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!