09 November, 2010

From Homebody to MMA fighter in 1 year.

Here's a new blog and website to follow.
Dan Krieg is a 30 something guy. The middle child. The older brother founded the Fox Valley Grappling Club in Appleton, Wi, and the little brother looks like a fighting monster.

Here's episode 1. http://fightvirgin.com/?p=4

Let's root Dan on!

05 August, 2010

I'm Finally Back!

I'm back and in more ways than one. I was released from therapy several weeks ago. Strong enough to walk up and down stairs without a limp, but not much else.
Started a running program that VERY SLOWLY builds back some more bounce into my step. It is actually more about building confidence in my step.
I also continue to hit the resistance training and cardio workouts hard.

This past Sunday, I rolled with some adult-sized folks, for the first time since my injury back on 2/19. The warm up was 3 x 7 minute rounds. 1 minute rest. Going at 75% resistance. Then go into a lesson, then drills.
I was GASSED at the second round. My fingers were rubbed raw from my grips and my quad was jelly. But I was happy.
I did have to tap in the weirdest situations though. I tapped when I was mounted by my opponent and had some weird pressure on my knee and felt smothered up top. Again much more about confidence in my position than anything.
My schedule will be Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 8-9:30 pm. I'll be at it tonight!

23 May, 2010

French Toast Breakfast. Yummy.

I love french toast. But I don't like fried bread.
There is a difference to me.
"Fried bread" is white bread lightly coated in a mixture of egg and milk and fried quickly on the griddle.
French toast is sweet, yummy goodness. The outside of the toast is a bit on the crunch side. Not crunchy like cookies, but... you know. The inside is custardy and sweet and has soaked all the way through to become "one with the bread". Mmmm....
This is what I made for the wife and kids today. Some stale Breadsmith French peasant bread, and a couple slices of the Cinnabon Cinnamon Bread turned into my patented French Toast.
2 eggs
1/2 skim milk
a touch of vanilla
1 TBS of sugar - white or brown
I like to dip the bread and then set it aside for the batter to really soak through the bread. I use a stove top griddle. One of those that is a heavy aluminum piece. I turn it on medium high, get it nice and warm then turn it down to medium.
Butter up the griddle and then get ready to place the pieces of battered bread on the griddle. Once I place the pieces down on the griddle - I don't move them until I can feel the bottom set up. It takes about 4 minutes. Then I flip the piece over.
I like to let the toast slowly cook through to get a custardy texture on the inside, instead of a dry egg taste on white bread.
A little powdered sugar, a little cinnamon, syrup and butter.

21 May, 2010

Heard from the Doc!

Got a email back from Dr. Ratamess.

He's the PhD. that wrote the article "Weight training in JiuJitsu" back in 1998.
It turns out, as happens with many things that are written for peer reviewed journals, he wrote that artcle in 1996 and it wasn't published until 1998.

I asked him what changes or additions would you make to the article in the 12 years since this article was published (14 years since written)?

Nicholas Ratamess -
(My) recommendations on loading, sets, rest intervals, and exercise order has not changed. The largest change has been in exercise selection. In my article I mostly focused on concentional weight training exercises. However, since there has been a large increase in popularity of core training as well as sport-specific mixed martial arts training. The popularity of sand bags, kettle bells, stability balls, ropes, rings, BOSu balls, medicine balls,etc have grown incredibly in the last decade. Many mixed martial artists used integrated approaches with free weights plus sport-specific exercises such as Turkish get-ups, sand bag throws, resisted striking, and several body weight exercises which mimic different techniques (to name a few!)
Thanks Doc!

19 May, 2010

Tight Hips - Check that Back

In my rehab, we've been working on everything that supports proper leg and knee movement. Everything from ankle and associated muscle, ligament and tendon strength and flexibility to hip and core strength flexibility.

My most recent session involved my PT's watching me doing lunges walking backwards (with a medicine ball up in the air and chopping down and across) and talking between themselves at how poorly my hips were moving and how I try to accomodate the poor hip flexibility with my feet - which of course leads to more knee problems. DUH!

Anyhow, their goal for this session was to work on my hip flexibility. They kept wondering how my body functioned in JiuJitsu and TaeKwonDo with such tight hips.

I never noticed how tight my hips were until they were stretching me. I was always able to kick pretty high. I felt like I was able to get some "heavy" hips when rolling. Really flattening out and remaining solid.

But I did sense the hip stiffness. As they stretched me over, they noticed that my hip flexibility was impeded by my hip flexors and my upper quad being so tight..

I was rolled to my back and my spine was pushed this way and that. The diagnosis was my "TL" was to blame. Thoracolumbar Junction. The spot between the T12 (twelvth thoracic vertebrae)and L1 (First lumbar vertebrae). The nerves in that area innervate my glutes, abdomen, hip and thigh area.

The fix:
1) Get that area massaged.
2) Stretch the hip flexor area.
3) Stretch and activate your TL spot. (sexy)

How to do that.
For #1. I ask my kids to walk on my back! Always fun!
#2. Stretching the hip flexor area. It helps activate release points along the nerves that run from your TL junction. Lie on your back. Bring your knees up, feet still on the ground. Cross your legs - knee over knee. Let the knee and leg in the top position slowly stretch the bottom leg down and across your body. Hold the stretch for 5 second. Then squeeze your knees together and then relax. And hold the stretch again for another 5 count. And then squeeze and stretch once more. After every squeeze of the knees, you should feel your legs and hip just relax a touch more every time.
Someone without a TL problem should feel most of the stretch in the hip and glute of the bottom leg. I felt all of this stretch in the front thigh, hip flexor part of my bottom leg. Switch legs.

#3. Stretching and activation of TL. This involved lying face down on your belly. Get into pushup position - the military style with your hands right under your shoulders. While keeping your legs, hips and pelvis flat on the ground, slowly push up on your upperbody. The goal is to slowly loosen your back around mid to the lower-mid back.

Do this everyday. You should see some response from your hips and thighs.

Training in JiuJitsu Part V

Nope, the pic isn't an error.
The Part-Time Grappler (PTG) brought up an excellent point in a comment on my previous post. Due to the nature of the game, training with resisting opponents, the PTG, Liam, brought up the gains that can be obtained by training on uneven surfaces - BOSU, Swiss Balls, etc would be very helpful in the game of JiuJitsu.
I agree wholeheartedly. The exercises that I listed in my previous post can all be done in different ways and on different surfaces. I was trying to touch a bit on that when I spoke to using different ways to manipulate the resistance load while doing an exercise. My goal is to keep my training fresh - not only to overcome boredom, but to keep my body from getting used to the training and to achieve maximum gains.

Unstable surface -
Try a BOSU, Swiss Ball or Balance Board to engage other muscle groups.
The shoulder exercises for example can be done sitting on a bench or standing. OR sitting on a Swiss Ball. OR standing on a BOSU - as the PTG mentions.
I'd suggest doing that if you try these other more unstable surfaces, you drop your resistance loads quite a bit. Keeping good form is essential. Watch how your body starts to recruit all of those stabilizer muscles to help keep that form.

Change center of gravity -
Try doing walking lunges. Do them with a weight and some without. Change the position of that weight. Do some lunges with a medicine ball held above your head, or out in front of you. For my physical therapy, I have to do walking lunges, hold the lunge and then do a chopping motion with the medicine ball, across my body from shoulder level down across in front of my body to the opposite hip.

Not only do your deltoids, trapezius, and back start to get a good burn - but you are utilizing every muscle fiber that is used to stabilize you.

Different positioning -
Try changing the positions in which you do some of the exercises. For example, on the chart I listed Good Mornings. Try those as a standard good-morning, then switch to a back extension and then try it by squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Do it with your feet parallel or toes pointed out and then pointed in.
Varying your grip - palms up or palms down, wide grip or narrow, etc.
Or it could be the difference between lat pulldowns versus wide grip pull-ups.
A small variation in positioning or grip can produce great gains in your performance.

