Going to Jiu-jitsu class these past few days has really opened my eyes to my progress. The past three times I have gone the huge guy (Big Man) I am always paired with has not been present. It is not that I do not want him there, but it has allowed me to work on some other aspects of grappling. Further, I have noticed that my bottom game has become a little bit more technical since I couldn’t rely on strength when wrestling Big Man.
Another benefit of wrestling with Big Man is that I feel like I am in an anti-gravity chamber when I am rolling with other guys. It may also be a curse because the lack of pressure on my chest and the lack of panic sensations I would get when I could feel the air slowly leaving my lungs, may lessen my alertness when someone achieves a side-mount of mounted position. Although, when grappling with the head instructor, I had to resist the urge to bench press him off of me when he temporarily blocked my access to air while working for position. I was able to secure a technical return to guard. I guess the ‘flashbacks” from wrestling with Big Man will keep me alert.
My judo skills (green belt) still holds me in good stead in class. The second in command instructor told me I should start sharing with the guys what I know. I was also beginning to get embarrased over how they were commenting on my, what I consider, basic judo ability. However, to the non-initiated in Judo, stopping take downs is very difficult. My reasoning is that most people expect a takedown to be a one-shot, one dimensional deal. In Judo, a takedown can be a simple hip throw or leg sweep, but a Judoka expects that so when they practice with other Judoka they often have to use combinations. When I grapple with my Jiu-jitsu brethren or wrestlers they often expect my first action to be a failed attempt when it is often a set-up to make them react. Just as Jiu-jitsu is chess on the ground, I think of Judo as chess standing up. As a former Judo guy I try to think two to three steps ahead…..
Now if I could just apply this to my ground game.