Krav Maga Class 101: running, shoulder tag circuit, focus mitts, bursting jab, stick defense

Curtis started this Saturday morning class a couple minutes early, with running. I was dying after 5 minutes, but we went about 7 minutes. My cardio is embarrassing after a week off due to a twisted (sprained) knee. We transitioned into some mat crossing movement exercises like lizard walk with push-ups, crab walk, etc. Then we started shoulder tag, alternating rounds with exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, mountain climbers, etc. Again, I was dying.

After that, we had a little dynamic stretch, then broke for water and gloves and focus mitts. Dave teamed up with me and I was first striker. I did okay, I guess. He was holding the mitts far to the side of his head, and it was awkward punching them 1-2, because he’s so wide anyway. Then I held mitts for him, and he’s got a lot to address. His footwork is awkward, and he has awkward habits with is hands (lowering them before punching). Curtis spent a lot of time coaching him, and I put in some pointers too. He needs to put in some effort to break his bad habits.

At the end, we did stick defenses, and for the stress drill we put a boxing glove on our non-stick-holding hand and threw punches once we did the stick defense.

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Krav Maga Class 100: warm up circuit, ground-and-pound shadow boxing circuit, turning hammer fist, stepping side kick, bear hug defense

Brandon taught this Saturday morning Krav class. I came in with a sore rib and sore feet. I also took a couple of sports legs supplement pills for muscle energy.

We started with jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, and shadow boxing in a circuit. Then a bit of shoulder tag. Then we got a kick shield and did ground and pound for 45 seconds followed by shadow boxing for 45 seconds, in a circuit, for 3 rounds. Once that insanity was done, we got a drink of water and came back with our boxing gloves on, and pulled out our own heavy bag.

We did long rounds (3:45) of punches, then kicks on the bag to warm up. Then more water and gloves off. We did turning hammer fist strikes on the bag, then side kicks, then turning side kicks, then round kick recoiling back to a turning side kick the other way. Pretty cool, but exhausting.

At the end of class we did bear hug from the front, arms trapped. It was lame.

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805BJJ Class 52: arm bar warmup, basic guard pass to kesa gatame, single leg takedown drills, roll, ou(ch)t

Got on the mat and bowed in with coach Greggo, anticipating coach Mark would arrive and take over the class. We warmed up doing alternating guard arm bar swings. Wheee!

Mark didn’t show, so Christian suited up and taught us the very basics of guard passing and posture.

Basic guard posture involves squeezing your legs next to the bottom person’s hips. Grip the lapels and take off the slack to minimize your opponent’s ability to move. Your other hand should find the hip bone, and line up the elbow with their thigh bone. Christian had the bottom person test the top person’s base stability.

Breaking the guard involves keeping the hips on the ground, getting a knee into the butt while you shift your base to one side, then bending your back to extend it and break open the guard. I should have mentioned that the hand you have on the chest is on the same side as the leg you move in to anchor the butt.

From there, you raise your butt-knee off the mat, press the hip-hand-side leg down as you staple it down with the butt-knee. Then you pass the stapled leg, going for an underhook on the far side, lift the close side arm and slide the stapling leg through to kesa gatame.

After practicing that for a bit, we went to the small room to practice the sweep single leg takedown on the wrestling dummies. One of them punched me in the face and left a mark. Anyway, the takedown involves pulling down from the grip and holding them bent over while you do a drop step to the outside, elbow hook one knee, turn 90 degrees into them with your head touching their torso, get back to your feet and drive through them to finish the takedown. You can also turn them more to get them off balance and finish the takedown.

Then we did takedown sparring, which I loved. I took Dave down with a sacrifice throw, and I almost got the single leg of the day on a couple people. Not quite, though.

Regular rolling started thereafter. I rolled with Dave first, and told him my rib was sensitive, so if it hurt I’d just tap. He went easy on me, but it was just too painful to continue. I sat out most of the rolls thereafter.

