Friday, January 30, 2009

Time to make the donuts.

The wife's grandmother is a big fan of ├ęclairs. I happen to know how to make ├ęclairs, and since her birthday is today I decided to make up a batch. The problem is that baking is a precise endeavor that requires the use of ingredients that are inconsistent. It took me a while to get my pate a choux dialed in, combine that with making pastry cream from scratch, and I was up late last night. Factor in tasting each piece to make sure things are right (don't snicker it really is the only way to know how your product is turning out) and eating a few too many of the 'failures' I feel like re-heated doggie doo this morning.

Training last night:
1x hang clean 5x front squats (1 second pause in the hole)
About halfway through this my hips let me know that they hate me. My right hip told me outright, my left.. we he just gave me the finger when he thought my back was turned. The good news is in spite of their protesting, they are gaining in stability and mobility. The fact that I can deadlift 485 and can only free squat 135, is really something that is past due fixing.

full clean, and jerk:
worked up to 185 (mostly for fun)

Military press:
5x5 at 135

1a Kneeling cable rows:
4x5/5 at 130

done and done.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Monday night at jiu-jitsu was memorable to say the least. I had this ominous feeling that something bad was going to happen. We were working guillotine choke escapes, and right off the bat my partner not realizing that because of both of our body types (read I have a short neck, and not a lot of space) things got very neck cranky in very short order. I let him know about it and things progressed from there. I got all the way to sparring when my first opponent/partner started working a choke. I knew it was tight, but I thought I'll try this last effort to escape and then I guess I'll tap. I went to hit the counter to the choke. He countered the counter. Oh well, I turned back towards him to tap.. I don't know why I didn't just tap the mat, but what can I say I was being choked. I reached out to tap his leg just as he moved it.. I missed. From there I got this feeling of falling into a pool of black water. Warm, comfortable, very peaceful. Very much what being in the womb must be like. All of the sudden the blackness went away. It was as if the outside world was a television that had been turned off, then turned back on again. I look up at all of the faces standing over me, and I just laugh. I got choked out. I have been knocked out several times.. probably more than is good for me. Choked out is far more pleasent. There are none of the nasty after effects.

Last night I had to get things done quickly in the gym as I am helping a local rugby club with their set pieces.
5 at 315
5 at 365
3 at 405
2 at 425
1 at 425
1 at 405
3 at 365
5 at 315 x2

1a kneeling cable rows:
4x5/5 at 130

strict form:
6,5,5,4 at bw

then lots of scrummaging and line-out lifting.
It was fun to get back out to a rugby field and do what I did for over a decade.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feed my Frankenstein...

Watched Death Race this weekend. It is a silly, violent, childish piece of cinematic pap.. I enjoyed it immensely. If you liked the original, or like Jason Statham check this one out.
In other news I was disappointed that Jens Pulver had a tough showing at the WEC show last night. He's a cool guy and a true fighter, I hope he finds his legs again.
Friday night was good stuff:
3 minutes on 1 minute transition/off
5x suspended push-ups/2 chins back and forth for 3 minutes.
prowler pull-throughs at prowler+140
kb favorite exercise at 44
slasher to halo at 25.

prowler high handle sprints:
4 people alternating

Good stuff.
Saturday BJJ:
we worked a couple basic mount escapes, then open mat. I had several good rolls. Really pushed myself to keep moving and stay technical. I got home and was completely wiped out. Fell asleep on the floor watching survivorman.
After that went to the gym:
incline bench:
worked up to 2 at 205
(benching first in order to spot the wife who is making great gains on the bench)

Band resisted step ups (light band)

all sets with full rest.

face pulls:

Sunday was spent cooking and watching fights.
good weekend.

Friday, January 23, 2009

To sleep per chance to dream..

