Month: June 2010

You have Good Stamina!

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My quads are shot!

Near the end of class our second to last drill was a knee on belly exercise where we switched from side to side for 2 minutes. My drilling partner told me I had good stamina because I was going the entire time. I must have put on a good show because my thighs were killing me. At the end, I actually wobbled. I thought it was the last drill but Prof. Robierto called us back out to do a defending the turtle exercise.

Earlier in class we worked on a double leg entry that ends in obtaining the person’s back. Then we worked on gaining guard if the person is able to sprawl from our double leg and one where we can obtain guard if the person sprawls and then takes our back. Very good stuff!

I’ve gone three times this week already so I feel good about my training at GB. Tomorrow morning I will be back at it again.


Muscle Taps and Body Triangles

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Last night I went to the advanced class. There were four of us there and after a warm-up we jumped right into technique. We started off with a takedown (throw), which is the same way the fundamentals class begins. There’s just one major difference between the fundamentals and advance class though.

We practiced the full throw 30 times each.

Last night’s throw of the night was O soto gari. I haven’t completed that many throws in one night since my Judo days. I didn’t know how I would fare but I made it through my 30 throws with no problem and handled being thrown that many times with no problem as well.

Next, we had to do 30 arm-bars from the guard (each) and then we free rolled for 10 minutes or so. Prof. Robierto instructed us to not to go hard and that we should be moving from position to position. If we achieved side control or established the mount then we should provide some space (through continual movement) so the other person could practice their escapes. He also added that if the person’s attempt to escape was 100 percent correct then let them have it and if they were close to a submission don’t fight it with all our might.

After free rolling we bowed out. The hour went by pretty quickly.

Today’s Practice – Wednesday – Fundamentals

Today we reviewed how to defend against chokes from behind. I was paired with Jake (white belt/stripes?).  This defense ends with a throw. Even though we only had to do three throws and Jake was throwing ‘relatively’ softly, each time I landed it hurt my back a little. My back isn’t sore from last night and it didn’t hurt after I got up it was just on impact. He wasn’t throwing that fast and seemed to be in control so maybe it was a technical issue.


We also worked on defending back attacks and then a choke when you have someone’s back. Following this we had a drilling session where four people were placed on the ground to defend back attacks (with hooks automatically in) and then four people would attack. If you were submitted from the back then you went to the back of the line. If you can get the person off your back then you stay where you are.

I had to defend first against, I kid you not, a new white belt who is about 6ft 7 and at least 225 (at least). I held him off for a good little while before he submitted me with a strength submission. I don’t know if it was a choke or a squeeze across my jaw bone but whatever it was it was tight. He “grrrhhhed” as soon as we began and until I tapped. I think my mistake was trying to defend with the ‘technique of the day’ instead of my go to defenses for defending if someone has my back. ‘Techniques of the day’ often work against similar sized opponents or someone weaker than you  because you have a little room to play. But since the guy is bigger, used a lot of muscle and aggression then I should have relied on what I knew to keep him from getting a strength tap. I fared better in my next rolls with both smaller and bigger opponents by relaxing and using what I knew. I will have to drill the new techniques some more before I can use them to defend.

After this drill we bowed out…

Oh yeah, I put a body triangle on someone from behind for the second time in my grappling career.  The first time was last week. I didn’t know I could do that. But I can! 🙂

Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap!!!

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Saturday we reviewed the same techniques as the last class.

Monday’s Class

I mentioned, previously, that Gracie Barra follows a curriculum. I was told that it was posted on the wall when I first signed up but I didn’t look for it. I finally saw it today. As advertised everything is posted. This week we are working on guillotines, guillotine defense and attacking the turtle. I also figured out that every class in the week (at least fundamentals) will cover the same material. As a long time grappler I am pretty familiar with a lot of techniques but I am ‘eating up’ the fundamentals program and the amount of repetitions we do.

At the end of drilling we had controlled sparring where one person would be in turtle while the other person tried to flip them over and get both hooks in, mount them or submit them. I was partnered up with Dave (6 ‘5 and 270) and I started in turtle. I hunkered down and weathered his initial assault and then he grabbed the top of my gi collar and I don’t know what else and fell back and pulled at the same time. I started to roll straight backwards and I could feel the pressure on my ankles and my ‘messed up’ big toe. I quickly called “tap, tap, tap, tap” but I guess he couldn’t stop himself once he started to fall backwards. Luckily, nothing snapped or popped and I only tweaked my toe a little bit.

