805BJJ Class 142: knee on belly, arm bar

July 14th, 2018

Greggo’s Saturday morning class. He taught us about knee on belly, which is good because I suck at it, both top and bottom.

Transitioning to knee on belly from side control involves gripping the collar with the crossface hand, and gripping above the hip with the other hand, pushing up with the knuckles, putting the knee into the solar plexus with the foot hooked on the side of the body, and the other leg based out of gripping range.

From there, you can do an arm bar when they try to reach across to push your knee off. You underhook that bicep and lift them onto their side as you push their face down. Step your bracing leg around their back, by their belt, and use it to hold them up on their side. You then grab their leg and arm at the same time, raise your leg-grabbing arm up so their leg has to straighten as you sit back, and extend both for the tap.

Then we rolled a bunch. I got wrecked by a purple belt named Mike, then by Brandon, then the deaf guy. Had a light roll with Jose, then Greggo. After that I had to sit a round out, finishing the final round again with Jose.

805BJJ Class 141: last no-gi, butterfly guard, sweeps and passes, rolling

July 12th, 2018

It’s been a long, tiring day.

After morning meeting at UCLA, I went home early and made it to 6pm class. It was the last no-gi class for a while.

We started with some butterfly guard drills and everybody sucked, but I sucked a little bit less than usual. Then Greggo went over some butterfly guard techniques, and everybody caught up to me.

So the idea with the butterfly guard is to hook your feet behind the opponent’s thighs and jam your shins into the front of their thighs to control their legs and hips. At the same time, you need to hold onto their torso, either with an over-under grip or double-unders. You can also jam your head into their sternum to make a more solid connection. To sweep someone with your butterfly guard, you need to scoot their knees back and out from under their trunk, so you need that solid trunk control and then you can alternately scoot your legs forward to drive their knees back using shin pressure on their thighs.

At the end, Jose called me out for acting like a jerk at Costco gas last week. I remembered the time he was talking about after I left – it was when I got stuck in the middle waiting for the slow guy to drip gas into his motorcycle.

805BJJ Class 140: arm bar from the guard, rolling

July 10th, 2018

Mark and Greg taught this Tuesday morning class. It was a first for me in many ways.

  1. First class since the girls went to Nepal last Thursday
  2. First class in a week
  3. First class since my toes were injected with cortisone

We had a slow and easy warm up because Mark led the show. He’s participating because he’s trying to get into better shape, and his cardio isn’t all that great. So we very slowly eased into our exercises.

The lesson was the arm bar from the guard. Isolating one arm and bringing it across the body. Moving your hips away from the shoulder of the arm you want to attack, so that you can make space for your leg to come up and make a wall on that back side, foot on the hip to help control posture. Frame with your near hand to control the head as you lift your near side leg up to their arm pit and clamp it across their shoulders. Pivot your body perpendicular to their body so you can swing that outside leg over their head and clamp it down on the back of their head.

805BJJ Class 139: guard passing, rolling

July 3rd, 2018

Greggo taught this Tuesday morning class. I came in a little early to find two pairs of students rolling around wrestling with each other, holding tennis balls in their hands. I got into the 2nd round vs. Chris, and immediately he dropped a ball. Then I dropped a ball. Damn. It made grips not very useful so we had to use other control mechanisms. Chris got my leg and twisted me over, but I don’t think I got injured. We’ll see…

The lesson was passing the guard. It started with collecting the lapels and gripping them, pulling the neck off the mat as you tuck your elbow down to their hip. The other side grips the pants at the hip (as I learned later, you have to grip close to the leg to put pressure on the hip). The pass involves you stepping back with your far-side foot and pushing the knee down to the mat. The added detail is that you back away to force their legs farther apart, and it makes the subsequent knee slice much more difficult to defend. The knee cuts across the opponent’s opposite hip and comes down to the mat right next to their hip and you secure side control.

