Archive for the ‘Chronicles’ Category

805BJJ Class 148: all rolling for an hour

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Because we had a small class of 4, and Tom and I had to leave at noon, we got right into it. I rolled with Tom for 8 minutes to warm up, and then I rolled with Rebecca the white belt. She had good mobility and was working really hard. I cautioned her to tone it down but she couldn’t.

After that, it was guard passing. Pass or get swept or submitted. Winner stays. I did okay.

Then it was side control. Mount, submit, or escape. Mostly I worked with Tom, who kept getting me into half guard from the bottom. He’s really good at that, but after a few rolls I was able to anticipate it and mount him.

Then it was just rolling. I rolled with Tom, Greggo, and Josh before I had to leave for my meeting.

805BJJ Class 147: guard overhook submissions – gi choke, triangle, straight arm bar, omoplata, foot lock; rolling

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

My first day back on the mat in almost 3 weeks! I came in feeling fragile, but did it anyway.

We warmed up with a couple 5 minute flow rolls. I got Greggo first and Phil second.

Then Greggo opened up the mat to questions, and TJ asked about what to do once you break their posture in your guard and get an overhook with a cross-collar grip.

Greggo first showed how to choke with the gi. The overhook grip lets you turn to your side and get your leg over to help hold them down. Then you can hook their far elbow with your lower knee. From there, you can reach your lower hand to their near-side gi behind the shoulder, grab the material, and slide your elbow along your lower leg and across their neck for the choke.

You can also slip your lower leg over their far arm, swing it behind their neck, and lock up a triangle.

You can also slide back to align their elbow with your crotch and then lean belly-down to finish a straight arm bar.

You can also put your top foot in front of their face and sit up to secure the omoplata. Finish by preventing them from rolling through, getting your feet out of the way, and hipping up a little bit away from their body.

IF they do roll through, you can hook their near leg as it comes over and you can secure a foot lock on it. Finish by trying to drive their toes into their own tailbone.

Then we rolled. I did alright. Cowboy gave me lots of advice. Phil kind of chastised me for talking about what I did. Greggo said I was hard to budge off the top of him after he got me in kind of an upside down guard. It was a pretty good return to action. Next class should suck a lot.


Monday, August 6th, 2018

I flew out to Indianapolis again for my 3rd year in a row, to hang with Castor and enjoy the nerd festivities of GENCON.

The trip started on a difficult foot. I had trouble sleeping the night before my flight. I didn’t trust my alarm clock, and I had no backup, so I ended up with only about 4 hours sleep before departing for the airport. I spent that awake time packing and making sure I had everything I would need. I set off early, because I wanted to stop by my dad’s house and take in the empty trash cans. I got a Coffee Bean coffee, then headed over and took care of the trash cans. Then I got a 2-for-$4 deal on bacon burritos at Carl’s Jr. and rolled through traffic to the airport, where I was 2.5 hours early.

The flight itself was packed. Even though I checked in exactly 24 hours in advance, I was boarding at B42, which means near the end of the next-to-last boarding group. I found a window seat at the back and crawled over an old man to get to it. Behind me was a woman and her 9-year-old son, who she desperately wanted to sit next to on the flight, but there were no more open neighboring seats left by the time she got on. The flight attendants started asking if someone would give up their seat, but nobody did. They offered a free drink and still nobody did. I decided I would help, just as the flight attendant was offering 4 free drinks, and the old man next to me was lecturing the mother on the virtues of priority boarding. Fortunately for me, the elderly Jewish couple across the aisle let me sit in their window seat, and they compressed toward the aisle. When it came time to ask for drinks, though, I only wanted water. The flight attendant was disappointed because she wanted to reward me for helping out, but water’s free anyway.

Arrival was also smooth. I disembarked from the plane, walked over to baggage claim, saw my suitcase coming toward me on the carousel, picked it up, and walked outside. My phone needed to be rebooted after airplane mode, and I needed to walk a bit to get signal, but I was able to text Castor that I was ready for pickup. One minute later, I see his red Hyundai rolling in. I was loaded up and driving away from the airport within 5 minutes of leaving the plane. Fortuitous timing!

Castor’s house was no longer in a state of construction. They had their new bathroom exhaust fan installed and working, and the mirror reinstalled. They had even equipped the guest room with a desk for my computer. Nice!

Our first day at GENCON was Thursday, which we started at 9am on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium, where we played a DC Heroes deck building game with an expansion set. I didn’t know what was in the expansion set so I had no way of developing a winning strategy. My record dropped to 1-1.

