Overwrap, underwrap

bjj766

Shootouts with handguns generally follow the “Rules Of Threes”. They take place at three yards (or less), are over in about three seconds (or less), and you will fire about three rounds. – Lovette and Spaulding

Fri: Dreamed about guns all night.

Today my right foot does not hurt. This is momentous. I woke up one day in April with random and severe plantar’s fasciitis, and every single day since then, putting my right foot on the ground has felt like stepping on razor blades. Today- just as randomly- it is gone. For good????? Please?????

Sat: 128.5

Saturday all-levels at Seattle. It was very nice to see (and hug) Rodrigo and Lindsey (black belt Lindsey, not blue belt Lindsay).

Standup: Touch foe’s right wrist with your left- don’t grab, just cup. Step in with left foot and seize bicep with right hand as you bring right foot INSIDE and wrap it around opponent’s right shin. Sink your level. Your belly should be right against opponent. At the last second, turn so that you are starting to go around the corner as you take down. This is gnarly- you could easily pop someone’s knee. Angus has really good balance/grounding, but I wonder how this would work against someone my size.

Top side control: As opponent turns into you and puts arm up, overwrap it with the arm closest to opponent’s feet. Go all the way around till hand is on opponent’s back. Pop up the knee closest to opponent’s head. Spin around to back and replace side control. This was a complex arm-braiding exercise, but once I got it, it was nice and smooth.

Then, just to throw us into total confusion, a slightly different version wherein you UNDER wrap the use your other hand to press the head to the mat.

Dawn Patrol

bjj040501

A knife is anything portable and sufficiently thin to cut. I’ve found eyeglass earpieces that were sharpened to scalpels and plastic toothbrushes sharpened to puncture. A knife is primitive- no matter the skill and technology that went into it, the knife is an exemplar of more primitive, less civilized times. –Rory Miller

Ben posted that the Dawn Patrol Open Mat in Bellevue (6am to 8am) was on for the morning after Thanksgiving, and I was impressed with his doggedness, so I “like”ed it. Then he PM’ed me and said, “Does this mean you’re coming?” I had to work all night till 7:30am, so I said, “I’ll throw my gi in the car and see if I feel up to dropping in for the last 20 min.”

I got there and stuck my head in, and called, “I see a lot of guys sitting around on the mat yakking and not much rolling!” I also saw Hostility Boy- so I stalled a little, hoping he’d flake off… and thank you God, he did.

Ben and Aussie Dave were kind enough to stay for another hour, during which the three of us did rotating 8 min spars with no jackets, and they attacked my legs every which way. It was great. Although this does point up what an incredible body of work I have on my plate to become proficient at this sort of thing. It sure is a a different game in no gi. It sure is a different game at purple and above. Combine the two, and damn I have a lot of learning to do.

Ben got my arm trapped up over my head three times. The final time, he baited me into it… I resisted sticking my arm up there for some time, but I finally did it, and on he clamped.

I wasn’t sure how I would like doing an open mat on my way home from work in the morning, but I really enjoyed that.

Stubborn bitch

bjj0204

Intent
Means
Opportunity
Preclusion

Sat: 127
Sun: 127.5

HOLY FREAKIN’ CRAP. Amanda Loewen did a sub-only comp today and went SIXTY FOUR MINUTES with TAMMY GRIEGO. Bow down.

Mon: 127.5
Tues: 127.5
Weds: 128.5 (I had a McDonald’s meal after work…. it was a long day).

Evening BJJ at Kirkland.

Back mount escapes. Defend against choking arm, lie back to the NON pillow side (follow opponent’s pointing fingers) on hir thigh, use matward hand to remove hook as you keep weight on hir chest, grap pants on the OTHER leg and remove that hook as well, take side control.

Same thing, only opponent is a little more of a barnacle this time- perhaps grabbing half guard- and you have to put your elbow back and grind on hir jaw. Cindy made a bit deal of emphasizing to Izzy that THIS IS NOT MEAN.

