Friday, September 23, 2011

stuck or lazy?

Lately, repeatedly, I've been getting stuck in bottom half guard. Actually, that's not correct, that goes back a lot longer. Just somehow, it's become a bigger problem. Or maybe it's just become more obvious to me.

I find it relatively easy to convert mount bottom or back control to half guard. That's the good bit. Strong defense, to the point where it frustrates purple and brown belts. Very happy with that bit.

Only then I don't capitalize on the position. Somehow I allow myself to get flattened, as I stay defensive, and as a result, eventually I get passed or submitted from there. The feedback I've been getting is that everybody gets trapped by my halfguard. And then as they say "oh, crap", and expect bother, it doesn't happen, so they have all the time in the world and few distractions to proceed to some attack. Interestingly, if I get half guard top, I also go "oh, crap", but before I get a chance to manage an attack, they get the hell out or I end up back in full guard. As my instructor pointed out the other day, I'm defensive, regardless of whether I'm in halfguard top or bottom. Why?? Why not attack.

And since I end up in half guard bottom a lot more often, that's what I've been working on. I spent a fair bit of time with Ben last night, looking at ways to get to a low half guard early. There, not only can I protect my neck and arms, but I can position myself to set up sweeps. We drilled a couple of specific techniques, and then we sort of flow rolled to get the setup for half guard sweeps. That helped a lot, made me realise two very important things:
  • if they are keeping low, go at deep as possible right away, fight for underhooks, go deeep half if possible, trap a leg and work for a sweep
  • if they sit up and threaten my arm, sit up and into them, glue my head to their middle, then when I rock back (or rather, to one hip), the sweep is easy
I didn't get a lot of chance to work on that tonight in open mat. But I did succeed in getting deep half on a decent sized guy once, and yes, there was a sweep. Hoorah!

Anyway, I did ponder the why for a bit. Why do I get so stuck in bottom half. What I was told on Thursday was neither rocket science, nor anything new. It's all stuff I've been told before, principles I know and techniques I've been shown before.

All I can think is that I fell into that old mind trap again. The little voice that says: "well, no point trying, you just can't do this!". That leads to half-arsed attempts, which fail because they are half-arsed. And then the little voice says: "see, told you so!". And there I was thinking I had completely overcome such silly notions, ditched the "I can't do it" attitude. Evidently, not quite...

Believe me, it's embarrassing when you swear black and blue that you CAN'T DO IT. And you have two senior guys say: yes, you can! And they make you try again until you do it right. And then you just have to admit that you were wrong |-) But it's still a liberating feeling, throwing another "CAN'T" in the bin and adding a little bit more to the growing pile of faith in your own ability.

I do wonder if some of this "I CAN'T" attitude is just lazyness. It is easier to sit back and say naw, can't than to put in the effort to fight to make it work. It ends up an excuse. But what good is formulating an exucuse for shitty technique, when I could spend the same amount of mental energy on figureing on how to fix it?

I really need to learn to recognise these mental ruts, before they get so deep that I need someone else to point out that I'm stuck without the need to be there. I need to get off my lazy backside instead of flopping around like a beached whale while complaining that I'm stuck. Ha, looks like I have a bit of work on.... '

another comp!

Yes, yes, I entered the WBJJL comp, and my flights are booked :-)

I'm flying to the Gold Coast on the Friday, will get picked up on arrival Friday afternoon we'll take it easy and visit the horses. Saturday we'll leasurely drive up to Nerang. I'll compete and I'll try and talk my friends into staying and taking some video footage. And provide cheer squad support!

Sunday will be another day of leasure, maybe go horseriding. And catch up on the events of the last couple of years. There will be good food and much merriment.

Then, I'm due to fly back to Melbourne early on Monday morning. I might make it back in time for my lectures at lunchtime. Or maybe I'll just go home and recover from the strenuous weekend ;-)

It's a mini-holiday with my three favourite activities: BJJ, horseriding and eating good food.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

another comp?

Hmm, very seriously thinking of entering this one:

It's in Queensland, and I would need to fly up. BUT... I have a good friend who lives pretty close to Nerang, so I could visit her on the same occasion. Now THAT would be fantastic! I'm looking into flights :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Gathering and other weekend stuff

The complete set of results is on the Will/Machado BJJ Australia site.

I had a mixed weekend. I actually had a fair bit of fun and overall, I felt that I went well. Numbers were down this year, so there weren't very many women. Only one other blue belt, so I competed against her in the 16-29 / over 74kg division. And got beat up :-) Placing: 2nd out of two. Woopee...

To give us girls a bit more fun and to have something for a visiting NZ purple belt lady to compete, they put on a mixed women's division at short notice. This was actually held just before the other one. There were the two blue belts, the purple belt and one senior white belt from NZ. I drew the white belt for the first round. It was interesting in that I had a chance to play my game against a very technical opponent of my size. She pulled guard and went straight for an armbar. But I passed her guard and it went from there. As so often though, I couldn't get anything from side control and eventually, things ended up such that she was in my guard. From there, I launched my usual attacks. Almost succeeded in getting her back. Couldn't finish anything off though and finally won on points.

