Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Training Days: Tuesday and Wednesday

Three training sessions in three days. That may be arroz e feijao for many of you, but it's been awhile since I put in that kind of pace.

The spacing is good: training Monday early, Tuesday late, Wednesday late and Friday early. I felt as exhausted at the end of tonight's training as I did on Tuesday, which included a conditioning session earlier in the day. So I may be able to get away with conditioning Tuesdays and Saturdays (Sundays if I train on Saturday).

As much as I like the conditioning, I think a lot of what is causing so much fatigue is an extreme amount of extra movement, movement that doesn't lead to anything. It's not that I'm flying around all over the place - hardly. It's just that I'm not being as efficient as I need to be to keep up, and instead finding myself relying on athleticism.

Relying on athleticism is never a good way to improve in jiu-jitsu. And at the age of 44, it's a really bad way to train.

My guard is coherent. It's not seamless and it's not consistent, but I do have a pretty good idea of how to turn the pattern into a garment worth wearing. I'd argue that at least two-thirds of what I'm trying to do from the guard is less than a year old, and I need to keep that in mind when things aren't working like I wish they would.

About passing the guard. My strategy has been to turn everything into a battle of half guards. So when it comes to passing the guard, my goal has been to get the guy on the bottom to commit to defending with the half guard instead of whatever other guard they might have been planning (read: preferring) to use. The theory was that at least 51% of the time, my half guard (which represents 75% of my game) is better than their half guard.

Whatever sense this may or may not make, the problem is that I haven't focused explicitly enough on passing the half guard. Watching Bruno and Felipe from the 2009 Worlds reminded me that passing the half guard is no walk in the park at any level. But if that's where I'm going to make my stand, then I need to be as comprehensive from that position as possible.

I'm taking Thursday off from training and conditioning (back at it on Friday). But I do want to do some movement tomorrow on the home mat. While it is expressed most obviously in the fatigue/athleticism thoughts above, I've just not felt like I've been moving with any fluidity whatsoever. I've never had anything that could be described as beautiful jiu-jitsu. But feeling the "ugly" from the inside out is a little distressing.

Again, that may just be the inefficient movement I'm seeing and feeling expressing itself. Part of my determination to drop 10 pounds comes from feeling awkward and immobile too often when training. And while there's nothing lost by getting a little leaner (a walk-around between 150 and 155), there is the possibility that it is "extra-movement-induced fatigue" that is more to blame than the lbs.

What I could use is a diet of white belts - at least in the absence of drilling on these specific areas with advanced guys. At root, my jiu-jitsu is lacking in flow outside of my Gordo/Plan B series from half guard, Flat Pass and, bit by bit, my cross guard omoplata vs. ground and push pull vs. standing. And maybe that's plenty at "this level" against other folks who've been at this game for years and aren't likely to fall for something you've only been noodling with for a couple of weeks.

Some great details in the bow and arrow choke in training tonight. It's a must-know choke, as far as I'm concerned, so it was very nice to work on it tonight. Tuesday night we worked some basic standing guard passing with an emphasis on getting inside control. More good stuff.

157.2 on the scale Tuesday night. 157.0 tonight. I'm icing a knee, unwrapping a finger and thinking about the in-house tourney on Saturday. Thinking.