Thursday, August 13, 2009

Open (mat) Your Mind: Teach and Learn

(8/8/09 12:00pm) Open Mat

I’ve talked before about just how much I love open mat time. Its my time. My time to work on anything that I feel I need to. Time to work with friends I don’t get to see that often (cause they rarely get to class anymore…Neil). It’s also a much more relaxed atmosphere that works well for me. My brain tends to learn the best in that kind of environment. When you can experiment without fear of getting killed, and are free to swap ideas and moves, that just clicks.

As you might have gathered from my allusion above, my buddy Neil made a special guest appearance. Ok enough bagging on him for now. As I was waiting for Neil to show up, I started talking to a new guy named Jason. I didn’t recognize him (due to a fresh shave he said) but I had worked with him on his very first night just a couple of weeks ago. He mistook the schedule and thought that class began at 12 when in actuality it ends at 12 and then becomes open mat. So I invited him to work in with Neil and I.

I’m glad I did. It was good for Neil and I to teach someone many of the things we have learned and in return we relearned some of the details we had lost. We showed him many of the good ol basics, including armbar from the mount, how to apply good pressure from half guard, side control and mount. That was especially fun. I love demonstrating the very difficult to understand concept of getting “heavy”. It made me feel quite good that here was something that I have totally gotten thru my training that people find very difficult to describe let alone pull off in the beginning of their training.

We did a few rolling sessions and some positional drills. We did a round robin style bit of rolls in which one guy would start in guard, half guard, side control or mount. The winner stayed on the mats and a fresh guy rotated in. This is the kind of training I love to do. I felt that my movement was very good. Neil was monkey strong and I struggled against him only pulling off one Americana.

Poor Jason on the other hand was tapping like Gregory Hines (you know, if the tap dancing legend were still alive and all). I know he learned a lot during the experience. It was good for me to be able to feel free and attempt some submissions I rarely go for, so thanks Jason. I know before long, he’ll start to find his game and I’ll have trouble rolling against him.

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