Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Tonight was SWWWEEET! Big Dawg went over one of my favorite positions...deep half guard. I first discovered this position from Roberto Tozi, when he came to our school for a seminar a year or so ago. I then saw a bunch of cool stuff on it from the awesome Aesopian's web site.
Clint went over the principles of half guard, and then how to obtain deep half guard from there. You have to always watch the crossface!
We learned what we call "the Tozi sweep" from this position, where you underhook the guys leg and grab a bunch of gi tight with the hand by your head. You then pendulum sweep him back. It's one of my favorites, so I was excited to have Clint show a couple great details. Clint also told a JG story of how he used this guard when he was just a blue/purple belt and messed everyone up with it.
Monday, March 30, 2009
It's important to be dynamic in BJJ. Check out this interview Roger Gracie did with Gracie Magazine. His answers make me think about how I can change up my game.
GRACIEMAG.com: Roger, Is pulling guard your first choice in a fight?
ROGER GRACIE: The option of pulling guard depends on the fight, it varies according to the strategy laid out.
GRACIEMAG.com: What's your favorite style of guard (spider, half, open, closed)?
ROGER: To tell you the truth I don't have a preferred style of guard, I think if you limit yourself to one style your adversaries will quickly find a way to dominate you.
GRACIEMAG.com: From the guard, what's your favorite attack?
ROGER: My favorite attack is whichever one my opponent offers me. Any attack at the right moment will always be the ideal attack and not the one you go looking for the whole time making it obvious and allowing your opponent to prevent it.
GRACIEMAG.com: What makes a great guard?
ROGER: A great guard is one that makes your adversary uncomfortable the whole time, not letting him adjust himself and not giving him room to pass your guard.
GRACIEMAG.com: Do you have any secret or detail that makes your guard special?
ROGER: There's no secret to my guard, for anyone wanting to have an effective guard the secret is called training and not getting stuck in any specific style. The more variations you have the better your chances of surprising your adversary.
GRACIEMAG.com: Who taught you the guard and how did you perfect it?
ROGER: The one to teach me most was training, the more you train the more mistakes that become apparent, thus making it easier to work on them. Your best teacher will always be you. Of course no one learns by himself. If it weren't for my teachers I'd never have made it to where I am, but everything you learn has to be adapted to your body type. A single position can be performed in several different ways.
GRACIEMAG.com: Who has the best guard you've ever seen?
ROGER: The best guard I've seen was Roleta's. He's super flexible and has really strong legs.
GRACIEMAG.com: Who's given your guard the hardest time?
ROGER: I don't think any one person gave me a harder time than any other. I've had several fights where I found myself in complicated positions but with a bit of time and concentration I recovered bit by bit.
GRACIEMAG.com: Do you feel comfortable when under pressure from someone trying to pass your guard?
ROGER: Whenever someone is on top that person is trying to pass your guard. There will always be pressure from them, the important think is to never let anyone get comfortable and control you to the point where it's too late to prevent him from passing. Always maintain a position that works in your favor.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Gi was well worth it with the oft mentioned, and much appreciated Mr. Hyde.
We started off class with HIIT sprints. We haven't really sprinted much (if at all) since the Arnolds. This was no joke and I was pretty wasted after the 10 minute cycle. Hyde then of course did his deranged chain of inhumane strength drills that make you want to cry. Good times!
We worked triangle drills for a while, before getting to Hydes meat for the day: the turtle guard. We started with some drills, playing around in the turtle position...moving around, getting a grasp of where to put your grips and where to move (never behind the guy).
The Man-Beast then showed some escape techniques for us to practice....the roll out to full guard, the shrip out to half guard//underhook, and finally his patented rolling straight armlock. We got ample time to work these out with Mr. Hyde pacing the room, making subtle corrections to everyone.
