Friday morning Competition Class at Gracie Seattle. It was a small class- maybe eight or ten of us to start with, then another eight or so trickling in as the morning went on. There’s a seminar tonight, so Bryan thinks most people are taking the morning off due to that.
Some warmups, then right to timed rolls.
Bryan first. Guess where I spent most of the roll. Yup, front mounted. Bryan is too good for me to even get my precious bottom half guard. After the eighth time he put me there, I said, "Geez, this seems familiar somehow." Then he choked me. I held out for a long time, but I finally had to tap.
"Ha ha ha ha! Your lips were turning blue!"
"*Cough* *Cough* I was hoping you’d give up."
"I would have, but when I saw your lips turning blue, I knew I had the choke on good."
Then a one stripe white belt guy. He gave me a bit more advice than I appreciated- seeing as how he was six ranks below me- but at least he was trying to use technique and not bull me, which I *did* appreciate. He complimented me on my bottom half guard. I hadn’t been able to do much useful with it, but he was inexperienced enough that I did get a chance to at least fish around a bit and TRY- which was helpful.
Then Marc. After Marc was open mat, so Marc and I kept going. Great jiu-jitsu. Good practice and fun.
At first I thought he was a little tired or something today- he seemed a bit off his game at the beginning, although he rallied after a while and started Bringing It. I was on top a lot. My new resolve to quit the automatic jumping to front mount seems to be working out better for me- although I did go ahead and go to front mount a few times on him- when I felt in control enough to do so- and practice trying to hold it (which I kind of suck at, thus my attempt to get off the habit). I got KOB about four times… so I teased, "What are you letting me get all these knee rides for??!?"
I was making a conscious effort to stay *OUT* of his closed guard if at all possible, because I have rolled with him enough to know that that’s a place that does not tend to bode well for me. I got caught in it a few times, but I also took Cindy’s suggestion of sometimes just disengaging and backing off for a sec if that seems to be the only way to avoid getting pulled into closed guard.
We actually tapped each other out today, which we hardly ever do. I was all jubilant at tapping him with a keylock and then again with one of those rear chokes (one collar and one pantleg). Paybacks are a b****, though… he was fishing for a kimura, and I said, "Nope, nope, no kimura for you," he said, "Okay, how ’bout a choke, then?" and started digging for that instead. I went to defend the choke, and he went back to the kimura and tapped me out with it! Dang!
Tai Chi lesson with LD. We spent another half hour stretching. She asked if her technique/posture was wrong because she couldn’t side-bend all the way down to her ankle like I was doing; I had to explain again that I have been doing this for a very very very long time and it would take her a while to get that rubbery. Sometimes I wonder if I should just fake my level of gumbiness in front of these new people- at least the Type A ones who berate themselves if they can’t touch their nose to their tailbone.
We reviewed the basic standing posture, and stood for a 3 or 4 min meditation.
I asked how that felt, and she replied that it felt like her legs were working too hard. I had noticed the same in myself while we were doing the walking at our last lesson, and had decided that the culprit was her thick area rug. We rolled up the rug and I had her take her tennis shoes off. She said that that was much better.
More of the walking (hands on hips only). She is already improved from last time. Less bobbing up at the end of each step.
Then backward (with arm movements- I find the backward waking *easier* with arm movement than without). Repulse The Monkey is probably my favorite technique in Tai Chi. I demoed it for her, then had her follow me across the floor for a few laps. Then I asked her to keep going while I watched. She immediately froze up and forgot everything. She really is like me! Hell, she **IS** me!!! I quickly moved to diffuse the tension by saying smoothly, "No worries, follow me for another lap," But with no wall mirrors, how could I both demo and watch? Ah-ha. I placed us both at the center of the room facing each other, and we Repulsed Monkeys until we reached the far walls. She said immediately, "That really helps." Do I rock, or what?! So we did that several more times. She has the gist, but is still very stiff and jerky.
I talked a bit about the breathing- breathe in as you close or move toward your center, and out as you move outward from the center. I got a little lightheaded from inhaling and exhaling exaggeratedly so that she could hear/see me from across the room as we Repulsed our Monkeys.
Then I explained openings and closings, and taught her two common ones- the slight lift and press at hip level, and the circle-arms from center, down, out, up, to in again. These particular openings and closings are often used in the Shaolin group as well. I did this on purpose. If we turn out to be a decent teacher/student fit, it would be awesome to get her into a little Shaolin as well, eventually. Good to plant a tiny seed of that idea early on.
