Friday, May 29, 2009

MMA, Muay Thai, BJJ - Friday

Dave "Loco Pony" Charbonneau (sp?) and Scott Eckert are getting ready for their MMA figths in a few weeks, so we did some light MMA sparring. I like this stuff. I'm not great at the clinching, but I'm starting to time catching kicks and stuff like that. The ground stuff is really good because it "keeps you honest," so to speak.

Muay Thai - absorbing the kick and going into a combination of your own. I've got to stop dropping my hands when throwing a lead hook, but otherwise, I think I got the combo pretty well.

BJJ - light class. Cool. Rolled to warm up, several rounds. Tommy competes in a week, so I'm pleased to report that he feels as ready as ever to rip seven guys apart on the way to a gold medal in LA. Kevin Santi, an old friend, stopped in to train as well. Glenn and Big Jus partnered for technique, and I got to roll three or four times with everyone there.

Thursday - Richmond BJJ noon

Noon class downtown was fun. Another 14 or 15 person day class, plus an intro. Basic stuff to warm up, then high bite to sweep to armlock, then stack counter to belly-down finish. Rolled a few times with Dax at the end and maybe a little more (can't remember).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday competition prep, and other stuff

Wednesday's 2 PM class (actually gets started around 1:30 PM) was once again a great workout. I may consider changing the name of the class to "competition training" or "advanced gi class." It's not an easy class, and I love the way the flow works - there's no resting between rounds except to find another partner. Water breaks are assigned every five rounds or so, so students learn to pace themselves.

Gordon Emery came down from Charlottesville again and brought Nick (Sponge). It's really great to train with Gordon and see his progress. I was able to give him a couple tips on improving 2 or 3 specific situations, and he was able to press the pace and beat me up a little. Parker and Tommy got to train with Gordon as well, which is really important for them. Gordon's their size, and they compete next weekend. They're looking good. Snake is continuing to work on smashing from the top and staying there. He's starting to figure it out.

Klint from Mechanicsville Martial Arts came in again. Klint continues to be one of my best training partners. We can flow quite a bit when we're rolling without turning it up much, but both of us figures things out and gets a lot out of the roll. MikeByrd came with. All told, there were probably 20 people on the mats again.

I ran the Muay Thai class as a cardio intensive workout since Cornell is recovering from an eye injury (he'll be back training tomorrow, but needs to sit tight for a couple days). I don't mind doing this from time to time as long as the classes are small (not a problem this time).

No-gi: surprisingly small class for a Wednesday night. Vince and I had a 20 minute round at the end, and I rolled with Parker, Justin, and Jason (who's back from being tied up by work and/or other various excuses). Arm-in guillotine and the Sao Paulo pass.

Tuesday travels

Headed up to Fifty/50 BJJ to train with Ryan, Seph, Luis P. Klint, MikeByrd, and Snake came along for the ride. 2 hours or so of non-stop 8 minute rounds. Lots of these guys are getting ready for the Mundial next weekend, so I'm glad I can help them get ready and get some really good training in myself.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just another not-so-manic Monday

Private lesson at 4:30, then basics class (rolling to warm up, then headlock escapes). Group class: brabo with the gi from closed guard. Mean stuff. Ahhhh.

Good rolling with Vince, Brian, Chrissy, Big Mark, and a few others.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In-house team tournament

My gym hosted our team's third in-house team tournament. Attendance was crushed this time by Memorial Day weekend, but we had some great matches and the 25 or so competitors had fun and got a little more competition experience (some people's first ever).

Tommy and Fred had a really good match in the blue absolute, with Fred hitting a deep half guard sweep (he's been working on that) to even the score at 2-2. Fred was able to finish with an Ezekiel choke for the win! Tommy and Parker went 1-1, with both guys learning a lesson on strategy. This bodes really well for the worlds.

Lo vs Tyler - Chrissy on the scoring table with spectators in the background.

Devin and Tommy - Devin will represent the team at featherweight (pena - up to 154 with the gi) and Tommy will represent at lightweight (leve - up to 167.5 with the gi). This match was good for both guys.

