So, you remember how I was saying that I get the positioning for escaping side mount? I think I got so focused on that part that I never quite understood the motion to USE that position. Something clicked in class the other day. Whatever I was doing was just wrong. I mean, it had to be wrong, because it WASN'T working. It's been awfully depressing once someone has side mount on me, because I felt like that was it, I was in a bad spot and I didn't really have the options to get out of it.
I've done plenty of upa drills - I have the muscle memory for those. However, I wasn't using that muscle memory to get people off of me. I got Christy to take a sloppy side mount on me (no fair testing it out first with a serious side mount - she's really good, it could have just been a strength issue!). I got my arms in position, closed me eyes, cleared my mind of side mount and dropped into upa drill mode. Hips up, arm reaches over my head and towards the mat and what do you know, I have a TON of space between us! She kept dialing up her side mount, and it got harder, and I had to work more, and wiggle my knee in more to get to guard, but I was making progress.
I don't know what I was doing wrong before, but I am trying not to think about it, because I might just land back in my old habits. Sometimes, thinking is bad.