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805BJJ Class 51: mount escapes, rolling

Feeling fragile and apprehensive, I came into the studio a little early. Christian was sitting at the desk and reminded me about the women’s self defense seminar on Sunday. TJ was teaching Krav and they were doing light sparring with a 2-on-1 component. Very entertaining. I had planned on doing some warm ups on my own, but this was too interesting to look away from. Dave, Andrew, and Josh were putting on a show. During this, Christian came over and explained his lesson plan ideas to Greggo. Eventually, the Krav class lined up and bowed out, and we hurried onto the mat and lined up.

Our warm up was technical upa mount escapes followed by sloppy guard passes to mount. It was a good warm up, and gave me some excellent practice at an escape that I’ve done successfully in the past but not slowly or technically.

The next drill was guard recovery from mount. Getting the mount low over the hips, framing with the elbow, getting your legs inside the feet of the mounter so they can’t hook on, and either get a butterfly hook or an outside hook to recover guard. It was complicated and ugly, and both Christian and Greggo struggled to articulate how they decided when to switch from one mount escape technique to the other.

Then we rolled. Every roll was to start from the mount.

I started with Victor, and I did well. We both survived. He’s getting better. I could still tap him though.

Next I rolled with newly minted blue belt Dave. He started on top and I managed to sweep him, pass his guard, and mount him. I think. All I remember from that roll was attacking him with arm bars, Americanas, etc. The gi grip was the trigger for the upa sweep in the drills, so I only threatened that grip to open other things. I stayed on top for the rest of the roll, and Dave complimented me on my top control.

Next I rolled with Andrew, and that was hard. He got me in kesa gatame and crushed my ribs until I tapped from his pressure. Ouch! But I seem to be okay afterward. Other than that, I held my own against him. He had good defense once I was mounted, and I got too attached to the grip so he upa’d me just like I wouldn’t let Dave do. D’oh!

After that I rolled with TJ. He’s got a very good guard, especially against a tired old man like me. Unfortunately for him, he got a cramp and had to abandon the roll just as he was about to lock in an arm bar. I didn’t feel I did very good against him, as he was able to break me down in his guard pretty reliably.

The last roll, I again was paired up with Victor. He started on top, I recovered guard and got him in an arm bar. Then he started on bottom and I got him in an Americana and an arm bar and a gi choke. We were both so tired.

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805BJJ Class 50: turtle dumping, turtle lifting, rolling

I got in late after waiting behind very slow people at the Costco gas pumps, being chased off the road by fire engines, and getting lost in Simi Valley.

Anyway, I jumped into the warm ups, which were long. Coach Mark ran us long, then got us in a circle and told us how to hold a turtle. He used Dave as a demo dummy, and he was wrecking the poor guy. The first technique was pulling the turtle and then pushing it over with the hip, pressing it into side control.

The next part was standing and lifting the turtle, dropping in the feet for hooks, and driving the crotch into the bottom person’s lower back. That’s a killer, but then you can come in with a scissor choke or a trachea bar arm choke. They were all very vicious techniques, and Chad and I were going really easy on each other. I tweaked my right big toe during one of the moves, and I bet it’s going to haunt me for a while now.

After that, we rolled. Starting with Victor, who I got in a collar choke from guard, and then an arm bar from mount. I was about to get an arm triangle when the round was over. Easy work.

Next I rolled with Aaron, and he got on top of me and I could not budge him. Actually, whenever I budged him, he got into another stable position. I was very complimentary of his movement. Also, I was worried about him after Tuesday, but he was alright. Glad for that. :)

Next I rolled with Chad. He messed me up in his guard (arm bar) and later he turtled. I thought about doing the move of the day but worried about him and my feet both, so I didn’t do it. Round over.

Coach Mark then stopped the rolls and gave Dave his blue belt. Well earned, and I kind of knew it after the harsh treatment in the demos.

I left 15 minutes early to come home and deal with the crazy situation in the lab.

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805BJJ Class 49: single under pass defense and sweep, kesa gatame transition, arm bar and americana from kesa

Christian’s Tuesday morning class. Saranya came with me and sat at a table in the front, because Sangeeta was off running in Moorpark and didn’t make it home before I had to leave for class.

