The biochemical variable

Respect is for those who deserve it, not for those who demand it.

Friday lunchtime BJJ at Seattle.

I was relieved to see Glenn walk in right before the lineup, as it seemed to be "Big Boy Day" on the mat… there were plenty of people there, but they were all huge! Glenn’s always good to work with, and I’m happy whenever I get a chance to work with him.

A vigorous set of warmups, including running laps. We had run laps yesterday as well, and my plantar fasciitis was feeling the effects. I did it, but it felt like there was a knife under my right heel every time it hit the ground, and I had a noticable limp. The line is being crossed between pain and functional impairment. I think if I was asked to run laps again tomorrow, I would be physically unable.

You are under side mount. Bump up and frame your arms. "Talk on your phone" with the hand nearest opponent. Then turn into hir. At the same time, use your "phone" hand to control hir bicep (this was the detail I had to be corrected on). Continue turning till you are on your belly. (Note that this is *not* a hip escape/shrimp.) With the hand that is *not* controlling opponent’s bicep, keep the elbow braced on hir. Allowing this elbow to move or collapse is what lets the opponent dump all hir weight back on you and squash you back under side control. Once you are fully belly-down, move *JUST THE FOREARM* to get the underhook. Again, keep that elbow in there. Now you can get your knees under you. That all-important bicep grip (you’ve still got it, right?) will now let you yank opponent with the perfect leverage to help you dump hir over and get on top. The sequence (which I had to say aloud with every rep to avoid rushing/skipping bits) is Up, Phone, Arm, Turn, Under.

Next: same entry, only now as soon as you turn into opponent, s/he tries to slide into scarf position. The key for you now is to get your matward elbow fully underneath your body as you are lying on your side. As soon as your foe’s knee comes at you, grab the pants there and do that same roll onto your belly. You now have the pants in one hand and the shoulder/lapel in the other. Stretch opponent out. This will shove hir onto hir back. Resist the impuse to get to your knees too soon- the technique is actually tighter and more effective if you keep your belly *ON* the mat till you secure side mount. Now you can get to your knees.

Lots of drills. I’ve always struggled some with this technique, and the rolling onto the belly part is exhausting in a core sort of way. Glenn was getting tired too, and we kept up a cheerleading patter to chivvy one another through the last of the drills. He’s good with that, and with helpful feedback during the drills.

Tired and ravenously hungry by the end, so I skipped the sparring.

Between my new library card and my new Kindle, I have been availing myself of several Rory Miller books that I have not previously read. I have oodles of good quotes to share. One item that was brought up in my reading got me thinking about tournaments again.

Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while is familiar with my ambivalence regarding competitions. I’m a self-defense oriented MA’ist. I enjoy the aspect of "fun" in BJJ sparring, as well as the practical aspects, but am just not interested in the competitive sport aspect. I have had a middling performance in the comps that I have done, and it’s not fun for me.

Although I don’t really appreciate a discernable feeling of fear- and I’m fairly self-aware, so I feel like I’d know- I do tend to experience a rush of physical weakness at the beginning of a match and in the first minute or so. It feels like all the energy just leaks out of my body like water out of a holey bucket, and I feel like I weigh about 800lb when I try to move.

One of the Miller books briefly discussed the adrenaline dump, the "lizard brain" mentality, and other body chemistry things that happen in self-defense situations. It’s a significant impairment that can negate all of your preparation at the one moment you most need it. That’s sobering. It’s scary to think that if I’m faced with an attacker, I might feel that same body reaction that I feel when I’m facing a tournament opponent across the mat- that rush of weakness and exhaustion.

This argues for doing tournaments, as often as possible, for the purely practical self-defense-oriented goal of learning to cope with and work through that crippling biochemical zap. From that viewpoint, it’s difficult to come up with excuses to continue ducking tournaments.

Well, except for one- my tenuous sense of confidence in my MA, which has all the solidity of a spun-glass figurine. If I start doing a bunch of tournaments and get my ass mowed into the ground over and over, is that going to drive me into despair bad enough that I might lose even *MORE* confidence…… or even give up and quit altogether?

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