Tag Archives: crossfit


This week was my first 3-time Crossfit week in a while. Really…it was my first 2-time Crossfit week in a while! As a result of some heavy squats on Friday, I was a little stiff on Saturday. So I decided to take it a little easy.

Rolling started out perfectly. I paired up with John, who appeared to be pretty new. Bigger guy, and still in the slightly-spazzy newbie mode. I pulled guard with him each time, going a little slow, for both of our sakes. He struggled in my guard, eventually popped it open, “passed” in the sense that he got to side control, but didn’t really use any particular technique to get there. I regained half guard, then guard. We repeated a couple of times, but then he attempted the usual newbie “one arm in one arm out” pass, which I’m morally obligated to punish via triangle choke. So I did. We went again, and he was huffing and puffing pretty good this time and moving much slower. My improvement in my own conditioning still amazes me. This time I slowly attempted to over the shoulder sweep, he countered by pushing into me, and I landed in near perfect kimura position. I couldn’t get the grip, but did switch around to his back. I caught myself leaning back to finish the choke, but Fabio jumped into my head, and I leaned in to watch his face as I finished it this time.

Next up was Tim, who beat me up, as usual. Twice I tried the Fabio guard break, and failed both times. Tim pointed out that I was holding his pants, but the heel of my hand wasn’t on his hip as it should be. It’s tricky.

Last was another purple belt, who’s name escapes me. We went a few times, him tapping me in each, but I put up a good effort I think. I escaped a couple of armlocks, and avoided one sweep. However, my nemesis, the butterfly guard, continues to be a thorn in my side.

Did my 531 press work and called it a day. The past month or so, my schedule has been so erratic with Crossfit that I restarted month 2 of the 531 program. Focusing on form, especially with my squats. George pointed out a small flaw in my deadlifts this week which I’ve corrected. And when I squatted yesterday, Liz said they were perfect. My estimated one rep maxes are holding steady from my Dec-Jan levels, so my slight lean mass loss due to paleo in Jan hasn’t affected my strength. Now that I’m (hopefully) back on the steady 531 bandwagon, they’ll start creeping up.

Back in Action

Oy. What a couple of weeks it’s been. First I got an ugly sinus cold which laid me up for a couple of days. And just when I was feeling well enough to return to jiu jitsu or Crossfit, it was time to head out on vacation. Needless to say, I’ve been itching to be back in action again.

Crossfit in the AM…things are starting to warm up. Won’t be that long until we can be outside running!

I arrived for the beginners class and changed. Came out and saw Tim and Ron chatting…and Ron sporting a brand new blue belt. Huh, some things changed while I was gone! I gave him a well deserved congratulations, and soon after it was time for class to get going. We warmed up, and then drilled the self defense haymaker block, t-position, takedown (either hip toss or knee tap) sequence. Brady led the main lesson, which was the spin around armlock and the kimura from the same position. Stuff we’ve done before, but I did pick up one detail. The position of your opponent’s arm dictates the appropriate submission. If it’s on the bottom side of your head, armlock. High side of your head, kimura.

Damian came in at the end of class, lined us up, and then pulled a blue belt out of his gi. It took me a second to realize he was talking about me when he started talking about how someone was supposed to be promoted at the same time as his training partner, but “he had to go and catch malaria and then leave the country for a week!” So yes, I got promoted to blue belt last night.

Not mine...but good enough!

Very happy about it. It’s been a journey, but (mostly) an enjoyable one. Lots of congrats, back slaps and handshakes….but even though I was the one being promoted, everyone worked together to allow it. I couldn’t have done it without my training partners and friends.

We started up the advanced class. Did a little conditioning work for the warm up (pushups, squats, situps), then instead of shrimping down the mat a couple of times, we partnered up and did actual escapes. Ron and I escaped escaped escaped. Which was good, because recently we re-learned this move, and I need the practice. And twenty minutes later, good and sweaty, we moved on. Now, some takedown drilling. Ron and I drilled the double over and over.

I was getting pretty tired by the time we actually got to the lesson of the day. A continuation of the previous week, so it was new to me. A new wrestling take down. Start by weaving an underhook, but a “high underhook”, over the top of your opponent’s shoulder.

Pull it down, then shove your forehead up against his neck to prevent him from turning into you. Control his other arm (if you can). From here you have pretty good control over his movement and posture, and can yank him around a bit.

For the actual takedown, yank him towards you, and get him to step. Shove your underhooking arm out, like you’re shot putting, and reach for his opposite knee to block it.

I really like this takedown, and told Ron as much when we were drilling. It makes sense and seems devastatingly effecting. At the end of class, we started doing it with some resistance, and following it all the way down. Took me a couple of tries to figure out how to land, so that I’m not either in guard, or going to end up armlocked. But good stuff.

A Slight Detour

I was extremely excited heading to class last night. More so that I have been in a while. Looking back at it, I’m not sure why, but I was in the mood for some jiu jitsu.

