Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More wet sloppy weather... more happy happy armbars.



Yay! As you know I've been missing fall-y weather, so this is great news for me. I'm hoping for another wet weekend full of my favorite things. It makes training more pleasant, makes it fun to stay indoors and curl up with a book (or one of the instructionals I need to review) and generally puts me in a frisky mood. I guess I'm the opposite of bears-- warmer weather makes me hibernate, cooler weather puts me in an entirely different place. Frankly at the moment I'm craving some camping, but that's unlikely to happen any time soon since I don't own a tent. Would be helpful.

Training today was great fun. This morning I managed two armbars and a choke from the back- hop hop hop- and then at lunch I at least survived some peeps bigger and heavier than me, and tapped one once (big smile). I was happy to provide a whitebelt "his first tapout of a blue belt"... and then his second, and his third. (#1 was a triangle into a mounted triangle, I became unbalanced during the choke-counter... the other two-- an early tap due to my squidgy elbow, and an armbar from mount.) I was happy to see someone else so happy, it reminds me of me!

And I can't remember against whom, but I have twice now almost triangled people bigger and stronger than me. Granted, I am completely sure my technique needs serious work... but the fact that I reacted properly to their "please triangle me" activity, worked against their resistance, adjusted as much as possible in the right ways, and only lost the one because I just couldn't hold him down; the other wasn't going to work, so I converted to a triangle-armbar and got the tap anyway.

We interrupt this self-back-patting session to gripe that Kimbo is talking about himself in the THIRD PERSON on TUF and is mispronouncing "enemy." Puh-leeze. And while I don't like Rashad calling him "a big black buck" I do agree he has a greasy looking beard. WTF-- he says he can't even spell jiu jitsu but he wants to learn it, not the pretty way... arrghhhh.... I hope Roy wins! And so far looks good-- he gave up mount to get side control, is kneeling on Kimbo's near arm, and beating his head in. Nice. Oh, repeat of that in round two, and the fight is called. Seriously? Instead of war, Roy Nelson brings a tea party with lace mitts... but Kimbo takes it like a little girl so I guess he deserves to lose.

Returning to the previous program:

In the kids' kajukenbo class tonight they worked on breakfalls and some judo techniques. I LOVE THESE KIDS! I should have taken some pictures. It's like herding cats, or jumping frogs, and they make me smile till I feel like my face will split.

Going to sleep now to the peeping of the frogs, the chirping of the crickets, and the pickpickpick noise of some other night beastie.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seoi nage.

I was able to work my seoi nage entries tonight in competition class and it was a delight. I like the seoi nage because it seems like it would be so hard, but it ends up being so easy if you have the setup right; it helps that my hips are pretty much always underneath my opponents'-- thanks God!

And it totally takes the person off balance-- one minute they're facing you, feet on the ground, feeling like they have the world by the tail (or at least you by the gi); the next minute, they're jerked up and forward and you're disappearing underneath them and their feet are skywards and wham, they're on the mat.

[This is the ideal, which I cannot yet accomplish without considerable kindness from my uke. -Ed.]

I know I'm a long way off from landing this against a resistant opponent, but it was fun to play with, and even easier when we did the walking version.

Alas, I popped something in my thumb, which is now swollen and red like a plum, and I tweaked my wrist doing a mount choke. The jaw Jordan abused was the unlucky recipient of my training partner's elbow umpteen times as she worked the same choke on me. Still, a satisfying day all in all.

And-- it rained. It stormed, actually, in the wee hours of the morning. It was almost five in the morning and I laid in bed, looking out the big arch of our second-story window into the branches of a large crepe myrtle, watching lightning flicker and listening to the rain, enjoying the cool wet breeze through the open glass.

I'm pretty lucky and definitely blessed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Perfect storm.

I'm tired of warm weather! Please someone give me a storm.

For me, the perfect storm would be one that happens soon.. and keeps on coming. I'm bored with happy, sunny, clear skies. That kind of weather feels so trite and nonunique. Rain, storms, and grey, windy days seem to have so much more... potential. Sometimes slow, gentle, tender; sometimes fast, hard, pounding. Either way I love to get completely soaked. And I love the sound of rain on the roof. And I love running through puddles and coming in the house chilled and shivering, wrapping up in a fleecy blanket and drinking hot sweet tea with cream.

Ahh well... until that happens, I comfort myself with jiu jitsu.

