Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cheating side control escapes

AM class

-ankle pick
-outside hook trip
-ankle pick/hook trip combo


worked a lot to take the back. worked on some sweeps.

the elevating hooks is golden. i was able to hit a few sweeps off of that premise alone.

figured out a new possibility- omoplata from half butterfly guard. push the head. bring the shin over, control and establish the omoplata.

n/s guillotine- must clear arm and come over shoulders. easier with no gi.

head control was key in stopping the pass, again. as was freeing my limbs.

a new move- triangle from upside down guard. free up space with arms from n/s, insert hook in opposite armpit, spin into triangle. gotta figure out the spin and get it automatic.

an important principle- beginning to escape side control AS they pass. don't accept the side control and let them take position with you flat on your back with four points on the mat (two shoulders, two feet). at least come to your side and start working the underhook. if worst comes to worst and they get to side control, don't give up the "landing pad"- protect with strong posture with forearms.

the transition is not the time to relax. you must move here, otherwise it will be 10x harder to do anything once you start getting controlled.

there are times when you can relax more and times when you must commit to moving.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Lifting with the Butterfly hooks

No Gi class.

Missed techniques.


felt great, much better than this morning.

one technique that seems to work wonderfully- guard sit out to takedown/guard pass. i was rolling and no points would have been scored if it were a match. i couldn't get the sweep- it was more difficult in no gi, but i sat out of guard, went back to my feet, and passed the guard to mount. an interesting strategy that could be worthwhile.

the butterfly control seems to shut down a great deal of sweeps and open guard options with no gi. the main closed guard sweeps are more difficult with no gi (pendulum, scissor), so the half/butterfly/x/open guard stuff gets more play with no gi from what i can see. it seems harder to control the legs and shut the open guard stuff down when you can't grab the pant legs. nonetheless, the tight butterfly passing could be devastating. gotta master the marcelo sprawl pass.

as usual, head control is hard to deal with. ricardo used it on me when i passed to half guard using the butterfly sprawl pass, and i couldn't do much. i ended up giving a lot of space and eventually got swept. that's DEFINITELY going to be part of my game from now on.

x-guard seems to work better for no gi for some reason. they have less options to control your legs maybe? maybe it's just a mental thing. i feel like my guard is harder to pass with no gi. or maybe my game is just well suited for the no gi game.

played a straight up marcelo butterfly this evening. got some nice sweeps, took the back a few ways.

one counter- i lift them with butterfly, they cross the legs to prevent sweep/x-guard while posting both hands. i ducked under and took the back. great success!

elevating the legs and working sweeps or transitions seems to work well. if you elevate the legs enough, they eventually have to base out with the arms to prevent the sweep. they have nothing left to attack with! very interesting.

the standup armdrag was nice when drilling. gotta commit fully to the move to make it work successfully. much much harder to use in live sparring.

started messing with the necktie control and making them step. gotta work on it and my standup game will be a lot better.

Issues against smashing guard passes

AM class

1. half guard standup roll hook takedown sweep (lol something like that)
2. sacrifice throw
3. ankle pick
4. ankle pick/sacrifice throw combo


felt kind of tired today.

defended against two smashing guard pass styles. was playing open guard, upside down guard, and some other variants. ultimately got tired out and drained from defending.

on the plus, my guard didn't get passed much from what i remember. my back did get taken though. gotta remember to defend the back taking once i turtle.

things that need to be improved-

-need to do more squats and increase leg stamina
-need to control head more
-need to free legs and other limbs- can't let them control anything
-x-guard pulling- the leg on shoulder isn't secure- i got to the cross leg setup, but the arm control leg always got free on three different opponents

spinning arm bar issue- i am not controlling the arm enough. i can spin and move my hips out quickly enough, but they always rip the arm out. must work on controlling the arm.

didn't get to work with arm drags much at all. when i did attempt, i didnt get them in enough or didn't commit enough to actually do it.

another issue-
breaking down posture from the guard.

from andy- pull down by elbows with help from legs, push to other side, hip out and trap arm. from there many options- omoplata, sweep, take back. gotta work on that.

other sequence- flat on back butterfly sweeps. require trapped arm as well (remember the arm drag into butterfly sweep combo from last year). can sweep either way. ricardo does this all the time.

vs. ricardo- strong start and defense, got eventually passed. it's the airtight passes again. the baret yoshida thing worked momentarily from what i remember, just gotta catch it sooner than later.

technique- side mount escape to turtle. must sit up and turn to knees (they have crossface and underhook), and then get ready to trap (overhook) arm and roll.

jiu jitsu fundamental- hugging from the bottom is usually never good, as it exposes your neck. you have nothing left to defend with- both arms are tied up.

felt like i got beat up today. gotta regroup. maybe this should just make me more open to learning again?

Marcelo Garcia - open guard ruminations

I was watching the 65-77kg category of ADCC 2005 and noticed a few things about Marcelo's open guard.

Some of this stuff might be more obvious, but I just want to log it-

-he flows quickly and seamlessly between half guard, deep half guard, half butterfly, butterfly, x-guard, etc.
-he will use arm drags within these transitions to try and take the back
-he will continually be disrupting his opponent's base- creating opportunities for the sweep and preventing the oppponent from progressing. if you are defending the sweep, it's harder to try and pass.
-he will go for some sweeps (at least threaten sweep) even if it isn't completely perfect. if the sweep doesn't work, it will allow him to move to another position, readjust, etc. at least it will prevent the opponent from trying to pass if you are effective enough- they will be overwhelmed on defense.

The main idea I picked up was to always have a threat from open guard. If you are just defending the pass and not moving, you are already at a disadvantage. If you are able to always have the opponent defending a sweep or thinking about something you're doing, you are preventing them from trying to pass or submit you. There's constant movement in the transition- a very active and assertive open guard.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Marcelo Garcia- Winning Techniques of Submission Grappling (series 1) vol. 2- Mastering the Back

Taking the Back.

From Butterfly position.

Timing is important.

Size of opponent doesn't matter.

Opponent grabs ankles. Legs are dominated. If you wait too long, opponent is able to work to pass.

Before they do anything- wrist control, grab tricep, kick leg, PULL them across. Break grip.

Don't let them get your legs between their legs

Take hook out and plant it on the floor

Drag them past you

Drive them to the floor- other leg goes between legs

Chest goes to upper back

Keep it tightly clenched

Hand over shoulder-under armpit (harness)

Leg becomes hook. Hook comes over.

Either spread them out or look to finish right away.

