Saturday, December 24, 2011

IJF Rule Change: An Improvement on Coaching Behavior

Got this from over at
It outlines and changes what coaches are allowed to shout and do during the course of live time in Judo matches.
There's not a lot of recent rule changes by the IJF I think are good for the sport, but this one is a positive one, in my humble opinion.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Game/Stragery/Stratego

As a Judo player, and as any player who spends time attacking/passing the guard, having your routine/set of moves is important.
The following takedown to half-guard passing is by and large my process for getting to a more dominant position than half-guard and working toward a submission:

Kouchigari to top position/half-guard:

a) to Paulista Pass
Kurt Osiander's version:

b) Cut Through pass

c) Tripod Cut Through pass/Knee slice pass

d) Half-guard Pass to mount

Happy Trainingz!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Iron Hook Scroll Vol. 1: Add the Overhook to your Guard Game Grappler!

In honor of my catching someone with the Buddha's fist guillotine for the first time this week

Link to the Buddha's fist Guillotine instructional
Link to my post on the McKenzie-tine variation of the Guillotine

I was unable to start this post before linking/referring to my catching someone in the above guillotine. Lame or not, I was excited that I pulled of something I have continuously failed in trying for months on end.

Anyhow, despite the above tangent, here is the purpose of this post:
I got this from a post over at DSTRYSG.
A great site. Great links, videos, articles, etc.

Here is the actual base/pdf file for those who wish to save it.

At any rate, as a smaller player, coming from Judo, I spent the first few years religiously working off my back. I had the tools often to be on top, or to get to my feet, but I forced myself to learn the nuances of being on my back. 4 or 5 years later, I'm still working on it. But that's the point, you can always learn more.

The overhook mentioned in the above links/Iron Hook business is a powerful grip, that both breaks down the posture, isolates an arm, and leads to chokes, armbars, and/or the triangle.
Not bad for something as potentially simple as overhooking the other guy's arm.

At any rate, the overhook represents a go to part of my guard game, and is a higher percentage finisher/starting point than a lot of other grips which are available. That, and it gives me a level of control over bigger, stronger, faster players that is welcome. The amount of work the other guy has to exert and/or patience he must utilize to escape his arm from the overhook very often opens him up to sweeps, my standing and basing, or submissions etc.

That being said....

Happy Trainingz!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Elite Newaza: Craig Fallon Profile

Craig Fallon: Former Simultaneous World Champion/European Champion @ 60kg in Judo
Here's his Int'l and Nat'l medal count
Fallon is also one of the elite Judoka who utilize mat work in the form of pins and chokes to win matches.
Watch the below to see what I mean:

You hear a lot about the lack of mat work at all levels of Judo, in particular, elite level Judo.
This is a fair criticism, but also due to the limited time constraint on the mat. Add in the fact that a considerable portion of Judokas are primarily focused on the win by throw mentality, and win by choke or pin when it presents itself rather than spend time on the mat draining the clock in hunting for pin/submission, and you'll understand this trend.

Some notable names come to mind in discussing those Judoka that utilize mat work/newaza to win: Flavio Canto and Craig Fallon. Flavio Canto's career is so expansive, I'm saving him for a later post.

Fallon's turnover, seen at 1:52 in the video above (and posted right below), is one I have seen him use across all levels of competition. Against players from countless countries. Few escape the turnover into the pin.

Like most Judoka, Fallon began with a recreational club as a kid and eventually progressed into international competition.

Below: a short interview with some training footage of Fallon in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics

In Judo, there are Individual 7 weight classes for each gender.
There are only 7 people, every 2 years that can be World Champion in Judo (for each gender).
There are no different champions at different belts.There are not separate master's divisions by age that are also coined "world champions".
There is only your weight class. In the entire world.
As of 1992, the open weight class was dropped from the Olympics as well. 
(There is the separate Master's event, but when you say "world championships" in Judo, the vast majority mean the senior/adult divisions by weight, not the Master's as it is held each year).

Further Reading:
Interesting and strikingly honest insight into the mindset of an elite level competitor
Interesting post about the physiological breakdown of Craig Fallon's Judo matches
Great recount of Fallon's senior career in Judo with breakdown of key matches

Off Topic:
The evolution of Judo Rules/weight classes etc

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mutual Welfare and Benefit

Awesome breakdown of Rodolfo Viera's guard passing game over at the Jiu-Jitsu Laboratory.

A great post over at got me thinking (read the post here).

Initially, I began training Judo in college. I trained with a local, private club (non-University affiliated).
I wrestled for the University's club team and wrestled with a local high school team where I was interning toward my degree on the days I didn't have Judo practice.

I graduated, and relocated to a bigger city and began training with a local University club Judo team.
Eventually, the University (in fairness) made it more difficult for non-students to train and what had been the best time of my Judo training drew to a close. Between the schedule, my early work hours at the time, and the difficulty getting into the facility, I no longer had a club.

However, I am not being entirely honest. There was more to it.
During this time I had been training Muay Thai and fought several times in MMA. For my first two MMA fights, I had only trained Judo and Muay Thai. I had never even trained without a Gi on the ground (won both of the fights btw).
My first Judo coach had recently moved to the area. He was now training at the University's Judo club and what I had not noticed or been unaware of when I was a white belt, was now much more glaringly apparent. His disdain for mat work and disregard for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA seemed to be more apparent now that I regularly competed/trained in both. Rather than see my cross-training as ambassadorship for the sport ( had previously trained Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai on days I didn't have Judo practice), he rebuked me for both and downplayed whatever success I had in each. Unwilling to tolerate his personality (as was the case with several other high level competitors who no longer visted/trained there because of him), I stopped making a point to visit even when the rare occasion presented itself.

I visited other clubs in the area, but they were either non-competitor-friendly or trained perhaps once per week.

At any rate, I was without a club and began seriously devoting myself to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the interim. I helped with the kids class, and used my Judo when possible in training, in tournaments, represented Judo in MMA, and the like.

I still see him at occasional tournaments, but the number of competitors with the club, and the number of new belts that the University's incoming freshmen class always produced has dwindled as well.

In the long run, my Judo is likely not as good as it could be, but my mat work, use of Judo in fighting, and other grappling skills are far superior than they would be.
When the opportunity arises, or when Judoka feel the burnout of only training Judo for years on end, visiting another style of grappling club/team, emptying your tea cup, and being a beginner or novice at something keeps it fresh and helps retain that humility that can be lost.

