Bottom half guard- options B and C

This was my first opponent on Saturday…. seriously. And Tiffany looked even scarier!

ROFL… from Side Control’s training blog:

"After the Revolution, I ate nothing but cupcakes and pizza for 24 hours."

While it was great to oink out after the tournament, I must admit that my digestive system was somewhat taken aback to be bombed with all that junk after three austere months of chicken breasts, eggs and carrots. And I was already back up to 130 this morning.

Tuesday morning at Cindy’s. Lamont is out of town. It was just me and the Russian blue belt guy (I forget his name… geez…I’m so bad…. I’m lucky if I remember my *OWN* name….) from last week.

Cindy says that she doesn’t want to referee any more at tournaments….. it sucks too much time,
and she feels that she can’t take care of her competitors as well as she’d like to. Apparently a big teenage man-boy was roughing up one of her little female 12-year-old white belts on the next mat while she was reffing a match, and that was a bad position for her. Also, she might be able to keep better tabs on me and try to get me to my match in time!

I told her that I want to work really hard on getting out of bottom half guard… both learning techniques and drilling repeatedly on them.

We started with the foot crossover escape from front mount into half guard. This is one of the first things I ever learned (and also one of the first things I taught my three little white belts)- I use it all the time, and have great success with it. But of course once we started breaking it down, I found that I am sloppy with a number of small details.

It is always very frustrating to me to have to go back and fix little things on a technique I’ve been doing for a long time… retracing my steps and having to go SLOWER and more clumsily. Having to undo ingrained bad habits. For a while, the technique doesn’t work nearly as well as it did to BEGIN with, and that drives me nuts. But I know it will be even better in the end if I can fix these details.

In this case, the problems start immediately with the little turn onto my side. I tend to do a dramatic jerking turn with a shrimp out. It was brought to my attention that I am practically giving my opponent my back. I need to do a quarter-turn ONLY, and keep my distal leg flat on the floor. NO SHRIMPING! I had a really hard time grasping that… finally Cindy had to actually sit on my shin and pin it down to stop me from doing that.

Next problem- vulnerable extended arms and elbows. I have a bad habit of pulling my top elbow out and having it waving right in the opponent’s face as if to say, "Please armbar me". Keep the elbows against the ribs and use the elbows to push the opponent’s knee down. This is safer than my method of putting my hands on the knee and straight-arming it down.

Improvement point number three: Get the underhook *as* you’re shrimping your butt out. Do not reach both arms across the opponent’s body and be fiddling around over there and then remember, "oh yeah, the underhook," and then try to bring the arm back over. Just plan ahead, leave the arm on the correct side and get the underhook immediately.

Hint number four: Use the other hand to brace the opponent’s arm so s/he can’t crossface you out.

I need to drill this every class, until the improved version is more instinctual than the sloppy version I’ve been doing up till now.

So now that we have half guard, Option B (Option A being the one I worked on with Lindsey on Sunday):

Opponent tries to headlock you.

1)Make sure the legs are locked down with the toe hooked in (I had not been doing that part), and try to stretch the person out. (This hurts, already- if you’re on the recieving end). Make sure your thigh is right under the opponent’s buttock.

2)transfer your grip to the wrist that is headlocking you.

3a)Powerful shrug of the shoulder (the one you are underhooking with)- at the same time,
3b)Accordion your entire body several times rapidly like a dog humping the opponent’s leg.

If your thigh is right under hir butt where it’s supposed to be, that will jar the opponent’s balance all over the place while you’re pulling your head out under your shoulder shrug.

You can stick the hand on your underhooking arm in the opponent’s armpit and push if that helps.

4)reposition the grip on the wrist and post ON IT… don’t let it go and post on the floor. As you pull your hip and leg out just enough to take the back.

5)Now underhook the far arm and get that second wrist- roll the opponent’s hands under hir as you arch into back mount. If you do this correctly, the opponent’s hands are trapped underneath hir (palm up- painful and completely useless) while s/he is faceplanting into the mat and getting hir spine torqued in an unpleasant fashion. This is not a happy place to be on the recieving end. I still remember the very first time Cindy ever did this to me in a demo. Holy crap.

We also did some reps of this starting from side control… the person on top transitioned from side control to mount, and the person on bottom caught half guard immediately (before the mounting person can get their points, even) and went into the technique sequence.

Option C: Opponent grabs a whizzer to try to keep you from going to the back.

1) Clamp onto the arm that they’re whizzering you with and glue it to your chest.

2) Everything the same, including careful positioning of toe hook and thigh-to-butt.

3)Instead of controlling the opponent’s other wrist with your free hand, underhook the ankle. Note: You are *NOT* going into deep half guard- not pulling you to hir, you are pulling hir to YOU.

