Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29 207th day

God Mondays are Rough. Could it be that crappy Mondays are the price I
pay for an unhealthy weekend of pool food intake? Tuesdays seem like a
god-given gift after Mondays. Hell, any other day beats Mondays,
Thursdays seems to be second hardest, but somehow I still have the
energy on Thursdays, but not on Mondays. Oh well.
Got smashed and passed a number of times by different people. Hell,
people I usually dominate triangled me today. I guess this is just
another regular training day, but one of the harder ones. Could it be
that I'm finally hitting a bump in my training? Do I start having the
feeling I'm actually getting worse? I think so, maybe. I think I am
actually evolving as a fighter. These few weeks will probably be a bit
harder than usual until I get over this plateau. No worries, I am
getting better, as long as I walk through that door and fight the rounds
properly. I think this is a beautiful and natural thing. Tough times
precede a sudden leap in skill and evolution. I welcome those tough
times with open arms.
It's like I feel I want to have more force and energy to impose my will.
It's a feeling I haven't had before. It's maybe that my technique is
getting de-adjusted, or maybe that I need to take some time off to
absorb all those techniques and let my body mend. What would be the best
thing to do? Either continue training, change my training or take a
break. Anyhow, I feel within my bones that this art is a marathon. You
can't rush things, you have to let them come to you. The take-home
advice is to find your own beat and follow it. Take as much as your body
and your time allows, without burning yourself out.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25th 206th day

Rolling notes :
Rolled with Prof. Bruno once again, and got a free tip from him : work
on my grips. When playing whatever type of guard, I seem to half-ass the
gripping, so I could work on my grips outside the gym a bit more, or
grip with more conviction. I'm not hurting anyone if I grip the GI a bit
more. He's definitely right on this one.
Second thing I'd like to work on is guard replacement, the ones Cobrinha
shows on his DVDs, for the spider guard. Drilled enough, those are bound
to get me to guard replacement nirvana, which is where the hot chicks
and the booze are. Ok, maybe not, but it's what I should really be
spending my time doing. I personally think that guard playing is a bit
like holding a dominant position. What's the point of studying
submissions from side control if you can't hold the position in the
first place? The same applies to the guard. You can surely learn sweeps
and submissions for most of the positions you find yourself in, and get
by, but it's not until you get your guard replacement up to notch that
you get to practice those sweeps and submissions enough to develop a
cogent game.
With this in mind, I am changing my rolling strategy from now on. I want
to risk getting passed more. I want to get in bad positions (for my
guard), which will force me to use innovative ways to replace my guard.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24 205th day

Techniques I remember:
Shrimp side control escape: push with the elbow and circle for the underhook
Inner leg hook after failed ippon.
Brabo with the gi from half: once he gets the underhook. Drop the overhooking elbow. Keep the weight off the guy.
Knee reaped Mitch when escaping fifty fifty by mistake. He pushed my leg over to pass my spider grd.
Fought like 4 minutes to escape an inv triangle from someones side. Bonehead move. Hate it when guys grab my head from side control then stall.
Played with Donovan from sweep to sweep to sub to sub.
Fucked up a leg under pass stuff so opened up the elbow and rolled. Maybe learn to put the damn knee back in.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18 201th class

Yay, broke the 200 number of attendances, but in reality classes are only one hour in duration, so I've trained at GB for 345 hours so far.

Very happy since my brother joined the team today. Gave him some tips on holding side control, and given he's a heavyweight, he can easily hold people down. The problem, as usual, comes when he makes a move. He's so sloppy in his transitions, but he seems to understand very quickly the concepts.

Anyway, so far it looks like this month is really ass-kicking month, since Bruno is showing us more and more deadly moves, and I really mean deadly. As deadly as a creeping slow full guard to back transition using the person's lapel (there's squat the person can do about it, with the right grips). The same lapel that can be used for the brabo variations he showed last week is now used to  terrorize a top player.

Then he dropped the bomb on us with super effective sweeps from half guard with the underhook. Hey, if they work on a brown belt, I'll add them in (they did). The fun thing about them is that they can be combined so well, like steak and potatoes. Man is it fun!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10 198th class

Making up for yesterday's laziness, here is what I have learned. Mr. T.
showed his transition from side to mount, which I am likely to remember
for quite some time. I've already used it successfully in sparring, so
that speaks volumes about its usefulness, if I was able to implement it
so quickly.
From reverse kesa gatame, grab the person's collar, faking that you're
going for a choke. Then let go of the collar and slide your foot over
the same lapel over to mount, by grabbing it. Sneaky, deadly and useful.
This month's technique of the mount has to be the armbar from the back
with the reverse kimura grip. The overhooking arm grabs the opponent's
opposite wrist, and the underhooking arm grabs your own. Loop the
person's head out from under your overhook while keeping the grip.
Shrimp out. As the person gets up, lift up the person's elbow (easy to
take your time).
Thanks to an ex-wrestler, got another lesson in head control. I was
turtled up facing him, trying to get my head out on one side. His
reaction? Push my head down on the mat with his hand to stuff it. Man,
was that properly executed and timely!

