Stalking Side Control

"This is a beautiful moment we’re having. Can we please fight?" -Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Evening BJJ at Gracie Seattle. My first class taught by Brock- altho Casey and Dave were also on deck.

Side control to KOB, to KOB on the other side, to side control and back again. While in KOB, hold opponent down by pinning hir lapel to the mat both over and under hir far shoulder. Worked with a female white belt and was able to give her some pointers. Her technique was flawless once a couple of things were tweaked.

Baseball choke. From KOB on opponent’s left: your rt hand under hir head, gripping collar under hir rt ear. This was the same rt hand grip we had been using for the pin ’em in KOB move before. Now you joggle the lapel in your left hand a titch to create enough slack to slip that left hand in beside the rt. Hands are gripping as they do on a baseball bat, hence the name. Rotate and sink. If you want to be mean: rotate, sink and scoot up by their head like you’re making for north-south. I enjoyed this choke a lot. I enjoy chokes in general. I can’t wait till I start reliably getting choke subs in live rolls.

A little King Of the Hill: guard pass vs sweep/submit. I did not do very well. Got swept by a blue belt in about 6 seconds (altho granted he was a biggun) and then by Casey in about the same time (although granted he’s a black belt). Brock let me work a bit, enough that I sunk in a guillotine- then I let it go because I wasn’t supposed to be going for subs, I was supposed to be passing guard. He said "Go ahead! Do it!" But the moment was gone.

One roll with a blue belt guy. I mostly stayed on top, but couldn’t finish a sub. He was *very* explosive with his escape attempts from my side controls, mounts and KOB’s, but I managed to usually ride him out. He was puffing like a steam engine… I might have had a lot more trouble with him if he’d moderated his breathing better. He complimented me on my positional control, and I complimented him on his sub defense.

I am shamelessly stalking Dave (SIDE CONTROL). I grabbed him again after class and asked him to roll with me, then picked his brain. The way he writes, he sounds like one of those people who genuinely feels that teaching and helping lower belts is a responsibility of a black belt, and that doing so also benefits his own training. So I’m going to stalk him and benefit too- although I’ll try to not drive him nuts.

Rolling with "Side Control" is like rolling with Cindy, in that it glaringly points up a particular weakness of my game. I tend to get fixated on trying to pull off a specific move, and I’ll just sink in there and grind away at it… sometimes I wear the person down and get what I wanted, but more often (especially with higher belts) I stay there grinding fruitlessly long past the time it is obvious that it’s not going to work. What Cindy does (and what Dave does too) is that while I’m stalled there grinding at whatever I’m going for, they will shift direction and turn the force I’m exerting into something that ends up making me either sweep or submit MYSELF. It makes me feel like such a moron. But like the Clench-N-Cling ™, which is an offshoot of the same problem (and I have had some partial sucess in breaking myself of), I need to stop getting so invested/fixated on one path. As soon as you stop moving, the opponent has time to have a look around and see where you’re offbalanced, or what other holes you’ve left. The flip side is also something I want to learn- how to use the opponent’s own exertion to make hir hang hirself. Very Dragon.

I tried the choke he’d helped me with last time, and *still* couldn’t pull the dang thing off. Came close to guillotining him- but even though I had the choke on quite nice, I didn’t have a good position for my body to finish it. He said afterward that he’d been worried about it, though- so that’s good for me. Another Cindy lesson that I hope I’ve ingrained to some degree- don’t keep grinding at subs that you are in a crappy body position for.

Dave also will not mount, side-control or scarf me and then just let me lie there, as I tend to do. Well, specifically, he *does* just let me lie there- making it plain that he expects me to actually *DO* something and try to get out. In my own defense, I will say that I no longer "just lie there like a dead fish" in Bryan’s infamous words…. but I do tend to lie there and wait for them to move toward a sub before I jump for my escape. I’ve just spent too much time and energy wiggling helplessly under people’s mount, side control and scarf without a prayer of getting out till they move again and present me with an opening. Well, Dave’s going to make me struggle to try make an opening. Another way he operates like Cindy does.

Note that my A-game mount escape (???) to bottom half guard does not work on Dave. It works on pretty much EVERYONE else, every single time, in under the required three seconds…. so this was disconcerting. Every time I go for it, he puts his knee up and stands up on that leg. I grab for the other one, he switches. The first couple times, I was like "What the hell just happened??!? That always works!" Then it was like, "*&%^$!!!" Well, that’s why he’s wearing the "dirty belt", as I commented wryly.

He reassured me about purple belt looming ominously in my foreseeable future before I have fixed what seem to me to be yawning, embarrassing, Grand-Canyon sized holes in my game. That writeup about what each belt means, that’s been floating around the net…you’ve seen it…. I liked it, it made sense, but it said that when you get to purple belt, that’s when you are expected to have a full game with no holes. Dave reassured me that he still felt like he had holes in his game at purple, that you have to grow into it. Makes me feel a little less pressure. I still don’t want that promotion, though. May it be a long, long, long way off.

He also suggests that I focus on *one* sweep, and try to hit it from different positions and on different people. I have heard that advice before, and am going to try to take it. Not sure what to use, though… Scissor sweep is my most comfortable sweep to drill, but I never get it in live rolling except on virgin white belts. Ditto butterfly sweep. Sit-up sweep may be a better bet for me to actually successfully execute live. I don’t have the minuteae of steps as locked-in to memory as the other two, but it fits with the style of my game better than the other two. Hmmm. Does the fact that I know that mean that I sort of know what I’m doing, to some degree?

Part of my problem with sweeps is that when I’m on the bottom, my instinct is to escape- not sweep. Also, my escapes are a hell of a lot better and more reliable than my sweeps (probably because, duh, I’ve done them more). The tendency to fall back on the reliable first instinct needs to give way to the "look around and see if you can do a sweep" mentality.


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