If they go to side, finish from there.

neck is open

after you drag, you can immediately get neck.

take them to side with hooks and finish

more details- coming up on the elbow

reminder- go right away once opponent tries to control!

leg helps hips come closer

opponent grabs hands to defend neck

opponent starts escape- free leg turning and trying to escape

never let hands go- keep locked at chest

come up on elbow, pull hook out slightly

bring leg across opponent's waist

natural reaction- stretch leg out to get out of near body triangle

then put hook in

look for choke

more details

armdrag opponent

lock harness

they defend with leg

come out to side on elbow

use leg to stretch them out OR they just straighten and give up the hook

from back position-getting the choke

important- during course of move- keep harness tight against you

hand position- lower arm with hand on top

when neck is open a little, JAM hand
don't slip, JAM into throat
grab onto shoulder

pull other arm out, lock mata leao

if they defend chin tightly-
JAM hand on throat, pull forehead up
grab as much of forehead as you need

more counters to common defense

reminder- back never separates from your chest

once you pull forehead up, they pull hand down

always return to harness!

need to trap hand- grab with either hand to feed down (use on same side of choking hand)

now it's 2 on 1!

they only have one hand to defend.

more on hooks

from turtle and one hook inside

chest on back with harness

opponent drives back and bridges into you, gets hip out

you lose second hook

can not lose hand lock

don't let them grab legs either

walk feet away from arms (perpendicular to opponent now)

bridge and get to knees

force opponent to sit
why? you can choose whichever side you are comfortable with

before back hits mat, put second hook in
otherwise you may have to repeat from step one

from sweep

you sweep, they post

switch to x guard momentarily

underhook hand grabs under knee
elbow control hand switches quickly

you switch underneath and get back hooks

hands immediately grab ankles

they stand, you sweep
if they don't stand, drive them forward

must be FAST or they can recover

immediately jump on back and lock up harness, get hooks, start choking

from side control

keep knees against body (everything tight)
hand stopping hips

lock them down TIGHT- leave one escape option

they move towards outside

start exposing back

harness, sit them up, put in hooks

more from side control

opponent not rolling to outside
set them up- take hand away from blocking hip and put on other side

they turn into you, pull them towards you and go for single leg (don't let them get it tight)

arm goes like crossface (first part of harness)

start locking harness, sprawl back leg

from standing

they shoot to single leg-

free knee and kick over to spin around, get harness in

if neck is open, choke
if chin is to chest, secure harness and hooks

single leg, head inside
if you wait too long, you get taken down

grab armpit and elbow

get head to other side

step to side, drive head into center, take down

lock up harness

from back control
from back control- takedowns are too tiring, taking the back takes less energy

go to side you're looking at first

slam them down

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Walk like a duck


1. double leg
-duck walk drill- slightly angle body to rotate hips more easily
-duck walk drill while pushing opponent back each time

chop knees (like a strike!), drive them into the buckled knee with your head.

setup- either tap forehead and shoot while they blink, pull head down and shoot when they pull up, or block arms and throw upwards and then shoot

2. double leg with trip
-step and trip- outside leg
-step and trip- inside leg
-step and trip- switch head before going down (in better position to pass)

3. ankle pick
-from neck tie- make them step by either pushing or pulling to set it up
-cross ankle pick- probably the easiest one

handlebar motion to take down. Secure grip on ankle or pants or something. Can be done from necktie, gi collar grip, or gi sleeve grip.

Other quick things-

Escape vs. front headlock- control tricep with baseball bat grip, step out and rip head out while driving shoulder into arm and turning body. Similar mechanics to the necktie removal- looking away and shrugging the arm off. Can keep overhook and use it to control.

Fireman’s carry variant. From 2 on 1- duck under and fireman’s carry with elbow while keeping grip. You land in a good position to kimura.

Regular fireman’s carry. They overhook, you drop and shoot high-c, dump them over. Turn into them and establish control.

The thing with takedowns- RELENTLESNESS and setups, traps. Follow up one after another and do it explosively, quickly, and with some power.


Had some awkward matchups against lance and larry. Nothing monumental happened. I did a decent job defending submissions- starting to come to knees a lot better once the guard gets passed.

One thing to figure out- keeping the triangle as they explosively try and pop the head out. Maybe hips up and stay with it until they stop turning?

Vs. Ricardo- tucking arms better, still need to improve posture when in side control. Once he gets to a certain point with the double under pass, I have to let it go.

One thing that could help- the Baret Yoshida underhook rip out vs. the double underhook pass. Ricardo has airtight passes, so this could possibly give me more space to escape (with submission possibilities) from the bottom.

Marcelo Garcia- Winning Techniques of Submission Grappling (series 1) vol. 1- the arm drag

setup from standing-

same side wrist control (side of front leg)
-either grab wrist first
OR let him grab your wrist

-->make move IMMEDIATELY after getting control
get front leg to side of his front leg

step forward in line w/ front leg, drive shoulder into his shoulder
grip elbow with free hand (cup hand)- can't be below or above elbow- must be directly on
head resting on side of shoulder

-->always look to move first

if he grabs first
bait with own wrist forward

other hand close enough to break grip IMMEDIATELY
yank out hand towards open fingers

switch grip and start over with you controlling his wrist

...other option
you offer wrist, he grabs OTHER wrist as well

-->Marcelo huge tip- his jiu jitsu is always about BEING A STEP AHEAD of opponent
even if opponent is aware of move, he'll be reacting AFTER you do it.

switch and come inside- if you react quickly, you can still arm drag
(his arm can jam you from coming in)

...defense to move- counter
once it's in completely, it's a bad situation

once you get armdragged- bring far hand (forearm) between your shoulder and head- DRIVE
take leg off line with his leg- step back
break grip and reset head to head

...dragging opponent past you
once he starts moving around, make opponent walk past you
PULL opponent past you- step leg back, legs like squat-lunge

IMMEDIATELY turn in same direction as opponent
bring chest onto opponent's upper back
shoulder tight against upper back
establish harness grip (hand under armpit is always grabbing wrist of hand over shoulder)
if you're not tight to back- opponent can step out


...the harness grip
once opponent is dragged past
harness grip
DRIVE grip into chest- with your chest driving into upper back
keep tight against upper back

if grip is loose, they can escape

...getting the hooks
getting the hooks
there's an easier way than most people make it
"the jiu jitsu is SIMPLE. it can't be complicated."
get closer hook first
wait for opponent to start lifting (they aren't comfortable there)- put first hook
opponent keeps going- jump with far hook

hooks need to be above the knees- not below the knees

...hook defense to mata leao
they defend first hook
it's useless to try far hook as well- they are on defense about hooks
BUT something else is wide open...the NECK

jam arm into throat- don't walk it gently
get fingers into groove of shoulder/armpit
other arm comes out- get mata leao

takedown option from shoulder to shoulder

once shoulder to shoulder- they resist and try to pull arm out
can't make opponent walk?
before they pull out arm- put weight down on shoulder w/own shoulder-don't hesitate

take them to the ground
front leg in line still
other leg- step in between legs and drop

keep arm tight

from ground
don't wait or they can establish position
as soon as you fall- elbow control helps you lift self up

sit up- use outside leg kick as pendulum to get momentum and sit up
release elbow- post (inside leg still hooking like half guard- toes pointed down for extra control)
other arm shoots over to far armpit
etablish harness grip
keep grip tight

take advantage of what opponent gives you

if they aren't moving, just take back
you already have one hook

until submission
come in with second hook
jam hand into throat
grab shoulder
take bottom arm out
lock mata leao for the choke

as you get second hook- JAM hand into throat simultaneously (not before)

from ground- they resist and try and lift up from turtle
they lift up
you go with them (like one armed row)- use strength against them
you must do it fast before they can get up fully

marcelo used this in abu dhabi against bigger opponents

variation- from ground- opponent coming up
use leverage and momentum against them
take what they give
once hips come up, you are already on their back pretty much
hips completely off ground

third variation of opponent coming up
before you lock your hands together for harness-
opponent puts back to floor and tries to keep rolling
POST OUT LEG so they can't spin out

drive leg into back, roll and make them come around

put into second hook
loosen harness
drive arm into throat, grab shoulder
lock up RNC

same move, more details
chest to back
counter roll by posting toes- leg coming around anticipating the roll
if you don't put leg down, they can keep spinning and possibly end on top
push knee into small of back
spin around, second hook
you are flat on back- if you sit up, you have more control over opponent
back is completely off floor

make sure the harness is TIGHT
neck is more under control
STILL jam hand into throat even if they grab

footage: Marcelo choking out Shaolin in Abu Dhabi 2003 using the same sequence.