Today was open mat so I ended up uke for a friend who was drilling a Donald series of side mounts, counters and recounters. Then, I played catnip mouse to Jordan's cat, eating what would have been a fist-to-throat but instead was fist-to-jaw, narrowly avoiding a wristlock and a sweep or two, falling headlong into another one or two, dodging an armbar, and tapping to the start of an arm something on my squidgy elbow. I think. Then I rolled with my first friend and was disappointed in my inability to regain full guard (though I came close) or to resist tapping to his damn S-mount. He's only about 8 lbs heavier than me, but managed to put alllll of his weight in my solar plexus. No fun.

I was really excited to watch as much of Abu Dhabi as I did. Hillary Williams just plain rocks. Training only 3 years, winning everything she looks at (white, blue, and purple)-- and as a purple, tapping out Megumi Fujii aka Mega Megu this weekend in Barcelona. Not shabby indeed. Considering training with her a bit if I go to Little Rock to visit my girlfriend Shelley.

Received several new instructionals in the mail today so I will be posting some reviews soon, I hope. I have the start of Stephan Kesting's Grappling Concepts course as well as (don't poke fun) the JT Torres series called "How to be a Brown Belt Nogi World Champion." It looks good... Standup, Top game, Bottom game, Back attacks, Drilling techniques, and Chain of command all on separate DVDs. I haven't even taken a peek yet but I promise reviews. Oh-- and thanks to the review on Jiu Jitsu Kit, I realized that the Mundial #9 pants are not 100% cotton, so will have to send another gi to Chris at Happy Kimonos for my tiedyeing.

Finally, a little hint of fun to come... chatting with my friends Jemima Wright (of Bangkok, muay thai and BJJ fighter) and Mike Webber (of San Fran, BJJ mentor and lawyer pal) brought to my attention the new gi company -- but they've asked me to keep them under wraps until they get ready to handle orders en masse from the US. Right now they're mainly focused on SE Asia and Australia. So, yes folks, I will be adding gis to the massive collection. Why these, you ask... I'll just say two things: under 2 lbs, and air dries in under 30 min. And yes, I will be posting a review and photos here. :) They plan on shipping out to me sometime mid-November so... yay!

Someone, send me a storm, please.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Abu Dhabi...

I can't wait for tomorrow! The rebroadcast stream is up and running, and after a quick shower and some errands tonight, I will be watching it again. Some for the first time. Leo v Ryan is an interest of mine for sure, as is Jacare v Drysdale.

Class today was great fun because several of my friends were promoted. Gabe, Ray and Scott got their purples striped again... Nathaniel got his purple... Daniel got his 4th stripe on that ratty salty blue thing... Jerry and Yager got their blues. It was fantastic to see their hard work honored with cheers and in some cases a good whacking with lots of belts. I enjoyed rolling with Yuni, a relatively new white belt chick, and got a good sweat on. Of course I liked it because finally there's someone I'm stronger and more experienced than... it was nice to be able to practice.

Made two pots of chili.. thinking about cranking out some cheddar-jalapeno cornbread and mint brownies tomorrow. There'll be the live stream at 4am, then I have class at 9:30am... then hopefully a bunch of people here to eat and watch and scream and cry all afternoon/evening.

Earrrrrrrly morning thoughts as I watch Abu Dhabi...

Damn, these matches are fast.

Penny Thomas can eat a triangle for breffus. But she still beat Shanti Abelha 3-0.

Cyborg doesn't look nearly as big as normal but she's still damn ugly. Cyborg's gone overtime against Ida Hansson.

Justin Rader beats Baret Yoshida, 7-0! Whoa!


(geez.. I'm an addict.)

Better minute by minute on the FightworksPodcast live blog..

Friday, September 25, 2009


Abu Dhabi starts tomorrow morning at 4am, Texas-time. Dunno if I'll make it out of bed for the first matches but they have some good ones... totally power-protected too (meaning the big names aren't hitting each other till later.) I'm sure it's not random. However, they're broadcasting them again when the first run is over so I am happy. I'll be in class in the afternoon, but plan on watching as many of the matches as I can otherwise. Making a pot or two of chili for Sunday as I expect people from the academy will be joining in the fun- better get it started tomorrow because it's a patient sort of dish.

