Friday, August 7, 2015


Half guard transitions this past week:

when they sit in, back toward you, in half guard:
pinch with thighs around their 'far' leg.
finagle their far leg with yours and
1. Tilt them, while you grab their other leg with your hand, then move to full guard
2. swim under their arm full body, shrimp out, your 'close' leg into their knee, move to their back.
3. if their foot is by your hand, grab it, dump them.
4. swim under their arm full body, situp sweep.
5. with their leg trapped, base out with your free leg and bridge to side control

Finagle to mean: pinch, pull, cross, lock.

Tuesday night's rolling was a reintroduction for me -  let myself be man handled.

Thursday night we did sweep or submit.
Wednesday night I a BJJ classmate move.

Dear leader will be getting his blackbelt soon! He's going to Brazil this weekend! Huzzah!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Last night: Judo, guard break

Half-step dance move, holding onto their lapel and shoulder - lift up, get them moving to their tippy toes.
Once they're up, step your foot through so you're in line with them, your arms will be folded in a weird position because you're still holding on,
drop to your knees, while pulling them forward,
Trick is to keep momentum moving, and especially to watch dropping on your knees - not a move to be done on concrete.

Also, to do a similar setup but instead of dropping to your knees, step out, beside them with one leg and 'trip' them with your extended leg. In this instance you keep your base.

In both instances when they're on the ground, "it's BJJ time"

If you're being thrown, accept the throw. Going against it with base or your arm out will get you hurt. By going with it, giving it a bit of momentum, you're sure not to be hurt and may even come out further ahead, defensively, than if you held on.

What I think is weird about Judo is the broken Japanese.. some moves are in Japanese, others in english, some in broken parts of both "This is half-/japanese for circle" like, could you just say "half-circle" and help me out!? I wonder if they do the same thing for English terms over there.

Guard breaks, new styles.

We practiced keeping position, allowing the other person to pull on us. I learned to keep my feet flat when in guard, for the most part.

Together legs makes it hard to pull you forward and backward. Wide legs makes it hard to move side to side. Popping up to your toes allows you more control, but you need to be quick. Only popup when they pull you forward.

Guard passes involved grabbing their lapel, pulling your same side leg up, wrapping your arm around your knee so the lapel is tight, and pushing on their other leg to create tension in the groin.  From here you can cut-pass, or as we were shown, get the legs on your shoulders and move them to the side, going for side control.

End of class yesterday was sweep or submit.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Blog post.. CATCH UP!

It's been a couple of weeks!

Dear leader, after watching us noobs roll around, seemed to have a bit of an epiphany. He said, "I can't be training you guys every move in order and expect you to keep up on them all" so for two weeks we trained side control defense, sweeps and transitions.

I liked it a lot! I was there for 5 of 9 classes. Though I feel like I only took one soild move from it, and a couple of other things I may remember when the time comes.. I was able to do a couple of the sweeps instinctually - so, progress!

In open mat, I had someone compliment my strength! But after a few days to think about it I think it was likely a backhanded compliment - like, "Wow, you're a lot stronger than I expected" means, "You're using way too much muscle". Regardless, it was nice to be considered strong! I know that I've got a lot to work on, but right now I'm going to focus on timing and anticipation and let the strength part fall to the wayside -

Sick & injured:
Today, I'm sick! I'm not sure what's up- a bit of a cough, weak body & mind. It's no fun. Trying to pinpoint where that came from, I think it's from breathing in the same air (face to face) when rolling with some new people. new people, new germs.

Also, I had a hair in my mouth and then, when trying to fish it out, I got a cold sore on my lip and tounge! I'm not sure what to do about that.. maybe a clean, hair-licking rag.. i'll of course keep you, my devoted blog fans apprised if I find an adequate solution in this arena.

Anyway, it's not so bad. My buddy Shannon says it takes a couple of years to acclimate your body to those types of germs and in general, you should avoid putting things in your mouth. So now I know!

Personal :
I've also been training a decent amount with Shannon at my house- I'm up to about 1 hour 45 minutes of rolling at a time! I get my ass whooped, but I'm not completely worthless, my transitions are good, I'm defending a lot longer. I feel like I'm using more strength than I need to, but it's nice to know that's an option. Plus, I'm putting on more strength as I use it.

My stamina is getting much better! If I just stop for a moment between bouts to catch my breath, I can roll all day! Next step is to push myself further and further so I can train even when pooped

My friend Jessica F. , dear leader's sister, came to visit this past week - she was there when I started training and left several months later. We trained several times and got to hang out otherwise. It's fun to see how we've both progressed.

Deep thoughts:
If you recall, I wrote about having some consternation regarding the time I was spending in BJJ and how I felt that BJJ was taking over that drive in my life to progress - that it was easy to go to BJJ and call it a day. Even at that time, I had a white board which I use to keep track of my goals, but ever since I felt like that was an issue, my white board has changed dramatically. Instead of tracking monthly, I do weekly. And my goals are much more well defined. I have a couple of catagories on the whiteboard like "Do" "Learn" "Education" as well as BJJ, Social and the like. Tracking monthly it was easy to push some of the less fun things off onto other days of the month, but weekly, and since the week I've drawn out is the same size as the month was previously, I feel much more compelled to do things.

Relatedly, I had to 'shit or get off the pot' so to speak - I wasn't doing myself any favors by half-assing the amount of time I could give BJJ - things progress much more quickly when I go often and so long as I can see I'm keeping up on my other goals, the progress will be greater by devoting more time to BJJ instead of lessened.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Crucifix, turtle attacks, learning to better control my body and looking good nude!

This past week we went over a lot of turtle attacks. Namely pinching their arm between your legs and moving in different directions to get an arm-bar. Even though the turtle only happens about 1/6 of the time, this leg movement for an arm bar seems to happen often enough. Not that it's easy to pull off but it leads to other things.

One of them, pinching their arm with your legs, you roll over their head, and then you have them in a crucifix hold. From there, you open their gi up, reach in with the other hand and simply choke.

There's also a really sick choke against someone in turtle that you simply grab on and move out.

I've been really trying to slow down my arm bars and put thought into them by holding them for a moment before moving to complete.

Using that mindset I just mentioned, I've been pulling off arm bars more often. If not them, then Omaplata - or transitioning. As I mentioned in my last post i seem to be getting better now. Still a lot to learn but at least having an idea as to what I should be doing.


Today in open mat I could really feel a size difference between me and my good buddy Shannon. I felt HUGE and like I could just scoop him up or move him around. I don't know why, maybe something suddenly clicked? He still stomped me, multiple times, I'm sure me commenting on how tiny he felt while we were rolling didn't de-motivate him at all ahaha


I looked at myself nude in a full body mirror yesterday and noticed I looked pretty fit! I just need to keep my posture in mind and I think I'll be studly. I'm not especially muscular but the fat on my belly has dropped off and i have some muscular tone now.

I sent notice to a few friends about that one (text, not photo, dirty-birds!)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I'm getting better!

This is more of a landmark or bookmark of an event - but I noticed yesterday and more so today, I'm getting kind of OK!

I think I've finally got defense well enough down - or maybe I don't feel as pressured -- that I'm starting to look for submissions instead of looking for defense.

What's strange is when I was there Thursday, I didn't do that well - I thought because I had not been to class often in the preceding two weeks.  Or maybe my heart wasn't in it during sparring after class, or the stamina requirement was higher.

But Saturday, Sunday, much better! I still got tapped often, but kept at it, and was grabbing things, moving in proper ways. I even did some things instinctually which a higher belt said he learned from!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

1,2,3, baby tell me how's my knee? you look just fine, now i'm really going to make you fly!

I've decided not to go train Mondays, but need to make it the other days.

We've got morning classes now, I'd like to work those into my day and I'm curious about what effect that'll have on the rest of my day.

We started out training take downs.

Big Circle:
Hand on same side lapel, hand on same side seam. Pull opponent toward you, hip into their hip, same side leg across theirs so you're setting them up for a trip, then just look over your shoulder.

Little circle:
big circle fails, so you move the foot for big circle onto the back of their other foot. From here you just kind of.. shin forward which causes them to fall, or you can pick their foot and hold on.

Both fail, but now the opponent is setup. I noticed a TRIANGLE OF ACTION here. Basically, triangles are the shit.. if you ever see a person's body positioned like a triangle, you know where their center of gravity is. In this instance, you simply move close, drop to your knees, load your hands up and pull them across your back so they flip over your head.

