The main currency of households with young kids is sleep. With enough of it, anything is possible. Hobbies, activities, ambitious outings…. the sky is the limit. With too little of it, quality of life deteriorates until such a point where the system will correct itself; i.e. everyone becomes so sick that all are confined to bed (or hospital) until you regain enough health/sleep. Once you get some reps as a parent, you start to better anticipate and thus avoid most of the catastrophic “corrections”. Still, dropping even 30 to 60 minutes a night over the course of a few days can lead to disrupted schedules, grouchy moods and general lack of zest for things that you enjoy. Like BJJ.
Another truism of kids is this: they are basically mobile petri dishes, incubating EVERY bug or virus that comes into contact with them. This leads to sickness at a rate that I’m still shocked by. I’ve been sick more in the last three years than in the previous ten years combined. As long is the sickness is of the non-mortal kind, the main victim is sleep. Kids sleep like crap with colds. Which means they’re up a lot. Which means you’re up a lot. If you weren’t sick yet, the lack of sleep (and the resulting weakening of your immune system) will get you eventually. Then there will be even greater demands on your spouse, who will lose sleep, etc., etc., etc.
All this to say, the kids got sick, my wife got a little bit sick, and I had a poor week of sleep… but have managed to stay “healthy” (at least physically). On top of that, my wife was away for two days on business, which lead to only getting to one session this week. I was going to go to open mat this morning, but felt so crappy that I couldn’t break the inertia in place and instead settled into the couch for some cartoons. BUT, I went to class last night and learned the arm triangle and americana for the first time.
The arm triangle for me started from side control. As he’s pushing away with his outside arm, tuck your head and hand around and behind his shoulder/arm. With you arm that’s under his head, grab his outside shoulder. Roll your pressure up so your shoulder is on his neck area and lift your hips. Slide your head-side shin across his belly, then bottom side leg across him until you’re on your belly on the other side of him. At this point, the pressure should already be pretty intense for him just from your shoulder and the position of his arm that you have trapped. Clasp you hands in gable grip, and put your chest on the underside of his shoulder. From there, tighten and push his shoulder up into his neck. It took a little bit for me to get the details and the nuances of what worked, but it started to make sense by the end.
From there, onto the americana. If your partner wants to get his arm away, he can’t bring it straight down, he’ll have to move it out. As he does this, pin his elbow down, get your hand out from under his head and control his wrist. Trying to keep his arm a right angle, work your bottom hand under his elbow and grab your own wrist. Then lift up, trying to put his hand under his elbow (external rotation). There are a lot of ways you can get to the end, and it really depends on what’s available to you at the time.
Sparring was as good as can be expected. Pretty tired mentally, but felt better after some exercise. One thing that stuck with me from a few weeks ago was the notion that if you’re attacking someone, they’ll try to close that “door” that you’re working on. As they do, there will be another door opening. The idea being: it’s pretty hard to keep all the doors closed all of the time. I liked that. It works for me as a paradigm for sparring. My only issue now is (to stretch this analogy as far as it can go) I still lack the knowledge to either recognize the other doors that might be opening. Even when I do, I don’t know how to walk through that door (ok, time to drop this analogy). It will come with enough experience, just that now it’s a weird feeling having a clear advantage on someone and pausing because I don’t know what to do.
Otherwise, areas where I’ve noticed improvement: top pressure, stuffing sweeps, sweeping from guard and mount. Progress!