Tuesday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue (the Danger Room)
John was there- I haven’t seen him in months! No professors- Nate led the class in a grueling set of warmups, followed by "king of the mat" takedown practice, followed by short timed spars. I sucked mud today… but in my defense, my group consisted of two medium sized guys and five big guys- and me.
Takedowns- too embarrassing to detail. Me trying to take down Tom…yeah, right…. six feet something; he’s lost a lot of weight since he started training here, but he’s still a hefty dude; and he coaches high school wrestling. I hope I will do better if I ever get to go against someone my own size. Tom tells me to stop looking down and look at the guy’s chest. "Don’t look at the mat- you know it’s there." Yeah, I know it’s there, I’ll be kissing it soon enough.
Matches- first I got Marc. He was the smallest person there, although still bigger than me, so I thought maybe I had a snowflake’s chance in hell of taking him down. I marched in and grabbed him aggressively. He pulled guard to get us on the mat. I was on the bottom a lot, but he was leaving me plenty of room to get to my knees, etc, and move around. Nate (playing ref) called a halt at one point because Marc had a kimura and I wasn’t tapping, and Nate thought my arm was going to snap. I said, "No, keep going- I’m really flexible." Neither of us got a sub, but I think Marc would have won due to being on top more. Pat tells me to remember to get the near side hook in first, before hopping over the guy and trying to get the far one. he also suggests I defend the triangle by stepping over the guy’s torso.
Then I got Andrew, whom I knew was going to be tougher. He got me with an armbar, but at least it wasn’t in the first fifteen seconds. I was frustrated with myself, though, and forgot to shake Andrew’s hand before walking off the mat. That was a good reminder- I wouldn’t want to do that at a tournament and look like an ungracious loser.
Next was Ian (Big Ian- not teenage Ian). I said, "Take it easy on me, okay?" (Why don’t I just have that tattooed on my forehead?!?) So he did, to the point that he sort of just lay there while I got mount, took his back, KOB… Couldn’t finish a sub, though, although my hands are now raw and aching from gripping and scraping on his gi.
Marc again- this time he stopped in the middle of the match because he had me in a triangle and I wasn’t tapping. Now I was getting a little irritated. I lose all the time, but don’t have me losing until I *ACTUALLY* lose, okay? "I’ll TAP if I need to TAP, okay, don’t stop unless I TAP." "I thought you were going to sleep." Sigh. Rickson Gracie, do they really think I haven’t had enough experience tapping that I don’t know when to tap, or am too stubborn to tap??!! "Tapping Ten Thousand Times" my butt. Surely I surpassed that long ago. I must have tapped more than any person living on this earth has ever tapped in their life!!! I know how to tap! So WAIT for the dratted TAP! Don’t prematurely tap on my behalf!
Pat said, "You’re moving a lot better now." "You’ve got to be kidding- everybody’s kicking my ass!" "Peaks and plateaus…. you never backslide, just peaks and plateaus."
Apparently Pat gave Rodrigo a list of people who wanted their names on the tournament list, and Rodrigo said nothing doing- they have to e-mail! Otherwise, he threatens, we are having two tournaments- The real tournament and Pat’s tournament. I want to know which tournament Bianca will be in, so I can enter the OTHER one!
I must have banged up my knees in the Danger Room… it hurts bad enough to whimper a little, every time I try to kneel on one! I also had to Tiger Balm my trapezius muscles and shoulder blade area- esp my left side. Ow.
Kung Fu Tuesday. Small class today- just JM, Nemesis, SK and me. Tuesday class will be moving to Sundays next week.
This quarter is Wing Chun and Snake quarter. So we started with Sil Lum Tao, Leopard Fist, and Snake Versus Five Animals. Once again we were asked to do Leopard Fist in "tai chi" style- flowy and basically taking all the power out of it. Then Sil Lum Tao pretty much the opposite fashion- snappy and with pauses.
