Monday, January 17, 2011

rolling, lots of great rolling

Yes, that about sums up the rest of last week!

We had classes on Thursday and Saturday and open mat on Friday. The classes were split so that the guys worked on stuff as needed. Two totally new guys were going through their first couple of basic drills, and some of the three stripers were practising their fourth stripe stuff, like knee ride escape and headlock escapes.

So I spent some time teaching/helping with those things, some time getting one on one help with stuff I needed to work on and a lot of time rolling inbetween.

The thing I worked on on Saturday was the hip bump rollover sweep. That's one of the things which I occasionally manage to pull off, without ever quite knowing why it worked, because generally it does NOT work for me. Haha, very little escapes our instructor, so I wasn't suprised he picked that one out for me :-) It seems like most of it came down to hand placement. The hand that braces and pushes off. We did some tweaks and I spent some time practising and eventually I got the hang of it.

As before, I came up against the issue of self-destruction. What do I mean by that? Well, sometimes when I've learned a new technique, I try it out and it doesn't work so well (wow, now ain't that a strange and unusual thing!!). I have a fantastic habit of finding an explanation, be it that it's hard against big people or whatever. But the main problem is that I tell myself that I can't do it. And that is the real problem. I set myself up for failure for every other time I happen to try again. I have the expectation it won't work, so I'm half-assed when I do try and then lo and behold, I fail - which yet again reinforces that belief. I know I do it. I know it's stupid. And I still do it. GGRRR!

So at one point when I became frustrated, I actually stopped and said that the biggest problem is that I'm defeating myself. BUT that I wasn't willing to be defeated. Deep breath. Tried again with focus. And... made visible progress.

The main difference is that I now understand the technique better and the additional information will help me to tweak it further to make it work better. It's no longer a black box. But the revisiting of the technique has restored my confidence. I now believe that I can do it, even to the bigger guys. So watch my sweeps!!

Alright, but aside from all that, I had loads of time on the mat to "just" roll :-)

Gustavo joined us again for a class and for open mat. More rolling time with a black belt. Whoohoo!! He also showed me two of his lapel chokes from mount. Using his lapels. Both so simple, so tight. I prefer chokes over armbars/armlocks, so I'm sure I'll find some use for these. The caveat is that I need to get mount first :-)

But as luck has it, I'm actually getting mount these days. Gone are the days when I'd last all of .5 of a second mounted on someone (once every three weeks on average!) before getting rolled off. In fact, several rolls I had with some of our white belts, I got mount and maintained it well, even getting subs from there. For me, that is relatively new territory, but a nice place to be :-) In fact, one of the guys said that it felt very tight and controlling when I had mount on him, comparing it to one of the purple belts. Well, I must be doing something right :-)

Ok, so I can get good positions, I'm getting better at keeping them and I'm able to actually do some damage from there. So now I hit subs which I learned ages ago but could never get because of lack of good positions or lack of time there. So for example, I got the head/arm choke twice. And nearly a third time on one of the purple belts (he told me I was close, but I thought it wasn't working and let it go).

I'm getting sweeps, and I'm starting to be less proned to being swept. I think that I'm paying much more attention to posture and hip pressure. Some of it is conscious, ie: I'm thinking of positioning, I'm deliberately adjusting. But some of it is just happening on auto pilot. Then I go: oh, I just managed to base out, how did that happen?

But oh yeah, I still get swept plenty, and I still have ample time to practice my defences and escapes. Got a big compliment from a purple belt about making him string together a whole bunch of attacks before he finally succeeded in ripping my arm off. Ha, soon I'll be escaping and ripping HIS arm off ;-)

Another thing I did for the first time: I volunteered to start off in a bottom position for a roll with one of the white belts. I let him choose. We did some from half guard bottom, some from side control bottom. I figure I will benefit from the opportunity to work more escapes. Oh, and a couple of times I didn't succeed and I had to tap. Well, that gave him the the chance to work his top game.

So rolling went exactly how it should be: I worked my top game and assorted attacks on the white belts and worked my defence and escapes with the higher ranks. I had enourmous fun, whether I was hammering people or getting nailed.

I said to our instructor that I have the feeling that I'm starting to connect some of the dots. Stuff is starting to fit together in my head. Learning isn't just a case of adding new stuff, but to broaden the existing knowledge base and to find relationships, which help to deepen the understanding.


  1. Great post, sounds like you are having some fun on the mat even if you are getting a bit frustrated with new techniques(you're not alone there). Good Times!!

  2. Thanks for sharing, its pretty cool. This year I'm looking forward to take a break and enjoy nature as I go for vacation, well maybe after I find some Land in Texas. Anyway I really like your blog and i really appreciate the excellent quality content you are posting here.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys.

    Yeah, I'm having a ball. Funny how sometimes it's more satisfying to (finally) get a known technique to work/work better than learning a new one.

    @ Megan: that reads like a tongue twister ;-)