Friday evening was another smallish class. Aside from one brand new guy, we were all four stripes plus, so for a change, I was very much on the left side of the line up.
We revised the heart attack sweep from open (hooks in) guard. I worked with one of the bigger guys. That ensured I did it right, for otherwise... he no move! Done right, it feels very easy :-)
Then we worked on a sequence. Again, starting in open guard. We get double underhooks and stretch him out. Then we go for a cutting armbar by grabbing over his left shoulder with a gable grib and wriggling upwards. His reaction will be to turn his hand and retract his arm, which brings his elbow down our centreline. At this time, we cup this left elbow with our left hand, hip out to the right and get his left elbow to the floor on our left side. The we reach over the top with our right arm and grab his chin. Really, we want a gable grip on his chin, but we may need to lift/move our hip to get the left arm free to do so. We need to pin him down on us tightly and then hip out two or three times to the left until we feel that he is "over the hill". From here, it's easy to sweep him over to our right and move to side control.
Landing there, we go straight to a gable grip around the bottom of his neck and under his left arm and pin him to us. From here, there are a couple of options to go to armbar. We experimented with this a bit, and depending on body size and the size of the guy on the bottom, it might be easier to step over his middle with our left foot while controlling the head with our elbow (and then step over the head) or possibly to step with the the foot over the head first and the leave the left foot against his side.
We also discovered that if you can snare his left lapel with your right hand, you can pull him over with that instead of by his chin. That's nearly a choke in itself, but as he's swept over, he's in a perfect position for a lapel half nelson choke.
After class, some free wrestling. I watched the new guy spazz on one of the blue belts. Scary.
Then I was lucky enough to be able to spend a fair bit of time with one of the blue belts. He gave me some openings, so I worked on my attacks. Managed some nice transitions and actually felt semi-competent :-). I always can think of an attack now. But chokes seem to come the easiest. I should be working on armbars, but I guess if I attack with chokes, that opens up elbows and that might lead to armbars.
A little later one, that exact point was proven. He was hunting for armbars, and as I'm getting pretty good at defending and protecting my elbows (beware his underhooks!), he then went for chokes. Although I knew I would expose my elbows, I still had to defend the chokes. So I was armbarred :-)
But that really helped make stuff sink in.
The Saturday midday class consisted of myself and three fairly new guys. I took the warm up.
With a grading coming up in a few weeks, they needed to work on their four basic drills. I was the grappling dummy for demonstration purposes. Then, in turns, I ended up working with each of the guys. Oh, they tried so hard to do it right, and they use so much strength. Well, less than two years ago, I was just as tense, and it is good to be reminded sometimes. I did my best to help them get good base, correct positioning and transitions. And I reminded them to breathe, smile and relax :-).
Every time I see something "basic" demonstrated, I see some little thing I've missed before (or which I've forgotten about). Today, it was another simple little thing: someone has mount on me and I want to bridge and roll. I want to catch their right arm to remove their chance of posting. The most effective way to catch it is to get an overhook and trap their elbow. To get space to move my left arm up and over their arm, I move my head across towards my right (towards their left arm). That small movement really makes it easier to move my left arm.
I also use running through the basic drills as an opportunity to polish my moves and to really work on good hip movement. There was a time when I was disappointed if I had to do basic drills instead of being allowed to wrestle. But I have realised there is much below the surface. There is so much room for improvement in the moves that make up those drills. So I apply myself fully and instead of resenting the drills, I welcome the chance to improve my technique.