Wednesday, 21 January 2015

On the Mat Day 574: BJJ, Power90X and Yoga.....

So I started P90X3 this Monday morning. I got up at 7.30 am and started the workout Total Synergistics. I didn't actually find this one hard. The only hard part was getting up in the freezing cold. After the workout I went off to train BJJ. We are doing omoplata this week.Tuesday I did Agility X, which was pretty fun and hard at the same time. It is a good workout to get my stamina back up to where it was at the end of last summer. Today I did Yoga this morning and then cycled to BJJ. I'm feeling extremely tired and worn down. This usually happens in the first week of starting a Beachbody program. My neck is stiff, my glutes are sore and I have a stretched muscle pain in my upper back but other than that I am sleeping 8 hours a day and eating better.

I noticed a new piece of equipment lying around at the club. A home-made Bulgarian Bag and just had to have a go with it. It is 18 kg and feels surprisingly heavy when twirling it around my neck. I have to keep my abs and back muscles tight to lift it correctly. It is a great tool, just like kettlebells, that makes you keep good spine alignment and build muscle and stamina. I plan to keep working with it after each morning class.

Home-made Bulgarian bag by Miura-san
Today's snack. Hard to find healthy snacks in Japan:(

At night I have been doing extra Yoga in an effort to improve my flexibility. It's a long mountain to climb but I enjoy the short stretches and the host of the session is nice to look at too.
Here is her first day of 30 on youtube. I recommend it.

Friday, 16 January 2015

On the Mat Day 571: BJJ Training then the Dentists

Such a mixed bag of a day. I woke up early bit into my toast and broke my tooth. It was an old filling that was probably the shit back 30 years ago but didn't hold up very well. It was shocking to me at first but it didn't hurt so I just packed my gear and went to class. As usual for this time of the year there weren't many people there. Luckily Matt turned up so I had someone tough to train with. We did a round of me in spider guard vs his passing then a round of just takedown. I felt quite energetic and don't gas so easily now that I am going 3 times a week on average. My fingers are also getting used to the spider guard grip again which is good and my brain is super active thinking about techniques.

I was among other things really trying to use Marcelo Garcia type escapes from side control or potential guard passes in which he uses a frame against their shoulder, neck or holds a lapel then scoots his hips away and turns back into the opponent. I was fairly successful with this movement, God knows I have been butt scooting a lot over these past 5 years.

Here is a video that really impressed me into learning how he does it. It made me very proactive and fight to stay out of side control. Usually I fight and fight, wait and wait, my guard is passed but I'm still on my back then I think "Oh, shit," and allow the opponent to drop onto me. Today I tried to move sooner as the pass is happening and it helped.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

On the Mat Day 570: Still working on spider guard

My hands, fingers and forearms are so tired out. I had lots of problems with spider guard today. I need to do a better job of creating space and breaking down the opponent's posture. Probably need to drill foot on the hip and stretch out the opponent on Sunday morning. At the moment I'm attempting to either pull into spider x-guard or get into omoplata. I probably should go for the collar with standard spider guard or break posture also with shin to shin and extend them. Lots of things to think about after today's lesson.

Monday, 29 December 2014

On the Mat Day 564: Spider Guard

Grapplearts does a great job with its DVD sets. I just bought Spiderguard Masterclass and am both enjoying and overwhelmed by the amount of details. There are 5 DVDs chock full of good advice and techniques which I plan to devote the next six months to perfecting unless my fingers fall off in the process from all the gripping.

Too cold, I want to go home and get back in my futon
I attended the drilling class yesterday morning at 8 am and it was unbelievably cold. I looked at the thermometer hanging up at the door and it read -3 degrees. I felt like I needed gloves because each time my hand touched the mat it ached from the cold.

During drilling I mostly concentrated on spider guard of course and guard retention. My brain has not yet absorbed enough of the DVD yet to put it into practice and I am not sure where to start so I did basic drilling for breaking down the opponent.

