Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Training Day: Wednesday

Missed a planned training session last night.  But it probably wasn't the worst idea in the world to take a day off between sessions.  Maybe last week's 6x training blitz caught up with me, but I was feeling a few aches and stiffness that I hadn't felt before.  But insofar as they were in all of the usual places, it seemed like a little time was all that was needed to get back on track.

Efficiency in the guard is about knowing what you want to do in the guard.  Nothing is more exhausting than being lost and struggling to find the right direction.  Skill, speed, and size aside, part of what is so challenging about training with Professor Carlos  in recent days has been my lack of a process, especially when it comes to playing guard against a standing passer.

My tendency has been to try and play a "leggy guard".  But there is nothing in my experience or body type that would recommend such a strategy against anyone, much less someone with the Anderson Silva/Jon Jones combination of length and agility.  Instead, as I have discovered with light featherweights I train with who have great ability (and speed rather than length), the goal has to be to (a) reduce the length advantage by concentrating my attack, and (b) reduce the agility advantage by making movement either difficult or a liability.

Easier said than done doesn't even begin to describe it.  I've started to train away from "small guy" jiu-jitsu in an effort to embrace my inner pessadissimo.  But when there is no way to escape the 10-minute moment in which you are very much the small guy, there is no alternative to adopting strategies that are specifically geared toward turning this bug into a feature.

The question, though, is this: do I take a more Marcelo Garcia approach to this dilemma (drags, X-guards and single legs), or a more Rafa Mendes approach (berimbolo, berimbolo, berimbolo)?  There is something tempting about the latter - and something worthwhile in finally learning that great berimbolo reverse.  And those who questioned Rafa as an absolute candidate have to be satisfied with his performance against Rodolfo Viera at the Abu Dhabi World Pro in 2011.

At the same time, there's no doubting what Marcelinho has been able to accomplish as an absolute competitor.  And I suspect that a significant fraction of that success is a much a matter of method as anything else.