View Full Version : Open Mat Advice

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6/26/2011 6:33pm,
I am going to quit judo as I am no longer free on Saturday mornings (got myself a job at Hungry Jack's from 6am-2pm). This leaves me with only one session (7:30-9:00 on Tuesday) a week which the instructor honestly admits is not sufficient to retain a significant amount of knowledge from class to class, let alone compete at ANY level.

So I decided to go to submission wrestling at my university. Tuesday's class (4-5:30pm) was great. I cannot put it another way. My judo coach was an Olympian- the wrestling instructor here was on par with him as a national champion and at $5 a pop was the best value I have ever seen.

Then there was open mat.

I have never been to open mat before and basically what we did yesterday (after fifteen mintues of warm up) was form two circles- one inner and one outer. The person from the outer circle would spar with the person that was face to face with them on the inner circle for 5 minutes. The preset timer then sounded, there was a one minute break, and the person on the inner circle will move clockwise and the cycle will start again.

I honestly can say for sure I did not learn anything that lesson. I was paired up with people that was 9 inches/20 centimetres taller than I was, I was paired up with people that was double my weight and...you get the point, right? I tried setting myself goals like I was taught to on forums such as these (e.g. try submissions other than pins, try not to turtle) but to no avail. The guys/girls tried to cooperate best with me as they could, but physical/skill differences (most of them had been training for 1+ year) made them visibly bored or embarassed to be pwning me so bad.

In reality, I was counting on open mat to be as good as sparring in normal class time because I cannot add another session on. I knew that, counting open mat, 4 hours a week was enough to at least give me a fair go at progressing but it is simply not happening...

Any suggestons?

6/26/2011 6:38pm,
BTW, I knew enough not to use raw strength or have that I-am-going-to-murder-you attitude that beginners have during randori/open mat yesterday. I was trying my best to remain technical (using the few skills I have) but it was still not working out :(

The second option is to go to judo at another club- I only get 2.5 hours max there every week though although that 2.5 hours consist of nothing but classes.

6/26/2011 7:30pm,
Since i'm on the puter, thought i'd throw my 2c in here as well.

Open mat. Not sure on your skill level,but from the post it sounds like you've only had 1 open mat session?? If so,then perhaps you're being too hard on yourself,or expecting too much. Granted you probably won't be any threat to the ppl who have been going there for 1+ yrs,but you ARE learning.

Continuously gettin pwned sucks,big time!! but you also won't get any better at it by not going.

I would continue personally, maybe get 1/2 dozen open mat sessions under your belt before forming too many opinions. Set your goals lower too maybe?? If you get taken down,then did you fall right?? did you land in as good a position as poss??,could you do better??

Are you losing due to skill disparity?? because if so then sparring is a better way to sharpen the skills you've been taught than doing nothing,( and often better than drilling lots)

Not entirely sure of your reasons for training either.(if self defense then you prolly want to be in as worse a position as poss,because you don't often get attacked by ppl who are smaller or less of a threat than yourself)

It is Fake
6/26/2011 7:50pm,
Yeah no.

6/26/2011 8:19pm,
Chill, girl. Open mat is not a lesson, it is to apply what you have learnt in previous lessons. In that respect, you applied things you have learnt, however limited you think they are.

You haven't rolled enough yet to know that every roll is doing you some form of good, whether owning or getting owned, it doesn't matter, it is a form of training, not competition. Whether it is something as simple as remembering to breathe while someone is crushing your chest, every roll is doing you good. Go to open mats as often as you can. Eventually people will give you pointers.

Better yet, you are down the road from me. Give me a call and we'll roll.

6/26/2011 8:34pm,
Just have fun and leave your ego at the door. Be safe, but go with an open mind.

We have an open sparring day every couple of months at my dojo, where all different styles of fighters come and play. The one thing that most of them have in common is that they are quite advanced martial artists, and they can easily kick my ass.

I go, get my ass kicked, and learn a hell of a lot! :D

6/26/2011 8:44pm,

Are there any instructors or very senior students watching this occur? If so, they can probably give you some advice by watching you.

6/26/2011 9:03pm,
A truism in martial arts is that to become a hammer you must first be a nail. Keep attending classes, keep attending open mat, and over time you will suck less.

6/26/2011 11:04pm,
Get your instructor to make sure you have a fundamental technique/concept down and get someone to drill it with. Google search for solo drills you can do at home, which will improve your mat work. Finally, try some positional sparring (get the better people to start in a disadvantaged position).

No matter how good you are there are always people who will kick your arse, good luck.

6/27/2011 10:15am,
Style field says boxing. Jab/body hook at the beginning of your time and see how it goes. You'll probably learn faster that way.

6/27/2011 10:27am,
Being beat up by people who are better than you is awfull,embarassing and frustrating. You need to accept that and do it anyway.

Me. I sometimes dread my sparring sessions but I want to become better not have my ego stroked. If i hate it and am getting frustrated then I am opperating outside my comfort zone. This is where I am learning the most.

So from what you are saying it looks like you are on the right track

6/27/2011 3:48pm,
Are you really worried about not tapping anyone on your first open mat? Wait a bout a year. If you haven't tapped anyone by then try this post again.

6/27/2011 4:33pm,
Open mat no good for noob. Noob need structured developmental training programme.

Noob stick with Judo 1x a week or just do boxing, else noob not learn anything except bad habits.

6/27/2011 5:26pm,
But eventually you will be the person with 1+ years and will find that the newer people can't hold you down or stop your submission attempts. Just keep training and it all works out, and at this level actual classes are better than open mat time if you have the choice of fitting one or the other in your schedule.

6/27/2011 6:56pm,
Heres something that helped me at open mats a year ago.

If you dont feel like you know enough to free roll with people but you do want to train at open mats, just ask your training partners roll from a starting position that you want to get better at. Situational rolling (i.e. you start in someones side control). If your side control escapes suck just work that with everyone with full resistance until you have enough basic skills to start from the knees or standing like the more experienced people.

6/27/2011 7:27pm,
Are you really worried about not tapping anyone on your first open mat? Wait a bout a year. If you haven't tapped anyone by then try this post again.

Its not that I am not tapping anyone- heck, I'd been thrown like a ragdoll most of the time back in judo. Its just that I actually felt that I've got a chance (artificial chance, but still it is some sort of hope) back then that I might be able to last more than 20-30 second before losing as I am paired up with someone the same size and build as me.

Here, it feels literally feels like midget vs giant. Before it was eye to eye with an opponent before a match...now it is eye to chest...

But yeah, I apologise for complaning so soon and I'd hang in there for two or more sessions to get a proper feeling of open mat.