Injuries mount

I went hiking with my family and Rob and his kids on Sunday. Afterward, we ate at Sharky’s, and after that, my left big toe became too painful to walk on. I also noticed that my groin muscles were still sore from 9 days before, my left MCL (inner knee) was still very sore and getting worse. Then on Monday I could only limp around UCLA, but by the time I got home I had strained my soleus (calf) from all the limping, and my toe hurt worse than ever. Ouch!

That ruled out training on Tuesday. I rested, and I hurt.

Wednesday was more pain and limping, but minimizing the ambulation seemed to help.

Thursday morning was a work meeting during class time, so no training again, but the pain would have precluded that possibility anyway. The foot still hurts. If it isn’t better by Saturday morning, I’m going to schedule a doctor appointment come Monday morning.

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805BJJ Class 28: Mount, escape from mount

Mark’s Saturday class was essentially a review of mount and how to escape it back to guard. No submissions, just this. Mount isn’t just sitting on someone – it’s squeezing the knees together and making an A-frame above the opponent. Guard recovery when you’re mounted involves three hip bumps to get the knees to slide and collapse the A-frame before shrimping, wrapping a leg in a loose half guard, then turning the other way to secure the underhook, possibly coming to the elbow and getting back to the knees.

Then we rolled for a half hour before everybody got tired and Mark got a little disappointed in our conditioning.

I started rolling with Cosmo. He’s figured out to slam me back down when I try to sit-up sweep him, but I was able to overbalance him from half guard. That’ll be a theme for the day.

Next I rolled with Sean. He’s really slick, and we had a pretty flowy roll. I thought he was going easy on me until he tried to land that mounted triangle on me (I slipped out the back as soon as he moved to set it up, so I was proud of that) and then I thought maybe not. But neither of us were going nuts trying to submit the other. I managed to stay calm and focus on techniques, and everything was over too soon.

After that was Jen. She basically sat back and worked open guard. I was able to pass a couple times but she always recovered. I probably need to be heavier on her after I pass, but that somehow doesn’t seem very nice. Plus, Mark was coaching her through the whole thing. So I essentially worked to maintain good base as she tried to separate my arm from my body.

After that was TJ. He’s becoming a beast. Solid guard passing, heavy side control. I was able to reverse him from kesa-gatame once, which garnered applause from Mark. He ended up sweeping me and arm barring me once. Good stuff.

Next was an optional roll, which devolved into TJ showing me his triangle setup. Mark was a little dissatisfied by our lack of conditioning, but hey that was my 2nd hour of martial arts training for the day. I think I did great!

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Krav Maga Class 54: Thai pads, overhand punch, headbutts, long gun

TJ’s Saturday morning class. Warm up by Eric (“Thor”) which went 10 minutes and was pretty effective. Then TJ was done with his administrative duties or whatever and took up teaching the class.

We started with Thai pads, combos with kicks. I partnered with Eric, and he taught me a little bit. It’s nice partnering with a black belt. :)

Next was a little bit of overhand punch practice into the tombstone pads. I kind of hurt my hand a little bit, but not too bad. After that, we learned that the counter to an overhand right is an overhand left while tucking the chin into the left shoulder.

Then we learned and practiced headbutts. Front headbutts, either with a grab or without. A front headbutt without grabbing the target is really a brute power move, but if you grab the target and line it up (like driving their head back first to get a straight shot at their face) it felt like I wasn’t able to generate nearly as much force. Anyway, we did side headbutts (turn while tucking your chin and then headbutt with the forehead) and back headbutts (keep chin tucked and thrust hips forward as the head smacks backward) and upward headbutts (bent over, whip the head up into the chin).

At the end, we did long gun defenses. Two techniques moving to live side, and one while moving to dead side.

The first live side defense involves first a redirection, moving the barrel to the side with your palm while blading your shoulders. From this initial redirection, drop to a lower level so the barrel is above your shoulder, so you can burst in under the gun level, sliding your redirecting hand up to the back part of the gun while the other arm underhooks the gun. From here, put weight down on the gun while sending combatives, mainly headbutts and kicks to the groin. Your hands are occupied so you can’t really throw punches or elbows. From there, re-grip the barrel toward the end (for best leverage) and torque the weapon by pulling down on the butt end while attempting to drive the barrel overhand into the face of the gunman. This should let you get the gun away.

The second live side defense starts the same (redirection and blading) but then the other hand traces down the redirecting hand to control the barrel. Then the redirecting hand is free to move down the weapon and grip it toward the butt end and put weight on the gun. Combatives are then deployed to distract the gunman and loosen the grip, and then the take-away is very similar to the first technique.