4)Roll opponent first UP and then OVER your own body. S/he can’t post because you have the whizzering arm clamped to your chest.

We repped all this till we were exhausted, and no time for sparring (Thank goodness; I was too tired anyway). These methods are going to be good, though. Cindy expressly did *not* want to work on techniques that have me replacing full guard from half guard, because she wants me to get **OUT** from under. Good deal.


Tuesday evening BJJ in Bellevue. To my great relief, Carlos did not act as if he was only fifty percent invested in teaching me. He treated me the same as he always does. I didn’t get a chance to thank him for being so supportive this weekend, but I will make sure to do that. I did get a chance to thank Pat. Pat said of my first match, "You almost had her! You were THIS close!" I don’t know what match *he* was watching, LOL! He did have a specific suggestion, though, which I wasn’t quite able to parse by his verbal description- so I asked if he would go over that with me the next time we were both on the mat (he was in street clothes).

I asked Ron about his competition; he lost the first fight by points in overtime, but he doesn’t think the scoring was quite fair. He won his "consolation" match.

We attacked the turtle tonight. Person 1 in turtle, person 2 sprawled on top in north-south. Wrap your arms around the turtle’s chest like a sash (over one shoulder), and hop to a side-to-side position. Switch grips to lapels (now you are under both of the turtle’s arms), make a little hop to place your FAR hip beside hir hip. You are now sitting on your butt with your other knee pointed at the ceiling. Now pull the turtle into your lap, get hooks, and do the sash-hug again. Linger long enough to get your points for back mount. Then RNC.

That’s the only drill we did, then a whole bunch of positional training from turtle with rotating partners. I did okay, although I had mixed success trying to integrate the changes from this morning into my mount escape to half guard. I knew that they would start to go out the window as soon as the speed and resistance was factored back in, and they did. More drilling needed.

I sat out and watched the advanced class. They were doing a complex-looking cross-collar gi choke which I think I made the right decision to not attempt. Then takedown relays.

Bottom half guard, option A

The girls were no-shows again at the women’s self defense class, so I got an entire hour of rolling with Lindsey and with the blue belt guy he brings in with him (forgot the guy’s name). Lindsey thinks I’m still leaving too much space, and not keeping my hips down low enough to the mat. Both deficiencies showing up most often when I have side control. I also noticed that I seemed unable to prevent blue belt guy from repeatedly catching half guard from my side control… I need to either keep my leg out of reach or block his legs. I have been having the problem with a couple of other training partners as well.

I think I did fairly well against blue belt guy, considering that he’s bigger and stronger and also one stripe ahead of me. I did get on top several times and kept it for a bit. Almost choked him a few times, almost got a kimura on him once. Didn’t get subbed.

I did spend a long time in bottom half guard with him in our final roll. He was exclaiming in frustration because he couldn’t get out of my half guard for love or money…. (Stephanie had remarked on that yesterday as well). Yeah, you’re not getting out of my iron-clad half guard, but it does me no good if I’m stuck under there for the whole match and getting nothing useful done. So I told Lindsey that that is my main project for the next few months.

He suggested the following: I have bottom half guard, and the guy tries to bring his knee up and pass across my thigh. I grab the knee with both hands and hug around the thigh with both arms. Shrimp my butt out to the side, flatten down on that leg and try to stretch it out underneath my body. May be able to go on to take the back from here. Otherwise, the opponent is likely to try to roll toward me to defend my getting hir back. At that point I underhook the thigh and keep that trapped leg trapped, while I pass to side control. I repped it a few times and then it was time to leave, so I need to remember to ask to rep that some more next Sunday. I want to build a small repertoire of things to do from bottom half guard and drill the bejeezus out of them, until I have no excuse for being stuck under there any more.

On to kung fu. We did Leopard Fist a few times (don’t forget the hard block before the bong sau… also, stay low during that spin- don’t pop up), Snake Versus Five Animals a few times. I was feeling really nervous, because DD was sitting there watching us.

Kiu Two. Since I missed last week, and haven’t had a chance to practice, I was blanking really bad. I had to ask people to move around so that I could stand in the middle, and then I requested several more reps.

More work on that sweep. I am "leaving the leg behind", which is DD-speak for failing to have my sweeping leg already in motion and thus in front of my body by the time my hands hit the floor. I am also letting my hips rotate so that they are facing the floor by the time I get around to the back; when the hips should be facing the side the entire time. Otherwise the laws of physics have me essentially trying to pass my leg through a few feet worth of the ground to get the trajectory- and since I am not Kitty Pryde, that’s not working so well.