The next (final) round was against the purple belt lady who had won her fight over the blue belt. This was a fun fight. I spent most of it defending. Eventually, I got armbarred. Really technical she was, and it was great. Even the grip fight at the start was good. I'm hoping that someone took footage of that one! Compared to other women I've competed against, she used technique, not grindy, nasty stuff.

So that was a 2nd place out of four.

Nothing to set the world on fire, but I found the right mix of being competitive and laid back and generally just enjoyed the day. What was also great was the chance to see most of my team-mates on the mat. They all did really well. Most brought home some shiny medals. But whether they won or lost, they all showed some awesome technique. And I think they all had a good day as well.

Sunday morning was the seminar with Rigan Machado at Dominance in Richmond. It revolved around d'Arce chokes and a bit of deep half guard entry to sweeps. Really good stuff.

On the way home, I got stuck in a traffic snare just before the Westgate Bridge, which resulted in an extra 3/4 hour I had to spend in the car. By the time I arrived home, I was nicely stiff and pretty worn out.

Another fantastic thing about the weekend: I finally (after 15 years or so) caught up with a good friend of mine. We used to go to agricultural college together back in 1982-85. Ha, yes, there was a bit of reminiscing.

And today, the post-weekend effects: sore shoulders, some matburn, still a bit tired and a messy house :-) But, more importantly, the memory of a great weekend and a lot of food for thought for weeks and months to come. I'd call it a success.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Gathering looms

I'm finally getting my head above water after another couple of intensive week of studies, tests, assignments, work and working horses. So I haven't had too much time to concentrate on The Gathering. Which may be good or it may be not so good :-)

I will admit that I haven't really spent much time or effort on preparing for this competition. Aside from being pretty, oh, absorbed (???) with other parts of my life, I'm just not that fanatical about it. I do BJJ primarily for fun and enjoyment. I don't mind competing, but it's not my reason for doing BJJ. So it suits me that our school doesn't put that much emphasis on it. But certainly, Sensei Glenn will be there on Saturday to support THE TEAM. Which is fantastic.

I had a truly shit session on Monday night. Not so sure why. I guess we all just have days when for whatever reason, the mind is not quite online and the body is sluggish. Well, that was me on Monday. I took the warm-up, and I must admit I was puffed at the end of it. Doh. But it wasn't a very hard warm-up and I could see no reason why I should feel like I did. In hindsight, I didn't eat well during the day. Not enough, and not the right stuff. Too much running around between lectures, and for other reasons.

Anyway, so I grappled like crap (I think it was Leslie who coined the term "crappling", which would have been a good description for my performance on Monday. The white belts ran rings around me. The rounds killed me. I was a sorry sight. So I was a bit upset, and hey, it's not the best way to be in the lead up to a comp. How can you get in a positive frame of mind??

Sensei reminded me that competition wins aren't his measurement of our progress. And that aside from that, the main goal of going to the comp is to have fun and learn. Winning is merely a bonus.

Words of wisdom.

Still am undecided if I'll go to the Pan Pacs the following weekend.

I taught a class on Wednesday, and I didn't get any rolling in. But I didn't mind so much. I was very pleased because I think I successfully taught two very new guys and at the same time two very experienced whites. I found I had something to give to all of them. New concepts and techniques for the new guys, tweaks and improvements for known techniques for the other two. All using the same techniques: have closed guard, break down the opponent, cross lapel choke. Transition to armbar. If they pull out and expose the other arm, go to omoplata. And if they posture ouf of that, triangle. So, so much there....

Tonight (my last session before Saturday's comp) was rolling but from specific positions. I found some Jiu Jitsu again :-) Or maybe it found me! I had one slight lapse of reason early in the night. I started rolling with Ben when in short order, I was on the bottom. And just as my brain was going to kick into neutral, turning me into an uncoordinated bundle of clueless strugglemania, I despairingly said: I'm HERE AGAIN!! Someone kindly pointed out that I WAS rolling with a purple belt. So maybe, just maybe, there ought to be no reason to lament. So I shut my stupid mouth, came to my senses. And from there onwards, I enjoyed myself again. Ben is just the best to roll with. And in the end, I got ample chance to work on getting the back and attacking from there. Oh, and sweeps.

After that, I had a couple of other partners. At times we went fairly hard, but never silly. And though I was a bit tired, I did pretty good. In the end I helped one of the guys troubleshoot getting from a low single to a good position. That also helped me, because I could see what worked or didn't work for him while at the same time learning more on how to defend someone doing it to me. It was a multi-layered learning experience, so to speak. Good stuff. But the main thing is that I'm pretty sure it helped him.

So, that little "blip" on Monday aside, I think I'm pretty positive heading into the comp. I'm actually looking forward to it now. And of course, on Sunday, we'll have the Rigan Machado seminar:

Last year's was the first one I went to, and it was fantastic. All in all, I have a great weekend coming up. Comp on Saturday, spend Saturday night with an old time friend (from waaaaayy back when we went to Dookie Ag.College together). I haven't seen her for years, so that will be great. And we're going out for dinner at a Persian restaurant. And then on Sunday, the seminar.

The toughest job tomorrow will be to decide on which gi I'll wear at the comp :-) Oh yeah, and pack my bag for an early start on Saturday...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011