Saulo Ribeiro's book "Jiu Jitsu University" is a goldmine of information. Best of all, his theories are presented holistically instead of just laundry-listing a billion techniques. I haven't yet gone through even half of it, but I am appreciating the prioritization he shares. I see more and more that my survival skills are improving, something I haven't given myself much credit for. Of course, I'm still thirsting for sweeps, trusting that my friend Jason is right and someday they'll just click for me. But until that day, I'm also happy to be making it harder and harder for people to submit me.
Couple random reflections...
I rolled with a very sweet whitebelt I think of as "Peanut Butter Guy." I call him that in my mind because his method of holding me in side control makes me feel like I'm trapped under a big, warm, solid bag of peanut butter. I can't feel many bones, his body mass is substantial, and it completely smooshes out all the airspace between my body and his, leaving absolutely no space whatsoever to get a knee in. Even when I bump hard I feel like he magically eats up all the space I create with his body. So-- in this roll, we started from knees. I don't have many takedowns from the knees (though David is trying to improve that situation) so after some wrasslin' around, I usually end up with him in my open guard. Eventually he passed and was in side.
I learned several incredibly valuable somethings from PBG that day. I was doing my usual- just wait under side (invertedly smashing, LOL) until he transitioned. He went for knee on belly, and inadvertently his knee pressed into my solar plexus. Even though he probably used 20% of his weight and strength, it really sucked and I got mad! The valuable lesson? I learned that when I stop being lazy (in the guise of being "efficient" with my energy) I am fully capable of bumping, humping, and agitating sufficiently to not only escape the peanut butter side control, but I reversed him... (and I'm ashamed to admit, in a fit of pique I got knee on belly on PBG and really went for it. I ended up tapping him out just from knee pressure.) It took more energy than I usually spend, but less than I thought/feared, and I ended up on top in a good position. I shouldn't have been motivated by emotion, but that may have been the extra oomph I needed to try what I thought would be nearly impossible. So thanks, PBG, I needed that. It was also a valuable lesson to see that I need to watch my emotions and keep things professional. I'm embarassed to admit I got pissy that way.
I rolled another time with a friend I haven't been matched against in a long, long time. As usual, he's bigger, taller, stronger. I was cautiously feeling out the takedown game; it was nogi, so I was trying for armdrags, looking for duck-unders, and considering shooting for a double-leg. I apparently was dilly-dallying longer than he wanted, while successfully surviving his attempts to get grips.. so he did a taekwondo-style thing, where you (excuse my cruddy description) kind of cross their waist with your one leg while scissoring their lower legs out from under them with your other leg. It happened so damn fast I couldn't really tell you what the mechanics were, but I've seen him do it before to someone else and it's effective. Unfortunately for me, I came down in a heap like a ton of bricks and jacked up my knee and ankle. I started to cry a little, mostly from fear that it was seriously injured, but got over myself when I realized how upset he was. In a few minutes, my knee felt good again, but class was over and we didn't get to finish our roll. To my dismay, now my knee is fine but that ankle is swollen and audibly pops/clicks with every step. I went to class this morning, but started a migraine about 45 minutes in so I took some imitrex and went home. Hopefully the extra rest helps; I will be in class tomorrow because the ankle doesn't hurt much, it's just puffy.
While I was in class, I did get to roll a bit with a woman who's relatively new to jits. She's strong and agile, but definitely a newbie, and it's refreshing to see what my technique can do against someone my size but less experienced. Yay, this stuff really does work! (On the down side-- she unintentionally kneed me twice in the eye while trying to hold side mount. Boo.)
I learned a rolling armbar from turtle the other day and it's my new fascination. I need to work on getting the farside hook in faster and smoother, and I need to polish the momentum-gaining "dive" under their arm in order to force them to flip over when I do.
I am all in favor of headgear now. Been wearing the Brute "Shockwave" for about a week and it makes such a difference. Because my left ear has been cauly-ing for two weeks before that, I wouldn't be able to roll at all without the headgear. The swelling was frighteningly located inside the ear towards the ear lobe/ear canal area, and I was draining the ear two or three times a day, about a cc each time. It is healing, slowly, and there's a lot less blood each time. Most of the swelling happens overnight, I notice, probably because I'm rolling over on that side by accident. I probably will not wear headgear regularly once this fully heals... it's just too hot and I don't like diminishing my hearing... but it's nice to be able to keep on training.
I am most disappointed in the latest Keiko Raca childs-size gi. I had an older M4 and love it but for the color (I dyed it orangesicle by mistake.) I ordered another in plain white from JiujitsuProGear.com and it sucks! The gi top is now being made of a tissue-paper-weight material and if I sneezed on it, I'd rip it. I'm returning it this week.
So-- competition. I think I'll be shooting for some tournaments in late fall. Last year Atama put one on in early November and it was fun, so I wouldn't mind doing it again. NAGA has a December one in Dallas, and I think this last NAGA shows they're capable of making it run relatively on time (if they have 16 mats at once, that is.) I love that there's so many kids grappling, but geez, it sucks to start your matches at 6pm! Anyway, if I can inch forward in progress and let go of my fears (or at least step around them) I'll be competing again in a few months. I read a quote the other day that motivated me. It said:
Life begins where fear ends.
And that's true. So here I come.