Today I repped my belt.


My jeans are falling off my hips, which I guess is not the world’s greatest tragedy (although they are good jeans and I will miss them! I hate jeans shopping!). I dared to try on my "medium" size tie front yoga pants yesterday. They are from a Thai company; I guess the women over there all weigh 75lb… a "medium" fit my 124-lb body like they’d been made for me, back when I first bought them). Those particular yoga pants are one of my best measuring sticks for good body proportions. I got them on- without having to hold my breath or lie down to do it! They are a bit snug yet. In another three pounds, they should be plenty roomy enough to actually do MA in again. Unfortunately, at that point, I will have to pack up my 3 or 4 pairs of "large" size ones, as they will not even stay up at all when I am at that weight!

Last night I was literally on my way out the door dressed for the (non-MA) gym, gym bag in hand, when our graveyard tech called in sick to work. So I went. I felt guilty because it’s been too long since I’ve gone to the gym and I need some practice on some drills and forms. I particularly wanted to check out the flying kicks in Tiger Versus Crane and make sure they are okay, since JB and I were busy choking each other last week at class while the GOOD boys and girls were working on TvC. But coming in on the graveyeard meant that I got to ditch today’s 11am-8pm shift, which meant: BJJ Monday night!!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!!

Tonight I walked out of class NOT feeling embarrassed to be wearing my belt. This is still enough of a rarity to be notable.

I showed up in time to participate in the 30-min takedown class (which was about a 20-min takedown class this time, as Professor Carlos called us all into the lobby to watch a vid on Pat’s computer. Pat had vid of the Revolution match where Carlos got scandalously slammed. Ouch. It hurt to watch).

We worked on a couple of different variations of a takedown wherein you slide your leg between the opponent’s feet and then trip hir over it. I liked that one, since it didn’t involve having to pick the guy up. (All these throws have judo names, of course, but I can’t remember any of them, much less pronounce them.) I got to work with three-stripe white belt Carlos (I need to come up with a nickname for him, there are too many Carlosi in this school).

After a second warmup, the class proper began. I kept TSWB-Carlos. Defense against standing choke from the back, to a hip throw, to a variant tripping takedown in the case that the attacker should have his knee between your legs blocking the hip throw setup.

Then we started on the ground with one person having the back, choking… defending the clock choke by yanking your lapel out of reach, followed by a basic hipping-out escape and then rolling over to get side control.

Thirdly, starting from same position, the person trying to get the clock choke was given an alternative choke option for when the opponent yanked the lapel away.

Halfway through the drills, Prof. Carlos added a third person to our drill team, that teenage dude- I know his name, but I’m blanking on it right now. I hate being in a three because you get fewer reps. Oh well.

After short positional sparring (with Teenager) and even shorter water break- a THIRD warmup- ack! It had slipped my mind that after the basics class on Monday night is the "advanced" class. If I’d remembered that, I would have bailed. By the time I realized my error, I couldn’t duck out because that would have left Teenager drill-partner-less.

Advanced class techniques are as of yet too advanced for me to comprehend, and tonight was no exception. Tonight was omoplatas- something I’m not very spry with anyway- and these were COMPLEX setups. If I find myself in an omoplata-ish position by accident, I can sometimes recognize it and make some attempt to finish it off, but I can’t really set one up from scratch at the most basic level- let alone the ones we were doing here. Teenager was more confused than I was (if that is possible). First we did a little spider guard, just moving around with it- I can handle that much, and so could he. Then we did a drill involving pretzeling the legs around in a very confusing fashion. Teenager and I had to call the Prof over to walk us through it slowly and painstakingly. This is always a trial, because it is really difficult to ask/answer questions with the language barrier. Prof. Carlos reprimanded Teenager for his very existance on the mat (as the "advanced" class is supposed to be three-stripe-white and up only), but didn’t kick him off (probably because that would have left *me* drill-partner-less). Prof seemed to be losing patience somewhat with our ineptitude, and said (more than once) that this was why the class was three-stripe-and-up. I felt bad for the kid, but I wasn’t doing much better than he was. In fact, with a few exceptions, the majority of the class was not doing much better.

After stumbling through that drill (sort of), we were shown the first advanced-setup omoplata. Teenager and I just looked at each other in helpless dismay. I said "You first!" (I know, I’m such a slimeball!) We had to call the prof over to help us again. At which point he reprimanded us both regarding the fact that as the higher belt, *I* should have gone first.

Second advanced-setup omoplata. Lordy lordy. This one was even worse. Muttering the steps aloud to myself, I plunged in (first!), and- incredibly- found Teenager in my omoplata. "Holy crap, it worked! Quick, get into position again before I forget what I did!" I buzzed though it several times, and then walked him through it. Professor Carlos came over to look while Teenager was doing his fourth or so rep, and pronouced it (with surprise) "Perfect!" Whew.

No more Advanced Class. Fine to watch, but not to do. I am not ready for this level of complexity yet.