I've also just got back from today's training. We are in the holidays for the end of the year and there were quite a few people turning up for training. I used spider guard entirely for each sparring partner and my hands and forearms now throb from being overexerted. I've forgotten how much grip power you need for spider guard. This should come back with time.

I was very successful with taking people over the top of me with the Roletta sweep and generally working to prevent passing. I find that I get tried much more trying to pass than when I play guard so felt like I had more energy to keep going but my grip gave out in the end. I need to address being passed when the opponent pushes their hips forward to remove my grips while standing. I also had my lasso hook stuffed to the floor and was passed on that side as well. It can be very hard to break down the opponent's posture when they are driving forward and hips forward. The deep lasso hook is very good at pulling down the opponent to destroy their base if I can get it in deep enough.

After class on both days I just had to have my favourite Boss canned coffee. Like liquid chocolate to spike my sugar as a good pick-me-up. I need to find a T-shirt with their logo for when I feel like a Boss.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

On the Mat Day 560: Friday Training in the Snow

OK so that was melodramatic. I didn't actually train in the snow but there was enough of it on the road on Thursday and most of it had melted by Friday but it was still ball freezing temperatures.

Ball freezing dojo
F-sensei had to turn on the Boeign engine heater to get the room to at least liveable levels. When he flipped the switch, black smoke came out and fill the room. I started to cough along with the other people and started to worry about the number of brain cells that had probably been destroyed by me inhaling the noxious fumes.

We worked on guard passing but using footwork. One person lies down, knees sticking up and feet on the floor, the other person stands and uses fancy footwork to step over the legs and end in knee on belly. These make good warm up drills and I wish we would do them more often as drills alone at the start.

It being Christmas in a few days, I decided to get myself something. Stephan Kesting has been taunting me lately with his spider guard masterclass titbits. I must say that I wanted the Ryan Hall passing or guard DVD but the yen is so weak and buying it from Amazon will cost too much to ship. Stephan offers free international shipping and the fact that the new DVD course he has release includes lasso spider made me buy it since this is my strong position. Also, the fact that after watching just one of his videos with double bicep control to omoplata has got me hitting this move a lot lately I just had to get that friggin DVD in my hands. So I have.....and can't wait to watch it and digest it.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

On the Mat Day 557: Dark Influences

The one thing about training BJJ that I benefit from the most is the fact that you are surrounded by positive people who never have anything bad to say about you. Your training partners may crush you in side control, choke you until you see the world closing in around you or throw you to the mat with such force that the air rushes out of your lungs, but at the end of the day they are there to build you up so that you become a better person. The dojo is a place full of good energy and people with the same goal.

It was never so apparent how important my time with my BJJ training partners is and how much I take their positivity for granted than when I went out for drinks last night with some friends who don't train and have never had their egos crushed on the mat. These friends probed, nudged and teased about various topics with the aim of making themselves feel good at the expense of putting me in a foul mood. I'm just no longer prepared or willing to allow myself to sit with people who are self-fulfilling and do not have my best interests at heart. I ask myself, does spending time with this person(s) make me happy? When the answer is "no", then they can no longer be called friend.

I cannot wait to get back on the mat tomorrow to shake off these dark influences.

Monday, 8 December 2014

On the Mat Day 555: Catching up on training

I've had more time to train recently and have been hit with the BJJ bug a bit so feel excited to go train again. I think the new 2 hour video from Roy Dean has helped to get me wanting to train. I enjoy his commentary before while his students are rolling on the mats. I wish I had access to something like that to give me feedback on how I roll. The video has also given me ideas about techniques I could use.

If you haven't seen it, you need to.

