805BJJ Class 85: lasso guard sweep and omoplata, rolling

November 21st, 2017

Greggo’s Tuesday morning. Last class before Thanksgiving. I felt mostly okay going into this one. The rib is holding up. I might be at 90%. We had a bunch of students who don’t normally train during the day, but school’s out for Thanksgiving for some folks so we even had some kids in the class. Warmup was extended, with the addition of butt scoots and drop steps. The drop steps wrecked my big toes. I think I’m done with those.

Greggo showed the lasso guard, but kind of assumed we knew it and were familiar with it. I was not familiar with it. The first trick he showed was that if you let them pass away from your lasso, you can then use it to roll them over onto their back.

The omoplata was for use when they tried to pass farther out, giving you space to spin under and push their upper arm down with your leg. I had real trouble spinning under. TJ and Andrew were quick to give me advice about momentum and crunching my midsection to reduce friction on the mat.

Then we rolled.

My first roll was with coach Greggo. The rules were: start in open guard, and no submissions the first round. I did a couple good moves but then got confused when he slowed down. He got mount repeatedly and had to prompt me to upa. That was embarrassing. Looks like I was getting ahead of myself there.

Next I rolled with Phil. My open guard sucked.

Then I rolled with Erin. He effortlessly passed my open guard. I tried to get an anaconda choke on him but I couldn’t lock it properly and ended up squeezing his head. I let go.

Next I rolled with Carlo. He showed me a the cradle and we got stuck there. I called for a reset.

After that I rolled with Matt, and did okay until I completely ran out of gas with 45 seconds left. I mean, I wanted to lie down on the mat and let him kill me.

The last round I sat with Cody, who was a new guy and was totally exhausted and didn’t know ANYTHING about BJJ. I went over proper closed guard technique and showed him side control.

Krav Maga Class 120: shoulder tag, thai pads, knees, sparring

November 18th, 2017

Brandon’s Saturday morning class got going before I got on the mat. I was listening to TJ’s story about his arm, and how he’s going to need surgery but he can’t get it now because he’s stabilizing his workplace in a time of turbulence and chaos. I got into jumping jacks, and what seemed like a very brief and easy warm up that included shoulder tag. Then we paired off into partners with thai pads, and I got paired with Ethan, who’s a tall skinny teen blue belt. He came into class with black jeans, a concert tshirt, and his iphone in his pocket. He wore MMA gloves and didn’t bring a mouth guard. His thai pad combinations were all straight punches, and he stood southpaw and insisted on reversing the order of right-only then left-only kicks after the punching combinations. I had to go very easy on the kicks because I would knock the pads into his face if I went very hard.

Next was knee strikes. He was very sloppy and didn’t put much pressure on me at all, and I was able to just walk away if I wanted to. I did once, just to see. I told him to get heavier and get that forearm up against me. At least his knee strikes were noticeable through the pad. Then it was my turn and I showed him what I meant. He was holding the pad away from his body, so I guess he was feeling those knees even though I was going fairly light and conserving energy. We drove each other across the mat and back with knee strikes, then we geared up for combat.

The first rounds of sparring was just one person attacking and the other defending. I got hit with a good upper cut when I was expecting a hook, so I learned from that. I also was reminded that slipping inside leaves your head exposed to power punches, so that’s a real bad idea.

Then we sparred 20% each side. Ethan and I landed some good shots on one another. Apparently I leave my body open a lot.

Next round was with Ivan, who was suffering from allergies. He kept me away with some good body kicks, which didn’t feel good. I didn’t do as bad as I usually do against him.

Then I sparred with Dave, who clinched and messed me up pretty good.

Last was Susan, who joined me in going very very light.

805BJJ Class 84: Arm bars from guard, mount, side control; rolling

November 16th, 2017

Greggo taught this Thursday morning class. I came after heading up to the Ventura County Office of Vital Records to get death certificates for my dad. My right lower rib was still tweaked from last week, so of course I was apprehensive going in.

Today’s class was all about the arm bar, and how to set it up from everywhere. Starting from closed guard, get the arm across the body and put your head on the side you’re pulling the arm to. Use your crossed ankles to springload your movement, swinging your leg around the head while you pull them down with your near leg. Clamp together on either side of their arm and down on the neck and back to finish.

From the mount, we did the basic pushup armbar. They’re pressing you up, you put your hands on their collarbone area in a way that one of their arms is between your arms. This is the arm you’ll attack. Push down on your CPR hold on their chest in order to lift your body and swing your legs around to the armbar position. Then remount and do it again and again for the drill.

