Monday, January 31, 2011

Training Day: Monday Squared

Arguably, last week's double was only a 1 1/2: I trained the Live Training in the early class last week, not the full class. This time, it was full early class and full late class, including three 8-10 minute rounds with two minute breaks. I tried to treat the two-minute breaks as "active rest" by pacing the mat for the duration, which worked well to keep me from cooling down too much in between sparring.

A two-a-day was just what I needed. Back when Lindsay was teaching Monday nights, I used to have an axiom I called "ATM" for "Always Train Mondays". The idea was to get the week off to a strong training start by training on the first possible day of the week, especially since I never trained on Sundays and only now and then trained on Saturdays. Even as I switched to day training for a stretch, I've tried to keep "ATM" alive, that momentum of starting the training week with a session on Monday.

It's also a good rule when tournaments come around. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of experience to know what it is like to be planning a return to the training mat after a glorious tournament victory - at least not for the last few years. But I do know what it is like to be half-dreading, half-desperately needing to return to the training mats after a Saturday competition that didn't go as well as I'd hoped. And in that way, I'm pretty grateful for ATM's unequivocal ability to get me back into the water after an often brutal experience with the sharks.

The early class with Professor Carlos had us working on a leg block judo takedown that was a lot like osoto gari but instead of sweeping the leg backward, hooking the leg, you kept your leg planted on the mat behind his calf and drove forward, sending him backward into guard (most likely). We also worked the same toreano-based guard pass that Prof Rodrigo showed us a while back, with Prof Carlos adding the very helpful detail of stepping wide the side to get a better angle to come in with the shoulder to the solar plexus (you step wide on the pin-leg side).

Tonight with Prof Rodrigo, it was all-DLR sweep, all the time. The DLR is something I'd write off immediately as not for my body type except for the fact that guys like Rodrigo - whose build isn't too different from mine - are able to incorporate the DLR into their guard game seamlessly.

Here, what was truly great was being able to work the DLR all night long during the first hour. As a big fan of the whole Talent Code meme, I'm pretty much convinced that the best way to learn is to drill and drill and drill the same moves over and over and over again. I'll freely admit that there are times when I just don't feel like I can input any more "intellectual" information into my brain. Being able to focus on and hone a single move or a single takedown or a single position instead of three or four different techniques isn't just a more effective way to learn, IMHO, it is also a lot lighter on the brain.

In the early class, Live Training was all about the Roger. The Roger will be the go-to move now and forever and everybody will get a chance to deal with it if I get anywhere close to the proper set up. In the evening class, Live Training was more about survival and "the go", making sure that I'm always working to improve position, to create or eliminate space, not just "waiting" as a growing number of black belts have been warning me. Sure, many of these efforts, especially during my two 10-minute rolls with Prof Rodrigo tonight (!), were not especially successful. But one of the beautiful things about jiu jitsu is that it is one of the few areas of life where failing the test can actually make you a far better student.

163 and change after the early class. 161 even after the late. Fine enough for a post-tournament Monday.