Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City, New York
Sometimes Offense is Defense
I'm back at Rocha BJJ or, as I've come to think of it, home. I really do love that place, and its been a wonderful thing to come back to while I'm living in the bay area. A lot of folks there have left, but those that are still there are really family to me, as are many who have gone.
My first few days back were pretty rough. I took a little over a month off to finish my undergraduate degree (graduate cum laude from Fresno State; will be pursuing a masters in the fall, probably at San Francisco State) and do some academic work. Now that I'm out of classes, though, I have time to get back to the grind. I've been spending 4 or 5 days on the mat for the last two weeks, and I'd like to get back to multiple classes a day on my days off.
Anyway, I'm working tonight, so I went to the open mat this morning. It was a very small group, as the size of the open mats is always sporadic during the day. It was me, one white belt, and a female brown belt who is one of my favorite people to talk to, Heidi.
My game is getting back to where it was, and I was getting good easy passes against the white belt, and establishing side control pretty firmly. Locked in a few armbars when I decided he should be on top for a while and started pulling guard. Overall, that was a nice drill for me. I've been trying to get my guard passes back, since my side-control has been pretty solid lately, and in competition that's a good route for me.
Anyway, I was working with Heidi a little bit and she was, as always, kicking my ass. The point she made to me is that when I was passing and she was threatening submissions or sweeps, I was taking my weight off to set my base back up on my knees.
Instead, and this is a fairly common piece of jiu-jitsu theory that I had forgotten, she suggested I actually commit more of my hips to my pass, keep my weight down and just play more aggressively. This is a particularly good piece of advice for training, since during training there are times when it is ok to play a little more aggressive that we might in competition, and developing comfort with attacks and staying aggressive over the course of the technique can be very important.
The point was this: When defending a submission, there are times when it feels intuitive to be aggressive. It is common knowledge for most jiu-jitsu guys to stack in various armbar positions, but there are lots of positions where it is not intuitive. In some of the positions where we wouldn't intuit an aggressive, heavily weight response, such a move might be wholly appropriate.
Anyway, that was my piece of jiu-jitsu theory for the day. I'm starting to feel really good about getting my game back. My goal is to spend every weekday on the mat for at least one class, since my work schedule will likely allow that, and get myself back up to fighting fitness. I'm starting to already feel the strength and power in my legs and arms again, perhaps even more than I did when I was younger, and it is very rewarding.
Also, a treat for those who actually read this thing, a video I ran across on a particular training program in MMA, the Black House gym. Those who know that I'm interested in the politics and the lifestyle (though always secondary to the history) know that these are the sorts of things that catch my eye:
Sig by Toxic
Barnett - Toquinho -Werdum - "Nurmie"
Z. Gurgel - Morango - Rocha - Tiequan