I've been going to bed early a lot of late. I genuinely feel better. It won't last, but it's nice for now.
training last night:
deads: (conventional)
worked up to 1 at 455. I totally smoked 425. Something was different in my technique, and I tried to relive it with 455 and got out over the bar and things went all pear shaped. I'll have to work on this some more and figure out what I did.
3x 10 at 315 just trying to get the metabolism cranked up.

kneeling 1a cable rows:
5/5 at 120, 130, 140, 140

4/10 at bw
2/5 at +25 rest
2/5 at bw x5 no rest.

done and done.
left the prowler off this week, will bring it back into the fold next week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hips with a hammer.

Still working on the "fix your sucky squat project."
weak lame ass front squats: (2 second pause 'in the hole)
20 total reps at a very lame 135

4x4 at 155

4/5, 2/5, 2/5, 2/5, 2/5,
at bw no rest.

face pulls:

from there I was supposed to go help a local rugby club with their scrummaging, but there was a logistical SNFU with the field. So, no dice.
My hips flat out hurt, but it's time to get this sorted out once and for all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reacting not acting.

Tough night at jitz last night. I pretty well stunk up the joint. Too many possible moves. Too much deliberation. Not enough flow. I'll get it together. These plateaus are part of progress.
That's it for now.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Like a Wrestler.

Good weekend, but busy.
Friday's training was kept short because of the seminar on Saturday. Those things tend to be a bit of a long slog.
1...8...1 ladder alternating exercises:
A) long cycle kb clean and press (1 arm then the other)
B) rope climbs (tie rope to the top of the squat rack, feet on the front of the rack. Let rope out until your body is horizontal and pull yourself vertical)
Good work.

Saturday seminar was good. It was smallish. Lots of familiar faces.
Worked a shot defense, Brabo choke, a version of the pirate choke, a shoulder lock from arm bar, and a strange brabo variation from side control. I am going to have to play with these a bit before I really know if they'll work in my game. The instructors were patient, and did a great job of explaining things. Well worth it.

Saturday night was UFC 93. A pretty mediocre offering. Mauricio Rua looked horrible but luckily for him Mark Coleman looked worse.
I love Dan Henderson, but the match up with Rich Franklin was a snoozer.
Jeremy Horn once again showed that he is one of the most game fighters on the planet come fight day, but needs to work on his condition in a bad way.
The highlight of the night was Alan Belcher's Johnny Cash tattoo and his hail-mary guillotine choke of Dennis Kang. Kang controlled the fight up to the very second he tapped.

Sunday I went to the gym to loosen up and do some light conditioning:
Lots and lots of hip mobility work.
2/5 at bw x5 no rest.
Hand bike:
tabata protocol average watts 208 (including rest)

That afternoon the wife and I went to see The Wrestler. An impressively written and directed ugly movie. Not for the faint of heart. It is a movie that makes you question are you a complete man. Are you a fighter, a father, an artist, a son, a husband, and a scholar? Has your drive to exceed in one of those arenas left you deficient in another? Several others? Is it acceptable to be an incomplete man? How do we learn to prioritize? Why is it that when someone is on top of their profession, allowing all else to slip is acceptable. However, when they descend the mountain and their failings are no longer outshone by their abilities, only then do they become tragic.. why is that?
things to ponder.
have a good week.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Short and sweet.

Wednesday was a great day at jitz. Worked on a half guard pass, and had an epic roll with big D.
Good day on the mats.

Last night, I am still cutting back a little on the conditioning to allow my cns to recover a bit. So lifting:

Deads (conventional):
worked up to a single at 455 then back down:
1 at 425
1 at 405
3 at 365
3 at 315

kneeling 1a cable rows:
6/6 at 110
6/6 at 120
5/5 at 130 x2

2/5 x5 no rest.

Going to a seminar tomorrow, so tonight's training will be also short and sweet.
have a good weekend,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Epiphany: A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.

Last night I was embarking on workout two of the "Stop making excuses and get your hips right to squat big project" Phase 1 of the project was pretty easy: I stopped making excuses. Phase two is a bit harder, I have started to free squat.
So last night I warmed up with some OH squats at broomstick. I am really pushing things down and forcing my hips to open up. I start thinking about this article where Alwyn Cosgrove says: "The difference in squat form and depth was not a mobility issue, it was a stability issue. Essentially, the body is shutting down the range of motion. Not because of tightness or a restriction, but because it perceives a threat due to the lack of stability."
When I am on my back in jiu-jitusu, I can work a pretty reasonable guard, but as soon as I get on my feet and load my hips restrict range of motion. I was wondering where the instability could be. While I'm pondering this I start my warm-up sets on the front squat. I squat down to where my hips start to guard, then I push my knees out, open my hips and sink a little bit deeper. I notice that as soon as I get deeper than is comfortable I notice my hips feel "wobbly" for lack of a better term. It feels like if I don't consciously stabilize my hips that I'll fall over like a house of cards. This explains why I can squat off the box, or deadlift a ton more than I can free squat. My hips don't have to stabilize the load in the hole.
I did 5 sets of 4 at supra-max rom.
My hips were incredibly tired. I am going to keep working this and see if it takes me where I want to go. More as progress progresses or doesn't.
No conditioning last night after monday night's emotional state, I needed to back off for a bit.

piddly pitiful weak front squats:
5x 4 at 135

1x Hang clean, ohp:
5 at 110
5 at 135
4 at 155
5 at 135
5 at 135

Kneeling cable 1a row:
8/8 at 100
6/6 at 110
5/5 at 120
4/4 at 130

2/5 at bw
x5 no rest.

Humble pie.

I always felt that Monsanto was shady..

This is shady.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dirt Track Date..

Good song.. for no reason:

I was annihilated after training last night. Lots of position work, and work on triangles. I had just enough gas to get through. I need to keep an eye on my carb intake on jiu-jitsu days. The slim down is going well, and while the numbers on the scale haven't moved much, I am looking tighter, and feeling lighter. I was sore as heck this morning, but I've warmed up and feeling ready for the gym.
Got what I consider to be a compliment from the professor last night:
He said "you're very deliberate, you don't freak out. Which is good. I usually count on taking advantage of (people freaking out) ."
I replied that I might make the wrong ones, but everything I do is a decision.
It's hard to gauge progress when I am so wiped out. After last night I was just bummed out, but I can't tell if it was because I really was having a hard time, or simply because my blood sugar was too low. I felt better after a shower and some food.
Are my standards too high? I don't think so.. but then again I may not be the best judge. If I were better would I be content? How good is good enough? I certainly don't know.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Compact Disk.

I have undertaken a project to rip all of the music I have from cd to mp3. It is an undertaking. From there I am planning to set up a media server on my home network so that I can listen to music from anywhere in the house. I have been digging through, and found some cds that I thought I'd lost. It's been pretty great. Made me think of old stories and old friends. More on that as it develops.

Friday fun:
push prowler+140 down and back (timing station)
kb swings at 44 lbs
zercher carry sand bag down and back
Full rest.
rope climb

Jitz. worked a simple arm bar and sweep. Touched up my technique.
Rolled with a new guy Heath. He's coming along. He makes a lot of basic mistakes, but only makes them once. Then went no-gi with Sam. I have moments rolling no-gi, but I tend to use my head to control my opponent. It's a problem. Sam got me good with a couple chokes. My throat still hurts. Rolled with the professor for a good while also no-gi. He totally controled the action, but at least no-gi I was able to push the pace.. at least until I wasn't.
I got home completely spent. I rested a bit then headed to the gym:
worked up to 4 at 315 then
2x5 at 275
My hammies are still sore.

then DB 1a ohp:
worked up to 4 at 65

2/5 at bw
x5 no rest

face pulls:
20 at #8
15 at #10
10 at #12
5 at # 14

hope you had a good weekend as well.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Losing to win.

