I used to love a good grapevine. Since I don’t weigh a lot, grapevining would help me to control my opponent better, and since I’m flexible I could usually cause them a degree of pain by stretching them out. However, now I’m afraid to do it.
The original injury to my knee that has been plaguing me for months happened when I was trying to stretch out a grapevine on someone with much stronger legs than mine. I lost that battle, and my knee paid the price. Now I find that I am always trying to protect it, and even when I do grapevine, I’ll usually only do it with my left leg. I also have trouble with top half-guard when they have my right leg trapped. This is the position I was in at the last tournament when my knee got tweaked. Any kind of pressure like that is painful and scary. I’m worried I’m going to dislocate it again.
When I read Conan’s recent post Finding a new style of grappling, I realized that this injury might actually help me become a better grappler in the long run. Since grapevine is off the table (at least for the time being), I’m finding alternative ways to do things. I’ve been experimenting with a high mount, and although it’s difficult for me, I have been improving at it. It’s also allowing me to work more on my triangles from mount, since a high mount is perfect for that.
So now instead of feeling limited by my injuries (yes, I said injuries, at the moment all four of my limbs are sporting one), I am going to try to start thinking of them as challenges. Instead of falling back into my comfort zone, I’m being forced to figure out new ways to do things. It’s also making me grapple more intelligently, because I always have to be thinking about protecting my injured parts. The next step is to figure out how to stop getting hurt all the freaking time in the first place!