805BJJ Class 60: Ouchi Gari and Kouchi Gari, randori, over-under pass, rolling

May 23rd, 2017

I took my gi in to the tailor’s shop on Saturday to have the 805 patch re-attached after Dave ripped it loose last week. It was supposed to be ready for me this morning, but when I went to pick it up, it was still on the TODO rack. Oops. I raced home and pulled out my old (too-small) gi from the UCLA course I took back in 2011. The sleeves are too short and it barely covers my belly. Anyway, I got Costco gas and still made it to class 30 minutes early. Time enough to warm up and socialize as others strolled in. Also time to try the Defense foam that Christian got. I dispensed way too much and had it all over everything for a while until I managed to rub it into all my exposed skin. Then I practiced my rolling break falls in the back room. Getting better!

When 11am came, Krav Maga moved into the small room and all us pajama-wearing folk lined up in the big room and bowed in before Greggo got us running, shuffling, shrimping, and doing somersaults and break falls. Then Christian went through his standard of joint mobility movements to get us loosened up before lessons.

First lesson was Ouchi Gari – major reap. Also known as an inside trip. You pull your opponent forward so their weight is on their front (let’s say left in this example) leg, then shuffle in to get your right leg behind their left leg, turn them with their gi, and lean on them with your shoulder, tripping them down.

Second lesson was Kouchi Gari – minor reap. Suppose they see the first one coming and move their foot back? Well, now all their weight is on the other foot, and you can scoot that back with your left foot as you push them forward and they go down.

Then we did a randori of non-stop 1-minute rounds. I defended every takedown attempt in every round, even against Christian and Greggo (twice). However, I also did not land any takedowns of my own, so that’s the balancing negative.

Then we had an awkward lesson about over-under guard passing from the knees, going either way. But Christian only showed one way (the front way).

I rolled with Dave first and we had a good battle.

I rolled with Cowboy and I kimura’d him. Then he baseball bat choked me. Good fight.

I rolled with Cosmo and gassed with 1 minute left. However, before that I established deep half guard and got a sweep on him! The youtube lessons paid off!

805BJJ Class 59: no-gi grips and handles, brief rolling

May 20th, 2017

Coach Mark told us to leave off our gi tops and just wear the rash guards. I suited up in time to bow into the class after doing Krav immediately prior. No time to sweep the mat, so it was filthy.

We did a good warm up. I was already warm but not tired. I ate one of Sangeeta’s caramel goo energy gel packets, and it powered me pretty well through the warm up. My rolls were pretty good, and so were my break falls. I’m getting better!

Finally the warm up was over and we circled around for the lesson, which was all about how to get grips when you’re not wearing the gi. Neck hook on the ear, overhooks and underhooks and foot hooks. We also learned a no-gi butterfly sweep. This went on for a long long time. Over an hour.

I had 2 rolls at the end – both with John. He tapped me with a guillotine and a neck crank from inside my guard, which I had defended twice before but that time he just nailed me with it.

Krav Maga Class 104: shadow boxing, thai pad combos with movement, questionable groin kick defense

May 20th, 2017

Brandon taught this Saturday morning class. We started with shadow boxing, then the usual warm up circuit, then stretching. Quick and easy. Then we got a drink and gloves and thai pads and a partner. My partner was Susan.

We started with just combos followed by whatever kick the pad holder set up. Susan was anticipating my patters, so I broke them at the end and had her stumbling and laughing a little bit. :) When it was my turn to strike, I had a lot of little steps to try to get lined up for my kicks. I was not very competent in the footwork department, but not too bad either, I guess.

After that it was throwing combos across the mat and back. Bursting jab jab cross, first pass left left right, second pass right right left. My southpaw stance was hard to maintain, because I don’t have a good feel for how far apart my feet should be, and how straight my feet are pointing.

The next drill was to add onto the burst-left-left-right combo with a front-leg push-kick, a bursting in right cross, and a left hook to the body. I found my bursting cross did not put me close enough to land the body shot.

For defenses, we did front groin kick defenses, which Brandon taught us as like inside punch defenses but against the leg. It felt useless. We did a stress drill against it, and it was stupid.

805BJJ Class 58: upa, rolling

May 18th, 2017

I got to class very early, like 25 minutes early. Krav Maga day class was doing round kicks. I changed and took over room 2 to warm up and practice my rolls. Got kicked out 5 minutes before BJJ class. Felt I got better.

