Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Well, That Depends...

We worked on sweeps from guard last night at the Women's Class, specifically on what do do when someone who is in your guard raises a knee. Depending on where their weight is positioned, you go for a different sweep. If their weight is centered over your body--if they are leaning into you trying to stack you--swim the knee, block the opposite arm, and take them over on the blocked arm side. If their weight is back--they are sitting in their base--you pull the ankle toward you and hip into them.

While we were drilling, a lot of "what if" questions came up. What if the person is a lot bigger than you? What if they post here? What if they do this when you do that?

Steph and I fielded most of the questions individually, but eventually I brought them back in and told them that with sweeps 1) The person will generally not know exactly what sweep you plan to use 2) If they do know, and are resisting it in some way that stops you from doing it, you should not force the sweep, you should use that opportunity to do something else that takes advantage of their position/weight distribution/vulnerabilities, etc. I told them that if one thing doesn't work, you switch to another thing. I told them that I know that they haven't learned all those "other things" yet. Neither have I. But that every time they come to class, they will learn more things they can do and they will learn to switch between techniques.

One of the girls asked, "How long will it be before we can do that." (she was referring to being able to switch between techniques).

I told her, "Well, that depends on how willing you are to experiment during grappling. Most people come into bjj wanting to 'win' every grapple. Because of that, they only try things that they know will work. But if you can let go of that pride, you can start experimenting with leverage. Jump. Try to sweep. Move in a way you haven't tried before. If you end up in a bad position or get submitted, its no big deal. Learn from it and try again."

I also told them not to take "failures" personally, like I did when I started. If something didn't work, I got frustrated and felt crappy about myself. But down the road I realized that bjj is a matter of trial and error. If something doesn't work the first time, that doesn't mean I am incapable. It means my technique needs tweaking. So, you should keep experimenting and asking questions until you learn to make it work.

The best part is I think they got it. We did regular grappling, flow rolling and the game where you untie the bow from the person's back (since we've been working guard) and I noticed there was a whole lot more laughter and experimenting happening. It was really fun!

My own experimenting with leverage has been really fun. I definitely haven't had a "breakthrough" or made some huge leap of progress. But I am enjoying every class and learning little things here and little things there. The best thing is, the vast majority of the people I train with have the same mind set of moving and trying things, and they help me learn and (in many cases) let me move more than I would normally be able to so that I CAN try things.

One minor victory (well, it's probably a major victory if you are one of my training partners) is that I have been accidentally hitting/kicking people much less in the last few weeks. I don't claim that I haven't done it at all (baby steps, people!) but there are a lot fewer bruises with my name on them at this point.

Now watch, I'll go into class tomorrow and accidentally give someone a black eye. ;)


Liam H Wandi said...

congratulations on the victory. Major, minor. Judgement words. Don't like 'em. A victory should not be measured by magnitude, but taken as affirmation that yoy're moving in the right direction :)

One thing I got told around blue belt by a very good brown belt: Before you switch techniques, make sure you have left no doubt in your mind that you did everythin right to:

1. Set up the technique
2. Enter the technique
3. Finish the technique
4. Recover / transition if they do counter.

Something I've noticed with jiu jitsu is that you shouldn't need more than 2-3 links in the chain of attacks. So if you have them in your guard, you shouldn't need to know more than 2 sweeps and perhaps one attack to get something.

The brown belt said to me: A little less "If he does this I'll do that" and a little more "why the hell did I allow him to do this in the first place?!"