Now, opponent tries to mount as you escape. Grab the leg and shove it between your knees, replace full guard.

Positional sparring from back mount with Izzy and Chelsea. I am very obviously still slumping…. although I will say in my own defense that both of these ladies have very solid basics and are very strong, and at least a couple of weight classes above me. Must remember to not try to work standup with Izzy- JUDO ALERT. That did not end well for me. I did get a sorta-takedown on Chelsea, though. I couldn’t set her upfor the livestock takedown nor the backtake with sit, so I ended up doing some crazy thing that incorporated both. Got her down and got side control. It was exciting. (This victory turned out to be very short-lived, as you will soon see.)

Lamont and Terry had both come schlepping in during positional sparring, and would not let me leave. I was tired and slumpy and already frustrated, and not in the mood to get tromped by Terry and Lamont- but I almost never get to see them any more, so here we were.

I got put with Chelsea first… and almost an hour later, there we still were.

Trapped in bottom half guard a lot (surprise surprise). She doesn’t seem to have good command of many sub options, otherwise this would have been a rout. She does not like to tap, either…. she did a couple of hard crossfaces and other things that I might normally tap to, but after we had been fighting for about eight years, I didn’t want to tap to that. Nor did we want to quit, even though Terry offered to swap one of us out. Eventually we started good-naturedly calling one another “stubborn bitch”, etc. Then I was on top (holy cow) and trying to finish a gi choke, and she didn’t seem to be fighting too hard. Thank you God, I’m finally going to get this. I could hear her and Terry talking to each other in coversational tones, and although I couldn’t catch what they were saying, I assumed he was coaching her. Then she snarled abruptly, “Get **OFF** me!!!” and I popped off, startled. “Sorry! I didn’t feel a tap.” Turns out they had been discussing the looming end of class time (and the capoiera class that was wanting our mat), and had agreed something along the lines of “we’re stopping now.” only I was focussed on what I was doing and not hearing this. And of course the stubborn bitch would not signal this with a tap! Ha ha. I apologized again. I hope she’s not irritated with me. It was a really good fight.

Terry wanted to leglock me a couple times before we got kicked off the mat. I was ready to fall over- tired and stupid enough to hang off his turtle with one knee between his feet, even though I know better.

Kitsune: “Your girlfriend is tough.”
Terry: “This I know.”
K: “And stubborn.”
T: “Again…….”
—————

I keep having these recurring nightmares about my cats getting either lost or killed, or me searching frantically for them, or me forgetting that they exist and then remembering too late in a panic. I’ve had them all my life. This is one of the dreams that I tend to have in response to too much stress. I have assumed that the cats were metaphors for all sorts of things. Earlier this week I had one wherein I “forgot” that I had a cat, then went searching frantically for it later, expecting it to be dead- only I did eventually find it and it was alive and in good shape. That’s the first time that ever happened. I didn’t know what to think when I woke up. Last night I had another one of the standard “forgot I had cats” dreams, only this time I actually asked someone to verify that I had had them…. I was trying to get some sort of explanation or at least confirmation of WTH was happening. I didn’t get any answers, but again- deviation from the script. I’m beginning to think that the cats are a metaphor for “soul loss”. I have an acquaintance in the clergy who has a speciality in this. If I keep having these nightmares, I think I am going to need to gear up to ask him about it. I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it because I cannot journey. But maybe he would have some suggestions.

Just experiment.

bjj900

Knife is not a precision skill, not at the serious level. It is a matter of intent and will. –Rory Miller

127

Ow! Lower fronts of thighs! From all those reps of the leg-squeezing takedown! I put some salicylate patches on them. I have been taking a ton of allergy drugs lately, so I don’t really want to dump oral ibuprofen on my poor liver which is working too hard already. Besides, at least this is one of the pains that says, “You worked hard, and it was good.” I can bear that sort of pain a lot easier than the type which says, “You have an eight-pound sandbag sitting on your face and you can’t draw more than a sip of air at a time.”

Evening BJJ at Bellevue. Four professors on the mat for a Friday night, and only the most junior one spoke any English.

