February 23, 2009
Importance of bridging!
Here is a shot (Thanks Guv') of me using a bridge to defend / escape from a Mata Leo (Lion Kill choke) during the 1st Arlington Submission Challenge in Arlington, WA. This was my first no gi tournament, and the first time I fought in the absolute division (hence the size difference;). Ryan took my back and was originally working his left arm across for the choke, my response was to bridge hard and fast AWAY from the attacking arm over his right shoulder. As the shot was taken he had already adjusted to start to bring his right arm around. I knew this and defended successfully. Unfortunately a few minutes later he caught me with a arm bar!
Make sure to train your bridges. I prefer not to twist on my neck, but I practice all other variations. It is a valuable strengthening exercise that is obviously very applicable! This is a standard defense against Mata Leo chokes, especially when you are long and big like me.
Though I lost, I learned a TON from this tourney! I later found out that Paul was a 8+ year brown belt under Marcello Alonso. I think I did alright against someone with 6 more years, and two belts on me!
The absolute division was the last of the day and when you fought it was the only match happening, so all eyes were on you. Honestly I did not think of it until afterward, but it was good experience none the less for one day I am sure I will fight a match much bigger, and much more important! Good to get the nerves and head games figured out sooner than later!