Raw-Hyde then showed us a good offensive move for breaking down the turtle. You grap the very back of their collar and their far side gi pant by the ankle. You stand up and brace their body with your knee. You then roll the over their shoulder by you. Hyde said he learned this at JG's school in Cincinnatti, and this guy that showed it was 5'3" and 200 lbs of raw muscle...and that he pretty much cleaned and jerked guys! I wasn't QUITE that impressive when trying it on Mark Thesz, but thought it was a good move that I want to play with.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Dan-O had us do a nice long warmup before starting a variety of partner drills. We did buddy carries, situps, and a bunch of other cruel stuff.
After the hearty warmup Dan-O showed us where he really shines...his effortless technique. We first worked a scissor sweep variation from 93 guard (watch Robson Moura for details). Dan-O showed some good details on the posish, telling us the how important good knee placement is. We worked this one with a same side lapel grip and same side You shrimp out, open your guard, brace your bottom leg against the opponents...then fall to your side as you kick you upper leg for the scissor sweep. Very nice!
Next Dan-O showed us a half butterfly sweep with these same grips. You can work this position for the first sweep, and do this version if the guy traps one of your legs in a butterfly position. You need to get TIGHT to the man first and foremost. You then scoop under him, getting all his weight on top of you as you roll back. Simultaneously you kick your butterflied hook up and kick the man over for the sweep.
Dan rocked the house in one of his first teaching gigs ever! I look forward to many more lessons from Prof. Pain!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Luckily it didn't matter. No one showed up except Dan-O (tough blue belt extraordinaire). Dan wasn't even planning on rolling, but when no one showed up, graciously offered to help me get some work in. We rolled for about 3-4 10-15 minute rounds and he worked his unstoppable, methodical game on me almost at will. I was in defense mode most of the battle. He helped me with reguarding when getting caught in half butterfly. Dan is really tough in the position after working with Mr. Hyde who is deadly from bottom in all positions.
It was a great and effective time, and I really appreciate Dan for helping a brother out!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
We went over the spider guard position after our workout, and Ryan reviewed the basic concepts of the spider guard. He had everyone play around with it until the mostly white belt class somewhat understood. He then showed the sweeps that Hermes showed us in the seminar this past sunday. They both start in spider guard and then have you sit up grabbing a De la Riva hook. The first sweep you kick the back leg out and drop towards the ground, making the enemy fall. The second one, you sit up, letting go of the grips and suck the hooked leg back, taking him down. Clint chimed in a few times after watching out shitty technque and gave a few details to help with the positions.
We had about 30 minutes of sparring, and I tried to work out of side control and bad positions as much as possible.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
It was a markedly different class from pre-Arnolds, but crazy fun nonetheless. We did a lot of warmup and drilling. Clint went over a couple of the chokes we learned at the Hermes Franca seminar, and showed some nice details with them to brutalize the transaction. We drilled these for a while, and got a lot of good reps in.
We did live rolling for the last 45 minutes of class. I rolled with a bunch of fellow white belts, as not too many high ranking guys showed up for this class. It was a blast as always, and I am trying to balance my deadly guard with some quality top control.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Hermes is a super nice guy and has a sick BJJ game. I attended his gi seminar, but not his MMA seminar, since I'm too pretty to get punched repeatedly in the face. Actually I'm just too old, if I was 20, I'd be all about it.
Hermes showed us several series of techniques. He showed us De La Riva sweeps set up from the spider guard. The first one he showed us was to obtain the DLR hook and sit up, keeping both your grips. You push out the opponenets back leg and fall on your side to the floor. Follow on top of the man to knee on belly.
The next one is also when you have the DLR hook. This one you let go of your spider guard grips, lift your ass up a little, and push forward in a single leg motion, straightening out his leg you have laced. This causes him to fall backwards. Stay LOW and take caution passing as you are open for a triangle.
The final one in this series was spider guard to oma plata. A similar version is shown below.
Another series that Hermes taught was a couple gi chokes. The first one was from what Robson Moura calls the "little hands choke" position. Once you have established this position you grab the guys gi in between his neck and "little hand" palm up with 4 fingers. You then baseball slide out, bringing your elbows together for a vicious choke.
