Well, it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted! As I said before, life has been crazy! I’ve also been more immersed into BJJ, as I’m now able to go 3 times a week. With that, work, family, and friends, I regretfully don’t have much time for writing. I also don’t usually have a whole lot to write about. In the past months since I’ve written I’ve lost some more weight, gotten in better shape and competed in a tournament. I won 1st in my weight division in the gi, which was awesome (only division I competed in)! I also managed to hurt my knee some when rolling for an armbar, but it wasn’t serious and is almost back to 100%.
Anyway, why am I writing all of a sudden? As I was pursuing some old pictures on my Facebook profile, I came upon the photos from the Mendes Bros. seminar that I attended in September of last year (2012) and something caught my eye. Something I used to do that has changed for the better. To explain what that is, I’ll actually use the situation from the seminar.
I got a chance to roll with multiple time world champion black belt Rafael Mendes. He made quick work of me in about 3 minutes via armbar. What did I notice from the pictures I was looking at? My defense. How I was defending the armbar was horrible! And no, it wasn’t the technique, but rather the mindset. And at that time I didn’t even really think about it. It’s a small tweak, but it’s had large gains for me. When Mendes weaved his arm through for the armbar, instead of moving to escape, I just locked up everything into a rear-naked choke defense type grip and then I waited.
Now, this might not seem terrible to you, but here is why it is. I was waiting for Rafael to make a mistake, so that I could escape. That’s what I had been doing against belts my level and lower. But, I got armbarred anyway, because Rafael didn’t make any mistakes. So, I’m going to say this in bold to get my point across, escaping because of your opponents mistakes is not a legitimate defense.
Now, I’m not saying to not be calm. I definitely stay calm. If someone weaves their arm in for an armbar, don’t just start going crazy trying to escape. I see it as a delicate balance. Calm, but ready strike.
So, now, instead of waiting for a mistake so that I can slip out of a submission, I make my own opening and make my opponents make mistakes. Instead of locking up my defense and sitting there, I now lock up my defense, bump one direction and then try to get my arm to the mat.
Don’t fall into the trap I did. You create your own escapes. You don’t wait for opponents to create them for you.