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Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


Sunday 1/21/18

BJJ 90 min

Open mat at my brown belt friend’s house.

Drilling for the day was knee-on-belly. This is NASTY stuff once you’re talking about full-size men who know how to bring the pressure. It isn’t something you will submit any upper belt with, but it works wonders against untrained goons. We just did fundamental positioning stuff focused around changing positions and managing it like a floating pin. If they go for the knee, replace it with the other. Back and forth.

I only practiced on the brown belt. We like everyone else too much to be my knee-on-belly practice dummy.

Then we rolled a lot. We had two aikido students who my instructor’s also trained with show up. I didn’t roll with them but I rolled with everyone else. Just a continuation of my march of progress, making the brown belt work a little harder and dig a little deeper into his bag of tricks. I rolled with two of the female students as well, and just made them both work for their chokes. They got them. They earned them.

I guess I’m supposed to watch the Patriots now. Everyone else in Maine will find it odd if I don’t.


Monday 1/22/18

BJJ 120 min

Too tired to log details, so I’m keeping it brief.

Warm-up with running, pummel drills and armbar-triangle-omoplata from guard.

Drilling was kimura from guard. Next was a guillotine from a failed kimura and after that was a neck crank/sweep from a failed kimura.

First roll was with my black belt instructor. He tapped me fast with some kind of gi choke, then I made him work a lot harder for his second tap, which might have been a triangle with his arms.

Next roll was with a visiting blue belt. He was early 20’s, also quite strong and very athletic. We traded positions a lot and I almost got him with an armlock from side control, but he was really good at escaping and replacing his guard. He eventually tapped me with an armbar. He was DEFINITELY going all-out to defend that belt, he had to take the next round off! But defend it he did, and he didn’t tap to this one-stripe white belt like the last blue belt from his school did. It was a really good roll.

This old fart kept going and got a pretty damn feeble roll in with our senior purple belt. Not much to speak highly of here besides getting back on the mat and rolling more when I was wiped out and our young visiting whippersnapper was taking a breathing.

That’s it and that’s all.


Thursday 1/25/18

BJJ 90 min

Continuing with our guard work for January, we warmed up with the same fundamental attacks from the position. Armbar, Triangle Choke and Omoplata. Over and over. Small class today, just me, my instructor, a purple belt and a new white belt.

Drilling were the same sweeps we worked earlier. Scissor Sweep, Flower Sweep and Omoplata Sweep. The scissor sweep came pretty naturally to me today. The flower sweep I struggled with, but the aha moment was when my instructor had me work on him. I just needed to rock my hips more at the start to build momentum, then up and over they’d go no problem. The omoplata sweep was tough for me on the new white belt, but he was just kind of collapsing his weight on me in a way that would be suicide in a roll or a fight, but sure made practicing the move to be really hard. Once again small class size came to the rescue, and some one-on-one time with my instructor worked out the kinks on my technique to where I’m at least getting the motions correct.

I need to work on these sweeps when rolling, so I might someday become less inept from guard. The other person gets a say though, and my first roll was with my instructor. His knee is healing up well, and he’s definitely way stronger on the mats overall. He’s made a yoooge recovery from a major setback, and we’re all glad he’s getting back to full strength.

He whooped my ass today. Hit me with a bunch of new chokes he’s never tried on me before. The high point for me was coming close enough to do a sloppy stack pass on him. I should have just taken it, but I tried to do a more technical stack pass by power cleaning his body up closer to me, so that my sternum is pressing right down on his spine. In the one second space that power clean occupied, he manage to squirm away by shifting his weight and wiggling his shoulders, taking my pass away and gaining back a good guard. This guy’s got a big bag of tricks and it is a pleasure to train under his instruction.

Purple belt was next. He and I are about an even match, but I have a major attribute advantage.
This can sometimes be an impediment to development. One thing I’m not really doing in regular rolls anymore is smashing people with pressure, like sprawling with a shoulder in their face. I’m not throwing it away or anything, hell no. It works really well, and nobody bitches when I do it, but keeping my pressure to a minimum opens up different avenues to work different techniques. In other words, we flow-rolled, which is something I really need to improve at for longevity and overall training benefit.

