Hit Fit, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 03/10/2013
It was much busier tonight, with a blue belt on the mat as well as the two purple belts (Dónal and I). Still, the vast majority were beginners, to the extent that most of them didn't have a gi yet (though I'm guess some of them may well have been training MMA and the like in the past).
Dónal began with a basic knee cut drill, where you put your leg in the middle of theirs, then cut it across their thigh. That was followed up by lifting under their knee if they blocked, turn to the other side, then push that leg across and flop down on top of it. In other words, this was another simplified version of a private Dónal has taught me before: it's very interesting to see how he strips it down, as that's a useful skill for teaching.
Sparring was from butterfly, where I'm particularly weak: I should really follow my own advice from a while back, when I last taught butterfly, but I invariably go for either spider or closed guard. I sucked on the bottom today, unable to do a whole lot even against beginners (many of whom weren't wearing a gi, which didn't help, but I wasn't getting far with those who were either). On the plus side, I'm continuing to experiment with the simple concept of pulling them towards you to get them to sit back, so you can sit-up sweep. I need to rebuild a functional guard game, so that will be one part of it (the sit-up sweep has always been my most successful sweep from guard).
I also got a reminder of the old elbow grind guard break, which hasn't happened to me in a long time. On the one hand it's crude, pure pain compliance and therefore low percentage. On the other hand, a beginner doesn't know any better than to grind their elbows into your thighs, so it's up to me to defend and neutralise it. Generally, you can just pull on their elbows, or I guess open the guard and go to something else, like spider. Although there's a little voice in the back of your head if you do that, shouting "No! Don't let them think elbow grinding works!" ;)
Passing went better, which is a complete turnaround from a few years back, when I saw myself as a bottom player (although again, there was a big experience gap). I went for the knee cut every time, then a single underhook stack pass if that wasn't working. Though I wasn't dealing with the blocking hand into the hip properly: should have brought my hips over to bend the wrist, or insert my knee by the elbow to bring their arm out of the way.