Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Training Update

So much going on these days ... It's hard to keep up with things.  Suffice to say that there are some potentially super-positive developments out there that could catapult me into to a new level of engagement with the art that has become my devotion over the past seven years.  More on that over the next few days.

Tough training tonight.  In the wake of Prof Christiano's Friday cardio-infused session, both Monday's and Tuesday's class featured clearly enhanced cardio-improving techniques.  In many ways, it's been a throwback to the kind of classes Prof Rodrigo used to teach back in Tully's in the days before the GB curriculum was even a gleam in Master Carlos's eye.  It will take some getting used to, especially for those of us on the less athletic end of the spectrum.  But after a few weeks of consistent work, I suspect we'll be grateful for the additional focus on the furnace.

Made a crucial mistake during Live Training, and while I didn't pay "the ultimate price" it was a reminder of how sharp I have to be against our better teammates.  Part of this is just a matter of awareness.  But part of it is a function of tightening up my game so that, when I need to play "A" game, I am able to tap into that reality both instantly and thoroughly.

I think a part of this was influenced by some "pre-class" reading: The Path to the Black Belt, by Rodrigo Gracie and Kid Peligro, where they write in a section called "How to regular students improve?":
4. You need to repeat the moves that you learn several times.  And since there's limited training time, you should focus on the moves that you want to be good at, making them the most commonly occurring and most effective moves in your repertoire.  With repetition, your technique will greatly improve.
At this point, sharpness and consistency have to be my main goals.  While there are always a lot of techniques to learn, when it comes to my own game, I need to be even more discriminating in what I include and what I don't include.  Too often I find myself adrift at sea on the mat, not really following any particular sequence that is proven to get me where I want to be.  Too much reaction and half-measures and not enough  attack, instigation, party-startin' ...

So now's the time for less variation rather than more - at least in terms of key situations like passing and reversing.  I'm wandering too far from the beat.

Nicely light in the 157 range after Monday's session.  Similarly fit after tonight's training at 157.7.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mind-Bottling GB Regional Conference

More coherent thoughts to come over the weekend.  For now, suffice to say that was one hell of a Gracie Barra Regional Conference.  I think I was among those who "got it" years ago when it came to GB's growth strategy in general.  But after hearing some of the things that Professors Rodrigo, Marcio, Marco, and Flavio had to say tonight, I realize how little I really knew about how comprehensive the strategy is.

There's not another jiu-jitsu organization in the world that could pull off what Gracie Barra has set out to do.  When you think about the evolution from "organized like a team, fighting like a family" to "jiu-jitsu for everyone", it seems obvious that the next step (again, each step building on the other, not replacing it) is a concept of "jiu-jitsu lifestyle" that extends into a lot of interesting directions, some of which on first glance (and even second or third glance)  may not even seem to have much to do with anything a "jiu-jitsu school" would ever even think about doing.  But I'm convinced there's something to see.

Looking forward to the seminar tomorrow.  It will be a nice return to the body as far as jiu-jitsu is concerned because right now, my jiu-jitsu brain could use some rest.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Leandro Lo Sweep

I've been wanting to learn this sweep ever since I saw Leandro hit it in competition at this year's World Championships.  Trying to replicate it from memory, I was making a major mistake in terms of the second, deep leg, and how to place it.  It's great to get a look at Leandro himself explaining how it is done.

I had been inserting the second leg as if doing a single X sweep, a la Marcelo Garcia.  In actuality, you insert the leg as you would a de la Riva hook, and then the spider guard leg goes behind the knee of the opposite leg (like you would in a tripod sweep).

We Get Letters

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Training Day: Monday

Regaining posture in the guard, setting up the wedge pass and going the other way with the single scoop pass was the lesson for the first training day of the week.  Felt very vigorous for some reason - though the fact that I weighed in at 161.3 after training may have had something to do with it.  Was nice to start training with the collar drag takedown: good cardio work standing and a nice way to get ready for the ground work.

Nothing special in Live Training.  I need to make sure I get a little work on my "core competency" each time I train.  Otherwise, I end up with a month like July which was rich in volume but only a little above average in terms of developing the game that I'll need to have at the highest level.  Like Roger says, have a focus every time you train.  I have some half guard sweeps - the Shaolin back take, in particular - that I've just got to start putting into play on the mat.

Like I said, a little plump on the scale post-train.  If I can shave off a handful of pounds by Wednesday afternoon, all will be well.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Training Days: Double Time Fridays

At least through the balance of August, I'll continue to do double-duty training on Fridays.  Especially when I'm not always able to get in a session on Saturday, getting in the extra work on Friday is a pretty fair substitute.

A lot of work on basics: arm-stuff triangles from the guard, armbars from the mount - a lot of critical details on this one, by the way - collar drag ankle pick (as opposed to the Rip Cord takedown).  Heading into the next eight week stretch leading up to the Masters and Seniors World Championships, I'm looking to keep up the training pace - and set a good opening standard for the new training year - and to focus in on my core techniques a bit more.  This means more deep half guard, but it also means drilling the Shaolin sweep backtake to give my half guard game more options when playing at range.  It also means broadening my passing game a bit; Nadir was doing a great job of stymieing my Effing Pass in the early session, mostly by allowing his legs to pancake.  Unfortunately, my folding pass is very weak, and I was consistently unable to attack - a fact that only became more apparent as time went by.

One major alternative I want to train diligently is the knee cross/leg drag passing series Rafa Mendes teased in a recent promo for his new online technique/training database service.  I don't think the video is still available.  But I watched it enough times when it came out today that I think I have enough of the key ingredients down to start putting in some practice time with it.  A lot of nice details in this series, including tactics for controlling the legs, and for getting the back.

Finished up the second session with some HICT work: 5 minutes of alternating technical lifts.  I'm going to start incorporating HICT work into every session (at least the day sessions), switching off between technical lifts and hipscapes.  Nice weights at 159.2 and 158.3 respectively, just under the middle of the lightweight range.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Training Day: Wednesday

Armbars.  Armbars.  Armbars.  One of the reasons why my armbars have tended to be a weaker part of my game is that they involve a lot more hip work, a lot more total body coordination, compared to chokes.  I've always thought that you don't have to have a great armbar AND a great triangle.  But you've got to have one or the other - and I'm not convinced that a great omoplata is an appropriate substitute.

Not for any lack of trying.  These three techniques are foundation of the kind of hip mobility that makes jiu-jitsu unique. And yet I can't help but feel as if I've never really fully embraced the challenge of making one of these techniques a potential "go to" attack, especially from the guard.

By comparison, hand fighting comes easily - too easily, however much I'm learning to incorporate it into guard-to-guard transitions.  I'm doing a better job of making my knee shield a consistent part of my half-guard.  But I'm just now getting to the point where I'm attacking with the initial push-sweep.  If I've got the Modified Shaolin sweep2back down by the end of the year, I'll consider it a "win."

Good details on the armbar du jour: the armbar from the mount.  Keeping it tight with a coiled leg set-up on top, the off-hand posted deep under the opponent's chin (no fear).  Dropping back toward the legs (switching arms) and grabbing the leg to prevent the common escapes.  A very tight armbar - and all the more so if he steps over to counter and you roll in turn ...

A nice, light 159.6 midweek weigh-in.  Guard passing up.  Escapes sliding back toward ye sloppy.  In the immortal words of the S.O.S. Band, "baby, take your tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime."