On Wednesday I was able to attend another morning class. Bless the holiday season. We worked on escapes and sweeps from side control. I was working with a pretty big guy as a workout partner. He is about 6’3 and he told me he weighed 225 pounds. He told me that he mostly rolled and has never really trained BJJ. (I found out later he does MMA.)
Class was pretty uneventful until we rolled. We started from our knees and I was able to secure side control after a short intense struggle. From that I quickly transitioned to mount by sliding my knee across his belly and after seeing he was a little strong for an armbar or a Kimura I sunk in a Knuckle choke for the tap. He tapped almost as soon as I applied pressure.
After I got off of him, he immediately sat up and said, “Wait a Minute! Is that legal?” He then looked in the direction of Smiley and asked, “Is that legal?” Smiley told him as long as it’s not on the windpipe then it’s a fair choke. Then he said, “I’ve never seen that choke in MMA.” Smiley went on to state that the gloves would make it a difficult choke to achieve.
On our second roll he was out for vengeance. To be blunt, he achieved a tap with a rear naked choke. I thought about this for a while because although taps happen, I think that there were a series of mental errors that I made that led to my tap. Some before I even hit the mat. Since there are always a lot of relatively new guys who come to the academy a lot of the rolls become ego related. Once they are tapped their only mission in life is to tap out the person who tapped him. They become really aggressive, use all of their strength and go all out. As I have endurance to go quite a few times when dealing with a calm and relaxed grappler, especially higher belts, I notice my breathing becomes labored in these sessions. I need to develop higher cardiovascular endurance specifically for those moments.
Next, in these sessions I may have to stick to achieving a top game in these types of grappling sessions because if I relax and let them achieve side control or mount then it becomes a firefight. My mistakes were as follows:
He amped up his intensity – I relaxed after I achieved the tap
I let him sweep me from a mount – I underestimated him after our first roll (mistake)
He asked for a break to take off his top – I left my gi on (mistake)
He attempted an ankle lock and then a heel hook – once again I underestimated him and had to work feverishly to get out of it.
I open my closed guard and he quickly passed – I caught him in a lock-down and let it go without him breaking it.
He was able to get to my back – I am pretty good at defending so I didn’t think I was in danger. I didn’t factor his strength into the equation. I realized afterward that when I grapple big or small guys I disregard their strength or aggressive tendencies because I think I can work my way through it.
Anyway, I showed him how to do the choke at the end of class and later on I laughed about him making me tap. This is what BJJ is all about.