Tag Archives: circleofdeath

In the Groove

Wow, does it feel nice to be feeling well again. I was sick so long, I forgot how nice it is to breath through my nose and go 5 minutes without coughing.

We had a very small no gi class last night. We did the Circle of Death to warm up, and then spent all of our drilling time doing a single leg setup. JR mentioned it in passing last week. The real “trick” to getting a take down is closing the distance. If we’re both far apart, then a takedown is impossible because we both have time to react, either stepping back or sprawling. So our setup was to step left and circle, step left and circle, keeping the distance constant, then step left and cut the angle, step right and suddenly we’re on top of the guy. Secure the single and proceed normally. Darryl and were drilling together, and both sucking at it. But we gradually figured out our problems and by the end of our time, appeared that we had some idea of what we are doing. Needs a lot more practice however.

For rounds, we did three 10 minute rounds. I had Darryl, then Justin twice. Did good with Darryl. It felt nice to be able to go at a good pace and keep it up. I got off a nice kimura half guard pass. I didn’t quite get to the back from there, but got on top for the kimura attack into an armlock which I did finish.

Justin is new, this may have been his first class with us. He was wearing a blue rash guard, and from his questions during class and his rolling, I’m certain he’s had some wrestling experience. He out weighed me by a good chunk, so I was nervous starting off with him. He was active, but not overly spazzy. I hit the same kimura pass, kimura attack into armlock combo I did with Darryl, but his grip was pretty impressive. Rather than fight it, I switched to a triangle and finished that. Later I hit a seat belt during a scramble, and rolled to his back and got RNC. In our second round, we were both pretty tired. He stayed active, in bursts. I was never really in any bad spots with him. There were some times were he could have done some things, like attack and arm triangle, but never did. Makes me think his jiu jitsu experience is low. Seemed like a nice enough guy though.

Felt sore after class, but exhilarated at a good night of training.

More Sweat

Ugh. It rained yesterday, then got hot. Super muggy and sweaty. Back to the gi too.

I got to lead the warm up, so Circle of Death time. Damian led the lesson, attacking the cross choke with the lapel tail over their back, plus options for a pendulum sweep and a reverse armlock from the clamp.

Little Bob and I drilled, taking it slow and steady. We skipped our last round and spent it asking questions about other options. Damian answer them, mostly with “just triangle him”.

For rounds, we split into 3-somes. 10 minutes in, 5 out. I had Bob and James. Did okay with both, but man, the heat just sucked it out of all of us.

Butterfly Sweeps

One of our black belts, Big Tom is back in town. As such, he led class.

We did a quick warm up, then a very light Circle of Death (Abs Edition), and then right into the lesson.

We transitioned from closed guard to butterfly, with a collar grip. From there, we did the usual sweep, plus one for when he doesn’t pressure back into us, plus a collar drag for when they stand up and try to pass behind us. I drilled with Meli.

We then ran a bit of a chipper. Starting in butterfly, bottom guy has to sweep or submit. Top guy needs to pass. Somehow I ended up in the “big” group. Despite that, I came pretty close to passing Corey, but he turtled and grabbed a single leg and dumped me.

After about 8 exhausting minutes of that, we went to regular rounds. I had Paul, Cheng, “Little” Seth, and Kyle. I did okay with Paul, hit a nice sweep and had a active defense going. Cheng and Seth both tooled me positionally, including fun body triangles from the back. But I defended well. So well that my hands and arms were completely shot. Kyle and I were both pretty gassed at the start of our round, so we just went lightly.

More Work

Almost an identical class as Monday’s. We warmed up with the Circle of Death and did the same two knee on belly movement drills. Then we did two escapes, the deep half one, and one where you stiff arm their belt and outside knee, go to your stomach, get up and ankle pick.

Then, three 4 minute rounds. I had Cheng first. I really wasn’t “feeling it”, so my mental plan was to be relaxed, go easy, and see what happens. He passed several times with the same knee cut pass, and I really didn’t have an answer for it. He got to my back, got his grips, and I tapped early each time. Most of the time I’ll resist much more, but not tonight. There were a couple of points where I was able to escape a poor position or reverse him, and in those I went from slow and relaxed to pouncing like a cat. Those moments don’t come along all the time, so I’ve got to take advantage of them when they do.

For the second set of rounds, I had Shane. Same basic plan, but slower (on both of our parts). I did get off two arm drags, but he rolled out of it before I could secure the back.

