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Friday, January 21, 2011

Moving my blog

Hi everyone,

For various reasons, I am moving my blog. Sometimes you need a fresh start in more ways than one. I hope to export this blog in it's entirety to my new one, but, in the meantime here is the link my current location http://www.flaginphilly.com/

Come and check me out there.

Ray

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12/08/2010 Roadtrip to BJJ United!

When I returned from my trip, I skipped Monday night to support my wife who had taken the hit to let me go away for two days, despite having a nasty flu. It was definitely the right thing to do. She needed to rest and recover. I was invited to go out to BJJ United and take part in their team training. Lex and I made the journey out to Jenkintown. It was a bit of a haul getting out there through traffic but it was well worth it. The training was excellent and the facilities are incredible. The mat space is nearly perfect for a regular club... a large open mat space with tatamis, spotlessly clean.

Old friend and training partner Jared Wiener invited us and ran the session. I was reminded that I do too much instruction and not enough hard training lately. The warm ups and drills were killing me, but, in a good way. I need to be reminded that if I am ever going to compete again, i need to be were I used to be which was setting the pace against guys my age not being dragged along, struggling to keep up with everyone else. That was never my way, but, I have been getting lazy and when I train. I need to be pushed as I hate pushing myself to do anything that isn't "fun" i.e. rolling/randori. Then we did some positional drills defending the pass without sweeping while the opponent tried to pass, defending the pass with subs and sweeps while opponent tries to pass (3min each) and defending the Omaplata position while opposition tries to sub or sweep (1 min each arm). The first non sweeping set was with a blue belt. He worked hard and I was gassed from the drills/warmups, but, I avoided the pass. When it was my turn I was able to pass a few times and actually recovered my energy as i wasn't working 100%. For the set with sweeps and subs back i worked with one of the bigger purples. He was tough and was able to pass me several times. I was able to complete some passes against him as well, though. The last set was the OmaPlata set. It was an interesting idea. The premise is 1 minute left in the match bottom man is up by one point but top man has an Omaplata and needs to sweep or sub to win. I like it as the focus becomes learning to survive the position. I worked with a good purple belt. I was able to defend my spot fairly well, though he did manage to get me over for a sweep on one arm. I managed to come up enough submit him once or twice on each side. The last time i went for the the wrist lock once Jared confirmed that they were legal to use and was able to convert it as time expired. I will definitely steal this concept, I like it a lot. It was good to be reminded that there are a lot of different positional drills rather than just the obvious i.e. mount, side-control, etc.

We did 5 sets of 6 minute training next. I sat out the second, as I was still feeling gassed. I felt a lot better after the quick break. After the first set I did with Jared, I needed the break. The first observation that I loved was that everyone started off of the feet for each set. this is great for competition and safe as long as everyone is smart and understands the basics of stand-up and doesn't do anything stupid. I haven't trained with Jared in years but knew him well back then and he knew me well. I expected him to jump guard. We grip fought a little then he faked the guard jump and when i reacted his a beautiful cross ankle pick. It was identical to the takedown he used at his Rupture Superfight. Despite having seen the video, it surprised me and took me down. Once I was down I made it to halfguard for awhile but he was tight enough so I didn't have much space to come up. Eventually he passed and went to mount I turtled but still couldn't come up. He controlled the space and didn't allow any holes. He went for hooks and I avoided the second hook. But he was able to make it to a bow and arrow choke and tap me as the time expired.
I sat he second one and then had the purple belt who I had trouble with in the passing drill.  He was pretty big albeit not as big as me. I gripped up and went Ouchi and followed it up with a Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi, directly into side control. I worked from the top for awhile and made it to mount. I worked my X Choke from their and submitted him. We started from the feet again and he pulled guard. I worked my pass and made it to side position. I worked from there until time expired. I had a smaller brown belt, Chris, who I knew from training at Daddis' place in South Philly. He has come along way since i saw him last. He pulled and i worked the pass for awhile until I got to a good position. He reguarded and I  repassed a few times. He avoided the mount but gave up the knee in the belly. The next set was with a smaller purple belt who Jared encouraged me to pressure. He pulled and i passed and went knee in the belly. I rode it but he was in some physical distress as I was quite a bit bigger than him. I mounted and eventually accepted the bump. He postured up and I worked some sweeps coming back to the top.

All in all it was a hike getting down here, but the workout was very good and was another reminder to me how much there is out there still to learn. I will look forward to getting back here again soon and bringing a few more of my BJJ folks. Jared was very hospitable and the facilities were fantastic now if the subway could be extended to go straight to the school it would be even better.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

12/04/2010 Saturday BJJ

I was leaving town to see a friend but made the first hour of the morning class before I left. With smaller classes we have had for the holidays plus a GrapplersQuest plus the Drexel Judo open mat, I wasn't sure who would be here, but, I don't believe in canceling classes unless their is no other choice. As I arrived Lori was sitting on the steps ready to go. I believe in rewarding the supports so, when no one else was there, we did a very focused hour class on Oma Plata, which i think will be a good technique for her. We discussed entries into the technique from various positions, including the key element you need to go for it. We discussed the hip movement to best utilize it. We discussed how to avoid some of the pitfalls that can happen when the Uke defends. We talked about finishing the technique with both submissions and sweeps, and then how to finish the sweeps with submission. It was a lot of information to throw at her in a relatively short amount of time, but she kept up and did well as we drilled the positions. This was essentially an hour private on one of my best techniques for her. I'm hopeful that she will be able to make a real jump in her game if she can get the further repetitions needed to add the Oma Plata to her repetoire.

12/02/2010 Gripping day at Osagame

Judo - We did a full class on gripping. It was an advanced group and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to work with the more senior people on this important skill. We did the basic 1,2,3 grip system and several variations. We also talked about cutting off the mat with movement of the feet/hips and not chasing and reaching with the hands. We talked about how gripping and strategy can be technically superior players. It may be even more important for BJJ players as good grip fighting can be learned and utilized faster than 100,000 throws can be accomplished. Plus if your gripping is good enough you can often get BJJ players who lack confidence on their feet to jump, sometimes to jump guard poorly rather than lose the stand up fight.

We did randori sets. Marco mixed in well and is showing a greater willingness to engage more aggressively. The Judo idea of imposition of will both through grips and forcing a technique against a 100% resisting opponent is very important. Throwing opportunistically is great, but walking to someone and throwing them in something they know is coming but can't stop is more fun for me. Robert got Tani Otoshi and had a little crackle but fortunately seemed uninjured.

For BJJ we worked on getting to and submitting the opponent from the mounted position. We covered several entries to the mount and the basic X choke I use as well as several ideas about holding the mount. I like it because it's a big scoring position and allows an easy transition to the bottom if I choose to allow the transitions, but, it's also, in many ways the final expression of dominance in the chain of BJJ techniques. Takedown, pass the guard, knee in the belly, mount, submit. This is the technical chain i would aspire to achieve. If you get to mount and they can't get away, then you have dominated them, and if you can submit from their, then you controlled the match.
I trained with Sarah, who continues to improve. Being the smallest and the lowest ranked does wonders for people who are competitive and really want to get better. they are constantly challenged to improve and the learning curve in this type of situation is quite steep. I had a set with Eric. After the way he was so far ahead of me in our last set, I ha a much better set, this time. Finally I did a set with Marco, Usually we start with a little bit of flowing through positions, and then the competitiveness increases and we play harder.  The flowing time as we warm up is decreasing so we start playing harder a little earlier. It feels good to be pushed and have a chance to train hard, so these Thursday sets are becoming some of my favorites. Wit Marco, Eric and Sarah in the class, if we can Allessandro back who was unavailable this class and maybe get Lex into it, the training quality will be very good. I think I would like to try to make this the key BJJ class of the weekdays. It starts later and has a good lead in from the Judo class. We will see how it develops.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

11/29/2010 Monday

Monday BJJ and Judo. It was the days before Thanksgiving. We had solid if unspectacular turnouts. It was primarily more experienced people. We continued the X-Guard practice we had been doing several Saturdays ago. We worked on improving the entry and then worked on sweeps number 1, 2 4a and 4b. The 4 b option for sweeping when uke brings their far hand down to engage the top hook went well for several who were having trouble lifting the Uke with 4a. The sweeps went decently but need some more work to get near where i will be satisfied with the execution. I did see improvement in keep the head up to keep the leg toward the head trapped which towards the beginning of the class had been a problem.

We did 10-15 minutes of X-Guard positional training and then we did several sets of training.

For Judo it was nearly all brown and black belts, so we did a training night. We did sets of pulling the uke down the mat and then throwing. The Uke gradually increased their resistance. I was happy with how hard they went for this. The power of the throwing was good. When the uke resisted, the catastrophic failure and the beautiful throws that were then evidenced was vary impressive. We then did three man back and forth running drills. It was a little shorter than the normal distance so we raised the sets to 12 from 10 with a 10 push up incentive to the slower group. the group who won made it first but the slower group had clearly better technical execution of their throws. But, tactics wins sometimes over skill.Just have to make sure the tactics doesn't get too sloppy. We then did long sets of uchikomis to build muscle memory when fatigued. We did several sets of randori. I don't recall the ne waza technique, I will have to see if I can get a reminder from some fo the participants.