Rolled today at lunch open mat. Pretty happy with everything except par for the course, my sweep defense and offense. Rolled with a blue belt whose name I am blanking on, I think a 3-stripe, and he kindly paused the action when I fell into the same sweep as usual. Worked with me on better leg placement to counter it, and then later when I happened to get him in the same spot in my bottom halfguard, he coached me through dumping him in the same way. Fun.. I like to roll without a lot of talk, of course, but when it's something simple and obvious, I don't mind the pause-and-teach either (and sometimes 5-6 min later at the end of the match, I'm clueless about the position I was in.) I was really grateful for his patience.

Rolled with a very agile and athletic whitebelt named Will and was patting myself on the back the whole time-- not that I was any kind of real threat to him except the one time I threw on a guillotine and stood up (dopey me though, should have jumped to guard much faster; instead I waited too long and lost it on the way to the ground)-- because I was scrambling pretty well, or so I thought. I was thinking how fast the direction of the momentum was changing and how quickly we had to move to keep up... then after the roll he told me he liked the speed at which we rolled better than with others... because it was slower. LOL. I play such a patient, tight, slow-moving game in gi that the whole nogi world seems lightning quick to me but maybe not to others.

And then, got eaten for lunch by Gabe. That sounds bad-- but you know I mean I was absolutely dominated by him. He's a very strong, clever purple and it's a clinic whenever we roll together. I told myself I'd roll till he got 10 subs and he was graciously, patiently playing catch and release. Took only about 10 minutes but it was fun.

Was supposed to have my girlfriend visiting from Houston this weekend but she cancelled last minute. Looks like we'll raincheck for the weekend of Halloween.. maybe even go out of town.. a trip to Fredericksburg for some antiquing and so on. One of the last times I was there, I stayed in a cute B&B with a metal roof, and the sound of rain on a metal roof, the idea of napping through it and waking up hungry, is kind of elemental to my mental image of such a time. I am really looking forward to some quality quiet time. Or noisy time. And it seems like it can't come soon enough.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


First of all, the weather is fan-effing-tabulous... downright chilly (okay, 65 degrees means I've gone soft from my Chicago days) and windy (breezy) and wet (sprinkling) and grey (yes, clouded over). Makes me want a sweater! So I'm curled up in bed in my Relson Gracie sweatshirt and some pj pants, with the window open and the ceiling fan on to keep from overheating. LOL-- at least I can pretend we have fall, before it gets back up to 90 or something tomorrow! Been drinking Earl Grey with cream and generally fantasizing about weather cold enough to cuddle in... leek pie with Jarlsburg cheese... butternut squash soup...roast pork loin...mmmm!

Second-- had a great day. Didn't start so well, what with sleeping through Prof. Donald Park's morning class by accident, but I forgive myself for skipping a class. Was my friend Christina's birthday so bought her some flowers and an Italian creme cake. Spent the day productively, reading a transcript and chatting with law enforcement... had some good constructive guardpass criticism from Christy, our 3 stripe brown, at lunch... then after working pretty late, I threw myself and some extra endorphins into the night class's sparring session.

Only actively sparring for about 20 min, but I was happy with how I did. I was thinking about hip movement, grips and grip fighting, and doing a different side escape (needling through and getting to the knees.) Head position was a big plus for me too, enabling me to drive forward and resist reversals. I even got swept but did some kind of hip-switchy thing before I landed and apparently did it well enough to get some kudoes from the peanut gallery sitting on the heavy bags along the wall. Ultimately I succeeded in getting to knee on belly, went for a choke (poorly) but they defended-- actually first they put their far hand on my knee and like a yutz, I said in an ominous voice "sure, put that hand on my knee" so I scared them out of my armbar-- but they defended the choke with the near hand so I yanked it up and got the armbar for a tap [cue chorus of angels singing]. Yeah, yeah, yeah! Granted, he was a whitebelt, but he's been training longer than me AND has about 50 lbs on me. And to his credit he was very sweet afterwards, told me I'm tough, etc etc. I was so happy, I had to text Donald on my way home and wax poetic about how much I loved him for teaching me that series.

I can't explain why but I am really happy and excited about life right now. It's a combination of enjoying my work, being healthy, having fun interactions with friends, my husband loving on me, and of course as always, jiu jitsu. Maybe I'm just grateful to be alive and soaking up every precious minute.

[/Hallmark commercial]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

For kids.. for girls.. for women...

