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Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


Saturday 8/25/18

BJJ 60 min

Open mat at the brown belt’s house again. Another white belt showed, so we just took turns rolling with each other. The other person was an older, smaller female who’s trained with my friend in Aikido for a long time. Her and I have trained together before too, and I’m happy that I can be a good training partner to her. Keep pressure to a minimum, use technique to hold positions, apply submissions very slowly and controlled, and let her have whatever she’s trying to do if she’s doing it correctly.

It is good practical training too, as I’m probably just as likely to need to restrain someone very gently as opposed to not gently, like an asshole who’s trying to hurt someone or threatening me in the parking lot on the way back to their minivan after getting bounced.

Making the brown belt work a little harder, same story there.

Not a lot of technique, but we dove into some details on staying connected to a person while you’re deep in their guard and possibly weathering a storm of strikes, with no immediate chance of escape or passing. Get low on your knees as far into them as you can. Touch your elbows to your knees if you can, elbows to the mat and against the hip if you can’t. Elbows always in tight so they can’t put a knee in your elbow to make space. Control the hips with your elbows and knees, keeping connected at all times as he shifts. Depending on proportions, you might be able to control the bicep at the same time. More details underneath, but that’s my take-away today.

The guard is such a complicated game, and we’re not even getting into anything sporty. Just basic self-defense stuff.

That’s it for today!


Sunday 8/26/18



Strict Press supersetted with Lat PD

3 sets

10 min sauna
5 min hot tub

I had to make things fast today if I wanted some heat treatment before the gym closed. Squats are feeling strong again. It might be time to venture out into the great unknown and start doing sets of 6, 7 or even more than 7 reps. I’ll have to check with Rip and see what he thinks.


“Do your fahves.”

That’s what Rip would say. Clearly, you have not been drinking your Kool Aid.


No I haven’t. My copy of Starting Strength is on loan. So is my copy of 5/3/1 2nd edition, now that I think about it. 5/3/1 Forever had a good run in the bathroom, but I’m not so sure I’m ready to commit to any of the programs spelled out there. It was recently replaced by my copy of “Mastering Jiu Jitsu” by Renzo Gracie as my go-to book for taking a shit.

I may just go back to vanilla 5/3/1-esque lifting. Work up to one top set for reps, then drop sets or something else entirely. Work the percentages. Keep rest short and rep quality high. It worked for me getting strong and it worked for me when I was dropping fat. It just worked.

Today I was just happy to bench for the first time in over a year.

Bench Press


Incline DB Press

3 sets of 10

DB Row

3 sets of 10


3 sets of 15

Tricep extension

3 sets of 15

Buncha light shoulder stuff.

So my shoulder still feels a little off, but I can’t tell if that’s just weakness from not benching for so long or some kind of problem. It’s just in my left shoulder, which has given me small amounts of grief ever since I started lifting. I’m not alarmed right now, just pleased to bench again, even if it is at poverty levels.


Wednesday 8/29/18



Buncha light shoulder stuff

10 min sauna
5 min hot tub
Buncha laps in the pool.

That’s it!


Really impressive that you’ve been able to maintain this much strength while turning BJJ and grappling into your primary focus and just dabbling with the weights.


@ActivitiesGuy Thanks! I’m a bit surprised myself, and I don’t think my upper body is too far away from where I used to be either, now that my shoulder is on board with lifting.

Jiu jitsu can be a pretty complete workout, depending on how you drill it and how you roll. It won’t get you jacked, but most of the guys I train with do no weights at all and none of them are what I’d call weak for their size.

There’s a lot of hip movement, making frames with your arms, pulling motions, keeping posture under resistance and moving your body is ways that you don’t necessarily see much outside of grappling. Taking people down, stopping them from taking you down and going from all sorts of positions on the floor back up to your feet is also a pretty solid workout. There’s even an escape from side control that’s basically a Turkish Getup but instead of a kettlebell you’re framing someone’s neck with your forearm.

I’d like to think that never messing with my endocrine system might have something to do with hanging on to my strength, but who knows? I just know I’ve personally seen a small handful of dudes whose strength severely degenerated in similar spans of not lifting.

Anyway thanks for stopping in and congrats again on the new addition!


