Friday, May 17, 2013

Operation Be More Assertive: Day 2

Apparently this is actually Operation Turn Me Into a Badass.

I had more success today with sweeps than I think I've ever had in a single class. I think my success rate was damn near 100%.

Multiple times the sweep was blocked temporarily and I fought through it to completion. I also successfully fought off several reversal attempts that I normally would have allowed. I was more explosive when I needed to be during my escapes and transitions and again I just went in and comboed my scissor sweep and collar drag with no care for what my opponent might be doing. Huge success rate.

I still have things to work on, but this is definitely getting me into the right place mentally.

Also, for the first time in a long time I feel like I really worked out. My arms, my core, my back, and my legs all feel like I went weight lifting. Normally I would think, "Shit I was muscling things too much." But for this project that's GOOD. I was actually using strength when it was needed in order to block my opponents explosiveness.

I need to continue this trend and keep this mindset all the way up to my next competition as well as hitting the weights and working to improve my strength and muscular endurance. The early results of this project are already very heartening though.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Operation Be More Assertive is a Go

In the past I have had what I definitely consider to be 'Lazy' jiujitsu. This has been hurting me in competition, and I've now compiled enough competition footage from the last year to see exactly where the biggest issues are and start to address them. The following is my plan for addressing these issues and making my jiujitsu more assertive and dynamic.

1. Ignore my opponent - I have in the past had a tendency to play defensively and wait for my opponent to make a mistake and then pounce on it. This lead to a very reactive game which frequently was very passive. This hurts you against opponents that don't make many mistakes or don't make mistakes that you know how to capitalize on. I have now begun ignoring my opponent and working to implement what I want to happen. 

2. Don't give up sweeps and don't give up ON sweeps - I previously would begin a sweep, and if my opponent blocked it I would just chill and wait to try something else. Instead I am now continuing to fight for the sweep and push harder to end up on top. I also would frequently allow my opponent to complete a sweep if it was pretty close instead of spending effort blocking it. Now instead I am actively working to block all sweeps no matter what stage they are at. So even if I miss my first opportunity to counter I am continuing to push back and work to stay on top. 

3. Take risks for submissions - Another passive point of my game has been being very relaxed about seeking submissions. I would be content to positionally control someone for 5-6 minutes and threaten a few submissions, but not seriously. Now instead I am aggressively seeking submissions, and a wider range of submissions and combining them. 

I began this project last night and immediately was able to see a difference. I secured more sweeps and submissions than I normally do and was able to do much more to control my opponents and force them to play the game I wanted to play, to my advantage.

Of course, I also managed to force a white belt to waiter sweep me, which was not exactly what I intended, but it was fun. All of my rolls felt more fun and dynamic as well. I feel good about this project and my expected results.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

USG - VA Beach Writeup and Videos

Another great tournament in the books.

I drove up Friday night. The trip took me from about 5pm to about 2am and I slept in my car after arriving. Woke up feeling pretty rested and had some yogurt then hit the awesome Virginia Beach Fieldhouse. Weighed in at 143 with my pants on and could have gotten to 139 without trouble, but not down to 135 which is the next weightclass down.

I spent the morning reffing the No-Gi matches and had a great time. I made no questionable calls and had no upset people, though I was approached by a parent later on about an incident on my mat that I had seen at the time, but chalked up to being an accident.

One of the guys in my division was a younger guy who was very intense, I assumed he was from a wrestling background and was just a little spazzy. He forearm checked another guy in the throat and I said 'watch the contact', but it seemed accidental and I didn't see anything else excessive. However apparently the guys dad on the sidelines was talking about 'doing whatever it takes to win' and several other people had fallen victim to some questionable contact.
The guy who approached me was the father of the guy that had been forearmed in the throat and he wanted to let me know that other people had complained about the guy as well. So, I'm going to keep a more careful eye on this fellow in particular and 'accidental' contact in general next time I ref. We're all here to enjoy ourselves not to turn it into an MMA match.

The divisions went smoothly and I then reffed some of the womens Gi matches where I got to watch Colleen Merullo rep Da Firma Kimonos while collecting some arms. I believe she took double gold, I know she took at least one. The girl is 14 and already a monster on the mats.

At that point I had to go change and get ready for my matches. So, here are the videos. I'll drop some commentary after them.

Match 1 -

 Match 2 -

Match 3 -

So, as you can see, I got obliterated. After the first 2 minutes of the first match I felt more exhausted than I did after 40 minutes of grappling at the sub only last time. I felt weak and completely overmatched at almost every point in every match. It was terrible. Definitely not a good performance.

I'm at the point where I need to be solidly brown belt in my technique to compete with guys that are 15lbs heavier than I am. They are just too good to be giving up any kind of physical advantage to.

I felt like I never got my game in gear at all. I missed my Tomoe Nage attempts. Couldn't seal the Berimbolo, couldn't complete a scissor sweep, and then couldn't escape mount. Absolutely terrible.

So, I will probably STILL do Richmond, because it's USGs 100th event, but after that I'm going to take a year off from competing in order to train more and hit the gym, spend my competition budget on private lessons or trips to train at different schools, and try to come back in a year both better and stronger.

But, the event was awesome, very smoothly run, the venue was great. As usual US Grappling puts on an awesome tournament.