This morning I had a class at the Gracie school and met a great opponent, Leila. My friend Ivelin decided to come with and check it out. After the conditioning and stretching drills, we got to work on a series from guard- armbar, triangle, reverse armbar.
I worked on that with Randy and Ivelin. Randy had some excellent suggestions, like at the start of the armbar, move your own centerline instead of wrestling with them for their arm. The less you pull on someone the less they resist you. When in someone's guard, keep your elbows pinned low and down and swing with them, capitalizing on their own excesses.
When we got around to rolling, I lucked out with Leila. She was doing no-gi, is about my size, about my experience level, and really tough! So it was a delight. We started from knees. I took her down but she got half guard though no lockdown. She's very strong and made it hard to pass. I eventually established side control, then went for the arm bar. She rolled over on me, but I got the tap by going to my stomach and arching my back. I think Richard, a brownbelt, was watching us, and he said afterwards that I was going to be a real "firecracker!" ... so I need to thank Tom and Robert :)
Second round, I went against a white belt guy (named Tony? I am so bad with names!) and that was also a good roll... I was able to reverse him at one point, but neither of us got a sub before time was called. Right before time, I know that he had side control and was working for an americana, which I managed to defend by rolling towards that side and pulling that shoulder under me.
The third roll was Leila again. I almost got the takedown, then went for a guillotine and sat back without making sure I had one of her legs. She quickly passed and got in side mount. She put her forearm in my throat, meanwhile I was struggling to get a leg. After what seemed like forever, she really got some good pressure on my throat (I defended by turning my jaw but still) and on my chest. I started to abandon the guillotine and laid on my flat back. We were somehow struggling for position, I know that my arms were not in a good place, and I was pretty winded. I just kept thinking of relaxing everything and getting lots of deep breaths. I definitely felt a little claustrophobic which was new for me. She and I both relaxed at the same time, did a bunch of deep breaths, and then went at it again. I could see there were several guys standing around watching us and I started to wish it was over so I could start again and do it right! ... anyway, it seemed like a split-second went by, she got rear mount, and she got the RNC. It was the first time I've ever known the feeling of suffocating. She wasn't that heavy, I don't know how to explain it, but I have to make sure it doesn't happen again. She seems like the perfect person for me to roll with, and she seemed very enthusiastic about getting together again, so I hope that happens and I hope she'll compete too.
Then, Mike (?) a 1-stripe blue who led the class worked with me on double and single leg takedowns for a few min, and by then Mitch and Markell had arrived. So Ivelin and we 3 went to eat at Magnolia Cafe before taking Markell to the airport.
I definitely want to roll with Leila again. Looks like I'll roll with Tom tomorrow at 11; then at Gracie for T/Th mornings at 6, on top of the classes in the evenings.
There is so much to learn and so little time. (Not just for this competition, but I feel like I need to soak soak soak it all in before we have a baby, you know?)