Man, a tough session today. I don't normally train sundays, but I decided to go over to Carlson Gracie Tonbridge. I knew I'd get a good workout there, and it's also been a while since I trained there.
For a short while (a month or two) I trained regular Sundays there in addition to Rickson's as there was a bit more structure to the sessions at Tonbridge than at Northfleet (at that time, Dean had just stopped teaching and sessions were just rolling - at my level I need more structured sessions so I can develop). Once teaching started up properly again at Northfleet it then became too much to train at both clubs regularly, and, preferring the much more technical and "softer" style of Rickson's, the choice was simple.
This is to take nothing away from the guys in Tonbridge. They've got a good set-up with a good sized core membership. The guys are all really cool and welcoming and really competitive and have had a strong showing in all the contests they've entered. I always get a little more adrenaline when I go to Tonbridge - I know It's going to be hard, and sometimes painful...it's all good, but not something I could do every week - I'd just be a mess otherwise.
For a while, the sessions were run mostly by Nelson Solari (a 2nd dan under Carlson Gracie). I found his sessions interesting, but I found myself drowned by techniques, of which, I can only remember a couple. Not sure what went on but the teaching is now largely by Wilson Junior (Carlson 1st Dan) and some of his brown belts.
I really enjoyed the session today and found Wilson to be a really jovial, friendly guy . We ran through a few variations off the open guard. Many of these were chokes...hence today's blog title. Problem with practicing chokes over and over is that if they're not on 100% right they can end up as neck cranks rather than chokes - they still hurt but have the effect of giving a pretty stiff neck.
We also did a bit of sparring from standing in preparation for a tournament that's coming up (more on that another time) - very intersting for me as I've done very little of this in BJJ. The guy I sparred with was pretty frantic, so I decide to keep a distance and let him do the work - sure enough, after about a minute he was knackered and I'd done very little. He went for a takedown, which he got, but it wasn't clean and I landed on top in X-side, from there I worked into mount and just while I was working in for an "americana" arm lock, time was called. I was amazed at how quick the time went - we only did 3 mins, but wow - bit of an eye opener in terms of tournaments, where you have 5 mins - not a whole lot of time to do your thang.
We ended the session with the usual from the knees sparring. At Tonbridge, they're a whole lot more competition oriented so they roll in 5 min bouts - just as well as the pace is always frenetic! Pretty much all the guys roll in a very aggressive and attacking manner, which can be a shock, but my game plan is always pretty simple. Stay tight, let the other guy go hammer and tongs for 3 or so minutes - once he's tired he'll start to make mistakes and then I'll make my move. This works a lot of the time, but it's a risky strategy given that the 5 mins goes so quick. My game depends on getting a submission, so theoretically, the other guy could rack up points and win if I failed to do this in a tournament. Still, I'm happy with how today went - I worked the basics, sat tight, waited for my chances and got some good reversals. There were a couple of tight moments when guys went for chokes, but they weren't on - more on my jaw or chin than my throat. Whilst these are still uncomfortable, I'll never tap to one of these - sometimes just out of principle - it's got to be clean, or give it up and move on. Just no point in sitting there for ages going for something that clearly ain't working.
Anyway, really good session, really good workout - cheers guys.