11/28/2010 - Sunday Judo

Have to catch as things have been crazy lately. We had an excellent Sunday class with 10+ people, which for the Sunday after Thanksgiving was a good turnout. We had several new people including Nate (again) and a first timer who had done some Judo before, mainly just learning to fall. We covered Tsurikomi Goshi from the feet. then did some Tokui waza. The class did pretty well with the technique. I noticed that Peter was doing some coaching of the new guy and did a good job with him. I like the selection as a building block for other major techniques. I then gave them time to work on their tokui waza. Next we did some randori. The new guys I limited to Hop randori. I worked in and did a few of the sets.
For Ne Waza I shod three pins, Kesa gatame, Kazure Kesa Gatame and Kata Gatame. I learned that Peter doesn't get squished from these pins as much as some people. We did some Ne Waza training and called it a day Good class... fundamentally sound and the more experienced guys got what they needed and the newer guys got the fundamental techniques they needed.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

11/27/2010 Saturday class

The Saturday class, I think, is a key date on the weekly class schedule. It hopefully is a time when different members on different schedules can begin coming together and training together. . I am committed to making this class work. the BJJ program in general is being built more slowly than the Judo program because we don't really have any BJJ people only right now. Hopefully we will develop them and more people will cross train. Several of the cross trainers I am counting on having as regulars are injured or sharing time so unable to make every class. I consider Eric, Lex, Sarah, Peter and Mike the most regular so far, so it was good to see Peter joined by Lori and Lee in the class.

The theme of the class was passing the guard with a focus on maintaining posture. We covered the basic split and pass as well as several other positions. We talked about and reviewed maintaining posture to avoid sweeeps as well. We did the standing split as well and the basic pass dropping down, to block one side. There was an inquiry  about sweeping the person who stands and they were interested in something cazy, so we did the sweep, where you hook the leg and flip to a turtle, a la Saulo.

We trained with everyone and had a good class. I worked with everyone and i was very happy with the technical skills that Lori and Peter demonstrated. I was especially happy with Lee, who, despite his injury played hard and did well. He has no stripes on his white belt despite making classes and winning BJJ matches. Regis indicated he would promote him when his attendance was a little more consistent. I will ahve to watch for it and do the same. I did some things that this specific group particularly needed and I think they all improved in some important areas.

It's vital to build the program and it will build with time and patience. However, I'm not great at patience so it will be good when the class size jumps a bit.The classes will be better for everyone and grow faster as we have a little more consistent attendance.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

11/26/2010 - Roadtrip!

The day after thanksgiving Marco invited us to train at his main club and work off some of the previous days feasting. Eric, Lex and I took advantage. The drive was easy and we made good time. Eric met us there. We had a slight snafu because the address we had was the old address, but the new location was just down the street so it was easy to go there. Marco has an excellent spot. Big facility with plenty of mat space, lots of windows, and right on a corner, so he gets plenty of traffic. He uses very high quality puzzle mats which are good for falling but a little tackier than I have become used to using. The surface was very consistent though and had plenty of give. Taking a lot of falls would have been fine.

When we got there, it was all no gi training. Lex and Eric both had theirno gi kits with them. I, being a gi person never thought to bring even a short sleeved t shirt. I will in rare instances roll no-gi, but my preference is clearly for the gi game. I do think I should do more no gi training jsut top more round out my game. There are a few things i am slow recognizing because they are so much more prevalent in no-gi training.

Marco went and grabbed his gi and we rolled. we warmed up by just kind of flowing through positions. As we got warm it became a bit more competitive and we started playing harder. One of the times I pulled he managed to catch a guillotine. I tend to be a little slow defending guillotines as I usually escape them easily with a gi on. I rolled to come to the top and he was ahead of me. I tried a few different ways to unwind it but he had too tight of a bite and I tapped.
                                  
We started again and were moving through positions for awhile. We exchanged top and bottom several times. once I managed to get to the top and passed to the mount. I dug in and caught a choke from the top. We broke after that. It was a good set. I get lazy defending some positions and the only way I get better at escaping/avoiding them is to pay the price getting caught.  It was a 10+ minute set or so. I like open mat training  - doing long sets until you feel like stopping.

There was another senior player there. A brown belt named K. I think he was a little younger than me, though not too much. I would have pegged him as about my weight. He admitted to 245 so i may have ahd a couple of pounds on him, but he felt heavier than that. Regardless of his actual weight he was extremely strong, definitely isometrically stronger than me. I pulled and played my sweep game. I was satisfied with the results. I had to grip fight to keep him from crushing me and keep him in front but then I swept with the hook sweep I use as my preferred start position.  I managed to pass and work to the mount. I went for a strangle and he reversed me to inside my guard. I stayed closed. He didn't go to pass as much as I would have. He went for several strangles from inside my guard, mainly a thrusting choke but, i was able to keep him from putting too much pressure on me. We worked from here for awhile I avoided the pass several times and was able to sweep once or twice more. I hit the De La Riva entangled arm sweep. It was really tough getting him over, but, I managed to do it. He almost crushed me but i was able to take the squish long enough to get an off balance and hit the sweep. Felt good hitting a good technique against a big, strong, skilled player. I came up and had the arm trapped like I like to do from this sweep. I attacked the other arm, going for the ude garame from 2 on 1. I'm pretty good about maintaining base, but I let myself get a little high and he tossed me off and came up. I turned away from the side control position and defended the mount. He attacked some subs and mount attacks that I had to scramble to avoid. we were here for awhile him on the attack and me defending. I made it back to turtle for awhile and he attacked me there. I went for a couple of trap and rolls, but finally had to settle for coming out from underneath. I passed in the transition and made sure to go to a top corner hold down as I had no desire to be dwarf tossed to the bottom all over again. I stayed for awhile there and ground out a papercutter choke. The set was long probably 15 minutes or so. I think we were both surprised the other guy wasn't more fatigued. Big older guys are used to other big older guys getting tired and making mistakes, when you run into another one that can do long sets it's a bit of a surprise.

All in all, it was a great time. Eric and Lex both had some excellent training. Marco gave Lex some attention and good advice in his no gi training. Saw some old friends and had a good day. Looking forward to doing it again some time soon. It was suggested that we organize some back and forth training between the Judo and BJJ players at Osagame to have fun and help us all get better. Sounds good to me.

11/23/2010

BJJ at the Weston - John announced he will be ending the Weston classes as of sometime in December. There is some debate about the timing of that. He encouraged people to go to maxercise, but, honestly for most of us, I expect that will be too far. It may be just 11 blocks but it will add a  minimum of 1/2 an hour and most of us can't get away for any longer than we already do. For me the only class i will miss is the Friday open mat. the rest of the classes I did more to support the club than because they were very useful to me. The class became a cardio conditioning class with just 5 minutes of training at the end. Chris and John are hoping to find a way to keep access to some mats at the Weston. If they can, then I will try to still come and train. Otherwise it will be back to being just a night time person for me. It was fun while it lasted.

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/22/2010 - Judo and BJJ at Osagame

For BJJ, I picked up where we left off on Saturday, working on the entries and some basic X-Guard sweep. I did several basic chokes from the butterfly position to get a sub obviously, but also to disrupt the base of the uke. Assuming they avoid the choke, I did the sweep where I break their base backwards and pick the knee. I did the basic entry I use of breaking their base and then pulling the uke up the body, while blocking them with the right knee and pulling their right knee to tori's ear with tori getting the underhook. Then pressuring the blocked leg and inserting the second hook to complete the X-Guard entry. The actual sweeps will have to be covered in greater detail in another class. We did three sets of training and then ended class to transition to Judo.Some high lights of the Ne Waza between Lex and myself and his set with Eric are here.
I hit a jump pass over Lex's butterfly guard that was cool to see at the 11:15 minute of the video. I was happy with everyone's training. Lex did well with Eric and myself, two bigger more experienced players. Sarah fought hard ina room full of bigger guys and scored some good techniques. Peter and Mike P trained twice and had a couple hard fought sets. Mike hit  a triangle sweep to a mount and blew me away with how flexible he is. His triangle armlock game with be exceptional if he keeps up the hard work. 


Judo - I did some Uchi Mata practice. I focused on the entry and execution of the outside Uchi Mata which I don't practice as often. I focused on the downward movement of the hands and then hopping either towards the opponent or in a tight reverse circle. I didn't think about it but this actually bother the sprained ankle more than I would have liked. I think they got the technique and improved but I don't like executing anything sloppily.

For Ne Waza, we revisited the front sankaku turtle turnover where you don't insert the heel, but, rather block the far knee and spin the uke to his back to create a scramble.

We then did the 1 minute top and bottom turtle turning drill. The class seemed to have a lot of fun with this everyone was cutting up but playing hard and getting there work dont. This is a good result when you are talking about an advanced group.

Here is a very cool video of some high lights from the randori and then some of the turtle turnover high lights. One thing we seemed to have learned is that for the partner system the anchor must be on a corner. I also saw something very cool about the Tomoe Nage used by allesandro in this video that I need to explore. It could be a great help to Kake of the technique after it has been somewhat blocked and defeated by the uke.

11/21/2010

I had a sprained ankle and baby duties, Alma covered Judo. New student in today who did well. He has some prior experience in Aiki Jitsu styles. So he falls well and was great in class. Big guy so he will mix well with some of my heavyweights in the Kyu ranks.