Play with your resistance load -
This is beyond just changing up the weight you do. And there are a ton of variations on that. Low weight, high number of repetitions.
High weight, and low repetitions.
Try using a combination of resistance bands plus free weight. When I do squats, I squat with a barbell and attached to the barbell are resistance bands.
A variation is the use of chains as your resistance load. As the weights go up, the resistance increases.

I love this topic because of the variety of methods of manipulating resistance load in weight training. It not only makes training more fun, but it keeps your body off-balance which leads to accelerated gains. I'd argue that it also leads to fewer injuries. Maybe that will be a hypothesis to tackle at another time.

17 May, 2010

Training in JiuJitsu Part IV

I have some exercises that were in the article. The list isn't fancy. It is about doing the technique properly and manipulating that load in different ways. Experiment with resistance load. Experiment with repetitions. Experiment with your rest period.

The way that the article lists them is that there are particular movements that provide resistance exercise and that the resistance exercise benefits different applications.

It is the way that you conduct the resistance exercise that conditions your body in different ways.

For example:
Resistance exercise - Wide-stance squat
Application - lower body and trunk strength, balance, throwing and un-balancing

Can be done many different ways for different effects. A squat with an emphasis on the concentric contraction (pushing up out of the squat with force) - can benefit explosiveness.

A squat with an emphasis on eccentric contraction (slow lowering of the weight at twice the count of the pushing) - can benefit muscle and tendon tensile strength. The slow lowering also recruits other muscle groups beyond just your large muscles. The other muscles provide benefit in posture and balance and provide balanced muscle development.

Training in Jits Part III

In a previous post, I gave a little primer to Nicholas Ratamess article for Weight Training in JiuJitsu. The beginning of the article basically spoke to the need of a variety of training methods that address the complexity of the sport.

My take away was that there is no Black and White for training for any sport. There are nuances and complexities to the human body and maximizing the body's response for a sport would need more than working on your 1 Rep Max in a Bench Press. That may be an oversimplifying. Another example could be what I used to do - JiuJitsu was all about pulling into a body. Crunching, shrimping, elbows in, protecting the neck, etc. My work out should be about those kinds of movements. Not too balanced.

Since my injury and since reading the article, what I learned is that I personally need a work out regimen that is offers variety of exercises (so that I do not get bored), that engages the muscles in many different ways (concentric vs. eccentric vs. multiple joint and muscle groups) and trains my body properly.

I will post an abbreviated list of Ratamess's exercises that address the different types of movements.

Ratamess's next point of his article is to discuss his set of "thoughts" for the progression of the types of exercises you do in your work out day. This list is pulled from three different sources:

1) Fleck, SJ and WJ Kraemer. Designing Resistance Training Programs, Human Kinetics, 1997

2) Pauletto,B. Let's talk training#3: Choice and order of exercises. NSCA Journal 1986.

3) Wathen, D. Exercise order. Load assignment. In: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; Human Kinetics, 1994.

His recommendations, also depends on what type of work out you are doing for the day (is it a core day, cardio day, strength day....

1) Core First - this is optimal when energy levels are high.

2) Perform power/speed exercises that would require technique mastery before doing strength, assistance and sport-specific exercises.

3) Perform core, multijoint strength exercises after power exercises or do them first when no power exercises are scheduled.

4) Perform large-muscle-group exercises before those for small muscle groups.

5) Perform exercises for individual weak areas before doing those for stronger areas.

6) Perform difficult exercises before doing easier ones.

7) If using a total-body work out - alternate between upper and lower body or between agonist/antagonist muscle groups.

8) If using a split routine (body building) perform basic exercises first.

Next - tips to maximize aerobic and anaerobic capacity and recovery by using weight training.

16 May, 2010

Roger Gracie v. Randleman. Mateo de Leon - RNC

I caught some of the Strikeforce card last night. Roger Gracie v Kevin Randleman was one that I really wanted to see. Randleman has almost as many losses as wins. Many of the losses are due to a submission - record of 17 - 15. Roger has an MMA record of 3 - 0. And he hasn't been in the ring in a while.

Randleman was like a train. Moving forward in the first round. Leg kicks and shrugging off any strikes that Roger threw. Roger was working on establishing his jab.

The second round, Roger seemed to find his jab. Just pawing it out there - at one point, the Strikeforce announcer said what I was thinking - it was taking a page out of the Nick/Nate Diaz book for jabbing. It seemed to bug the heck out of Randleman. Randleman. Roger was able to put together some left right combinations that also worked well, pushing Randleman up against the cage. Pretty much, anytime Randleman tried to get with in Roger's reach, Roger would throw a couple jabs while backing up. It worked well.

The beginning of the end for Randleman started with Roger's back up against the cage defending against a take down. Roger was able to push Randleman back away from the cage, and set up a thai clinch with some knees. One knee dropped Randleman like a sack and Gracie ended up in mount. Randleman was able to explode out, hips moving, but Gracie was more than prepared. First in a modified seated mount - landing some punches from the top. Then moving with Randleman's escape attempts to north-south, then moving to side and then full mount very quickly. It was fun to watch. Gracie, compared to Randleman's bulk and explosiveness, seemed tall and wiry. Roger was in mount for a brief time attempting an arm triangle. As Roger was moving his lower body over to the side to really take advantage of the choke, Randleman was able to do a little bit of a hip escape to move away from the choke, but Roger was ready and moved his body in position to take back.
From back, Roger really flattened out Randleman. Gracies, hooks underneath Randleman's thighs, with his weight pitched forward over Randleman's head (I hate when that happens). Randleman rolled sideways hard, but again Roger was prepared and was able to keep back but lock up a body triangle.
The last 1:59 of the second round, Roger was working on getting his long arms into position to get the rear naked choke. And at about 0:56, Roger was able to get both forearms underneath Randleman's chin, lock up a hand on a bicep and shoot his left hand back behind Randleman's head. REALLY LOCKED UP! Randleman tapped out and then passed out.

It was a fun fight to watch. There was one thing that the announcers said between that 1:59 to the 0:56 when Roger was working on setting up his choke. That Roger was having a lot of trouble getting the choke in because Roger primarily trains with a gi. I think that is the first time I heard that. I've heard that guys that don't train grappling with the MMA gloves regularly have a hard time because they aren't used to how the gloves can get in the way. But I've primarily heard that training with the gi gets MMA grapplers a different perspective on grappling. They are used to thinking about controlling their opponents in different ways and are used to the different "restrictive" feeling that a gi may give them. I dunno if I agree with the announcers in this case. Roger Gracie had no problems locking in the choke and secured a win.

14 May, 2010

fake words - hate'm

I hear enough of these "words" that I need an outlet for my frustration.
I'm not a spelling genius by any means. In my first spelling bee I got the word "buy" incorrect - spelled it "by" vs "buy".
Even though, here is my list:

"Heighth" vs "Height"
"Incidences" vs "Incident"... Incidences may be a word - but I don't think it is meant as the multiple of Incident.
"Acrossed" vs "Across"

Also, folks around here like to say, "I have THE diarrhea", vs "I have diarrhea".

Maybe its a NE Wisconsin thing....
OK, I'm off of my soap box.

13 May, 2010

BJJ kids!