Perspective is reality, and reality is perspective. But, by cross training, you not only learn more about your central style of grappling,  but often, I find, reality will keep your understanding and belief in your style of grappling in check.

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shrimping Ain't Easy

Two Things:
1) a sweep from bottom in semi-half-guard-ish position that I find myself in quite a bit while I monkey around
2) thoughts on basics and the like

1) Hurt my knee recently during NoGi class. One of those things that happens, and I'm guessing, also in part comes from years of Judo. At any rate, I'm back to working on my bottom/sweeping game while liberally and safely going for submissions when possible, but no triangles and no rapid-fire armbars.

It is what it is, and as a result, I find myself in half-guard, full guard, and deep half as I monkey around on the mats in an effort to not completely stop jiu-jitsu while I'm hurt. 

At any rate, I began doing the following shin sweep (save the variation with the bottom side leg trapping the leg you're sweeping, and I too have found it works on a variety of opponents. I typically hit it with both knees inside the leg you're attempting to sweep, but this new variation with the bottom side leg helping to trap the leg you're sweeping worked for me the other night in class.

At any rate, it's from the Grappler's Guide (which also recently posted an old Judo pass I've been using since I was a white belt and one of the few head down/low posture passes I still use).

2) as stated above, recently hurt my knee during a failed takedown by a bigger guy (historically, this is how I got hurt in Judo. I've never been hurt by someone my size or within about 20 lb's or so).

At any rate, I'm back to playing my bottom game, defending guard passes, monkey-ing around and finding ways to come up on top/take the back that don't require one my legs/putting weight on that leg.
Some days, I end up defending guard passes the entire class. Other days, I find a route to the back and collar choke my way to the submission.
It's always interesting rolling when injured in that I find myself doing things differently than I would. I actually end up taking the back more often when injured, whereas normally I make my way to mount when not injured.

I also find that I can still shrimp, albeit more slowly, and more controlled with the use of one leg.
I shake my head when a white belt is repeatedly told to shrimp to escape, and sorta just flails around.

The shrimp works. The shrimp works even better if you begin before the other guy settles into his position.
I learned a loooong time ago in Judo, if you let the guy settle into the position or pin, getting out, even if it works, is an exhaustively daunting process.

So, shrimp, shrimp, and shrimp some more. Knee elbow escape I've also heard it called.

    - Happy Trainingz!

Friday, December 2, 2011

T.G.I.F. - The Gari/Gake Is Friday! - Know the difference when attacking the f33tz!

Was perusing sherdog earlier and came across an arm drag to kouchigari takedown.
The technique is a lapel grip break to a  sleeve grip and finished in a kouchigake-style trip  with a double leg type grip on the leg.

The sleeve grip coupled with the kouchigake is actually a pretty structurally weak throw against a competent player. The change to a double leg style grip (hands/arms wrapping around the legs/knees) is a much better takedown. However, I'd be willing to bet against a wrestler or brown belt Judo player who competes, you'll get turned over to your back in the transition to changing from the sleeve grip to double leg style grip.

Moving on to the point of today's post:

The technique is labeled arm drag to kouchigari.
It's actually an arm drag to kouchigake.

Below is a true Kouchi Gake style takedown:

And Below is a TRUE Kouchi Gari style takedown:

You'll find even in Judo HL's on youtube and other compilations, the two are often grouped together as in the Below:

At any rate, it reminded me of something you often see in white and green belts in Judo with is the desire to wrap that leg/hook the leg and lay your whole body weight down in the hopes of getting a takedown.

The gari vs gake difference seems minute but they're two completely different techniques.
I often hear BJJ players make fun of the Japanese terminology, but then talk about "so and so's armbar" or "*insert famous BJJ player's name* triangle set-up".....what they don't understand is that throwing has just as many nuances as mat work. Given that a particular throw must change to work against each body type/frame/heigh/weight of player, again, there can be a massive difference between "gake" and "gari".

That being said, a large number of Judo players don't actually differentiate between them either. But they need to be taught separately. Often what happens in motion/movement, is what starts as a kouchi gari style sweep finishes in a gake style motion when uke resists the direction exerted on his foot by tori's attack.

A true gari requires much better sense of timing to sweep the uke's foot as he is in motion to put him down, when compared with a gake style attack and committing your body and weight for the driving force. 

Happy Trainingz!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hilarious Post Fight Rant: James Thompson Edition

NSFW, fyi.

For those of you that haven't seen it, the post-fight rant of James Thompson is making its way across the internetz. He had just been on the losing side of a dubious decision to "the world's strongest man", Mariusz Pudzianowski. 
At any rate, here's the hilarious and NSFW video (language):

The real score should have been a majority draw, meaning there would be a 3rd round. The 3rd round didn't happen due to the scores being incorrectly counted, and as such, the fight is now a "no-contest".

Monday, November 28, 2011

Triangulo-Armbar-y assault ends in Kneebar: Mamed Khalidov vs Jesse Taylor Edition

No, seriously. Why?

Walked in Monday morning to work and booted up my laptop to kill some time at work/watch several of the MMA fights I missed this weekend. This weekend I was pretty busy playing Gears of War (which I bought pre-owned for XBOX on Black Friday. Go 'Merica!!!).

It was a busy weekend splitting time between doing nothing and killing the Locust Horde while intermittently cursing my TV and lack of skill with the XBOX controller.

At any rate, the video below is 90 seconds worth of grappling with a bevy of triangle/armbar submission attempts from the bottom by Mamed Khalidov versus Jesse Taylor (most known for getting wasted at a casino, breaking glass, and insulting a woman while drunk on The Ultimate Fighter show. Keep it classy!)

At any rate, Taylor wastes no time getting a double leg, putting his head on Khalidov's chest and seemingly settling for a ground and pound decision.

Unfortunately for Mr. Taylor, the lack of sweat, his lack of posture, and Khalidov's dearth of BJJ fundamentals leads to some near missed armbar/triangles and finally caps with a pretty textbook turtle roll/scramble to kneebar following an armbar attempt.

All inside the first round, and all inside of 90 seconds.
It's the kind of transition you see on a DVD/instructional and think, "man, I dunno. The guy should f'ing know if i turtle then I may go for the leg...and he will hammerfist my head into the canvas while I latch onto his leg, then he'll pass or worse yet take my back."
Well....someone didn't send the memo to Mr. Taylor.