key things- Marcelo takes him down with the arm drag and switches from harness to RNC right away. Marcelo jams the forearm in throat right away and continues to roll with Shaolin as he tries to escape. He uses that knee in back move to come around and get the hooks. Marcelo loses the bottom hook and comes to a half guard variant with marcelo on top, but the RNC is already locked in tight and Shaolin goes out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Path to Blue Belt (a Jiu Jitsu Biography)

In an effort to document my training, I decided to chronicle my journey. As I recently received my blue belt, I thought this would be an appropriate time to log my progress.

Early Stages

I had been putting off training for awhile. It was something I wanted to do for years but never got around to actually starting. I remember my second year in college seeing some people rolling in the open room at the gym, but I never stopped to ask where they trained.

Nevertheless, when I graduated college in June ’06, I finally had a clear opportunity to start up. My cousin Mike came to my graduation dinner and mentioned how he was training a handful of people in a friend’s garage and asked me if I wanted to drop by.

I visited his condo soon after and did some ridiculously difficult workouts that I had never seen before. We were doing interval training that involved body weight exercises, resistance bands, sprints, and bear crawls on the scorching hot tennis court. I still remember how the skin of my palms was peeling off afterwards. The lesson- this was not going to be an easy task at all.

I was headed to Europe for a few weeks, but when I got back he invited me to move in with him and train.

Paulino’s Garage

I started training in early August ’06.

There was a steady group of about 10 people (all beginners minus a few) who were training in Mike Paulino’s garage. We put out mats and held formal class a few days a week. I was an avid watcher of MMA, but I had no idea how little I actually knew until I actually got on the mat.

The first few times, I got my ass kicked by everyone. I still remember when this guy David choked me out with the first cross choke I had seen. Right afterwards, we did a competition where we were split into teams (playground style with team captains), and I was picked last out of everyone!

After a few weeks, I picked up a whole lot of techniques and improved quite a bit. Mike was working with me outside of class and showing me specifics that definitely helped me put it together. I remember one class in particular when all of a sudden I was tapping this guy House (about 180lbs) out a few times in a row. It had never happened like that, but all of a sudden something clicked and I was going wild with armbars. Around that time, I figured out a little about open guard, which was the first step in the evolution of my current game.

I was having serious lifestyle changes. During the mornings (and sometimes nights) I would run around the canyon. After work I would be doing kettlebells or body weight exercises. I was feeling beat up all the time. My body wasn’t used to the stress of jiu jitsu, and training a few times a week took a huge toll on me. After a month or two of this regiment, I bulked up and added a lot of strength that helped the jiu jitsu. I also started eating clean and got obsessed with Muscle Milk.

For awhile, I was in a sort of “no man’s land,” having trouble finding people my level. I had surpassed the lower end beginners that came to train, but I was still below the athletic beasts like Rene and Roger. I was sort of stuck for awhile, messing around with the lesser skilled group and then getting my ass kicked by everyone else.

After awhile, I developed a decent triangle choke and also figured out how to control someone in my guard. This got me past the “stuck” point, but I still had a lot to work on.

One of the things that helped me get a solid foundation were the endless “movement drills” that were worked into class. Although I took it for granted at the time, learning how to move fluidly in jiu jitsu from the beginning was critical in my early development. When I watch new white belts nowadays, I see how awkward they can be and realize how important it was to do thousands of those drills.

One of the classes I vividly remember was when Jay had us do a “race to submission” drill. We had two minutes to tap someone out, and for each second left on the clock, the loser had to do X amount of pushups, situps, or squats. I wasn’t having that, so I decided that I was definitely going to tap out my opponent, Andre, as quickly as possible. I armdragged him right away and took his back with hooks, and sunk the RNC. It was deep and locked in tight, but he wasn’t tapping yet. After about ten seconds I put it on tighter and arched my back and felt his body go limp. I had choked him unconscious! I had never seen this before, so I was definitely freaked out. He was alright after ten minutes, though. Maybe a little dazed, but nothing serious. It was sort of his fault for not tapping, but it definitely took away my “killer instinct” for a few weeks, as I was absolutely afraid of hurting someone again.

I got to a point where I thought I was pretty good for just a few months of training. I ended up moving back home after about three months and had to find a new school.

Gracie Barra

I trained at Gracie Barra for a week and decided that I would like to make it my school. The atmosphere was a lot friendlier than the other school I visited, and the fact that they trained mainly gi was a definite plus. The class was run a lot more formally, and I appreciated the opportunity to continue my training.

The first thing that became very obvious to me was the difference in the set of moves that they were all using vs. what Mike had been teaching me in San Diego. Everyone kept doing this side control escape that involved throwing the legs over the head into an upside down guard, which I didn’t have experience with. My game was a lot looser and speed-based- with toriani passes, knee on stomach, etc. After awhile, I settled into the GB style that Ricardo was teaching while still retaining much of my original base.

Rolling with different people that actually had different styles was refreshing after rolling with the same 3 people every day. After awhile, you start to pick up peoples’ tendencies and figure out how to stop them. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I benefited from having a greater variety at a bigger school. I was catching people in moves that they hadn’t seen before, and vice versa.

I started to visualize jiu jitsu in my head during my spare time. Although this sounds strange, it helped me greatly during class. I would replay what happened in class and realize critical mistakes I made, and then later I’d come up with a solution in my head. Also, I’d sometimes “drill” moves in my head, nearly feeling how the move should feel and how it should be performed correctly. My concentration went up immensely, and I was improving more than ever.

One thing that greatly improved my game was the “guard drill,” where we would line up on the wall and drill from someone’s guard. On the bottom, your objective was to sweep or submit. If you were on the bottom and swept or submitted your opponent, you stayed in. On top, your objective was to pass. If you got your guard passed, you got replaced by the person who passed. This position and situation-specific training allowed me to focus on the most important aspect of BJJ- passing the guard and defending the guard. After some time with this, my guard jumped up a few notches.

After a few months at Gracie Barra, my defense got a lot better. I was still going down to San Diego maybe once or twice a month, and I felt like I was progressing steadily when I rolled with people with my new skills developed at GB. My cardio was getting ridiculous. I developed an attacking guard, a sort of “machine gun” rapid fire of successive attacks that was meant to eventually trap an opponent in a submission. This worked well at this level, but a few months later I had to revamp my game. However, it gave me an excellent base and allowed me to attack submissions from the guard with Bibiano Fernandes-like speed (my precision just had to be tuned).

One philosophical dilemma that I encountered was my focus on submissions over position and defense. Mike told me that I was on the path to becoming a good blue or purple belt, but veering off course of becoming a good black belt. What that meant was my game was too one-sided. I was focused on the flashy and ego-driven impulse to tap out as many people and as high-ranking people as possible. I had to change it up soon and start to work on my defense and positional dominance.

