Tag Archives: 100pushups

Back on Track

I still can’t put a finger on why I was so unhappy with class the other night. But I tried to take it in stride, moods like that are going to happen.

Wednesday night I watched the mount and side control escape chapters from Roy Dean’s BJJ Blue Belt Requirements. BTW, awesome instructional video. I’m only half way through Disc 1 and I’m loving it already. I did notice a couple of small differences between what he’s demonstrating and what I’m doing…might be the improvement I’m looking for.

Tim was taking requests for subject matter for the class tonight. I threw out there escaping the back. I’ve found it odd that there’s no fundamentals class on it! He decided to run a 50/50 class. 6 different starting positions, 3 minutes top, 3 minutes bottom, and 50% resistance/effort. So we did closed guard, open guard, half guard, side control, mount and knees.. I paired up with Ethan, whom I’ve rolled with before, but haven’t seen in a while. He’s a zero stripe white belt. About my size too.

It didn’t take long before everyone was hot and panting. I did pretty good I think when I was on top position in all of rounds. I passed alot, submitted a few times, and only got swept a couple. On bottom I wasn’t as good. I did get two submissions from the bottom, and lasted the whole 3 minutes under his mount with out getting submitted…but again without escaping either. My side control escape were working well too. Maybe watching the videos and mentally working on them helped.

Completed W4D2b of the 100 Pushups. Also did W4D3b of them this morning too, but ran out of gas about half way through. Finished sets 3-5 on my knees. In other news, my neck/upper back is about 90%, and I’m stoked about the Dave Camarillo seminar tomorrow. Should be some good stuff.

Frustration Manifests Itself

I completed W4D1b of the 100 Pushups routine on Monday. They’re getting hard again! Had a twinge of a headache after this set of sets, but nothing like the pounding ones I had a while back.

Tim taught the class last night, since Damian is off in Cali learning new stuff. Knee on belly was the topic. It was basically the fundamentals class mashed together with the spin around armbar. We wrapped up with a kimura variant from a failed spin as well, which was new to me.

Per a discussion I had a while back, I’ve decided to focus on my game from guard and grip breaking and fighting. Big Mike tooled me because of his grips last week, so for the next couple of weeks, that’s what I’m going to focus on.

Afterwards I rolled a couple of times with Tim. Either he’s taking it easy on me, I’m getting better, or some combination of both. He tapped me, but it took a while these times. I did escape his mount, then him having my back the Saulo way, and ended up on top with him in turtle guard…which he promptly rolled me before I could stabilize into the start of the clock choke. I was mostly happy with the way things went against him. Given that he’s a blue belt, he’s going to tool me if he wants to.

Pete was next. We’ve rolled before I think, but he’s been gone for a couple of months. He’s a two stripe white belt, like me, a little bigger though. I pulled guard and started breaking grips and watching for a sweep opportunity. None came before he passed and squished me flat with head control. And man does that suck. I really need to work on escaping that, but he was heavy and tight enough where I couldn’t move my arms to get them into the right position to try. All I could do was prevent him from mounting me, which he did eventually. Heavy and tight again. I almost got the upa off, but mistimed it and he cross choked me. We went again, and I was on top this time in his open guard. He controlled me so well, I didn’t have the strength, leverage, or apparently technique to break his grips…so I got swept, mounted and choked again.

I don’t know what it was about it, but it put me in a pretty sour mood. So I skipped fundamentals and went home. Later I tried to verbalize the “why” part of my frustration, and really couldn’t. Having literally laid awake last night thinking about it, I still don’t have a good explanation. I (in theory) know the escapes from side control and mount. It’s the practice of actually doing them that’s hard. And it’s supposed to be hard, those are dominate positions. Part of the answer is “you can’t get un-punched”, IE, avoid getting in those spots in the first place.

So, I’m revising my goals for the foreseeable future to: Improve my escapes from mount and side control and maintaining guard via grip fighting.

I predicted that I’d be “frustrated beyond belief at some point” in my very first post. It appears that it’s arrived. Now the question becomes: “How will I deal with this?”