Our black belts went to a Ralph Gracie seminar last Sunday and they were really excited to bring back some of the ideas they picked up there. So we did a warm up where we were starting from an open guard position, and the top person would scoop a leg and try to go for an over-under pass, while the defender would get heavy on that leg (preventing the pass) and then transition into a sweep. Next we did a drill where we’d do a kick sweep on one side, then a scissor sweep on the other side when they got back up.

Then we did a standard stretching sequence before getting down to the lessons.

And the lessons today were centered around kesa gatame, which I first learned a freakin’ year ago (sort of). We did modified and standard, and I had the most trouble transitioning to the standard kesa. Giving up that far side underhook was difficult. I had a relatively easy time getting the arm bar and the americana, as I’d seen them a bunch of times.

We did sparring, and I started rolling with Chad (whose wife ran with Sangeeta this morning in Moorpark) and of course today we started in side control. I started on bottom. It was a good roll. I managed to sweep him but he recovered guard. He locked onto my collar, but I got 2 hands on it and would not let go, at the same time maintaining pressure and trying to pass so he couldn’t move around to a solid submission. That lasted to the end of the roll. I survived!

Second roll was with Em. It was a little scrambly, and I was able to muscle some stuff, but she was able to recover guard a lot. I did manage to get half guard on her a few times, and mount once, but no subs of course. We had a funny conversation mid-roll.
Em: You have hair like mine.
Me: You mean on your stomach?
Em: No, on your head.
Me: Gray?
Em: No, long and curly. It’s annoying.
Me: At least yours is falling out slower than mine is, so you’ve got that going for you!

Next I rolled with R/N whose name I had to keep practicing. I was able to easily sweep him once I let him get into kesa, because his base was awful. I had him restart on top again and coached him to have a more solid base.

After that I rolled with Dave, and that was an adventure. I was able to mount him and go for a gi choke, and when he defended that I latched onto his arm and went for an arm bar in a crazy roll that saw him keep going belly down and stacking me to try to get out. I never did get it, and ended up tapping when he dove for an arm bar while my fingers were tangled up in his gi. I was hoping the dive would dislodge them, but they remained stuck and I verbally tapped. I fixed my belt for the remainder of the roll.

Last I rolled with Aaron, who was suffering with a bruised knee. I found him impossible to hold down, and kept ending up under his north-south pressure. At the end, I was turtled and managed to roll under him, but his arm was trapped and he both wrenched his shoulder and hit his head. I was actively trying not to hurt him, but it didn’t work out that way. Poor guy. Hope he recovers quickly.

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Krav Maga Class 99: straight punches high and low, turning hammer fist, back kick, choke from behind

Brandon taught this Saturday morning class. Started with a circuit of jumping jacks (ouch shoulders), push ups, and sit ups. Then we did running in place with sprawls, fast feet, high knees, and butt kicks. Very tiring. Then it was shoulder tag and knee tag for a few rounds. Antonio, Dano, Dave, Richard (who I used to think was named Victor) and eventually Ray.

I was the demo dummy for most of the class. Holding pads for straight punches. I partnered up with Ray, holding pads for him first. Brandon switched us after a couple minutes. I did okay, but I felt I was overextending my stance on the low punches. Something to work on.

Next was the turning back hammer fist. Look over your shoulder, step the foot on the side you’re looking to the outside of their foot while you throw your hammer fist punch horizontally as your body turns. Follow up with a punch or elbow, depending on your range.

Next was a back kick. I always felt awkward recoiling these to a good position, so I really focused on that a lot today. I also found it awkward that you step in with the foot opposite where you’re looking. I screwed that up on the very last kick, but other than that I was doing fine.

After that we did choke from behind, 2-hand pluck. Ray and I practiced it on both sides. He was a lot less proficient on his off side, but I was comfortable both ways. I always try to be smooth and technical on the defense, but I did start speeding up as I got a feel for the move, and it went well. We finished class with a mixed partners drill of the same. Dave was the only guy who gave me any problems, but I powered through with aggressiveness when my pluck was minimally effective, and that did it.

