Abbreviated training session on Friday due to a minor emergency at The Daily Planet. Prof Carlos - back on the mat after a rib injury last week - was working on a variation on the DLR to sitting guard transition, with an emphasis on controlling the near sleeve. Carlos also included a switch to the shin guard, passing the near sleeve through the legs for control and switching to a collar grip. Pull the grip, extend the hook and use your free leg between the guy's legs as he drops down to set up the back take.
An interesting variation alongside the one that Prof Rodrigo showed us in Monday's late session. In some ways, though, the most important part of the move was the way it reminded me to continue looking for opportunities to use the butterfly hook not just to off-balance, but to extend the leg to break down the near-side, as well.
Very good training with Brian during the Live Training. We spent a lot of the time at the end going over details and variations of the sweep we'd learned, including the Machado variation where you dive under and roll, stiff-arming the free leg to help disrupt any spread-eagle base.
It was good to see Prof Carlos moving around as much as he did. It was even better to see him show us a move that he's been working on - a move that might be the one that wins him gold at the Pan Ams in a few weeks. It reminded me of what I'm trying to go with the Roger: find a basic and common situation and then plot a course that takes you from exploiting that initial situation all the way to the finish.
Even as I struggled to implement the Roger gameplan in sparring today, for example, it was a real difference to feel as if I was attacking with a complete strategy. There was never an instant of indecision, just plan is working/plan is not working.
Setting up those kind of binary situations, and then being able to move through those "either/or" options as quickly as possible as the edges guide you is the real difference maker. It's what I feel when in the half-guard, for example, when I'm really able to get that 8 o'clock angle. And what I'm starting to see in the finish part of the Roger, where the cross collar choke I've been working for has opened up opportunities instead for Ezekiels and armbars (!).
A little fat for a Friday at 164.2 post-train, everything but the coat. I'll get in some off-mat conditioning tomorrow, maybe try matwork (tm) as a cardiac output/LSD type routine - though I've got a make-up threshold training from Thursday to deal with, as well. I want to move gradually toward a cardiac power/threshold training paradigm for the final four weeks or so heading into the newly-rescheduled Revolution tournament on March 12th.
The biggest challenge over the next month is going to be to spend as much time focusing on my weak areas, especially the ones that have been exposed over and over again in competition (and in training against some of my toughest training partners). In a perfect world, for example, I'd spent the next 20 hours of training (about 2 1/3 weeks training 4x/week) doing nothing but side control escapes and toreano open guard passes, with a little back mount escape drilling and pulling half guard thrown in for good measure. For the final 20 hours, the Roger and my basic half guard could make a reappearance for the final prep, but that first 20 work would remain on the schedule.
If you're not a superstar, this is the only thing that seems like it will work to turn otherwise ordinary ability into extraordinary jiu jitsu. Of course, what's funny is that the superstars all follow this approach, as well - at least at the very top of the art. Roger Gracie talked about it in the interview he did with Jordan Breen of Sherdog.com, the idea that effective training is more than just hours on the clock or dates on the calendar. It's about taking specific advantage of the time you have to put in the work you have decided you need to do.
That and even a temporarily-like-minded soul or two trying similarly to navigate this first sphere of Paradiso.