It would be great if I could have these guys around for my kids all the time, but that isn't really possible.
Today the kids and I did a couple drills out of Bullyproof. Their level of reflex and response just keeps growing every time we train.
In Bullyproof, Rener and Ryron test the kids, their technique and readiness in every game. So, when a kid is about to go to mount (Spidey Kids) on Rener, Rener will test him/her by trying to throw them off right as the child is about to take mount. Sometimes he does other little tricks to get them out of position. It gets the kid ready to be mindful of opportunities to use a technique and what are the common mistakes that makes things fall apart. I couldn't say if that is what Rener or Ryron were after, but that is my take.
I have been doing the same thing with my kids. Challenge them more and more as we do the games and transition from one technique to another. It is taking a little more creativity for me to try to get the kids out of position. They also as they know that in the middle of one transition or another that I'm going to try something. And they are prepared.
In Bullyproof, there is a flexibility in testing the kids. The video has a several kids - from 3 or 4 years old, all the way to 11 or 12 year old. So the parents and kids watching the videos can see different experience levels. It truly ranges from the parent physically placing the child in place and physically moving them through all of the motions, all the time providing a ton of positive encouragment. All the way to, your kid knows the basics or more - the kid is self-directed, even creative with how they tackle a problem.
Today we did Guard Monster, Crazy Legs and Push and Pull Base. The Push and Pull base went as expected. The kid setting up a good foundation from standing. Doing just enough to stay out of trouble when someone is trying to push or pull them into an area they don't want to go.
Crazy Legs - Passing from standing, the kids still have a bit of trouble controlling my legs. They get their hands on a pant leg or a foot and giggle and laugh when I circle my feet and legs away. (It is also great rehab for my knee flexibility!) I eventually let them throw my legs out of the way and they take side control and then progress to mount. The whole time I'm testing their position, their hands, hips, grip. The kids had great hips today in mount. Really driving their hips down on my stomach/hips. Really trying to nail one side, or the other side straight down. It was actually something to have 50 to 60lbs driving straight down in one small area - painful is the word. I was impressed.
Last we did Guard Monster. For my 5 year old - there was a light that went on! So much fun. The premise in Bullyproof is that the kids are protecting themselves in a real fight situation. So the drill starts with the kid in mount and the bully on the bottom is able to roll your child. They use guard to control the bully's posture. Part of the drill is that the bully is trying to free up a hand and get some punches and slaps in to the child on the bottom. Previously my kids would laugh and giggle and I'd remind them the process of overhooking the punching arm and hugging the head/body tight with the other arm.
TODAY - no reminders needed for my son. He could tell by my shifting weight and the space I was trying to create that I was going to come back and attempt a couple phantom punches. He immediately had a free arm up and hooked my punching arm. As I tried switching hands, HE SWITCHED grips! He stayed tight, protected his head and could feel me move.
As much as I love Jits. i love having this time with my kids and seeing how much fun they are having with it!

10 May, 2010

Isn't that Shark Bite da da?

First of all - I'm going to try to put more visual aids in my blog. I'm taking note of other bloggers and how visually appealing their sites are....

I was watching the movie Fighting - circa 2009. With Terrance Howard (Hustle and Flow) and Channing Tatum (Step Up). It's basically about a small town kid in a big city looking to make a little money. He gets caught up in something bigger than himself, falls in love and makes good at the end. You know, the typical teenager movie plot. Come to think of it, it is Step Up but instead of dancing, it is bare-knuckle fighting. Anyhow - there is a scene where Tatum's character is paid to fight a character in the middle of a Chinatown joint. The fighter in China-town is Cung Le! Cung looks great in the movie. So of course, the movie is all about the stand-up - punching and being punched - but Cung takes Tatum's character to the ground. At that moment, my kids say - "Isn't that Shark Bite da da?"
A reminder - me and my kids are doing Gracie's Bullyproof. They recognized Shark Bite (trap and roll escape from under mount) from the Bullyproof lessons. It wasn't quite mount in the movie - but who cares! My kids are AWESOME. They also saw Guard Monster - Le had Tatum in Guard and was attempting a triangle. They were amazed that these guys on TV were playing the Gracie Bullyproof games!
I loved it. My two kids recognizing Jits.

08 May, 2010

UFC 113

I've commented to others that UFC hasn't had the great matches like I remember. It could be because there are fights every other week. UFC 113 was NOT like the last couple fight cards. These were exciting. Lots of stand-up. A couple matches finished by rare-naked choke. It was a fun one.
Here's how I saw it.

Belcher vs. Cote - Belcher went after it. Pushing forward for most of the fight. Body kicks from both sides. He had a jab going and put together some combinations. Cote did tag him a few times with some good hooks, but it wasn't enough. The fight ended on the ground. For some reason I thought that Cote was a higher belt than a Purple Belt. Belcher was able to get back. Rear Naked Finish. Mateo de Leon.

Slice vs. Mitrione - NFL player vs. Brawler (I didn't know that was a style.) Slice had the same act - his "hay makers" up by his chin talking about how all he had to do was get them on Mitrione. Other than that there wasn't much new from Kimbo. Mitrione showed some good skills. From the beginning Kimbo went after Mitrione and tried to body slam him. Instead he ended up in a position for Mitrione to take advantage. Mitrione recognized that there was a triangle opportunity right away. Kimbo was able to resist the triange and end up in side control Mitrione was able to improve his position from under Kimbo's side control and was able to stand up. Through out the fight, Mitrione had sort of a grin on him - sort of crazy like. But he mixed up his stand up really well. Kicks, knees and some jabs. He also threw in some submission attempts anaconda gator roll choke. It was unbelievable that Slice could fight off those chokes. Mitrione learned a TON from the TUF and from his fight against Big Baby. His ground game was better than Slices; he fights like a middle weight. He's for real.

Stevens vs. Stout - both young guns with a lot of experience for their young years. I don't think there has been a fight that I've seen with either of these fighters that I didn't enjoy watching. The stand up was fun to watch. Not much grappling. Stout tried to use his sharp shooting technique. Stevens was throwing bombs. It went to decision, with Stevens winning.

Lawler vs. Doerksen - Good stand up. Doerksen won - Finish with another Rear naked. The weigh-in was just as entertaining.

Koscheck vs. Daley - Finally a little more ground fighting - not too technical. I don't get the fans that have been booing the last couple UFC's. I understand the fact that there is the meat head factor. But a technical ground fight is fun to watch. Unfortunately this is not what happened. Some driving take downs, but no advancement of position. The academy award went to Koshcheck for a phantom knee strike to the head and ghost toe to the eye. Josh has done the eye thing before, once or twice. The fight almost ends on the ground - until Paul Daley tries a left hook after the end of the fight. As Joe Rogan said - that was the best shot that Daley landed. Suspension has to come Daley's way. Koshcheck wins unanimously. - Update - it sounds like Dana White has kicked Daley out of the big show! Wow. I wonder if any sanctions will come down of Koshcheck for his acting job.

Rua vs. Machida - An action packed one round. Machida was prepared for the leg kicks. He went to the ground twice - and he didn't look very comfortable. But he did go to the ground with two solid take downs. To me this is not Machida's game. He is a counter puncher - waiting for an opening on an aggressive opponent and taking advantage. He's like Andre Agassi and his return serve. The thing is, this always means that you have to play your opponent's game first and then try to turn it around. Rua was so ready for this. Rua came out and threw a couple leg kicks. Lyoto was waiting. Then Rua's hands proved the difference. He lashed out with a quick 4 to 5 punch combination. A couple shots that shocked Machida and sent him to the ground. Rua followed hard and fast and a hammering from full mount finished the deal. Machida was out for a bit. He got up with a huge golf-ball over his eye.

All in all, an entertaining card. The next one up will be Rampage vs. Evans. From The Ultimate Fighter, I really ended up liking Evans. He is an intelligent fighter and a really good coach and motivator. Hmmm... Evans vs. Rua maybe this winter?

Training in Jits Part II

A few posts ago, I spoke to an article I found "Weight Training for Jiu Jitsu" by Nicholas Ratamess. At the time (1998), out of Ball State University. It was in a peer-reviewed journal - Strength and Conditioning. 8 pages long. At the time of the writing of the article, Ratamess has practiced JiuJitsu for about 3 years.

I had initially intended on doing one post that summarizes what Ratamess discusses in his article. Not so much.

I've had to read his article about 4 times. The 8 pages is PACKED with concepts. Another thing. This 1998 article is probably the first written work that spoke to strength training/weight training for jiu jitsu. The issue is that in the 8 pages, it contains MANY, MANY, MANY concepts. The 8 pages summarizes ideas in one or two paragraphs that are full chapters in physical fitness texts.