To my surprise, there was a girl! Lindsay was so giddy to see me walk in. She said that she has been feeling crappy all week, but is better now and really, really wanted to have a hard sweaty workout. Well, after that, I would have been an asshole to run out right after drills, especially as there were no small guys in there tonight (unless you count Prof. Herbert).

Armbars from mount. Herbert demo’ed them with a crossing of your free hand to press on opponent’s opposite shoulder. I’m not sure how practical that is for us weak mousies. I like taking that cross-hand and placing it on the mat, snugging it right up to the opponent’s throat. Lindsay was impressed with the effectiveness of this detail. Also: Prof Herbert was grabbing the pants as he lay back. This is always a challenging detail for me, and I struggled to remember with every rep, as per usual.

I made Lindsay promise to not heel-kick me in the face, and then she went and did it anyway- got me right in the nose. Then she was exaggeratedly hesitant and gentle for the rest of the class, even though I was shielding my face with my hand and telling her repeatedly to not worry about kicking me in the back, top, or side of the head.

Second technique- this was sooooooooooooooooooooooo cool. I have never seen this before. Same setup from mount, only instead of putting up the knee in BACK of the opponent, you put up the knee in FRONT of hir, bring THAT leg around in a big sweeping loop over hir head, and place the top of your foot on the back of hir neck as you sit back. Armbar. I like it, I like it! Lindsay struggled with it- partly because she was being so paranoid about kicking me in the head. Finally, I said, “I’m going to cover my face, I want you to do it faster and not worry about kicking me.” Then she got smoother.

A little positional sparring from mount. Then I did a few no-gi rolls with Lindsay, starting from standup.

She mentioned several times that I was feeling really strong and aggressive and heavy tonight. I admitted that what I was mostly feeling was relief and some excitement that I was actually fighting someone who didn’t outweigh me by 50lb or more, for a change. There really has been even more of that than usual, lately. Lindsey is about 136, but feels 15lb lighter, and her wrist is small enough for my hand to encircle, and our strength and skill levels are comparable. It was the first time in quite a while that I didn’t feel like a pomeranian at a rottweiler gang fight.

I didn’t get any great takedowns, but I got a nice guillotine off one of her attempts, and there was some good standup struggling in which I felt at least competant. On the ground, we both gave as good as we got- she got a few taps, I got a few taps. I focused on trying to fight my way out when I found myself on the bottom, instead of giving up. She has good mount skills, so it was work… but I just kept telling myself that we were evenly matched and that I *could* get out if I just tried hard enough.

She got “tiny package” and a few variants of same on me, and I asked her to keep doing it… by the end, I was seeing these techniques coming a little sooner, and getting better at defending them. For Lindsay, it was head-and-arm triangle. The second time I got it, I grinded on her kind of mean, and said, “Don’t let me get that arm up there again…. if you do, I’ll make it hurt worse next time!”

Then she got *my* arm isolated up there- twice- and failed to capitalize on it, instead transitioning to armbars (both of which I escaped). I explained that if I was stupid enough to let her pin my arm up by my head, she should keep me there and tap me out instead of transitioning- each transition gives me an opportunity to escape. She’s not comfortable with head-and-arm choke. Well, I’m not really comfortable enough with them to TEACH them, but I told her that if she had me well trapped with my elbow to my ear (that position sucks…. it’s a bear to get out even if the entire rest of your body is free), that she should just keep me there and experiment until I tapped. That’s what I do.

I lay there and let her grind on my head and arm for a while, trying different holds and hopping from one side to the other. After she’d tapped me out a few times, we restarted. Later on, she got me in some weird position that had my arm pinned in a sort of inside-out, bastardized, mutant omoplata variation. She started to transition into something else, and I stopped her. “You have me pinned really well here, and you have an arm… see if you can just bend it in some way that will make me tap.” So she experimented, and she eventually found an elbow lock.

