Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I was awarded my blue belt last night by my instructor, black belt Clint Crabtree. I have to drive 6.5 hours to French Lick, IN for work and be there until friday night. More thoughts after that.

In the meanwhile...Robson Moura competed no-gi at grapplers quest. He's pretty good...not as good as Iggy, but pretty damn good.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Sometimes slow and steady is the way to go. Other times, well check this out.

Blogs suck

Sorry I haven't updated in a week or so. I hate blogs that don't update. I hate even more blogs who post blogs about how they are "so busy" and can't update.

I have missed a couple classes the last 2 weeks. I am only averaging maybe 4 days per week going to class in this period. I think the top of my foot might be broken also.

Tuesday class is mandatory according to the big boss, so it will be very interesting to see what's going down.

I have been working on takedowns, stand up guard passes, x-guard, and more.

Sorry to my loyal readers (all 18-20 per day). You have come from all over the globe to read my stupid training blog, which was started for no one other then myself. I will start putting up cooler regular updates soon. Except....

I have to go to French Lick, IN this week from Wednesday through Friday for work. I work for a cell phone company and we are having two awards dinners that I have to attend. For the MI/IN/KY region they had to pick a place 6.5 hours away from me. Drats.

After I get back it will be May 1st. Assuming my foot is decent enough to go, I am going to start training hard and often for NAGA Milwaukee. I feel like I've lost some cardio since my great training for the Arnolds. I hope to do much better in gi then at the Arnolds, and think with the experience I have gained that should be pretty easy to do.

It's all about the journey, baby.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I worked late tonight, and didn't make it to competition class. This sucks as it's my favorite class of the week!

So instead of my training recap, I will leave you with the Sherdog post of the month IMO. The subject is tapping during training.

Originally Posted by NSLightsOut
Here's the revelatory part: Every single case of permanent stagnation I have ever seen has involved one common factor: Fear of losing in training.

This, in my experience, has manifested itself in a number of different ways, including but not necessarily limited to:

- Fear of losing to people lower in an imagined 'hierarchy' of skill
- Fear of losing to a lower belt
- Fear of trying something new if it involves risk
- The belief that 'not tapping' is always equivalent to a good performance/increase in skill

The irony is that all of these fears actually are the root cause of permanent skill plateau. This vicious cycle, after a while, seems to almost paralyze development.


After this, I came to a conclusion. Tapping others by itself does not a satisfying training experience make.

Honestly, I'd consider it a better use of my time if I had a long, tough roll against someone I believe to be of better or equal skill to myself and getting submitted than going through some random n00bs like a chainsaw, unless I'm trying to introduce something to my game, or develop what Roy Harris termed 'at will' grappling, i.e. going for a certain submission that I'm not very good at to begin developing my skills in that area.


In conclusion, tapping, especially in training, means fuck-all. I now have come to believe that "who can I tap in training" is a fucking lousy way of measuring one's performance. I try to measure my performance not by who can I tap, but what I can do to people in competition, and the amount I learn and accomplish within the 6-month intervals laid out on my personal training plan. The latter seems to translate much better into actual results than asking myself 'where am I in the pecking order?'

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The return of BigDawgCrab

My head instructor, Clint "Big Dawg" Crabtree was on vacation the last week and half, but returned tonight!

Crazy Chris began class with a hard warmup including HIIT sprints and the ole' 3 man group drill. One guy stays in the whole time and plays guard, with the fresh guy in the group rotating in to play top every 30 seconds. We did this for 7 rounds, and then switched so every guy had his turn on bottom. If you didn't win the 30 second match (submit or score more points then opponent), you had to do pushups after the round. I had Crampton and MVT in my group, so needless to say, my arms were pretty sore.

After conditioning and drilling Big Dawg took the stage. He talked about how awesome our team is and proud he is of us. He also announced that there is going to be a Team Jorge Gurgel association meeting in August. JG has talked about doing this for a few years but it never really came together until now. The festivities will include and instructor meeting, a state of the team address by JG himself, and a grand in house tournament for all of the JG Army of Athletes! We are all urged to attend, and there is no doubt who the best school in the best organization is! GRBJJ all day!

After Clintao addressing the group we used the remainder of the hour of class for live rolling. I got a good 7-8 rolls in I think with a bunch of different people. It was sweet, and I can't wait until Naga Milwaukee.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No-Gi guard passing

Mr. Hyde is back in the HIIT sprint followed by strength exercise mold when he runs his classes. I hate sprinting, but I'm confident that it does improve my gas tank tremendously. Mr. Hyde has us run in a circle somedays, and back and forth other times, which someone actually helps make HIIT sprinting more "fun".