Pan Ams

The first tournament I entered in happened to be the largest of the year. I was definitely anxious about it- I prepared a written, detailed, step-by-step gameplan of what I would do in every situation. Needless to say, once I got on the mat and the adrenaline started pumping, it went out the window!

I entered into the wrong weight class (gave up 13lbs) and was clearly outmatched in the opening round. I mounted a successful offensive series that ended in a near-triangle choke, but my opponent escaped and passed my guard. After that, it was pretty much over, as I got outscored on points and wasn’t able to do much of anything once my guard was passed. This was a sobering defeat, but it exposed a critical flaw in my game- the need to develop my guard passing defense as well as my side control escapes. Also, the ability to register in the correct weight class next time. lol.

The game became bigger than just GB. It was no longer just me against the handful of people that I got matched up against during practice- I had to consider myself in the larger game of Jiu Jitsu as a whole.

Right after Pan Ams, I trained harder than ever. I was in class up to three times a day- almost as many times as my instructor! I was refocused and recharged- doing outside conditioning, working hard in class, and beginning to work on my mental gameplan even more.

Undisputed Training

I visited the Undisputed training center to roll with Mike, and got a chance to also roll with Baret Yoshida. I had never rolled with a black belt that was close to my size, as my coach Ricardo has a completely different game that is adapted to his body and physical attributes.

Needless to say, I was blown away by the possibilities that were opened up to me while rolling with Baret. I got my back taken in so many ways, it was ridiculous. I remember getting swept over and getting my back taken and having a lightbulb click in my head as I was getting my ass kicked, thinking “wooooow, I didn’t even know that was possible.”

After this, I started working on attacking the back, and developed a new game based off of attacking the turtle position. I got pretty good at attacking the back, and it became my main strategy when rolling – as I could actually dominate someone that was larger and stronger than me with minimal effort.

I also started to seriously work on X-Guard, and learned a few entries and sweeps that would become part of my normal repertoire.

Best of the West

My second tournament went a lot better than Pan Ams. I won my first tournament match with a pretty nice arm bar from the guard, but then lost my second match on points.

In retrospect, I could have won if I had been paying attention to the point system, but I was hellbent on getting a submission victory and was unable to secure it before time expired. Definitely a good experience, though.

One thing that I did notice was how strong I felt compared to people my same size, as I am used to being outweighed by at least 20-30 lbs (often a whole lot more).

After the tournament, rolling at GB was like nothing. The intensity level was night and day, and I felt like everyone else was a lot more manageable.


I had a few months until Mundials in August, but I ultimately didn’t end up competing. Nonetheless, I was training like a maniac during the summer- back to the grind of a few times a day (with outside conditioning as well). I was swimming, doing endless repetitions of body weight exercises, and doing everything I could to get myself in top shape. One thing that I kept telling myself was that if I was training with the intention of becoming world champion, I would become a beast regardless of what happened.

I hit the mats HARD and refined my game as much as possible. I returned to SD to train and refreshed myself on the fundamentals and continued to work on those things at GB. I started working on standup, as that was something that I hadn’t gotten too much experience with until this point. My game jumped up a couple notches. My open guard was becoming very formidable.

Grappling Gameplan, the blog, the videos

Post-Mundials, my schedule changed and I wouldn’t be able to train as much. I had to compensate by working on other areas of my game. I started listening to Lloyd Irvin’s Grappling Gameplan on the car ride to class, and it inspired me to start keeping tabs on my training a lot more comprehensively. By developing my mental game, I am able to gain a significant advantage over those who take it for granted or neglect it altogether.

I started blogging again after every class (, and it allowed me to focus on specific areas of my game that I wanted to work on. I evaluated how each session went, and ruminated on what I needed to fix. I must say that this exercise has helped me improve more than anything before. Attending class every day for weeks can become one continuous blur, but by keeping track of everything explicitly, I am now able to break it down into the most important details and help myself to zone in on my development.

I also started watching video of BJJ events- looking at players like Jacare, Leo Vieira, Marcelo Garcia, and a handful of others with styles or aspects of their game that I try to emulate. This has also helped me immensely, as I am able to recognize specific situations during matches and figure out how the world champions react- rewinding and rewatching until it fully sinks in. It also puts BJJ in a different context- I am able to step back and see the larger picture and put it together in a way that I wasn’t able to before.

I feel like I’ve improved in the past month more than I’ve improved in the past 6 months due to my renewed focus. I feel like the game is expanding so much more, and my understanding of it is actually getting a lot better.

I rolled with Mike at UCSD a week or two before I got my blue belt, and I felt like a completely different person on the mat. While I’m nowhere near his level, I was at least able to defend myself and try to mount an offense instead of getting smashed and destroyed like it always had been.

Now that I’m a blue belt, I feel like I’m sort of starting over in a lot of ways. I have come quite a long way from the days in the garage, but I still have so far to go. It’s been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I hope to continue to train for many years to come.

Time to get back on the mats!

Extra special thanks-
Mike Cusi, Ricardo Guimaraes, the original BJJ crew at Paulino’s, and my GB training partners.

Monday, September 24, 2007

guillotine to loop choke

PM class


1. escape side control
-to the knees
-replace half guard and then guard

both require underhook. hand blocking hip= must go to knees, difficult to replace half guard.

2. ezekiel from side control

3. ezekiel from back


played open guard mostly.

specifically, half butterfly guard. it's great! gotta work from here for a few weeks and figure it out. can move to butterfly guard, x guard, arm drag to back, and some more i'm sure.

played around some with the half butterfly guard and figured out some passing options- square up and move around to eliminate the effectiveness of the hook. or perhaps come all the way to the side (face legs) to kill the hook. either way, can't face the hook head on (diagonal more like) or you may get swept. probably some sprawl options would be good.

one thing that worked well- the arm triangle stuff from the paragon dvd. i learned that if i don't have a brabo locked up tight enough, i can momentarily release and punch my arm deeper (scooping the head) while stuffing the head deeper to tighten the choke. as long as i maintain pressure, i can regain and finish. probably less energy than trying to squeeze incessantly.

one thing that i need to work on- guillotine escape from half guard. normally, I pass and go n/s to alleviate, but somehow today i got caught in a loop choke as i continued to go around. i went INTO the choke and tightened it even more, and got caught. lesson learned. perhaps the old heavy shoulder in the face would be a better route to go? or at least if the guillotine turns into a loop choke, i need to move the opposite direction to alleviate.

another thing i'm working on- a "sneaky" triangle. before, i'd get in position and throw up my hips all high and start adjusting explosively. i am experimenting with simply locking it up low key and moving to the choke incrementally. they are less tipped off to what i'm doing and start their escape a few fractions of a second later than usual if i had just shot up into it and made it obvious.

the high guard will shin control works great to control posture. i might like it better than the rubber guard, as it puts less stress on the joints.

another good counter- if they somehow work the triangle to the side so i can't finish directly underneath anymore, i can either try and sweep them over and adjust or just attack the straight arm bar a la jacare vs. braulio in the 2004 pan ams. very good option. don't even need to release the triangle- i can just apply pressure against the joint.

the kimuras are working well. especially the kimura to face down spinning arm lock. great combo. attacking the kimura off of the open guard pants grip is working well. one combo that might do some damage- reverse kimura to arm drag.

one thing i need to work on is threatening more sweeps from open guard. i'm doing good recovering and preventing progress, but my offensive moves are lacking. perhaps if i threaten with arm drags, i can work off of those.

perhaps one of the more important lessons- head control. i'm getting better at controlling the head from all positions, which should make it more difficult to pass.

i want to be attacking either the head (guillotine) or a bent arm lock from most positions. that will make it very difficult to mount an offense for the opponent if they are always in danger of being tapped. my guillotines need work.

there are three to work on-
1. standard guillotine
2. marcelo 10 finger guillotine (centered up- adam's apple crush)
3. 10 finger guillotine (slightly off to the side, maybe with arm in)

learning to switch between these three would be worthwhile. in an attacking butterfly guard, this could be devastating.


