It's that time of year. The Christmas holidays are coming up, the end of the year has nearly arrived. That also means no classes for nearly three weeks. As the typical BJJ addict, that will seem like a loooonnnngg time to me.
I had some excellent classes last week, both PFS and BJJ. So I finished the year on a high and I have a lot to look forward to next year. To be fair to my body, a week off will probably be good. But three weeks? Waaah! ... just venting ;-).
We did some pretty technical butterfly guard sweeps on Friday night and continued on with that theme on Saturday. I've only started experimenting with open guard fairly recently, and I use it mostly with the big guys so I can keep them off me. But sweeps are hard on the big guys. So that means I need to use open guard more often rather than looking for the "safety" of the closed guard. If I use it more often, I'll see more opportunities for sweeps and they will become part of my repertoire. So in the new year, I'll promise to use open guard aggressively even with the people more my weight.
It is so easy to stick to what I know and feel comfy with. It is much harder to go outside my comfort zone (=closed guard). Because there, I will probably get passed and then I'll end up on the bottom. Having spent most of my first year primarily on the bottom and in bad positions, I don't want to be there any more than absolutely necessary. But hey, I will never improve my open guard and utilize the many sweeps and attacks from there if I don't try. And what's the worst that can happen? I get passed and if I can't escape, I tap.
Also I find that there is an even greater reliance on timing, balance and utilizing momentum in an open guard scenario. I can really do with an upgrade in all those areas, and I see open guard as a way to get there. As I still get swept very easily, I also hope that that better understanding will help me become more sweep-resistant.
Our last BJJ class ended with a couple of scored rounds from standing. I like those, but still I get that tingly feeling. It's probably not fear, but excitement. In any case, I think my adrenal glands are getting a workout ;-).
So close to the holidays, our classes have been pretty small, and the Saturday class was just myself and two blue belts. So no points for guessing whose pelt was nailed to the wall when we had our rounds :-))). With three of us, it was two rounds each. First fight, I hesitated and was taken down. I always have trouble remembering what happens, but what I do remember is that I didn't spend the entire time on my back. At some stage I was turtled and trying to take him down which partially succeeded but then there was a sudden and unexpected choke a short time later (from mount??).
The round with the other guy was so brief (takedown... armbar) that we had to go again. Somewhat pissed off with my own (lack of) performance by this stage, I shot for a double and got it easily (yeah!) and managed to get to side control. I couldn't get an arm and whilst trying to attack, he rolled me (have I mentioned before that my top game is a joke??). From there it was downhill for me, even though I regained guard at one stage. I also managed to get back to half guard from under mount, but couldn't sweep or do anything and in the end it was an armbar that I couldn't get out of which led to my demise ;-)
Not the most glorious performance. However. I scored a takedown and it wasn't all just a case of spending the whole time being mounted without being able to escape. I had the chance to try some attacks in both rounds and that is progress for me. If I can make them work harder and harder to get a submission, that is progress.
I can't wait to come back next year.
We've been told we can eat as much as we like during the holidays, because we'll have our butts worked off after we come back. A certain BJJ teacher has plans for turning us into lean and mean fighting machines. Oooh, I can see how that translates into sweat, bruises and sore bodies. And as we are heading into the hot time of the year, I suspect that means yet more sweat...
Anyway, in late January we are expecting John Campbell to hold an MMA seminar at our dojo. That should be good. He's been a BJJ guest instructor a couple of times and I like his teaching style.
To everyone who drops in and reads here, I wish you happy holidays and a fantastic new year!