Breaking The Habit
As I outlined in my original post, a great deal of my wrestling has always come in the form of counter-wrestling. Letting my opponent make the first move and then working to put out fires as they come up.
It's not the smartest of strategies, but it's pretty much all I've got.
Having said that, it has occasionally proven to be effective at diffusing situations or taking the fight to places I find more advantageous. It just never really goes anywhere (at least for me). Sometimes my instructors will just yell pull guard as a means of not "wasting the round," but I have a far share of rounds in my years of grappling that have never gone to the floor because of this very concept. One of the very few compliments I get about my wrestling is that I am occasionally "hard to take down." Of course, advanced grapplers have no problem, as their brand of continuously attacking usually scores them some kind of takedown (it's one of the things I admire most about wrestlers, they're relentless).
So one thing I am trying to do is force myself to be more offensive.
While it's somewhat liberating not to worry about getting guillotined or having to worry about submissions (yet), it is still entirely frustrating trying to make anything happen. I'm sloppy, I'm slow, and I have a tendency to telegraph every one of my shots to the point where I might as well just say "I'm going to try to take you down now" as I begin to move.
With that in mind, here's a synopsis of what today's training looked like.
Today, I had the good fortune of training with my pal Eddie Lee over at John Evans' Breakdown Academy. You may recognize him as one of the participants of this year's Breakdown Invitational (where he had an exceptional match with 10th Planet's Niko Radich).
Eddie is one of the training partners who gives me the most problems in my day-to-day training. He also shares an appreciation for the true version of wrestling, as prior to the training session seen below, we were busy drilling #wwebjj entries into the Liontamer, Chris Jericho's variation of the Walls of Jericho/Boston Crab.
Much like what I did the day during my training session with Joey, I started the roll telling Eddie to do what he pleased. He was welcome to take me down as much or as little as he wanted. While the goal of the previous day's training with Joey from The Los Angeles Jiu-Jitsu Club was to work on posture, my main goal today was to find all of the little things about my game I don't like.
And there were plenty.
Let's take a look at a few GIF examples of a few of my bad habits.
This was my first attempt at shooting in. Eddie is known for having a great overhook control that he often uses with a sort of judo-like movement of keeping me from completing this single leg. It's a position I'm all too familiar with.
Eddie is really good at getting me off my game in a number of respects, but he's one of the few who locks up this solid two-on-one grip that always seems to disorient me a bit. My natural instinct is to push his face to give me some distance. It's probably not the nicest thing I do, but YOU CAN LOOSEN UP THE GRIP ON MY ARM, EDDIE!
I like this one because I know the shot is poor, I know the front head and arm control is solid, and yet, I still try to hit that wrestler sit out to try and maneuver out of it... without any real success
This is one of those moves where if it wasn't happening to me, I'd totally dig it. Eddie does a great job of getting me to posture up, drag me back, and then picking the ankle to complete the takedown. That leg scoop and continuous push really do make all the difference.
Perhaps one of the better (and only) examples of my defense from this roll. I go in to tap the knee, Eddie counters in with a shot of his own and nearly drags me down. I make an angle and circle out to avoid the takedown. It's one of those instances where I'd like to see a better sprawl, but I'll take a small victory in diffusing the situation and quickly working to get back into my wrestling stance.
It should be noted that my arm drags are for shit, but here I get what I would call one of my better attempts. I'm happy I was able to secure it, but I'm still displeased I don't quite follow up with anything. I get the feeling that I can sometimes put together a good offensive attack, but that I stop just short of following up (i.e. "I can take a shot in and get stuffed, but I somehow don't have it in my body to take a secondary shot to complete a takedown"). It's something I'd like to work on.
Normally, I'd put these two similar-looking shots into something I dislike about my game, but when you're a guy who's often ridiculed for never taking any shots during a given roll, you have a certain appreciation for seeing yourself at least make an effort. It's not great and Eddie does a great job of keeping me at bay with his hands (both times) -- and I can even see myself telegraphing it a mile away -- but it's better than the status quo. For that reason alone, I don't cringe as much as I normally would when I see it.
The same goes for this one. Eddie does a great job controlling the back of my neck and stopping me from making any inroads on getting on the inside. I think the hardest thing I remember about this particular moment was my want to try and pull guard. But I got back up and tried to at least remember the point of this whole exercise.
So there you have it. My set of reps for the day. Nothing much to feel great about, but at least I got my time in.
If I had to narrow it down to a list of three things I want to work on going forward, it would be the following:
- Finding a better set of entries into my shots - I hate wasting energy on shots that really don't look like they're going to work from the start).
- Working to hide my shots a little bit better - While I feel that my entries could be a little bit better, I also see how easy it is to time out my shots in.
- Building the chain - When I hit that arm drag, I just pulled Eddie to the side and let him regroup. That kind of thing happens a lot to me. I'd like to try and push myself to "and one" to each offensive maneuver that I pull off.
- Doing a better job of getting my opponent off their game - It seems everyone does it to me, better than I do to others.
There are others, but if I don't stop there I'll get in a vicious cycle of self-criticism.
On the opposite site, I can take some pride in knowing the following:
- I noticed a stronger improvement in my posture and ability to maintain it throughout the round.
- I made baby-steps forward in starting to attack more. The shots sucked, but at least they were attempted.
- I don't think I've really hit a counter arm-drag on Eddie before. That probably happened because I was slightly more aggressive.
Anyway, that'll do it for today's entry. I'll take any and all of your comments and notes in the section below. Thanks again for checking in with us today, folks.
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