Failure is an option

Took a brain break at work yesterday and read through a past edition of the Harvard Business Review called “The Failure Issue.” The whole magazine was devoted to talking about failure, about learning from it, experiencing it, bouncing back from it, and more. Sure, it was mostly applied to business, but as everyone who does BJJ knows, jiu-jitsu is life. 😉

Things that I picked out: we’re too quick to condemn failure as “bad” even when we know we’re supposed to be learning from it, that the lessons we extract are usually about how not to fail at all the next time. When really we need to be seeing failure not as a bad thing, but as an acceptable (sure, not desirable) outcome. What did fail vs. what did actually succeed. Conversely, when something does succeed, is it an unqualified success or was it really a near-miss with a fair bit of luck? (If we don’t recognize that our success was actually a failure that just didn’t fail this time, then next time our success might fail, and then we’ll be stumped.) That we should see failure as local, as only related to this one thing, and not an inherent part of ourselves. (Heh. Hello, me.)

Fundamentals Class, BJJ

Small class. Warmup, then partnered up for 3-minute rounds of bump sweep. Worked with Bobby and Rob. Then 3-minute rounds of bump sweep followed by partner doing the scrape mount escape to half guard. Then 3-minute rounds of bump sweep with partner doing mount escape to half guard + Old School. (Hm, I seem to have missed something somehow. Well, at one point, different pairs were doing slightly different things, and there was an odd number so someone was sitting out. Sometimes me. All sorts of confused.) Finished off with armbars from the guard. My hips suddenly decided they were tired. Um, that’s bad.


Five of us tonight, so Tim had us do round-robin sparring all night, 2-minute rounds. Will went first; I started with him. That also left me as the last one in at the end. Rob, Will, Buddy, and Jon.

If nothing else, all the thoughts from the articles earlier helped me relax. I wasn’t anxious when I screwed up; I seemed quicker to move past mistakes and start moving to the next thing. So that’s something.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fundamentals Class

I wasn’t as late as I thought I would be, with having to pick up my car from the shop after work. (It needed a new battery. Bah.) Class was a little late starting, too, so that worked out well. Almost had all upper belts, but an equal number of white belts showed up at the last minute.

Started with armbars from the guard to warm up. Ugga, body and brain could not get it together for quite a while. Drilled with Sara. Then drilling was a continuation from there, if for some reason you can’t quite get that armbar locked up but you do have their arm. After drilling for a little bit, we did start adding a finish of some sort (chokes, mostly) at the end.


Rolling to warm up. With Tim.

Then drilled a sweep as a last-ditch effort when they’re passing your guard. We’ve done this before as they’re passing your butterfly guard; tonight was off a failed push-knee scissor sweep (i.e., they step over the bottom leg and hip down to start passing). So much of a timing thing. When you hit this one, you hit it good. When you screw it up even slightly, you know it.

Drilled with Sara again. Later in the drilling, we also added going to any kind of arm or choke finish (though I was still having plenty of problems with the sweep. Mostly timing.).

Then Tim split us into 3 groups of 3 for round-robin rounds. Two-minute rounds. With Sara and Trey. Not sure how many sets we did — three or four, maybe?

I’m off again tonight. Have a hair appointment, and then hopefully I can get to the email pile I have waiting for me! 😮 (For anyone who hasn’t heard back from me in a while, you’re on that list. Promise.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

I got some work done over the weekend, and I’m trying very hard to get enough done before tomorrow night so that I don’t have to miss class. There’s a meeting scheduled for 6pm – 10:30 pm tomorrow night and Wednesday night at work, but if I can close out enough of my tickets or get them to a place where I’m not the bottleneck, then I should be able to make class. I have a hair appointment tomorrow night and kids’ class on Wednesday; if I absolutely have to go to the meeting, then I can go to each of those first and then go back in to work. But that would not be fun, so I don’t want to.

