Tuesday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. White Belt City. A couple of fresh blues. I was the ranking person in the room.
Sergei got his blue belt today! I wonder if he was still happy about it by the time he left. He had to be Carlos’ demo dummy- poor guy- and at the end of class, Carlos rolled with him and beat the bejeezus out of him, shouting "Welcome to blue belt!" every time he subbed him.
Joseph (grownup Joseph, not tweenage Joseph) got two stripes today (he’s up to a 3 stripe white now).
Carlos asked me why I was no longer wearing my mushroom-head (my term, not his). He laughed some more when I told him that it had been slipping down over my eyes and blinding me. I’m glad that I can provide him so much material for comic relief (and opportunities to do funny impressions).
Keylocks and spinning armbars from mount. Prof. Carlos had me pulling the elbow up off the mat and THEN pulling it down to the opponent’s hip. I’m pretty sure Cindy’s had me pulling the elbow DOWN to the hip first and then up off the mat. I’m going to ask her about the differences. Are they both equally valid? It didn’t seem like the guy was tapping any sooner or later depending on which of the two methods I was using…. although the down-to-the-hip-and-then-lift-off-the-mat version seemed easier to control so as to not hurt my partner. Cindy’s reverse-motorcycle trick definitely made them tap sooner, altho I had to change my grip to move the thumb to the opposite side in order to rotate people’s big wrists with my little hands.
While demonstrating how to torque the elbow/wrist over for the keylock while the opponent is struggling to keep his arms crossed over his chest, Carlos pointed to the biggest white belt in the room- the one he always calls Brock Lesnar (I had to go online to look at a pic, because I don’t really follow MMA- he really does look like him!)- and to me. "Wheech one ween? Keetsune! Because TECHNIQUE!" Hee hee hee. One of the things I like about Carlos’ teaching style is that as a really tall, strong guy, he doesn’t forget to address the fact that some of us struggle with size and strength disadvantages.
Armbar- Carlos had us using the arm *NOT* grabbing the bicep to plant straight next to the guy’s neck on the other side. I liked that, but it was hard for me to remember to do it… and also I was a little worried that the opponent might grab it (if we weren’t just drilling).
Another two things- these I already knew, but I was trying to be better about remembering and doing CONSISTANTLY- after you step your first foot over the person, swing your other foot OUT before you go to step the second foot over. It makes the whole thing much faster and smoother and less wobbly (ie, less likely to get reversed). And have the person’s shoulder socketed *all* the way up into your crotch. By the last few reps, I had the guy’s shoulder up on my pelvic bone- and not only was he more immobilized, he was tapping a LOT sooner.
Carlos also had us turning the back of the opponent’s hand to your chest while armbarring. I’m used to having the guy’s thumb pointing to the ceiling- but this seems even more effective as well as easier to maneuver. (Poor Sergei… he was spasming and contorting all over the place during this demo.)
Positional training from front mount, with several partners. Carlos took my first partner away from me and switched him out with another guy. Again, that tweaks me a bit… but this guy had been a white belt. When a teacher takes a white belt guy away from me, there’s always the thought that maybe the teacher thought/knew that that guy wouldn’t be safe for me. The guy that Lindsey had taken away from me on Sunday had been a purple belt, though… so it bugged me more. Even if that guy wasn’t the best size/skill matchup for me, he probably wouldn’t have been dangerous.
The white belts were definitely using strength against me today… although, oddly, more to GET the sub than to DEFEND the sub. Thus I was able to get a few taps. Mostly with keylocks, which I use quite a bit. The one armbar I got, I had to trap the guy’s hand against my chest by grabbing my own gi collar, and then use my free hand to pry his other hand off. I most often can’t get that type of armbar any other way. They were being so muscley that when I was on the bottom, I couldn’t do much besides wiggle around and strive to keep my elbows tucked under and my wrists out of their clutches. I couldn’t even use my old standby escape-to-half-guard much, as my sloppy bits (turning too far to the side, and stretching my arms out too far) become PAINFULLY apparent when people are specifically zeroing in for armbars and keylocks. I wasn’t having any luck upa’ing or otherwise tossing them off me- although bridging continuously and forcefully was causing them to keep having to post over my head, and distract them for another five seconds from yanking my wrists/elbows out. It was tiring for me, but it seemed like the most effective way (I could manage) to defend for that time period under those circumstances.
A timed roll with Marc. That was a lot of fun. He drives me crazy with the way he can always get a knee in and replace guard no matter how I strive to prevent it- he’s really good at that. I thanked him again after we got back in line. He’s one of my favorite training partners.