AM Class


1. takedown from arm and back control

break grip, pull arm across with cross arm
grab over belt with other arm
step back and drop to hip while stuffing trapped arm through opponent's legs
grab underhook on leg and use hook on shin to help throw them over
secure side mount

2. tripod sweep

from open guard with opponent controlling knees
break grips with kimura grip- keep cross grip on sleeve
foot in hip and hand grabs heel, hook with other foot
do a row as they drop, come to half guard or side control

3. ezekiel from back control

from harness grip- shoot bottom arm as deep as possible
grab sleeve of top arm (normal choking arm)
remove hook and put opponent on side (like bow and arrow sort of)
finish choke

4. ezekiel from half guard bottom

they underhook, shoot that arm across neck
free crossface arm, grab that sleeve and lock up the ezekiel


passing was okay. gotta use more hip pressure and drop my weight. i'm falling into the fast passes again. gotta work more on a dominating pressure game.

open guard felt fine. the half butterfly guard is great. i can stop progress, but i gotta figure out some sweeps and attacks from that position.

closed guard felt even better. attacked arm locks (spinning, bent), triangles, and sweeps. realized that i wasn't putting downward pressure on the head with my calf once i had a spinning arm lock secured. finally got some kimuras to work from the guard. i'm grabbing over the elbow before i touch the wrist, as that seems to be slightly more covert. opening the guard up and hooking over the head is a good final step. sweeping them over with the kimura seems to work well.

figured out how dominating overhook control can be from the bottom if established properly. gotta play with it some more to figure out the options from there. i see a triangle, an omoplata, bent arm locks, and some possible sweeps.

overhooks with a rubber guard control could be great. maybe not a full rubber guard cuz i don't want to blow out my knees, but a high guard with shin grabbing could be good.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A lesson in side control

I picked up quite a bit today from Jordan, a brown belt at my school.

No matter what I did, I couldn't prevent from getting reversed once I had side control.

A few things from side control-

-when opponent has legs more or less parallel, they will go over if you sit up into them at the right angle (directly into them almost- they have no base). i got flipped like it was nothing (over and over).

-crossface arm- if you control it, weave it around your head, and stuff it across their body, it will be easier to take them over.

-from a sort of reverse-kesa-gatame (opponent facing legs with high elbow in armpit)- if you control the other arm and wrap it around their back (like kimura style), it will be much easier to take them over.

-posture- top arm either across neck (forearm) or underhooking. if you let them get the underhook and put you flat, game over.

-securing the underhook- ideally, this is what you are aiming for. escape right away, don't hesitate.

from this, i was awakened to the possibility of reversing from a different angle. seems to expel a lot less energy than the bridge escapes (although those must also be used in combination). if it's there, gotta take it. one thing- arm control from the bottom gives you a lot more options to escape. if you disrupt them from achieving posture with crossface and underhook, your escape route will be a whole lot more accessible. this should be the first line of defense- not waiting until they are already established in position.

area of focus- control the arms as they try to establish side control.

Friday, September 21, 2007

areas to focus

just a preliminary list-

-side control escapes! (escape to knees, replace half guard)
-side control posture (underhook if possible, keep arms tucked, stay on side rather than flat on back)

-half guard survival (replace guard, move to x or half butterfly guard)

-mount escapes (foot drag, elbow-knee, upa)
-back escapes (opposite choking arm side and elbow to ground)
-turtle escapes (post to single leg, wrestler sit out)

-open guard defense (vs. pants control!)

-closed guard sweeps (pendulum, scissor, hip bump, omoplata)
-open guard sweeps (tripod, de la riva to single leg)
-x-guard setup

-takedowns (single leg, arm drags, judo hook sweep)

-submission defense (resisting and surviving everything)

-opening the guard (stand up passes)

-passing the open guard- tight passes (double underhooks, marcelo butterfly pass to half guard)
-passing the open guard- loose passes (toriani, toriani variant with sleeve and leg, 101 pass)

-passing the half guard

-low risk submissions- (bent arm locks, guillotines, arm triangles)

-side control hold downs, attacks

slip and slide

no gi class.

technique- hip twist guard break, double underhook pass

pin hip and chest, step opposite side foot up into opponent's armpit and move to knee on stomach while pinning hip. guard should break.

move to double underhook pass. same as with gi, but grab shoulder and opponent's foot for grips.

worked guard vs. much more powerful opponents. broke down posture well, attacked arms as always, tried to set up triangle. always reacted quickly when opponent tried to pass- by countering ASAP and following up with attacks, opponents weren't able to pass. sweeps weren't doing much. very difficult to finish a lot of moves tonight with no gi.

figured out counter to the arm under back pass- shin in arm as they grab (like triangle setup). pretty sure a triangle is sitting there somewhere too.

took the back a bunch on a few opponents, couldn't finish the RNC. maybe not fast enough today.

there seems to be a few moves that work better in no gi- triangle, rnc, guillotine, arm triangles, bent arm locks. spinning arm locks, omoplatas, and whatever else are hard because of lack of secure grips.

vs. ricardo, i didn't get as dominated as i usually do. tried to maintain head control, take the back, set up some arm triangle variants. defense was too good. vs. the pass, i tried to move the head as much as possible to decent effect. eventually got passed by airtight passes.

double underhook pass

AM Class

-breaking closed guard- same as last night
posture with gi/chest control, hip control, switch to double hip control as you rotate hips and break guard. knee up to block the closing of the guard again. scoop double underhooks, scoop opponent onto lap (elbows in tight, grip tight). grab same side gi with thumb in collar and fist down, other hand grabs like rope to take out all slack. rotate while sprawling (fold opponent in half), make knee touch opposite shoulder.

key to the move- stay TIGHT with as much pressure as you can put on. opponent is in a very uncomfortable position.

-variant guard break and pass
same as above, but use free hand to feed opponent's hand under back as you pass. possible gi choke by dropping elbow on ground and rotating for the choke.

-defense against double underhook pass
-1st line- before opponent closes up grip- hips up and heavy, possibly butterfly hooking on thigh
-2nd line- opponent scoops you up onto lap, has grip tight- hips up high, and then suddenly drop while pushing opponent's arms up. free at least one leg. possible triangle choke here.

the key- relentlessness, as with most passing. if opponent breaks, reset and go again. possible to switch to an over the leg pass (a la marcelo) amidst the transitions.

don't recall any major issues. half guard game was working well, didn't get passed.

