Monday, March 14, 2011

the last fortnight

My oh my! I'm behind by a fortnight. Not good...

It's just been a busy time at uni, with job interviews, catching up on work at home/on the farm and training, of course. Being away all day and then training and finally sitting down for dinner sometime around 10pm is not a good when it comes to finding the motivation to write blogs :-)

Anyway, training wise things have been going well. In class, most of the white belts are preparing for the up coming grading, so they are doing a lot of syllabus stuff. I have been roped in several times to help, other times, they were working on their stuff and us coloured belts worked on other things. Or just wrestled.

In the way of techniques, we worked on the basic sweep (shin across), the single and double hooking sweep. I finally seem to be getting my act together on that double hooking sweep. I managed it to both sides. To get more reps in and develop some kind of sensitivity, we did a drill where our partner is on our hooks but defends our underhooks, so that we have to get one, which then determines the side which we have to sweep to. I really got that happening, effectively blocking his arm. Somtimes I found that I wasn't quite lined up, but when I rocked back, I just elevated him on my hooks, rocked again and then set him down on the side I wanted. That was a very useful session for me. A lot of things clicked.

Another day we did open guard sweeps if someone stands in your guard. I worked with on the blue belt (going on purple) guys. There was a version with a same side grip on his sleeve, and an axe kick to the back of his leg. And another version with a cross grip and a hook behind his knee.  Drilling the sweeps was no problem.But when it came to doing some free guard passing to use them, I was like: ??? What??? I knew I wanted a push and pull and at least three points of contact. But it just kind of didn't happen. He passed my guard effortlessly virtually every time. On the other hand, I think I managed to pass his guard once or twice, the rest of the time I got swepts in every which direction. I was THIS close to a severe sense of humour failure. I hate being a klutz. Oh, and to add injury to insult, I ended up with blisters on the tops of both ring fingers from gripping his sleeves. Hurt like anything in the shower, and has necessitated band aids every class since them. Wow. Ah yeah, and my fingers hurt, too.

One night we worked on omoplatas. Oh yes. Big sigh. O-dear-o-platas. I had two left legs and two left arms and couldn't coordinate shit. It was sad. Sometimes, in a wrestle, I hit an omoplata out of the blue, but if I try to set one up, I can't for the life of me get my hips into place, let alone get my arms and legs sorted. I think that needs a lot more work. But I'm sure it will happen. One day... :-)

A couple of classes were spent on rubber guard. I don't mind that, having long and relatively flexible legs. It's another type of guard I can hassle people with.

The rest of the time in class and open mat of course were spent on having fun. I rolled slow with those who wanted, did some stuff from standing with the guys going to the comp, and helped some of the new guys with specific problems they were encountering.

I focussed on not getting hung up about having to do well, so I deliberately let stuff go and trying for things I don't normally do. I think that was good. I accidentally found sweeps where I hadn't seen any before and I discovered a way to the back from half guard bottom. I also had success against the nemesis :-) Managed a sweep, had an fairly effective open guard, got top positions a few times and even managed to choke him out once. I was ecstatic just over the sweep and the open guard!! That aside, I had a number of really good rolls with some of the senior guys.

I've given up worrying about not having a coherent game plan, or stringing several techniques together, or better still, attack with one technique and setting up the next by capitalizing on their defence. I'm sure that will all come to me when the time is right. I've learned that nothing is fixed, my knowlege and my skill levels are expanding (though sometimes it doesn't feel that way), and just because something has not been working doesn't mean that it will never work. So I'm getting more patience. The puzzle pieces are slowly but surely being added to the big picture, and big chunks will start emerging soon enough.

The other day I had a mini insight. I was travelling to class and thinking of what sweeps might be possible from an open guard position I've recently been getting to. I think it's called Z-guard. Anyway, as I was picturing my position and my opponent's positions and trying to figure out what I could do to take away his base and sweep him, something occured to me. I can't just look at the position and the grips (both of us), but I must consider the pressures. For example, it would be vastly different if he sat back as opposed to him coming forward to try and stack me. So the two types of pressures would need different sweeps. And then the next consideration is what I can do to maybe change his pressure to set him up for something I want.

And suddenly, it's all even more complicated :-)

I think I will ask my instructor about this, and then I can go and experiment and think about it some more.


  1. If it makes you feel any better, I never go in with a game plan. My instructor told me that the way he thinks about it is he knows what options I have and he thinks about several options he has and chooses what he will do based on what I do. The only way you can know what options you have is through experience --learning techniques, seeing them in live grapples, learning how people tend to move and what works for your body type. I think you're right. We'll get there in time. ;)

  2. In horseriding we use the term "wet saddleblankets" when asked what will make a horse a better riding horse. Meaning: it is hours and hours under the saddle, which will turn a green horse into an experienced one.

    I see the parallels with BJJ. Question: What makes a better BJJ player? Answer: wet gis!

    We learn through experience, and experience comes with quality mat time (= wet gis). :-)