I decided to come up with a proper training strategy following the feedback from the Hereford comp. I decided to really focus on getting and keeping good position in sparring, subs becoming a non priority. And its the best conscious change to my training Ive done, I felt I made alot of progress in that period. Even when in guard, focusing on controlling my opponent and not opening my legs willy nilly just because his arm is a little high on my chest.
My next focus point was guard passing. I struggle with this and often get caught in triangles. However from this I have unconsciously turned to a suicidal style of guard passing. I give them an arm on my own terms, knowing/ hoping they open their legs to attack it. Then typically I will bring it back safe, stack, twist and pass. Doesnt always work and sometimes I get caught but it is an improvement....I think. I can still pass guard in a more orthodox fashion using the proper techniques Ive been shown, but not as confidently. The style of opponent makes a big diference, some will explode into a sub attempt, some will wait and sweep. Some will break me down bit by bit and make me commit a forced error. Thats the beauty of the game though, I actually feel I personally do better against the more passive guys who try catch you out.
Since the comp Ive also worked alot on getting a sweep from guard, as my attack was abit one dimensional almost going for armbar exclusively. The only problem is its just the one sweep Ive gotten good at, the sit up sweep. I get one of there arms and try control it via there tricep, then I sit up and push my hips up and to the side with the trapped arm. As Im controlling it, they cannot post on it to stop themselves going over. Sometimes they do still get it on the mat and post but if Ive got there tricep I can pull it enough so they dont have the leverage. Weight has no factor in this sweep, and little strength is needed. Even if unsuccessfull just attempting it can can lead to them giving you an arm or leaving something open like a kimura. Its very sneak and Im fond of it, however I will need to add another sweep to the armoury as my training partners are getting wise to it, as they are now with my armbars.
I really feel the comp allowed me to approach another level in my training. So if your sitting on the fence whether to compete or not, do!. I lost both my fights but it really does help your game, as long as you are mentally prepared to accept losing and to learn from it.