805BJJ Class 54: arm bar drills, 45 minutes of rolling, 2nd stripe

May 4th, 2017

Woke up Thursday feeling a tiny bit sore since Tuesday’s class, but not too bad. Went early to get gas at Costco.

Coach Mark came, but his knee was messed up so Greggo taught most of the class. After warm up, we did the alternating arm bar spins drill, then arm bar from the guard finishes, then sweep arm bar, then triangles. Then we rolled.

First roll was Cosmo, who got straight from the knees to side control and smashed me. I kept trying to recover guard but he persisted really well, eventually tapping me from pressure.

Next roll was with Phil. I jumped onto his back and was doing alright, but he got me in a kimura grip and was able to use that to get back to guard, and the round ended before he could turn it into a finish. Coach Mark admired his use of that grip. He said I looked good and had lost weight. I maybe lost some fat, but the scale still reads 227.8 lbs. or so.

Next roll was with Dave. He asked what weight class I was in. I told him the 227 number was without the gi, but lean I’d probably be about 175 lbs. He said that was the same as him – he used to weigh 225 lbs. but he’s dieted down to 178 lbs. now. He had a strained back, and our roll started out in unlit territory (I had him in my butterfly guard) and I was thinking of flipping him over his head but didn’t because I didn’t know if it would hurt him. Anyway, I eventually got on top and threatened attacks until the end of the round.

Next roll was with Cosmo again. He again got me down and straight into side control. He again started crushing me mercilessly. But this time he made a mistake in going for a submission, and I got on top and into side control. I then crushed him mercilessly. It eventually forced him to turn away, and I was able to get mount. He tried a collar choke from below, and I was pursuing submissions until the end of the round.

I took the next roll off and talked with Chris a little bit. Then we rolled during the next slot. He started in seated guard, and was able to sweep me and submit me pretty quickly. Then I was able to push him down and throw his feet to the side, and we fought for side control until the end of the round.

At the end of class we did 80 crunches, lined up, and I was awarded my 2nd stripe on my white belt. The first stripe took me 21 classes, and the 2nd one took me 33 classes. At this rate, I should be a blue belt in another 2 years.

The Bogey Man

May 4th, 2017

I had a dream this morning. In it, Saranya and I were visiting a house in the valley. It was like Greg’s house, kind of. Across the street, there was a jet airplane pulling up. They were gunning the engine like a hot rod after driving it through the valley streets from the airport.

Inside the house, Saranya and I had to do a quest. We had to go out the back and through a dark alley. Guarding the way was a statue with a spear. I grabbed the spear and was able to pull it, but the statue kept its grip and walked around me. When I pulled the spear into the light, it came free and the statue disappeared. That’s when I realized that the statue was really the Bogey Man. It was only visible in low light. It was invisible in darkness, and was incorporeal in bright light.

Across the alley was a lantern store, and Saranya had the bright idea of going over and lighting a bunch of lamps. That lit up the alley, and we could go down a ways. But Saranya was sloppy, and left a bunch of dark areas. I tried calling her back (I was too scared to go into the dark with her, apparently) but she was off doing her own thing for a bit. Eventually she came back, but by then a dining crowd had come to the alley and were sitting outside a restaurant next to the lantern store. She made her way through the crowd, and then started going the OTHER WAY through the alley, into pitch blackness! I was petrified. I could see footprints being formed in the dirt on the dark hill next to the alley. I ran out to get Saranya and get her turned around, but when we turned, we saw the shape of a short, bearded caveman guy rushing us at the edge of the illumination from the lantern store. Saranya surprised me again by launching into a flying side kick, which knocked the Bogey Man sideways and made him stagger. I jumped in and cut into his neck with my khukri.

He started arguing with me about the effectiveness of cutting the Bogey Man, so I cut his head entirely from his body, which then started stumbling around reaching for me. I did the Black Knight thing and cut off the arms and one of the legs to render him harmless.

Then I woke up.

805BJJ Class 53: guard attacks on pass attempts, rolling

May 2nd, 2017

Coming back from a week and a half off felt pretty good. Warm ups were so easy that I barely broke a sweat. Just slow motion guard passing. Once all the slowpokes from Krav suited up (TJ and Aaron) we bowed in and got right into closed guard pass defenses stemming from the elbow seam grip.

If your opponent is in your closed guard and they move their knees to start to open your guard, that’s when you get your chance to sweep them. Pull their elbow down toward the ground and pinch them with your knees to scissor them over toward your elbow-grip hand. Once you’ve got them going over, separate your feet to continue the scissor and end up in mount.

If your opponent bases up on one foot (away from the elbow) you can (again) pull them down with the elbow grip while turning to underhook their posted leg, pulling them down onto your hamstring. You can then pendulum them over and mount them.

If your opponent stands up and lifts your hips up, you can lower yourself and then sharply pull them down with your closed guard legs and the elbow grip to break their posture. Then you can overhook their foot (away from your elbow grip) and lever them down as you come on top.

After we drilled those things (I didn’t get a chance to drill the knee pass scissor) we rolled, starting from guard. I started with Aaron, who had a hurt neck and was going 50%. I refrained from grabbing his neck. Easy roll. Focused on technique and base rather than winning, and it set the tone for the whole day.

Then I rolled with TJ, who had a tweaked back. He passed my guard and tried to get me in a crucifix, but I kept getting my arm out. He thought I’d seen the technique before but I just knew my arm was in peril and brought it back to safety.

I rolled with Rick next, and was immediately uncomfortable in his butterfly guard. I again took a measured approach, and only got tapped out 2 or 3 times.

Then I rolled with Greggo, and he walked me through an arm bar.

Next was Dave, who I was able to almost finish with an arm bar (he escaped), and again almost finish at the end with a collar choke. He coached me on the finish but we ran out of time.

At the end I rolled with Ryan, and though I went easy on him, I was able to dismantle him. He was so dead tired, and had no technique, so he was basically a talking grappling dummy.

I got out of the class feeling pretty good, with no serious injuries.

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

April 29th, 2017

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.

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

April 22nd, 2017

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.

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

April 20th, 2017

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.

805BJJ Class 51: mount escapes, rolling

April 18th, 2017

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.

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

April 13th, 2017

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.

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

April 11th, 2017

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.

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

April 8th, 2017

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.