After that we had Island Noodles with Chicken, consuming them while sitting on the carpeted hallway floor of the Indianapolis Convention Center. We were scheduled for a couple of writing seminars, but they were too far away and we were hungry. After that, we headed off to the Mariott Hotel for a Pathfinder game where we played Christmas monsters and tried to save Santa. That was pretty fun. Afterward, we went to Mikado for dinner and had a nice meal. Then we went back to Lucas Oil Stadium, where we played a Pathfinder tournament where we were tasked with playing villains and sent on several personal missions. That was a painful challenge. After that, we went home and slept.

Bright and early the next morning, Castor and I set off for the convention again. We had 3 hours of writing seminars with Drake. I realized I need to study the Hero’s Journey a lot more. Castor became excited about writing the Metaverse story again, and I had an idea to introduce an old and wise character to help my main character out when he gets too deep into trouble. We wandered the sales floor a bit after that and made a couple purchases before heading to World Market for lunch and then home for a nap. We got up from that to go to Matt’s house for Castor’s regular Pathfinder game, in which he plays a Paladin/Rogue. I played Mike Chambers’ Crane-style Monk. We did alright, but we didn’t leave there until 12:27am and got home around 1am.

We got up Saturday morning at 6am because Castor had all the tickets to the Pathfinder Society game we were playing at 8am. Mike, Alan, Isaiah, Castor, and I (and one other guy) did an intro to PFS adventure. I didn’t get a PFS number until afterward. Next time, though, I’ll be ready! Castor and I had lunch at Harry & Izzy’s, which is across the street from Mikado. It’s a fancy steakhouse with a famous shrimp cocktail with spicy horseradish sauce that burned your sinuses out. I had a hard time deciding between the chicken Caesar salad and the BBQ chicken, finally settling on the latter. After that, we bought some more stuff, watched a little bit of the cosplay parade, and went home. We went to Texas Steak House with Carla for dinner, and I got the Caesar salad I’d been eyeing for lunch.

Sunday was an easy day. We started slow, hit the convention center around noon, spent about 3 hours buying too much stuff, and then headed back home. Castor let me copy some of his media files. I played a little guitar. We talked until late.

Monday morning I was up early. Packed, showered, dressed, and ready by 6:30am. Castor cooked me breakfast and then dropped me off at the airport. Check in was a breeze, and I spent the flight sitting next to a cute little Chapman College student and her mom.

Getting back to my car was another story. It took 45 minutes for the shuttle to pick me up. I didn’t get my car out until after 1pm and it cost nearly $100. It’s almost cheaper to get a shuttle from my front porch. Then I had to drive home, and that took another couple hours due to a couple of major crashes on the 405 and 101. Got home, unloaded the car, and slept for 2 hours!

805BJJ Class 146: double under stack pass, forward pressure pass, rolling

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Tuesday morning. Feeling weak and fragile. Went anyway. Paid for it.

Mark started the class by having Tom warm us up, then he lectured us on how the candy-ass slinky BJJ phase of our school is over. Greggo wasn’t there either. So Mark showed us how to set up in guard, how to break the guard violently, and how to change tempo and go 100% hard and smash/stack pass by going double under, grabbing the belt, lifting their hips over their head, dumping them to the side, and passing the guard.

The next refinement is what to do if they get heavy on their legs. Move your hands under their hips instead of under their legs. If they do manage to push away from you enough that you’re worried about losing the position, you step way forward with one foot, and push back to stand quickly on your other foot, and basically deadlift their belt until you can dump them to the side and pass.

Then Christian taught us how to break tiedowns and posture up. Basically you bob and weave under their grip, and use a hand on their bicep as you posture up to break the grip. If you can’t break the hold down, he then showed us how to press forward, move to the side, break open the guard with your elbow, and do a slide or knee cut pass.

I had a hard time rolling. I rolled with Sergio, then Brandon, then Cowboy, then Matt, then Christian. I tapped a lot. I had no energy and no strength. I’d try moves and run out of energy halfway through, leaving me flopping around in horrible positions. I think I need a break.

805BJJ Class 145: wrestling attacks from the knees, low mount maintenance, collar-fist choke, rolling

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

I came into this Saturday morning class with a deeply bruised left heel. Warm ups were a painful challenge, especially the hopping, but I managed.

