Friday, June 10, 2011

nose in books

That's me at the moment, my nose is in books - or rather computers. I have uni exams next week. Until last week, I was flat out getting assignments done. I barely kept my training diary up to date, let alone the blog... Well, another week, and it will be done :-)

Of course I've been training. I missed a couple of sessions due to my uni workload (and I'm working part-time, too), but I've been able to get in nearly six sessions per week all the same, so I can't complain.

We did a fair bit of work on cutting armbars, spread over several sessions. How to get them from closed guard and from side control. The latter in two flavours: either with the opponent flat on the back, and we do a KOB and crawl over, if they've made the mistake of putting their farm arm around our neck. The other flavour is served up if they hip out away from us (which means they are facing us), and we can grab an underhook on the far/top arm.

Then we did a few sessions on closed guard attacks. Firstly, an arbar that works just by trapping an arm across our middle, controlling the head so the arm is trapped. Then get a good angle, use our elbow over their trapped forearm, lift the hip under their elbow and... tap. That ties in beautifully with the cutting armbar from closed guard.

Then we spent time on grips. How to get a fantastic deep cross collar grip right on the back of their collar, and then bring our elbow down for a very controlling grip. This can be used to pull and push, and it can control the spine enough that we can open our guard to get angles for attacks, set up sweeps or whatever. Depending on where their arms end up, it is a perfect setup for everything from figure fours to chokes. And of course, sweeps.

The last session we spent on the cross lapel choke from that setup. This is the version where we already have that deep grip, we've got their upper body pushed to the side of the arm that has the collar grip. Pushing up and down, we can make a little gap at the back of the collar and get the thumb of the other hand in. Then comes some wriggling until we can get our body across (unless, of course, they push that way to straighten up!), the forearm slides across the back of the head and there is the cross lapel choke. And this one is tight!

We did a fair bit of situational sparring, starting from closed guard. That's my world anyway, so I was happy for the practice :-) I am appalled though at how easy it is to be broken down. On the other hand, I have trouble breaking down people. Actually, that's not quite true, I do succeed with most of them, but there is this one tall Blue Belt... When I was utterly frustrated, he did show me what he does.

What came out of all that closed guard stuff is that I need to be more inventive. I need to be prepared to switch from one thing to another. Or more specifically, attack with one thing, knowing what they will do to defend and then use that to launch the next attack. Somehow I still can't get that happening. I have so many attacks from closed guard, and yet I seem to get stuck in one place or another. I simply can't see what other options I have.

On the other hand, there are techniques, like omoplata for example, which I've always struggled with. For some unknown reason, those are coming to the surface. Have we recently worked on omoplatas? No. But somehow my brain is making a connection there, and CLICK, out comes the technique.

I quite honestly don't know why my brain works the way it does :-)

Another example: We spend a session working on something. I start off like a klutz, be it a new technique, or one I know but never had any luck with. Then we go over it, drill it and I get my head around it. I might get quite fluent with it, and even have some luck in situational rolling that day. I think "I GOT this!!". But then, next session, we revisit that technique. I'm all excited, because, after all, I GOT it last time, and I'm keen to get more reps in. But to my horror, though I remember the steps, my body had lost all it's feel for it, and I'm back to feeling like an utter klutz. This has happened to me lots of times. If we spend more time on that technique, it comes back again, and overall, I have improved.  But it's weird to make such a huge leap forward in the first session, to then lose most of that.

Not sure if it's just the way it is, ie: a natural, common way to learn. Or if it is something ridiculously stupid just limited to my overanalytical brain. I do spend a lot of time going over what we learn in class. Not just to try an memorize it, but to see where it fits in with other things I know. I'm always trying to work out if I could use a technique from other, similar setups.

I don't know :-)

Anyway, it's not just my brain which is having a hard time lately. My left ear had a dodgy, squishy spot in it, and that required a bit of draining. Nothing like sticking pointy things in your ears late at night, when sensible folks just have their slippers on and sit in front of the TV, or are asleep in bed. Oh, and the knees are having a fun time lately. After my right knee made an abysmal noise a few weeks back, it's been behaving well. Only, last Monday, when I was rolling in the no-gi class, the left knee made exactly the same damn noise. A loud CLANK which made everyone stop in their tracks. We weren't going terribly hard, either. It felt fine after, and I did go to my gi class after. Though I was glad we only drilled moves.

Same as the right one, there is no pain, a vague bit of stiffness the day after it happened and no swelling or other problems. This is the knee I damaged many moons ago, first by a fall with a horse on a road, then again by stepping on a rock which rolled out from under my foot... Well, I can only hope that I won't have further issues. One of the guys at our school has been out for weeks because of damaged ligaments in his knee. He is much younger than I am. I'd go silly if I couldn't do BJJ...

John Will is coming for a seminar to our school tonight. That should be good fun. I shall report :-)


  1. Exams. Oh I do not envy.

    I am so so so completely understanding how feel with regard to the way techniques seem to magically materialize in your repetoire. I had the same experience with omoplata about three months ago. All of a sudden, I was seeing it, trying it, going for it. I thought, okay, where was THAT hiding in my gray matter? It's like a small tape recorder mechanic in my head hit the play button and now I am trying more moves. ??? Go figure.

    On being broken down when in guard: try squeezing your butt and stomach while shifting your hips forward, and keep your upper body straight and strong. Rachel Demara broke my posture at the Pans like I was a badly constructed Lego tower and I have been working on it ever since then. I am starting to find some power in the hips.

    Train well and good luck on exams!

  2. Thanks :-)

    I will certainly try your suggestions regarding posture!