Saturday, June 30, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: Week 6


Main class consisted of more grueling plyometric warm ups. Went right into self defense techniques, standing headlock escapes specifically: block punch, grab near kneecap, leg thru sit down into side. Also the step back version, kimura and choke. Also if they try to throw you, use your momentum while rolling yourself to end up on top.

Rolled with 4 people. Hit reverse scissor 2 times, played some x-guard and almost took back. Got ankle locked a shit load by the one blue belt who apparently would rather just latch onto my leg and keep leg locking a much less experienced blue belt than work anything else.


Intermediate class was some drilling-style warm ups. Shoulder roll --> Ippon drop seoi, switch, then the same drill with Morote drop Seoi. We skipped to rolling because Alliance wanted all the competitors who got medals in major comps to take a picture. So I rolled with a bunch of SUPER spazzy white belts and gassed myself out BIG TIME. Had to skip the main class, because the idea of more warm-ups was not amusing and I already felt like I was gonna die.


In the fundamentals class we went over headlock/Kesa escapes from on the ground, which is something I've largely forgot. Frame the face, hip escape, lift legs and swing them down, coming to your own knees and ending on top. Basic armbar from here after getting your head free. I don't remember how this segued into the next technique, but whatever. It was getting the choke from the back. Double lapel grip. Hand under the armpit flicks the collar back and feeds it DEEP to the choking arm. Under armpit arm grips lapel about halfway down the chest. Roll to support the choking arm (onto the forearm) and drive your shoulder forward and elbow back for the tap. 

Main class was more sickeningly grueling warm ups. Side note, I've lost 5lbs since I started here in late May. So I really wish I could lay off the warm ups a little....I know they're important for cardio, agility, etc but I'm a skinny motherfucker and I'm not too keen about ending up back at 125lbs. 
I can't remember what the techniques were for this class. I know Lucas is on vacation so Jacare was mostly working alone. Anyway, I rolled in a 3 way gauntlet with 2 other blue belts my size. I actually did really well this class, getting 2 triangle chokes, a reverse triangle w/ armbar finish from the back, and cross collar choke transition. I rolled out of turtle almost into an omoplata and hit a triangle off that sequence, which felt awesome.


More crazy warm ups for the fundamental class. Jacare went over some basic KOB stuff from a few days ago. Not sure if he forgot that DJ did it already. Just basic near-side armbar and cross collar choke.

Main class was some drilling from spider--->X guard. Just going over whatever sweeps you like from there. I'm aware of the tripod sweep, back take, and the thing where you grab the belt and load them up and roll them into side control.
The whole class was drilling in gauntlets of 3-5. We drilled from every position: back w/ hooks, mount, guard, deep half. Then Jacare made everyone do pushups and more workouts, presumably as punishment for talking so much during the fundamentals when he asked everyone to be quiet.

Fabio Gurgel is gonna be present for a seminar on July 12th as part of the Alliance HQ grand opening festivities. $50. I am all paid up and hoping to be in Georgia on that date, but who the fuck knows what can happen.

If anyone needs information on the seminar, feel free to contact me. Everyone at Megalodon should be there!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: Week 5


Grueling warm up with Lucas for the 6:30 class. Then we went over some half guard passes. Shin through onto hip, control the knee and pull your leg out. This was always my half guard pass of choice but it was nice to revisit it and correct a bunch of details that made it lower percentage. Then we drilled the leg hook (on their knee) pass. Switch head to other side, free your leg, control their arm and slide up to Kesa. Switch hips back into classic side control. Rolled with a large white belt and armbarred him once, took his back, etc.

Main class was more warm ups. Felt like I was gonna die. Techniques were footlock escapes;  sitting on their leg or passing over their knee if they go belly down. Had some good rolls with other blue belts and worked my guard a bunch.


Fundamentals class was a take down w/ sitting down from headlock (extending your leg through theirs). Then a standing guard pass w/ knee cutter and step back...more or less my pass of choice, except I'm adding a needless step of switching the sleeve grip when I could just pass to the other side. Noted. Also went over a "retard sweep" as Josh calls it from half guard.

