Tuesday, February 8, 2011

That Belt Gets Heavy

That's what Steve told me when he saw that I'd been promoted:  "That belt gets heavy on the hips."  He wasn't joking around.

We focused on combinations--committing to one move, and when our opponent reacts, using that reaction by shifting to the move they don't realize they're diving into.  You know, armbar-to-triangle-to-armbar type stuff, but from different positions.

In rolls at the end of class, Klint was on me to start attacking immediately from guard.  "You know you have the technique now.  So now you have to work on relentless attacks, one after another so fast they don't know what hit them."  He read my reaction pretty well:  "Don't worry about losing the technique in pursuit of the speed; you'll find that out when you keep failing to tap someone or when the taps keep coming.  That'll show you where you have to spend more drill time and what you can consider your go-to's."  So now, my goals in post-class drilling are different from what they were a week ago.  At least, the primary goals are.  I need to build my endurance, my cardio, all those things that it sucks to build.  Learning new techniques is always entertaining and interesting.  You get to see where you can manufacture that new angle on the collar, or pinpoint the precise time to swing the leg over his head---all these things that lead to fabulous transitions and finishes.  Now, I have to learn to get off my back.  In Klint's words, "You should have an unbeatable guard, a guard that no one should be able to pass.  And you should never be there.  Never let them see it.  Because it means you're on bottom, and if you're on bottom that means you're losing."

And I don't particularly like this goal.  I love playing off my back.  Long and spindly legs make playing guard a joy.  But I understand his point.  In real life, if someone put me into a self-defense situation, I would not want to play guard and bide my time until I perfectly broke his grip and upset his balance.  I would want to get on top and stay on top.  And if I get taken down, I have to get up.  I need to become less of a jiu jitsu fighter and more of a grappler.

After class, I worked with Andy for a bit and then Ed.  Andy did a few great things, and ended up putting me in a triangle that I couldn't break.  He wasn't choking me out--it was uncomfortable, but I wasn't losing consciousness.  He kept his composure and dug out the armbar.  It was very good.  With Ed, we started in my guard and I tried to get up and onto his back as quickly as I could.  And I did.  I don't know how long it took me to get there, but I was there for a good 5 minutes.  I couldn't finish him there (because I'm not that bright), and eventually we restarted from our knees.  From there, I snatched the armbar that he'd been defending all night.

New belt, new expectations.  Not just higher, but different entirely.

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