Sunday, August 29, 2010

Went 3-1-1 in competition today.

Went to another Grappling League competition today and had five matches. Same rules as last time - either you win/lose by submission or it's a draw.

Preparations for this competition was not impressive. I have gotten a lot of good sparring lately, but 90% of it has been with the gi. I was however tempted by the chance to get five matches on one day and gain some experience.

I needed to cut a little weight for this tournament. The weightclasses was -88 and -77 kg and since I was walking around at 80-81, I decided to cut down to -77 for the "experts" division. It went really well during the week, until I made homemade sushi friday and had way too much. Ended up at 79.2 friday evening, so it was pretty tough getting through saturday with minimum food and liquid intake. The night between saturday and sunday, I was sleeping with some extra clothes on to sweat out the last bit. I weighed in at 76.7 kg, pretty tired and dehydrated, but I felt ok a few hours later when I was about to step on the mat. Next time, I definitely need to cut the weight over a little longer period than only 6 days and also not eat sushi two days before :D

Alright, let's get to the matches. I had five, so I will only do a brief description for each of them, as I am pretty tired right now :)


First match was - as I expected - the toughest one of the day. My opponent, Kevin, is very skilled and strong, and I knew he would not be easy to handle. It was one of those matches, where none of us would really like to engage too much and even though I of course hoped for a submission, my best guess was that this one would go to a draw, which it did. I had a few attempts at my armdrag single leg, but SOMEONE must have read my blog, because he stepped out of it perfectly every time. He swept me once from standing closed guard, which I don't worry too much about since I almost always scramble up from there, but as I posted my left arm behind me, my elbow injury from february popped up again. Hurt through the rest of the matches, but didn't want it to stop me at that point. Last seconds, I attemt pulling guard again and gets the deep butterfly half to one-legged x-guard, but didn't manage to do anything from there.

Second match was against my old friend from the local grappling community, Torben. I had no idea what to expect, so I just went with the flow. We started out by doing some Chi Sao (not caught on tape unfortunately), then I pulled guard and got the deep butterfly half. For some reason, I decided AGAIN to go to my heelhook setup? I can still use this position to sweep, but I really need to condition myself just to sweep directly from deep butterfly half instead of setting up a heelhook I cannot do anyways. I was trying for a straight footlock but with no luck. Scramble back up, Torben jumps guard, I keep posture to prevent from sweeping (thanks, Martin Aedma), which leads right into a guardpass. From here I went with the good ol' sidecontrol series, setting up the armbar to taking the back. I got the choke in by trapping one arm with my leg and the other by wristcontrol.

Third match was against a team mate and long time training parther, so I just goof around a bit here :) Win by armbar from sidecontrol series again.

Fourth match was my loss of the day. I think it went pretty well and I felt confident and in control even though he had a very active DLR and 50/50 guard. I did before the match decide not to fall into the footlock-for-footlock game because he looked like he was good at it, so it is a very interesting question to me, why I did it anyways :D At one point I go for a straight ankle lock that feels really tight. His foot started making weird sounds so I thought he would tap for sure but he didn't. In the moment, he caught my foot for a toehold and I started rolling to get out. He had a very tight grip, but I didn't really feel like he would get the submission. Could be adrenaline or the heat of the moment, I don't know. Anyways, while rolling a bit, suddently I hear my bad knee make a really a REALLY nasty pop sound, and I tap right away. I think it might still be a little weak from when I injured it in competition earlier in the year. Anyways, I made a mistake and he did a very good job at setting up that sub, all props to him. Didn't bother me to lose, but I really don't hope it is going to be as bad as last time with my knee, where I couldn't roll for months :,(

I put some ice on my knee and made a stupid decision to take the last match. I know, I know :D Just wanted to go nice and easy. I pulled guard, got the deep butterfly half and went for the heelhook position again instead of just sweeping. Don't know why I do it really, maybe it is just a reflex. Can't get the straight ankle lock there anyways. Scrambled back up, got the takedown and passed the guard a few times (he did some weeeeird rubberguard thing move when I was in sidecontrol :D). Ended up getting the armbar straight from the guardpass.


What did I learn from this experience:
  • Do NOT make 150 pieces of sushi two days before weighin in - I obviously cannot control myself in a situation like that.
  • Do NOT f*cking go for anything else than the sweeps in the deep butterfly half, unless heelhooks are allowed. Really gotta work on this in sparring. Due to my knee injury, I haven't been able to work any deep butterfly half for the last five months, but I should still be clever enough to do it right in competition. Back to the lab!
  • Do NOT engage in footlock-for-footlock battles when I have decided beforehand not to do it.
  • I owned the coolest pair of grappling shorts of all the contestants today.

Next day update: I ended up placing first in my division, but my knee is really fucked.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gi chokes reference video

This summer, I have gotten a renewed interested in gi chokes. For many years, I have basically ignored them because I wanted my game to work just as well in no-gi, but at the moment, I am in a period, where I am finding the details of gi training very fascinating.

Gi chokes is one area, where you will find literally thousands of techniques and variations for finishing the opponent. I have boiled my own game down to what I can make work really well in sparring under full resistance. I hope to try it out more in competition in the future, but for now I have only tested them in that arena through my kids team, who have been doing extremely well with gi chokes last season. I recommend scrolling through my archives and checking out some of the videos with them.

Anyways, I shot a quick little video with a reference of which gi chokes I use in my game at the moment. Maybe you can catch a detail or two you can use yourself. In that case, I am always glad to hear about it :)


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Around the world BJJ training trip

I got this idea to travel all the way around the globe to teach, train and compete in BJJ. I was trying to find just one good reason not to do it, but I failed epicly, so departure February 2011 it is!

Check out my blog for the project at:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Congratulations, Martin!

Now black belt both in BJJ and in weird food combinations.

If you haven't yet - be sure to check out Martin's Guardpass From Hell video here on the blog!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Training camp in Estonia

I know that some people who read the title of this post will already start laughing at me there, so I'll be quick to admit, that I didn't get much training done at this years training camp in Estonia ;)

Like last year, we went to Estonia to attend the training camp set up by the guys over there. The training there is really good and there are some very, very good instructors to train with. Also, Estonia also surprised us by being a really cool place to spend some time, so we were very excited to go there again. Last year, we went four people and this year fifteen uf os went, so we must have spoken well about it back home ;)

Long story short, my knee and elbow injuries got pretty bad after the first few days of training (and walking back and forth to the beach!) and that combined with amazing weather and a perfect beach just ended up taking my focus away from training. It didn't bother me too much, since this training trip also was a vacation AWAY from training for me (training = job + life at home) and what really mattered to me was to have a great time there and to see my estonian friends again.

Anyways, I did get a few really good little details out of the training. Martin Aedma, who at last camp got me thinking about pressure passing and mount chokes for a full year, had some good stuff about using wrestling to sweep from guard. That was easily enough material for me to go home and work on for the next year :)

But anyways, thanks to the guys in Estonia for putting on a great camp, we had an awesome time there!