Sunday, December 30, 2007

Looking to 2008

This has been an incredible year.

My training and growth in jiu jitsu has increased my health, strength, peace of mind, and overall quality of life in so many ways. Although it has been frustrating and difficult at times, it has nonetheless been extremely rewarding.

As we enter into a new year, I want to take time to focus on goals for the 2008-

1. develop a strong base of escapes
2. develop resistance/escapes to submissions
3. work on sensitivity and timing
4. continue to develop the mental game
5. top game- passing the guard
6. top game- control and submissions
7. bottom game- sweeps

These are the primary areas that I feel need to be worked on before I can reach the next level. I need to continue to train as much as possible while also immersing myself in videos while not actually on the mat.

I'd like to compete in more tournaments, and hopefully do well. I'd also like to continue to push myself and apply myself 100% during each practice session. Overall, I'd just like to maintain a good pace with my growth and training in the game.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

SH escaping the back

SH training

focus- escaping the back


-escaping to the side opposite of choking arm (back flat)
-escaping with baseball bat grip on choking arm (duck under arm)
-escaping with baseball bat grip- pendulum legs to spin to guard (hand in bicep)

-to free bottom leg- kick leg straight and get hip over leg
-baseball bat- tension on arm, and then push into hip to control as you do the second part of move

extra techniques-
-half guard pass- sprawl leg and heel to butt move- drive crown of head into opponent's chin to flatten
-variation off same pass- they frame you with arm- hit arm across body quickly, go for arm triangle
-sprawl on butterfly hooks pass- switch to knee on shin, balance on legs, go leg across middle for the pass or whatever else comes to mind (practice on swiss ball)

-demian maia's side control escape- duck under and spin to other side just as they pass to one side

-learn to pass on right side, most people don't have as developed defense vs. that side
-keys to passing- pressure, tiring out the legs, destroying the legs!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Critical, critical insights

Special Sparring Class!

I've been training less and sort of concentrating more on the mental side of the game.

The book The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin has really gotten me thinking about quite a few concepts, as seen in my last few posts. Jiu Jitsu is starting to take on a much deeper meaning in my life, and I'm breaking the game down into much smaller segments.

While I do still need to expand my overall knowledge of the game and continue to collect moves, I need to actually focus in on a few specific techniques and areas. If I master these key areas and am able to perform them with excellent timing and leverage, my overall efficiency level will go up. I'd much rather be able to pendulum sweep a black belt than do a flying triangle on a second week white belt. Substance over flash. Build the foundation SOLID, and then I'll be able to start expressing and utilizing my unique attributes to full potential.

I've also been back to watching videos to supplement my learning. Demian Maia has some excellent tapes out that really focus on the technical side of the game. He has a few particular fundamental concepts that have really helped me to organize my thoughts and shed some light on some key concepts. It's really filled in the gaps and allowed me to make quite a bit of connections.

In today's sparring class, I got matched up against a brown belt than normally ruins my life. I recall a few months ago when I was able to pass his guard but couldn't maintain side control AT ALL. I felt completely off balance and was easily reversed no matter what I did. Today, the same techniques were used to try to escape my side control, but surprisingly, I was able to predict his intentions and counter them by shifting my base, controlling his arms, and getting him out of posture. Yes, I was largely using my speed to my advantage, but I was greatly surprised by how much pressure and tight control I was able to generate.

In a few key moments, I realized when I was standing to pass his guard that I wasn't leaning into him as much as I should be. I adjusted and felt a slight shift in the momentum towards my favor. Very subtle adjustment that may not even be noticeable to most people, but it's starting to open my game up and really bring me up to where I want to be. I am only 135lbs (maybe a few more since the holidays!), but I need to make my opponent feel every single ounce of it!

Overall, I was able to pass his guard over and over while completely avoiding any sort of sweep attempts and side controlling him strong. My base was great, and I felt very strong from the top. Towards the end, I even managed to sink in a Jacare n/s lapel choke, but time expired as I attempted to sink it deeper and finish. Maybe one of the best rolls I've had in awhile.

In other rolls, I realized the importance of going against aggro and out of control partners. It is unorthodox, but if I just accept it and dominate them regardless, I should be improving my game. It is a learning opportunity to work on some things that I don't normally encounter, like half guard pullers and heel hookers. Not my sort of thing, but I'm learning to deal with it. Overall, I am going to open it up and take on any and all opponents, trying to pick up as much as I can from them. Their unique styles should contrast with mine and show me the areas I could concentrate on.

