I must say, positional sparring reveals my weaknesses quite well. I had trouble with [read: at times was incapable of]
-mount escape (whether low mount with grapevine or high mount) or maintaining mount
-side escape or maintaining it
-kesa gatame escape or maintaining it
-north-south escape or maintaining/improving it
Don't get me wrong, I know I'm a whitebelt and I'm supposed to not be able to do things. And some of the people who found it ridiculously easy to sweep me from the top, or who I was completely unable to sweep from the bottom, were men who were 6-10" taller and outweighed me by 40-60lbs. I get it. But I need to get the technique down so that this smaller, lighter, weaker person can actually move someone bigger, stronger etc.
Steven taught some guard pass details after our warmup. Leila and I drilled these back and forth a fair bit; the class then moved to Donald's self-defense techniques. I very much appreciate his style, which he describes as slow and methodical, but so technical that even though the opponent can see it coming, it's so well placed there's nothing you can do about it. That's my goal now :)
First, beating wrist grabs. Don't yank your hand back as you try to break through the "opening" where their fingers meet their thumb. Instead, secure your base first, rotate your hand so your thumb points towards that opening, and press into opponent with your elbow. The result is their wrist stays in the same position relative to their body. This works whether same-side or cross-body grab; also works whether they grab you with their thumb "up" (going towards your elbow) or "down" (going towards your hand, very common for adults to grab kids this way, thus very important technique to teach kids for their own protection.) Always secure your base first!
He also reviewed a headlock counter- first, get breathing room. If they go to punch you, block the punch and try to push their bicep back behind the plane of their hip, locking their bicep with your other hand. Make breathing room again and keep wrist control, sink low to get head under their arm (do not bend forwards! keep your spine erect and close to vertical) and do not make space between your bodies. Once your head is clear, stand up again very close to their back, not allowing any space for them to wriggle.
After that, which took up the majority of class, Leila and I did a little positional sparring under Phil's tutelage.
He gave her some good half-guard pass tips which got her into side control; when I tried to execute my side control escape, my hair kept pinning me down. Leila is very good at keeping her leg away from me so I can't hook it; she also is good at "running" me in a circle. Once I did get her head canted back far enough that I hooked it with my leg but I didn't follow up with anything very useful. Phil says my problem is I'm staying flat and not shrimping effectively. Instead of moving my far shoulder up and over, or just turning my hips and leaving my shoulders flat, I need to think of leading the turn with my bottom shoulder, and think of moving the bottom shoulder underneath the top one, not the reverse. Once the shoulders turn the hips have an easier job since her body weight is primarily on my torso. He also noticed I'm always trying to get my bottom knee in, but what about the top knee? And finally, to get that knee in, I need to shrimp better, and once I get my elbow on the mat, to think about connecting my knee to my elbow.
I was bummed Richard didn't show for class. I look forward to picking his brain.
Class tonight 5-8. I am loving a daily dose of grappling.