Month: March 2010
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Friday’s Class (12th March) – I was 10 minutes late to class this day. But it didn’t matter because Carlos (brown belt 1 stripe) was leading everyone through one of his 35 minute warmups. On this day we worked on halfguard.
I rolled with Carlos at the end. I tried to work an uchi mata but he countered and took me to the ground. When I tried a tomoe nage I couldn’t get foot placement and ended up being dominated and tapped. I was able to score two takedowns at the end though. I trapped his left arm, used my left foot to block his right leg and fell backwards while twisting to the left. The first time I landed on top, he scrambled, escaped and submitted me soon after. On the second takedown he rolled over me and sunk in an inverted armbar.
Open Mat (13th March) – On this day I was joined by Art and Andrew (all of us are blue belts). Art showed us a rolling toe hold that he uses. It is a very sneaky move as I have seen him tap people with this technique a few times and had no idea what he was doing . Soon afterward he and Andrew rolled for about 10 minutes. After Andrew rested for a while we rolled for about 10 minutes as well.
It was a solid open mat.
Friday’s Class (19th March)
Drill: We jogged and shrimped for the warm-up. Drill consisted of a throw which calls for sweeping out the back leg on the far side of your partner or opponent. If the person nails you with it then you are going down quickly and you better know how to fall.
We also worked on establishing a head and arm choke by starting out on top in half guard and we worked on taking the back from half guard from the bottom and securing a submission as well.
I rolled with John (Blue Belt) and we stalemated. I constantly tried to secure chokes while he tried to sweep me from butterfly position. I was able to pass his guard for a few seconds but he recovered and repeat step 1.
I also rolled with Tyson, who is a new white belt. I submitted him with a head and arm choke and one that escapes me.
My next roll was with Joe (white belt with heavy blue belt tendencies). We started on our knees. He foot dragged me to my back and I played guard the entire time. I tried to work my spider guard sweep and DLR guard but Joe wasn’t falling for any of my ploys. We had a scramble where I had the opportunity to get up but I stayed down because I need to practice my guard. After we rolled Joe told me his main goal was not to let me get on top. He succeeded.
*One major thing that I noticed on this day is that the skill level of the entire Academy has increased significantly (At least with the daytime group, but I suspect it is the same with the nightime classes.) The types of guard that we play, the escapes, the combinations being used, etc. I saw Vick (white belt with/stripe(s)) escape a triangle, perform a variation of a pancake pass, establish side control, go to knee on belly and then sink in a north south choke. I am scared of quite a few of our white belts and the skill level of everyone is increasing at an insane pace.
Open Mat (20th March) – I was alone on open mat last Saturday. 😦 No problem though. I drilled for about 45 minutes on my own. I practiced throws, guard passes, spider guard sweeps, De la Riva guard, DLR guard sweep, choke from mount, escape from turtle position, bridges and forward and backward rolls. I did 10 reps (5 to each side) for each technique). Near the end Carlos (Brown belt Instructor) and some of the other MMA guys (Polar Bear, Cedrick and a guy whose name I should know) came in and passed the time until their MMA class started.
I went to open mat expecting a light workout and roll but I am beginning to realize that I should expect the unexpected on these days. Five white belts were testing for stripes; Big Josh, Dan, Vick, Cedrick and Melissa. Smiley asked us (Art, Jamie, I believe Andrew helped and me) to help roll with them (or rather jump them) during the grappling session. Before that I drilled with Art and he showed me one or two guard passes that he uses.
When it was time for us to ‘jump’ the white belts it turns out that they had to roll for 15 minutes. I began the roll with Vick and he went all “Grrrrrr” on me. I had to tell him to relax because he had a lot of time left. They would roll one minute with us and one with each other. I probably shouldn’t have, but I Tomoe Nage’d one of the guys. I let him down easy though. They all lasted 15 minutes with no problems as most of them come to class at least 3 times a week. Congrats to all of them.
On another note. I found a blaring hole in my game while flow rolling with Art. One, I need to work on defending my guard from the bottom while the other person is standing up. I usually end up on top so I don’t practice sitting down and letting guys approach my guard. When we drilled with me sitting and him standing it didn’t take long for him to bypass my guard. I used to fold my leg like a chicken wing when people would try to pass so I could block most attempts. But when I injured my knee while using that technique I vowed to never do it again. I have to come up with new defenses.
Second, I have always been a sucker for knee-on-belly so when Art used it I had no real defense. I vowed to master defenses for this and came up with some remedies that I will talk about in my next post.
Open mat was more than I expected but just what I needed.
*I wrote about my boxing days at Psychology Today – Recognizing when you’re in the Pros
I’ve been to class three times since my last confession….
Anyway, I haven’t posted my last three sessions but I’m still on track. My academy has started an Open Mat Saturday (2/20/10) and I was extremely excited because I can literally double my attendance with few scheduling conflicts. It was also a new experience for me because Open Mat takes place in the MMA cage room and I have never been in a cage before.
On the day of the open mat I was the first to show up. Dan happened to be there while his son was attending Kid’s BJJ and said that he’d go through some drills with me. I worked on some side control escapes and then showed Dan a few of my tricks to gain and escape side control. Whenever Carlos (brown belt/assistant instructor) sees my ‘go to’ side control escape he calls it the “power roll.” (When I can’t work a ‘regular’ side control escape I lean into my opponent and then roll back the other way. I end up in side control.)
After drilling a while Andrew (a fellow blue belt) comes back and asks if either of us wants to roll. I agree and then I had my first match, albeit a friendly grappling session, in a cage. My last time rolling against Andrew was over a year ago. He attends nights and I attend day classes. We couldn’t tap each other then and this time it was no different. Although, what was cool is that we are much better than when we last grappled. We went back and forth and at one point he actually used the cage to move around. I believed we grappled for about 7 to 10 minutes and by the end a couple of guys from the MMA class were watching us, which I believed increased the intensity of our roll.
What’s interesting is that I went to open mat with the idea of taking it easy and by no means were we wild. But since I haven’t grappled with Andrew in a year or more it was almost as if I was grappling with a new guy in class. And in those situations people tend to grapple a little harder than if they roll with each other all the time.
It is funny that I ended up grappling in a cage. It seems that the longer I participate in BJJ the more I end up doing things related to MMA such as sparring with the MMA guys and wrestling in a cage. I joked with Dan earlier and said I may end up fighting in a MMA match if I’m not careful.
Not really, but I never thought I would be grappling up against an indoor fence either.