Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Jiu-Jitsu (Page 5 of 5)

BJJ Open Mat August 27, 2016

Cooked. Bonked. Spent.

Started off with my own vicious cycle and got a good sweat going quickly. Rolled with Frank after that with the expected results.

Rolled with Alicia after that–first roll with her, and it was really good. Trying to not use strength and weight for offense. Not ashamed to use it for defense though because she was constantly attacking. She had my back a couple of times, and when I was in side control she was consistently grabbing my foot with her feet. None of the guys I’ve rolled with have the flexibility to do that.

Then Ed showed up. Another marathon session. Same result–arm bar on me after about ~30 minutes. Still unable to finish arm bar twice and had what I thought was a really deep triangle but couldn’t get it ended. I was completely on empty at the end. I was literally laying on my side with my eyes closed happy that I was able to defend that position for several minutes before I got caught. Afterwards I was happy to lie on my back in a pool of my own sweat.

Went to the beach after for more of the same. Realized after I got some food in me and my head back that I was completely calorie depleted. No more rolling without any food. Rest day earned.

Three Choke Attacks On Turtle – BJJ Training August 25, 2016

Warmups and straight into KoM.

For technique, we learned three chokes when opponent is in turtle:

No gi d’arce choke (no gi brabo choke?)

  • Slice knee in to split opponent and hand on head for control
  • Open lapel by placing hand under belly, then remove hand from head and grip lapel
  • Baseball slide through and roll opponent to hip, walk top leg to trap opponent leg

Like this

Defended, so go to the other side

  • If opponent closes his side to block the knee, reach around to the openside of the body and get the same choke on the other side

Rodeo Choke

  • Head hand grips lapel 4 out
  • Control opponent’s hips and step over
  • Continue rotation and throw step foot over opponent’s head
  • Fall to mat, get ready for a quick tap (This one really hurts)

Like this:

Had a pretty good roll with Norm. Of course, he still dominated me, but I felt like I was a little tougher to deal with. That was probably manufactured by him. I got to side control for a couple of seconds before he got right out of it. It’s hard to tell how much he’s giving me and how much I’m earning, but I’m getting better I think.

Next up, I rolled with Joe, who is a lot quicker than me and also dominated me for the most part. Was forced into a turtle defense with him and he was much more effective at breaking it than others have been–definitely showed me what someone with more technique could do with where I am right now.

Side Control Options – BJJ Training Log August 24, 2016

Made it to the morning class today–got started a little late, but it was just Louis and me. After stretching we went straight to technique and got to work on three different things. This was cool, because Tuesday night training was a total beat down, and we were still feeling it 12 hours later.

Side Control to Mount #1

  • Body side elbow tight to the hip with hand in armpit for hip control
  • Roll hip to reverse kesa gatame
  • Drive off of foot and scoot hip to fold opponent’s knees over
  • Hand to legs and knee on quad
  • Slice knee to mat and flop foot to avoid quarter guard
  • Slide foot under opponent’s leg

Side Control to Mount #2

  • C cup, pull close thigh up and punch it forward, stacking legs.
  • Step into the hole between legs
  • Remove hand, and he’ll naturally turn in, allowing to slice the knee and flop foot

Gi Choke from Side Control

  • Remove lapel from belt on the hip side and take out the slack
  • Feed to cross face arm using hand or mouth
  • Hand back to hip and move legs towards head
  • Head to hip hand

BJJ Training Log August 23, 2016

Burner. We picked the wrong day to spend at the beach before class, because this one tore me down. Awsum.

Warmups got a lot tougher today with shots and sprawls mixed into the usually light jog. Technique was a butterfly guard pass and a butterfly sweep.


  • Hands grip outside knee and label (same sides as hands)
  • Snake knee hand side foot in, then drop step around when foot hits mat. Causes an X with the arms–leave it until knees are positioned
  • Switch hands to side control


  • Cuff grip and punch opponent’s hand down
  • Reach around and grip belt with other hand
  • Drop cuff side knee down and under
  • Lift belt side leg, rolling to shoulder

King of the mat with three down and four up, so not much break there. Then we went into rolls starting in bad positions and just roll from there. I had Norm’s back to start, which didn’t last long, but it’s the only time I’ve ever had that. LOL. Next Joe had me in side control. Took me a while, but I was able to get out. He was about 2 seconds away from finishing a triangle, but I was able to escape.