Will got in early tonight. He asked another guy to roll, but the guy turned him down and said he needed to warm up first (??), so I rolled with Will instead. And… I left my grapply in my other pants, *le sigh*. So slow, so wrong, so loose and sloppy. No pressure. Waltzed right in to lots of things that I should ought to know were bad ideas. Pffft. He got a kimura on my left arm; the arm bent much further tonight — but still not all the way — before the popped elbow protested. (He thought he had the other one again. Maybe I should put some tape around that one just to mark it.) I forgot all about the other guy wanting to come in halfway through, though, and kept Will to myself until time for class.

We warmed up with armbars from guard. Worked with Sarah and Theresa. Mine are awful again. Then a round of rolling, with Theresa.

Drilling was headlock escapes. Guy has scarf hold, but has his top arm around only your head and is just trying to crank on you there. (“Redneck headlock,” Tim calls it. There were lots of these during Yoshi’s fights, and no one could escape.)

Drilled these with Theresa. I think I was muscling them all, but I couldn’t tell. Then on the wall, and we did a King of the Hill with the headlock escapes. I couldn’t figure out how, as the person on top, that I was supposed to “win.” Reversed quickly every time, though. There was a large class tonight, but there were only a few of us who would run out there to try. One more round of rolling, and I was put with Theresa. Then on the wall again for a few conditioning drills.

Karate College ’09

The guys first decided we would leave this morning (Friday), then decided today to leave Saturday morning instead. So, after talking to them this morning, I headed over to Karate College to see if I could get in for a little bit.

They’d moved Paul Creighton around a bit, so he only did 1 session last night (instead of both of his, like last year) and 1 this morning… which was finishing up right as I got there. I did get to watch the last technique and worked in a little bit with Bob Gracie’s guys.

Armbar from guard. Slide one hand up between theirs and control their head. Other hand controls same-side elbow. Pivot just a little. Open your guard and ride a high guard, far leg coming over their shoulder. Drop the hand from behind their head to control their wrist; shift the other hand up to the near side of their face. A little push with your hand, and bring the leg from their shoulder over their face. Raise hips to finish.

Then Paul, Bob, and Josh went off to pick Renzo up from the airport. His sessions are tonight.

Went back tonight for Renzo’s seminars.

First hour:

First, a reverse armbar off a wrestler-type trying to squeeze your head from inside your guard; he’s reached foward and wrapped one arm around your head and is squeezing for dear life. (Secret wohoo!) Use your hips to push against his hips and give you some space. Take the hand on the inside and brace it across their throat; take the other hand over their wrapped arm and grab your other wrist. Use the second hard to stabilize the first. Brace them away from you as you get your hips out to the open side; they fall in the hole, and their now-trapped arm should be propped across your shoulder. Bring your knees up, one under their near shoulder and one over. Blade of your top arm just above their elbow, and turn.

Second, a guard pass to ankle lock. A little advanced, probably, considering most of the people there hadn’t done any ground work before, but I still at least like the pass part. So you’re in your opponent’s guard, and your posture is broken down. Stay down, but get your hands on their biceps. Stay relaxed, he said, and wait until you feel them relax or breathe. Jump up on your feet and turn about 45 degrees, stepping in to them. Continue to follow that angle, walking your hands around and driving with the knee that turned in to roll them over their shoulder and on to their stomach. You end up in reverse back mount, with them flattened; you’re sitting on their hamstrings with their legs bent and their ankles in your armpits. (They’re now at 90 degrees to where they started.) Reach one arm around a leg and through to trap it, then drop your forehead to the mat. Step the opposite knee over their leg so it’s between theirs; reach the other hand up and hold the first hand. Now slowly spread your knees apart, like you’re doing a split, while slowly turning your body toward their foot.

This one was a little tricky, and we were having trouble with it. Renzo demonstrated on me for one of my partners, and it felt like an ankle lock. Paul demonstrated it on me again later, and it felt like an Achilles lock. (And both my partners kept turning it into a calf pinch.) I think it depends on the placement of the arm when you shoot it through: Renzo got my ankle locked in deeper, while Paul went a little further down on my leg. Anyway, the roll-’em-over part was fun.