Arm bar from side control on the near started with them turned away, just like the last 2 week’s lessons. Reach under and isolate it. Hold their head down while you bring your rear leg parallel and close to their body, and your upper leg over their head. You basically sit on their head to hold them down as you sit into position, then clamp both legs down and around the arm to finish.

Arm bar from side control on the far side involves getting the far arm wrapped around your neck. You can then lock it with your head-side arm, use it to lift them onto their side, step behind their belt, sit on their head, and squeeze your legs together on the arm as you pull back for the finish.

Then we rolled.

First I rolled with Phil. He started in bottom side control and locked up a kimura from the bottom. He showed me how to do it – grab the wrist with your hip framing hand, then dive over with your other hand to lock up the arm. He submitted me. Only one of the day who did!

Next I rolled with Dave. It was a wild, back-and-forth roll with lots of guard passes and recoveries and back takes and escapes. It was crazy. And fun!

Next was John, the old blue belt that Greggo finally convinced to get back on the mat. I promised him a light roll, but we got pretty competitive. I did express my reserve about doing a heavy baseball slide pass, but he said go for it. I did, and he swept me. Doh! I didn’t get him, he didn’t get me, and he survived. Barely.

Next was Carlo. I heard a story about him before class that he split Steve’s scalp open trying to swing his leg over for an arm bar. Anyway, he’s very dangerous for a 2 stripe white belt, because he’s also a Krav Maga instructor. He started on top of me in side control and put too much weight on me so I rolled him over and got on top. He recovered guard, and I tried to stay safe but eventually he went for an arm. I defended and he transitioned to a triangle, which I also defended and used it to pass to side control as the round ended.

Last round was Phil again, and I asked for more pointers on the kimura from bottom side control. It was leisurely and instructive, and I survived for the lineup and picture time!

Krav Maga Class 119: rope jumping, shoulder tag, belt pull striking, focus mitts, peripheral awareness, stacking multiple attackers

November 11th, 2017

Curtis taught this Saturday morning class. We started with NASCAR running and turning left, then got jump ropes and started jumping, alternating with shoulder tag. I really suck at jumping rope, and kept hitting myself in the back of the head with my rope. It was exhausting. I guess I need to practice jumping rope.

We then teamed up and did belt pull striking. I held the pad for Rick, and he pulled the belt for me. I did alright, but Sangeeta felt so sorry for me that she went and brought me a Gu.

Next we got focus mitts and I paired up with Daniel. He needed work on not telegraphing his uppercut, and I needed to follow through on my punches despite him holding the pads way out in front of his body.

Then we did an attention drill where someone would hold mitts while the one behind them would hold up fingers or feet and the striker would have to call out the number of fingers or the side toward which the foot was raised.

The last drill was a multiple attackers drill, with stacking. Rick took it to the next level by pretending to come over the top with an imaginary chair or something. It was fun and scary.

805BJJ Class 83: side rolled away hand control chicken wing explorations, rolling, pulled oblique

November 7th, 2017

Greggo led this Tuesday morning class. I came in with very little energy after Saturday’s death class, and I was apprehensive. With good reason, as it turned out, but I’ll get to that.

Warm up went okay. No dings. A little awkward. Then we got straight into the first technique, which was a review of last week’s hand grab from rolled away side control. Grip the meaty part of the top hand with your underhooking top hand, chicken wing them as your lower hand grabs their top collar, and use the hand leverage to pull their hand under them and roll them on top of it as you mount them and choke them out. Fun times. I drew Rick as a partner, and he was really gentle except when he was pulling me into position to start a drill. He leaned on my right side, and I felt a twinge of pain that would later blossom into difficulty sleeping, but I’m getting ahead of myself again.

The next technique we learned was another entry into the bow and arrow choke. Same setup but instead of mounting them, put your shins behind their head and back, grab their top pants leg above the knee, and just lean back to finish the choke.

Suppose you were unable to reach around and grip that upper collar. Well you can grab their lower sleeve instead. You can pull it under their head as you mount them, then reach under their head to trap it there, and then you can roll them onto their forearm with their elbow on the mat, and you can control them very well from there. When you’re ready to finish, loosen their arm that’s wrapping around their head, so that you can reach your free arm through and grab your own wrist of the hand that’s trapping their arm around their own head. That sets you up for the arm bar. Step over and keep your foot right at their neck, or Greggo puts it on their lower arm, to keep them from sitting up. Lean sideways to lever out of their saving grip, and finish.

You can also do another thing after grabbing the lower sleeve from turned away side control. You can pull your arm out from under their neck, and pin their neck down with your arm and their arm together (since you’re gripping their sleeve.) Then you can mount them, pull their arm from their neck to their triceps, thus pinning their other arm to their torso. Reach down with your free arm to grab the elbow of the arm whose sleeve you’re gripping, and turn them flat on their back under your mount. Then you can twist their arms into a propeller!

