Jiu Jitsu Match

Jiu Jitsu Match
Attacking the Back

Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting stronger......

Well, I'll be at 8 weeks out from my quad reattachment surgery this tuesday.  Seems like a lot longer.....Everything is going great though.  Physical therapy is going great and I am doing so many things.  I'm riding the stationary bike, some squats, lots of quad squeezing, leg lifts, and lots of time in the pool.

I have gained some weight during the time and I'm not too pleased about it.  In all honesty, it wasn't that much weight, only about 10 pounds, but when I saw it was only that much, I decided to just go ahead and keep eating and now it's about 18 pounds...lol.  It's all good.  Diet's back on.  It's very important that I get the added weight off and take some additional off, to at least take some strain off my knees.  If I want to continue doing BJJ and other things, I need to be more serious with my diet.

Well, I've looked ahead to the schedule for the rest of the year and I have decided that I will go to the Nogi World Championships to compete in November.  I like and almost need to have goals to work for.  It keeps me directionally focused and keeps me improving.  Maybe I'm just that sort of person.  After the Nogi World's, I've decided to finally pursue taking my first MMA fight in the month or two after that.  I started out in martial arts with the intent on fighting, but I soon became more focused on just grappling gi and nogi.  Then I got more focused on just the gi.  Well, the spark is back, so onto the new (refound) adventure.  Honestly, I just want to be crap out of somebody (nothing personal to the opponent).  I look forward to the challenge and will keep the blog updated!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Just part of the lifestyle...

Life gives us some adversity and it's almost as a sure thing as death and taxes.  Mine in jiu jitsu has finally comes!  I will undergo surgery May 24th (or sooner) to have my two, medial quadricep tendons reattached.  The accident occurred a while ago, but I've just been bearing through it and I didn't know the severity of the injury.  I finally got an MRI this past Wednesday and the orthopedist met with me on Friday morning to give me the prognosis.  It will be a lengthy recovery and rehab and it will be challenging.

I don't think much is served by talking about any details of the injury, but I think it's a good time to get refocused and make some short and long term goals and plans.  My jiu jitsu involves several elements which make up a lifestyle.  It's not only rolling on the mat, so I've got other things that I can still work on while I get through this injury.  My diet, strength and conditioning, and my "without the gi" training are still all intact and I will work hard on all of those.  As far as rolling, it's really just a matter of redirecting that towards some other efforts in class.  I had a good time this week getting adjusted to watching more and keeping connected with the academy.  I was able to spot some problems some guys were having and hopefully I was of help.  I'm no instructor, but hopefully I can contribute in some way.  I'm able to do a lot of the warm ups as well, at least until the surgery time.  I guess you could just say my role is switching gears for a while.

The biggest lesson I have from this experience is this:  Don't make competition results the only thing that is important to you and the culmination of your self-worth in jiu jitsu.   My jiu jitsu experience is not all about wins and losses; not even close.  I probably would be a complete mess right now and I'm not sure what I would be doing.  It's also great to have good support from friends and family. Thanks to all of you.

And on goes the experience!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Post Pan Ams, Recovery, and the Next One

Well, the Pan Ams are a week behind us and the smoke has settled and everyone's moved on, including myself.  I looked back at my results for the 2-3 days after I competed to analyze my performance.  I didn't feel like it at, but I am anxious to improve and everything was fresh in my mind.  I've been playing guard since early December (pulling and using as my A game) and it was the second tournament with the gameplan.  I had had a warmup with the Chicago tournament and had success there.

My division went off on Friday mid-morning and I met my coach on the floor at 9:30am to talk over things and start the process of gettting warm.  I was more nervous than I normally am and I think it had more to do that I knew I could do well and if it faultered, it was more of a mental mistake than a preparation problem.  I completed the warm up, stretching, and talking and finally got called to go get checked in and escorted to the mat for my division.  My first match was against a slightly bigger guy who seemed sort of stiff, but in good shape.  I really only thought about the plan that I was going to put into place, which was pull guard, right to deep half guard, and sweep.  The match started and my first pull was not timed very well and a little anxious, but I got to deep half right away okay.  I use a double lapel sweep, where I feed both lapels to each of my hands, sweep, and come up with double unders on the opponent; a prime passing position.  I will also use the backtake from that position and consequently, that's what I tried twice off the bat with the first opponent.  He defended well, but I also didn't have my grips set as well as they needed and I heard Tony, my coach, tell me to get to my grips first and then attack.  With only about a minute left in the match, I was down an advantage because I had turtled once to regain guard after a failed backtake.  I got my grips set in place and made the pop for the sweep. Success!  I put the pressure on there and almost got myself in a little trouble, but rode out the time for the win.

