805BJJ Class 120: punch block, body lock, hip toss, straight arm bar, mounted Americana, brief rolling

Tuesday morning BJJ! There were 3 students today – two guys who were doing their second ever BJJ class, and me. It was weird being the senior student.

Greggo started off by a long warm up, teaching us step by step how to do rolls and fall breaks and shrimps. Then he got into some self defense, including a punch block to body lock to hip toss to straight arm lock combination that we practiced a lot on the crash pad.

Then we went back to the middle of the mat to practice Americana from mount on one another.

Then we did a few rounds of rolling. First was Randall, who is intense. He gripped one of my fingers, but fortunately didn’t pull or twist.

Next was Derek who was really nice.

Last was Chris, the guy who got his black belt on the same day that Christian did 5 years ago. He threw me around before teaching me 4 really important things.

  1. basic north-south position defense
  2. arm bar defense – put the leg over their head
  3. half guard sweep – grip their cross face sleeve and bury it in your hip, then let them pass, reach over their back to their arm pit, hip into them and roll them onto their back
  4. side control sweep – deep hook their cross face biceps, crunch your elbow down to your waist, reach over and get a back grip, wait for them to push in and hip into them as you pull them over you
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805BJJ Class 119: Saranya’s sprained wrist, spider guard sweep, pass, lasso guard defense, spider guard drill, rolling

Saranya went to 10am kids’ BJJ class. Rolling with Payton, she bent her left wrist back and sprained it. Ouch!

Adult class started with TJ’s standard warm up. I had to step out briefly to hand Saranya off to Sangeeta and recommend urgent care. Then I paired up with Shabbar to do the spider guard drills.

Shabbar does not like it when I try to coach him. Also, he has bad breath, he cheats during drills, and he’s big and strong and skilled and he wrecks me. Still, he’s a nice enough guy. I like him. He had real trouble with the spider guard break, but he could just smash me anyway. One time he told me “Really try to sweep me, so I get a real look at what’s going on here” so I swept him. He scrambled out and my stupid spider guard grips twisted my fingers as he violently pulled away.

Anyway, the techniques.

First we learned how to establish the spider guard, and how to use it to sweep. From the closed guard, get double sleeve grips. Open your guard while pinching at the knees still. Hip out to the side to get the opposite side foot on the hip, and tuck your same side knee under the arm to get that foot on the hip as well. From this position you have a decent open guard, but for real spider guard control you need to move your foot or feet from the hip to the crook of the elbow, then rotate on your side so you can put that leg high up. Pulling their opposite sleeve while elevating the top elbow, you pull them over you while tipping them over, coming on top. As you do so, keep that grip on the top hand, as an advantage toward submission and control.

The spider guard pass we learned first was to grip the pants at the knee so you have control of him too, tip the bottom guy onto his side, and step out so that he doesn’t have that vertical advantage anymore. At range, the spider guard isn’t very dangerous or effective. So you line up their top heel (which is inside your elbow at this point) with your knee (you step out farther than your knee for base and stability) and peel the foot off your arm enough to circle under and plant that leg on the ground, breaking their grip on your sleeve. You then staple that leg to the mat and commence your passing.

We also learned a counter to the lasso guard, which was to stay heavy on it, pull your hand back, then circle it under toward their butt, outside, then up toward their knee to break the grip. Then press the knees to the ground and pass.

That done, we had a spider guard drill. Four guys down, the rest along the wall, filling in as guys became available. I started on Greggo. Spider guard, pass or sweep. Well, Greg went easy on me, and I ended up passing! Then I was down, and I swept two guys with the move of the day, before Shabbar came up and smashed me. Back in line, I was paired up next with TJ. I passed his guard and then Andrew passed mine. Next was Matt. I passed his guard and then Shabbar passed mine again. Lesson learned – I suck at guard retention, but I’m better at guard passing.

Then we rolled. My first round was with Sean, who went very easy after rehabbing a 50% tear of his patella tendon. He tried his mounted triangle on me but I scooted out the back.

Next round was with Ray, who was able to pass my guard like butter, but I was able to keep him from properly mounting me by building the elbow-knee cage and hiding in it.