Then we moved onto guard-escapes, sweeps and submissions:
Guard to Triangle:
Guard to belly-down Armbar:
Guard to situp sweep:
guard to omaplata:
guard to guillotine:

A lot of these seem foggy in my head now, but I learned something important from the situp sweep: when you go to move, do so explosively and slap your foot off the ground opposed to kicking it and trying to use momentum.

I feel comfortable with: the omaplata, situp sweep, guillotine. Less so with the triangle and even less so with the belly-down armbar.

I also think I'm forgetting some of the things we trained last night.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

North-South Escapes & Deep Thoughts

SO, three weeks have passed,
I've been skipping Monday & Tuesday, I'll elaborate as to why toward the end of this article.

IN BJJ, I'm often using my legs wrong. I love to pull them up toward my head and use them like a vice to move people. It doesn't always work. It mostly doesn't work.

But we've been trying North-South escapes and one of the moves is similar to just that!

Basically, you pull your foot up, grab it at your toes on the same side, tuck it between their legs and 'flex' your leg in such a way that it easily takes you to their back. So friggen' simple!

Another escape, you use your head as a fulcrum on their knee - it's important to remember to grab their knee when you do this so they can't easily base out. Once your head is in position, you just bridge and push from your far side, across them, your head prevents them from basing and they fall. you assume side control.

Another escape was to swing your legs back and forth to build up momentum, then kick your knees into their stomach and go for mount or attack the arms.

Another thing I am very happy to have learned is an arm-pick from side control where you use the tip of your elbow to scoop their arm, you lock your arm behind their head so their arm is trapped accross their neck and then apply pressure. This chokes them out.

If you can't quite get that last choke, you can then grab their other, free arm, move into a high mount and now you've got both their arms.

In free rolling I pulled off a lot of that, including an actual-speed triangle! For the first time! Woo!!

Lastly, I've found myself ADDICTED to bjj - and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Similar addicts say it's good, but I'm not sure how i feel. It's easy to become satisfied by the gains I"m making there while more tangable personal growth efforts fall to the wayside. I've been skipping monday and tuesday to get some of that motivational pressure back in my life, but I literally end up feeling depressed when I don't train! At first, when I missed a day or two, I thought I was depressed for other reasons, but that emotional pressure went away after I trained. I don't like being obligated to things and I miss the pressure to be more - if I were to plot my learning, reading and training, outside of BJJ - it would have taken a nose-dive when I joined BJJ.

My gym opened up morning classes, I think I may start going to those in conjunction with my normal training times. I'm going to try and get my schedule to three classes and at least one open mat a week.

Our gym also stepped itself up; we have more water barrels so we won't run dry, they installed carpeting and furniture for waiting parents, covered all the outlets and open vents, put proud stickers on the window. The gym leader quit his day job to do this full time. It's very nice!

These are the things on my plate:
Breathing, Not Spaz, Posture, hooking my feet in their transition.
Arm Bar, Arm Tuck attack, Triangle, omaplata.
Arms in, Elbows in, turtle, side control escape.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Side Control Escapes

WELCOME BACK - to myself!

Not counting a couple of days of training, I nearly took two weeks off from BJJ! St. Paddy's in Savannah took up some of it, work and laziness the other.

My buddy Josh brought his BJJ mats to my house which I have setup in my living room. Josh works with Shannon (another friend) at a BJJ school as an instructor in a neighboring town. Josh has been practicing his instructional moves with me - it's enlightening.


Last night at BJJ we worked on side control escapes.

I learned that when you're on the bottom, arm placement is important. You want the tip of your elbow in their hip as to support their weight, you also want your other arm either framed across their neck, or tucked under their far arm and around to their back.

Basically, step your back foot back further and frame it on the ground, use that angle to twist your body onto it's side and then get your arm below yourself so you can't be easily flattened out.