We focused on no-gi guard passing today. Ryan first showed a version of the Tozi pass, that is one of Jorge Gurgel's favorite no-gi/mma passes. It is similar to the video below, although Ryans version just had shoulder/armpit control on both sides instead of the underhook.

Mr. Hyde then showed his favorite pass, which we spent the most time on...the standing "surfboard" pass. You start with double armpit control then when the time is right you jump up powerfully and thrust your hips forward, with one leg forward and one leg back, as if you were standing up on a surfboard. As soon as you are fully stood up, you immediately begin going back down, using your hand to push the mans knee down to break open his guard. Once the guard is open, you can do a same side or knee across pass...or many other variations of standing guard passes suited to your game.

Hyde showed a couple more guard passes and then we got time for live rolling. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Armbar escapes

Today Crampton put us through a nice workout, complete with lots of sprinting and situational drilling.

He showed us a few armbar escapes including the one we learned from Robson Moura at his seminar. We also learned this one:

We got a lot of reps in and had time for a few good rolls afterwords.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tourney Recap

So I went to this litle tournament saturday. It was the Mid Michigan Grappling Open in Jackson, MI. I left Grand Rapids about 6:25am and I got there at about 8:15am. I paid, then weighed in at 189. Later I would find there was little point to weighing in, but hey; it's all good. The tournament took place in this GIANT middle school gym. It was bigger then most high school gyms. It was also FREEZING cold. I made my weigh to the stands and set up base camp. I didn't figure anyone else from our gym would show up, so I put on my walkman and laid down for a little bit. They had a giant mat area of like 4 full wrestling mats pushed together. They had set up 7 rings with tables and chairs and scoring things on them. This was hilarious as there was like 15 entire people in the gym with one hour to go until tournament time.

We were supposed to get going at 10am, but Leo the director made an announcement that people were "stuck in traffic" and they would be delayed one hour. Errrr ok. I got to watch like 10 middle school kids that were playing basketball run all over the mats in their dirty tennis shoes while I was waiting. Then I got to watch the obligatory people walking to the bathroom with bare feet, then walking back on the mat. It floors me how gross that is. Even if you didn't grapple in your life..who goes to the bathroom in a public place with bare feet? Freaks. I'm getting itchy skin just thinking about the "mat aids" I came acrossed.

Mike Spears showed up from class. He's a noob, but has a wrestling background so holds his own in class. I also met up with Chris from the Saulo Ribeiro school in Detroit. He had come out and trained at GRBJJ a couple times while he was working in the west side of the state. He is a very fun, outgoing guy and a hell of a jiu jitsu player.

At 11am the tournament started. I signed up for all the First was no-gi teens and beginners. Despite having 7 mats set up, they only used 2 at the most at any given time. There were maybe 40-50 competitors total, many who were teens and beginners. It took a couple hours to get through these divisions. They then decided that they were going to do blue/purple gi. I signed up for the divsion, because I'm a crazy bastard. And I would rather lose to someone better then me and learn then steamroll through some novice division. There were 6 guys including myself in this division. Me (4 stripe white belt), 4 blue belts, and 1 purple belt. It was open weight and I was the heaviest in the division. They ran it round robin style where everyone would fight everyone. I tried to get Leo the director to just run this as the absolute, as it would be silly to do this round robin division with 5 fights, then run it again with the same people all over again (plus like 2 other white belts signed up for absolute). That's not what Leo wanted to do, and's his tournament. PS. They never did absolute gi because everyone left after this division. I was right...sigh.

My first match was against a blue belt. He was a little smaller then me but lanky, younger, and built much better (he had muscles where I have fat). I wanted to play half guard this tournament, so I pulled half guard in just about every match, including this one. I swept him immediately and pinned his leg preparing to pass his guard. For some reason I let go of his leg (which I know not to do) and let him triangle me. I posture up nice and he can't secure it. He breaks me down and secures it better, and I try to stand up (which I know not to do). He gets a better angle and finishes. I wish I could have this match over as it was 2 STUPID mistakes. I know I could beat this guy. This sucked.