The next lesson was standing to pass. Step up on the side you have the lapel grip, and stand to let them hang off of you until their guard opens. Then you immediately step your foot opposite your lapel grip back to avoid their gripping for a takedown, and you get your elbow connected to your forward knee inside their knee asap. Pass according to what they give you.

The next lesson was how to counter the takedown attempt where the guard player opens their guard, drops their hips, grabs your ankles, and tries to take you down backwards. The idea here is that you squat low and get a two-handed lapel grip on them, using that as reins to stabilize yourself as they try to push you back. It feels like you should be standing a little farther back. To pass from there, you get one hand tucked behind the leg and put it across to grip the collar above your opposite lapel grip, and cinch their knee pit up to your neck pit and force their knee into their face. Then reach your other hand around to hook their other leg as you drive forward to stack them. They’ll either tap or break or let you pass.

We also learned how to counter the unnamed takedown when the guard player drops and grabs your ankles and pushes you back on your ass. When you fall, squeeze your knees together and push your hips up. This keeps them from popping up and coming over the middle to mount, and also collects their legs right there in front of you. So you grab one of their ankles and straight arm it so it extends up in the air. This gives you space to do a technical stand up and come up on top.

To counter this counter and actually get the takedown as the guard player, you need to move and adjust your position and angle, trying to unbalance the top guy, and when they do go over, grip their lapel or neck to come up with them to get mount.

Then we did a guard passing gauntlet. I didn’t once use the techniques of the day, but I did pass Jared’s guard once. Mostly he swept me.

Then we rolled. Pretty competitive with Chris, who I wore out. Jared destroyed me. I did whatever I wanted to Derek. Then Jared destroyed me again. Fun times. I never did attempt any of the day’s techniques.

807BJJ Class 138: Rick warm-up, x-guard defenses, rolling

June 30th, 2018

Rick warmed us up in this Saturday morning class. Six students attended. We did the run around and some side squat stretches before doing a couple of BJJ warm-up drills. One was entering headquarters, which involves tipping a seated opponent back by lifting a leg, then stepping in deep on their free leg so your shin pushes the back of their knee up. You tuck their lifted leg into your crotch, lower your same-side elbow to your forward knee and grip their lapel. Yeah, or something like that. I’m still hazy on the details, and I’ve never been able to properly pull it off in free sparring. The next drill was a guard pass where you trap one of their arms at the belt line with your same side arm, step up on the side of the trapped arm (they can’t underhook your leg with that arm if it’s pinned to their belt) and step your other leg back, keeping their leg trapped between your forward leg and the trapping arm. Grip the trapped leg as you dart back to clear it, then you have grips on the same-side arm and leg and you can move into knee-on-belly.

After that, Mark taught us some counters to slinky guards. The De La Riva guard pass he taught us was to just step back around and essentially fall across their body. Your hip goes to their hip. Your armpit goes to their face. Your other arm hooks their top leg as you sit on their bottom leg. Easy pass after that.

Then there was the X-guard pass, which was basically “immediately fall down and scramble out as soon as they start to do it to you”.

Rolling was progressively exhausting. I mean, I started okay against Jose, who I mounted at will and choked out with Mark’s side control paper cutter choke. Next was Dave, who I couldn’t submit but who I maintained mount or 3/4 mount for most of the 8 minute roll. Then was Shabbar, who smashed me for about 8 solid minutes. Then Cowboy slowed it down and taught me some fine details that I’m doing wrong, like not taking angles or leaving way too much space.

805BJJ Class 137: Iranian takedown from knees/scramble, Iranian counter, brutal head removal, pendulum sweep, hybrid scissor/pendulum sweep, arm bar, rolling

June 28th, 2018

Mark started us off on this class (I got in halfway through the warmup) showing us how to do the “Iranian” which is where your opponent gets up on one foot and sits back on his knee. You get low and torpedo his raised knee, at the same time sliding your same-side hand/arm along the mat to grip the planted heel (even if they pull back, shooting past it to grab it will still get it for you) and use your head to drive them down with their trapped leg. You use your free hand to chop down their hips and move them along. To finish the pass, bring your ankle-gripping-elbow up over their lowered thigh, lean your upper body on their chest to press them down, and then slide your knee in to secure the side control.

