Only four of us turned up for open mat, and the instructor was around for a while.
One of the blue belts is due to be tested for for his purple belt on Saturday, so he was keen on honing his skills. At the begining, he had a few rolls with the instructor which I watched (and to prevent them from rolling into a steel beam..). Then they talked about turtling and how that can be counterproductive. They then worked on how to fade right back and look at establishing guard, instead of going to and staying in turtle, say if he's escaped from sidemount.
As I view turtle as a go to position at the moment (my defence is very good from there), and have questioned the wisdom of this already, I followed that exchange with interest.
Also, we are learning a lot of turtle attacks at present, and I won't be so safe there from now on :-) . So it might be time for me to start thinking of turtle less as a safe position to hang out, and more of a transition only position. Food for thought.
I had a number of rolls with our (soon-to-be-purple) blue belt. I was ah.. choked and armbarred quite a few times in a few minutes. He actually apologised, because usually he gives me some time to work on my stuff. I said hey, it's your grading, you need to work YOUR game, work to your heart's content!! I was only sorry I couldn't challenge him more :-) . I absolutely don't mind being "cannon fodder" for someone who helps me so often, and is so technical.
I had several rolls with my fellow four striper afterwards. I've been thinking of how I can beat his evil crushing pass and how I can avoid having my limbs trapped. I'm not there yet, I had my limbs trapped and got passed the crushing way :-). BUT. I'm finding chinks in his game.
Now it springs to mind that I shouldn't let my arms be trapped to begin with. But it's his thing, he grabs hold and pins down and reels in. At some point, I need to use my arms, and it's as though he's just waiting to snatch something. It's his game. I know he does it and I'm starting to find ways to break his grips, before it's too late and sometimes I see it before it happens. Basically, I need to ensure I don't enter into his game. But it's difficult to put into practice. Ha, I'm working on it!
We had one long roll in particular where it felt more like I had some clue of what I was doing, instead of just getting smeared across the mat. Of course I have no complete recollection of the roll, but I do remember that I swept him a couple of times. He was too busy concentrating on something to notice he had no base on the other side, and I felt it. I escaped out the back door on one occasion. I passed his guard, using a knee through pass, much to my surprise. I had side control a few times but was unable to do attack his arms. I had mount, too, and nearly succeeded in getting his elbows up to attack an arm. And stayed there for a bit, too, while he seemed unable to escape. In the end, I tried for an armbar but he sat up and I lost it. I also nearly collar choked him from guard at some point. So it was back and forth lots of time. I had to tap out in the end to a body lock or something, but I didn't care.
He told me I was awfully close with several of my subs. But I was most pleased with the way I managed to negate some his his tight squeezy controls and passes. I also found I could break him down in guard and getting to his back isn't out of the question. I did it once and nearly did it again.
I know, I know, it's small unimportant stuff. It is just that his style of wrestling negates most of what I do, and I generally feel powerless to get the initiative, let alone work anything on him. But last night, I finally made some inroads in how to deal with those specific challenges. That, for me, was a big win. Now that I know I can do it, I can do it more often :-)