A different choke Hermes showed was a knee on belly cross choke. You obtain knee on belly, get a deeeep cross collar grip. A good opponent will then try and defend your free arm from finishing the choke, so you take his wrist and pull it down acrossed his body, sprawling out on the arm. This puts a lot of pressure on the man, and leaves the other side of the neck open to grap the gi and finish the cross choke violently =)
Hermes showed a couple more techniques as well, and moved around pretty good considering he just had knee surgery a short while ago. I have been doing BJJ for 16-17 months now, and I have had the priviledge to train not only with black belt Clint Crabtree (the Big Dawg himself), but also black belts Jorge Gurgel, Fernando Neto, Roberto Tozi, Robson Moura, Carlson Gracie Jr., and now Hermes Franca. I am so proud to be part of a world class organization like GRBJJ! It's hard not to take for granted what Clint has built here! Thank him next time you see him!
Friday, March 20, 2009
I got to class around 7:30pm and saw a couple guys on the mat still. I ran in the back to change and got a couple rolls in to get my fix. As a cool bonus, I got to work with Brandon Klein for a good half an hour after class rolling. We worked on half guard, as Brandon is trying to tighten up his bottom game (his half guard top is deadly).
There was a lot of commotion going on, with all the fighters eating and rehydrating. I stayed after rolling with Brandon and helped clean up a little bit and hung out with Brandon, James, Molly, and kids. I'm pumped for the PLFC tomorrow! I get to sit in the VIP next to Hermes Franca! It's gonna be ridiculously crazy. Sunday is the Hermes seminar, and I know Jon Stutzman (Jorge Gurgel's first blackbelt) is coming too, and I am very excited!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
We then did a new drill Chris has us doing where we get 3 man groups and each take a turn in guard for 6 rounds. The drill has one man staying in guard, with 30 second live rolling rounds. The goal for both combatants is to score a point. If you don't score a point, you have to do pushups. The fresh man from the group comes in after each rounds while the bottom man stays. We do this until all three guys have cycled through. This is a lot of fun and a great workout.
We didn't learn any of Cramptons crazy moves today, but instead did 45+ minutes of live rolling! This was a ton of fun and I got a ton of fun rolls in. I focussed on my half guard and sweeps and was moderately effective. Chris mixed things up as people kept sitting out. He decreed that if you sat you, you would have to do 20-30 pushups to earn your way back on the mat! The amount varied round to round, but this helped keep people in the game.
Fun class! Awesome job, Chris!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Hyde pronounces at the start of class that we are going to do a lot of cardio today. I was shocked (sarcasm meter is at 10)! Hyde is a cardio king and put us through his usual routine of HIIT sprints and various strength training and yoga like body weight excercises. It gets you very exhausted, very quickly.
We then did our drilling of the kneebar flow drill and triangle drill. There were some newer people to the no-gi class, so Hyde took some time to explain the positions, breaking them down piece by piece. We took a lot of time to make sure everyone got to work through the positions to understand the concepts.
For the technical portion of class, Hyde focused on armdrags. He showed various setups from different positions and explained the underlying concepts. Hyde has a gift for discovering the core movements of some complex techniques, and dumbing them down to a level where white belts can easily understand. We spent a lot of time practicing these drags between everyone.
We then got a TON of rolling in. I rolled with everyone, and before you know it class time was over. That didn't stop Ryan who was ready for more. I was very fortunate to get to roll with Ryan and Crazy Bob for a half an hour after class! I am so blessed to have such great mentors and training partners. They are patient with me and help me out more then they know.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I did the regulard class tonight, and Clint went over some concepts and mistakes that he noticed at the Arnolds. He spent the most time on the standing guard pass, which was awesome since I suck at it and it has been something I have been working on for like a year now. The primary mistake people (like me) were making was we were keeping our head down. Clint emphasized to keep good posture throughout with your head straight up and your hips out, humping the air in front of you (if you will). The other main point I got (kind of, as I keep screwing up), is that when you stand up and the opponent doesn't come up with you, you should let go of his arm and go straight to the same side knee pass. I need a lot of work with this, but see the light that with enough repetitions it will become and unstoppable pass.