Thursday 8/30/18



Strict Press


Lat PD

5 sets of 10

Incline bench

5 sets of 10

Curls, Lat raises, and buncha light shoulder stuff.

That’s it!


Just a quick update. I took a few weeks off training, then sprained my foot.

It’s healing up fine, but I should probably hobble down to the basement and lift some weights at some point…


Blows dust off of workout log

After giving a gaming-based sedentary lifestyle some serious consideration, I decided to take the foot out for a test drive today and go train with my good friend at his place. My foot is definitely not 100 percent but I am for sure on the mend.

In addition to being a senior brown belt, he’s also a very good physical therapist, so I figured I’d be in as good of hands as possible. My foot is still not 100 percent and it’s pretty sore after training, but I’m fine and it’s fine and I’m moving fine as long as I don’t try anything too dynamic with it and don’t get foot swept or kicked in the foot, etc.

We rolled a bunch of times, starting from feet. I’m a bit rusty but I don’t feel like I really regressed at all, so onward and upward we go.

Technique for the day centered around making safe in the bottom of mount and working on smart framing. Part of my “problem” is that I have such success with basic mount escapes with my other training partners, so I never have to play a deeper game. We worked on losing frames and getting them back today, always keeping your elbows tight to the body so they can’t isolate an arm or take high mount. Against better competition I’ll need to use my escapes not to escape but to make space so I can use another escape, or perhaps a few layers deeper of the same notion. Meanwhile, I have to make safe and not do dumb things with my arms, which means keeping my arms tight to the body and knowing when to frame their weight and what to do with it when it is framed.

There’s a lot more than just that going on and I’m wiped out and hungry, so that’s all I’m logging today.

Glad to be moving again.


What’d you wind up doing to your foot? Must’ve missed it but I’ve seen you mention it a few times.


I sprained it doing a mundane task.


Ah gotcha, not a fun process. Got my ankle about 6 weeks ago playing basketball and it’s still not back to normal.


My first foot sprain was on a basketball court in 2000. It was a really nasty one, all purple and yellow and swollen to the size of a grapefruit. Back then nobody told me to walk on it as soon as I could so I stayed on crutches for way too long.

It took years before it stop hurting completely. It would flare up all the time from even minor stuff. Probably contributed a lot to me being less active in my 20’s than my 30’s.

This one is just a little bump in the road. Piece of cake, more training tonight!


I did the same for my first bad sprain, about a year later I wound up breaking that ankle and I wonder if that had anything to do with it.

This most recent one, I walked around an Octoberfest later that night and participated in a keg toss for distance. Probably not the best idea, but at least I was squatting again within 2 days.


I actually moved a washing machine up a flight of stairs less than an hour after I sprained it. I thought I was okay. By the end of the night I couldn’t put any weight at all on it and spent the next few weeks on crutches. Good times.


BJJ 60 min

Another night of training with my brown belt friend. We rolled for a bit, but mostly spent the time building on top of the framing concepts we worked on yesterday. The main sequence we looked at was using frames and a big hip-out to counter knee-on belly situations, or even as a defense to someone going to mount from side control and going to a single-leg takedown from there.

One of the problems being large presents is difficulty keeping my knee connected to my elbow to defend the mount-take from side control, along with the basic mount escape of replacing my guard. I can do it, just not well and I’m not pulling that off against anyone decent. Let’s try to remedy.

From the bottom of knee-on-belly, frame them with your arms and hip out big to the opposite side. If they’re on your right side that means hips go left. Ideally this should put their knee off of you and onto the ground, but all is not lost if they still have knee pressure as long as you keep framing. Keep your left frame in and lace your right hand around their near-side leg, going high with your palm around their upper calf. Then remove your left hand frame and reach up big, like you’re trying to wrap it around their waist. From there you do a hip-out type of movement to turn over on to your belly, but you want your legs to be 90 degrees from where they just were. That means getting your hips in the air with your weight on your right foot while your left foot swings WAY over. From there you can work the low single (try not to break your training partner’s knees) or you can get to your feet and work the single from there.

We didn’t go down the latter path on account of my ankle not allowing that kind of movement yet.

