Steeled myself to spar this morning. Took both sets of gloves (boxing and MMA); took shorts and a rashguard. And… they didn’t need me for that. Or, rather, they did and would have if they’d done like last week, but they didn’t.
Instead, they put one guy through four different types of rounds: sparring (no ground ‘n’ pound), takedowns (against Big Jon, so really it’s a round of just defending takedowns), full MMA, and wall drill (someone holds you down in a padded corner of the room, and all you have to do is stand up). There were four guys to take those rounds.
The second time through, though, right as the guy was starting to really get tired, Tim called me out to do a 2-minute grappling round with the guy. I know he was tired, and I was really trying to push the pace, but there were actual moments when I almost did exactly what I’d wanted to. Working to start, I sprawled, but of course he can still reach my legs; he finally just lifted me up to pull my legs and fall in to side control. I worked away, trying to keep the intensity up. Got almost to guard, and could see I was a step or two away from a triangle; couldn’t get near it, though. To full guard; he was trying to break it, I was trying to figure out something to attack — tried bump sweep and guillotine several times, but my arms aren’t quite long enough to get all the way around to make it work. Adam was telling me to let go my guard and attack, but I couldn’t see where to go next — and this guy was postured up good and I couldn’t get him down — so I just held on. Probably should’ve at least ried, though.
They did one more set of rounds, though mostly ground ‘n’ pound, with him.
A few more guys had shown up by then for class. Tim, Adam, Big John, and Joe wanted to work wrestling takedowns (Big John and Joe both wrestled). The other four of us got our gis on — blerg, so hot! — and rolled a little bit.
Started with Will and his tricksy open guard. But he was letting me around so we could work other stuff. Tried several half-guard passes; I think one did work and I got to mount. Couldn’t control that for too long, though, and he wasn’t leaving anything open. Even remembered a few times that knee-on-belly exists (!!) and worked that, trying for either the baseball choke or the spinning armbar, but he didn’t give anything up there, either. He was making me work to keep side control, too, when he let me around to there; was keeping his near elbow in deep and I couldn’t get any space around it. Ended up moving to north/south a lot, but couldn’t get anything there, either. He even turtled at one point to let me work attacking that, but I couldn’t get anything in; did remember, though, that it’s legal to switch to the other side (*snort*) and did that several times; still no space, though. Then for a while we switched and I was defending under side control, mount, and half guard. Got caught many times in there to armbars and triangles; I’d know they were coming but couldn’t seem to do anything right to stop them. Meh.
Don’t know how long we rolled. We finally stopped, though, to get water, and then switched with the other two guys.
I got Big Tom. (Note to self: no spider guard on Big Tommy. His arms are longer than your legs, so it no work good.) He let me play on top, too, to start with, though I was again having trouble passing half guard. I ended under mount at one point, and he was trying to get the armbar while I was trying the scrape escape; I got my one leg out, so it was in front of his shin, and then as he tried to sit back, I got the other knee up behind his knee, so I could kind of scissor my legs and keep him from being able to sit back. He tried to escape that for a while and couldn’t, and even said that Yoshi had just done something similar to him. So we stopped to consider the position and see what he could do.
And then, I saw it — instead of trying to sit back, drive that knee to the mat on the far side, trapping both their legs (since they’ve committed both legs to stopping your one), and leaving you almost in mount; now drive your weight up on their arm, which you should still have; step the free leg over and behind your own trapped leg, sliding in to also trap their legs (so your legs are crossed at this point); now slide your trapped leg out from between their legs; come up to side control, and you’re in position to take the spinning armbar. I mean, I saw it. I knew what to do. Yay, lightbulb moment! It seems like something we’ve worked, but I don’t know where to find it right now. So we tried that a few times, and it actually worked (yay for a working lightbulb moment!). Tom even pulled it off a few minutes later from a similar position and passed right around.
Later, too, he was seemingly going for the far-side americano from side control, except he hadn’t trapped my near arm so I could turn in to it and relieve the pressure. I stopped to mention that, and he said that he often goes for that far arm just so he can pass, that he thinks of passing far more than of looking for submissions, and that he didn’t think he had a good enough position there to finish anything. So I showed him real quick what to do (everyone does it on me when they want an easy tap, so I’m real familiar with what it looks like from the bottom).
We rolled a little longer. He caught an armbar from mount; was real light on me, as he usually is, until right at the last moment as he swung around — all 220 lbs landed on my ribs, which got a big “Ooorrmph!” from me. He stopped to make sure I was okay; I said I was, so he finished the armbar. We got to talking, and he apologized for sitting on me. I said it was fine and there was no where else for his weight to go there, and that I really appreciate that he doesn’t use all his weight on me when we roll (else I’d be squished every time). He said he uses rolling with me to work on his speed and technique, which is possibly something I’m useful for.
Don’t know how long that roll was, either, but then I was done. Thankfully, everyone else was, too. I’d meant to do some squats or deadlifts or something, but was too tired to even remember that.
I liked the pace we were rolling at today. Mostly in class, most everyone is still going Abu Dhabi — maybe opening round speed instead of finals, but still more intense, more competitive, and more wild than I like to roll. (Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like getting kneed and elbowed because someone can’t bother to slow down enough to do his technique right and thinks speed and power is all he needs.) These were slower rounds with a few bursts, but we were still tight and working and attacking space and going for submissions. Just without all that extra that usually comes in during the week.
Strikeforce tonight: Carano v. Cyborg. While I’d like to see Gina win, I think Cyborg will just keep coming. I’m predicting Cyborg, TKO. Either way, though, I really want it to be a good slugfest and/or grapplefest and show that women can fight and can fight good.