Josh and I drilled a little more tonight. We had to cut it short (1 hour) due to me hurting my elbow (wow, and it hurt like the dickens!), but I'll note what we did get to work on.
We started out by warming up with several reps of the armbar drill I mentioned in my last post, only this time, I did it very slowly, focusing on 1) breathing (I always tend to hold my breath during this drill, and indeed during lots of randori too - I have to break that habit), 2) control (of my body, with my legs), and 3) smoothness. I only did 20 or 30 tonight.
Next, we took a look at Saulo's first sweep on his "Guard" DVD (from the first Jiujitsu Revolution series). It's a response to top guy trying to break your guard with his knee in your butt. I couldn't do it well at first, but after a few reps, and trial-and-error to see what I was missing, I got it (well enough to add the drill to my routine, anyway).
During the course of our drilling, we sometimes drift into very light randori, just to break it up. It was at this point I hurt my elbow. It wasn't due to a submission, or crank...we weren't being stupid or playing too rough...it just happened. Wrong angle bearing weight, at the wrong time got me hurting badly enough to call an early end to our activities for the evening.
We decided to try some things that didn't involve my elbow (as long as no pressure was on it, it was fine). So, I got Josh in my guard, and let him try to figure out how to break it. This turned out to be very informative for both of us; Josh has always had trouble breaking my guard when I've decided to keep it closed. Lots of trouble. I was beginning to think I had some sort of magic guard, at least against him, and other small-ish guys. However, we discovered that Josh (and most other guys I roll with) tend to try to break it in one direction - to my right. Turns out I'm strong that way. Tonight it occurred to Josh to try it the other way (toward my left). My legs popped open like a (insert your own colorful metaphor here)!! So we discovered a tendency to be aware of, and I've discovered a weakness in my guard that needs to be overcome or compensated for. We decided to drill passes in both directions from now on.
We called it quits after that so I could get some ice on my elbow. I really hope it's better soon - we're scheduled to begin BJJ at the Gracie Barra school on Tuesday!