The wrestling counter to this takedown is to sprawl, reach over, and grab the feet of the shooting combatant. To get past this defense, you post your free hand on the mat and use it to lift your opponent’s feet into the air and dump them. You have to protect yourself from them twisting their body and using their calf to take your head off, though. It’s seriously brutal.

Then Christian taught some techniques to do from a foot-posted-forward posture, this time from the full guard. He showed the pendulum sweep, which involves you underhooking the posted leg as you raise your same-side knee pit to your opponent’s arm pit, and wave your free leg around to get momentum to tip them over and mount them.

Next sweep was the hybrid, so going from an open guard, they put their foot forward, you hook under it with one foot as the other foot does the scissor sweep motion. Grips are far sleeve and near lapel. Resulting position requires effort to avoid 3/4 mount (because your hooking foot can get trapped in there) so you can either slide it through or go for knee-on-belly.

Finally, the threat! You can fake the pendulum sweep and instead shoot your hips up for the arm bar. You can finish it there or you can take them down, scoot your butt into their shoulder, collect their arms, and peel their wrist off for the finish.

Then we rolled. 8 minute rounds. I started with Jeremy, who I had to keep reminding to chill out. I taught him a mount escape and I taught him a back escape.

Next in line was Phil. I did the takedown of the day on him and got on top, then he tried to kimura me for the rest of the time.

After that it was Mark, who got on top of me and held me down with his belly. He toyed with me for about 7 minutes before choking me, but said I was moving well.

Next and last was Cowboy, but for only 5 minutes. I did the blunder of fiddling with his lapels before passing his guard, and he schooled me for it. Coach Mark was yelling instructions to me about how to get out of his attacks. I did, and I might have hurt his ear given the way he moved away. He finished me, and in the last 30 seconds he did it again.

805BJJ Class 136: collar choke, scissor sweep, rolling

June 26th, 2018

Greggo taught this Tuesday morning class. We had a couple of Kyokushin champions on the mat for an intro to BJJ today.

We did the lesson on cross collar choke from the guard, where you get that deep cross-collar grip on the gi, then reach UNDER that hand to get the second collar grip, hang your weight off them with your legs and arms as you row them into your belly button, scissoring your hands to pull the gi fabric tight behind their neck, and digging your wrists into their neck to tighten the choke.

Next method was to counter the situation where your opponent blocked that hand from coming underneath to get the second grip. In this case, you pull them down to you and reach over their back to get an overhand grip on their gi, on the other side of your existing cross-grip. Then you use your legs and arm to shuck them across as you bring that arm around tight and cross your forearms in front of them to finish the choke same as before.

But what if they block that second hand preemptively, like at the elbow? In that case, you open your guard (keeping knees pinched) to put the foot on the floor on the other side of your blocked hand, and move your hips away from that free hand, then slip that knee up across their chest so that it touches the wrist of your cross-gripped hand. The other leg blocks their far knee on the mat as you pull them toward you, then twist them over on their side using both arms and legs to do the scissor sweep. If they counter this with a wide base, then instead of blocking that far knee, you can use your foot to push it out from under them as you pull them over.

After finishing the sweep, you end up in the mount with a cross collar grip. To finish this, you reach your free hand over and slide your elbow/forearm across their jaw to turn their head away, leaving you with a clean grip on their gi shoulder material. You ground your head on the mat on the same side as that second grip, establish a wide base with your knees, and use your toes to push your hips forward for the finish. I think the forward hips gives your hands a better choking angle.