I've decided that the best way for me to summarize this work is to take one or two ideas at a time.

Right from the start, the idea of the article is to provide multiple methods and concepts for weight training for JiuJitsu.
There are components of BJJ -

  • flexibility
  • speed
  • power
  • muscular endurance
  • aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • muscular strength
  • agility
  • balance
  • coordination.
There isn't one type of exercise regimen that would maximize all of these components.
In otherwords, the typical three sets of 10, Chest and Tris on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays and Back and Biceps on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday isn't a weight training regimen that contains enough of a variety to meet the needs of a complex sport like BJJ.
Our regimen would have as much variety as the components you are trying to train and maximize.

Ideally your training should consist of the following types of exercises:
  • Core Development
  • Assistance training (machine assisted)/single joint/ or open chain training.
  • Multi-joint training/ closed chain training
  • Functional training
  • Concentric
  • Eccentric
  • Isometric
  • Plyometric training
  • Training for sport specific techniques.

I need to get reading again. The article goes into several ideas including, the best strategy for planning out your weight training, types of exercises for different goals and ideas for work load, repetitions and periods of rest.

07 May, 2010

Experts, is it a time thing?

Expert: SYNONYM - Proficient

1. having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit since I heard the discussion on some recent Fightworks Podcasts. For your reference I want to say that they were episodes 206, 207 and 208.

Caleb and Dan spoke to an mma fighter that is a purple belt in BJJ and saying that he was "an expert" in JiuJitsu.

In episode 207 -the discussion about experts resumed and Dan and Caleb brought up to a common metric that states that an expert needs 10,000 hours in a particular subject to be considered an expert.

In that podcast, Dan questioned if 10,000 hrs is a big number. There are a number of folks that would train multiple times a week and that it would take many many years to reach the number, 10,000. With that number, would there be black belts that would not be considered experts?

Finally in episode 208 an email from a listener, a psychologist, spoke to the origins of the number 10,000. There is an aspect of relativity. The origins of the number was examining the number of hours needed for a person to be considered an expert at a GLOBAL level. Example - your every day black belt versus Rickson Gracie.

Dan posed an interesting question - would it be easy for an attorney to convince a jury that a black belt in jiu jitsu was an expert?

I had a couple thoughts about the concept of Experts or Expertise. Is it really about the time you put in?

1) Expertise is relative. The concept of expert being a relative term was brought up by Dan and Caleb. And right away I gravitated to that. There probably is not ever going to be a global standard of what constitutes an expert. The 10,000 hours is brought up, but that is in relative terms as well - local expert versus world reknown expert. There is always a professional versus lay-person relativity. The legal or medical or financial or any other profession du jour will always have a level or knowledge above their lay-person counter parts.

There is always someone who knows a little more about a subject or technique that you can turn to. Whether it is in the same company, town, or even subject-matter community.

2) Does a different viewpoint contribute to expertise?
Perhaps it isn't that an expert knows more, maybe they look at a problem differently. Is it truly about the accumulated knowledge that someone has? Or is it the method in which they tackle the problem? A different mindset or self-awareness?

I read this concept in a post and it was a wake up to me, because I was sensing this thought on the tip of my brain, but the post captured it very well. Once I figure out whose post I pulled this from, I will give full credit! - So when you are rolling, and someone is in your guard - do you think about them being in your guard or are you in an upside down mount on them? Does changing your mindset about a position, situation or problem contribute to you being classified as an expert?

3) If it is about time - does that mean practical time?
I ask this because I was wondering about that 10,000 hour figure. Does that mean practical time? Because I wonder how much - THINKING - about a particular subject contributes to developing expertise? I'm not talking about "hey cool, I like JiuJitsu" thinking. I'm talking about using techniques like visualization or mind mapping. There is enough literature out there that speaks to visualization not only for mental preparation, but physical. Race car drivers have been studied to understand the effectiveness of visualization. First of all, drivers that regularly do this had incredible focus. Their visualization of multiple conditions, track direction, speed at certain points in a track was unbelievably detailed. Some elite drivers had the ability to visualize their race in their head to within fractions of a second of the actual race. Golfers have used visualization to commit the "perfect swing" to muscle memory.
There have been anecdotes that to a certain level, participants that actually did an exercise versus participants that used visualization to do the exercise in their head experience a similar increase in strength for both groups. I'm doing some literature searches now to determine if there have been actual studies to prove this. I know from personal experience that when I've really internalized a technique that I may have seen in a video, it has come very natural to me when it comes to pulling it off, versus the times that I passively watch a video or a lesson and hope. Should all of this thinking time figure into that 10,000 hour figure?

Finally - I had a spin on Dan's question - Would it be difficult for an attorney to convince a jury that a black belt in JiuJitsu is an expert? - My thought was - Would it be difficult for an attorney to convince a jury that a black belt in JiuJitsu is NOT and expert?

Perhaps there are attributes of an Expert that sit in everyones mind. This is what is in my mind.
1) Extensive time training in subject - including thinking/studying the subject.
2) Recognized by others as having specific knowledge in particular subject
3) Experiments with in their field to improve the practice - pushes the envelope
4) Finally, there is an aspect of teaching that I believe an expert needs to have. I'm not sure what to call it, but to label someone an expert implies that there is a need to draw information or learn from that person.

What are your thoughts?

05 May, 2010

A Total BJJ Week - 3rd week of June

I know some of you can really put in the time to train. I don't know how you all make the time. Right now I'm not sweating it. I mean, my quad turns to jelly doing half squats with just a bit of resistance.

I did set a great goal though!

The week of June 20th, I'm back in my home town - Chicago! for a conference on patient safety. I'll be there for about a week, but I already planned out my week of one on one training at a couple Jits schools in the area.

Gracie Barra in the loop and another MMA school on the northside. Then that weekend, I'm going to get to a school in Indiana that is a Gracie Academy certified center.

It should be a great week of JJitsu.

I've been working on building the strength and flexibility in my joint. I'm going to be ULTRA careful since there is a higher incidence of re-rupture in this kind of knee injury. But I've spoken with the schools and requested one on ones for the purpose of learning methods to maximize my current strengths and to minimize the chance of injury - such as when a noob gets over excited and wants to kill the visitor....

At rehab today, I was told, knock on wood, that I am 2 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule. My flexibility is at 130 degrees range of motion. My quad strength is improving and my balance training is progressing. I can't wait for June!

My new snack treat!

Found in your local organic aisle. Humbles are hummus chips. Chick pea craziness baked into a chip! The product actually meets the marketing claims. One ounce of Humbles has 3 grams of protein and less than 1/2 the fat of potato chips.

Relative to chips, potato and tortilla, it is a bit healthier.... relative to chips.

I didn't say that it was tofu. Hmm, tofu chips..?

Eccentric muscle contractions and Jits pt I.

I'm on about 10 weeks post op and 11 weeks post injury.
I've spoken a bit about my physical therapy. The quick story is that my rehabilitation has been around re-training how I walk and move and preparing my body for future activity. Especially in the activities that I love to do - JiuJitsu.
There has been little that I've done in actual knee rehab. I've worked more on hip flexibility and hip flexor and abduction/adduction. Gluteus Max, Min and Med strength. More stable and balanced quadriceps and hamstring strength and finally lower leg strength and flexibility.

The therapist said yesterday that all of my work has been focused on eccentric muscle contractions. "What does that mean and why is that my focus" I asked?

Eccentric contractions - means the lengthening of a muscle during the contraction phase. Think about trying to do a curl with a weight that is just too much. Your muscle is working to maintain a contracted state, but is forced to elongate. There have been many studies that have reviewed the effectiveness of eccentric training - it results in greater strength gains, muscle hypertrophy and greater tensile strength of the muscle and connective tissue.