11/20/2010 - BJJ at Osagame

BJJ class at 11 - We had three people plus me, but they were the core of the BJJ program i am hoping to build. Eric S., Lex and Sarah came to the class. We worked on passing the half guard. We worked on the Head control pass, the underhook pass and using the free foot to pry open the half guard and pass to the mount or jump to the side. I then took a question that i intended to cover briefly, bu it took on a bit of a life of it's own. I covered a lot of the elements of my X-Guard entry series. First starting in a butterfly position, then going for a choke to get them off of their base and then pulling the knee forward to slide to the X-Guard. There was more to it than that and it took a more time than I intended. As a result we did just 2 sets of training and I'm afraid I sent them away (at least the blue and white belts) with a bit of information overload. I find that i am enjoying teaching BJJ again and sometimes I get excited about a topic and lose track of time. i also need to teach less and have them drill more. even the more experienced students will be better served with more reps and fewer techniques. I see things I think they should know and try to rectify too much of it at once.

We just had time for two sets of training. I had sets with Eric who got to a good intial positiona nd had me on the run for the balance of the set. I think the practice and teaching he is doing is very good for his technique. I know he has never been ahead of me for the whole set like he was in this one. The other set was with Sarah, who continues to impress me with her spirit and most importantly her back game. I wold like to see her get physically stronger. For years Ronnie and I avoided outside strength and cardio training, devoting ourselves to improving technique. it took us a long time to accept that being as strong or stronger than the other guy is a good idea and nearly as important as technical training. While I hate this idea because I don't really enjoy the outside kettlebell/weight lifting/running etc., I have become reconciled that it's true. Hopefully as she has more time in her schedule she will be able to add some outside training time which will help her reach her very high ceiling.

I have to keep it in my head to cut back on the technique, raise the reps, and get more positional training in BJJ.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11/18/2010 - Judo and BJJ

Judo at 6 on Thursday and BJJ at 7:30.
I was a little disappointed in the Judo class from my own perspective. I had an idea of working on some Tomoe Nage entries and then following up with some drop seoi nage. The class was mostly relatively inexperienced. When i saw the composition of the group I should have called an audible, as I usually do when the plan in my head doesn't match the class. instead I went with it. It proved to be a little too much and I felt they struggled with the technique. I covered the traditional Tomoe Nage over the length of the body and then why it isn't as effective as the Yoko Tomoe Nage, we practiced next. To be honest, they tride it and got better on it, but, i am always nervous teaching this technique to relative novices. it seems easy in practice but proves difficult in application with a resisting opponent. The drop was OK, but in this group Sarah was the only one who was as tight on the drop as I wanted. The rest did improve. If the students leave better than when they arrived its a good result. But, I should have audibled to more conventional technique. The randori was good. The body types and experience levels were all over the board, but they played well together and I worked into the sets to get time with everyone. I am still waiting for the intensity level to rise. Between the same number of students spread over more classes and the holiday blahs beginning to appear, I think it will be a battle to raise the intensity to a level that will make me happy. I think I will intensify the warm-ups and make them more directly Judo focused. Perhaps throw some push ups as incentive in to the mix as well.


BJJ - Marco stayed but didn't dress. He gave some good advice and suggestions on the techniques we practiced. I worked on pulling guard from turtle which i use more in response to the Uke trying to attack the turtle. He dropped the hand to the outside of leg that I usually block with the knee and sit into the guard. He grabbed behind the knee with hand and pulled them into guard (most often half-guard). I twas a little different than how I normally do it but made the technique more aggressive and less reactionary. We also worked on the basic half guard sweeps once we pulled them into the position. We came up and shucked them forward with the underhooked arm. this let's you take your head out and leaves you behind the person for 2 points. From the underhook position my favorite is to control the far knee of the uke and dive him down. Marco also suggested using the far hand/elbow if you can't reach the knee. I usually have good success with the knee but this helped a couple of people who were having trouble controlling the knee quite a bit. It might be a function of size and the ability to bulldoze them over (which I do pretty well) making it easier to grab the knee, so this was a good addition to the technique chain. We also swept the uke who wizzered the underhooked arm by using the Power To The People grip and sweeping them across the body.

I had some excellent training with allessandro and Sarah. Allesandro continues to impress me. He will be a terror against white and blue belts. I think it will take good blue and purple belts to slow his game down enough to capitalize on a few positions he still needs to see.

Sarah continues to play well. She has a nice flair for the triangle and has the physical skill set to do well with it. We moved through positions until I ended in her guard after a sweep. I gave her a small window to attack the triangle and she swarmed all over it. against me at least her left sided is more dangerous. she still can't finish it, but she was attacking my posture and had it locked tight enough so I was a little sore in my neck and shoulder from fighting it off. The small classes irk me but, I think the the people in them are going to reap some excellent benefits form the focused attention.

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/15/2010 - Monday BJJ and Judo.

I made it in time for Kettlebells.  I was able to get Alma to focus on the strength component that I wanted, so it was a good workout.

BJJ was me, Eric, mike, Sarah and Lex. We worked on pulling guard from the turtle again. I like this class and thingk they did a good job. getting from the turtle and back to guard, either by pulling directly to it, or sitting back when the uke pressures your turtle. We did a few variations o it then did several sets of training.

In Judo we did more ashi waza techniques. We did some Harai Tsurikomi Ashi and Kosoto Gari. Then we did the ashi waza drill where you attack on every step. It went well and they seemed to improve and enjoy it. We did some randori sets. and then did Ne Waza. For Ne Waza we did the snakaku entry where you can't get your heel into the entry. Instead, blocking the knee and pulling to create the scramble when the Uke is pulled over. I emphasized using the grips on the belt and elbow to control the scramble and then come to the top. We several Ne Waza sets. I rolled with Drew and he did a nioce job of blocking the sweep and then forcing me to bail to a turtle. He got his hooks in and it took me a while to pry him off and come to the top. By then time was expiring. He has a nice pass and back attack. It wouldn't have been any score in Judo but for BJJ scoring he woudl have won 4-0.

11/14/2010 Sunday Judo class

Sunday Judo class. Smallish group but we good class. One note, I did top and bottom turtle turns with this group and I think it went well. I need to remember to do this more as it is very Judo specific and improved and important skill. Ihave to catch up a bit so I will have to minimize some entries.

11/12/2010

BJJ at the Weston - Just noting that I made the open mat. There 6 of us there and we did 5 sets. 35 minutes of training.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11/13/2010 Saturday 1 on 1

I will officially begin the Saturday classes for BJJ next week, but this week, to see how the felt, Lex and I went to Osagame and trained. I also did some work on the club as we are still settling into the space. We had a productive session. I like the quality of work that you can get in small or 1 on 1 sessions. They are particularly useful to try to address particular problems a student may be having. Lex and I worked on some ways to attack and pass the De La Riva position. It was some fairly fundamental ideas, but they seemed to help him. We also talked about pulling guard from a turtle position. I think this will be particularly useful for him in BJJ. It will take a little time for him to get his flexibility to the point where it really is easy for him, but the drills and practice on this technique will make that happen quickly.

We trained for awhile next. it was a good workout and it's good to see how fast his BJJ is improving. Like most Judo people his top game is ahead of his bottom, but he has committed himself to pulling guard so that will make him better. It took me a lot longer to commit to improving my bottom game. I had to be forced to do it and it totally changed my skills and style of play. The commitment to using the techniques, trying and failing as well as succeeding is the way to improve. Hiding from the bottom byu assuming you will just always be on top is a sure way to limit your skills.

The training was good, and I had to work pretty hard. He has a few habits that will improve. I would catch him in chokes from the top partially because he relaxed after the transitions and change of positions. When I attacked before he began playing from the next position, it gave me a huge advantage as I was way ahead. I also thought about it and noticed on the video he took of some of the training he tends to allow too easy access to his neck for the choke. I think this part of the moment of relaxation he had after the transition and before he went into the next exchange of techniques gave me a head start and grabbed a deep bite on the choke a few times. We also talked about how to apply a one handed choke and use the body and hip position to make the uke unable to turn and unwind the choke position. this also works because the uke often doesn't expect the choke to be able to work until it's too late.

Lex was taking some video while we worked. We didn't pay much attention to it, and, therefore didn't stay centered at all, but here are a few scenes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thursday 11/11/2010 - Tonight's Special Guest Star...

Judo - The movement of the judo class to 6 and the BJJ class to 7:30 continues to be a little shaky as people are getting used to the new time and the BJJ class is being rebuilt. People are a little slow getting to the Judo class, but I did kettlebells at 5:30 (really 5:40). it was an abbreviated work out focusing almost exclusively on a strength component though the cardio was there as well. i warmed up while Alma signed people in at the desk. Then we did 3 sets of Clean and press, Rows and Squats. All were done with the 24kg. I have been shirking the Kettlebell workouts as things have been so busy and I have to admit I felt soreness from the workout for several days. But, it feels good to be sore and know that its productive soreness. Need to stay with it and get back in better shape. Hopefully i will be a good example to everyone who comes and stretches. All of us, particularly the light people we have right now need to be stronger. The kettlebell work out will be huge for improving their Judo and cutting down on injuries. Technique is paramount, but being stronger and better conditioned than your opponent is also crucial.

It's taken some time for things to start feeling at home at the new place. the smaller class sizes and missing faces as well as the unfinished feel of things just the sense of being uprooted has been impacting the relaxed feel of being home. Just like it takes time to feel at home in a new apartment it is taking time to feel at home here. I think this will happen and it will happen pretty soon. We have had some volunteers offering to help complete a few of the remaining projects and that will help. Plus just settling in to the new space and getting used to the schedule and who is in the different classes is the biggest thing.

