Morning Foot Pain

What is happening to my feet? When I wake up, they’re very painful. It feels like the big toe joint. I had to sit out from training today.

When I had plantar fascitis, the pain was more in the ball of the foot and the arch. This feels a little different, and it’s probably sprains in the tendons from bending my big toes too far backwards in BJJ.

I talked with Christian briefly about the no-gi seminar, and he said it’s been delayed. That gives me more time to recover from overuse of my feet, and build strength and endurance everywhere else, before I put Krav Maga on hold and focus on the no-gi BJJ after the seminar.

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805BJJ Class 41: Triangles and their defenses, 60 minutes of rolling (side control bottom focus)

After coach Greggo warmed us up with some light jogging and a shrimping drill, we quickly got into the technique of the day – triangle defenses. The first step of teaching triangle defenses is to teach the triangle technique itself, so people know how to do it while others defend it. This was probably the second time I’ve seen a class lesson on triangles (the first one being no-gi intermediate class at UCLA) so it was good stuff. I was in a group of 3 with Victor and Dave until Emily came after Krav Maga finished and paired with me. Keys for the triangle are 1) foot on the arm-in hip to keep them low, 2) lift the hips to put the leg over as you punch their other arm under, 3) grab the head to keep their upper body down, 4) grab your own shin to cinch the calf across the back of their neck, 5) use your hip foot to push your angle perpendicular to your opponent, so you can get your calf directly across the back of the neck, 6) keep your overhooked foot pulled back, 7) use the overhooked leg as the choking surface, along with their trapped arm crossing in front of their neck. We also learned that if you can’t get your leg over all the way, you can still choke them by scissoring your legs and pull their head into your crotch. It still works!

For the triangle defenses, the first one was to reach your outside arm around their head as you stack their knees over their head. This makes them open their legs and you can smash pass to side control. It’s quite powerful. Emily was impressed with my control when I pulled off the move without crushing her ribs into her spine.

The second triangle defense was to sit back and pull their hips up onto your leg. Look up (pull your head back) to put pressure on their ankles, and push their bicep with your other foot to get more leverage. Then dump them over and scramble for a good position.

Rolling started very early. I went with Diego first, and he demanded to know what my injuries were before we started with me in his guard. He ended up sweeping me and mounting me and crushing me, and that was it.

I rolled with Victor, starting in bottom side control. I rolled him over twice. I caught him in an arm bar twice. It was not too hard, and I felt sorry for him.

I rolled with Dave, and he tapped me with a baseball bat choke from the bottom. Nice!

I rolled with Brandon and he taught me the bow and arrow choke. Then he guillotined me across the ears and jaw, and I didn’t tap for a long time until I started snorting and realized he wasn’t going to let go. I got the feeling he was not too friendly toward me. Oh well. I still like him.

I rolled with Victor again, and was able to sweep him off me from mount. I was leading him through a guard sweep, and he was going for some chokes and giving up his base. I taught him the A-frame basis of mount, and to maintain his base with his arms once he starts to put in a collar choke. I felt better showing him stuff than I did from dominating him.

I rolled with Jen and her new blue belt. She has a rib injury and a knee injury, so I told her I wanted to work on side control bottom. She taught me some of the finer details on shrimping to guard retention.

I rolled with Aaron and again worked on side control bottom. He kept sticking me in north-south. I was able to push him over my head, but I was not able to sweep my legs around and escape because he was very good at scrambling back to side control. I did roll him over once, and then let him get back into my side control.

I rolled with Chris and his not-as-new blue belt, and he further refined my side control escaping technique. Then we rolled regular and he quickly took my back and tapped me. After that I was able to almost pass his open guard before the round ended, and he told me that soon we’d all be blue belts.

Good camaraderie after the class. Greggo told the class that he was impressed with our toughness. Jen said our gym has a reputation as a takedown gym. I did a full hour of rolling (though a lot of it was doing bottom side control drills) and I didn’t get injured. I’m so thrilled! I even forgot my elbow was tweaked!

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805BJJ Class 40: guard pathways, top pathways, turtle to guard recovery (turning in place), back defense and escape

Christian’s Tuesday morning BJJ class started immediately after KM93, while I was still changing into my gi. Greggo’s girlfriend (I guess?) was there and commented on my taking two classes in a row, and how that’s impressive. I said we’d see how well I survived. She said it’s all in the head, right? I replied that it’s usually all in my joints. :P

Anyway, Diego and I finally got changed and on the mat (Emily was already changed and participating) and we started in on the guard pathways. I forgot my knee pads, in my hurry, and I felt their absence. No big deal from the bottom, but then we went to the top circuit and I got paired with Brandon the larger. I put on the right knee pad and I was mostly okay.

