805BJJ Class 46: rolling with kids

Coach Mark was recovering from a cold (just like me!) and didn’t participate much in the class. He got us started running around the mat and then turned the warmup over to TJ. We did basic stretching and then we just rolled.

I noticed there were a bunch of kids in the class. Skyler and Aiden, Desi, Joshua and some other guy I didn’t recognize.

My first roll was with Tom, the new blue belt. He went real easy on me and I was able to get good positions on him.

Next I rolled with coach Greggo, whose open guard I was unable to pass. He was able to wreck me consistently.

Next I rolled with Dave, who worked me hard.

After that, I had to take a round off.

I rolled with Matt and showed him a couple of side control bottom techniques to try.

I took another round off.

I rolled with Cosmo, who kneed me on the top of the head and submitted me twice.

I rolled with Andrew, and we had a good, even, competitive roll. I twisted my ankle a little but didn’t stop.

I found I was getting to turtle instead of having my guard passed, which is a huge improvement over previous rolls. Now I need to learn a bunch more stuff to do from turtle, because the stuff I knew how to do was super ineffective when I was planted to the ground with the top guy’s weight.

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Last Wednesday I started feeling sick. I went home a little bit early. Thursday it got worse, but still not bad, but it was still worsening, so I took Friday off and stayed home. Good thing I did! Friday night was horrible, and when I woke up Saturday morning I felt like I was dying by choking on thick phlegm. It took me quite a lot of effort to feel like I had coughed it all up. I took Saranya to BJJ, where she was awarded her BJJ yellow belt. I went home and suffered, trying to distract myself from the awful congestion.

Saturday night was worse. I slept for an hour and woke up choking. I decided I was done trying to sleep at night. I stayed up and played Minecraft, Empire, watched Youtube videos, watched a movie. I was cold but I didn’t want to wake Sangeeta up by running the heater so I just wrapped myself in my bathrobe. I did get a couple hours sleep in the morning, but Sunday was another awfulness. Sunday night I got another hour of sleep.

Monday, again, no work. I slept 3 hours in the morning. Starting to feel some improvement in the congestion! Stayed up until about 8pm, when I finally crashed out. Woke up at midnight, still congested but not dying. Went back to sleep at almost 4am and slept until almost 8am, so that makes two stretches of 4 hours each.

So Tuesday morning dawns and I’m feeling slightly congested but rested and optimistic. The scale says I gained about 5 pounds during the cold, and I’m not sure what that’s about. Probably all the salt from soup and pretzels.

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805BJJ Class 45: shrimping, shoulder rolls, body lock takedowns, 1 round of sparring, bailout

Coach Mark was back and teaching this one. I got on late because KM97 went long (thanks Christian). I changed quickly in the back room, doing a pants swap very fast while Em was changing in the bathroom. The black rash guard was very hard to don over so much sweat. Finally I jumped on the mat in time for some torso twists, then shrimps, then shoulder rolls.

Coach Mark then taught us the body lock takedown. Don’t do a body lock with both underhooks, because you’re going for a ride if your opponent knows how to suplex. Trap at least one elbow to their body, get an S-grip in their lower back and snug them up, then you can just turn them and they’re going down. We did it standing on the crash pad too, only there you slip your opposite leg between theirs and use it to remove their base on the side away from where they’re going down (because then they have to shift their balance the way you want them to go down, in order to not go down the other way sooner) and twist them down, securing side control at the bottom. Then we went back to doing it on the knees, only basing out our opposite leg for extra leverage.

We learned that if they resist too hard going down the way we start taking them initially, we can take them down the other way easily because they’re already helping us. When we were drilling this, I gave Chad a half-assed resistance by posting my foot out, but he kept taking me down the same way, and I rolled my ankle and bent my toe back as I fell. Noooo!

After that we rolled. I paired up with smooth headed Matt and we started. I was wiped out but he was fresh, and he used the body lock takedown on me. I rolled him over from side control after I felt my ribs complaining from Krav and from all the falls I’d already taken in the class. He got out and we scrambled to our knees, where he got me AGAIN with the body lock takedown. I realized I was scared to push off my sore ankle or to fall on it or mess it up, so I was just going down. Side control bottom again. Rolled him over me again. Scramble again, this time to his guard. Stood up, hands in his armpits, and he pulled them out by the sleeves just as the round ended.

