Friday, June 27, 2008

Awesome reference video

I stumbled over this video today on

Great, basic technique reference with tons of little details to explore and play with. I can literally see years of material to work on in this one clip. I am saving it here for reference, so I can get back to it after my A-game project :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visually building an A-game gameplan

In Jiu Jitsu training, I love to just go with the flow and see whatever happens without having any plan. I always have some moves that I work on, but I have never really had any specific plan for what I do. Since my last post, I made a decision to try and change this for a periode. Therefore, I have been doing a project of determining my gameplan for my A-game.

Just recognizing the techniques that I consider my A-game has been a lot of work, since Jiu Jitsu can sometime be a big confusing mess of techniques. Watching some sparring videos of myself has really helped me to understand what moves and positions I consider the fundamental building blocks of my game.

As I slowly started to get an idea of my gameplan, I realized that it didn't work just to keep it in my head. I had to write it down. I tried to write it down just as regular text, but it was too confusing to read. Then I stumbled over a piece of software called OmniGraffle, which is a super easy to use application for creating flowcharts on a Mac. With this, I have been able to make a visual, easy-to-read overview of my current A-game gameplan.

I started out by making a flowchart of my entire game. This ended up, as I expected, being pretty big and confusing. I have been trying to fill in as much as possible, but I had to leave things out like specific sweeps, escapes and position transitions or it would be too much. Here is the result:

From here, I boiled it down to my current A-game and ended up with this:

Ofcourse, it is missing many little details in between, but I want to keep it as simple as possible, to make it easy for me to look at.

The fundamental positions are symbolised with grey boxes. The boxes with the black border, are positions/transitions and the ones with red borders are submissions. I have tried to outline my preferred route to the submissions with thick, blue arrows. The thinner, black arrows symbolize alternative routes, that I might take if something is missing.

I have decided to make it an offensive only flowchart, since my game for being on bottom is really simple: Escape to a top position right away, then go back to follow the plan. Whenever I leave the route of the gameplan, I am immediately looking to find a way back into the chart and back into the route to submission.

When sparring in the gym, I am currently trying to follow this plan no matter what opponent I wrestle. Some of them are really good, others are beginners, some of them know everything about this gameplan and therefore exactly what I am planning to do and some are just really good at defending my game. I think that all of these factors just makes my progression on my gameplan even more solid, since I am forcing myself to follow it, no matter how hard or easy it is for me to do it. So whenever I am in a difficult situation, I am always thinking to myself "follow the gameplan", so I don't take the easy way out and bail a position or something, but always try to improve setting up these specific moves.

My plan is to work on this specific plan for a period, to see just how good I can get at executing it against any opponent. I will of course post updates on the project here, as well as try to continuously optimize the gameplan along the way.

Also, I can see a handful of really interesting things on the big chart of my entire game, which I will look more into soon and post about. Looking at my game visually this way gives me a much better idea of what I am actually doing, pretty cool :)

Got a new videocamera!!

I finally got myself a new videocamera, so I can make some more clips for the blog here. It is a really nice Sony Full HD camera with a harddrive, so I don't have to worry about tapes anymore.

I am playing a lot with it these days and hope to shoot some technique as well as sparring videos to put up here soon :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Reached 150 flighthours, good/bad rolls and UFC in London

So, been about a month since I last updated the blog. I am still training consistently and with no injuries, which is awesome. I have had a really, really good period lately, where training has just been amazing. Every single roll had taken me straight into the zone.

That all changed monday. Maybe it was the heat and dehydration from training with the gi, maybe it was all the other guys who had a really good day, maybe it was... I don't know. It just didn't click for me, and I felt the same way at training today. My body felt tired, overtrained and my head has not been clear. During sparring, it felt like I was just waiting for my body to start pulling off the moves I am currently working on, but nothing happens. I realize, that this is a period I must fight through to come out stronger on the other side. I am trying to push myself to work hard even though I don't feel like it.

I filmed some of that training from this week. When I look through it, I think it looks better than I remember it. I felt terrible in most of these rolls, but I guess that must be just something inside my head. Here it is, maybe you can pick up a few things here or there:

By the way it struck me, that basically every video on my blog is no-gi. I actually do 50/50 gi/no-gi, so I thought it would be about time to have some gi-video on here as well :)


My current list of things to work is pretty simple. It consists of solid, A-game techniques, that I am trying to improve in different situations against different opponents:

- Setting up armbar from sidecontrol with over or underhook
- Taking the back from armbar
- Getting to arm across guard and sweep/armbar/take back
- Sweeping/taking the back with De La Riva guard
- Finishing from the back
- Footlocks
- Upside down guard as guard defense and triangle/omo plata setup

Last one is not really A-game, but pretty useful and fun still. As you can see on the list and in the video, I have a period where I work a lot on taking the back and finishing from there. Good, basic skill to work on, I think :)


Other than my sparring having a little down period, life is great. The summerweather here has really picked up and the sun is now up till around 10:30pm every night, which really fills me with energy. I am riding my newly imported German mountainbike to the gym and back daily, totaling about 75 enjoyable minutes a day.

Friday morning, me and 15 other guys from the gym are headed to London, to watch the UFC 85. Danish fighter Martin Kampmann is having his comeback, so we thought we would go over to give him some support. I have talked to a few BJJ gyms in London, where I intend to drop by and do some training during the trip. I will make sure to get some pictures and write about those experiences here in the blog :)