(And July, and August. Oops.)
This will also answer Kintanon’s request for a breakdown of my game. (Game? I have a game? News to me ;))
Positions, Techniques, Submissions
This seems to have become my default position. Even though I try not to consciously go there, I go there anywhere. Sometimes when they’re passing my guard, but also when I’m turning in from side control and sometimes, it seems, just because. And then I get stuck. My legs generate no power in any direction. They generally control my far arm and/or jam their knee in, all with little effort. And. I. can’t. get. out. I feel like such a dunce. I try rolling through back to guard or doing a sit-out. Fail. I try getting to half guard, which occasionally works. I think I need to watch Demian Maia several million more times.
Half guard seems to be the default position in our gym. (Open guard over closed guard, and some version of half guard — often Z-guard, even — over anything else.) So I’m forced to work on my half-guard game whether I want to or not.
On top in half guard (and side control), I have decent shoulder pressure. (Or so guys say.) I only have about a 50:50 chance of passing, though — other options are getting swept to the far side or the guy going to guard.
On bottom in half guard, no matter how tight and hidden I have my top arm, everyone D’Arces me. Even going to Z-guard myself doesn’t give me enough leverage to defend against it or escape. It’s annoying and frustrating.
Mount & Back Mount
Working on pressure here, too. (I got an “oof!” out of Tim the other day.)
If I do get back mount, I can’t control them. They just turn and push back and are out. I’m decent at defending when someone else gets my back, though I’m generally only defending and can’t actually escape; they just haul me back over and re-establish control.
I like to start from butterfly. Elevator sweep and armdrags are no good, though I practice them a lot; I still telegraph both way, way too much, and no one seems to have any trouble anticipating them or defending them. (I think I need to use my head more to stretch them out or something.) So, I try them first, because I know I need to practice — and hopefully one day they’ll finally work — and then usually transition to a sweep to the other side. I really thought we’d learned this in class, but apparently not. Huh. Likely something I picked up from one of the advanced guys, then. Fairly high success rate, though, I think.
(Sweep: As you’re going for the underhook, they start jockeying with the arm on that side. Trap their arm on the inside. Never seem to do this the same way twice, though. Then roll to your shoulder on the trapped side. Use the opposite hook to lift and sweep. Sometimes I get the inside hook on the outside of the leg and get almost a scissor-like boost from that leg.)
I’m dumping myself into triangles again, and I can’t figure out why. I’ll think I’m keeping track of both arms, and then I suddenly realize that one’s in and one’s out. And I can’t defend them.
Everything I do seems to be reactionary. I initiate little. Aside from choosing the starting position, I do little. I even roll this way with Theresa a lot — I let her dictate where the roll goes. Occasionally I decide that I want her to work on something in particular, and I will turn up the intensity just a bit to guide her where I want it. But then, once there, I let her choose which way she’s going. Sometimes I’ll dial it up a tad when I want her to have to transition to something else, e.g., armbar to triangle to armbar.
I guess I do have some go-to moves from each position. Not much success, but still try them. From my guard, I go for push scissor sweeps. Cross-collar chokes if they’re being lazy. From their guard, I usually work towards the standing, knee-up-the-middle break. I can often break the guard, but not pass it. From bottom half-guard, I try to go to the back. From top half-guard, I want to get them flat, of course, and pass; then from side control, to mount. Mount… cross-collar choke, armbar if they give it to me, or americano when they get lazy with their arms. I’m starting to go for guillotines from there (Will & Justin do it, and I’ve caught a few on people who didn’t know what to do). From the back, I want a clock choke, but can’t ever seem to get things arranged properly. From being back mounted, I try all the usual escapes, but really I’m waiting for them to transition to an armbar or mount when they finally get frustrated with my defense, and then try to escape during the transition.
I was hoping this analysis might turn out to be more positive, but I still seem to be discouraged. I really can’t think of much that I do right. (Sometimes I think I might have perhaps done something right… or perhaps the guy was giving me positions so that they can work with little threat and little pressure.) Perhaps there are things in which I’m unconsciously competent: I do it right without knowing it. I did ask Tim, after a long roll with him, if there was anything I needed to work on or if he had any suggestions, and he said no, that I was doing fine. I do trust him to tell me if I have a problem. So perhaps I am doing a lot better than I think I am.