As the New Year approaches I think it's important to outline some key goals as I step onto the mat for the first time as a blue belt. My technique library is really solid and I think I know more than most entry-level blues based on how immersed in the grappling scene I try to be. With that said, there are a few problem areas that need improvement and minor tweaking:
1. Improved control from guard. Head control, sleeve/wrist control, overhooks/underhooks. Essentially, continuously breaking posture. I play so much open guard nowadays that my closed guard needs improvement.
2. Polishing bread & butter sweeps from guard.
3. Polishing and chaining submissions from guard. Tight armbars, MORE TRIANGLES, and omoplata options (especially the plethora of sweeps available from that position).
4. Heavy development of Half Guard. Avoiding being flat on my back, framing the knee, controlling the bicep and GETTING THE UNDERHOOK! Summed up: avoid the cross-face.
5. Getting the submission I want. Transitions are crucial to ground fighting but maintaining a position (example: back control) and getting say, the rear-naked choke, is also important. Patience and good technique.
6. More collar and lapel use. Cross-collar from guard and top half-guard, Brabo chokes from top half, etc. Implementation of paper-cutter options into my side-control/north-south game.
7. Polishing transitions, TIGHTLY securing positions, being aware of weight distribution.
8. Improved guard passing and utilizing good shoulder and chest pressure to safely pass.
9. Improved takedowns, especially my wrestling.
Ten goals for 2012. Doesn't seem too bad at all. I predict this will be a great year for my Jiu-Jitsu game.