Jul 252012
 

This marked the first ever Tuesday class at Phantom BJJ at our new location in Covington, WA.  I was a little worried that everyone had forgotten when it got to be about 5:20 pm and I was still the only one there, but within a few minutes after that several others showed up ready to roll.

All together, there were 6 guys, including myself.  That’s a pretty good sized group, I figure, for the first time a new class runs.  Mark Whitaker ran the class, which included myself (also a purple belt), Owen and Aaron at blue belts, and Kenji and Matt at white belt.

We drilled some fundamentals with our partners, starting from under mount, we did a basic upa reversal into guard, where my partner would do a hip bump sweep into an armbar from mount.  After we did that for a while, Mark switched it up just a little.  After doing the hip bump, the guy in mount would then swing his leg over one arm and move into a triangle from mount.

After a few minutes, I showed a set up I used to use all the time but had kind of forgotten about, but it meshed really well with what we were doing, baiting with the armbar to set up a triangle.  Basically, we worked through the same flow, but once into mount, I’d work up to a high mount, and then move to S Mount position.  The white belts were sort of unfamiliar with the position, so I took a little time going over the transition to S mount, talking about the importance of staying nice and heavy on my opponent’s shoulder, and driving my near-side knee up as close as possible to his ear.  Then, when I’m ready, I move into my armbar.

The set up that I like really starts here.  My opponent is blocking my armbar by crossing his arms, which is pretty typical.  At this point, I stay really heavy on his head/face with that leg, widening out that knee while I use my other foot to push on his far bicep.  The idea is to get him thinking that I’m working for the armbar, and of course, if I get it I’ll take it.  What I’m really going to do, though, is eventually slip my foot through his arms while at the same time allowing my other leg to accidentally slide off his head giving him hope.  And we all know what Bane says about hope.  The typical response at this point is for my opponent to see an opening and start to turn up and into me right into my waiting triangle, which is usually a big surprise.  I like to finish the triangle with my opponent still on his side as much as possible, but if he does manage to turn his hips up, I can still finish the triangle as I would normally do it.

The guys seemed to like it, and after that we got lots of time to roll.  The only person I didn’t get to spar with was big Aaron, and I’ll freely admit that it’s because he was flagrantly fragrant.  I’m not into that.  Hopefully, he avoids spicy food before our next class.

As a bit of an aside, I’ve been training pretty consistently now since October after right about 1 year off.  Being able to help Bing open up his school and being a part of it during the infancy is really, really cool.  Bingo is going all out and we have a great core group of guys.  While BJJ is still a tough workout for a fat, old guy like myself, I remember again why I fell in love with the sport.

 

Jul 242012
 

Having a great time training in the new home of Phantom BJJ in Covington, WA.  We have about 12 or so guys regularly attending each class, and the personality of the school is really beginning to gel.  It’s pretty cool to see Bing putting things together.

Now that the school is in its own space, Bing has the latitude to open up some more classes. In addition to Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we’re going to have a Tuesday night class along with a no-gi class on Thursday nights.   While there are plans to eventually incorporate a weekly Judo class, along with some drills and conditioning classes or beginners classes, the core group of students is still pretty small.  It makes perfect sense to keep the number of classes low for a while.  Better to have five full classes per week than 10 classes with three people in each class.

It’s a pleasure to be rolling regularly again.

In other news, Elena Stowell, a blue belt down at Foster BJJ, published her book: Flowing with the Go.    While the official synopsis is below, I can tell you that Elena is a tremendous human being who is a true inspiration.  And she’s my kids’ high school science teacher, too! 

For what seemed like a lifetime and probably was, Elena Stowell wandered aimlessly in a personal prison of self-doubt and lack of purpose after her fifteen-year-old daughter Carly died suddenly before her eyes. By some combination of miracle and necessity, she walked into a Seattle area Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym and rolled for the first time in her life. Through that experience and others that followed, Elena discovered the tenets of the martial art form and healing were the same. With a ripping raw honesty and refreshing balance of humor and introspection, Elena’s story reminds us to never stop panning for the gold within ourselves.