Last up was our new white belt, who is a stout man of middle age and well north of 200 pounds. He’s got some minor mobility issues and is very much a grappling novice. I let him take top and try stuff, and I’d do simple counters to stop his submission attempts. I basically got to drill on him. All I’d do is counter his attacks and move up and down the positions with him. I even pulled off a scissor sweep on him, which was what I really wanted to do today. This was a very important and very satisfying roll for several reasons.

  1. I used minimal pressure. Did not bring smash at all. I’m still a big strong guy which matters, but I didn’t muscle anything with him. I didn’t want to scare him away for one, and I want him to enjoy rolling with me. If he’s game to smash later, great. If not, great.

  2. I helped him along. Very basic things. I’m not an instructor of jiu jitsu, but I felt comfortable showing him how to get out of park and into first gear, make a few escapes and work a choke.

  3. I could drill on him. He was resisting and trying to choke me, but I could just sort of toy with him. Not in a bad or patronizing way, but in the way that someone with training and size/strength advantage can do to someone with no training at all. This is much more beneficial to him than learning how to endure my shoulder pressure at this stage, or me taking mount with hooks or me giving him knee-on belly. I just held position without pressure, coached him into some trap-and-rolls and a basic guard pass, gave up position when I chose to and let things move back and forth. I saw 20 sec left in the round and tried to take his back and choke him out, but couldn’t quite get there. I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did.

Tonight was really fantastic. I love to bang but I need to learn how to train at every intensity from one all the way to eleven. There seems to be benefit along the entire spectrum.


All intensities are good for something. Every gear has a purpose! Just like weights.


So I haven’t been into any combat arts of late, but even back as a HS wrestler, this was a very valuable thing to learn. I had a younger brother, who I frequently wrestled with, so I had to be able to dial it up when he needed the intensity but also “play wrestle” a little bit so we could both work on things (for example, if I was in the bottom position, instead of just hossing him off me and standing up, I could work on different types of movement and counters in the bottom position while he tried different stuff in the top position).

Not only is it useful but it can really make practice fun, too. From what I’ve heard, the Penn State wrestling coach (Cael Sanderson 4x NCAA champion with a career collegiate record of 159-0 and an Olympic gold medalist) encourages the PSU team to “play wrestle” frequently - he feels that they learn a lot from just “rolling around” with different people and ending up in weird positions, and that while structured drilling has its place, you can pick up a level of intuition from just rolling yourself into a weird spot and seeing if one of you can figure it out.


@FlatsFarmer Absolutely. I don’t always get to pick the intensity, so the good news is that I’m totally used to getting the shit smashed out of me by upper belts. I’m very pleased to have opportunities to dial everything back and get used to slower speeds.

@ActivitiesGuy Yes, that sounds like the same basic concept as flow rolling. It is what occupies the space between drilling technique against a non or lightly-resisting opponent and rolling hard with pressure, strength and full resistance. I’m still getting a feel for it, and I think it is fair to say that my training partners are still getting a feel for me too. This is very important for me to develop for the long haul. As I improve I will be able to work technique on more and more people without working too hard. Train more, move better, be lazy. Win.

Grappling has given me an appreciation for wrestling, a sport I still don’t know much about. I can’t speak for all BJJ schools, but my brown-belt friend’s instructor teaches more than a few techniques in a different way after being exposed to high-level wrestlers. I know for certain that single and double-leg takedowns are now taught a LOT differently than they were when he was getting his start. This was not long after BJJ first made landfall in the USA back in the 90’s. Good BJJ is whatever works, and both of my instructors have wrestling influences in their lineage.

The biggest dude I ever grappled with was during my visit to my brown-belt buddy’s instructor’s school. He was almost my size, strong as fuck and he was also a wrestling coach. He owned me when we rolled, starting with a single-leg takedown that I was unable to stop, followed by several minutes of grueling shoulder pressure, finishing me with a gi choke. I’d love to have a crack at him again.