Dax is a beast who will be good once he learns to relax. He's physically strong and fast, and he learns pretty quickly.

Burdo and I. The atmosphere was very positive, and everyone who competed seemed to have a really good time, getting valuable experience.

Saturday noon class

Revolution BJJ - my gym. Noon class brought visitors from Winchester - George Wehby, who has reffed numerous times for U.S. Grappling, and his student, Eddie. George is a brown belt who runs MMA Institute of Winchester. I gave Trey a heads up that George would be there, so we did a lot of rolling (me, Trey, George, and Thomas from YJJ RVA). Karl and Scott Saslaw drilled basics while we were rolling, then joined us. Good rolling.

The UFC was a better card than I can remember for a long time. Lyoto Machida beat Rashad Evans with superior everything. Matt Hughes and Matt Serra had a war - I saw it as Hughes being way better at MMA than Serra, but Serra really, really wanting to win and dedicating his life to beating Hughes. He came damn close. Grappling was... meh, as per usual, this time around.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Trained with Klint, MikeByrd, Todd Brooks, and a couple other guys at Klint's gym during the morning. Abmar was supposedly coming out, but he had to head back to northern Virgina instead.

Muay Thai: 6 PM. Focus once again was on kicks. Lots and lots of kicks.

Jiu jitsu: 7 PM. Full class on a Friday; pretty weird. Only 2 blue belts, though - Chrissy and Justin. We worked on the closed guard X-choke series (finishing with the armlock). Situational sparring, then almost everyone left (I just rolled with Brian Linzy, Brian Maltby, and Chrissy).

Abmar Barbosa

Thursday day class at Richmond BJJ was packed (for a day class, anyway). I covered basic cross chokes from the guard and an armlock, and had everyone spar situationally. After class, I rolled with the usual crew, plus Curt, who is sticking around at the end of classes every time. He'll be good if his level of dedication remains. Parker and Dax were as game as ever.

Thursday night brought Abmar Barbosa, multiple time Brasiliero champion, 2007 Pan Am brown belt absolute champion, and now one of the up and coming world class black belts. Abmar's instructor and team is 2007 ADCC absolute champion Robert Drysdale.

Abmar showed some really cool stuff at his seminar at Yamasaki RVA. Afterward, there was a review of the techniques where we drilled them all. I rolled with Abmar for ten minutes (always humbling), where he pretty much played with me the whole time and worked on some things.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Another long day at Revolution BJJ. Day training brought Gordon from Charlottesville BJJ along with two of his students, Nick and Cynthia Myers. Gordon continues to be very technical and a great training partner for me. Nick is a solid blue belt who's tough and smart enough to adapt quickly and learn. Cynthia is a very tough and technical blue belt, and a great training partner for Liz and Lo.

Muay Thai - worked on the kicks. Gotta get that hip into it.

No-gi - closed guard when your opponent stands. Good basic stuff (push sweep and star sweep) and a kneebar setup. Rolled with Vince to close out the day. I was mighty tired at the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Day: Noon class at Richmond BJJ. Burdo showed some good details on - guess what - closed guard basics, and then a back take that Carlson Gracie Jr showed in MD the previous week. This stuff fits really well in my jiu jitsu game. I rolled with Gary Nimmo for the first time in a while (beast 185 blue belt), and Dax twice, Ferguson, Dave Phinney, and Burdo (I think that was it).

Night: No-gi at RBJJ. Closed guard guillotine (standard and arm-in) to warm up, then back take to RNC and armlock (with the variation Vince likes to use to finish). Rolled with a couple guys who were in town with the military who apparently kinda sorta train somewhere, and Ivan, who is tough, and Liz, who is tiny. I wanna say I rolled with a few more people, but it's tough to say.


Jiu jitsu. Private lesson at 4:30 PM, basics class at 6 PM (had James from Patrick Henry try a class). Very basic closed guard stuff, including a few details on the Kimura and hip sweep, plus the triangle from there.

