Somehow I was roped in to do the warm up. Yes, yes, I had them skipping and running serpentines and making silly looking movements. It wasn't lost on our instructor :-)
Monday night we drilled figure fours from side control. Top and bottom. I guess that's Kimura and Americana. We also looked at wristlocks from those positions and cutting armbars if the opponent straightens the arm. So it was essentially a drill of separating out the far arm and then going through an attack sequence using all those techniques.
The new thing I learned was about placement of the thumb. For a lower figure four (kimura) on say his left arm, if we hold his wrist with our right hand, and we have our left arm under his elbow and gripping our own right wrist, we keep his wrist to the floor while lifting the elbow. Critical here is to have our left elbow near his left elbow to make it effective. In that situation, the palm of his hand will be towards the floor, and depending on angles, limb length and flexibility, his elbow will need to be lifted considerably, as his wrist flexes.
If we change our right grip so that we hold his hand and turn it so that his thumb is on the floor, we limit how much he can flex is the wrist, and as a result, the elbow does not need lifting anywhere near as much. This potentially makes the figure four more effective. Also, from here, it's easy to bend his wrist and get a gooseneck on it, as we already have a figure four grip to facilitate that wristlock.
At the end we had a few rounds of wrestling. One round with one of the young aggressive guys was fun. All manner of weird stuff happened (no instant armbars tonight, sunshine!) and we ended up standing up. I looked for an armdrag, but he was faster and got my back. And the long and short was he got me in an RNC. It was a bit more of a crank than a choke, but he got it fair'n'square.
The other roll was with a bigger guy who generally smashes me. He has the tight control of an anaconda and grips of steel. There were times I literally feared rolling with him, as it always hurts and I could never, ever get anything. Of late, there had been little signs of improvement, and yesterday, I finally had a breakthrough. I managed to pass his open guard. I got mount. As he tried to heave me off over his head, I saw a triangle and got my legs crossed and rolled over. Then he tried to stack me, which usually works. But somehow I always moved my shoulder and changed his angle so that he actually fell over. And while I had trouble getting the right angle, I cinched the triangle tighter and tighter. His inside arm was hooked under my leg, and at one point he tried to grab my right arm and feet it under my back to that hand, but that failed. On the other hand, I couldn't get his arms for an armbar. I guess I just didn't let up and just worked on the choke and in the end I got it. It was a bit of a revelation. I know that in the past, I've been stacked up and smash passed by him that many times, it always got to a certain pain level and I'd let go. This time, there was a small change in my alignment and the downward force he applied kind of was deflected. Hard to explain, it was only like a small movement of my shoulder. And I guess I was oh so determined to get this triangle :-)
I sure don't want to brag about the submission, that's not the point. I think it's more like I've broken through a barrier which prevented me from believing that it's possible. And that has positive repercussions. After my crappy performance on Saturday, it made me a bit happier, too. And from the technique point of view, I think I've cracked the biggest problem that this guy used to give me.
I woke up with a pretty stiff and sore right shoulder. Guess all that grinding took it's toll.. Funny thing is.. I came off a horse on Saturday morning, and crash landed in the steel rails of the arena. My left shoulder has a fantastic bruise. As nothing was broken, only sore, it didn't stop me from training, and it's actually fine now. Well much more fine than my right shoulder :-) . All in all I have less bruises from being dumped by a horse than I have from a few hours of BJJ. Go figure...