Tuesday’s class was relatively standard in its format. Warm ups, uchikomi, throwing, sparring drills. Sensei Vittorio was the only one there, which created the interesting problem of having one teacher splitting his attention between two groups of students. This resulted in little oddities, like when Sensei forgot about the group of us doing groundwork in what were ostensibly two-minute rounds—the result was what was at least a three, possibly a four minute grappling match with one partner. Fortunately, my partner and I were both able to recognize that this was going on (as we gasped for breath), laugh about it, and have a good time anyway.
That was actually one of the most memorable grappling sessions of the night. Rolling with Sergei (a tall, skinny kid with the sort of accent appropriate to a man named Sergei) is a bit like this, but slightly less decisive. He has the amazing ability to acquire grips from just about any position, and there were several moments where I found myself thinking “how the fuck did get his hand over there?” It was damn disconcerting.
Sergei, for his part, described my (slowly evolving) game as “like bison. Slow and methodical, but very strong.” Ignoring the questionable accuracy of his analogy, it’s interesting. I do find that I’m trying to play much more of pressure-heavy top game than I have in the past. I’m not sure if it’s the presence of the gi, the lack of striking, or what. I recently spent some time going through a chunk of the Straight Blast Gym’s DVD on their “Iron Coffin” top game, which certainly influenced my thinking on how to maintain top control. Maybe it’s just that. In any case, I do feel like my ground game is starting to evolve, and that’s a good thing.
I also go some tips and tricks from Sapedra on some sweeps from guard, which were helpful.
There was throwing randori, but I don’t remember much of it.
Thursday…Thursday was murder.
To start with, I had Wednesday off from all training, and so I decided that would be a good time slip in my second Magic 50 of the week. That workout is hell on wheels, but I figured I’d have enough time to recover from it.
Boy was I wrong.
Sensei was in a creative mood on Thursday, perhaps spurred by someone commenting that they needed more of a workout. So after the usual running, Sensei moved us right into some partnered exercises. These included wheelbarrows up and down the length of the dojo, followed by several sets of pushups with different hand configurations, followed by a pair of horrific drills. The first involved having a one person jump guard (essentially jumping up and wrapping their legs around the other person); the other person then had to do upright rows with their partner’s body weight. Like I said, horrific. The second drill involved jumping guard and doing sit-ups. Also horrific, though not as bad as the upright rows. Those just murdered my arms.
We followed that up with moving uchikomi, and then throwing practice. I feel like my Ippon Seionage is slowly improving. Very slowly.
After that, we moved into some technical practice. Sensei Vic went over a couple of different gripping and throwing combinations, some of which I really, really liked. In particular, we went over a setup for Kata Garuma (Shoulder Wheel, aka a Fireman’s Carry) that I found meshed nicely with some of my Thai-influenced clinch game, and a setup for Uchimata that will work great with the way I tend to grip. I plan on working them both extensively over the next few weeks.
It was really, really nice to get some technical practice for once. Playing all the time has its benefits, but I really feel like I needed some new tricks to try. I think I finally have some.
Lots more to say, but that’s all for tonight.