Back to work

Lindsey’s Sunday BJJ class at Gracie Seattle.

We worked on the most basic knee-in-the-butt guard break, then crawling over the thigh to pass. Also, wrapping the gi tail around your opponent’s shoulder to imprison that arm so as to more easily escape half guard. Everyone paired up and Sonia and I were left standing there looking at each other… so there we were.

At one point, she mentioned that she’d been wristlocked by Prof Carlos a couple weeks ago and it hadn’t been right since. I started laughing and told her that *I’d* been wristlocked by Professor Carlos last JULY and it hadn’t been right since. Kaungren was nearby, and he started laughing too, because he has also been a Carlos wristlock victim. Maybe we should start a support group or something. LOL. Carlos does heart him a good wristlock!

Then Sunday Kung Fu. I stood in the window till my classmates were looking at me, then I flashed my jacket open to show off my tournament bling.

SK wanted Nemesis and me to show him what we’d worked on while SK was out of town, so we spent the first half hour reviewing where exactly the attackers are coming from on Five Points Of the Star.

Then SK had us doing various flying kicks, first against a focus mitt and then against the water-base bag. JM excels at these because of her tae kwan do experience. She and Nemesis were knocking the water bag over after about 15 min; me, it took a little longer. Eventually I pulled a muscle in my left calf right behind the knee- the same one that seizes up sometimes during Cindy’s frog-jump warmups. I had to stop with the flying kicks.

Sparring. Me and JB first. She hadn’t done any of the slow-mo sparring yet. Yes, it did turn into BJJ a few times… although in HERE, you’re allowed to bite, tickle, pinch, and punch people in the face (all of which JB gleefully did to me).

Then JB had to spar JM, and I got Nemesis. Sigh. I wanted to see if the multi-strike, centerline, driving, flowing Snake sparring that I had been doing last class could be reproduced, and I was very pleased to see that it could. I tried a few Northern Mantis guard stances because I wanted to see if this was solely a Snake thing… it did end up turning right back into Snake, but maybe that’s just because I don’t have enough experience yet to transfer it to another style. A Black Crane guard stance spontaneously popped out too. SK teases me whenever I do that. "For somebody who doesn’t like Crane….." he always laughs. I kept speeding up- on purpose- because 1)I felt competitive for a change, and 2)I was just excited to explore what I could do in this mode.

Still really, REALLY, liking this groove. I felt in control. I still need to work on keeping both guard hands up- and Nememsis is still consistently nailing me with strikes in which he targets two different levels simultaneously- but I feel like I’m doing a lot better in this mode. Sparring was FUN on Sunday evening. Sparring WITH NEMESIS was FUN on Sunday evening. Stunning. Sparring has not been fun for a very, very long time. I don’t think I have ever in my life had a single sparring session with Nemesis that I could call fun. I’m scared to get too cocky too soon, but I’m starting to think I might have had a Level-Up. Oh, that would be so nice. It’s been a really long, discouraging time without one.

Monday evening gi BJJ at Cindy’s. JB and Peter came, and Alecia was there too. I was able to thank George specifically for drilling those bottom half-guard escapes with me on Friday night.

I couldn’t do the warmups because my left calf was still pretty painful. While people were doing warmups, Cindy was shouting out all the medals won at the Revoltion for the applause of all. The kids did great. Cindy even called out Peter’s medal, which impressed me, since Peter medaled for her competition. Cindy is so cool that way.

Alecia (with her ankle still wrapped) and I sat on the "cripple’s bench" while the others were warming up. I congratulated her again on how well she’d fought against Cornelia. She complained about Cornelia fighting in a white belt BJJ division when she is a judo black belt. I bit my tongue on pointing out that one could likewise object to a high-intermediate-to-advanced level no-gi MMA fighter doing a white belt gi division. The both of them were kinda sandbaggish in that white belt division, and I think they deserved each other.

She was amused to hear that the woman who’d beaten her twice in no-gi was the same one who’d beaten me twice in gi. She said, "They should have just combined us." I didn’t reply. "YOU probably don’t think so… ha ha." Well, not really. While it would have been good to have a larger field and more matches, did I want to compete against a bunch of women twenty and thirty pounds heavier than I? Not really. Did I want to get beaten an additional couple of times by Rihanna? Well, no biggie, but it seems a bit pointless. Did I want to compete against Alecia? F no. I told her, "I really did not want to have to fight you, Alecia." She sounds like she’s a little bitter that she drew some really hard fights while I skated by to medal twice in two shallow divisions. I acknowledge that she had to work a heck of a lot harder to get her two silvers than I did to get my silver and gold, and I also acknowledge that she got the two toughest possible opponents in Cornelia and Rihanna. But the luck of the draw is part of competing. You just never know if you’re going to have to fight one person who can’t match up to you, or a half dozen people who can beat the snot out of you with one hand stuck in their belt. I’d be ecstatic to see all these divisions fill up with lots of talented, tough women. In the meantime, I’m going to be happy that the luck of the draw this time allowed me to both avoid Alecia, and rake in a buttload of points to boost my teams.

