Thursday, May 19, 2011

evil armbars and upside down triangles

I ended up only training three times last week. The knee took it well. But on Saturday, I couldn't make it anyway. I had to stay home because the horse-dentist came. He did six of our horses. Nice guy, and finally a guy who knows what he's doing. A real horseman (they are getting rarer these days, I swear!).

Anyway, it was probably be good to take it steady last week. This week, I've been training every day. The easy week has given my body a chance to recover a bit. Yes, I think I had been overdoing it recently... Sigh. So the question is whether the knee was a result of overtraining or unrelated. Anyway, it made me ease off a bit and I feel better for it all around. And finally by tonight, I didn't even think about the knee.

It's been an interesting week. On Monday, we did cutting armbars. I think I might have finally understood what makes them work. So far, I can only say I've got close. But now I know why I couldn't finish them off, and I think they'll make a handy addition to my arsenal. We looked at cutting armbars from guard and from side control. Whichever starting position, the key to it is to pin his upper arm against me, get a gable grip and slide that along until I get to the sweet spot near his elbow. Ideally, I will rotate his arm while I do that, just with the pressure of my gable grip. And if all goes well, his lower arm and hand will be lined up perfectly between my neck and shoulder. But the main part is the starting pressure. At the end of drilling and experimenting with it, I really could feel that pressure.

Tuesday night was no-gi. First time back since "the knee", so I was hoping to get a training partner with a degree of ahem... sense. I got lucky. Small class, uneven numbers, so I scored John as the drilling partner. We did a little bit of warming up getting x-guard. Then we drilled an open guard pass to knee on belly. As he hips out and rolls towards me to escape the knee, I step over his head and spin my legs back to get behind him. I need to get an underhook on his top arm from the rear. Then I sit up, rock back and take his back. The latter part is exactly how Ryan Hall describes a version of a back take. So it was great to be able to rep that out a few times.

We finished that class with about 20 minutes of rolling. I stayed with John. I was still very mindful of my knee (and so was he), so it was pretty light. But still, it was interesting stuff (most of which finished with my "destruction"). But the good part was that my hips were working and I managed some good escapes. Even got positions to launch a some submissions. I didn't stay for extra open mat, but it was a really good night.

John also showed me how to finish a weird upside down triangle, which I sometimes get, but could never finish. I tried to pull it on him, but failed yet again. Now that I know the finish, I think I might be doing some good with it. I catch people from bottom side control with this :-)

Yesterday's lunchtime class was very small: just myself. So Sensei Glenn decided that I should be his guinea pig for some new stuff he's been working on. And the other half of the class was mine. My choice was to work on the armbar from hell. I have been getting the high guard, with one knee over my opponent's shoulder, quite regularly. From there, I hunt for that armbar. But something was missing and I couldn't figure it out, so I've been going for a sweep, or a cutting armbar instead. Or sometimes I let them push their shoulder through, but keep their arm across, and then take the back.

However, after seeing what I've been doing, Glenn made a couple of suggestions. One was to square my hips back up. Hard to explain, but I know how it should feel. That gives me a much better angle for the armbar. Second suggestion was to have a much better grip on the arm. Even hold it with both my hands instead of using my left hand to push on his head to get my leg over. After some back and forth, and my usual non-faith in my own abilities and him giving me a bollocking for not even trying, I got the hang of it. And he was right, I do not need to let go of the arm, all I need is correct hip alignment and the will to do it. He let me drill it then, against increasing resistance. And at long last, it looks like I've nailed that technique..

He then reminded me how close to that are the related triangle and omoplata, depending on how one of my "victims" reacts. :-) Hehe.

We rolled for a bit after that. I got figure foured a few times. No surprise there, it's his favourite technique. But I defended a couple of those and somewhere along the lines, I threatened one of his arms, another time I regained guard and started going for the high guard. And as he said after: he didn't want to be there, that's now dangerous territory. He gave me some other valuable feedback. So all in all, a great session.

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