Check it out.  The book is $14.99 in paperback or I think it’s only $3.99 on the Kindle. She deserves the love, guys.

And one final bit.  I’ve been dying like crazy lately.  The picture attached is of a Navy Blue Koral.  I was surprised that the stitching in the lapel patch actually took the dye, but in person it looks pretty cool.  This was a used gi that was getting a little dingy along the collar due to some serious use, and cleaned up well.

I also did a couple of new gis for the same guy in two colors that I hadn’t used before: Brazil Nut and Gun Metal Gray.   Brazil Nut is a very cool, dark brown color.  The final result is almost flat brown.  Gun Metal Gray is also a dark color.  The gray has a lot of blue in it, and in person is a very unique color.  I’d say both are colors that I think would look good for either a woman or a man, and once he gets some patches on them, I think they’re going to be really badass.

I’ll post pictures of both soon, but here’s a question for anyone who might have read this far.  How can I get good, accurate color reflected in these pictures?  I would like to take pictures that are pretty close to the actual, in person color and I can’t seem to strike a balance.  If I use a flash, it washes out the color bigtime, and if I don’t use a flash, I end up with a photo that’s too dark.  I don’t have the money to buy a big, fancy, expensive digital SRL camera.  So, other than that, do you have some suggestions?

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jul 082012
 

Bad Boy Shorts sale


Bad Boy Brazil Fight Shorts for $25.
Bad Boy Shorts $25

 

Whether you love jiu jitsu or are celebrating Anderson Silva’s beatdown of Chael Sonnen, at $25, these shorts are a steal.

Worldwide Shipping!

 

 Posted by at 7:00 pm
Jul 082012
 
tiedye1

Took a stab at Tie Dye today for a friend. Turned out a little sloppy, but the spiral on the back came through pretty well. Tie Dying a gi is definitely a different breed of animal than tie dying a t-shirt. The collar presents some challenges, as does the weight of the fabric.

I did this one gratis for a friend, who was gracious enough to allow me to experiment on his gi.

 Posted by at 5:28 pm
Jun 032012
 

A friend took advantage of an absolutely terrific sale over at Warrior One, and picked up a nice, single weave gi for his daughter, which I dyed hot pink for her.  The other is a pearl weave dyed Deep Orange.

Jun 022012
 

A very comfortable Jiu Jitsu t-shirt, from one of the most legit jiu jitsu brands.

Tatami Jiu Jitsu Tee $12

And if it sells out quick, you can always pick up cool jiu jitsu shirts on MAS including 31FIFTY Project, Manto and Arte Suave.

Get yours before it’s sold out!

 Posted by at 9:00 pm
May 292012
 

I worked on a new batik gi.  I don’t know why, but I ended up determined to put an image of Cthulhu on the back.  For anyone who’s unfamiliar, Cthulhu was created by H.P. Lovecraft, a horror fiction author from back around the turn of the 20th Century.

Click here for images of Cthulhu.  And if you’re interested in reading the stories, the entire H.P. Lovecraft library has been published online as it has fallen out of copyright.  Call of Cthulhu, for example, can be downloaded here.

It was my first project where I really tried to do something with multiple colors and build the final color of the gi with multiple dye-baths.  Overall, it worked out pretty well.  I’m going to have to learn to be a bit more patient applying the wax, but that will come. 

Batik, I’m learning, is like drawing really fast with a magic marker that bleeds.  Or, have you guys seen pictures of classical Chinese calligraphers?  I imagine them with large paint brushes wet with ink that they apply to the paper with quick, deft brushstrokes.  Well, batik is like that, except that I am just learning to control the brush.  But I’m thoroughly hooked.

Below is stage one.  A blank canvas, so to speak.  The canvas in this case is a generic, Lucky Gi knockoff, A3 (actual fit is somewhere between A2 and A3).  The quality is actually REALLY good.  The top is a high quality, gold weave material, and the bottom is heavy, canvas.  All of it had green, offset stitching and details. 