Put your hands on their hips, elbows on the ground and straighten out. Then, 'thread the needle' so your knee is up, bring your other leg through and step around


When on your side and they're pressing on you, straighten your arm out, grab their pant leg, walk your legs into theirs and use your grabbed pant leg to dump them and you take their side


When you go on your side, with you arm tucked, put your knee against theirs and straighten your leg out as to extend their leg - then use your other leg to hook that straightened out leg, pinch your thighs together (flag pole), twist their body, free your original knee and move to full guard - you may have to push on their loose leg. You can also sometimes get to full guard without pinching and twisting their body if you're quick/flexiable and lucky enough - but our gym leader said that wasn't the best habit to get in - it would work in a pinch but not against people who didn't want it to work.

We also did about 30 minutes of sparring last night. I felt pretty controlled and did better against the less spazzy people - moving slow. I've really been trying to slow myself down or at the least not be so winded. I find myself matching whatever's thrown at me regardless of my stamina - which is why I did better against less spazzy people. That said, my dominance and submissions didn't feel as present as they normally do.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Core Warmup, Takedowns & Defense

Yesterday, Wednesday the 4th-

We warmed up with core exercises. So tough! My legs were shaking at the joints when we finished- worth it!

We did some take down & punch defense:

1. hands near your temple, swat firsts coming in without reaching too much (straight punch)
2. hands near your temple, use your elbow to deflect body shots while still being ready as described in #1

3. Protect against a wide swing = bring your elbow up, then use your other elbow to strike as you drive through that same foot
4. Protect against a wide swing with your elbow, pinch their arm in your lat, drop your body weight and grab their leg.

Take down:
1. Duck under their swing, grab around their hips with both hands lock your hands, push your hips forward, extend your knees/legs as to lift them and dump them. Note: Keep lifting out of the back by looking toward the ceiling.
2. Duck under swing, grab their hips, pull your far leg through theirs and extend as to trip them - try and maintain posture
3. Duck under their swing, grab their hips, they sprawl. keeping one leg outside, drop the other inside- as your knee drops, extend both of your hands like you're taking a bow in a theater, this popping motion swings them off you and if they're sprawled then they're committed. From there, just swing around to their back for control.

Edit; my abs and sides are exercise sore! feels good!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sick days!

Been feeling a bit under the weather - my sinuses feel painful and I've been feeling drained.

In line with the golden rule (do unto others as you'd like to be done unto) I make a habit of sitting out of class if I'm feeling communicable.

Rash, cough, sneeze or cold - you won't be catching it from me at the gym. Unless I'm a carrier and not symptomatic.

Kind of the same with body pain - if I'm familiar I'll try to push through, if it's a new pain then I'll give it a bit of time to heal.

At first a day off seem cool, like a cheat day - but as days pass I find myself day dreaming about BJJ with increasing frequency.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Grip and Mounts

Tuesday class!

A couple of new people as well as a guest in class last night.

We warmed up with grips and tosses:
- Pummel, pull arm across using both of your hands, step behind, both hands grip on arm.
- Pummel, pull arm up, step through, hips forward with head up, step around, grab hip and back arm so you can't be elbowed
- gripped, go for 'little circle' on their forward facing leg so that your calf and thigh trap their leg, turn to the direction your 'little circle' foot is pointing (active toes) and dump them, mounting.
- gripped, go for little circle, fail, go for big circle, lock their leg using a forward movement, pic their foot, dump them, control their foot while they're falling, and then knee on belly or similar
- gripped, go for little circle, fail. go for big circle, fail. step through their legs, turn your body as though you're getting ready for a toss, but the hand movements aren't there.. so you pull your far elbow up through your other arm, which creates a pivot point and gives you the leverage needed to dump them. This was difficult at first as I didn't realize to pull my elbow across, it's not an obvious movement but what is obvious is you can't do it correctly with out it because there's too much torque on one of your arms.

- Guard Sweep 1: Scissor sweep. I'm still not sure how to get them to apply pressure to arm it. Though I learned how to better keep someone on you which is to detach your hips from the ground, point your toes down (lock) and then when you remove their post on you, hips down, legs up and they'll come forward and that's when you get them into a bear hug kind of thing.

- Guard sweep 2: When you pull them forward, as soon as their base comes off the ground you straigthen the leg on that side out and push them a bit, they roll right over and with your leg straight you avoid getting it trapped

- Guard sweep 3: they leg up to prevent a sweep, so you stretch out opposite, thread your leg through their open leg and tip them over

-Guard sweep 4: they leg up to prevent sweep and you're trapped, so you move toward the leg up and put your hand through, kick your leg and dump them with the momentum, holding their leg as you ride up, keeping things tight the entire time.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Yesterday.. we did.. something

Last night we covered a bunch of things which were new to me - while doing them I thought, "this is going to be a difficult blog post".

