Friday, January 26, 2007

Half guard

I think I figured out something critical about half guard. When we were doing drills in class yesterday, I managed to successfully sweep and escape from half guard every time without getting passed or tapped.

Even though I've been hearing it over and over, I finally realized how important the underhook is. If I can achieve underhook, it makes it much more difficult for my opponent to put me on my back, and I can more easily get underneath my opponent and sweep from there.

Sometimes I'll open the half guard and put a hook in, move to x guard, or combo in some other open guard variants while putting my opponent off balance.

I also try and escape back door, which works very effectively so far- if they try and block me going back door by sitting, I engage the sweep since they are already moving with the momentum.

All in all, my half guard game jumped up considerably yesterday. No more clinging on for dear life and hoping my opponent doesn't pass!

Friday, January 19, 2007


How ironic...

The night after I posted something about training hard and working on conditioning, my body decides to break down.

I went to five classes and worked out twice in two days (about 8-9 hours of training), and after the last class on Tuesday night I felt incredibly weak. I drove home and took a shower, and immediately felt my body starting to fold. Chills, body aches, stomach pains, light headedness, etc.

Tried to sleep early and had major temperature fluctuations- waking up shivering despite the multiple layers of clothes and several inches of blankets on my bed, only to wake up a few hours later in the most uncomfortable hot flashes. Extreme delirium and crazy, crazy dreams overtook the night.

Here I am a few days later. The fever has subsided, and I am left with the residual symptoms- mild cough, sneezing, etc. That, I can handle.

Note to self-
Take it easy!

I'm trying to do too many things at once.

When I feel myself progressing rapidly, I tend to go full speed ahead, often with reckless abandon. Gotta listen to my body and prepare time for adequate rest, especially in this type of weather and with illness going around.

Back to train next week? Probably for the last half of the week, but definitely more cautious than before.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


More than anything, I think conditioning is the most critical thing in Jiu Jitsu.

"If you are tired you're not strong. If you are tired you're not fast. If you're tired you don't have good technique. If you're tired you're not even smart." - Dan Inosanto

When I'm feeling good, I can attack explosively and move from technique to technique. When I'm tired, I often stall out or just sit there and let my opponent attack.

One of my training partners has a tendency to go full blast whenever we spar. For the first minute, he is quite difficult to handle. After he expels his burst of energy, however, his performance level drops off dramatically. He is out of breath and unable to attack, defend, or even apply solid technique.

My main focus for the next few weeks is going to be conditioning.

I feel that if I can maintain a high level of cardio for an extended period of time, my overall game will go up drastically. I'm already decently in shape, but I'd like to reach the next level through intense training and focus.

Monday, January 15, 2007


It's happening slowly....

Jiu Jitsu is starting to take over much more time in my life.

A few weeks ago I started upping the frequency of training, and now I'm training pretty much every day (and sometimes twice or three times a day).

Things are beginning to flow more smoothly. I'm able to execute sequences of moves without over thinking it, whereas before I would often end up in a position and have to pause for a moment to think of what to do next. By the time I formulated a plan, I'd be swept, my guard would be passed, and I'd be tapping.

Sometimes things will happen in class that I'll just zone in on. It might be something small, but focusing on these small details has really opened the game up for me. I'll meditate on these concepts throughout the day, and next time I hit the mat I've solved a problem or two that makes the difference between being in control vs. being controlled.

One thing that has been revealed through the hard work is the importance of adequate diet and rest. If I eat trash and don't get enough sleep, my body shuts down the next day. If I sleep well and fuel my body properly with high protein, good carbs, fruits and vegetables, etc. I feel like my energy level and overall performance goes up significantly.

Because I've been eating so clean, my body really feels it when I try and eat something that isn't good for me. Last week there were some french fries on the table that my brother had left out and I decided to have a couple, and soon after I was feeling somewhat nauseous. I guess the main thing I've learned through careful eating is that once you begin to remove the unnecessary things from your diet, you realize that you don't really need them after all.

"Eat to live, not live to eat", right?

I guess the same principle goes for life in general. Sometime last year, I had a big life change and decided to remove everything from my life but the bare essentials. I stopped watching tv, I stopped buying luxury items (anything that wasn't food or gas, pretty much), and cut out negative social ties. With the time I freed up, I was able to begin training Jiu Jitsu, I read quite a few books, and generally gained a sort of peace of mind that I had never really felt before.

"The things you own end up owning you"- Tyler Durden, Fight Club

I guess we become slaves to things outside of ourselves without realizing it. The Jiu Jitsu training is largely a physical manifestation of the larger life philosophy that I've been developing.

Hey, I'm healthier, happier, and am dedicated to the constant pursuit of self improvement.

A good place to be, definitely.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Feeling Good

Coming in full speed to start the new year.

Yesterday's session went really well.

Cardio was up, stamina kept me going steady for two back to back classes.

Starting to play a more aggressive and attacking game, even in guard.

New knowledge acquired over the break raised my level of awareness up a few notches. I feel a lot better than before, even if I haven't been training for half a month.