Return of Alicia

Friday morning "competition training" at Gracie Seattle. I made a very conscious effort to not be LATE today- so I got there in plenty of time to stretch out. Bryan greeted me with, "Hey Kitsune! Stop talking on the mat!" "Shut up!" "Exactly!" Boys. ((rolling eyes))

During the warmups, there were a few 30-second drills of shrimping-in-place as fast as you could. I used to have so much trouble with this, but now I can do it very well and very fast. Get tired quickly, though! 30 seconds as fast as you can is challenging.

All timed matches today. Seven minutes, with a timer that buzzes when you have 30 seconds left. Bree, BJJJM, Marc twice, a one-stripe white belt guy I’ve never seen before.

As Bree and I were facing off for the first one, Professor Carlos called, "Don’t soil your partner." ??? I let it go, because sometimes if I just think about it for a few minutes, my brain eventually works out the translation. But Bree looked at me and said, "Don’t SOIL your partner? Is that what he said? What does that mean?" "I’m not sure, but I’ll try to not soil you, Bree." She started cracking up. We never did figure out what he was trying to say.

I notice that there are a couple of techniques that just tick me off because they feel humiliating. Sit-up sweep and (to a slightly lesser degree) slow-motion butterfly sweep. I can see what’s going to happen, and I can’t do anything about it. Sit-up sweep in particular- I don’t know if this is true or just my impression, but it *feels* like people are using their weight to force me over, and the fact that it dumps you ignominously on your ass and then goes right into being front mounted…. I really hate that. And that slow butterfly sweep- the indignity of being spread-eagled in the air and then the embarrassing little anticlimactic PLOP as you hit. Demoralizing.

As per usual, I could get on top of Marc a lot (front mount, side control, knee ride), but his sub defense is really good, and I couldn’t finish him off. I came close a few times, but every time I thought "I’ve got him now," he somehow managed to squeak out. I did get a nice back mount on him- right in front of Rodrigo. It would have been sweet to be able to finish him from there, but I yanked and yanked on the clock choke and he wouldn’t tap. Must not have been quite deep enough. Oh well.

Marc has a gnarly aural hematoma. He had it drained, but the compression dressing fell off overnight and it puffed right back up again. He was asking about my earguards, so I gave him the specs (my original Cliff Keens, the "tornado" ones).

The one-stripe white belt guy was not huge, but quite a bit bigger than me. I said, "Go kinda light on me, okay, because you’re quite a bit bigger than me." "But you’re a BLUE BELT." "Yeah…. but size does matter around here, to some degree," "But you’re a BLUE BELT." Great. No pressure or anything.

I love the moment as we slap hands. I’m on equal footing with my opponent, I’m not on the bottom yet, the whole world of possibility is spread before me. Every time has the delicious potential of being a win. But when you’re facing a white belt you’ve never worked with before, that pure moment of rich promise is tempered with "Hmmm, I wonder if this guy is about to go ape$hit and try to rip my head off." His buddy was also sitting right there beside the mat. You know, things like that are really part of a fight strategy that you have to pay attention to. If I’d had the freedom to do so, I would have moved our spar down to the opposite side of the mat so that we weren’t rolling eight feet in front of where his buddy was sitting there watching. But the mat was full and we had been placed at that corner, so there we were. I was aware of that factor, though… buddy watching = possible higher reluctance to tap to a girl, and possible higher Captain Caveman Quotient.

He wasn’t spazzy, though… and to my surprise, I tapped him in about thirty seconds with a gi choke- the one where you get one deep lapel grip, and grab a handful of gi behind the opposite shoulder and then bring that second forearm around. We restarted, and I grabbed that lapel grip again. I said, "Now I’ve got one choke grip here, and you know what I’m trying to do, so don’t let me get that second grip," He defended for a bit, but then I distracted him and got the same choke a second time.

He tried to tap me with that good ol’ newbie standby: Try to squeeze the person to death with your thighs while they’re in your guard. This is one of those things that I’d rather die than tap to. This guy had some strong legs, though- it hurt. Luckily he was not high up on my sore ribs proper, or I would have had to tap (if only out of fear of further rib injury). He was lower down on my torso- and although I wanted to vomit up all of my internal organs, I thought, "He can’t do that forever- I just have to wait it out." He did about three squeezes, and held the last one in particular till I was on the edge of tapping, but I held out. (I also kept my face in his thigh so he couldn’t see how bad it hurt!) Then he gave up (Thank you Rickson Gracie) and opened his guard, and I squirted past.

I also scissor swept him twice, which was merry for me…. I never get to scissor sweep anybody but Sabrina!

At the end of class when the mat opened up, after a breather, I asked Marc to go another round. Much the same result as usual. I did kinda whimp out on an armbar because I was trying to not press my shin right up against his hematoma. He eventually tapped out when I was on his back with one choking grip in and fishing doggedly for a second… I don’t think I had the choke on, I think he got tired and probably his ear was hurting.

Later…………..

Friday night no-gi at Cindy’s. Friday nights are becoming quite the Full House over there; there are now usually enough people that we can’t all roll at once. Seems like very few pure BJJ people… lots of MMA’ers. Alicia was there again, as well as Jessica (she had come one time before, and was good to roll with) and one other woman whose name I’m blanking on.

I know that working with Alicia is good for me, but I won’t lie- she intimidates me. I remembered how rough she was last time. I don’t think I’m too much of a wussy about pain, but I don’t ENJOY it. More fearsome to me is the prospect of injury, and being on the bench for extended periods of time. I **HATE** that. And it would be a real drag to have trained so hard for the Revolution and then get benched with an injury less than a week out.