I was expecting more side control escapes, but things took a detour to the land of judo. Specifically, the ippon seoi nage, or one arm shoulder throw. It’s one of the most basic and useful of the judo throws.

We built it up step by step, starting with the fireman’s carry takedown. Then we spent alot of time on the foot work and hip placement, which are really the keys to the throw. We wrapped things up with the setup, and then spent the remainder of the white belt class actually doing the throw. Bobby and I paired up and drilled drilled drilled.

The advanced class continued right where we left off. A quick buildup of the technique, then plenty of drilling. Later on, we added a counter to common resistance, and transitioning to the scarf hold position and the walk around armlock. By the end, I had the hang of it, but it’s one of those things that you need to have complete confidence in, so that when it’s time to go, you go.

After class Ron and I rolled a few rounds. Our first go was pretty spirited, and I was happy not to have any nausea. In our next two rounds, we ended up in some pretty odd positions that I wasn’t quite sure how to handle. Played it by ear and got armlocked twice. Eh. Still learned something, even if it’s “what not to do”

Paleo is going well. I feel like I’m eating like a horse. I haven’t had any cravings, and no sugar withdrawal symptoms, so maybe I’m over that hump. Crossfit on Tuesday was like being roasted slowly over hot coals. But this morning, like last night, I was my usual (better?!) self. So far, two thumbs up to eating like a caveman.


No jiu jitsu last week…just a combination of weather, holidays, and other things.

However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything going on. With 2011 less than a week away, there’s some changes afoot.

First off…I’ve started on an strength building program known as 5-3-1. It’s focused on the “big three” strength lifts: squat, deadlift, and press. The goals focus on slow, steady, strength gains. I’ve been pondering something like this for a while now, wanting to supplement Crossfit, and now that it’s being offered, I’m all over it. Only takes 15 or 20 minutes three times per week, so I can either do it as a warm up on a Crossfit day, or after jiu jitsu. Three weeks of increasing weight, followed by a “de-loading” week of light weight.

Second…I’m taking the plunge on the Whole30/Paleo diet. Starting Jan 1, and going until Jan 30, I’m going to adhere to the meat/veggie/fruit/nuts program, dropping all grains, dairy, legumes and alcohol. It should be interesting.

I had my body composition and fat measured by the U of M’s Bod Pod….28.7%. Higher than I, and everyone else I know, expected. I’ll have it measured again in Feburary. Based on my Crossfit friends who did this program in October, I’m fully expecting to drop in weight, in body fat percentage, and gain in lean mass.

Ribs, Mounts, Chokes

Two weeks off the mat really makes me itch to be back out there. I took one week off of Crossfit as well, but did do my normal Workout Of the Days for a few days last week. The ribs feel good, not 100%, but good enough to get back at it.

And last night’s white belt class was a good one to ease back into things. We started with drilling the fireman’s carry take down. Apparently, it’s been a focus for the past week, so everyone else was pretty good at it. I had only did it one class a while back with Brady, so I took it slow, smoothing the movement out, and sped it up some as we progressed.

The rest of the class was a refinement of the BJJ 101 technique to mount. Our main focus for this class was neutralizing our opponent’s inside arm, the one he wants to use to elbow escape. We can switch our hips to get inside that arm, and then switch back to force it up towards his head, giving us all the room we need to mount. We then did the cross choke from mount for a bit as well.

Nice, basic stuff, but techniques that are useful at all levels. My ribs took it well, a little ten

Fight Gone Bad 5

“Fight Gone Bad” is a Crossfit workout. And every year the Crossift foundation does a fund raising drive benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project, Livestrong, and the Crossfit Foundation. Today was the day for the workout.

3 rounds:

1 minute wall balls
1 minute sumo deadlift high pull
1 minute box jumps
1 minute push press
1 minute rowing
1 minute rest

I was pretty excited about the whole thing. We had a great turn out, with at least 40 people participating. And all told, over $10k raised by CrossfitMN. I scored 244 (106/65/73), but could have improved some I think had I paced myself better. I came out pretty strong in the first round, and really paid for it. I kind of coasted through the second a bit to recover, then pushed hard in the last one.


A year of Crossfit

About a year ago, I did my first Crossfit workout. Today, I repeated it.

Baseline #1

500m row
40 squats
30 situps
20 pushups
10 pullups

Last year, I did the pushups from my knees, and did the pullups by jumping on a box to get my chin above the bar. 7:42.

This year, normal pushups, and kipping pullups with a rubber band….

My goal was to beat 7:42. I struggled with the last two pullups…they took 4 tries to get my chin above the bar. I finshed, and Damian asked me what I thought my time was. “6-something?” “Nope.” “5:30-something?!” “Nope.” “5-something?!!” 5:19.

Ho-lee-crap. Never thought that was possible. 30% improvement in time in a year. It boggles my mind. Maybe next year I’ll crack 5 minutes and not have to use the band for the pullups.