We drilled the knee-in-the-butt guard break again, but this time you put a knee up and crawl over the OPPOSITE thigh. This really mixed me up for a while (you know what a problem I have with my left and my right!). Then a wrestler’s cradle using the gi lapel to curl your opponent up like a fried shrimp before you squeeze hir till her back pops, spawl on hir face, and tiptoe around to pass. This was a little complicated for me, and I needed Cindy’s patient walking me through it a couple more times. Then a variation where you start the same, but pass around to the opponent’s back.

Positional sparring with rotating partners. I got JB and Alecia. I was happy to be able to pass Alecia’s guard. I’m sure she’ll catch onto gi quickly, so I’d better relish being able to be competitive with her while I can!!

Then short timed live rolls with rotating partners. JB, then Cindy, then JB again. JB and I were starting from standing, which is good practice for me. I really want to get more of that, but I am wary of doing too much of it with people who greatly outsize/outweigh me. I got JB with a tomoe nage (thanks to Ginger for supplying the name of the throw), and teased her that she ought to have known better than to let me get that, since she has been reading my training blog and *knows* that I’ve been ninja’ing people with that throw lately! Paybacks came, though, in the form of that hideous stacking guard pass (and equally hideous stacking triangle defense) of hers. It’s been a long time since I’ve endured JB’s heavy stack. It wasn’t any more pleasant than I’d remembered.

JB said that she’d done okay against Alecia in gi, which must have been encouraging, because I know she’s afraid of Alecia too (we are ALL afraid of Alecia!!!!). I am trying really hard to talk JB into doing the next Revolution, but she would be in Alecia’s, Cornelia’s and Rihanna’s weight class! She’d be able to avoid them all in no-gi, though, which is her favorite (Cornelia doesn’t do no-gi that I’m aware of; and the other two are in intermediate while JB would probably want to start in beginner). She might run up against Cornelia and Alecia in gi, however.

We got to watch Peter spar George, which was quite a battle.

I rolled for a while with Leilani, and swept her a couple of times. She expressed her frustration with sweeps, so I did a little sweeps-workshop with her. I explained the concept of your opponent being a table, of which you need to compromise two "legs" on the same side before you try to sweep to that side. She’s still having a little trouble remembering which side to tip towards. She also tends to get too impatient, and thrash fruitlessly instead of taking the extra time to set up the sweep carefully and make sure the opponent can’t post. I walked her through a sweep, then I swept her back, and vice versa for quite a while. I hope it helped her out.

Then everyone left, and even Cindy left and let Peter, JB and me lock up after we’d rolled some no-gi. Peter likes to capture your bicep high up on the shoulder and then roll, pulling you helplessly over in a "piggyback" roll.

I could have rolled for hours, but I needed to get home and shot my diabetic cat.

Tuesday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue.

Rodrigo is as happy as the cat who swallowed the canary, because we won the team trophy. He did stress, however, that we were going to start training for the next Revoltuion RIGHT NOW. No rest for the weary, sigh. I was drilling with Ben (who won gold in his blue belt gi division this weekend).

We worked a little takedown prep to start. Grab opponent’s left gi lapel with your right hand, drop on your left knee with right leg stuck out stiffly- DIAGONAL to opponent so that s/he can’t sprawl on your back. Grab behind opponent’s right knee, hug it to your chest and stand up, then force hir back a few steps. I need as much takedown practice as I can get. I kinda liked this one, although it hurt my knees, and also I get nervous about any takedown move that has me kneeling with my face near the opponent’s knees. Kung fu- as well as accidental BJJ events- have made me wary of being clocked in the face by someone’s knee. I got this move pretty smooth, though. The main thing I was trying to focus on was reducing my telegraphing before the drop.

Then escape from back mount. Then clock choke. Lots of gi burn today. Ben kept pausing to pull his t-shirt collar up further on his neck. Every time he did it, I sheepishly mumbled, "Sorry."

Then positional sparring from back mount; choke vs defend the choke. I couldn’t complete a choke on Ben, but I think I put up a good fight. When it was his turn, he was on top of me most of the time- I couldn’t get out of his mount- but I was good at defending the choke. Especially since I didn’t have to worry about the armbar, ha ha.

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