Whoa. Just discovered a cool blog, by a mom about her kids' journey in jits, thanks to Steve at Steve's BJJ Blog. The blog is called BJJ Kids. She's posting about the benefits of girls learning jits, but I think it applies equally well to women, and this snip does an excellent job of explaining some of the changes in my own view of myself as I've gone through my own jits journey. So far!

"The gi equalizes gender. Girls walk out on the mat in the same clothing as the boys. All of the children are taught the same things: the art and practice of Jiu Jitsu is very unique and, in many ways, more challenging than other martial arts. Along with the knowledge of grappling, the children are expected to be disciplined, respectful, and kind – both to their instructors and to each other. I have never seen a child in class behave in a sexually inappropriate way toward anyone – they simply know it is not acceptable, so they would never do it. At school, my daughter has been a victim of aggressive and sexually deviant behavior; this is the unfortunate reality of the world. The knowledge she gains in Jiu Jitsu class, where she is safe and supervised, will help her in coping with real-life bullying scenarios which, by their nature, often occur when a smaller, weaker victim is alone and unsupervised by adults.

In her practice of Jiu Jitsu, she learns that being beautiful is only one aspect of who she is. Another aspect is that she is STRONG, physically and mentally. She learns that she is capable of defending herself rather than requiring a man to defend her. That she doesn’t have to say YES to every offer made to her, whether that offer is sex, drugs, alcohol, or anything else. My daughter will stand strong, when others succumb to peer pressure. She will know that being a girl is NOT being the “weaker sex,” but rather that being a girl means overcoming her own challenges and knowing she is strong enough to reach her goals."

Monday, September 21, 2009

What a day...

First, and most importantly, a dear, dear friend's wife died over the weekend. I am desolate... they had a loving, charming, tender and affectionate marriage for many years and I know the next weeks and months will be so hard on him.

Then, Kyra Gracie announces she's not going to do Abu Dhabi this year due to a lumbar injury... *sigh*

And last, dammit... got my elbow popped pretty good in open mat. I know, I know, it's my own damn fault for rolling with the same charming fellow that gave me a header into the wall couple days/weeks back. But, but, but... there weren't many people there to roll with (um, 2 others, both much bigger)... but we started from knees to be safer... but I even asked him to go slow, gentle, and so on.

And he did, on the first americana in my half guard. (I'm playing around with deep half guard so I lacked better depth on my underhook and he got it out and down.) But the second one (same thing, so at least I'm seeing a hole as needs fixin') he went for fairly quickly and I didn't have time to tap. We both heard the pop and he was awfully apologetic. I've iced it and it's feeling ok.

At least I had a lovely lunch with an old friend- yum, sushi!

But still, what a day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Ever have a roll like this?

"We had a fun warmup including some exercises that alternately made us look like incredibly incompetent bandicoots and raging drunk lanky otters with parkinson’s disease."

See the original post here at Martial Farts.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Green Gi

Noooo, it's not what you think. Green, not the color, but the state of being environmentally friendly.

Here's the interview with creator Adrianne Adams, found here at

"Adrianne: My name is Adrianne Adams, and I’m the creator of the Green Gi.

Question: What is the Green Gi?

Answer: The Green Gi is an idea that I came up with several years ago, just sitting around training Jiu Jitsu. I wanted to create the super gi. Something that was not only good for you, but a little bit better for the environment, the economy and everything else around it. So, back in the winter my company was downsizing due to the economy and I was laid off and suddenly found that I had lots of time to pursue training and my idea; to see it through to reality. So here I am today.

Question: Did you complete at the worlds?

Answer: Yes I did. I placed first place in my weight division this year, so it was a big achievement. I’m really excited about it and the icing on the cake was being able to debut the Green Gi at the same time on the podium.

Question: Did you wear the Green Gi for the Competition?

Answer: I spoke to the IBJJF about it. Made sure that all the regulations—that there wasn’t anything they saw that would prevent a competitor from being able to use it and got the thumbs up.

Question: What makes the Green Gi unique?