My neck/upper back is still funky, so I went to chiropractor yesterday. Couple of things out of wack, so he adjusted me some and I’m due back on Friday. Doesn’t hurt, but I can tell things aren’t sitting right.

Clamps & Dilemmas

My neck is still stiff and achey, but ibuprofen works wonders. I banged out W3D2 and W3D3 of the 100 Pushups on Wednesday and this morning. Hard, but not difficult. Still no signs of the headache, thankfully.

We had a small class last night, maybe 12 of us. Cooler than it has been in recent weeks too, which was a welcome change. I figured we were going to do more take down stuff, like on Tuesday, but apparently someone asked a good question, so we review the clamp position we spend a week on a couple of months ago. I really like this position, it’s not one I can get to very often, but it has a ton of options. From your own closed guard, you break down your partner’s posture (basically bend him over, ideally with a hand or two on the mat), and escape your hips to one side and grab a tricep. From there, you can do a pseudo-kimura, an elbow crush, a straight armlock, a triangle, or an omaplata! It’s a classic “dilemma”. Problems have solutions…dilemmas don’t.

Afterwards, I chatted with Damian some. A while back we were talking about “esgrima”, which is a windshield wiper like motions with your legs. But he didn’t know what the word meant. My sister-in-law is Brazillian, so my wife asked her. Turns out it’s Portugese for fencing. Which makes no sense what so ever.

We chatted long enough that everyone else had already paired up to spar. Only I was left….and Big Mike. We, Brazillian jiu-jitsu was developed to allow the smaller guy to beat the larger…so away we go. Big Mike is big enough that there’s no way I can push him over, so I pulled guard. A rushed armlock attempt later, and I’ve been passed, and I’ve got 240 pounds of guy laying on me. Which sucked. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to tap to a fat guy that’s just laying on me. So I gutted it out, and waited. He tried to transition to mount, but I was quick enough to regain guard. Another failed armlock, and he’s right back on me. I was quicker this time, and threaded the needle to my knees and rolled back into guard. I tried the over the shoulder sweep, but he drove into me, and I ended up in the clamp position, but couldn’t escape my hips enough to get any offense going. He passed and ended up back mounting me. He laid there a long time, but if you’re going to tap me out, you’ve gotta do it. I’m in a hopeless position, but there’s no freebies here. He eventually got around to it. We went again, I was more aggressive to start with, which ended up with him driving into me and falling into an arm triangle and choking me out quick. In our last roll, I tried an open guard, and he stood up. I got off a hook sweep and got on top for the first time. His size hampers me some, but he’s very good with keeping me from getting any posture and blunting my offense.

Damian is off to California next week to train with the big guns. Hopefully he’ll bring back some cool stuff and show us too. Next weekend is the Dave Camerillo seminar. I skipped the last one because I didn’t think I knew enough to make it worth while, but I’m really looking forward to it this time around.

6 Months In

The last couple of weeks have been a perfect storm of work, life, laziness, and other things, all taking priority over going to class.  But now the skies have cleared, and I’m (hopefully!) back to my normal routine.

Six months ago today, I took my first jiu-jitsu class.   Maybe it’s a milestone, maybe not.  But I made it.  I struggled during some classes, but never quit.  I’ve tapped more times than I can count, but I’ve succeeded too.  I know enough now that I realize I’ve forgotten things.  And it’s been a wonderful experience, despite the effort, soreness, and occasional injury.   Who knows what the next six months will bring?  The next year?

I think I’m back on the 100 Pushups bandwagon.  I did W3D1(b) last night with no signs of the pounding headache that I ran into before.   I wasn’t totally lazy last week, I did pound out a few sessions on the treadmill.   I’ve been doing either the 300 calorie/40 minute run, and one the  400 calorie/40 minute run.   Doing either  a year ago would have been probably impossible.  The top 100 UFC fights countdown provided excellent motivational viewing while doing it too!

I’m down about 15 pounds since my back surgery last October.  A noticeable percentage of that has been converted to muscle, I’ve noticed myself leaning out.  I’m close enough to a NAGA/Submission hunt weight class break that I could consider cutting a few pounds to move down a class too.   It’s a nice change, and one that not only I have noticed.  I don’t anticipate loosing much more, though I may continue loosing the fat and building muscle as time passes.

Class tonight was takedowns.  Ironically enough, we were working the same take down I learned on about my third class.  I like doing takedowns, it’s something we don’t do very often and it’s something we don’t usually do in sparring.  There’s just not enough mat to support it.  We also did some hip throws.   Damian’s original instructor, Dave Camarillo, is also a black belt in judo.  He’s well known for his throws and flying submissions.

Judo Hip Throw

After class Damian paired me up with Jeff the giant (who’s about 6′ 7″ or so).  Things were going good, I was working my guard, trying to armlock those long limbs, and going for a triangle here and there.  Then he stacked me, rolling me up on my shoulders, which is uncomfortable, but not horrible.   But he kept going, and I did a backwards somersault with him on top of me, so I heard about 18 vertebra in my neck pop.  I yelped, he stopped.  That’s going to be sore tomorrow!

I took a breather, then paired up with Alex, who I don’t think I’ve rolled with before.  We went a couple of times. He’s a white/blue belt, but I think I did okay. I defended an armbar for a long time, and escaped his back control once. And defended my neck the next time he got my back a LONG time. Afterward he told me he was nervous about switching grips because of the way I escaped the first time.

Tim taught the fundamentals since Luke was gone. Armlock from guard. We reviewed the basic way of doing it, then experimented with different setups, grips, and some combo attacks.

Fight Night

I quit working on the 100 Pushups program. Every set I did last week resulted in a pounding headache. It only started when I improved my form. Perhaps the extra exertion is causing it. In any case, taking some time off on that project.

I was excited for class tonight. I was feeling pretty healthy and not sore or anything, so I’m as close to 100% as I get.

Warming up was miserable. It wasn’t hot, but the humidity was killing us all. Everyone was dripping wet. And Damian apparently was running late because we warmed up for a looooong time. No class, just tournament style matches tonight. I like watching matches, it’s interesting to anticipate what each guy is doing and watch it unfold.

And, for the first time, I got paired up. Me vs The Mongoose. 5 minutes, and starting from our feet. I noticed earlier in the night that Mike got his second stripe last night, so my hope was that if I submit him, then maybe I’d get mine too. We started. I got a sloppy take down (2 points), but he escaped to my guard. I started working for an armlock, and then swept him (2 points), mounted (4 points), and went for the cross collar choke. I got it, but by right hand wasn’t quite deep enough to finish him, and while I was squeezing, he bucked and escaped (2 points). I held it even in guard to no avail. He ended up passing to side control (2 points), and I heard the beep indicating 30 seconds left. My arms were jello, so I concentrated on not loosing at this point and kind of stalled out the remaining time. So I won on points 8-4. Woo! I don’t recall much of the next match, I was too busy panting and shaking from the adrenalin dump.

There were a few more matches, including some guys who did 2. There were a couple of pretty sweet take downs, but everything else was pretty vanilla.

In between classes, Mike and went at it again a few times. My goal was to work the armlock from guard, so I generally let him start out on top. Got it twice, so I must be improving.

Luke taught the fundamentals again tonight. This might become a regular thing for him now. Class was taking the back and the “Mata Leão” choke. Taking the back from mount is dirt simple. If it happens, it’s because the guy on the bottom is desperate or in a hurry. The mata leão choke is your standard rear naked choke.

Standing Rear Naked Choke

We learned two different variations, and drilled it with various amounts of resistance. When it gets sunk it, it gets uncomfortable quick!

Strengthening the shell

Didn’t do my pushups on Wednesday…but I made them up on Thursday before class. W3D2b done. Again.

Even more turtle guard stuff today. Bob and I paired up and drilled away, amping up the intensity as we went. Nothing new the class, just focusing on committing it to muscle memory.

