If someone was to ask what kind of person I am when I roll on the mats, they would probably say I'm a nice guy. Easy to roll with and that I don't push to get that submission. I laugh when something funny happens and stop immediately if I think my training partner is hurt and apologize profusely. I even feel kind of bad when I see someone in side control or caught in a choke struggling. I usually give those types a break and let them escape if they are smaller and lower belt than me.
Last night was different though. I have had a feeling lately that I am just not progressing as I should because I am too laid back when sparring. I felt like I'm that guy you go to when you want to practice a new move during sparring. I let strong experienced white belt and blue belts roll over me. I tell myself that being 39 is part of it.
"This kid is young and strong, ah hell, let him have his way," I say.
But I am getting sick of that attitude. So I went to training last night hoping for a lot of people to spar with, folks that give me a hard time. I just felt really worked up to go and train hard. Not to hurt anyone for sure but to break some barriers, tax myself. Show that my near 2 years in BJJ has taught me some skills.
I started the night off sparring with two of the stronger white belts. Same weight bracket, previous experience of martial arts with aggressive qualities. The first guy I caught in an omoplata within 30 seconds. He seemed really upset with himself for getting caught so fast. Yup, I know that feeling. Been there, done that. Sure to have it done to me in the near future. I didn't give him an inch. Positionally dominated and caught him in an armbar and a bow and arrow choke. The next white belt I positionally dominated. He is a strong guy and I find it hard to submit him. I used a heavy knee on belly and almost got the far side arm armbar but he is so damn strong I could not open it up enough. I caught him with a rear naked choke and a gi choke but they were not in tight because he is good at tucking his chin. I squeezed them a little longer than I usually would before moving to a different position. The next sparring I tried hard to not get passed by the heavier, higher belts and had some good rounds but nothing as strenuous as the two white belts who are out to steal my lunch money. (i.e. prove they should be a blue belt).
I think there are times to be hard and times to be soft. I know some people have certain days they just play possum and work escapes and other days they want to be the hammer. I think this is good training. It improves the mental aspect of knowing that you can turn up the dial when you need to. I'm at a good place right now. I feel strong and fit and am constantly working my cardio. I am enjoying BJJ immensely and have respect for all the guys who set foot on my dojo's mat. We are all brothers in a hard sport.
Sumi-gaeshi now seems to be my go to throw. It is interesting that Daniel McCormick said that many BJJ guys prefer this throw in his Judo interview with Stephan Kesting. If anyone reading this is interested in Stephan's interview, it is here.
At the end of class I asked Tete-kun to help me with shrimping drills. The same two that I do with Akira. 1. Bridge - shrimp - knee in, foot in. 2. Let on shoulder - hips out, face opponent - other leg over his head, hips in. I also played around with a balance ball while sweating a ton. The ball was fun. From a sitting position I rolled to my back and flipped my body over my shoulder to take my body 360 degrees in the air. I've seen guys do this from standing on the ball and I'd like to work up to that.
Sparring time: 7 x 6 mins = 42 mins
Stability ball drills with Jeff Glover are good. I did the flip back he does at 1 min in.