When I had been working on this last year, it had seemed as if I needed to get a ton of torque started in my upper body, and transfer it to my lower half as I hit the floor, otherwise I couldn’t get any power into the sweep nor get myself all the way through the 360. Now I’m being told that it "looks like (I’m) working too hard". DD does the sweep and he looks like Baryshnikov. I said, "I can make it PRETTY, like a dance, but it won’t have any power in it." So I tried it with pretty dance-like form and was told that that looked closer to correct. There must be a happy medium somewhere.

Even though he looks like Baryshnikov doing the sweep, DD did it against the heavy bag, and the thing was swinging so hard it almost hit the wall. Then he did it on SK, "half speed" and sent him flying. DD makes everything look so easy.

After we’d all worked sweeps till we were sore, we worked on the three-strike knife-hand-iron-needle-backfist combo from the beginning of Leopard Fist. Make the strikes reboundy without sacrificing form or extension, and do it in one extended hissy breath.

DQ by contact lens

Lesson number one from my first big tournament:

Get up ten minutes earlier and put your contacts in before you leave the house.

I didn’t put them in because I don’t like driving in them, and I thought there would be a ton of time… but I got a little lost (Bonney Lake earns a D in street signs) and went straight to gi weigh-in upon arrival. Immediately after weigh-in, I went to the bathroom to put my contacts in…. then straight to my assigned mat…. where I found that I had already been scratched. Yep, I know, almost too stupid to be believed, huh? After all that. Can you believe any large tournament could possibly be that efficient? And they must have BEGUN with my bracket… WTF…. one of the MIDDLE brackets????!? Wouldn’t any intelligent person assume they would start with either the heaviest brackets or the lighest ones, not with some random bracket from the center of the field???!??

So, all you boys and girls who have yet to do your first big tournament, don’t be a moron like Kitsune: Weigh in, go straight to your assigned mat and stay there. Do not go to pee, do not go to find your friends, do not go to the candy machine, and do not go to put your contacts in. If you have half a brain cell, you’ll just immediately find your mat and STAY THERE.

Now if I hadn’t signed up for no-gi as well, the whole trip would have been for nothing. But I was pissed enough because

1)My gi is better than my no-gi

2)There were few enough women in my gi bracket that even if I had lost all my matches, I think I would have still placed and gotten some points (I think Rodrigo wanted to tie a knot in my tongue for that….Now if Gracie Barra loses the team trophy by two points, it really WILL be totally my fault!!!)

3)Now I had to sit around for another five-plus hours and get more and more jittery waiting for no-gi… I could have slept in.

OKay, well, it’s done. Moving on.

I had actually weighed 126.5 first thing this morning (naked). I had a decent breakfast (albeit eggs yet again), drank all I wanted, I even had a candy bar. I could have gone to the friggin’ Old Country Buffet breakfast bar and eaten myself into a stupor and still made weight. I weighed in UNDER weight in both gi and no gi; I could have gotten into the next lower bracket. So I was actually at a bit of a disadvantage (in the fights that I actually showed up for), because I was essentially fighting up a bracket.

I also still have a bit of lingering laryngitis, slight dry cough, slight headache. I could fight, but I was definitely not at my physical 100%.

The first uniformed woman I saw when I walked in was JULIE. That chick was *not* on the registration list!!! Believe me, I looked. All I can think of was that she may have been on the kids’ list (which I skimmed but didn’t scour) since she’s under 18… and they bumped her up. A good thing to keep in mind when checking up on my potential opponents next time.

Bianca had to fight her (gi)- and lost. Welcome to the Sisterhood Of Those Who Have Been Owned By Julie, Bea.

Bianca almost missed *her* fight as well…. she was on the other end of the gym watching the brown belts, but luckily I was watching the women and heard her name called, and I knew where she was. Normally I would have used my Herald Voice to summon her across the gym and over the crowd….. but with laryngitis, I had to run!

One woman was lying on the floor sobbing, with her gi jacket over her face- it looked like she had dislocated her shoulder. I hadn’t seen it happen, but wow…. that’s a chance we all take.

By the March Revolution I should be able to shed another 2.5lb and be safely in that lower bracket. Of course that puts me back in with Bianca and Julie again! But I’m pretty sure I have more muscle mass than either of them. Not that that helps me when their technique is a lot better… but catching up to them is a good goal to strive for.

I didn’t see hide nor hair of Cindy most of the day… not that I expected to; the kids were upstairs, and they need her more than I do on tournament day. I heard that Ian won gi, and lost in no-gi to a rough guy with many years of wrestling experience. The other kids did well.

Carlos called me over, and I slunk warily up to him… but he clasped my hand and hugged me. I asked him if he still loved me, and he said yes. So that’s a big relief. I guess Rodrigo succeeded in convincing him that I am not a terrible person.