Christian tried to show us how to roll in place to go from turtle to recovering guard. Greggo augmented the discussion by illustrating the hip-knee-elbow-shoulder triangle that you should maintain. I tried it with big Brandon and it kind of went okay.

After that we did hand fighting to defend our neck and collar from someone on our back. Diego put me on the rack and stretched my spine during a hand fighting drill. I feel angry about that injustice, but I’m not in a position to get one back on him, and since I got the better of him in our roll last week, maybe I should just think of it as even.

Finally we focused on escaping from being back mounted. Arch to the bottom arm side, get the shoulders to the mat, block the leg from mount, and recover a guard. Brandon crushed my sore arm and mounted me, and I was done.

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Krav Maga Class 93: circuit, bursting strikes, front/round kicks, standing side control, stick defense

Christian’s Tuesday morning class started late because he was on the phone taking care of business stuff. I came in with a tweaked left elbow and delicate feet. Our warmup was a circuit of tombstone straight punches, ladder footwork drills, and calisthenics. The ladder drills had me contemplating a tapout, but not seriously.

We moved on to bursting punches, then bursting elbows. I found two things – 1) throwing the left elbow works great with a stance switch, and 2) holding for a left elbow really hurt my left elbow. Christian suggested doubling up the focus mitts to support it so it wouldn’t have to take the whole force by itself.

Then we did a kicking drill, where we were throwing front kicks with the ball of the foot (teeps), and then we expanded that drill to follow the front kick with a round kick from the same leg. A focus of the drill was the recoil of the kicks.

Next we did knees to the kick shield across the mat. Then we went into one on one side control security. Diego has some wrestling experience so he was almost getting me, but Christian didn’t want him doing a drop step so he never went all in on my legs. I was able to control Yas very easily by grabbing the hood of his hoodie and continually driving forward on him.

After that, we took it into the alley with some sticks. I got to demonstrate the baseball bat swing on Christian, and he demonstrated the defense on me. Then we did it on each other. I was surprised that I was able to remember and execute it so well. I tend to skip the elbow strike after the initial defense, instead going into stretching out their weapon arm and delivering knees to the face when they bend over. Yas was impressed with my fluency anyway, and I found myself coaching my two noob partners.

I then did a quick change for 805BJJ40.

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Presidents Day and Saranya’s training

I went to SVKM this afternoon to watch Saranya’s BJJ and KMX training.

First was the BJJ class at 4pm. TJ was doing police officer stuff (Jack asked “Like what? Sitting at a desk and eating donuts?”) so Christian taught the class. They learned snap down to single leg takedown. They did lots of little drills and ended with sumo competitions and takedown competitions. At the end, Saranya got promoted to a 4th stripe. Next time, she’s going to get a yellow belt! That’s a belt I’ll never get in BJJ, because it’s reserved for intermediate pre-teens.

After that was a quick change and a jump to the big mat for KMX. Brandon lead the class, and they started with some shadow boxing. It looked to me like Saranya was looking at the ground, though she says she was pretending to look at her opponent’s chest. She must be used to fighting much shorter opponents. They did practice of choke defenses and bear hug defenses, and I noticed her throwing some blind elbows behind her. Best to look before you strike, huh?

Then then moved to the back room and practiced front and back rolls. Saranya needs help here. Her forward rolls were somersaults, and her back rolls looked like tipping over sideways. I’ll have to sit down with her sometime and teach her the right way to do those without getting herself hurt. Anyway, they then practiced rolling into ground fighting position and quickly turning to face the way they came, as though addressing a threat that had sent them to the ground in the first place.

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Krav Maga Class 92: getting hit on the head lessons, footwork and head movement combo practice, boxing sparring

Christian’s Saturday class almost started with me the only student, but Ronnie showed up at the last minute, and Diego continued from the Strikefit class prior. We got right into it by pairing up and punching a tombstone pad. Diego hits HARD! We also did legs-up toe touches (upper ab work) and front kicks (Diego is much softer at these) and lizard push ups and hammer strikes and lateral shoulder-hip mobility.