Greggo started the warm up because Mark was going to be 5 minutes late. We did a long warm up, including lots of running and lots of rolling. Near the end of it, Mark tells Greggo “Teach them upa.” so he did.

The big new upa tip I learned today was to shrimp a little to pull your head away from the shoulder you’re rolling over, because it facilitates the roll. When you come up, stay tight and control the arms, otherwise you could get punched or (more likely in a BJJ setting) arm barred. We also practiced it from when the top person has a collar grip already, which stays dangerous the whole time you’re rolling them.

Just like that, we were ready to roll. I started rolling with Matt, and he’s gotten a lot better. I was able to do better under his half guard, including a successful sweep. I found I’d forgotten how to take the back reliably from top turtle, and forgot how to choke from there too. Got to brush up on that!

Next I rolled with Phil. He kept trying to get a baseball bat choke from bottom side control, and it really limited my options on top. That’s something I need to research, for sure.

After that I tried to roll with Andrew, but he was snapped up by Christian, so instead I rolled with Cowboy Josh. I was able to get on top of him and stay there the whole round, but he kept trying to gi choke me from kesa gatame bottom. He didn’t, but I had to stay heavy on him, and it really saved his hand from the arm bars and Americana attacks I usually go for from there.

Next round I tried again to roll with Andrew, but coach Greggo snapped me up instead. He wanted me to start in mount, and he fed me a collar grip. I stayed on top, locked in a choke, lost position, and ended up trying to choke him while I was standing and gripping his neck/collar between my legs and behind my back. Before I got dumped on my face, I let go. “Position before submission.” I sighed. He told me that I should have sat down on him to keep the pressure and finish the choke. Next round started with me mounted again. He tried upa and I switched to S-mount. He shrimped out and stood up, so I tried de la Riva guard. He coached me on how to tip him over with it. I got side control and locked up a kimura, which he fought for a bit before finally tapping. We restarted neutral, and he was entangling my legs when the round ended.

After that I took a round off and rested. The following round I again went with Matt, and we had another good roll.

Last round was with Dave, who was exhausted after rolling with all 3 black belts, and only having 1.5 hours of sleep last night. I was able to pretty much dominate him – he didn’t have energy to fight. I was able to mount, stuff the upa, and sink a collar choke for the tap. Poor Dave. He’s really good, he just ran out of gas today. At one point, he tore the 805BJJ patch off the back of my gi. Gotta get that fixed!

805BJJ Class 57: fireman’s carry takedown, randori, de la riva guard, rolling, rash guards

May 16th, 2017

I left the house today and got onto the freeway just as I realized I forgot my mouthguard. Oops. Turned around and went home to fetch it.

Still made it to class on time. Early enough to change and watch the end of TJ’s Krav Maga class. After they cleared off the mat, we got on and lined up. Class started with a breathing instruction. In through the nose, out through the mouth. We did some running, interspersed with partner grip finding, then grip fighting.

First technique of the day was the fireman’s carry takedown. From the standard judo grip, take the overhook on the steering hand, push your partner back, and when they push forward to recover, you duck under the overhooked arm (keeping it tight to your body) at the same time your opposite side leg kneels and you duck your head under their arm pit and reach down and underhook their leg. Then, you stick out your overhook-side leg and rotate your upper body over it, taking your opponent over with you, and you end up on top in side control.

I drilled the takedown with Greggo, and accidentally got my eyeball scraped. I was so awkward. It was terrible.

After that, we got into randori. I survived against Aaron and Matt, getting them to turtle after failing takedowns. Greggo might have gotten me down once but I got a good sprawl on his single and stayed up. Sean launched a 5-throw combo that ended with me crashing down into the ground. Very impressive! Cosmo and I mostly stalemated, though I did end up on the back of his turtle. I wasn’t trying many takedowns, actually. At the last, I went vs. Ashish, and I was able to turn his osotogari and just push him over, and I ended the randori with a fireman’s carry takedown just like we did in drills!

Then it was back to the classroom, where we learned the de la Riva guard and a basic sweep from that guard. I practiced it with Christian, and it was pretty easy. The hardest part was getting into that guard, wrapping my big left foot with the sore big toe around the forward leg. Not fun!

After that, we rolled.

