Training Notes: March 6

A few things stand out – the more time we spend practicing attacking certain submissions, the harder finishing them is becoming. Each of us is going through cycles of progress and plateaus and they seem to be time shifted (my progress is evident when purple plateaus and vice-versa). Rotational positional rounds where each person picks a thing to work on is working out well to see a variety of positions.

Purple and Blue have been playing a lot of “find the heel” (essentially positional rounds from 50/50 where the goal of each person is a heel hook). The result is that digging heels out when rolling is becoming crazy hard. We’re also all able to “eat” bad heel hook attempts because we’ve gotten a lot better at identifying what’s going to break our leg versus what’s just uncomfortable. My finishing rate with straight ankle locks has increased a ton while my heel hook finishing rate is declining (mostly from not being able to get my lat on the toes correctly because they’re defending well when I try to cover to dig out the heel). Leg control positions are also going better for everyone overall.

Wrestling is going pretty well for everyone. I don’t have great notes about this other than that finishing specific takedowns is getting harder as everyone gets better at timing them. We all definitely just have a handful of things we’re doing standing, but that’s pretty normal for wrestling in my experience – most folks just seem to have a small set of things they do well, and then a lot of things they can do well enough.

Passing is an area we’ve all been focusing on and it’s one of the areas that feels most frustrating for me. It’s hard to see the progress when you pass only for them to reguard. I think we’re all at a place where we’re better at playing guard than passing it. That at least means we can all be good partners for each other.

Blue is still working on turtle breakdowns. I showed him the basic ankle lock against a turtle from Sambo. He’s getting a lot better, but I can tell it’s kind of like passing for him – he’s not seeing the progress because when he breaks me down I just re-turtle. He’s doing a lot better with control, and it’s hard to wait to see the results when progress is happening against someone more experienced.

I tried to work on North-South chokes. Ugh. The North-South position is something I can generally control, but a single-minded choke attack just isn’t working out great. Blue was able to defend about 50% of the time which means I got a good round in there. Purple was able to defend 100% of the time, including when I thought I had the choke locked in, when I switched to a D’Arce, etc. Blue has larger lats than Purple so I think there’s potentially a body-type thing involved here, but I need more data points to debug against.

Early March Update

It’s been almost a year that we’ve been closed, but Order #13 now allows contact sports so we’re trying to figure out what opening looks like. That is, Pandemic Pod might be winding down and pod-based classes may be in the near future. May. We’re still trying to figure everything out.

In terms of pod stuff, Blue’s knee has almost completely healed. There are still positions we need to be careful with to not tweak it, but overall he’s able to do everything again. Blue’s current focus is attacking the Turtle. Purple has been thinking about MMA so we’ve been doing a lot of wrestling rounds and some passing work. I’ve been focusing a lot on passing again, but have been doing Turtle bottom and closed guard bottom as part of helping Blue/Purple. My latest job schedule means I don’t get to see White super often. Black ended up joining a different pod.

So, where do we go from here?

Me: I need to work on passing quite a bit. I’m struggling more than I should be without the gi. I’m also still struggling to consolidate onto Purple’s back in no gi when I get behind him and get his hips.

Purple: While wrestling is progressing, some work on chain wrestling and recovery is still needed. Like me, he’s also in a position where his guard is much better than his passing.

Blue: Blue is doing way better than he thinks, but needs to relax some so his movements can be more fluid. There’s a lot happening in timings and small details that really can only come with more experience.

White: TBD, but I want to evaluate her for a stripe at some point.

We work on those things, we keep making progress. When classes can reopen, I use my antibody positive status to take on a small group of folks as students for the times I can ensure I’ll make.