I’ve always been very uncomfortable rolling with Dave. Not that he makes me uncomfortable or anything. It’s just that everything I do seems to be wrong. It’s like it’s a really big mistake to lay a hand on him anywhere. I’ve never been able to quite pin down what it is other than the fact that he’s really tall, and those long arms and legs are really tough to deal with.
Well, that, and he’s a very experienced black belt.
Still, Dr. Dan is really long as well, but he rolls really tight and close in. With Dave it’s impossible to get close enough to attack him (not that any of them would actually work), and the only way you DO get close is when you’ve made that mistake and you are all of a sudden up close and in a horrible position.
The really cool thing is that although he’s probably the most legit guy walking around the mean streets of Cocoa Beach (see video below–black shorts) this winter, he’s the most gentle guy in the gym. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him work up a sweat. He’s just sort of cool with whichever way you want to attack or move–“Ok, let’s go that way then.” There’s almost no force at all required. He just lets you get yourself into a bad spot.
He doesn’t take a lot of submissions with me either, although I lose count of how many he passes on every time we roll. He usually gets there, then moves on to something else while letting me have some space to move around into another bad spot.
I did a private lesson with him a couple of weeks ago and learned a ton, but it was a real treat to have him teach our class on Thursday and share some stuff we don’t work on regularly. It became very clear about halfway in that the stuff he was teaching us has a lot to do with what makes him such a difficult puzzle.
We worked on arm drags a lot, both standing and sitting. Some of the things he emphasized were creating angles (or seeing the angles created by your opponent) and moving yourself to the opponent instead of trying to move them to you. It makes so much sense–they are going to resist if you try to pull them. Why not just hang onto them and move yourself instead.
You are actually cooperating with your intentions. They aren’t.
I also appreciated the fact that almost everything we worked on is something Ana and I can drill together at home. Sometimes our size difference makes techniques better suited for one of us over the other and difficult to work. But I was able to take these drills and work on them with the kids as well.
Interesting how this works–I’m so big that they can’t move me. They have to move themselves into me. And for me, I have to really focus on not moving them at all. It’s an effort to not move them toward me.