The Judo class had a solid number of people in it. The numbers includes another appearance from Drew, who is doing great. He will be an excellent addition to class and will progress both technically and in rank quickly if he is reasonably consistent in attendance. I would love to see him become a regular competitor for us. We also had one of my oldest friends in Philadelphia as well as the Martial Arts come in with us. Marco Perazzo who is the head instructor at two successful schools in New Jersey stopped in for the class. I met Marco back when I first came to the Philadelphia Judo club in 1996 as well as when I first went to Maxercise around the same time. He mostly committed to BJJ and I focused on judo, though I cam back to BJJ in 1999. He has had his BJJ black belt for over three years as I recall and has always threatened to return to Judo. Now that we have opened a new space in South Philadelphia, the stars are aligning and we have had a Marco sighting.

We covered several variations on Ouchi Gari in the Tachi Waza portion of class. We covered the basic traditional version, the version of the drop knee Ouchi Gari that I use and the circling version. The class did well and I think this is one of the best technique selections for BJJ. The most difficult one, as you wold expect, was the circling version that requires quite a bit more timing than the first two versions.

We did some randori and I jumped in to fill out the sets. Everyone seemed to have good sets and stayed safe. I think just encouraging Drew to engage in more grip fighting improved his Judo by several 100%. When he was giving up  perfect grips to his opponent it was making things way too easy, but, the grip fighting made it much more difficult. Marco felt good in his movement. He switches and reacts to what his opponent is doing more than I would like but, his style tends to be reactionary and opportunistic. My preference is to dictate the technique to my opponent, but he was grip fighting and launching attacks. I could tell he was a little reluctant to attack with reckless abandon but, that is something this club does well, so I think he will have fun when he lets his attacks really fly.

The rest of the randori sets were good and despite being a little smaller than I prefer the vibe on the mat was good.

In BJJ Marco offered to teach the class. It's great to feel supported by him and a lot of other old friends and training partners. who have stopped by and emailed and called with support and encouragement. He covered some side control and submission attacks. The first was similar to the way i walked around the head to attack the underhooked arm with a straight arm lock. he emphasized using it when you get the Uke to react by trying to pull his arm free and staying tighter to the head with your hips than i normally do. This was good for me to see as it was a better entry than I normally use. I also like using it opportunistically rather than forcing it. He also walked around the head and used the elbow on the ribs to step up and attack the juji gatame on the underhooked arm. I like this as it was a good transition and I like anything that allows me to put an elbow into the ribs. (I would say that I was just kidding about this but, people who train with me know I actually do like to do that). Then if Uke defends or fails to react you turn back and control the hips for side control again.

He also, in response to a question from Alma, did a half guard sweep. He used the power to the people grip (or as he called it the soul brother grip) which is thumb grip to thumb grip instead of the cats paw grip on the sleeve to attack the whizzer grip from the top guy who is responding to the bottom player having the underhook.

Marco and I rolled a couple of time. Lots of movement and exchanges of position for both of us. We had some points scored on passes and sweeps, high lights included me hitting the hook sweep I like and Marco doing a nice back escape that forced me to give up the top position and force myself to roll over to avoid the arm lock as the second set expired.

I also rolled with Allesandro who has a few technical flaws from some positions he hasn't seen that often but whose ceiling is so much higher than my own its depressing. His stand up is excellent, his fundamentals are very good, he is competitive and athletic. all he needs is some time and he will wreck guys in BJJ. I would be shocked for him not to win nearly any white belt division right now.

Had a very productive set with Sarah. I don't always get to roll with her as I often have to take some of the potentially dangerous people. I swept and and pressured her she attacked a triangle and I nearly passed a few times giving her pressure but not overdoing it. she was actually quite difficult to complete the pass against her because she used her flexibility and competitiveness so well. I was passing again when she switched to a left sided triangle and surprised me. I defended but she locked it in tight. I think it was the first time someone has been able to successfully lock a triangle since Urso left. I had to legitimately defend and fight my way free from it. It was a tight bite. If I wasn't so stupidly much bigger than her I would have been in even more trouble when time expired.

Good night of classes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday 11/11/2010

Day class at the Weston - Me John and 4 white belts. John did some basic sweeps. I had two sets with Eric Daly and Azeez. Unremarkable, except azeez kept trying to standing pass by going into my De La Riva, which was disastrous for him.  Better than not training at all, but considering the recent pressure at work, I will need to keep the T-Th weston classes down a bit.

Monday - 11/8/2010

The BJJ class began and it was again lightly attended. Sarah asked about maintaining side control, so Eric and I worked on this. More people came in as the class progressed until we filled out at 6 people. I talked about controlling opposite corners ie right shoulder and left hip and vice versa. I talked about walking higher up the body off of the hips to avoid the bump. this is particularly true of lighter/smaller people holding larger/stronger. I talked about trapping the elbow outside of the hip, because allowing it inside makes the elbow escape too easy. We then progressed to several subs from the side position. We walked around the head after starting with the underhook on the  far arm. Keeping control of the arm and attacking the straight arm. we did the papercutter choke I use when i can't keep their elbow from blocking me, so I go over it and trap it with my low (right) arm and choke with the left. this is one of my most frequently used subs and I would like to make it a club staple.
My knee was still giving me some trouble but we did 3 sets of training. The vibe in the room is getting betetr as things are settling down. I think the intensity level needs to rise a bit and it will help. It will also be good as we are able to filter in a few more of the MIA folks.

Judo

Little larger group with both Erics and some of the other regulars plus a new white belt Bobby who is Eric J.s nephew who did very well. We also had a new Judo white belt Drew, who is a brown in BJJ checking it out.  Both of the white belts did great. We did some seoi nage work and then switched to the underhook (seoi nage arm position) Osoto Gari.  I wasn't sure how Drew would do. You never really know how people with a lot of rank will do when they put on a white belt and go to a new spot. He did great. He ukemi was very good. he had some throwing fundamentals and had a great attitude. I had him with the guys only at first, but after watching him I had him do sets with Sarah, who has a very technical throwing game. I rarely let new people go with her because you never know if a white belt guy might get too competitive and try to force something, which is dangerous. But he quickly proved to have a very egoless technical approach that is perfect for improving. Bobby did very well. considering he hasn't done anything like this he had very respectable ukemi and took some big falls during randori. i don't usually let new people do randori the first few classes, but he jumped right in a did well. we cold have used a few more of the regulars in class to roound out the sets, but I was happy with the class.

For Ne Waza we did the front sankaku. with an emphasis on staying tight rather than the open spin them as you turn version that i feel has given people trouble. The tight bversion of getting tight and staying tight from the beginning requires more adjustments after the turn, but seems to be easier to learn. The class did well with it and I think I will continue with this version.

We did a couple of sets of  Ne Waza. I had Drew in the second set and he was very good to roll with him. He is a little small for me, I'm guessing 150ish. I swept and came to the top he played open and went for sweeps. I kept good pressure and maintained balance, but he did a good job avoiding the pass, until right before the end. I was able to pass and maintain top until time expired.

Good class. glad to see the bigger numbers and the addition of  Drew and Bobby will be good if they become consistent.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday 11/5/2010 - Peter and me

Tonight was the first open mat. Mainline Judo had there open mat tonight and most of the guys went there. I don't believe in canceling classes, so I went to Osagame. Peter came and he and I worked for a little more than an hour. We focused on what he was interested in doing. We worked on transitioning to avoid the pass and escape the pin by turtling. Primarily by unscrewing the shoulder and turning inside or going outside as a last resort. We also talked about hitting the trap and roll once you make it to turtle correctly and turtle properly.

Fear the turtle!

Thursday 11/4/2010 the Thursday class switch

Today was the first time we switched the BJJ class and the Judo class. We did Judo first, at 6 and BJJ next at 7:30. I was a bit disappointed by the low turnout for the switch. I think that it's the right move long term, but, after the years of one time, it will take a bit of adjustment for the class time to change.  I also think that I will have to be flexible for the start time as some people will be arriving late. That's fine as I would rather they come late than not at all. The Thursday class for Judo will be primarily stand-up because it will be followed by BJJ. Pretty standard class for me for small participants. I did throws and fits and worked people into the sets as they arrived. I think we ended with 8 or so people on the mat we finished up with randori. and then went on to BJJ.

The BJJ class was also small. I need to be a little patient as the classes rebuild. I wasn't happy with the intensity levels. I didn't feel a lot of urgency. I think the class/time switch effected it but, I need to up the intensity a little to get us back on the road. I need to get the numbers and intensity level back to what I expect. This does tend to be a quieter time of the year with the early and cold evenings and all of the holidays coming. I was disappointed by the light BJJ tonight and in general. There was a lot of purported intent to cross train and so far i haven't seen as much as I'd like.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Wednesday 11/3/2010 Judo at Osagame

I covered the Wednesday class. This class is planned to be covered by the black belts who are interested in teaching on a rotating basis. It will be normally held at 7:30, but dues to some confusion this one was held at 6. I think the newer classes on the schedule and the classes that have been moved on the schedule may take a little getting used to for the students. I am hoping that new students who join will naturally fit them into the class attendance schedule, but this may take some time. I am particularly hopeful that the black belts that will be covering the classes will make every effort to come in and support one another. Having more experienced players in the class will make teaching much simpler and make sure that there are decent numbers of participants.

This class was just Me, Lex and Zweli. Not great to have such a small class, but good for me as I was able to get some training in with them. We did Uchikomis and a little throwing for 20+ minutes. I worked on my left sided Uchi Mata. I have tried and even thrown the Left Uchi Mata  but this was the first time I practicied it, which seems odd.It didn't feel comfortable or natural but, if I get some more reps, I may be willing to actually try to throw it next time. Lex and Z worked on the things that they chose. We tweaked Z's Ouchi Gari entrance. He was doing a nice version of a drip Morote Seoi Nage. He is quite strong and with good lower body strength and flexibility. I wouldn't want to have to do the Morote myself, but it was working well for him.