Who did I roll with?
Cosmo – heavy on top but I survived
Matt – good top half guard and good bottom side control. I submitted him with an Americana after a very slow tightening.
TJ – I stayed in his guard for about 4 minutes before getting bored and letting him arm bar me. Then he almost passed my guard but I swept him.
Sean – I got mounted and arm triangled, tapping early. He was surprised I tapped, but I realized he’d passed all my defenses and I wasn’t getting out.
Cosmo – we were both tired and he ended up on top, being hard to move off
Aaron – we flowed at about 30% and it was a good recovery round while he was having heart problems

After class I bought the new 805BJJ rash guard (size XXL) and also got one for Saranya, to gift her on her birthday (so don’t tell her!)

Krav Maga Class 103: shoulder tag, focus mitts, front and round kicks, spinning round kick, boxing sparring

May 13th, 2017

Kurtis taught this Saturday morning class. At first, I thought it might turn into a private lesson for me, but a couple people stayed from the StrikeFit class (Susan and Dave) and then Ray showed up in the middle of warm ups. Anyway, warm ups started with running around the mat for a few minutes. The usual. Broke into a few bouts of shoulder tag (Susan poked me in the nose) and then the stretching bit.

Gloves and focus mitts on, we paired up and did basic combos on the focus mitts. I paired with Dave, and coached him on how to throw his punches. He tends to lower his hands before throwing the punch, rather than throwing it straight from his fighting stance. So I coached him a little bit. Curtis did too, about twisting his body for the hook punch. On my turn, my punches were quick, crisp, and efficient (mostly). I had a little trouble throwing the upper cut after the hook on a 4, because I had to un-twist my body and that action didn’t load the upper cut.

After that, we took off the gloves and got a tombstone pad, into which we threw front kicks and round kicks. Then we learned a new technique – spinning round kick! Dave started, and he was having a hard time getting the whole rotation. I had a much easier time of it, and was landing some very good kicks!

Once we were done with the kicks, we put on headgear and gloves and mouth guard and got to boxing sparring. I started with Dave, and he immediately started bull rushing me so I put my jab in his face over and over, backing then circling. He was pawing at my hands, and Curtis had to stop us to tell him to commit to knocking my hands away and following with a punch. We got back to it and I mostly was lighting him up, but he did land a good right hook to the side of my head that hurt.

My next opponent was Susan, and we went very light. She landed a couple good body shots on me, and I landed several head shots on her.

Last opponent was Ray. He was surprised that I faced off with him in a southpaw stance. I asked him if he was used to fighting against southpaws, and he explained patiently to me that he’s a natural southpaw. I clarified that I was asking him if he was used to fighting southpaw opponents, and he said he was not. We got after it, and I noticed he has a habit of ducking way down, and then standing up with a left straight punch that was hitting me regularly. I told him it was serving him well, and he admitted it was a bad habit. I told him I was trying to time it, but he was hitting me anyway. By the end of the round, I was able to put some pressure on him and keep him busy dodging and not attacking, but I was getting tired and was forgetting to move my head. Still, I felt I improved.

805BJJ Class 56: bottom roadmap, active transitions from closed guard, rolling

May 11th, 2017

I came in feeling structurally unsound. I remembered my knee pads at least. Tested that out early, and the knee seemed fine. I started warming up on the small mat until Christian took the Krav Maga class in there. After that, I swept the big mat until Greggo started the class with a running warm up, then shrimps across the mat, then reverse shrimps, then somersaults, then fall breaks, then shoulder rolls.

After that, Christian suited up and had us do the transitions from side control bottom to half guard to open (butterfly) guard to full guard, then back to butterfly guard, then back to half guard on the other side and let the top person pass to side control. I don’t yet have a reflex to grab the underhook in half guard, but I was able to do the transitions pretty well. EDIT: I met Archie again, but kept forgetting his name! I kept thinking “Aaron, Andrew, A…” but couldn’t come up with “Archie” until it finally popped back into my head the next morning.

The next drill was to go from closed guard to open guard with feet on the hips and gi grips. I did this okay but was not good at scooting my own butt back so that it was behind my own shoulders. I need to work on this.

The last drill was to go from closed guard to half guard before your opponent opened your closed guard. I ended up working on this a lot during the subsequent rolls, and I discovered that I really suck at half guard.

Anyway, rolls. Started rolling against TJ and he tapped me about 3 times with some arm bar submissions he learned last Sunday at the JJ seminar. Humbling.

