The whole last week was all over the place, for all sorts of reasons.
The weather varied from stinking hot and dry to wet and cool. Typical spring weather, I suppose. Not quite "four seasons in a day" but close to it. Lots of thunderstorms. Flash flooding. I picked up someone from the airport on Saturday, and on the way there was delayed by water over the road several times. It rained so heavily, at times the traffic on the freeway slowed from 110km/h to 80 or less.
I had visitors, got some work done around the horses and in the garden. Thankfully, with uni stuff over now, I don't have to worry about studying any more :-).
Oh, and my cold is still hanging in there a bit. I thought it was all done and dusted, but Saturday evening my voice went all funny. So in view of that, it's probably a good thing that I couldn't make it to training (because of trip to airport).
However, as I was fine during the week, I went to open mat on Thursday and class on Friday night. I had some stuff on my mind though. On the one hand I found it a bit hard to let go and concentrate, but on the other hand, time on the mat is MY time. And generally, once I step out of the change room with my gi on, the other 'stuff' is forgotten. Which is another reason why I really love BJJ.
Thurday night was another warm and humid night. I had planned on no gi, but a couple of the guys were getting ready to compete on the weekend (in gi), so I rolled in gi. Most of the session, I worked with the young guy. I gave him problems but made sure that he succeeded in his attacks if they were done properly. I tightened up a few loose bits while we ramped up from very light to a bit harder over several rounds. I've since heard that he came second in his division yesterday, so I'm really, really happy for him :-)
The rest of open mat I spent with the killer whale ;-) ... and I sure got killed. We went no gi, which meant that I had a bit more luck escaping, purely by slithering out of armbars and the like. After, he helped me work on armdrags, for which he has a nicer setup than what I was using. Also, I showed him one of my preferred set ups from closed guard, and he had a couple of recommendations. Just by getting a bit more on my side when I've pulled his elbow to the floor and reached around his far shoulder, I can actually threaten a figure four or a rear choke. So far I'd stayed flat on my back and tried for a cutting armbar (and an armbar if they try to pull that arm out). So I have a couple more options from the same starting point.
Friday night's class was huge. I had one of the new white belts. We worked on the defence to the cross lapel choke from guard, but I had to show him the choke first :-) It was really good actually, because I worked out what I'd been doing wrong with my defence. Instead of just putting my hand to my ear, I need to bring my hand to my forehead and then slide it around and towards my ear. The earlier I get my forearm in across his arms and my hand to my forehead, the better. Leaving it until he has both grips in for good makes it a lot harder. I also found that if he tucked his elbows down once he had his grips, I had a lot of trouble getting my arm in.
We also did some guard passing, starting with light resistance and then working up. All of us with coloured belts had to lie down and everyone else had to pass, taking turns. That was fun :-) And at the end, we did a little bit of rolling, too. Again, I had one of the newbies. Big guy. Nice guy, but oh, working soooo hard, breathing hard and groaning. Doesn't mean to be mean, but can't help but use all of his muscles and all of his weight. Bulldozed me over, I escaped. He grabbed my neck in an attempted front choke which I got out of easily, stepped over and wrapped my arm around his neck from north-south for a choke. He said he didn't even see it coming. Oh, I know just how he feels :-) Funny thing for me was that I rarely go to that position, so it's not one of my regular attacks.
I'm happy that I now have several attacks from all positions, without having to pause and think. I'm also happy that I'm consistently having more luck with dealing with the bigger guys.
I still struggle a lot with heavier guys. I don't usually beat myself up over it. If I have to tap to a heavy white belt, I figure there is no shame in that, not even now that I'm wearing a blue belt. When they are brand new to BJJ, I can have my way with them. But as soon as they learn some basic control techniqus and how to use their weight properly, it's so much harder. I get frustrated at times, because I think I ought to do better. I know I'm not the only one who has these problems, there have been a few posts about this in the blogosphere recently. I really, really need to work on my open guard. But overall, I can see a steady improvement in how I deal with strength and weight and I suppose that by the time I get to purple belt, I'll have a lot more answers than I have now. It's all part of the journey.