Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kata Class

I almost forgot about Kata, I have been going the last couple of weeks. Kata is right after my BJJ class and I want to support as many classes as I can. I really dont take criticism well, even constructive criticism it really hard for me. So for me Kata is real mental and emotional challenge.

11/24 Tue Class

Light attendance for the Tue class but I was able to give very focused attention to the folks that came. Ray showed his favorite x-guard entry last night so I built on that during the Tue class. Normally I would not have shown x-guard to this group as they were mostly beginner level white belts but they did really well with it. I stressed that x-guard is an advanced position that takes time to develop so they should not get frustrated if they cannot make it work right away.

After warm-ups we did some arm drag drills and butt scoot drills to help with the setups we reviewed on Mon. We made a few adjustments along the way and there was significant improvement from the beginning of the drills to the end of class. I did not spend as much time on the 2 or 3 techniques leading up to the x-guard entry, instead I quickly reviewed them and then focused on the entry itself.

For those not in either class the x-guard entry we were using was from the butterfly guard with a cross collar grip. Straighten one leg underneath of your opponent, jump your butt in, pull your leg back up to your body, swim your arm under the leg to pull the leg onto the shoulder andddddd X-GUARD. Wow as I re-read that description I realize how terrible it is and how much more complicated it is then my discription.

Anyway, there are a lot of little details that you need to get right to make the entry work so we broke them all down and drilled each little step. By the end of class they looked pretty good and I am betting we will see a few x-guards next week. For sweeps and attacks I kept it very very basic. I showed how to come up when the person let's their weight go to the back corner and I showed how to stand up in base from x-guard. I also showed the fine details of how to make the x-guard work, where to place the feet, how to off balance ect. I would have liked to have shown more actually sweeps but they needed the foundation of the position before they could make the fancy stuff work. Now that they have a base to build off of they should pick up the sweeps very quickly.

As an extra incentive to encourage them to keep coming (and perhaps entice a few others to start coming) I showed a little bit of x-guard defense. Normally I dont show how to defend against a technique right after I show it because it stifles the attacker too much. However, in this case I think you really need to understand what the person on the bottom needs to make the position effective, so learning how to defend when someone is under them should also help them learn how to attack when they are underneath. ---> It will also give them an edge over the people who didn't come to my class when we show x-guard again :) <--- (another shameless attempt to boost class attendance).

11/22 BJJ and Judo

Work has really been a real grind lately, combine that with a baby that has learned how to climb out of her crib and refuses to sleep and what do you get? A miserable grumpy SOB! That is how I feel before class, after class things seem to rest a little and fall back into perspective....

Mon BJJ was very productive, Ray covered his favorite X-Guard entry and all the techniques he runs through on his way to the X-guard entry. Too much to cover in one post but everyone seemed to do fairly well with it. I know there is at least one blue belt trying X-guard every chance he gets so hopefully this class helped him a little. ----> Too bad he was not at the Tue class, we really focused on all of the fine details that make the position work <--- (shameless guilt trip aimed at boosting Tue attendance).

Judo was good as well, lots of good randori. Lately I have started to feel my standup clicking again. Switching back to the high lapel/high collar grip has made a significant improvement in my throwing percentage. I like the double lapel, and I still use it but the high collar feels really good right now.

Special thanks to Lex for posting video of the Mon BJJ and Judo class. I really gain a lot from watching myself train. I might ask Hanukah Harry for a new video camera this year.

Side Note - Lately I have observed people using the techniques I am showing in the Tue class during the Mon/Thr mat work and Judo Newaza sessions. It really makes me feel good when I see someone use a technque I just showed. I saw Mike P use the triangle to mount transition the other day and I saw Sarah use the same triangle to mount transition on Lex's video (you have to look for it, she is in the back part of the room on one of the clips). Anyway, I am glad the people coming are getting something out of the class.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11/9 and 11/16 Tue Classes


Doing some catching up, for the 11/9 class I showed a variation of the Ude Gatme arm lock from side control. My preference is to NOT come up to the knee on belly Ude Gatme. Instead I stay low in side control and use my body to pressure the arm downward. I showed the attack and how to use it as a transition into the americana when the person bends their arm to defend. Next I briefly reviewed how to use the ude gatme from inside the closed guard and transitioned from there into how to stop the person from choking you when they are on top and in your closed guard. It was a good class with a lot of techniques but I think they took it all in. I felt a litte all over the place but last class someone asked if there were any attacks from on top inside closed guard. I wanted to show why we dont do that and it tied (at least lously) in with the ude gatme from closed guard.