After a killer set of warmups (more Dead Bugs!) we drilled a few of the same passes that we’ve been working on this week. Also, a pass that involves a version of wrestler’s cradle… one variation of that one also incorporates a banana split. Cindy started to use Lamont for her demo dummy, then remembered his hurt neck. "Kitsune! What’s broken on you?" She took me by surprise with the question, so I stammered, "Uh, nothing…" "C’mere!" "Wait! Ow, my shoulder! Broken knee! Sore ribs!" No dice, I was the dummy! I’m pretty flexible, so I thought I’d do okay with the banana split- but OWOWOW that hurt! She had to get Ian over there to try to demo it better on him, but he didn’t split much further than I had.

Timed rolls with all three of the women and with Ian. Alicia and the gal whose name I can’t recall- I was on the bottom most of the time, but neither of them got a sub on me- and they were TRYING HARD. Alicia is so rough! She was crossfacing me so hard. Also, she totally put her hand over the lower half of my face and was grinding and prying at it to try to get me to lift my chin more so that she could choke me. Fingers on the face is ILL-LEGAL!! And it wasn’t just once, so that it might have been an accident, it was several times. If I was MEANER, I would have bitten her finger after the third or fourth time. But I wouldn’t have put it past Cindy or Lamont to have TOLD her to do that kind of thing, in an effort to bring out my "mean".

I saw her do that shimmying standing guard pass on Ian, and remarked to Ian’s dad- "I hate that pass!" I didn’t feel comfortable trying to defend that particular pass, so I made sure to not get into that position with her this time.

Alicia had my back and tried for a really long time to finish me with various chokes. ROUGHLY. Nope, uh-uh, I am not gonna give you that, especially when you’re being a cheeseball and grinding my lips into my teeth. The taste of my own blood hardens my resolve. After time was called, she actually said, "Nice choke defense." Yes, you have to get up very early in the morning to tap me with a choke. Especially when there are no gi pants to grab and torque my spine around.

Jessica- I was on top most of the time, but she made me work hard for it. Neither of us got a sub. We seem fairly closely matched.

Ian- Again I was on top much of the time, but as usual I can’t finish any subs on him. He’s going to do the Revolution too- hope I get to see his fights. And I hope he does well.

I could have slouched out of there at that point- goodness knows I’d put in my fair share of training for the day. But I girded myself and marched over to where the girls were yakking, and asked who is up for another one. Jessica and the nameless gal had to take off, so Alicia and I rolled again… with pretty much the same results as last time. I did get a nice headlock on her at one point…. I couldn’t seem to do anything with it, but it was locked on pretty tight. We struggled around for a while in different positions, and I was not going to let go of that lock. I had her in north-south, me on top. It was the only time so far that I have ever felt in control while rolling with Alicia. For a few minutes I thought I might actually get a tap on that chick, and I got really excited. But I made myself stay calm and not get to rushing and impatience. I could feel exactly what was wrong- the pressure was on the back of her neck, and I needed to either get the pressure on the side or front- where I could choke her- or change our positions to something where I could get enough leverage for a crank of some sort (yeah, I know that’s illegal, but she was branching out into illegality first- and I wouldn’t have done it unless I was in control enough to do it real slow and careful). But I couldn’t suss out how to accomplish it… and eventually she escaped. Rats.

Then we did some rolling wherein she coached me along, directing me how to rack up points. She harrassed me verbally and with little swats whenever I went into turtle and whenever I got stuck in bottom half guard…. chivvying me to keep moving, keep working, don’t just hunch there. It was a little annoying, but she’s RIGHT, and I knew she was being nice and trying to help me out…. and it did light a fire under my butt. More of that would be very useful for me. I thanked her for helping me, and asked her to try to come back as often as she can.

By the time we were done, there was steam rising visibly off my body. All the windows and mirrors in the place were fully fogged up.

On the way home, I was so ravenous that I could have devoured a live wildebeast. I wanted some candy so bad that I could have cried… at a few different points today. And I even had to stop for gas on the way home, so it would have been the perfect opportunity to grab a little something. But I came home and cooked up my chicken breast… although I did have some teriyaki sauce on it.

I am feeling willpower-weak right now, but I really do not want to fall off the diet wagon so close to the tournament. I would like to be safely under the wire enough to have a decent breakfast and hydrate well the morning of the Revolution. My pasta/rice/breads cravings are relatively brief and mostly ignorable- the first couple weeks were bad, but it got easier. My candy cravings, though…. that’s a different story.

The night of the tournament, if I do well, I am going to buy a pizza and a half-pound bag of peanut M&M’s to celebrate.

If I do poorly, I am going to buy a pizza and a half-pound bag of peanut M&M’s to console myself.

I will likely give myself a little culinary slack for a bit after next weekend, but I am **not** going to put those ten pounds back on. That sucked, and I don’t want to do it ever again. I am going to keep weighing myself every day, and not let it creep up on me. I would still like to drop those last four pounds and get to 124 (I am 128 at the moment). That seems like a reasonable goal for the March Revolution.

Now I am achy all over, and my right knee is messed up. I don’t recall doing anything specific to it, but there was just so much pain tonight! It was a good hard day of training. Tomorrow I have to work, and if my knee still hurts by the time I leave work, I can take the evening off MA and hopefully let it recover.

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