After that I rolled with Greggo, who slowly and methodically passed my guard, mounted me, and arm triangled me. He showed me that by separating my arm, while maintaining mount pressure and a wide base, he was able to advance to a high mount where I was unable to escape or defend.

Next I rolled with Corey, who had just gotten 2 white belt stripes. He started in my guard, and I managed to tip him to the side and take his back like Greggo showed me on Thursday! He recovered enough so I was just mounting him, but I was eventually able to secure a collar, threaten an arm, and then finish the collar choke for the tap. That was thrilling. My only tap of the day.

Then I rolled with Andrew. He passed my guard, mounted me, and got a high mount that I again couldn’t get out of. I tried the two-on-one arm trap, but I didn’t have the leverage or angle to tip him over. I should have snuck out the back, but on well.

Last roll was with Matt. He started in my guard, so we were both in shitty positions we need to work on. He was able to pass, but I got to my knees and blasted him back. He recovered guard.

I came away with just a little mat burn on my right foot.

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805BJJ Class 118: rolling

I did not want to train today. Twice, I decided that I would just stay home, but after each time I’d look at my pile of gear and look at the clock and decide that I still had time and I could make it and that it’s the days that you don’t feel like it that you should really make it a point to force yourself to go. So I went.

Got to class and met Jeremy, who’s also a parent of a kid student, and it was his first day ever in BJJ. He didn’t train with us at all, but instead got a private lesson with Christian to get him oriented.

Meanwhile, we did a quick warm up and got right into rolling. Had a 10 minute warm up roll with Greggo, and he must have watched my roll last Tuesday with Ronnie because he walked me through taking the back from someone trying to Americana me from inside my guard. You hold them down with your outside arm across their back, as you sweep their far leg out from under them and dump them on their face. Your head is the last thing out (aside from your Americana’d arm, which will no longer be in danger) and you can move that across their neck or use it to occupy their hands as the other arm comes around across the neck. Good stuff! Anyway, that was slow and flowy. After that we ramped it up.

I rolled with Matt and was able to roll him off me while he was in my half guard. Competitive roll.

Andrew came late and Mark paired him up with me to do a warm up roll because, as Mark said “You’re the coolest head in the gym” which I interpreted to Andrew as “I’m least advanced in the competitive curriculum.” We had a nice flow roll, and Andrew gave me feedback about sometimes you can’t lace the legs on the guard pass, so just wrap around both, hop next to the knees and bring the grip around the thighs as you plaster the hips down, then move up to the torso.

After that I rolled with Mark, who let me work but he put me in some very threatening situations to see if I’d recognize them. I always feel like such a dunce when I sit there stupidly in a choke setup and don’t even know what to do.

Then I rolled with Cowboy. He started the roll by undoing his gi top, so I pulled it over his head like a cloak and pinned it there as I sat into his guard. It was fun. At the end, he advised me to move my whole body to get leverage in prying arms away from my opponent’s body.

I sat the next round out, and talked with Mark. He told me to check out Jocko podcast 119.

Then I rolled with Mark, starting from the feet. He dumped me gently and I put him in my guard. He passed and got on me, and I had trouble getting out again.

I rolled with Matt. This time I got stuck on bottom half.

I rolled with Andrew. Passed his guard and got on top of him. He gave me a tip to finish the Americana, which was similar to Cowboy’s tip – use your forehead and drive your body across to separate the arm from the body.

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805BJJ Class 117: upa, guard break, posture, and pass

Tuesday morning on the mat, 10 bodies, 3 of them black belts in BJJ, 3 of them Krav Maga instructors, 6 of them cops. I was the only body who was none of the above.

We had a couple raw noobs from the police, so I was not the lowest on the line for a change. Still, I was the oldest and weakest, for sure.

We warmed up with a 10 minute flow roll. I paired up with TJ and we did okay once we got used to it.

Greggo taught us the upa with the 2-hands-on-1-sleeve grip approach to securing an arm (good for when they base way above your head) then hold it to your chest with your opposite side hand, reach up and grab the back of their gi with the near side hand, look in the direction of that hand and roll them over. They can’t base out that way because you’ve held them down and blocked their arm on that side. We also learned how to do it with the overhook to the elbow to trap the arm, then small hooking the free arm, or shooting a tight and momentum-generating underhook under the free arm to get them over.