Answer: I love the Green Gi! I am so excited to be able to share this with everybody. Beyond a really great fit and a great function, it has all sorts of other benefits. Its eco-friendly: it uses rapidly renewable resources, organic products, and recycled materials, so you’re helping a struggling environment. It has economic benefits: I support using American suppliers and manufacturers as much as possible, so we are also supporting fair labor and fair wages to Americans to help them keep their jobs. And just to the person, to the consumer it has awesome benefits: hemp is naturally anti-microbial, so it resists mold and bacteria. No more of that stinky gi, funky gi… it’s good for you and your partners. Hemp is a stronger fiber than traditional materials such as cotton, so that translates into strength and durability in a gi. On top of that, it’s a stronger material, but it also has a much softer cloth; a much softer weave, so it feels better on. You can get that snug fit without feeling like you are rolling in sand paper.

Question: Where can I get a Green Gi?

Answer: You can get it right now. You can sign up for a notification when they are available for sale through my website which is There’s a contact for on there that you just fill out and it gets out notification updates when they’re available. We’re looking at a release within the next six months, something by Christmas time for all of your Jiu Jitsu friends and buddies. Through my website is the best way to contact us.

Question: What sizes are available?

Answer: Well, we carry all of the standard sizes, A0 through A5, but what’s unique to the Green Gi is that in our construction, we’ve developed a way to include extra material in the sleeves and the pant legs, which adds structure to a typical person. I’m an A1, that size works best for me, but lets say I had A2 arms, I would be able to go to a tailor to have the sleeves let out. We can give everybody a gi that fits their body perfectly. No more of these tall guys having to wear oversized gis that they’re swimming in, just because they need to make the regulation on the length of the sleeves.

Adrianne: (demonstrating) this is traditional cut, a fairly traditional single weave. It’s the same weight as cotton. This is an A4 and it’s actually slightly lighter than your typical A4. (switches gis) This is my competition gi. This is our A1 in blue.

Question: What colors will be available?

Answer: Right now we’re looking at a release in black and blue. For our initial release, there will likely be one color. We haven’t determined yet what color that will be, but we guarantee you will love it.

Question: Is it made of hemp?

Answer: My gi is made of hemp and a recycled material blend. The black one is 100% hemp.

Question: Can you smoke it?

Answer: You can’t roll it up, but you can roll in it. You can smoke anything you want, but I wouldn’t recommend it!

Adrianne: Please, go to my website, this is how I’m tracking interest, sizes and where he market is at. So, please go to my website, sign up for my newsletter, give me your email and I will send you out a notification when they are available for purchase."

Check out the hemp, eco-friendly, American-made gis here at The Green Gi.

Abu Dhabi is next weekend...

The most exclusive and prestigious nogi grappling tournament in the world is on next weekend! And yes, I'll be getting the webcast here at the house. (Local jits people, c'mon over! 6-8 hours a day of live streaming video!)

You can read more about the runup at Gracie Magazine's blog.

I'm especially interested in watching a few people... Marcelo Garcia, because as a smaller person his domination of the big 'uns makes me smile... Hillary Williams, a purple belt from Arkansas (and full time med student) who refs all my NAGA matches... (here's one of Hillary's interviews...) and Michelle Nicolini, teeny tiny but amazing...

I hope I'm starting to train smarter these days. As I've mentioned, I train 7 days a week, often more than once a day. But often it feels like those nightmares where you're running in slow motion-- I don't perceive myself to be making progress. Lately I'm realizing it's because I don't take/make the time to drill the moves I'm learning outside of class, so it's basically in one ear and out the other. As a result I'm making a concerted effort to drill even if it's only doing it ten times here, ten times there.

Phil taught a near-private class last week on turning a sidemount escape into sweeps and subs (still from the bottom) which is occupying my mind a lot... there's also Donald's series from knee on belly, and the seoi nage... Mark put in some time working on my double leg too. So I feel like a rubber band. Sometimes I stretch out further and further, just absorbing new techniques as fast as they come at me (though probably not digesting them, just holding them like a chipmunk with full cheeks). Then I shrink back down and start chewing, letting the new nuts flow on by without a nibble.

Just found out that my buddy Mark, who trains with Faixa Preta near Dallas, will be training with Eddie Bravo this afternoon and then going on to watch UFC there live tonight. Nice! Which reminds me, today after class I need to be making some foodies to bring to the UFC watching thing at a friend's...

Have a good day, ya'll!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gi weight comparison

Found this on the internet and thought it would be useful to post, and to add on... please comment with the name/style of your gi (Atama Mundial #7, Kikskin Comp etc), the weave (gold, single, double etc) and the size, then the weight in pounds.