Jump to 7:52 for the start of the brief and sweet fight.

Having tried this transition probably 50 times and hit it perhaps 4 times in Gi and NoGi, it's pretty badass to see this guy hit it inside of 90 seconds on a professional fighter. You can tell by the 2nd or 3rd armbar attempt that's pretty deep as Taylor tries to pull out of the triangle, that Mr. Taylor's submission survival clock is ticking down to "0:00".

That being said, Saturday at open mat, I was rolling with a white belt.
I'd hurt my knee pretty severely earlier in the week so I was just happy to roll around on the mat. At any rate, I finally hit guard, got one hand deep in the collar and collar choked him with the first collar choke I learned in Judo. At any rate, he asked about how to defend the collar choke with his hands, what to do once the choke was set, and I told him the best way as taught to me by one of my coaches is "don't be there in the first place." My coach wasn't being facetious, he just meant that good posture will avoid many submissions before they start. Good posture avoids danger(s) and good posture leads to passing. Passing leads to control/position. Position leads to submission(s).

At any rate, it's interesting to see basics and semi-basics lead to a quick and relatively punishment-avoiding submission in MMA. Taylor is no world beater, but he's not a guy making his pro debut either.

Happy Trainingz!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jordan Schultz: Great Interview on Commitment and Jiu-Jitsu & Omoplata Sweep!

Found this over at Submission Control. At that point, I then realized I'd seen a clip of this guy with his omoplata sweep posted over at sherdog. A sweep I had played with and gotten to work with the Gi a couple days later.

At any rate, I'm posting this b/c it's a Great interview in terms of commitment to the craft of grappling and life in general.

And, here's his website with a video of the above mentioned omoplata sweep among other things.

"The ego is a trickster and I believe our own ego’s control us heavily. This is why the typical American person is fulfilling a ridiculous quest to acquire trinkets. These trinkets, cars, houses, things, give them a shallow happiness and as they feed the ego it grows steadily. An additive cycle is formed and people become married to things like houses and cars. I saw this happening in my life and I became disgusted. I saw myself growing old while acquiring trinkets, only to die once I’ve acquired everything our society deems important."

"If you are reading this and work a job you hate, and you have a dream, then do the following: Quit your job immediately, isolate yourself and pursue your goal relentlessly. The more people who tell you you’re crazy the better. If your family does not support you then that is a sign you’re making the right decision! Lose your trinkets, and find the best environment in the world for you to achieve your goals and move there."

"Reach ten thousand hours of deliberate practice, and you’ll separate yourself from the mediocre and reach an elite group of individuals. Once you’re the elite, success comes from determination, will-power, teamwork and passion."

"My humble advice is don’t lie to yourself. Don’t say you want to be a Black Belt World Champion when you drink alcohol on the weekends and train once a day. Don’t claim you want to be the best when you don’t compete in every tournament, you don’t drill for hours a day and you don’t train through pain and injury. If you’re injured you train, if your mom dies you train, if you’re sick you train. I’m not perfect, but try to be. I train twice a day no matter what, I’m always early to class, I stay at home on weekends and I use that time to work on improving myself. I drill constantly; I train sick and never complain about injuries. Finally, as soon as I find myself in an environment that is not congruent with my goals I change my environment."

"Never show weakness, never look tired, never complain, never give up. Drill more than everyone."


Monday, November 21, 2011

Judo in the Early UFC: "Antiquity" and Mixed Martial Arts - Remco Pardoel Edition

Before the UFC, before MMA exploded into the scene, before Yoshida fought in Pride, before Ronda Rousey began her armbar demolition of women fighters......there have been other great mat work specialists.

For those uninformed, Newaza, or Ne (ground) Waza (technique) is the term for the ground aspect of Judo.
Behold, it exists!

Guys like Kashiwazaki, Neil Adams, and other have taken down, pinned, and submitted fellow Judoka on the mats since Judo began.

A common misconception about Judoka is a relative lack of skill on the ground.
The rules in Judo, specifically due to short(er) time on the ground allowed, differing rules on legal submissions, and the ability to win by pinning akin to wrestling dramatically changes the mat work.

Kosen, or what has become high school Judo rules in Japan still allows for much longer mat work. Additionally, in training Judo 5-6 days a week, the body simply cannot routinely do full speed throwing/randori without injury. As such, often mat work is done in the morning and/or on off nights while standing, throwing, randori occurs on the other nights of the week's training.

At any rate, this post was going to be about Flavio Canto, but I think I'll hold off on that for the time being, and instead, rewind to one of the earlist Judokas in the UFC and semi-modern MMA. (interesting that we now view early UFC's at old or the pioneer days of MMA and it only dates back to 1993). Being present for the birth of a cumulative combat sport is awesome. 

At any rate, Remco Pardoel fought waaaay back in UFC 2. He finished his first 2 opponents before succumbing to Royce Gracie.

Remco would go on to continue fighting after the UFC in other MMA organizations to a final record of 9-6-1.
Here's Remco taking down and submitting at Karate practitioner at UFC 7.

And here's a general tribute/HL of Remco Pardoel:

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Arm Hunter in the Sambo World Championships: Dimitry Bazylev vs Sergey Shibanov

Grappling is awesome. In virtually all of its forms. Since I saw the final the other day with the rolling/leg-grip Kimura/omoplata, I've been going through and watching all the Sambo World Championships I can find. Here's an awesome armbar finish.

Dimitry Bazylev vs Sergey Shibanov

T.G.I.F. - The Guillotine Is Friday. Protect Your Neck!

Last year, I was up at the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials. Some of the coaches milling about were guys like Renzo Graice, Lloyd Irvin, Marcelo Garcia, Cyborg (also competed).

At any rate, Marcelo's guys were quick to attack the neck as it's a favorite of their instructor.
If you've read previous posts on here, I like the submissions and takedowns for which I routinely find entries and opportunities to attack in a multitude of places: the arm and the neck seem to present themselves quite a bit. As such I like chokes and armbars.
I also like things that don't come naturally to me. The Guillotine fits all of the above criteria. I've found and gotten together the candidate for Guillotine Master in Marcelo Garcia and below is a HL of his, then him teaching the guillotine from a variety of positions. Now, go attack that neck.

See highlight for examples:

See Marcelo's Guillotine from Sidemount:

See Marcelo's Guillotine from Butterfly Guard:

Aaaaaand, see Marcelo's Guillotine from Mount :) :

Happy Trainingz!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Uchimata Wednesday: Judo for your BJJ (or other grappling) Volume 7.4

The "Judo Jumper": Coming to a Fall Fashion Line near you!