The mat on Saturday was so god damn cold. It was snowing outside but didn't lay. I felt like I was crazy to go training at a place that only has steel walls and no insulation but the club was actually full of people. I plan to do more training on Saturday morning because I had some good rolls with people who are better than me. It's the only way to improve.
Saturday morning training in single digit (Celsius) temperatures

 Saturday was our end of year gathering for drinks and food. Usually this is the time when people get promoted. Mine is a long way off so I didn't have any concern about that (although dropping a purple belt on me 3 years in was a shocking surprise and something I had a hard time adjusting to initially). We had 2 guys promoted to brown and a couple of whites to blue and a 15 year old kid who is very good promoted to Green. He will most likely be blue belt next year when he turns 16.

Yoshida-san was one of the new brown belts. He is very inspirational and I have enjoyed seeing him go through his BJJ journey as I joined about a year and a half after him. He is all round very good both at guard and passing, can roll hard or light, and has a very slippery feel when in guard and strong pressure despite being small when passing. I like how he intelligently thinks about jiu-jitsu in his approach to improving. It was his decision to start a Sunday 8 am - 9.30 am class just for drilling, something I had wanted badly for a long time. This drilling class has really helped me to probe into the small questions and ideas that I have in my head concerning BJJ techniques and to also work to fill the holes that I have. If he ever considers it, I think he will make a great instructor in the future.

Yoshida-san congrats on the brown belt!

Monday, 1 December 2014

On the Mat Day 551: Some success with new moves

I really think that the drilling class every Sunday morning is helping with my jiu-jitsu. It allows me to segment techniques and put them into compartments when I need them. It makes me think about problems that I face during sparring. For example, I've been mostly focusing on escapes and then guard passes versus different guards this month. As a result of drilling, my mind is faster to tell my body what technique I need at the required time so my ability to escape and pass the guard has improved. I've been getting a lot of success with guard passing knee shield and attacking a turtled opponent from the front using a peruvian neck tie. It was at first hard to get the feeling of where I am choking down but with drilling it my hand position has improved making the choke more effective.

There were something like 7 people in the morning class today which was amazing. I got to spar with a young guy of 28 who was very physically strong because of his job as a fireman. I asked him to go again later for a 2nd round because I want to get good at controlling and dominating opponents who are stronger but less technical than me. I had great success with the gringo sweep from closed guard on him after tying his arm and head up in a gable grip. This was a great sweep and I should drill it a lot more.

I can't wait until January so that I can get back into working out in the morning and getting fit for summer. I feel like I have lots of energy and drive to become a strong purple belt in 2015. This year has been tough with injury and the fact that I have constantly felt like I have stagnated. Apparently, this is normal at purple belt where many try to work on their holes as I have done with takedowns and escapes.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

On the Mat Day 546: Still working on my holes

I cycled to work last night and on the way back stopped off for the final hour of class which is sparring. It was full of blue belts initially until a few purple belts turned up. A lot of the blue belts are frequently training right now so they are getting quite good and interestingly each one has different aspects that I need to be wary of. Some are good at passing, berimbolo, triangles and takedowns. This is a good thing for me because I get to work on defending these because as any purple belt knows, blue belts are out for their blood and very rarely hold back. I have a much easier time sparring with purple and above. I think this is because they tend to use less strength and more technique so it doesn't feel like one of those 80s video games where you tap the button repeatedly to win the fight/race or whatever.

Button mashing fun when I was a boy
I was a bit bummed out by my performance actually (at one point I felt like heaving which is a first for me) but realize that you can't always be the hammer. I think that perhaps I have an unrealistic idea of what I can do. On the other hand I feel I have the potential to be better. I talked a little to the other guys and came to the conclusion that I need to train more frequently. That's why today I also went to the morning class, so two days in a row for me. I want to aim for 4 classes a week, 2 at night, 1 in the day and 1 drilling class on Sunday morning. I'll do this and see if it brings about any improvement. I also think I need to be more aggressive. For some reason, getting purple belt made me less aggressive during sparring. I think it is the fact that I have this impression of a higher belt being able to flow beautifully with no strength. This has led me to try to use less power (which is good) but I think I have lost the drive to push my opponent which subsequently pushes me to do more and get fitter. I need to get this back. I cannot continue to coast along while others improve faster around me.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

On the Mat Day 543: It's Time for the Boots

It's that time of year where the mat is super cold on your feet and all you want to do is snuggle up in a futon and go to sleep. I got into my futon to warm up an watch some BJJ stuff to get my mindset ready for BJJ. I mostly watch takedowns lately. It's an area that has plagued me and a gaping hole for me. It's getting better, particularly my balance and resistance to throws, but slowly. Back to the feet, I took my wrestling boots to the club last night and was happy I did. It was so cold..brr.