Next time, we will do 3 openings and closings before and after the short standing meditation. Then we will begin at far endsof the room facing each other, and do the forward stepping till we meet in the middle. Then Repulse The Monkey till we get back to our respective walls. Bunch of reps of that. I’d like to see her get more relaxed and smooth the whole thing out a bit. Then the first few moves of the short open-hands form.
It’s a pain to not have wall mirrors. Once we get the form seriously underway, I wonder if it would be possible for us to take a monthly field trip to my (non-MA) gym to work with the mirrors.
Friday evening no-gi at Cindy’s. I probably would have bagged that one tonight- three back-to-back classes is a bit much- but Cindy had texted me in the morning and told me to come tonight if I could, as she was going to give Lamont his blue belt. I would’ve shown up just for that!
When I got there, though, there was no sign of the man. I asked Alecia where he was. "At work." "He’s not coming at all?" "Not tonight." Crap. To Cindy: "Lamont’s not here!!!" "I know… now I’ll make him wait another year."
Ian was there! I haven’t seen him in months. I was so happy. I have missed working with him. Turns out he was busy with wrestling program, but now he should be around more often.
Evil warmups. I had to carry Leilani across the gym. I made Cindy stand behind me and hold my shoulders while Leilani jumped guard on me, just in case she knocked me over. Once the weight was settled in the right place on top of my hips, I was fine.
Lamont wandered in after the evil warmups. Yesssss!
More guillotine from closed guard. A defense for that (fight the choke with one hand, hug the opponent over the shoulder with other arm, your own shoulder in hir throat, walk around). Discussion/debate of whether or not cranking the neck slightly to the side while you’re guillotining the guy is actually legal.
A really cool sweep for when you’re going for the kimura from closed guard, and the opponent straightens hir arm and passes it over your head. Push the arm further across the centerline, pass it to your other hand and hug hir head tight with your elbow. Now s/he’s got hir arm wrapped around hir own neck. (And yours as well.) Then you underhook hir thigh, "talk on your phone" (bring your head to hir knee), turn, kick over, and get on top. I like that one.
I was really a bit too knackered to do live sparring, but Ian had run up to me in line and said excitedly, "I want to spar with *YOU*!" How could one say no? He wanted to start from standup. Ack. Well, as soon as he plowed into me, I could tell 1)he had leveled-up by a exponent of about five since I last sparred him, and 2)I was in trouble. If it had been someone I didn’t trust, I would have yelled TAP upon hitting the mat from the takedown, so that a serious discussion and negotiations could be had as to whether or not I was going to continue this spar at all. But I knew that even though he’d come out like a freight train, Ian was probably not going to hurt me, so I kept going. Wow, he toasted me. Thoroughly, completely, and without mercy. The days of us being competitive are sadly in the past, it is obvious. That’s too bad, but I’m happy for him. He’s only fifteen. He’s going to be killing everyone in another couple of years. I got a little bottom half guard (for a while), but all I could do was strain to survive for a short time. His shoulder pressure in the throat and side of the face is deathly.
Then Cindy put me with Lynn. I have never seen her before, but apparently she has taken lessons from Cindy at a different site for a little while. She knew some basic technique- including a really nice triangle. She is *TINY*. Tinier than me. Tinier than Sue. I literally had to bend over and put my hands on my knees to talk to her while we were standing on the sidelines. If she’s 75lb, I’ll eat my Reeboks. So I was careful, and went slow. I made her work, but she had truly beautious triangles, so I let her tap me twice with them. She thanked me for going slow. (Next round she went with Alecia, who was much faster and more smashy!)
Then Lamont got his blue belt. I had brought my housemate’s camera and hid it in my sweatshirt under the bench. I got ONE photo (see above) before the battery went tits-up. Rats. It was great to be there for that, though. Lamont’s been training for over a decade- but very little gi, and he just never got promoted. As we all congratulated him, I said, "It’s about time, ya damn sandbagger!" Then I had to hector him from the sidelines as he sparred George. "COme on, Lamont, you have to Bring It now- you’re a blue belt!" "Hey George, why don’t you hogtie him with that new belt?!" and so on, and so on.
I told Cindy that I had enjoyed working with that kid she paired me with on Wednesday. She said, "Oh yeah! He was talking about you!" ‘That lady,’ (murfle…wheeze) ‘I was going easy on her because she was so small-‘ Cindy: ‘And was SHE going easy on YOU??’ The kid admitted that he thought maybe I was. (wheeze… some more) But I told Cindy that he’d been really good about not putting his weight on me, and trying hard to stick to technique. He had also admitted to her that he’d used some strength ‘when I started to get scared,’ (wheeeeeeeeeze…)
Alecia tried to fix me up!!!! Ack!!!!