Sunday, March 21, 2010

Touching Base, Before Heading To San Diego

(Weight: 198.5 SUCCULENT pounds)!!!

Alright, we can strike the “succulent” from the record, but a man can always dream!!!! I head to San Diego tomorrow for the entire week, and have a pretty jam packed schedule out there. But I think I’ll get to train a couple of times while I’m out there. I have to train! I feel too good not to train! I’m only a few pounds heavier than I need to be for “tourney shape”, as I like to call it. I’ve been feeling really healthy and focused the past four weeks, and I was commenting to a training partner of mine how Ricardo is really teaching me how to train hard, but smart. The end result is that I have days where I train extremely hard and other days where I keep up the intensity, but maybe focus more on technique verses hard rolling. I’ve been training with guys 40 to 100 lbs heavier than me, and have been rolling matches with them at a pretty stepped up pace, so my cardio feels really good.

I’m working a bit more on the feet to push my cardio even further, and, I’m stretching quite a bit to improve my flexibility. I’ve always been somewhat flexible, but I’m trying to up this a bit to round out my bottom game a bit more. I actually hit a half-guard sweep earlier today on a really solid “top guy”, and it was my commitment to flexibility that pulled it off.

We’ve been working a great deal on both maintain and escaping side control. Ricardo has a position termed “100 kilos” that when done properly is truly the closest thing to hell on earth that I’ve ever experienced!!! When he does it to me, I want to TAP just from the pressure of it! The position involves driving your hip into your opponent’s sternum and completely isolating their arms from being able to make a frame to escape. All kinds of Americana, Kimura, and arm bar submissions are available to the top guy from this position which plays well into my top game.
He’s also instilling in me the need to fight to get out from side control and either reverse the position or establish guard—this line of thinking is way different than how I was originally trained which was quite a bit more defensive from this position. No need to just “lay there” like a bitch wile the top guy runs out the clock!!! Now, I don’t stop and don’t quit until I’m out of there, and I am really focused on bringing pressure with solid technique from both side control and the mount.

So I head out to San Diego, and still don’t know where I will train. I’m looking for somewhere close to the Manchester Grand Hyatt which is near the old part of the City. Most of the Gracie Barra schools appear to be out of the City, so I’ll probably go with my GUT AND go visit Saulo & Xande Ribeiro's University of Jiu Jitsu. San Diego California. I’m also thinking of hitting Fabio Santos’ Academy as well. I’ll let you know how it goes, and who knows, maybe I’ll get a pic of Diego Sanchez teaching me how to do the ”YES!!!” cartwheel!!!” Have a safe week of training, my friends!

With Much Respect,

Larry, the LTrain

Monday, March 8, 2010

Training Recap for the Week of March 3

Hi folks,

Sorry that I’m a little late with this past week’s recap. In short, this week we primarily spent our time training positions from the half-guard. Half-guard has become a fairly offensive position for me, and while it’s not my first preference, (for I feel that I’m developing more into a top game player) I’ve worked pretty hard to shore up this position to where I can stay fairly safe and pull off some sweeps and submissions during live rolling when I play half-guard.

From the feet, we worked on pulling half-guard. I worked this position with a few people who have never drilled this before, and was very much aware of the need to really choose a hip to fall to when pulling half-guard, or any sort of guard from the feet. It was a good exercise for me, for we drilled it all week long, but I really don’t see myself using it for no-Gi very often at this stage. Not until I get a whole lot more comfortable with pulling half-guard without the Gi grips!

Regarding the ground, we worked two submissions and two sweeps. From taking the overhook on the top guy’s arm, we worked a Gi choke as well as an Uma-Plata. The Gi choke details were interesting, and Ricardo fixed a really bad habit I had acquired when trying to finish this choke. He showed how to really drop one’s shoulder of their choking arm to get deeper in the lapel when setting up this choke to finish. When the choke isn’t there, abandon ship and switch to the Uma-Plata (shoulder lock). Again, he showed a cool detail as to how to advance the bottom knee, thus making it easier to rotate one’s hips away and move toward finishing the shoulder lock. He also showed me privately a variation of this shoulder lock that one of his black belts, Cameron Diffley likes to use whereby rather than shifting to the Uma-Plata, you simply trap the near side shoulder with your top knee and rotate your hips clockwise towards the mat for the tap. I actually picked up on this rather quickly and really like it.

The sweeps were just reviews of two basic half-guard sweeps that requires your head to be on the top guy’s hip. One involves pinning the guys foot to his butt as you switch your legs on the bottom trapping the guy’s leg and pulling it towards you as you push into him. The other sweep is when the top guy bases out and takes the whizzer, nullifying your underhook; simply trap that arm by pinching your elbow tight and roll toward your opposite shoulder. In both instances, I find it’s imperative to control the top guy’s leg that you have in your half-guard, for there’s nothing more irritating to me than sweeping someone and ending up in their half-guard, so I’m really ensuring that I complete the pass.

Yesterday I trained privately with a buddy of mine, and we focused a great deal on grip fighting and working from the feet, an element that I feel is neglected in a lot of BJJ schools. If I’m not traveling for work and am healthy, I plan to compete next month, and my gameplan is to do a better job dictating how the fight goes by having a strong showing from the feet, regardless of whether I choose to pull guard or work for the takedown—the point is, I want the choice to be mine to make! I hope everyone’s weekend was good, and let’s all have a safe and fun week training!

Respectfully Submitted By:

Larry, the LTrain