Dave was in town and taught the adult class this afternoon. It's pretty amazing to see the differences in teaching methods between Klint and Dave. Neither is better, but both definitely have their own style and speed. I haven't taken a class from Damian yet, but from what I hear, it's the same thing--no one is empirically better than everyone else, it's just a matter of whose learning style suits you best. Dave worked us through his latest seminar topic: Turning the Tide--Defend, Escape, Attack. As a mark of pride in the evolution of his system, he said that when he taught this at a school that didn't use his curriculum, it took him three hours to get through the material; we got through it in 50 minutes, giving us time left to roll. We bad.
After Dave explained the philosophy behind what he had us work through, it was impressive how simple it is on the surface and how deep it goes. I admit that my physical sensitivity is not there yet, and my rolodex of moves is small to say the least, so my game is necessarily limited. As time goes on, hopefully those limitations will ease. Watching and learning from someone who doesn't have them at all (or whose limitations I don't see) is both awe-inspiring and daunting. Having him watch you roll--it's almost counter-productive in that you want to perform to your fullest capability, but part of that is releasing all outside tension and ignoring outside influences, so to perform your best for a specific person, you have to block out the fact that that person is there, or at least the idea that you want to impress that person. Removal from self, or something equally as mystical sounding.
After class, Dave bolted to the Twins game so I stayed and got some rolls in with Vance and Colin. With Vance, I wanted to work taking the back and attacking from there, getting the choke rather than hitting my seeming-default armbars. It worked pretty well, and when he was done, Colin stepped in. He's roughly the same size and shape as me, and our rolls are always pleasantly competitive. We worked for probably 20 minutes, each tapping the other intermittently. We hadn't rolled for probably 2 months, and he complimented me by saying that I've gotten a lot better at spinning out of stuff. I agree, though I think it would be better if I did something other than to pull some sort of guard at the beginning of every roll rather than try to pull guard, do so badly and have to spend the next twenty seconds fighting off a pass that should never have threatened me in the first place. I'm still terrified and tentative when attacking for top position, so that makes pulling guard and working for a sweep much more attractive.
So next week, my goal will be never to pull guard at the beginning of a roll. That will play merry hob with my starting stance, but hopefully it will build some confidence and at least help me start recognizing when to do certain things that I can feel falling into place. Things like passing to the backs of the knees, sprawling out to keep someone flat, shouldering into the face to make life awkward and keep my opponent flat, etc etc etc. That probably also means that next week will be somewhat painful. Them's the breaks.