April 4, 2012

Six Months and Counting

Last Monday, class was running into open mat as usual. Christian had me jump in to drill escapes from mount with The Kid and even though I only caught the last 10 minutes, I was able to work up a sweat. When class ended, Brickling came over and seemed oddly determined to roll with me. I'm not sure why...maybe because I finally gave him a nickname here. At any rate, roll we did, for a damn long time. I'm not sure how much he gets out of it though, since he's insanely strong for such a short guy and has a wrestling background. He just kept tapping me out while I swore incessantly, but we had a good time.

On Wednesday, Liz warmed us up and it was brutal. I recommended that she stop torturing us and become a military drill sergeant instead. She seemed quite happy with the idea and promptly ordered what felt like a hundred more pushups. The class itself was a great lesson on armbars...from closed guard, then partner standing, then working flower sweeps if the armbar fails. I love Carlo's style of instruction and Wednesday night always has a particularly good crowd. I've felt a lot more competent with armbars since then; even if they don't always work, I think I'm executing them much better now. I also love working with Liz because one, she really knows her shit and two, we have similar sarcastic personalities. When you can make obnoxious, inappropriate jokes with your partner when something goes wrong...bonus. Stayed to roll for another hour when class was over, beginning with Scruffy who just kicked my ass up and down the mats without mercy. I did get an americana and an arm triangle choke on him at the end, but at least one of those was him feeling bad and giving me a win.

I wasn't going to stay for the late class on Thursday but Christian tricked me into it by telling me to "go defeat Diesel." I rolled lightly with Diesel for a while but it eventually turned into a warmup by stopping for short intervals of pushups, burpees, armbar swings, and before I knew it the class had started. So sneaky. I love working with Diesel though. He tends to roll slowly and precisely, favoring this calm, laid back flow style that allows you time to think about what you're doing and to consider the moves you might be able to try. Curly joined us once instruction began and the three of us worked together on rolling back attacks. I really enjoyed the first version from mount (let them catch your ankle, then swing a leg around and roll over your shoulder, taking them with you), but couldn't for my life get the other two variations right. Christian said that size and strength shouldn't matter,so I was clearly doing it wrong because both boys felt too damn heavy. I'll focus on the first version for now.

Wrapped up class by rolling with Shyguy, who I'd only drilled with twice before and had never actually sparred with (I used to think he was uncomfortable training with women but maybe that's because the first time we worked together was only my second time and now that he's seen me there for 6 months it's all good), then with Brickling and KGB. It occurred to me that night that I need to start practicing each technique for a while after class to burn it into my brain before I go. I sometimes rush to learn moves instead of internalizing the best form of execution before building up to speed.

Rolled with Dom for open mat over the weekend, then attempted to roll with Catman - I was so incompetent with him that it turned into more of a private lesson on standing guard passes - and ended the day by going up against Spike. I've noticed lately that by the time Saturday comes, I'm feeling extremely lazy and low energy, and don't end up being all that productive on the mats. I need to start motivating myself to put in a bit more effort on the weekends, like I did when I first began. Of course, at that time I was only going 3 days rather than 4-6 times a week.

Monday, however, was the best open mat I've had in a while, and the most productive. Admittedly, I often take lengthy breaks. I roll, I get tired, I chill for a long time like a beached whale, then I roll again, then chill again...and sometimes it makes me feel lazy. Not this week. I came, stretched out and rolled with one person after another for an hour and a half with very few breaks. It was goddamn refreshing. I warmed up with Krypton, who was not fucking around that night, and spent most of the time desperately trying to escape back control. With Curly next, who went harder on me than usual, which I expected after giving him such hell during our last roll. He tapped me out a bunch but I did get him in an arm triangle choke once and executed it quickly and efficiently. Went a few rounds with KGB next and it was the best I've done against him yet. He did submit me a few times but rather than spending the rest of the time just floundering on the bottom, I did much better at defense, got a successful hip bump, held mount really well for a while and almost got a keylock on him. It was a much more equal roll than usual and even if I still technically got my ass kicked...progress!

Spaceman finally returned to the mats and we got to roll for the first time in three months. It was awesome. I was expecting to do a bit better since I've had so much more time on the mats recently, but I made some dumbass mistakes and walked into a couple of chokes and an armbar, so he deserved the wins. That said, I did get an americana on him...had to work like hell for it too, no freebies there, so I really earned it. I rarely feel that way about my submissions.

Tonight we worked spider guard sweeps, which I'm not a real fan of due to trouble with the grips, but it was a fun class and a very intense workout. We started off with what was supposed to be a "light roll" and ended up being a lengthy and utterly exhausting few rounds instead. I paired up with blue belt Rex, who I'd seen around but never talked to before, and we quickly tired ourselves out. During open mat, I rolled with fellow white belt Tigger, who is new to Ronin but must've studied BJJ elsewhere. I've only started seeing him around recently but he certainly knows what he's doing and, although it was a fairly even back-and-forth match, he did manage to armbar me twice. Finished by facing off with Scruffy and gave him a run for his money this time, finally catching him in a fairly well executed armbar from guard, which he was actually fighting against, so I damn sure earned that one too.

On a side note, The Kid is currently pretending to not speak to me because I refused to roll with him since he jacked up my arm, and now he's a little offended. It seems that he went home the day it happened, immediately forgot all about it, and now can't understand why I feel the need to be careful. I'll see what I can do to make him feel less left out until my arm has fully recovered.