First, I need to have a moan about life :-)
I'm so busy! Studies, new job etc. Assigments due for uni. Looking after the horses, keeping up with the housework. Rah rah ra!!! I seem to eat, sleep, shower and pack my bags for the next day when I'm at home. Oh yeah, and work on the assignments. Other than that....
Hmm. Last Monday I actually finished work & uni. I had an hour to wait around before the first no-gi class, and I could have stuck around there until just before the start of the gi class a couple of hours later. I would have been home just before 10pm. Only I was overcome by being tired and a strong feeling of wanting to go home and calling it a day. I know better than being a hero these days, so home I went, had early dinner and worked on one of my assignments (sigh).
But that aside, I trained at least once daily for the rest of the week :-)
After all that sitting down and listening to lectures, work inductions and staring at the computer, BJJ is my release, my sanity. Even if it means I come home late after a long day, feeling all beat up.
I learned some good new techniques in the no-gi classes. For example, how to get out of half guard bottom if the top guy has a solid over/under grip. With hipping out, a gable grip pressuring his shoulder and the correct leg position, I found I could break even the grip of some of the guys (something I have always struggled with, weakling that I am). From there, it's easy to take the back, or try for a cutting armbar. As an alternative, if I can't break his grip, I have enough space to try for a Zombie, get a frame on his neck with the other arm and finally feed my foot through (kung-fu move), to finish with a nasty shoulder lock.
Then a similar move from full guard bottom to break the grips. Only this time, I go to overhook his near arm and do the swim move to roll him over for an armbar.
With all of these, we got lots of reps in. And this time, I didn't feel too retarded :-) Even the swim move worked, and that is big progress :-)
In the gi classes we did some stuff on sweeps from turtle position. And we worked on transitions from half guard to knee ride. The sweeps from turtle address a part of my game I'm keen to expand on, so that was really useful.
Rolling started crappy early in the week. I fell back into the habit of straining, using muscle. Why?? Presumably because my little ego was concerned about looking bad when rolling with white belts. Thankfully, I woke up to that after a few rolls and I eased off. Miraculously, not only did I roll better, more open, more smoothly, but I actually did a lot better, too. Duh.
After that, things improved. I kept on reminding myself to try new things, to flow, to give my partners opportunities. And it felt so much better. In the no-gi classes, I got caught in twisters several times. I am recognising the setups earlier in the piece these days, but not early enough yet :-) Still, it was good and there were several no-gi rolls which I was very happy with. Especially one with a guy who is not that experienced, but he is considerably heavier and stronger than I. He went at it with typical speed and power and strength. I will admit I couldn't stop some of his passes and he flattened me out several times. But I had good hip movement, so getting back to half and full guard was easy. And I successfully used hooks to frustrate many of his passing attempts. He was straining so hard to get a grip and set up armbars/armlocks, but just couldn't finish anything. I wished I could have spent more time attacking. But realistically speaking, I think I did quite well against him, and I expended maybe a quarter of the energy he did. So I was happy with that, because it proves to me that the art I'm learning is effective.
We had a couple of brand new guys in for the gi classes. I spent some of my time showing them basics. When I was showing the cross lapel choke from mount, I thought of a little thing which I was already doing unconsciously. But doing it made sure the second hand goes into the collar correctly, and it opens up the lapel at the neck, too. Talking about the technique to show the guys made me aware of it. And once I showed them that particular bit, they picked up on that detail right away. As so often, teaching the stuff you know make you more aware of it. It shows where you have holes in your knowledge, but in trying to articulate what you want to teach, it also brings better understanding for yourself.
At the end of the week, we had a grading. The guys did really, really well and I'm proud of all of them. Lots of stripes were handed out, and there were happy faces all around. Great to see.
We lost a couple of people for various reasons. One guy to take care of his family, one guy moved to Melbourne. Matt, one of our Blue Belts is moving to Queensland with his family, and we bid him farewell in our Wednesday class.