On Mon Ray showed how to sit back into guard when you are turtled and the person is on top of you. As a follow-up for tonight's class I showed how to reguard from turtle with the "tuck and roll and turn toward the opponent" movement. Not really sure how to discribe it, but most would know it when they see it. Basically summersault and spinning like a top on your shoulder blades to turn toward the opponent. I started the lesson with a few drills. We did tight rolls down the mat, followed by wall walking. then we did the roll from every position the person might be in while you are in turtle ie tori in front, on the side, from behind, from the corner. Once the had the idea and the roll down I showed how to use the roll to attack with a triangle instead of just reguarding. From there I showed some details of the triangle, some options for when you cannot quite get into the triangle and a triangle smash defense. Again it was a lot, but I think they technques flowed together fairly well.

Overall I have been a little disappointed with the class size. I expected more people to cross train then what we are seeing so far. That said, I am really happy with the few that are supoprting the class. I can already see their ground game improving, I just hope they dont get discouraged by the small number of training partners. I know if we can push through these first few months classes will begin to grow. It is also really fun to see someone try the technique I showed no Tue in class on Thr!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Last Tuesday was my first class teaching BJJ at Osagame. I have lead various classes on a one off basis in the past but Tue classes represent my first formalized coaching opportunity. Overall I was happy with how the class progressed. I started everyone off with some standard warm-ups. After the warm-ups I took a few minutes to explain why we do the warm-ups and what attributes we are trying to develop with each warm-up. I know I get a lot more out of the drills when I understand the "why" behind the drills.

After warm-ups I did a review of Monday's technique (De La Hiva in the Arm). My plan was to do a brief review then move on to a related technique but folks were still having a little trouble making Monday's sweep work so we spent extra time on it. After reviewing the sweep we went on to the omaplate option. Again, there was a little more trouble with the option then I anticipated so we took some extra time.

The related technique I choose to show was the kick over sweep from spider guard where you let one leg come off the arm and kick into the other arm when the person comes in for head control. The two sweeps are very similar in timing, direction and setup so I thought they went well together. That took us to about 7pm. From 7 to around 7:20 I paired everyone up for ground work sets. I only had 4, I considered jumping in to give SB better sets but I decided against it. I wanted to watch everyone roll so I could identify things to address in future classes. All the sets went fine and took us to around 7:23. At 7:23 I answered a brief question from MP then took the last 5 minutes to end with a quick stretch and bow out. We ended exactly at 7:30 which is something I plan on watching very closely. I also like the idea of ending with a stretch, I think it helps prevent injuries and speeds recovery time. Hopefully the class sizes grow as people settle into the new schedule.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Opening Night

This post is going to be a little "all over the place", and maybe a little longggg.

Last night was our first night at the new club. Folks trickled in throughout the night signed the new waivers ect. Everything went very smoothly. The BJJ class was a good size and the Judo class was HUGE. The foam sprung floor got high praises from everyone I spoke to and I am really happy with how it turned out. As more and more people got on the mat the slight springiness of the floor became more apparent. I am convinced the floor will "break in" over time and become even softer as the foam beneath it loosens up. Ray got the tatami's down and everyone helped out with finishing touches to bring everything together. We still have a bunch of weekend warrior type projects, but overall I am very happy with how everything is coming together.

My long time friend Matt Reid showed up and joined the club as well. I am really happy he decided to get back on the mat. He will be a great addition to our club. Matt got me started in BJJ and has been one of the biggest victims of "Rank Politics" I have ever seen. As he gets back into the game, gets back into BJJ shape and gets his timing back he will be an absolute monster on the mat. I suspect he will move up very very quickly.

Another notable was one of the Brown belts on the mat last night. I am really glad he decided to come out and train last night. I dont think people realize how hard it is for higher ranked players to come back after a long layoff. They really put themselves out there and it takes a lot of guts. I have a lot of respect for people like that and I hope he continues to train with us.

We had some of the usual cross trainers plus a few new Judo cross over’s which is really encouraging. I honestly believe we have the making of a really stong team and I am excited to watch everyone grow.

Technique - Ray showed the De Le Hiva (in the arm) attacks. This is one of my favorite series of attacks. My plan for tonight’s class is to review the technique shown last night and build on it with a similar sweep. I like the idea of doing a quick review of the previous technique than showing a follow-up technique. My only concern is that there will not be enough time to show and drill the follow-up technique. I will have to see how it goes and make adjustments as necessary.

Judo went really well, the place was packed with familiar faces both from our club and from friends that have moved on to opening their own clubs. That kind of support goes a long way.