I like techniques with many entries, many set-ups, many options in which it can be used.

Owing to the fact that I've hit uchimata in MMA, Judo, and BJJ, today we will revisit one of the initially easiest Judo throws there is. That and the fact that recently I hit a sweet uchimata to head/arm choke in a tournament.
Again, like the cross-collar choke, or the armbar, do not confuse basic with inferior. What makes it basic is how applicable it is from a variety of situations.

I was never much of an uchimata guy from the beginning of Judo. In fact, I tended to use it as a counter to weak/poorly set up single leg attempts than as an outright throw on my part.
See here:

Don't let anyone tell you this "basic" technique will not work.
I've used it in gi, nogi, bjj, judo, wrestling, mma sparring with 16 oz. gloves.
This works.

Moving on....
Once I found that the uchimata worked as a counter, and I began competing more frequently in BJJ, I started looking for lower risk throws that did not open my back, involve complete commitment. Particularly as players compete at a higher level, they adopt defensive posture and look to hop on your back as you enter for a big throw. Again, in Judo, the defensive, avoidant, throw-averse-resistant player will be penalized into changing his posture. In BJJ, he can remain here as long as he would like. Granted, he poses little if any threat to you other than perhaps an ankle pick or a single leg, provided you are wary and control with a strong lapel/sleeve grip.....but he can be more difficult to throw, particularly early in your Judo trainingz.
See defensive posture here:
Again, we've all competed with and trained with the player in the white gi on the above left. He may seem strong and impervious to deep entries, but this is not so!
He is dead set on maintaining his Vulcan death grip and keeping his hips as far back as possible to avoid the big entry/forward throw. To quote my coach, his hips are far away from you which does make him perhaps harder to throw, but he also has virtually decided he will not be doing any big throwing as well.

The above stance is the perfect entry for uchimata. Specifically, a variation of uchimata known as "ken-ken".
The Japanese call it Ken-Ken uchimata, simply meaning "again, again" b/c of the again and again hopping action it often takes to tip the little resistant tea pot right over onto his back.
Notice the brief, but extremely bent over posture of the non-Japanese player:

His weight has broken the center of gravity line, with a tug/kuzushi, his weight will be even more unbalanced, and driving his head down and around will facilitate this throw into the mat.

Happy Trainingz!

As a bonus, here is probably the greatest documented Uchimata player demo'ing one of his many variations of this classic and ergonomic throw:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Daily MMA Staredown that gets out of control: Volume 212

Despite respecting the martial arts, Budo, a sense of fair play et cetera...I still like a good mean mugging, staredown, or pre-fight staredown that gets out of hand.

I don't know if they don't like one another, if one guy is from a different part of the post Soviet bloc, whatever. It's entertaining. Here's to you, Tomasz Narkun and Saparbek Safarov, for putting the spectacle in the sport for today!

Those M-1 Global guys can be a volatile bunch.

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This is your Brain. This is your Brain on Marcelo. Any questions?

While I can't promise to teach you the mystery of Chess Boxing.....Marcelo can learn you right good about some grapplin'

School's in session. Grab a pen. Or some coffee. Grab your Teddy Ruxpin. A pack of smokes if need be. Whatever.

Marcelo is about to break down his own performance and some of what he remembers thinking during the last ADCC. You can't really put a price on this kind of knowledge, b/c well, you just can't.

Anyhow, watch and learn. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Happy Trainingz!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sweet Technique Variation of the Day: The Ezekiel Pop Quiz

Quick question grappler, is Ezekiel the name of:
a) 6th century BC priest/prophet whose 7 visions comprise a biblical book of the same name
b) Ezekiel Paraguassu, member of the Brazilian National Judo Team who choked a number of Gracie Barra black belts from inside the guard with the sleeve choke now given his namesake
c) both of the above
d) none of the above

The correct answer is "C".

That being said, this was one of the first chokes I learned in Judo about 7 years ago. I'd gotten away from it in the past few years, but like most "basic chokes", you find over time, it's not the choke that doesn't work or is easily prevented, but rather you lack discipline in your set up.

Often, earlier in my Judo trainingz, I'd remark a particular throw was difficult, or not suited to my size. There is some truth to this, but as my old school Judo coach always would say half jokingly and half deadly f***ing seriously:
1) you lack discipline.
2) if done right, no can defend.

The idea being that, through diligent study, the throw will become eas/y(ier).
The basics work well in a multitude of scenarios, and if done correctly, they are very difficult to stop.

Above tangent aside, the following are 2 Judo greats demonstrating the fine(r) points of the Ezekiel choke. It is a rare choke done inside the guard, a great choke to set up other attacks/make your opponent react/defend, and works from a variety of positions. Like the guillotine, if your opponent does not respect the choke, and does not defend with vigor, he will get choked the f*** out.

Here's Koji Komuro, the "Komlock" showing his version(s):

And, the truly inimitable Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki showing his wares:

Happy Trainingz!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Grapplers @ the Worlds in Long Beach Nab Robber

Buddy of mine is/was out competing at the NoGi Worlds in California.
At any rate, some other competitors managed to foil a robbery.

Happy Trainingz!

Many Thanks

Sweated out my hangover at a nice afternoon open mat session. Definitely not on my "A" game, but I feel better and tonight I will sleep deep, pleasant, catatonic sleep.

Thank you to Judo and Jiu-Jitsu for:
keeping me humble
teaching me the meaning of a team
the friends I've made
the coaches I've learned from
teaching me the value of "kaizen", or continual improvement
helping me minimize many of the bad habits/vices which have plagued my personal life
teaching me patience, determination, work ethic, and finesse
reminding me that I know far less than I like to think I do

That is all.
      -     Happy Trainingz!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Count: BJJ by the Numbers

If you don't keep a training log, you should. I've been keeping one with my workouts, submissions, sweeps, things I've been submitted with, and strength and conditioning workouts for the past 2 years (almost).

At any rate, you'll notice over time that trends or patterns emerge. You'll also have statistical date to draw conclusions about the progress/evolution of your game rather than generalizations we tend to make about ourselves when sitting around playing Battlefield Bad Company or playing beer pong with training partners.