My second match was against Chris from the Saulo Ribeiro school in Detroit. He was the smallest guy in the group, and I had like 25+ lbs on him. I get half guard, but he does well to control me and moves to mount. The kid had a very good mount. I would find this out first hand, but also saw him finish a couple other guys from the mount. I go to do the elbow knee escape, and he tries to take my back and work a bow and arrow collar choke. I immediately transition to the back escape we have been working on and successfully reverse the position. I work some crappy half guard, and let him get his guard back. I try to pass for a bit and come close but don't quite get there. I still leave too much space. He ends up in half guard and sweeps me. I am totally gassed at this point. I don't know if I am in worse shape then before the Arnolds, or if I adrenaline dumped, or if it was the 2 hour ride early in the morning...I don't know but I was gassed hard. He waits it out on top and wins. Hats of to Chris who got 2nd in the division, only losing to the purple belt. He beat me fair and square, despite a weight difference. I would love a rematch sometime, as I think I can do a lot better then I showed here.

The 3rd match was against the division winner, who is a 5 year purple belt with a stripe under Sean Bansfield in Ann Arbor. He lives in the Flint area, but commutes the hour journey to train with Sean several times a week. This guy had a great controlling top game, and was very good at controlling with his knee on belly (and knee on random other body parts). I thought I rolled pretty good against him. My goal was to keep it close and stay in control against him but to go for it if I had an opening for any submission. I did keep it close for a while, but his experience eventually got to me.

The fourth match was my best showing, and unfortunately was the only one I didn't get on video. It was a blue belt, but I'm not sure what school he was from. He looked like he had good judo or wrestling (or something...he threw the purple belt flat on his back). I decided not to let him throw me, so I avoided the tie up and shot a really deep single leg. I was deep under him but he sprawled out pretty hard, so I just pulled my deep half guard again. I got into position for the Tozi pendulum sweep, and the guy immediately went for a kneebar (kneebars were legal because they decided to go under purple belt rules, since there was a purple belt in the division). He may have done this as the purple belt tried the same thing when I had him in the deep half guard. I was prepared this time, and as soon as he turned for the knee bar, I grapped the back of his gi, pulling him towards me to take his back. It turned into a little bit of a scramble, but I ended up on his back with one hook in. I secured the second hook to get my points and then quickly moved to a collar choke. I grabbed the guys knee to sit back into a bow and arrow choke. He didn't like it, but it wasn't tight enough, so I let go of the knee grip and pushed the back of his head into the collar choke to get the tap.

My fifth and final match was against another blue belt. He was a really nice guy, despite his lazy eye and the fact that he was seriously considering wearing wrestling shoes before the meet. He pulls guard on me. I get a crappy knee lead base. I pass his guard. I then work the mystical rolling Crampton gi tail choke for the tap. It may look a little exotic, but Chris has taught me this move several times and it's actually pretty safe and high percentage if you can set it up. According to Jeff Wenstrom, I didn't have the most graceful I will have to work on that for next time.

I ended up 2 wins and 3 losses for 4th place. I got the tinyest medal was pretty funny. I could have easily been 3-2 or even possibly 4-1. I will definitely learn from my mistakes, and I did have a great time. Tournaments are on of the best times you can have. Everyone needs to do them. I wish some more people showed up to this one. Pretty much everyone left after the gi division, so they canceled the absolute gi tournament (should have listed to the Dutch Assassin!). They did take my advice and combine the advanced no-gi into the absolute, but I was tired and had to drive to Bay City for Easter so I took off.

Mike Spears went 5-0 in the beginner gi division. I cornered him for his last couple matches and got his last one on tape. He was tapping everyone with this cross choke from side control.

I can't wait for Naga Milwaukee =)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Worst post ever!

I went to class Tuesday and Thursday this week. I had to miss no-gi Wednesday unfortunately as I worked late.

Tuesday Hyde taught concepts of side control escape. It was phenomenal.

Thursday Crampton taught armbars from the guard, and then how to react to common counters. This was awesome too.

Tonight I will go to competition class, and tomorrow I am going to a tournament in Jackson, MI. It looks a little sketchy, but it should be fun! They have gi and no gi absolute. I think i'm going to do the gi absolute, unless there are tons more people in no-gi...then I will do that.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sudbury Saturday Night


We had a very small class tonight, presumably because all the brainless Michigan State fans were watching their precious basketball game on the television. Screw that, BJJ is on tonight!

We got started with a quick warmup, and did mad shrimps for a long time after that. Big Dawg showed us proper mount escape form with the knee-elbow escape as well as the upa roll. Keys are to keep your bottom leg tight to the floor when you are shrimping, and to get your power top leg as close to your butt as possible to get good shrimp form. We worked these escapes for a while until the all white belt class looked better at it.