Friday 1/26/17

BJJ 60 min

Open mat at the gym. Just me and the senior purple belt made it. We rolled a lot, shot the shit and did a bit of side control drilling. I got close to tapping him once, but he’s a young and strong Army man who has been training since he was 16. He’s not as strong as I am, but he’s strong enough. His technical defense is on-point against my clumsy attacks, and he’s strong enough to where I can’t really power through him. I’ve got to get better, that’s the only way. It was a really good hour and I’ve always enjoyed training with this guy.

I got a minor cut, almost more like a puncture on my forehead. It poured a bunch of blood out and looked pretty wicked, but cleaned and clotted up fast and we got on with things. In hindsight I should have taken a bloody-faced training picture and set it as my linkedin profile pic.

Happy weekend everyone!


Sunday 1/28/18

BJJ 120 min

Open mat at my brown belt friend’s house. Same group of ladies as last week. He ran this a lot more like a class, so we spent the whole first hour drilling technique.

We started with basic grip stripping. Same stuff I’ve done before, but a new detail I picked up today involved a bit of trickery. Grab the same-side collar, then when they go to strip the grip, it will open up more space to get a REALLY deep cross-collar grip. We also worked using your elbows to push down on the gripping arm, eventually making them give up the underhook. Also on the menu was a way to get the overhook and a russian tie. Punch your arm straight in the air, then loop around for the overhook and grab their gi if you can. Now their arm is in a russian tie, which gives you even more options.

Next up was a bit of pummeling. We were pummeling with the goal of taking side clinch. If I get an underhook, I wrap the shoulder as high as I can with my hand, then drive my shoulder into theirs and post my free hand into their elbow. From there the side clinch is easy to move into. From side clinch we worked a simple knee bump takedown.

Finally we worked ankle picks. I’ve had success with these before, but today’s focus was on changing levels as you pull them backwards. Ideally you can drop to both knees very quickly, but I’m not nearly as athletic as my brown belt friend when it comes to that. What I can do is drop down to one knee pretty quickly, and this should really help me pick a lot more ankles. I’m succeeding with ankle picks because of long arms and brute force right now, changing my level should increase my percentage on these. More technique, less goon.

I only rolled with the brown belt once, and he mauled me as usual. I played good defense on my feet, but he hits me with so many techniques so quickly that he almost always catches me in something. I suppose it isn’t much different on the ground.

I worked with the gals for the rest of class, just trying to match their resistance and make us both work techniques. I’m getting a lot better at this. Sometimes I let them win, sometimes I’ll work a technique if the opportunity materializes. What I’m not doing is forcing opportunities with brute strength or 100% pressure. The girls seem eager to train with me, so I must be doing something right.


Monday 1/29/18

BJJ 105 min

Last class of the month before moving on to the mount position in February. We finished our month of guard work with chokes. First, we warmed up with stretches, ab work and shrimping and rolling across the mats.

First technique was the cross collar choke. Break down the posture, peel collar back with left hand while feeding right hand as deep as possible. Hip to your left, slide your off-hand underneath, feeding as deep as you can on the opposite side collar. Rotate your hands inward, pull your hands together, pull their torso as close to you as possible, row with your lats to finish the choke. If done well, you’ll have the choke when you rotate your hands and pull just a little. The rest of the motion is for when you’ve got less-than-ideal grips.

Next technique was the chainsaw choke. You’ve sunk your first hand as deep as you can, but they defend the cross-collar choke by preventing your hand from sliding in. You can cycle your hand around their neck and grab the shoulder portion of the gi to finish the choke.

Next up was a lapel choke. Get your right hand deep cross-collar first. Free the left-side lapel (or wait until the gi is untied to set this up). Using the left hand, pull the lapel over the neck and finish the choke.

If that is defended, use your right hand to grab the lapel and shift your left-hand grip to palm-up. Cycle your right hand around the neck, grabbing whatever material you can on the shoulder. Finish the choke.

Next up was an arm-drag with the lapel. If they are postured up on your hips, get hold of their lapel with your right hand and wrap it as high as you can on their arm. Then you pull hard, like an arm drag with the gi, finishing with a stiff-arm to keep them off to the side. Reach up and over their neck with your left hand, grabbing ahold of the gi. From there you slide your right hand in a karate-chop position along the carotid artery of the right side of their face. Pull the gi with your left hand to finish the choke.

