Klint told me last week that I should find more training partners if I want to keep getting better. So I went to the other school's open mat Saturday this week in hopes of finding a few blues to work me over. Unfortunately, most of the blues were working with other people when I was free, and vice versa. I did, however, get some work in with 3 people I hadn't rolled with before and the small purple who's seen me progress over the last six months.
I had some good rolls, starting with an older guy, probably 230 lbs, my height, and knows how to use his weight. We started in guard and switched positions after a stand/sweep/submit or a pass. One thing I was focusing on was my grip fighting, which my opponent complimented, so that was nice. One thing that I did not do so well was allowing him to open my legs. I would be trying so hard to keep them closed that I would forget to attack. Then we did the same from side control, and I was having more success on bottom there than in closed guard---go figure. I was able to keep my arms tight, and usually get back to at least butterfly guard. On top, he left his arm hanging in a position that I love to grab for a far-side armbar, but when I would clamp down and walk around I wouldn't sprawl enough and he would bridge-and-roll me. So that's a technical thing for me to work.
Next I rolled with a young kid, tall, ridiculously flexible, coming back after a few months off. He had a yellow belt, so he's 15 and under, but he wanted to work. I was able to run around him, mostly, which I would hope. Approaching with open guard, setting up a platform armbar, pulling triangles, that sort of thing. It was a good opportunity to work on staying tight.
Then another white belt who, again, was coming back from a while off. He was broader than me, but much closer to my size. Again, I could set up platforms, pull triangles, etc. almost on call. At one point, I was on his back fighting for the choke---he rolled me over to his side, and I pushed his opposite arm away and shot my leg through for the triangle. I felt pretty good about that one, like some things are starting to fit together. I'm starting to see the whole board. At least, all of the first two squares of the board.
Then the tiny wrestling purple again. I got worked (finally), but it has started taking him much longer to get me into a compromising postion. By "compromising position," I don't mean side control. That sucks, but a compromising position to me is one where I'm fighting off a choke or trying to keep my arm/shoulder attached. Talking afterwards, he said I've gotten tons better at keeping my arms in while I'm in someone's side control, and that my movement was god---I kept him guessing and was unpredictable enough that he couldn't set me up for a few moves he was hoping to hit.
I felt good about this morning. I got a good workout, I didn't gas, and I was effective against people around my own skill level. I was a bit upset that I didn't get to work with some higher belts, but I'm sure that'll come.