With my body nicely warmed and rashguard under my clothes (I considered wearing spats) I got on my bicycle, put on my headphones and went the 30 minutes ride to the club. It's a nice warmup for my body cycling there and I'm really starting to enjoy doing it.

We worked on passing the guard since this is such a huge theme in Barbosa affiliated clubs. The passes were mostly against hooks under the knees from the person in guard and dealing with his legs by either using a knee slicer pass or threading the knee through the obstacle leg.

There were a lot of people at class last night. Most come late. It's quite staggered how they drivel into the club. One guy even came with 20 minutes left on the clock. I know for a fact that this pisses off our head instructor but the guy continues to do it.

During sparring I really tried to not rest between match ups. I'm looking to push myself when I can. I think it was reading a post in reddit/bjj that gave me inspiration to do so. Click HERE to read it. It's not easy to roll super tired when you got young hungry blue belts breathing down your neck but it is the key to improve for sure. Talking of blue belts, lots of our guys are getting better each time I spar with them. They are really keeping me on my toes and it's both frustrating and fun going against their guards. The better the opponent the better I will get. That's the mindset I want.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

On the May Day 542: Busy Working

A busy work schedule has made me miss a lot of training at the start of this month. It has been my busiest time since starting to work for myself. This and the injury has really set me back this year. It's a pity because it has been an exciting time lately for the club because F-sensei went to the US to complete. Unfortunately, he lost the first match and looked completely tired when he got back last week on Tuesday. He then went on to win the Asia Open 2014. A couple of other people competed and there have been some folks arriving at the club to train with us and a couple of new young guys in their 20s starting training here.

Hopefully, I'll heal up by the end of the year and get back into shape again and try to compete next year. That's my goal anyway. Get in shape, train more often and compete to see where I am.

Friday, 31 October 2014

On the Mat Day 540: Sitting guard, takedowns and stuff

Not many turned up last night. In fact, it was only me to begin with then Matt came later for sparring. The day before Halloween (lots of dads at our club) and the day before F-sensei would travel to LA for the World Masters JJ Championship over there I believed would have everyone coming to train. But on, it wasn't to be.

F-sensei went over lots of sweep from sitting guard. Duck under, technical standup leg pull, take the back, etc. It was a good revision for me. Later Matt came so we decided to do takedown sparring only. This is something I've been meaning to do for a while and now that we had the mat to ourselves it was a good time to do it. He is very hard to take down. Good balance, strong an fast. While doing this type of sparring it came to me that successful takedowns only come by tricking the opponent. A talented opponent will not be taken down by a single setup. For example, you cannot just go to kuzushi then seio-nage and get the throw/takedown. You have to trick the opponent so their body moves into the correct position for the seio-nage. That's what I did. I went for a foot sweep to make him move back and bend at the waist as most jiu-jitsu guys do then ducked under for the drop seio-nage. Basically, what I am saying is that to get a successful throw or takedown I need to think about chains of throws. This is true for ground techniques. The other thing I discovered that standing for 6 minutes sparring is tough in terms of cardiovascular and muscular. No wonder judo guys are so strong and fit (much more than BJJers in general).
I also need to relax more and probably should do it as often as possible. Thanks Matt.

