Sensei Vic was back at practice this week, which meant that practice became notably more intensive. While Sensei Vittorio is usually content to have the “adults table” (as Tim refers to it) just fight in rounds of groundwork or standup, Sensei Vic likes to do change things up and use different drills to up the intensity of the practice considerably.
Both nights followed the usual format of warm-ups and uchikomi, followed by stuff.
Tuesday we got some throwing practice in (aka “stuntman practice”, a name which has spread to at least one other dojo member), which was nice. During a break, I managed to pick up an uchimata variation that I really, really liked, from Sensei Vittorio, and have started working into my practice and my randori (with more success in the former than the latter).
After the throwing practice, we were grouped off into groups of five, where we practiced groundwork in sets; the person who was “in” worked on attacking, while the other four focused on making the attackers life difficult. At least, that was the theory. The reality was that it was one guy doing groundwork for four minutes, facing a fresh opponent every minute. I ended up in a group with Vinny, Ulysses, John, and Jerry, which meant I was rolling with four people who are all either bigger, stronger, more experienced, or all three. It was a bit rough, but I felt like I was at least learning something (even if it was just how to deal with getting pinned).
After a short break, we then went into stand up work, which consisted of rounds of gripping, randori, and “10, 10, and 10s”. The last one being do a set of ten pushups, ten sit-ups, and either ten squat thrusts or ten “jump-overs” (where you hop back and forth over your crouching partner). The net result of all of this activity is that you get tired very, very quickly.
Honestly, Tuesday’s randori was very frustrating for me. I don’t know if it was exhaustion, lack of food, or what, but I just felt horribly off my game. I don’t think I came close to hitting a single throw, and everything just felt…wrong.
Thursday, by contrast, felt a lot better, despite the fact that my neck was a bit out of whack (from clinching in Muay Thai, I think). Thursday’s practice followed a similar format to Tuesday. We did get to work a couple of ground techniques, which were neat, but very confusing, and some gripping techniques, which I completely lost track of. Gripping right now is one of my biggest points of confusion, and it’s magnified by the fact that I tend to stand in a lefty stance, which means all the tricks I’ve seen for righties don’t work for me.
On the other hand, I felt like I was doing a much better job attacking yesterday, in part owing to my addition of the aforementioned uchimata to my arsenal. I did have one very solid throw on Sergei (though it basically amounted to me dead lifting him and dropping him); I had mixed feelings on that one. I felt bad for losing control of the throw and basically just dropping him on the mat…but damn if it isn’t satisfying to do just that to an opponent.
What I did find interesting is that I seem to perform better in Vic’s mode of training than Vittorio’s, at least in randori. Vic really forces us all to push the pace, which means I have overcome any natural hesitancy on my part, and just go for whatever I can try to find. On the downside, this results in me getting dumped more, because I over commit myself. On the upside, it gets me being aggressive, which I’m not always good about otherwise.
The journey continues…