When’s the last time you had a really good night of rolling? A really good night doesn’t happen as often as we’d like. There’s usually some sort of barrier to that – a mismatch of weight, strength, skill.
Last night was really good. There were only four of us who showed up. I’m thinking it was because of the horrific tropical storm that really never materialized. I mean, it rained, but as far as storms go, I think this one was a tad overrated.
For the fundamentals class, we went over a bullfighter pass – to knee ride – to collar and wrist control – to a shoulder lock. After that, we rolled a bit. For the advanced class, we went over the counter to the scenario I just described above. It was helpful and Julian demonstrated some valid points when attempting to finish your opponent off. I think the most important was maintaining control of the mount you have on your opponent as well as a few details on how to break their grip after they grab their belt or gi to defend. You have to push down and out and then up and over. A lot of us forget those little things and try to muscle through. That rarely works and looks really sloppy. Remembering those important details towards the end of any submission attempt is extremely important.
We rolled for most of the advanced class. We did what I think the guys termed, “progressions.” Meaning, two guys would go out and spar for two minutes and then one would leave to have another enter. They would go for two minutes and it would continue on like that. Basically, each player would spend two matches in a row out on the mat. Round and round we went.
The reason I mentioned that it was such a good night of rolling is because it was a good group. No one was too small or too large and we all had enough technique and game to give the others a nice challenge. I like it when I have to worry just enough for things to stay interesting.
I focused on my grip game again. I think things are working out because I’m finding that I’m leading more now as opposed to getting stuck in someone else’s grips and following. It’s a tough fight, but if you can obtain and maintain grips throughout the match, you can get some business done.
I also worked a bit of triangle. I made it a point to go for a setup and submission each time I saw it possible. Not that I got them every time I wanted – I did find the fact that I was able to stay focused on the night’s goal very helpful. I didn’t get lost in all the “rolling madness.” I mean, it’s so much easier to go out on the mat with a plan instead of reacting and getting squashed. I’ve spent the better part of my earlier years in this sport wondering why I was getting squashed so much. That’s not fun.
These days, what I think I’m trying to do more and more of is to plow through the tough times and maintain some sort of aggressiveness. Instead of working escapes (which are important), I’m working on how not to need escapes, if that makes any sense. Basically, stop the bad situation before it happens. If I can do that, I can lead the match with the goal of forcing my opponent into a defensive posture. I know this type of game isn’t going to be perfect overnight, but it’s a good start.