Then we broke for water, got our boxing gloves ready and put our mouth guards in. The first exercise was getting punched in the face. This is one I’ve done a few times. Christian used me as the example dummy. Then I paired up with Ronnie and he punched me in the face. He was better than Andrew because he didn’t put his knuckles into my eyeballs. Ronnie took my light punches with stoic resolve.

We then gloved up and did punch combinations for a few minutes, using our boxing gloves as focus mitts. I found out the hard way that my left elbow is still messed up, because every hook punch I caught with it caused me some real pain. I worked with it and it didn’t really get worse. We then added some evasions at the end. After a 1 or 3 we’d slip a straight punch from the pad holder, and after a 2 or 4 combination we’d bob and weave around a followup hook. Ronnie and I got after it, and we did a good job once we got into the swing of it. I even was able to take angles after some of the evasions.

At the end, we put on headgear and we boxing sparred. 90 second rounds. First against Ronnie, I found myself with a couple bad habits. First, I was flinching and trying to throw punches in while keeping my head averted and out of range. Dumb! Against Diego, Coach Mark told me to use my footwork to circle out instead of just leaning away. Last round with Christian, I put it together, but I wasn’t able to keep my chin down and see him at the same time. I’m resolved to adjust my headgear to ride a little higher on my head from now on, so I can tuck my chin and still see. Christian said I did pretty well at everything else. Pretty good head movement and footwork. Still tons of room for improvement.

After class, I was sweaty and beat. Saranya told me that she got 3 stripes on her BJJ white belt, so now she’s way ahead of me!

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805BJJ Class 39: warm up, Dan Gable speech, arm bar defense, back choke defense, rolling

I wasn’t sure my toe was going to hold up in BJJ class, but my calves were sore from babying the feet for the last 2 days so I knew Krav Maga was a bad idea. Also, Sangeeta needed me to deliver her jacket to EARTHS, which I did during Krav Maga time. Then I drove over to class.

This Thursday’s class was Mark’s, while Christian taught Krav Maga in the back alley until 11:10am. We started running and shuffling around the mat. Then coach Mark had us pair up and do piggyback rides for one another. He let me off the hook though because I’ve got physical problems I’m coping with. I’m brittle. Then he had people do Fireman’s carry, and I was grateful that I didn’t have to carry Brandon.

After that, we lined up and bowed in, and were treated to an epic story about the life and times of Dan Gable. The message was to be disciplined like Dan Gable in some aspect of your life. Eventually the Krav Maga class finished and we got together for a picture. Then we started learning techniques.

The first techniques were arm bar defenses from your back. Prevent the fulcrum by twisting your body and putting your upper arm/elbow on the mat.
The next technique was to break the arm bar grip of the defender by locking your lower hand around the trapped arm, grabbing your lapel. Then reach under the clasped hands and go wrist to wrist with your top hand to raise their hands above their shoulder level so you can break their grip.
The next technique was to defend by pushing the attacker’s leg off your head and twisting to put your elbow on the mat like the first technique.

Then we reviewed the previous night’s techniques, which were taking out the bottom hook and gripping the choking hand while working to get your shoulders to the mat. You can take out the hook by grabbing the foot or by slapping it down as you arch your hips.

Then there was the rolling. I rolled with Dave, and I think we were pretty evenly matched. he moves really well, but my weight advantage makes up for it.

I rolled with Brandon next, and was able to get him into my closed guard a couple times. But he put his weight on me and crushed me, and I never did manage to get out from under him without tapping to an Americana. One day I will get out, though!

I rolled with TJ, who had messed up his little toe so bad that he kept tapping himself out just by sitting on it. He rolled light with me, and tapped me out with an arm bar, but I was able to scramble and survive and escape a lot.

Last roll was with Cosmo, who had suffered a neck injury while fireman’s carrying Brandon. He was able to pass my guard and get me with an Americana, but I was so tired I couldn’t even move. Let’s see what turns up broken tomorrow.

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805BJJ Class 38: standing grip fighting and takedowns, Tomoe-nage, turtle maneuvers

After KM91, I changed and jumped into a standing grip drill. We did a couple of takedown drills after that, and then did a little takedown sparring which I sucked at. I’m sure I’ll eventually learn some more takedowns, and I’ll also learn to fight some grips. I showed Matt how to do Osoto-gari just from what I learned from watching Saranya’s BJJ class a couple weeks ago. Brandon taught me the big-guy cross-collar pull down. Nice!