You might think you're the armbar King or the triangle Jedi master, but in reality, you've only submitted white belts or the occasional blue belt for the past 3 weeks with your submission of choice. Obviously, there would then be work to be done in addressing your set-up, what positions in which you then secure the triangle etc.

Perhaps you've decided that getting off your back is your new mission in life (as it was mine after my 3rd MMA fight). I've spent virtually every roll session starting off my back for the past year and 3 months. At this point, it takes a long-time purple belt to keep me there. I'm not saying this b/c I'm the BJJ wizard, but even in rolling 100% I've seen progress and experience at escaping this position and getting to top position. As a result, maintaining top position whilst looking to submit is my new mission.

Writing down on a daily basis one submission or one position, or one sweep which you will try on every training partner has the added bonus of holding us accountable.
It also helps organize training for upcoming tournaments and addressing how much BJJ you actually know and/or attempt/do in training. Seeing that you are 3 weeks out from the next Submission Only or In House tournament might convince you to stay on the mat for one last roll or three at the end of the week. It might convince you to get up early and make it to Open mat on time or skip the fifth beer the night before.

You might think your back escapes are "good enough"....but if you decide to start with your back taken by every guy in the room, you may find that it bears a bit more attention.

At any rate, happy trainingz.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Your Grandfather's Submission Game

I'm not here to debate the effectiveness of various submission styles. Having spent time doing Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Submission Wrestling, and some limited time in Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlings....if it's grappling I am a fan and will spend time learning about it.

From Pankration to Jiu-Jitsu matches to rough and tumble to vale tudo and the like....grapplers have long figured into the toughest man in the room question asked among men the world over.

Whether it's Count Koma traveling the world over, the Catch as Catch Can Carney wrestlers, or Vale Tudo matches in Brazil, the toughest man in the room often knew some grappling in one form or another.

Here's to those that came before whether they wore a Gi, a singlet, shoes, went barefoot, wore a belt, fought at carnivals, on tatame or whatever the case may be.

Happy Trainingz!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"He used too much muscle. He relies on his athleticism."

Have you said the above?
Be honest. No one's watching you read this. Answer this question silently if you must.....

-That time the wrestler came in and held you down on your back with his head on your chest for 5 minutes.
-That time the Judo player came in and played only the top position, barely engaging your half-guard then cartwheel passing to north-south and pinned you.
-That time the strong blue/purple (gasp! even white perhaps....) belt came in fresh at the end of class, slipped on his Gi and you were rolling for the 2nd time that day.

If you're like me, you've said the above at some point in time...or some variation of it.

This is whiner talk.
It is an excuse.

A fight is physical. A tournament is physical. Jiu-Jitsu is a combative sport.
Blaming your loss, submission, being dominated by position on the physical is an attempt to negate the reality that your Jiu-Jitsu was compromised by something other than the textbook answer or technique.

One of the things one of my coaches said that still rings true to me is the following:
"There are 2 things in particular that win tournaments that I have NEVER had a black belt teach in detail or seen taught at a seminar: 1) spazz and 2) stall. You absolutely have to do these things to compete at a high level and win (hell, watch the white and blue belt divisions as your next local tournament. At some point you will stall with a minute left and or spazz-scramble to avoid a back take et cetera.

My point? The other guy may rely on conditioning, muscle, size, and/or athleticism. That is not an excuse for the failure of your application of Jiu-Jitsu. If all it takes is for someone to move a bit faster, be a bit stronger, or grind with constant movement for 5 minutes and stifle your game... you have holes in your Jiu-Jitsu which must be addressed. 

If you only have expert or solid technique for 5 minutes there is a hole in your game.
If you can be dominated by someone your size or close to it of the same rank simply b/c they are stronger/more athletic, you must learn to address this deficiency. Excuses will not win matches nor fights nor divisions in tournaments. Excuses will not prevent the bitter taste of being dominated by someone with "less(er) technique.

You should be glad there are guys that come after you like every class is the Mundials.
I've been armbarred viciously in tournaments due to laziness on my part and forgetting that some guys come after that arm like it's holding the key to unlimited vag or never having to work again.

We forget that with all the camaraderie and such, this is a combat sport. We are here to win, to dominate, to choke, to make limbs go against their anatomical design. The art of the finish is to render unconscious or maim.

No go pick up a kettlebell or do some bench presses. Do a grappler's circuit with some free weights.
Happy Trainingz.

Ask a Black Belt

Great video with some interviews/questions for guys you should recognize:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


sam·u·rai  (sm-r)
n. pl. samurai or sam·u·rais
1. The Japanese feudal military aristocracy.
2. A professional warrior belonging to this class.

Went and saw some fights this past weekend. Buddies of mine won. It was a good night for our fighters, team, coaches, and training partners all around.

Was talking with a buddy who said he "respected anyone who had the balls to fight." I agree to a certain extent. Having fought 5 times, I've come to see amateur fights a bit differently. You see guys compete that clearly have not put in the time, energy, sparring, and training to be a mixed martial artist.

They lose via exhaustion. They do not even know how to stand and base. If they do, they haven't drilled it enough times under duress that it's become automatic. They don't do a mount escape. They give up the back b/c they literally have no idea how to escape from mount and a torrent of punches raining down.

Sure, mistakes happen in the hurricane speed that a MMA fight feels like. There is no shame in losing nor defeat.
There is shame in not having properly prepared.

It's easy to get in the cage and fight. The door locks. The referee signals the timekeeper. You have to fight.

6-8 weeks of intense training, striking, sparring, drilling off the cage, takedowns, Jiu-Jitsu, diet, and strength and conditioning, however? That is where you see who trains like a professional and who doesn't.

I've lost before. I've taken considerable punishment in some of my fights. I was never so beat up that I couldn't head back into the gym and train on Monday.

Why? Because I prepared for the bad scenarios.

Happy Trainingz!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Your Martial Art Sucks (Accept it)

Grab my wrist. No, my other wrist.

Much like talking to a devout Christian or a devout Atheist, talking to a hardcore TMA (Traditional Martial Artist) about a lot of their beliefs regarding fighting is usually a waste of time. Even getting them to admit they might be wrong is a tough feat indeed.

It's hard to admit you've wasted years of your life and that you are probably no better at defending yourself in a fight/dangerous situation than you were before.

On that note, having gone through that myself, coming from Wing Chun to amateur boxing to muay thai to MMA, get over it.

