The cheese-grater advantage


Dang- plateau! And after I’ve been doing such a good job resisting cookies!

Friday no-gi at Cindy’s. I had JB and SK, and also one of SK’s housemates, Zander. He’s an MMA guy.

I had to practically challenge Cindy to a spar to get her to take my drop-in fee…. "But you’re enrolled!" "Yeah, starting two days from now- today I’m still a drop-in." "Just forget it." "Take the money!" "Really, forget it." "REALLY, TAKE THE MONEY!" Finally she did. I wish everyone- like my vet, my car mechanic, the power company- was so reluctant to accept my cash.

My abs and sides were (and still are) sore- I took some ibuprofin before class, but some of the warm-up conditioning drills made me groan. I had thought the pain was from being stacked last night by JB, but now I think it was probably from those takedown loads we were doing on Thursday morning.

Cindy had a couple of new and unpleasant surprises…. one being you lie on your back, place one foot flat on the floor and point the knee at the ceiling, stretch the other leg out straight, then lift BOTH a couple inches off the ground. Then stretch both arms straight over your head and do crunches, bringing both arms and that straight leg up to the ceiling, keeping the bent leg where it is. No touching feet to floor. They’re not *that* bad, unless your ribs and abs hurt. Then they are awful.

We did the positional flow drill, which I was happy about- I can always use more practice on transitions. Side control to mount to side control to scarf to north-south to scarf to side control… lather, rinse, repeat. I had taught this to JB and SK, so they had seen it before.

Escapes from scarf- the one where you cross-face the opponent and simply push hir over backward, and the one where you supplement by walking your legs out and then throwing the leg over hir face to push her back flat.

Escape from side control: frame up, bridge, underhook, get to your belly, grab opponent’s far knee and drive through to push hir over.

All stuff I have seen before and can now focus on refining and getting more confident with.

I drilled with JB, and then we did several short positional sparring matches from scarf and side control. I am still feeling pretty tired tonight (I may have to skip CN’s boot camp tomorrow- I just haven’t been able to catch up on sleep). But all lame excuses aside, JB is getting better and better at an awesome rate. She got several good reversals on me, and did a very good job dominating me on top from side control and scarf (today’s lesson notwithstanding, these remain some of my weakest areas). It’s a little frustrating, because we have also been working a lot of scarf escapes these past couple weeks at Gracie’s.

4-minute free spars, cycling through almost everybody in the place. I did one with Cindy, three or four with JB, one each with Zander, SK, and Jamie.

Whenever I tried to close in on Cindy, she rolled. It seemed like an excellent opportunity to pounce and try to either get her back or pass her guard, but of course you can guess how that turned out. She gleefully tapped me eight or ten times in the four minutes. Including some bizarre contorted choke with her leg that made me say, "What the F is that??!! Is that a technique or did you just make that up??" She just made it up. I wish my brain worked like that.

JB and I seemed pretty evenly matched. I spent more time on top, but she got several nice reversals (she is doing better at them than I am). I got one armbar on her- other than that, no subs for either of us. They were good, fun spars.

Jamie seemed a little spazzy- not REALLY bad, but enough that I could tell that he was using strength (JB mentioned that as well, on the way home). He was also breathing very poorly- so when he was kind of overwhelming me at the beginning, and I heard how he was huffing and heaving, I laid back and played defense for a while to let him get tired and out of breath. I kept him in my open guard for a long time; and kept pulling him to my chest in a clinch or (when he tried to get distance) sitting up and clinching with him there. If I hadn’t been so low-energy, I probably could have continued that momentum and put him on his back a few times. He got on top a lot, but because he didn’t do much side control or scarf, I was able to escape (I am competant in escapes from other positions), then he’d get on top again… also kept trying to choke me, but he never did get a tap on me.

SK had just finished rolling with Kaungren and was SUPER sweaty. He was extremely slippery, and I found myself on the defensive under him almost the entire time yet again. He also was going for a lot of chokes- he was going for various armlocks too- but I didn’t let him get anything. I don’t think I tried a single sub or reversal on him, though, I was too busy trying to defend.

Zander obviously was just toying lightly with me. When he got back mount, his body was so long that I couldn’t even reach his feet- and my repertiore of competant back mount escapes involve grabbing at least one of those feet, so I was at a loss. I didn’t let him get the choke (although I’m sure he could have forced the matter); I kept waiting for him to bow-and-arrow me (I would have had to tap instantly), but he never did. In the car I asked him why he hadn’t, and he told me that he hadn’t wanted to be a d***. I told him that as long as he didn’t do it too hard and fast, I wouldn’t have though that.

Both he and SK informed me that my headgear (aka my cheese-graters) interfered with their choke attempts. I protested that it was on my HEAD and nowhere near my neck. They replied that as far as getting their hands past my choke-defense hand positions, skin has give and plastic doesn’t. I huffed a bit at the implication that I was using the cheese graters as some kind of unfair advantage. Believe me, they aggrieve *ME* a heck of a lot more than they aggrieve anyone else. But I do *NOT* want my ear sliced open again in the Urgent Care- so like it or not, they are a fact of life now.

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