We spent the rest of the week on back control escapes. Also on mount and half guard escapes. So by the end of the week, we were doing drills where we were stringing it all together.
The idea being that if we manage to escape back control, chances are the other guy will go for mount. Although we try and block him from doing that, he may succeed. At the point of realising he is going for mount, we should start escaping mount, rather than wait for him to settle.
So the drill was that we escape back control and our partner starts to mount. Right away, we connect our bottom elbow and knee and start the mount escape. Hopefully, he won't even get mount that way, but end up in half guard. Next step, again without waiting for him to settle in, we go for the half guard escape we covered last week. From there, we transition to side control. Or, if he exposed his back during the half guard escape, we can take his back.
The point was to learn to string escapes together to maintain the initiative, rather than letting our opponent settle. This requires the ability to figure out where his next move might go or at least recognise his next move in the early stages. Of course, it was also great to really rep out these escapes lots of times. I certainly found that I was getting quicker and smoother with all of them.
But the thing that most stuck in my mind is the concept that stringing things together works on the defense side of the roll as much as on the attack side. Ceasing the initiative and keeping it can this way can soon turn a bad position into an attack.
We had a look another technique called the boat ramp. It tied in with our back control oriented week. The boat ramp allows us to turn a north/south position into back control. We looked at the grips for no gi as well as how to use the lapels for grips.
During the week I had a few frustrations during rolls. We did a lot of situational rolling from back controls. As before, I had a lot of trouble with the bigger stronger guys. They simply shut me down. I described the feeling of having one of them on my back as "being strapped to a post". Not good if you can't move to even start an escape... Hmmm, there's a lot more work for me yet. It was a bit of a reality check. In days gone by, I wasn't too worried about giving up my back, I could hang out there, defend and eventually escape. As the guys are all getting better, it's no longer a safe place to hang out!
I was a bit disheartened in how I fared against some of the bigger guys on Wednesday night. But truth be told, it was during a class which was my fourth hour of BJJ within a 24 hour period, the evening after the Geelong visit. I had a big guy to drill with all evening before we started rolling. He's a fantastic partner, but it is more hard work than being paired with someone smaller. I was actually very fatigued by the time we started rolling. That in addition to always struggling with the big boys anyway, made it a tough session. But I did stay positive.
I will just have to keep working and get better :-)