Man, after Diego 2 yesterday where all we did was fundamentals and Armbar from Guard over and over and over again, my body was sore this morning. But I had to go. Hadn't seen Diego Herzog, our head instructor, for almost a month, holidays and all, so it was time to get in there and get back to training.
Lotta white belts today, which is not a bad thing, always good to go over the basics. Haven, Harry, Regina, and myself wearing Whites along with Oscar (Blue), Mike Kazan (Purple), and Conrad (Brown), so it was a nice sized class. Plump.
After warm ups we drilled a Mount Escape into Side-Control and then Mount Escape into Scissors-Sweep.
Later on we sparred. I went with Oscar and he submitted me twice right off the bat with two chokes that I didn't think he had the proper leg position for (a Guillotine and a Collar Choke from the back), but he worked his angles and used his athleticism as a weapon and just forced them through. One was more crank than choke, but one was definitely a choke. Nearly passed out. It's a good lesson: just cause someone's not in proper position or doesn't have the right hooks, that doesn't mean you're safe. I got him with a sweet Kimura, but it's kinda a basic move and I need to get a better offensive arsenal. I then got him in an Arm Triangle from Half-Guard and held it and worked it and I think had it been anyone else, I would've neck cranked them to a tap, but it's Oscar we're talking about here. He's tough and strong and doesn't give up. He just kept my leg tied up in Half-Guard (can't finish that choke until you free your leg and get on the opposite side of the choke and get your hips to the mat for the proper angle) and my arms started to tire out. I kept the position and squeezed like an anaconda, but he stayed calm. The sad thing for me was that as I worked my leg out from the Half-Guard tie up, I kneed him in the groin. Yikes. The rest of the round it was back and forth, with him dictating most of the pace.
We switched partners and I worked with Haven, a new white-belt. He's got good instincts, but just doesn't know the positions yet. I tried not to bully him, but show him what was open. One thing I went over is that you have to stay on top, but play the same level. It's all about Level Change. This is my own insight, so might be way off, but it goes something like this: if we're both standing and one guy shoots low, now the game is low, the guy in the higher position, he no longer has control. He can sprawl, get to his knees, or he can get low at the same time, but the point is, the game is now low, levels have changed. And it can go right back. If I shoot low but then change and come back high, now the game is back to high. One guy who's found a way to play both positions, to effectively find the middle between high and low is Lucio Muramatsu. It's hard to find that middle, but right now I think it has a lot to do with getting your elbows to your knees. Or something like that. I'm still learning. But you gotta know what level you're fighting and react. Being in top position is what you want, but if the game changes, you need to reassess.
I didn't bully him, but did sink in some chokes when I found them, then talked it over what I did and my thoughts on how he could protect more. One thing to always keep in mind is there is never a perfect position. In BJJ there is a counter for everything and an escape for everything and a variation for everything. Nothing is perfect. Gotta stay alert, read your partner, react, and keep your mind open. The best part though, is Haven's a cop. So I got to choke out a cop, like three times in a row, and I didn't even get arrested! My daytime work out is great!