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805BJJ Class 48: Blocking, standing open guard passing, rolling

We started late, with a small class and self-warmup. Em just got her wisdom teeth out. She tried to do class anyway though.

We started with an illustration of the guard perimeter. Approaching the open guard, you put your hands on the knees or feet and hold them solid while you move around them. You have to immobilize the hips, then drop a knee next to their hip to secure the side control position. If they get a wide open guard, you can get motorcycle grips inside their knees, push their knees to pin them down, then pull their feet to the ground and put the knee into the hip for the pass.

I rolled with Jen first. She’s really good at open guard where she eliminates an arm. It was fascinating to try to do moves I knew only to get stuck because I couldn’t use one of my arms. I took her back once from turtle but coach Mark coached her out of it. I was able to use the move of the day on her twice.

I rolled with Dave next. He wore the pink belt of shame today because he forgot his belt. I was able to do pretty well against him.

After that was coach Greggo. He left me openings, leading to an S-mount arm bar. He walked me through the details at the end to finish it. Thanks coach! :D

Following that, I took an extra minute to catch my breath and then rolled with Rick. He smelled like ammonia. He got me in an arm bar, but walked me through the escape rather than finish it. Thanks, Rick!

I took the last roll off and talked with coach Mark. I told him I can’t do back-to-back Krav and BJJ yet because my conditioning isn’t up to snuff, and the Krav tires me out too much so I don’t get enough out of my BJJ class other then injuries. We talked about book publishing too.

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Gout again

Woke up with my left big toe joint swollen and sore to walk on. I had leftover gout meds so I took a dose of a Colchicine pill and an Indomethacin, then another Colchicine an hour later. By the end of the day, no discomfort remained in the joint!

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805BJJ Class 47: half guard pass, kimura from half guard top, kimura to pass half guard, rolling

Christian’s Tuesday morning BJJ class started for me in the small room, flow rolling with Chris. He taught me that defending the guard pass will involve me curling up pretty tightly (more tightly than I was used to). After that, I tried sweeping the mat when the Krav class took over the small room, but I only made it halfway across before I had to put the broom away and line up.

Greggo started us on the warm up while Christian changed into his gi and talked to Darla about Krav. Then we went over passing half guard. Avoiding the lockdown starts with hiding your foot if you’re on top of half guard. Turn the foot out and away from the bottom guy’s feet. Cross face to turn their head away, and apply some chest pressure to flatten them. Without moving your upper body, put your forward knee into the hip while sitting down sideways and sliding your lower foot to the butt, your lower shin vertical now. This makes it difficult for the bottom guy to hold your leg with his. Grip his shoulder with your cross face arm, and grip the inside of his far knee with your other arm to force his legs open. Whip your leg out and swing it way back to establish your base, then drive it forward and into his hip to secure your side control.

Sometimes though, you find you’re unable to separate the legs. In those cases, you release your cross face and move the elbow to the far side of the head, under the shoulder. Use your lower hand to pull that far arm’s wrist out and down, low enough that your other arm can grip it in a kimura grip. This is a solid threat and a skilled practitioner will recognize it and release the half guard to defend it. As soon as you feel that release, you can pull your leg out and secure side control. Otherwise, continue and finish the kimura submission by pulling the elbow up while inching the hand toward the shoulder.

Rolling started with Chris. We had fun. He messed up in the half guard and let me mount him, but he reversed pretty well. At the end, he got me in an arm bar, but it was a competitive roll.

I rolled with visitor Amos next. He was a twitchy little white belt, and he submitted me twice with gi chokes, but I did manage to reverse him several times. I never seriously threatened him.

I rolled with black belt Eric, and he went through everything really slowly and methodically. I was able to recognize a lot of what he was doing, but I was unable to stop him. It was brilliant. I felt like I was improving in my pattern recognition, even if I didn’t have the vocabulary to participate in the dialog fully.

I rolled with Yas, and he’s so passive and soft. I had to coach him to keep me from getting on top if he could. I put some pressure on him so he’d understand why.

There was another roll too, but I forgot who it was or what we did.

I got through without injury and feeling like I’ve improved!

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