Hopefully F-sensei will arrive in LA safely have a two matches and get through to the televised matches on Sunday. He is flying out on Friday and returning on I think Monday. That's a rough schedule! It looks like his first opponent will be a Frenchman called Emmanuel-Fernandez.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

On the Mat Day 537: Omoplata

Here I am as Uke in omoplata
Last night we studied omoplata. In closed guard the opponent put his hands on the mat to make it easier to work with this move. You push your knees against his arms, hip out to one side and bring your top knee towards your face (crunching). This will force his head to the ground and then you can move the leg to the omoplata position. At the end we also did this with a spider double sleeve grip for more realism. One important point I picked up was to pull both arms of the opponent forcefully towards me once my one of my knees is on the inside. This will connect his chest to my shin/knee so I can easily open my knee to the floor and force his head towards the mat then omoplata on the other side. It seems really important to keep a tight (no gaps) hold between your leg and the opponent.

There were a lot of guys came to class. James wanted to start off with no-gi so I obliged and found myself in defense the entire time. Guillotine, front ankle lock and armbar. He feels much better and stronger without the gi. I need to be more careful with my head in nogi (i.e. not lower it and keep my spine straight). It is so easy to slip on a choke.

I am also looking for the Japanese necktie and got it once. It seems to be a very good trick when they turtle from bottom side control or half-guard.

A new guy came to try out the class. I rolled with him after K-sensei, going super light because he was so thin and frail. I was shocked how weird his movement was. He simply fell to the floor most times at a single touch of my foot. It was comical and I almost just wanted to give up and walk away in disgust. My son actually does a much better job when we spar on the rare occasion. It would be nice for this guy to start coming but damn he needs a lot of work.

Monday, 20 October 2014

On the Mat Day 535: Morning Mat Time and Rehabilitation

I attended class this morning. I like training at 11 am then finishing around 12.30 noon because I have the rest of the day to do what I want. It was raining quite badly during class and I thought I would have to postpone my bike ride to Kanayama to see a friend but it eventually stopped and I went to see him.

My friend is a physiotherapist and getting ready to go to Taiwan and work with the Guam football national team that will be over there to compete in the Asia tournament. He used me to work on his taping techniques for the ankle, shoulder, hamstring and also showed me how to apply an ACE elastic bandage to support my groin strain. It was actually amazing how well it worked and I plan to use it during training from now. He also broke down the scar tissue on a ligament in my abdomen that has been my main problem recently. It aches constantly and hurt a lot every time I lift my knee when standing. He explained that there is a lot of scar tissue around the ligament that will probably take another 2-3 sessions to remove. The scar tissue is broken down and then realigns itself along the ligament in the correct path and will actually make it stronger in the end. Right now though, it is preventing full movement in the area so is driving me crazy with the pain.

At class we did mount escapes but I've been really focusing on Marcelo Garcia type side escapes. I noticed how he makes a frame when under side control and pushes up to break the underhook on the neck. I tried it today and it worked. I actually went "Oh!" as I felt the opponent's hands pop off from around my neck and totally forgot about continuing the escape. Until now I've usually thought it bad to push up against the opponent from this position but if MG does it then it has to be right.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

On the Mat Day 532: A fun night at jiu-jitsu

Being Uke for Ouchi-gari
There were a hell of a lot of people who came to train on Friday night. I wish the club was so full every night. I think it's been the best night I've had, being content, having fun, doing jiu-jitsu. I've come to think of sparring as more like a dance than a battle. There is no winning or losing, just stumbles and I enjoy each time I dance with a different partner because they bring a different step to the floor. I'm still trying to use less strength and more leverage and technique. It's not easy, especially when you have an opponent who relies mostly on strength. I am confident that with time by practicing this way, I can eventually overcome larger, stronger opponents.

I was happy with a couple of things during sparring. I'm mostly looking for counters now so don't care if I get put in back spots. I countered the following:
Ude gaeshi ->used counter to not get thrown
Guillotine ->used correct hand placement to prevent choke
Toe hold ->rolled the correct way to escape (although I started to roll the wrong way at first :(
Kimura lock ->used grips to break out and try for my own submission

A couple of things I would like to work on is getting a solid defence and counter for kimura when they attack from half-guard and be more vigilant for ezekiel chokes. I think that I probably keep my neck to exposed in all my movements.

