Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rolled Up Episode 24 – Guard Passing & training mindset with Marcio Feitosa

Rolled Up Episode 24 – Guard Passing & training mindset with Marcio Feitosa

Sunday Scripture: Christian Thibaudeau

I can't help but find a lot of inspiration in listening to some of my favorite strength and conditioning folks, among them Christian Thibaudeau of T-Nation. A lot of what he has to say about weight-training in this passage reminds me of what I think to be true when it comes to jiu-jitsu training.
In the simplest terms, the key to maximum gains lies with increased training frequency and volume. Frequency and volume are obviously tied together, but of the two, frequency is by far the most important factor.

I can accomplish everything I need to maximize gains through increased frequency, which in effect equates to also increasing volume. It's far more effective, at the extreme level, to perform three 30-minute workouts per day than to do the same volume in one 90-minute workout.

Likewise, it's more effective to spread the amount of time per week you devote to training over more days than fewer. For example, let's say that you're currently training four days per week for an hour each workout, a total of four hours per week.

I'm telling you, from my experience, you'd make a lot better progress performing six 40-minute workouts per week. You'd make even greater progress training 35 minutes per day, seven days a week.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Training Day: Friday

If the class size of Friday's early session was any indication, then the turn out at Saturday's GB Seattle Interschool "Friendly" should be massive.

Prof. Rodrigo had us working on more attacks from the back and, more importantly, transitions in the attack from the back. The technique was the bow and arrow choke transition to armbar that we worked on earlier in the week, so it was a great opportunity to review many of the key details, from the scissoring of the legs to free your lower leg after you drop to your side, to keeping your form sharp as you roll over into the armbar.

I've always been a big fan of "less is more." I could spend a month working on the same transition series, getting faster and sharper and more efficient day after day after week after week. It would probably bore a lot of folks to tears. But I bet you we would be finishing people with bow and arrow chokes as if they were on sale.

So the focus is working for me. It's really the only way to ingrain the muscle memory. To do it over and over again until you feel the move before you even begin to do it. It was especially nice to get in a little post-Live Training drilling in with Mark, the blue belt I've been able to do some quality drilling with before. I was able to work on the backstep pass v.s. half guard, the folding pass with leg pin, and a few other things I've been desperate to try and polish. I can't emphasize enough how important this is going to be in order for me to make the kind of gains I know I can make over the next few months and years.

158.0 on the scale post train. Not a bad number going into the weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Training Days: Tuesday and Wednesday

Three training sessions in three days. That may be arroz e feijao for many of you, but it's been awhile since I put in that kind of pace.

The spacing is good: training Monday early, Tuesday late, Wednesday late and Friday early. I felt as exhausted at the end of tonight's training as I did on Tuesday, which included a conditioning session earlier in the day. So I may be able to get away with conditioning Tuesdays and Saturdays (Sundays if I train on Saturday).

As much as I like the conditioning, I think a lot of what is causing so much fatigue is an extreme amount of extra movement, movement that doesn't lead to anything. It's not that I'm flying around all over the place - hardly. It's just that I'm not being as efficient as I need to be to keep up, and instead finding myself relying on athleticism.

Relying on athleticism is never a good way to improve in jiu-jitsu. And at the age of 44, it's a really bad way to train.

My guard is coherent. It's not seamless and it's not consistent, but I do have a pretty good idea of how to turn the pattern into a garment worth wearing. I'd argue that at least two-thirds of what I'm trying to do from the guard is less than a year old, and I need to keep that in mind when things aren't working like I wish they would.

About passing the guard. My strategy has been to turn everything into a battle of half guards. So when it comes to passing the guard, my goal has been to get the guy on the bottom to commit to defending with the half guard instead of whatever other guard they might have been planning (read: preferring) to use. The theory was that at least 51% of the time, my half guard (which represents 75% of my game) is better than their half guard.

Whatever sense this may or may not make, the problem is that I haven't focused explicitly enough on passing the half guard. Watching Bruno and Felipe from the 2009 Worlds reminded me that passing the half guard is no walk in the park at any level. But if that's where I'm going to make my stand, then I need to be as comprehensive from that position as possible.