Main class was a very nice spider to X guard transition, which I really loved. Switch sleeve grip to cross grip and pass behind their leg, grab the same side collar and sweep and pass to side control.
Gauntlet training was with Austin, a Brazilian blue belt, Julia (the blue belt Mundial gold winner), and a white belt whom I armbarred. I was able to play more guard with Julia this time and almost get under her to take the back, but she stopped me in time before passing and crushing me.


Guillotine standing defense at the fundamentals class. Cross leg grab and lift them into side control + knee buckle defenses. Then some knee on belly techniques: near side armbar, farside armbar, cross choke. All very nice to revisit and correct problems to make them more successful.

Partnered up for drill warm ups, then worked one of Lucas's favorite De La Riva passes. On the leg that's on your thigh/knee pushing you back, you grip the inside of the gi by the ankle with your other hand on the same side lapel. Step back then forward again, trapping that leg between yours. Cut down on the hooked side, then back the other way over their leg and pass. Switch grips to the back and if they try to turtle, take the back and collar choke them.
There was actually no rolling today, only drilling from DLR. We drilled the pass and defending guard, winner stays on top. This meant that my guard got a TON of work. LOL. I was paired with a purple belt and a blue belt who was better than the purple and will likely be promoted next month at the Grand Opening if he tests well. I worked into the 3 man gauntlet about 25 times. My fingers got WRECKED from those grips. I lost to the blue belt every time, but the purple wanted to play guard a couple times and we switched. I was able to pass 1 time which made the night awesome. Also took his back off reverse DLR while he was trying to pass, and nearly mounted one other time but he stopped it with a butterfly hook. All in all I would say I "won" 2 times out of maybe 25 attempts. I consider this a victory!

No Jits until Monday or maybe Tuesday because I'm busy this weekend.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: Final Week?

This was supposed to be my final week at Alliance and I woke up on Monday feeling like shit. I still don't know how I managed to work through half the week, but thankfully I didn't have to take time off from making money. I returned to training on Thursday.

The beginner class consisted of taking the back and getting the choke off a standing headlock attempt, then some guillotine options off a sprawl: standing by pushing your hips forward, or pulling guard by stepping on a foot so they can't walk around, then sitting back. Then we worked getting the flower sweep when they post up with the wrong foot to pass guard....although this is applicable to any flower sweep situation. This is one of my favorite high percentage sweeps so no problems there. I helped the white belt get the hip mechanics and then we worked the armbar off a failed flower attempt.

Main class was footlocks. First one was a fake De La Riva pass (while in combat base) to basic footlock....scoop the ankle, sit back, outer foot on hip, squeeze knees. Second was "hydraulic" mount escape to footlock. We went over this technique in megalodon for no-gi, so it was a refresher for me.

Rolled a bunch and felt really good. My breathing is INFINITELY better. I actually feel like I'm burning less energy than the blue belts who destroy me, even when I'm fighting for position, like in their guard. Since I've reverted to getting smashed by nearly everyone, as opposed to doing well against the white belts I usually roll with, I've been "receiving" well and preventing ultra bad positions better such as a cross-face. I rolled with this Randy fellow--the same guy who smashed my Z guard the first time but couldn't defend the me passing. I held my guard for a significant amount of time before he passed this time. All in all, huge improvement.


Went in for the main class at 12 and saw Coe there for the first time in weeks! We chatted a little as a white belt got his promotional whippings, then we all warmed up with a variety of drills, from back takes to torreando passing, to knee on belly switches.

There were no new techniques today. Instead, we broke into groups and worked top vs. bottom game. Winner stays in and choose to work guard or pass. I had no success at this. Tried passing Lucas's guard a couple times but he toyed with me for a while before flinging me off and sweeping.