Why am I doing eccentric contraction types of training? My injury was labeled a deceleration injury. My injury occurred while I was trying to resist a takedown (leg sweep) by trying a counter sweep. I was basically using an explosive contraction of my right quad and then hamstring while the muscle was actually getting elongated in the opposite direction.

Eccentric contractions like the type above or maximum static contractions (holding a specific position such holding a submission attempt in jiujitsu or a type of balance position as in gymnastics or yoga) require a different type of training than your standard weight training.

Ever since I was a kid, I've been interested in physical training. I've always done some kind of physical training and wanted to learn more about it. When I became interested in Jits, I looked into different methods of strengthening my body and hopefully my technique. I purchased a copy of Martin Rooney's Training for Warriors and did as many exercises and workouts that I could. I focused on exercises that complement the sports and activities that I enjoy. I thought I was pretty fit.

Since my injury, I learned that training in that warrior fashion has provided great endurance and strength and kept my weight down. But I was running and jumping before I truly knew how to use my muscles properly.
My training since my injury has been much different. My training has focused primarily on my therapy, but it has applications well beyond the immediate post-operative phase and into maintenance, strength training and conditioning.
What does eccentric contractions in my rehab training look like:
1) Super slow motion contraction and relaxation movements. Do this in any movement with varying resistance. I've been doing this in various squats and lunges. The relaxation phase should be at a count that is double the contraction phase.
I started with minimal resistance - truly. Maybe 1lb and 2lb ankle weights and hands up in the air (throw center of gravity off). Moving up to 10lb and 15lb medicine balls.
Try doing two super slow mo set of of Multidirection lunges. 15 repetitions for each direction. 5 count contractions and 10 count relaxations.
2) Negative training. This needs a spotter and some kind of mechanism to stop the resistance. But the idea is to use a weight in an exercise that is very close to your one rep maximum and lower that weight at a super slow mo count - as slow as you can. In JiuJitsu, pulling-in type of motions is valuable. Try doing pullups - Go to the top of the pullup and have someone place a little weight between your crossed feet. Hold that pullup as long as you can. Try that for as many repetitions as you can.

I will provide more details of my therapy training in a future blog. Meanwhile, I was so interested in learning more about this kind of training, I ran a literature search and actually found an article: Ratemess, N. "Weight training for jiu jitsu", Strength and Conditioning, Oct 1998.

I think I will do a blog/journal club on what I find in that article and how it relates to what I am learning in therapy.

02 May, 2010

podcast fan

I may have said this previously, but I'm a podcast fan. I use to have quite a commute when I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. An hour or so each way. When there was weather or traffic or a stiff breeze, the commute could easily go to an hour and a half. 17 mile commute in 45 minutes. 30 mile commute in an hour and a half. eh.
Not only did I have a long commute, but I was an extremely tired individual and would get SO TIRED on the road. SCARY! But I was young and dumb.
I would try all of the tricks that I heard about. Opening the windows, turning the air on at full blast, chewing gum, etc. The worst would be listening to the radio. Any music with a rhythmic beat would put me into a trance. Caffeine was horrible. It wouldn't keep me up during the car ride, but I would arrive at home peeing my pants and I'd be wound up all night not able to sleep. Which made me tired in the morning... a bit too tired to drive, and so continues the cycle.
I finally found that talk radio was the only thing that kept me awake. It kept me engaged. Chicago has great talk radio. My favorites were the sports channels and public radio.

When I moved up to NE Wisconsin. There weren't many choices for talk radio. My commute went from the 30 mile commute in an hour and a half to 20 miles in 20 minutes. These 'short' jaunts weren't bad. There were times that I'd have to travel to other hospitals - 100 miles or more. Those were bad. In comes the podcast.

So one of my favorite podcasts is on the How Stuff Works network. The Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast is a perfect setup for me. Two engaging and engaged hosts in, Katie Lambert and Sarah Dowdy, keep me listening to their broadcasts. Subjects range from entertainers in Vaudeville to the life of Rasputin. The length of the podcasts range between 8 to 20 minutes or so. The duo provide a chronological report of their subject. Provide their impressions of the behavior of their subject for the podcast and relate what they are speaking about to the other happenings around the world at that particular time.
Interesting stuff. I'll tell you that I wish that I had access to this podcast when I was in AP European history in high school. It would have kept me more interested.

01 May, 2010

399,999,999 users still use Facebook. A recovering addict.

This past Sunday I decided to close out my Facebook account. It was something that I was tempted to do a few times. It was just taking up too much time. It wasn't a block of time - whap, 2 hours all at once. More like 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there.
Every once and a while I'd get into a chat session with a friend and that would be 30 minutes of back and forth. Then I got into one of those online FB games. Mafia something or other. That would suck up more and more time.
But while I enjoyed connecting with old friends. There was a privacy that I was giving up. There was my time which I was slowly losing control of.

So I just decided to pull the plug. One less from the 400 million.

I hear that when smokers are trying to quit, there is the tactile habit of holding something in their hand or even putting something in their mouth that is part of the whole smoking habit.
I find that when I log into the computer, and type on that http:// bar, my fingers almost want to type in the FB address. Twitchy Twitch.

29 April, 2010

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling. I'm Rolling with my kids!

Some key dates for me this year.
Injured on 2/19/2010.
Surgery on 2/24/2010.
Off crutches 3/20/2010.
Finally able to get into a car and drive 4/12/2010.
Able to lift more than 5 lb weights in a quad extension or hamstring curl 4/16/2010.
Rolling with my kids. 4/27/2010!
It was good doing some jits with my kids. We popped the Bullyproof DVD's in and started from Game 1 - Spidey Kids (maintain mount). The kids couldn't stop! And I didn't want to.
So the games we did - Spidey Kids (maintain mount), Shark Bite (trap and roll mount escape), Bulldozer (seated mount and mount adjustment), Crocodile Control (side mount), Base Battle, Snake Bite (trap and roll mount escape different hand variation), Guard Monster (maintain closed guard), Crazy Legs (standing guard pass).

We didn't do two games - Tackle the giant (takedown) and Crazy Horse (taking the back). These two games take a tone of knee stability. In Crazy Horse, the adult literally rears up like a horse and tests the child's hold of the back.

So, I know that there are sites out there that poo-poo the Gracie University - the Gracie Combatives and the concept of a video testing. I won't get into that argument. I'm a learner - and I do it differently from others - if someone has the opportunity to learn and get feedback - who am I to say that one way is better than another. I'm a scientist - so until I see a double blinded placebo controlled study - I won't be convinced that one way is better than another until I see data. I'll try them all!
But outside of the video testing, the quality of instruction, detail of technique and the drills that connect situation to situation to situation is outstanding. And it is the same detailed instruction in the Bullyproof DVD set.

The unbelievable thing about Bullyproof is that the lessons are set up not only to be able to instruct a parent doing the games and the jiujitsu combatives, but also set up to keep - CAPTURE! - the attention of the kids.

So how do I know the lessons help?
I maybe a bit biased or maybe my technique is weak, but when my kids do the Spidey Kid with me (maintain mount), I swear that I can't budge them. They move with the flow, shift position, shift their weight and nothing can get them off!
I know from first hand experience, a bully can stand nothing more than feeling like they have no options and no ability to really hurt their target. I once got a bully in a scarf hold judo position on the ground and I was able to keep them down until they calmed down and able to convince them to never bug me or my friend again.
I know that my kids are just a bit better prepared to have to handle a situation, without panicking, without having to throw a punch, and without having to take any physical punishment.

Untrained ear

I don't claim to be a worldly person. I have travelled abroad and all over the western hemisphere, but I don't have a huge frequent flier bank. I come from Chicago and I have been exposed to many different foods, faces and accents.

That all said - but when I listen to the FightWorks Podcast and Caleb talks to any male from Brazil -is it my untrained ear, but don't the brazilian guys all sound very similar?

