Tag Archives: take downs

Team Training

Yesterday was our Team Training, in preparation to compete at Pan Games and Worlds. It was a good session, people were supportive of one another, training hard and doing well. We started with warm ups, did takedown drills, drilled the arm bar and omoplata, then onto positional training. After that we did live training, and finished with some conditioning with a kettlebell.

It was a good training session all around. I started to work on a variation to get from cross-side to knee-in-belly, since I tend to have just one solution it seems to advance.

Other than that, not much to tell: we run a fundraiser every year to get people to the tournament, and this year we even have a website for it!

I’ll have more for tomorrow after training this evening!



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Sensei Bungee

So this week instead of sparring in Judo I have been practicing with what is quickly becoming a good friend of mine, sensei bungee. Our instructor John showed us how to use it, and has promised to attach some cords at the bottom for a greater variety of throws.

At our academy a number of hooks, with all the proper support of course, are attached the wall, with bungee cords looped through to practice particular judo throws without a partner. The tension in the cord is enough to pull you off balance if your form is not correct, so it forces you to maintain proper form and force, without the pressure of feeling like you are taking up all your uke’s time just thinking about where you are putting your feet.

Here is a photo of John practicing a throw (not sure which one, sorry) I sorta stole from Facebook 🙂

It’s a good way to practice without needing a partner and to get some drilling time in, and I look forward to using it more honestly.

Are there any fun contraptions at your gym/academy?



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Sprawling Drill Video

Courtesy of our dear friend, Lex, you all get to see me and fellow teammates play with a bunch of exercise balls! Yay!

Our instructor John decided we should practice sprawling, and so we the point of the drill was to roll the ball towards your partner so they could sprawl on it. If the ball hit the leading leg, you were technically “taken down”.

We were also told to make it a little difficult and try to fake out our partner, which  is why we keep faking left and right, in some attempt to be sneaky and “take” our opponent down.

And, if nothing else, you get to see us act like a bunch of asses for a little over a minute. Enjoy!

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The No-Gi Run Down


Actually I’m pretty exhausted, but still working to remain upbeat about today. Yay!

The only time I have been able to make it to class this week was for a no-gi class on Tuesday, but we learned some good stuff: considering our past no-gi sessions have been more Team Training with a smattering of technique instruction this was a nice transition. It has already been decided that there will be minimal ground instruction, but not due to laziness, but because we are a school that believes in the idea that no-gi is more just gi jiu jitsu but without the grips. That’s a philosophy I can get down with.

We worked on double leg takedowns, specifically a single leg set-up that led into a double, a more traditional double leg set-up and follow through, and then we worked on a reverse guillotine/rear naked choke deal in the north-south position that we transitioned from cross-side along with the bottom person’s underhook in.

If that doesn’t make sense, by all means tell me.

I am not in the habit of shooting for single or doubles, so it was of course awkward, and kind of funny, but I imagine after a couple of weeks of practice my take-downs won’t be so laughably pathetic. I think.

Training went fairly well: I haven’t done any no-gi recently, so it was kind of awkward, but during training I worked half guard, full guard, on hand placement, and you know, not grabbing the pants. Only real downer is that my right side has been sore since that night. Boo.

So, next week should be interesting, and on an unrelated note I have been gathering resources on what to do to cover a black eye, so keep an eye out for that post.

Until then!

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Team Training

I would like to state for the record I find 5 hr energy drinks gross as all hell.

But I totally drank one last night in the hopes I could make it through the evening.

Max wanted to drill a couple of things before team training, so we got to the gym a little earlier and worked on some cross-side and mount escapes. We did team training after that, which we did some warm-ups, armbar and omoplata drills, some positional training again and then did some matches. We aren’t doing much in the learning positions realm of things due to the tournament this Saturday. Learning is good, but realistically no one will learn something Wednesday and use it Saturday: now is the time to use what you know and work on your game plan with what you have been practicing up to this point.

Frankly I was so spent from the night before that I didn’t think about anything: I tried a couple of things with open guard, when a person is standing in front of you, sitting up and holding onto one of the legs to either get a single leg take-down, or pulling on the one leg to get the person to narrow their stance, so you can grab the other leg and force them to fall over. The tricky bit is getting far enough to your side to make sure they cannot face you, push their knee forward and force you onto your back, giving them the advantage to pass the guard.

Other than that, most of the night was kind of a blur of sweat and moving to get into the best position possible in each match.

Oh! and Max got a stripe! Yay!

Next up, purple belts for us! ::gulp::


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Jiu Jitsu in the Office

We talk about it in Jiu Jitsu, but it is a glorious day when it clicks outside in the real world: minimum effort, maximum effect.  And you know what I mean, not just skating by with the least effort required to make sure you don’t get in trouble, I mean using your time and efforts in a precise, efficient manner to get  the most done in the least amount of time, making you feel all productive-and-stuff.

