I suppose it’s a bit telling that I write this month’s log on the 26th when I usually update them during the whole month: motivation has been slightly down. The lack of success in the areas I’m trying to improve and some overall tiredness made me skip my 2 first classes… ever. i usually don’t even think about going to class, I just do. But this week I skipped one to stay home and play Don’t Starve, and another one the next week just to get some rest. I feel a bit guilty about it but at the same time it was relaxing.

That being said I’m not bored of BJJ either, and I still enjoy going there a lot. After a long & stressful day last week I realized once again how great it is to just be forget everything when you step on the mat.


I had two visitors over during the holidays. David & I had our third round and I’m proud to report I won that one. I passed his guards couple of times and took his back but fell short of getting a tap. It’s not like it was easy or anything, he’s still a tough fight but I think I’m gaining some ground.

I also had Carlie over for a week and took her to a class; it was as uneventful as I hoped. I didn’t feel the need to look tougher because she was on the mat or to dismantle anyone who’d made her tap. It was also the opportunity to check her BJJ skills as we hadn’t had many opportunities to roll together. On the bright side, she’s a good passer; when I wasn’t active she cleanly executed her techniques and passed. She has good cross-face but isn’t too dangerous submission-wise. And then when she fucks something up, she does so entirely, usually giving free mount or back takes =).


January was also paced with Europeans championship preparations, which are now over. In the end, Salah, Christian, Fred & Kader went there.

Fred stupidly injured himself a week ahead of the competition in a Judo tournament. Just a week prior to that he was telling me how he had been preparing the Europeans for a year now, so messing with his chances for a judo tournament was, well, silly. But happy ending, since he placed third.

Christian won double old. He fights in Masters 5 or so, but still good on him. We haven’t seen him in a long time; I suspect he will pop by any of these days before moving away.

Kader entering the Europeans was quite frankly a joke. He’s a blue belt that trains very inconsistently; relies on his judo background to handle fights and injured himself as well just prior to the tournament. David had been fighting him at this years Coupe de Zone Est and lost after an extra-time limit when nothing happened. Predictably, Kader lost his first match and from what i understood, by getting DQed for stalling.

Meanwhile Salah won his first match and lost his second one after apparently giving up his back. It’s something he is known to do just because he’s very good at getting out of it and then rolling over you; but I suspect it didn’t went his way at this level. I’ll know more about the fight this week.

The slump

As usual, progress seems to come on the things I’m not working on. My stand up still mostly sucks, but my passing is improving heaps. I’m also finding unexpected success in the crucifix and the kimura grip — so I’m slightly refocusing on that when on the ground.

I have also developed a new sweep that I’m landing against pretty much anyone. It’s especially useful because people tend to stay far away from me now when passing, and stand at a crazy angle where I can’t reach their lapels. With this sweep, I simply grab their forward foot with my left hand and step on their hip with my left foot; then my right foot comes in between their legs and hooks their far foot, sending it upwards while pushing on the hip.

Regarding my passing abilities, this video has been extremely inspirational:


…because that’s the original purpose of this journal. We worked on back control related things.

Pants grip back take

After a leg drag type pass, my right hand goes to his lapel and my left hand gets a grip on his pants. I then turn him over to his belly by rolling on my chest and simultaneously pulling on the pants, upwards. If he posts his arm out to prevent the roll, my rights hand can bring his arm back close to me.

Once rolled over I switch to a backpack grip, making sure my left elbow is tucked under my knee. I then work to take the first hook, pushing down on his hip with my foot if necessary. Once the first hook is set, i roll over and try to get the second one.

Triple choke

Starting from the back with backpack grips, right arm over, left arm under. The three chokes all start the same: the right hand gets a deep grip inside the collar, helped by the left hand. They also end the same: the same right hand pulls him down towards the side while I remove my rigth leg from under him. As he gets sucked in, my right leg comes over his shoulder and from there, I push on my legs and pull on my arms.

In the first variation, the opponents left arm is lifeless; in that case, I raise my left arm, raising his too — and then bring my hand to the back of his head, liek I would for a rear naked. In the second variation, he doesn’t let me lift his arm; in that case, I pull my left amr out and grip his pant, then transition to a bow and arrow. In the final variation, I can neither pull my arm up or out; so instead I get his second collar and apply a regular cross colar choke.

Roll over escape

This escape has to be applied with great timing before the opponent reaches my back. When he’s at the start of the back take described above, i can hang tight to his right arm and the roll completely over. It is important that I roll fast with my knees straightened and any remaining arm tucked in. At the end of the roll, he should be on his back and I should be withmy back on his chest.

At that point it’s very important to be heavy. I then grip his close side knee with my right hand but keep my elbow outside. This allows me to turn towards his legs; I then get better grips and keep turning until I break his grips. I can then transition to side control, north south or mount, even though the latter is not so great.

Back escape

From the actual back, with a backback grip I cling to his upper arm, gripping is elbow and shoulder and pulling towards me. I then get my head to the other side and lean back. From there I have to wlak sideways, always readjusting my hips, until one of his hooks is loose enough. I can eventually go to my back and get a half guard.