I saw Brandon lose a match and come off the mat crying…. it was a really good fight, and he was up against an adult (he is 13!) so he has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of… but since he’s 13, he was crying. I was kind of watching for him, since Cindy had mentioned to me that Brandon was crying after he lost a match at the Seattle Open last month. So I tapped Carlos on the arm and pointed over there, and told him that Brandon was crying and Carlos should go talk to him. Which he did, so that was good.

I saw one of Kaungren’s matches; he got the guy in what looked like a really nice triangle. But after about a year’s worth of looking like the guy would have to tap any second, he somehow got out, and ended up winning the match. Bummer.

I saw Dex and Miguel both win very hard-fought matches, and Pat win two. Saw little Carlos lose one, but he fought well.

Sabrina was there, and explained that she hadn’t signed up because she’s been nursing a shoulder injury. Angela was there, and she *had* signed up, but no other purple belt women had- so she didn’t get a fight. She said that there would be someone for her to fight at the March Revolution, though… and then she plans to go to the Pan Ams.

So, no-gi…. I had been bumping into Pat here and there all day and he kept bucking me up. Before my first no-gi match, he pulled me off the foor and started doing a little pummeling and such to try to warm me up. He was being so supportive that I completely forgot to chew him out (as I had intended to) for scaring me on Tuesday and leading me to believe that Rodrigo was more angry at me than he actually was.

I had seen a girl about my size walk in wearing a "Team Wise" sweatshirt and carrying a gallon jug with "Tiffany" written on it, and I thought, "Bingo, she is my first match!" I was sizing her up out of the corner of my eye for hours as we were both wandering around the gym. She was kind of scary. Swaggering, glowering, black cornrows and tats. When I pointed her out to Pat, he whispered, "Your tattoos are more badass than hers." LOL.

Well, there must have been a last-minute switch for some reason, because she was set up to fight some other girl- Stephanie (she must have gotten combined into this bracket from elsewhere). Tiffany won.

I was up to fight Rachel first. She was taller than me, but she actually didn’t look as scary as Tiffany. I don’t remember a whole lot of the match, but I think I aquitted myself halfway decently before losing to an RNC. An RNC! I almost never tap to chokes! I was exasperated to have to tap to a choke, although I was happy it was not a triangle. Mission number one for this tournament was: do not get tapped out within the first fifteen seconds. Mission number two was: do not get tapped out by triangle. (Next time, mission number one is going to be SHOW UP FOR THE MATCH!!!) I succeeded in my two missions this time. I held out for quite a while before tapping to the RNC. Unfortunately, Rachel’s corner (the bastard!) was squatting about ten inches in front of my face while I was being choked, and I was unable to adequately hide the level of discomfort on my face nor the fact that I had freed a hand to hover over Rachel’s leg in preparation for the tap if I had to resort to it. So he assured her that she had it and to keep going, and after a bit, he started a countdown for her. (did I mention that this guy was a bastard?) If not for him, I might have been able to hold out till she gave up. By the time that bastard got to six, I had to tap BAD, but I held out until eight just because I was pissed at him. The ref was impressed- there was an unmistakable expression of wonder on her face when I got up and looked at her.

Then I fought Stephanie for third place. We danced around hanging on each other’s necks for quite a while. She eventually tripped me up, but I got her in a headlock on the way down and hung onto that for quite a while. I couldn’t seem to do anything useful with it, though, and eventually I became aware of Rodrigo’s and Carlos’s voices from the sidelines both hollering at me repeatedly to LET GO OF THE HEAD…. well, crap, I don’t really want to, but if you say so. After that, I spent much of the match- one guess where! Of course, where else, bottom half guard. (Mission number two for the March Revolution- GET THE ^#%$ OUT OF BOTTOM HALF GUARD! In fact, that should be my primary mission in practice for the next little while as well.) We ran the clock out and she won on points. I was actually less pleased with my performance in this match than I had been about my performance against Rachel. But even though I lost both matches, I think I did well enough to say I didn’t humiliate myself.

After the second fight, I sat next to Angela and her camera, and said, "Did you get any good pics of that?" She said, "Yeah," And showed me some. "Don’t you have any where I’m not on the bottom?" "No." LOL. Yeah, well, gotta have a sense of humor about it.

I do recall being calmer than I had expected during the matches. In particular, at the beginnings, when I normally feel a hurry-hurry-hurry pressure to try to get in and get a takedown. Today I was just chillin’. There was just less of the "white noise" that seems to fill up my head when I’m in a particularly intense fight. I was able to think some, to look around a bit and consider options. I did find myself gassing out, especially during the second match when I was trying to get out from under. I hate it when I have some sense of what I should be doing and my body simply can’t summon up the strength to do it.