After all that goodness, we rolled. I started with Matt, and we had a competitive roll. I started in bottom side control, let him mount me, and upa’d him. I did all the stuff I wanted to do in re-establishing the guard! I stayed low, obtained biceps control, and then postured up. I was able to neutralize his guard with good posture and frame until the end of the round.

Next was Colt, and he came hard. I again started in bottom side control, and was able to hip escape to open guard, and then to a technical stand up. We dropped to the knees, and I tried for a guard pull into an arm drag sweep, but he stuffed that and I ended up in half guard. I got my underhook, and also underhooked his leg, but he smashed my shoulders and head to the ground. I struggled (at the urging of Cowboy, who kept telling me to roll him over) and tired excessively, having no energy and a sore side by the end of the roll.

Then I quit and went home.

R.I.P. dad

November 6th, 2017

Norman Burke fell asleep after breakfast and could not be roused for his afternoon meds. He passed away before dinner, peacefully in his sleep.

Krav Maga Class 118: epic running, getting punched in the face lessons, belt pull, knee strikes, choke defenses, getting up from the ground, stress drill

November 4th, 2017

Pam taught this Saturday morning class. I was coming off my first week with two BJJ classes since June, so my reserves were low. I also didn’t have much breakfast (just an early bowl of cottage cheese) so I ran out of energy really quickly, like in the first 3 minutes of class. I’ll harp on that throughout the description of the class, because it was important.

We started out running around the mat. I was behind Ivan, and he was going FAST! I tried to kind of keep up, but it was exhausting. By the time we started high knees, I knew I was in for some suffering. Pam was trying to figure out her music situation, and we went around a few times with high knees before she switched it up, but by that time I was already gassed. But I kept going, and we kept going, and finally, eventually, blessedly it was over.

Get water and come back with a partner and a belt. I got a yellow belt and grabbed Cory on his way back onto the mat, making him run first. Back and forth across the mat sprinting for 2 minutes, while our partner slowed us down by pulling on the belt which was wrapped around our waist. We got little rest breaks at the end as we turned around, and it was exhausting, but I can sprint way better than I can run steadily, so it wasn’t so bad.

Next we got a kick shield and held for knees and solid side control. 2 minutes each. Then we went back and forth across the mat, driving our partner back using knee strikes.

Kick shields away, we did defenses against all level 1 and level 2 chokes, including bear hugs.

Then we stood in front of each other and went 5 for 5 punching each other in the face, then in the body, then both. Cory is really nice about it.

Then we got in our ground fighting stance and repeatedly got up. We did a drill doing front kick from the ground, including mobility to defend against a circling attacker.

At the end, we had one person get in the middle on the ground, and a padholder would approach. They had to kick them away, then get up and attack. The rest of the people would hit with a pad for combative targets, or apply a choke and the middle person would have to do the defense. I was very last before the BJJ folks took the mat.

EDIT: It took everything out of me. I hit the wall in this class and kept on running. All afternoon, I was incapacitated and broke into tears a couple of times because I felt bad that I couldn’t tackle all my responsibilities because I was in such bad shape.

805BJJ Class 82: More arm trap from back or side, bow and arrow, Coach Kevin’s arm triangle, side control escape, rolling

November 2nd, 2017

First time since June that I made it to two classes in the same week! This is a milestone in the ramping up process!

Coach Greggo taught the class. I got a bit winded after some very strenuous hip escapes across the mat, which was maybe a little bit surprising. I did well on the forward rolls, and tolerably well on the rolling breakfalls.

The first technique Greggo taught was the same technique as we learned last week, trapping the guarding arm when you’ve got someone’s back, and then putting them on the rack for the RNC. I felt a lot better doing that this time than I did the first time. It’s good practice. I have to remember to keep my head tucked into that side of their head, keeping them stuck in the elbow of the choking arm.

Next we learned the bow and arrow choke, using the back arm trap from the previous setup. It’s a collar grab, but after you trap their arm under your leg, you reach up and grab their pants just below the knee. Your opposite side leg then goes to their hip, and you lay them down on that side, but not on top of you! You can then lean back and pull them into a U shape to finish, or you can take your top leg and put it on the same side of the head as your other leg and your collar-gripping hand, so you’re trying to pull their collar around their neck and between your own legs.

We then proceeded to practice the hand grab from the side, pressing them onto their stomachs and pulling the hand around to encourage them and keep them from basing out with it to foil your roll. You can then back mount them and sink a RNC pretty easily.

