Spaz Boy Cometh

Image“Just keep lobbing them in there pitcher!”  That’s what the rival coach yelled out when I was on the mound.  My Little League baseball career was on the line and as a pitcher I was more worried about control than speed.  A bit angered I decided to give the next pitch ALL I had.  The ball hit the glove before the batter even swung.  The rival coach had pushed me to a new level.  I already had the control but now I had that missing element, horsepower!

I realized today that for the last few years I’ve been so concerned with control that I have severely lacked swift motion, especially when it came to escaping bad positions.  My tendency is to roll slow and even to let my partner take a dominant position without much struggle on my part.  This ends now. 

I can see the difference between me and the top guys and one of the biggest elements is not accepting when someone is securing a good position on you.  It’s time for me to ‘spaz’ though a completely controlled spaz, and work hard to get to at least a neutral position like open guard or back to knees.  I’m confident that I am not threat of harming anyone, or myself, due to this change in rolling philosophy, since I’ve played the slow game for so long.  I just believe my game will now ‘move’ with a certain flow and quickness that I was just too afraid, or lazy, to pull of in the past.  I’ll update you on the results soon.  Thanks to Blue N! for the tips and encouragement. 

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And Then Tonight Happened

exhaustedStill waiting for my body to suddenly contort into one big crap spazm after tonight’s class.  Somehow we ended up with 8 people who were all willing to roll the whole open gym hour so we rotated and did 5 minute rounds.  I won’t name names but I’ll refer to my partners by their belt color and first initial, if I know their name.  My rolling started off in demoralizing fashion as I faced Gold Z.  Since he’s a gold belt I thought I could go easy but that proved to be a big mistake.  In seconds I was tapping to a knee bar.  A tight ass knee bar at that.  Didn’t this kid just get his belt?  Prodigy perhaps?  Anyhow the rest of the roll was me defending and only passing his guard once into mount.  I tried an ezikiel but he defended.  I’m too tired to spell it right.

No rest for the wicked, now it was time to face Blue M.  This guy is huge, and blue.  I did pretty well considering I think he was just playing around but I passed his guard twice and avoided all of his submission attempt but one.  I can’t remember but I believe it was a heel hook.

Next it was our instructor Blue D.  I didn’t fair too well but I did manage to keep good base and pretty good defense for most of the roll.  I believe he got me with a wicked heel hook.  So far Mike: 0 Heel Hook: 2.

Onto Red M.  Since he seems like he weighs but a buck 25 I thought I could control the action for the most part.  But no, he did most of that.  I was able though to pass his guard and end up in a side control kimura which he defended well and put me back into guard.  I kinda just layed there like a jelly fish till the bell.  Oh, and he got me in a heel hook.  0-3.

Next, Red C.  Red C was my best match since I was able to fend of most of his sub attempts.  I was pretty exhausted at the end though from all the defending but I really feel confident in not getting tapped so much.  I just have to learn to turn on the switch.  Believe me, that day is coming.

Another roll with Gold Z proved to be another defensive struggle for me all the while he moved like a lizard keeping me wondering how I became so powerless.  At least he didn’t heel hook me since he’s only gold.

And finally I rolled with another gold belt.  I got an armbar but he kept gleefully saying how he was finally getting some offense off against someone.  This made me feel poopy but I know he was totally right.  I tend to go into turtle mode when I’m exhausted and sort of proclaim: “See if you can tap me!”  The bad part is usually they can.

Sure it easy to feel defeated after a night like this but really I’m more excited about my defensiveness.  Like I said, the switch will turn soon and hopefully it will be a different story.  One very big lesson today was the power of shrimping as SOON as you’re about to be in a bad spot.  Thank you Gold Z for showing me the effectiveness of that.  Time for a massage!

Vast Improvements Through…yep, Hard Work!

hardwork1It’s never a secret how you get good at something: Just GO DO IT!!! That’s what I had to tell myself when I recently went back to Jiu Jitsu class three days a week.  Luckily with the help of all my good friends at the Cove, especially Jody for his one-on-one guidance, I have been able to begin my 3rd wind.  Yep, I’m filling in all my weaknesses and trying to find that balance between knowledge and physical skill.  My goal is to go to class as much as possible and stay healthy enough to be at my best.  This may mean only going hard twice a week and doing situational drills or technique reps the rest of the time.

At home I’ve been doing yoga, P90X2, and a lot of grappling dummy work.  The dummy is what’s toughening my body up the most since I think it’s stuffed with cement.  Anyhow when my body gets used to the hardness of the dummy I usually go to class and feel like I can handle most pressure from almost anyone.  This doesn’t mean I’m tapping everyone out but just that I’m not being crushed anymore.

Key area’s of focus: Half guard passing and open guard protecting.

My half guard passing is weak but I now have 3 go to moves that I’ve been tightening up.  It’s scary how many holes were in my passing game.  Jody was easily able to reguard and or take my back from here.  Now I know not to hang out in the middle area (no man’s land) and the importance of controlling the bottom player before I attempt to pass.  This also made me better at combat base.  I HAVE to keep my knee up and my weight distributed correctly when in this position.  I’m finding that my knee passes are landing more often because of this.

I feel I have a decent guard but people pass on my too easily.  I’m realizing now that I have to defend the open guard by staying very active at all times.  People pass when I get lazy.  It’s always the same pass: They hold me bottom leg down with their knee and then leverage around my top leg.  I can’t let them pin my bottom leg down.  I must hip escape out.  No more lazy rolling.

If everything goes as planned I’ll be at the next review class with much more to offer my competition.