We watched Rachel and Tiffany duke it out for first- OMG, they were really brutal. Everyone was sitting around staring gape-jawed and murmuring. Even Carlos was shaking his head and saying with dark disapproval, "That is not jiu-jitsu," as Rachel was kneeling there with her knee on the side of Tiffany’s face and all her weight on it. Less clean BJJ technique and more dirty pool. But it’s good to know what to be ready for.

Carlos asked me where my boyfriend was. After a little back-and-forth, I finally figured out that he was asking about SK. Apparently the rumor mill at Gracie Barra thinks SK is my boyfriend. ((murfle))

The entire crowd seemed to change radically in both mood and appearance between the morning (gi) and the afternoon (no-gi). I know this is a little offensive to say, but it’s true: a noticable rush of "Trailer Trash" appeared to watch (and some to compete in) the no-gi. The fighting was a lot dirtier, too.

Angela told me that those two girls I fought (both from MMA gyms, and both of them half my age, I might add) have been doing Revolutions for a while, and placing- so they had a jump on me experience-wise. I told Angela that I wished I could have been in the "beginner" division, and she thinks I should have been- she doesn’t think I was correct in my understanding that I *had* to be in intermediate. Oh well. You may roll your eyes at this, after I placed fourth in a four-person bracket- but I did feel competitive- I didn’t feel completely outmatched, like "OMG, these girls are totally out of my league, I don’t belong in this bracket, I don’t belong in the ring with this person" It wasn’t like that. On a different day, I might be able to beat them. (Maybe in March!)

One of the perks of repping two schools: if your teacher is tied up, you have back-ups. It was really nice to have Rodrigo and Carlos (and Pat, and Bea, and a couple of the guys) holding my hand during the no-gi. They were really supportive, even though I bombed, and that meant a lot. I’ll be sure to thank them again later. Gracie Barra always talks up the whole team mentality and "we’ve got your back" and all, and I really saw how that was at the tournament, like I’ve never seen it before. I wish I could have pulled through and brought in some points for the team. I want to do better next time.

Stephanie made a point of coming over and thanking me again for the good fight; she seems really nice.

Cindy did eventually find me after my fights, and ask me about them. I was guarding Rodrigo’s and Carlos’ bags at the time, and my toes curled when I saw them walking toward us. But to my relief and immense gratitude, everyone was pleasant and cordial. That meant a lot to me. I don’t know if they did that just for my sake, but it would have been so much simpler for them all to just orbit around each other and not interact, so that was great to see. It would be nice to be the impetus to help the ice thaw a bit there. Maybe it could even get to the point someday that they all actually *COULD* consult together on my promotions and such. That would be cool. This is the same sort of project I’m sorta perpetually working on with the two estranged kung fu factions. The progress there is glacial, but I hold out hope.

I am eating pizza as I type. Bacon and mushroom. I scarfed the M&M’s in the car on the way home.

10 hours and counting…..

Wanted to go to class at Gracie’s Seattle this morning, but still fighting that flu-or-whatever. I have really bad chronic allergies, so I’m used to having to work out through congestion and such- but the persistant headache that has accompanied this illness is a b****. The sore throat’s bad, too. Now I have laryngitis. Anyway, I skipped practice this morning, took a Nyquill, and went back to bed.

Evening… JB and I went over to Cindy’s, and she wasn’t there. She must be really, REALLY sick! I hope she will still make it to the tournament tomorrow! That would suck particularly for her little kids who are competing, to not have her there.

The mat was open, so JB and I rolled for two hours. I should have done some rolling with Alicia, but just never seemed to get around to it. Prolly for the best…. too much potential for injury! I asked JB to try to pull me into guard and triangle me a lot. She did get a couple of triangles; one I escaped and one I had to tap to (Razzafrackin…………)

She tapped me once with that triangle and one other time with a keylock. I tapped her a couple of times with keylocks and twice with armlocks transitioned from failed keylocks… I am not very good at those, but I had nothing to lose at that point, so I decided to try- and they worked. I tapped her a few more times with other things… I got a number of keylocks and kimuras on her that would have made any NORMAL person tap, but she didn’t because she is too flexible. Notably, I didn’t get any guillotines on her tonight. I got one on her that she successfully defended using about 6,000lb of pressure with a shoulder in the side of my neck. I did a couple of mean things, but I apologized while I was doing them.

We started with gi and then went to no-gi. JB likes no-gi better, and is more skilled at it… I think because she’s had more practice at it. She really should have signed up for the tournament in no-gi!

It was good to get that rolling with JB… challenging, but I feel safe with her and injury risk is low. Between work, illness, and the strife at Gracie’s, I’ve had a much lighter practice week than normal.

Laryngitis, still, tonight….. a little bit of a dry cough, not much. Hopefully I’ll be better in the morning… but as long as I’m not *worse*, I will be able to fight.

