Friday, October 13, 2006

Checkmate or Stalemate

I had the opportunity to watch a class on Wednesday due to a thing. I rarely get to watch my team mates roll as I am usually "in the shit" and seeing where most of the guys are in terms of skill is pretty cool. I have to mention Victor because this guy has improved immensely since he started with his brother in January this year. He uses the fundamentals well and once he learns to sew things up tighter, he will be a force. He also has some really sneaky knees...

Anyway, I saw something in the rolling portion of class that I did not expect and I will comment because I have been there before and have learned to move past it. I saw a part of match where fighter (a) got caught in bottom mount. Fighter (b) held it and was ready to launch an attack and waited for fighter (a) to make an escape attempt. Fighter (a) knew what was coming and refused to attempt an escape. It seemed like forever where fighter (a) just lay there while fighter (b) held position and waited.

When fighter (a) was asked why he did not attempt an escape, he replied, "because I know what fighter (b) is going to do". They ended up breaking the stalemate and started over in a different position which I could not understand. This was a missed opportunity to learn for both fighters. I wish I could have seen fighter (a) at least attempt the escape so fighter (b) could have done his thing. But I question why fighter (a) knowing what fighter (b) wanted to do could not put together a plan. As well, there are a few options to escape from bottom mount that fighter (a) has used on me more than once, all of which were effective to a least create space and get out from under there or end up in half guard. It surprised me that he did not use escape techniques in this situation even though his opponent was larger. Maybe I missed something...

I wrote about this a few months ago talking about 2 specific times I could not escape, but could not get tapped either. Once when Mikey had my back locked in an Anaconda or Back Triangle really tight and I did not know how to defend my neck while breaking the lock. And once when Gabre had my arm trapped in closed guard real tight and I, again, could not escape while defending the cross choke grip he was attempting. In both instances it is my opinion that I was check mated, even though there was no submission. I now have some idea how to deal with both these situations because I looked for answers. But with the fight I just mentioned, the bottom fighter had viable options already.

I am happy that I am still a white belt and will continue to keep my mind open like a white belt. If I play all defensive all the time just to avoid getting tapped, I will hit a ceiling and plateau in my ability. Sometimes it is better to get tapped just to see how it happened, why it happened, and work on a solution for the next time it may happen.

Grappling, like chess, has so many pieces and so many variables. I would rather lose to a checkmate than force a stalemate if it meant I got better for the next time. Will ego be my biggest opponent as I progress? I hope not because then that and everyone else will kick my ass.