We finished up with live rolling for the last 20 minutes or so of class. I feel like this class was tailored for me, as It is one of the major parts of my game I am working on.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Yeah yeah, it's my birthday and I'm all old and shit. I'm going to spend the weekend with my lovely wife. We're going to the D and staying at a hotel with Jacuzzi. I booked the "romance package" that comes with champaign and chocolates =) We're going shopping and out to dinner at Little Italy in Northville, which was rated as one of Metro Detroits "most romantic" restaurants.
I know a birthday without BJJ is hardly worth having, but rest assured I will be back, ready for action on Tuesday!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Chris then showed his favorite Robinho guard passes. The first version he showed was when you take a same side lapel grip. You pull back tight so your elbow is next to your same side hip. The other arm you grap his sleeve and pull back tight. You put your knee in the butt, and then swing your leg (the one holding his sleeve) out hard in one motion. This should open the guard. If it doesn't that's ok. You push down on the knee to open his guard more, then slide your same side knee over his leg. You then continue to pass as normal.
The second variation Crampton showed was Robson's single lapel pass. Robson can show it better then I can explain it, so check out that link. This is a sweet pass, but I have trouble with it against resisting opponents. I need to work on it a little more and focus on getting the lapel below the guys elbow.
We then had time for a couple live rolls before we had to clear it out for wrestling practice. After class I learned some exciting news that we are going to pick up our new cage for our school. This should help boost our MMA program to even greater heights!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Mr. Hyde put 8 guys through a tough workout including his famous HIIT sprints, isometric excercises, and perverse pushups that make grown men make gregorian grunting sounds.
We then did Hydes patented kneebar flow drill and modified triangle drill. Ryan took time to explain in detail the "what" and "why" of each part of the position to the newbs.
We then went over the Hyde-o-plata or what some people refer to as the "carni" from half guard. This is one of my favorite moves, so I'm always excited to go over again to try and pick up some small details I may have missed. Ryan explained the entire position and setup in detail. You have to be on your side, shrimp out, and push the head away. Your bottom leg is not so much of a concern. If you can use it to hook the back leg, great. If not, no big deal. Hyde prefers the guy rolling anyways to end up on top. This move always gets some ooohs and aaahs from the peanut gallery.
After playing with the Hyde-o-plata for a while, Ryan showed a sweep he's been working on from bottom side control. It is a pendulum sweep variation when the guy isolates your arm threatening a straight arm lock. You need to use your pinned arm to secure his arm, then reach back for his back leg (the opposite one from what you would do a typical pendulum sweep like the video. You lift your legs (and hips) in the air and use the momentem to sit up on your butt, sweeping him over. People had some problems getting the exact timing down, so this may be one we need more reps with. I hit it solid a few times and it becomes effortless to sweep the guy over.
We finished up with live rolling well passed the scheduled class time =)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Chris "crazy vegan ass" Crampton took the reigns and we hid cardio hard. No rest for the wicket. Tournament Shmermament. We didn't really do any sprinting, but did a ton of takedown drilling with varying levels of resistance, and then guard passing ring of fire style, with Chris callilng out for us to reset every minute or so. I was extremely tired after this.
Chris showed his infamous "flip over choke" series, using your own gi to choke your opponent. Chris showed his 3 favorite variations, all of which are deadly submissions.
We finished class with some rolling.
Only 3 months till Naga Chicago! =)
Monday, March 9, 2009
I only had one guy in my masters intermediate no-gi division. He shot a single on me. Because of all of the stand up work Clint had us drilling, I did not panic and easily countered him, breaking down his posture and taking his back. I took my time when I was on his back. Clint tells us to secure a position, and go when YOU are ready. Clint was there rolling with me. Ryan Hyde tells me to secure a backpack position from the back, and then focus on getting one arm around the neck, as opposed to the prototypical immediate figure four lock. Hyde was there rolling with me. I ended up tapping the guy with the RNC.
