Tag Archives: wrestling


The main lift of the day was my favorite, the deadlift. One of the features of the 531 method is that you’re only doing 3 working sets of lifts, but the last set is always “as many reps as possible.” So last night after I warmed up, I did 5 deadlifts at 175#, 3 at 195#, and then as many at 215# as possible. Two weeks ago, I did 4. Last night I did 5. Incremental improvement. I had some time before class began so I did some clean and jerks as well.

Brady lead the class last night, and it was all about wrestling. It was fortunate that we had a very small class, only 8 of us, because it gave us plenty of room to be standing. We reviewed some arm drag techniques, and then spent a while drilling the arm drag into a double leg take down.

Then we switched it up and just sparred…starting standing and going until there was a take down. I was paired up with Mark, a lanky purple belt. He took me down everytime…but one. I got him with drop seoi nage. We switched partners, and I got Long…who apparently wrestled. No success with him, but he took some time to point out a few things that I was doing wrong. Renato was next, and I think we each got one, but most of the round was a draw.

Tiring stuff, I was pretty gassed by the end of class!

2-on-1 Wrestling

No, not two people vs one…two hands vs one! Brady led this class and taught us a little wrestling. It’s pretty common in wrestling to setup and use a 2-on-1 scenario because it allows an advantage, which leads to a large number of attacks. It’s something that’s done in jiu jitsu too, but it’s commonly referenced.

We started with the “Russian Tie” and a couple of ways to get to it from the typical wrestler’s clinch. You can peel the hand on the back of your head, while stepping to the side. Put your weight on his shoulder/tricep, while holding his arm with both hands.

From there, there are numerous take down options open. We drilled both a double leg and a single.

Sticking with the 2-on-1 theme, we did some arm drag drilling and also review the double leg takedown that Jeremy taught us a while back. Marcos and I paired up and drilled away. It was a good class, kind of low key.

I finally got back into the 531 rhythm before class and squatted. And I can tell I’ve had a lay off, because I’m feeling it this morning still!

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.

Offense and Defense

A good mix of a class last night. We spent about half of it drilling takedowns to penetration. I spent the 90% of the time working on the details of the single leg dump that I was on the receiving end of with Dave on Saturday. I was paired up with Jake, who was running through a half dozen different ones on his turn, but I stayed focused on my basic single. Toward the end, I switched and did some of the double leg too.

Thankfully they weren’t full takedowns. I felt like I had a little bit of a hitch in my lower back, I’m guessing from last Saturday. Didn’t hurt, but was there.

The other half of the class, we review and drilled armlock and triangle escapes. Low intensity, just working on the techniques.

After class I did some pull ups, including a few no-band kipping pull ups. Which I guess qualify as pullups. However, for my goal, I’m holding myself to a dead hang, strict pullup. Tried that too, and actually moved some, but couldn’t do it yet. Maybe if I were fresh, but probably not. I still have 3 months, so I just have to keep working on it.

Went home, iced my back, and took it easy. I’m not worried that I’m hurt again, but I think I’ll take the rest of the week off and visit my chiropractor.

Submission Hunt on Saturday…it’s looking like we’re going to have a solid turnout, probably 15-20 folks.

Takedowns for Two

Things started normally today, but then took a unique turn as soon as I walked into the gym today. Damian grabbed me and asked if I was interested in helping him with a private lesson. Heck yes I’m interested! Turns out that Dave is doing the tournament next weekend, and wanted to do a private to work on his take downs. So I got to be the take down dummy and observe up close and personally.

He talked strategy for a bit, getting a feel for which techniques would be most appropriate to polish up with only a week to go. And in the spirit of becoming specialist, we worked on only two, the single leg dump, very similar to the one we did in the last class, and the double leg for when our stances are opposing. We started with Dave doing a couple of each, just so Damian could observe what he was doing right, and what he was doing wrong. Then he just started building on things. Starting basic, and adding a bit to it after a few tries. My job was pretty easy…hand fight a bit, and comment occasionally…this felt right…this was loose…etc. And stand up every time. Dave had it rough, doing an hour of take downs is hard work, and it showed by the end.

But it paid off I think. He’s (and I too, just by watching and being on the receiving end) certainly got a better idea of what he should be doing, and a couple of options on what to do against typical resistance techniques.

Tiny Takedowns

Apparently the intensity of the tournament prep class is taking a toll. We only had 4 guys for the white belt class, the smallest I think I’ve ever been involved in.

We took the opportunity to work on both the single leg and the double leg take downs. Nice, because I only have the vaguest of ideas on how to do either properly. And none of the other guys in the class tonight did either. And it’s not complicated, but it was nice to start off from the beginning and learn the whole thing. We spent plenty of time drilling it, and since there were only 4 of us, it gave Damian plenty of opportunity to observe and correct.