I'm taking Thursday off from training and conditioning (back at it on Friday). But I do want to do some movement tomorrow on the home mat. While it is expressed most obviously in the fatigue/athleticism thoughts above, I've just not felt like I've been moving with any fluidity whatsoever. I've never had anything that could be described as beautiful jiu-jitsu. But feeling the "ugly" from the inside out is a little distressing.

Again, that may just be the inefficient movement I'm seeing and feeling expressing itself. Part of my determination to drop 10 pounds comes from feeling awkward and immobile too often when training. And while there's nothing lost by getting a little leaner (a walk-around between 150 and 155), there is the possibility that it is "extra-movement-induced fatigue" that is more to blame than the lbs.

What I could use is a diet of white belts - at least in the absence of drilling on these specific areas with advanced guys. At root, my jiu-jitsu is lacking in flow outside of my Gordo/Plan B series from half guard, Flat Pass and, bit by bit, my cross guard omoplata vs. ground and push pull vs. standing. And maybe that's plenty at "this level" against other folks who've been at this game for years and aren't likely to fall for something you've only been noodling with for a couple of weeks.

Some great details in the bow and arrow choke in training tonight. It's a must-know choke, as far as I'm concerned, so it was very nice to work on it tonight. Tuesday night we worked some basic standing guard passing with an emphasis on getting inside control. More good stuff.

157.2 on the scale Tuesday night. 157.0 tonight. I'm icing a knee, unwrapping a finger and thinking about the in-house tourney on Saturday. Thinking.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Training Day: Monday

More than average eagerness to train got me to the Academy for the early session. Right now, this is the latest version of my strategy to get in to train more consistently in the 4x/week range.

I figure that by training early on Monday and then late on Tuessday, I'll have enough time between the two sessions to make the most of the latter. Essentially, I'm giving myself another five hours between the sessions, which I'm hoping will make it easier to add a third consecutive training session Wednesday night.

Thursday off and then back at it on Friday for the early class.

Back during the last run-up for the last tournament, Rodrigo suggested something similar as an optimal training schedule, especially when preparing for a tournament: train Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, take Thursday off, then train again on Friday (or Saturday, I suspect, for those who can't train during the early class).

We'll see how it works out for me over the next month between now and then tournament I'm not competing in. As much as I want to keep on the conditioning, the difference makers for me far more often than not are technical ones, and the place to make the technical changes are at the academy, not the home gym (however jiu-jitsu-ized).

159.1 on the scale post train. A lot of good fundamental work in today's session, including jab and jab counter to body lock clinch. The gem of the training, though, was probably the guard opener from the ground with two very nice details that I haven't paid as much attention to. As with a seminar, you should never expect to be able to use everything you learn in class. But if you can at least learn one complete move and may two or three fundamental principles that you might have been lacking, then you'll be ahead of the game over time.

Didn't get to work on as much out of the half as I'd hoped. I'm trying to isolate some of my main issues from the top and bottom so that I can better recognize the opportunities to attack with them. I'll see what I can get accomplished on that score over the balance of the week.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Scripture: Jiu-Jitsu University

Back pain kept me away from my planned threshold training session today on Sunday. Doing some yardwork and review and reflection from one of my favorite jiu-jitsu "Good Books" instead.

When it comes to passing my opponent's best guards, my goal always is to prevent him from ever getting where he wants to be. If I let him go too far, I will be in for a fight and I do not want this. My jiu-jitsu is based on anticipation. I don't have to solve a problem if I can keep it from materializing.

More on this over the course of the week. For now, I'm trying to gear up for the homestretch into mid-August and the tournament I'm not competing in. My 4-week training average is back up to at least 3x/week, so I'm on good footing to try and step things up over the next month.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Conditioning: Explosive-Repeat

Making up from some missed conditioning sessions from the week. Here's the Tuesday explosive-repeat workout finished this morning. I'll do the threshold training workout from Thursday tomorrow. Then I'll only owe myself a cardiac output session (ideally LSD).

6 sets 10 seconds work/40 seconds rest - thrusters
6 sets 10s work/40s rest - thrusters
6 sets 10s work/40s rest - bench press
6 sets 10s work/40s rest - bench press

HR splits: 35, 40, 38, 38

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Dern v. Santos

Training Day: Friday

To steal a line from Jesse: some days you are the hammer, some days you are the nail, and some days you are just the pure effort of swinging away.

