First hour of Competition Class at Gracie Seattle.
There were so many kids between toddler and five years old in there today that it looked like a day care!
Whew- Lindsey and his running warmups. He often has us run laps and squat to touch each corner of the mat. Today he had us running (forward and sideways) and every time he yelled "sprawl!" We had to sprawl and pop right back up again and keep running. I actually had to stop at one point and skip a lap. I know I whine a lot about warmups, yet I do not often stoop to wimping out on them- so I was annoyed at myself for that. He also had us do about a bazillion squats in which we actually went low enough to slap the mat. I really should have bailed on at least some of those- because after about thirty, I knew my knees were going to be very unhappy about this. But those I outlasted.
I haven’t seen Angela in several weeks, and I had to do a double-take…. she looks like she’s lost about half her weight. I dithered about saying anything…. you never know whether to say something. It can be hard to tell in a baggy gi whether someone’s weight has really changed, you also don’t want it to come out sounding like "You were a hippopotamus before!!", and some people find it rude to comment on weight at all. However, I knew that Angela had been aiming to lose some weight, and I do want to be supportive to anyone who is open to support on that topic, because I know how hard it is to drop weight. So I finally said with a smile, "You look like you’ve lost a whole bunch of weight!" She happily agreed that she has. Awesome. I’m so used to being intimidated by her size, that I didn’t really notice before that she is almost as short as I am. Dayum, she’s going to be in **MY** bracket if she keeps this up! I told her that I’m happy she’s a purple belt so that I won’t have to fight her in tournament! She had to stop to retie her pants later on, and I teased her that that’s what happens when you turn into a skinny twig… none of your clothes fit any more… she’ll have to buy all new gi’s!
More ankle picks going down on the knee, to be followed by hooking and tripping the leg you *didn’t* pick up, to a guard pass crawling over the thigh. Don’t forget to a)HOLD ON to that pants cuff and b)keep your toe hooked over the opponent’s other leg till you’re past. We have been working this same thing every Sunday for the past several weeks, so it was familiar. First I did several laps with Dex. He was picking my ankle and bringing it up BETWEEN his legs. I didn’t say anything for two laps, then I had to blurt, "Take the leg to the side, unless you really want me to kick you in the crotch when I go down," Then we switched legs, and I commented, "That seems like your best side," The technique felt much smoother and more forceful when he did it on the other side. He thanked me, so I hope he didn’t mind the peanut gallery offerings.
Then we were told to switch partners. I grabbed the first guy who walked up to that end of the mat, and Lindsey said, "Nope, wrong guy," and took that guy away and brought Angela over. I know he’s trying to be helpful, but I worry that every guy he does that to is given the message that he shouldn’t/can’t work with me… and I really don’t need more people avoiding me on the mat. Furthermore, I’m not very happy to always end up working with the only other girl in the room just because we both have a uterus- despite the fact that our sizes/skill levels may not match up very well.
Oh well, on this day I didn’t mind too much. Angela and I worked on the ankle pick/takedown/guard pass. She kept sticking her head right down on my hip as if to say, "PLEASE, guillotine me!" Once again, I hesitated to open my mouth. This time, too, the person outranked me. But since I know she is going to Pan Ams soon, I finally said offhandedly, "Watch that guillotine." Turns out she was way ahead of me, and explained that she didn’t like this particular version of the takedown for precisely that reason. She showed me a variation which not only avoided the guillotine, but she kept knocking me on my ass even without bothering to hook my standing leg first.
I asked her if she’s worked with Alecia over at Cindy’s, and she said yes. Upon hearing that I’d have to fight Alecia, Angela commented, "She’s aggressive!" Yup, tell me about it!
Sunday kung fu. No sign of JM. It was just me, CN (who was teaching in the absence of SK), Nemesis and JoE. Later on, JaE wandered in. "I knew we should have locked the door before the riffraff started drifting in!" He laughed at that, as he knows I am always delighted to see him come in. Later on, he called me riffraff in turn. He called me *GINGER* riffraff.