This (original) list comes from this forum. Also, elsewhere on my blog are my own gis with weights... here.

"Here are the weights of some of my Gi's (A2 for Jiu Jitsu and 175cm for Judo)

Keiko Raca-2.3kg,5.06 POUND

Faixa Rua Classico A2- 1.6 kilo/3.52 POUND

Atama gold weave-2.1kg,4.62 POUND

Fighting Films Master Judo Gi-2.6kg,5.72 POUND

Koral MKM comp- 2kg,4.40 POUND

Koral classic- 1.9kg,4.18 POUND

Mizuno Supreme Judo Gi- 2.4kg,5.28 POUND

Vulkan Pro Lite A2 - 1.62,3.8 POUND"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flying attacks....

I fully plan on editing this post and collecting interesting flying things here...

A How-to by Keith Owen, a Pedro Sauer bb...

Flying triangle as single-leg defense-- sweet!


I've seen the light, and the light is judo.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up on the great love of my life, jiu jitsu-- but judo is something I need to add.

Tonight in comp class we did seoi nage rounds and it was incredible fun. So, I bring you these videos...

This first one is quality stuff, but I happen to like the music-- tacky I know, but my roommate for many years played a LOT of this game so it has positive connotations for me.

Damn! Check out the sacrifice throw at :15 -- craziness against a man wearing a gag? :35 another sacrifice at :44? incredible 1:24 then a single leg at 1:28 and 2:58 (wrestling in judo?) nice followup when the first didn't work 2:16 - and ultimately, I want to be the person in blue at 2:45...

What I like about this one, besides the fact that it's all Toshihiko Koga and virtually all seoi nage, is that they show most of them at real speed and then again slowed down so you can marvel at the wondrousness of it all. I am no judo expert of course, but I don't often see the grip setup for the seoi nage that I see here around 2:46... and what the heck is this at 3:54ish? and then the followup into a tap-winning choke around 5:10...

And here, a snip of a Koga seminar where he teaches a seoi nage, with translation alas in French.

Food for thought :)

Sweet... a flying armbar and the followup I see people doing after what I think are failed seoi nages. Not sure what it's called.

Monday, September 14, 2009

And in other news...

It's true, I had a life before BJJ. Specifically, even before law school, there was photography and photojournalism. A couple years ago, I got signed up for this project to make a book called "Haiti Cherie: a Day in the Life of Haiti" and it looks like we're closer to making it a reality. You can read about it here.

These are not my pictures, I haven't yet been to Haiti. But hopefully I'll be able to show some of the beauty there, like this.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Get this book...

From The Talent Code:

"When we see people practice effectively, we usually describe it with words like willpower or concentration or focus. But those words don't quite fit, because they don't capture the ice-climbing particularity of the event. The people inside the talent hotbeds are engaged in an activity that seems, on the face of it strange and surprising. They are seeking out the slippery hills ... they are purposely operating at the edges of their ability, so they will screw up. And somehow screwing up is making them better. How?

Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways - operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes - makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them - as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go - end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it."

Whoa. Big concepts. As soon as I read a blurb about this book in this NYT op-ed piece, I decided I had to buy it. Off to Amazon I trotted. I'll let you know what I think when I read it. (Definitely reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers so far.)

I took Daniel Moraes' seminar last night and observed "deep practice" in action. My partner, Nathaniel, would repeat the weirdest/hardest/most unusual element of the move some 10-15 times, by itself, instead of just drilling the entire move again and again. We all can get knee on belly, and maybe we should practice that element again and again too, but the part we had a harder time with (posting quickly on the forehead while catching the underhook, and then locking up by grabbing your own lapel) merited some focused practice. I think it helped us both to practice in that particular way. I tried it again today in class, drilling some takedowns/double legs with Leila.

That was another can of worms entirely, however. Because we asked questions of one wrestler and then accepted/solicited input from two others later on, it felt to me like we ended up with 3 cooks, 3 different recipes, and one muddled pot of soup.

It was nice to hear that she fears takedowns, however. I feel less alone in that respect.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Muchas gracias to all my training partners who faithfully attempt to push their knowledge and skills my way...