I have been 127.5 lb most of the week (first thing in the morning, naked). So I should be able to have breakfast and water tomorrow, and not have to worry too much about making weight. I can’t WAIT for my pizza and M&M’s pig-out afterward!!

Weigh-in call for gi- 9:30
weigh-in call for no-gi- 3:15

So no weighing in and then going for breakfast… no doing your gi matches and then going out for lunch before no-gi. Stuck there all day, and having to be careful of what you eat.

Rodrigo doesn’t hate me

Rodrigo doesn’t hate me. Everything else is secondary.

He had actually called JB to try to track down a phone number for me (I had changed mine several months ago and never updated the info at the school), and left me a voice mail saying he wanted to talk to me. Tonight I went to the Bellevue school before class and took him out to sit in my car and talk (no more drama scenes in the front lobby for the general viewing audience, thank you very much).

I made it clear that no disrespect or disloyalty had been intended, and that had I known what an upset this would be, I would have discussed it with him first.

He made it clear that he is well aware of numerous students (including me) crosstraining with Cindy and he is cool with it. It did sound like that revelation might have been news to Carlos, though, which explains some of his reaction.

He does want us all to come to some sort of understanding of what we’re going to do regarding promotions, cornering at tournaments, and maybe a couple of other issues- that won’t have anyone stepping on anyone’s toes. I feel that those items can be worked out.

He did not beat around the bush regarding the issue of the Revolution "team trophy" points. GB is competitive and wants that team trophy badly. If GB loses to Lotus Club by 2 points, and they could have had two more points had I not double-repped, I will not be the most popular girl around the school for a while. Sleeper Athletics doesn’t have enough people in the tournament to be competitive for the team trophy, and it’s entirely possible that Cindy doesn’t give a fig for those "points". In which case, it would smooth things over politically for me at Gracie Barra if I told the tournament staff that GB could have all my (highly theoretical) points. I don’t have much time left to try to broach that conversation with Cindy, but we’ll see. And if there’s a next time, we can make sure to discuss that.

We discussed a few other respect and loyalty issues, and traditions, and tried to make sure we were on the same page. Didn’t have enough time, because he had to go teach the class, but we can talk some more later.

I’m just really, really relieved that Rodrigo doesn’t hate me. I hope that he can smooth things out a little with Carlos. Carlos, I fear, may well still hate me. I’m not kicked out of the school. But Carlos is teaching enough of the classes that if I can’t deal with him, it’s going to be impractical for me to try to train at GB.

I may go to class tomorrow morning at GB Seattle. It will mean facing Carlos, but at least Rodrigo will be there as well. It would be so nice if Carlos and I could establish some kind of bearable-if-uneasy truce before we run into each other at the tournament…. although it will be pretty hard for me if I go in there tomorrow and he completely snubs me.

I also hope gossip of the situation has not spread all over the school. Pat has a big mouth!

JB and I tried to go to Cindy’s class this morning, but it was cancelled because Cindy has the flu. I wonder if one of us infected the other on Sunday night. I hope Ian and the other Revolution entrants who were there didn’t catch the virus as well. I have been sick since Sunday night. Tuesday and yesterday it seemed to be tapering off, but today it had rebounded. I hope it clears up by Saturday, now that it’s looking like the tournament might actually be a go.

Kung fu tonight…. we got locked out of our building because it’s Veterans’ Day, so we had to make shift with outside…. wet and cold and dark! We did a build-a-form to warm up, then some armlocks. Once again frustrated with trying to do locks on Nemesis… but I did somewhat better on SK and DD.

SK finally got an x-ray done on the wrist that has been hinky since April, and turns out it is BROKEN! So no more BJJ for him, and light on the kung fu, for who knows how long. Hope he won’t need surgery…. but it’s good that he now knows what the problem is.

Tough decisions

OK, it’s after midnight and officially too late to make any changes on my registration form. No, I did not officially withdraw. Because I still have absolutely no friggin’ idea what I am going to do.

At first it seemed obvious that I can’t do that tournament. But the more I thought about having to tell Cindy that, the worse I felt. She has put enough into this that she deserves better from me than to flake out like that.

Showing up at the tournament- with my offending duel-status registration intact- is really drawing a line in the sand (and spitting across it) to Carlos, who made it perfectly clear that the duel-rep is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE to him. I cringe at the thought of doing that to him- likely annihilating all chance of reconciliation with him- and also thus quite possibly sealing my fate of getting either frozen out or downright BOOTED out of Gracie Barra.

Also not looking forward to dealing with all this f’ing drama at a tournament…. as if I don’t have enough to be anxious about.

Another joyful thought… possibly having to face down Bianca or other Gracie Barra students who may view me as the worst sort of traitor…. face them not just en masse in the venue, but across the ring. Things could get a little too… REAL.

But the idea of going to Cindy and telling her that despite all the time, all the sweat, all the encouragement and positive pep talks, all the organizing to get good training partners to come over and work with me, all the rolling around on her painfully injured knee, all the things she’s done for me in the past couple of months because I asked her to help me get ready for this tournament- sorry, it was all for nothing and I’m wimping out two days before the competition because Gracie Barra is acting like a jealous junior-high boyfriend. Woah. Not sure how she’d react, but I know one of the reactions would be *disappointment* in me. Ouch. I don’t know if I can bring myself to do that. I owe Cindy better than that.

I really don’t know what I am going to do.

JB is supposed to come train with me tomorrow morning- I wonder if she’d be willing to break my wrist or something and get me off the hook. D’you think that if I eat a Supersize Double Quarter Pounder Meal for three meals a day over the next two days, I’d be over my weight limit? And you know, anything could happen on the drive down to Bonney Lake- flat tire, lost map, carjacking……..

hornets, continued

(someone commented)
I’m guessing Cindy hasn’t said anything about it?

That’s another conversation that I am not looking forward to.

I wish I didn’t have to tell her about this. It’s my problem, not hers. But I’m going to have to explain why I’m bailing out of the tournament, and she is not going to be a happy camper. She’s really put a lot of work and time and effort into helping me prepare for this tournament. She’s kept training on an injured knee that she can barely WALK on. I’m afraid that she’s going to be ticked off at Rodrigo, and that she’s going to feel bad that this happened because I was trying to rep her school, and I most fear that she’s going to feel let down by *ME* for tucking tail and dropping out of the tournament (again, after all her hard work).

It has not escaped my notice that I am the only adult on that registration list who listed Cindy’s school. Am I the only Gracie Barra student who is crosstraining at Cindy’s? No. Am I the only Gracie Barra student ON THAT TOURNAMENT LIST who is crosstraining at Cindy’s? No sir. I am just the only one who had the balls to own it. Maybe that means the others are wiser and I’m a moron… or maybe it’s just because I’m not Portuguese…. but where were THEIR senses of personal honor while they were USING Cindy to help their game and then dissing her by declining to rep her school?

The girl who kicked the hornets’ nest

That would be me.

The list of registered competitors for the Revolution was posted today.

I’m on it. In the space for "academy" is listed two schools.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not *so* naive that I didn’t realize that this was a politically ticklish situation. A little raised eyebows, a little muttering behind the scenes could possibly occur, I thought. But probably not. Because

1)It’s not like I’m Kyra Gracie or anything. I am a low-level blue belt who is firmly in the "slow learner" category. I am *not* competitive at the blue belt level right now and we all know it- me included. It’s not like I have any chance of WINNING anything. I honestly didn’t expect anybody to notice or care what was on my registration.

2)Rodrigo and Carlos both KNEW that I am crosstraining at Cindy’s. We never had any direct conversations about it, but they knew… and they knew that *I* knew that they knew. Everybody KNEW, okay? There were no surprises here. They also both knew that I was planning to do the Revolution.

So I was quite taken aback when I walked into GB Bellevue tonight and before I could even take my coat off, Prof. Carlos was pointing me to a chair, kicking everyone else out of the lobby, and having Pat substitute for him to start teaching tonight’s class so that he could have a Long Serious Talk with me (such as it is when I have no Portuguese and he has little English and we can each barely understand half of what the other person is saying even on superficial topics) to impress upon me just how profoundly I have F’ed up.

Okay, so I am duly impressed. There are some radical differences of cultural perspective going on here. I now understand that this was viewed by Carlos and Rodrigo as a grave insult and abhorrant betrayal. I feel terrible about that. I certainly had no inkling that this was such a Big Fat Hairy Deal. I get it. I don’t necessarily think it’s right or think it’s fair, but I get their perspective, and I regret having caused this.

Having fully grokked the fact that Houston, We Have a Serious Problem, I then wanted to move on to 1)apology and 2)damage control.

I apologized several times, and I hope that at least some of it got through the language barrier.

I will have to go crawl before Rodrigo as well. And probably in person. Writing an e-mail is tempting, and I can write a very abjectly apologetic masterpiece of an e-mail…. but I don’t think that is going to cut it. Gawds, this is going to be awful. I almost certainly *will* cry in front of Rodrigo. s***.

I am going to have to drop out of this competition. I’m not going to do it tonight, because I’m aware that I’m upset and not "clear" right now, and I have till Wednesday midnight to make changes on the registration form. Don’t know if I’ll be able to get my fee back, but that’s the least of my worries right now.