My main problem is that I tend to lead with my head, like I’m tackling, where with proper technique, I’d go in vertically, hips, shoulder, and head in a line. We mainly drilled up to the point where we’d actually go down, but we did do a few minutes of the whole thing. My first couple were just awful. I’m not sure why I’m so gun shy on take downs. Damian kept telling me to “do what’s natural”, in regards to where my hands, arms, and head should be on the way down. I had to reply that “there’s nothing natural about flinging myself through the air hugging another human being” But on my next attempt, I got a “perfect!” comment out of him. I’ve long since realized that nothing I’ll ever do in jiu jitsu will ever be “perfect”, and said as much…adding that I’d settle for an “adequate” And so my next attempt was labeled “adequate” and the next one “satisfactory” Which I’ll take any day.

We talked a bit after class about specialization and generalist. I usually lean towards the idea of being a generalist…being able to do a little bit of everything. But in jiu-jitsu, that’s only going to limit things. Much better to be an expert at two take downs, two passes, and two submissions, and be able to nail them against everyone…than to know 20, and do none of them well.

RADAR & Wrestling 101

A full week off! Last Wednesday, I started having a little “twinge” in my left lower back, the same place that I’ve injured before. Eeek. Just a little one, but I try to be very sensitive to what my body tells me. I couldn’t think of anything specific that I did that was unusual or particularly hard. But still felt it was prudent to relax and rest for a bit and see what happens. Plus the holiday weekend threw my normal schedule for a loop. I’m happy to say that it appears to have cleared up. It was just a little tender yesterday, and I thought that going to class, taking it light and easy, and just moving around some would be beneficial. And it appears I was right. I feel fine this morning.

Class last night was the introduction of two new “101” sequences. Extended drills that we use for warming up and developing and smoothing our movement. RADAR is aptly named. One partner starts standing, the other on their side. The top guy moves from one side, to the head, to the other side, while the bottom guy transitions to a plank, and then proper side control position. Top guy moves back the other way, while the transitions are done in reverse. Then the top guy comes into improper side control hand position, bottom guy hip escapes to guard, sweeps. Reset to the standing position, complete that cycle, top guy comes into proper side control. Bottom guy escapes, threads the needle, and does the tripod take down. Then the roles reverse.

Wrestling 101 was developed by Jeremy, our stud wrestler. One guy starts in turtle, the other has double underhooks with his hands clasped. Bottom guy stands up, arching his back and keeping his hips forward, shoulders back, and pressure on the top guy. Break the grip by rolling the wrist back, and then “putting it in your back pocket”, pivot and clear his other arm with a slice of your other arm. Shoot in for a single leg take down, and finish it. Swap rolls.

We spent the entire class drilling these two. I was paired up with Ron, who was happy to take it slow, and put up with both my tenderness, and clumsiness at learning these new routines.

Arm Dragging Till My Butt Drags

My plan is for this to be the last week of hard training, going hard and pushing myself. Then next week, dial it back, rest, heal and then be ready to go on tournament day.

I had a first time experience tonight. I got picked to shadow and help the new guy. So after we warmed up and started doing our elbow escapes and thread the needles, I got to show him how to do each. Usually then I’d spend the class time teaching him BJJ 101, or switching in and out with others.

But tonight we we doing more of the arm drag take down drilling, so he got to participate in that instead.

A whole hour of drilling that take down will really suck it out of you, let me tell you! Drag, shove, trip, bang on your butt, stand up, repeat. Mongoose is getting REALLY good at this one, he’s going to be a terror at the tournament I think. I’ve been working with Ron, and we’re both getting the hang of it too.

Afterward, Tim wanted to roll with me. We went a half a dozen time, each with him tapping me. I mentioned to him that six months ago, I’d get tapped and not know why. Now I can see why and see it coming, but not (usually) prevent it. Maybe in six months I’ll be actually able to defend myself better. Rolling with him (and most everyone else) sure keeps me humble.

Wrestling Clinic

Taking it easy yesterday really helped. I was still a little sore, but ready for the clinic. Wrestling really is the closest thing that there is to an American martial art that there is.

Jeremy is clearly talented and knowledgeable, and has a good teaching style. He does need to work a little bit on his delivery, he comes off a a little quiet some times.

We started with the arm drag take down that I’ve learned by osmosis this past week. Nice drilling it for a few minutes as a group while Jeremy walked around and corrected various things. We built it up, starting with no hands, since your head is really the key with this. Do it right and you and take the other guy down with just a flick of your neck. Then we added in one hand, then the other, then running through the whole thing. Once everyone had that down, we learned the dump part. If your opponent is pushing back into you, you can switch to a single leg and change directions and pull him in the direction that he’s pushing, and he’s on his butt.

We played around with some grip fighting, experimenting on where and when we could go for the arm drag and various setups for the technique.

Then we also did a variation where instead of arm dragging and clinching, you drag and then duck under his arm and grab the single. Push into him to get him to push back, then pull back and hold his ankle and lift it so he’s hopping on one foot. Grab his leg with your other hand, twist it and foot sweep his other leg and he’s on his butt.

Lastly, we worked a similar twist motion, but on the arm. If your opponent has a good grip on your lapel, you can cup his elbow with one hand, cup his forearm with the other, and do the same twist and pivot with your hips and dump him too. I found this to be a little bit trickier. Something to work on.

All in all, a pretty good workshop. I’ve been thinking a lot about the tournament coming up, formulating a mental game plan. This take down is going to be one of the two or three that I’m going to focus on.