I left the mat, took off my gi, dressed for the street, and went home dejected.

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Krav Maga Class 97: started hot, full contact, gun defenses

I got in early, and Christian gave me fair warning that we were going to start hot. Great. I knew right away I was in trouble, but whatever. I talked with Dave about how did he knock out Matt

We started with basic front kick + 1-2 combos across the mat. No big deal. Then we did over-under drill, where one did push up position while the other went under, then plank while the other jumped over. We had a group of 3 so we rotated, but we made Dave do most of the drill because we didn’t switch. To be fair, Christian was unclear. First failure of the day.

Then it was front kicks and 1-2 combos across the mat.

Then it was sit ups with legs interlocked, then while squeezing the legs inward (outward for the other partner) we did 20 seconds hold, 20 seconds sit ups, and 20 seconds Russian twists. My performance proved that I was not capable of doing as instructed. Second failure of the day.

Then it was 2x elbows and 2x knees across the mat. Dave said my knees were murderous, but they didn’t really move him back. That dude is so solid.

After that, we did our stretching, and then the leapfrog drill. Dave squatted and I leapfrogged over, then he stood with legs apart and I crawled back through. For a minute, then we switched.

Drink water, mouthguards in, and level 1 chokes with ACTUAL CONTACT on the combatives! We were supposed to be controlled but use good form and pick actual targets. Dave and I got through without hurting each other.

Then we did a round robin where everybody was hitting one person and periodically someone would lay on a choke and the middle person would have to do the defense and combatives. I took a really solid elbow in the head from someone I can’t remember (Jeff or Dave) but everything else went okay.

Finally we got to gun defenses. Gun from the front. Gun to the left side of the head. Same defense. Gun from the back. Gun from the left behind the the elbow. Same defense. Really two defenses for 4 threats. We practiced them with increasing resistance. Jeff and I were cracking each other up with our resistance. I was making “woop” sound effects as I tried to pull the gun out of his reach. He called me the worst mugger ever. Touche.

The class finished with a drill where half of us had guns and half didn’t, and the ones with guns had to threaten the ones without guns, and the threatened folks had to do gun defenses. Then we were restricted to half of the mat, then a quarter of the mat, then a wide elevator sized patch of mat. I did not have any real problems, but others seemed to.

Class finished 7 minutes late, and I quickly went to change into my gi for 805BJJ45.

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805BJJ Class 44: flow grappling, takedowns, rolling

After KM96 I changed in the small room and jumped on the mat just after Greggo explained what flow rolling is and they all partnered up and got started, so I got to partner with Greggo! I felt like I was letting him down by not recognizing the opportunities he was leaving open for me, but we wobbled around a bit and he taught me an open guard sweep of a standing opponent. Cool!

Then we switched partners, and everybody switched around, leaving me and Greggo without a partner, so we flowed again. I almost got him with the sweep he taught me! I’ll just say that I went easy on him because he’s doing a tournament on Saturday. Right?

After that, we learned to move our opponent around with grips on lapel and sleeve. Greggo taught me to really lift that sleeve gripped arm when steering wheeling someone.

Our next drill was just taking grips. I felt a little more confident this time than I did last time. Still not good, but I did okay.

We then used standard grips to do a snap down to blast double leg takedown. We practiced just the entry for a bit, and then we tried it on the crash pad, first just getting them down, and then moving on to side control.

That done, we did some take down sparring. I partnered with Matt, Yas, Josh, Jen, and TJ. Yas is a sparring dummy. Matt’s back was tweaked. Josh did a fun flying back take and I dropped him (slowly). Jen practiced her hip toss on me, even though there’s no way she’s ever going to hip toss me with my long legs. Other people tried to hip toss me, but I was able to move my center of gravity back just far enough that they couldn’t lift me.

After that was over, we did rolls from side control. I rolled with Matt, and he tapped me from squeezing my jaw. Hope that doesn’t bother me later. I tried to tap early, but maybe not early enough. He’s really good at getting his legs in, and he uses his arms to push you toward his legs.

Yas is a grappling dummy. I taught him how to make his side control heavy and to control the head with his shoulder.

Andrew was a fun roll. We were pretty evenly matched, though I was able to get into dominant positions with him. I was really careful with his arm because he was severely injured and out for months with a tendon tear.