Rolled 3 8 minute rounds, once with a female blue belt whom I swept but couldn't pass (she had great spider guard), once with a young purple belt whom I had rolled with before, and once with a slightly older purple. I damn near finished an anaconda choke when I tech stood up from guard and caught the guy with his head and arm dangling, but couldn't roll him or hook a leg for the finish. He said it was very tight, so at least I locked it up properly.

This was supposed to be my last week at Alliance, but I'm gonna sign up again since I'm still here. Hopefully I can train as much as possible before I have to stop going and assist my family in relocating before school starts again.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: Week Three


The intermediate class at 6:30 was taught by another Alliance black belt, Humberto Borges, who told me he knows Casey very well. Super nice guy, really helpful and didn't seem to have any kind of ego when talking to the lower belts. I missed the 10 minutes of running and line-based warm up, so I jumped right in to techniques. We went over some AWESOME top half chokes, which is a concept I've been toying around with based on some Youtube stuff I've seen. It was really exciting to get to learn it formally and drill it a bunch. First technique, you sat back in top half, keeping a crossface and getting the lapel from under their arm to around the other side of their neck. Control their pants leg so they aren't holding you in half above your knee, pop up ala knee-on-belly, and switch grips. Then reach across and grab some material, head to mat, and get the cross choke. Second technique was if they're blocking your second cross grip; grab the sleeve, drive it across their face, and push your chest down while pushing your bicep into their tricep for the tap. Third is if they don't allow you to pull the sleeve across; grab their elbow right at the point of the bone and step over, landing next to them on your own back. push their arm into their neck for the tap.

Got some good rolling in and managed to crush another blue belt, so that was awesome.
For the main class, Humberto stuck around and a few higher belts joined in. We warmed up with some drop Seio Nage stuff. I've been at Alliance for 2 weeks now, and this seems to be the choice judo throw of X number of days/weeks. I've already drilled it so much that I'm feeling REALLY comfortable going for it. We mixed in some other trips and stuff, including a failed single leg attempt to drop Seio which felt really smooth. After 30 minutes of throws and varying stand up, we went to the ground for some technique. Today's lesson was on Reverse De La Riva, and I was super pumped to learn about the position I see a lot of advanced grappers use, especially Satoshi. Your opponent has what is essentially a combat base position and you have a hook on the inside, above the knee while you cross grip their collar and use your other hand to grip their pants leg, locking them in to the RDLR. Extend out, which should push them forward while you use the pants grip to spin under them while still controlling the leg. Reach up, grab the belt, kick out and take the back. We drilled this a fuck ton and I felt pretty good about it. Got some more awesome rolling in and got smashed even more. One dude really murked me with scarf hold but couldn't get a sub. I left drained as hell with various lacerations and gi burns. Yes!!!


Started at 6:30 with the intermediate class. Warmed up with line drills.Today's techniques were spider guard and leg lasso stuff. Leg lasso on one arm and spider on the other. I'm writing this 3 days later so my memory is not too good, but I think you're driving up on the spider and sweeping to the lasso side. Similarly, we drilled the leg lasso + grab their other leg sweep; this is something I'm familiar with as went over it a bunch in Megalodon over the last 2 years. I liked that you can still sweep them over even if they appear to have passed. As long as you still have the lasso in tight, you can still attempt to grab some part of the pants, switch your hips, and roll them over. I usually give up on this move if I fail to load them onto my shin, but this is great. You just gotta really switch your hips. Rolled with some white belts for a few minutes before the main class got started.
Lucas warmed us up with some Ippon Seoi Nage. Hand positioning was different and I looked totally spazzy. I questioned DJ about this today (Saturday) and he clarified some stuff for me. Essentially, there is Ippon Seio Nage and Morote Seoi Nage. And a bajillion variations of each. From some google searching:

  • Ippon
    • Lapel
    • Armpit
    • Sleeve
  • Morote
    • Sleeve + Lapel: cross lapel and same side lapel
    • One handed 
So Seoi Nage is pretty complex. I have no idea if you can use ippon for the Drop Seoi or if it has to be Morote. I think I've only done Drop Morote. Damn Judo.