In the masters blue belt gi division, things didn’t go so smooth. My first match was against the eventual champion, who stormed through the division with ease. Come to find out he is undefeated in BJJ and a high ranking judoka. I was not afraid. I went in for a single leg takedown with confidence. Big Dawg has us drill takedowns for a reason, and he was there rolling with me. This guy was very strong and picked me up by my gi and threw me on my back. I did not panic. I stayed on the leg tight and went into the deep half guard position. Thank you Roberto Tozi and Clint for helping me feel comfortable here. They were both there rolling with me. I attempted 2 Tozi sweeps and came 90% close to sweeping the guy. Most guys would have gone down, but hats off to this tough competitor as he had great base. Although the “Tozi sweep” didn’t work, I did not panic. I knew I had more options. I first thought to try and transition from half guard to x guard. Thanks to Chris Crampton, I knew exactly what to do and had plans to shrimp out and put in the x guard hook. Chris was there rolling with me. Unfortunately, this did not work in the situation, as the opponent grabbed my collar and began choking me. I still am ok, and comfortable that my training provides me more options. The opponent had other ideas and eventually got his grip very tight on my collar across my neck. He sprawled back and I began gurgling and turning purple. I still did not panic. I have been in the position many times with my teammates! After what seemed like a minute, but was probably closer to 20 seconds, I saw the bright light and decided to tap rather then go visit Helio for a few minutes.
Since there were only 5 in the division I got a 2nd match for 3rd and 4th place against some guy from Saulo Ribeiro named Juan. Juan pulled guard on me, but I countered falling down to a knee lead position. I was pretty comfortable doing this, since I had just been drilling it with Charles. Charles was there rolling with me. We were fighting for grips, and Juan eventually closed his guard on me. Juan went for a deep cross collar grip from guard, but I swam my head under it just like Clint shows us. I then grabbed his lapel and a sleeve and go for a standing guard pass. My instructors were all there with me on the mat, as i have spent many hours drilling this! Juan decided to hang on for dear life and came up with me. I pushed down on his knee and bounced, just like my instructors taught me. Juan opened up his guard, and I instinctively put in my knee lead, as Charles was there with me; so I couldn’t have it any other way. I made a mistake, and left too much space with my knee lead. This cause me to get swept. This gives me something to work on with Charles and my other instructors! How exciting is it, that you find a piece of your game that you know you can fix! As Juan swept me, it ended up in a scramble. Juan stood up and I was wrapped around his leg. He grabbed my ankle and put in his shoulder, telegraphing a straight ankle/achilles lock. He fell back for it, and before you know it the ref stopped the match for no reason. He warned me (I think), not to do a heel hook as twisting ankle locks are not allowed. Since no one had a twisting ankle lock, I don’t really have any idea what was going on. We restart with him grabbing an almost finished ankle lock. I know some basic defenses to this situation, but I am not well versed in foot/leg locks. I know you can “put on the boot” or do the old foot in the butt. I was kind of in a dazed and confused state from the ref stopping it and Juan (to his credit) cranked my foot back to the moon. I didn’t care about the pain at all. I thought for a split second about letting him rip my foot off my leg, thinking maybe it would prove some kind of point. Then I heard Ryan Hyde in my head, who told me to “tap today, so you can train on tuesday”. I followed his advice and reluctantly tapped to the ankle lock.
Even though I lost in my gi division, I had a full tank of gas to go all day if I needed to. I never panicked, and was comfortable in all the positions that I fell into. I slowed everything down and used the training from all my instructors, to try and determine was the best action was for each situation I encountered. I was extremely disappointed with the results, at the time…it hurt a lot. I know I will learn from this and it will only make me a better grappler.
The most exciting part of the Arnolds was not me rolling, or my own personal journey. It was seeing my awesome teammates compete.