Then we actually rolled. Had two really good rounds with Ed and Louis. Pulled guard with Ed to start and he passed pretty easily (which means I need to work more) and got me in side control. Defended the mount and eventually worked up to one myself. Attempted baseball bat choke and seated triangle but could finish neither.

Went next with Louis–we were already pretty spent. Took me about half the round to pass his guard (also need to work on). He was able to work me back into guard and sweep me, but I immediately got a good triangle attempt. I was focused on stuffing the arm before pulling the head and thrusting, but he told me later I had it deep and could have finished. Dang! Ended the round with an arm but not able to finish. Pattern developing here.

BJJ Training Open Mat 8.20.2016

Ana and I did a little bit of drilling. I’ve been landing in good spots for submissions but unable to finish them, so I want to try out the details of a couple of chokes. I did discover that the reason I’m having trouble finishing rear naked chokes is because of the width of my shoulders and lack of flexibility leave a lot of space on the grab arm. We figured out a variation I could use to get the pressure with the blade of my hand by a different method, and then Coach Frank showed me an even better option that would be harder to defend against.

We also worked on two armbar escapes. Ana’s needed a little more movement than mine (surprise), but they are both good depending on the situation.

Another cool thing I realized is that I can use a small foam roller or a large pool noodle to simulate someone’s neck and really feel where the pressure is being applied. Should help me improve the small angles and hand positions for chokes.

Then I tested out a fitness drill I’ve been thinking of–Circle of Death with jiu-jitsu drills for six rounds. For this one I used thrusts + figure 4s, sit-throughs  with rotations, hops from knees to feet, and one-armed get ups (still need some kettle bells to make this one legit).

Then I rolled with Frank. A bunch. Lost count of how many times he could have submitted me and how many times he gave me an opening to see what I would do. For instance, he mounted and grapevined me, but when I put my hands on his hips he released my legs and let me work the escape he taught us last week. I didn’t get my knees pulled to chest and butterfly, but I did get one in to turn and shrimp.

He dropped some knowledge in between rolls too

  • Slow and tight is better than fast and leaving space, so don’t worry about feeling like I’m plodding
  • Top positions are working great for me, so start off in guard and give up those positions with equal training partners–work to get there to improve the other side of the game
  • But don’t give up top position if I’m ever in a competition. Time  is limited, and I’m way stronger on top than on bottom at this point since I don’t really have any submissions I can reliably finish from my guard
  • Defense is improving, so being frustrating will hopefully cause opponents to open up opportunities

BJJ Training Log August 18, 2016

I had to miss on Tuesday night, and I already felt a little behind.

Technique was an escape from side control:

  • Inside elbow to the ground and hand on hip
  • Outside hand across face and grip the trap
  • Oopa and get the underhook with outside hand
  • Reverse shrimp through the hole created with underhook
  • Head pushes down arm and transition to their back
  • Option from the oopa is to bring blocking knee across the lap and hook the hip to regain guard

We did King of the Mat, and poor Norm got stuck for the whole duration because nobody could pass his guard. I made it down a couple of times against Ana and Ed, but then lost my spot to Rudy. Got arm barred by Rudy once and triangled by Norm once. Lost my back and side control all the other times.

Had a good roll with Ed and was able to attempt 4 different submissions in 6 minutes–guillotine,  baseball bat, arm bar, and arm triangle. Unfortunately could not finish any. Have to get better at the details that allow the finishes. Especially the baseball bat. I have no idea was I was missing there.

Had another good roll with Rudy. He tapped me pretty early by just driving all the air out of my chest and getting me locked up so that I couldn’t breathe at all. After that I was able to pass and maintain side control for a while. Sensed his escape attempt and adjusted to North/South when he went for it.

Oopa Mount Escape – BJJ Training Log August 11, 2016

We worked on the mount escape again, this time finishing it off with a sweep.

