Monday, January 5, 2009

Normality Creeping Back

BJJ (1/5/09 6:00PM)

So tonight was the first night of class after a full work day in this new year. Back to normality. While I really enjoyed being able to go to the 9:00 am classes during the holiday break from work I did miss the camaraderie of the normal group of guys at the nightly 6:00 pm class. Again, BJJ forms much more of a family family atmosphere than any other sport.

Tonight we worked on a butterfly guard sweep. The one and only other time I have learned anything about butterfly guard in class it was this very sweep. At least this time it felt a lot better. I was getting my movement down a lot crisper and was able to get to the butterfly position without too much hassle.

The last time I drilled this technique I was paired up the "Big" Mike, the name doesn't apply any longer because he's been on a BJJ and Fitness kickboxing diet and has dropped a substantial amount of weight. This time I chose someone much taller than I (not hard to do) and went with Bill. I figured that it would be good for both of us to have very different body types to adapt to...and it was.

The drills went great. I felt good, my sweeps were crisp and we were both using leverage and NOT strength. At one point Kazeka made us not trap the sweepee's arm in order to allow them to post so that we could see that the technique works, even if they try to defend. The awkward part of that is knowing what to do with your own hand. Once I grabbed his lapel I was good to go and sweeping thru his defense like a Janitor thru Time Square confetti on New Years Day.


We started off by doing Guard Pass / Submit or Sweep drills with a twist. The guy on bottom had to start with one hand tied up in his belt. The point being obviously to use the hips more. I started off on top against "Not-so-Big" Mike; yeah not the same...back to "Big" Mike. He still has unbelievable gorilla strength after all. Anyway, I stood up in his guard and was pressuring his hip to make him open up when he released a "chemical weapon", embarrassed he chuckled, which made me chuckle but then spurned me on to pass his guard rather rapidly.

I then went on to have my guard passed just before the two minute time limit, by Brandon (who got a stripe tonight...congrats!).

I had a great time trying to pass Jerry's (who also got a stripe...congrats!). He worked everyone over. He is masterful at spider guard in regular rolling but even one handed, he's a phenom. I want to work on my game and get it there. He got me in an Oma Plata, I rolled, he rolled, caught me and finished. Just awesome.

We then did two rounds of rolling to finish the night. I went against "Sarge" (Ruben) to start, he always gets my back right off the back, and did again. I turned over into his mount, Upa'd out but left an arm too exposed and gave him an Armbar appetizer to start the night.

Next we started off, and went for much more of a see saw, and when it finally finished I had worked into his guard. That is a win against "Sarge" any time. He just got another stripe the other day and should be getting his Blue very soon. And deservedly so.

I went with Bill next. I'm 5'7" and Bill is 6' a lot with long legs. As soon as we started he pulled guard. As I posture up, he's able to break my posture down. I began to realize something as he did this. As much as I want to improve my guard game, I really NEED TO WORK ON MY GUARD PASSING. Perhaps I need to add that to my list of goals of 2009. Consider this an addendum. Especially because he was able to break me down, latch onto and isolate my right arm and basic armbar me. Tap.

Next we start again, de ja freakin vu, he pulls guard again. Starts to go for the armbar again. Luckily I am able to start defending right away. I get my arm tight to me, put my other hand to his thigh, start to stack, get him over to his side and pass. Finally, I am in side control. I start to put some tremendous shoulder pressure down while faining a pass to mount. All the while I am setting him up for either an Americana or wristlock on the far side. He started to push into my hip with his hand underneath me and I felt the opportunity to go for the wristlock there, just as I went for it Kazeka called time. So close yet so far. At least I had a few places to go.

I was better able to relax tonight. Hopefully I can keep it up and the stress of normal life doesn't become a cumulative thing that builds up and inhibits performance / learning.

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