Shoot for a double leg, accept a single leg. Wrap your arms like you're hugging it to your chest and pinching in you legs. Head starts on the outside of the body, ends up on the end side. Step out with one leg. Swing them down.

Shoot for a double, accept a single. Wrap your arms. Head starts on outside moves immediately to inside. While pinching with your knees, slide your hands down their leg to their ankle and create force with your head and distance. this extends their leg out causing them to fall while you still have good grip.

Here's where things get a bit blurry;

Side control, pinch & hug their arm. step your leg over their head, pull it tight. hips into them, that's an armbar. Lazy man can tuck their opponents arm over their hips and behind their top arm.

Similar move to as above, but if they bridge away from you, step up so you're straddling their head and you have their arm directly across your body, that's an armbar.

Then about 20 minutes of rolling.

I showed up a few minutes late and only got one session of rolling in because we had an odd number of people. But I'm feeling more adept here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hips, Dips & Grips - defensive focus & group exercise

Familiar faces last night (Wednesday).

We started off training triangles in a partner exercise. I long for the day I can pull one off smoothly in sparing.

Moved onto strengthening drills (group exercises) push-ups, and a couple of forms of planking.

From there we did passes from when you're standing and your opponent is on their back with their feet on your hips. Grab one foot, pull it across you, pinch their leg between the top part of your thigh and your side, grab their knee so they can't get out. Turn that same leg which is pinching inward so it passes them, and place it on their belly - knee on belly - kind of a captain Morgan pose here, so you can drop to that other knee. It's important not to slouch nor lean on their leg because you're giving them too much control. Watch out for their bridge. From here, base with your hands above their head, windshield-wiper your leg and move to the other side.

Then we worked on breaking grips, as a defense in tense situations (fighting).

One handed grip, straight arm = grab the meat of their hand with both of your hands, step back, leg behind theirs. Straighten the knee which is behind theirs as to lock it while at the same time pulling from your shoulder (like starting a lawn mower), bring them to the ground, pinch their arm with your knee.

two handed grip, their elbows open = step back, elbow up & through, t-position, toss (or whatever you want to do from t-position)

two handed grip, their elbows tight = step back, arm across their grip, reinforce your arm, start turning your body and place your leg across theirs (so, for instance, your left leg goes across to be on the outside of their left leg, while your right arm is across on their right arm. With this motion you break their grip and end up with you at about 1/4 giving them your back, so you follow up with an elbow to the face.

Then we sparred for about 30 minutes! I did pretty OK! I kept getting myself into the same failing position, but even at the time I recognized that was pretty good, because that means I have a gameplan which is failing and I can focus on what is failing. I kept ending up in side control and having to expend a lot of energy to get side control myself.

Oh and after class our gym leader showed me some punch defense that I wrote about having alternative methodologies brought to my attention last post. Basically he corrected my posture so it made more sense (instead of my hands so high like "woah nelly!", they're lower, like "I don't want this!")

He said that the way my buddy showed me was great when you're already in a fight expecting punches but the way they show is when it hasn't escalated that far and you're trying to defuse. Make a target, be a target. Defuse a situation, no target.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mount- ESCAPE. Kick, punch & play!


Saturday's class consisted of review of the previous week.

I normally don't make it to Saturday class because it's early and I feel more foggy headed than normal, making learning difficult. BUT, this weekend I had a dream in which I fell alseep a couple of times and woke up feeling especially refreshed, so I made it to class and rolled *dun dun chh!* right into open mat. I love getting open mat sessions in because I find them especially informative. They also make my fitness tracking app give me an immediate thumbs up for the 2+ hours of exercise I put in.

Anyway, from my last blog post I missed 2 days of class- so the review was definitely welcome.

Mount, for the uninitiated, is when someone sits on top of you, straddling your hips, their feet usually tuck in by your butt so it's not easy to just sweep their legs out of the way with yours. They hope to move up under your arms so when you're on the bottom it's important to keep your elbows down to the mat. Like, hella important.