  • Elbows to ground to prevent high guard, head up
  • Make ‘L”s with hands on opponent’s hips
  • Inch active toes up to booty
  • Oopa with toes and hands, bringing knees to chest
  • Opponent lands in butterfly guard
  • Gable grip around back
  • Kick legs and sit up
  • Overhook elbow tight
  • Kick opposite leg and roll 45 degrees to shoulder

We also worked an armbar from there if they post the hand, and this was pretty cool–duck head under the post arm and fall backwards–head on elbow and lift wrist.

This was by far my best night of rolling–was still mostly in survival mode, but was far more offensive against better opponents, and the survival was working much better as well.

I need to focus on finishing chokes. I’m getting into good positions a lot–hands in the right place in good body position to start, but I’m not finishing. I’m guessing it’s the little stuff like how I twist my elbows in each one, shifts in body weight, and angles. I tend to get excited about the positions and forget the little details involved.


BJJ Training Log – August 9, 2016


Escape from mount to take back:

  • Elbows to ground to prevent high guard, head up
  • Make ‘L”s with hands on opponent’s hips
  • Inch active toes up to booty
  • Oopa with toes and hands, bringing knees to chest
  • Opponent lands in butterfly guard
  • Gable grip around back
  • Kick legs and sit up
  • Post hand and shrug off arm, tuck head and take back

Roll with Dan

Roll with Louis

Roll with Ed

Roll with Frank

Smash Pass – BJJ Training Log August 4, 2016

Fun warmup with some of the tougher things added today. We did a trip down the floor with shots, which my knees just can’t do any longer…at least not until I’m ready to buy a new ACL. The jumps from knees to feet are pretty easy for me now, and even the sit-out-and-rotate is a lot better.

For technique tonight we worked on the smash pass again along with a choke we can work if we’re caught in quarter guard when sliding through.

  • Get to passing headquarters with the foot in deep. My shin to their hamstring.
  • Punch down the opposite hand with cuff grip and cross collar grip to pull them up.
  • Elbow tight to knee with the collar grip. Smash opponent sideways and start the lawnmower
  • Knee follows

Armbar To Take Back From Guard – BJJ Training Log – August 2, 2016

The warm up was pretty standard with no new things introduced. I like it that we’re doing more partnered warm ups now–KoB, transition from one side control to the other after an underhook, guard retention etc.

The technique section was progressive. First we worked on an armbar from guard, then we added a transition to back from the single leg defense. The last step was setting up the bow and arrow choke from there. I’m going to try to remember all the steps and tips from the beginning, but I expect I’m leaving something out.

  • Hands on wrists, grab opposite tricep of one arm
  • Break guard for foot on him on the trapped arm side to rotate, elbows tight
  • Release wrist hold hand and control head, bring leg over
  • Squeeze thighs and heels to floor, scoot in to close distance
  • Kimura grip to break the defense
  • When leg is captured in half-guard, control arm at tricep, post other hand, and release head–natural reaction of opponent is to sit up
  • Use post hand to quickly attack back
  • Go to deep collar grip and roll opponent to bring leg across the lap and underhook the leg.
  • Leg over shoulder–for me, had to rock back the other way to make up for stiff hips


4:00 with Norm. Honestly, was a little preoccupied mentally, and not sure what I was doing other than surviving based on what I’ve been reading in Jiu-Jitsu University. I was able to work on technique when opponent has my back and from turtle. Boring, but seemed effected. He got a triangle on me that I did a decent job of defending for a while, but he still got it.

4:00 with Louis. His hand is still bothering him, so we started with him in my guard. He passed much more easily than last time, and we were back and forth for a while. I got his back, but I was high and couldn’t get a good balance. Attempted to roll for the bow and arrow, but no dice. We ended with him in my guard and me trying to work for a cross choke.

4:00 with Robert (new): As bad as I am, it’s hard to say I “took it easy”, but I definitely took the opportunity to work on technique over strength with him. Saw lots of places where better artists would have attempted arm bars. I ended up getting a triangle–not deep, but I got it. After that, explained to him one of the only things I know–extended arms from within someones guard will mean arm bars.

4:00 with Norm again. This time we started with me in side control. I was actually able to hold it for a few seconds. I think he could tell I was toasted mentally and physically, and it turned into much more of a flow roll.

BJJ Training Log – OPEN MAT – July 30, 2016

Lots of stretching and warming up for the first hour. I needed it. Did a squat/pushup/situp pyramid and a 15 minute yoga routine, then held the pads for the kids to strike and rolled around with them some.