Last night's class

1. guard posture/guard break-

hand pinning hip, hand pinning sternum (not too high, not too low) with gi grip joined and twisted. shift to centered knee, shift hips N/S switch hands, step back and break guard. 101 pass out, secure underhook and lift nearside elbow.

2. guard breakdown/collar choke

break down posture from #1- reverse kimura grip from cross side arm, bring behind head, secure strong overhook. open gi with other hand, pull down slack, cinch up collar(jammmed sewing machine style), get as deep as possible. grab other shoulder, drop wrist, get blade of wrist in throat and flare elbows out and up.

Extending Rolling session

first day as a blue belt.

did well against lower belts, but eventually got worked by purples and a brown.

lower belts- continued the guard pass/smash game with great results. getting solid base and figuring out opponent's reactions. main issues- grabbing crossface arm, fighting for underhook back, lock down arms over head/neck or entire back.

higher belts- one main thing- if i don't free up my pants legs and let them control the hips, my guard will likely get passed. gotta fight the grips like a maniac. gotta sit up and not get put flat on my back.

i kept passing the guard on a brown belt, only to get reversed once i got to side control. very frustrating, but he has a lot more exp. on me. one thing he told me was that i wasn't tucking my arms enough once i'm side controlled. i'm always out of posture, especially against more powerful opponents. gotta work on this.

another thing to clean up- cross choke block. if i do the "comb the hair" counter and leave the elbow there for a prolonged amount of time, i can get my back taken. i should try to block with the opposite hand and explosively free my collar with the other hand, if at all.

one thing that i can probably add to my game- trapping the arm across the face (and grabbing the wrist on the other side) in either half guard or side control. this would up my control a lot.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blue belt

Got surprised tonight by my instructor.

I guess it's time to train harder than ever.

I feel like I'm starting over.

This is good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

GB Advanced Program Curriculum

Week/BJJ Technique/Takedown

1. Defending closed guard/ pull guard
2. Passing closed guard/ double leg
3. Defending open guard/ Sacrifice throw
4. Passing open guard/ inside hook takedown
5. Half guard top/ outside hook takedown
6. Half guard bottom/ half guard pull
7. Side mount top control, attack/foot sweeps
8. Side mount bottom defense, escapes/ basic hip throws
9. Mount top control, attack/one hand shoulder throws
10. Mount bottom defense, escape/ two hand shoulder throws
11. Turtle top control, attack/ inner thigh throw
12. Turtle bottom defense, escape/ sweeping hip throw
13. Back control, attack/ springing hip throw
14. Back defense, escape/ single leg
15. Submission attacks/ grip fight
16. Submission defense/ counters

Free training

Free training class.

Rolled with a few people, did very well.

Tried to focus on passing the guard using the Marcelo smash pass to half guard with great success.

Main reactions I saw-
-they try and hip escape out to replace full guard. block by underhooking their leg and driving them onto their back (drive with head). if you separate the half guard, you can kick your heel through and establish side control.

-attempt to use the high knee half guard to stop my progress. could possibly sprawl out and go around. or sprawl out completely, weave your arm through and pass like scissor sweep block.

-attempt to throw the open leg over my head to stop my progress. could switch to leg on shoulder pass or double underhooks.

-possible kimura if i don't tuck my elbow

-another guard pass that's probably just sitting there- shoulder plant once you step over the leg and underhook the other leg.

once in half guard-
-some difficulty establishing the crossface if they are obsessed with blocking the arm- can be dealt with by killing the arm with the knee near head.

once passed to side control-
-the head lockdown/neck crank reversal caught me today. gotta figure that one out. possibly knee on stomach, but the base is still disrupted enough to be swept.

-they form frame to get back to half guard. use arm drag type moves combined with hip attacks.

my side control has jumped up a few levels in the past few weeks. starting to combine the saulo hip attach with the bridge smash and hip attacks. flowing to face smash works well too. i'm now able to hold down people much larger and stronger than me, so i am quickly developing a solid top game.

one thing that went well was my ability to stay in trouble spots longer. i managed to escape some tough situations by recognizing how to alleviate the technique just enough to bear it, and i stuck it out until i was able to survive and escape.

got tapped a few times by a blue belt, but i think a lot of it was due to being winded.

one insight- once swept or reversed, it is often possible to re-sweep or reverse again by throwing the momentum towards the reversal.

another insight- the longer someone stays in your guard and defends attacks, the more tired they get. the longer this goes on, the more likely you are to be able to sweep them or submit them. the initial attacks might just be like jabs to wear them down before they get sloppy and get reversed or tapped.

yet another one- better open guard= better closed guard. all the best closed guard attacks require you to open, so you won't feel as insecure when you open to attack if you know you can recover easily.

going back to a few weeks ago- the longer you punish someone on the top game, the less likely they are to want to resist you. break the will and then finish! lol.

possible combo to keep an eye out for- spinning arm lock to omoplata on opposite arm. very often just sitting there.

BJJ learning theory continued

My cousin was kind enough to send me the passage I reference earlier.

Just another framework that might be useful.



C. Psychomotor domain. The category of learning objectives is concerned with how a learner controls or moves his/her body. The following classifications have been formulated for this domain.


1. Imitation -early stages in learning a complex skill, overtly, after the individual has indicated a readiness to take a particular type of action. Imitation includes repeating an act that has been demonstrated or explained, and it includes trial and error until appropriate response is achieved.

Illustrative verbs stating objectives:

Begin , assemble, attempt, carry out, copy, construct, duplicate, follow, mimic, move, practice, proceed, repeat, reproduce, respond, organize, sketch, try

2. Manipulation - individual continues to practice a particular skill or sequence until it becomes habitual and the action can be performed with some confidence and proficiency. The response is more complex than that of the previous level, but the learner still isn’t sure of him/herself.

Illustrative verbs stating objectives:

(same as imitation) acquire, assemble, complete, conduct, do, execute, improve, maintain, make, manipulate, operate, pace, perform, produce, progress, use

3. Precision - skill has been attained. Proficiency is indicated by a quick, smooth, accurate performance, requiring a minimum of energy. The overt response is complex and performed without hesitation.

Illustrative verbs stating objectives:

(same as manipulation and imitation), achieve, accomplish, advance, exceed, excel, master, reach, refine, succeed, surpass, transcend

4. Articulation – involved in an even higher level of precision. The skills are so well developed that the individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements or to meet a problem situation

Illustrative verbs stating objectives:

Adapt, alter, change, excel, rearrange, reorganize, revise, surpass, transcend

5. Naturalization – response is automatic. The individual begins to experiment. Creating new motor acts or ways of manipulating materials out of understandings, abilities, and skills developed. One acts “without thinking”

Illustrative verbs stating objectives:

Arrange, combine, compose, construct, create, refine, originate, transcend

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Similarities between half guard sweeps and single leg takedown

Over the past few weeks I've been realizing how similar the mechanics of these two positions are.

A lot of half guard sweeps (such as the old school sweep) are essentially single leg takedowns that start from the knees. Perhaps then single leg takedowns are standing half guard sweeps? lol. Maybe not.

This past weekend I learned a sweep from being sprawled on in the turtle position (essentially a failed shot attempt, or perhaps a side mount escape to the knees). You need to sit out to one side and post an arm while wrapping the opponent's leg above the thigh with the other arm. You then hook their leg with your outside leg and drive into them with your head/shoulder while scooping their based knee out. Very similar mechanics to a half guard sweep.