We finished up with a flow roll where I was instructed to take him down, pass the guard, establish side control, take the mount and then make him give up his back for a rear naked choke. My foot was a real distraction but I managed to complete the exercise while he offered up some basic fundamental resistance, but obviously didn’t tap into his whoop-my-ass arsenal. It’s really a great way to learn these pathways in such a methodical manner.

Its such a privilege to get all of this mat time with such a skilled player and instructor. I’m hoping to make it back to my regular class next week so I can try out some of my new toys, but my ankle is really barking at me right now so we’ll just have to see.


Wednesday 10/24/18

So I might have rushed back to the mats last week, but my foot was feeling better today so I busted out some quick work in the basement.

30 KB swings
10 seated DB press
10 Goblet Squats
10 seated DB press
10 Goblet Squats
10 Seated DB press

All with the 50lb Kettlebell and my 50lb DB’s. I think my foot is fine to use as long as it’s planted. All of the dynamic motions in jiu jitsu might be a bit much for me at this stage. Baby steps.

At least I learned something today. I learned that I’m in terrible shape! I was huffing and puffing and sweating really hard, although to my credit I didn’t really rest more than 20 sec between sets. Who’da thunk that could happen after a month and a half of inactivity?


Don’t worry, you’ll be back in no time.


@biker Thanks! I’m close.

Thursday 10/25/18

BJJ 90 min

I know I just said I shouldn’t rush back to the mats, but when my instructor invites me to train I have a hard time saying no. I actually asked him why he likes to train with me so much last week, and it is because I don’t bitch. He can roll over and over with me, use pressure and “rude” techniques and try new stuff without worrying about any kind of emotional reaction with me. Plus I’m one of the few people stronger than him, and he trains strictly for self-defense.

I’ll take it! I’ve had dozens of private lessons from him now and I feel like they’ve really put me far ahead. Maybe even moreso than my regular classes where I’ve earned my three stripes on my white belt. I don’t care about belts. I just want to be good. I think I’ll take some people by surprise when I show up back to my regular school.

Tonight we rolled a bunch and I’m really putting the framing concepts we worked on last week into practice. It completely changes how he needs to proceed, which is probably why he wanted to show them to me. He still taps me out, but I really made him work a lot harder and play a deeper game. I even pulled off a mount escape on him and almost got him in a trap-and-roll. I cleared his collar grip once too, which is something I’ve never done before. This is how I measure progress when I’m rolling with a guy who is probably one of the ten best jiu jitsu players in my entire state.

We did a lot of technique tonight. Since my foot limits my tight passing game, we worked on basics of the throw-by guard pass and the bullfighter guard pass. Control the feet first. Then you can play a few games. Put pressure on the feet to see if they push you back. If they do, step back and around (bullfighter), riding the line of their leg and keeping pressure on it as you move to knee-on-belly.

the throw-by pass is great for big strong guys, and the main detail I absorbed tonight is that you’re trying to throw at an angle where you get the most possible rotation on your opponent. Again, you’re going for knee-on-belly from here. Knee-on-belly is valuable because it is a floating pin, allowing you mobility to walk around them, stand back up quickly to deal with someone else along with striking and putting nasty amounts of pressure on them. We drilled this a lot tonight.

Next up we did “big guy takedown tactics”. The key take-away here is to contest for the right-side underhook and control of the right arm. Play the angles with footwork and keep yourself just at an angle to where they only have a right jab. From there you’re looking to see what they present you with, but again battling for the far-side underhook by closing the distance. From here you can position your head in their armpit and reach around with your left arm to get a grip on their neck. This opens up a lot of options and you can go right to side clinch from here too. If they know the position and push-away, dance to their other arm. I’m not so good at this, but a sprained foot isn’t easy to dance on.

If you want to keep it simple a dive-and-clinch will be good. Get both underhooks and pick your poison from there. Unless the dude is 400 pounds or bigger I will be in good shape with both underhooks.

That’s it and that’s all!


Lots about technique, distance, angles in your post above. Months ago you had a topic about not using your strength in bjj training. Obviously when you use your “frames” to create space and rotate away you use your strength. But like differently, “technique first” if that phrase makes any sense. Have you thought about the “not using your strength” topic lately? Any new insights?