Was getting ready to suggest going to the beach, but then Visiting Ben showed up (PB) and we rolled some. Maybe my most valuable session of rolling so far. We went a few rounds, then he walked me through where some of my holes are (defending armbar) and drilled with me on a side control arm bar I can use. More than anything, he gave me a bunch of wisdom and advice.

First thing–“Go home and write down what you learn.  You can even throw it away after, but go home and mentally review every session. Write down every step to a new technique you learn.”

So here are my mental steps for the arm bar we worked:

  • Feed shoulder
  • Trap arm with head-side leg
  • Wiper-blade arm trap to the other leg
  • Far side arm by the tricep and heavy with the elbow
  • Head-side arm to the ground to prevent head movement
  • Replace head-side arm with head-side foot
  • Trap leg down (controlling head) and squeeze the arm with thighs
  • Body side knee to the air or over-body. Tight thighs.
  • Not always necessary to go all the way to floor for arm-bar. Hips high first, THEN shoulders to the floor.

Arm bar escape–I was recognizing and defending, but the defense was pretty easy to break. To escape, defend and roll with the goal of getting the elbow to the ground.

Full mount advice–got the high knees into the armpits, but post the non-head control hand and you can’t be moved. Be heavy, rest, breathe, wait for a mistake.

I let him know that I feel bad about doing that from side control or mount in class because I feel like it’s taking away my partner’s chance to improve. He said if I’m getting a guy there all the time, we need to work from there. You end up in the position you deserve to be in. The other guy needs to learn how to get out, and I need to learn how to be heavier and hold it better.

Moving (especially when you are big, slow, and inexperienced) creates space. You don’t want space. any movement from a good position should be to improve that position, tightening it up. Wait for the desperate mistake.

Half-guard underhook–serve high pizza. From the top, whizzer that.

BJJ Training Log July 28, 2016

12 People at class tonight–three new people and a visitor from NY. Awesome!

Warmups are getting pretty easy for me now. They are actually just warming me up instead of wearing me out. I did 45 minutes on the bike at HR 120 right before class, so I was already pretty warm. Standard stuff with jump-ups, crawls, guard retention, and hip thrusts for triangle. Then we did partner drill (Ed) for KoB and stepping around the head to switch sides.

Technique–again working with Ed

We worked on triangle from guard and turning failed triangle to arm bars. The key for both of us was rotating for the little angles in the triangle, especially at the end. We both sort of preferred just going for the armbar from that position because, being bigger, it’s tougher for us to scoot into the rotations for the best position–definitely something to work on–and the feeling right now (I’m sure this is will be proved wrong) is that the armbar is way more natural for us.


6:00 with New Dan (WB)–Taller than me, maybe a little stronger. A little heavier and a little more experience. He works stiff. He immediately got me into some sort of lock on my legs that I had to tap. We haven’t learned any of that stuff yet, so I don’t feel bad. Was pretty back and forth the rest of the time. I made him eat my weight from side control for a little bit. He got me again with a slice across the mouth that made me eat the gi right before time. #Survive

6:00 with Ben (PB, visiting)–This dude wore me out, but I was pretty happy with how I did. I probably had 40 pounds on him. I know he wasn’t going all out, but he tapped me twice–triangle and arm bar. Pulled two sweeps on me that I saw coming a mile away and could do nothing about, which was funny. He gave me a side control gift for a little while. #TryToSurvive.

6:00 with Louis (WB)–Louis is pretty banged up and asked to go more as a flow roll. So happy to do that because I was exhausted from Ben and he has helped me so much already. I know that I’m heavy, and that’s pretty much all I know, so I get it that people who are injured don’t want to just suffer my shoulder in their face. I immediately pulled guard and held that for 5:30. Very relaxed and he worked to pass. Showed the armbar and triangle when he opened them up, but didn’t attempt to take them. When he defended I released. He passed and I worked on defending side control for the last 30 seconds. #Defend.

