Wednesday, July 26, 2017

BJJ Diary - 16, Albuquerque, NM

Was down in the New Mexico last week and I got to train at the Albuquerque Gracie Barra location. I think this makes it four Gracie Barra locations I've trained at: Austin, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; and now Albuquerque, New Mexico. Overall, I like the Gracie Barra schools.  A few of them throw too many techniques at us at one time, but the day I trained in ABQ we went over a single move with some variations. 

Don Ortega (3rd Degree Black Belt) taught class and went over pulling someone into the X-Guard. Lucio says that there is four kinds of take downs: Arm Takedowns, Leg Takedowns, Hip Toss (think judo throws), and Sacrifices. Sacrifices are called such because for a moment, you have to do just that, sacrifice position to take your opponent down. Pulling Guard or pulling into X-Guard, that's a sacrifice move. The problem with Sacrifice moves is that if your opponent knows/reads you're going pull a Sacrifice, s/he can counter. But then everything can be countered. Except for the Crane Technique. The cool thing about Sacrifices is that if you do them right and quick you can generate a lot of momentum and thus take them down even if they do see it coming. It's a risky move, but one of my favorite takedowns is a sacrifice, and I'm pretty successful with it. I don't do it as much anymore, you know, cause you have to push yourself to learn new things, but also because it just leaves me with my opponent in my Full Guard. I'd much rather be in Side Control or Back Mount. So, the cool thing about this X-Guard Sacrifice is that there'd both a Sweep to a Pass to Knee-On-Belly or Side Control, or a little toss right into Side Control. It's a nifty little move, but there's some foot work involved, so have to go over it a bunch to get it down such that I don't even have to think about it. 

This video is pretty close to what we went over. Don's was a little more tricky and then after this there's a sweep or a toss, but this is pretty much how it starts. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Too Much Tortilla

I don't remember writing this, but apparently I did, a few weeks back. So, here you go:

I know. We all encounter it. What do you do when you have too much tortilla? Well, I got a few life hacks to help you out with this common problem.

1. Plumbing

2. Make a Ball

3. Kill yourself

4. Burn it

My general rule of thumb is four life hacks, so there you have it, good strategies for when you find yourself with too much tortilla.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 19, 2017 - BJJ

Oh man, what a day. So tired.

Diego is in Abu Dhabi for the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2017, so Conrad taught class. Mostly we reviewed two half-guard escapes/sweeps we went over with Lucio on Tuesday. Here's what it mostly looks like, except these guys don't use their top knee to make space/push the opponent away, so kinda different. What? I said I was tired. Too tired to find the right video. Deal with it.

After drills, we rolled. A lot. Rolled with Conrad, Mike Kazan, new Purple Belt John, and Pablo, a White Belt who's popped in a few times. Mostly he does Muay Thai at night. Regardless, he might be White, but he's fast and pushes a fast pace, kinda wears you down through his athleticism. 

I did fine, though I got in like three of Mike's Arm Bars (which I got out of) and got saved by the bell from John's deep, deep, deep Triangle Choke. I survived, but just barely. Saw the clock as John sank in his Triangle and just played defense, controlled my breathing, and at around 20 seconds left I knew I could last until the end of the round. My vision was starting to go gray there during the last five seconds. I guess you know you're feeling safe and determined enough that you'd risk getting choked out rather than tap. I don't mess with joint locks: Kimuras, Arm Bars, Americanas, Knee Bars, hell, I'll even tap right off the bat if I feel an Ezekiel sink in or some kind of crank. But a straight Triangle Choke? Well, let's just say, I played the clock. 

Been Away For a Bit

A bunch of things have gone down over the last few months and threw off my writing schedule. Some good, some bad, mostly just lifey type stuff. Things that just had to happen. So, some of this is behind the times and I've already talked about this with family/friends, but I'm just going to post up these out-of-date updates. Here we go.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jiu Jitsu Diary - 13 & 14

Worked with Diego 2 on Tuesday and Diego Herzog on Wednesday.

Tuesday was grueling. Two hundred Standing Guard Breaks, two hundred Armbars from Closed Guard, not to mention bearcrawls, one-legged bearcrawls, one-legged bearcrawls with pushups. Diego 2 is just bastard. A great, awesome, conditioning bastard. Love it. His classes are all about basics, basics, basics and he makes me a better BJJ fighter every time. Rolled with Anna at the end, a blue belt from Brazil. My size kept me safe, but she was working on a wicked Leg Triangle until I got saved by the bell. Phew!

Wednesday: I was pretty beat from Tuesday so came in kinda slow to Diego Herzog's class. All we went over was the fundamentals of the Spider Guard. And if you don't do a lot of Spider Guard, like me, that positions works your hips, neck, arms, and shoulders. You're basically on your back with your legs and arms engaged and head up. Really good stuff. I rolled with Harry, who is about my size, maybe a little heavier, and I found out that I've been fighting like a heavy guy this whole time. 

In BJJ, like Muay Thai, there are different strategies depending on your size. In MT big guys tend to stay planted to save energy and move less and keep a strong grounded base to throw punches and kicks. The center line tends to be their bread and butter, straight down the middle. And when I fight MT against little guys, I always tell them, don't charge right down the middle, you're just like Charlie Brown and I'm Lucy and you're basically walking into my right cross (though not so with lefties, if they know what they're doing, the orthodox fighter eats the left cross every time; just ask anyone who's gone against TJ Arcangle, thankyouverymuch). For little guys, it's all about angles and speed, angles and speed. And frankly, that's a strategy all MT fighters have. Big guys should ALWAYS fight like little guys. Big guy tactics are bad habits. Well, it's not all that different in BJJ.