There’s also a sweep available from here. If you’ve wrapped the arms with the gi and broke their posture down on on your right side, swim your right hand down behind their knee to grab the hamstring. From here you can tug on the gi and roll them over really easily, finishing with the same karate-chop/pull on the gi motion or move to other types of fun like an armbar or bow-and-arrow choke.

It was a lot of drilling, but I did all of the techniques well and I’m still recalling it all after a few hours and two white russians. That has to be a good sign.

Rolling was brief. Our young and athletic blue belt from another school returned, and we had a draw. I was very close to getting him in an Americana, but he did a good job of defending. 5 min draw.

Next roll was with the black belt instructor. It turned into a one-on-one lesson, and we worked on sweeping with a leg pick when the scissor sweep goes wrong and we worked on shifting to reverse keza ketami from side-control in order to neutralize an arm. I’ve done this before in live rolling but I learned a new detail today about using my knee to keep their elbows off the mat.

The visiting blue belt also signed up for February, so I’ve hopefully got a new training partner who I match up well with. Great stuff. I can’t wait for Thursday’s class!


Thursday 2/1/18

BJJ 90 min

No time to log details. Mount is the position for February, escapes are the warm ups and the drills for last nights class.

One roll with the new blue belt was a 5 min draw.


Monday 2/5/18

BJJ 90 min

We continued on with mount for February. Warm-up with bridge-and-roll escapes along with an elbow-to-knee escape that I need a lot more work on.

Attacks for today were cross-collar choke, chainsaw choke, Ezekiel choke and the arm triangle. The new details I picked up tonight were to post my head on the same side as the top arm for cross-collar and chainsaw chokes. The Ezekiel went well and the arm triangle needs a lot more work. I get people gift-wrapped quite a bit but can never turn it into anything. I need to start thinking arm triangles. Get my head low low low, get their arm across the throat, not the face. Drill drill drill.

Rolling went well but I cut it short. One roll with our small purple belt and one roll with the senior blue belt. Both were a draw, mostly flow-rolling without much pressure.



Friday 2/9/18

BJJ 60 min

Open mat at my brown belt friend’s house. No drilling, just rolling. Two students from his school showed up, a blue and a purple belt. Long story short, I didn’t tap anyone but I made them all work, made some good escapes and threw the purple belt the kind of curveball that he’s only gonna get from a motherfucker who is as big and strong as I am. It was a gorilla roll when he had me mounted that landed me in side control and left him wondering what happened! I was complimented on it by all, as it wasn’t pure brute force but a combination of strength, timing and awareness.

Happy weekend everyone!


Sunday 2/11/18

BJJ 120 min

Open mat at my brown belt friend’s house. He’s turning Sunday into more of a class now that people are showing up. Drilling for the day was all stand-up stuff, basic footwork for setting up a takedown. The main thing I need to remember is arm-drag, hook the leg, pull it up and then work a single leg.

Then we rolled a lot.

Not much time to get into the details today. Peace!


What style?


@hel320 I train under two instructors. My brown belt friend teaches what I’d call pure self-defense Jiu Jitsu, where the emphasis is on real-world effectiveness as opposed to winning competitions in the sport of Jiu Jitsu. This is old-school Gracie Jiu Jitsu, with his instructor’s instructor being Renzo Gracie’s first American Black belt, and the whole lot of them being involved in Vale Tudo back in the 90’s. This style includes a lot of stand-up technique and stuff that you won’t see in an IBJJF competition but you will see in a street fight.

My other instructor is of the Carlson Gracie lineage, with a guy by the name of Marcelo Alonso being our jiu jitsu grand-pappy. Lots of the stuff is the same as my other instructor, but it has a little less emphasis on combatives and a little more emphasis on competition in the sport of Jiu Jitsu.

Both are pretty nasty and ruthless. I’m totally hooked.


I like the real world emphasis. Competition and sport have been the downfall of many hand to hand martial styles, Judo and Tae Kwon Do, to name the most notable (hope Kevin doesn’t come get me). I find it interesting your style has a lot of stand-up technique because didn’t the Gracies style develop along the lines of “all fights end up on the floor”. Like all styles, they evolve. As one of my instructors long ago told me, it’s not a martial art, it’s the martial way. A way of life. Glad you’re enjoying it.