7 PM class: closed guard basics to warm up followed by cross-grip stuff from closed guard (one of my favorite series). Rolling: Tommy, Devin, Greg Hoder, Vince, etc. I probably got about 45 minutes in at the end, which isn't bad, but it's not ideal for me, either. Wednesday and Thursday will be a lot better this week, though.

Referee certification (U.S. Grappling)

Sunday was a very good day for our tournament. At noon, we had the meet and greet for the referee candidates (some have reffed for us before and are just brushing up, but some are very new to reffing). We exhaustively went over the rules, scoring scenarios, legal and illegal techniques for each division, and the refs scored two video matches on paper. Finally, it was time for live reffing. Every ref made mistakes, but rose to the occasion and learned a great deal from the clinic.

It doesn't get better than the six hours we spent on Sunday to prepare referees for the live experience of reffing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

3 hours of Muay Thai with Jarrett Church

Excellent seminar today by Jarrett. The mAn knows his martial arts. Not only is Jarrett a BJJ Revolution black belt (got his belt from Julio, same as me), and really, really good at jiu jitsu, he's amazing at Muay Thai kickboxing, and he knows how to share his knowledge with a class. We worked lots of clinchwork today, an area of Muay Thai where I feel relatively comfortable.

We finished with 20 minutes of clinch sparring with burpees in between rounds. Tough workout, and a great seminar.

Friday night

No MMA training tonight, since original Richmond BJJ Muay Thai instructor Jarrett Church was to do a MT seminar downtown tomorrow.

The energy level in class was really high. Slipping punches is becoming one of my favorite things to work on, and I'm starting to get it - just a bend of the knees and a pivot, no dropping my head at all. Endurance was tough but merciful.

BJJ rolling: Tommy brought his brother Bobby back in. I think he'll sign up. Tommy is continuing his tight game play. I'm confident he'll bring home a medal from the worlds.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday - Richmond BJJ noon

Once again, the day class at Richmond BJJ was hopping. A dozen people in your gym for a noon class is pretty encouraging. The energy level is high, and it makes you happy to be doing jiu jitsu on a sunny afternoon.

Closed guard - De la Riva's sweep from five years ago, and how to open the closed guard correctly, then situational sparring. Devin's knee got hurt, so that sucks. Hope he's OK. Everyone rolled well, made lots of mistakes, learned from it. Curt was there, so I rolled with him at the end of class, along with Dax and Parker. Parker tapped me with an armlock. That's a good sign that he's getting ready for the worlds.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


This is my gym on a Wednesday, during a more sparse moment (thanks for taking the picture, Klint!). K-Rad (Klint Radwani) from Mechanicsville Martial Arts (YJJ RVA) was there, along with Ryan Hall, Seph Smith, Jen Flannery, Fredson Duff, Eddie McCummisky, Parker, Tommy, Thomas from YJJ, and a smattering of others. I got to train with nearly everyone, and several more than once. At the end of the workout, I showed a basic setup from closed guard to the back (from the wristlock).

Muay Thai - switch kick. Grrr... that's all I'm going to say for now. Once I've been doing it for a few years, I'm sure it'll be natural...

No-gi - had an intro, so the technique was basic - straight armlock to triangle, and the shoulder lock/straight armlock variations. Worked with Parker on leglocks afterward (read as: tapped him a lot while I still can). He'll be very good with them in about a year, I think. Brian Maltby continues to improve... he's still spazzy, but starting to relax as he has an idea of what to do from each position. Bjorn is tiny and will be really good in another year or so.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday and Tuesday

Monday night:
Revolution BJJ. Home sweet gym.

4:30 PM private lesson, 6 PM basics (taking the back and finishing), and 7 PM class (closed guard). Rolled with Devin and Tommy, getting them ready for the worlds and giving them a few tips, and Greg Hoder, Vince, and several others.

Tuesday night, I paid Trey's gym a visit. Trey was banged up, but I got to roll with Russ "Meat Blanket" Helm and a few of Trey's white belts, including Joss, who is going to be really good, I think. I stopped by Richmond BJJ to roll no-gi with Dave and Scott (getting ready to fight) and some other students.

