some of the movements for a little bit before my brain clicked and things started to work.

Next, we worked on drills where you had to maintain the mount for a period of 3 minutes.  The guy on the bottom was allowed to go nuts in order to simulate a street fight.  In some instances it was really funny to watch.  Some of the guys looked like they were riding mechanical bulls.  I did OK with the drills.  I think my frustration was getting to me by this point and it affected my performance.

We ended class for the open mat.  I partnered up with BB Yosef and completely sucked.  I usually cancel him out and control him, but this time I just sucked.  I got tapped twice by him in 8 minutes and that shouldn’t have happened.  At all.  No excuses.  It was completely pathetic and embarrassing to write about.  I really don’t get a sense that my training partners suffer from the same lack of ability the way I do.  I was so frustrated that I just got off the mat, packed my things and left.

I thought when I got my blue belt that things would start to click a little faster and basic techniques would get a little better, but I’m not seeing that.  Like I mentioned before I feel like I’m regressing and that is happening while everyone else is progressing.  I’m still getting caught in the same things because I keep making the same stupid mistakes.  I feel like I can’t put together an effective strategy and that’s very embarrassing because coming up with strategies is part of my day job.

Has anyone else been here?  If so, how did you break through it?  Any effective strategies will be extremely appreciated.

Here’s my other source of frustration.  I saw UFC 126 where Anderson Silva finished off Vitor Belfort with a highlight-reel kick.  Silva is my favorite fighter; the guy is just amazing.  Yet, I was really frustrated by all the love Belfort was getting.   He lost.  Why was he getting all this love?  Why did we get the hard sell on what a great fighter he is?  If he was that good, wouldn’t he have done a better job?  Were people worried about his feelings?  He’s an adult I think he can man up to defeat and grow from it.

Why wasn’t Silva getting any accolades?  Why is there no respect for his ability or what he accomplished?  It’s not his fault that Belfort couldn’t take a kick to the face?  And it hasn’t been his fault that the UFC has been putting him against a bunch of lackluster fighters.  I love Damian Maya, but did anyone really think that he could take Silva?  Same goes for Patrick Cote and Thales Leites.  These guys couldn’t step to him.  Say what you want about Chael Sonnen, but you need to re-look at that fight.  I have a feeling that Silva was playing him the entire time.

That’s it.  I’m done ranting.  Sorry for the long blog post.

Hopefully, I’ll get my head right and have a better training session on Tuesday.

Chau e bom dia!