Next roll was with Cosmo, who tapped me with an Americana from side control top (I maneuvered him from half guard to side control with a stupid improvised technique that turned out to be a bad idea) and a Kimura from half guard bottom. He also cracked my neck with a cross face, and surprisingly my neck felt better leaving than when I went in! Hope it stays better!

I sat out the round after that, then came back and rolled with Matt, who I tried real hard to gi choke off the jump, but gave up when he didn’t tap. That gassed me out, and I ended up on side control bottom with no energy to move at all.

Last roll was with Dave, and that was a fun one. We each got sweeps, and I almost finished an arm bar on him from mount, but he wiggled out. I need to establish my control of the arm a little earlier and a little better in the future.

805 rash guards are coming in tomorrow!

805BJJ Class 55: osotogari, randori, arm bar, roll

May 9th, 2017

Dragged myself in a little early because I felt very crappy, but wanted to train anyway. When I got there, I realized that I forgot my knee pads. I warmed up in the small room until Christian took the Krav class in there and kicked us out onto the main mat. Chris and I did some light rolling before class to sort of warm up. He complimented me on my good defense, and impressed me with his variety of attacks from below. He helped me clean up my bow and arrow choke, which I sunk for the first time on him.

Class started, and Greggo warmed us up by running us around the mat. We warmed up until the Krav folks got changed and joined the class. Then Christian taught us Osotogari, and a cheating hopping version. It’s very difficult to execute successfully. We did about 15 1-minute rounds of randori (takedown sparring) and I didn’t hit it once. I got a couple decent takedowns (mostly on Matt) and I got taken down a few times (once spectacularly by Matt, with a hip toss) and mostly I defended myself pretty well. I did try a few single leg takedowns, and bruised my knee on the mat (no knee pads).

Then we did arm bar drills. I teamed up with Dave, and my key insight was that I need to locate my pelvis at the elbow of the arm to be barred. Also, keep your stepping-up knee close to the controlled arm.

Then we rolled.

I rolled with Dave first. My knee was keeping me on my back, and I tapped to a kimura that I couldn’t defend without hurting my knee worse. Other than that, I did alright. Maintained guard longer than I used to.

I rolled with Aaron next. I did some good guard stuff. Stayed very active, broke his posture, and tried attacking with sweeps, but was rebuffed by my bruised knee. I sat out the last round with ice on my knee, then changed and went home. Nobody bowed out of class. TJ and Greggo were left on the mat, going over techniques, when I left.

Krav Maga Class 102: shadow boxing circuit, mat crossing exercises, focus mitt combos, 360 defenses, knife defense, gauntlet

May 6th, 2017

Pam taught this Saturday morning class. Started with shadow boxing, mixing in push ups, squats, sit ups, lizard push ups, crunches and leg raises with the shadow boxing. Then we started going across the mat with inch worm push ups, lunge/knee thrusts, and side lunges. I was pretty fast and pretty tired. I pushed the pace.

After that we gloved up and paired up and got focus mitts. I was in a 3 person group with Corey and Susan. We switched off with the bag for the lonely 3rd, and I was fine with that. I was very awkward with the focus mitts, and I think I don’t give enough resistance to the punches when I’m holding mitts. I felt awkward with Susan holding pads for me, but I did alright. I also didn’t know the 3-punch counters after a bob or weave (hook straight hook after a bob/weave, straight hook straight after a slip)

After that we put the gloves and pads away, and we did 360 defenses. Susan was again trouble. Always a discussion and some awkwardness. I had real trouble with a right block and left strike. I always get the hands mixed up. I really need to practice 360 with simultaneous counters. Maybe Saranya will help me with it tomorrow.

Moving on from 360 defense, we did knife defenses. Block with a 360, then transition to a wrist grab, push it behind the attacker’s back while counter attacking, ending in a wrist lock take-away. Again, Susan proved difficult. She preferred the wrap technique, and indeed, that’s also my habit.

At the end of class, we did a gauntlet walk through the heavy bags, with attackers coming out at us from all angles.

The Myth of a Superhuman AI

May 4th, 2017

Kevin Kelly wrote an excellent article on the fundamental assumptions behind the myth of the superhuman AI, and why they’re either unsupported or contradicted by evidence. He does a good job on some points that I’ve thought through myself, and brings up some other points I hadn’t considered.

The Myth of a Superhuman AI