Once you reverse position, you come up into guard. Keep your head low, block their arms, and quickly posture up.

Next we learned how to break the guard open. Bottom knuckles dig into the sternum and the hip to hold their upper body to the mat, then slide your hip-hand-side knee back and scoot the other one into their tailbone. Blade your body so your side breaks their ankles apart. From there, bring your tailbone knee up and connect it to your kickstand elbow. This is home base. If they try to push your blocking leg, you can staple it down and pass. If they push you toward the down knee side, you can step back over their leg and pass.

Then we rolled. I started with TJ. He guillotined me out of turtle. Next I rolled with Coach Mark, who let me work and I got him into my guard and we basically rested the round there. Next was Andrew, who spine cranked me. Then Brandon, who Americana’d me, elbowed me in the eye, and basically wrecked me. Last roll was with Randall, one of the brand new students. I started in his guard, passed, mounted, and let him do the upa on me. After that I just tried to keep my guard closed. He tried Americana from inside my guard, and I threatened his back, so he let go. Eventually he spazzed out and broke my guard open, so we ended the roll with him in my open guard.

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805BJJ Class 116: drama, De La Riva sweeps, drills, rolling

Sangeeta went running this Saturday morning, and she took with her Saranya’s mouth guard and belt. She told us she’d meet us in Simi and deliver the hardware, so we headed over and waited in the parking lot. While we were there, Leo went in (about an hour before the adult class). Odd. Anyway, it turns out Saranya’s belt wasn’t in her bag either. She headed to the back, and emerged from the bathroom later with her belt tied around her waist. Must have found her belt in the lost and found.

Before class started, Mark told Leo “I need to talk with you” and they made their way over to the Adams machines. The had a discussion, and Leo left. Then the kids wrapped up and we lined up for class. Mark told us that he had to kick Leo out of the school because he kept coming to class with alcohol on his breath. He said that the school does not tolerate training under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.

Anyway, class started. TJ warmed us up. He tried to bait Mark into a fit by using tantric yoga terminology, but Mark was intently talking with Christian and ignored TJ. It turns out that Mark was kicking Kerry out, and banning his son Skyler from the school. It seems Kerry was a problem with other parents, and Mark had to shut him down in the parking lot by threatening to kick his ass. He came back in muttering “Fuck that guy.”

Then Christian taught us some De La Riva guard sweeps that were sort of judo-flavored. The De La Riva guard is an open guard where your near leg hooks around their leg and pulls their knee forward, while your other leg pushes their far leg away at the thigh. Grips are variable, but we went with sleeve grips. For the sweeps, first you push them off balance by pushing their far thigh away, then you sit up, trap one of their arms to their near leg with a big hook, post opposite hand and foot, and scoot your leg back as you press forward with your chest.

We did a drill where we went 2.5 minutes of just repeating the takedown, then switched positions for the next 2.5 minutes. My thighs got tired from standing up so much!

Then we did a chain roll from open guard. I passed Shabbar, swept Cowboy, and then I let Aiden pass on me. From then on, I was garbage.

We ended class with 8 minute rolls. I started against Shabbar, getting demolished consistently. He got regular takedowns despite my lessons against Brandon on Thursday. He put intense pressure on my ribs. I realized I need to work a lot harder on getting out from under big guys, but I just had no energy today. Might be from the pie last night, huh? After that, I had competitive rolls with Logan and Cosmo. I had to sit out the last round.

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805BJJ Class 115: defend vs body lock takedown, get up vs back body lock, rolling

Mark was so impressed with the Krav Maga drills that TJ put his class through in the previous class, that he taught us how to get up from a body lock, and how to defend against a body lock takedown. Basically, get a whizzer on the side opposite his head, then use that as leverage to put him down. If he doesn’t let go or give up, get your close knee in and twist him forward onto his back.

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805BJJ Class 114: lost mouthguard, new mouthguard, guard drills, rolling

Mark came in congested and slow. We bowed in, warmed up, and got right into the guard drills. We did closed guard retention, open guard establishment, back orientation, back salvage, then back to closed guard. There were only 5 people in the class (including Skyler) so we basically did 2 pairs with an odd one out. It was a good practice.