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8th 196th class

Learned another big(tm) lesson in grappling tonight. Actually two. First
of all, I really do not need to win at the gym, well not every round
anyway. My past competition changed my whole perspective about
grappling. There's clearly training and competition. From now on, I will
make a conscious effort to flow with the go, because I finally know what
it means. Let the guy advance just a little bit on his positioning, then
steal it back with a good angle and timing. This works especially work
from open guard, since the hips are usually very free to move about.
This attitude opens up the whole aspect, and is an opportunity for both
to improve. I have a newfound appreciation of rolling thanks to this.
Second of all, as a direct consequence of the first point, I will really
make a conscious effort to expand my game, go for stuff I don't know
well or don't know at all, and see what happens. This means ending up in
weird positions pretty often, and that's exactly what I'm looking for.
In competition, I have a totally different mindset. I will use force to
put the other guy in the situations I want him to be in, so I can apply
my stuff.
Thirdly, we have finally learned more critical details about the armbar
from our instructor.
1. Push your groin as close as possible to his triceps.
2. Extend the leg over his neck and put pressure as much as possible.
3. The hand closest to his head will be used as base.
4. Grab the collar with your other hand as you loop your forearm in
between his arms.
5. Keep the grip, use the other leg to push in the crook of his elbow
and start falling to the side a bit.
6. Grab his arm thumb up so he can't spin.
Variation :
1. The guy is too strong.
2. Loop the other hand through.
3. Gable grip by looping the other arm through.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bronze at the Copa Ontario 2011 Blue light adult.

Had a great time this saturday at the Copa ontario in Toronto, organized by Toronto BJJ. About one hundred people signed up, with around 25% blue belts and up. There were even enough people for a masters division apparently.

Third fight

About eleven people in my division means some people got a bye for the first round. I wasn't so lucky. I had a total of three fights, which got me a podium. All of my fights I pulled guard, for a couple of reasons. One of them is that I am very confortable on my back and I have a few deadly sweeps I can use, another being that I don't want to be taken down since I lack takedown skills. Once my takedowns and escapes get better, I will risk working for a takedown, since I have a usable guard to fall back on. However, I still believe the guard is the most valuable asset in anyone's game, and is hardest to develop, so should be focused on as soon as possible.

I finished the first fight with a choke from the back, since the guy was busy stopping my second hook from getting in (instead of working his escape). It was pretty funny, since I felt that point of no going back, when his defense were broken, and he pretty much gave up (as in knew he was losing, so was like what the hell, and used half his usual strength). I've noticed I used a shipload of strength that fight, which made it hard for me to do my second and third fights. Apparently the guy has been training for three years. After pulling guard, I worked a DLR sweep which failed, transitioned to tripod, which got me an advantage. The guy started running away from me, but had his leg. Took him down. He turned his back away and I got mount. Put my first hook in and started working on the second one. As he stopped it, I worked a choke and he tapped.

My second fight I don't remember all that well, but I do remember being gassed the hell out. Pulled guard and worked for a double grip on his left arm. Tried to work my sweeps but guys were smart enough to lift the knee off the ground. This guy lost patience and worked a straight ankle lock. Now I have to thank our professor as well as Mitch for having trained us both theoretically and practically at escaping an ankle lock. Without their help I would probably have tapped out. The guy crossed his outer leg on my knee for a knee reap, but the ref corrected him and let the fight continue. I basically got a free sweep as I stood up with my leg planted on the ground. He closed half-guard, and I squeezed his legs together to pass. Held him down in side control, but time ran out before I could continue my attack. All the while, the guy was trying to choke me from his half guard. I just put my first on his throat every time he did that, and he had to let go.

Third fight, I was really dead. So dead I didn't want to fight anymore, but thanks to Luigi I got out there. I pulled guard. The other guy was clearly a top guy. After a few spazzy attempts to pass my guard, he got to this knees and tried to work from there. The whole stinkin' time he tried to go for a single underhook as I tried to force him to stand up. I tried to sweep him, but got no advantage for it. Tried to choke him  from closed guard, again no advantage. He tried to pass and he gets the advantage... 0-0 points 1-0 advantages for him. For me that wasn't a loss. If you can't even pass my guard, you can't call yourself better than me.

I've learned that I need more options for my guard, and concentrate on linking techniques better next time.

Loved it.