Tuesday morning BJJ in Bellevue (aka The Danger Room). Same techniques as yesterday morning. Same drilling partner as well….not that I mind, although we probably should have grabbed somebody with a different body type just for a more varied experience. But everybody else paired up quickly and Dex and I were left standing there staring at each other…. so okay.
Focusing on refinements. Pendulum sweep: grab nearer the ankle than the knee. It’s not about lifting the opponent’s leg. It’s all about the leg in hir armpit. Armbar: hip up nice and high so that your crotch is right in hir armpit and there’s no space.
Breakfall to tactical standing: Carlos wants us to guard with an arm at nose level. I got corrected because I was holding mine at brow level. This is going to be a bit of a challenge for me. CK has whapped me in the head with a sword whenever I let my guard arm drop below brow level, so I have been completely brainwashed to keep it up there. I tend to be wary of an arm strike coming in (if not necessarily a sword in most hypothetical cases!). But I can see that in most hypothetical cases, it makes much more sense for the standing opponent to be kicking at you (on the ground) as opposed to trying to strike you with hir hands. So I need to adjust my tactics for the situation and not rely on the "standard response".
Positional sparring: Dex and I let each other work the sweep/armbar, giving just enough resistance to make it a challenge.
Open mat: I had to take a little break, as I was very sweaty and tired. But once I got my breath back, I did a few rolls with Carlos. I am having zero success with my clumsy choke attempts on him, although he is leaving me gaping openings to try them. he is also still reversing me at will with laughable ease. I tried to keep off the bottom, but it is very physically and psychologically daunting to feel/see yourself going down with this very strong, long-limbed, rubbery person descending upon you like a big shovelful of dirt on top of your own coffin.
He really tires me out quickly, as I am trying to stay on the move. Holding still for even a moment means that he is getting holds and placing his feet in places that I know I am not going to like, so I am constantly jitterbugging around trying to displace whatever he’s setting up. I am hearing a mental "Squelch-POP" every time he places a foot on me- like a suction cup sticking on. I do not want his suction cups sticking onto me- anywhere- I figured that out pretty quick.
He was doing much the same thing that Cindy was doing with me on Friday- letting me try some different things and seeing what worked and what didn’t. But he wouldn’t wait forever- if I tried four or so things and was getting nowhere, eventually he would jump up and spin us around and now we’re somewhere new. As if I had X amount of time to figure it out, and if I didn’t- "fail" and move on to a new test.
When we were done, he did put on Very Serious Face and told me that I had gotten better. I couldn’t tell for sure through his stilted English if he was saying I’d gotten better over the course of the rolls we’d done TODAY, or if I’d gotten better since he first rolled with me almost two months ago. Oh well, the important part was "BETTER"- I’ll take "better" any way you want to give it to me.
Tuesday evening BJJ. It was cold and rainy enough today that we went inside. It’s sad when we can’t practice outdoors any more. I won’t miss those humongous mosquitoes, though.
No CN again, no JB… sigh. I have been bugging her by e-mail to come back to class, at least come do a little BJJ. What responses I do get back are noncommittal. JM and SK are getting more slipshod about coming to BJJ as well- since I have been missing so many evening classes due to work; they get lazy when they don’t have the peer pressure of me (and my carpool) to prod them to class.
I had a small headache on the drive in, but I took some drugs when we got to the community center, and luckily it died down a little ways into the class time.
We started with a few forms to warm up. The usual few we have been working on lately, and Lun Qi again… then SK asked me to pick a form. I picked Wood Monkey because we haven’t done it in a while (that was why I had been picking Lun Qi these last few weeks, as well). JoE looked anxious (yeah, this is why we need to practice this one), but we reassured him we’d go slow.
Then we worked on the same two-step Wing Chun techniques we’d done last Tuesday. I drilled them with JM for a reeeeeeeeeeeally long time. JoE had to drop out because he was having back spasms. He asked if anyone would be willing to walk on his back a little- and as the lightest person by far, I decided that that should probably be me. I hated to miss the drilling (Lord knows I need the practice), but he must have really been hurting to ask.
When I got back from walking on JoE’s back, the others were doing the Black Craney Wing Chun technique that CN had taught JM and me in the park on Saturday. Thank Gods I’d practiced this extensively- although Ihad only practiced it on the one side (and was just starting to feel proficient enough on that side to start practicing the other side). Well, now we were going to do it with actual partners, so I braced to get completely confused again. I tried it a few times on SK (just on the good side), and then started drilling with Nemesis. After drilling it about a zillion times, slowly, I started to feel brave enough to try it on the opposite side- and it worked, coolness. It worked even better after I added a knee to the groin at the end of the sequence- it just seemed to flow right into that so well. Level up!!!
After a while, SK came over to nitpick at me- he wanted me to stop doing such an exaggerated loopy rebound before the final parry/strike sequence. Oh, great. That exaggerated loopy rebound was my mnemonic for comprehending how to DO the darn thing (JM’s suggestion that I "bounce" off the opponent’s arm). Luckily, by then I had done enough reps that I was able to modify it without getting too discombobulated. I commented to Nemesis that it didn’t have as much power without the loopy rebound- to which he responded, "But this way is faster." True. It was also more direct. With the bouncy, loopy rebound, it was Black Craney Wing Chun with a Dragon twist. With the bouncy rebound removed, it felt more like Black Craney Wing Chun with a Tiger twist. So that worked for me.
I considered making Nemesis take his shoes off before I would uke for him- I didn’t really trust him kicking me in the side of the knee with his tennies- but I decided to see how he’d do first. He actually did really well with the control on that- and I told him so. I did make him take his shoes off before he started doing the close-in cat-stances, since he had already stepped on JM’s foot and caused her to bench herself briefly while she bled and then put her own shoes on.
After we had drilled that thing forever (I am going to be doing that in my sleep tonight), we went through the dao-vs-bo sequence a few times. There was some confusion as to which staff was mine, as JoE had brough an armload of unmarked bo’s, and I had no marks on mine (as I have not paid for it yet). Finally JoE and SK identified my bo because it was the shortest one in the stack (altho it is still a bit too long for me!) and it also had blood smears on it (which they decided was only appropriate for any weapon of mine). Yeah, I thought SK was pulling my leg- but when he handed me the staff, we all observed that it does indeed have red smears up and down the length. I don’t know what caused this, but it truly does look like I beat someone to death with the thing.