And just like on the mat, off the mat it doesn’t always happen. That nifty plan of action you had for the day crashed and burned 1/2 way through, and you are scrambling to put your day back together in some sort of cobbled together, Frankstein-ish fashion to get at least a couple of things crossed off of your to-do list. But, it’s key to remember that you not only tried, but to recognize what went wrong: sometimes there are things that are just beyond your control in both realms: the person you compete against or train with was taught a move you don’t know = copier suddenly deciding “hey, I’m going to have this error that no one outside of a copier technician or an extensive knowledge of my manual knows how to fix.”

And then there are things that are mistakes on a personal end, and some in their general description sound similar on and off the mat: hesitation, focusing on the wrong element of a bigger picture, thinking you have more time than you really do.

Sound familiar?

The key thing to take from both situations, in my opinion, is the opportunity to grow, learn, and get better. You tried, and that is a huge part of the equation. Life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if we continually aced everything, nor would your successes be as sweet and rewarding. So, keep working at some of that Office Jiu Jitsu and someday you’ll get it.

And remember, no take downs by the water cooler.

Oh, and I have a question for y’all: has anyone here tried a Fenom Kimono? I’m curious as to what people think about this brand.

Have a great weekend, and see you Monday!


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There’s No Laughing In Kata!

I went to Kata (specifically Nage No Kata)Class a few days ago, which our Judo peoples offer once a week, so it’s not all just competitive Judo, there’s a serious study and reflection on the techniques being taught and used.

Why is a jiu jitsu gal messing with Judo? Well, I’m not a fan of jumping guard as I tend to slam myself onto my back, more and more men and women are cross training between the two, and it’s a great way to learn some takedowns (and hip throws can be really pretty).

Anyway, in case you have no idea what I am talking about, Nage No Kata a formalized version of the different Judo throws, 5 sets of them, to be precise. You can read all about it here: Wikipedia. There is a level of seriousness and intent that is meant in all the actions you perform during this kata. And there is absolutely no laughing, giggling or snickering during the serious, Japanese Tea Ceremony-like activity.

This is the guy that is known as the founder of Judo (Jigoro Kano), and I don’t get the impression that his nickname was “Chuckles”:



I admit, I giggled. Probably a lot more than I should have. But as I have mentioned plenty of times before, this is choreography of the martial arts kind. And I’m pretty bad with choreography, and there was no beat provided so my natural sense of rhythm couldn’t save me. So, I looked like a jackass. And I laughed about it.

But there’s No Laughing in Kata!

I was in the middle of practicing with another judoka with the form of Kata Guruma; in which the thrower (tori) is to enter into the throw after the initial appropriate 2 steps (for grip, then off balance) is to hold the throwee (uke) aloft for a second or two, then to flip them to the ground for the completion of the throw.

After we completed a rather lovely Uchi-Komi (fit in, aka practice or not for realsies throw) I commented that it was “like Motha F*ckin’ Swan Lake”

No! Laughing! In Kata!

…I’m not very good at this game.

We were eventually able to make through the rest of the sets and practice, but I have a feeling that I am going to need a lot more discipline to not be as rowdy as a twelve year old in the back of Math class.

Maybe if I had Tom Hanks yelling at me I would get myself in gear…hm….


There's No Laughing In Kata!


(photo borrowed from a sports website, who took it from the awesomeness of the film ‘A League of Their Own’)

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Judo Kata and Running on Empty

This week has been particularly rough on me, it feels, although that could totally just be a figment of my imagination.

Monday was Kettlebells, Jiu Jitsu, then Judo, in which I bent back my middle fingernail. Not thinking this was important (and really, it shouldn’t have been) I kind of just let it go.

Cue to 2 in the morning Monday into Tuesday, where I STILL can’t fall asleep due to the INTENSE, PAINFUL THROBBING of said fingernail that was pulled back…apparently it was a little more serious then I first thought.

So, Sleep-Deprived Tuesday was fun, to say the least. I went in for Kata class, and actually got into a throwing drill with two other judokas before the actual class started. One was throwing a Seionage, and the other was working on their Tai Otoshi, while I practiced my long lost but never forgotten friend, Harai Goshi.

We did three rounds of throwing each other 10 times each, so we were all throwing 60 times and had to be thrown 60 times.

It was a hoot.

After that was Kata class, which was kind of silly, and a little frustrating, but in our academy is a requirement to advance to the next belt. I kind of promised one of the judokas that I would be there, and I definitely kept to my word, sleep deprived or not.

There are some benefits to Kata: it is extremely precise, and offers understanding to a number of throws that are common in Judo.  Kata is the nit-pickiest of nit pickey things in Judo: it’s not only do you have to throw the person, you have to exhibit complete control, the off-balance that creates the opportunity to throw, and the proper execution of the technique, requiring the proper footwork, hip and hand placement.

Oh, and you have to get up from the throws in a slow, purposeful manner as well, showing as the Uke (or one being thrown) that everything was done with intention, and you and your partner totally have this shit under control.