That is true, but the stand up aspects of bjj have always been there. The first step of bringing a fight to the ground is closing the distance without getting knocked out and then working a takedown.

In simple terms bjj is distance management, and that absolutely includes when one, both or any number of people are on their feet. That last bit is important too, since going to the ground is not always the right idea, especially when multiple people are involved or could be involved.

Some examples are techniques from the clinch and side clinch to block punches and put your opponent on the ground. Arm drag to street choke is a classic stand up move. Russian tie is another great one. Standing choke defense. Grip stripping. Headlock escapes. Bear hug escapes. Footwork. A fair bit of judo is sprinkled in too. Sometimes you want to get back up in base while your opponent is still on the ground. There’s always been lots of stand up in bjj, which evolved out of judo.

Sport rules dictate sport training, so a good bit of what I mentioned above is not covered in as much depth or sometimes not at all. There’s no point in training punch prevention if your sport has no punches.

Thanks for stopping in and I’m glad to see you posting again!


Monday 2/12/18

BJJ 90 min

Continued with mount work for February. Warm-up with basic escapes. Trap and roll when arm free. Trap and roll with one arm choking. Trap and roll with one arm around the head (setting up Ezekiel). Knee-to elbow escape to replace guard.

Takedown for the day was a single-leg variation starting from a clinch with one underhook. Squeeze the arm that isn’t underhooked, then slide that arm down to grab the leg. Pull it up by the knee and then use your inside leg to take away their last post, plant them on the ground and go right to a knee slice pass.

Technique for the day was a sequence starting with that takedown. Pass the guard, side control, take mount. From there the uke would roll to the side to begin a knee-to-elbow escape and you ride that right up into Russian mount. Then we choke. First a lapel choke, using your non-choking hand to twist their arm up. If that’s not enough cycle around the back of their head. If that’s not enough cycle further through the arm. If that’s still not getting the job done you can go to bow-and-arrow from the same position.

We also did a basic armbar, then a not-so-basic armbar I’m going to have to revisit. Lots of technique for the day.

I only got one roll in with a new-ish white belt. This is the first chance I had to roll with him and he surprised me. It was still kinda like wrestling with a child though, and I went really easy on him. I saw the clock winding down and tapped him with an armlock with 5 seconds left.

That’s it and that’s all!


Hey @twojarslave I know we talked about it in the confession thread so I thought you’d want to know; Baldur’s Gate II enhanced edition is on sale for $5 on grand old games.


Thanks @T3hPwnisher! I can’t wait to tell my Valentines date all about the time I rolled a warrior with 18(96) strength. It should help her understand why it’s going to be a short dinner date with no dessert. I think she’s really going to like watching me install the game and roll a new character.


Thursday 2/15/18

BJJ 90 min

More work from mount for February. We drilled our four escapes for warm ups, and added one new escape as well. Trap and roll, trap and roll with one arm choking, trap and roll with Ezekiel choke defense, knee to elbow escape. The new escape was from high mount. Quickly and explosively push your arms up against their armpits and use your legs like a pendulum to basically shuck them off. Beware of armbars as you extend the arm.

We drilled that variation of a single leg takedown from the clinch as well.

Then we moved on to attacks, starting with what we’ve already done. Cross collar choke. Chainsaw choke. Ezekiel choke. Armbar. Armbar from s-mount. We also drilled arm triangles and I did much better with these today.

Big class today. First roll was with an old lifting buddy whose done some jits and judo for the last few months. Young strong and in good shape, and a good way for me to measure improvement. I dominated him technically. His judo won him the takedown but I was able to escape his side control and get right into mount. He rolled me and I kept him in guard by breaking his posture down and threatening the choke. I was able to scissor sweep him and take mount, then finish with an Ezekiel choke.

Great roll for me and it is good to roll with a white belt who has serious strength and athleticism!

Everyone paired off so we rolled again, just playing around with technique.

Next up was my instructor. He whooped my ass bad. I wasn’t focused and gave up a lot of dumb stuff! He tapped me three times in the round.