We did Golden score randori next. I was having pretty good success. I threw some decent scores. Z got me over by attacking a leg when i was little lazy and got me to my back. I threw some decent techniques. a few sacrifices, a Harai, and a few others. I countered the leg grab Z went for again with a belt grip osoto/harai that was good. The grip fighting was going well, untilt he last set. Lex managed to get ahead of me in the grip fight  and protect the lead. I spent closer to a minute trying to get any grip at all, but he was able to deny me. When he attacked I was so far behind the gripping I mis-stepped and twisted my knee. This was unfortunate becasue of the knee problem but also because the training was going so well.

We wrapped it up by talking gripping and strategy for a bit. I talked about how I focus on transitions in BJJ and think that's the right approach for experienced players up to a certain point, rather than endlessly drilling techniques. I compared this to grip fighting in Judo and it seemed to make sense to both of them. I hate to get hurt or end the training early, but the conversation was very on point and useful.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

11/1/2010 Welcome to Osagame

Our new club web site 
BJJ - The opening night at our new club began was a great experience. We had a good group of people in for the first night. The BJJ class had 10 people plus me. This included a few Drexel kids who did well  and came a little late, but also included several of the judo guys who I am excited to see begin to cross train, as well as Eric S's friends Matt who did great and Eric Johnson who seems like he might be ready to jump back in to the game. They will be great to have as new additional highly ranked guys who were new to the BJJ and hopefully Judo programs. I covered the De La Riva arm hook position just because it's one of my favorites and I just wanted to do my favorite positions. I did the sweep and going to the Oma Plata and then doing the breakdown to the sub and then even showed the wrist lock finish. I was very happy to see Lori in the clas, as I think it will be good for her to get some more ground work. She will do well once she sees some more of the techniques.

I had them do 3 longer (6 min) sets. The training was good, though I had to reconfirm the rules. I intend to do the CBJJ rules. no kneelocks, no toe holds for less than brown belts. I'm looking forward to training with matt and Eric J. when I can get into the sets. If we can keep this group as a base and expand with some more additions from judo and a few new guys it will be an excellent group.

For Judo I covered Harai Goshi. I wanted to start the clubs by teaching my favorite technique and the closest thing the club has to a signature technique. 22 people in the class 15 or so of our regulars and a half dozen Drexel and other visitors. Great energy and attitude from all the participants. I was very happy with the way the Visitors were accepted and trained with the regulars. i would love to see more of them all, particularly the Drexel group of Jen, Alex, Keith and John. They were excellent fits with the group on the mat. I learned that it will be difficult to have more than 5, possibly 6 pairs doing randori at any given time. so I switched groups and everyone had good sets. I will have to do more shorter sets in large classes to keep too many people from sitting too long. Lee was there and did some grip fighting which was great to see as his knee is still a mess.

For Ne Waza I did the hardest and easiest clock chokes. Then we had time for two sets of ne waza and we called it a night. Art chose to move down the line to the right of Alma. I didn't feele entirely comfortable with this but I respected his wishes. I will revisit this when there is a smaller group. A bottle of Jack was presented and passed down the line in a true Philadelphia Judo Club tradition.



It feels great to be in our own space. I am incredibly fortunate to have the people with me in the club. The way they have volunteered and contributed their time energy and skills has made this possible. I will all feel incredibly lucky to be part of this group. I remember when I was the last white belt on the other side of the line. It's strange to be the first Black belt on this side. I feel that I have done it the right way. I earned it and while I never was and never will be the best player or even a great player. I got here by outworking everyone else. I never quit and my commitment to the club and Judo never wavered. That being said it would be impossible without the people who come to class and make this club my family.

I will post some pictures when I can do it from home.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Friday 10/29/2010

Weston Open Mat - just four of us were at the Open mat. Pretty standard sets with Me, Danger, Blue John and Jack. There was one interesting exchange with Danger. Before our second set i was thinking that i should go for positions I don't usually use as much, like taking the back and thought I should go for the position. I didn't consciously work for it, but saw an opportunity and got the back with hooks. I came close to the strangle but he worked to the correct side to get his escape. Meaning I was back to the ground behind him with the right hand in a normal gi strangle position i.e. Okuri Eri Jime with him on the correct side (my left). He worked to the correct side to escape (my right). He was beginning to work out of the hooks, so I released the right hook and triangled his left leg/hip and brought him back to the correct strangling side (my left) by using the leverage of the closed triangle on his leg/hip. the the angle precluded the Okuri Eri Jimi, but, I switched to a Kata Hajime (single wing strangle) and he almost went out. It was a good response to the escape and I need to lock it into my game, but, i want to look for the chance to test it again. 

Thursday 10/28/2010 An ending.

Judo - good group for the last class at Maxercise for the Judo club. I said good bye with my favorite techniques, Harai Goshi. We covered some drills on footwork and hip position. It was interesting to see Lori and Sarah working on the technique. Their emphasis and skill at Tai Otoshi  was effecting their footwork for the Harai. It was interesting to work on the slightly different stepping pattern for the Harai with them. Have to be certain not to negatively impact the footwork for Tai Otoshi which is their primary technique. Tweaked a few things here and there with others as well. All in all it was a productive session.

We did 4-5 sets of randori. I wanted to give some good sets to everyone and there were enough good matchups that we had good Sets. Josh was in again and he again showed good strength and was able to counter people but, I saw the problems that you get when you are the big strong guy in class. He remained a lurker waiting to counter the other person. This can be effectrive but it tends to have a low ceiling for long term growth. I am strongly committed to not letting any of my big guys fall into that trap even if it works for them. Lex hit a good Kouchi Gari on me. I am still having fun with switching back and forth from left to right, which is kind of amusing as I was so totally against it for years. Not sure if this is an evolution in my technique and style or just laziness, most likely a bit of both. I still think the best way on the way up through the ranks is to commit to a side and a technique and make it your own. But, when you get older it might be good to be more open to other opportunities, rather than banging your head against the wall as I have done for years. 

 We covered the trap and roll for Ne Waza and focused on maintaining the pin. Everyone did it well after a little bit of modifying the angle. I did get them to commit to the pin as I was able to demonstrate how effective, difficult to escape and painful it can be as long as you maintain control of the trapped arm. Showed how to block most of the conventional escapes by altering the hip position and the body relationship. I also showed how much pressure I can put on the pin and how I can get submissions from it. Then we covered the escape that Ronnie and I developed back during the open mats at the Y. It's not foolproff, but, still the best one I have seen and the one I have had the most success using.

We had time for 2 sets of Ne Waza and then called it a night at the Las Vegas Lounge for one last drink. I will have to reflect on my time at Maxercise and post some thoughts.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Monday 10/25/2010

BJJ - John covered some work from the mounted position. It was pretty basic stuff. I pitched in and tweaked a few things for people, when i saw a correctable error. I was feelling a little beat from the long weekend of work and wanted to save my energy for the Judo class, so i held off the training.

Judo - this was to be primarily a randori/ne waza class. we did 15 minutes or so on Uchi Mata, then proceeded to randori. we had a 200lbish green belt who normally trains with our old friend Senseii Edwin Takemori in the Maryland area at the Naval Academy club. He was good to have in the club. He plays rough but not dangerous. You can tell he is used to being the biggest guy as he uses a lot of strength and tackling stuff, but he had a very good attitude and was very receptive to my suggestions. woudl be a pleasure to have him in againGood group I did 4 or 5 sets myself which was good work for me. Few notes from my randori. Best thing was I hit a left sided Uchi mata that was very clean with good lift and rotation. It was against Yoni, who is just 15 and weighs just 135 lbs, so my excitement is tempered. But, he is a very solid Tachi Waza player and in all honesty there was much more skill involved than I expected to bring to a technique I still have never practiced. I did a great deal of switching from left to right depending on what my opponent was doing. this is totally contrary to my old philosophy of "one grip - one technique - no exceptions" I would like to consider this an evolution of my skills but it's actually an indictment of my ability to perform my one technique. so i am reduced to out thinking and skillfully defeating my opponent. This sounds like a good thing but I consider it a failure of my primary technique. In the long run it will make me a better player and instructor as i become more competitively experienced with more techniques, but it still pisses me off. The left side switching actually helped me quite a bit with greg who was really all over me in the beginning of the set. When i switched to left, it changed the dynamic a bit and improved my defense substantially. I hit a good counter once. He was going to smash me good with an Ouchi Gari toward the end of the set, but i used the wall to defend it, which has become a very bad club habit that I need to break. The right Yoko tomoe Nage from the left sided grip has been very effective and is something that I will concentrate on improving. I also want to focus some more attention to the left Uchi mata. It seems a good idea to practice something that I intend to use.

