Month: June 2008

Class was Shrimptastic!!

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I missed last Friday’s class due to a trip out of town and will miss this Friday as well, so I was a little less prepared for warm-ups this Monday. We often begin our warm-ups wth a lot shrimping, but this class it felt like it lasted an eternity. Although toward the end I believed I worked out a kink in my shrimping technique.

Today in class we worked on how to counter someone when they block your scissor sweep (from the guard) by inserting their elbow in. The counter ultimately led to a triangle. Consequently, we also worked on triangle techniques. Including a variation where you can use your own arm as a lever to increase the squeeze when your opponent pulls their arm out.

Today in class I discussed with Smiley (lead instructor) and Big K my hesistancy in applying pressure to some submissions (e.g., knee-bars, shoulder locks and any submission where carelessness could lead to serious injury). I know that I also have to work on technique, but I also notice that I am hypersensitive at certain points even when practicing technique slowly. Smiley compared it to Judo and stated that to hesitate on certain throws actually endangers your partner, which I can attest to. In Judo, sometimes you can have a person go too slowly because they are afraid to hurt you and it feels worse to be thrown by them. I don’t want to fall in that category. Smiley also told me about a guy who was 265 lbs and was very hesistant to apply techniques on many smaller opponents. He accidently broke another student’s ankle by not properly carrying through on a technique because he was afraid to follow through.

I need to be careful, but I also need to follow through properly so I don’t injure myself and others…

As far as sparring is concerned, I am using my gi now and I am being trounced.

It is a totally different world between gi and no-gi.

“Damn Good Rollin!”

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Yesterday (Monday) we worked on three sweeps and an omoplata all from the spider guard. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as that goes. However, as I explained in earlier posts I am picking up a lot of technical information pretty quickly.

At the end of class I rolled with Big K (blue belt) again and this time we rolled for a pretty long time before he was able to obtain the tap (over 10 minutes). I was less tired so I was able to put up a good fight. I have absoulutely pinned down the fact that endurance effects my game. When I have a lot of it, I stay out of trouble pretty easily with most people. However, when it begans to wane I can literally feel myself giving up good positioning and I end up getting submitted. This time via triangle. However, at the end Big K sat up and said, “That was some good rollin’. Damn good rollin’!”

Note: As I have been doing this for about 3 years now and have trained in a few different places I am beginning to actually ‘see’ and experience the journey of being a BJJ practicioner. I am beginning to fully realize the different styles of teaching different schools have, the different games their members play and how each adds value to my BJJ.  This is the third school I have trained in and I have been a guest in other acadamies as well. Not as many as some of the hardcore BJJ, MMA and submission grappling guys but I am starting to recognize I am on a ‘path.’

Protect Your Mouth at all Times…

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Class went well on Friday. We worked on re-establishing the guard after a person passes your guard. I’ve seen people do the 360 degree roll to regain guard, but this is the first time that I have practiced it. One of the good things about Smiley’s MMA (Combat Athletix) is that the moves are broken down in parts and we practice the moves in chunks leading up until the full technique.

However, toward the end of drilling, my drilling partner, Big K, accidentally kneed me in the mouth. He told me that he heard it. I didn’t hear it but I felt it as it connected with my lips, teeth and jawbone. I tried to shake it off and play it off like it didn’t hurt like I normally do, but I had to collect myself a little this time. Once we resumed, Big K soon told me that I was bleeding. It turns out that I had bit through my lip on the inside and outside.

Once I nursed it a little, needless to say I put in my mouthpiece. I have recently started the dirty habit of not putting it in until I spar at the end of class, but I will put it in from the beginning of class from now on.

After that, Big K ran a tap clinic on me for about 10 minutes. I was able to use the guard pass that we learned from the previous class with relative ease and for the first 2 minutes or so I was pretty acrobatic, passing the guard, spinning to north-south, but soon I fatigued and Big K had his way with me.

My endurance is building up and I am getting used to the training format so soon I think I will be able to carry energy all the way into the sparring sessions so I can perform the way I know I can.

Until next time… 

Gi Madness!!!!

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I wore the gi for the first time this Wednesday. I hadn’t worn one since December of last year and that was for one day at Jax BJJ. I wasn’t ready for the increase in temperature (at least 10 to 15 degrees) and felt sluggish the entire session after the warm-up. However, I’ve experienced it before with Judo and know that it’s only temporary.

We worked on a Granby Roll, a guard pass drill where the man on the bottom has to hold on to his belt and not use his hands while the other person tries to pass and also another slick way of passing the guard. Class was relatively small today with about six people and after about an hour most of the class had to leave (probably for work, etc.). I worked out with the same blue belt that tapped me out last time (Big K) and he taught me a lot of defenses to side control.

