That was just something I heard Jay say to Jim tonight. Jay was making burbling sounds in Jim’s triangle, and Jim started talking smack about Jay laughing at him. Jay replied, "I wasn’t laughing, I was choking," Everyone in the vicinity started cracking up.
Friday morning competition training in Seattle. Rather small turnout today. I started my day off right by getting hollered at by Carlos for wearing my sandals into the dojo. I had thought shoes were allowed on the concrete walkway strips, but I guess
Right shoulder sore… well, it is perpetually sore, but it is more sore than usual today. I was doing some premature taps today when people got me on that side.
I noticed that some of the warm-up drills have my stiff gi collar rubbing right against my brand new aural hematoma. "Woah Dude, wicked cauli ear! Howdja get it??!?" "Uh, doing situps." So today I wore my headgear during warmups too. That sucked, but on the Grand Scale Of Suckage, it doesn’t suck as bad as having an ear drained sucks.
Timed matches. Bree twice. I tapped her almost immediately with a guillotine, and then apologized because I know she has a bad neck. "If I had other decent subs, I’d use them on you instead of going for your neck… sorry, but that’s what’s on the
menu." She said it was fine, but that she’d be tapping early for those. She tapped me with another choke, don’t remember what it’s called, but you use the blade of your hand on the front of the throat (Bianca likes this one too). I tried for triangles
a few times, but didn’t get even close. At one point she was fighting to flatten me out in side control and I was fighting to stay in deep half; we strained against each other for a really long time, and then I finally had to surrender. I was very frustrated. I whimpered/growled, "f***!" as she thumped down on my stomach, and then apologized again- and Bree started
cracking up. "Making me laugh is not fair." "You didn’t hear me say that." "Say what?"
Elliot once. Overcaffeinated bunny rabbit game plan again. He tooled on me, but let me almost get a few things.
Marc once. We were fairly competitive. He has improved a very noticable LOT in the last 5 months or so. I used to be able to mostly control him positionally; now we usually seem pretty close.
Jason once. I’ve never worked with him before, and he’s pretty big. I said, "Don’t kill me, Jason" and he said "You don’t need to worry about that." Well, I’ve had much worse- but he was definitely using too much strength and weight. Finally he thumped down on my ribs (my poor ribs! They take so much abuse!) hard enough that I yipped aloud and we had to stop for a minute. He ended up tapping me twice with the same trick that JB got me with yesterday. And a few more times with other things. I got nothing on him.
Then Carlos. I knelt on the mat and waited while he went to grab some water, then he came back and just stood there looking at me. Uh-oh, he wants to start from standing. GULP. This is majorly intimidating. Did I mention that he’s a judo guy too?
he’s about twelve feet tall (well, maybe not quite that tall- but he’s extremely tall, and he looks even taller than normal when you’re facing him standup), and really strong, and really, really good. There is just no way on Rickson Gracie’s green Earth that I am *ever* going to be able to take this guy down. I can’t even jump guard on him, because he’ll just stick his long limbs in there and let me impale myself on his elbow or knee, and I’ll be walking bowlegged for the next two weeks.
He ended up taking me down, hard, several times. I did foil two or three of his takedowns, which I consider to be a major victory. I leaped up or got turned around and re-engaged immediately after each teeth-rattling thud; I hope I impressed him with my gameness; that’s about all I had to impress anyone with today. I remembered to do "tactical stand" 3 times out of 4, although I forgot to keep my fist closed during. I got my body turned enough to get my legs between us about half the time. Once I got too excited and did more of a kick than a push; got reprimanded for that. (SK finds endless amusement in making me repeatedly explain the difference between a "kick" and a "push" and why one is okay in BJJ and the other is not.) I also scratched him with my fingernail and got reprimanded for not having my nails short enough. (Prof Carlos is in militant mode
this week, I know… I saw him chewing poor Angela a new one on Tuesday for both the condition of her gi and for not getting her jacket rewrapped and belt retied quickly enough to start another spar… so I wasn’t emotionally crushed quite as much as I normally would be by getting repeatedly reprimanded; as I think he’s doing it to everybody.)
Once on the ground, I wasn’t doing a whole lot better than I was from standing. He tapped me right, left, and center; up and down; backward, forward and inside out. Usually he lets me get at least a few momentary positions, but he was pretty much just disassembling me today. Again, I hope I got points for gameness. He would slap on a sub and let me grope around futilely for an escape; when I ran out of options and started groping the same circuit of futility for a third time, he would slowly tighten the sub till I had to tap. I held out for a long time on some of them (especially the chokes). I had to ask him once to lighten up the weight on the ribs that Jason had already crunched today.