Note to self- ask Luis or Alisson to teach me how to say "CONFUSED" in Portuguese. That is a word I really need to learn- and surely the one that I will find most often useful to be saying to Carlos and Rodrigo. (It will probably become my BJJ nickname, LOL! I hope it is somewhat lyrical!)

Positional sparring- first with the Teenager, then with Dave (too many Daves in here too… this one is going to be "Lucky Dave", for the Lucky gi he likes to wear), then with Dave (see what I mean?). The 2nd Dave already has a nickname: Hudge. Thank goodness. He looks just like yet a third Dave. I’d be confusing those men with each other even if they *weren’t* both named Dave.

Teenager- to my complete surprise, I tapped him out. When we reset, he leaped upon me like a starving lion on a fat bunny and manhandled me violently into a shoulder lock. Slam, crash, boom. It was scary how fast and hard he went.

I have been reading archives of other people’s training blogs, and one of the things I remembered from BJJ Grrrl’s earlier days is the observation that whenever she got anything on one of the spazzy male white belts, the guy would "Captain Caveman" out and try to murder her on the next round. I haven’t really experienced that kind of thing, since I rarely tap anybody. "Ah, so THIS is what she means…." Well, I am not going to be intimidated by this particular Specimen of Spazz.

I said firmly to him, "Go SLOWER and LIGHTER- give me time to tap!" He roped it in a bit, but was still pulling some unnecessarily rough tricks- grinding on the face and that sort of thing. Lots of muscling, too. Luckily he’s not that big, and I was as strong as he. I was pleased that I was staying calm and doing a decent job of analyzing things. Instead of going muscle-to-muscle- even though in this rare case I could’ve gotten away with that- I analyzed how to brace my arm against my own thigh so that he couldn’t muscle me into an armbar (although the cords were standing out in his neck with the effort); I analyzed how to turn my body so that he couldn’t muscle my arm into a kimura (his eyes were bugging out); I analyzed how to press a bit closer to him so that he couldn’t muscle me into a faceplant on the mat (his teeth were gritted and he was huffing and puffing). Yeah, I was on the defensive a lot, and I also spent some time stuck in that ol’ familiar land of bottom half guard. But on the whole, I’m fairly happy with my performance against him. I’d be happier if I could effortlessly KOB the little rooster and then choke him out… but I didn’t let him steamroller me, and he just about killed himself trying. I barely broke a sweat and was breathing normally.

Professor Carlos stopped us at one point and chewed Teenager out for trying to put a kneebar one me (no joint locks below the waist are allowed in this school till blue belt). That’s the second time recently that Carlos has reamed somebody for doing something to me that he considered potentially dangerous. That’s nice… it makes me feel as if he’s looking out for me a bit, like Rodrigo does. I hope that means he is also looking out for JM and JB and the other white belt women as well.

Dave #1 (Lucky Dave): I had not given Teenager my go-light-on-me song and dance; I did give it to Lucky Dave, because he is a one-stripe blue. He was nice to me. We had a competitive roll- in fact I believe I was in the lead. Not sure how much he was going easy on me.

Dave #2 (Hudge): Gave him the speech, then I was on top of him for almost the entire roll. Again, not sure how much he was throwing the roll- if at all. Giving the go-light-on-me speech makes it more difficult than ever for me to try to discern whether I am actually having a competant roll vs whether the opponent is just letting me have stuff. Anyway, it seemed fairly easy to dominate him positionally. I did dig around for a number of subs, but didn’t finish any. Prof. Carlos saw me mount the guy, and called that I should have KOB’ed him first to get the extra points. So I hopped off on the opposite side and KOB’ed him. He just lay there, till I finally said, "Don’t just lie there; I’m getting points for this." Then he pushed me off, and I hopped back to the original side and mounted him again.

I stayed till the bitter end tonight, till Carlos kicked us all off the mat. Despite the omoplata farces, like I said- I felt like I adequately repped my belt tonight. That feels really good. I hope I will be feeling this more often in the future.

Got home from class and found that the sick tech is sick again tonight. I had really been looking forward to Tuesday lunchtime in the Danger Room- even moreso after I had a good class tonight- but I said yes to the work. As tempting as it is to prioritize training over work- especially now that I am on-call and have amazing control over my own schedule- training doesn’t pay the bills (in fact it generates some). So this is the time to grit one’s teeth and be a grownup.

It’s a little funny to think of myself as a conesseur of canned tunafish. But Safeway brand canned tuna = fail. A lot of the time, the cheapie generic brands of things are the same product as the name brand- sometimes they are even made by the same company at the same factory; it’s just wearing a different label. I have just gotten through a Costco pallet of canned Chicken-Of-the-Sea, and since I no longer have a Costco membership, I decided try the cheapie tuna. There’s about half the amount of tuna in the can, it’s a lot darker and mooshier and less appetizing looking. I’m glad I only bought three cans (just in case of this very finding). There are a few other cheap brands on the shelf, I’ll give them a try before I go back to C.O.T.S.

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