Ending on a high note

Today was better. Work was mellow, with few interruptions, so I actually got something done. Still a ton to do, but progress was made. Took off at lunch for sushi, and it was a nice enough day to sit outside and eat. Lovely. Deep breaths.

Will and Tim had both texted earlier and said they would be there tonight, but both had to cancel later: Tim was still at work, and Will’s knee was still bothering him. I drove over to the academy anyway, just to see who was there. Didn’t recognize any cars, but decided to sit for a few minutes anyway. Glad I did, because just a few minutes later, Scott pulled up. VT’s on Fall Break this weekend (“Fall Break”? We didn’t have no stinking Fall Break when I was in school.), so he didn’t have to have his office hours tonight.

There was a white belt guy hanging out inside, so Scott decided to have us rotate through in 4-minute rounds. Not sure how many rounds it was; four or five full rotations, I think, so 8 or 10 rounds each. Scott also stopped us a lot to point out specific things (like telling the other guy to stop always trying Rubber Guard on Scott, which Scott would immediately pass; I even passed it once), sometimes between rounds and sometimes during.

For me: be careful in bottom half against tall guys (both of them tonight are over a foot taller than me); the distance where everyone else is safe is still too close in for me because of their long torsos and long arms, so either exaggerate further out or immediately swim in deep. And if I’m in deep and they start fighting to get the crossface — and I know they’ll win that battle eventually — then go for broke and go for the Old School; if you don’t get it, they’ll flatten you out anyway. When using my head to pressure and block, be consciously of the choke!

With Scott, I was still largely trying to block his hips from coming around, but didn’t have too many successes. Again, that’s me working against what he’s been working on for a few months. Never actually passed, either. Mostly defending from underneath.

Then there was the other guy. I could feel him wanting to spazz (and I’ve seen him do it with other guys), though with both me and Scott tonight he was trying to contain it. He started off in the first round playing loose with me and left his neck stuck out a little too long. Guillotine! Hips OUT! … Oh, hey, that worked. Another round, managed to pass to side; some moving between side and knee-on-belly; wanted Big Poppa (and that was my note from Scott after that round, to go for that), but he was Home Alone-ing hard. Had a few good sweeps, though mostly couldn’t capitalize. He was getting frustrated when he couldn’t get through my defense and maybe because I was threatening many things, and started going harder. Bulldozed his way to my back; I was defending, but couldn’t clear his hooks because he was so tall, so instead I started working to see if I could get him to inadvertently cross his feet. He unwittingly obliged and, after tapping, asked if I had managed to force him to do that, because he didn’t remember doing it himself.

Later rounds he was trying to get more aggressive, grinding elbows in soft places and trying to throw me around more. Even caught a fist to the face. I could tell he was getting really frustrated by then. I fell back on my old standby for that — pull guard and control. (Nearly got a triangle out of it at one point, too, but let it go when he tried to drive me back over my head. Do not like.) Scott was telling me to get on top; I would try after a scramble, once we were neutral again, but would quickly give up and pull guard again once he started coming after me again.

The guy had to leave after that round, so Scott talked to me about controlling guys like that. He said that while it feels safest to pull guard and stay on the bottom and defend, that actually it’s best to expend the energy to get on top and control them from there. And that sometimes the best thing is not to try to submit them but rather to just control them and keep pressure down. Also, on that triangle, he said to never let go of my shin even if they’re trying to roll me backwards; the worst that could happen is I roll over and land in mount. (I do freak out when people roll me back on to my neck. I don’t know why, I don’t recall a traumatic injury from that, but I do freak out anyway.)

So the week was mostly sour, but it ended on a good note. And there’s still the grapply tomorrow, and Kat coming, too.

Backlog of links to stuff I’ve been reading or want to read. Not all jiu-jitsu related:

2 thoughts on “Ending on a high note

  1. My instinct has been the same as yours with spazzy guys like that: hold them in guard. But, after the last few weeks of forcing myself to be on top, I am thinking your friend is right. It’s harder to get there from the outset, but worth it long-run.

  2. @Allie: Yeah, there was more discussion on the subject today at lunch. The guys pointed out that, should the guy on top pass your guard, he’s immediately on top, and said they didn’t want a big guy on top of them. So, will be working to work on that.

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