805BJJ Class 8: guard passing and Americana

After KM31 I swept the mat and the visitor area and the merchandise area and the entry mat until TJ took over from me.

Class started when Mark lined us up. I took junior position. We began with shrimping to warm up. Then we got into smash guard passes, where you put both hands under the guard holder’s legs, lift one onto your shoulder, stack them and press that leg’s knee into their face while gripping their gi collar and smashing your forearm into their throat to be really mean and make them feel real uncomfortable, then ease around and let them out of it into side control.

The next pass he taught us is the belt stack, where you reach under the guard with both hands and grab the belt, then lift them vertical to pass. I practiced this with Larry and he got his neck crinked when I lifted him. It was his own fault for not moving his head to the side, but I felt bad anyway. My 2nd biggest fear in these classes is that I’ll hurt my training partner. He powered through though. That guy’s got more dings than anybody, and he just ignores them and keeps training. I’m not sure I want to get where Larry is, but I can sure respect and admire his toughness.

Next we learned to turn a failed stack pass into a smash pass. Then we learned to toss the legs aside in a scramble pass.

We then learned the Americana from side control. My lats are super sore so just bringing my elbow down to my side made me tap a couple times. TJ practiced this with me, and he didn’t even have to start lifting my arm for me to have to tap. I felt it in my back! Mark did it to me and I felt it there, but it turns out it wasn’t that bad and I got to where the shoulder itself complained. I’m just a wimp and I can’t really tell if I’m being injured or just having my sore muscles stretched. Duh.

Finally we rolled. Started with TJ and he pretty much wrestlefucked me. I maintained guard for a while but he ended up mounted on me.

I sat out the second roll, then came back to roll with Chris. He’s pretty good, and maybe as heavy as me. He made me tap with a north-south collar choke that I still don’t understand. The next roll he managed to maintain guard, and after we were done he exclaimed that I’m really strong. Ha! I’m just heavy. But then again, my push ups are like bench pressing 180 lbs.!

After that I rolled with Ray. He started on top, I swept him and got the Americana. Then I started on top, passed, and got the Americana. Then I started on bottom again, tripped him during his pass attempt, mounted him, and got a mounted Americana. He was exhausted and he’s not that heavy, but he’s also new and doesn’t know lots of tricks. Anyway, it was a confidence building way for me to end the class. I know a few tricks. :)

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Krav Maga Class 31: shadow boxing, scissoring knee, focus mitts, gun from behind

After watching Saranya’s KMX ALL class, I stayed for Krav Maga. TJ taught, starting us out shadow boxing. I did okay but tired quickly.

Next we got a kick shield and did scissoring knees. I paired with Thor (Eric) and did kind of okay I guess.

Then we gloved up and got focus mitts and I paired up with Ray. He’s a southpaw, and I’m really awful at holding mitts for a southpaw. I mean, I’m bad at holding them for regular folk, and I’m special awful when I try to do it all backward.

On one of the first left hooks, I re-aggravated my left bicep. It was painful, but I didn’t quit. Stumbled through the combos and felt really awful the entire time.

Then we did knife and gun defense from behind. I did pretty good on those. We ended with a drill where we lined up and practiced the defense against all the others in the class, and they’d get to choose knife or gun that we’d have to defend. The difference is you don’t grab the sharp part of the knife, and you don’t put your hand in front of the gun barrel.

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805BJJ Class 7: guard passing

After KM30 I was sweaty, but jumped right in for the line up and warm up in BJJ. Warm up went fine.

The first drill was using a kick shield to get the high side control knee slide under the upper arm, then transition around to the other side and do it the other way. Exhausting. We worked on leg grips (on the gi, inside or outside the knees) and then using that to pass guard into side control. Then we worked on breaking the closed guard, and then transitioning into the pass to side control.

The big thing I got from the class was how big a weight advantage I have over Jenn. She’s tiny, and I was able to pass her guard a lot. I used last Saturday’s technique of cross grip and arm grip, pull, scoot, and take the back. She didn’t give up her back but I did get side control a lot. She was really frustrated even though I went easy and didn’t crush her with all my 229 lbs. We stayed after class to talk to Christian about it, and she didn’t realize that it wasn’t all just muscle, and I was doing real sweeps and BJJ techniques. Hope she doesn’t blame me for all her frustrations.

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Krav Maga Class 30: shadow boxing, punching, straight body shots, inside and outside defenses

First Krav Maga class in 3 weeks+! I came in early (10am) for TJ’s class. We started shadow boxing and mixed in exercises like push ups, sit ups, and squats. I was worried my calf might give me problems but it was fine throughout.

Next we put in our mouthpieces and took turns punching each other lightly in the face and the body, just to get used to the contact. Chad and I were fine.

Next we worked punches with partners and gloves. I paired up with Thomas, who’s an old blue belt. Single straight punches into a tombstone while our partner moved around.

Then we learned the straight body punch, lowering our body, putting our head slightly offline, and throwing the punch into the midsection. This was difficult but I think I did okay. My punching range is a lot closer than I’m used to maintaining in sparring, so that’s an issue. I kept finding myself out of range and having to reach or lunge or stretch into the strike. Burst? Nah, I don’t want my calf to blow out during the first class back!

After that it was inside defenses, then outside defenses, then a combination. I met new guy Jeff, who was throwing sneaky straight punches and I was really bad at blocking them. Plus he had short arms. Sometimes he wouldn’t even get the punch to my face when I froze and did nothing. Not the best training. My right inside defense (against a left punch) is the worst. I really need to work on that.

By the end of class I was sweaty and my left bicep hurt, but I was otherwise fine and ready to change and jump right into 805BJJ!

