Pop goes the elbow
I didn’t get to do any training on Thursday or Friday because I came down with a cold. I hate not training but I figured no one wanted me to share the cold, especially with a tournament coming up this weekend, so I stayed home. I also skipped the 9am women’s class at my weekend school on Saturday because I had plans to enjoy a Nyquil-induced sleep and I didn’t want to have to get out of bed at 7:30.
I was very excited to go to my main gym for instructor training and the women’s class there though. Instructor training didn’t really happen until it was almost time for the women’s class because my coach was working with the guys who were sparring as a couple of them have fights coming up. I didn’t really mind because I like watching the guys spar but I do have to admit that in the back of my mind I was thinking that I could have gone to basics class at my weekend gym. I love drilling basics.
Finally it was time for women’s class. In stark contrast to last week, only one person showed up for class and she had, as she put it, “about half a class of experience”. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of trying to teach someone a triangle while triangling them but I can now say that I have (spoiler alert: it’s hard). Since I hadn’t done anything all day that resembled a workout, I decided to stay after and do some strength and conditioning circuits. One of the other guys decided to do the same and our instructor hung out and talked to us while we were working so that was fun. I am still sore today. I was doing strength and conditioning classes for a while and they really helped me a lot but the class got canceled (it was a women’s mma fitness class at my weekend gym and I was the only person going) so I am out of practice. Clearly I need to focus on this more.
Saturday night the purple belt instructor at my weekend school sent me a message and told me he was coming to the gym an hour before class if I wanted to get some work in. That is an opportunity I would never pass up so I told him I’d be in. We had some awesome rolls before class and he helped me work on finishes from an omoplata sweep I am fond of since I am not good at actually finishing omoplatas. We drilled triangles in class (at least I wasn’t trying to teach them this time!) and then it was time for open mat.
Feeling bolstered by my earlier rolls with my instructor and trying to stick to my new resolve to go with the strong guys and not back down, I asked a white belt fairly new to rolling to go. I am usually cautious with new guys but he always seems very quiet and nice so I figured he would be ok. Not so much. He was able to hold me down the entire time while he continually went for x-chokes from every position, knee-on-belly, half guard, side mount. He caught me offguard once from side mount and finished one. That was a hard pill to swallow. Not only did I get submitted by a newb, in a fairly low percentage submission (x-choke from side mount, wtf?!) but I hate when I get gi choked. It feels like a betrayal. My gi is supposed to be on my side!
Next round a blue belt asked me to roll. I like him a lot but he is an ex-wrestler and his pressure game is ridiculous. I’ve never had any form of success against him but I wasn’t gonna say no so we went. As he always does, he managed to keep me on my back and fish out an arm for a submission. I know that this is his game, he gets on top, gets you to your back and attacks your arm. Even knowing this I can never seem to stop it. This happened two or three times and then it occurred to me to maybe not let him get on top anymore. When we reset I basically bull rushed him and got on top. I didn’t have much time to reflect on my victory as he quickly rolled me and got mount again. He went for an armbar and I fought it longer than I should have, probably because I didn’t want to get submitted AGAIN, and my elbow popped. Luckily the round ended right after that and it wasn’t too bad, my elbow is just mildly sore today. It was a good reminder to not let pride get in the way next time though.
I was going to call it a day after the elbow popping but the purple belt asked me to roll again so I did. He asked me how my rolls had gone that day and I told him not so great. He told me he really thought I could have success with the omoplata sweep series we’d been working and that I should focus on that. Good idea! Oh but wait, how does one get to an omoplata position when one can’t get to guard? He agreed that made it problematic.
I reflected on my rolls and realized I was probably spending too much time fighting their arms. Both guys repeatedly were trying to drag my arms out. I almost always tuck my arms inside but if someone is stronger they very often can pry an arm out (which I loathe). Knowing this was coming, particularly in my second roll, I spent a lot of time trying to fight them off instead of trying to escape the position. So that will be what I pay attention to this week. I am not going to let people settle into positions and start prying my arms out, I have to keep moving. And I have to keep not backing down. Why is there always so much to work on in jiu-jitsu?