With that said, when I stop to think about it, I've actually learned a fair bit about mount and side control, and I'm reasonably comfortable holding those positions now against someone who isn't capable of throwing me across the room (and someone who doesn't really know how to escape from those positions). I might even find a submission somewhere if I stay there long enough. I'm also fairly confident that if someone is going to give me their back, I'm going to do a reasonable job of taking advantage of that too. I've also noticed that my fitness levels have improved greatly, which is good because as a programmer sitting at a computer all day, I really don't get a whole lot of exercise. I've even gained weight (which is probably a little surprising) mostly from gaining a bit of muscle instead of being a skinny weedy little IT guy.
I must admit I'm not a massive fan of the fundamentals class setup. Any BJJ class where you can go 10 lessons and not learn a single technique from guard has to have problems right? Yes I know it's my own fault, but still!?
Fundamentals seems to focus almost entirely on the guy doing the attacking. We've not learned escapes from mount or side control at all, nor how to defend the various submissions we know. I guess this is for a reason, specifically people are going to find attacking more fun than defending. The good thing about that is that it's forced me to think about it, look stuff up and try to apply it by myself, which has met with mild success.
The worst thing I've found about fundamentals is the complete lack of rolling. The extent of the sparring in recent classes has been 4-6 rounds of 1 minute staying in a specific position. That's useful, but it's not likely to be challenging my fitness all that much at this point. It also doesn't let me learn anything about transitions between various positions, which I'm guessing is actually important, and it's really not a whole lot of time to actually work on creating an opportunity to make someone tap. I have not been tapped out in these miniature rolls in the last 5 classes I don't think. I can come up with a few possible reasons for this:
- A minute is really not very long.
- My training partners are beginners just like me.
- I've actually paid a little attention to learning some defence and some escapes.
- I am the greatest.
In most cases when you start BJJ, you're the new person and you know nothing, so everyone in the room can kick your butt if they want to. Especially if you're a little guy like me and you can't make up for being useless by being a big strong gorilla of the type that nobody actually wants to train with. So you start out by getting whupped, and you learn from there.
This doesn't happen in fundamentals class because nobody knows anything that you don't know and you only roll for a minute at a time. So I'm 10 lessons in, and I haven't rolled at all, let alone with someone who knows stuff. For some of the guys getting to the end of fundamentals I suspect it suddenly comes as a bit of a culture shock when you find out that the big kids in the 'normal' classs can still kill you whenever they like. Luckily I'm sensible enough to realise that just because a beginner can't tap me out quickly doesn't mean that everyone else won't be able to. I'm actually looking forward to it.
I'm guessing fundamentals will hit guard in roughly 2 weeks. After that I'm definitely going to move up and train with the big kids. And even buy a gi and stuff. Excitement! Then work will move offices and class will be far far away from work (and further away from home) and I don't know what I'm going to do then, because I'll be on public transport. Bleah.
Enough random ramblings. Better go study.