Saturday, November 26, 2011

another grading

It seems like the  squillionth grading I've been to without actually grading myself :-) Well, I clocked up three years of BJJ on October 25, so I'm sort of becoming part of the furniture. So it's not really surprising that I've seen a grading or three.

Being a blue belt and (slowly!!) heading for purple, I'm not going to grade myself any time soon, which gives me plenty of time to observe and work with and help the guys which are still in the lead up to blue belt and do gradings relatively often.

At our school, gradings are a pretty casual affair. Yes, the guys have to work, and from fourth stripe white, they have to push the boat out a bit. Their attitude and determination is as much on display as their technical knowledge. But there is no paying for the priviledge, no airs and graces, and coloured belts get handed with the same minimalist outlook on ceremony as stripes. And this in a traditional Karate school. There are no belt whippings, ceremonial throwings or any of that stuff. Just a bit of bowing and lots of handshaking and congratulations from fellow grapplers. I love it, it's great.

So we had a grading. Three guys were promoted to blue belt. Danny, Justin and Mark put in a lot of hard work and so deserved it. Hunter and Glenn got their fourth stripe. All these guys had to do a lot of rounds of rolling in addition to their technical demonstrations, and I had the pleasure to be able to step in and be part of this. They did great. Several more people gained 1st, 2nd and 3rd stripes on their white belts and from what I saw, they all showed great technique.

All round, it was a long, hard but fantastic Friday evening. I really was proud of them all :-)

Friday, November 25, 2011

open guard + half guard

Thats' what I'm working now. Open guard. All flavours.

We recently did a bit of work ont the Z guard. This kind of came in handy, as I found I got to that position a whole lot anyway. But of course I didn't know what do do with it.... So now I have a nifty arm-drag, a sweep and some other stuff. And with that came a better understanding of how to deal with someone else's Z guard.

I've just started playing with the DLR guard as well. That's very much unknown territory, but I figure I have all the time in the world to experiment. I want to get away from just playing closed guard all the time. Sure, that means I'll get passed a lot. But so what.

I've had complaints about my half guard (bottom). I seem to escape from all sorts of positions to half guard. Often, it seems, I totally frustrate people because they work so hard to get past my halfguard, just to find that I've already got it back on them on the other side. Ok, so that's good. But I still felt like I was getting stuck there. Oh sure, bottom half is better than being mounted or having someone on my back. But I didn't seem to be able to capitalise on it much. Still, having spent so much time there, it certainly has given me plenty of time to work with the position.

I had an interesting discussion about this with Sensei. I mentioned that I feel I get there easy enough, and I'm happy about that, BUT that I can't do much with it. He said that in addition to learning attacks and sweeps from there, I need to change the way I look at it. Rather than saying "I ended up there", I should say "That's what I want" and "see, I got it!" and "now I'm attacking". We've already been working a fair bit on the deep half, which has helped me a lot. I am having a fair bit of success with it now.

I know that with a lot of the stuff I try, I fail because I don't commit, because I don't really believe I can do it. Same same for bottom half and entry to deep half. Once I can get around to viewing it as a starting point rather than a stalling point, I will be able to capitalise on it much more. BJJ is such a mental game. I sometimes wonder if it pushes the physical boundaries more or the mental ones. Either way, I'm forced to step outside my comfort zone remarkably often, and that is a good thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

GTA comp

A quick and late report from the GTA comp in Melbourne on October 29....

It was only the second tounament organised by GTA. The first one was no gi (which I missed). This one was gi. It was well organised and well run. The five of us from Ballarat who competed had a lot of fun, and we all brought home some shiny stuff.

I only had one fight. I think there were only about 4 or 5 blue belt women there on the day. I competed against another senior in about my weight bracket. Not much to report, I pulled guard and avoided her attempts to get past my guard while still open. Once I had closed guard, I tried for the cross lapel choke, armbar. Had no problems controlling her posture. Maybe should have looked for other opportunities, but she really protected her arms well. And then I went for the armbar again and made the mistake of not cutting down hard enough with the top leg. So I lost it and she passed. There was less than a minute left to go, and I was on my way to escape side control, but I ran out of time and lost on points.

The guys did pretty good and all had a great time. One of them had had about 2 months off because of a broken kneecap, and decided to make his comeback at the comp. He didn't win, and he was down on himself, but we assured him that while it was maybe a little stoooopid to do what he did, but he wrestled well all the same. He's been to another comp since, and done really well.

I declined going to the Pan Pacs and the Melbourne Open because I had a hell of a load of work due for uni, and exams (which I have now finished).