I talked to my coach after and he told me to loosen up on when I pull guard and time it when I felt it better.  With the slight changes, the next two matches went like textbook for us, with good pulls, deep half guard, sweeps, and passes.  I was in the finals.

The finals put me against a very tough wrestler, but the plan was the same (including no wrestling, haha).  I was confident.  With his stance, it took a little longer to get the right pull, but I got it and he defended with a kneecut position and grips on my upper collar.  He was really giving me options (armdrags, deep half, open guard), but I needed to stick to the gameplan.  Getting to deep half from the knee cut is really easy actually since I'm already underneath one leg.  I got there fine and immediately got a grip on his near lapel.  Now enters the fight.  His other lapel was tucked in tight and I needed it.  The problem with entering straight into deep half guard is not getting the lapels out in advance and making it more of a fight once you enter.  He had a very good base and off-balancing him, even while underneath, was tough; however I continued to fight to get the lapel.  I would go for it and he would attack with a cross collar choke.  It was definitely his primary defense for the DHG.  I finally got anxious and just went for it and he dropped an elbow on my face (which kind of stunned me! haha, but it's a fight, who cares, made me want to win more).  From there, he got the choke across my lips and slid it down.  He had it in good, but I knew I could still reposition to throw him off balance.  Oops, wasn't happening and I was like a stuck pig!  The lights started fading and dots started appearing and I don't remember tapping consciously, but I did.  I was disappointed, but it was a good ride and I had stuck with the plan.  I knew exactly what I had done wrong and a few things, I would need some help on.  My main problem was playing the position too "flat" on my back, leaving myself open for attacks.  If I am on my side a little bit and facing the same direction as my opponent, it eliminates these threats (largely the kimura and the choke).

The tournament was not as successful as I had intended, but i did decent and came away with some valuable learning lessons for the future.  Unfortunately, right now, I am dealing with a knee injury that had occurred about 6 weeks before the Pan Ams.  It didn't affect my performance and it's no excuse.  I rammed a training partner while doing a guard pull and my knee took a big impact.  I've had fluid build up and have had to drain it many times in order to train.  Even with a little time off, it wasn't getting better.  It's not painful, but the fluid is there and I have little to no power in my hook.  I get an MRI this Wednesday on it and the doctor will analyze the results on Thursday.  From there, I will take the appropriate course of action to rehab the knee and get it back to somewhat normal.  I say somewhat, because at 37, somewhat normal is about as  good as you might expect to be!  In bjj, nobody's ever 100% for a tournament.  Just the way it is with the rigors of training in a contact sport.  Hoping for no surgery, but whatever it is it is.

I got together with my coach on Saturday and we planned out the tournament schedule for the remainder of the year (even considering some time to let my knee heal).  I like that, because it gives me concrete goals to look at, to mark off the time i need to prepare, and everything is scheduled.  For the next few days, I'll just be watching class and learning that way.  It was hard to do on Saturday, but it was helpful and the best that I can do right now.  I have no intentions of sitting around on a couch for the next month and getting fat.  If all I can do is push ups, sit ups, some drilling from my back, that's what I'll do.  I even went to the gym on Saturday afternoon and worked out (anything that left my knee alone).  I did a lot of upper body work obviously, but it felt good.  I want to work on some ways to get cardio in while still resting the knee and that will be a challenge, but I'll learn and figure it out.

Until next time, ossss

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pan Am's month!

I had a good tournament in Chicago and honestly that was in and out the door the next day.  I was back to training on Monday.  Unfortunately I was pretty sore and I did a full practice and it wasn't a good idea.  I should have held back and just gotten warm and done some light work and drill.  I was just so excited to get back into the gym though.  Tuesday came complete burnout and my muscles went to crap.  I was down physically and mentally drained.  One thing turned into another with not being efficient at work and the next thing, I got to Friday and had only trained Monday! I couldn't train over the the weekend or friday night because my family visited some friends in good  old PA.  Instead, I did an hour of cardio at home on Friday and then again on Sunday when we got back.  I also spent some of that downtime watching and studying one of my favorite competitors, Bernardo Faria.