We trained four escapes:

Trap & Roll:

Get their arm, but don't reach for it - remember, keeping your elbows down is paramount. If they're not down, the person on top is going to climb right up and you'll be in a bad spot. If they do get under your arms and high on your chest, go to the deep mount escape techniques.
So you have their arm, one of your hands on their wrist, and the other one pushing their elbow in so they can't get an easy/good base.

Then you trap the leg. My gym leader was showing me that I need to turn my foot in, so the 'palm' of my foot was facing their leg, opposed to a straight leg with my foot resting on the mat.

Then as I bridge, open my head and importantly, turn my knee (the one trapping their leg) down to the ground to create tension on their leg/hip/foot. 

From there you posture up, grab their bicept and put force on it so they can't posture nor punch you. This part actually becomes pretty automatic if you train it enough - I didn't think it would.. 

You also bring your leg up, kind of like captian morgan, so you can prevent them from shrimping out, Then you can push your hips into that leg you're trapping and slide to their side.\

Elbow Sweep:

When you bridge, your oponent will sometimes base out. I kept being told it was a timing thing - basically you bridge and scoop with your knee - catching the leg that they've based out. You just get the tip of your knee past their leg and then turn it up, scooping it and putting them in 1/2 guard. 

From there, you grab their lapel, base out behind you and when you pull them down/forward from their lapel, bring your trapped leg out and go for full guard.


If someone has mount you can hold a very small - CHISAI bridge- which will off center them and cause them to adjust to a floating mount - making one side lighter and able to go for a bridge & shrimp. Even knowing this move, if I'm in mount I'm caught by it. It's like our body's natural disposition to want to stay balanced and so the person on the bottom can take advantage of that!

Deep Mount Escape:

If your arms are free and not pinned above you, put them on their hips and use your shoulders + hips to escape. DO NOT push with your arms. The idea is to get back to a regular mount and try one of the escapes above. If your arms are trapped, go for the punch defense mount escape

Deep Mount Escape w/ Punch Defense:

Pull your arms around their torso and hold them tight. If they're in mount and punching, a bridge should get them down where you can grab them like this. From here, take one hand and place it on their shoulder and once that's there, place the other on the shoulder and pull yourself up. From here attempt one of the other mount escapes.

Boxing & Kicking:

My posture is still really bad with punching but better with kicking. Which is interesting because I only just started playing with kicks.

Things I learned:  Don't get in the habit of meeting a punch. If I feel like I can do it in training, that's only because it's training and if the person has serious intent I'm going to end up injured. Keep my blocks close and small movements, not large. Meet the attack but not more than an inch or two to keep myself from absorbing all the impact.

Kicking, more of a baseball bat mentality. Keep the leg straight and don't snap it from the knee/down.  Personal note: make sure your toes are pointed and not going to absorb the blow!


A friend came by my house and was showing me some punch defense with BJJ applications. My gym teaches me to meet the bicep of each punching arm with a grip then to go into t-guard. My friend was showing me to cover up and move in. He kind of argued against the way I had learned it but then said that everything had merit. Then when we were lightly sparing, I found myself doing the same grips I had been taught. So while his might be more situationally appropriate (two triangle arms around your head with hands at ear level, move in for clinch, t-position) - mine might have a wider array of applications - and especially for a white belt will instill that block. 

Also went over some takedowns with him.

Oh and FINALLY FINALLY, my good highschool buddies are coming up next week. They're married and one of them is big into MMA - but in the "I live in the country and there are no gyms to train at so I can only dream" sense. I'm really excited for him to visit and the friend in the first part of this finally message offered to lend me his mats so we could roll at my house! ahhh yeee!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Arriving late, kneeing your face, tipping you over. frustration rising.

Today, I thought, wasn't great.

I lost track of time and was on water duty (filling up the gyms' 5 gallon purified water) and arrived to class about 30 minutes late.

I've only made two classes so far this week. Though one of the days I missed I was training kicking with a friend.

I hurt my rib Saturday in a ridiculous way - I was on my back, someone on my left, I went to sit up, scrunching my left side and something pulled on the right- I think I partially tore a muscle because because I did absolutely 0 warming up. It's been prodding me all week, but only enough to often have the thought, "Your side is hurting but not enough to keep you from training!"

