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Friday’s class was a great session. I was able to actually notice a jump in my ability to defend guard passes and I was able to pull off a submission I’ve never done before and another that I think I have never done before.
Warm-ups were led by Art (blue belt) and we started off with a light jog (with short sprints), followed by the Geisha Duck Walk (on the balls of our feet and toes), Geisha Hops and Animal drills. After stretching, Carlos (Brown Belt/1 stripe) led us in drills.
Today Carlos provided us with a clinic on how to obtain, maintain and reverse Knee on Belly. I have rolled many times with Carlos and I have literally frozen when he has applied his knee on belly techniques. From below it looks as if he is spinning around like helicopter blades. My Knee on Belly technique is ‘suspect.’ I mainly do it to see if I can get it. I don’t have a string of techniques that I apply after achieving it, although I know a few I can do. What usually happens it that I will give up a mount or side control to try it and then the person under me will either explode or shrimp out and I end up in a scramble with my sparring partner. Carlos took us through many scenarios and I learned where I have been going wrong.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
My first roll was with Dan, a 6ft 4 and 217 pound white belt. (Earlier I asked Dan if he was okay because I had inadvertently hurt his back by performing an Ippon Seo Nage (shoulder throw) from a standing position when I should have been on my knees. He said that he was fine and that the pain subsided by the next day.) We started from our knees and I immediately pulled guard. I set up a flower sweep and had everything in place, or so I thought. He went halfway and then anchored down. I then worked for a head an arm choke and actually got his head and arm off to the side but trying to lock my arms around his frame proved to be impossible.
Carlos, who was observing, told me to play open guard. I played for a few seconds and then Dan pulled off a Torreando (bull fighter) pass on me. I remember thinking, “I didn’t know Dan knew how to do that.” I was able to reverse him after he obtained side control though by turning into him and then turning the other way and flipping him onto his back. From there I transitioned to mount, he recovered to half guard and then I was able to obtain a one collar side choke for the tap.
I also rolled with Art and I was able to work on the solo drills I had been practicing all week. Art shut my defenses down the previous week with his Torreando Pass. So much so that I was up late thinking about it one night and wondering what I was going to do. I kid you not, I had a thought to grab my University of Jiu-jitsu book. I opened it and the page was on how to defend the Torreando pass. Saulo Ribeiro provided four different techniques to stop, defend and counter the pass. I began practicing them immediately.
I must admit Dan caught me off guard when he did it, but I knew that Art was going to do it. When he did it was as if he was moving in slow motion. I could hear the instructions in my head as tried to pass and I was able to counter successfully and was able to go on offense. It reminded me of the boxer’s adage that it’s the blow you don’t see that knocks you out. I realized it’s the same with BJJ. It’s the techniques that you are unaware of and can’t decipher that renders you blind and the tap will soon follow.
As a result of rolling with Art last week and being handled my BJJ skills increased and I told him so. I learned four defenses, a guard pass, a submission and was able to incorporate them into my arsenal. I need more beatings like that from guys who are just above my level. Often with purples, browns and blacks the submissions come and I don’t know what happened. I don’t even know what to ask about what happened. When I rolled with Art (who is a fellow blue belt), I could see what was happening even if I didn’t know exactly what occurred.
Note: Art did tap me out twice during our roll.
My last roll was with Chase (4 stripe/White belt). Long story short, I was able to sink in a foot-lock that I have been working on in my solo drills. He was playing a loose guard, and I saw the opening. I started to wrap my arm around his ankle and I was thinking the whole time, “Is he going to let me do this?” After I locked it in I began to fall backward. He tapped before my back could hit the ground. Carlos called out, “That is the slowest foot-lock I’ve ever seen!”
I’ll take it. But I made a mental note that I have to speed up my solo drills because I practiced that technique slowly and I applied it slowly while rolling.