It's been an interesting week for me. It didn't have the best start because one of my cats got under a car, and I thought I'd lose him. A trip to the vet confirmed a fractured pelvis, but legs ok. So we were sent home with analgesics and anti-inflammatories and instructions to confine him and watch for his plumbing to work properly. He's doing great. Obviously, he hasn't used up his nine lives yet..
In training on Monday, we went over sweeps again, then we did some free guard passing and a bit of rolling. Nothing special came out of it. I know my closed guard is not a place people like to be :-) I'm concentrating on getting angles and setting up stuff.
Wednesday lunchtime, there were only three of us. I took the warm up. I got to roll with the newish guy. He's a reasonably big boy and he is quite fast and aggressive. Lots of backyard wrestling with his mates.... He's all muscle, not much technique yet, and I have to admit that I felt a bit sluggish and had nothing to put up against him. A bit sad, really. I think all that I managed was some attempts from closed guard, but as soon as I opened to go for a triangle, he powered out and passed. Then I had a roll with our instructor and just got flattened. The only good thing which came out of it was that I resisted the temptation to turtle a couple of times, and put up with being flattened in side control. Side control bottom with him really sucks, too. At one point, he got my back, not because I gave it up, but he took it. He completely controlled my balance, I went this way and that at his mercy. Never mind I defended his chokes for a bit, after being toyed with, he caught me with his favourite lapel half nelson. I felt totally hopeless. However, I reminded myself strongly of my new motto (shut up and train!), and focussed on being successful in resisting the urge to turtle or give up my back.
Wednesday evening we had another small class. The newbies were taken aside to learn some stuff, the other three, including myself, went and rolled in turns. Again, put up with side control or mount rather than turning my back, and found I managed several side control escapes, and got guard. Had a fair crack at attacking from closed guard, going from choke to armbar attempt to triangle attempts. I feel they were getting closer to working than what I usually manage. I had a long roll with one of the purple belts at the end which gave me a lot of chances to change positions, try attacks and escape stuff. I actually felt like I knew what I was doing :-)
Thursday open mat was a small affair again. It started off with someone showing an escape from switch back side control, which is what he did to me on Wednesday, so it was good to figure how it's done. It involves bridging up and bringing a knee under his hip. Then bridge up again and push into him to sweep him backwards. Works a treat, even on a bigger guy. Much easier than the escape where I grab around his waist, walk into him and then bridge him toward my far shoulder.
Rolling on Thusday followed the same theme as before: avoid turtling, avoid giving up the back. And if I end up in turtle anyway, get the hell out. With one of the big whitebelts this resulted in getting him back into my guard (inbetween getting flattened in side control our mount), and having a chance at some attacks. I succeeded in breaking him down and came near some armbars. Inside his guard, I passed when he attempted to triangle me. As I went to side control, we went to practicing the side control escape. Several rolls with the other white belt guy went similar. I complimented him on his fantastic tight game. He just smothers me. I don't have a real answer to him, but I am making inroads in threatening him. Feedback from both is that I'm hard to pin in bad positions and and that it's hard to get a sub. I used to worry about their weight and getting stuck on the bottom. I still get flattened, but now using my energies to avoid or reverse the situation instead of moping about it and getting frustrated. Later on, I had the chance to show one of them the turtle escape I learned last Thursday. Finally, I had several rolls with a purple belt. He corrected my loose knee when I attempted mission control. Once that was fixed, I was much more successful. He did roll out of my omoplata attempt, and then we went into a discussion of what attacks are open from there. Great rolls. He is slow, methodical and tight. If I do something right, I get near getting it. If I do it wrong, I get into trouble :-) He doesn't steamroll me, but I have to work my arse off.
He also reminded me that it's a good idea to try new things on the less experienced people, to allow it to work. If I try new stuff on the senior guys, I won't pull it off and then I'll never learn it properly or I'll think it won't work.
Friday night we did single and double leg takedowns and a wrist grab to get a two on one hold on an arm. From there, we can go to single or double or take the back. It's weird how I still get the willies when I think of takedowns... But it was actually a great practice session. I scored a good partner to drill with and a few things fell into place in my head. It's not like I've never drilled takedowns before, but something of the new info, combined with what was already embedded in my brain made sense, and drilling felt good.