And today I felt all frustrated with sparring, leaving me to contemplate my role in life & BJJ on the drive home.

I trained two moves in class:
- Standing, putting someone in a clinch and kneeing their face, pulling down on their head like ty-bo. With a flow of feet that puts one back ready for the next knee.

- Standing, mirror stance, shooting through:  one knee down, other knee slides so that it forms a wall against their rearward leg. Put your head solidly against their outside hip, one hand on each of their thighs, grabbing from behind, your hip forward into their knee, locking it into place, posture up,  dumping them on their side.

I trained each move about 4 times, had them done to me the same. then we went onto rolling.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my free form rolling game. I feel like there are several forces at work culminating in a frustrated Oliver and perhaps even frustrated gym-mates. Stuff I KNOW I should be aware of and think I should able to counter, but they cause one another and creep up like a rising tide. Those forces are:

  • The beast - wanting to be nasty. To dig my elbows in, to choke where I know I shouldn't. To move too quickly, use too much strength, spaz or not be OK with defending properly. Probably most readily tied to ego. I notice this more in reflection; especially when someone had a good defense. It creates a reinforcement which has no BJJ basis . Said otherwise, it leads me to learn and do things which aren't BJJ, practiced or sound but are sometimes effective. The worst part is this is the one I watch out most for, but continually fall prey to.
  • The lazy - Finding myself often in a single position and holding it. To go for a move I know I can do opposed to something I would need to think about, or setup. Missing moves I could have grabbed had I been more aware. It's reactionary and not formulated.
  • The physical - I think this is a large weakness for me: a pounding head. My rational self goes out the window leaving a gasping idiot. I sit and think about what I did and I have a couple thoughts: most often it's one of these bullets or rarely what I should of done instead. Half the time I can't even remember what just happened or what put me in that position.  Relates to the next issue-
  • The thinking - I grasp for any information I can get, but most often come up empty handed. Someone can explain a move or situation but I have several modes of thought going at once, or not, with my head pounding, my heart and breath racing, I can't make sense of it. Even if at the moment I can grab ahold of some information, as soon as I get back to it, it's like the hot lava of blood runs over the wrinkles in my brain erasing what I may have gained. Relates to the next issue-
  • The instruction -  not just from the gym leader, but anyone offering information during or after sparring.  It's unwarranted to direct any of my frustration at those trying to offer help or guidance but in the same hand it feels like they're a source. I'm likely frustrated with myself because I often can't follow their thoughts/advice. Another simi related issue is excitement on the mat - when someone see's you do something cool you get fanfare, which I think disregards actual function of it or thought/intent behind it.  Relates to the next issue-
  • The methodology -  After a roll, when someone's explaining something, I want to comprehend what others trying to convey but another part is screaming "this isn't how you're going to learn this!" the bad news is I'm not sure how I'll learn in a rolling environment, or even that I'm right that it's not how I will.. It's like I'm making excuses but it doesn't seem like something which is premeditated. I do learn things this way, but I would say less than 1/2 the time.
  • The history - I'm not you, you're not me. Unless you've figured me out, which I'd be OK with, it's going to be difficult to apply a cookie cutter to me. I try to boil my interaction down and keep it basic, but experience tells me my motivation, values, and desires are outside the mainstream. Maybe it's an excuse, a crutch, but nonetheless it adds to my frustration. This sounds trivial but when I'm training with my good friend I feel like the exchange is more useful.
  • The realist - You ever have an epiphany where you realize how small & insignificant we all are? How petty our problems and how brief, in the grand scheme of things, our existences? Like a, "I don't care" or "fuck it!" moment where you realize you could be anywhere, doing most anything. I think I live this moment perpetually and it's exacerbated when I'm frustrated. It's a thought which permeates my life and ultimately gives me power of destiny - at any moment I could just walk out. I often fight that urge, it feels like sitting on my hands, or holding my tongue. 
Lastly, there's something which I find frustrating in a different way - when team mates want to see what you're going to do. I don't like being tested. I don't expect a higher belt or skilled person to go all out against me, but I don't want them to lay there either. That's frustrating in a depressing way, not a hair pulling way. 