That pretty much sums up my week of training. Today, starting off with a little judo, Harai Goshi, I think, an outside thigh sweep, that we were able to turn into a trip by changing the angle of your knee. Again, a lot of combination attacks in the judo these days, which is a good way to learn the throws (even if the names are slow in coming).

We also worked some transitions in and around the turtle position. Starting from turtle with front headlock threat, we did sit-outs to the back, then the top guy reversed to take the back by pinching the attacker's far arm under the armpit and then doing a sit out and turn back into the guy to take the back.

There were some other follow-through moves, all geared toward increasing the transition. Good hard conditioning type training.

We also did some more flow work: guard submissions, guard passing, mount escape and mount submissions. Then a little Live Training to finish things up.

A good session made all the more rigorous with an ending training session with Dan, who is becoming one of my more regular training partners. Like Elliott and a couple of other guys, Dan keeps up a pace that is hard to keep up with, and often when I think I'm only a moment away from an opportunity, that moment is extinguished almost immediately.

More than anything it makes me wish there were a 9 am jiu jitsu open mat around here somewhere tomorrow. There's actually a chance of something developing on Sundays that would fit the bill. But right now, there's little I'd rather do than roll.

159.0 on the scale, post-train. Actually my heaviest weight of the week - in part due to skipping all my off-mat conditioning this week (after Monday, at least). A part of me feels as if I'm still in recovery mode from last Saturday's Train Until You Drop session. A little conditioning this weekend, and maximum time outside in yonder lawn and garden, are probably just what the Professor ordered, so to speak.

My four-week training average is finally back up to a respectable 3.0/week as of today's session. Keeping it there - or higher - over the balance of 2011 may be the most important thing I do this year on the mat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Deep Practice in Jiu-Jitsu

In his great book, The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle presents two different models of "deep practice" that have helped turn average athletes, students, musicians and others into extraordinary achievers.

The first is based on the kind of deep practice associated with learning new skills, especially technical skills. Repetitious, focused drilling is the best approach here.

The second is based on the kind of deep practice associated with developing current skills. In this instance, you want to maximize creativity and spontaneity above all else. "Don't think, move!" is the mantra of this approach to betterment.

In the book, Coyle used aspiring musicians and tennis players as examples of the first type of training, and soccer players from Brazil as examples of the second.

This week at GB Seattle, Prof Rodrigo has given us the opportunity to do both.

From the specific work Monday night to the flow training Wednesday, my only regret is that I didn't know these opportunities were coming. I probably would have asked my partner to play more specific guards for me to pass, and I would have been more able to work on some of my take-the-back moves from half and deep half.

But that said, it was a really nice taste of both deep practice methods applied to jiu-jitsu and I'm hoping we get to do more and more of it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Training Day: Wednesday

More competition prep style training with a focus on both "flow" training and specific for the main class and Live Training afterwards. Really good stuff - almost too good when you're not expecting it. I keep thinking about all the passes and the full guard sweeps I would have tried if I had thought about it. That said, I did manage a Flat Pass or two to my weak side during the "flow" training and a few slingshot sweeps (left and right!), as well.

Nothing but black belts for me tonight. I got to train with Profs Jesse, Lance and Rodrigo, getting more than my money's worth on a midweek evening to be sure. The trick when training with guys like this is to just keep moving, stay technical and ambitious and pay attention to how they prevent you from even getting started with what you want to do - you may be able to return the favor to someone else down the line.

Cardio was so-so. It's hard to tell when you're really working pretty hard anyway. But I figure that as long as I'm among the last ones training when they call "time!" then I'm probably doing something right. It was definitely a good idea to skip the planned two-a-day for today. There wasn't a chance in the world that I'd've been able to train tonight if I had done the planned explosive-repeat conditioning session this morning (now rescheduled for Saturday).

A good night of training - however grounding, in many respects. More than anything else, it's the kind of thing that really makes you want to be able to train every day - just to get after the little mistakes and small details that just need to be tended to intensively for just a little while - a few weeks, a month or two - in order to become whole.