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805BJJ Class 6: Guard Transitions, Butterfly Guard, Over-Under, Body Lock, Greco Wrestling

Tuesday morning. Calves and ankles still sore from last Sunday’s hike. Driving my rental car while mine’s being repaired in the shop. Lost my sunglasses. Already starting out to be a weird day.

But BJJ! I got there early and started warming up and stretching in the small room while the Krav Maga ALL class was happening on the big mat. Felt good.

Start of class, Christian moved me up to the head of the line and I had to do the “Doske Re” ceremony. Warm ups again but these were easy. I’m way better at shrimping than any of the other guys who did the warm up (Josh and Brandon). Another thing that felt good!

Christian started us out to do the guard manipulation drill again, but Mark saw our “Algebra Eyes” and decided to break it down into simpler parts because we clearly didn’t understand all the positions. So instead we focused on butterfly guard, and more specifically on the over/under grip (or body lock) that the seated person should achieve.

So we all stood up and practiced body locks, over/under, and pummeling. Then we had a nice little greco wrestly tournament where the 2 smallest people would go into the black area of the mat and, starting with body locks, try to push the other person out of the black area. I first got eliminated by Eric (new blue belt) and then I eliminated Chad (other blue belt), and then Chad eliminated me. It was fun.

Then we did situational rolling where we started in a butterfly guard position. I was almost always able to get to side control, but it’s probably because I outweigh every other person in that class. Except maybe Eric, who was crafty and big and strong and didn’t let me do much besides defend.

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805BJJ Class 5: turtle tipping again, rear collar choke, roll, guard passing

This Thursday morning class was mostly a repeat of my first class, last Tuesday morning. We had a good warm up before Mark arrived, and then we got into the turtle riding position again. I first partnered with Leo to practice just the choke. I switched to partnering with Christian II, who was so new he didn’t have a gi yet and was wearing Mark’s gi top.

From the basic choke, we went to the turtle tipping. Starting with Leo. He kept tipping me and rolling me to the wrong side. I’m probably really heavy compared to these littler guys. They weigh like 150 lbs and I weight 230 lbs. That’s about half again what they weigh. Anyway, doesn’t matter with the collar choke. Wish I had shaved before.

Next I partnered with Josh, the little devil. His collar choke was insanely tight, and he was not reluctant to bruise the shit out of my neck in sinking it in tight. Very Krav Maga. Can’t say I didn’t appreciate it though. He shared his secrets with me, and I hope I got better by the end.

Finally I partnered with Chad. Found out he’s 45 years old, so I’m still the old man but not THAT much older than the rest of the guys. He’s a blue belt from another school and he’s trying to un-learn all the stuff he got from there until Mark and Christian teach it here.

At the end of class we did some free rolling. I started with Leo, and he’s crafty but my weight advantage kept him from doing a lot of what he wanted to do. He knew enough to know what he wanted to do though, and that’s more than could be said for me. I find that my size and weight advantage is actually a disadvantage when it comes to learning BJJ. I can get away with awful technique and I don’t have to learn from it. My goal is to still try to learn from it.

After the first roll, I was left without a partner so I went to watch Christian teach Christian how to pass the guard. It was the original closed guard break and pass that Jimmy taught us at UCLA so many years ago, but I had completely forgotten it. Hopefully it will come back quickly. I’m going to try it in my next few rolls.

Next week, Christian is going to bring me knee pads.

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805BJJ Class 4: Arm Bar, Americana, and Elbow Safety

Tuesday morning class; Christian was teaching just me and Chad.

I started with warm-ups. Chad had just done KM ALL class at 10am and took the warm-up time to change into his gi.

We started with the arm bar. I was better at it than I had been at UCLA because I wasn’t as scared to sit on the guy’s chest.

Then we did Americana from side control. My shoulders are super inflexible and I had to tap very early.

Our awareness drill was with our partner in side control or mount, the bottom person had to keep their elbows safe while the top person tried to separate them from the body and trap them.

After that, we expanded the awareness drill to allow the person on bottom to try to recover guard.

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805BJJ Class 3: closed guard, the wall, arm drag

Saturday noon class. I paired up with old man Mike.

We started with shrimping for a warm up, but that didn’t last long.

First we learned closed guard and building “the wall”. Crossed ankles, heels digging into spine. Use it to break down the base, break their posture and lean them forward onto you.

Next we learned to deflect them, grab their collar deep and pull their sleeve across their body to limit their available weapons.

From there we learned to scoot our butt to the dead side, push their far knee out from under them, and slide onto their back.

We also learned open guard with feet on hips or shoulders/biceps.

From there, we learned to drop our feet to butterfly hooks, sit up, grab the collar and sleeve, sit out, and arm drag them forward while we scoot around onto their back.

At the end, we did some situational rolling. My guard passing started to come back to me, as well as the realization and avoidance of some bad moves. I got into side control a couple times, and got back mount on Mike a couple times. No submissions though. We’ll work our way up to that. Just got to keep going to class. I’m only a week behind most of the earliest students.

Then when I left I forgot to bring my gi top. Doh!

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Saranya hits Kumon level G

Saranya tested out of Kumon level F (multiple operations on fractions and decimals)!

Now she starts on Kumon level G (Positive/negative numbers, exponents, Algebraic expressions, Single-Variable Equations with 1-4 steps).

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805BJJ Class 2: guard transitions and side control

My second class. Mark was late, so Christian started us out. Lots of abs in the warm ups. I wore socks (and my compression sock on the right calf) but mostly I forgot they were on.

We learned to transition from side control to half guard to open guard to closed guard to half guard on the other side. I kept getting confused on which way to turn in half guard and which underhook to take.

We did some rolling at the end, but I just did situational drills to practice the side control maintenance or guard recovery.

Later, at home, my lower back was achingly tired. I slept early.

EDIT: Next morning the back is much better. So, no injuries this time! Just a very sore core.

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