*Also, Alberto, from my old academy, Combat Athletix, has joined the school. I didn’t recognize him at first because he had shaved off all of his hair and he had a gi on and couldn’t see his tatoos (I only saw him in no-gi classes). I had a couple of battles with him there as he is a muscular guy (6ft/200+) and is explosive. He said he moved and GB is a lot closer so he made the switch.

Day class – Friday (June 4, 2010)

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Jumping Jacks, Squats, push-ups, sets of crunches, leg triangles, bridging, neck exercises and stretching


We started of with a 2 punch combo followed by a push kick. This set up the entry for a body wrap using the S grip. At this point we pull the opponent into us. After we practiced this a few times we added a inside leg trip where we ended up in guard and postured up.

Following this we drilled chokes from the mount and then followed that up with a choke sequence that can be applied when a person rolls once mounted.

Following this we bowed out.

By now people are wondering what’s up with the rolling. Well, first it is an hour long class so you can only do so much. But more importantly, Prof Robierto stressed that they are about learning more than anything else. Also since it is a fundamentals class, the focus is on learning techniques so new people can know what to do when they grapple. I can understand this because if you don’t know anything it is easy to pick up bad habits or learn coping mechanisms that might work at first, but will serve as a detriment later on. He told me that more live drilling occurs in the advance class. I will attend an advance class in a week or so when my schedule permits.

Today I also learned a few more names – Alex, Amber and Patrick.


Oh, I don’t think I mentioned that I am about 10 minutes from my new school. This really helps!!!

He burped me like a baby…

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Note: I am describing this in detail because it’s my first week in a new school and it’s a new place to my regular blog buddies and readers.

Wednesday was my second day back at Gracie Barra (SJ). The first time I was a spectator and I wanted to see how classes were conducted. It was short and sweet. Class was an hour long and it was a fundamentals class. I was a little late getting there, so I missed the warm-up, but when I arrived they were working on a take-down. While they were drilling the take-down the instructor came over and introduced himself. He told me his name was Prof. Robierto (sp.). We talked a bit about where I trained before and my experience.

After talking to me he went and demonstrated a technique to follow the takedown. They drilled again and then he showed them another technique that followed the previous one. It was a chain sequence. They finished up by working on a measured guard passing drill. Then they lined up, performed a few crunches and triangle leg switches (I don’t know what you call them), some stretches and bowed out. I knew then that I wanted to join but I wanted to wait until I had a chance to participate in a class.

I was finally able to do that this past Wednesday (fundamentals class). When I arrived I was warmly greeted by Prof. Robierto and I asked if I could join in. He said that was fine and I quickly changed. There were about 10 or so people there, there were two other blue belts besides me and the rest were white belts (some with stripes/some not). We bowed to the instructor, then bowed to the Professors and Masters on the wall and then the senior student collected all of the cards for attendance. Then the instructor called up the senior blue belt and he led us through calisthenics.

We performed jumping jacks, squats, crunches, bridges, breakfalls, neck exercises and triangle leg switches (TLS).  After that, Prof Robierto led us through drills.

The first was a defense against a front bear hug and it ends with the defender on the side of the aggressor.

Second, we worked on an entry to a hip throw from that position and it ends with knee on belly. My partner’s name was Dave and he’s about 6’4 or 5 and after class he told me he weighs 270 pounds. He’s a white belt with about 2 or 3 stripes. At first I thought that he might ‘chuck’ me hard but he handled me like a kitten (Can I write that here?). That was a plus in my book.

Third, we practiced an arm bar from that position in case the initial aggressor decides to push off the knee.

After that sequence we practiced obtaining the arm bar from the mount and next performed an exercise where we practiced going around the legs to get knee on belly (over and over again for about 1 1/2 minutes each). During the arm bar from the mount sequence Dave’s foot slipped and all 270 pounds came crashing on my stomach. I let out an involuntary “BRUUUUUUOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!” sound as all of the air left my body and class stopped for few seconds until I managed an, “I’m alright!

We ended with crunches, TLS, stretches and then bowed out.

I loved the chain technique sequence they use. I swear I didn’t have to try at all to remember the sequence even two days after class was over.

After class, Prof. Robierto asked when I was going to start coming out and I told him that we just finished moving in this week and I would be back on Friday. Dave, in passing, said it was good to have another big guy in class and another guy yelled out, “Hey, I’m jealous!”  —– I kid you not, there were at least four guys there that were 6’2 or higher and over 220 plus pounds.

I really like the way classes are structured. They are 1 hr each (even the advanced classes). This bodes well for a guy like me. I began my BJJ journey (in 2004) with a one hour class. In and out. That’s how I like it.