I think my overall attitude has improved quite a bit, and I'm ready to take the next step up and expand my game.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Presence on the mat

"In every discipline, the ability to be clearheaded, present, cool under fire is much of what separates the best from the mediocre...Those who excel are those who maximize each moment's creative potential- for these masters of living, presence to the day to day learning process is akin to that purity of focus others dream of achieving in a rare climactic moments when everything is on the line...

The secret is that everything is always on the line. The more present we are at practice, the more present we will be in competition, in the boardroom, at the exam, the operating table, the big stage. If we have any hope of attaining excellence, let alone of showing what we've got under pressure, we have to be prepared by a lifestyle of reinforcement. Presence must be like breathing."
- The Art of Learning, pg 172

This passage really struck me.

It extends far beyond the mat, and begins to touch on how I think life ought to be lived.

I recall many moments where people haven't always "been there" with me. A non-committal hand shake that really doesn't acknowledge my being. A conversation where they seem to just be nodding along while really thinking about something else. Or even on the mat while drilling moves, they seem to just be going through the motions without any sort of awareness of their movements or the subtleties of details.

In life, many people can go through years, or sadly, their entire lives without really being aware of the present moment. They are projecting ahead or mulling about something in the past, never fully engaged in what they are doing. But they are missing so much!

On the mat, this has serious consequences. In a match, a mental block could result in your guard getting passed or being sunk deep into a submission. This spells disaster in a game where the dynamics of the situation are changing at every moment, and failure to recognize and opening or your own potential weakness could begin a chain of events that brings about your demise.

Even in training, there are so many details that can be picked up to the attuned student. An instructor might only say so much about a move, but by watching him perform it and paying attention to hip movement, hand placement, timing, etc., the game is opened up to a whole new level. They might not even be meaning to transfer that information, but it is there if you are present in the moment and receptive to it.

My goal is to be more aware of myself at all times- on and off the mat.

Gotta step up the mental part of the game.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thoughts on the importance of quality training partners

"From one perspective the opponent is the enemy. On the other hand there is no one who knows you more intimately, no one who challenges you more profusely or pushes you to excellence and growth so relentlessly" -The Art of Learning (Josh Waitzkin, pg 52).

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."- Proverbs 27:17

I was talking with a purple belt from my school yesterday, and he mentioned something that definitely got me thinking.

He said that rolling with lower belts can make you LAZY. In other words, you take them lightly, and sometimes get caught in positions that you shouldn't be in. All of a sudden you have your back taken, and THEN you decide to turn it on when they already have their arm sunk into an RNC and you are seeing stars. This is why you have to TAKE IT TO THEM at all times. This type of training is important, because you maintain a consistent state of concentration while being able to experiment with your game. This is the time to open up the game and refine moves that you aren't able to use on higher belts.

On the other hand, rolling with higher belts can be the test for your techniques. They test you and force you to stretch yourself to the limit, which will undoubtedly help you learn if you are attentive to what happens on the mat. You have to extend yourself in order to try and elevate to their level, and over time begin to improve your game.

I used to measure myself against people at my own level, but lately I've been thinking about the game in more absolute terms. Unless I can do the pass or finish the submission on a black belt, I have more work to do.

This doesn't mean that you can't learn from rolling with lower belts. It's just a different type of learning. From working with lower belts, you begin to understand the importance of fundamental techniques and foundational theory of BJJ- you feel the difference between them and people who are applying the techniques PROPERLY and begin to understand the nuances of the game. From white belt to black belt, they are using the same techniques, it's just that the black belts can do them on world class competitors.

Friday, December 21, 2007

GB escapes

AM class


-headlock escape- hook leg and arm over
-headlock escape #2- bridge and roll
-side control escape from position 4- arm blocking hip and crossface- come to knees and double leg takedown

-double leg takedown- can be done from head and arm control also
-headlock escape #2- you can't hook leg- clasp hands and bridge into them, hop towards them with legs, and bridge again in circle to take them in the opposite direction


-the grip fighting is key, and opens up plenty of options
-the belt grip is dominating
-standing half guard sweep from ricardo- elevate them and make them straighten their leg- mess with balance completely, and immediately go for the sweep
-need to stay with opponents as they try to pass rapidly- attack with sweeps and subs to get them to stop or at least to slow their momentum. take advantage of the lull after the series of moves.
-something i noticed about ricardo's pressure game- he is always on his toes while driving and pulling into me. makes it much harder to do anything on the bottom
-side control- constantly change base to disrupt opponent's escape attempts.