By that time, everyone else had left except for Casey and the black belts, who were playing Dancing Bears on the exercise balls. Casey was griping at Lindsay that he wanted to go, so we quit. But it was a very good workout, and I think we both got good learning points from it.

“Whenever you say “sorry” to me, it’s after you just did something really effective.”

bjj0101

“Is it worth the paperwork?” Campfire Tales From Hell

Evening in Bellevue. I had promised Kelly I’d be there for no-gi tonight. I failed to account for an hour and a half trapped in gridlock on 520. I shuffled in halfway through the class. Carlos glared at the clock and then glared at me. I apologized to him, then to Kelly. I was just in time to do two spars in a row with Prof. Herbert (I must be making the most awful impression on this guy) and a half of one with Carlos (he had to quit because his lip was bleeding- not my fault, the guy he was rolling with before me).

Because it seemed nonsensical to spend an hour and a half in traffic for two and a half rolls, I stayed for Advanced Class. Prof. Herbert was teaching, which was interesting because he has almost no English. They did the same thing to Carlos when he first got here, though- they just threw him in and we all had to muddle through it together, but he caught on pretty fast. The only real problem presents when somebody has a question. Then it becomes kind of impossible.

Herbert must be a judo guy…. of course all BJJ black belts do masterful throws, but after you’ve been around a while, you can still tell the judo guys. They got it goin’ on.

Shoulder throw setups. Do not wrap opponent’s arm around your own neck when you turn. Jerk hir arm down hard with your sleeve grip as you punch upward forcefully with the other arm, socketing opponent’s bicep into your bent-elbowed “nutcracker” grip. The hip contact was rather emphatic as well (I was wincing during the demo, hoping that poor Prof. Doug was wearing a cup tonight). I think I did mostly okay with this, as after one correction on my not-enthusiastic-enough upward punch, the other black belt guy (whose name I did not catch) simply stood over me and harrangued me to go faster, faster, faster, faster!! He had a million corrections for Kelly, whom I could tell was beginning to get a little frustrated. But hell, throws are complicated! It takes a lot of practice. I’m really glad for my previous experience with them, even if there are sometimes details that the BJJ teachers want done differently.

Standup, judo grips. The side that you are holding the lapel, that’s the foot you want in front. Take your hand off the lapel and switch it to the wrist of opponent’s hand (where s/he is holding YOUR lapel). Take your other hand off opponent’s elbow and grab your OWN lapel just below hir grip. Step back with the same-side foot and snap your hips and entire torso to the side as you jerk the opponent’s lapel grip off you. Now twirl in and shoulder throw on opponent’s OTHER shoulder… the side that s/he was not gripping the lapel. That took coordination, especially to do it fast.

We spent 3/4 of the class on this throw. Then….

Butterfly guard pass (Herbert says “gward” just like Enrique! Hee hee). Place your right arm under opponent’s left knee and grip the pants near the knee on hir right leg. Press your chest down on the knees and force them to the floor on your left. Place your forehead right on the mat. Now twitch your legs out and stretch them behind your so that you can tiptoe around to the opponent’s side. As you get over there, grab hir cuff with left hand and use that hold plus the one you still have on hir knees (this hold has not budged) to stretch hir out- helped along with the press of your head, which you now move from the mat to hir side. To end this drill and go to the next rep, we cartwheeled to the other side. Prof Herbert praised my cartwheel. (Score! I only took a few years of gymnastics as a grade-schooler, but it still comes in handy. Most other people had a lot of trouble with this.)

A little positional training from butterfly gward. On the last portion, I said, “Sorry about this,” to Kelly and started pushing her head around- first up so that I could pass, then down to the mat so that I could pull my foot out of her half guard.

Kelly: “It’s ok, don’t apologize.”
Kitsune: “This is kind of mean.”
Kelly: “But you need to do more of that.”
Kitsune: “…..”
Kelly: “Whenever you say “sorry” to me, it’s after you just did something really effective.”

