Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Study Group, 12/30/09

Josh and I drilled a little more tonight. We had to cut it short (1 hour) due to me hurting my elbow (wow, and it hurt like the dickens!), but I'll note what we did get to work on.

We started out by warming up with several reps of the armbar drill I mentioned in my last post, only this time, I did it very slowly, focusing on 1) breathing (I always tend to hold my breath during this drill, and indeed during lots of randori too - I have to break that habit), 2) control (of my body, with my legs), and 3) smoothness. I only did 20 or 30 tonight.

Next, we took a look at Saulo's first sweep on his "Guard" DVD (from the first Jiujitsu Revolution series). It's a response to top guy trying to break your guard with his knee in your butt. I couldn't do it well at first, but after a few reps, and trial-and-error to see what I was missing, I got it (well enough to add the drill to my routine, anyway).

During the course of our drilling, we sometimes drift into very light randori, just to break it up. It was at this point I hurt my elbow. It wasn't due to a submission, or crank...we weren't being stupid or playing too just happened. Wrong angle bearing weight, at the wrong time got me hurting badly enough to call an early end to our activities for the evening.

We decided to try some things that didn't involve my elbow (as long as no pressure was on it, it was fine). So, I got Josh in my guard, and let him try to figure out how to break it. This turned out to be very informative for both of us; Josh has always had trouble breaking my guard when I've decided to keep it closed. Lots of trouble. I was beginning to think I had some sort of magic guard, at least against him, and other small-ish guys. However, we discovered that Josh (and most other guys I roll with) tend to try to break it in one direction - to my right. Turns out I'm strong that way. Tonight it occurred to Josh to try it the other way (toward my left). My legs popped open like a (insert your own colorful metaphor here)!! So we discovered a tendency to be aware of, and I've discovered a weakness in my guard that needs to be overcome or compensated for. We decided to drill passes in both directions from now on.

We called it quits after that so I could get some ice on my elbow. I really hope it's better soon - we're scheduled to begin BJJ at the Gracie Barra school on Tuesday!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Study Group, 12/26/09

This time Josh and I worked on a few different things. First, we drilled a butterfly sweep from Saulo Ribeiro's DVDs. We also worked on a Little bit of the "position-choke-armbar" drill, as well as the typical armbar drill shown here:

Of course we rolled a little too, but nothing too strenuous. I actually made Josh tap for the first time tonight, with choke neither of us have ever seen before. We got a good laugh out of that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A New Beginning

A while back, I mentioned that my grappling growth is sort of "stunted" because of my lack of different training partners. That's Pat's diagnosis anyway, and I don't disagree. But I'm going to do something about that.

Last week Josh and I visited the local Gracie Barra BJJ school, which happens to be right around the corner from where we work. Seriously, it's a long football throw away from our office. We enjoyed our visit, and we plan to start training there after New Year. Some of our other friends may start training there as well, which will be cool.

A few observations:
  • Camaraderie. The group there was small-ish (9 people), and seemed to genuinely enjoy hanging out with each other. Most of them went out of their way to be very welcoming to us as visitors, and took an interest in us.
  • Not too many fighters. This place is not "thugged up". Only about 3 of the members are fighters as well, and they seemed pretty cool too (nothing against fighters, just not my thing).
  • Great facility. The facility is also where the LSU Tiger Cheerleaders and dancers train. Top-notch facility. Incidentally, the owners (husband and wife) are former LSU cheerleaders, and the guy was the cheerleading head coach for a time (he's currently a BJJ blue belt).
  • Classes are led by Rafael Ellwanger twice a week. He's a black belt (over first degree, not sure how much over) under Carlos Gracie Jr.
I think my BJJ will help my judo, and my judo will help my BJJ. Who knows? I may even get involved with competition a year or so down the road. I went ahead and bought my Gracie Barra gi... it's pretty cool, although all the patches will take some getting used to, haha. I'll post training logs from my BJJ classes here as well. I'll only be training once per week, but I'm very excited about it!