Vale Tudo fights in Brazil put to rest the idea that eye gouging will defeat a grappler (Zulu tried it and Rickson "put the choke to heem, man"). As a side note, taking someone down in a street fight isn't always the best option other. I got my bottom right rib broken via soccer kick to the back after I took down a guy in a street fight and his buddy ran up on me.

At any rate, as a tribute to TMA's versus MMA and such, here we go:

Wing Chun Master versus former UFC fighter David Loiseau's corner man (seriously)

Having been soundly choked out inside of a couple min's, a ninjitsu practitioner is now ready to use his deadly techniques.
Q: What will happen?
A: Mata leon inside of 40 seconds.

Wing Chun vs Muay Thai with predictable results

Are TMA practitioners better prepared than someone who knows nothing?
Are they as deadly as they like to walk around thinking?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

ADCC Submission HL - Thanks

Don't get Roger'd: Do the Roger-ing

Awhile back, I was sitting on the mat, talking to one of my instructors. In passing, I asked him what his favorite submission was. In true black belt fashion, it wasn't a flying armbar, an inverted 50/50 omoplata to Comprido/toe hold. It wasn't an inverted triangle nor was it an inverted guard sweep to kneebar.

Nope. It was a scissor sweep to mounted collar choke.

In true blue belt fashion, I curiously asked why.
He said that to him, what was great about Roger Gracie was that he dominated world class athletes and competitors with simple basics and make them look like white belts.
He said something to the effect of, "when I mounted collar choke you, I have beaten all of your defenses, I have surpassed all of your knowledge and escapes....and you look me in the face while I put you to sleep, tap, or quit."

Simply put, I have dominated you no differently than a white belt, and choked your bitch ass.

On that note, I found a clip of Roger Teaching his mounted collar choke, and then another from Trumpet Dan (that guy has some great instructional stuff available on youtube for free :) Go check it out.

Roger teaching what he does to elite level players

Trumpet Dan's breaks it down real slow-like

Happy Trainingz!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Move of the Day: Kimura (More than Just your Grandfather's Submission)

Coming from Judo, it makes sense in retrospect the Kimura was a submission I fell in love with. It's a versatile submission in the sense that whether or not I get the tap, I still often use it to transition out of a bad position, and more often than not, transition to a dominant position and/or armbar follow-up ala Sakuraba's win over Randleman in Pride -

Here's Saku getting the sub on Royler
Here's Saku getting the sub on Renzo

Recent ADCC winner, Dean Lister, on his version of the Kimura

My personal favorite: Standing Kimura

And last but not least - 12 min's of the Kimura with Sakuraba

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sweet Technique Variation of the Day: McKenzie-Tine/Guillotine

Ah, the Guillotine. I thought I knew thee well.

Coming from Judo, the guillotine wasn't a submission I spent much time on when I started grappling 7 1/2 years ago. 1) it's illegal in Judo due to something about strain on the neck and 2) with the upright posture most Judoka use, the move rarely presented itself except occasionally in matwork. At any rate, the more time I've spent doing NoGi (and watching the inimitable Marcelo Garcia) and MMA, the more I've come to attack the neck. From the top, from half-guard, defending the takedown, from a single leg counter, from north south.....the moves I like best have a ton of entries or set-ups which present themselves.

On that other favorite thing in the world is a grappler having a move he does, that everyone knows is his move, and he still catches people with it. Whether it's Marcelo Garcie and his arm in/neck out/flying cartwheel/whenever-he-wants-guillotine, Toquinho's leg attacks, or Imanari's foot locks (No, I don't care for Rafa and his 50/50 anything), something in my grappler heart loves the idea that an opponent knows your signature move is coming and the end still inevitably comes at the hands of that submission several minutes later. 

In Judo, we call this "Tokui waza", meaning something like pet technique. It's your specialty. It's the throw, transition, pass, submission, pin that is your move you've been developing and doing to everyone in the gym.You typically tried something out, or made a small variation that makes it "yours". 

Wait for it....Wait for it.........Chop Chop Chop time.
Because I decided to start going for the arm in and no arm guillotine from the top when I'm in half-guard, I came across a guillotine variation popularized by Ultimate Fighter contestant and UFC fighter Cody McKenzie.

On the show they discussed McKenzie's record and number of previous wins by guillotine: he had 9 straight wins by Guillotine heading into the show.
On the show he got another win by guillotine.
Then on the finale show, he guillotined another contestant from the house.

1st up

2nd up

Detailed explanation of the "McKenzi-Tine":

And an add'l variation of the Guillotine I've seen Donald Cerrone use (among others)

On that note....go attack that neck...and protect your own. 
Happy Trainingz!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saulo Ribeiro: The Road in Jiu-Jitsu stays tough

The inimitable Saulo Ribeiro before a match

Great article over on Saulo at the American Nationals @ (where I got the above picture)

BJJ Heroes article on Saulo
Wikipedia article on Saulo

Sadly, I first became acquainted with Saulo through his book, Jiu-Jitsu University when I happened to pick it up in Barnes & Noble.I know, I know. BJJ n00b is what you're thinking right now. I read a bit more about Saulo and his belief in top position and pressure-passing and I picked up the book. Other than the book on the guard I found at a Borders book store, Saulo's Jiu-Jitsu University is the BJJ book I've read and analyzed the most. Similar to Saulo early in life, I began picking up BJJ to complement my submission game for Judo competition/matwork/newaza.

Jiu-Jitsu is more than a book/index of moves, he discusses in a fair amount of detail his belief about the meaning/value of each belt in Jiu-Jitsu in terms of concepts and understanding as a greater part of the system of belts in Jiu-Jitsu. Again, the emphasis in the book is as much more about the progression of concepts than as a set of moves to be haphazardly chosen by the reader. Saulo knows more than you.  Read the book as he wrote it, not as a "hey, I need a new armbar to try" or "a new transition to go with my omoplata to RNC monoplata reverse Tornado-half-spider sweep."

At any rate, back to my initial purpose of this post, the article on Graciemag is one of those well-written pieces that elucidates the love of Jiu-Jitsu. Saulo discusses his being away from hard training for a year after major surgery on his shoulder. I started grappling (Judo and wrestling) about  7 1/2 years ago, and the longer you train, the more you see that there will be major setbacks/time off the mats if you train hard and consistently. It's eye-opening to see that even down the road, no black belt, no number of world championships, nor multiple ADCC titles (all of which Saulo has in spades) will prevent the dangers of this rough and tumble sport. Cyborg Abreu comes to mind as another competitor who had a major injury that could have derailed his fame/success in the sport.

