Monday, April 30, 2012

active hooks active hooks active hooks

If nothing else, I'm going to take that point from tonight's scattered mat time.

(Context: butterfly guard)

although I'm also taking the point of properly angling my "up" leg -- I've long been angling it outwards, losing the ability to keep any sort of distance once my opponent starts to try and flatten me out, and it's also conceding the pass by making it even easier to push the leg down to the mat and out of their way.

And duh, switching which leg I'm hooking (theirs AND mine)

Key, key factors I'd been completely oblivious to (have I mentioned how wretched my butterfly guard is?), little aha moments that I hope turn into nice dividends in terms of progress.

While that progress has been slow, it has at least led to some opening up in my open guard. Hell, at this point I'm just tickled that I can get into open guard. So even if my butterfly guard always ends up sucking, if it can at least be annoying (or boring?) enough to allow me to move into open guards, that's okay with me too.

Actually, no it's not. I want to develop a decent butterfly guard. Not at the expense of anything else, and not as a baiting technique, nor as a transition to some other guard. It was really nice to be back for even an abbreviated and unfocused mat session. While I hated to, a few extra days' rest was probably a wiser idea than I'd like to admit.

I also felt turdish. My training partner I'd mentioned a couple posts back apologized for making me angry. I felt decidedly assesque for getting angry as much as for making someone else feel like it was their fault I got angry. Maybe I'll mellow as I enter my 40s. Probably not, but let's hope... 

Hoping to pick up a few gis from alterations tomorrow morning, and to commence with rotating them in so I can properly review them here. But I will say, I recently picked up the new backpack from and it is wonderful. There are a host of lovely pictures there, but what I would like to stress here is that this is a large backpack. To me, the pictures made it look small, but it is FAR from small. Granted, I'm not winning any slam dunk contests, but still. I was concerned that I would have to start packing way more spartan than I normally do, NAY. This bag can hack it.

I'll try and get some pictures for scaling purposes here before too long, and do a more dedicated write up. Also for their gis - I'm aiming for a progression of them, and noting improvements they've made over the 3 models I have.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

feeling anemic.

adding more iron back into my workout mix. While I really dig the oly lifts in crossfit that I do, I feel as though I could lift more weights. I'm getting no younger, and there's no sense in giving up what muscles I have/had to atrophy and aging. The question becomes where do I cram this into the schedule? It'd be pretty boss to be able to stash a barbell or even a kettlebell at work, but I figure that's probably out.

one way to find out. what's that old saying? "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission"

at any rate, I think this cold is gone enough that I can resume training now. We'll see. Probably work some curriculum and nogi today percraps. I'd do well to have a little more of a gameplan in place before I go cruising down the hill. I imagine my training partners would appreciate that as well. In keeping with what I pondered last post, I'm picking ONE dvd. ONE dammit. And rolling with it.

that ONE dvd shall be.... uh.... well hell, I'll just start with Chris Brennan's nogi guard passes. Let's go watch some tape and take notes, people! (and drink more coffee)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

afterthought: more reviews pending.

I'm being a greedy gearwhore. I really should share more, as I've stumbled across some really great (and some really meh) things lately. I'll try my best to get pics snapped and posted along with my tangential reviews.

Great things: Origin BJJ, How to Defeat the Stronger Opponent, CEP compression, and more.

overkill on materials

like anyone who spent either too much or maybe not enough time in college, my usual approach to anything I'm not getting is to study it more. Read more about it, research differing methods, looking at it from every possible angle - even the ones I know aren't necessarily correct or useful....

I'm wondering if this is maybe not the greatest idea with bjj/grappling, since it doesn't usually foster any sense of focus with me, and instead I end up swimming in a sea of a zillion different sweeps, for example.

this happens when I'm rolling, too. My timing goes out the window while my brain displays an hourglass rotating over itself, pondering the next move(s). It's rather comical, in that mentally I'm conjuring just a pile of different options/counters/attacks, but in so doing, I never get to pull the trigger on any of them.

I'd like to be able to put blinders on, but then I'd just become predictable, and probably bored as well. I'm awful at that -- I want to see it all.

What I really need is that chair from The Matrix. Just have some needle jammed into my brain stem and cram all these instructionals I've amassed into my head, perfectly assimilated. Man, that would be awesome.

Prime example: I mentioned trying to study up more on nogi, which I'm presently rather wretched at... I pull out the library of DVDs (which is really, really obscenely vast at this point) and start pulling out options. I'll spend an hour or two watching these and it'll help. Five minutes later, I'm looking at Roy Dean's nogi series, 4 from Chris Brennan, 2 sets from Pablo Popovitch, Saulo's Freestyle Revolution, 3 sets of Marcelo Garcia... yeah sure, all in a couple hours I'm gonna watch and absorb that. Pfft.

Ideally, I would love to be able to just plow through every single one of these. Study them. Take notes. Take them to the mats on open mat days and work through them. But that'll take weeks. Months, actually. And during that time, I can't rightly just "turn off" the gi end of my game. So, I'm splitting my time b/t the two.

And unlike the general demographic on the mats, I'm not getting any younger. Thirty-eight is just months away. I've managed to turn my biological clock into paranoia about my jiu jitsu progress. Lovely.