When fellow students tool on me like this, I assume that they’re being self-centered (for that particular spar at least) and simply not interested in being a mensch and letting me work anything for that round. When teachers do it, I never know what
they have in mind for me to take away from that encounter. It’s not like I’m a Spazz or an "I-Refuse-To-Tap" guy and need to be squashed to be taught a lesson…. what am I supposed to be learning from that? I feel like there’s got to be a point, and
I’m not grasping it. How to keep getting back up and coming back for more after being mercilessly and thoroughly mowed down? f***-all, you don’t have to teach me that, I am doing that EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY. Are they trying to make me cry? Because I WON’T. Are they trying to piss me off, thinking that’s going to make me more effective? I have well learned that when I’m angry, my performance degenerates- so going there is not going to help matters any. I wonder if I am being *too* (outwardly) emotionally controlled in the dojo, and they’re trying to get a rise of some type out of me. Wonder if they’d be surprised to see the level of my frustration as spewed forth on my training blog.
At one point we were rewrapping our jackets and retying our belts, and he asked me, "Why you train?"
Funny you ask, I have been paralyzed trying to write an essay on that exact question for two months. I said, "Self development," which was too much complicated English, so I amended it to (with miming) "Making the mind better and the body better."
I never know what to think when a teacher asks me a question like that. is it A)"I see something worthy, and now I am interested in you on a deeper level." or B)"I have never in all my career seen someone try so hard and still suck so bad; how long are you going to keep dragging in here and trying to spin gold out of straw??!"
Professor Carlos is pretty expressive; he has to be since he still has to mime half of the communication he exchanges here. But when he is in Serious Mode, his face and tone give you nothing. Such as he was whilst asking this question, and whilst hearing the answer- so I have no idea why he asked or what he thought of my response.
Friday no-gi at Cindy’s… it was a really big crowd in there. My three white belts were all there tonight, altho JM had to come late and leave early. She missed the dead bugs…. I’m sure she was heartbroken…. but got there just in time for a lovely new drill in which you start in downward dog, swan-dive into a face plant on the mat, slide your entire body backward one length with your hands, repeat. I nudged her and said, "Aren’t you glad you got here in time for these??"
Sk and I had some good discussion about a few things in the car on the way over. He says that he has asked DD the same question, about what use does it serve when DD just crushes him like a roach and won’t let him work anything. He says that in those cases, you don’t really see the slow creeping progress, but the progress does come- and when it comes, it comes in dramatic level-up type increments. I dunno, I sort of appreciate seeing the creep- it’s so hard to not get discouraged when you’re just continually getting smashed. SK also says that when you trust your teacher, you are putting yourself in their hands- and you just have faith that they *do* have a point when they do inexplicable things like this. I think I might have an easier time if I knew what was expected of me.
We also talked about the whole "teacher’s pet" concept. SK is very strongly against the whole concept, especially if it impedes on time that is supposed to be CLASS time. I asked him if he percieves himelf and CN as DD’s pets. "No- why, do you?" "TOTALLY." SK seemed surprised. In the last couple of weeks, it has seemed like DD has been making a conscious effort to not ignore the white sash students as much. But SK still feels like he’s not getting nearly enough guidance and support from the higher-ups and is thus flailing to some degree in his teaching position. So then we talked about teaching styles, and how (*I* feel, anyway) that his doesn’t necessarily need to be a carbon copy of DD’s or CN’s. He complained that DD can sometimes walk in and get something across succinctly in two sentences that SK has been striving to impart for weeks. My response: "And vice versa." SK was completely shocked by that. I told him that he’s doing a good job, and he’s still figuring it out, and he’s stressing about it too much.
In class, we drilled triangles some more. I was the odd person out, so I did some of the drills with Cindy and a few with JM and Alicia (visiting from an MMA gym). I tried really really hard to get my hips up HIGH, especially when I was doing them on Cindy. She said that they were drastically improved from earlier in the week (goodie!).
A little king-of-the-mat. Three groups- us four women were in one. Alicia mowed us all down. She’s been training for two years, she’s good, and she’s kind of rough. She tore both my shirt (one of my new, expensive Under Armour rashies, durnit) and JB’s. I felt bad that she was being rough on the girls, but I’m really proud of how well they both did against her. She has a wicked guard pass where she stands up, does a quick, hard little shimmy which just makes us fly right off, and then she passes at her leisure. After watching her do that to JM and me, JB was ready for her. She countered with something that I didn’t quite catch, but it knocked Alicia on her ass and JB lunged on top. It was AWESOME. And JM, I think, was taken aback by the roughness- but she really stepped up to the plate and slung the rough stuff back at Alicia better than anyone else in the place did tonight. (I sent her a positive-feedback e-mail when I got home.) Those two ladies are just incredible.