Both Matt and James turned up for training. It is good to see them at the club and to get feedback on either my movements or how they feel about BJJ. The Japanese guys at the club are not very open when talking about jiu-jitsu or giving advice and stuff. I don't like that much.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

On the Mat Day 528: 5 Years

So it's been over 5 years since I first started BJJ. That time has flown by like nothing else. A lot of faces at the club have changed. Many have left, especially at white or blue belt but some have stayed and are still going strong. I've been through a tough patch of it recently with my injury and after training Friday night for real after such a long hiatus, I feel it is hard to get back into it. Saturday morning, my fingers hurt, my skin was rubbed sore (it's definitely got weaker) and my injury had flared up. I took some Ibuprofen and iced it all day and it feels OK today. I went to drilling this morning and polished off a few good rounds of stuff I wanted to work on. It was a very enjoyable morning.

I'm just waiting patiently till my injury heals then I can go at it hard again. I really want to do P90X3 solid for 3 months to get back in shape. Kawai-san said he had a similar injury and it took 6 months to heal while he trained. Fuck that. I'm also cycling to the club, which takes 30 minutes, and I enjoy it so much because I get to see so much hot chicks on the street :)

Today I drilled: Single leg takedown, guillotine defence, head lock defence (standing), passing dela Riva, knee-shield, over-under pass and measures vs shrimping opponent, ude-gaeshi and countermeasure, I got a lot done when I write it down here.

Friday, 19 September 2014

On the Mat Day 525: Early Cycle to Train BJJ

Got on my bicycle again and went to the club this morning. Kawai and Tanaka were there and its been a long time since I've met up with Kawai at the club. Was good to see him. He's deaf but he laughs so loud that it's contagious. He asked me if I was still injured and I told him where it was so we had a nice slow roll. He is much heavier than me but just tried to flow roll really. It's so important to have these kind of partners to roll with. Many at our club, especially the higher belts, if you tell them you are injured, they will go easy so you can get some mat time rolling. Many times today I caught myself from wanting to go hard and pulled back a lot. I like these type of rolls, they really invigorate me and also show gaping holes in my game when I move badly or too slow despite the other guy going slow.

Japanese squat and poop style toilet!!
F-sensei told me that a new guy who just had his 3rd class and is 42 years old has broken his ribs. He wasn't sure how it happened because K-sensei was taking the class. We talked a little about preventing it and he said it's always best to let higher belts roll with new guys so there is no ego involved and they don't get hurt. I totally agree. That is a paying customer off the books for a few months and possibly he may quit. It's also a potential sparring partner for me gone, which bums me out because I want to see classes filled with 10 plus people every time. I still think about F-sensei reaching his goal of 200 students then moving the gym to a new place with state of the art equipment, hot showers and a western style toilet.

Be nice to new guys!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

On the Mat Day 523: Sunday Morning Drilling aka Perfecting Escapes

Omoplata sweep finish to armbar (no I'm not just sitting & chilling)

I got up at 7.30 am and headed to the club for drilling. I'm still in pain on my left side and I wonder if my groin and ab muscle is ever going to heal so I can start strengthening it. I wish I could try ultrasound on the injury but I was told it's too risky because of the close proximity to the family jewels.

Anyway, when I arrived this morning Yoshida-san and I began drilling until 2 other guys turned up then we split up. I worked on .... guess what? ....escapes! Last night I watched Pedro Sauer teach his blue belt curriculum and watched the small movements of his escapes. In particular I liked the side escape he uses where he shrimps, bring the leg in, pushes to flatten the opponent out and then uses the opponent's belt to move him slightly to take full guard. It works really well.

After finishing my escapes drills at the end I decided to take a look at an omoplata sweep and switching the hips around for an armbar at the end. I don't seem to have the right mobility in my hips yet so will work on this as it's a spot I often end up in. I also tested how well the Von Flue choke works against a guillotine choke and it was surprisingly painful. However, it only seems good for the arm out guillotine choke and I wonder what I could do against an arm in guillotine choke.

