As the round came to an end i thought i'd better ask someone to spar so as Hereford Brett was sitting next to me
i paired up with him.I didn't know what belt he was but he was a big tough bloke and wasn't wearing a Gi.
When you take the Gi off,things don't always go according to plan and sometimes a mistake can be punished
severely by a lower grade so i was certainly going to be careful
Brett immediately pulled guard.Good,without a kit on i'd much prefer to play top position.
This guy was strong though and had very nice jiu jitsu,good hip movement and i could tell
he loved an arm bar.Every time i got my knee in his back side he managed to scoot his butt
up my thigh to avoid the pressure.As we rolled i asked him what belt he was.Blue was the answer
and he was certainly a very very good blue belt,doing a great job of nullifying my attempts to open his
guard.His guard felt truly dangerous,like an arm bar or triangle could come out of nowhere so i concentrated
on breaking down his guard step by step and not taking any short cuts.In a nutshell it was a very tough round
and i had work really hard and make sure i didn't take risks because i knew this guy could punish a risk taker.
After the round the 4 stripe Brown Belt immediately asked me to roll and i said 'sure'.He went off to get a quick
drink and Rey shouted "Hey Simon come on my friend i wanna show you some stuff".I said "OK sir,just a second" and
quickly went to the drinking fountain and said to the brown belt "Man,Rey's asked me to roll,i couldn't be rude,do you mind"
to which he smiled and said "no problem bro".
Rey is almost exactly my size and weight at a guess.A high ranking Carlson Black Belt who has spent his whole life training.
Looking at him i would guess we are the same age too.I know sometime in the last couple of years he won the pan-ams
so he is a serious proposition to roll with.I spar with a lot of Black Belts at Carlsons who are visiting or passing through
from Brazil,as well as my own BB team mates and i can tell you there is never an easy round when 2 BB's spar.
The thing about Black Belts is this-they can finish.They will finish.If you fuck up you get tapped,fullstop.
Thats how they got a BB,by tapping people.It is slightly harder to tap someone no-gi but nevertheless
i was very aware i was going to be rolling with a very famous man who had been training since he
was a teenager.We touched fists and started tentatively with Rey pulling guard.One of my strong points
is my base and i was in awe when,with my base set he almost swept me with just a very small hip movement.
It was awesome,just amazing.I just about managed to recover my base,but the fight almost went completely
tits up in the first few seconds.As we rolled i noticed he moved and flowed so well,like he didn't really have to think.
Every movement i made was immediately countered or nullified by an instant reaction.His movements were so quick
i knew there was no thought process slowing him down-every choice he made was instinctive,but not only instinctive,
but correct,100% correct at the same time.When we got to the end of the round i was in pieces.I had tried 100%
and through sheer technique Rey wasn't showing any signs of tiredness.His flawless technique taught me a lesson.
Truly good Jiu Jitsu must not be interupted by a thought process.it should be instant and instinctive.I know that feeling
and sometimes i can roll like that for a while,but to be able to do a whole round like that with another black belt,
just instantly reacting is something very special and was humbled.
The moment the round finished,there he was-The Brown Belt......."Wanna roll?"
Of course i didn't,i was knackered,in pieces but to say no is utter cowardice.I don't turn down rolls.
We started and he'd obviously seen my style.He'd clocked my game and knew what i do so he wouldn't jump
guard.Here was a guy who was not going to his back.Strange i thought because earlier i'd seen him always jump
guard and his guard was literally world class in my opinion.
We played the game,trying to take dominance from kneeling but both of were experienced
and knew the game.The only thing that would sort this out would be a mistake and whatdya
know? I made one.I saw his neck and tried a jumping guillotine.He was far too good to fall
for it.The thing is,usually with a jumping a guillotine even if i don't get the tap,i will still end
up playing guard so nothing ventured nothing gained.
But this guy was like lightening.He punished my attempt with glee and was
in side control in an instant.I'd seen him finish other guys with ease earlier.
This was,as Nelson used to say "red alert.......RED ALERT".I tried to remember the
basics and not feed this hungry animal any meat because he had a sniff of blood and
if i stuck a wing out it would be his,no doubt
As he went to transition to knee on chest i saw my chance because believe me,with a
big,tall,strong 4 stripe brown belt there will not be 2 chances.I managed to replace half
guard.As i triangled my legs around his legs to give myself a 20 second rest i tried to
keep calm,keep that horrible impending panic well away from my game and just think
positively,here i was,playing half guard,something i had spent the last 2 years working on.
He wouldn't let me go deep.I wanted to get underneath him desperately because i knew with my
body type (short and stocky 5ft 10) against his (long and rangy 6ft 2 ) my best chance would be
to hook up deep half guard but this fella wasn;t a mug.He wasnt gonna fall for it and sprawled everytime
i dived for it.
keep going simon need to know what happen next