But I guess blinders is what will have to happen. Pick one. One instructional. Work through it. Work with folks to quickly determine what's working, what isn't, and move the hell on. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

meh. dumb colds.

with any luck, I'll feel normal tomorrow and can resume training. I sacrificed this weekend to the alka seltzer gods, so I find it only fair that they leave me some better health under my pillow this evening.

then again, I did basically try and triple my typical time on the mats per week. (dumbass, you ain't 20...)

repeat to self: train smarter, not just harder.

that said, it's time for another dose. hopefully there will be less pouting this week. I'm really hoping to see/make some progress on nogi, butterfly (all around, gi and nogi) and establishing some new patterns. Rolls are turning out the same way too much, and I guess while that says some good things, I tend to think it says more bad things with regards to inertia in my progress. Or maybe more a testament to my being too chicken-shit to change things up from what works.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

remove gi, remove IQ points

you know, I recall a time not horribly long ago when I actually preferred nogi grappling. Especially during the summers when we had no A/C to speak of. And even when it wasn't hot, it was nice to shed the gi, much like switching from 16 oz. boxing gloves to lighter ones, or even MMA gloves. The speed pick up was so nice.

dammit, what happened?

I've been training I'd say easily 90% gi for the past few years. Just sort of moved away from training stand up and MMA, and my nogi fell to the wayside. Since I'm entertaining the idea of competing, I figured I'd best start working on it again. Today was the first day I've dedicated solely to nogi in some time, and it would've been frustrating, were it not so comical.

I don't get it. There really shouldn't be so much of a difference, but I was rendered nigh-useless. No collars to grab, no sleeves... Yep, I officially missed my cotton armor.

But I stayed on task... Pulling a gi back on isn't going to help, so I may as well buckle down and embrace the suck. In the meantime, I came straight home and started browsing through my library for nogi materials to consume. There's a lot to choose from, so I think I'll just pick one, and methodically sift through them, as well as watch some old ADCC and nogi worlds competitions. (suggestions always welcomed)

My flexibility seems to be coming back rather quickly, which is great. I'll need it. May've found a better mount escape option than what I'd been using, and while I've not tried it much, saw some interesting nastiness from back mount. I need some nastiness from back mount, since my present arsenal for it has apparently grown stale - everyone seems to know what I'm going to do. Or it may be that they know with my shorter frame, there's only so many things I'm inclined to do, and my hooks aren't much threat.

overall, it felt like a lost, sloppy day for the most part, but not in a horrific, depressing way. More like a "thrown in the deep end of the pool" way. I expected to feel that way, so no worries.and dammit my neck got tweaked again. damn wrestlers and their neck cranks. might throw in some sets of heavy shrugs moving forward as well.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

trying to refocus. and riding out a bad day on the mats.

(yes, I know some consistency in posting would probably be nice)

after a really good three-day span of bjj (saturday, sunday, and monday), last night was the big comedown. got paired with someone who I'm still trying to decide what I think of. Was it spazzing? Not in the traditional sense, but the deviations from technique were obvious to me. What I wasn't so sure of was if that was in response to something I was doing or not.

I don't know. What I do know is I managed to get through three days of focused work without many aches or bruises. From last night, I'm now nursing a sore elbow (from forced armbars/twists) and neck.

But moreso, I'm nursing a seriously chafed ego. And also nursing this tendency to let one crappy day overthrow three good ones. That annoys me more than any bruise or soreness.

Had you asked me right after I came off the mats, I'd have told you that I was ready to take a lead pipe to the guy's noggin. I'd have sworn that if I ever landed an armbar on him, I'd break it. I was largely furious. I was also coming off the edge of a panic attack. Thought I had those under control, and I don't know, maybe I do. I didn't go full blown, just lost control of my breathing for a bit.

Went three or five times. The last three attempts I just got angrier and angrier. And of course, got completely out of my game (what game there is) and slid into she-hulk rage mode. Which always accomplishes so much. As time was called, I left the mat. When it's left me that mad, it's time to stop.

I shook off my gi top and noticed I was hyperventilating. Great, just what I needed, everyone to witness a full blown panic attack. Hell no. Instead I shut down, started focusing on just inhaling in a slower, controlled pace. Relaxed. Calmed down. To my surprise, it worked. Still, my nervous system was shot. Hit the showers, and left the gym, with little dialogue.

I had already crossed the street before the tears started (which always accompany my panic issues). Only maybe three. I refused to fall to any resurgent panic or self pity. Sure, I was still a little freaked out, and certainly still angry at my shitty mat time, but I wasn't ready to concede all to the tide of negativity and anxiety.

Into the truck, wincing as I reached for the seatbelt, neck already hurting... three miles later I came to some new conclusions:

  • working with that guy is going to do three things: make me better, make me meaner, and/or get me hurt. Two of those are acceptable. One isn't. 
  • I can't abandon my own game so easily. That guy rattled me off my plan, that's why I did poorly. I played his game, not mine.  I got rattled out of my game because I was more worried about self-preservation, and not getting hurt. 
  • I still need to work on my breathing, especially under pressure. I already know that anxiety can come into play any time, but pressure is obviously going to exacerbate things, and holding my breath will have a multiplicative effect on that. 
Not quite so conclusive is if asking this guy to dial it down a notch will work. I think working with him can only help me, but not if I end up getting hurt. I'm also not understanding how people don't know when they're applying injuring force.

hopefully this evening's class will be more productive.