After class, Danny commented how he’d been watching from the sidelines about how aggressive I had been. Didn’t really feel that way, but it’s hard to tell “in the moment”.

Top Dog

In the few minutes between classes, as most people are getting on the mat and doing some stretching or socializing, I always head over to the corner and do some visualization work. A bit of breathing exercises, some mental preparation, and then I replay 3 or 4 of my personal highlight reel moments.

As I was doing this last night, I surveyed the class, and realized, that I was going to be the highest ranking student, so I got to lead the warm up. Did some laps, then the Circle of Death. I think it’s only the second or third time that I’ve been the top ranked guy in class.

I also got to be the demonstration dummy for Damian. Lesson was escaping the back, into a deep half sweep, into a powerful half guard pass where you have one leg stuffed and one underhooked. It was pretty uncomfortable being on the receiving end.

And, since I was the ranking student, I got to teach lesson one to a new girl. It’s been a while since I’ve taught, and I wasn’t 100% on what exactly lesson one was, so I stumbled a bit, but got through about half of it before Damian rotated me out for someone else so I could get some reps of the lesson in.

For rounds, we were in a group of 4: Matt, John, Paul and I. 3 minutes on top, then 3 minutes on bottom, starting the position of the day. Did well with Matt, getting a half guard to the back to a mounted arm triangle. Did okay with John and Paul too. Plenty of activity and movement on everyone’s part.

Lasso Dump

Class last night was relaxed and a bit low key.

Brady led the warm up, and then we did the Abs Circle of Death. Drilling started off with moving from full guard to open guard with sleeve control and our feet on their hips. Then into lasso guard.

The actual lesson of the night were two sweeps from lasso guard, then push sweep, and then if they post out that leg to counter, the dump sweep. I have a lot of trouble with that one, so the chance to relearn it and drill was welcome. Ron and I partnered up.

For rounds, I had Ron and Wade. 3 minute rounds. In on the bottom for 2 rounds, then on top for 1. Top guy needs to pass. Bottom guy has to sweep or submit. I didn’t get any sweeps, but did pass both Ron and Wade once.


The holiday weekend and life responsibilities has thrown my schedule off, so I hit up class on Tuesday night.

Dumi led us in the Circle of Death warm up. Tim taught the lesson of the day, an open guard pass and choke. From standing, with their feet on our hips, and sleeve control, we pressure in, then straighten ourselves and shuck their feet to the side, so their calves are resting on the top of our thigh. We sit, slide, and start to establish side control. They’ll typically roll to either gramby back into guard, or turtle and work from there. As they roll, we block their roll by a kind of reverse seatbelt grip, then establish an Ezekiel grip and choke, either there, or if they continue to roll, take the back and do the same choke.

For rolling, we did 3 person groups, 10 minutes in, 5 out. I had Purple Belt James and Tim. Did okay with James, getting off both some sweeps and some passes, but each time he’d reestablish himself, and I couldn’t progress any further. In our last round, I thought I was going to get him. From guard, I used a two on one to break his grip on me, then put my left arm in the crook of that elbow, and used my right to bend his around mine, establishing a figure four grip. That was the bait. The hook was when he reached with his other hand to try to free his trapped one. I gripped that one, and swung for an armlock on that new hand. But, as before, he narrowly avoided it. I switched to a triangle choke, but he wisely kept his arm in just enough not to get choked. It was a narrow space between having his arm out, and getting choked, or having his arm in, and getting arm locked.

Tim…well, Tim smashed me, as usual. I did have one good moment where I got a reverse triangle on him. Couldn’t finish or sweep with it, as he was defending well.

Keeping Busy

We had a a good class last night, but it was unusual.

Oscar led the warm up, which means it was wrestling focused. Plenty of sprawls, shots, and the like. Plus a Circle of Death. Wasn’t too bad though.

No lesson though. Just a series of 3 minute rounds. We drilled headlock escapes, for 3 minutes. Then sparred for 3 minutes. Drilled bear hug escapes. Sparred. Drilled mount escapes. Sparred. Drilled guard passes. Sparred. Just a whole mess of stuff.

I had Little Bob, John, and Mel for partners. Felt good rolling with all of them. Screwed up a back take from side control with Little Bob, while Damian was watching. The same exact one he corrected me on on Saturday.