The dead side approach involves moving toward the attacker’s back after redirecting the gun the opposite way (towards their live side). After the redirect, grip the weapon and land a punch to the face with the off hand. Use the resulting reaction and/or disorientation to grab the butt end with the punching hand. Headbutt to further loosen and distract, because there’s no soft target for the knees at this angle. Then “paddle” the gun out, pushing it down and out under the attacker’s elbow to break the grip, then bringing it up and out to take it away.

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Dream: Training with Robbie Lawler and Benson Henderson

I was in a gym, looking for light weight plates. I found a 15lb and a 25lb plate, a curl bar, and a single wooden collar. Good enough. I can’t remember what exercise I was doing. Shrugs? Anyway, next to me was Benson Henderson. He’s doing dips while his body is bent 90 degrees at the hips, toes pointing toward the ceiling, and 2 people hanging from his ankles. He’s really working hard and cranking out reps while his coach is encouraging him, and I’m lifting this curl bar while trying to keep the un-collared weight from slipping off the end.

After the workout, we went back to someone’s hotel room. Robbie Lawler wanted to go to Guitar Center and get a guitar so he could start learning to play. Benson Henderson confused my wallet with his cellphone, and when I stopped him and traded items, he apologized and explained with a rather vacant expression that he’d just had major dental work done that morning and he was kind of “out of it”.

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805BJJ Class 27: Torreando pass, standard pass, kesa-getame and arm locks

Warm up for Christian’s Thursday BJJ class was just guard passing drills. Torreando pass was grabbing the pants legs, pulling the feet to the mat, pulling them out, and scooting around them to the back side for the pass. We then went over the bread and butter pass with the leg staple, and I solidified a few details I was foggy on. The knee that comes up is the one by the hand that’s holding the belt or the pants fabric.

We went over kesa-gatame again, and the arm locks from there, with a hint at the arm triangle.

Then we rolled, each time starting in kesa-gatame. I paired up with Eric first. I started on top, but he sneaked out and took my back.

Next was TJ, who triangle choked me. Then Phil, who I dominated from top position the whole time. Then Daniel at the end. I just couldn’t pass his feet!

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Krav Maga Class 53: head movement, overhand right, covering, sparring

TJ’s Thursday morning class. I hurried out after searching vainly for my hand wraps, got gas at Costco (I was very low) and made it early enough to have an emergency bathroom trip. I came into class with a left MCL sprain from 2 weeks ago.

TJ opened the class with requests. I asked to be shown the overhand punch. Thomas wanted to see covering.

We started with shadow boxing, emphasizing head movement. Then we went to shoulder tag. Then back and forth, with calisthenics mixed in. Stretching, etc.

We started with the overhand punch. You throw it by dropping your weight and winging your fist over your head, thumb down toward the ground, into the target. Holding focus mitts for overhand punches is painful! We had a group of 3 people so it was crappy.

We went over covering and countering with the same hand. That was awkward. I didn’t get a chance to practice that, because of the 3 people.

At the end we did sparring. I got a bruise in the center of my forehead from Jeff. At least I didn’t bloody his nose this time.

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Krav Maga Class 52: shadow boxing, shoulder tag, bursting punches, jumping knees, gun from front, side, 3rd party

Saturday morning class with TJ. I went into the class feeling very sore and tired. Sarala had called the house and woke me up before 6am, and I’d been up pretty late. The only reason I went is because Saranya was going to her BJJ class, and I’d feel like a heel sitting out of class while everybody else trained.

So I went to class. Warm ups went fine. I did pretty well at shoulder tag with Alex. He’s really good at moving, but he consistently underestimated my range. We seemed pretty evenly matched, which is unusual. Maybe he was having an off day, or maybe I really am getting better.

I paired up with asian Mike for most of the partner work, which made for an easy class. He took a long time being confused and failing to execute the basic motions. He’s very uncoordinated. It’ll be cool to see him start to get it and build his skills. Anyway, we did focus mitts, bursting punches, and scissoring(jumping) knees. Mike was a noob, but he started getting it. I did okay.

At the end, we did gun defenses from the front (both regular and 2-hand cup methods) and from the left side in front of the arm. For these I paired with Scott. It went well. Then we mixed in with asian Mike to do 3rd party gun defense.