Later still, DD arrived as well.
We did several reps of Five Points Of the Star. It was a little easier tonight with a couple fewer people in the relatively small space. Notes: Make the clawing rolling blocks bigger so that they cover more of the torso (belly) and not just the chest. They also need to come out a little further and not hug so close to the body. Try to smooth out the rhythm and remove the pauses- especially after the circular grab-and-pull-in-to-kick. After the first lunge, when you turn to the rear- make sure to bring both arms over TOGETHER in front of the body. Be more forceful with all of the strikes- apparently I am being forceful on some but not all of them. Do not hunch my back over when I’m stepping and rolling-blocking to the jump kick. Apparently I am doing better on the extentions, because CN didn’t mention that. He told me that my pike kick is great- every time.
He asked if there were any trouble spots, and I said the kicks and hooking motion during the forward roll. He thinks I’m trying to make it more complicated than it is. He also wants me to swing the hooking leg in a narrower arc- I think this is the exact opposite of what SK told me to do last week- I hate it when that happens, but that’s what ya get sometimes with multiple teachers.
We practiced the jump kick against a pad. I balanced on the platform of a water-base stand-alone kick bag to try to hold the pad high enough for Nemesis. Even standing up there, I had to stretch my arm over my head to hold the pad high enough for him.
At one point, everybody got embroiled in one of those long debates over some detail… is this kick supposed to be at the knee or at the inside of the thigh. I agree that it’s valuable to discuss/debate/analyze/experiment with different versions and try to figure out the most practical apps- that’s a skill you need. But I have a time limit to my patience with that. DD could go on for weeks, I think. I need to disengage when it starts to devolve into, "Does anyone have CM’s notes on the form…. This is the version that RS taught at that seminar in Sacramento in 1982…." I repped the three Tiger drills that we’ve worked on this month, plus a couple of CC’s Tiger drills, while they gnawed that bone. Knees were quite bad by then. Knees don’t like Lindsey’s class, Knees don’t like Tiger material. Lindsey + Tiger back to back = owie.
Then the sparring. JaE attacking JoE. Then Nemesis attacking JaE. Then me. I was offered my pick of attackers- but JaE had left (he has to leave early to catch the ferry), it didn’t seem appropriate to pick a teacher, so that left me with our two scary control-challenged peeps. I picked my poison and said that Nemesis (who was already standing up there) was fine. "But it needs to go much much much much slower and lighter than those last two spars." Nemesis claimed he had already BEEN going light. Uh-huh.
I was stiff as a board, again. Fell into Snake ready stances after the first few attacks, again. Had to ask for a do-over for five or six things. I whacked Nemesis in the nose once, and felt really bad for being such a hypocrite! We were going way too fast. I forget- unless constantly reminded- because as soon as I start to panic, I speed up. I also kept doing the same two things over and over: 1)right roundhouse kick to belly followed by pulling head down into uprising knee, and 2)right lateral Eagle claw to throat. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but I don’t want to be a two-trick pony. I know that DD wants us to look for openings that the attacker is leaving, and go for those… but that, along with everything else of use, flies right out of my head as soon as we start. I was really nervous with DD and CN watching me.
In summary- at the risk of being redundant- still feeling crappy. I told Nemesis on the way home that sparring these days feels like sitting down to an algebra exam.
Got this e-mail later tonight from CN, though: hmmmmmmmmmmm…… I’m not sure what (if anything) he’s been told about my recent sparring anxieties, and I don’t know if he’s trying to be nice and buck me up, or if I could really be bluffing my way convincingly through this……(fighting Nemesis, no less- who is still scarier than **ANYONE**, even DD!)
Just wanted to write you a quick little note about your sparring tonight and how impressed I was. It’s great to see you improve in all aspects but I feel this is a place where you’ve made many great strides recently. It’s awesome to watch your knowledge, confidence and skill grow from all the time and hard work you put in. It’s a real treat! See you next Sunday.
(pic- Renzo & Ron)