Mark taught us some takedowns from the knees. Get low, grab their knees, jam your forehead into their breastplate, and knock them back. Switch to your shoulder on their chest as they go down, and control their legs with your hands as you assume side control. You can also come in at an oblique angle with your shoulder to their midsection and drive them down, again controlling their legs as you assume side control. We learned to knock down the turtle, grabbing the opposite leg’s knee and ankle as you put your shoulder into their ribs to take them over. We learned to scramble off the turtle and get that takedown too. Then we learned to do the same thing but from behind the turtle, pushing their butt with our shoulder or head, and pulling their knees back to put them flat on the mat and get on top of them.

Then Greggo taught the low mount again, with emphasis on pointing the toes up instead of hooking, and lifting the head off the mat by the crown rather than the neck. He also taught the fist and sleeve choke again, which is very versatile. You can put your fist into their jaw or neck or wherever and it works. Brutal!

Then we rolled, each round 3 minutes and starting from mount. After 3 minutes, top goes to bottom. After 3 more minutes, switch partners and start again with smaller person on top. I started with Jose. I was able to reverse him from the top almost immediately and get on top, but I couldn’t submit him. Then 2nd half I let him start on top again, and I recovered guard but was unable to submit or sweep him. He’s getting better, though I might be getting weaker and wearier.

Next partner was Shabbar. I started on top of him and was unable to submit him. He wiggled out and eventually I got lazy and he reversed me and submitted me. Then he started on top and submitted me quickly with the submission of the day. I was able to get a couple moves on him, but he’s fast to recover and stayed ahead of me for most of the roll.

My next partner was Craig, the new-ish white belt. I was able to work him pretty well, and submit him, but he’s a ton better than when I last rolled with him. He was glad to hear me say that.

My last partner was Sean. I think I managed to survive against him despite all his tricks.

805BJJ Class 144: arm bar from mount, proper mount technique, low mount sleeve fist choke, rolling

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

This was a Thursday morning class. I felt okay going in, but it was hot. Warm up was very brief.

The first technique Greggo taught was arm bar from the mount, starting with a collar grip. It starts with pressing the forearm to their chest. Hard. It lifts their head off the mat, and it feels horrible from the bottom. Next, you press their elbow across their body and hold it across their body with your collar gripping arm. Then you stay low, creep forward, slide your knee behind their head, and slide your other foot into their arm pit. Push their face down as you let go of the collar grip and hook their elbow with yours, lifting them onto their side (while still fully sitting on them). Then lean your weight over their body as you slip that foot over their head and tuck the heel into their neck. Then you finish by squeezing your knees together, grabbing their thumb, and breaking their elbow off with your crotch.

Mark went over proper mount posture. A-frame with the knees pinched and an inch or so of space to ride the hip bumps. Or you can get low, hook the legs, underhook and lift the head, and base your hand out. You can make them pee if you press your hips into them too.

From the low mount, we learned to modify the Ezekiel choke to just drive the fist into the neck. It sucks. That’s what Rick did to me as a new white belt, and that neck was bruised for a month. Ouch. Dick move, for sure. In fact, that’s all Mark teaches, really. Like that turtle lift to get the hooks in. That’s brutal.

Anyway, we also learned how to reach under the head and grab the collar with the head lifting hand, then shuck the elbow around and push it to the ground. Then you can slide your knee up behind their head and your other foot into their arm pit just like for an arm bar, but this time you drive your rear hand behind their neck and feed the top collar to the hand coming out from below their neck. With that gripped (like a bow-and-arrow choke) you can lift their arm with your free hand and shoot it behind their head for a nice collar choke.

Then we rolled. I got to start with the new guy from a valley dojo. His name was Sergio, and he was a nice guy. He put it on me and eventually kimura’d me, I think. I spent 6 minutes on the bottom.

Next was Andrew, who also put it on me pretty heavily. His feedback afterward was that I could have escaped at one point if I’d just been a little stronger or had more energy. I was pretty done at that point.

Then I rolled with Jared (Taco) and he put it on me too. He tapped me with a Japanese necktie and a foot lock. Dude has skills.

I took the following round off, but then Greggo grabbed me and reset the round timer so everyone else got an extra long round. I felt so weak, but I managed to stick him in a position and I was able to not get too destroyed for a while.

The last round I sat next to Jeremy, who had hurt his back again.

After class I talked with Sergio. Mark thanked me for my leadership.

805BJJ Class 143: upa escape, upa escape counter roll, rolling

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Greggo taught this Tuesday morning class.

We learned the upa escape from mount again. This time we did it from the collar grab. Then Mark had us take off our gi tops and do it for self defense style. Then the gis went back on and we learned to recognize when we were getting upa’d from the top, and to trap the arm and do sort of a scissor sweep to continue the roll to regain mount. Cool.

Rolling started with me vs. Cowboy. He started mounted on me. I reversed and Americana’d him. The I mounted him. He escaped and I managed to get him in guard and then scramble to the top. I somehow injured his damaged shin, probably when I was doing a butterfly pass.

Next roll was with Colt. We rolled by the benches, so Mark was watching us. Colt said he thinks I got a lot better. I have been practicing. So I managed to get on top of him and had a kimura locked up. Went for an arm bar and was trying to break his grip when the round ended. Mark was impressed with my thinking and assured me that it’ll start just clicking eventually. I still have to think a lot.

Next roll was with Christian. He’s been out with a rib separation and a groin pull, and he’s trying to get back up to speed. I felt it. I was able to secure positions that I ordinarily would feel him wiggle out of. I managed to fend off his gi choke until the round buzzer.

Next roll was with Greggo. He finished that gi choke pretty quickly. I think he was trying to prove that even though Christian couldn’t finish me with it, he could. Anyway, then we had another go and he tried it again, but I was able to spin out of it a couple times. I really need to bone up on my knee-on-belly escapes.

Last roll was with Chris. His back was bugging him, and I was able to lock him down and keep him from wrecking me too badly. Finished the round puzzling over how to finish a D’Arce in the gi.

Then I bought a new blue gi from Christian.

805BJJ Class 142: knee on belly, arm bar

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

Greggo’s Saturday morning class. He taught us about knee on belly, which is good because I suck at it, both top and bottom.

Transitioning to knee on belly from side control involves gripping the collar with the crossface hand, and gripping above the hip with the other hand, pushing up with the knuckles, putting the knee into the solar plexus with the foot hooked on the side of the body, and the other leg based out of gripping range.

From there, you can do an arm bar when they try to reach across to push your knee off. You underhook that bicep and lift them onto their side as you push their face down. Step your bracing leg around their back, by their belt, and use it to hold them up on their side. You then grab their leg and arm at the same time, raise your leg-grabbing arm up so their leg has to straighten as you sit back, and extend both for the tap.

Then we rolled a bunch. I got wrecked by a purple belt named Mike, then by Brandon, then the deaf guy. Had a light roll with Jose, then Greggo. After that I had to sit a round out, finishing the final round again with Jose.

805BJJ Class 141: last no-gi, butterfly guard, sweeps and passes, rolling

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

It’s been a long, tiring day.

After morning meeting at UCLA, I went home early and made it to 6pm class. It was the last no-gi class for a while.

We started with some butterfly guard drills and everybody sucked, but I sucked a little bit less than usual. Then Greggo went over some butterfly guard techniques, and everybody caught up to me.

So the idea with the butterfly guard is to hook your feet behind the opponent’s thighs and jam your shins into the front of their thighs to control their legs and hips. At the same time, you need to hold onto their torso, either with an over-under grip or double-unders. You can also jam your head into their sternum to make a more solid connection. To sweep someone with your butterfly guard, you need to scoot their knees back and out from under their trunk, so you need that solid trunk control and then you can alternately scoot your legs forward to drive their knees back using shin pressure on their thighs.

At the end, Jose called me out for acting like a jerk at Costco gas last week. I remembered the time he was talking about after I left – it was when I got stuck in the middle waiting for the slow guy to drip gas into his motorcycle.

805BJJ Class 140: arm bar from the guard, rolling

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Mark and Greg taught this Tuesday morning class. It was a first for me in many ways.

  1. First class since the girls went to Nepal last Thursday
  2. First class in a week
  3. First class since my toes were injected with cortisone

We had a slow and easy warm up because Mark led the show. He’s participating because he’s trying to get into better shape, and his cardio isn’t all that great. So we very slowly eased into our exercises.

The lesson was the arm bar from the guard. Isolating one arm and bringing it across the body. Moving your hips away from the shoulder of the arm you want to attack, so that you can make space for your leg to come up and make a wall on that back side, foot on the hip to help control posture. Frame with your near hand to control the head as you lift your near side leg up to their arm pit and clamp it across their shoulders. Pivot your body perpendicular to their body so you can swing that outside leg over their head and clamp it down on the back of their head.