After class we rolled a couple of times. I was thinking the other day about some the take downs we’ve learned, and wondered if I could apply them to our rolling. We generally start from our knees, it’s just easier on bodies and takes up less mat space. Rather than pull guard, or push into his guard, I tried to angle for a kind of T-position. It kind of worked, because we ended in half guard, which I quickly passed to side control. I started working to control him with my own lapel, which leads to a choke, but it got tangled up in our arms. I switched to a regular cross choke from side control, and would have gotten it, but the wall was in the way, and I didn’t have enough room to sprawl out and really put my weight into it. And just like with Ed the other night, he did a one handed collar choke back. I tried to turn my head to relieve the pressure and gut it out, but no dice. I escaped, but had to release. I don’t remember what happened next, but he got me somehow. Our next round, all I remember was being mounted, escaping, him taking my back, me escaping, and then being mounted and americana’ed. I was pooped. Bob and I are pretty even I think.

Mongoose and I rolled too. I was going slow, and he was being his usual fast self. Fundamentals started before we finished.

Luke taught again. Three different mounting techniques, the usual folding of his knees, pulling on his ankle until he kicks, and holding your own foot and pulling it over. The second one I’ve never seen before, I liked it a lot. The third, I just don’t have the flexibility to pull off. We also did the americana from mount too.

Stress Relief

It was one of those Mondays. So, I decided to go to class.

Huge class today. More of the returning-college student syndrome I think. And one blue belt visitor from Denver. Mat space was at a premium tonight.

More of the turtle guard position drilling. But Damian added a combination of our turtle guard drill and the running escape from side control that we did a couple of weeks ago. Nice to have another option to go to. We also did some positions that result from passing the De La Riva that were related. Basically threading the needle to your knees and then pushing into a dead angle.

I was paired up with new-guy-Mike, and on one of the De La Riva passes, he landed heavy on me, and something popped in my chest. Again. Grrrrr. Stupid ribs. I didn’t roll after class, it was pretty tender. Better now, but it still makes me think that my progress or peak potential may be limited by my physicality. :/

I missed W3D3b of the 100 Pushups…so I started over with W3D1b tonight.

…choke like a python.

The last couple of classes have brought in some new (to me anyways) faces. 3 or 4 different guys have come back for the summer. Must be students away at school or something. The result has been a swelling of the class. Mat space is becoming scarce.

Today was the last day of the turtle guard techniques we’ve been drilling for the past week. We rotated partners a few times, just to get a feel for different body types. In addition to the 4 moves we’ve already learned, we learned another one. It’s really a clock choke escape. Took me a bit to get it, but Brian was patient enough to let me run through it a few times slow. Plus he showed me a nice counter to a pass defense.

My rib has been feeling pretty good this week. Still tender in one spot, but I think I’m at 95% or so, so good enough to roll. I paired up with one of the new guys, as far as I can tell, a zero stripe white belt…but he had to be 260 pounds at least. He swept me, but I escaped his mount and regained guard. But he just crushed me and put on a half cross choke and leaned into me and squished me like a bug. A bit of a breather, and I grabbed Matt for a roll. I like rolling with him, he’s just a little bigger than I am and a little stronger, and is a good challenge. I’ve also never tapped him out.

We started, and I got on top. He started a open guard that quickly turned into a triangle. I stacked him up and started to turn out of it (thanks to Saulo’s Jiu-Jitsu University book!), but got hung up. He didn’t have the angle to make it tight, and I had my jaw down. He squeezed and squeezed, but I just hung out and worked one hand to his collar and started pressuring his neck. He released it, and we started again. He jumped into my guard, I broke him down and did the elevator sweep I learned on Tuesday. He seemed pretty surprised at the quick reversal of fortunes!

He bucked, and I got his back, but he defended really well and escaped to half guard, and rolled me over. He got an americana grip going, but I was able to grab my sleeve with my other arm and use his head for leverage to defend it. I tried the take the back from guard that we learned on Tuesday too, but couldn’t break his headlock, my arms were like jelly at this point. We were both pretty gassed and slowing down. I butterflyed his leg, setting up the elevator again, but couldn’t get it working.

I heard Damian shouting “Don’t give up on it Josh!” so I kept the hook, relaxed a little, and waited for him to move. We were both panting, so it took a minute, but as soon as his weight shifted I lifted and rolled him right over. He bucked and tried to spin out of the mount, but gave up his back. I got my feet in as hooks, but he grabbed my wrist before I could get his collar. I was only an inch away, right in front of my face. I knew if I could get it, I had him.

