Tai chi with a BJJ chaser

I told Cindy, "I have a funny story for you,"

She got all excited: "Were you MEAN??!?"

"Someone at Gracie Barra is avoiding me on the mats because I’m too rough."

She slapped her thighs and yelled, "Whoo-hoo!"

Hahaha.

The tai chi lesson seemed to go okay, although I really won’t be able to tell for sure until several sessions in. Found out that LD hasn’t had a chance to work with CK at *ALL* yet, so we are really starting at ground zero. She has a hinky right ankle (sprained last fall and not quite healed fully), and her right shoulder/neck area is really messed up after the breast cancer surgery. Apparently she has been sorta clasping the arm to her chest and having everything all hunched up and tense. She’s having PT a few times a week for it, but presently the limited range of motion and the level of tightness in that area is going to be a bit of a challenge.

She’s decently flexible… although she did what they all do- despite my disclaimers- they get down on themselves because they can’t stretch something as far as I can. I say (beforehand) "I am abnormally flexible, and I have been doing this same stretching routine almost every day for about TWENTY-FIVE YEARS- don’t expect to be able to get your leg back this far on day one."

We stretched for a long time, and then went through the basic standing posture, and then a little stepping. NO arms yet. I figure that any bad habit I am still struggling with after some fifteen years of tai chi is a good one to consciously nip in the bud for my newbie. It’s easy to get all distracted by the arm-waving, and think it’s all about that- that’s tai chi. But it’s all about the center. Your center is doing tai chi, the limbs are just an after thought along for the ride. So I’m going to be really careful to ingrain that from the start. (And, fortuitously, that also lets us take it easy on her bad shoulder.)

I was able to watch LD’s stepping, see something not quite right, and suggest a variation to fix that- which worked. Whew. Maybe I can teach tai chi after all. Each circuit she did was progressively better, although she’s still coming up on her toes a little. Tonight while I was making dinner, I thought of a variation that may help with *that* problem- we’ll try it on Friday. I’d also like to get to a little Repulse-The-Monkey on Friday. Dying to do some Wave-Hands-Like-Clouds, but I think that trying to move sideways is just going to confuse her if she tries that before she has backwards and forwards down really well. Silk reeling, unfortunately, will probably have to wait till her shoulder is more recovered.

I’m also thinking about teaching her the Dance Of Life. I need to feel her out a little more and figure out how receptive she is to what I sometimes refer to as the "Woo-woo stuff". Dance Of Life is not tai chi, but it’s a great chi-flow exercise- and can be helpful to people who are just trying to figure out what chi is, what it feels like, and how to move it around. I am aware, though, that some people want their tai chi without the chi (rolling eyes). I hope LD’s not one of them- but if she is, I’ll have to figure out how to teach like that.

She did say that her thighs were "feeling the burn"- and we only did actual tai chi for twenty minutes or so. Good.

I went straight from there to Cindy’s, and still missed half the warmup. I got there just in time for the Dead Bugs. Oh Goodie!

She had a whole bunch of Tween-age boys in there today. She’s doing some kind of new wrestling/BJJ program at a (I think) junior high, and bringing some of those kids into her kids’ class- if they are physically large enough and have the attention span, they are sometimes allowed to participate in the adult class.

There was also a small group of kids having Capoeira class on the other end of the mat. OMG, I would so love to try some of that! And it would be so convenient, with that group sharing this space! Sigh. I just do not have enough time- or $$$- for another obsession right now.

We drilled most of the same stuff we’d done on Friday. Coolness, it was all stuff I would like more work on. I had to walk Leilani through most of it. I also got to be demo dummy for some of it (including the bonus neck crank after the reveral- ack!).

Alecia had come in halfway through drilling, and I was regarding her with mixed feelings: "Good, gonna get some challenging live rolling tonight" versus "Ooooooh, I don’t know if I have enough gas in the tank to cope with *YOU* tonight".

However, Cindy paired me up with one of the Young-un’s. He looked about 12YO, but he was probably twice my weight. I was a bit leery. Didn’t give him my "disclaimer", but I was ready to call a time-out and do so if he started to pancake me and rip my arm off.

He turned out to be okay. I don’t know what his training background is, but from his rolling it seemed like he had some basic BJJ and some going-on-intermediate wrestling. He knew some technique- some escapes, and he could identify most of the subs I tried to set up, but he wasn’t trying for many subs of his own. He was being really good about not putting his weight on me. He *was* using some strength- especially when he felt me slapping a sub on- but you could tell he was making an effort to stick to technique (and doing a respectable job for a 12YO). His buddies were a bit problematic at times, when they had advice (and jeerings) from the sidelines. But we must have rolled for close to 30 min straight, and it was good. Part of me feels crappy that I couldn’t sub him… but I did have considerable positional domination. He had good defenses for my favorite subs. I must have tried a bazillion keylocks and half as many armbars, and couldn’t finish. I got a few chokes that weren’t *quite* tap-out material. Several kimura attempts (which was good; that is not a sub I have gone for much in live rolling, and would like to front-burner it more). As I said, he had good defense for my small bag of tricks, and the one time that I came closest to tapping him was when I pulled out something different- the kimura where you are sitting on the opponent’s head in a sort of diagonal position. I *ALMOST* had him with that. He was exclaiming over what a cool technique that was (while I’m continuing to push and thinking, "So TAP… come on, TAP…!) He finally managed to roll out somehow, to my exasperated surprise. (I really need a refresher in the transition into that technique.) As the melee continued to stretch on and on, I started hoping he’d gas out- he was pretty overweight, and he was puffing, all right- but he had game, and kept plugging. As soon as time got called, though, he immediately disengaged with palpable relief. Not that he was the only one. That was a really good roll, though. Fun, and it seemed like we challenged each other.

The little scrape I got on my wrist when I fell down the Gracie Barra Seattle stairs is infected, drat it. I had bandaided it before going to Cindy’s, and that worked fine for drills (although I winced a little every time Leilani sat up and grabbed my wrist for the kimura… the woman has a wicked grip! I’ll bet she doesn’t need hubby to get the top off the peanut butter jar for her!). However, once I stared rolling, the bandaid went bye-bye in a river of sweat, and that guy kept grabbing my wrist hard, too. Tomorrow I’m going to Coban it and then swirl tape all around on top of the Coban, and see if that will hold. If not, I may need to take a couple days off (or at least off free rolling) to let the wound heal up.

(pic- Rodrigo (in the black shirt))

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