157.6 on the scale post-train. On my way ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bloody Elbow's History Of Jiu-Jitsu: Gracie Barra

Another nice entry in the "History of Jiu-Jitsu" series over at Bloody Elbow.

History of Jiu-Jitsu: The Professors of Gracie Barra
While Carlos is an avid believer that competition is a crucial part of keeping skills evolving and sharp, in the 1980s high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions were difficult to find. As a result the most impressive competition gold Carlos ever won was the 1980 Pan American Sambo Championships. While not destine to become a great competitor, his true calling would become clear, instruction.

As a result Carlos Gracie Jr.’s lineage stretches from one end of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the other and black belts from Jean-Jacques Machado to Matt Serra all trace their path to the origins of Jiu Jitsu through Carlos Gracie Jr.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Training Day: Monday

More good hard training on Monday. Judo to start things off as we worked the osoto gari throw. Synching the details - turning the elbow out, the "palm heel uppercut with the collar control, the footwork - is the tricky part as always. And one of the challenges will be to remain technical and in "learning/trying/failing" mode when we begin stand-up sparring in another week or two.

In part, I think this is why I want to work the foot sweeps more than the throws per se. I've been intimidated away from them, thinking that long legs were a prerequisite to making foot sweeps a major part of your judo. But now is as good a time as any to challenge all of that.

Competition prep-type training with a lot of specific to start things off. I'm starting to get my timing back, bit by bit, and pretty much on schedule as I come out of my first 4x week in awhile. Continuing to open up the omoplata game, including as a cross guard option when the guy doesn't stand. It's an atypical entry for the omoplata, since the arm is crossed rather than elbow out - which most folks are hip to. This may account for some of the surprising success I've had with a submission I don't think I've ever consistently trained.

From the top, the Marcelo series is still a main go-to against the open guard (a lot of folding pass tonight). Flat pass right is getting a little better and really needs to be trained whenever the opportunity presents itself. I'm also liking what I'm able to do by way of a combat base out of the squat pass - though I need to be more focused on how the struggle to free the hips creates the pass opening rather than just going for the wedge/smash immediately.

A very nice light 158.3 post-train, especially good for a Monday.

Rickson Interview: July 2011

Haters gonna hate. But I love me some Rickson Gracie.

Caio Terra: Half Guard Pass to Back

Conditioning: Tempo Method

Last day of Tempo Method training. Block A is officially over.

6 of 9 tempo squats
6 of 9 tempo squats
6 of 9 tempo squats

HR splits: 156/116, 148/132, 164/136

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Training Day: Saturday

"Some of the hardest training I've done in awhile" is probably the best way to describe training on Saturday. Arriving after they'd gotten started, I was paired with Prof Carlos to work butterfly guard drills and specific. And as has been the theme all week, Prof Rodrigo had turned things up to 11.

One of the things that continues to confuse me is the long time it takes to get warmed up. Within the first half hour, I felt as if I was going to collapse. But 90 minutes later, as I'm finishing up sparring and heading over to the side mat to do some HICT work, I'm feeling pretty good - good enough to do another two sessions before finally packing it in for the day.

Today was mostly about moving. Training with both Profs, I spent a lot of time on the defensive and trying to keep from falling too far behind. To be sure, there's a lot of cardio involved. But there's also a lot of "efficiency-seeking", as well, trying to get maximum effect for minimum effort.

That said, I'm convinced that the off-mat conditioning is starting to pay off - so much so that I'm wondering if some pre-heating might do the trick to help me avoid that initial 30 minutes of dispiriting local muscle fatigue. I used to think that doing conditioning before training would only make me too tired to train. But there's got to be some sort of middle ground that will allow me to get off to a somewhat swifter start.

157.2 on the scale post-train, everything but the coat. A nice two-pound drop below last week's number.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Training Day: Friday

A great session on the mat. Prof Rodrigo kept the warm-up short and sweet so we could get quickly to the drilling.

We spent most of the session working on the clock choke variations.

1 the basic clock choke
2 clock choke with hip switch
3 spin and sit to the back
4 back escape return to clock choke

Very nice work - and Rodrigo had us going at a pretty good pace. It certainly didn't hurt to have worked the position just a few days ago (and with the same partner).