We did a guard pass for Ne Waza. It was the one where I pin the uke's heels to his butt in the butterfly guard, control one side and then go vertical in a headstand and come down in the side control position. They were a bit hesitant to go with the reckless abandon this technique takes at first, but warmed up to it and did well. Eric did the trap and roll arm lock on Josh and later covered how to do it on purpose at the end of class. I might try working on this and making it a primary rather than secondary attack for the club particularly in BJJ.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday 10/24/2010

Seven of us in Judo. I have been highly encouraged by the participation hard work and improvement of the lower ranks and disappointed by the lack of all of those things in the black belts. We have some injuries in the black belt ranks obviously, but, the participation level of them as a group has been disappointing at best. The seven of us got in and worked hard. We did some solid Uchi mata work. There was some clear improvement but, it also showed how far most of them have to go with this technique.
We had six of us in randori so we did 5 - 3 minutes sets. Good training with everyone. I worked more on some of my left sided program which i have been neglecting. it might be helpful to actually practice it rather than just breaking it out for randori. I did hit a respectable left sided Uchi mata as well as several other techniques.  The yoko tomoe nage from the left sided grip feels very natural. I still haven't been able to correct the footwork problems I am having with the harai Goshi on the right side.
For Ne Waza I did the bull pass but, I practiced it in the BJJ approach going to Knee in the belly rather than straight to chest to chest. This gave everyone a bit of trouble a first, but it got better. There were a lot of details to correct, but it was much betetr for all six of them by the time we were done. We did two sets of ne waza and called it a night. I hope that the guys on the way up take advantage of the chances to do BJJ as there are some potentially good BJJ players in the group and it would complement their Judo very well.

Friday 10/22/2010

Open mat at the Weston - The usual suspects were in, me, Steve, Chris, Blue John and Jack. We did 7 minutes sets for a total of 28 minutes of training. The Steve set was good I managed to sweep, pass, mount and catch once. He subbed me with a toe hold which was very well done. We had a fun scramble off of another low body attack from him. He and Sharon are opening a BJJ program on the mainline. I would like to get there ad train with them sometimes as I learn from both of them.
Chris set was good. He avoided the initial sweep and forced me to bail to a turtle. I got back to half guard and swept and pressured him. I worked to a mount but was unable to catch him before time expired.
The set with Blue John was also pretty standard. I swept him and he kept trying to scramble to back to his knees. I kept him down a few times and then finally told him to just pick his spot up or down. he said he doesn't mind being on the bottom just not underneath me.  I understand the sentiment, but I think he is making a mistake not taking advantage of the chance to work on getting better from the position. Jack did some good things during his training. He is still way out of his league in the room, but he keeps fighting and it will make him better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday - 10/21/2010

Ope mat was light and I just watched Lex and Sarah throwing. For class, we had 10 people or so with mostly lower ranks when i began several of the black belts rolled in late. I worked on O Goshi and made them do it left sided as well as right sided. I had three groups with a brown belt with a lower rank.It was a good opportunity for the brown belts to work and assist in the instructing of the lower ranks. The new white belt has been doing very well. His Ukemi is excellent and he works hard. Most of them struggled with the left sided O Goshi. I then taught it from a Left vs Right posture as a way to step across and attack someone who is fighting off sided and takes a high grip, which is always a problem. The right side wnet well but the left side was a little bit of a struggle. All in all I thought it was useful for everyone and they did a solid job picking up what we were doing. it did reveal a bit of a weakness with left sided hip throws.

We did three sets of randori. I had a good set with Lex. I hit a pretty decent O Uchi Gari, He hit a pretty good Ko Uchi Gari. His gripping was better and made it more difficult for me to work to a dominant grip. he had one particularly good seoi Nage attack that had me up but I rode it and he couldn't finish it. One day He will get me over for it, but not today.

I was really happy with everyone's performance. Everyone coming up played hard but not crazy and had some good success. Even Austin after the half dozen or so classes he has had jumped in and did fine.

For Ne Waza I did the double under pass. Mostly well done and I could see some of them using it if they commit to the position.  Had to correct a few angles, but the biggest problem was many of them were letting their weight go too far across the body.

we did a few sets of Ne Waza. I took Allessandro and have to say he did quite well. I am looking forward to seeing him doing BJJ at the new place. He is very fast, and aggressive on the ground. he has som glaring technical holes but his fundamentals are sound and he will be a handful for any white or blue belt and will give some purples fits once he learns a few more positions he hasn't seen before.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday 10/21/2010 notes from recent classes and the announcement of moving my club.

Things have been incredibly busy the last month. Blogging has been one of several things that have taken a back seat to more pressing issues. At the beginning of the month, I signed a lease on a space in south Philadelphia. I will move the Judo club there and begin to teach BJJ as well as have a kettlebell program and presumably others as we have time to develop and place them.

First just a few notes on the techniques of the last few weeks. For BJJ I made last week deep half guard week. This was triggered by some poor defense to the position during training by a purple belt. The classes seemed to have profited from both the position and basic sweep as well as learning proper body position for defending the position. I always liked this position but used it sparingly as i am not by first inclination a half guard player. I aggressively put myself in the position several times recently and had good success, sweeping from there. Better than I normally do from a more traditional half guard to be honest.

The next week we worked on several sweeps from closed guard when the Uke uses a standing split. Nothing earth shaking but very good fundamental sweeps everyone needs to know.

For Judo I covered a Left vs. right yoko tomoe nage (as well as the right versus left version). I do this as my right versus a left sided player pretty well as that is the side I mainly practiced it and did most of my repetitions. However, I think it would be a more useful technique for me as a left versus a right sided uke technique. It fits well with the left sided attacks I have been using. We also went into Oma Plata from the failure which also went well. I like it as a throw or as a offensive guard pull .

We did a down the line stepping pattern for Harai Goshi. This didn't go as smoothly as I thought, but did reveal a couple of people who were doing too much of an Ashi Guruma rather than a Harai Goshi.

We did an Uchi mata class and several Ashi Waza classes as well.

The big news obviously is that I will be moving the club from Maxercise, our home for the last 10 years or so to a new location in south Philadelphia. There are a lot of reasons for the move. But, the ones that matter the most are that I think its in the best interest of the Judo Club as well as my (and my family's) best interest. I have been ready to have my own place for a long time. I have been teaching Judo classes for over ten years. I have been taking BJJ for nearly 12 years and have taught some BJJ classes as early as 2003. I couldn't do this without the support of my entire club, both their commitment to make the journey to south Philadelphia and to come to the classes. I have wanted the opportunity to build my own club and make the decisions that I believe make the most sense for a long time. I have studied the excellent instructors that I have been fortunate enough to have teach me. I have studied and discussed ad nauseum, not just the elements of a technique to be taught but the intricacies of the art of teaching, why some instructors are better than others, what parts of an instructors abilities do I want to emulate and what parts do I not. I have had countless hours of discussion not just of what was taught but, how it was taught, why some people got it better than others, what I woudl have done differently and why, the technique selection and all of the ways the individual class was structured.  also how it fell into the overall program(s) was structures. I am also looking forward to testing my ideas of the best model for a Martial Arts studio. I hope and believe that this will be a good move for me personally and for the club and it's members in general.

The next few weeks will be more about physically building the home for the new club. I will focus most of my efforts in that area. I will also be blogging about some of the details and my impressions of the experience. time permitting.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thursday 10/7/2010 time to admit defeat and punt some entries

there has been so much going on I have fallen behind on this. It's fourth and long so i will punt and briefly hit a few points of note from the past two weeks or so and then lick up going forward, but, October is going to be swamped for reason I will detail later. I may miss a spot here or there.

I made most if not all of my normal classes but these are a few high lights for my personal recollection


9/30 - Good set with Mike B. I swept but he was able to sweep back when he switched from a right sided butterfly sweep to a left sided version suddenly. I bailed from the pass and he managed to get to my back. I was in toruble but avoided the sub but allowed the points before getting him back to the bottom. I nearly passed back but he recovered guard and time expired. Good training set.

10/1 rolled open mat at the Weston - Hit one technique I want to remember. I went oma Plata on Steve B and swept. i was facing toward his hips with his arm still tightly entangled in the Oma Plata. I was above the elbow near the shoulder with the triangled legs. I attacked the arm to straighten. I considered attacking the wrist also. He brought his legs up to use them to defend. He recently caught a twisting foot lock/toe hold on me and I now remembered to go for it against him. he squirmed his foot away, but this set up the arm to be vulnerable and when he defended again with his feet, I caught the toe hold.  

10/2 was the Philadelphia Jiu Jitsu cup running in conjunction with liberty Bell Judo hosted Judo event, the Philadelphia Judo Cup. It went pretty well. We got through everyone pretty quickly. Would have been faster if we had been less committed to getting everyone as many matches as possible. The slow down cam when we had to wait for a competitor fighting another division to be available. Good learning experience. Decent attendance, mostly from the immediate region. < 100 BJJ competitors, some kids, no women, some no-gi. 6-7 purple belts and 2 Brown belts. If I had been training more lately or if I had brought my kit, I may have competed as they were a fair size for me.

10/4 John taught a duck under then clinch from the back. I have my doubts about ducking the high grip by anyone who is good at using it, but I do like a back trip he showed. He was doing essentially a tani otoshi and slinging the uke down. If Uke resisted forward he did a kosoto gake movement to the from of the ankle and took the uke down with it. Obviously no score in Judo but has self defense and BJJ applications.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Combined posts Sunday 9/19/2010, 9/20/2010 and 9/23/2010

Things have been crazy, so I am having to make up some missed posts. Trying to remember anything that stands out, but, mostly want to keep track of classes I attended.

Joe Condello and his daughter were in class. Joe got a good work put with the guys who were here.  We had enough girls for kristen to get some good training also. Lori was excited to work with someone with whom she trained a long time ago. I though she (Lori) did very well. Her hard training is showing and paying off. She is starting to narrow her throws that she is practicing and she is coming for the extra training with Lex and Sarah which will help a lot.