I lost my old mouthguard, so I boiled my new Venum mouthguard and shaped it. Took me two tries because it was too wide the first time and I didn’t properly align it to my molars. The second time it came out pretty good, and I’m much happier with it than with my previous mouthguard. It stays in better.

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805BJJ Class 113: late but not, hopping osoto gari off failed harai goshi, 4 man drills

I had a hard time getting to this Thursday morning class. Work had me scrambling until after 10am, when I decided to walk out on it and try to get to class. I got dressed up, packed my stuff, got my water, and left. Got all the way to the freeway before realizing I forgot my wallet, so I got off at Sunset Hills and went back home. Got the wallet and phone, and headed back to class. Got there late, only to find that there were no coaches. TJ told me he was planning to do just top-middle-out with me, him, and Dave. Fine by me! While I was getting dressed, though, Mark showed up. We warmed up while he was getting dressed, and during this time Andrew also showed up.

We started the class with Mark showing us a hopping osoto gari option if we fail the harai goshi. That’s why Mark said to get comfortable with that half man, leg blocked position. You can use your lower leg block to then hop around their leg and hook it out from under them. It’s not a heavy throw, but it’s effective.

We paired up to do a light, semi-cooperative randori. I went with Dave to the back half of the class, and we took turns taking one another down until I jammed my right big toe between the mat squares. It hurt so bad that my foot felt cold. That’s the lingering effect of the injections, I bet. No telling what the long term effects of this injury will be, but it’s not good. Didn’t stop me from training though. No sir.

After that, we did a 1-2-3-4 series of drills. Starting with one person on the back, the other with their hands on the feet, starting free rolls. First, person 1 rolls with 2, then 1-3, then 1-4, then 2-3, then 2-4, then 2-1, then 3-4, then 3-1, then 3-2, then 4-1, then 4-2, then 4-3. 1-4 were Dave, TJ, Andrew, and me.

Next we started with full mount. We did a couple rounds, and Mark told us that when someone pulls an S-mount, you can double underhook that lifted leg (one hand behind the butt, the other behind the knee or ankle) and hip heist out the back. Nobody got it during rolling, so we got extra instruction later.

Next we started face down with our opponent standing at our feet, and we had to turn and establish guard.

Next we started face down with our opponent straddling our hips, and we had to avoid having our back taken. I got a good mount reversal, and I got a double bump heist of TJ off me where I lifted him with my hips, continued lifting his hips with my arms, and tucked my knee into the gap. He was surprised I was able to do that. (I learned it from Youtube).

Last we started standing, and had to do a takedown and grapple from however we landed, whether we got the takedown or not.

EDIT: I got a nice back strain after this one, probably when Andrew stacked me after I pursued a triangle way too long. Lesson learned!

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805BJJ Class 112: Harai goshi, rolling

Coach Mark taught this Tuesday morning class, and he followed his theme of judo takedowns for BJJ. Today we learned Harai Goshi, which is a technique where you pull your opponent in while turning your back on them and blocking their outside leg just below the knee with your lower leg, then twist your body to dump them over your blocking leg. We practiced this first from the leg blocking position, then with the entry. Oh yeah, the entry. Starting from half-man with an over-the-shoulder back grip. Your front foot should make an equilateral triangle with your opponent’s two feet. Replace your front foot with your back foot (pointed away from them 180 degrees) while turning your back (obviously, otherwise you couldn’t turn your foot 180 degrees), pulling them close to the side of your chest, and sticking out your former front foot so that it blocks the outside of their leg just below the knee. From there, you just need to twist your upper body to pull them over your blocking leg and dump them down to the ground.

Then we rolled. I started with TJ and he arm barred me, but lauded my defenses. Next was Dave, who I asked to start on mount top so I could practice. I reversed him once, then got stuck and just survived the round. After that was Matt, who was trouble but we had a good roll. Then Jen, who tied up my arm and wouldn’t give it back. We had a fun moment when we were both weakly choking one another. After that was Andrew, who wrecked me. Then for the last 47 seconds of the last round I played with Skyler but we didn’t get much done.

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