Next we learned a technique from Coach Kevin. From the same setup of pushing them onto their front and having them defend by posting, you can sink your front arm under their chin and around their neck, grabbing it with your rear hand in an S-grip. Then you press their shoulders into the mat as you get up on your toes and walk your body away from them and toward their head, tightening the choke and putting more pressure on their shoulder and neck.

The last technique we learned was a side control escape that Kevin likes. It starts from framing their neck and cross facing arm, which allows your to shrimp out away from them, get your top side underhook, use your vertical elbow to clear their shoulder, then dive on their near side leg. You reach through their legs with your far hand and grab their ankle, lifting it off the mat to destabilize them and control them via their bent knee. From there you can dump them across, or if they’re based out across you can twist that knee and dump them back, ending up in side control.

Then we rolled. My first roll was against Carlo, who’s a handful. Very mobile and aggressive, and has some Krav Maga skills (he’s a KM instructor in the valley) so I was surprised and proud that I survived a roll with him last Tuesday. Well, I survived another roll with him, extending my streak to two! He again tried his omoplata on me, but I saw it coming and defended. He tried a collar choke on me from mount but I upa’d him and then defended the choke by pressing his elbows together until he gave up on it.

Second roll saw everyone else switch partners except for me and Carlo. I started in side control bottom. I realized that when framing his neck, I’m leaving my elbow sticking out, and that’s bad, but he never took advantage of that flaw in my technique. He ended my streak by tapping me out with a collar choke of some kind. I spent a lot of time on the bottom, but after the submission I got on top and it was so much easier. Good roll. We commiserated about our messed up toes.

My next roll was with Dave. I usually do pretty well against Dave, but today he was wrecking me. It was back and forth, but he was putting me in jeopardy a lot. It was a VERY entertaining roll.

After that I went against Colt. He wrestled me onto my back, proceeded to mount, and then smashed my head into the mat for a bit. I waited for him to get bored and move, and I upa’d him. I should have been more careful how I secured my position in his guard and then controlled his biceps to posture up, but I was lax. He didn’t capitalize, though. He went for an arm bar and I stuffed it. Rick was coaching him to go for the other arm. He tried again, and I was able to smash him and pass his guard before the roll ended. He told me I’m getting good.

Class ended with the best show of camaraderie I’ve seen. Handshakes and hugs with everybody. Good class.

805BJJ Class 81: Back attacking tricks with the meaty part of the hand, rolling

October 31st, 2017

Greggo’s Tuesday morning class. I had to go back home for my wallet and phone, which I didn’t realize I’d forgotten until I was accelerating up the hill on the 23 and saw a cop flashing his lights on the shoulder.

I paired up with Phil and we learned a trick with back control. Peel the defending arm with your under-hand and grab their hand by the meaty part below the pinky. Lift their elbow with yours, and you can tuck their arm behind your leg. Then you have access to their undefended neck. You can also tuck their elbow behind your knee and lock it in by reaching your hand under your own leg to grab the lapel, then use your leg to pull your arm down to finish the choke. I didn’t feel very comfortable doing it to Phil.

Then we rolled. I had a competitive roll with Dave, starting in half guard bottom. We exchanged positions a few times, and I finished the round with perhaps my first ever butterfly sweep! I also rolled with Cowboy, Andrew, Carlo, and Brandon Sherman. Both Cowboy and Andrew advised me not to hang out in turtle, because there are just so many ways to attack it. Sherman just crushed me, did the move of the day, and submitted me.

Krav Maga 117: focus mitts, gun from behind, gun from side, ground and pound stomp circuit

October 28th, 2017

Curtis taught this Saturday morning class. We started with NASCAR again – everybody running in a left turn. Typical warm up with shadow boxing and shoulder tag, then a few lunges and crawls across the mat, then stretching.

Next was gloves and focus mitts. I paired up with Susan, and she showed off her superiority at holding the pads. I really need to practice that more. Anyway, I did okay, but every time she ended a combo with a body shot, it hit me. I blocked maybe 10-15% of them even after I decided to focus on doing that. That’s a big hold that I need to close up.

After that, by Susan’s request, we did gun from behind. Look over your shoulder to identify where the gun is, turn your body to clear the line of fire, then burst in deep and underhook the gun arm while delivering an elbow to the face. Clamp their arm to your chest with the gun pointing out, then turn your shoulders toward them to twist their shoulder, keep them in sight, and open up your angle of attack. Attack them to soften them and get their minds off the gun, then reach over and “ice cream scoop” the gun from their hand, being careful not to point it at yourself. Once you’ve removed it from their hand, you can hammer fist them with it as you break contact and make space. Back up, tap and rack the gun, and get ready to use it if necessary.