Thursday, June 7, 2012

Maintain the Top Position

Awesome class tonight.  I pulled a hamstring on Tuesday and have been limping around so I was a bit wary of training hard tonight.  Injury notwithstanding, I felt pretty good.  Much better than expected.  Technique tonight included atypical armbar and triangle escapes.  I'm going to have to set a few of them aside as they required movements that felt completely unnatural to me.  Others, including a triangle escape, will come in handy (if only I can remember them!).  Got to train with a Black, two Blues, and a White.  6min rounds.

The Black is a year younger and about my weight (or a little heavier).  Fantastic round.  Swept him, passed guard, he turtled, took his back with hooks, then set up a deep bow and arrow.  I believe I was a couple seconds from a tap, but...released.  I suppose I was a bit star struck.  He's a visitor from Brazil.  Fairly famous.  Not sure how or why he let me advance to that position without shutting me down, but by the time I had the deep collar grip and set up the bow and arrow, he was in a really really bad spot.  Later he swept me, passed my guard, and smashed the snot out of me from side control.  I felt like tapping from pressure alone.  He began to advance to mount but I managed an escape before time ran out.  Whew.

The Blues were solid.  Tapped one with a gi choke as he passed my guard and set into side control.  Almost got tapped by each a couple times but managed escapes.  I even had a rare sweep to pass from 50/50.  I've been experimenting with it a bit and have been finding some success getting opponents on their butts.  For a long while now I struggled to get up and complete the sweep.   But I've been having success lately getting to the top position.  I suspect it's because my opponents who let me get to top don't know how to counter 50/50 with their own 50/50.  Once up on top, disengaging the 50/50 and passing has been another obstacle.  Not sure how the pass was so easy tonight, but it was.  I'll try to force myself into the position more often and see if tonight was a fluke or if I'm on to something.  The Blue I did not tap took my back and gave me a ton of trouble.  Defending the entire time, but I managed to escape back and recover guard.  It's good to feel progress in my guard recovery game.

The White is a little older and about 30lbs lighter.  But he's strong and has a good guard for a White.  Had a bit of trouble controlling his pace at first and at one point he passed my guard, forced me to turtle, and took my back.  Slick stuff.  BUT!!!  In his haste to choke me he left an arm out with the elbow over my shoulder.  I turned the shoulder into a fulcrum, locked, and got the tap.  Showed him his mistake and I'm guessing he won't be that sloppy in the future.  Got two more arm locks during the round.  One from mount and the other immediately after a successful sweep off a pass (bread and butter).  It was the first time in a while that I decided not to "go easy" on a White, but instead work my game until its natural end.  I think I frustrated him a bit, which was not my intent.  But with Master/Senior Worlds coming up, I feel like I need to take every opportunity to refine technique.  (Speaking of Master/Senior Worlds.  I booked my flights tonight.  Depart San Diego on Saturday 7/14.  Depart Rio on Monday 7/30.  So stinking excited.)

After class, Professor Antonio encouraged me to work harder to maintain the top position.  He said I gave up too many sweeps without enough of a fight.  He's right.  I need to work it.  I will work it.  Maintain the top position!  So glad to have Professors who care enough about us lowly Blue Belts to watch our rounds and offer constructive criticism after class.

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