Rolling with a purpose

Our BJJ black belt Greg taught Jiu-Jitsu class yesterday, and one thing that he usually does is incorporate more structure into our grappling at the end of class, instead of just having free open mat. He emphasizes the importance of “rolling with a purpose”, and by limiting our options through positional grappling, we can focus more on certain areas. This is especially helpful for working on those things that we might not normally gravitate towards, or get a chance to practice, while rolling. It’s also nice because I don’t have to worry about asking anyone to roll, since partners are assigned.

I like the fact that when Greg has us do king of the mat, he often does it “up, down, and out”, instead of the traditional way, where the loser leaves the mat. This is good for me because otherwise a lot of the time I only get to work one side, because I can’t win against anyone. That wasn’t the case yesterday, since there was a newer guy in class who I had no problem with, but it was still really nice to be able to work both sides with everyone.

Naturally, the positional grappling drills are focused on whatever techniques we worked on that day, and yesterday it was all about half guard, particularly the person on the bottom getting to a safe place. I don’t think there could be a more perfect thing for me to practice right now, because I still seem to get stuck in that position, and then submitted, far too often (I remember Kitsune once said that she should have her mail sent to bottom half guard, because she was there all the time!). It actually felt weird to be able to get the underhook and take my white belt partner’s back so easily from bottom half guard during the positional grappling yesterday, because I’m so used to getting crushed there!

I really enjoy learning Jiu-Jitsu from Greg’s perspective, because he is one of us “little people”, so not only can I usually understand what he is trying to tell me, but it also works for me (if I do it right). It’s like we speak the same language, only he is fluent, and I am still learning how to talk. Greg can be seen at the end (around 2:45) of this guard drills video that I recorded about a year ago, and someday I hope my skills can be half as good as his!

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