It seems Anderson Silva will wrestle anywhere in the world (me too.) Although the guy is undoubtedly tough, Silva is always playing it cool and showing respect.
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Saturday we reviewed the same techniques as the last 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.
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.
Last Friday was a solid class. I am progressing at a steady clip and feel good about my development.
Jogging, acrobatic rolls, shrimping and stretching
We worked on a takedown that involved popping up our partner’s leg with one of our feet. Following that we worked on passing guard after our partner has established half-guard and an under hook. It involved over-hooking the elbow and the tension makes the person forget about their guard and worry about protecting their arm. Meanwhile, the top guy can pass.
I rolled with Vick (white belt) first. Vick had a gi for the first time on Friday. He’s been coming to class for months without one so I decided to ‘take advantage’ of this opportunity. Usually our rolls are spent with me in his guard while he is attacking using my gi. This time I used his gi to control his movements and maintain positional dominance. He defended all of my attempts at chokes well though and as he will continue to wear the gi I suspect I won’t be able to ‘take advantage” of him for long.
I also rolled with Dan (white belt). Dan is improving at a lightning speed. He’s 6’4 and 200+ so I suspect he will be a monster. I inadvertently crushed his groin when I tried a knee pass. Sorry Dan! Although I was able to maintain top control during our roll I wasn’t able to get a submission.
My final roll was with Prof. Smiley. Although he taps me pretty regularly I am gaining the ability to breakdown more and more of what he is doing to me. I can actually begin to see some of the techniques even if I haven’t figured out how to stop them yet. After class Prof. showed me the spider guard sweep that he is always catching me with. I have been solo drilling it all week trying to make sure I have the rudiments down.
Last Friday we had a mini-seminar in how to choke from the guard. Prof. Smiley taught this class and it was loaded with tweaks we could use for our chokes. We worked on the Guillotine, front choke, a choke when someone is in Turtle and a choke you should only do in an emergency. I also learned on Friday that it is now legal to perform windpipe chokes in certain BJJ tournaments. I will stick to the blood (carotid) chokes though.
It was funny though, when he he mentioned windpipe chokes, Joe pointed at me and laughter erupted. My favorite choke is the Knuckle choke and as far as I know its a blood choke. I have tried to tap everyone that I could mount with that choke so I hope I am not that guy in class who’s a jerk and doesn’t know it.
The last choke Prof. taught us was what to do when you have someone in your guard and they are defending the cross collar choke.
You shake em.’ ————— You shake them and shake them until their head rises up and then you sink in the choke. I had it performed on me and it is disorienting and confusing when it is happening. Prof told us to be wary of applying such a move in a tournament and that we might want to cover up once we let the person go just in case they decide to punch you. I just decided to file it under Self Defense move or if for some reason I am in a championship match or something.
I’ll be thinking, “Where’s my money?” the entire time I doing it.
During the rolling session I got to roll with my White Belt Nemesis Joe (I am blue belt for new readers). Joe hasn’t been around for a couple of months so I wanted to take advantage of him before he could get his sea legs back. [On a side note, when I first rolled with Joe about a year ago I was able to take him down, put him in side control, then mount and apply my knuckle choke. But Joe turned out to be one of those guys who would come every day and when I rolled with him a month or so later he was a completely different player.]
I was able to achieve over-wraps and secure a take down by placing my left foot on his left heel and pulling him down backwards. I was able to achieve side control and then mount. When he tried to upa I was able to grapevine one of his legs, which he uses all the time by the way. When he was able to get out of mount I didn’t remain in his guard. I stood up. Since I’ve learned a few more guard passes I decided to play the outside game and ran a bull pass to side control. I used my new stapling technique to keep him pinned and to keep him from shrimping out. When he was able to shrimp away I stood up again and he pulled a sweet sweep on me. It’s the one Roy Dean does where he sweeps you and uses your momentum to pull him up like he’s on waterskis and you’re the boat. I saw him coming up but I met him half way and pushed him back to the ground and fell into his guard. We played there until the buzzer sounded. Joe is probably a blue in spirit and the way he trains that was probably the easiest match I will have with him from now on.
I also rolled with Jamie for the first time. He’s our wrestling coach. We stalemated and he ended up on top in the end. In the early part of our tussle I used my weight to keep him from driving forward. The entire time it just felt as if he was driving forward even when I was on top of his back and he was turtling. I was afraid that if I tried to spin to his back he would explode upwards and I would lose positional dominance. I rolled harder than I wanted to with him but I wasn’t winded at the end so that is a plus.
My roll with Prof. Smiley (Black belt) was as always an experience. What I do like about rolling with Prof. is that even though he is a lot stronger and bigger than I am (muscle-wise) his rolls are laid back and controlled. Although I tapped often he told me that I was moving well and he gave me a lot of instruction throughout. I take that as a sign that I am improving. (He handcuffed me at one point and held my arm behind my back like I was Chris Horodecki in the IFL. I vow to not let that happen again. I am a grown man.) 🙂
I am back into the mix again. The semester has begun and I’m into full professor mode. I really enjoyed the break. I was able to attend all of the morning classes during the month (3 x a week).
I don’t have that luxury during the semester, but I have a few other options available this time around. My training facility, Combat Athletix, has started a new open mat that will take place on the third Saturday of each month. I will also go back to the open mats held at Gracie Jacksonville as well. Finally, I am going to sign up for some private instruction in February. This should help balance out the gaps that occur in my training due to my profession.