I drilled and rolled with only one person during all of Tuesday’s Jiu-Jitsu class; one of our seasoned white belts, Jordan. I say “seasoned” because although his belt is white, it’s kind of dirty, because he’s been around for a long while (and I think he goes to every single class!). In staying true to my pledge to work on my defense, after our first roll I asked him to put me in side control and try to submit me. I told him I chose that position because I think it is my weakest place defensively, and he said he thought it was his weakest place offensively, so it worked out well for both of us.
I was able to escape at least once, but then another time while trying to escape I trapped one of my own arms, and he had the other one isolated. I pointed out to him that I was virtually immobilized, and it would be a good time to try to submit me. When I didn’t tap to his Americana, he let up and asked “Are you just really flexible?”, and I replied “Yes, I’m flexible, but the angle doesn’t feel right, try adjusting it.” He realized his error (my arm was too close to my body), and when he tried again, I had to tap almost immediately. I appreciate that he didn’t just try to crank my arm off when I didn’t tap the first time (as some white belts are prone to do). I didn’t know that I would be working with Jordan the whole time when I chose him as my partner at the beginning of class, but I made a very good choice.
Focusing on defense doesn’t mean I’m giving up offense, I did try to submit Jordan the first time we rolled (but he wouldn’t let me!). However, I do think I’m going to start more of my rolls (especially with white belts) from a defensive position, instead of just trying to pull everyone into my guard. It felt good to be able to help Jordan at the same time I was improving myself, and that’s really what it should be all about.