Today I was watching the finals of the 2005 Mundials (I forget the exact weight class) between Xande Ribiero and Roger Gracie. Xande was attempting to pass Roger's half guard (flat on his back), and Roger somehow swept him. Specifically, Xande was going for a 101 pass by sliding his knee through, and Roger trapped the foot (quarter guard) while overhooking Xande's leg at the knee. Roger then posted his free hand and scooted out to the side (sitting up) and stood up into a single leg takedown setup. As I saw this, a lot of things clicked.

A few weeks ago I was taken down by a wrestler after I thought I passed his guard. I was coming to side control, and somehow he hooked a leg, turned to his knees, and took me down. I was baffled at the time, but I realize now what had happened.

One thing that can definitely be worked into my game- attacking single legs and half guard sweeps as the opponent tries to pass.

Techniques to master- Single leg takedown, wrestler sit out, half guard sweep setups (upright with posted arm), half guard back door (take back on underhook side).

Monday, September 17, 2007

BJJ learning theory?

I was flipping through the pages of my cousin's textbook a few months ago and came across an interesting concept- the development of fine motor skills. The book was speaking about a child's development of skills such as walking, writing, riding a bike, etc. It broke it down into something like --> observation, emulation, repetition, and mastery.

Immediately I thought of BJJ and the process of learning and being able to apply technique.

This may or may not be new information, but I think the application of it to BJJ would help to put it into some sort of framework that might help in teaching and learning BJJ.

I searched online for more info on cognitive development in sports learning, and came across a social cognitive model of sequential skill acquisition by sports psychologist B. Zimmerman.

If you're interested in the full article that cited him, you can see it here-

The model breaks it down into four sequential levels: observation, emulation, self-control, and self-regulation.


The first level in the acquisition process is the observation level. This level of skill is characterized by modeling. In this stage, the learner is forming, through observation, a mental model of the activity from the other person’s actions, hearing descriptions, observing consequences. Modeling, as the word suggests is the modeling of the learners’ behavior by observation of the other person’s actions, hearing the descriptions of the actions, and observing the consequences of those actions.

In BJJ, this would be the primary stage of learning technique. The instructor shows a move a few times and breaks it down into steps as the students watch. If it's the first time a student is seeing a technique, they have to draw a mental map and get a general idea of what is going on and how it applies in the larger picture.

A mistake I've made in the past would be to insert finer details of techniques into my initial explanation of a move. I would try and show a move and break down everything about it, but if the person I'm showing it has never seen it before they won't be able to absorb everything and might just end up overwhelmed.


At the second level, viz. emulation, the learner mimics the motor experiences in conjunction with the observational learning that has occurred in the first level, and uses social feedback from others. Emulation is the process by which information is gained from efforts to enact a model's performance. Achievement at this level is defined by the learners’ ability to emulate the general form of a model's skill. These emulative performance experiences provide developing athletes with sensorimotor and often social feedback to refine their performance and to develop standards of correct performance that are essential for higher levels of learning.

This would be the drilling part of the class. After the instructor shows the technique, the students practice it through repetition. Even if the technique isn't perfect the first time someone does a technique, they should at least try and get the major movements down. The finer details and adjustments can be made after the large muscle movements are worked out.

During this stage, a BJJ player is still thinking through moves. This is why new white belts are initially slow to respond in live sparring- they must search their mind for possible solutions to problem situations, and likely have not mastered the moves that would be appropriate.

I remember many times of pausing and thinking, "ok, what now" when I first started rolling. After awhile, things became automatic, and there was no more delay.

Self Control-

The third level of Zimmerman and colleagues' model is self-control. In this stage the goal is to achieve automaticity in the athletic performance from self-directed practice. To attain this level of proficiency, the learner compares his practice efforts with personal standards acquired previously from a model's performance. When the learner focuses on performance processes rather than on outcomes, automaticity in technique seems to be achieved more easily.

This would be repetition and practice in live sparring. The BJJ player would begin to recognize situations where the move would apply and be able to execute it automatically.

An example would be if someone felt a hand in the collar and recognized the cross choke setup. They would quickly duck their hand under the choke and block it, effectively applying a skill learned in drilling during actual live combat.


At the final level of Zimmerman and colleagues' model, self-regulation, students learn to adapt their performance to changes in internal and external conditions. Students now shift their attention and focus from modeled processes to performance outcomes.

This would be the final step in learning a technique. A BJJ player would refine and adapt a move according to the situation in the match. This is where finer mechanics can be thrown in- adjusting the angle here, raising the hip there, rotating the wrist here, etc.

This might be the stage where a BJJ player begins to consider possible setups and entries into positions and techniques. They've already mastered the basic motor movements enough to recall them instantaneously, so they begin to link them all into the larger picture of BJJ and develop a cognitive map of the game.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Back to the fundamentals- triangle and spinning armlock from guard

No Gi class-


pummelling for double underhooks.
20 spinning armlocks from the guard
20 triangles from the guard

it's good to drill these to ensure that you are getting enough reps.


the same sequence worked for the majority of the night.

top game-toriani or 101 pass, side control, let them underhook, execute a brabo choke. the brabo choke worked great tonight. one thing i am learning to do is anticipate the escape attempts and brace to ensure that i don't get reversed. i KNOW its coming, so i should be prepared as soon as i start to pass. control, control, control!

when playing bottom, i tried to setup an arm drag, x guard, or de la riva to single leg. that was enough to get my opponent on the defense rather than trying to pass. sometimes i did catch the sweep or land a successful armdrag. i was constantly trying to attack the 10 finger guillotine, with limited success. it wasn't getting deep enough to tap someone.

standup training

getting more comfortable on my feet.

a few things to clean up-

-setting up the shot. touch the head and change levels first?
-strong elbow to prevent the duck under! i leave it semi limp sometimes.
-single leg to "running the pipe." head low and small steps.

a pretty good sequence i got going-
-shot to single leg, leg drag, duck under, marcelo feet in bend of knees, topple to take the back.

one thing to keep in mind is RELENTLESSNESS.

Spider guard

Today's afternoon class-

emphasis- spider guard

-basic spider guard sweep (shin across stomach, grab knee. foot NOT entangled over the top of the arm)

-COUNTER #1 to opponent attacking collar with free hand (deep, already on collar)
hip out, knee over elbow, pinch wrist to shoulder with ear --> straight arm bar

-COUNTER #2 to opponent attacking collar with free hand (you react before they touch)
kick leg under arm, hip out, arm drag across, come to knees, pull arm and push knee to come to side controll

i don't work too much from spider guard, but it seems to be useful in preventing the opponent from passing. gotta experiment some more to see if it works into my gi game. don't want to rely on it, though.

open guard drill
felt strong with my recovery and attacks. starting to go de la riva to single leg takedown. the upside down guard seems to work well with my game also. a key element- can't let them control my pants. perhaps a spider guard with foot in the bicep will be good?

the side control is working well. beginning to flow and switch sides as opponent tries to recover. starting to entangle arms and prevent them from getting an elbow on the ground. right now i'm just trying to get comfortable controlling and dominating positions, but eventually the attacks should open up.