Last roll was with TJ, who swept me beautifully, and arm barred me before teaching me a good Americana setup. Also fun. :)

Overall I was quite happy with my performance. I’m still terrible, but I was able to put to use some of the stuff that Rick taught me on Saturday. That gave me a lot of confidence, though I did find myself having difficulty finishing passes, especially with Matt. I’ll figure him out though. Eventually…

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Krav Maga Class 96: shadow boxing, pluck choke defenses, focus mitts with elbows, gun from behind, knife from behind

TJ taught this Tuesday morning class. I felt surprisingly good after my double class on Saturday, so I came prepared for a repeat performance!

We started by running around, then shadow boxing, doing some push ups and sit ups. We paired up and practiced our level 1 pluck chokes. I teamed up with Mustache Matt and helped tune up his stuff. Then we stretched, got water, gloved up, and did focus mitt combinations.

In the middle of the focus mitt combinations, TJ told a story about an unsavory character who came in to the gym looking for training for his girlfriend’s kid. TJ recognized the guy from his work.

After the focus mitts, we did some light boxing sparring. I had good head movement. My footwork was shaky, and I kept noticing it and trying to fix it, only to notice it again a few minutes later. Work in progress. My hands were okay. I was able to see some things coming, but some punches caught me blind. Both kinds still sometimes landed, and sometimes I was just a little off in anticipating the next punch to counter. It’s just right there on the edge of my awareness! So it might come along.

Then Dave knocked Matt out with a punch flush to the temple. Holy shit! I had just sparred with Dave before, and he crossed my eyes with a jab to my forehead, so maybe my head movement frustrated him and he was looking for a better result? Maybe he just doesn’t know his own strength? I don’t know, but Matt dropped hard.

Once we’d done 3 rounds of sparring, we moved on to gun defense from behind, like we did last week. Easy stuff now. Then I had to demo it with TJ, but on the 3rd time, the gun was a knife! He set me up! So we learned the difference between gun defense and knife defense (hint: it’s in the take-away part). We learned two grips (handcuff and hand meat) that you can use to extract the knife. We learned to keep a fighting stance and locked out arms to help us with leverage in a pushing and pulling contest, if such should develop. I kept forgetting to do that last part, dammit! At the end, we did a drill where our partner would come at us with one weapon or the other, either side of the back, and we’d have to do the defense and take-away. Good class!

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805BJJ Class 43: scissor sweep, push sweep, arm bar from mount, rolling

Coach Greggo taught this Saturday morning class. I came in after KM95 and a C2O coconut water. Sangeeta picked up Saranya and took her home after her class, so I was able to change and keep training. Oh and catch my breath too. I got onto the mat just as Greggo started to teach the scissor sweep.

I partnered with Cosmo to practice the scissor sweep. I kept forgetting to grab the sleeve, and my sleeve grips were very rudimentary, but I was able to do the sweep pretty well.

Next we learned the push sweep, which is like the scissor sweep but it’s more useful when the opponent maintains a more solid base. You use your lower scissoring foot to push the knee back and out from under the top person as you pull his weight forward to allow the angle of the knee to facilitate the push. If it’s too far forward, the angle of the upper leg will just make the knee push jam the knee into the mat, so you have to pull the weight forward to straighten the leg a bit.

If you keep the grips on collar and sleeve, then when you come up into S-mount you can immediately go for the arm bar, or any of the chokes we learned last week.

We started rolling after a speed drill of that that got me tired. Luckily, I rolled with Carlos first. He’s a teen yellow belt, and he’s very skinny. I was able to use my weight on him to keep him from destroying me, but he was able to retain guard pretty consistently.

I rolled with Ray next. He got a triangle set up on me, but I was able to stack him and slip right out of it into side control. He stopped the roll and asked me to show him that move, so I did. It was a competitive roll even though he ended up mounting me.

Next I rolled with Jen, and she did some open guard magic on me. I was able to keep her down and stuffed, but she controlled my arm and was able to shut me down at the same time.

Next I rolled with Shabbar, and he used the very last of my reserves of energy, submitting me 4x and leaving me gasping on the mat.

I sat out the next round, but the “last round” Rick came over and said “Let’s go 25% and I’ll show you stuff.” Okay! He showed me how to do a standing guard break with hands in the arm pits. Stand up, switch both hands to one knee, push it down, and pin it with your knee. At the same time, get your underhook on the other side, and get head control. Then you can finish the pass by moving the legs into side control position. He also told me how to transition to knee on belly from side control. Then he showed me a way to take down a kneeling opponent (grab the front foot and push their shoulder).

