I didn’t cry. But tonight was as close as I’ve ever gotten to crying after BJJ class.
The first dumb thing (of many) that I did tonight was to get there too early and park at the opposite end of the business complex (where I thought I’d be left in peace) with a magazine. I parked with the butt end of the Jeep facing out- the end with the Gracie Barra bumper sticker on one side and the Sleeper Athletics bumper sticker on the other side. Professor Carlos cruised by on his way in and spied
me there. He made sure I knew that he had spotted me, and my bumper stickers too. Worse, he had Pat The Great Panda in the car with him, to explain to him that the blue "SA" sticker meant that I was advertising his commercial competition on the left half of my bumper while the Gracie Barra logo sat there bold as brass on the right half. Also, what Pat knows, Rodrigo knows. Well, I guess it’s all to the good that my BJJ Bigamy will be a confirmed rumor instead of an unconfirmed rumor, and nobody will be surprised when tournament time rolls around.
Odd number of people tonight, so I got stuck in a trio. We did some line drills and some takedown preps and a few other random exercises, then on to timed spars. Starting from standup, which is unusual. That teenager (I remembered his name, it’s Richie!) was there, and I was sighing inwardly with resignation thinking I was going to be dealing with his spazzy aggressiveness again tonight. Well, I didn’t get Richie at all tonight, and next time I do, I think I’ll be relieved.
First I got Steve. He’s got at least a foot on me and twice my weight. Starting from standing, mind you. After we’d circled and pawed at each other a bit, he simply picked me up by the lapels, lifted me up, and dumped me on my back on the floor. He did that three more times. I could do nothing to prevent him. Once on the floor, I could no more prevent him from doing anything he wanted. He wasn’t being a d*** or anything- he was just being what he was: bigger and stronger than me. He simply placed me where he wanted me, and placed all my pieces where he wanted them- and if I tried to place them elsewhere, he simply moved them. I could do nothing about it. It was a very helpless, powerless, frustrating feeling. None of this is anything new, of course. I’m not sure why it was affecting me more tonight, but I was really frustrated by the time we finished. Steve did offer me some positive feedback at the end, but I was not in the mood to listen. I grumbled bitterly, "Well, I had to tap anyway- like I always have to."
Next I got Jim. A little shorter, but even heavier. He was letting me do a few things, but I still faired poorly. At the end, Jim also offered me some positive feedback- about how heavy I’d felt. I asked how the heck he could tell, when I was on the bottom all the time.
(What a grumpy b****… I hereby vow that next time I’m seeing myself that frustrated, I will stop and take a breath, and remind myself to not take out my frustration by being a grouchy b**** to guys who are nice enough to 1) not smash me, and 2) actually go out of their way to give me positive feedback. And if I can’t get a grip and be gracious, I’ll take a break and step outside until I can. What am I, twelve? Grow up, Kitsune.)
My next assignment to face in this fabulous good humor was Hostility Boy. I have mentioned him before in this blog by name, but henceforth he shall be known as Hostility Boy unless and until he earns a better moniker for himself. This is the kindest of a vast host of colorful titles I have bestowed upon this particular gentleman in my mind tonight. He’s a smallish guy, still bigger and heavier than me, very technical and fast. I’ve worked with him before, and he’s mopped the mat with me… again, nothing new, so he didn’t really stand out in my mind much.
Well, tonight he was out to not just beat me, but juice me- and then pee in the puddle that was left of me. I dunno if this guy hates women, or if he resents having three minutes of his precious mat time utterly wasted by being stuck with me, or what. But it quickly became apparent that this was not a game, or practice, or training, or anything like that- this was him on a mission to humiliate me.
He was going way too hard and fast- grinding on my face, yanking joint locks. Fairly early on, after he slammed a shoulder lock on really hard and fast, and after I tapped, I said (okay, gasped), "Put those locks on SLOWER." He didn’t even acknowledge that I’d spoken to him. I thought, "Okay, Pal, if you do that again, we are going to have an earnest eye to eye discussion about it right here in the middle of the mat. And you will not ignore me, even if I have to pull out Herald Voice and have the whole gym stop and watch the drama." Well, he didn’t slam a joint
lock on that fast again- but he was still going way too rough. I’d be damned if I was going to ask him to gentle up, though.
I spent almost the entirety of the time in turtle or back mounted. Maybe the guy was frustrated at spending the entire session breaking my turtle. Well, did he really think I was having fun with that either? I was only turtled because I couldn’t do anything else- any time I ventured to try anything, I was immediately and viciously either choked or locked. So eventually this %#$@&^ started kneeling on my back and dancing around- like I said, spiteful humiliation behavior.
As long as I stayed in turtle or back mounted, I was actually defending adequately- in that he was having trouble tapping me out. I have some skill at defending chokes, and I can hold out for a long time before I have to tap to a choke evenif they have it on pretty good. I seem to be fairly good at withstanding both the pain and the oxygen deprivation of that particular situation. Lots of people have commented on it. I was torqued off at this guy enough by then that I didn’t want to give him any more taps than I absolutely had to. I don’t like myself when I do that… it’s stupid, and pointless, and someday I’m going to sustain a bad injury being a stubborn idjit. But luckily for me, he was mostly going for chokes instead of joint locks in the second half of our grudge match. I think I had to give him one more tap because he bow-and-arrowed my spine at the same time- but I refused to tap to his chokes, no matter how hard he ground on my face.
It was a hollow "victory", though. He is bigger, heavier, faster, more technical, and he can smoke me at will. I can’t hope to tap him. We both know it, everybody knows it. He doesn’t have to PROVE it, and he certainly doesn’t have to utterly degrade me to slam the point home. WTF??!?
I have never approved of the BJJ culture in which some guy goes too rough with you, so your bigger buddy in turn rolls with him and goes rough with HIM. I don’t think having your big brother beat up your bully for you helps the underlying problem… I think it’s more likely that your bully will just get even meaner and kick your ass harder the next time he catches you alone on the playground. But tonight, yeah- some small mean part of me wished I had someone there tonight with sufficient size/skillz
that I was close enough to to say, "Hey, Buddy, would you mind rolling with this turdhead and grinding his face a little, and then slam on a shoulder lock really fast and hard?" I would have enjoyed watching that. A little. I confess.
I left feeling worse than I have ever felt walking out of there. I know that this is just one of those low points, and I won’t let it stop me. But geez I feel crappy right now.
The first half of the day was much better. I spent a few hours with CK and JB, relay sparring with the soft, weight-and-balance focussed work we did on her last visit. Then lunch, then a couple more hours with just CK and me. We went to a park she knew, with organic gardens and orchards all around it. It is a really, really cool place. I’d love to work there some more… not to mention wander around and poke at all the neat plants and trees.
So that training time with CK that JB and I agreed to sacrifice to Nemesis: CK worked with Nemesis for a few hours on Friday. Push-hands and light sparring, and I’m not sure what else. But she said that it had gone well. She wants us (or me, at least, if JB isn’t up for it) to try a little of that with him on an ongoing basis. I wonder if it will go as well with a peer as it did with a teacher. I should try.