“I tell heem to go harder on you.”

bjj54

Early I learned that people freak out more when someone tries to close, and that shaped my personality. Thus, by nature and training, I’m an infighter. –Rory Miller

127.5
I am really sick of chicken.

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Being the last kid picked for the kickball team today got me paired up with Professor Herbert (the new small-size guy with almost no English). It’s always a great thing to be able to drill with one of the black belts, but it’s also all pressure-y and embarrassing if you are a slow learner and you can’t get the technique right.

Judo grips. Pull guard from standing. Square up. Before you can plant that second foot on the hip, opponent does leg drag and moves to side control. We also did a variation of this wherein afterthe leg drag, the personon the ground turned to the side and pulled the outside leg back over to try to replace guard- then standing partner leg-drags to the *other* side.

Judo grips. Pull guard from standing. Square up. Feet on hips. Use left hand to grab opponent’s heel, and scoot underneath. You should have your left hip pressed to the inside of partner’s right foot, and your left leg extended. This was tricky as it is the opposite of almost every other technique we have ever done from this approximate position.

Now, your left leg circles around to the OUTSIDE and you place it on opponent’s hip. (thank you, flexibility… a lot of people were having issues with this, but I didn’t, as soon as I figured out what the heck I was supposed to do.) Right leg comes in to pinch together, then you give a little push and the opponent should fall on hir ass. Try to bring your left leg back as s/he falls so that you can get up and you’re not stranded there sitting on your own leg.

Repeats of all these drills, faster. (Another thing that happens when you are drilling with a black belt- he’s fast, so you are doing about 3 reps for everyone else’s one. This is good, but… puff, puff, pant… wheeze….)

A little positional sparring from the standing guard pull. Carlos was sniping at me a bit because we were having trouble figuring out exactly what we were supposed ot be doing, and with how much resistance. I hope Prof Herbert knows what “sorry” means. I said it a lot today.

At one point Carlos stopped us and delivered a fairly long monologue to Prof. Herbert in Portugese. Then he said to me, “I tell heem to go harder on you.” Lovely, thank you sir. It drives me nuts when they talk about you in Portugese right in front of your face. There was a lot more said than that. I wonder what?? 😦 At least they weren’t giggling during this discussion.

Anatomy of a slump

bjj49

Ultimately what I believe, or don’t believe, doesn’t really matter. The only thing that beliefs do for me is close my mind to different possibilities. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

For the next little while we are going to be taking a detour through SlumpLand. I apologize for being more dull and depressive than usual. However, if you are new to your MA journey and have never had one of these before, please do stick around and watch the show. It’s important to understand that this is part of the MA journey, and that they suck, but they do go away. I see a lot of people put down by their first serious Slump to the point where they quit. Don’t let it get you.

So the worst one one of these that I’ve had thus far was in Kung Fu, and it lasted a full 7 months. Man, did that one bite. Most of them tend to last a few weeks. I can only speak to my own experience with them- maybe other people’s slumps are different. I haven’t figured out, as of yet, how to make them go away. Fighting harder as they descend seems to make them worse. The law of negative returns kicks in. It’s like the Universe has decided to tap me out, and the Universe is a 350lb black belt with PMS, so struggling against the inevitable seems to only prolong the process. Tap tap tap. There ya go, Universe. You win. Now let’s restart.

The last time I had one of these, I had finally figured out that part about “fighting harder only prolongs the process”, so instead of spending a long while denying what was happening, and then struggling in futility and frustration like a fly in a web, I simply acknowledged that I was having a slump and validated my emotions about it. Then I tried a fresh tactic. Instead of increasing my training hours, I cut out all sparring and just did drills for a few weeks. I think it’s critical to **NOT** stop going to class. Your conditioning goes to hell, if nothing else. TV and video games start to look attractive again. Your diet goes out the window and the weight starts coming on.

Positional training actually is worse than free sparring at this point…. unfortunately, while it’s fairly easy to avoid sparring for a few weeks (with the exception of the odd class where the teacher decides that’s all we’re doing for that day), it’s impossible to do just drills and opt out of positional sparring unless I want to fake an injury. Being a straightforward person with a low BS tolerance, I don’t want to go there. So there will have to be some positional training, but I’ll just have to deal with it as best I can.