Then SK wanted to talk about bridging- since that is apparently one of the more glaring deficiencies that is being seen in our collective sparring efforts. After some rather lengthy discussion on the topic, he had each of us pick two guard stances. The other students had to come up with an attack that illustrated bridging- then there was some further analysis of what the guarding person might do to counter, etc.
I found this useful in several ways, besides the obvious work on the topic of bridging. It was similar to the "freeze frame sparring game" in that it made you analyze the opponent for openings and figure out what techniques would be most practical. Having a small group made it good to do some group-analysis of this as well. In addition- although we weren’t told to do this and probably didn’t have to- we found ourselves trying to stick mostly with techniques from the style we began with. Being able to work within a particular style at will is a skill I’d like to improve. It was interesting that it never seemed like a good idea to attack with the same style that the guarding person was using (although I did attack JM with a Southern Mantis combo while she was in a Northern Mantis guard stance). It was also interesting that the Monkey guard I picked for my second guard option seemed to be one of the most utilitarian ones of all the ones we played with tonight. I picked it sort of on a lark- it’s not really something I’ve ever thought about actually using in sparring. I thought, "I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with THIS, but let’s see," But I was surprised at how well it was working in a practical sense.
After that exercise, SK made us do a bunch of weird pushups from a sort of "downward dog" position.
Then Kiu One, switching partners till we’d worked with everybody. I got SK last. After we’d done a few reps, he inquired, "Is there some reason we’re rotating?" I hadn’t been doing it consciously, but we were indeed rotating. "I dunno." He grinned widely and said, "That’s part of the more advanced versions of Kiu One." Ha. I love it when that happens. I seem to be doing instinctual Snakey things quite a bit. That’s so cool.
So then he taught us the opening moves of Kiu Two. AWESOME. I have been wanting to learn this form for years. I was in fact begging for it on a weekly basis a couple of years ago, but was refused. It is a two-person Snake form, with both fighters using Snake (unlike Snake Versus Five Animals, in which only one fighter is the Snake). Watching SK and DD do this form together is jaw-dropping…. the beauty and power and flow…. it positively brings a lump to my throat. I’m really excited about learning this.
Part A: left straight punch at chest; change hand to Snake; pull back on the left side and drop waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down to a deep back lunge (ouch!), while Snake-parrying in a big circular motion; flow back to a front lunge and Snake-strike belly level; Bring right hand up to catch over left wrist to pull-apart; left hand to chamber while right Snake parries down and slightly to the side.
Part B: Double Snake parries to the left; step left and Snake strike left to throat; foot-switch hop to defend the belly by bringing right leg up and around, plant stance turned slightly to your left (remember, speed more important than power here- bring leg straight through instead of circling it too much… and it’s a foot-switch, not an advance! This isn’t Tiger!); Snake strike with right hand while covering armpit area with left.
After we’d run through them both several times, SK said, "Everybody watch Kitsune- do part A" Gulp! But apparently I was doing the right-hand-over-left-wrist maneuver prettily enough to be worth a demo. Wow. That same sort of motion- with different hand positions and different stylistic flow- shows up in Mantis (Bung Bo Kuen- more prominently in the version that CC taught me) and Dragon (Little Red Dragon). It’s cool to see how they are so parallel and yet so different.
We then tried the small section with partners.
JM commented that with Snake Versus Five Animals, we had learned all of part A, then learned all of part B, then put them together. For the staff-vs-dao stuff, we hadn’t even been TOLD that they went together until after we’d been doing the bo form for two years, and had more recently learned most of the applicable dao sequence. I commented that this way might be a better way to be able to retain the form for practice at home- because even if you brain-fart on one of the moves, you might be able to figure it out by checking it against the opposing sequence. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s easier or harder to learn this way.
I gave SK lots of feedback in the car; I know he’s trying to tailor class in ways that are most helpful to us, so I try to give lots of feedback about the things that I like best.