There's still a center line, which you're better off staying off of, big or small. And big guys tend to stay planted and use their strength against smaller people. This is white belt level, I'm talking. Higher belts have their own strategy, tactics, challenges, to which I'm ignorant of at this point. 

What this means is I end up in Turtle Guard or in my opponents Side-Control and stay there for too long. Little guys, they squirm right out, get their knees in, recover Guard, all that good stuff. And with Harry, I tended to get him in my Half-Guard and whereas I can roll most people in my Half-Guard onto their back and take Side-Control, Harry kept his hips low to the ground, his balance low, and I couldn't budge him. Granted, he couldn't advance much of an offense, but I was fighting a big guy like he was a little guy and should've had the tables turned and fought like a little guy. Only problem is I don't know exactly how to do that. And by the time I rolled with Diego my arms were shot from trying to roll Harry with my upper body. Pretty sure Diego choked me out like ten times in a row. And then Conrad proceeded to do the same. So, looks like I found a bad habit of mine. Gotta start training like a smaller person, learn how to move and stay active. A new goal. 

Final note, it looks like the careers of both my BJJ coaches are taking off. Marcel Fortuna, my first Black Belt instructor, who fought a close fight to get into the UFC house during the last heavyweight season but didn't get the W, just signed on to the UFC to fight some 6'5" 260 lbs guy already in the UFC on two weeks notice. That's short time, but I know he can do it. And now Diego Herzog, my current instructor, he's in negotiations with Bellator for February after he fought for them last year and got a KO in the first round, AND he's flying out to corner Marcel. So pumped for both these guys who've been in the industry for years sharing knowledge and creating fighters to finally get the recognition they deserve. Oss!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Jiu Jitsu Diary - 12

Went down to World Team today. Lucio Muramatsu taught class. 

We did a lot of things, but what was really cool for me was his technique to get to Back Mount when your opponent is curled up in Turtle Guard. Mostly I try to plant a knee in the small of the back (got that from Jorge) or grab a leg and steam roll them into Side Control (also Jorge) or even roll them in to a Loop Choke, though I never get the Loop Choke. So close! And yet, so far.

Lucio, though, showed us this really easy variation where you, once they've turtled up into Turtle Guard and you have the Seatbelt hold, you use your shoulder to apply pressure to the head and neck and then just, bam, roll. It's super simple and once you roll, you can sink in your hooks and then go right from there into a Rear Naked Choke. Lucio's variations are so subtle and kinda idiosyncratic, I can't always find them on Youtube, or find the right search terms, but I found this video below. It's pretty much exactly on point, but this guy walks around his opponent a bit before he rolls. Lucio's works fine, but I see the wisdom of the clock walk. Might try it. Either way, this is it and it's so simple!

After that we did controlled sparring. Two guys sat in the middle while the opponents took their back and got Seatbelt and that's how the round started. Whoever won, stayed in the middle. Who would want to stay in the middle!?!?!? And yet...

Was tough. Went with Oscar, Harry, Rick, Adrian, Conrad, and Lucio. I stayed active with Conrad, but his back was a bit tender so I think he went easy. I got Oscar in a Bow-And-Arrow Choke, which is a bully move I learned from Ricky, but Harry, the new white belt, he just kept me in control the whole time! I got him in Half-Guard, but this dude stayed low, kept his hips near the mat and just worked the position until he got his leg out and took Full Mount! After that, went with Lucio and that guy just slid out, like a ninja, every time, made it look like child's play. And that's why he's a Third Degree Black-Belt. Great class!

Jiu Jitsu Diary - 11

Went to Suginami Aikikai last night. What a great place. Really like it there. Very traditional Aikido dojo, shrine to O Sensei, the works. Anyhow, they have a much bigger class then I was first lead to believe. My first time there over the holidays I had a class with like three people in it, including myself. Last night, though, whoa, much bigger. 12, 16, maybe 18 people. Women and men. Three black belts, blue belts, brown, purple, and a grip of white belts of course. 

Lucio Muramatsu taught. He had us go over the basics, which is always good. We drilled and drilled and drilled guard sweeps from Open, De La Riva, and Spider Guard. The first two I got pretty well, but the sweep from Spider Guard, well, I muddled through it, but it just didn't flow very well. I got it, but it wasn't smooth.

After class I caught the train to Angel's and kept thinking, what did I do wrong? And halfway to Angel's, of course, it totally dawned on me. Too specific to go into here, but it had to do with shifting my hips so that I was getting off the line. I tried to look for a video that went into this, but it's such a Lucio variation, what he taught. Lucio is all about the philosophy and theory of BJJ. His variation is about using your body to get off the line, the line being your opponents main attack line, where he's putting all his force, AND where you're going to redirect the force, meaning make him/her fall flat forward, meanwhile, you're not there anymore, moved off to the side. Lucio has a saying: It's easier to move yourself than it is to move your opponent. And then once you do move yourself, you move into a position where it IS easier to move your opponent. Point is, move yourself first. 

Anyhow, the following video isn't exactly the variation, but the end part, where he gets the shoulders perpendicular to the floor and then goes for the sweep, that's the same as how we finished it. I know, sounds like not a big deal, but I really got the concept of moving myself last night. Small victories.