Saturday, May 26, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: The First Week

I was fortunate enough to scrape together the money necessary to train at Alliance headquarters for a month, and I am super excited about it. I signed up on Tuesday and immediately jumped in to the 6:30 fundamental class, which consisted of a couple blue belts, but mostly white belts. One of the black belts, DJ Farmer, led the class. We went over drop Seio Nage using a sleeve and collar grip, then taking three steps back before pivoting your body underneath and dropping down for the throw. You are putting your head on to the ground and essentially bumping them over from what appears to resemble a turtle position, except you're underneath them with grips and they have no center of gravity.

We then drilled a "leg wave" north/south escape, where you are keeping your arms in tight by your neck as to avoid a submission, and swinging your legs a few times to get out from under them. Then, you go to upside-down guard, bring your knees in to their shoulders, and rotate to guard. Get your sleeve grips, drive them away with the foot that is on their shoulder, then get your feet to their hips when you have achieved the distance for a recomposed open guard. If you are unable to escape your hips from under them, you can plant your feet and hip bump while turning to your knees and grab a leg for a single leg attempt. They will most likely sprawl easily, and you can recompose guard by doing what is essentially a reverse technical stand by bringing your leg through and upward (if you're grabbing their right leg, you post out with your left and bring your right outward as you fall back).

For the advanced class, Lucas Lepri and Jacare showed some attack techniques from top of turtle. The first one is if your opponent doesn't allow you to complete the seatbelt hold and you can only snake your arm through their armpit, which is always possible no matter how tight they turtle. You grab the far-side collar via their armpit and feed it to the choking arm, then grab their armpit-side arm at the wrist and shift weight forward, then back as you snap it up onto their own thigh. Then, stick a hook into the choking arm side and roll that way. They will most likely attempt to block the other hook, but you already have a grip on their wrist, so you can guide it down and trap it with the hook and look to secure the rear-naked choke with the collar gripping hand.
As an alternate situation, if you cannot secure a wrist grip (if they stretch their arm out to stop you from grabbing it), you can double grip the collar, roll, and switch the second collar grip to behind their head, escape your shoulder and secure the collar choke by extending outward. We then drilled in a 4 man blue belt group from turtle. I lost a bunch and won one time by escaping and passing guard.


6:30 was the intermediate class, and there were mostly blue belts and a few whites thrown in. Lucas warmed us up for a half hour with some nasty calisthenics which consisted of a bunch of running, jumping jacks, shoulder rolls, leapfrog stuff, and bridging up and crawling under the other people. Probably the most intense warm up I've ever gone through. After, we did some more drop Seio Nage, except instead of using the collar and sleeve grip for the throw, we used ippon positioning with our arms and bicep to throw. There were some more turtle techniques, but I'm sure they're mixed up with the other classes in my head...
The main class involved some warm ups with a collar and sleeve grip where you plant your foot in their hip and fall back while getting a de la riva hook on the inside knee and lifting them up. You can get the helicopter armbar here, or if you fail to lift them and initiate a Tomoe Nage, you can shrimp out, grab their ankle and hit a sickle sweep. The guy I worked with here was a blue belt and he was the biggest dick I've ever come across. Had a huge attitude and just complained about everything I did. Whatever. We went over some mount techniques after the stand up, including the basic sleeve choke off an elbow escape attempt, and an armbar utilizing mounted triangle positioning. We then did "heart attack" drilling, which was a 4 person group with one person constantly defending a person from passing their guard without breaks or "high fiving before you go or any of that kissy stuff" LOL. Rolled and got dominated mostly, but managed to sweep a very solid blue belt using that reverse scissor sweep before getting tapped and hugely outpointed. I was destroyed from all the calisthenics and couldn't make it in on Thursday from the DOMS.


I went in at 6:30 for some no-gi even though I fucking hate no-gi. I was surprised to see that because of the Mundials training camp, it was a gi class. I had my white alliance gi so I joined.

Lucas led a nice relaxed yoga-style stretch warm-up for the half hour. We jumped right into the rolling and I was paired with a brown belt my size with one hand. He was an amputee or something. He had great pressure and was better than me for sure, but the lack of second gripping definitely posed a problem for him as he couldn't secure an armbar or kimura on me and had to transition to the back. It was a super chilled, technical roll, and it was awesome. It amazes me that even with one hand, the guy would kill most people in a regular street fight.

Second guy was a larger purple belt with a thick accent. He just sat back for 2 ankle locks on me, which OK, you got it, but why?? This is training, you don't get a medal for how many times you tap me quickly.

He swept a bunch and caught me in sub or two, but I escaped a bunch to his guard. He definitely toned back his game late into the rolling. I also avoided an omoplata attempt, which was nice.

Third guy was a super nice blue belt from Fort Benning, training here for Worlds. He subbed me with a couple collar chokes that were very tight, but I actually had a nice, competitive roll with him. I had great posture and avoided a lot of his subs from closed guard. Tried for a standing pass from closed guard, but could not complete it. He said he thought I was pretty good and would do well at NAGA later in the year, so I thought that was nice. We talked about techniques for a bit and ended the class. I grabbed Lucas for a touristy picture and got one of his patches for my gi. Swag.

I planned on going in today (saturday) but got drunk last nite and didn't make it. I'm gonna go in on Monday, tuesday, thursday and saturday this week, which should be my permanent schedule, with alternating wednesdays thrown in. That's 11 and 14 hours of BJJ a week....

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