Then we rolled. My rolling partners were Jen, Jeremy, Aiden, Greggo, and lastly coach Mark asked me to roll easy with the karate black belt guy. That was an ego boost, that Mark can count on me to kind of know what I’m doing and not risk injuring someone who’s vulnerable. Anyway, I felt I did kind of okay in every roll. I managed to avoid all of Greggo’s submission attempts, and nobody else really threatened me. The inexperienced people kept trying to do the cross collar choke from inside my guard, and I kept teaching them why that was both useless and dangerous, because I can use my legs to keep them from the finish, and I can tip them over and take their back.

805BJJ Class 135: no-gi guard passing, kimura finishing and defenses, recovering from almost-guardpass, rolling

June 20th, 2018

I brought Christian a big kukhri tonight before 6pm nogi class. He was happy.

Class started with a normal warm up. I was fast and ignored the small pains in my foot.

Next we did guard passing drills as a warm up. I slotted in well, dominating the smaller white belts or orange belts and getting chewed up by the more advanced, athletic students.

Then it was Q&A time. I asked how to react when I realized my guard was getting passed. Greggo used the knee slice pass as an example, and showed how you can use your underhook and knee to push them past you and take their back. Christian showed that they’re fighting for the space next to your hip, so you can block them with your head, hip escape to a tactical temporary turtle, and use that to re-establish your guard further back. Greggo also showed putting the top knee across, or using the bottom leg as a distraction as you attack their arm or back during the pass.

Another question was on finishing the D’Arce by switching to the anaconda. Neither instructor liked that option, preferring to get a shallow forearm grip, pressing the head forward, and using that space to force your arm farther through.

Then we rolled.

805BJJ Class 134: Koshi Guruma, Kesa Gatame, arm bar, americana, top-bottom-out drill, left early

June 16th, 2018

Mark and Christian taught this Saturday morning class. I’d been out for about a month because of my stupid toes, but I’d had much reduced pain for 2 days and saw an opportunity to come back and train.

I was scared of the warm up, but for some reason I don’t feel as much pain when I’m on the mat. The side shuffle on my left foot was pretty painful but I angled my toes away so that instead of tugging my big toe sideways, it pulled it away from the foot. That was much less painful.

We started with Christian teaching the Koshi Guruma technique, which is where you wrap up a headlock as you’re turning to do a hip toss. Starting from a shoulder and sleeve grip, you pull up the sleeve as they’re pushing into you, and you slip your shoulder gripping hand over their shoulder and around their neck as you step in and get your hips under theirs. Load them up on your hip and squat lift them, then dump them off the side. As you go down, maintain the headlock and assume kesa gatame position.

From kesa gatame, you reach your free hand back and peel their trapped arm off your waist with a C-grip, keeping their thumb pointing up. You then force it out straight and trip it with your lower knee. Scissor your legs to get the tap.

If they bend and turn their arm upwards, you can tuck it under your top leg and just push your calf down to the mat for the tap, raising your hips if you need a little extra travel to finish it.

We did top-bottom-out then. Me, Jose, and the deaf fellow. Jose started on top of me, and I was able to roll him over me and get on top.

I then went out, then got on top of deaf fellow, who I just pressured for the full round because he had his arm bent over across his face. I didn’t feel confident in switching to regular side control or flipping it about to go for an arm triangle or a kimura, so I just sat there. Great.

Jose started on top of me again, and this time I snuck out behind him and took him down, eventually sliding my ears out of his headlock with a little bit of pain. Jose needs to work on his basic kesa gatame position.

Then I started on top of deaf guy again, but this time I mounted him and collar choked him hard until he tapped. The high point of my day. Mark then switched Jose to another group and brought Sean in, so I got to have Sean on top of me. Great. He’s smooth, but he just about took my head off in transition before he lost his grips. I remember that sucked a lot, but I did prevent him from getting his mounted triangle on me again, which frustrated him.

I bowed out early before the stand-up round.

805BJJ Class 133: rolling

May 31st, 2018

All we did is roll. I got chain submitted by the black belts (Greggo and Scott), and Andrew pretty much dominated me. Even Jeremy was a handful, so I had to slow him down by reminding him to breathe and focus on his technique.

Now my foot hurts and my neck is tweaked.