Clint then went over the brutality choke (as I call it), and the kimura sweep to kimura that we did on tuesday. Many of the guys in class weren't there on tuesday, so they were in for a treat as this chokes the life out of you. It was fun for me to get some more reps in.

After this we did live rolling, and I focussed on positional rolling and maintaining position until my opponent made a mistake, letting me advance.

Clint also hinted at some HUUUGE news this summber at GRBJJ. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag but it involves WORLD CLASS INSTRUCTION for a long period of time =)

My team rules!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Comp Class- 8 weeks until NAGA Midwest!

Comp class was phenomenal as always tonight! Several of our school's top grapplers showed up. Mr. Hyde decided that the class would be pretty much exclusively live rolling, broken down into short matches.

I got tons of 3 minute matches in, and did my best to survive against a purple belt and a couple incredible blue belts! It was very productive and a lot of fun!

Mr. Hyde did show his knee bar flow drill for no-gi as there was some requests for it. We worked that a little, rolled some more and then sadly they made me go home.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Choke Brutality

When Big Dawg has something rolling around in his head, the results can be devastating. Clint went to Brazil with his good friend, Robson Moura about a year or so ago. There they worked on this brutal gi choke using your own gi tail, starting out from half guard bottom. Clint has been playing with this one for a while, but said he didn't quite have it perfected enough to teach until now.

Explaining this in words probably won't do it justice, so you can probably ignore this entire post, save for my excitement.

You are in bottom half guard. You are using your hands to paw the top guys cross face away, keeping distance. You put your leg up into 93 guard position as well to keep space. You then pull the bottom side of your gi out, and grab the tail. Your opponent most likely will think you are going to try to trap his arm or something. (For this illustration we will say you are laying on your right side in half guard). You have your own gi tail in your right hand, still hand fighting. You then let him come down on your, giving him the underhook. You still have your gi tail. You pass the gi from your right hand to your left, looping it across the back of his neck. He can press down on you doesn't matter. You take your right arm and feed it under his body to the other don't have to grip anything. You shrimp out a little if you can, and insert your left leg as a butterfly hook into the guys right leg. You pull the guy on top of you as much as possible, then push him off you a little with your body, arm, and butterfly hook. With this space you created, you are going to roll across your back, under his body, and come out the other side. You are holding your own gi tail with your left hand behind his head this entire time. Once out the other side, grab his knee by the gi, and sit out to finish this vicious, brutal choke.

We worked on this for a while, which was good as it take a bit to get the movements and timing right. By the end, I was beginning to see the light!

After this we worked on kimura from half guard. Big Dawg showed a badass sweep you can do if he is good at protecting his arm. (Again we will assume you are in half guard with your right side on the floor). You try to kimura his left arm. He resists by grabbing his belt/gi/whatever. Immobilize his hand by grabbing the sleeve material on his left hand with your left hand. Take your right hand and grab his pants by the calf/ankle. Shrimp out a little if you have to and put in a half butterfly hook with your left leg. Pull him on top of you and use the butterfly hook to easily sweep him over. Land on top in perfect position to finish the kimura with your knee up blocking his back and your other leg framing his head.

I loooove these two new moves and will be playing with them for sure over the next couple months!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No-gi night

No-gi night was awesome as always today.

Unfortunately I showed up about 30 minutes late due to work, which does not make me happy. Work keeps getting in the way of my BJJ training...if this keeps up, I may have to choose to become homeless so I have more time to practice...hmmm.

Sadly I missed the sprinting and cardio portion of class. I'm confident some people do this intentionally, but you can be assured I'm not that person. I'm not the tallest, fastest, strongest, most naturally gifted guy by to progress I feel like I have to take advantage of every cardio session that I can. This will allow me to outwork people, and give me the fortitude I need in tough matches.

I did come just in time for the strength training. Hyde has a series of bodyweight excercises that push your body through a grueling workout. Without really any warmup, it was tough jumping right into these.

We continued to do Hyde triangle drills for a while, and then went into Ryan showing technique for the day which focused on the turtle position. He showed his sweet armlock from bottom turtle when the guy reaches in too far. You need to pinch the man's arm above his elbow tight with your lat. you then figure four the arm and roll to either side to finish the straight armbar (or kimura if he bends his arm).

Mr. Hyde talked a lot about the concept of the turtle position, explaining what both top and bottom man's position should be, and what the goals are for each.

We finished up with live rolling. Ryan always puts on a superb class, and I would highly recommend checking it out. His concepts of jiu jitsu, and how he breaks them down are nothing short of extraordinary!