If you count the about-a-month I spent training at William Vandry's school last summer, before starting at the Relson Gracie school I call home in October 2008, I've been training about a year now. Yay me. I hope I'm still wearing this blue belt for years to come, to be honest.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Marcelo Garcia v. Ricco Rodriguez, ADCC 2005

Review: Royler Gracie-- Throws and Sweeps

This isn't your ordinary instructional-- though it does a great job of explaining how to do these takedowns (mostly judo in feel) and sweeps. I enjoyed it tremendously but don't think my gorgonzola game is ready for everything on here. Fortunately, the material spans a range that includes whitebelt-ready takedowns on up, so I anticipate working the more advanced or tricky stuff later and later in my career.

Each lesson begins with competition footage of Royler executing the technique. It's nice to see that some of the techniques occur when Royler is in suboptimal position (even the gods are mortal it would seem). After you watch it several times, with a nice voiceover explaining what's happening and why, the video shifts to a controlled setting where Royler demonstrates the technique many, many times from different angles. The voiceover (don't have the box handy so I can't tell whose voice it is) methodically covers the setups, the basic elements, and the clever details of each position. Each technique is demonstrated at least 15 times, possibly more like 20, and then you go back and see the competition footage another 4-5 times. I especially liked the emphasis on grip fighting and getting your opponent to balance in the appropriate way to enable your takedown.

Ippon Seoi Nage to Single Leg Far Leg Trip: when your seoi nage fails, how to recover and get the takedown
Ko Ouchi Gari Variation: fighting a heavier, taller opponent; looked like something I could land
Ouchi Gari Variation: again, looked approachable for someone at my level; nice detail with the hand/arm placement
Kosoto Gari Variation: Royler's first attempt fails but the second looks very efficient
Opponent Grabs the Leg to Sumi Gaeshi: beautiful recovery from a single leg and one that makes me want to bait single legs all day just to hope for this treat
Opponent Sits Up and Grabs the Leg: Base and Posture-- more strategy/big picture than a technique, per se
Opponent Controls the Leg- Reversal: more than what I need to know at the moment
Arm Drag to Taking the Back: some very useful details here
Sitting Guard Arm Trap Sweep: again, more than what I need to know just now
Sitting Guard Heel Trip Reversal: again, more than what I need to know just now
Sitting Guard Hook on the Hip Sweep: looks like something I could swing; putting this on my list for playtime

After all the technique chapters, there's a "quick summary" demonstration of each one in turn, to refresh your memory. Not sure how useful this is but I liked watching the elegant, efficient dispatch again.

Then, the "bonus material"-- about 12 minutes of Helio and Royler teaching class (with English subtitles) at Gracie Humaita, followed by some open mat footage from a roomful of blackbelts. Pretty humbling to hear Royler querying his father on some guard pass technique (and to hear Helio reply, at one point, something like "Oh, just get on with it and pass!")

More useful than most instructionals for the live footage aspect-- to see the technique work even against resistance at the highest levels of Mundials Absolute competition is really nice. I also appreciated the high number of reps which saved me from hitting the rewind button on my laptop. I really want to get his Guard/Half guard Passing DVD now!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Atama Mundial #9

Just received my Mundial #9 and hoping it will shrink a fair bit. I ordered it in the female sizing, F3. [See edits with size comments below.] For reference I'm 5'2" tall and right now weigh about 135. Like the Mundial #7, this version has pants made of sleek, light ripstop cotton. In fact it's identical to the #7 except for the embroidery color AND the fact that they make it in female sizing as well.

These pics appear originally in stu3ufc's great post on sherdog, the link is below...

The gi lapel is also ripstop, and the fabric is a silky soft honeycomb weave. The "ATAMA" on the shoulders is black and looks sharp. This is the gi I'm planning to have Happy Kimonos tiedye for me. Check them out here! I can't compare weight to my #7, which is mens' sizing A1, or to my female sized Atama which has the traditional twill pants, but it definitely doesn't feel heavy like my Gameness pearl or the Golden Tiger gis.

The pants fit fine, perhaps a tich long (they touch the tops of my feet) but I think they'll shrink length-wise. The jacket fits well around my chest and waist, but the sleeves are silly long (falling halfway between the end of my palm bones and the next/first knuckle on my finger, when my arms are down at my sides.) I have been reading the review threads on the net and plan on shrinking with a hot water wash and hot dry if reported results point that way. Some reviewers say the #9 pants are bigger/baggier in the bum than the #7 (which will be fine with me.)

Here are some links to other reviews...

One from Sherdog's forum.