On Thursday we did randori and ne waza night. i was actually a little disappointed we didn't have more people taking advantage of this. We just did randori for an hour and ne waza for 45 minutes or so. Lots of good sets and training. .I had some very good sets. Lex has footage of the whole stand up session. If I can I will link the raw footage as well as the eventual high light reel. Rich Callahan was in and trained all night. Twice in a couple of months after years without seeing him. He fit in pretty well with everyone and brought a different game to the table so that was good. He likes to talk a little trash so that raised the stakes sometimes, but all in all, things went very well. 

Saturday 9/18/2010

Xande seminar. Well attended including some non Maxercise guys and affiliates. Lots of blue belts and some white belts so he called an audible and kept it more basic. He focused on fundamentals of passing butterfly and open guard positions. I have my notes in my technique manual. I have seen the techniques before but the value was in his discussion of hip position and weight distribution during the pass. I got a lot out of his ideas on maintaining base and staying heavy during the pass, particularly like how he talked about the pass being done mostly with his hips/weight and balance, with the hands and grips being very secondary. He talked for about two minutes on passing the open half guard position that confounds me so much in response to my question and gave some excellent albeit brief advice.

Funny note about him going off on guys who turtle and don't try to advance their position from their. He said to just do Judo and drag them over as a turnover. I don't think it's quite that easy, but, funny that he phrased it as just do judo to them for attacking a non responsive turtle.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday 9/17/2010 Xande Ribeiero Semi-Private

Xande was in town for a couple of days. I will be in the group seminar tomorrow and took semi-private today.
Good class. Very fundamentally sound with information and techniques that can be adapted to a lot of different positions. I much prefer this to a seminar with some tricks that I will often not use. Fundamentals I can integrate into my game.
He covered a pass of the De La Riva position, some work on taking the back briefly addressed some ideas for attacking a turtle. I will have to refer to my notes for specifics on techniques.




Xande was great. We compared notes on having a new kid and some other gossip. Cool to hang out and spend some time with him again. It's not typical for the top 3 guy in the world to also be a solid guy, but's it's true in this case. 

Friday 9/17/2010

Open mat at the Weston 11:00AM
We had people running in late which threw off the sets, but it led to a coouple of repeat sets with the higher ranked guys Steve and Chris so it worked out OK. Chris admitted to some idiot that it wasn't a formal class so he kept doing Kettlebells near us while we were training and some other old idiot joined him, then the f*ers turned on the big overhead fan. I was pissed and ended up doing an extra set with Chris and stepped up some. He's right that we don't want to make too many waves and get the open mat banned but, i have always told people its a regular class and nothing has come of it. Whatever, the training was good. I did 2 with Steve, 2 with Chris and a set with Blue John and Craig so 36 minutes of training. The sets with Steve were good. He continues to show excellent technique and is a good training partner. He isn't going for the knee in the belly escape I capitalized on a few times anymore eliminating that cheap win, which is good. I caught him once after a sweep pass, but we ended the last set with him in a tight footlock. I held out until the buzzer went off, but I didn't escape. The lower body subs are still a definite danger as I am slow in the transition. I saw this one coming but was a beat late in my reaction.

The Chris sets were good. I mauled him some but, he had several good escapes and avoided the sub in one set. I hit the De La Riva entangled arm sweep even though he knew it was coming and fought his ass off to avoid it. always cool to do something to someone who knows it's coming and can't stop it.
Craig can't stop the butterfly sweep and once he's on the bottom he's toast, but, he power escapes from the bottom surprisingly well.
Blue John went over for a cheap sweep, He defends the pass well, but has a very chokable neck. Once I secure the mount he's doesn't defend/resist the choke well.
Good sweat and good way to spend an hour at work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday 9/16/2010

BJJ at the Weston - Big class, 9 people, just two white belts. The 2 on one series continued. These are good techniques that I use often. It will be good to see if they are implemented by the students. I decided to go out of the box a bit. I took Marty and Isaac, for the training sets. Not difficult training but a bit different than i usually get. Marty is dedicated to improving his open guard. I'm giving him a grip and letting him work a bit. If he makes a glaring mistake or waits too long, I pass. If he does it all right I accept the sweep. I passed a few and caught him, but he did a good butterfly sweep and ended on top in half guard. I went to the deep half guard sweep and revered him, came up, passed and caught him. But, the sweep was promising. Isaac was a lot better than the last time we rolled, but he really is too small for me. we exchanged a few positions. to have a better chance he needs to use his speed against me more than he does. If he ends up in a station to station game, he's toast.

No class tonight as Beth has a work commitment and I am on baby duty. This entry was typed the next day so i can say that she (my daughter) was spectacularly awful, a complete pain in the ass. If I was a single parent, I would be doomed.

Tuesday 9/14/2010

BJJ at the Weston - John did some of the 2 on 1 techniques from last night with this group. I had 2 sets of training with Chris and Mike B. Having Chris back is good as he is a good training partner and the sets with mike have been difficult, therefore entertaining. Nothing otherwise noteworthy.

Monday 9/13/2010

Kettlebells first - Good overall workout
BJJ- Pretty large class. John covered some 2 on 1 sweep and armlock positions. I like the way he uses the croass grip to block the pass when uke makes the corner. Then if the Uke centers back, he looks for the sweep with the arm trapped across the body, which is one of my favorites. He also recapped the armlock with the hand trapped between the bicep and ribs of the tori, then grip and turn the elbow up, while applying pressure with the hips to finish the lock.

I wasn't feeling particularly well so I skipped the training.

For Judo, we had a pretty good sized group, 12-15 or so. I covered Uchi mata and there was some good improvement by some of the guys. I cut them loose to do 10 minutes of Tokui Waza then did randori. Allessandro was having a good set with Shannon, but after a score they kept trying to win a scramble form the ground . In his efforts to turn belly down Allesandro popped a rib, which is a painful and slow healing injury. We need to beat back the injury bug. Two significant injuries in two classes is unacceptable. Otherwise the randori was good.
For Ne Waza I covered the kimura attack from half guard and then how to escape it. I focused on the escape as this can be a very frustrating position if you don't know how to free your arm.
With an odd number, I took Greg for a set of Ne Waza. He is doing a good job working on the sweeps from his open guard. I stuffed the butterfly sweep, though, mostly because he waited too long and gave me too many chances to defend. He was able to power his way back to the top and we finished the set with him in top half guard.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday 9/12/2010

Smallish Judo class of 7 of us. A group went to the Easterns in Newark, NJ yesterday mixed results with Sarah particularly standing out, but regardless of results, I was happy to see so many competitors. We did quite a bit of grip fighting, focusing on drills. We started with the basic 1, 2, 3 grip sequence looking to establish a dominant grip while not giving up a strong grip. We also did the sequencing with more resistance then adding a fit then doing it with more resistance. We then added another grip sequence, cross gripping with the right hand to the cross right lapel of the Uke and then going through similar drills.

We did golden score randori. i set the timer for 12 minutes and did a set of the three girls Sarah, Cecelia and Lori and the 3 guys, Lex, Peter and Z, who it was great to see back in class. I jumped into the men's group. I had a lot of fun in the randori I scored some throws. My harai is still a mess but I hit a few other things.
Z countered me once, which is a sign of how messed up my forward throw is. I would go months without being countered and now it is happening fairly often. The Kosoto gake's are leading to more Uchi mata counters than i would like but, they are also being thrown for ippon, so who am I to complain. Lex got me up off of the groupd for the standing Seoi Nage for the first time, though he was still not that close to getting me over the top, but he is getting closer. I was having so much fun i added 3 more minutes. This was probably a mistake. I had good control of my group, but the girls group was still going. Sarah hurt her knee and groin. I really should have paid more attention to it. She fought 6 matches the day before, did all of the grip fighting then fought nearly every golden score set for fifteen minutes. It's not too surprising she finally broke down. It was careless on my part to los track of the other set. Hopefully the injuries are minor and she won't pay too much of a price for my lack of attention.

For Ne Waza we did two clock choke variations. This included a grip starting from the left side of the Uke and putting the right arm over the far side of the head of the uke. I love my classic clock choke but have to say this one felt very strong and was easier to get into it than the traditional approach. After a bit of experimentation and minor tweaks, it seemed to be doing quite well. The hardest part was getting everyone to effectively break down the uke from a four point position to a flattened out position. From there it was easy to apply. We then did the version with back of the tricep on the side of the head closest to the tori. i have often spoken poorly of this version, and I still think there is a gaping hole in it if the uke reacts quickly and perfectly, but, it was also strong and I could feel how to mostly close the escape hole that this version leaves. I think its the one with the best chance to escape but is also the easiest to enter. So, there is a definite balancing test  as to which one different people like to do. I want to make a point to take a shot at both of these variants along with some of the others I have seen recently during live training. I need to remember to let the Ukes get to the turtle and keep them there while i hunt for the techniques.

Friday 9/10/2010

Open Mat at the Weston
By the end there were six of us here. We did 6 minutes sets plus one 5 minute bonus set, so a total of 35 minutes of training. I had a good set with Steve B. He had a good attempt at a pass when I pulled and probably would have secured it but, he shot for the armlock and I came up. I passed back and maintained the top for the rest of the set, working to pass and attacking his side control position. I gave Marty a shot at the butterfly sweep, but he hesitated too long and I passed him.When we came back up I gave him another shot at it and he executed it well, once I got him to go for it.

Thursday 9/9/2010

Open Mat - 6-7 people in for the open mat all Judo people with the exception of Katie who gets dual citizenship. Good bit of throwing. I jumped into the group and took 90 falls and threw 30 times. Not a huge number but a decent amount as a pre-class supplemental throwing session.

