Tuesday, February 22, 2011

of turtles and silly fools with egos...

I got lucky. My cold didn't pan out to be a bad one and I felt quite good by Monday evening, so I went to training. I didn't even feel out of breath or tired. Good stuff!

We had a pretty large class. One guy had returned from a broken thumb and it was good to see him back again.

We briefly revisited the turtle attacks from last week: clock choke and crucifix. I got myself a purple belt to drill with. He hadn't seen the alternate roll to crucifix and I had trouble explaining it from the bottom :-) Sensei to the rescue!

We then looked at transitioning from the front to the side to the dovetail position and how to unturtle the turtle by cupping the far knee while loading the near hip and pulling him to 5 o'clock. Having pulled him off base and so exposed him to attacks, we looked at a figure four, or if he defends and turtles, start over again. All in a sort of drill, sort of see-what-happens scenario.

I discovered a way to go back to turtle if he threatens my arm. To begin with, I felt pinned and exposed when he turned me over from turtle and hunted for my arm. But I found if I stretched out the leg nearest him and dropped that hip to the floor, I could easily re-turtle. That was my genius moment for the evening.

Us blue belts got sent out and the rest was instructed to roll, which they did with relish. As people were tapped out, we went in. There was a guy I had had problems with in the past, because though he is new, he is fast, strong and goes hard as nails. So if I could have picked one I didn't fancy rolling with, it was him. I'm such a chicken at times.... I've really struggled with him in the past. So guess what, he tapped out this other white belt and it was my turn with him next.

What ensued lasted the whole time until the end of class. I tried for a snap down but failed, and then it wasn't hard to pull guard after that. From sheer strength, he avoided my high guard armbar attemps. But of course it means my technique wasn't good enough, too. I looked for other attacks but I will admit that I was too concerned keeping my guard closed to control him and not enough to hunt for submissions. Finally, I had opened up to attack his arm and he passed to half guard. I tried for deep half but didn't quite succeed  and he eventually got my back. I managed to turtle and so he had time to try out the new stuff from the class. However, I easily defended all of that. Finally, I got back to bottom half and lockdown. And there I got stuck. I tried to sweep, I tried to get out. But the bottom line was this: I was too cowardly to open my lockdown and look for opportunites. I was so concerned about not getting into a worse spot that I mucked around and hung in and wasted my and his time. Then time was called.

On the one hand, I was happy that I can defend well and even threaten a guy bigger, faster and stonger than myself. On the other hand, I was pissed that I couldn't do better. And there lies the crux of the matter. Instead of saying "who cares" and go all out for something interesting, I was worried about "losing". Dammit!! I was worried about getting squashed and tapped out. And I'm not talking about getting hurt, at no time did I feel I needed to protect myself from a spazzy uncontrolled white belt. Yes, he was going too hard. Yes, he was frantically hunting for stuff. But hey, I'm big and old and ugly enough to not expose my precious limbs. The honest truth in hindsight is that I was too chicken to play and experiment because I didn't want to risk getting into inferior positions, or "losing". Bah!

My first response after was to ask Sensei about a bottom halfguard escape. As he began to show me one, I couldn't help but say: I've just answered my own question: I should have opened lockdown and gone for something. And it turned out, the two escapes he showed me, I already knew. AAARRGGHHH!

I am such an idiot.

We then had a brief talk about me needing to stop worrying about things, and if need be, deliberately letting things go and tap. Ain't the ego such a fantastic thing??

And here is little old me bitching about the guys going too hard and needing to learn to roll slow. Time to eat my own words and choke on them!

I have a drive home that takes about a half hour. Plenty of time to reflect on things. Boy, did I do some reflecting.


  1. Don't ya just love that? When you explore and question your way right back to where you've already been?

  2. Ha, yes! Though it can, at times, be a painful experience :-)

    But good came of it. I was super mindful of the ego issue for the rest of the week. As a result I rolled slower and probably much more considerately.