A lot of specific (rear mount, closed guard), which went well. I actually managed to work my omoplata game - a game I know I haven't even touched in a year, no lie. For sure, watching a few minutes of Stephan Kesting's omoplata DVD got the move in my head. But one of the things that I know helped me really get fully into position is all that triangle drilling I do as part of my matwork BJJ conditioning routine.

So it was nice to see that off-site training paying off a little.

Now, with about a month or so to go before the tournament I'm not competing in, the goal is to up the intensity and really push the endurance. Today, I was the last guy on the mat, which is something that - like my lonesome omoplata - has been a real rarity for some time. I was on my way out the door at a respectable time, but then decided, to hell with it, it's Friday. I'm getting some more training in.

159.8 on the scale post-train - a very nice little number. Too spent to do HICT - hopefully I'll have enough left after Saturday's training to get 6 laps in.

An Interview with Lloyd Irvin

Interview with Lloyd Irvin
Whatever mindset you allow on your mats will become the culture of your mats. I have a saying, “if everyone on our team did what you did, what type of team would we have?” This is a question that I have made a standard at my school. The answer can only be a good team or a bad team. So if a student gets tapped in practice and throws a fit, it would never be allowed on my mats. If I was to ask that student my question, “If everyone on our team threw a fit when they got tapped on our floor what type of team would we have?” The answer would be a bad team. Many instructors allow things to happen on their floor that the answer would be ‘a bad team’ and since they allow others do it and it becomes an accepted behavior within that team then it results in a serious problem.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Christiano Choke with Leg from Backstep Half Guard

Conditioning: Threshold Training

4 rounds (approx 7 minutes each) 20 reps
3 min rest between rounds

BPM splits: 132, 160, 168, 164/120

current matwork:
alt upas
hip splits
arm drags
hook sweeps
technical lifts

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Rafa, More Leg Drag

Rafa Rolling at PuraBJJ 22/06/2011 from on Vimeo.

Rodrigo made a fundamental point after training Monday night. He was working the Hioki guard pass all night, the one he showed us last week. While the rest of us marveled at how many times Rodrigo attacked with it, he said simply: "This is how you do it. I'm doing this pass all week."

Pretty much sums it up.

Training Day: Wednesday

Very nice midweek training tonight. It's "Choke Week" at GB Seattle (like "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel, only with chokes) and tonight's entry was the clock choke.

There were a couple of great details that Prof. Rodrigo pointed out. The move count I did was something like:

1 open far collar and sprawl against the hip
2 choke hand under chin to far collar ("see your fingers")
3 control far wrist with far grip, pull in to widen elbow
4 choke elbow tight into belly, heavy on near shoulder
5 pressure forward w/forehead on mat, turn the clock

We also did the variation with the hip switch. Training with Jason Garcia (who is was great to see again after what seems like a million years), we talked about how if you put that pressure on quickly, it could almost pop the guy's head off.

Anyone who's ever seen that classic finish by Wallid Ismail over Royce Gracie knows how effective the clock choke can be even at the highest levels.

I'm really liking the way I'm opening things up in training. It may have taken me almost six years (my sixth anniversary in jiu-jitsu is less than a month away!), but I'm finally getting to the point where I feel comfortable about really working at the margins of my game. The half guard to the back move that Rodrigo showed us on Monday is something that is very, very attractive right now. And more than that, I'm thinking not just of the move itself, but of what situations I can create that will make the guy give me the opening I need to move into that take the back move.

I'm convinced that's how the truly great ones do it. You can't know every variation of every position in the world. But if you know a couple of ways that, more often than not, get the guy to react one of maybe two or three different ways, then you can construct an entire mousetrap to lead the guy deeper and deeper into doom.

So it is about "anticipation." But not in a spontaneous sense, per se, or some mystical "read your mind" way. It's much more straightforward. If you push forward, more often than not, the person will push back in response, at least the first time or two before becoming suspicious. The game is to make sure that when they give that response, you've got the rest of the trap ready to go.

I remember Rickson Gracie saying something along these lines in a video taken at a seminar he gave for one of his top students, Pedro Sauer (and, yes, it is odd to think of Pedro Sauer as anyone's "student", in a way). Rickson said that he was "always a step ahead" because he knew how Pedro was going to react. And assuming Rickson is no mind reader, and doesn't have light-speed like reflexes, the only way that is possible is for Rickson to create irresistible poor choices. More than that, "progressively worse but no less" irresistible poor choices. Until there is only one final choice left.

