I had another great 'I am a purple belt!' class today. I was hitting combos and flowing well and sweeping and really felt like I had broken through to the next step. The difference between this class and the last one where I felt that was that this time I got a much clearer mental picture of how to reproduce those results. I expect to have more ups and downs, but I think I'm solidly on the UP path, and watching some brown belt tournament competition is starting to help me see the places I can bridge from where I am to where they are. But enough about that, on to the good stuff!
During the technique portion of class we were working on a nice fundamental Kimura from halfguard top and using it to set up the guard pass, or finish it there. I was drilling it with one of our whitebelts and towards the end of drilling as I was increasing resistance some I started stiffening my arm and moving it through the kimura/straight armlock/americana combo positions. I then explained the combo and told him not to give up once he had my arm isolated because no matter what I did, until I get my elbow back inside I would never really be better off. I talked about how some people will defend up and down through those three submission positions hoping to frustrate their opponent enough to move to something else where there might be a better chance of escape. I emphasized NOT to give up that position or let them get their arm back just because they broke out of the first submission.
Fast forward to one of the last rolls of the day. I'm rolling with that same whitebelt and, as is my custom, I let him work his way to halfguard top where I fight for the underhook, giving him the setup from the technique portion of class. He takes it, and starts working the kimura on me. I defend, stiff arming and floating my arm around until suddenly I pop his hand off of my wrist and I hear that sweet sweet, 'Dangit' that tells me I'm not going to get subbed. He gave up. I had defeated him. At that point he sort of half heartedly went for the kimura again but he had no commitment behind it because in his mind I had already escape. Sure enough a few seconds later he shifts around and moves to a different position and I pop my hips and escape back to guard, hip out, grab a collar and choke him.
I then pointed out that he had just done exactly what we talked about earlier. He HAD me. He had the kimura solidly established. Just because I popped that one hand off didn't mean anything. My position wasn't improved AT ALL. All he had to do was grab my wrist and lock it up again and he could have continued to work it without any interruption, but he allowed me to beat him mentally and so he gave up a dominant position with a submission 3/4 of the way completed.
When you are in a position where you can work to finish your opponent, and they manage to block the submission, but not improve their position you can not let yourself get frustrated. They haven't done anything except delay the inevitable. Continue to attack and attack and attack without giving them any leeway to escape. Don't give up just because you're having a hard time finishing.
Oh, one more excellent thing from class. I normally don't finish a lot of armbars. I'm lazy about them and tend to just transition to somewhere else after I use them to sweep or something. Tonight I hit two from places I've been thinking about, but haven't really taken advantage of. One was off of a pendulum sweep. I swept, and immediately transitioned into the armbar in one nice smooth motion. And the other was a nearside armbar from side control/knee on belly where I gathered the arm up with my leg and trapped it across the chest and just extended it there. I'm very happy with both of the transitions I used on those.