I asked both Carlos and Pat point-blank (more than once) if my dropping out of this tournament would fix this issue. I didn’t really get a straight answer back. The message I seemed to be gleaning from Pat was that the proper thing to do would be to stay in the tournament and drop Cindy’s school off my registration. I told him straight up that that option is off the table- I am not going to do that to Cindy. I’ll drop out of the tournament- it is really not that big of a deal to me.

I also asked them both if I am being forced to pick one school and quit the other. Again, answers that were frustratingly vague. I seemed to be getting from Carlos that whatever I was doing for my own personal development was fine with him, but it was a problem with competitions and with belt promotions. Okay, I can work with that. Competitions are not a big deal to me. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m fine with never doing a competition in my entire life. And as far as promotions, I don’t give a flying fig about that either (which is a good thing, because I’ll probably never see another one after THIS, ha ha).

What I really value is to not lose any of the great teachers I am fortunate enough to have…. to be able to keep training with all of them. But Carlos seemed to be making it fairly clear that if I was only 50% committed to GB, he was only going to be 50% committed to teaching me. I am very sensitive to rejection… I don’t know if I can emotionally deal with being frozen out like that, if that’s really the way it would be. And is that the way it would be with Rodrigo, too? If so, then I guess they are making the decision for me. If I’m acutely uncomfortable at GB, I’m not going to be able to train there. That *is*, in a way, forcing me to pick one school and quit the other. And if I’m forced, I will pick the teacher who is not forcing me. I have already been through all these mental gyrations with the two kung fu factions.

Anyway, after I talked with Carlos (or rather, after he did a lot of talking and I did a lot of listening in horror and dismay, and trying to not cry in front of him), then Carlos went in to take over the class and sent Pat out to talk to me some more. They both finished with telling me to go on the mat and train, and we’d talk about this more later. I left. Which was undoubtedly an insult as well, but I was way too upset to train and needed to think about what the hell I am going to do.

I’m not sorry that I decided to train at both schools. Cindy leaving GB was a bad situation for everyone, and left me with a set of bad options to choose from. I didn’t want to lose Cindy, I didn’t want to lose Rodrigo or the good training partners at GB, and once I got to know Carlos, I didn’t want to lose him either. I didn’t want to pay tuition at two schools. I picked the seemingly least crappy of a spread of universally crappy options. Cut me some slack, okay?

I’m not sorry that I put both schools on my registration. I am training at two schools. To leave one of them off would have been a much bigger insult than to duel-rep. Again, both Prof’s KNEW I was cross-training. Did they really think I was going to just put GB and completely disrespect Cindy?

What I am sorry about is that I have obviously hurt and insulted Rodrigo and Carlos, which I would never want to deliberately do. If I *could* go back and change anything, I would have a personal conversation with each of them about this before I registered. I honestly thought we had a tacit understanding of what was happening here, and nobody seemed upset, so I thought we were all cool.

All I want to do is train, and I try so hard to stay out of all gossip and politics. I don’t know why I get caught up in these goddamn soap operas.


Well, a series of unfortunate events conspired to keep me from seeing Lindsey yesterday. I did get to about 40 min of Cindy’s open mat. Then I realized that I did not really have the focus required to drive myself to kung fu and back, and I couldn’t call SK for a ride because my phone is still fubar’ed. I NEVER miss kung fu- even when I’m too injured to do anything, I still show up to watch. I was really upset at missing these two things, but as someone who has always worked bizarre hospital hours, I’m very aware of my consciousness level and careful to not get behind the wheel unless I know I’m safe to drive. Also, my knee was still hurting… and when I did get home, I realized that I was coming down with something. I think I might have the flu. So I guess it’s for the best. I hope I didn’t infect everybody at Cindy’s place. The irony is that I get a free flu shot through my work, but I haven’t had time to do it as of yet.

Anyway, no lunchtime class for me, and likely no evening class either- unless I feel LOTS better by then.

The "middle-sized" people at Cindy’s open mat (which category includes me, since there were small kids there to make up an even "small"er category) were working takedowns, which I decided to take a pass on because of the knee. So I did several rolls with Ian. We actually tapped each other out, for a change. I got him once with a choke- it was really sloppy form, but things were tight enough that he tapped anyway. He got me TWICE with triangles, to my disgust. It took him a really long time to finish them once he got them on. He turned us over so that he had a mounted triangle, but the angle wasn’t quite right. He eventually figured out that he had to pull on my head to make me tap.

Then I did a couple of short rolls with one of Cindy’s kids, at her request. It was a 12-year-old who seems pretty new and clueless, so I went really easy. I got her in loose side controls, and loose back mounts and let her work her way out, then I put her in my guard and let her defend while I went gently for triangles and kimuras.


I had to stand all day at work yesterday, but didn’t train at all. I’m disturbed to find that my knee is no better today. Feels swollen and painful. Not real bad, but bad enough that I don’t know whether to train light or to take another day off.