I believe the technique of the day was a De La Riva + Leg Lasso sweep. DLR on one side and spider --> lasso on the other. Square up, pull the lasso in tight and sweep them to the lasso'd side. Come up quickly into mount or drive forward into side control. Which you choose depends on how your opponent reacts. 


Fundamentals at 6:30 were taught by Jacare. Went over side-control safety. T-rex arms tight into your body, forearm into their neck (don't let them get the underhook) and other arm under their armpit. Leg up, defend the mount. Shrimp out while driving them away with your arms, then back in with your bottom leg. Get a hook in with your top leg to keep them in place and recompose guard. Discussed some hip bump sweep stuff and basic kimura from guard. I worked with an older brown belt named Dave who was very helpful and I got a bunch of small details from him.

Main class was more lasso/DLR/Spider stuff, but I literally cannot remember the details of this class.


Fundamentals at 11am included some basic hip throws, tomoe nage off of double sleeve grips when on the ground (is that still tomoe nage??), and a basic cross collar choke/armbar double attack from S mount.

Lucas kept the theme of the week by introducing another move off the deep hook DLR/leg lasso...instead of sweeping them over toward the lasso'd side, they post out with their opposite arm. Let go of the sleeve, grab the belt, switch the hook and take the back. Drilled the position a few times with a blue belt named Joe who I've worked with before and a couple black belts.

I rolled with three guys today, all black belts. The first two were a bit older and thus less fast. They established position and tried to keep energy by only going for a few subs, which I defended. The last guy was Damian, who's a nice dude and has been helpful to me over the past few weeks. He's around my size. He let me work a bunch and I almost got some nice chokes from half guard, but lost position, scrambled for the back and ended up passed and mounted.

All in all this was a good week. Got 12 hours on the mat. I have a week left and then I have to come up with more money for another month :/

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: Week Two


Today was Memorial day, and like always, this day messes with me on many levels. No work and no money, but I figured I would train early and get some sleep tonight. Went in at 11am for the fundamental class, but only like 3 people were there, and no black belts to run it. I left and returned at 12pm and the class was getting started. Many people at Alliance are preparing to leave for the Mundials on Wednesday, and so Jacare wanted to pretty much do a massive gauntlet so everyone can roll with everyone. We warmed up and went over some basic Torreando work and passing defense for if they try to pass from chest-to-chest half guard while underhooking your free leg. I drilled with this purple belt Ryan who I knew from last year when I first tried to test for my blue belt, then again when I passed in December. Super nice guy, really supportive and always willing to help me better my technique. We then got the gauntlet going with Lucas and Gabriel Goulart being "team captains". I rolled with a few blue belts and hit the reverse scissor on one of them (he was about 175lbs and mostly better than me). Got destroyed by some purples including a Brazilian fellow whom I was chatting with in broken portuguese. I got to roll with one of the brown belt managers (or former manager?) Jonathan Thomas who pretty much danced around me and made my guard look like that of a white belt. The highlight of the roll for me was getting to roll with Lucas. He obviously did whatever he wanted but he let me work and pretty much choose my own rope to get hanged. He countered everything and baited me into thinking I was doing something right before crushing my hopes and dreams. It was awesome. He subbed me a few times but it felt more like a flow roll session because even when he easily mounted me he rolled back to guard and let me work a few times.


Everyone is leaving for the Mundials tomorrow so it the climate felt like a "last sharpening session" since people are leaving. The fundamental class at 6:30 was supposedly the last of the white belt sessions in a set of 25 classes. We went over some standing striking defense. Sorta felt like a Gracie Bully Proof course. Blocking the punch, clinching, double underhooks, squeezing the back for the takedown, etc. Then some kick defense: catch the kick in your armpit, get an underhook, sweep their free standing leg out from under them and end up in an ankle lock position. Then we went over some ankle lock mechanics, which are always welcomed IMO.