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Krav Maga Class 95: shadow boxing, shoulder tag, focus mitt combos and tombstone kicks, front and back bear hugs (arms trapped)

Brandon took on this Saturday morning class, and it was a sizeable one. 9 participants including myself, so we were an odd bunch. Susan, Brian, Ray, Me, Jeff, Ronnie, Victor, Ul, and Dave. We started the warm up with a circuit of shadow boxing, jumping jacks, push ups and sit ups. Then we did shoulder tag for a bit before stretching.

We did very basic focus mitt combos, and I ended up teaching Ul how to hold mitts. It took me ages to get decent at it, so I was very patient with his crazy first attempts (holding the mitts very wide or low, for example). Dave was in our group too, since there were an odd number of students. The drill was not a very good one for me. I don’t feel I sharpened my skills at all.

After that, we put away the pads and mitts and gloves. Time for the self defense part: bear hugs! First we did from behind, with arms trapped. I paired up with Victor on this one, and he WOULD NOT LET GO! I had to work really hard, and it spiked my adrenaline when I realized I was not getting out of this one easily. It was a GREAT lesson for me. I even stomped his foot for real once or twice but it didn’t work. The only thing that loosened his grip was when I started throwing real elbows to his chest. After that, I was able to get out without such a serious struggle, but the adrenaline effects continued. I had a really hard time catching my breath!

Next we did bear hug from the front, arms trapped. The sprawl and hands to the hips make this one so much easier. I had no problems.

We finished the class with a drill where half the class stood on a line with their eyes closed, and the other half applied either a bear hug from the front or from the back. I started in the group that was delivering the bear hugs, and it was pretty easy. I finished as the group that was receiving and defending the bear hugs, and I was really struggling to catch my breath after each defense. After the class, I was spent. There was only a tiny spot at the bottom of my t-shirt that was not drenched with sweat.

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805BJJ Class 42: double leg takedowns, attacks from mount, rolling

Christian sent us to the back room to start warming up while KM was finishing up on the big mat. We did some standing warm ups and stretching, then started scooting across the mat on fists and knees (transition to high S-mount practice) before going into drop step drills, then into double leg entries on the wall dummies. My toes were not immediately painful but they did feel odd and I’m scared that they’ll be a problem later.

Once we’d done that a bit, we moved to the big mat and started practicing snap down to double leg entry with partners. I started with big Victor, and then paired up with Em. Christian and Em both liked my “Periodic Table of BJJ” rash guard. Anyway, Em’s takedowns were smooth and were smooth and efficient, while Victor’s were clumsy and awkward. Mine were somewhere in between.

Then we did some work on attacks from mount, starting with collar choke. Starting with a high collar grip, use that to slide up into high S-mount. Get the other hand onto the other side of the collar, flex your wrists to press your bones into the neck, and lean over the top hand to get the tap.

The next variation was where you can’t get your hand into the collar, so you instead grip the slack of the gi behind the shoulder and do the same movement. Easy peasy.

Finally, if the collar was too well guarded, we learned how to transition to the arm bar. I drilled them with Aaron.

Then we rolled. I started with Victor, and was able to get the collar choke. From the bottom, I was able to sweep him consistently. He was baffled, so I told him I took away his base.

I rolled with Chad next. He was easing into it so he just did defense and I tried to land the attacks from mount, as we drilled. I finally got a grip on his collar and then gave it up, and he stopped me to tell me not to ever give up that hold once I obtained it. Anyway, I tried for an arm bar and failed, falling to guard. He let me sweep him back to mount and try some more. I eventually secured the arm bar and finished it!

Then I rolled with little Matt, who has a mustache now. He was a wiggly animal, and I was unable to secure side control against him. We basically stalemated and I burned myself out.

Last roll was with Victor again, and I again swept him off the top of me easily. Then I spent the rest of the roll teaching him how to maintain balance in the mount.

At the end, we took a picture, and then mustache Matt got his first belt stripe. I’m pretty sure he’s better than I am already. Not sure if I’m getting better or not.

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It’s a turtle

Saranya just went running to the bathroom, saying “Gotta go now! It’s a turtle.”

Cracked me up!

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