Ok folks after the eat-a-thon that occurred over the new year, It's time to drop some lbs. Nothing major 15 lbs or so in 3 months. I need to be competing at about 200; the 220 weight class is a bit heavy for me. With that in mind I've already added more energy systems work (prowler pushes and the like) you may have noticed that. Now I've added more veggies to my diet and am cracking down on portions. Simple changes, but should get me down pretty easily without feeling like I am being deprived.
That said I'm also going to knuckle down and get my hip mobility 'right.' My hips are about as mobile as a Christmas goose. They are better. I have been working on them, but it's still very much the limiting factor in most of my major lifts. So that means more free squatting, more mobility drills and stretching on my off days. Until this gets right my squat work is going to be pretty pathetic (more so than usual) I am hoping that all of the prowler pushing is going to keep my posterior chain strength up while I work on this. We shall see.

Last night:
Had to do standing military presses before squats because I had to share the equipment.
No biggy.
100x 20
150x 5, 6, 4, 4, 4
(damn I suck at these)

zercher squats (deep as I can get. Well below parallel. long pause at the bottom)
135 sets of 6

7 at bw
3 at +20
4 at bw
4 at bw

sandbag rows:
25 total reps little rest.

prowler pushes:
140 lbs
down and back (30m + turn)
rest (walk down and back)

Pounded, smoked, battered and fried.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Warning: the following post contains a philosophical diatribe about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and as such may not be all that entertaining.

I have been thinking a lot lately about guard, and what it means to play guard. The thing is my natural inclination is to get the hell off of my back, so learning to play guard was very humbling for me, and required a lot of thought, but I've been forcing myself to play guard for that very reason (if you suck at something you need to do it more). The more comfortable I get with guard the more I realize that it is a binary state. Someone is in guard, or not. There are no shades of gray. If they are in open, closed, butterfly, spider, rubber, or de la riva, they are in guard. The guard that presents itself is the one that you should be able to play. Just as you should be able to pass any guard that is thrown at you. Thinking this way really opened up my game, because it allows for more flow from position to position while still being 'in guard.' In stead of having to think of transitioning from spider to de la riva guard just to keep someone in guard and THEN looking for subs/sweeps. One only has to think about looking for openings. It is mind set that keeps your guard active and attacking. It doesn't allow you to fall in love with one particular guard. That said it takes far longer to get comfortable because you have to learn to attack from a number of positions. Thus far it seems a preferable mind set. I will let you know as I progress if this continues to work.

Training updates:
with all of the days off last week I decided to train on sunday:
Glute hams at purple band:

super set:
1a dumbbell press
1a dumbbell row

90 x 5/5
105 x 5/5
95 x 5/5
105 x 4/4
95 x 5/5
105 x 4/4
100 x 2/2
105 x 4/4

2/5 x 4
2/5 x 4
at bw

10 minutes of intervals on hand bike. standard program
level 15

good class, big class. very basic: break posture and cross choke then cross choke to arm-bar.
Lots of positional work.
I was moving ok, but my recognition was a little slow. Probably a bit rusty.

Last night:
box squat:
worked up to 1 at 315 haven't squatted in a while, and just never got comfortable. Cut it a little short.

worked up to a miss at 265. My right (surgically repaired) delt is by far the weakest link here. I got 250, but 265 stuck badly. I'll bring that up and hit 275 fairly soon.

8,5,5,5,5 (sup, sup, over/under, under/over, pro)

prowler work:
140 lbs
row 40m
push 40m
rest (walk down and back)


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Throwing snowballs at waterfalls.