SH escapes galore

SH training-

I did maybe 4 or 5 classes sessions in a two day period, so this is all sort of a blur.

General theme- escapes!

-foot drag
-foot lift
-double underhook

Side control-
-bridge into opponent while clubbing head and chopping knees
-roll off previous move in opposite direction
-underhook and come to knees
-forearm in throat/bridge and snake away to replace guard
-lift crossface arm up high and sit up into them
-foot drag
-foot lift

Headlock (with underhook)
-turn to side, stuff elbow to ground, bridge and throw opponent over your head, taking back.

Headlock/modified scarf hold (no underhook)
-get on side and stuff elbow to ground, hand grabbing collar/punching throat- bridge and create space to sneak bottom knee in for half guard

-hands in hips, use legs to pendulum and swing around

I need to practice all of these as much as possible.

Other moves-
-foot lock sweep
-x-guard to foot lock series
-side control posture breakdown- drive crown of head into opponent's chin!

Other notes-
-starting to work on the leg on shoulder pass a lot more.

Leg on shoulder-
-they block, kill arm with knee over
-they block, kill arm with knee under
-they block, hip wiggle
-they block, go around and pass on the other side

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sweep drill

PM class

sweep drill


-game feeling very good from bottom. the grip fighting principles definitely helped me control my opponents from the guard. switching between various grips and pushing/pulling motions is very effective.

-grip 1+2- stretch out opponent like crazy- pull sleeve far across chest like a bow string

-"strumming the guitar"- very effective, takes opponent out of game. most likely some sweep options from that distraction

-new guard- de la riva/x guard variant?- like a reverse triangle half guard, but with opponent standing. hold pants cuff, not ankle (more effective vs. counter), pull opposite sleeve across and rock back for pendulum type sweep. ask ricardo in january.

-new guard passing focus- double pants toriani grip- going to work off here for a few months and develop options. this can combo back into the x-pass stance if i want to pass deeper. options- toriani, leg on shoulder, stack pass, 101 knee slide, jacare shoulder plant passes, etc.

-need to move on from 101 pass and master leg on shoulder pass. inevitably going to have to get good at triangle escapes also.

-new guard opener- bear hug guard opener- need to ask about it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Roy Harris grip fighting workshop

grip 1-
"spiderman" grip- fold sleeve over and hold with middle and ring fingers primarily

can be used in combination with most of the other grips

grip 2-
fabric above elbow or below armpit

best used with grip 1

grip 3-
collar grip

rotate wrist to pressure on neck

use to make opponent "overshoot landing"- push and pull to mess with their balance

grip 4-

"strumming the guitar"

drive into opponent's collarbone with knuckles, they get distracted and you go back to 1+2 together

grip 5-
front belt grip

push into opponent's belt and pressure downwards.

or you can pull them into you.

combo push/pull

grip 6-
rear belt grip
can be used to push or pull

grip 7-
inside pants grip at knees

use to pass

toriani- plant opponent's feet on ground (like pushup- all weight on opponent's legs) and kill legs, walk around

or use to weave elbow underneath and drive elbow/knee to pass a number of ways

control opponent's hips- stack them up and pass, pull legs back and pass, go under legs, etc

grip 8-
inside cuff of pants grip- use to pass or prevent opponent from passing


specific moves-

-switch between grips 1+2, 3, 4
-from 1+2- kick out knee and sweep over, or kick out other knee and take back
-grip 7- use as one of primary passing control points.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Destroying the frame from side control

SH training

Anthony's side control attacks

1. destroy the frame
from position 2- both arms on opponent's farside arm
hip sprawl on wrist, adjust so weight rests on arm and pins it to ground. kick foot through for reverse kesa gatame, other foot bases to anticipate the upa.

if they stuff the arm through and try to underhook escape, switch to position 3 n/s or flow back over it and lay weight on wrist.

2. americana
from position 2
destroy the frame by sprawling on it. control arm and shift weight forward. peel wrist to ground using shoulder/elbow controls. pummel inside to pin wrist, lock up figure four, shift weight back to over nearside shoulder and finish.

other moves-

-sokoudjou's fireman carry- from armpit sleeve control- duck under and trap arm, sit and take them over. push them to get counter push and then take them over.

