This past week we hit the eight month mark in Brazil! It really doesn't feel like we have been here for nearly a year, but looking back at the amazing experiences I've had so far are almost too many to count. After getting settled in after the move last week, I was able to catch up on my rest and my training.
Week in Training
I got the week started off on the right foot with some good wrestling training on Monday. I have been going back to the basics and focusing a lot more on my techniques and chaining my wrestling together so I can get my timing back. I think that sometimes having a strong base in one art can allow you to get a bit lax on perfect technique, because you can still get away with moves against people not as well versed as you. The last couple of weeks, I haven't felt as crisp or as smooth as I should, but they may be caused by me training with great athletes and who have a strong wrestling base. It's good since it forced me to re-evaluate my training and allow me make adjustments where they are needed.
Part of the adjustment has been doing a bit more rehab work on my ankle. Since the injury, I have just let it heal and rested it when needing it, but I got some good tips from Dennis on how to strengthen my ankle. By putting on a diving flipper, sitting on the edge of the pool and kicking my foot for 10-15 minutes everyday, I focus on slow kicks with complete range of motion. It's a simple and effective technique. Even after only a week it feels better from a range of motion stand point. While training striking, I was able to cut more angles, step with my feet better, and I was able to throw and check some kicks without pain for the first time since the injury.
The BJJ training this week, as always, was top notch. On Tuesday, Dennis came in for his weekly class at the house. It was a drill heavy technique session where we covered a standing sweep series, and spent a lot of time working the positional transitions from one sweep to the next. We then spent a large portion of time hitting the sweeps one-for-one with our partners giving us different looks so we would have to make the proper adjustments to sweep. We finished off the class by working a butterfly guard sweep, which fits my explosive style well.
To cap the week of training off I headed into Nova Uniao for training on Friday. It was great to say the least. The technique covered was another butterfly pass that works hand-in-hand with the pass that Dennis had shown earlier in the week. The rolling was extremely competitive, as always, and my transitions and scrambles felt better than they have for the last couple of weeks. I felt a bit more creative with my attacks as well (including pulling off a nice reverse triangle on a scramble). There was some extremely tough guys on the mat that day including this slick blue belt who once I was in his guard had me solely on the defensive, using his hips and submission attempts to shut down my offense. While I wasn't the happiest after the roll, I took some consolation from the fact that I watched him giving higher ranking belts fits as well.
I finished the class out with a roll against a short stocky brown belt. In my roll against him, I felt like I used my wrestling better than I have in a while. I felt comfortable in scrambles and kept a calm mind if I got put in a bad position. A couple of times, he got me to turtle position, which instead of being defensive or trying to reestablish guard, I got wrist control, and worked for hip-heist escapes or switches. Out of one of the scrambles, I found him hitting a standing pass. I was able to sit up in half guard, and I realized I was in one of the positions I had worked through earlier in the week at the CR wrestling class (thanks to Ryosie for asking me the question that made me have to teach the position). I was able to turn the corner on a low single and work up to take the back with a single hook and a power half (I prefer it to the double hooks). While we weren't there for long, he quickly scrambled out, it was a strong transition and I felt better during that roll than I have in a while. I finished up with the session with some drilling and then headed back to CR....after my post training acai and espresso of course.