So I'm back to a regular training schedule which is great. I'm making my way back from baluga to killer-whale. This past week I was given a fun handicap by my instructor. An idea mentioned months ago but never acted on. Tennis balls. A couple years back I was in LA and got a chance to train with Leandro Vieira (Leo Vieira's youngest brother) at their La Habra, CA academy. I attended a couple morning classes and one of their drills was a positional drill using tennis balls. Basically one person or both would have a tennis ball in each hand. This prevents the person from being able to grip and you must maintain the ball in your hand at all times.
So while rolling with the white-belts and some blues, I had a tennis ball in each hand playing off my back. OMG that sucked but what a great drill. Despite the added difficulty, what surprised me more was how much I had to engage my legs and core to keep the spazzy white-belts at bay. I pride myself in having a meaty-kung-fu-grip but with this option taken away from me I had to reconsider how I moved.
My plan was to work off my back to sweep or get to me feet and work the pass. The top proved to be equally difficult to maintain my base without a grip on the pant or gi. I instinctively then made myself much smaller and more compact, giving away less. I had less control over the movement of my opponent from getting up and was forced to utilize more of my shins and hips to impose pressure and keep them on their back.
In the end I left the mats exhausted but feeling great and plan to keep this up. I hope I haven't outed a Vieira bjj-family secret but the world is getting smaller and smaller these days. I did find one link that leads into several other drills but it at least mentions the tennis ball idea.
For this and other drills I found the following link.