I wish I could say that I aced this, but it seems the only thing I am quite good at this somersaulting to the ground without breaking anything on my person. Go Team!

In my defense, this is only the second time I have ever been to a Kata class, the first time being nearly 2 years ago. So, all things considered, the class went all right.

And now I will take Kettlebells and Jiu Jitsu tonight, Open Mat and Judo (probably) tomorrow, and then some more Kettlebells and Jiu Jitsu on Friday.

I wish I could say I run this kind of schedule all the time, but one look at the scale says this is not a common occurrence (I think I would be able to eat a horse and not gain weight if this was really how my schedule ran). This is more my ideal schedule, in which I try to make arrangements around, but you know what they say about best-laid plans.

Mice attack them viciously, from what I hear.  😉

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Back to Work

Sure, it’s been fun celebrating and eating delicious hamburgers this weekend in celebration, but now it’s time to get back to work and clean up some parts of my technique: just because I won doesn’t mean there weren’t some problems, and some mistakes that could have really gotten me into trouble.

I’ve learned that you always learn more from your losses than from your wins, which I completely agree with; however it doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to be learned from your wins as well. Unless, you know, you did a flying armbar and tapped the person out in the first 10 seconds of the match. That one you should just leave alone and focus on other matches to see what needs to get better. 😉

I would like to focus a little more on jumping to the triangle in no-gi: it’s not something I work for too much, even in a gi setting, so that is definitely something that needs to be worked on. Take downs are definitely something that need to be worked on, and sitting into guard: while I did pretty well for this tournament,  there have been a number of cases where this has gotten me into a lot of trouble.

I also need to work on my balance in a number of positions: while I was quick enough to correct, it wasn’t until my coach was yelling that I was too far over and I needed to be more careful with my positioning, which I think I might be talking to him about in the next couple of days.

There are some more things, but those are the ones that were on the top of my head at the moment.

Getting a little off the subject, one of my medals will be hung in the gym, which I think is fair, but not in the way that you think, probably. Not because I think I’m super awesome and deserve the praise, but because it’s insane to think this was not a team win. I would say your training is about 55% internal, a personal fight and struggle: but the other 45% is most certainly a group effort.(and PS I’m totally pulling those percentages out of my ass-It all depends on the person, and how supportive your team is with your training-there is a lot of personal motivation that goes into this sport, but a very large portion is also a group effort that absolutely cannot be ignored)

Your teammates are right there with you, learning with you, training with you; your instructor is taking the time out to guide you and your technique in the right direction, as well as your greatest advocate when you are competing, taking your side when there is a bad call or a mistake in awarding points. I feel its fair because the medal is not only a symbol of your personal victory, but a recognition of the hard work and dedication everyone on the team put in.

And what academy doesn’t love a little extra bling on the walls? 😉

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Bringing Home 2 Gold Medals From The NAGA Tournament

Yay! Even though we got there a little late due to the heinous beach traffic that was working it’s way to the Jersey Shore (no, not that one, the other one) our team all got there in one piece, and brought home a butt-load of medals.

It was awesome.

My no-gi match was called a ‘super fight’ because there was only one other girl to fight, so we did and while we both did well, I won due to points, 6-0.

I didn’t try to any take downs, because honestly I don’t train that much in no-gi (I think the count of classes I’ve gone to can still be counted on both hands), but I played my game, I got in a sweep, and a number of submission attempts (including working for a triangle in the first minute or so), and even my instructor/coach said that it was very technical, which to me was the best compliment of the day.

For the gi division they actually found 2 other women to compete in the same division, so I did end up fighting the same girl again, who I won against due to points, and another girl who was a little taller than me, and also fought well, but in the end I caught her with a Bow and Arrow choke, while I was up on points, 12-0.

My other teammates also did an outstanding job, bringing home gold, silver, bronze and even a ridiculously big belt, which was not worn in public (unfortunately).  One downer was our purple belt girl was caught in a toe hold, but 1) we really don’t work on attacking the feet and 2) she really didn’t train all this week due to a minor sinus infection. There is always the next tournament though, and I look forward to snapping lots of pictures while she takes home the gold.

One thing I absolutely love about our team is that during the entire tournament we played really technical, actually very pretty jiu jitsu. Not that anyone means to do it, but there is such a prevalence of “truck-stop”, AKA “You owe me money, bitch” jiu jitsu; I know not all techniques are very pretty, but there are a number of techniques and alternatives that reflect more of the principle and art of the sport/self defense martial art. Our school tends to emphasis those techniques, and encourage people to train in that fashion, and I prefer it. It makes for better competition in my opinion, and all that more rewarding, win or lose, because you know that you played as best as your could.

One superficial, cosmetic question though: I know a lot of girls put their hair into cornrows to keep it from getting everywhere. but are there any other ways to tie everything back? I always look like a mess in competition photos, which I don’t care during the match, it’s just afterwards when I see the photos I say “Oh my…”

Any suggestions?

Here's looking at you, Kid


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