-Abby is a rockstar, and I am most proud of her. She dominated 3 girls in her no-gi division so bad that they made her jump up to blue belt, where she then dominated a 2 stripe blue belt before submitting her!
-Ryan Stutz is a machine. His upside down guard spin to armbar and omaplata finish were nothing short of amazing.
-Luis Pellecer is someone to be proud of. He took a chance going to his first competition and fought hard in a very intimidating environment.
-Mark Van Tongeren and Jeff Wenstrom were awesome stepping up to the intermediate division in no-gi to test themselves. Both more then held their own and represented crab nation in style.
-Justin Reynolds is the man! After having every reason to quit, he stuck it out and did awesome in his 30+ entrant gi division winning his first two matches in style before losing after an eyepoke that wasn’t stopped after shooting a nice double leg in his 3rd match.
-Clint is the Big Dawg, and we need to thank him every day for creating the best school in the nation. There is NO PLACE I would rather train. Clint added yet another gold medal to his shrine.
-I didn’t get to see the Sunday action, but congratulations to Charles for taking home gold!
Everyone needs to go out and compete. There are a million excuses you can have not to, but it is a truly special chance to share a lifetime experience with your BJJ brothers and sisters.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
For technique, Hyde showed a couple basic no-gi movements that he sees us not executing perfectly. He showed the no-gi standing guard pass, focusing on getting your hips out (humping the air in front of you). Then he showed some bottom full guard stuff, going over hand control and armdrags. He kept it very simple, and we worked on these concepts for a bit.
For most of the rest of the class we did a modified "ring of fire". Hyde did it in similar style as to the competition class this past friday. The guy that stayed in the round had to choose one position that he was having issues with. We then did a round of rolling in that position, and the partner gave feedback to him. Hyde was supervising the whole time and adding in his expert analysis as well. We did 3 rounds for each person, giving them a chance to work multiple positions. When we were done we switched to the next guy and repeated the drill. I got to work with 5-6 guys, all giving me feedback on my problems! This is awesome stuff. I focused on escaping side control, and passing no-gi guard for the most part. I got a few subtle, nice ideas from working with my awesome training partners.
We finished class with some live rolling in 5 minute sessions. I think I got to roll with pretty much all 5 or 6 guys, and Mr. Hyde himself. Class ended 15 minutes late (sweet!) and people had to go. I wanted to go on forever.
Only 3 days until the Arnolds! I weighed 187.8 after class, which was lighter then Mark, Jeff, and Hyde. Hell yea I'm gonna brag!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Class tonight was pretty much all cardio and a lot of rolling with only a little basic technique thrown in by the dawgfather. No sense in racking our brains and reinventing the wheel with such a short time to go before competition.
We started with a long warmup with some running, a lot of shrimping, and some other random BJJ and crossfit stuff thrown in there. Gradually Big Dawg turned up the pace until we were all out sprinting.
We gathered in and Clint showed some basic posture rules when in someones full guard. He showed the antidote to when someone grabs a deep collar...you just swim your head underneath his arm. Way to easy, but highly effective like all of Clint's stuff. After playing with our posture we switched to some basic full guard bottom movements when you have a deep collar grip. He showed the "collar drag", which is like an armdrag but you use the guys collar. You open up your guard and sit out, then shift your hips creating momentum for the guy to drag by you. If done right he should hit the floor and you have his back. If that doesn't work, Clint showed the loop choke (click here for a variation). This is one of my favorite chokes, and is a great idea any time, but especially late in the match if you are down on points or need to finish.
After working Clint's techniques we did a lot of situational rolling and then live rolling. It was a very good pre-tournament class. I am PUMPED for the Arnolds! One of the coolest parts is I weighted in at 189 after class, which puts me on weight. I am going in the 180-189 no-gi intermediate, and blue belt divisions. The last couple NAGA's I wasn't nearly as dedicated to my training, and didn't make weight until the very last day. I was 203 after my cruise about a month ago, so that makes 14 lbs lost in a month! Hang out with Clint and you will see your waist line shrink too!