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
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.... '