I felt a bit flat and useless at the end of last week, but this week has been better. Don't know what it was, but I'm pleased I'm ok now.
As we have the Will Machado Nationals coming up next weekend, we've been doing a lot of rolling. I missed the Wednesday lunchtime class as I had to go to a meeting, but had lots of rolls on Monday, Wednsday, Thursday and Friday.
There seems to be not much pattern or logic to where I go or which submission to try. Of course, I still like the closed guard, and my most effective attacks seem to be collar chokes. But that aside, anything goes from anywhere, as long as I get out from under people. I suppose it's a good thing that there is always something I know I can go for, and it's always several things in a row. The stringing together of techniques is starting. But as yet, there is no set game plan and therefore no setting up of techniques. It's all a bit ad hoc, so to speak.
I had a few really good rolls with a purple belt during Thursday night's open mat. I hit a couple of sweeps, passed his guard and actually threatened him a few times. I also had a lot of success in breaking him down inside my guard and going for things (not that I succeeded...). And then we ended up in all sorts of weird positions which were way off the map and needed serious rearranging of limbs to go back to known positions. Well, I suppose that's not all bad. Let's call it experimental :-)
I nearly did a dummy spit on Wednesday night. We went from standing and I just couldn't get my act together. So I was frustrated with myself. I got pinned under a large white belt and just couldn't bloody well get out. I just expect that I can do better than that by now! At the end, I had two rolls with a purple belt. First roll took some time and though he took me down, I did at some time get a top position. It took several minutes before he could armbar me, as I escaped several of his submission attempts. So I should have been happy. I mean - do I really expect an experienced purple belt NOT to beat me up?? So then we start again, and he took me down with a textbook double leg. He was worried it was too hard, but no, it was very controlled. Then he made short work of me seeing we landed with him in such a good position. And that was totally fair enough. Still, I was grinding my teeth. Sometimes I'm such an idiot.
I came home and reread all the stuff about just shutting up and training. And found this post on dealing with frustration on Liam's blog. I needed that reality check. Three cheers to my fellow bloggers, they have saved my day many times :-)
So instead of spending any more time thinking about how well things didn't go for me, I started planning on how to deal with specific problems I've been having.
For example, a big strong whitebelt is one of the few people who simply mows through my closed guard. So instead of hanging on to a lost position, I need to be pro-active. Go to open guard, get feet in. Control his arms and put feet on his hips and make space. Or at least get a knee in. And guess what, Friday night I did exactly that. I also paid particular attention to using my hips more. And lo and behold, I not only held him off for about ten minutes, I got top positions a coupe of times and actually threatened him several times. That would have been advantages :-)) Did I feel good about it? You bet.
Inbetween rolls with him, I had the little guy. What a strange feeling, going from one opponent who outweighs me by 30kg to one who is half his weight, and about 15kg less than I.
Today, Saturday, we drilled an escape from turtle where you trap an arm as you sit out and then go to back control. I was paired up with a young guy who has only had a few classes. Hihi, he was making comments like: "I'll go light on you because I don't want to hurt you", "I can be really heavy", "oh, I could try THIS instead" and "AU - your elbow" :-) .
Oh, and then we were told to roll, with the usual caution not to break the newbies, and the newbies to take it easy and not to use muscle. Haha. Well, I broke him three times. Gently.
I hit sweeps all over the place, and choked him. Well, I guess that's what I do, so I might as well resign myself that that's my goto move for the comp.
But while we rolled, I helped him and pointed out when to go for a bridge and roll, why not to try and choke me from within my guard, and to keep his elbows in when mounted. Then it was time. Ah, and he did point out he could have armbarred me, from within my guard. Ok. Right.
But it was fun :-)
We had a visiting brown and purple belt on the floor. Sadly, there was no chance to roll with either of them. But there will be a chance another time. And the brown belt showed me a knee bar from switch base side control. Well, once I'm a blue belt, I can and will use leg attacks. I did learn some a while ago when I did some no-gi grappling at another school, but here we don't use leg techniques until blue belt, so I haven't thought about it much.