160.7 on the scale post-train. I really can't complain especially since I felt fairly blimp-like for most of the day. No HICT or UBS/LBS tonight, so I'll have to make up that conditioning and stretching sometime in the second half of the week.

"Wrestle! Wrestle! Wrestle! Find Angles!"

Another look at the leg drag pass variations. Although the pass is different, lot of what he has to say reminds me of the spirit and theme of what Prof Rodrigo was talking about after training Monday night.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Budo Jake and Michael Langhi: Rolled Up

Rolled Up Episode 23 – The impassable guard with Michael Langhi

Conditioning: Explosive-Repeat

6 sets 8 seconds work/60 seconds rest - thrusters
6 sets 8s work/60s rest - thrusters
6 sets 8s work/60s rest - bench press
6 sets 8s work/60s rest - bench press

Monday, July 11, 2011

Training Day: Monday

Trying to put ATM back on track with some Monday night training. Some judo to start off things with: osoto gari (major outer reap) to ashi barai (foot sweep), then Rodrigo showed us a way to take the back from half guard when the guy on top reverses on you (watchdog position or kimura attack from top).

The keys here were to trap the near arm at the shoulder as he reaches over to reverse, and then to do the basic half guard reguard where you switch the legs, grip the pass side leg at the knee, drag the far side leg wide to shift the guy's weight on top, then slide your pass side leg to the side and begin to climb around and take the back.

We spent a good amount of the class training specific, a lot of half guard and full guard. Good hard training and having done some serious conditioning at the home gym, I didn't have anything left for the Live Training afterwards.

That was the first time that has happened in years - if ever. And I do factor in Monday's cardiac output work has having a lot to do with it. But it was still a little unnerving, with that creeping feeling that I'm aging at double speed these days.

A very nice 160.1 on the scale post train. Even nicer were the five laps of hipscapes I managed to pull off after training for some HICT work. Nicer still? Nicer even than having the discipline to do my complete stretching routine after all that?

I'll call it "The Master Class." After a heroic Live Training session (two rounds, 16 minutes and 14 minutes), Prof Rodrigo and Abel and Lance started talking guard passing. I wish I could better translate all that Rodrigo had to say and show about the importance of angles and dealing with grips and fundamental tactics and strategies that apply to just about any type of guard.

It was absolutely incredible. It was a reminder of why it is so important to train when I've got TIME to train - which especially includes time AFTER training. As much as I love training during the day, too often I'm in a rush to leave. And that means that I'm missing out on some of what is often the most interesting material of the day - when the black belts start to show some of what they have been thinking about and working on regardless of the curriculum.

Back on the mat Wednesday night.

Conditioning: Cardiac Output

I missed a planned Cardiac Output: LSD session on Sunday so, to make up for it, I did another jiu jitsu based circuit for Cardiac Output on Monday.

20 count matwork round
3 rounds half guard drill
Berardi complex round

The total workout lasted about 40 minutes, give or take.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Parabens Prof. Gordo!

I have to pass along a very special "parabens" to the Godfather of the Half Guard on news that he was awarded a fifth stripe from the Rio de Janeiro JJF, making him a fifth degree black belt.

Roberto "Gordo" Corrrea

Gordo Receives Fifth Stripe on Black Belt

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Conditioning: High Intensity Continuous Training (HICT)

I had been doing HICT work with box steps. But I've long thought that what would really work well for HICT, especially in the post-training environment, are just hipscape laps from one side of the mat to the other.

I managed to do 4 laps after training on Saturday and will look to add one lap after each training until I'm up to 12 laps.

Here's the skinny on HICT from Joel Jamieson at 8 Weeks Out
This method is different from other forms of aerobic training in that it is both high intensity and relatively high volume. This unique characteristic is also why it is so effective. Whereas most aerobic training methods are either high intensity/low volume intervals, or high volume/low intensity continuous training, the high intensity continuous training method is high intensity based on resistance rather than speed and thus it allows form a higher volume of stimulus.
The archetypical HICT workout is either a spin bike or a Versaclimber cranked up to maximum resistance. But my bet is that a bodyweight exercise like hipscapes might suffice. After doing HICT with box steps (one of the alternatives that Joel suggests), it seems that there is a similar (though more jiu-jitsu specific) effort doing hipscapes.

