Archive for July, 2011

Cansado, mas Sinto Bem

July 30, 2011


How are  you doing?  I’m tired, but feeling good.  Partly because I found out that if I pass my next PT evaluation I’ll be discharged and can resume my regular training schedule!  Yea!!!  Wish me luck!  I’m also feeling good partly because we had a great class today.  It’s really hot up in here in NJ so the training was that much tougher, but in a good way.

We went right into ground work today.  No stand up techniques, which was unusual, but whatever.  We worked on applying the omoplata from the guard and then the defense against that omoplata.  I didn’t have any real trouble with either.  It was just more about getting the time right to apply one or the other.  For example, if you catch the omoplata early enough you simply thrust your hips forward and go for a basic under-the-leg guard pass.  If you’re late, then you let your attacker get into position, tuck the arm he is attacking against your belt and then roll under him as he lifts his hips to apply the technique.  Quite effective.

Although these techniques sound easy and for the most part they aren’t too difficult, our instructor really wanted to hammer the lesson in so we worked on these techniques over and over and over again.  In a room with no air conditioning that can be quite taxing on the body.

After class was over I partnered up with a new blue belt (I forgot his name, which isn’t good) and we went for one, six-minute round.  I didn’t get him, but I did control him for the most part in side mount after passing his guard.  He got me back into his guard after bucking like a madman, but I just passed it again.  I’m glad that those basic techniques weren’t loss due to inactivity as I was away from the mat.

I didn’t tap him, but I’m OK with that because I think I did well overall.  Wish me luck on my evaluation.  Will post results on Tuesday.

Chau e bom dia!



July 16, 2011


I was so busy last week that I completely forgot to post and I had such a busy week this week that now I can’t remember what we worked on.  I think it’s a sign for an extended vacation from work.   Not a bad idea, right?

Going forward I’m going to format my posts to contain two subjects: knee status and bjj training.  This will be at least until I’m discharged from PT, which I think will happen in another two to three weeks.

Knee Status:

Knees are doing well.  The right one hasn’t pinched in a while now.  I think it had to do with the increased weight and exercises I was doing that helped it get back in line.  I definitely think the one-legged squats contributed the most to its rehab.  The left knee had a little trouble with its bursa sack.  Got a little swollen and painful.  However, some PT has gotten it back in shape and everything seems fine.

The only soreness I feel right now is left over from Thursday night’s U2 concert in Philly.  I’ll post more about that below.  Basically, the knees are feeling really good.  I think over the long term I’ll back to training on my normal schedule without any issues.

In order to keep my knees healthy I decided to start wearing knee pads, which I bought at the local Dick’s sporting goods.  They are heavily padded volleyball pads and so far so great!  I’ve used them twice now and my knees feel fine; no issues.  I had been thinking of getting them anyway.  I don’t think the skin on my knees appreciated the abuse of the mat; it always felt sore and raw after a medium to heavy training session.

BJJ Training:

Today I walked into my academy and put in a request to go over basic mount escapes.  As you know, escaping the mount is something I’m always trying to improve and since it’s been a while since I’ve trained I was itching to work on that.

The result was a very good class.  We worked on the bump and roll for about 20 minutes and then the elbow escape for the next 30 minutes.  We spent more time on the elbow escape because there’s more movement involved and several of us (especially me) were doing it wrong.  I violated the rule of “elbow escaping” by using my right hand on my partner’s knee when completely the escape in order to bring my other leg around to close my guard.  Whoops!

My instructor caught me doing that and busted my stones something fierce.  There’s no excuse.  I’ve been training BJJ for just north of 4 years.  I should’ve known better.   Once I corrected myself (and my classmates did the same) we worked on escaping should your attacker post out his arm.  It involves bumping your hips far away from him, bringing your knee in between you and him, using that knee to push away and get into the position to apply an ankle lock or heel hook.

Despite my little flub it felt like I remembered everything I knew.  Still good to review though.  I’m going to spend the week thinking of more basic stuff to go over at the next class.  Maybe we can work on something off of the knees like back mount escapes or just applying submissions from the back like a collar choke or a Mata Leão.