The stress drill was with a row of chairs like a movie theater or a bus aisle. A gunman walked down the aisle, intent on executing the person in the front. It was up to those in the seats behind to execute the gun defense. I was the first gunman, and then took the first seat and stayed there until the end, when TJ accidentally punched Jeff in the mouth and then pithily asked “You want another one?” Haha TJ, but poor Jeff. On Thursday I bloodied his nose, and now he gets popped in the mouth. He took it well though.

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805BJJ Class 26: running man sweep, rodeo mount, mat kissing choke

Jumped on the mat late after KM51. Got chastised to go take off my gi top for weight exercises. Mark said “Don’t be that little kid in the gym lifting weights with his gi on.” So we started with the same plate exercises we did before.

Then we learned the running man sweep. It starts from full guard. Get grips on both arms, double up on one, pull it across the body while transferring the near grip to the triceps seam. Then pull them down with your legs as you release the crossed sleeve grip and transfer that grip up to the collar, as far behind the neck as you can get. Once you’ve got them there, they’ll probably be trying to get up, so you just open your guard and hip WAY out, getting sideways with one leg on the mat next to their leg, and the other leg up and across their body. Pull them forward by moving your head to the 12-o’clock position, and that lets you scissor them over with your legs pretty easily. Well, not really easily. I kept twisting my knee doing this. Ouch. Anyway, you end up on top in “rodeo mount” as you maintain that collar grip.

Mark then refined the way we hold mount. You don’t sit on the hips – you make an A-frame with your legs and squeeze their sides with your knees. Also, don’t come up on your toes – keep your insteps flat on the mat. It makes the position much more stable. We tried it a few times and that made us believers.

Finally we went on to learn a submission from rodeo mount. Reach your free hand across to the collar, and then dive your face over that side to press your collar-grip wrist into their neck. Mark showed it on me, and the weight of his arm on my cheek was almost enough to make me tap.

We practiced that a little, and then we rolled. I started with Brandon (Saranya’s KMX teacher) and he was brutal. He tapped me twice – once from crushing my head off from INSIDE MY GUARD! Next time I got him in kesa-gatame and he trapped my head between his legs and squeezed until my eye bled. Now I’ve got crazy eye bruises.

After that was Cosmo. I swept him a couple times with a hip sweep. I shot for a triangle once and he stacked and cracked me. I need to secure guys better if I’m going for triangles. Ray was stacking me pretty easily too a few weeks back. Anyway, I ended up on top and he was gassed. I just kept crushing him under side control. I might still have some hidden resentment for all the times he cranked my neck.

After that I rolled with TJ. He got me in some deep waters. Much improved.

Finally I rolled with Christian, who noticed that my fighting for underhooks had improved. I was also focused on keeping my elbows tight to my body.

When class was over, I was beat up and moving very slowly, but nothing major seems broken.

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Krav Maga class 51: shadow boxing, shoulder tag, focus mitt combos with bursts, stick defense

TJ’s Thursday morning class. I got there late and had to finish wrapping my hands during shadow boxing. I was upset because Sangeeta yelled at me for her not being able to remember the word “garage” and that somehow became my fault, and my dad’s fault. She was stressed and she was starting to blame me for her emotional state, so I tried to not take it personal. But it still messed with me and it was making me teeter between anger and depression.

Long arms served me well in shoulder tag. Dinged my right thumb and it didn’t hurt, so that’s a HUGE milestone.

Then we put on gloves and focus mitts and started throwing down combos. I’m getting better at holding mitts. I held for new guy and green belt David. He liked to throw a cross on the 4, so I held for that. I hurt my biceps throwing hooks again, but dinging my right thumb didn’t re-aggravate it, so I think I might be past that injury (finally!) We did lots of lunging punches.

After that, we geared up and sparred. One minute rounds with immediate partner changes. I started with Jeff. He was tagging me a few times, but he didn’t have his glasses on so I also was able to tag him a bunch. I really need to work on my head movement. Anyway, next I paired up with Thomas. We went really lightly. Then David. He’s short so I used my reach a bunch, but I was getting tired. Then Jeff again. I caught him with an upper cut coming in, and his nose started bleeding. I told him it was the first upper cut I’d ever landed in sparring. Finally, Thomas again. I caught him with a body shot that he said he really felt. It wasn’t that hard, but I guess it was a clean shot, and I didn’t expect it to land clean. That’s the thing about Thomas – he leaves the body open.

So I learned through repeated experience that I need to move my head around more and avoid getting hit in it.

At the end of class we learned stick defense. Make a ramp defense and a simultaneous bursting punch, control the stick arm, combatives, and take away the stick.

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