one technique that i need to master- the wrestling sit out. one detail i was missing was ripping my elbow backwards as i sit out. i was able to do that today, and it made a world of difference. gotta master this!

after class-

double leg detail

lead with penetrating leg. big step in. change levels (come at them like a square, not diagonally). more reps = better mechanics.

two ways to begin to set up-

come in like you are trying to grip the gi, and they react by blocking your hands. legs are free to shoot on for a moment.

another possible setup- control head and try to snap them down. they resist and try to stand straight up, you shoot.

a small detail from the paragon half guard.

possible reaction- they sit back and try to come under you to take the back.
they need to free the trapped leg and move it to a back hook.

watch for collar chokes. watch for free leg to start hooking your arm (marcelo style).

possible reaction to that counter? spin around and begin to pass for the half guard sweep.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tomorrow's AM workout

Yoga sun salute x3 upon waking

25 pushups
25 abs
25 bridges
25 squats
25 dips

5 pullups (perfect form)

10 uchi-mata entries
10 hook sweep entries
10 double leg shot entries
10 butterfly sweep entries

4 rounds

afterwards, 1/4 mile swim (10 laps)

Standup training, a little half guard

Worked on takedowns today.

Judo principle-
two types of sweeps: opponent moving towards you, opponent moving away from you

a few to work on- uchi-mata, hook sweep

new technique- hook sweep
-establish collar and sleeve grip
-step across (towards sleeve grip) and plant just outside opponent's foot
-drive with collar, pull with sleeve, kick up leg (like uchi-mata), head down

Double leg takedown detail-
need to penetrate knee more! if you can't touch your opponent (within arm's length), you can't take them down.

torso stays perpendicular to ground.

drive them sideways with your head.

chop far leg.

practice- duck walk drill

Duck-under detail-
grip on tricep or elbow. pop elbow up, hand windmills around. don't leave behind anything to underhook, or you could get reversed.

Ground work-

half guard-
tried to figure out deep half guard.
setups from opponent standing, setups from straight half guard with underhooked leg (manny's half guard).

deep half guard options-
-go under the legs (back door) to take back
-go over the leg (sweep to half guard pass)

Half guard variant
cleaned up manny's half guard- detail missing was the hook from the outside leg.

get DIRECTLY underneath opponent.

from there, the options-
-move to deep half guard (switch from underhooked leg to overhook on farther leg)
-move to x-guard (if opponent stands)
-sweep opponent back (grab ankle and drive into them with hook)
-sweep opponent back (roll them straight back)
-sweep opponent forward (take out base arm)

I also got kneed in the face during rolling, so my eating habits are going to change for a few days. Mostly protein shakes and oatmeal.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Today's workout

25 pushup variants
25 ab variants
25 squat variants
25 bridges
25 uchi-mata entries
25 double leg shot entries
10 pull ups

x4 rounds

quarter mile swim (10 laps)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Refining a few things

The two night classes sort of blur into one for me.

We went over uchi-mata again, as well as double leg takedown.

Uchi-Mata details
-the hip to hip contact is very important. the entry angle makes all the difference.
-step, cross step into the throw
-the collar grip arm needs to remain pinned to the chest. arm bent in so you can stay close. gotta work on this; it was probably my biggest mechanical problem.
-bringing their elbow high and putting your head low is the finish touch to throw them off balance

Double leg details
-lead knee should be the inside knee
-drop to knee, drag foot, step forward with outside leg
-penetration with knee is key

other things we went over, just to log it and keep it in memory-
1. cross choke from mount (started from side control)
2. pendulum sweep variant
3. triangle from spider guard

guard drills
-the standing guard pass is my go-to pass to open guard now. i can hit this pass most of the time unless i happen to get my leg underhooked by an opponent, although it only usually happens against more experienced training partners.

-i'm becoming more aware of the possibility of being reversed when i think i've passed the guard. i think i may have gotten taken down again when i was transitioning from toriani to side control.

got my guard passed and choked out a few times by purple belts. they were just a step ahead of me, and ultimately my legs got smashed or controlled, and i got sidemounted or north/southed.

perhaps i'm better off playing top game vs. higher belts? when i did this, i was able to pass with quick passes and get into better position. still need to work on my hold downs and side control.

i wanted to use the tighter passes tonight, but it was difficult against more skilled people. i guess i have to practice vs. lower belts and work my way up.

the side control smashing is working to some degree. still getting used to it, but i'm able to effectively work it on opponents closer to my size.

didn't do as well as i would've liked, but i am switching my game up and trying new things, so i have to expect some growing pains in the learning phase.

one thing that was hard to do was focus on those specific submissions/techniques that i laid out earlier today. just didn't find myself there often enough, or at all.

i did hit a few sweeps, though. mainly tripod and a few butterfly sweeps. it's definitely a start.

the conditioning is getting better, definitely. gotta get to some next level fitness, and i feel like my guard won't get passed as much or i'll be able to escape in the transition.

sort of disappointed with how tonight went, but i gotta push through it.

still have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do...

Half Guard, My Nemesis!

Afternoon class

Today's techniques-

1. uchi-mata fake/switch to ankle pick
-go to uchi-mata as normal, but switch kicking leg to block opponent's based leg and ankle pick for the takedown

2. uchi-mata variant
-set up collar and sleeve grips
-step and turn into opponent with same side foot as collar grip (like hip throw)
-follow up with trailing foot; plant heel in between opponent's legs
-kick up first leg while driving with collar hand and lifting/pulling sleeve-elbow hand across
-if opponent jumps around, jump into them a few times to off-balance them. switch to trip if needed

details- bring opponent's elbow high at end of throw and rip across body. bring your head low and your leg up high.

3. arm drag takedown
-block opponent's collar grab and circle around for wrist control.
-step with outside with leg as you secure the elbow and complete and armdrag (shoulder to shoulder)
-drop down and wrap opponent's leg
-wrist control arm wraps opponent's legs, elbow control arm posts on ground as you drive into opponent with head/shoulder to take them down
-complete the pass by planting shoulder on opponent and kicking trailing leg up (ricardo's main pass), switch control points and secure side control

detail- step aside and rip opponent across on armdrag- as if going to their back

guard drill analysis-
still working on the sweeps. as a plus, i did manage to get a few takedowns once my guard was open. possible new strategy? instead of always fighting from open guard against a standing opponent, i may experiment with trying to take them down.

rolling analysis-
got tapped from my half guard by a collar choke variant. need to solve the dilemma, this is where i get tapped the most! possibly need to be working to sweep/recover guard more explosively rather than just sitting back in half guard. perhaps work on trying to effect x-guard rather than half guard?

otherwise, the techniques/refreshers i picked up over the weekend worked well. toriani variant, side control smash/mobile crossface, brabo choke, half guard sprawl pass, 101 pass, and a few more techniques worked well.

i was doing some leo viera-style sweep avoiding! used the failed sweep attempts to pass guard and establish control/submissions.

after class, worked on takedowns. aggressiveness with takedowns is up. i'm actually trying to shoot on people now. i pulled off some kamikaze judo throws lol, but i gotta figure out my standup game a little more.

tonight's class- continue to work on top game. sprawl pass to halfguard, side control smashing, hip attacking.

submissions to focus on- kimura, guillotine variants, brabo variants.

in the event of inevitable guard pulling- work on sweeps? open guard as usual.