6:00 with Norm (PB)–Norm is maybe my favorite person to roll with right now because he can flatten me at will. And he’ll do it too. I know I don’t offer him very much of a fight though, and I feel bad about that. We’re about the same size, so I’m hoping a benefit I can give him is that I’m strong enough that he has to think more about technique than size/strength. But I’m sure he’s way past that and already has really solid technique. I know he passes my guard very quickly and I haven’t made it out of his yet. The best I’ve gotten is maybe 3/4.  He completely wrecked me with an arm drag that included some jewel mining, but he was nice enough to show it to me. He also coached me through an escape from mount. Maybe the highlight for me was that he went for a bow and arrow, and I recognized it from class on Tuesday and was able to defend it until time ran out. #TryToSurvive

Yes…everyone still beats me, but I’m ok with that. Losing is learning and improving.

My First Month of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

I’m definitely not a great athlete, but I really love doing physical stuff. Always have. Whatever sport I’m doing, I’m at least willing to work hard for the gains, which is a good thing, because they aren’t going to come to me naturally.

One of the things I wish I’d done (literally) decades ago is kept a journal of my relationships with rugby and running. I’ve done that with triathlon to some extent, and it’s pretty cool to go back and look at all the things I’ve learned, all the mistakes I’ve made, and all the things I didn’t understand until I matured in the sport a little bit and (just like I do with everything else) learned the hard way.

Luckily, I can do that with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After one month of training, and I’m completely hooked. Even better than that, I’m like a newborn baby seeing and experiencing things while at the same time being fully aware that there’s a whole level of understanding to what we’re doing that I can’t comprehend yet.

So here’s a quick summary of my experience with BJJ so far. I’m guessing every single thing I’m experiencing has been experienced by millions of people already, but…


  • How’d you get that submission?
  • Do it again!
  • How’d you do it so quickly?
  • I have to improve my cardio.
  • How do I defend that?
  • Ribs!
  • Ok, how were you still able to get that–what did I forget to do?
  • When I did defend it, how did you get the next submission?
  • Wow…my whole family really loves this! I’m glad I won’t be boring them to death when this is all I want to talk about.
  • Cardio needs improvement, but isn’t as bad as I thought. Mostly I have to relax more.
  • Now I’ve read and watched some videos, and my mind is blown. Literally blown. This goes so much deeper and wider than I could have ever imagined.
  • I can’t soak this up fast enough, and my body can’t keep up with my head when I do absorb something.

Week 2:

  • Hey! I recognize this situation, and I know what I’m supposed to do here! Why can’t I remember the first step and execute it?
  • Wasn’t planning on training tonight, but I really want to. We already made other plans. That sucks.
  • Wow. Rolling with someone new completely changes everything.
  • How can I get more new people here?
  • I can mark my progress against the more experienced guys by the fact that it’s at least taking them longer to submit me. And now I’m making different mistakes.
  • My primary training partner is equal to me in size, strength, and experience and it feels like we just lay on each other because we are limited by our knowledge and experience.
  • Gym closed today. That sucks.
  • I’m so glad my kids are into this. What a tremendous skill for them to have.

Week 3:

  • Next time I roll with that guy and get in that situation, I got a little something for him.
  • Now, why did I have to work so hard for it? Please show me the technique that won’t require that kind of muscle/time.
  • I know where I feel most comfortable for now. By “comfortable” I mean the place I can make my opponent most uncomfortable.
  • This has all of a sudden become the reason to running, cycling, stretching, yoga, and an NSNG diet.
  • Foam roller being used for real.
  • More relaxed now.
  • “Position Over Submission” is going on the next coffee mug I buy.
  • Gym closed today. That sucks.
  • Can we just bring dinner to the gym in some plastic containers so we can roll for an extra 30 minutes?

Week 4:

  • Morning classes soon please?
  • My submission from last week won’t be happening to him again for a while. He saw that coming from a mile away.
  • Hey…we’re not laying on each other! We’re moving a lot more!
  • But this other guy moves so much faster and so much more that by the time I recognize a situation we’re already two positions past it.
  • New rule–you kids can roll all you want, but no submissions or chokes allowed without adult supervision. Be careful with your friends.
  • I think if I got jumped in the street I could do a pretty good job of keeping myself safe until help arrived. Probably couldn’t do too much damage, but that’s ok. At least I could defend myself and walk away without getting my face smashed in.
  • We’re not really ready to look for a house yet, but we are shopping for mats.
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