I am really enjoying these classes and feel as if my knowledge is increasing at warp speed. We cover a lot of different techniques but also have ample time to drill each one. There is a good balance between warming up, technique and drilling and grappling at the end.

Friday’s Class: 4th Session Overall: X-guard

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I have had a total of four sessions since I started attenting Smiley’s MMA (Combat Athletix). For the first time in a while I feel a real sense of progression. Being able to train more than twice a week makes me feel as if I can achieve a lot more. I think it has been over two years since I have trained at least three times in one week (at an academy).

In class we worked on the x-guard again. We concentrated on a few sweeps and an arm bar from the x-guard. Smiley had to show me a few variations on the sweeps, etc., because for some reason I couldn’t do it exactly the way he demonstrated it. Smiley attributed it to body types as every one eventually has there own unique way of performing movements. I think my flexibility hinders me the most. 

When it was time to roll I felt I performed a lot better. I was able to obtain a takedown and gain positional dominance on the first partner I rolled with. I was taller (3 inches) and heavier (50 lbs)though. I was able to pull off a grapevine reversal from the guard and switch from side control to mount pretty successfully. However, I am noticing that I am having a little bit of a problem in gaining the submission even when I am able to dominate positionally. He defended against my mount chokes and kept me from obtaining his back even after I gained an underhook from the lockdown.

After grappling with him, a blue belt asked me to show him some takedowns. I showed him a number of techniques I use to take people down. It was a little different for me because I had to actually think about what I do to achieve a takedown. After a while takedowns become second nature and a lot of it has to do with timing and balance. What may seem impossible to achieve is pretty easy if the person you want to throw is in the right stance or slightly off-balance and that is what is hard to convey.

After that, I rolled with the same blue belt and we went for quite a bit of time before he was able to get a double arm bar. I felt pretty safe in his guard and from escaping his previous arm bar attempts I thought I was safe. The last time I was double armbarred was about 3 years ago. I will have to start being more cautious in that area (and less cocky).

Until next time….

Day Session: Number Two

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Wednesday/June 11, 2008
I figured I better start posting now before I forget the details. 
This week I have been taking the morning class at 11 AM. About 6 to 10 people have shown up for these morning classes this week. It is held just after the boxing class so some of them stay after to participate. Also the MMA camp that they have for kids takes a mini-break while we go through warm-ups and the beginning of class (technique).
Today we had a light warm-up consisting mostly of stretches before we began to work on ways to pass the guard. We also worked on ways to re-establish guard when trapped in side control.
After about 45 minutes of techniques and drilling we began to grapple. I rolled with one of the fellow new guys to the class. He probably outweighs me by about 20 pounds and is about two inches taller. I was able to control him pretty easily and I tried to work my butterfly guard a bit and any other aspect of my bottom game. When on top I tried to work on climbing high on the mount and securing proper positioning.Since he was new to BJJ he held his arms straight up to defend against my mount. I told him that it was best not to hold his arms in that position since they would be easy targets for arm bars. I also tried to advise him against using all of his energy unnecessarily and to pace himself. He was strong so when he had an opportunity to breakout of a hold he went for it. While trying to pass my guard, he flipped me over like a fish but didn’t keep control of my upper body so I wriggled away. I was finally able to achieve a tap while attempting an Ezekiel choke, but I think he was more exhausted than anything.
When I grappled with our instructor, Smiley, I exhibited classic ‘newbie’ behavior. Last time I rolled with him he used techniques that I have either never seen or was only a little familiar with. However, there were a few positions such as taking the back from the lockdown that I had used often on other people. I knew what he was up to (on a basic level), but I was unable to stop him. Well in trying not to get caught in the same techniques I tried to experiment by going in the opposite direction, etc. I ended up hitting him in the face twice. I felt like the guy in the club that everybody avoids grappling with because he can’t control himself. Smiley said he was fine, but I made sure I toned my movements down a notch.
Then he proceeded to quickly tap me out like the last time. I’m learning that no angle is safe and that I may need to keep my limbs closer to my body and to make sure I have full control of them before trying to obtain another position.

Jacksonville at Last….

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I arrived in Jacksonville last Tuesday. I was scheduled to be here last Saturday but one delay after the other kept that from happening. Anyway, after a busy week we are finally getting settled.

I was able to squeeze in one practice session at Smiley’s MMA last week. I had a good time and there were at least 20 to 25 people at the practice. Hopefully, I will have some time soon so I can tell everyone about it. I also want to make sure it’s okay to blog before I begin.

I haven’t been to Jax BJJ yet. Hopefully, I can visit next week…