Gina, the female brown belt from across town, is in NYC this week training at Marcelo Garcia's school. Beard John, our academy standard over-thinker, will be moving to NYC for a year to do some tax program (because apparently his advanced degrees and ridiculous experience are still not enough to find him employment in this economy, so that's encouraging). While he's there, guess where he will roll? That's right--MG. So that's #2 on my list of places to travel for training--right behind Camarillo's academy in Pleasanton.
This week we worked on mount positions: escapes, maintenance, reversals, submissions. We had a decent number of guys in each class, so we had plenty of opportunity to train afterwards. My knee is much better, though still not at 100%. It can't be rotated inside too far, especially if my opponent grabs my ankle and pulls it to the outside. That usually results in an involuntary yelp, but it's not a lasting pain. I can tell it's getting better, and that I can use it in more ways. I'm not playing the outside hook with that leg yet, but I can trust it to stay intact throughout a roll.
My blue belt it getting pretty worn in--the belt itself, that is. I'm getting a decent amount of mat time. It's never enough, of course, but that's because I'm an addict. ("Anyone up for beers tonight?" "Can't until after about 9, I'm training" is a standard weekday conversation.) I am at the point where I can't really gauge my progress. Despite Klint's abilities as an instructor, our academy remains pretty small--10 guys or so. The benefit is that we all get quality rolling time with Klint. Well, I don't know about all of us, but I know that I do. And most other guys who ask to train get the time too. The hook, though, is that the only guy that I can constantly rely on to test my game against is the black belt instructor. I haven't been able to get across town to train as much as I would like, but that's something I can work to change over the next month or so. They have more higher belts I can train with, and I need to avail myself of that opportunity on a more regular basis.
My blue belt is still pretty heavy. I don't know how much of that is my own doing, how much of that is part of the social structure of the academy, and how much of that is standard operating procedure. I was the first student promoted to blue belt under Klint, but we have three other blues now. I don't know how regular this is, or how much this will change over time. I also know that I need to start being smarter about my training with the lower belts, start forcing myself to work only on certain moves or set-ups, work my weak side or my guard passing (because passing guard sucks)--basically, I need to remember to challenge myself when rolling with lower belts. That is how to improve and use my training time most effectively. And basically, I need to get rid of that bit of ego that's worried about getting caught when doing something that I don't have completely down. Because, again, that's how you get better.
Damn this is hard.