BJJ Session # 11 – Death Grip

Feeling a little sluggish today. December around these parts means all four birthdays (Fortnight of Kish®), plus the standard running around while leaking cash at every turn. My parents had us over for dinner on Sunday, which traditionally consists of homemade sushi and tempura. In other words, I probably had about 20,000 calories from sunday to Monday night, when the leftovers were all gone. Not the ideal training regimen.

Louis, you know me too well

I’m helpless in the face of homemade sushi and tempura

Tonight’s class was about ten 1 minute rounds of grip fighting, a new guard pass and two rounds of sparring.  One of the biggest revelations so far is that (standing) grip fighting is significantly more tiring that working on the ground.  I would say that after the average one minute round of grip fighting I’m about as tired as I am at the end of a 3 to 5 minute round of sparring.  That’s likely due to the fact that this revelation makes up half of what I know about grip fighting, namely 1) it’s tiring, and 2) I don’t know what I’m doing.

There are some latent judo memories from when I was a kid, certain angles or movements that seem familiar. Between the year or so of judo and wrestling with my grandpa (black belt in judo), there’s a sort of vague understanding at certain moments. Not enough for something to materialize, but… something. Anyway, lots to learn in that area. I’m just trying to apply some of the fundamentals from the ground to standing; break grips, get advantageous grips, maintain posture/structure, break his posture/structure,  maintain solid base, disrupt his base.

The guard pass was a variation of previous guard passes I’ve drilled. Kind of a hybrid of the under pass and the around pass. Pull his leg past/outside my hip, knee between his legs, stay on my feet, grab far lapel, work his knee down until it’s trapped between my elbow and hip, give him the space to roll away, pull his near side arm across, take the back.

This little sequence was challenging to get the details right, but allowed an introduction (for me) to chokes from the side/back. Still a lot to learn about the details; grips, pressure, sequence.  I actually got to try it out at one point in sparring, and had reasonable back control (hooks in) and a good grip on his collar. Couldn’t get it set in, but it was nearly there. I think I was too far away from him when trying to lock it in, maybe if I stay closer I’d have more leverage.

My first sparring round was with my friend who’s a black belt, and it went about as expected. When sparring with someone experienced, it really is a lot like trying to hold a conversation with someone who’s fluent in a language you’re just learning. My mind is racing and coming up with little to nothing, while it’s plainly obvious that this is the most rudimentary of “conversations” to him, and he’s slowly setting me up for something.

I do feel my top pressure is getting better. I am getting “heavier” when I need to be, and it seems like I can get light and mobile enough to give some trouble when they’re trying to sweep. Not to say that I don’t get swept… ’cause, man, do I ever. That usually lead to me holding on for dear life… an my grip was already burnt. Not much, but it’s something…

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