Thursday, February 17, 2011

turtles, deep half and slow rolling

I didn't head to Geelong this week, and I missed out on training tonight. So it's just been three classes so far this week. Booooh!

I just wasn't up to the double session at G'town, followed by the Wednesday double. It's hard slog for me and I've learned to listen to my body a little these days. The last thing I want to do is burn myself out, this is a marathon, not a sprint. With the high humidity, all classes are tough anyway. So, with a bleeding heart, I gave it a miss....

Anyway, Monday night we did some more work on entries to the deep half guard. I drilled with one of the guys who missed all the deep half sessions so far, so I helped him with things. And unlike last week, my rollover to a single leg worked fine this time. So I was happy with that. I guess I just needed to get some more reps in.

We rolled for a fair while. Interestingly, I got people's backs a couple of times, at least the seat belt grip. I experimented with the stuff I learned on the Ryan Hall Back Attacks dvds, trying to pin myself to their back. Through I can't say it was great, I definitely felt like I had more control, and both guys had to work very hard to escape, even though I wasn't positioned very well and didn't have hooks in. Goody. That aside, one of the guys was hunting for leg locks and caught me several times. This needs work! Much better were several of my escapes out of his armbar attempts. And I got high closed guard on him, controlled his far arm and got very close to taking his back or doing a figure four. He commented later that he had great trouble and he thinks I'm very strong.

That was meant as a compliment, however, I don't really want to hear that I'm using strength. On the other hand, if I can manage to continue to improve my technique, then decent arm strength will be an attribute I can throw into the mix when skills are more even.

On Wednesday, we worked on attacking the turtle. Transitions from head to head to the side, clock choke and crucifix. It was a very intensive session. I finally figured the correct way for that transition. I had been circling out and around in an attempt to get to the side and drive my knee between his elbow and thigh. Turned out I need to drive the knee straight forward against his thigh, then angle off. That angling off and driving the knee in gives the necessary penetration. The pushing and twisting motion does the trick. Also, by going straight, I'm not telegraphing the move and take less time. So he has too little time to block me with the arm on that side. Big light bulb went on!! That aside, it felt a lot neater, tighter and faster. And on the way through, my hip lands on the back of his head, keeping him busy...

The clock choke I had learned before, but I was very glad to review it. A few more little things dropped into place in my head. And my first choke attempt resulted in a very fast and strong tap, and someone with red eyes (momentarily, thank goodness). Main thing to remember there is to slide down before switching the hips out. I certainly didn't need to walk very far around the clock to get the tap..

Finally, we looked at the crucifix. How to set up the trapped arm and switch it so that his hand points to his feet (because once rolled over, it gives me far better control over his upper body). It took me a bit of brain pain to work out how to move the legs to get that switch, but once I sorted my brain and my limbs, it was obvious and easy. We looked at two possibilities for chokes from the crucifix position and drilled both.

As I said, it was an intense session. So many aha moments, and not a new technique learned :-)

Wednesday night, it fell to me to take class. My instructions were to get the white belt guys to drill their respective syllabus stuff and roll the rest of the time.

I felt it was the perfect opportunity for an experiment. I had read Christian Graugart's blog post about slow rolling, and the drills he uses to teach people how to do it. So when we started class, I told the guys that I was going to use them for an experiment.

We did a very light warm up with just joint rotations, then I explained the chess drill and we all had a go, swapping partners a couple of times. Everyone was a bit tentative at first, but soon got the idea. Participants varied from experienced blue belts through to relatively new white belts. It wasn't long before everyone was experimenting...

We put in 20 minutes or so of drilling the basics as instructed, then went back to the slow rolling drills. The monkey drill was next. I was so busy experimenting with this crazy stuff that I didn't spend much time watching the others, but I did hear some laughing. We ended up with another round of the chess drill.

All in all it seemed well received and I think I've given them something to think about and to play with. They seemed interested to follow it up another time also. So I'm having great hopes that this will be a useful tool to get our group to understand and employ slow rolling.

Here is Christian's excellent instructional video on slow rolling:

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