They got that cool, deep voice and smooth accent.

18 April, 2010

New walk - the foot muscle is connected to the butt muscle.

I have to learn how to walk again! I didn't reinjure my leg. In fact, my knee is progressing very well. Knock on wood.

Last week I was doing some rehab exercises with the physical therapist and the physical therapist assistant. Just some small quater depth squats. In starting a squat, the PT and PTA, gave me a quizical look and gave each other looks and asked me to squat again. And then again and again. They asked me - "Do you always do that?" I had no idea what they were speaking to.

And then they pointed it out.

When I squat, and walk - my knee tracks inwards a bit. Towards the inside of my foot. I squat and walk a bit knock kneed. Apparently more than a bit.

The reason why they were a bit surprised that I was doing that was that I did not exhibit any other behaviors or any outward musculature signs that I would do such a thing. It was also immediately apparent to them as a main cause of my patellar tendonitis.
So what now? I've been walking like this, running like this and squating like this forever, or at least 37 years now.
I have to retrain my legs so that my knee tracks over my toes - Big toe and second toe would be the best.
When I walk, I have to walk with most of my weight on the outside of my foot.
It was noticed that I'm a bit flat footed. I asked about orthotics and found that the flat feet can be adjusted with muscle massage.
So, this little change would improve a ton!
That would improve the arch in my foot, prevent the inward roll of my ankle, improve the tracking of my knee, involve more of the outer aspects of my quadricep, my gluteus min, med and maximus and decrease or eliminate my patellar tendonitis.
By the way, the muscles that I'm looking to massage - Extensor digitorum longus. Stuck in between my shin bone and my calf. A tiny little strip. I also massage the outer edge of my calf.

10 April, 2010

UFC 112. Mouse trap re-visited.

UFC 112. INVINCI- wha? This bi-weekly (or is it semi-monthly?) addition of UFC was both hard on the eyes and the mind (and the fight fan heart!)
I was hoping to see some good technique and ground skills. I was underwhelmed.
Renzo followed Royce and Rolles as far as recent results of Gracies in MMA. It wasn't good.
The Abu Dhabi crowd was appreciative of good technique, but not much cheering. It was quite a turn around from the boo birds in Jersey. A turn for the better, even though it was quieter.
The two main events were unforgettable, but not in a good way. BJ Penn fought to not lose. And lost.
Anderson Silva showboated for three rounds and it was hard on the eyes. If you know you can take your opponent, then do it. Don't subject me to the antics. The last two rounds were hum drum and Silva won by decision.

A couple months ago I posed a question about BJJ being the current better mouse trap. Royce Gracie demonstrated what BJJ can do to an opponent that has little to no exposure to BJJ. Not only that, but he demonstrated what BJJ can do to an opponent that may know other types of striking and has little to no exposure to BJJ. It changed the martial arts world. But considering the most recent UFC performances of MMA fighters that are depending on their ground techniques to win a match - I wonder again, if my observation about the current better mouse trap is right? At least in the MMA world, fighters are much better prepared and experience in grappling and ground techniques evens the playing field.

07 April, 2010

Focusing on Rehab

I suppose with Jesse James and Tiger, folks would think I'm talking about sex addiction rehab! Sorry, but I'm talking about physical therapy for my knee.

I'm starting post-op week 6. With a patellar tendon rupture (or quadriceps tendon rupture, same thing) and repair the rehab is not as quick as an ACL repair. Rest and healing over 6 weeks. Minimal quadriceps firing and only passive range of motion exercises. At week three I was able to move my leg to about 30 degrees of motion. At week 6 my goal is 90 degrees of motion. That is just about enough to sit in a car or go to a movie and sit with minimal discomfort.

My exercise regimen is not too aggressive right now either. Quad Sets - with leg straight, flex the quad and hold it - And a variety of leg raises, side, front and rear.

This week - I get a little variety, weight shifts to the front and rear, practice with one crutch and no crutch. Woot Woot. Sarcasm. I'd really like to be able to to do some squats, rolling, kick a bag. Those actions are about 4 months away. I'm a bit wary. Rerupture in this injury is a definite risk. The tension put on the repair from your own quadricep flexing is considerable. When I work my repair, I keep thinking the words of the orthopedic surgeon - your knee is repaired, it doesn't mean it is healed.

My immediate goals - I'd like to be able to drive by next week (I don't have great muscle control right now) and I'd like to be off of crutches by next week as well. 4 month goals: gaining improved flexibility in the knee - 10 degree improvement every week, moving to active quadricep flexing with 10% improvements every two weeks - goal 90% of strong leg maximum.

Flex, strech, flex, stretch, flex stretch - 5 min and hour, every hour.

20 March, 2010

A problem solving activity....LEAN & BJJ?!?

I just read Dave Penn's article about John Danaher. http://sidecontrol.blogspot.com/2010/03/meet-john-danaher.html
What really piqued my interest was Dave's blog and this quote from John Danaher -
“[Fighting] is a problem solving activity, and the people who do best at it tend to be people with rational, inquiring minds,” Danaher says. “And so, the relationship between philosophy and mathematics has to do more with human beings using their rational faculties to solve problems, rather than, in the case of jiu-jitsu, blind strength, anger and aggression.”
Danaher's words drew me in. And I want to learn more.
In my work life, I'm a pharmacist that is functions as a safety officer in an organization that follows LEAN manufacturing methodologies. We utilize LEAN for everything from structuring meeting, to strategy deployment and project management. LEAN is the use of systematic problem solving techniques - Plan, Do, Check/Study, Act. Understand the root cause to the problem and act on the root cause. Its easy to act on the surface defect, and that is the problem.

Problem solving requires life long learning. Really.
Quick example of working a root cause. - Ask the 5-whys to get there.
I was late to work so I need a new car to get me to work faster. Serious? Let's get to the root cause.
Why were you late to work? - I left home later than normal.
Why did you leave home later than normal? - My alarm clock didn't go off.
Why didn't your alarm clock go off? - The clock wasn't plugged in.
Why wasn't your clock plugged in? - I unplugged the clock to charge my phone.
We could keep going - the solution will probably be to charge the phone elsewhere to not disrupt the alarm clock. A cheaper solution that makes more sense than getting a faster car.

I always was interested in understanding why Jits is a life long activity as well. Well Danaher's words put it in perspective a bit for me.

What do noobs do - at first we're spazzy elbows, knees and exposed necks waiting to be grabbed on to.
This first time I got caught in an arm bar, I thought that it was obviously because my opponent was stronger than me. Let's problem solve.
Why did you get submitted in that arm bar? I used my arms to push my opponent away.
Why did you push your opponent and leave your arms open that way? I thought that I could bench press my opponent off of me. I pretty strong.
Why did you think that strength matters? I was panicking because I'm not used to my opponent being so tight on me.
Why did you panic? I haven't practiced in this live manner before.
Solution - instead of pumping iron, live rolling and an awareness of my body positioning and the need for my opponent to obtain proper positioning is key to obtaining/negating a submission attempt.

It is PDCA on the mat - what is the problem (the root cause), what is the plan to solve that problem, do the work to implement that solution, test that work, and act on any gaps that still need work.
LEAN and BJJ. This is still bubbling in my head! I got to really work out the parallels in this. I know why I love this game so much.

Dinner tonight!

Try this one for size. Homemade pizza crust, rubbed with garlic grapeseed oil, alfredo white sauce, spinach, bacon, parmesan and mozzarella.


13 March, 2010

Gracie Bullyproof Blog


Ryan Ball and his daughter's blog of the Bully Proof program. Me and my kids have had a ton of fun doing these games "drills" as well.
The kids can't get enough.

12 March, 2010

My daughter's rendition of me an my crutches.

Workplace accomodations

Non-weight bearing office accomodations.