-sprawl sit passes-
over bf hooks- drive hooks to one side, drive knee through and pass. or keep them pinned and walk around it,.

from inside open guard- stack them, and then reach around for leg on shoulder pass

-taking the back from turtle-
secure harness, hook nearside leg and tweak knee, fall to shoulder and insert hook

Friday, December 14, 2007

Secret triangle escapes!

AM class


-triangle escape- trapped arm posts in armpit, tight to torso, and elbow down strong. can sit here forever if it's properly applied, and then reach with other arm to lapel for the traditional leg on shoulder pass. watch for the sweep when you post the arm in armpit.

-triangle escape- xande ribiero superman punch escape. requires good timing. bring trapped arm elbow/knee together and then in one forceful motion, punch across opponent's torso while sprawling back leg, and rotating hips and torso. need to quickly put other arm inside to avoid them locking it up again. watch for the sweep once you sprawl (small window), and also omoplata once you open.

sweep drill-
-guard drill, but only with sweeps (no submissions). open guard was better for this. x-guard works well on bigger opponents, they don't have as crazy of balance as smaller and more agile guys.

-top game is getting better- starting to be able to control while attacking. gotta refine and add as much pressure as possible.
-bottom half guard- lots of sweep options here. watch out for them.
-side mount escapes- getting much better. gotta continue to refine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back attack

PM class

-ezekiel choke from back
triangle choke from back

-triangle- shoot for it if you're trying to trap arm and already have leg over shoulder. scoot back with free leg, lock it in tight and finish.

back drill-

-harness is critical. optional harness- grab under armpit through to opposite side lapel for some sort of control position until you can lock up something better.
-another harness- just lock harness over their arms and jam wrist/forearm into theirs to make it uncomfortable
-seemingly good defense- trap arm and bring head through to other side.
-best defense- fall to non-choking side, scoot and get head/shoulders on ground while getting legs beyond their hooks. elbow to the ground, turn to side control.

-ten finger guillotine is SO good.
-kimuras and bent arm locks are getting better
-half butterfly guard seems to be the best half guard option for me. can go to x-guard or at least keep some distance.

some reminders-
-bridge and roll side control escape.
-parallel theory vs. perpendicular
-"framing" them across the throat/shoulder with stiffarm in hip while hipping out.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Side control fundamentals

PM class

-side control bottom posture
-side control nearside lapel choke
-side control hip out and turn to knees after they pass but before they establish position

-"rolling pin" arms to redirect weight off of chest
-stiff arm in hip w/ hip out combo


-the key things i keep coming across- need to get better at escapes from the bottom and base/control from the top. after that comes sweeps from bottom and then attacks from the top. once those start to get decent, my game will be scary.
-need to develop another solid guard pass other than knee slide/101

Arm triangle guillotine from the back, another butterfly guard pass


-spinning arm bar from lapel choke fake
-arm triangle guillotine from the back transition
-butterfly guard pass

-arm triangle guillotine- set up from hook in to take the back, elbow over other side of head, and crucifix crank them over to the side. shoot the arm through deep and grab other wrist, and crunch into them while choking/cranking them.

-bf guard pass- from flattened bf hooks- step leg back and lift knee while applying pressure on middle of stomach with shoulder. free hand grabs foot and pushes it to ground as you hop over and land half somersault, and replace position by driving knee underneath opponent's legs. wrap legs tight with both arms and scoop hips towards your hips. when ready, plant elbow to pin hips, and then inch up and crossface them. pressure at all times.

rolling notes-
-need to work on sprawl/takedown defense
-reminder- get hands of pants to prevent any toriani style passes
-need to practice triangle escapes
-passing strategy- keep passing to n/s and then to other side of them. counters hip escape and other things.
-reminder- sit up guillotine from half guard
-practice x-guard

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Side Mount Escapes

SH training


-hand under foot trap to roll
-foot trap to back door escape on other side once the base
-foot trap to half guard recovery


-foot trap- tweak knee and make them roll
-step 2- they base, you underhook and grab over back to pants, push their upper thigh with your knee
-half guard recovery- trap foot and lift leg to slip in half guard, step on calf and walk up, forearm across hip to prevent getting smashed, other forearm in throat, sit up and take the over if possible

rolling notes-
-generally, it's not that my guard is getting passed, it's that i'm getting reversed from half guard or side control and ending up getting passed from there. gotta work on top game base to stay dominating.
-overall, doing very well, though.

