Monday, July 30, 2012

The "Summer of Jiu Jitsu" -- A Retrospect

I have been off the mats now for 2 weeks, rotting away in a hotel room with family without anything to do. This time off has given me an opportunity to look back on training so much this summer and analyze where my game currently stands.

1. The stand up work I've done this summer (mostly judo) has made me so much more comfortable on my feet. I would like to expand upon this and really work hard to sharpen my takedown ability. I don't want to feel like my only option in a match is to pull guard.

2. My guard has developed a bit on the defensive level. I feel like my bottom game has expanded a lot and I'm seeing a ton of good transitions now. I got my feet wet with X guard, played some spider guard, and worked a bunch of De La Riva and Reverse De La Riva. There are a lot of good sweep options I'm now familiar with and I need to continue to develop my guard so that it becomes much more offensive and aggressive.

3. Guard passing needs more work. Torreando in particular. Grips, grips, grips.

4. Take the back, maintain position, finish. Tons of great collar chokes are open. Seatbelt grip FIRST, hooks second. Glue upper body to their back and follow them as they struggle around. 

I can't wait to get back on the mats within the next week and start preparing for the IBJJF Atlanta Open on September 15. Win or lose, it will definitely be an awesome experience.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: Seminar with Fabio Gurgel/The Final Week


Fabio was there gearing up for the grand opening and seminar on Thursday. Warmed up lightly with some triangle drills, omoplatas, and collar chokes. Fabio stepped in and taught some cool collar choke techniques as well; using the one choking hand to wedge up their neck and make room for the other hand to slide 4 fingers in UNDER the other arm. Also, Head to the side of the original (first) arm that went in and forehead to the ground. If they try to bridge and roll, you need to post out with your legs and feel it out.

Got some good rolls in. Felt great and very energetic. Worked guard, got some reverse scissor sweeps, played some reverse de la riva and maintained top position a bunch. Also hit a triangle/armbar submission. This whole week is going to be great. Tons of big names are coming out for the grand opening, including Bruno Malfacine, Marcelo Garcia, and a bajillion other black belts. Can't wait.


Fundamentals went over some great ways of escaping side control. Arm inside their bicep and blade of your wrist at their throat, bridge up into them and then HARD the other way while stepping over. You need to step big or else they can get to your back. Some other stuff included an ankle pick of sorts from a single leg position when they're turtled and you have their leg, or recomposing guard from this position, maybe even into a triangle. Lucas pulled me off to the side to help a white belt test for his blue, so I left the fundamental class early. Don't recall the main class lol.


All I remember from this day is that I rolled a ton.

Thursday (Seminar and Grand Opening!):

The place was packed with over 100 people. We watched a cool presentation with some Alliance footage and went on with some belt promotions. The seminar with Fabio began around 8:30. He showed some great turtle attacks. A few that I remember were: grabbing same side collar with hand under their armpit (if you cannot get a full seatbelt, this is better than nothing), blocking the opposite elbow and pulling them over before getting a hook in, a clock choke, a sleeve choke off the one hook, a couple cool ways of taking the back, and best of all, this awesome variant off a clock choke counter. Basically, you have the deep collar grip and the same side wrist is controlled, but they defend by pulling that arm all the way in and prepare to shoulder roll out of the choke. You follow them by hopping over to the other side, go belly down and force them onto their back. You drive your shoulder into the back of their head with the deep collar grip and get the choke. Definitely awesome, definitely using that one in my game.

After, I got a bunch of pictures with Bruno Malfacine, Lucas, and a Jacare/Fabio combo shot. It was a great night, and I even got to see Casey, Coe and Ian from Megalodon. Very memorable and a great way to close out the "Summer of Jiu Jitsu".


This was my final day training at Alliance full time. I'm going to try making it up there a couple Saturdays a month for extra training.

We worked a bunch of single leg variations of the day. Fake guard pull, get leg while maintaining collar grip to break their posture, step INSIDE leg out and look to pass. Another one was gripping the shoulder, stepping OUTSIDE leg out (like running the pipe), knee-cross pin, STAY LOW with your head, and slide into Kesa, then switch into side control. Drilled guard passing for a while, then rolled for 2 rounds. Got some great training in and I'm gonna miss the ~12 hours of practice I've been getting all summer. Time for school and work to take over again. Can't wait to get back to Megalodon and see everybody again. Thanks for a great summer, Alliance.

PS: Yes DJ, if you're reading this, it was a lot of fucking information to remember. LOL

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Training at Alliance HQ: Deep Half Week!


Main: This week the focus was on Deep Half sweeps. I was pretty excited about this, because I know NOTHING about this position. First sweep was reaching under gripping lapel and belt grip and bridging over shoulder. Baseball slide double under pass, step over, block hips and upper body and take side control.


Fundamental: baseball bat choke off lapel arm-trap, half guard pass, self defense was hip toss off thai plum/double collar grips.

Main: more deep half. Transition to x guard, tech stand, pull other leg out for sweep. Also hook deep half'd leg, grab ankle, kick out and come on top for sweep.

We then drilled some deep half, and I really suck at this guard....


Fundamental class included some self defense hip throws, but the meat and potatoes was back escapes. If they have the collar grip, you're grabbing the sleeve with both hands and pulling down, locking your shoulders to your side, then turning to relieve pressure on your neck in the opposite direction of the collar they're gripping. Then, knee up, bridge back and over their hook -- choking hand points to freedom. Head to the mat, then your upper back and then whole body. Block their mount attempt using your own hooks and try to get on top. In the very least, get back guard. If they stop you from bridging the right way and shove you the other way, use their momentum to turn over and tripod upward. Grip their collar, back up a bit and then bring your head out of the choke and try to assume side control.

Main: warm ups included some funky 3 way rolling and sprawl drills, then the gi tug -->ankle pick --> uchi mata or the gi tug --> drop ippon seoi nage.

Technique was more deep half. Pass through lapel, try to turtle and wait for them to sprawl. they cant sprawl too hard because of the lapel grip blocking them from shifting all the way back, so you use your other hand to grip knee material, bring a knee up, and then flip them over onto their back. There was a second technique, but I can't remember it.


Fundamentals discussed the Osoto Gari leg throw and how it segued into KOB and the armbar (as do nearly all judo throws). Also drilled the paper cutter from north/south with some great little details on body weight distribution, and finally how to trap the arm from a basic, strong side control and mount using KOB followed by walking the fingers up to trap the blocking arm.

Main class had Humberto and DJ teaching, since Lucas had a seminar and Jacare was somewhere else. We went over some complicated spider/leg lasso passes and also some great X guard passes. The first one is essentially to step back with your back leg (if there is no back hook), then return to position and assume side control. If they DO have a hook on the back leg, you can pretty much push the hook down while pulling their arm (that's grabbing your front leg) up and end up in a nasty tight triangle position.