Third, a can opener defense to armbar. (Yay for more wrestling defenses!) Renzo said he used this one in Pride 8 because he knew the Japanese guys like to do can openers, so he actually stuck his head up there so the guy would grab it! So, from inside your guard, the guy reaches forward, gets both of his hands behind your head, and tries to can-opener you. One arm shoots to their far bicep; forearm stays parallel to the floor, with your elbow under their ribs. As they try to pull you in, this arm braces against their chest and gives you distance. The other arm goes to the opposite side of their head to control their neck. So your arms are crossed in front of you. Now swing around to the armbar, pushing their head away with that hand and controlling the arm you’re taking with the first hand.

In this seminar, I worked in with Bob Gracie’s guys again. Technically, you’re supposed to pick a group (A or B) and then do all the seminars for A or B; you’d get to at least of everyone that way. But I stayed on Renzo’s mat for another session. One of Bob’s guys left to go to the Krav seminar with Mike Lee Kanarerk on the other side, and Perry came over from doing the previous Krav seminar. And he told me that he’d knocked a guy out in that one. The guy had for some reason tried to kick Perry in the crotch as hard as he could. Perry deflected it just enough that the kick hit his inner thigh, but still high and hard. (And if Perry said it was hard, then it was pretty hard.) So he threw a kick in response, right at the guy’s jawline and using his foot. He said if he’d really meant to knock the guy out, he would’ve used his shin… But the kick must’ve caught the fellow just right because his eyes rolled back and he stiffened and dropped backwards. And that side of the gym doesn’t have mats, so his head bounced off the concrete. Um, ouch. They had to call an ambulance and cart the guy away to the hospital.

Perry also came over bearing actual bad news: Adam’s fight is off. The guy backed out at the last minute. As of then, we have no explanation for why he backed out. And the promoters couldn’t find another fighter in time. So we won’t be going down tomorrow at all. The other guys already know. (I’ve been learning to text all weekend. I stink at it. But it’s apparently what all the kids are doing, so I’m having to learn to keep up with them.)

Renzo’s second seminar:

First, a neck crank from side control. Be sure you clear the guy’s inside arm and get your knee behind his shoulder. Next, reach around and under his head with your top arm. Slide around to about 11 o’clock and grab the reached-under hand with your other hand. Sit through toward his legs, and then step over toward mount with the far leg. Now turn your upper body toward the ceiling.

Second, an armbar from side control. Clear the arm again and stay tight. Slide your bottom knee up as if going to knee-on-belly and tuck your top leg further up under his shoulder and along his ribs. Fall back at about a 45-degree angle from his shoulder, sliding along the arm you’ve trapped and hooking around the arm with your top arm. Your knee-on-belly knee slides up to their shoulder/side of their face. The finish is a reverse armbar. When you’re doing this one for reals, you do it fast. Renzo did the first time, and made Paul wince and jump. But with partners, you take it slow so you don’t rip their arm off.

From here, if for some reason their arm turned and you can’t finish the reverse armbar, bring your top leg across their neck and pivot your hips out to the opposite side. Finish the armbar there.

Third, the choke that Nick’s been trying on me for weeks! I think it’s called the “Big Poppa” choke, but I’m not sure. Anyway, from side control again; this time the guy has his arms in pretty tight and you can’t isolate one. Reach around and under his head with your top arm. Take that same-side leg and shoot it straight backward, then turn onto that hip, being sure to turn your body with it. The turn helps get your shoulder in front of and under their chin. Now walk back to about 11 o’clock and grab the reached-under hand with your other hand. As you walk around, you should feel their face being pushed away from you; you can use your ribs to make that happen even more. You want them looking away from you. Once you’re to about 11/12 o’clock, completely relax your lower body. Hold your arms where they are, but let your body weight press in to their neck; don’t try to crank it.

And I got pictures!