Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Training Day: Wednesday

Very nice midweek training tonight. It's "Choke Week" at GB Seattle (like "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel, only with chokes) and tonight's entry was the clock choke.

There were a couple of great details that Prof. Rodrigo pointed out. The move count I did was something like:

1 open far collar and sprawl against the hip
2 choke hand under chin to far collar ("see your fingers")
3 control far wrist with far grip, pull in to widen elbow
4 choke elbow tight into belly, heavy on near shoulder
5 pressure forward w/forehead on mat, turn the clock

We also did the variation with the hip switch. Training with Jason Garcia (who is was great to see again after what seems like a million years), we talked about how if you put that pressure on quickly, it could almost pop the guy's head off.

Anyone who's ever seen that classic finish by Wallid Ismail over Royce Gracie knows how effective the clock choke can be even at the highest levels.

I'm really liking the way I'm opening things up in training. It may have taken me almost six years (my sixth anniversary in jiu-jitsu is less than a month away!), but I'm finally getting to the point where I feel comfortable about really working at the margins of my game. The half guard to the back move that Rodrigo showed us on Monday is something that is very, very attractive right now. And more than that, I'm thinking not just of the move itself, but of what situations I can create that will make the guy give me the opening I need to move into that take the back move.

I'm convinced that's how the truly great ones do it. You can't know every variation of every position in the world. But if you know a couple of ways that, more often than not, get the guy to react one of maybe two or three different ways, then you can construct an entire mousetrap to lead the guy deeper and deeper into doom.

So it is about "anticipation." But not in a spontaneous sense, per se, or some mystical "read your mind" way. It's much more straightforward. If you push forward, more often than not, the person will push back in response, at least the first time or two before becoming suspicious. The game is to make sure that when they give that response, you've got the rest of the trap ready to go.

I remember Rickson Gracie saying something along these lines in a video taken at a seminar he gave for one of his top students, Pedro Sauer (and, yes, it is odd to think of Pedro Sauer as anyone's "student", in a way). Rickson said that he was "always a step ahead" because he knew how Pedro was going to react. And assuming Rickson is no mind reader, and doesn't have light-speed like reflexes, the only way that is possible is for Rickson to create irresistible poor choices. More than that, "progressively worse but no less" irresistible poor choices. Until there is only one final choice left.

160.7 on the scale post-train. I really can't complain especially since I felt fairly blimp-like for most of the day. No HICT or UBS/LBS tonight, so I'll have to make up that conditioning and stretching sometime in the second half of the week.