We've had four new guys start in the last week. One with dreadlocks. That should be fun to watch. Wonder how he'll cope with a knee pinning his head to the ground. Ouch. :-)
I never seem to have the time to write after every class, and frankly, I don't see the point in boring readers to tears with all the gory details. I keep a training log anyway, so from now on I think I'll just write about things are are new or funny or that give me big AHA! moments. Or generally about my progress (or lack thereof?).
Ok, so I'll write about my progress. During rolling on Thursday and Friday, I did better than usual. Though getting triangled, armbarred and killed otherwise several times by various of the senior guys, I submitted one of the bigger white belt guys not once, but twice (Usually he flattens me..). First time, I had kesa gatame and put on a figure four armlock using my leg as fulcrum. Second time was a lapel half nelson from side mount.
The miraculous thing for me wasn't the submissions, but actually getting to places where I could do submissions :-) . That tells me that I must be doing something right. The policy of avoiding turtle is certainly helping. But I'm not only escaping better, I'm avoiding getting under big guys more often. Maybe my open guard is more effective. Probably a whole lot of stuff is coming together. There's Jiu Jitsu in there somewhere!!
There is a young guy who is actually smaller and lighter than I am. Well, he is also relatively new, I think he's been doing BJJ for about 2 months or so now. When I roll with him, I work sweeps and I try to find a happy medium between working my top game and letting him work. Not sure if I do that well. On the one hand, I get jolly little time to work my attacks, on the other hand, I feel like a jerk for attacking him because of the size/experience discrepancy. Oh well, I guess that's the same dilemma I've given others for all the time I've been doing BJJ.
On Saturday, there were four white belt guys, two of them one stripers. So my turn take warm them up again (it still feels weird to be the most senior student on the mat...). I try to not do the boring same stuff every time, and it delights me to make them do silly looking circles with their noses, hip gyrations which would appeal to belly dancing aficionados, and skipping like little girls do. Haha, my revenge on the young guys :-) But more seriously, I look to lubricate most joints, warm the body and generally get us all ready and into a frame of mind to do some BJJ. I've certainly had no complaints, even if I throw in a bunch of pushups, situps etc.
We did some guard passing drills with sweeps and chokes from mount and guard. At the end of the class, it was announce that I would wrestle any comers. What?? When did I vonlunteer for that?? Haha, but then the little guy volunteered. I give him his due, he's game. I pulled guard, tried to choke him, then swept him. Tried to get an arm but he turned to his side, so I tried a lapel half nelson choke. Didn't have his arm secured enough to do it, so I rolled him over on his belly and got my second hook in. Tried for a collar choke, then rolled him over on top of me and finished the choke. I felt I muscled through stuff a bit, but I did everything slowly and deliberately and went from one attack to another. It flowed, it felt good. When we finished, Sensei asked what I thought of it. I said "I think I might have muscled my way through". He smiled in a non-committal sort of a way. Then he said that I used the very same attack sequence which he favours and has successfully used on me several times. Hehe, no wonder I didn't have to think hard!! I could just feel it in my bones :-)
Then I had another taker, bigger than little ole' me. I've rolled with him before. He might be new to BJJ, but he's been rolling with the other boys. So his technique might not be polished or subtle, but he knows the basic subs and he's faster and stronger than I. And stupid I, straight from grappling with a little guy, committed the stupid beginner mistake of NOT going for the "kill". Instead of going in hard and getting top position I was off in lala-land and before I could say "what-the-..", I was on the bottom, with my open guard passed and him in side control hunting for my bloody arm. How dumb am I. Strategy? What's that? Yes, he was rushing, yes he was muscling and yes he got the damn figure four. I didn't even defend well. After 22 months of BJJ, that's the best I could do??? I could have crawled under a bloody mat!
And so ended my Saturday :-)