Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Oops up side your head!

I’ve got a bit of catching up to do, so apologies for being lax and for the long post that is likely to ensue…

Wednesday’s session last week was just me, Big Dean and Si (surprise surprise!). We looked at taking mount from cross-side, using the same cross-side variation that I’ve written about recently. There were two variations here. I’ve seen both before but it’s been a long time so was really to good to go at them again. The first variation involves kind of sitting back under the opponents armpit, controlling the hips with the “bottom” knee, then posting the “top” leg over the opponent and down on the other side. From here, it’s a pretty easy transition to full mount. I really like this one – it’s pretty simple…important to maintain good base throughout, but simple in principle, and easily overcomes the “foot on knee” defence that so many seem to try and use to stop the mount (which is pretty ineffective at the best of times). The second involves threatening the neck to allow you to move your “top end” knee into a more favourable position for base and the “sliding” your lower knee across the abdomen – almost knee on stomach, except you maintain a low body position over your opponent with your body, maintaining the pin. From here, you push the knee down and backwards to complete the mount – pushing the knee in this direction counters any attempt by the opponent to block the knee with their hand – their pushing the knee only serves to assist the movement you want. From securing mount it’s important to aim to get high mount where possible. I don’t remember much about rolling, although I’m pretty sure it was the usual affair of me being tapped repeatedly…oh, hang on, I do remember. I had some kind of strange lower back twinge – really bad pain which flared every time I tried any kind of upa or shrimp. I couldn’t stand up straight at one point. After all kinds of potions, stretching and some pain killers, it subsided enough for me to roll, but I didn’t feel at all confident or comfortable. Strange – the day after I went to the gym and not a trace of any pain….I was expecting to have to lay off, but it was fine…must have been something trapped rather than damaged, which was a relief, given my back track record.

We had MMA on Friday – just me, Dean and Tugboat Steve. We worked from guard, framing against a fence from being pushed backwards, getting to standing, then reversing your opponent onto the fence. I remember doing this a while back and really enjoyed the drill – really hard work, but a good functional workout and very useful with some direct cross overs to Jiu Jitsu principles. We then worked a pad drill with a few pointers on punching technique. Not having done a striking art for over two years now, I can really feel how slow my reactions have become – I’m not worried – I’m sure with a bit of training it will come back. It’s good to hit the pads every now and then – working good punching technique and hand speed is always a good thing to do – a good sharpener. We then did a few 5 min rounds of light (ish) sparring. Dean was being kind to me, going real light and only playing at Superman Punches – enough to make a point. Kind to me to the point when he shot in and I punched to the pack of his head – not full pelt and without malice. I now understand that’s not allowed, and fully understand why. By way of explanation, I can only offer (a) I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed and (b) it was an automatic response, probably from the self defence stuff I’ve done, which is basically taking whatever I’m given – if it’s there, I’ll strike it, gouge it, whatever to stop the attack. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not excusing it, but offer it as an explanation. Dean dealt with it in typical fashion – telling me it wasn’t allowed, then reinforcing the learning with a kinetic reminder – namely a well placed punch to the bonce. Fair enough. Point made and no animosity beyond that. I think again this comes back to control – a little less “excitement” on my part would go a long way to preventing these “rushes of blood to the head”. Sorry mate.

I then sparred with Steve and was able to use my reach to good effect, keeping him at bay with some good jabs. I also landed a couple of decent body punches and a nifty upper cut up inside his guard. Steve got in a good body/head combination. Major pointers that Dean was giving to me were that I was very upright and my guard could be higher – I need to “hunch” into a tighter posture… I’ve covered this with Steve Morris before and just need to keep focussing on it. Dean also mad the point that I had far more capacity to double up on shots rather than just single shots…just need to build confidence in this, and a refresher on the way that Steve Morris generates and positions his kicks was useful. Anyway, all was going reasonably well, until I stepped in to throw a punch and at the same time Steve threw a belter, which landed square on my jaw – really took me aback and for a couple of seconds the world went a crazy shade of blue and yellow spots. I think we could all tell it was a great shot – Steve backed off and Dean stepped in. It was a pretty hard, shot but thankfully within sparring force. I think I’d have been down if it had been full-on. Proof indeed that I was too upright and my guard was low – another learning experience from instant “feedback”.

I was shattered and pretty lethargic the day after. It was a hard session and being smacked upside my head couldn’t have helped. I’ve also got a bit of a cold at the moment – I’m not sure I’ve adapted yet to training every day (gym included). It’ll come. But I also felt a bit down about the back of the head thing in sparring. Not sure what that was...I think I’m just disappointed in myself for not having more control and doing something to a mate that was potentially dangerous. I’m OK now – no point in dwelling on it, just making an observation really on how things like this can affect my mindset and the need to reflect and move on.

Last night (Wednesday), there were four of us. A quick revision on blocking punches, then we went over the mount from cross-side again – the one with the knee sliding over the abdomen. I think it was good to drill this some more – it’s really important to drill single techniques like this and get beyond superficial detail – these moves are so important to achieving dominant position and without that, there can be no submission. We started to look at some submission possibilities and transitions off of it, but that was not the focus, so nothing exceptional to comment on with that. I was pretty disappointed with my rolling – not because I got tapped time and again, but more that I was pretty purposeless – I wasn’t really thinking what I was doing and pushing far too much. I think I need to take a few moments before rolling just to focus on what I want to do, maybe even visualise how I want it to be. I don’t expect that I’ll get my way, but if I can roll with a bit of direction, that will be sufficient for me to feel satisfied.

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