Tuesday again and a lot of people. I felt really good in the warm up. My body felt fluid, hips moving good for shrimping, neck flushed from doing rotations on my shoulders. I only wish I could bring this fluidity over to sparring. Time after time I get passed from half guard or open guard and fail to move to a better position and end in side control from which my escapes are fairly weak.
The drills F-sensei showed us during the start of the lesson for breaking the closed guard were a great recap for me. I think they may work even well for my body type. I will try to incorporate them into sparring. They were mainly based around pushing the opponent forward then to the left (or right), switch to kesa-gatame, breaking the legs apart then swivelling on the knees to pass. F-sensei also taught one from the back which transitioned into the same pass from closed guard. I liked the techniques and think they will be useful for me.
I was feeling confident before sparring but again I came up against Hibino-kun (new white belt) in my 2nd round. He used the pass of the day but I get to half, he breaks out moves to side control. He mounts, I hip escape only managing to get out my left leg to half-guard. He breaks past again to side control and works on an armbar from side which I cant really stop because my left arm is tied up in my gi from the pass. So I tap to the armbar. It was a fairly poor performance by me. I sometimes feel like I have a brain fart when I'm sparring and totally forget the most basic points to protect myself. For example, preventing him underhooking the head, Stopping the mount with a knee or even catching it mid-attempt to change to half or deep half. Also I could have worked harder for an underhook in half-guard and posted on my elbow. These are mistakes i constantly forget to eradicate. He's a young strong guy with some experience, you can tell. I watched a very strong purple belt have trouble take him down with judo throws. He had to eventually force him down to turtle and take the back to choke him. I'm at a loss really. I can only think that he has amazing balance, strength and spatial awareness and a mind that picks up technique fast OR I am just not cut out for BJJ. I realize that I am ranting but it is extremely frustrating. When I was white I had a rough time being dominated but told myself that I would eventually get better. Eventually there would be new people coming in for me to try my technique on. New guys come in and it is not working out how I thought it would. I've increased my training to 3 times per week and continue to stay for 20-30 mins after class for drilling. Is this enough for an older family guy like me? Am I doomed to be that guy who everyone uses to practice their latest technique on during sparring? the test dummy. hmm. I think not! I will get past this point. On the flip side I like having tough sparring partners, it makes me re-evaluate what I am doing and work harder to overcome my problems.
One good thing about last night was I got to spar with Sho-kun. He is a 29 year old blue belt. He's been away for a while due to a knee injury but still damn good despite his lack of stamina caused by the layoff. he has big powerful movements and a strong base from his judo background. He caught me in a nice wrist lock from an armbar position. I managed to sweep him with a flower sweep later from closed guard but couldn't finish from mount, but not for lack of trying.
The extra drilling with Akira was good. A couple of throws, deep half, de la Riva, and Shaolin sweep. Just a hodge podge of things I'm interested in.
I've noticed that my endurance has improved and I am continuing to work on my breathing pattern. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Also, trying to be aware of the 90 degree rule and using the elbows and hips more.
Sparring time: 7 x 6 mins = 42 mins
P.S. Hurt my left groin string (opposite side to last time) a little after being stack passed on my right with my legs being split apart. Need to work on this flexibility.