I didn’t do so hot. Got passed almost immediately on the first go-round. Then in the next one, she got back mount, stretched me out and face-planted me really hard on the mat with all her weight. Man, that hurt my ribs (already abused this morning by Jason and Carlos), and my back wasn’t very happy either. The final round lasted longer; I think time got called before she got me.
I tried the seatbelt maneuver on JB- I’d love to get that on her, paybacks are a b****! But couldn’t quite finish it.
I did two or three timed rolls with Alicia. I wouldn’t say I was PWN’ed- I had a decent defense- but she definitely dominated me. On the bottom a lot (surprise surprise). I could tell she was somewhat confounded by my ability to keep regaining half guard not matter what she did… she had a b**** of a time trying to get out of it, too. But once again, that seems to be my only strength. I actually got the seatbelt thing on her and succeeded in passing (I think that’s the only time I passed her guard all night). She thumped down on my ribs AGAIN, and I had to ask her to lighten up with the weight on my ribs. Geez, if one more person belly-flops on my ribs today, I thought, I’m going to crack like an egg. She was rough- a lot of rough crossfacing, knuckles digging into the side of the neck, stretching the spine while choking as if she’s trying to pop your head right off like popping the head off a dandelion. To her credit, Cindy and Lamont were specifically telling her (repeatedly- thanks guys) to BE ROUGH.
I had thought maybe that once someone was being rough to me, I would feel okay about being rougher. To my dismay, this didn’t really make me want to do that to her. What’s my problem? Maybe I just don’t have this in me. Maybe I just need to get technically awesome enough that I can beat everyone *without* being mean (yeah, that’ll only take me about five more lifespans). At least the roughness wasn’t intimidating me (much)- that would have been the worst sign, I think. I was getting a little pissed off. That might be a good beginning.
One with Ian…. this was my only credible work all day, I think- I was on top a lot, although his sub defenses are really good and I can’t get a sub to save my life. I really like working with him, though. And he’s not mean. It’s just *fun* with him.
Two with Chase. I really did not want to tap to Chase again. Once again Cindy was making it known that she wanted me to beat him down a bit. He tapped me out twice. (SIGH). He was using a lot of wrestling technique, not that that excuses me, but he doesn’t roll like a BJJ player. Still not really wanting to be MEAN to him, either.
It would probably be good for me to get a chance to work with Alicia more. She dominated me, but she doesn’t feel completely out of reach, if that makes any sense. Some people, I just know I am never going to have a chance of beating- they are simply out of my league. Her- maybe. Once in a while. If I really work hard at it.
I had that lead-balloon-head feeling by the end of class, the one you get after being choked too much… and a headache.
Alicia had let me try her earguards. They are Asics, and much smaller than mine. They rubbed a bit, but didn’t seem more uncomfortable than my present gear- which is obviously not getting the job done. I may get a pair of these, and maybe one or two additional styles, so that I can switch out and at least not having it rub in the same places every day.
On the way home in the car (after dropping Chase off…. my gosh, is he ever obnoxious company! And also after SK almost killed us all by nearly missing the exit and then coming close to ramming us into the cement half-wall careening onto the ramp at the last minute- I involuntarily emitted a very embarrassing girly shriek), JB informed SK that he needs to go both lighter and slower on her. I was really pleased to hear her attempt to communicate with him and negotiate boundaries, because she seems to have some hurdles around that. One could wish that she had found a way to be a titch more diplomatic, though, instead of telling him that he was "an a**hole to roll with". I knew that was going to make him feel bad…. he really does try, and it became apparent that she had been trying to convey boundaries during the sparring, and he wasn’t understanding what she had been trying to impart. Hopefully they are more on the same page now with that. I told him to not feel bad, that I was pretty sure she hadn’t meant it to come across quite like that- just some not-quite-perfect communication on both sides, but it’s good that they are ATTEMPTING to communicate- so hopefully that will continue and get better.
More grey-matter-stirring conversation on the way back to the eastside (I really do enjoy getting a little discussion time alone with SK now and then). We dissected perceptions about various aspects of our rolls tonight. One of the interesting things that arose is that we both feel less adept- and seem to do more poorly- at positional sparring than free rolling, even if we are in the same position. IE, starting positional sparring in guard as opposed to being in a free roll and getting into someone’s guard. I said that in free rolling, I feel like if I went into guard, it was at least partially my choice to do so, and (theoretically) part of my grand plan. As opposed to being forced to start in guard whether you like it or not, where you are on equal footing with your opponent. The former makes me feel more IN CONTROL of the whole situation, if that makes any bizarre sense. SK agreed, so it must make at least a little! The concept needs further analysis, though.