Medication Safety Officer: Back at work

I'm finally back to work.
I had my injury on February 19th, saw my primary doc the same day and saw the orthopedic surgeon on 2/22. Had my patellar tendon repair on 2/24.
Two weeks later or so I'm back to work on 3/9. And I'm so thankful for that. I've been slap happy at home, and I know that I was driving my wife, kids and dog crazy.
I never realized how much I traveled in my job.
I travelled so much between the different hospitals, and corporate offices. Some days would involve travelling between campuses 3 or 4 times in a day. What a waste.
With my injury, I cannot drive and depend on my wife to shuttle me to and from work. The meetings at different campuses during the day have to stop right now. Early morning meetings are taken from home on Go-To meeting or conference call.
Week one back to work is in the bag.

Rehab has been slow going. This injury requires enough time for the tendon to knit to the bone. Of course it is reinforced with hardware, but that is not enough by itself. I'm basically supposed to be non-weight bearing on my right leg for 6 weeks and no quadricep firing for 6 weeks. I'm stuck sleeping with the brace for a few weeks more, but may require the brace for walking around until August.
I've been working on strengthening all of my other leg muscles with exercises that limit and quadricep involvement. SUPER HARD to do that. But I do hundreds and hundreds of reps at night to keep the other muscles, tendons, and ligaments in motion. Even with that, my leg is shrinking.
My passive range of motion exercises are coming along. I can move my leg/knee to about 45 to 55 degree of motion with just a little bit of tension on the knee. I have to do that every hour. Next week I'd like to be up to 65 to 70 degrees and then 90 degrees after that.

I'll just keep plugging along.

06 March, 2010

16 puppies in need of help

I'm following a new blog about some wheatie puppies (16) that were recently saved from a puppy mill.
Why would anyone do such things to another living thing?


02 March, 2010

Freddie takes advantage of my bum leg.

Freddie my dog checking out my food and sitting on my leg! What does my wife mean he doesn't beg!

27 February, 2010

My plan of care anxiety relieved - Joe Theismann and Vampires

I had surgery on my blown knee this past Wednesday. Let me say that I was happy with the progression of my care. Friday, I hurt the knee. I was able to get in and see my primary care physician with-in 40 minutes and have a plan of attack sketched out that afternoon.
I got an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for Monday and had the surgery scheduled for Wednesday morning.
I'm not sure how other folks insurance companies and health care options work, but I could not believe how well my schedule moved forward.

While I'm super happy with my case progression, I learned how much of a wuss I am. Now post-op, I know that there was not much to worry about from the actual procedure. I had way more anxiety due to my wild imagination than anything else. In general, there are two things that I can't stand seeing on TV - knee injuries and neck injuries. Can't stand them. It's hard not to feel the injury on myself! I have turn away, try to change the channel right away and control the nausea. The knee injuries - I'm not sure why I have that issue, but I remember seeing Joe Theisman's football game where his leg was shattered. It was too much for me. As for the neck - I've always been afraid of vampires. As a kid, I couldn't sleep with my neck exposed to the air. It was too creepy.

Anyhow, wussiness aside - this is what my days looked like from day of injury to immediately post-op.

Friday-Monday - I actually didn't have too much pain. The original injury was more of a shock than painful. The dislocation of my patella was fricking painful, but again, that was the initial injury. The bruising around my knee was disgusting. Otherwise, I was sitting on my couch or my bed with my leg up in the air. I've never had any other knee injury, and don't wish one again, but a severed patella tendon is weird. Your quadricep flexes and pulls on the patellar tendon, which in turn pulls on the shin, which pulls and controls your lower leg. With out that connection, my leg was a ton of dead weight. I could stand straight up with my legs locked, but nothing else. It was awkward.

Monday - Met with the orthopod. Before we even saw him, he was able to see my x-rays and read my history and physical and scheduled my procedure for Wednesday morning. He did a couple tests on my leg and gave a very detailed picture of the surgery. It was during this description that my choice to be a pharmacist and not a nurse or physician was validated. And of course, the detailed description made me want to puke.

Tuesday - Waited around a lot. I had periods of anxiousness just thinkng about the surgery. I'm sure my BP was up there.

Wednesday - Day of surgery. The procedure was scheduled for 10:45. I was due into the outpatient surgery center at 8:30. My prep was promptly started at 9:00. Line placement was the worst. The nurse couldn't get a line placed on the first try. It was line in the hand. Unfortunately the nurse had to describe everything she was doing and I realized that the thought of a piece of metal sliding through my blood vessels was added to my list of anxiety creators. Todd Smith, the orthopod came in and again described exactly what he was going to do. I had to cut him short and explain to him that my anxiety was running high. Checking my blood pressure showed a systolic of 150's and diastolic of 100's. Wow.
A little fentanyl and versed and I was happy and anxiety free.
After that, I don't remember much.
The anesthesia was a combination of a femoral nerve block plus general anesthesia. The nerve block places medication at a specific nerve that would block any sensation at the location of the surgery. It helps keep the amount of narcotics and sedation that is given to the patient and quickens the recovery from anesthesia. It also provides some pain control for about 18 hours post procedure.
I remember slowly waking up in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit). I was transferred to a chair and then sent home.
All in all - one hour prep, one and a half hour surgery and one and a half hours in recovery.

23 February, 2010

That wacky patella

See the bottom right hand pic. Your patella isn't supposed to be that high! The tendon that anchors it down is torn. Owwy.

Knee me

At least there is no arthritis or mini-breaks. This is 12-15 years of bad patellar tendonitis. Mini-tears and periods of inflammation make it a perfect spot for a tear.

Combine that plus a quadricep firing hard to prevent a fall backwards and you get a tear. I felt bad for my kids. They didn't quite know how to handle seeing daddy all hurt. Also, I've been rolling with the kids regularly - Gracies Bullyproof JiuJitsu program. AWESOME stuff. It actually has such great basics that it can help anyone in the Jits game.

19 February, 2010

Swollen right knee.


Grrrrrr. Popped the knee today. Dislocated patella and torn patellar tendon. We'll see what the ortho doc says Wednesday!

15 February, 2010

...FVGC efficientization of my armbars.

After taking the day off, President's Day and all, I realized that I was able to get to FVGC to roll for the noon class. It was fun getting back there. I know that this is not going to be a regular thing.
First 30 minutes was practicing take downs with the Judo instructor. We practiced 3 different take downs.
A hip throw - I don't have any examples. Penny Thomas does a the kind we were working on in the last BJJ legends.
Ohsotogari - a leg sweep.
Ukiwaza - a sweep from front - a variation can also be done from behind
Ohuchigari- almost the Ohsotogari - but using more of the hip and thigh to block the opponent and taking them off balance.
The next 30 minutes was drilling some things for the Blue Belt testing. Arm bars - Americana, Straight Arm bar from mount and from guard. We also practiced Triangles from guard.
Bill learned a couple things to make the straight arm bar set up more efficient.
1) Arm bar from mount. This tip was really helpful for me. When I get into the arm bar: Collect/secure arm, transition from mount to seated modified mount (right leg up): transition weight to free arm on opponent head or chest, pivot hips and swinging my leg over the head of the opponent while keeping control of arm - my transition sometimes ends up where my rear lands quite a bit a way from my opponents shoulder. leads to some wasted motion on my part to maintain control or an ineffective armbar if I can't resecure the elbow and arm. TIP from Bill: When transitioning to seated modified mount. My right knee is up while I'm sitting on my left knee/butt cheek. My left lower leg is positioned parallel and right up against my opponents back/neck/head. The tip is, with my right knee up - lean forward towards that right knee. Usually my shin ends up being straight up and down. Instead consciously lean that right leg/knee forward using my weight on the opponent. This sucks my hips/rear closer to my opponent and even shifts them up on their side. THEN work the transition. Butt to shoulder connection!
2) Straight Armbar from Guard. When I was at the club 1.5 years ago. The armbar from guard was a 4 step affair. Control wrist with cross grip, control back of head with c-hook, use head grip, and a posting foot on hip or floor to swing and pivot to the side, swing other leg to hook shoulder. Pinch legs together, hip up. The "new" version for me is similar to this clip. But the FVGC version doesn't use the step that secures the opponent tricep. a) secure wrist. no cross grip needed. use same side hand. b) on side of secure wrist, post foot on hip of opponent. Your hip and thigh effectively block any motion of the opponent's shoulder. c) with posted foot, get hips up and hang opposite leg on opponents shoulder. Chop down like setting up a triangle. This already puts pressure on the arm with hip up and leg weight bearing down. d) Swing posted leg around opponents head. Knees tight and hips extended.

