Class again tonight, the same set of people. We started doing a single-leg drill, grabbing the leg and shuffling the length of the floor. Tough to keep the pressure that Jeremy taught me the length of the mat, but when it's there, it's easy to see how my opponent is going to tip. Then we went to Flow drills--did a guillotine-escape-to-headlock-escape drill, then an armbar-RNC-defense-to-pendulum-sweep drill, then added on a cross-choke/armbar-finish. I've never really felt comfortable doing cross-chokes, and it has always been strange to me that they are considered the basic finish. Part of that is more than likely that I can't do it, but part of it is that they have so many little technical intricacies that considering a cross-choke "basic" is sort of like saying throwing a frisbee forehand is basic because all you do is flick your wrist.
We started 50-50s with a mount-escape drill: one guy has the other in mount, and the game ends with either a submission or an escape from mount to a better position--the only positional change that wouldn't end the game would be the guy on to transitioning to back or knee-on-belly. So I started with John, who is roughly my size and experience. I think I did a good job realizing when I was going to lose my position because I was over-committing to a submission and basing out, or shifting to back control or knee-pillow when John got his hips moving too much for my comfort level. I think I was something of a dead fish on the bottom for the most part, which is something I really want to work on. But more of that later. Next I went with Ed, an older blue belt with a stunning knack of being able to make you uncomfortable no matter what position you hold. I started on bottom, and I never once got tapped. Of course, I also never escaped mount. So I don't know how to grade that one. Semi-fail?
After class, I rolled with Kyle, a fellow two-stripe-white who is much smaller and infinitely faster than I. We started doing the same mount-escape drill, and he's a real bastard to hold down. He's smaller than I'm used to, so I had to adjust my pressure with my hips. He was also able to hook my feet much easier and keep my from crossing them behind his butt. Again---a running theme from the last few sessions---I was able to catch his arms when he got lazy with them or frustrated. Then we had a few rolls that started with one of us trying to pass the other's open guard. I was much more comfortable going to my knees with him, probably because of my size advantage, and when he got my back I was able to clear one of his hooks and roll into his guard. I caught him with a kimura twice, showed him how to roll out of an omoplata, and even slipped an inverted triangle on him. Kyle is going to be one of my best training partners. He's fast and small, and very, very good at throwing multiple attacks at once. He's great at moving his hips because he has to be and makes it tough for me to hold him down and slow the pace because---well, because he is.
The real treat of the night, though, was watching Andy roll with Klint. Andy has been coming for three months and hasn't received a stripe yet, but that's not for lack of skill and mat time. Klint rolled with him for probably three or four minutes, and Andy didn't get tapped until the end. He lasted much longer than I ever have, and he had movement on the bottom that I don't think I've ever been able to pull off against Klint. Kyle and I stopped to watch the end of their roll, and I'm sure he left class feeling better than he has any night yet.
I, on the other hand, left with a fresh bruise on my right cheek, a bruise on the bridge of my nose because someone jacked me right in the face, and a bleed where a mole used to be. And I was still ready to keep training if anyone would have stuck around. Hopefully more people will be willing and able to train longer now. I have to get back to school soon, and I won't have this much time to devote to jiu jitsu in the coming months. Thank god for the internet.