Judo, 12/12/09

At the beginning of this class, I asked Pat to help me with a question I had regarding BJ Penn's armbar drill from his closed guard book. I was a little confused about how BJ was accomplishing what he was in that drill. We worked on the drill for a while, but I think it's going to take a lot more practice for me to be able to do it smoothly.

We talked about something else that's been on my mind: breaking top-guy's posture when he's in your guard. I showed Pat a posture-breaking technique Josh and I were drilling, but somehow Pat was able to stop mine (maybe it was the 2 decades or so of experience he has on me, haha). He showed me how to destroy top-guy's posture with shrimping, and I was pretty happy with those results.

Pat used that to transition into a lesson on the cross collar choke. We used the posture break as the set up for the choke. He threw in a bit of Roy Dean's "throat cutting" choke method as well.

Aikido, 12/12/09

We started with walking, and I noticed I was having more balance issues than normal. Not sure what was going on there.

We moved on to releases, and this was interesting. After a few reps of honasu 1-8, we tried them in a non-static way; tori and uke both began by randomly making a few steps....sort of wandering around near each other. When uke decided to attack, tori had to react and do the release from a (sometimes) less than ideal position/posture. This made the releases a little like randori, and I found it very informative. It provided some good food for thought in regard to real-life self defense.

We reviewed Junana 1-5, then moved on to several reps of 6-10. I'm still far more "at home" with 1-5. Six through ten still feel brand new to me so far. We also toyed with 6-10 from non-static positions like we did with releases.

Lastly, we looked at a little bit of suwariwaza from sankata, focusing on the idea of "continuous throwing".

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Little More Drilling

Josh came over again last weekend for more BJJ drilling. We both bought BJ Penn's new book about the closed guard, and since we worked on some posture issues last week, we decided to drill some of BJ's techniques for breaking top guy's posture when he's in your closed guard. We were pretty amazed at some of the results we were getting.

We also tried out Penn's armbar drill and triangle drill. These were a little tougher for me, because I have no experience with this type of motion yet. His armbar drill was especially confusing to me. I'm not (yet) sure what BJ's doing with which legs in order to move like he does. I'll get it though.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Little Drilling, A Little Rolling

My buddy Josh came over on Tuesday night to do some BJJ drilling with me. We drilled a few very basic transitions for a while, then a sweep to two. As it frequently does, our drilling crept ever so slowly into light randori.

Josh is far more capable than me on the ground, and he was able to help me learn a thing or two about my posture while grappling.

By way of taking a breather after increasingly strenuous rolling, we watched a little of one of my Saulo Ribeiro DVDs. Then we drilled a particular guard passing technique from the DVD.

We rolled a couple more times to end the practice. This was the first time I've trained with Josh in about a year (the last time, I had only been learning judo for a month or two). I could definitely see improvement from a year ago. In fact, I was able to last longer without being submitted, and for a while I was keeping him in my guard really well (he couldn't pass). I was surprised, delighted, and encouraged by the improvement I saw. Not that I'm anything great now, but I certainly couldn't have performed like that a year ago. It's nice to be able to see a little progress once in a while. Josh still dominated greatly (when we were competing and not cooperating), but the gap between our abilities will continue to close. ;o)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Judo, 11/28/09

I just realized I forgot to post my judo training log from the weekend! We started out by practicing a couple of combos: deashi to osotogari and deashi to kouchigari. Amazing stuff, once again. Pat also showed me a variant of koshiguruma that's pretty wicked.

On the ground, we drilled guard passing over and over and over. I need as many reps as I can get! We worked on going whichever way bottom guy wasn't resisting. That is, if he tries to stop me from stacking him and going under one leg, I can use the knee-over pass on the opposite side (and vice versa).

Good class - Pat puts the "fun" in "fundamentals". :o)