Friday, 12 September 2014

On the Mat Day 522: Mornings

So yesterday and today I cycled to the club for the morning class. There are hardly any people turn up but it gives me a good chance to test the water with my injury and also keep doing jiu-jitsu. I'm cycling all the way there and back in the hope of burning some calories. F-sensei is also trying to shed weight for the Asia Cup in November. He has lost 6 kg by jogging 10 km four nights a week. I hate jogging but the weather is nice now especially in the evening and wouldn't mind jogging but it would set me back. My groin and inner abdomen muscle are still painful when I run and if I play bottom during BJJ sparring. If I'm on top, it's not so bad.

F-sensei told me that in November, not only will we get visitors from Hawaii, but some guys will use our place to train who are from Guam. There are a lot of folks coming over (he said 50) so he may have to stagger classes. It should be an interesting time and a good opportunity to make friends from both those locations since I plan to visit both in the future, them being popular holiday resorts from Japan.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

P90X2 Review

I finished P90X2 a couple of weeks ago now. I first started P90X way back 6 months ago then had a week of rest and got stuck into P90X2. I tried to clean my diet up for this session and was somewhat successful. As always, I start out strong in the diet area. Eating carefully and lowering carbs but towards the end I did not eat well at all so much so that I did not really change in terms of body fat and lean muscle. One thing that has stuck with me however, is preparing a lot of chicken breast fillets on the weekend and eating them for lunch throughout the week. I always looked forward and enjoyed eating my chicken lunches and continue to do this today. In the last 5 weeks of the workout I also pulled my groin and hurt my transversus abdominus muscles so had to modify some exercises. I probably got this injury from jiu-jitsu but the ridiculous balance ball/dumbell combinations in Total Body sure didn't help.

The Good

  • You learn the importance of foam rolling.
  • Yoga is better thought out than the P90X version and shorter at around an hour.
  • Your balance will improve by using the medicine ball and balance ball and some of the moves supplement BJJ in my opinion
  • There is no AbRipperX every other day except during the second phase
  • Each phase is different so going another round of P90X2 straight after finishing will not get old
  • This workout will improve your joint stability and strengthen the deeper layer of muscles
  • There are 2 rest days in the week if you need them or foam rolling to recover
  • Warm up is much better and fun
The Bad

  • Some of the moves feel a little dangerous such as using dumbells and the balance ball together
  • This program has much fewer pull ups and push ups than its predecessor. So much so that I never felt as pumped doing X2 as I did with the original X.
  • Plyocide was hard, fast and painful just as Plyometrics was in the original. I guess this should be in the good list.
  • The length of the Phases was not set and is left up for you to decide. I did 3 weeks of each with 1 rest week. It's hard to say if this was enough. I would have preferred it set in stone how many you need to do but I guess that is just personal choice.
  • Doing PAP lower and PAP upper 4 times a week during the final phase was very boring.
  • Workouts are still an hour long. Some are over the 60 minutes mark.
Hardest workout: Base and Back OR Plyocide
Easiest workout:X2 Core
Most dangerous workout: Total body

Final conclusion
 P90X2 didn't really impress me that much and I didn't really improve physically while doing it. The workouts didn't seem too hard either compared to P90X but seemed more focused on balance and working the inner muscles rather than the showy muscles like the chest, back and legs. I was left with the feeling that P90X2 seemed to be lacking a certain something. At the end of it I felt that a lot of the strength and muscle I gained during P90X had deflated by doing this workout. After completing P90X I was tempted to skip to P90X3 and wish I had have done so now. I think P90X2 is very good for building balance and core stability while also introducing you to how great foam rolling is for your body but in terms of building powerful muscles and strength it falls short. Do yourself a favor and either do P90X again or go do P90X3 which I plan to do next.