Friday, December 7, 2007



10x 95 lbs
7x 115 lbs
5x 135 lbs
4x 135 lbs
3x 135 lbs

overhead squats-

10x 45 lbs (bar) - 3 sets

front squats-

10x 75 lbs

back squats-

10x 95 lbs - 3 sets
clean and jerk to get up each set

Thursday, December 6, 2007

SH mount escapes

SH class


-arm trap upa mount escape
-upa mount escape from arm around head
-elbow/knee cheat to bridge over from overhook


-mount/side mount escapes are getting decent. need to wait for right time to explode and go for it.
-some trouble with aggressiveness. not attacking or committing enough. sort of just being lazy about committing to moves!
-some trouble vs. head trapped in guillotine position from side control top. my solution has been to keep rotating around to free my head.
-mike rolled over me. from his game- driving, forward pressure at all times from passing. always pulling while driving. always switching base and anticipating my counters and then shutting them down.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007



handstand pushups (against a wall)


Monday, December 3, 2007

De la riva troubles

PM class

-a bunch of random self defense moves
-hip bump sweep to cross choke from mount

guard drill-

-main thing- having trouble vs. tony's de la riva. sweep defense is mostly good, but i think me giving up sleeve control is allowing him to break me down much easier. gotta be more aggressive with the grip fighting and then start to work on taking out the hook/shutting down the de la riva

-reminder- brabo escape- wrestler sit out and then throw arm across opponent's body, ending in side control. another escape- trap arm hard and sprawl on it. sit out seems like the best option.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


5 minutes of Double unders
5 minutes of 95 lb Clean and Push jerk
3 minutes of Double unders
3 mintutes of 95 lb Clean and Push jerk
1 minute of Double unders
1 minute of 95 lb Clean and Push jerk


did it with 2 35lb dumbells (70 lbs total)
normal jump roping

Saturday, December 1, 2007


With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute... continuing as long as you are able.

Use as many sets each minute as needed.


got to 10 mins

55 pullups total

Arm in guillotine and some top notch tips

Stronghold training

-arm in guillotine- pressure on the artery on the side of the neck closest to the trapped arm. can be done from half guard/open guard/whatever. need to block them from coming around and passing. fall to side opposite trapped arm. specific grip with thumb in artery. crunch into them (don't arch like normal guillotine), drive their head down (sort of like neck crank), and rotate wrist to pressure neck. can use to sweep very easily. can attack from all places!

-one armed guillotine from half guard top- need to wrap arm around deep and pressure neck while driving with rib on their head. can't figure it out at this point.

-n/s guillotine- setup- need to lean onto them and pressure them in the transition from side control to the guillotine.

-arm triangle- to finish- pinch elbows together and drive head to mat. doesn't matter where legs are, etc. can be done from half guard.

-chokes- patience and constant, consistent pressure when choking. moving around and adjusting pressure allows them to also adjust and survive longer. a fully locked in choke will take a few seconds for them to tap.

-brabo/darce- switch back and forth to get the submission. darce them over and then sink the brabo, darce them over again if they recover, etc.

-brabo counter- wrestler's sit out from turtle. from half guard- frame opposite side hip with trapped arm to get some space.

-half guard bottom- underhook with elbow, not with whole arm (avoid the brabo)

-half guard bottom- need to frame them with arms and use to stop progress and then recover guard.

-half guard bottom- pin their arm to wrist and they can't pass. recover once they try to free arm.

-x-guard- when they post the knee, off-balance them and try the pendulum x sweep, but ultimately shoot under the leg and try to take the back.

-sweeps- time it with the submission. example- collar choke- they move arms to block the choke, you scissor them over.

-general half guard philosophy- not a dominant position- all the sweeps cause you to get your face smashed often. need to create distance and recover guard for stronger position.

-half guard bottom when smashed- lockdown on leg alleviates some pressure, and then peel the shoulder away, get arms back in posture.

-top game- need to be driving into them more, leaning weight on them instead of just going around.

-guard strategy- overwhelm with submissions and then eventually sweep with scissor or something else. timing after flurry- pause and then sweep when they don't expect it. hard to tap someone from here.

-side control- need to work to get arms out of posture ASAP

-passing- when they grab your sleeves, grab them back and drive at the same time. messes their leverage up and puts you at the advantage. they should crumble.

-de la riva counter- point knee away to take away angle