Training update, more stand up and thoughts on judo

Training stats:

I just had a look on how training went during the first quarter of 2014 and I have to say I am quite happy. On March 30th I am at 58 training sessions so far compared with 52 last year. This translates to around 4,5 training sessions per week and 235 per year. I know it might not sound as much, but people who don't track their training often think they are training more than they are in reality.

It has not been easy staying as active with a full time job and a dog I have to look after. What makes me even more satisfied, is the split per training type:

- I did more nogi Q1 of 2014 than Q1 of 2013. % of nogi training up to 21% from 17%
- I have also forced myself again to do more stand up than last year. % of stand up training went up to 21% from 17% as well.

Looking at the training type break down, I still feel that the share of takedown training is too low for my liking. I find it very valuable for self defense, cardio training, scrambling ability and even competition as I compete in middle/medium heavy. I would like to see the rate go up to 25% or so.

Starting judo:

What I have done to achieve the increase in takedown training is start judo (or actually go back after a break of 15-20 years). So far, training judo has been a pleasant surprise as we have focused a lot on foot work and foot sweeps like the kouchi gari and ouchi gari. These techniques are very good for jiu jitsu as you don't risk giving up your back from the turtle if it fails. What has been very eye-opening for me has been the focus on the tackle or off-balancing with these techniques. I think that in general bjj practitioners do not sufficiently focus on what is going before the actual trip with the kouchis and ouchis.

Jiu jitsu practitioners also tend to stay really stationary and in poor posture to avoid letting the guy shoot for the legs etc. Poor posture meaning bending over at the waist (see picture). If the grips are in place, it can be very frustrating to find a window for a trip, throw or single leg. However, what I have realised that once you start taking quick steps to one direction instead of being stationary, your opponent has to become more upright. this is because he can not move as fast as you if he is trying to imitate a hunchback at the same time. Result of moving around should be a more active takedown battle instead of a stalling fiesta.

Common Bjj stalling posture for stand up

Besides learning how to walk around and training trips I've actually started thinking more about what is important in adapting judo for bjj. I think one of most important things for adaptation is to make attempting throws less risky. Foot sweeps and single legs/ double legs are much more common, partly because you're not screwed if you miss it.

What I am trying to do in my training now is if a try to learn a major throw, I choose one where I don't have to let go of my opponent's collar. This is because, if the throw fails completely, I still might be able to square back up with my opponent by pushing with the collar grip. It my sound like a slim chance but actually the opponent often puts his weight so back to avoid the throw that you can square back up with him from a failed throw as long as you have the collar grip.

Throws that fall into this category are the morote seio nage, the "reverse" ippon seio and I guess the uchi mata at least. I don't know if it is a coincidence, but Rodolfo Vieira's main throw is a (cross collar) morote.

Rodolfo prefers the morote and doesn't let go of the collar

Going to Zurich open:

Another thing I have to mention is that I will be going to Zurich Open to compete on May 10th. Unfortunately it is only a gi competition as I am trying to do one nogi competition this year as well. Anyways, really looking forward to it and the cost was reasonable as I am staying in my friend Sebi's house who was also with me in Rio de Janeiro a while ago. Should be fun.

I am currently also trying to put together more material on Luiz Panza's fascinating hip float attacks but it seems to take longer than expected


Luiz Panza leg locks and entries

Luiz Panza is a heavyweight from Barbosa jiu jitsu I have been studying for a while. I think I first noticed him sparring against Rafael Mendes on mendesbros.com. Then I read somewhere that Panza's specialty was leg attacks and got interested. As I am trying to get better at leg locks, watching Panza became a top priority.

His most noticable achievement is winning the nogi pans in 2013 at the heavyweight category (when I started writing this). Overall his style which includes a lot of closed guard, inversions, 5050 guard and foot locks seems to translate very easily to nogi competition. As I was writing this I noticed that he also won the gi pan ams this weekend, beating Bernardo Faria in the final with an arm lock after an oma plata escape. For me this was still one of the big upsets of the tournament.

Entering foot locks and 5050 by inverting

There isn't a whole lot of material on Panza but looking at what we have, two things stand out. Firstly, the floating guard attacks such as triangles and armbars and secondly his foot locks. I will cover the floating guard later.

The foot lock set ups mostly seem to consist of Panza inverting from open guard, de la riva or half guard to a knee bar attempt position and potentially all the way through to 5050 guard if the opponent maintains his base. Panza mentions closed guard as his favourite so I imagine he inverts from there as well despite the lack of material.

From 5050 he will mostly attempt an ankle lock on the leg trapped inside the 5050. The attack was popularised by Rodrigo Cavaca who used it successfully in many competitions. One key difference between Cavaca and Panza seems to be that Panza looks to create more distance and leverage by placing one of both his feet on his opponent's hips. This means he has to open the 5050 guard to achieve this and sacrifice some control for the additional leverage.

Check this compilation of Panza's inversion entries to 5050 and foot locks I made:

Especially in the heavier weight classes it is not always possible to roll to foot locks and 5050 like this because opponents tend to pass low using pressure. A good solution for this problem is to make the opponent posture up as a response to a arm bar, triangle or oma plata attempt and force him to expose his legs this way. I think it is no coincidence that Panza has excellent triangles and arm barm from his "floating guard" which I will cover later. Although a foot lock after inversion wasn't the move that ended the match, this set up was what we saw against Bernardo Faria in the pan ams finals.

Sequence against Bernardo Faria in the Pan Ams


Training frequency up from last year

I just wanted to check my log how my training has started for 2014 and it seems I am doing ok. Until March 8th this year I've had 43 training sessions when last year I had 38. Nice! It's almost exactly 4,5 times a week and I am not counting the beginner's class I am teaching every Wednesday.

What is also working out is that I am training a lot of nogi and nogi takedowns. This is definitely the area that has been improving the most for me. I am still going to do at least one nogi competition this year but don't know when.

What is not so nice, is that I am doing almost zero leg locks apart from a few knee bar entries from half guard top. I just feel really cheap going after them in training. I tend to feel that they are not "honest" submissions whale rolling but when it comes to competition, I definitely wish I had better leg locks. At least I should train them if I am going to compete at brown belt one day. I guess this issue is fairly common but I don't feel the same about wrist locks for example which is weird.

Though about getting this app to get me to focus more on attacking the legs:

Legal leg locks app for Android

I am considering starting using some pre-workout stimulant for my training sessions. It has been tough at work and sometimes I feel really drained when I go train. This might hinder me getting all I could out of it. My roommate in Brazil had some crazy night protein from Musclepharm (lame UFC brand) and apparently they carry this pre-work supplement called Assault which I might try. The Assault comes in pretty ridiculous flavours such as "Blue Arctic Blueberry", "Raspberry lemonade" and "Fruit punch" which suits me just fine.

What I have to share is also that I picked up a new defensive technique to my arsenal. I rarely pick up any new stuff anymore so it is always noteworthy. It is a not so simple North South kimura escape that takes care of the arm bar option as well. I'll film it for the blog when I get better at it