A comment made by Rigan at the seminar was that he saw too many people make mistakes with basic stuff. People got stuck in the guard. People got armbarred a lot. And people were slow to transition or didn't transition well.
His coloured belt seminar addressed some of those basics. Ironically, the subject had been chosen before the comp, but the theme certainly addressed what he and some others felt was lacking on the mats at the comp.
Out of our school's contingent, two guys got stuck and a couple got caught in swift armbars when their opponents pulled guard.
So the topic at our school for this week is to go over the same basics which Rigan took us through at the seminar:
guard - transition between closed and butterfly and hooks in and spider guard
guard passing - grip fighting, getting posture, negotiating legs in open guard
That's what we worked on today and will be doing for a while longer. We have a large influx of new guys, they need the basic anyway. But everyone else will benefit from a revisit. Myself included!!
The lunchtime class was very small indeed and consisted of myself. Well, I don't mind one on one time with our instructor :-) . It gave me plenty of time to go over the aforementioned basics and address a couple of little problems. He also showed me a way to defend a knee through guard pass, where I deflect my opponent with my arms, switch my hips and get to my knees. I retreat to turtle, but fade back right away, pulling him back into my full guard. Nice.
After that, we had a bit of a chin wag about life in general and how my journey as a blue belt might pan out from here. I'm under strict instruction not to feel obliged to prove anything to anyone, and not to stress out over the new belt and put myself under pressure. I'm to hang loose and not try to tap anyone, rather go easy, experiment and be tapped. When I read what pressure people seem to put themselves in when they get a new belt, I can well understand why I've been given this advice. And I'll do my best to heed it.
This evening, we had a fairly decent sized class with mostly beginners and moderately experienced whitebelts. We went over the same basics again. I was able to help the guy I was partnered with quite a bit, but I picked up a point about breaking open the legs in closed guard. That aside, I value the opportunity to work on and get better at the basics. I am much more aware of where my weight is, and I am trying to make my guard passes and transitions more "waterproof".
There was a time when I (foolishly) used to hate doing basic stuff, but that is no longer the case. There is always some small bit I pick up, and extra reps will develop my technique and general feel.
Da basics rule :-)