Lesson learned with jumping back into things and being 37 years old.  I don't use my age as an excuse for anything; however it's fact that you don't recover as quickly as you get older.  When I started BJJ at 33, I had no problems at all.  In fact, after a tournament, I would normally take a few days off because it was the status quo at the gym, then realized I didn't need to!  I can still keep up with guys 5, 10, 15, 20 years younger, but I have to be smart about it.  Make sure I'm keeping hydrated, getting enough rest, and giving your body enough calories are huge in keeping consistent with training for me and I'd guess that's probably true of a lot of people that train.

This week (starting the 7th) has been a great week so far.  Good training on Monday, on Tuesday, and this morning on Wednesday.  It's my first experience getting ready for one of the big tournaments with my team I've been with for about 6 months now.  I'm liking the intensity, the guidance, and the leadership of Tony, our instructor.  It's like a switch gets flipped and he's preparing to win and for us to win.  Not just talk about it.  Lots of people talk about it, but not everybody puts in the work to be successful.  I really respect him and furthermore, I'm very impressed that even though he a black belt, he is constantly working to get better and to teach even better.  I never thought of black belt as the end of the road, but I didn't realize that there would be people working so hard after the accomplishment.  It's very inspirational as a student of his and even when he's not teaching he's teaching!  Teaching by setting that example of hard work and discipline when he himself is training.

I'm doing no weight training to prepare for this year's Pan Ams.  I don't see the benefit to it at this point.  Weight training for me would be more off season.  I still am doing cardio in addition to BJJ competition training and some circuit training with a lot of body weight stuff.  That said, I'm spending as much time on the mat as I can for the next 2.5 weeks.  My good friend Tiago Guissani from Sao Paulo is coming into town on Saturday.  He's a very good brown belt competitor and he is a super heavyweight (207.5-221.5lbs), so he will be awesome to work with for some of the middle to upper weight guys.  He's a very determined person and I learn a lot from him and we train hard!  Also, my family loves him and he has a good time playing with my 4 year old boy.  Nolan, my son, doesn't know it yet, but Tiago is going to present him with his first jiu jitsu gi when he comes to town. That is going to be really cool.  He will almost be ready for Tony; maybe in another couple months!  Tony also has brought in Claudio Calasans from Atos Team on the 19th for a seminar.  I'm really looking forward to that.  Claudio is an incredible competitor and is a pit bull and yet again, a great way to cap off the Pan Ams training.

Anyway, it looks like I'll compete Thursday night or Friday morning (24 or 25th of this month).  The preschedule is about and adult blue is thursday night and friday morning.  I hope it's friday morning! just cause of the time change, but it is what it is.  I will fight my heart out when I get out there.  I want this so bad.  Last year, I got knocked out in the quarterfinals and went 2 wins and 1 loss.  I'll probably need to win 4 to 5 matches to win this year.  Again, it is what it is.  Jiu jitsu isn't like school, where you can get a letter grade.  It's either pass or fail in terms of the outcome.  Inherently, yes, it's never a failure as long as you got out there and tried and worked hard to get there.  That and take lessons learned from that tournament, go back, fix them, and be better the next time.  It is, however, pass/fail when it comes to getting one of those prestigious medals though, so I have to train for an A+.   I have come a long way since last year and I'm anxious to put myself to the test.  I know I can succeed. Like Cyborg says, "Training is hard, Competing is easy."  It's not completely easy!, but I see what he's saying there.  We win in the training room, not cramming the night before.  The tournament is the gift for the hard training.  It's the reward, the prize.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chicago Open and Road to the Pan Ams

Well, some hard work paid off and I went to Chicago and came back undefeated with no points scored on me.  I won my weight division with an omo plata finish and then a match on points.  From there, I caught up with my Coach, Tony Passos, on the phone to discuss the matches and prep for the open weight division. 

