Join the resistance

Training this week has been pretty good. After a tournament I like to identify issues I need to work on and try to incorporate fixes while I train. For example, after watching videos of my previous tournament I realized that I was sitting way too high in guard so whenever I am in top guard now, I make sure to pay attention to sitting low. I think it has helped a lot. Fixes from last weekend’s tournament that I am working on include working more standup, not settling into bad positions when rolling and drilling harder.

Working standup has been going well. I am lucky to have partners who are willing to work with me and several of them even have wrestling backgrounds (how I wish I could go back in time and somehow convince my parents to sign me up for wrestling). One particularly helpful partner (you know who you are!) showed me some takedowns that he thinks would be good for me to work considering I have pretty strong legs and base. I am hoping to pick one or two and work them to the point I can get them automatically.

Not settling into bad positions is something I have been telling myself to work on for a while. When people pass my guard or escape a submission I tend to start thinking of how I am going to get out of the bad position they are about to put me in when I should instead be focusing on stopping them from getting into that position. Having this mindset will also help my goal to be faster when I roll.

Drilling harder is a new revelation. On Tuesday in class I was working with another blue belt who has been out for quite a while with back problems. I was watching two guys next to us drill and they were giving each other maximum resistance. At first I thought they were going way too hard for drilling (probably they were) but it got me to thinking about how I drill. I am used to drilling with little to no resistance which is possibly giving me a false sense of security in the moves. I have often said that I am really good at drilling but not so great at applying the techniques to my rolling. My thinking is that if I drill with some resistance it will be a more realistic application of the technique. It will also help me with my general goal of “GO HARD”.

Of course then my instructor told me drilling with resistance is not a good idea. I can see his point. If you don’t know a technique and someone is applying a ton of resistance then you are most likely going to get frustrated or think that the move doesn’t work. I feel like there is a compromise though. I have decided that the first few times I drill something, particularly if it is new to me or not something I am not comfortable drilling, I will drill with little to no resistance. After I feel more comfortable I will add some resistance and when I get more comfortable I will add more resistance and so on. I think this will be a big help and I really enjoyed drilling this way during the week.

I had some good rolls while trying to focus on all this during the week. I rolled with a guy who is very strong and generally just tries to grab my wrists and hold me still while we roll. I managed to stay on top for most of the roll and refused to back down because he was using strength. I know his technique is not as good as mine (he spent most of his time in bottom guard trying to x-choke me) and I worked a pass to half, got swept, reversed it back to guard and eventually got to mount where I was trying to work an arm triangle when the round ended. I also felt good about my roll with my smaller, quicker, extra squirmy fellow female blue belt. She is very strong and quick and often gets out of whatever bad position I manage to put her in or avoids it altogether with that pesky strength and quickness. I decided to take it up a notch this week and we had a really great roll which left us both exhausted but happy at the end. Tomorrow is my day of training with the girls, which I am hoping the snow doesn’t ruin.

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One response to “Join the resistance”

  1. slideyfoot says :

    I’m not sure if you’re a fan of SBG, but I very much like their ‘aliveness’ concept and their approach to drilling. I’ve adopted it in my own classes. I’ll start by drilling with no resistance, to get the mechanics (four minutes for each person). We’ll then do the same technique, but this time with progressive resistance, gradually ramping up (three minutes each).

    However, I emphasise the entire time that this is not sparring and that both people should be talking to each other (e.g., “your hip is a bit out of alignment so I can sneak my arm under,” or “you aren’t getting enough control of my head,” “that grip is working really well, keep doing that” etc).

    After that, specific sparring (at least twenty minutes, preferably thirty), where we stick with one position. I’ll sometimes refine that further, like starting with a particular grip (e.g., on the back with one arm around the neck, in side control with your legs sprawled back, etc) to better provide an environment where they can test what they’ve just learned and see if it can fit into their wider game.

    The final stage is of course free sparring, though in my classes I will frequently just stick with specific, because I know there is plenty of free sparring in the other classes taught by the other instructors throughout the week.

    I try to follow a similar pattern when I’m drilling myself, like at open mat.

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