We'll see how I'm feeling about all this in mid-August. For now, I'm grateful at having been able to adopt yet another routine from Joel's great book Ultimate MMA Conditioning to jiu-jitsu.

*Update: In terms of the specific aerobic adaptations that HICT delivers is "greater oxygen utilization and increased endurance of the fast twitch fibers." Again, given my sprinter's gas tank (and transmission, for that matter) this is just what I need. Far more often than not, my legs give out long before my lungs do.

Training Day: Saturday

A great day on the mat today. If I've said it once, I've said it a 1,000 times, there is nothing better than trading on Saturdays.

Today we had a whole slew of folks from Gracie Barra Lake Stevens. One of the nice things about Saturday training is that it gives a chance for some of our out-of-town teammates to join in. There must have been 40 or more people on the mat today. It was packed.

I arrived a few minutes late (imagine that), so the two techniques I got to drill were the butterfly guard passes: the same-side backstep pass and the Hioki pass. One of the things that all this reminded me was that passing the guard, in part, is a lot like setting up and attacking with a submission. You want to come up with creative and surprising ways to lure the guy into defending with the type of guard that you feel most comfortable passing. You may think that you'll never have the opportunity to attack with the Hioki pass, for example, because you don't have a lot of opponents who play butterfly guard. But there are ways of moving that can bait a guy into positioning his guard in a way that allows you to attack with a pass as if he were using an actual butterfly guard.

Anyway, thoughts to keep in mind. Got in a lot of great training, including rolls with a brown belt from Lake Stevens, Dylan, as well as with Jeff (who is only one step away from getting his black belt, BTW), Allison and Casey. Trying more than anything else to stick with my gameplan w/re2 the half guard and managed to get in some halfway decent guard reguarding. But one of the more pleasant surprises was a collar drag from closed guard that got me to the back more than once. Definitely something to keep in heavy rotation going forward.

159.3 on the scale post-train. I'm doing more calorie restriction than I probably should, but to the extent that such restriction is part and parcel with both the Warrior Diet and rumors of living forever (or at least to 100), I'm likely to stick with it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spiderman's Tips On Taking the Back

Conditioning: Threshold Training

Today was the first day of Block B conditioning work, with the full transition to Block B starting on Tuesday with Explosive-Repeat.

Last round of Block B (tempo training) is a week from this Saturday.

Threshold Training (matwork)

3 rounds (approx 7 minutes each) 20 reps
3 min rest between rounds

BPM splits: 152/92, 164/120, 172/132

current matwork:
alt upas
hip splits
arm drags
hook sweeps
technical lifts

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Training Day: Wednesday

Managed to get on the mat near what was probably the hottest part of the hottest day of the year. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Worked on some combination/counter throws again in Prof. Carlos' class - something he has been developing with us for a few weeks now, at least. For example, last week, we did ko uchi gari attacks to set up the seionage. Today, we worked on counter throws, specifically, countering the initial "distance-checking" arm reach of a double leg with the seionage.

We also worked on chokes from the back. A variation on the bow and arrow choke, where you lean back and lock your legs around the guy's far shoulder (your near leg is around the guy's waist). Leaning back to create space is critical unless you have very long legs.

From here there was a shin choke variation in case the guy kept turning and managed to get to his side. Here, you slide your leg out from under the guy as you put your other foot on the ground as if moving to S mount. Grab the pants as you would for the bow & arrow for balance and, with your choking hand still in place, rock forward a bit. This will allow you to pull you bottom leg up and to the nearside of the guy's neck.

The choke comes on pretty quick given all the leverage. There are also triangle choke and armbar options depending on how the guy defends.

Did some rear mount specific to finish things off before the Live Training. It was done King of the Hill style, and starting out as one of the villagers, I never managed to get my spot on top. There were a few technical things I did poorly: not going to the seatbelt to help stabilize position, and forgetting how to move the forehead back in order to open up the chin. But hopefully I'll get more and more time to work on this insofar as the back is probably my least effective dominant position.

