Hopefully, I have more training to come in CO. Last night opened the window to the possibility of getting an hour of rolling in on Friday before Family Pictures [re: Colorado Water Torture]. I'll see whether I have the juice to pull that off throughout the day. Here's hoping.
Last night was great. Chris, one of the black belt instructors at Easton - Arvada, was super accommodating, happy to have someone from out of town crash/join their training. It was interesting to see how another school approaches classes. We started with an arm-drag entry to an ankle pick from standing; didn't finish, as it's kind of a rough fall and class was fairly full, but good. I was paired with a purple belt whose name eludes me---for class, the students line up against the wall and your partner is your mirror from the center of the line. So the lowest belt on the wall practices with the highest. I liked that, especially as my partner was roughly my size. So anyways, arm-drag to ankle pick entry. Then we worked armbars from mount. Again, instead of going 5 for five, they have one person work the technique for about 5-8 minutes and then switch out, giving you serious time to get feedback from your partner and work out the kinks. So we did the takedown entry, two armbars from mount, and then the equivalent of our 50/50 drills. Six spots on the floor working, which left maybe 4 or 5 people on the wall to come in when a pair finished. The rotation was top/bottom/out. It gave you a chance to work with most of the people in the room. I worked with a handful of blues, a purple, and a brown throughout the end of class. Not displeased with my performance at all. I never really felt overmatched, not even with the brown; he was clearly more technical than I and would wreck me in a match, but I was able to keep calm and move with what he gave me--even took his back at one point. To be fair, I started mounted on him so it gave me a bit of momentum to start. But I still felt pretty good about it. I wasn't going full speed or anything, because I didn't want to be that guy. For the last 15 minutes of class, it was 5 minute rounds. I started with a blue named Matt. I wasn't sure how this was going to go, and I think that cost me the first armbar. After that, though, I was able consistently to out-scramble him, force him to turtle, and get to his back. The first time he got his back to the mat quickly, so we started it over again and I refused to give up the position the second time. Again, we were roughly the same size and I never felt over-powered or out of my league. I even got a judo roll to escape side control. That one felt nice. Last, I worked with another blue belt. I passed his guard (on purpose, I swear), worked from side control/north-south, he pulled a slick escape back to guard, and we finished locked in a stalemate.
Then there was a 2 minute break, and "randoori" started. Really, that just means open mat with 9 minute rounds and 1 minute breaks. So I started with another white belt, and was too hard-headed to recognize when to abort mission. So I spent too much time on the wrong end of a wrestler's side control. That is something I'll have to work on. I did catch an arm from guard, so that was nice, but that's something that I've been working on for a long time. I need to focus on things that I don't naturally see---takedowns, half-guard escapes, open guard, etc. But at the same time, when at a different school and more-or-less representing your own academy and instructors, you don't want to be that asshole running around at top speed and trying to rail everyone in the room. Besides, I'm a mile higher in elevation than I normally work, and seriously--they need more air up here. I had to sit out the second roll to find my gas again. The third, I worked with Hector, another blue. Again, my initial hesitation cost me the first armbar (far too quickly, might I add), but after I settled, we traded positions and I found mount, worked from there. Just before our third reset, time called.
It was a great experience. I got a shirt (you know, support the gym that helps me sneak away from the in-laws), and the room itself had a really comfortable atmosphere. After some time, we all realized that we were escaping family in one way or another. One guy was taking every possible class that night--from fundamentals to randoori (6-8:30)--and his wife asked why he was taking fundamentals for the first time in two years. "I know I haven't taken it forever, that's why I have to go; my fundamentals are getting weak." I think if you'd polled the room, 80% or more either had family at their house for the weekend or were forcing a reprieve from the weekend's festivities. It made for a welcoming, exceptionally collegial atmosphere, especially for me, the guy from Minnesota stealing time away from his in-laws to train with a bunch of strangers.
So if you ever go to Colorado, make some time to train at an Easton academy. I'll definitely carve out some time to do so whenever I'm in town. It helps that it's a 5-10 minute drive from my in-laws' house. This means that I will definitely be taking my gi with me whenever I travel and dropping in on another academy for some work. The rest of the night was so much less stressful than it could have been, thanks to the training.
Now for the gluttony. I'm not really sure how much of this food my vegetarian diet will allow me to eat (I'm the only one here), so I might still be hungry after dinner. We'll see. With luck, I'll be able to train at lunch tomorrow. If I do, you'll hear about it.