Wednesday, 21 September 2011

On the Mat Day 196: Mount Escapes

I used to think that when I became a blue belt it would give me some god-like ability to handle newcomers or any white belt. That's not true of course, especially, when those new guys have accumulated quite a few months training under their belt and know how to shut you down or know your game. It's true that I can handle any newcomers who walk through the door who have had no experience in grappling, even if they are young and athletic but last night we had a couple of white belts who usually I roll over and are now coming up to about 9 plus months of training, they are doing better at preventing my submissions or it is becoming harder to dominate them. At the end of the day, I realize that this is good for them and me. They improve, I improve because my opponents are becoming better. Still, I would like to see myself progress a bit faster than I have and stay ahead a bit more.. I think maybe I have hit a plateau but it's hard to see if that's true looking from the inside. I have a suspicion that my plateau has to do with my reluctance to try new things or the because of some fear of being submitted by white belts. Don't get me wrong, I have been trying x-guard and deep half a lot lately but there are times as a white belt I would have went for a low percent move but now I don't.

The sparring session last night was particularly brutal for me, both because of the high humidity which sucks the life right out of my British cold climate-loving self, and that I am coming off an injury and my stamina is not the best it could be. My knee is about 90% right now but I am not confident enough to play half-guard with it, which is a strong area for me. I am mostly playing open guard and trying to prevent all passes. Last night, a small satisfaction was the number of times I inverted out of a dangerous position. The problem is I am getting stuck in armbars when I play open guard. The opponent passes and immediately gets a good hold on my arm and then drops to an armbar as I try to invert or I cannot twist around back to guard because they have a good hold on my arm. I think maybe I expose the arm by fending them off for too long. I would like to record a sparring session on video and play it back to critique. I think that would help me get better.

On Monday we had a belt ceremony where Kato and Kawai got their blue and brown belts respectively. There was also a promotion to black belt for a guy from the Grip club in Mie. Sadly, I don't know the guy but he started in 2002 and then went to Brazil with F-sensei (my instructor).
Kato-san and his new blue belt. Congrats!

Kato-san was back for his first lesson last night wearing his shiny new blue belt. We sparred twice and he caught me in an armbar then a choke the 2nd time when I turned the wrong way. He's a strong guy and I have to work hard to stop him passing. When I attempt triangles or sweeps, he defends really well. His background in Sumo helps his base a lot.

Sparring time: 5 x 6 mins = 30 mins

Notable moments: Inverted guard to triangle finish!

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