It's been a while, gentle reader, since we have spoken. I have been busy.
Last Tuesday I made my way from work to the gym:
Good mornings:
5x5 at 285

close grip bench (thumb on the smooth):
worked up to 5 at 185

CS rows:
worked up to 5 at 4 plates
then 4 sets
5 presses at 185
5 rows at 3 plates

2 chins
5 dips
5 continuous sets all at bw
then 3 sets
Then to the boathouse for a bunch of heavy prowler pushing.

got up early and headed to the gym.
This time for some conditioning.
5x clean and press
5x rows
all at 135
rest 30 sec

tabata work on the hand bike.
average watts: 210

chins and dips: 2 and 5

From there I showered and the wife and I headed south to Columbia Gorge. We had a decent drive having left before mid-day.
The hotel is very cool. Old fixtures everywhere. Lots of hardwood, very classy and cool.
We spent some time lounging and unpacking before it was time to meet the in-laws for appetizers and dinner. We sat at the bar and talked. I watched several couples all in their mid 40s walk in in garish fashion. Designer jeans and frosted hair, and the women were worse. Here's hoping I don't lose my damn mind in ten years. The in-laws arrived and we headed... somewhere for a fantastic meal. The signage was covered in snow, and frankly I just don't remember the name of the place. I had a pretty respectable crawfish etouffee. We headed back to the hotel to play word games, and await the arrival of the new year. It arrived and I won the first game of the new year. We got up the next morning and headed down for some coffee and reading. I finished reading the study book for the CCNA. Now I just have to study. The hotel had an epic 5 course breakfast for the new year. It was insane:
1) fruit and pastry tray (freshly made apple fritters were the so far above the other offerings I started and stopped there)
2) Scottish Oatmeal with bruleed bananas. (mmm crunchy bananas)
3) Eggs and braised short ribs with holendias. This was so very good. I cannot express, but it sat in my stomach like a sack of quarters)
4) sorbet. (whatever)
5) Lemon souflee pancakes. light, lemonie and just perfect.
This was a long slow meal. I was full, but not painfully so.
I rested for a while and then we trecked to a local gym to get our lift on.
Decent place minimal, and only had one squat rack, so I had to wait, but overall I got a good session in:
zercher squats:
Mostly just to warm-up and wait for the squat rack
4 x 5 at 135

Good mornings (with safety squat bar)
4x5 at 275 these are far more difficult with the safety squat bar. It basically tries to shear your head off. I almost ralphed, so I decide to go to something a bit easier for a bit.

worked up to 1 at 245. No problem. I really need to find someone to spot me so that I can get a true max.
135 max reps (25) mostly to see what I could do. Vacation workouts you do stuff like that.. ok you might not, but I do.

bent rows (machine):
worked up to 4 plates x5
3 plates:
10, 8, 8

chins 2, dips 5:
5 sets no rest
then 4 sets straight.

Then lots of stretching and playing arround with equipment that my gym doesn't have.
I got back to the room and watched Legend of Drunken master (one of my favorite Jackie Chan movies) Then took a long hot shower. Felt good to sweat out all of the rich food in my belly from that morning. Later that night more hanging out in the lounge and dinner in the hotel. I had an amazing rabbit dish. The wife was surprisingly squeemish about me dining on brair rabbit particularly since a cute and fuzzy lamb was sitting on her plate. We spent the night playing hearts and relaxing.
Friday we headed to Portland. The weather on the way was completely bizarre. It was sleeting like crazy, but sunny. The sleet would start, stop, turn to rain, stop again, every half mile. It was insane. Weird weather things are going on here in the PNW.
We headed to Powells I bought two books. A no-gi book by Royler Gracie, and another book that I will review.. probably tomorrow.
From there we went to dinner with in-laws: the Portland contingent. At this point I am feeling like a faus grais goose. I tried to eat lightly and shared dessert with the wife. The next morning we headed back to Powells, and read and I drank cuban coffee. From there we headed home. This is droning, but at this point I was glad to be headed home.
Normally I edit my posts fairly carefully, but it's time for bed and with the snow it's going to be a little crazy so I'm just posting. Forgive the lack of polish.
Hope your new years was great.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sorry folks, parks closed moose outside should have told you.

I was out of town for a few days. I will regale you with wild tales of my adventures soonly. Doesn't pay to advertise on the interwebs when you're going to be out of town and leaving all of your star wars pez dispensers unguarded.
Hope your new year was happy.