Last night, members of the Academy surprised me with a thoughtful gift to celebrate the new space. It was a shadowbox displaying the 5 belts of BJJ, all neatly tied and all HCK of course, as Howard Liu was in on it too. I was touched, and it was a beautiful marker for this stage of the journey, nearly 2 years in.I had to go look-up HCK after reading that. I found that the HCK gi's were around the same price as my Gameness single weave, and had some very good reviews on various sites you could purchase them from. I set out to Google to see if I could find any reviews on discussion forums or what not. Everything I came across was positive: the gi's were awesome and Howard Liu is one hell of a guy to purchase products from. That sealed the deal right there. I found that the gi's size differently that most; where my Gameness single weave is an A4, the HCK I ordered after checking the size chart is a 5. After trying it on right out of the box, this one fits way better for my build. Not bulky or baggy at all. The sleeves could shrink a tad along with the pants, and it'll fit perfect. I couldn't wait to wash it before using it, so I practiced in it tonight haha It's such a light gi, but feels very sturdy and tough at the same time. After practice I purchased a patch from Mel to put on the back to represent the school. His wife is going to sew it on and I'll have it back on Monday when I show up for practice that night. I can't wait to roll in it again :-)
Anyways, tonight was a fun night. It was the all adult class, and it was smaller - 5 of us to start, then John showed up (who just got his blue belt this last weekend, congrats to him!). So there were 3 white belts and 3 blue belts. Two of the white belts, John and Chris, are competing this weekend at the Oregon Open, so we left them to roll with each other so they could work as hard as they wanted to. So that left me with 3 blue belts to leach experience from :-P
First, Mel went over a few things he spoke with the tournament organizer about, mainly some scoring questions. His daughter competed in a tournament before where her opponent had her in side control. The opponent would post her leg out, his daughter would pull half guard, then the opponent would escape half guard...then do it over and over again. The referee of the match continued to award the girl points for escaping. That's pretty cheap if you ask me. Variations of this situation were what was discussed.
Then we moved on to some techniques...
Escape from guard pass #1 - So you have your opponent in closed guard. They break the closed guard hold and attempt to pass under your left leg. Plant your left foot into the floor and begin shrimping away from them until you get into a four quarters position, then switch over to your stomach and come up to your knees (aka "threading the needle").
Escape from guard pass #2 - Same as before, you have your opponent in your closed guard and they just broke it to pass. This time you'll sit up, and with your left hand grab the same side lapel, and stiff arm it. This'll keep your opponent back as you scoot your lower body out and either come up to your knees or stand.
Cross choke from mount #1 - So you're leaning forward and to the left. Bring your right arm to the left-side if it's not already there and put the right elbow to the right side of their face. Then move the forearm across their face, and with your right hand get a deep collar grip with your thumb in. Then reaching under your right arm and get a deep 4-finger grip on the left lapel, and squeeze a walnut between your shoulder blades.
Cross choke from mount #2 - Same as above, except you're going to reach over your right arm and get a deep thumb in grip on the other lapel, and squeeze a walnut between your shoulder blades.
Kimura from blocked cross choke attempt - I can't remember all the details of this, so I'm going to hold off on this one until I can get it cleared up a bit more.
Ezekiel -One way to set this up is to push your opponents head to the right when your right elbow. This will keep him occupied and blind to the left arm you're about to slide right under his head. With your left hand, grab the bottom of the right sleeve, then slide your forearms to the left to bring the sleeve up against their neck as you put your right forearm across their neck. Bend he right wrist down to grab your left sleeve or forearm, then squeeze "the box" (the shape you've made with your forearms, hands, and right sleeve) for the choke.
Rolling was a lot of fun. The first guy I rolled with I believe his name is Chris. Yeah, there's like 3 or 4 of them I train with lol This one is a blue belt (I'm pretty sure all the others are white). He's a very laid back guy, likes to go slow and take his time. So it was great rolling with him as it gave me time to think. Which, I've come to realize recently, has been one of my major hurdles in my jiu-jitsu. I've learned various techniques, but when it comes time to roll, it's just a scramble in my head. This week though, I don't know what it was, but I'm starting to think more clearly and see opportunites and have the technique at the forefront of my mind, right when it's needed. It's been a very exciting week with this happening :-) Chris and I never submitted each other. It was just one sweep after another for both of us. I found myself in positions that I know of, but have never been formally trained in: spider guard mostly. Tried a few sweeps I've watched quite a few times online, but was only able to get one of them to work. Then I rolled with Greg. Greg is another guy who I train with that has at least 40lbs on me. Just a short, stalky guy with a very large neck. Mel set rules on our match since he outweighed me by so much haha He said that he was only able to submit me from the bottom, or execute a successful sweep to submit me from the top. This way he couldn't just plow into me sending me straight to my back. Greg is a really good blue belt, and is really good at taming it down just enough to give me a challenge, but not dominate me. I was never able to execute a proper sweep on him because I was couldn't get the proper positioning. A lot of this had to do with him outweighing me and me just being so damn scrawny lol I was able to roll him a few times as he tried submitting me from the top though. My side control is improving since going over the side control escapes the other night. I'm able to keep one step ahead easier now, having a better idea as to what my opponent is trying to do. He ended up submitting me once with a triangle choke from the top.
I received my first stripe tonight, which was a great way to end the night :-) It's a good feeling knowing that while I get frustrated at times, my instructor recognizes progression in my jiu-jitsu skills.