Sunday, December 2, 2012

Operation Tattered Belt: Side Control Wrap-Up

This is going to be a two parter--to keep from cross-posting too much information, Julia and I are splitting posting duties--so this post will cover a wrap up of our weekly chat sessions and my personal take on the month afterward.

Once a week, we jump on Skype and go over all the wins and losses and lessons learned of the previous seven days.

  • Cleaning house: This totally originated from my end, but unlearning "starting" side control defense from the cross face was a major accomplishment. I brought my progress up almost every week.
  • Drilling: Julia focused on documenting her drilling numbers, starting with 20/20 guard recovery and 10/10 coming to all 4s. I put more focus into requesting higher levels of resistance when drilling. 
  • Submissions: The whole point of the month was to focus on escapes, but Julia was introduced to a kimura if your partner doesn't posture up and I was shown the armlock that presents itself as you escape. 
  • Risky escapes: Both of us were thwarted trying Dean's spinout on purple belts, but it's a useful option to have, even if only for the sake of expanding personal understanding of escapes. 
  • Differences: Heavy use of reverse kesa gatame in my school, not very common in Julia's. This is probably due to the fact that my instructor likes to take mount from that position. That emphasis very much influenced which escapes I gravitated to studying. 
  • Revelations: Julia-All side control escapes start with a hip bump to make space. Megan-Protecting the arm from domination from the top is key to staying safe while escaping. 

On a personal level, I've got mixed feelings coming out of this month. I lost a few days between being sick and traveling for Thanksgiving, and, well, as is true with all things related to BJJ, I've learned more and I feel less competent. So, here were my goals...

  • Finding the best of bad positions. No more "settling" into positions that are disadvantageous that I've gotten used to starting in from drills.
  • Quit settling on my back...stay on my side. Give them nothing. 
  • End stopping because of blanking. Pauses should be strategic.
  • Attain a comprehensive understanding of what I SHOULD know and be competent in as a Blue belt, as opposed to just a list of techniques.
Bad positions-This is probably the area I've seen the most improvement in. I've been reflexively blocking the cross face and "accidentally" stumbled across Roy Dean's spinout escape after being more active with my arms--though it did result in an immediate counter from Ginastica Instructor and me ending up right back in bottom sidee. 
Settling on my back-I still do this. I did another round of working side control Friday night and well, I still stop on my back...a lot. This is something I'm going to have to work on mentally going forward and likely research to see if anyone has methods for eliminating the habit. I do it in spider too, so it will definitely be worth some time investment for me. 
Blanking-Also still happening. I expect this to improve solely with time practicing. 
Comprehension-I'm feeling much better about this position overall. Prioritizing possession of the arm has made it much easier for me to clear a path to getting to my knees and into more advantageous positions. 

Hits-Had GinasticaInstructor (Adam) point out a nasty cycle I get myself in. I have a tendency from standard side to reach around with my leg and take an ankle. It never crossed my mind that this was a HUGE liability in a competition setting. Against lower belts, it works fine. Against higher, it's almost guaranteed they'll escape again, so I've basically been setting them up to scrore additional points for passing over and over again. Going forward, I need to focus more on getting the entire knee in. 

Also, Hector told me that rolling with me now is like rolling with a completely different person--not a result of OTB, but I'm counting it:)

Misses-Not addressing my habit of not replacing full guard. It's the optimal path after freeing yourself from side control. 

So yeah...a decent month overall, especially for learning goal setting and expectations. Next month is knee on belly and I am SO glad we did some work in ginastica yesterday rolling on the shoulders. It's an essential element in Saulo's running escape. I'll likely be focusing on that and an escape from one of Stephan Kesting's apps that I've had decent success with, along with addressing the back and guard replacing issues that showed up over the last month. 

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