Thursday, January 28, 2010

Like White on Rice

Tuesday night I had the sniffles but I went to class anyway. Thought it was just the cold weather. (Don't laugh at me, Northerners. 50 degrees is cold when you live in Florida!!). But by the end of class I was feeling really crappy and had a full blown cold.

I'm still glad I went, though I hope I didn't give what I have to anyone else. We worked a scissor-sweep to a gi choke that I really like. Again, it had been a while since I had seen a scissor sweep taught and I had a lot of little erros that were making my sweep ineffective, like putting my knee too far through across the belly and putting my other leg against the mat. Instead, you want to hook your ankle across the rib cage, but not put your knee all the way through to the other side. And with your other leg, you want to put it directly over their knee joint, not above it on the thigh or below it against the mat. I also wasn't arching back like I should when you go to apply the sweep.

But the real lesson I took away from that night happened during grappling. Usually, when I grapple with my instructor, Ben, he goes with my movements and stays relaxed. He's not trying to submit me. He's just reacting to what I'm doing and letting me move. Tuesday night he took a different approach: tight and controlled.

There's only one way to describe how I felt during that grapple: Son of a mother flipping biscuit eater!! Every time I moved, he wrapped me up tighter. Every time I exposed a limb, I lost it to some kind of clench. He was fluid and moving, but I just kept getting wrapped up into a smaller and smaller ball.

As frustrating as the grapple was, I learned a few things from it.

#1. Keep moving. Even when your opponent has the dominant position, don't freak out. You've already lost the points or the advantage, so it's time to relax, work to make space and to begin working to get a sweep or to get back to a neutral position.

#2. If you can't stay tight while you're doing something fast then you need to slow it down. What good is it for me to try to pass someone's guard at lightning speed if I am so sloppy while I do it that they can sweep me or catch half guard or something? I need to take my time and do things right instead of trying to do them fast.

#3. For Pete's sake, don't expose your limbs!! I don't know how many times Ben trapped one of my arms or legs. I was just putting them out there way to much. Again, this goes back to staying tight while I'm moving.

Another thing I noticed was that, even though Ben was going harder on me than normal and staying tighter than he ever has on me before, he never hurt me. I never felt pain. Just a ridiculous amount of frustration at my own inability to do anything. To me, that's an example of real BJJ. He completely dominated me without ever having to submit me or even cause me pain in any way.


leslie said...

"Son of a mother flipping biscuit eater!!"

*giggle* I'm not sure I'm very familiar with that expression, though definitely am with the sentiment behind it.

I agree with your assessment of the roll with Ben: that's an example of real BJJ. (And of a good instructor!)

Meerkatsu said...

Aw man, don't you walk away thinking HOW DO THEY DO IT?? I mean the really good guys who roll with you with awesome relaxed efficiency and you are trying 1000 percent and yet they seem like they are going for a Sunday stroll. Frustrating, but also inspiring.
[Makes mental note to use the flipping biscuit eater line next time I lose my temper at my kids]