Judo - Classes have begun to creep up again. 18 people tonight. We did a lot of Tokui Waza and randori. One new white belt who had trained some combat ju jitsu years ago, but, he was pretty young, could already take falls and knew some basics so he was able to jump right in. Shannnon was back also and he brings a lot to the table. The Fall is looking up. I don't recall anything of note about randori, except that there were a lot of sets and I was impressed with the energy level and intensity that I saw from everyone.

For Ne Waza we did some clock choke work. We did the traditional one I use. I have been looking at some variants and will introduce them as some people do great with this version, but, I want to give others some alternatives if this version hasn't connected with them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thursday - 9/9/2010

Day class at the Weston - Light class, Mike B., John,. Blue John, myself and a white belt, Chris. We just trained so it was more fun and productive for me. I had two sets with John The first, I hit a De La Riva sweep and came up, passed him and worked him for awhile and then finally caught him.The next set he got into my legs again and made it to leg lock program and managed to knee bar me. I'm starting to see this  a little earlier, but, still not defending it well. The second part of the set was more like the first, I managed to sweep and come up, then score points. The set with mike was like a lot of ours. I swept from the De La Riva beginning and then worked to pass. He did a good job of bellying out of the pass several times. I woudl have scored vantages but not secured the pass. Blue John played hard and is also difficult to complete the pass, but, I managed to lock him down after sweeping him and choked him from the mount. I pulled with Chris and put him in bad positions and caught him a few times. I gave him a few pointers on maintaining his base as he was initiating the slpit, that may help him.

Tuesday - 9/7/2010

John was changing apartments so i covered the class for him. Marty asked about some open guard sweep work, so I went to the basic first butterfly sweep. I included several responses to the defender who blocks by posting the leg. We did kicking the foot out and kicking the Uke over like a Tomoe Nage.
There were 4 people and not that much time left so I did one long (8 minute) set between the good match ups.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Monday - 9/6/2010

Judo class - Returned from my extended football weekend and held class on labor day. Surprisingly good turnout for the holiday. we did warm ups and then I rewarded the holiday appearance by doing Tokui Waza allowing everyone to work on the favorite techniques. I worked in a bit here and there but mostly tweaked a few technical issues  while everyone was working on their throws and fits. We did 4-5 sets of randori. I also pointed out to Lex that he is doing his Kata for his Sankyu promotion, on Thursday one way or the other. So he invested some time with it working with Scott, Alma and Christine.

For Ne Waza we covered some more passing the guard work. i went back to the over under pass but made a little different emphasis of controlling the leg you are over and keeping good head position in the opponents hips. We did a few sets of Ne Waza. I joined when there was a minor injury. We were playing three minute matches to a resolution. We had 8 of us. Each person trained with each other person, and the set was for three minutes or until there was a choke, armlock or 25 second pin. I pulled with all of them, avoiding falling back on the kneeling program, and swept, passed and pinned all except Lex. he avoided the sweep and I turtled. He engaged the turtle but there wasn't a change of position before time expired. 6-0-1. everyone did well and had a good class for the Holiday, so it was definitely worth coming in and opening the gym for class.

Tuesday - 8/31/2010

Day class at the Westin - Just John, Mike B, Blue John and myself were there. John covered a sweep position he saw at the De la Riva seminar, that I found interesting. It uses the entwined arm position I like but might be a little hard to get into the first starting positions. It swept well once I got there, though. I also was able to use the back flip sweep if they stood up which i also like. We the just trained 3 - 7 minutes sets and called it a day.
Just a few notes from the sets. I pulled blue John straight to X-Guard and hit the number 2 sweep right off of the bat. Mike is doing a very good job denying the completion of the pass. I get him close but he is doing well at not allowing the finish to side control. John is doing a good job hunting my feet and legs. He doesn't hit much else against me but, he is having success getting to the leg lock program and finishing.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday 9/30/2010

Kettlebells - OK workout, but, I was told it was a 2 bell work out so I took two 16 kgs.  but we only really lifted one bell and used the other for stabilization for most of the exercises. it would have been better to push myself and take a 20kg.
BJJ - Big group of >15. Good mix of ranks. John did switching to Juji Gatame on the other side when you are in side control. With all of the new faces this was a very good technique choice, as it worked on some fundamentals and improved both movement and technique. He did the basic Kimura from side control when you walk and straddle the head. Also a good choice as many of them hadn't seen the position. sometimes its good to remember to cover all of the basics. New girl who looks to have a lot of physical potential if she continues.
John had some very cool techniques to work on for us that he saw at a semi-private he sis during the weekend, with De La Riva. Nice stuff that works for me once I get some reps on it.

Had a lot of fun training tonight. I took the blue belt Evan who plays bigger than he is. Nice warm up set. I swept from the butterfly hook position, passed and mounted he worked hard to escape. i maintained control and pressured him but didn't force the issue. He managed to escape but i passed and mounted again. he said he nearly tapped to the pressure from the mount but couldn't accept tapping to being mounted.
I rolled with Eric S next. I went for the butterfly sweep and managed to force him over when i used the second leg to tomoe nage him over when he was defending. Good to hit a good technique against him as it makes it feel good to hit a clean technique against a good player. I worked from the half guard to pass, but never quite succeeded. Good set with a lot of hard work and technical exchanges.
Dave O was next. He doesn't defend the butterfly hook sweep well so went over for it. I passed and mounted and then accepted the bump he did a good job of avoiding the sweep. I almost manged to come up but not quite. He went for the gi trap over my arm and passing it under me which i hate as it stresses my oft injured shoulder so there was no way i was giving that up. The set ended as I was keeping that away. Last set was with a white belt. He backed away and didn't try to pass for awhile. Eventually I gi dragged him and took the top I passed him as time expired on a short set.

Judo - >15 people including a new white belt checking out the club. There are a lot of tournaments on the horizon, so I did what I focused on what I consider competition techniques. We worked heavily on drop seoi nage, with a particular emphasis on getting far enough with the turn to complete the technique. The idea has to be to go past a line directly forward of ukes hips with your turn. Anything more shallow makes the technique problematic. If you don't at least come close I would say the technique is actually impossible. We did the kouchi gari to adjust their feet and stance which I think is an important element when combined with the drop. Joe C. also showed a grip cut he uses to get past the lapel hand in the right on left position. We did three sets of randori. I thought as a whore the group was playing well. We aren't peaking for this season like we did for the Liberty Bell, but, maybe we can have a lot of people ready in a month for the October tournaments. I intended to enter the randori, but was blocked by even numbers and good existing sets.  I will probably hav to force the issue to get some more work for myself.

Ne waza we talked about passing the guard when being attacked by the triangle. I am a big believer in this and always aggressively attack triangles. The countless times I tapped to excellent triangles has given me confidence in my defense good success passing the position. I emphasize maintaining posture and space to avoid having the technique lock tightly.
I was in the last two sets of Ne Waza.. I had Eric S again as the set from the first class was enough fun that I wanted to do it again. He was also clearly the best Ne Waza player in the room and I wanted to roll hard. His neck was tight so I pulled. We exchanged grips and movements. I was able to break his balance backwards from a sweep attempt. it failed but I was able to scramble and come up and dump him backwards. I passed and used the back collar pin I often show. It worked well. He had a hard time making space or coming up despite me being in a seemingly poor position to maintain the hold down. Wen i switched to come up I made it to mount. I think kept this position for the rest of the set, but he was getting to a good position to escape as time expired. for the last set i let senior people choose their opponents.  Eric called for round threee which was great for me as I was having fun. I pulled and shot for the X guard off of the initial exchange. I got to the position and forced my way to the full X guard. I tried for the fourth technique but he defended well. When his weight settle back i did the #2 technique and swept him backwards with the ankle trip. I came up and attacked the scramble and passed. I worked to the mount and held it for awhile. Funny to be in Judo and be able to just worry about maintaining the pin rather than advancing the position right away. When he made space and tried to turn, I used the mount I learned with Stephanie, maintaining the closed feet and letting him turn away, just not far enough to actually escape. He recognized the problem and centered back up and was working an escape that was putting him in a much better position when time expired.

Lot of fun tonight. Class went well, the students learned and improved. I had fun with the Ne Waza thought I woudl have liked to have had some of the randori sets. A new student was in... all in all a very good night.

Note to self -  I need to update this as close to the actual class as possible as I get a lot more details and get more out of it this way.

Sunday 9/29/2010

Smallish group of 6 plus me. It included Art "The Mad Russian" one of our alumni from the YMCA days who was in town visiting for the first time since he left the club (and the city) in 1994. We did the regular warmups. Art had a little trouble with the Oma Plata. You could see he hadn't seen it much if at all. The others were fine for him though.

I wasn't sure how Art would be with everyone, considering his nickname is "The Mad Russian" but he was fine. He actually had some good sets with Sarah as well as with Peter and Scott. The group did well with everything. I had planned to work in and do some randori, but the sets were even and fair so the instructor takes he hit and sits. Overall I was pleased with how everyone there did. Lori and Mike both look good in their new belts and their play is reflecting the increased challenge of living up to a colored belt. Both are considering competing and are playing seriously.

For Ne Waza we continued passing the guard. I worked on one of my favorites, the head control half guard pass. I used the lapel grip when I went around the head and emphasized patience and pressure to grind out the pass.

Good class though I am looking forward to the summer being over and all of the vacationers returning to fill out the ranks.