Our instructor called for 3-minute mount escape drills, but my training partner had to go so I was the odd man out.  I’m going to make sure to work on that before and after class over the next few weeks.


So I mentioned above that I saw the U2 concert in Philly on Thursday.  While it wasn’t their best concert, it was really, really good.  Performing in a stadium setting is an art in of itself besides being able to perform and U2 is one of two bands that can do it really well.  They really took advantage of the 360 degree stage they had built and played the majority of their hits.

While it wasn’t U2’s best concert it was my best concert experience and here’s why:  I was in the inner circle, which put me about 10 feet away from the band.  At one point Bono was singing “Beautiful Day” right over my head!  The stage set up includes bridges that the band can use to walk to an outer circle so they can get closer to the seated audience.  Those bridges moved so at one point Bono moved right above me while he was singing “Elevation.”  So awesome!  You can’t beat an experience like that.

I also got back stage and while I didn’t meet the band it was really cool to walk past their dressing room and see their buses and all the stuff going.  The best part was that me and my wife didn’t pay a dime for the experience.  Our friend owns the catering company that is on the tour so he got us “family” passes and showed us around and got us into the inner circle.  It really pays to know people, doesn’t it?

Chau e bom dia!





July 2, 2011


It’s been QUITE a long time since I’ve posted.  I thought I would post every now and again regarding my physical therapy and then realized it would be really boring for everyone so I decided to just not post.  In hindsight I should have posted something like “taking a break while going through PT, will be back soon.”

So here is the update regarding my current situation.  My right knee has been responding well to PT, but still “pinches” every now again.  It’s very random.  There is no pattern or specific cause I can identify.  Once it happened right as I was leaving PT.  That’s how random it is.  After a few sessions I was finally able to schedule an MRI and get it analyzed.

Turns out that my knee is suffering from Chondromalacia, which is a condition of the tendons that results from the kneecap being “off track.”  The damage isn’t significant enough to require surgery, but over time, if I didn’t get it treated it would get worse.  Fortunately, the treatment is the physical therapy I’m currently doing, which is great.  My physical therapist added some exercises, discharged others, and added more weight and repetition of others.  I’ll do this for about another month and I should be good.  I am very happy that nothing is torn (at least at this point, it may still happen in the future).

Having discovered the true cause of my knee issue got me thinking and I decided to go back into training BJJ; however, with some stipulations.  I’m only training once a week until I’m discharged from PT.  I’m only going to participate in the technical training portion of class and will not do any drills that require a lot of work from the knees and I will definitely not spar.  That’s not great, but at least I’m back in training, which is way better than not training at all.  Everything has a consolation prize.

So today I got back to class for the first time and I tell you it felt AWESOME to be back.  Class ended about 2 hours ago and it’s hitting me now as to how much I missed it.  My instructor was glad to have me back, which was great.  He kept busting my stones about “taking an extended vacation” and working out at Brock Lesnar’s Deathclutch Gym.  He busts me on Brock Lesnar because once I said he was a great fighter (I said it as a joke, but he decided to take the entire conversation to the next level).

I put in a request to work on guard passing.  I wanted to test the knee and work on something really basic that I’m very familiar with so as to ease my way back in and get in a grove again.  I’m a broken record at this point, but it was great.  I didn’t feel like I lost any technique or had to be reminded of anything (granted I was only out for 3 months).  I think my sense of timing even improved.  Maybe it was a good thing I stepped away for a while.  Let the brain and body reset and grow.  Kind of like lifting weights.  You’re breaking down the muscle and it grows back stronger.

We worked on the two basic guard passes for pretty much the entire hour and I was done.  I have to think long-term here so I’m taking it easy.  Maybe I’m taking it too easy, but I still want to be able to perform BJJ when I’m 90 so I think I’m making the right decisions.  I’ll train once a week while I’m still doing PT and then will ease back into a twice a week schedule in mid-August/early September.

I wonder if any of you have suffered injuries and how you worked through them?  Were you careful getting back into the game or did you go full bore?  Did you take the entire doctor-recommended time to convalesce or did you wait a little bit and then jumped back in.

Chau e bom dia!