As I've mentioned, Gracie Humaita Austin separates classes (technique and drilling) from training (hard, directed sparring) from open mat (whatever you want to do.) Tues and Thurs nights have our on-ramp class (for newbs) first and then training. I started attending on-ramp this week in addition to the fundamentals program because (a) our browns and purples attend and rave about it, (b) I have yet to see Donald show something I know already, unless it's because he already showed it to me at my old academy in competition class or a private, and (c) it's nice to have technique 3-4 nights a week, so I can still be on the mat even if I wasn't feeling ready to be ragdolled in the training portion.
Last night we continued D's explication of back escapes, looked briefly at armbars from the back, and we concluded by touching on armbar defense. As always, stuff you thought you knew before leads to facepalm and murmurs of "Duh! why didn't I realize that?" I partnered up with Pete, one of our smaller guys, and was impressed anew when I saw he wore a white belt... dude sounded and felt like a blue in every way. So good to train with someone who listens intently to the instruction, processes it well, makes mistakes the first time or two (so I don't feel stupid when I do the same) and then naturally picks up a little intensity, switches sides, and is happy to point out where they feel you have gone awry. I try to have zero ego about this (though I fail, otherwise I wouldn't feel stupid about mistakes) and I want feedback. This describes most if not all the people at the academy so it's win-win and I'm fortunate.
After that hour, I thought, I'm ready for some hard training! I thought it would be like last week, just me and the smaller herd working with our super-feather bluebelt... nope. One loosey-goosey flow roll to warm up and then you lined up down the mat across from your partner. Everyone took two steps to the left, and that was who you'd roll with the first match. Nonstop 6 min matches followed, always lining up between rounds and moving two steps to the left.. The first two were supposed to be 70-80% but epic fail for me-- I have a VERY hard time even keeping "70%! 70%!" in my head much less in my body when I'm rolling with a guy. Even if he's only going 70%... to me, it feels like 100%, and I counter it. Maybe not with 100% of my speed, definitely not with tournament intensity... but 100% of my weight and strength. So by round 3, when D announced "OK, from now on, 100% each and every round" I had to chuckle and confess to my new partner (Andrew, a burly blue belt who probably weighs 60 lbs more than me and easily out-techniques me with his eyes closed and both hands behind his back) that I already blew my wad and would really be going 70% if that.
Oh, and I had to point out-- I slipped while doing box jumps in the gym yesterday at noon, so I had big bruises on both shins that looked like raspberries under the skin-- so please no knuckles into the shins.
By the time I got down the line to our super-feather, I was knackered. She looked more energetic than I felt and I did my best to give her good tournament prep, but I feel like I did a fair bit of hunkering down, defending, and praying for the bell.
I had to quit after an hour. I just couldn't do more. I wasn't close to puking-- but my muscles were trembling and I felt sunburned, my face was so red. Breathing was a challenge. Definitely need to keep working on getting back into shape!
Cool followup to our sasae conversation the other day, thanks Tim for pointing this out!
Tonight, I will be attending a friend's Judo class... I feel like I'm cheating on my BJJ spouse with my Judo lover ;)
While you're still procrastinating actual work on this lovely Friday, how about you check out the Science of Skill post on short and long term goals in BJJ? I like Dan's writing. He has degrees in psychology and kinesiology, he runs a BJJ school in Rhode Island, he's been training and competing for years, and he looks at things (as the title would suggest) with an eye to the science underlying the skill. Because I feel I'm lacking in native talent, I'm always interested in ways to apply other strengths to enhance my progress in jiu jitsu... so his stuff is right up my alley.