Monday, May 11, 2009

U.S. Grappling rules: straight footlock legality

Chrissy took some pics a few weeks ago for use on the U.S. Grappling rules page. I'll do my best do describe some of the submission legality and point scoring issues we shot.

The legality of the "footlock," or straight ankle lock, is perhaps the most common area of confusion in all of BJJ and submission grappling rules. Below are several examples of legal methods by which to apply the footlock vs illegal methods.


Note: you must fall to the same side as the leg you are attacking.

Note: my foot rests on my partner's hip and my toes point outward.

Crossing your feet outside is OK.

Finishing belly-down is OK.

Finishing the cross-body ankle lock is OK, provided you fall to the same side as the foot you are attacking.


Note: the plane of my partner's hip is breached. This is called "reaping the knee," and jeopardizes the safety of his knee. This is never allowed in the gi, and is only allowed in no-gi advanced divisions.

This is illegal. You must fall to the same side of the leg you are attacking. This is never legal with the gi, and is legal for no-gi advanced only.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday open mat (5/10/09)

Klint Radwani stopped by once again to roll, along with MikeByrd "the MikeByrd" MikeByrd. Rolling with Klint is always good for me. Today, Klint beat me up a little. I was playing very lazy, but that's good to do with high level guys sometimes, and it was a fun roll. MikeByrd continues to improve.

Vince is always a pleasure and a challenge, and still remains my top student. He rolls more like me than anyone else.

Tyler from YJJ was there to train as well as Big Jus, Dax, Curt (new), and Daniel from downtown (tiny).

Here's Cobrinha vs Rafael Mendes in a very strategic match:

Saturday's tournament - Copa NoVA

We (U.S. Grappling) handled bracketing for the Copa NoVA, a local tournament in northern Virginia. The tournament was.... long. Brackets were done by 11:15 AM, though, so we definitely did our part par excellence.

Big Jus had his first competition experience as a blue belt, losing his first match by choke, then coming back to win his second by passing the guy's guard with like 30 seconds left. Good experience for sure! It's great when my students can walk away from a tournament with at least one loss as well as one win. Justin brought home a silver for his effort.

Jay Rollins from downtown had his first competition (apart from the team comp last December). Jay doesn't know much, and he's only been consistent downtown for about 3 months now. He notched up 3 wins, though, and definitely learned a lot (even in the middle of the matches! Great job listening). Jay ended up taking 3rd in his gi division.

It was cool being able to focus so much on coaching for a change. Since all we were doing was brackets, I was able to do this. I was especially glad to coach Cynthia in her seven matches. She did great, tapping all but one girl, and "avenged" her only loss of the day with a nice heel hook. The apple does not fall far from the tree, it seems. I'm proud of her.

Friday: MMA/grappling, MT, BJJ

I just helped out and rolled this time for MMA training. Gene and Scott tired each other out on the feet, then I rolled with them a little before Muay Thai.

Class was pretty tough, with a couple non-endurance-rounds (sic) that were tough. The hook punch still eludes me a little.

Jiu jitsu: Tommy is on point. He should medal at the worlds. Bjorn is really coming along. As a smaller white belt, that's got to be tough.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thursday - Richmond BJJ noon

Solid afternoon turnout. Dave "Loco Pony" Charbonneau and I rolled a couple rounds at the end of class. Dave is getting ready to fight in June, so it's good to watch him up his strategy and intensity a little in training. He's going to do really well.

I worked from the closed guard once again, this time focusing on a wristlock to set up the overhook control position. We had a brand new dude, Cody's roommate. He picked up on things and by the end of class was turning Gary Nimmo's head purple with his triangle. Eddie McCummisky is in town and got to train. He's fun to roll with, even though he's a rusty new-ish purple belt.