I actually feel better having written all that out! And in doing so, perhaps came up with a solution: increase stamina.
I'll add extra curricular cardio to my mix and also attend class more. There's a gym at my apartment complex, I should take advantage of that. One of my good friends recommends yoga for BJJ stamina.

 If my head wasn't pounding, I wouldn't be beast-moding out as often, I'd be better able to focus, to   follow others thoughts and advice. Then the rest of the issues will fall to the wayside.

Hoping to quell my thoughts a bit and give myself some traction to train what I should be. Maybe I can refine these bullets further into just a few actions I can take or thoughts to constantly have on my mind.

So, today was a good day after all! :)

edit; having a night to think about this: if I read it as a complaint or excuse it seems petty, but if I read it as a road map it becomes insightful. I think 80% of my frustration comes from other sources and the other 20% is BJJ - but it's BJJ I have more control over. Anyway - ROADMAP!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gimme yo back!

Still high turnout at the gym, not as high as yesterday, but still!

I felt elated last night because for the first time I pulled off a move we trained in sparring, immediately after we trained it! Am I finally leaving the realms of spaz? Probably not!

We warmed up with take-downs and trained more back moves, chokes to be specific.

The central task was to get their hands out of the way.

The move I pulled off was grabbing their lapel, scooting out from behind them, leg over their mid section, grabbing their knee and pulling like a bow with your elbow tucked down.

Basically two moves:
When you're on the back and trying to trap their arm. Putting your arm over theirs, you go for the lapel choke.

Putting your arm under theirs, you pull it back, trap it in your lat and preform an armbar.

Also an escape from the lapel choke is to put your head through the hole their arm created, but you'll likely get arm barred.

Monday, January 19, 2015

From the behind

Some of the class went to a seminar this weekend. The gym had an interesting, driven yet jovial attitude today. People were excited to learn.

Arm Bar from guard,
 Triangle from guard,

 Moving to rear:
- arm across, step up from their shoulder which is reaching across
- grab arm or far side (reach across opponent)
 - push onto their back and latch the inside foot inside their legs (hook)
 - Hook the other leg and roll back OR
 - Arm Across, step up, but follow your hand up.

 -When you go to push onto their back, hook your knee over their back and do a motion similar to standing in base which puts your weight on them so you can pivot (roll) over their back and get your hooks in.

Cross Belt:
- Under arm holds on top so that when they pull it off it gets a choke in.
- The deeper the better. I can grab my elbows!
- Lower hand over upper hand.

 On the back:
 - you can really stick to someone's back if you'd like.

 Rear Naked Choke:
 - Keep your head close
 - Get your arm under their chin - push their shoulder so it goes into your elbow
- the hand of that elbow goes around their shoulder
- your other hand slides in, back of your hand on the back of their head
 - Those fingers 'pop up' and then clamp down on your bicep
- deep breaths

OR if they chin down in the previous step,
- get the choke but don't choke.. use the pressure to pull their chin up,
- slip your other hand under their neck

 If you can't get a full rear-naked,
 - get your arm across their neck without being able to push their shoulder
 - Your hand near their ear, grab it with your other hand
 - second hand elbow goes down on their back
 - apply pressure to legs (stand on them)
- pull like you're pulling off a barbie's-head.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Time.. for T position

We do a lot of T-position.

I'd wonder why but then I realize that even after all that t-position work when we're working on take downs we simply yank each other around like angry rag dolls, while our gym leader looks on shaking his head in disapproval.

I've gotten pretty good at DRILLING t-position. My hips are like.. well, they're hips but dang they're going right where they need to! (It's early, my writing skills are ungood!). Move them PAST the oponent when trying to hip toss. Feel like this went from confusing to 'look what i can do!'.

Last night I rolled with a new gym person who was a bit older than me. In retrospect I feel bad for rolling so hard, I was just trying to apply like force but I ended up elbowing him and grabbing his head unnecessarily- I hope I didn't discourage or cause him much damage.

Edit: Math on attendance:
Prior, 6 months, or 36 days attended @ 2hr = 72 Hours
Now, 7 months, or 120 days @ 1.5 hour = 180 Hours
== 252 hours

Prior was 2 times a week Now is 4 times a week on average with 6 times a week average (monthly) when I first started.