Shhhhh, don't fight it. What will be, will be.

Some choice quotes from the article:
"Last December Saulo had three surgeries at once on his shoulder to repair his rotator cuff, his labrum, and to reattach his biceps."

“I feel great,” Saulo says, referring to coming back from such an extensive injury, “It’s a mix of happiness for coming back to the mat. I felt like I was in jail for a year not doing what I love the most. I wasn’t free.”

"When he comes to compete, for him it’s just plain fun. “Competing is the true expression of myself and who I am,” he says, “I want to lead by example. Today, I’m here as a soldier to earn points for my team.”

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mais ADCC 2011 Hype

Pretty sure we'll see some sweet guillotines @ the ADCC this weekend in Nottingham.
To quote Marcelo Garcia's school T-Shirts "Protect your neck"

First, a 20 min. video of Braulio's Road to the ADCC/Supermatch with Jacare.

And, 2 blogs that have done a far better job going over the divisions and competitors than I am able to do

Kid Peligro

Jiu-Jitsu Laboratory

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ADCC 2011/Some BJJ Documentaries to grapplify your Day

The world's most prestigious NoGi Tournament (really the precursor to the Abu Dhabi Pro as well) takes place this weekend. Budovideos will be livestreaming the broadcast for 24.95 if you order now, $30 if you order last minute.

The hopes of Roger meeting Rodolfo somewhere in the bracket died after King Mo knocked Roger out in the first round of their Strikeforce bout.
But, the Superfight between Braulio and Jacare will go on. Renzo Gracie will also be having a Superfight with Ze Mario Sperry. Sperry's old @ 44 years of age, but it's easy to forget, Renzo is roughly the same age. For both, I'm sure the snake still has its venom. Renzo looked atrocious against Matt Hughes in his Abu Dhabi UFC bout, but then this is submission grappling, not Mixed Martial Arts from which Renzo had been away from for quite awhile.

Documentaries for Zee Grapplerz in all of us:
The documentary, "Day of the Zen" about Sperry was (along with Rickson's "Choke" - kinda the original BJJ documentary) one of the first BJJ documentaries/videos I saw other than the first couple UFC's.
Speaking of documentaries, "Legacy" is a relatively new documentary following Renzo for about 10 years or so. It's in the vein of "Choke" but has it's own flair and behind the scenes stuff you'd expect from the locker room. I personally prefer both "Day of the Zen" and "Choke" but moreso b/c they are classics than b/c "Legacy" falls short in any regard.
AND one more documentary for the classics, "Smashing Machine" following the wild and absurd days of Pride and the rise/fall/addiction of Mark Kerr is a great film/documentary regardless of its relation to MMA/vale tudo.

On to some Documentary Links for the day.....

The full documentary on Googlevideo: "Choke" - Rickson Gracie
The full documentary on youtube: "The Smashing Machine"- Mark Kerr
The full documentary on youtube: "Day of the Zen" - Mario Sperry

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jiu-Jitsu in MMA: The McKenzie-tine that didn't happen :***(

Here's a link to Vagner Rocha vs. Cody McKenzie from Saturday's UFC. 
Some high level BJJ/mat work taking place. 
If the above doesn't work, try this one 

For the armhunter/triangle fans out there - check out TJ Waldburger's textbook spinning armbar to triangle finish here

Rocah's standup is passable at best. His leg kick bonanza via Cerrone showed holes in his game, but unless you've got great striking, that will happen against Cerrone based on his pro kickboxing background.
I have digressed...

The players:
McKenzie: likable everyman character coming off a cardio-induced RNC loss to long-time veteran Yves Edwards
Rocha: recently leg kicked into a living death (thanks Ken Shamrock) by Donal Cerrone

The outcome: mata leon/Rear naked choke loss for the 2nd time in a row for McKenzie :(

McKenzie goes for the guillotine arm in and arm out at a couple points int he fight, but once he's on bottom he's in deep water. Rocha keeps top position and looks hard for the kimura. McKenzie nearly sweeps with the butterfly hooks but never gets hit time on top to test Rocha's bottom game. In looking to escape, he gives up the back and Rocha capitalizes. The D'Arce Rocha had earlier looked deep, but you only get some many get out of jail free cards against a black belt like Rocha and he gets the choke.

Note the way Rocha trapped McKenzie's arm with what I call the seatbelt grip, where it's pinned behind him. Great pposition for passing, dishing out punishment or to set up a submission from the top.

Happy trainingz.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Drysdale, Roger, Bigfoot Silva out of ADCC :**(

The full article is here @ Graciemag.

Drysdale is the latest high profile competitor (they kind of all are high profile if they're at the ADCC, but I digress....) to withdraw from the vaunted biannual competition.

Now is the winter of our discontent.
After Rodolfo's past year at the top of the mountain due to Roger Gracie's absence, there was hopefully going to be their first showdown.

In the past week (thanks Strikeforce and guys thinking they can fight MMA one weekend and a few weeks later compete in the most prestigious NoGi grappling event in the world) we've lost Roger Gracie and Bigfoot Silva from the tournament. I don't know how many grapplerz out there on the interwebz were looking forward to Bigfoot squashing another heavyweight in half-guard, but not having Roger in the tournament to potentially face Rodolfo sucks.

Fortunately, Jacare who's been off doing MMA is still going to face Braulio in something that based on interwebz youtube videos, Braulio's been preparing for this whole time.
Think I read that Braulio's something like 0-4 against Jacare, but perhaps with Jacare's attention on MMA for the past year or so, Braulio can finally take a bite out of Jacare's resume.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fatigue: It will make you a coward

Fatigue leads to fear.
Fear leads to indecision.
Indecision leads to doubt.
Doubt leads to losing.
Losing sucks.

 I read a quote long ago, attributed to Vince Lombardi: "Fatigue makes cowards of us all."

When I began training in Judo and even when I had my first couple MMA fights, I did little if any actual conditioning other than drilling, live rolling/randori, and sparring.

I didn't lift weights. I didn't do sprints. I did uchikomis outside of Judo for supplemental training, but other than being in the gym, hitting pads, the heavy bag, and sparring....that was it.
Crazy, right?

It amazes me the number of Judo clubs that train hard and train hard in randori and even BJJ clubs that do the same, but rarely if ever before tournaments mention strength and conditioning.