Live Training was good - I didn't get to work on many of the key elements other than the general notion of looking to pass directly into mount (especially directly from half guard to mount). Still feeling sloppy and heavy. But I need to realize that that feeling is likely to last until I can get my 4-week training average back up into the 3.5-4.0 range (end of Week 5 or July 23rd, at the earliest).

From a "competing in August" perspective (for illustrative purposes, only), that would leave four weeks to maintain that 3.5 -4.0 pace (although, arguably, that pace would have been set at least a week if not two, previous.)

164.1 on the scale, post-train. A typically fat, post-holiday weekend weigh-in, I suppose. I'm still looking to drop 10-15 pounds between now and mid-August. Dan walks around at about 147 or so, which makes me think my featherweight dreams may remain just that. But I would be perfectly happy walking around at 155 and being able to dip into the high 40s after a week of competition-prep type training.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Conditioning: Tempo Method

5 of 9 tempo squats
5 of 9 tempo squats
5 of 9 tempo squats

BPM splits: 140, 148, 148/120

Gordo's Half Guard Pass

Monday, July 4, 2011

Passing the De La Riva Guard

Some nice passes of the de la Riva guard, courtesy of Shawn Williams and the very, very unfortunately named Jits magazine

Fourth of July

No conditioning today and no training either, since it seems like every mat in Western Washington was on holiday today.

Managed to spend a couple of hours outside raking, chopping and hacking my way from one side of the yard to the other. Worked up a halfway decent sweat and it was great to get all that fresh air. It would be hard to ask for a better weekend for a triple.

Heading into Week Three, the focus is on half guard to full guard replacements, as well as the Marcelo backstep half guard pass. I feel as if I'm still very much training on instinct and have yet to get back into a training groove and, because of that, am spending too much time being "athletic".

I'll need to grab a training partner or two (or three) if I'm doing to make this a regular affair. As I've found out in the past, trying to just pick one guy to always be available/interested/etc. is just not going to work. Until and unless you find other folks who are thinking along the same lines, the a la carte approach is the most viable for most of us.

Trying to make the off-mat life as efficient as possible - so as not to continue to interfere with the life on the mat. It's not easy. Everything wants to run into everything else like little pails of paint spilled across a canvas all at once. Turning that chaos into something a Pollack-like is in many ways the goal for the balance of the year.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Conditioning: Cardiac Output


8.0 laps / 2.01 miles
221/69.3 end HR 137

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I've had a soft spot for Tito Ortiz for awhile, for reasons both noble and not-so-noble. But at any event, I will admit to being overjoyed at the news of his victory by submission tonight at UFC 132.
Tito is another one of those guys who probably could have had an even more fruitful second half of his career if he's spent just a little more time on the tatame.

Conditioning: Tempo Method

4 sets of 9 tempo squats
4 sets of 9 tempo squats
4 sets of 9 tempo squats
800 m

BPM splits: 144, 160, 176/136

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Royce v. Wallid

Training Day: Friday

Back on the mat for what will be the last time until Tuesday since the academy is closed on Monday and I've got to wait for a refigerator delivery on Saturday.

We worked takedowns mostly in Prof. Carlos' class. The seoinage, the drop seoinage, and a combo takedown where you attacked with the ko ouchi gari and then transitioned directly into the seoinage.

Carlos also showed us some finishes from the bottom, specifically, a transition from lockdown sidecontrol into both a mounted triangle and a straight armlock by way of trapping the arm on the north side and bringing the southside knee up on the the chest to bait the guy to push away with the far arm (stuff the hand and step over to attack with the triangle).

The armlock was tricky - and brutal to train - my arm has been sore for hours after time spent tweaking it this way and that trying to find the right angle for the lock.

Managed to get in a little Live Training before I had to run. My half guard top is very, very rough, a part of which I attribute to lack of regular training. I've got a few things targeted for post-training drills next week (some half guard replacement and Marcelo's backstep pass v.s. half) that I need to prioritize. Hopefully that will both fix some major technical issues, as well as begin to implement a post-training routine that allows me to focus on weak spots.

159.8 on the scale-post train.