He was bucking, but my legs held him, and I was able to nudge his collar over with my other hand. Got one finger on it, pulled it in…got two fingers on it, started to pull on his neck. He felt it and let go of my wrist to defend, and I got a full on grip and that’s all she wrote. A pretty epic roll for me. We were both happy with it.

Elevator Sweep

I try not to have an ego in class, or keep track of who can tap out who and what my ranking in the pecking order is. But I can’t help but to be happy with that roll and success.

No fundamentals class tonight. It was supposed to be BJJ 101, but we just rolled instead.

Mongoose Mike got his first stripe too. Well deserved.

W3D2b pushups done. Proper form and all.

Sweep like a Butterfly…

My ribs/back are at about 85% right now. Skipping Saturday I think was the right thing to do.

I’m back on the pushup bandwagon. Damian criticized my technique last week, so I’m starting over at Week 3 (b), and focusing on quality and range of motion, rather than quantity. 100 is the ultimate goal, but I’m only cheating myself if I skimp on the full benefits to hit it. Completed W3D1b yesterday with no problems.

Big class tonight, heavily weighted towards white belts. I warmed up with Bob, who is a member of the “Profuse Sweater” club. There’s a couple of guys who just get drenched and drippy. A little gross, but I can deal with it. For our last cycle of Side-control 101, I escaped side control with the bump and run escape we learned awhile back, and Tim happened to be sitting there watching it. “Look who’s getting fancy!” was his comment I think.

Class was more of the turtle guard sweeps that we did on Thursday. Nothing new, just more drilling. We eventually ramped it up to include some resistance at the end of class too.

I rolled twice with Rob, agreeing to go light. First one he tried to pass a couple of times, but I held and regained guard pretty good. I switched to open guard, and popped a triangle on him, but he stacked me up quick and then slapped a Ezequiel choke on me. Afterward, he said that’s the only way he knows how to get out of the triangle, choke the other guy first! We went again, and he got to half guard. I tried the turtle move of the day, but he took my back and had it well enough that he was going to squish and choke me so I tapped right away.

He went off and rolled with someone else, so I grabbed the heavy bag and ran through the 5 positions a few times on my own.

Fundamentals was taking the back from guard. Eventually. We started with what to do when you break down posture and the top guy clamps on a headlock and stalls in your guard. There’s a flat out awesome sweep we learned, a variation of the elevator sweep. Butterfly hook one leg, hack the other and roll. Easy as pie. Taking the back is similar, escape hips, break the headlock, reclamp the head, escape, and pull him over on top of you.

Turtle Turtle Turtle!

Side is still tender. Doesn’t hurt as bad as the last time I injured my rib, so I’m hopeful that I can work through it and not have to take any time off of class.

Warming up I partnered up with Mongoose Mike. Damian dubbed him that last week. He’s small (5′ 4″ ~120 pounds), but really quick. And coming to class 5x per week, so progressing fast. He’s Ethiopian, and it turns out they have mongooses (mongeese?!) there, so hence the nickname. Damian commented a couple of times on our Sidecontrol 101, mostly positive.

Great class tonight. We learned a slick method to get to turtle guard from half guard, and then three beautiful passes from there. I sorely needed some half guard instruction, so this was a welcome addition to my mental library of techniques. Mongoose Mike and I paired up for most of the drilling, though at the end I did a few with Rob. Even though they’re 60 pounds different in weight, the technique is pretty effortless.

Two new faces in class, and they both made it to the end. We’ll see if they come back or not.

Lots of people wanted to roll with me tonight, but I’m still trying to take it easy and finish healing up. I told Damian that I still owed him 60 pushups from last week…he simply replied “I know.” I gave him 70, extra 10 for interest. Did some sit ups too while waiting for the fundamentals class.

Fundamentals was an extension of the 5 positions, adding the reverse scarf hold and knee on belly positions. It was 3 of us, so I got to practice on the heavy bag. My ribs were hurting, so I took it slow and focused on getting every detail correct. We eventually switched partners and sped it up too.