There are a lot of people that make snide comments about shiny, expensive gi's and gear, saying "I hope these make my armbars better", etc. Well, there's something to that. New stuff, including a new belt rank, DOES make you better. How? The grappling game is part physical, part technique, and a whole lot mental. Sometimes a new piece of gear will give you that confidence you need to get your game to the next level.
When I replaced/retired my shrinking white Alliance gi from my lineup and put on a slick new blue Keiko Raca, I definitely felt more solid: because I looked fucking pimp. Now with the blue belt, I not only feel pimp-er, but I feel the need to kick my game up to the next level. It's like I can't take mediocrity. How does this directly translate? A HUGE problem with newer grapplers is the inability to get out of a bad situation if you're gassed or feel it's pointless. I feel the need to FORCE myself to escape from bad positions. I have that extra breath. I will not settle for complacency! Why did I have the tendency to "chill" in certain positions (eg: guard, mount)? That is not acceptable, because if you're not on the offense, the other person is.
Constantly attack. Show no mercy.
I felt great tonight, back in training for the first time since December 19th when I was promoted. I was fierce and constantly attacking. Using hooks to sweep. Armbars. Back to guard. Cross-sleeve control. Throw that nigga around. Take the back. Give me your fucking neck.
We worked some Z guard stuff. Triangle, Omoplata, Mir lock and some straight armbar options. I was familiar with all this stuff as I play a lot of Z guard, but I usually opt for the armdrag --> back take. I'm going to work on implementing more of these attacks as Z guard is my prime half guard position. Also, as mentioned, work for the underhook and check out the sweep options. I don't intend to explicitly work on deep half any time soon, but if it happens, it happens.
As a bonus, checked out the berimbolo position... but much like my initial attempts at tornado guard, I couldn't figure out the mechanics of the position enough to take the back. I *may* continue to work this out, because it's an awesome counter to the combat base (or standing de la riva); and I need something like that in my game. Check out the video. Warning: very fancy.