Putting the pieces together

January 6th, AC started a 6-week competition class. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go or not. My plan for this year is to at least hit the local BJJ tournament that has 3 competitions a year. If I like it/do good at it, then maybe 2014 look to Chicago for an IBJJF tournament. I knew that after my performance at the in-house tournament, it sure wasn’t going to hurt to go to the class.

Turns out there were only 5 guys (including AC) to show up the first night. We started with a simple stand-up drill. I grabbed my partner’s left sleeve with my left hand, and placed my right hand on his shoulder with my right elbow on his chest. It was a couple steps to my right, dragging my partner. Then it was his turn.

We did this a few times then added a new step. Two steps to the right, then move my right hand from the shoulder to his left sleeve and my left hand around his back to his belt.  After practing that for a minute or two, we added another step. We added dropping down and grabbing a leg to initiate a takedown.  Finally, we moved to the ground and sat in side control for 3 seconds.  

Part of this was to show how to link pieces together. Which I was very grateful, when it comes to standup, I have no clue what I’m doing.  But some of the small pieces, like sitting in side control for 3 seconds while we catch our breath was also helpful. It showed me that I don’t have to grab wrist, get belt, get takedown, move to side control, then to mount and try an armbar all in 5 seconds. But instead it needs to be deliberate and purposeful.

On the following Wednesday I had a similar experience. Instead of Kyle for the open class, we had Ed, the blackbelt at our class. He wanted to teach us how to do some guard passing. Again we started slow. One partner laid on his back, one stood in front of him. The standing partner would grab the other guy’s pants and just simply  move the legs from left to right. Then we added trapping a leg to our body with our elbow, then getting our knee over their leg and on the ground. By the end of the night we had a pretty nice pass that we could execute a couple different ways.

Both of these helped me pick up what we were doing more quickly. It was a lot like a children’s book to hep kids learn to read “The. The dog. The dog ran. The dog ran around. The dog ran around the house.” If I had just seen either of these progressions in competition, or on youtube, I probably would have said “That’s neat, I have no clue how to pull it off though.”  But by breaking down each of these moves into a sequence of steps, it made it more clear how things fit together. 

That’s something that has consistently happened at Mid-America. The way they taught me to do a triangle choke from guard has at least 9 steps (assuming I didn’t forget any when I counted just now.) If the first day they just threw up a triangle and said “Ok, now you do it.”  I would have been lost, and I don’t know how long it would have taken me to get the basics.