If you compete at the highest levels or even intermediate to advanced levels, you need to address your strength and conditioning.

In training, rolling, randori, sparring; we find clever ways to cheat. We find ways to take a breather that we won't find in a fight or a tournament. We lay back against the ropes/cage. We stall in the guard. Our training/sparring partners are not hyped up on the adrenaline that our opponent will have in a fight. The intensity of a fight or a match is different than much of what takes place in the gym or in the academy or dojo. We also know something about the game/style of many of our training partners. In a fight or a tournament then, our opponent(s) seem to hit harder, move faster, and feel much stronger than otherwise due to adrenaline, nerves. Perhaps you feel weak due to the drain of cutting weight etc. They also don't tap to the same submissions they would in training. And so, the fight feels like an entirely different animal and we may panic or let fear take over. Worse yet, this stress-related fatigue can cripple or lead to a lapse in judgment or a split second error that costs us the fight or match.

Meet the Airdyne.
It knows when you are tired.
The airdyne does not let you cheat or take breaks.
Have a coach with a stopwatch watching to see your actual work rate.
The efficacy of experience:
I went through several phases of training when it comes to strength and conditioning.
Due in part to the adage of technique trumping strength, I told myself that if the other guy out-muscled me, it wasn't the same as losing. I wanted to make sure I used technique only when fighting and training.
This is simply not so.
1) Just Cardio
I did little to no cardio-specific training before my first 2 MMA fights. I perhaps did some running but that was about it.
I realized that being tired in an MMA fight sucks. I don't just mean it sucks like losing a bet. I mean it sucks like it is a nightmare. The hurricane of the crowd, the fight, the punches, and kicks, and knees, your corner and his corner screaming at you all while you feel like you're moving slow motion underwater....I never wanted to feel that way again. Simply put, feeling helpless as someone shoots a single leg, or punches you in the face against the ropes or the cage is a terrifying feeling. Taking a beating with no energy to fight back is an eye-opening experience. I began using the airdyne to work on my cardio and do sprints.
My conditioning improved, but then I found a new menace....

- I fought several more MMA fights and competed in Judo as well as BJJ. I realized that due to the prevalence of weight cutting, I was still fighting guys who not only outweighed me, but had more overall strength. I was not overly strong for my weight class to begin with, and since I didn't cut weight, I was more accurately fighting about 2 weight classes above my natural one. Again, cardio wasn't enough if I simply wasn't strong enough to hang with my opponents.

Just Weights:
 In preparation for several BJJ tournaments I began doing olympic lifts and doing Judo/BJJ. My overall strength increased. I was able to force the submission I previously would not have, I was able to scramble better and drive through the takedown and finish that I otherwise previously would not have.
I showed up feeling stronger and (based on rolling in class 3-5 days a week) well-conditioned.

I finished my first match of the day more exhausted than I think I've ever felt in a grappling/Judo/BJJ tournament and having completely blown my grip. I grinded my way through the rest of my Gi division and the NoGi but I was finished strength and cardio wise. Lifting weights and going to sport-specific Judo or BJJ, or NoGi class was also not priming my body for the physical demands of competition.

Your best friend and worst enemy: The Prowler
Do prowler sprints and you will learn the meaning of "tired"
In Summary:
Cardio + rolling/randori/training is not enough.
Weights + rolling/randori/training is not NEARLY enough.

A healthy mix of strength that maintains over time and cardio that allows for explosiveness repeated through the course of a round or a match, however, is enough.....assuming anything is ever really enough.

Happy Trainings!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Move of the Day: Paulista Pass

Guy who trained at my gym for awhile came from a Ralph Gracie school. I looked up the gym, and the instructor, and lo and behold, the guy puts out simple, effective video clips.

Sticking with the theme of yesterday's mention about when I came from Judo and began learning BJJ separately: the following clip is a pass to sidemount I've been using a lot since I watched it a few months ago. I first learned this pass early on in Judo, probably about 6 years ago. I was taught the pass with a regular sleeve/lapel grip immediately following a failed throw/when the opponent falls to his side type scenario.

The cross grip shown here lends itself to a lot of passing power/control in the Gi + can set up a sweet "simple choke" as the guy points out. It's worked for me against small, big, and everything in between size guys. Can't hate on that.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Evolving Your Game: Identify. Address. Implement. Repeat.

A lot of times, in Jiu-Jitsu, we begin learning defensively. We learn first how to survive. For those who have read Saulo Ribeiro's Jiu-Jitsu University, his white and blue belt sections emphasize this point thoroughly: as a white belt you must first survive. As a blue belt you must escape.

Phase 1: 
When I came from Judo I did what a lot of Judoka do: played top position whenever possible, got to my feet, and played an aggressive, physical, if not less than overly technical game. I cut corners, smashed and passed and occasionally got a choke or armbar.

There's nothing wrong with an aggressive, smashing, top control based style. I'm simply calling it for what it is.
I realized that my energy expenditure did not much what I was actually accomplishing when I was rolling with so much effort. I had the conditioning from Judo to roll hard for 5 min's straight, but my energy expended versus what I was achieving was woefully disparate.
I watched the precise way the purple and brown belts would control and pass and submit and I wanted that. Call it lazy, call it effective, call it smart, but I wanted it. 

I decided to make en effort to learn Jiu-Jitsu for what it was, or what I felt like it had to offer in filling in the holes in my game: I started playing the guard, fighting off of my back, and doing the positions I was not good at. I wanted to find the control, finesse, and smooth, relaxed pressure game I felt from higher ranking BJJ players who made it seem effortless. 

Phase 2: 
Fast forward 2-3 years when I began fighting competing in MMA. I realized that being on the bottom is a dangerous place (moreso than the top). Judges tend to score a round more favorably for the top position fighter, and in general, more damage can be inflicted from the top. My primary goal was to absorb as little damage as possible while on bottom, and sweep or get back to my feet.
My game from off my back became breaking down posture, minimizing damage, and scrambling to a standing position.

Phase 3: 
After 4 1/2 years of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I've found that my passing/top game now needs to be polished every bit as much as my bottom game. 

In class, I virtually always start off my back or in a bad position, work to escape, transition to top then look to pass to dominant position then submit. However, what I've found is that due to my Judo background, I spend far more time in tournaments working to pass open guard or some half-open-guard transitional position.

Recognize tournament performance and class performance.
Address areas in need of attention.
Prioritize training time/training with partners accordingly.