Last night was a basics review class.

After the warm-up, we started off with one minute rounds working armbars and triangle chokes from the guard. No resistance from the partner, and not taking the attacks to submission. These were simply positional drills. We did as many reps as we could for the minute, then switched places with the partner. One round armbars, one round triangles. Good drills that I needed to help "lock in" the small details that make the moves work ie; knees tight to the opponent's body, proper rotation whilst pulling the opponent's arm across your body, etc.

We then focused on the basic bridging escape when mounted. Important factors noted:

* Break the opponent's posture, either by pulling his head down or bridging him forward, so his hands come down to the ground

* Trap one arm by pulling it across your chest, and trap the same side leg, so the opponent has nothing to "post" out with when you attempt the sweep

*With arm and leg trapped, bridge opponent up and forward (so he can't post his other arm across his body to stop the sweep), then roll to the side of the opponent's body that you have trapped off

We worked these for 5 reps each side, increasing partner resistance each time. Last rep was full resistance.

We then worked the standard single-leg guard pass. Emphasis on:

*Maintaining good (upright) posture

*Hands were palm down pushing into opponent's hip, with elbows digging into their thighs, and pushing a knee into their tailbone for leverage to help break their ankles apart

*Once you get an arm under one of their legs, get the leg on your shoulder, and reach forward across to their opposite shoulder, crushing them the entire time. Do not let your body come away or create space when moving.

We worked the guard pass for 5 reps each side, with increasing resistance each time. Last rep was full resistance.

The instructor showed us a neat reversal for when someone tries to bridge you off from the mount. It starts by trapping one of their elbows while you are mounted. You "give" them an arm to trap for the bridge, and secure their opposite one. As they bridge you to the side of your trapped arm, you pull on the opponent's arm that you have trapped as he rolls you. Your foot goes in the opponent's hip (same side as the arm you are pulling), and you push his head away from you with your opposite hand. Pull your leg off his hip, over his head and across his shoulder, and you should end armbarring the opponent. I definitely need work on that, but "seeds were planted". (for Gavin)

Class ended doing more one minute rounds of limited sparring. One round was bottom guy in the mount. He had to sweep, pull guard or submit. Top guy had to submit. Then, it was bottom guy pulls guard. Top guy had to escape or submit, bottom guy had to sweep or submit. Switching partners and postitions each round several times. Pretty much exhausted at this point.

I did force myself to stay for 1 round of free-rolling, rolling with a bigger, muscular dude. We started standing-up, and he managed to get a nice takedouble leg takedown on me, and get me in mount. I was good about keeping my hands reaching behind him on his belt, so he couldn't trap them.
I was able to keep escaping to half-guard. I eventually got out, and swept him to scarf-hold. We ended up getting back to our feet, where this time I got him with a double leg takedown. I was completely blown out at this point, and pretty much much couldn't move any more. Time was called seconds later.

* Important mental breakthrough tonight:

I find that I am no longer terrified of working with blue belts. While I am not at a point where I can submit them with impunity, neither can some of them submit me without a serious struggle - if it all. This is certainly a big change from 6 months ago, when a match with a blue belt was a certain, quick defeat for me.

Still, I have a long way to go. But progress is now visible.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin