Open Mat Thoughts from December 3

Did some stretching and a few movement drills Ana and I found on Ginastica Natural‘s Instagram feed. Need to do these every day, especially stuff that works on my hips.

Ed showed up and we started what ended up being a 31 minute submission-only match. I had his back for a big chunk of time, and the thought crossed my mind as my arms fatigued in failed RNC attempts that I was leaving myself open to an arm attack later. I wasn’t going to have anything left to fight it off. Of course, that made me double-down on the RNC finish because I didn’t want to see what would happen once I lost position.

Turns out, I lost position and had to tap to the kimura. Self-fulfilling prophecy? I was able to escape a couple of them using the technique Gerry helped us with last week though.

Went on a roll with Frank and got dominated, of course. At one point I grabbed his leg and he stood up, so I jumped up too and attempted a single leg. Failed. I then realized that standing and wrestling was not where I wanted to be with him. How to get back to the ground and maintain guard? I knew he would really be wanting to double leg me or throw me, and I wasn’t looking to let either of those things happen. Yeah, the landing would hurt, but even worse would be the position I’d be in afterwards.

He ended up tapping me a kimura (surprise!). The actual surprise was that he got it from the bottom of side control. Wh-wh-what?!?! Man I was beat.

Ed and I took a little break and strategized on how we should be doing these open mats. We both really like the submission-only marathons we’ve been doing, but in a real fight or in a tournament there are some bad things that doing this format all the time encourages.

For me, the good thing about going without a time limit is that I feel like I can try anything during the roll. For instance, I feel perfectly comfortable going for a new arm bar setup that we learned, even though I know that he knows it too and will defend it. I probably won’t get it, and I’ll probably end up in a bad position because of it, but that’s ok. It gives me a chance to work on the bad position and spend a lot of time getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, defending, and escaping. Once I regain dominance, I can take a chance and work something else.

The bad part of these rolls is that there’s no sense of urgency. You can actually rest in the middle of them. I caught myself doing this a couple of times when I had him in half guard. I didn’t have to deal with pressure or many threats, and I use it to recover, build up energy, and then try to escape. I also tend to start on the bottom for these rolls and ease my way in to them. I don’t mind being on bottom knowing I have infinite time to work, and I use it as a warm up instead of attacking from the bell. Not that any of this is really bad, and not that we want to never go long again, but it isn’t conducive to all situations.

So we decided to do a couple of five minute rounds to get some urgency into the fight. I think I did a little better in this format. So close on a triangle once, but this dude is just crazy tough. He ain’t tapping to anything that isn’t 100% sunk. The big difference I’ve noticed with using defined, short rounds is that I am much less likely to give up top position, and I fight really hard to get it back when I’m on bottom. I’m more comfortable on top in the gym, and that’s definitely where I would want to be in a real situation.

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