After that, we learned Tomoe-nage. This is a judo throw where you’ve got standard grips with your opponent and he’s pushing you hard. You sit forward while extending one leg into his midsection, and he goes right over you. You pull his head down and do a back roll, and you should either end up in mount or knee-on-belly. Christian commented on my execution, saying that I must have done it before. Nope! This was my first time ever, and I was super nervous, but it went okay and neither Matt nor I were injured in our practice.

Then we went into some maneuvers you can use if you find yourself in turtle position. First, you can take the back by getting your head out and pressing it to their armpit while you step forward with the same side leg, then scoot the other leg all the way through, rotating once your clear, to get control of their back. I found this move very comfortable. Second, you can transition into a double leg or single leg takedown to side control by again putting your head into their armpit, stepping the same leg up, but then sitting in just next to your posted foot, reaching through to the leg, and then driving off the posted foot and through the connected head to secure the takedown and move into side control. Finally, we learned how to twist under and recover guard. This time, you again put the head out the side and press it to the armpit, but this time you post on the same-side foot, shooting your other leg beneath and between the opponent’s legs, and then recover half guard or butterfly guard.

I had to leave after that, so I didn’t get the last drill that combined all these maneuvers. I felt pretty good right after class, but at home my back started aching and I couldn’t sit up anymore. I eventually took a nap, and when I woke up, my left big toe was painful when walking. Exploring its sensitivity, I found that it would not bend backward at all! It was extremely painful.

Followup: I felt it giving me problems when I’d put weight on it at my desk, or when I’d roll over during the night. By morning it was quite a bit better, but now I’m scared to walk too much for fear of aggravating it more. It’s always something, isn’t it? I hate being so fragile!

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Krav Maga Class 91: outside focus mitts, thai pads, and choke defenses

TJ’s Tuesday morning class started inside for warm ups. We did laps, shadow boxing, and medicine ball circuits before we took our gloves and focus mitts and thai pads outside.

We started with focus mitt combos on uneven terrain (3 minute rounds) and then we did thai pads with kicks and knees (4 minute rounds) and we ended the class with pluck choke defenses.

It was a comfortable class. I didn’t learn anything, but got to work on my form and conditioning.

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Krav Maga Class 90: shadow boxing circuit, strikes to face and body, focus mitts, awareness drill, hop-twist exercise, front headlock defense, RNC defense

Christian’s Thursday morning class had 3 girls in it. Woo!

We started with footwork squares around a kick shield, shadowboxing. Then we mounted the pads and did ground strikes. Up and footwork again, this time squares and circles and more strikes. Then we took the pad in our guard and struck it. Then back up and higher intensity footwork and strikes shadowboxing, which I was not so great at. Then mounted strikes, then guard strikes, then we were done.

Mouthpieces in, and then we paired up and took turns punching each other in the face. I had to remind Jeff not to hit me in the eyeball. 2nd round was exchanging 5-for-5 body blows. Jeff’s abs are hard as a rock!

After that, we put on focus mitts and did simple combinations. Then we paired up in groups of 3 and did an awareness drill where we had to throw strikes while watching the person behind the pad holder hold up fingers or tap their foot. I did not get it, but Jeff did great. At the end of the drill, we did the exercise where one partner holds the leg of the other partner on his thigh while the hopping partner twists and hops, turning the hips over. My calf almost died. I took 2 breaks on the first set.

With that done, we moved on to the self defense techniques, which started with rear naked choke defense. The first thing we did is lock the choke in on one another and see how long we could last before we tapped. My group included Yas and Josh, and none of us lasted a second. Then we learned that to defend that, you really need to prevent it from being locked in. Turn your head toward the direction of the fingers, and tuck your chin to your raised shoulder at the same time as you pluck at the thumb/hand and wrist. A little shoulder bump should make you some space, then you can turn under and get out while possibly still holding an arm lock.

To compliment that, we then went over defense against front headlock. Pluck with opposite hand while the close hand SMACKs the groin. I always forget the SMACK part. Then you get the returning up-elbow (elbow #5, for those who are counting,) step through under the arm and turn to strike. We moved into the back room, and the BJJ players left to start changing into their gi’s. We did an A/B drill where we applied the two attacks on each other and did the defenses. As I mentioned, I kept forgetting the groin strike. There was a funny moment when Yas was trying to wrap his arm around my head while I was spinning, and I kept just turning out of it and he couldn’t get the grip. LOL!

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