Tonight we worked side control and hold-downs. Most of them involved bonus head control, so it was more than a little uncomfortable being the demonstration dummy, but it's always amazing to feel how different Klint's control is from everyone else I roll with.
For in class rolls, I started with JD, a guy who just got back from his Air Force training. Now he's in the reserve and back to training. Apparently he'd be a blue if he'd kept training consistently, but he had to take some time off, so he's about the same level as I am. He's a strong bastard, too, and roughly my size. The drill was to start in side control and work what we learned in class---either mount or submit, guy on bottom was to get back to guard or sweep. This was a preview for post-class training. It was rough and brutal and painful, but a good fight. Then I went to Zach, whose hand is swaddled for having a torn ligament. (Who would sit out for as long as the doctor says? That means he'd miss training!) With only one really functioning hand, though, I was pretty comfortable despite the strength disadvantage.
Third and finally, I was put with Neal, who has had 3 weeks of classes. And this is where I proved to be a bad training partner. Instead of letting him get to an advantageous position and working back to neutral so that both (a) he could get some experience under his new belt, and (2) I could get some work in on escaping bad spots and getting back to either neutral or advantage, I pulled a dick move. I just went hard, trying to get the tap as quickly as I could. Not only is he brand new, I've got probably 6-7 inches and 40 pounds on him. But thankfully, this wasn't the end.
After class, JD and I slapped hands and fought like bastards. I hit a sweep (go me), kept moving and used it to get somewhere near side control, then gave it up working for a kimura and forgetting to maintain position. From guard, he was doing a good job keeping me from gaining any ground but wasn't moving. (Of course, I wasn't hipping out and inserting a knee-shield to work a scissor sweep or push sweep, but that's beside the point.) Eventually, he stood up, I laddered my legs, and he left an arm hanging. I grabbed it for dear life, threw my right leg over his head, and bridged. After that, I went with Eric a bit. And I got to top, mounted, worked a choke. I think we went three times, and I fought hard to finish it quickly each time. Then I got the talking.
It wasn't a bad talking. It was a "Let's think about how you approach your training" talking. See, last night I trained with Klint and Andy. Andy makes me work hard, and Klint makes me work smart. Tonight, Klint told me that he noticed me getting more tired working with these guys---guys I know I can beat and guys I beat on a regular basis---than I got working with him and Andy last night. It doesn't make sense. The aggression is good, but the energy is too unfocused and wasteful. I need to be able to get more out of my training than working to get things faster. I need to hone my escapes---to do that, I need to let guys put me in bad spots, and then get back to guard, and let them do it again. That will do a few things: 1) it will keep them training with me longer. Instead of only giving me their best 3 minutes, it will encourage them to keep working longer because they don't lose immediately. 2) it will keep me training longer. I'll get better endurance work in, because I'll be going for longer rounds. 3) it will get me drilling bad spots even when I'm tired, which will tell me exactly where my technique is and what more I need to work on. To be fair, there are people with whom I should just work hard like I do now---Andy, JD, guys across town during open mat. These guys can take it, and they'll give it back to me, and that's important. But equally so is keeping your training partners improving along with you, and letting them feel that improvement.
I've been selfish with my training the last few months, and I need to be better than that. It's very difficult to shift gears from the permanent competition that is law school and the office and remembering that I'm not there only for me. This is a team, and we need to improve together. Some changes are in order.
UPDATE: Side Control wrote about this better than I did. And he did it here.