I finished up my time rolling with some guys. One of them with some good wrestling experience and about 75 pounds on me. His takedowns on me seemed effortless. At least I flew around like a rag doll. I was happy for the little wins, good neck protection, able to create space to reguard or prevent mount. I'll tell you that the first time he got side control on me - his weight up on me and his toes and shoulder pinned against my cheek, neck and face. It was tough not to feel totally claustrophobic! Forget not feeling it. I definitely felt it! But a little frame here and a little shrimp there. I was safe. I did get him in a damn good lapel choke from my half guard - no tap. While I was working the choke and working to reguard - he was finally able to tap me with a weird choke/cross face thingy - I'm on my side, head up. He worked a forearm/elbow against my neck and pressured my head against my opposite shoulder. It was uncomfortable and I thought I was fine until I started losing my vision a bit. I asked him to put me in that position again to see if it was just uncomfortableness versus a submission. I almost went black again. I think it was my broad shoulder that did me in. I was able to pass his guard and protect from a couple armbars and Americana's. All in all it was a fun time.

14 February, 2010

Combative Training

Continuing my story. I knew that I found a way to get my roll fix and learn a great self defense strategy. Combative training using the Gracie techniques.
I used the Gracie University student location tool to help me find training partners. I was able to find three other BJJ practioners in the area that started at FVGC! Two of them (Steve and Roger) were already training together and were about 75% through the lessons and were going to be testing for their Blue Belts for Gracie. What was interesting is that Steve is already a Blue Belt through FVGC, but decided that it was worth starting over and doing the Blue Belt Qualification test through the Gracie Combatives. The third practitioner, Jarrod, is now able to join me and one of my TKD classmates for our own combative training sessions.
The combatives have you learn techniques that would address issues from opponents that know a little to almost no type of combat/martial arts training. The Gracie Academy has developed video learning interactive training to learn techniques that are geared toward opponents that have much more training, especially training in BJJ.
When I started, I initially wondered if my background in TKD, Hapkido and Judo would get in the way of practicing the combatives. Would I have to be conscious that they are geared towards the brawler, un-trained type of opponent. In fact, to keep the lessons, reflex drills and fight simulations as close to real as possible, Ryron and Rener recommend specific bad guy actions.
What my training partners and I found is that a background in any other martial art that is non-grappling oriented, is not really helpful for the bad guy and not really a hinderance for the good guy to learn the techniques. It did take some getting used to for the grappling minds in the room. To help negate some of our almost instinctual grappling response to the techniques, we started using boxing gloves to limit our grabbing. It also allowed us to add a realism to the bad guy response and incorporate the kinds of punching and striking that someone would try if they got caught on the ground.
I'll tell you what, getting caught with a big left hook from the ground while trying to set up a triangle choke helps you understand the openings you may have in your defense when practicing BJJ techniques for self-defense! Make that two big left hooks.

08 February, 2010

BJJ, just a new mouse trap?

This has been sitting in the back of my head. I've wanted to think this "out-loud" on the blog. In reading a couple articles about Helio Gracie and the Gracie Challenge and then with Royce Gracie and his championships at UFC 1 and 2 and the revolution that BJJ has brought on.

Is BJJ the current better mouse trap? It came as a total surprise to the martial arts world.

So, warfare started with hands, then came the rock and stick.

From rock and stick, sharpened sticks or sticks attached with pointy rocks.

Throwing objects soon followed.

Cavalry and horseback.

Armour of different types. Beginning with leather and hides, then bronze and chain and then plate.

And armour was soon tested with the invention of the crossbow and became quickly obsolete when gunpowder and bullets were utilized.

Or how about fighting from a straight line to fighting from cover.

The Gracies introduced techniques to the West that were radically different than the current accepted practices at the time. Why would I want to wrassle with someone when I could punch them? The Gracies showed that grappling was more than an effective counter for striking techniques and would continue to be more effective as long as there are those that don't understand or have experience in grappling.

Is it just the better mouse trap.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone to think I'm knocking BJJ. In fact, I marvel at how BJJ has revolutionized self-defense and sport grappling. I think the roots of BJJ promote evolution.

The community is an indication of the sharing and embracing of new ideas. And there is so much more evolution about to take place. MMA shows the possibilities of the fusion of the striking and grappling.

07 February, 2010

I learned about the "H" in Rener.

What did I get out of that video - First, this is the first time I've heard how "R's" are pronounced in Brazilian names. I'm still not educated enough to know if this is only in the Pronoun's or if it is in any Portugese word. Or is it a purely Brazilian pronounciation of a Portugese "r".
When I heard "Hener" say "Hyron" when addressing Ryron and "Hyron" say "Hener" when speaking about Rener. I was confused. Then I remebered about "Hoyce" who is Royce in the first UFC's and I ... never mind, but that was something new for me.

O.K. the GU site has online forums, detailed video instruction, written instruction points, and drills for building technique reflexes and fight simulations to practice progression of techniques. The GU site provided a way to get in touch with a Gracie Academy school or other students looking to do the GU curiculum and needing a partner. There was also the Gracie Garage concept, while not a unique thing (guys getting together to roll), the execution of a method of authorizing and organizing garages was unique. Providing videos of the folks that run a garage, seeing the garage site and equipment and mat space - who else has done that?
And finally, for me was the opportunity to test for Belts and Stripes. C'mon - testing online, via video?
So let me give you my thoughts, point by point of the GU product.
Online forums - for me, very useful and interesting. The questions from different students would be answered by Rener, Ryron or other Gracie Academy folks. And 99% of the time, someone would eventually ask the same questions that ran through my mind.
Detailed video instruction - I liked that the videos would indicate when a particular technique should be used. The key details of executing the technique would be pointed out as well as the common mistakes that are seen. Inevitably, Rener or Ryron would cover a point and answer a question that was brewing in me as they instructed.
Written Instruction Points - I have used these for helping me think through the technique. The written instruction points help me with visulization of a new technique. I write notes on how the techniques transition from one to the next.
Reflex Development and Fight Simulations - Such a useful way to get reps in of a new technique and then practicing transitions and progression of position in different situations. These drills and simulations become progressively more involved, but it is such an excellent mental and physical test that develops muscle memory. These don't feel like drills that have you rep a technique over and over. It tests both partners - the "bad guy" and the driller and enables you to get reps of several techniques.
Student Search - was I excited. I could find a live grappling partner. Sorry Tapey. Hopefully our schedules workout. Within 20 miles of my location there are close to 200 students. Unfortunately not all of the students wished to be contacted or wanted to be a training partner. I wonder how these folks progress in their lessons...
Gracie Garage - A location, hopefuly in the area, where you can train for free with other guys learning the GU curiculum. I found two Garages in the Appleton area. 2! In NE Wisconsin - Get OUT!
Testing on-line - Believe me, I'm the first to be skeptical. I believe that live partners with full resistance is the best way to train. But I really was amazed at the videos that need to be submitted, the amount of detail that is expected and the consistent method of evaluation. A very useful part of the site was that demo videos and actual video testing submissions are posted on-line to be viewed. Not only are there videos of folks that passed, but videos of folks that did not pass. I've enclosed the link. To see the videos, you may have to register, but registration is free.
So after more than a year I was training again!

About Me

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Attention Deficit Dad with as many interests as days in the year. You can't hold me back and you can only hope to contain me!