Exhaustive photos, measurements, and comparison of an A3 #9, new, with a 6 month old A3 #7 here, by stu3ufc.

It's selling for $143 at Razorback Jiu Jitsu, here, which is the best price I found. Only male sizes though.

I bought mine here from the Atama website, $161.

EDIT: The shrinking process was perfectly successful. Washed it in hot water, dried on the hottest setting in the dryer. The sleeves lost about 4.5 inches in length and now hit right at my wristbone; a little circumference lost as well but still legal by IBJJF standards (though soon the color will be distinctly illegal for Mundials/Pan Ams. Bummer. However-- the rules say gis can be blue or white. What about a blue and white tiedye??) Anyway-- the gi top has a much trimmer fit around the torso and the skirt length shrank about 3" so it comes barely to the top of my thigh, just where I like it. The pants didn't shrink nearly as much... maybe one inch in length if that, and no noticeable difference around my rump.

I absolutely love the ripstop fabric for the pants. They're so much lighter and cooler, and the fabric doesn't stick to your legs when soaking wet the way the ordinary twill/denim of mortal pants will. I can't WAIT to show you the tiedye outcome.

Need to put in some mental mat-time.

Hey! I've been training about a year now! One month at the first school, then some time off, then I started at the Relson Gracie school at the beginning of October 2008. So my twelve month anniversary is about now. Whoohooo!

My shoulder is still quite achey, keeping me from sleeping well at night and bothering me when I run or jump. My ankle is also still swollen and tender and clicking. Today in class we looked at a sweep and/or choke that originates from guard, using the gi skirt wrapped around their neck. It was a fun sweep to play with though no fun on the receiving side. However, I know I won't land this successfully unless I begin to analyze the setup from a strategic perspective. This is what I have been monumentally lacking. I need to be working backwards from the desired outcome and find ways to bait people into making mistakes... that is, baiting them into making smart choices to defend one attack that leave them open to another. Now that I'm progressing a little bit with knowledge of the "right" ways to defend against something, I should spend more mental time and energy planning how to use those defenses to my benefit.

I am also taking Kirk's advice and choosing to roll more with people my own size. Met a new guy, Jason, today who's just moved from Buffalo NY.. he's maybe 10 lbs heavier than me and a very technical fighter. When we rolled, he quickly went to butterfly, and I was trying to work the pass Dan was emphasizing last night, where you straddle the bottom leg and reach under their top leg to grab their belt while stacking their top femur flat with your shoulder. Unfortunately, he stripped his bottom leg and reverse triangled me while I was still in mental la-la land thinking about what I was doing. *sigh*

Friday, September 04, 2009

End rant, continue roll...

Of course my faith in the goodness that is jiu jitsu has not been shaken. My neck is mostly fine since the incident on Monday. My shoulder is still effed up (feels separated, if that makes any sense) and unfortunately my ankle is likewise from that stupid takedown 2-3 weeks ago. Still, I'm happy to be on the mats.

The most constructive big-picture feedback ever came from a good friend yesterday morning. He says I need to stop rolling so much with the big people and try to get 80% of my training with people under 150 lbs. He watched me roll several times with one of the smallest guys in our school, who's 5'5" and maybe 140, and says that I am giving up position and not fully pursuing... I'll run my hips once when I should be doing it 3 times, or I'll go to guard at the first opportunity. I agree, rolling with the big people has taught me that I can't outmuscle them, but that lesson isn't always true, and I'm getting in bad habits. When I get with someone smaller, there's a much better likelihood that I can make things happen. I have noticed this before in several contexts: why don't I go for kimuras? (Because I can't!) No-- you CAN, just you DON'T because often they're too strong. But it still needs to be a technique that you 'see' and go for when appropriate instead of checking it off your mental list.

Another perfect example: Peanut Butter Guy and my escape from side. Maybe I just need to get mad more often, maybe being efficient and saving my energy isn't always ideal. But I really appreciated the feedback. So in class last night, I drilled with Leila (and there's a new girl! hope she stays..) Didn't roll with her, got busy chatting with the new girl, and ended up briefly rolling with Jerry.

Gotta run, have class again. Looks like a nice weekend... going to San Antonio on Monday with a friend to shop and take some pictures of her for her new album.

Ah, before I go-- watch this video on Youtube. Then go find your local farmers' market and stop buying commercially produced eggs. This is sickening and heartbreaking.