Main class was more training, so Lucas assigned some matches and we got to it. Nothing new to report here mostly, except in one match I was paired with a slightly bigger and stronger blue belt who had been training for 3 and a half years. He blew past my guard with ease and had some nasty, crushing top game. Very technical and very methodical. After 9 minutes of getting cross-faced with no escaping, I offered to switch it up and let me play some top. I worked the torreando and actually managed to pass to north/south! Even gassed. I kept it moving for the sake of the match and he recomposed to half as the timer went off. Told Lucas I was going to skip the last roll and probably got some 3rd degree. Well, I worked 12 hours today so yeah...... Pulled a variety of muscles like groin and hamstring and needed to take a day off.  Plus I had a staff meeting on Wednesday, so I had that excuse to heal up.


Arrived for the main class at 7:30. DJ was teaching since Jacare and crew are still gone. We warmed up with some butterfly lifts off double underhooks and got to work. DJ showed the classic butterfly sweep off over/underhooks, then the sleeve/collar grip variation of the same move. Then we worked some X guard. I was pretty excited for this, because I know very little about X guard. My training partner went over some basic sweeps with me, such as getting the position, stretching out your opponent, and then pretty much technical standing with their leg on your shoulder so you can achieve the single leg. Second basic move was the same set up, but you stretch them out and slide your back of the knee-hook down to the ankle and kick out their leg, coming on top and looking for the pass. DJ's technique was entry to X guard off a failed butterfly sweep attempt, for when they post out with their leg to block the sweep. You scoop it up to your shoulder and get the high hook in. Then, kick out and stretch them. From here you can control the same sleeve as the leg on your shoulder and pass it -- along with the leg -- over to the other side of your body. Then control the belt, get rid of the high hook, and load their weight onto you. You can then roll them easily into side control with some awesome control grips. We also worked on the obvious transition to the back once you're grabbing their belt. I rolled with a bunch of people, including the two guys I tested with back in December (Austin and Chris) and a few other people. Got completely destroyed by everyone. Chris has gotten a bajillion times better, it seems, although it could be that he took it easy on me last year. One thing that I'm realizing is that my guard sucks. My top game is definitely better. My posture has improved a lot and I'm sensing submissions before they happen and avoiding them mostly.


Fundamentals class was at 11:00 so I made sure I arrived in time for that. DJ went over some more self defense stuff, like blocking a strike, getting an underhook, driving around to their side and sitting down with your leg out to side control. Basic stuff. We went over mount defense and how to get the upa...with patience! Some great details in there that definitely made me better in escaping the mount without getting choked, punched or armbarred. He showed his favorite guard pass, which is the double lapel grip pushing down on their sternum, gripping the pants at the waist, stepping up and driving back with your hips to break the closed guard. Enter into combat base and initiate the single underhook pass into side control. Finally, we drilled some keylocks from mount.

Main class was taught by a black belt from Paragon named Adam Benshea who was present during my blue belt promotion. Super nice guy. He warmed us up with some single leg entries off  a sleeve/collar grip, then executing the takedown by either running the pipe, driving forward and grabbing the other leg, or lastly by cupping the knee and circling back while driving them down. Drilled some more classic butterfly sweeps, except off the overhook you can reach in and control their cross collar and lock the overhook in with your knee to thigh, then come up in scarf hold while keeping your head low.

Rolled with a bunch of people including a purple belt named Johnathan, a white belt, a few blues and then Adam. Again, got steamrolled by everyone. Managed to hit the reverse butterfly on the white belt but that's pretty much irrelevant. Rolled and talked with a black belt named April who knows Casey from back in the day. She has some busted up ACLs and a brace on a knee. We rolled super light and I worked a bunch of guard technique and mount escapes.

I think I clocked 10 hours of mat time this week. I want to train more, but it's pretty hard with my sleep schedule. 6 hours is rough when I have to chase kids around the next day in the sun. I'm still feeling good and noticing improvements. Mostly:

I've been having much more success when using the torreando or just controlling the pants leg in general. On to week 3.