Nighttime: U.S. Grappling strategy meeting (or something else that sounds equally important).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

mAn day

Wednesday (mAn day) brought the usual day class: 2 hours of rolling non-stop (six minute rounds with 30 seconds between each round) followed by brief technique at the end based on what everyone needs the most help with. I spent 20 minutes at the beginning with Thomas from YJJ, then everyone showed up - Gordon from Charlottesville BJJ (head instructor there, purple belt) came and brought his new blue belt, Daniel. I got to roll with Gordon four times. Gordon has a lot of talent, and plays a very different game than I'm used to, so it was really good training with him. Daniel is really good on the feet as well, and we did a round at the end starting on the feet. Snake, Devin, Antoni, Lo, Bryan, and a few others rounded out the class.

Muay Thai came very soon, right after I picked up the Diamond State Games posters. They look sharp. Cornell's class: lead foot jab, then catching the lead foot jab and countering. Foot jab endurance round. I likes me some foot jab.

No-gi class: closed guard focus continued with the high bite armlock and defense against the stack. Chris Lombard and Brian Maltby are coming along, although the "new Merrett" has a long way to go towards calming down. Lendo was there again, and Vince and I had a really good, fun round to close things out.

No-gi downtown

Trained downtown at Richmond BJJ. We did no-gi. Burdo showed a reverse omoplata finish that I enjoy using but I'm not very good at yet. Rolled with Burdo, Cynthia, Jarrod, and a bunch of new guys for a good, light Tuesday workout.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Another Monday at my gym. Private @ 4:30 PM, then basics class. Lots of rolling this time, since the class was small, with an informal question and answer session along the way.

7 PM class: closed guard focus. Light, basic drills to warm up, technique, and lots of rolling (Vince, Cynthia, Tommy, Devin, Justin, Antoni, and Karl).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday open mat (5/3/09)

Sunday's open mat at Revolution BJJ was, like always, a fun one.

I got to train with Russ (brown belt), Vince, Cynthia (my girlfriend, blurple belt), Chrissy, Brain, Lo, Dax, Bryan Moore, Parker, and a few others: Gi for about an hour and a half, then no-gi for about an hour.

I've been working on the above entry into 50/50 that Cobrinha uses to sweep Guilherme Mendez. Got it a few times on Sunday, but it still needs a little work. I really like what he does with the omoplata (cross sleeve entry) into the leg entanglement.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday's tournament

The Pendergras Classic no-gi tournament went really well. USG handled the bracketing, and the first matches were underway a little after 11 AM. The last matches were at 5 PM.

Parker won his advanced division, tapping a brown belt and a tough dude along the way. He was beaten by a very game and experienced brown belt named Jake Whitfield in the absolute division. I've fought Jake before, and he's a really nice kid, very technical. We always had fun rolls, and I'm sure that Parker will beat him eventually.

Trey beat Bumpkin in his division, then his knee sort of wonked out while he was grappling with Brandon Garner, a very technical brown belt from N.C.

Brian (Brain) had a couple pretty tough matches against Lamonte Tyler (brown belt) and Brandon Tackett (blue?) from Team ROC, who both were eventually able to tap Brian. He went straight from bracketing to the matches, though, with no warm up, and fought far more experienced guys, so props to him for competing and getting the experience.

I only had one match with a tough wrestler kid from Greenville. I played around a lot in the match, getting the Kimura grip and actually kind of getting a verbal submission, but letting the grip go. To Jeremy's credit, he did get my back briefly (I made sure he had both hooks in, doing a Rick Migliarese-style straight armlock from the back). I escaped and finished him with a banana split, so I felt OK about the match.

All in all, U.S. Grappling (Brian, Chrissy, and I) did a great job keeping the tournament going. We'll need more mats for the next one for sure.

Friday: MMA/grappling, MT, BJJ

I decided on Thursday that I was going to compete in Saturday's Pendergrass Tournament run by us (U.S. Grappling), so I didn't do any MMA sparring, but rather rolled with the guys (Scott, Gene, Thomas, Devin). Scott had us do more knees from blocking a right hook (plumb) and then a light endurance round. Jiu jitsu was all about rolling with Tommy, Devin, and Lendo, with a top secret ninja death technique at the end.