Yes, it's overdue again. Was hoping to write something on the weekend. But I was away all day Sunday due to a trip to the far west of Victoria to pick up some horses. Nine hours in the car, one and a half catching, loading and looking at some other horses. A long day. No motivation to sit in front of computers afterwards...
So, back to last week, which was another marathon event with seven training sessions over six days.
Monday night's focus was on transitions. Part of the time I worked with blue belts, part of the time with brand new guys. So that included some time teaching a couple of them one of the basic drills.
Tuesday night I went to Geelong with one of the guys for another advanced class at John Will's Blackbelt Studios. We started with an interesting new (to me) warmup with partners consisting of 30 second intervals of activity broken up by a few seconds to change position. The activities were figure four (kimura) from guard, armbars from mount, armbar from guard, a sqat to lunge position with one hand on the floor, then jump up to both feet and straighten before coming down on the other knee and hand. The last activity was an awkward stand up in guard, sprawl, back to knees, stand again routine. Then it was the other partner's turn. We sure were warm at the end of it...
During the class we worked on guillotine chokes and the arm in variety. We drilled that from sprawl when the bottom person is turtled. First the no arm version, then the arm in version and finally how to change grips from one to the other. We also went over the guillotine defence (go to side opposite where the head is trapped, reach over the shoulder and behind the neck and drive shoulder into the throat), so that it was obvious why it's necessary to get one leg over our partner's back when we do the choke. It clarified the whole issue of which way the choked person should go and therefore which the choking person should prevent him from going. Cleared up a bunch of vague ideas in my head, and I found I could pull these chokes off well during drills. Definitily will add to my toolbox!
Rest of the class was rolling. Aside from a kick to my head from a petite blond lady (who profusely apologised), it went quite well. I managed to move around and go for subs, even if I didn't finish many. Some rolls were timed, and for some of the time we would go fast and hunt for new positions and then have a thirty second period to stall and hold position. That in itself was interesting and changed the way we rolled. I was pretty much manhandled by a purple belt during one of these rolls, but it was all good :-)
I stayed for the intermediate class after. Which means the 3-4 stripe white belts warmed up with any coloured belts who chose to stay. So I got a few more rolls in. As before, I felt good. Some of theses guys are very good and they are fun to roll with. I also had a roll with the brown belt instructor, who used to teach at our school. He destroyed me first roll and toyed while he set me up for a knee bar. But second roll didn't use all of his 100+kg weight and I managed some good escapes, attempted to theaten his limbs and had a ball.
The class concentrated on triangles. I was paired up with a sizeable white belt who was excellent to work with. We drilled a fair bit, concentrating on details, such as turning out the leg that's hooked over our ankle. Then we did some more rolling and then a movement/sensitivity drill working around triangles. We triangled our partner who would defend by coming around and trying to stack. With an arm on his hip and an arm on his shoulder, we hip out to escape, but then slide a knee under his armpit and the other shin under his neck. The knee squeeze traps his arm. To defend, he will straighten up, which allows us to swing the bottom leg over his back and set up a triangle on the other side. All we need to do is change our angle to him. And then we go round again.
One last lot of rolls saw me paired up with a 140kg bloke. Oh boy... I would have liked to have gone to his back, but his wingspan and his vice grips prevented that. Made the mistake of attempting closed guard but with all of his weight coming over, I soon saw the folly of that. So feet on hips, and get distance. For the first time ever, I saw the need and a value in spiderguard :-) So that's where I went, and back to feet on hips for a few times, until I saw a chance to go for a triangle. But yeah, it was an attempt only, no way did I look better than a necklace on him, when he postured up :-)) But it was fun. AND I didn't get squashed before time was up. I view that as a victory :-))
Wednesday's midday class was mainly about knee ride. I now know that I have to pour the pressure on. I can't hope to hold a semblance of a knee ride unless I pull up and stick that knee in. Doesn't stop me from feeling like an AH while I do it though. I worked with one of the big blue belts, who made me feel for his sternum and lower ribs and wouldn't let me rest until it was ugly for him.. Thank you :-) We also played with... wait for it... spider guard. Yeah! I'm really starting to see the value of open guard types with the bigger guys. And I'm starting to get the hang of going from one to the other and back to closed. It's liberating and it's expanding my game.
Wednesday evening was mostly rolling for all but the really new guys. Didn't do anything fantastic, mainly defended. Mind, I did wear one of the guys out ;-) But aside from getting someone's back once, and sinking one guillotine choke on someone else, I was mostly on the bottom. Hey ho, more chance to practice escapes!!
Thursdays's open mat was not huge. I really only rolled with white belts, including some fairly new ones. My goal was solely to get them to relax and roll. My constant: slow down! breathe! relax! stop, think! probably got on their nerves. But lo and behold, I managed to not only get them to slow down, but use less muscle. There were several rolls where we really just flowed through positions, they didn't go rigid when I swept them, and they didn't go rigid when they swept me. And in every case, little lights went on, they admitted they "saw" sweeps and submissions. And they felt they could keep going without gassing. So I hope that they will remember some of it and use it :-)
Friday's session saw three purple belts on the mat, a couple of blues and only a few whites. For our small school, that's unusual. It was great. We worked on guillotines and a variation of the grip which allows it to work even if we do it from guard bottom and our opponent passes our legs (to the correct escape side). The rest of the class was rolling which was totally enjoyable. I was accused of being aggressive (in a positive sense) and on the hunt for stuff. I thought that was a bit of an overstatement. But I really had fun!
Saturday was armbars and triangles. And the variation of armbar I've named "armbar from hell" because it's slow and methodical and really hard to escape (except if I do it, because I STILL can't get it 100% right).