Great class!! I’m real glad to be back on the mats again….last year it felt like everything was falling apart with my injury and leaving my comfortable, long-time job to start my career afresh with internships and job searches. With this month, everything seems to be fitting in place with a new job/career and being back on the mat, that even though I’m almost broke and overweight, I feel like a million bucks!
Class 91 was the wednesday right after monday’s class 90. Class started with a tiring warm-up which included alligator crawls (going from one end of the mat to the other, while in the push-up position with elbows fully bent, you crawl forward only by pushing/bouncing your body up about 6 inches each time) and me wondering if my inability to complete all the exercises was due to my post-surgery weakness or general lack-of-strength-and wouldn’t-have-been-able-to-do-them-anyway-even-without-the-surgery-ness. After asking myself that question through the warm-ups, we did some cool breathing exercises – the exact same exercises that Rickson did in his Choke documentary. We did them all (tried them, actually), including the facial expressions and the weird roll-your-stomach-into-your-chest thing. If you don’t know what I mean, go watch the movie again. Or watch it for the first time.
Then we did some cool jedi rolling exercises. People pair up and roll. In each round, only one guy does attacks – anything, sweeps, locks, chokes, etc – and the other guy defends. But not your usual defense – no sweeping an opponent or muscling your arm free or anything. Just lay on the ground and defend through posture alone – tuck your chin in, keep your arms in, if an arm gets pulled just roll into a direction that will nullify the sub, if a choke starts sinking in just turn your head and tuck your chin into it. In other words, the defender must do a very passive defense. And do it with eyes closed. While I was the attacker, I couldn’t get any chokes in, but manged to get myself two americanas (keylocks again!!) while my training partner managed to get leg/foot subs only.
After 5 minutes each of that, another round was for armbar attacks only. I didn’t get any, but I almost got another americana and my training partner got an armbar in (if I remember right). After 5 minutes each of that, another round was for chokes only. I was getting a clock choke in tight when the time ran out but my training partner managed to sink in a few sneaky knuckle RNCs. I don’t understand the chokes exactly, so I’ve got to ask him again.
After that was a few rounds of sparring. I don’t remember much since this was about 5 days ago. I do remember getting one americana in, and not getting subbed by anyone. Of course subs aren’t everything (but they are easy to count). While rolling, I was getting smothered a lot and found myself being very defensive. Then I remembered something I realized or told myself a long time ago: I should be more aggressive and try to control the pace of the fight more. I started doing attacks amidst my opponents attacks and I managed to get his focus off of attacking me into defending himself, which eventually lead into the americana (+1 in my tap counter). I did roll with another person after that, but I don’t remember much. What I do remember was how most of my movements felt, be they sweeps, passes, sub attempts, whatever – they all felt loose and lousy.
Therefore, my current goal is tightness. I want to get my game tight. Not tight as in cool or awesome, but tight as in to use proper technique and not allowing my opponent space to move. This includes making my body feel heavier than it really is when in a top position, being able to hold my opponents limbs in place while I attempt to pass, and not giving my opponent space to pull or shrimp out of a situation. Aiming for tightness is a big goal and will touch upon all the areas of my game. I feel that it’s a good general goal for getting back to shape, as I won’t be focusing on only one specific aspect and will hopefully make me get back with as well-rounded a game as possible. When I reach the end of my goal attempting period (50 subs on my tap counter), tightness will still be a part of the goals I will form then, but I might try to concentrate on other more specific areas at that time. Let’s see how it goes…