In the open weight division, I won my first three matches on points and effectively got to my sweep positions and my passing felt great.  My over/under and double/under passing has really come a long way and is working out very well for me.  After my third match in the open division, the table keeper said the division was over as a lot of people had dropped out and I was the champion!  Forty minutes later, I get to the podium only for them to tell me that I didn't do the finals match and I came in second and was disqualified.  The IBJJF said I had won, then said I came in second in a match i never fought!  LOL.  It was getting late, but I wanted to do the match, as did the other guy, including his coach.  The referees talked and talked and talked and it got later and later and my flight was going to leave without me.  I was over it though, but the referee came back and said that the decision would stand and no match.   Pretty crummy, but in the grand scheme of things, winning the open weight at Chicago isn't my primary goal, so it's out of mind except for this write up.  The Chicago tournament was preparation for the Pan Ams at the end of March and I got the work I needed.  Big picture! 

I ended up making my flight, but we stayed on the runway for an hour and forty-five minutes due to icing.  I was totally cool with them making it safe for us to fly!  Plus, I had stopped and got a deep dish pie for the ride back, so I slammed it and went into a food coma.  I arrived finally about 1am at night and got home around 1:30am.  It was hard to get to sleep because it had been a long day (I flew out that morning) and I was already studying some of my matches to find ways to clear up problems I had.  Win or lose, I have to make it a learning experience or I don't grow as a jiu jitsu practictioner.  I was far from perfect.  Not even remotely close.  I won the matches, but I made mistakes.  My goal is to be a very good BJJ black belt, not an average one.  It's okay to celebrate for a few moments, but it's back to the mats the next day or so. 

I made my way back to Sterling, VA on Monday night and it felt really good to be back on our blue mats.  Drilling technique, getting some conditioning, and playing some closed guard!  I was happy to see everyone and my coach.  Without them, I could not have been successful.  Wins are made in the training room and everybody is a part of it.  From newer white belts to black belts.  I feel very confident with our training environment for March and it will be tough.  It will be a lot of sacrifice.  It will be fun to have my hand raised again and many teammates that are competing.  We have several competitors that have a very good chance to stand atop the podium.  In my heart of hearts, I know they can do it.  We fight with heart, with determination, preparation, and with a plan.  Osss

Monday, February 7, 2011

Houston Open Preparation

Everybody's got at least a runny nose right now and mine's been buggin me for about 2 weeks.  It's been tough to train enough to compete at the level that I want to in Houston during the weekend of the 12th and 13th of February.  I have managed some good sessions though.  Today, Monday, my teammate Tareq and I drilled for and hour and a half.  Nothing but omo plata's and our A game sweep.  Drilling is tedious but so important to developing muscle memory and the technique.  It's so much fun to roll that drilling seems to be forgotten sometimes.  Well, that is if it weren't for my instructor who has us drill a lot! It pays off and this weekend, all of the hard work will show through. 

I sound like an old fart, but I also hurt my knee 3 weeks ago by accidentally bumping it into someone on a guard pull.  It hurt like hell when it happened and it's had very little strength and was swollen really bad for bit.  I went to the ortho and it checked out okay except for a strain/sprain and two bits of cartialage popped off and are hovering above my kneecap under my quad tendon.  I guess no big deal.  I was pretty worried until I went to the Doctor.  In the last couple days, it's really gotten better and I've been able to train harder.  I may not be 100% for this weekend, but it will be good enough. 

I had a friend, another heavyweight, out to train in the gi on saturday at my school, Passos BJJ, in Sterling, VA.  It was good to catch up with him and he really helped me with some details of my stand up game. Just some minor adjustments, but should make a huge difference this weekend.  After that, it was lunch, and onto another friend's place, Fairfax JJ.  It was fun to take the gi off and give the grips a break and roll with some different people.  It also provided some additional conditioning. 

This week I'll train hard tuesday and wednesday morning.  Then on thursday morning just drill through the gameplan and start resting for saturday.  I do a light exercise routine on friday evening to burn off the "bad" energy and do something similar on Saturday morning to get a good warmup and burn off the nervous energy.  Adrenaline to an extent is good, but too much can make you very tired.  I have competed enough times that I have a good routine to be ready to go and feel good at the start of match #1.  My division doesn't look too big (in quantity, they're big dudes!) and I think I might need 3 wins for the gold.  The work isn't over there, as I plan on conquering the absolute as well, of which there will probably be 4 or 5 more matches.  I will fight as hard as I can and as smart as I can.  I believe if I stick to my gameplan and get to my places, I will win both my weight and the open.  I have a lot of confidence in myself and the guidance I have been receiving.  Also some tough training partners and an increase in my conditioning will show on Saturday.