I hand drew a picture of our buddy, Cthulhu, on the back of the gi.  I did it big, because he is the ultimate evil, after all. 

cthulhu1

The next step was to block out only those areas that I wanted to remain white, or that I want to be able to dye bright red.  The final result looked like this:

cthulhu2

Okay.  Next step was the first dye bath: Kelly Green.  And the result:

cthulhu3

At this point, I had to re-draw my friend Cthulhu and then reapply more wax only where I wanted to keep the bright green, then another trip into the dye bath.  This time, Dark Green.  The result looked like this:

cthulhu4 

Okay.  Starting to come together.  At this point, I removed all of the wax and then applied more wax to those areas I wanted to protect and keep green.  At this stage, I’m going to dye it one more time, this time in Oxblood Red.  The result will give my gi its final color, while also making the eyes and some other highlights nice and bright red. 

Below is what the image looks like with the final application of wax:

cthulhu5

And then the finished product.  I added my belt so that you can get a sense of the color.

cthulhu6

And the front of the gi.  The finished product is pretty cool.  I didn’t spend as much time agitating the water as I should have.  Frankly, after three dye baths, I was getting impatient.  But the result looks like an intentionally uneven finish with areas of deep maroon/purple, and some green peeking through.  You can see a bit of that in the image below:

cthulhu7

Anyone want a one of a kind Cthulhu gi?  I’m pretty happy with it, but ultimately, I’m going to have to sell some of these projects to make room for more. 

Also, I think I’m going to start creating patches as a less expensive way to explore the batik side of things.  Let me know what you think!

May 062012
 
gray gi

I completed a couple of projects. The batik is for me.

I’m also offering a custom dye service for $60 for a limited time with your supplied gi, or $150 for a high quality pearl weave gi custom dyed in your choice of color. The gi I offer is the same as the dark green gi below.

Check out all the options at my store.

Apr 042012
 

Here’s a question that was posed by Prof. Giva Santana:

Question:
You rather be that blue belt that everyone gives you compliments and says you should be a purple?
Or would you rather be that purple belt that no one says it, but thinks you shouldn’t be it?
I was just wandering….

What do you think? 

I think that they’re often the same person.  I’ve been mulling this over for a while now, and I have decided that what I really think is that it’s easy to be a big fish in a little pond.  I’ve said in class that the perfect rank is four stripe blue belt.  My rationale for that is that there’s really no pressure.  You are expected to know stuff, but you’re also expected to have holes in your game.  You’re on the cusp of purple belt, but aren’t yet required to carry its weight. 

But, you have to grow.  Ultimately, my response was to worry less about the other guys belt. Train more and trust your coach.

Apr 042012
 

Still training regularly and having fun.  I watched the Pan Ams this weekend and it was great.  As you can see below, I went a little nuts and watched it on the 110” screen. 

panams

I have to hand it to Budovideos.com.  They did a great job and really held nothing back.  They had an HD feed with commentary, along with dedicated feeds to all 12 mats.

I was switching back and forth, but even the "non-HD’” feeds looked okay on the big screen.  I mean, there was a little artifacting and pixellation, but nothing major.  Kudos to them.

The only suggestions I’d make is, if possible, throw lower-third CGs on the screen to show the names of the competitors and where they’re from.  I realize that this might not be possible for every feed, but for at least the main/commentator feed it would up the game somewhat.  Also, and I don’t know if this is possible, but either position the cameras or in some other way add the scores to the feeds.  It’s great to see the action, but there were several times when the fight was close and I wasn’t sure if the ref awarded an advantage or what.  

Class is going well.  I have to say that having watched the Pan Ams, I’m truly humbled by how effing good everyone looked.  Technical at every level. 

Oh, and I’m really working to eliminate animal protein from my diet.  I have no problem eating meat on an ethical level, although I have long tried to ensure that I’m eating meat that was raised in a somewhat natural state.  I’ll try to keep you guys apprised of how I’m doing. 

And finally, I’m still dying gis.  I have a ShoYoRoll Count to dye grey.  I didn’t get to it last weekend because of the Pan Ams, but it’s definitely on my list of things to do this weekend.