Straightforward class last night. I got to lead the warm up. With the Sub Hunt coming up, we’re apparently going to be focusing on getting ready for it.

We did positional work from mount, side control and guard. 4 minute rounds. Escape/submit/standup vs submit/pass/maintain. Switch sides and repeat. Ron and I paired up, and both did pretty good offensively against each other, but strangely couldn’t maintain any of the top positions very well. Tim worked in with us here and there, which is always humbling.

Rhythm & Blues

I’ve come to realize how important consistency and rhythm are in physical activity. This past weekend was Labor Day, and as such, it’s thrown my schedule off a little bit. Maybe it is in my head, but coming back after missing a day just makes getting back into the groove a little bit harder.

It turns out that there’s a tradition at Crossfit. On holidays, since people generally aren’t constrained by work, the Workout of the Day is one of the harder and longer ones. This weekend, it was “Murph”, named in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy, Navy Seal and Congressional Medal of Honor recipent, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

1 Mile Run
100 Pull ups
200 Push ups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run

I didn’t go on Labor Day, but I did do a “Half Murph” on my usual Crossfit morning. I broke the body weight exercises into 5 rounds of 10-20-30. 27:02

And then I double dipped and did jiu jitsu in the evening. Brady was teaching, and the lesson was escaping mount. Basic upa & roll and elbow escaping. Short Josh and I teamed up, and I lamented about how poorly it seems my elbow escape is. He pointed out that my topside elbow is always in the wrong place, which allows my opponent to easily switch to s-mount. It was a good observation.

After class, Tim and Ron joined the advanced class, but I passed. Three classes in a day would be too rude of a welcome back to the grind. So instead Bob grabbed me to roll. Bob’s an older guy, who’s been around at a couple of different gyms, but never has stayed in one place long enough to receive an official rank. I fully expect that to change on Saturday at the belt ceremony, because he’s a monster on the mat. We rolled for 40 minutes, in which, I passed his guard exactly twice. He reminds me some of Quinten and Damien, and just schools me with butterfly guard.

In one of the moments I passed, I tried the same knee slide mount I attempted (and failed) against Rod on Saturday. This one failed too, but we talked about it afterwards, and I think I know what’s going wrong. I had his farside arm jacked up, but let my elbow come in tight as I was mounting. If I leave it out, it provides a bit of base…enough to keep me on top.

Breaktime’s Over

Back to work. A week of vacation, in which I wanted to do a little exercise, but never actually did, turned out to be both a good and a bad thing. Good, because I think breaks are important. Time to rest and heal. Bad, well, because it breaks your rhythm and routine.

I had to opportunity to “double down” (obligatory Vegas reference!) jiu-jitsu last night, doing both the white belt and the regular classes. We worked three passes from half guard. The basic one involves getting the underhook on the high side, switching to head control and a gable grip, walking to the side to bend the bottom guy so he can’t roll, pulling your foot out, walking the bottom guy’s legs the other way, and completing the pass. The other two were variations, one for when you don’t get, or you loose the high side underhook, the other is another backup plan.

After the white belt class, I grabbed a drink, and was planning on rolling some with Ron or someone else. But the regular class had and odd number, so Damian asked me to join. And I’m never saying no to that. We warmed up, and did some reverse elbow escapes…which I’ve never seen before. After doing about a million of the regular ones, the motion was so ingrained, that I had trouble doing it backwards!

We covered the same passes, and added in the cross choke/arm lock double attack from mount to the end. Nice to partner up with the Mongoose again.

Afterward, we rolled a little bit. Somehow I got him in the clamp and kimura’d him in our first one, but that was the end of my success for the night. He got me mostly with arm locks. He certianly has been progressing right along, and is as quick as he used to be.

I signed up for Fight Gone Bad 5 yesterday too. Only a month away!

Wrestle, Mount, Choke

My first “twofer” day in a while, Crossfit in the morning, jiu jitsu in the evening.

Class started off with drilling Wrestling 101 again, running through each of the steps individually, then putting it all together. We finished with “sticking”, which is the processes of holding on during the takedown and landing on top when your opponent hits the ground. My first couple were a little tentative, I didn’t want to clunk heads accidentally with anyone. But after a few, I got more confident.

We then switched to mounting from the Shoulder of Justice position. The mounting part is pretty basic, just drag your knee along his belt line, hook your other leg, then finish the mount and hook the other. The tricky part is stabilizing the Shoulder before starting the mount. We then transitioned into an arm triangle choke. You end up squeezing his neck between one of your arm and one of his, and switching to side control on the opposite side you started from. I was partnered up with Ron, and he was having some trouble with getting the right positioning, so we drilled it many times. Damian finally saw his mistake, and demonstrated it properly on me. He ended up getting it down.

After class we drilled it a few more times, then played aground with some knee on belly escapes. I was feeling pretty good so we did some 50/50 rolling, which ended in a draw.