Avoiding sparring and just doing drills minimizes the amount of failure that one has to deal with on a daily basis. It breaks you out of the Deadly Failure Spiral. It’s critical to be able to deal with failure- in MA, getting our asses kicked repeatedly is how we learn- but when you’re in SlumpLand, it’s difficult to keep this in perspective.

Tonight- after pummelling, keylocks, figure-4 armbars and the same takedown we did this morning- I had to do positional sparring with Dave and two medium-sized white belts. Now, Dave has been a prince to me lately, and he only wants to help, and I truly appreciate his efforts. But I’ve been doing BJJ long enough to be able to tell when you’re handing something to me. It doesn’t make this better. It was actually easier to cope with being smacked down soundly by two white belts than it was to cope with Dave dialling his performance to just a half notch above mine and then handing me a guard replacement at the end. But it’s the thought that counts, and I have enough presence of mind to will myself to accept it- if not with as much grace as I would wish, at least without openly snarling at him. I once got snippy with Ben during a Slump- this was like three years ago- and I immediately felt awful about it and still do to this day, so I try really hard to be mindful to not take out my frustrations on my teammates.

I’m hoping to come up with at least one new tactic to experiment with during this Slump. Still looking for a method to actually make it go away.

Izzy got her first stripe today, which is awesome.

Next stop: Vanquishville

bjj25

Writing advice:

If you try to edit the passionate to make it more clear, you will ruin it.

If you try to edit the clarity to make it more passionate, you will ruin it.

Run with the type of good that you have.

–Rory Miller

129

That gal who murdered me at the comp last weekend got her purple belt this week. I should have her to fight in gi for future Revolutions, I hope.

I registered for Proving Grounds II for just no-gi.

Monday lunchtime BJJ in Kirkland.

KOTH from various positions.

Then Cindy and I drilled no-gi standup: one hook behind the head, other bicep grip of some stripe. Then duck under on the bicep side (keep very close to opponent, head up) and hug from the back. Gable grip. Place feet behind opponent’s feet, toes out. Situate center of gravity ABOVE opponent’s COG. Then sit, with opponent in your lap. (If you fail to place your center of gravity above hirs before you do this, you will pull hir down right on your belly.) Hooks in. Choke.

A little sparring with Cindy and Dave.

The Defeatist Beast was hanging hard on my back today. I couldn’t seem to do anything right, and I wish I could say that I even gave a shit enough to be frustrated. In the land beyond Frustrated lies the blighted kingdom of “Why Bother? I can’t do this. Fuck it.” I hate finding myself here, but it seems to be a regular stop on the tour. There doesn’t seem to be anything to do but put one’s head down and push through it.

“You’re Kanye”

bjj602

Amateurs ask, “Could I take him?” Professionals ask, “How would I take him?” Campfire Tales From Hell

There will be a Northwest Grapplethon at Gracie Barra Edmonds Dec 6 and 7, to fundraise for victims of the Philippines storm. You can sponsor me! https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/adiC8
———
Kelly sent me the vids of my matches. The only thing she missed was my sweet takedown (!) There wasn’t much to see. Me on the floor and the other ladies riding me like a hobbyhorse.

I said to Kelly:
“As usual, I need to learn how to get the hell out of bottom half guard. Both of those girls were REALLY strong and had mucho face pressure on the whole time, which was making it really hard to do anything. But I have to start taking risks and trying to scramble near the end, because I have nothing to lose, even if if opens me up to subs. I knew they’d been on top the whole time and were surely up on points.

It’s hard to shift from thinking “survival” (ie, don’t get subbed) to “competition” (ie, pay attention to points). I feel like I’ve accomplished something if I avoid the sub, but that’s not really where my full focus should be in this situation.”
———–

Sunday BJJ in Seattle. There were two guys who weighed in at around 180/185. The rest were all well over 200. And then there was me. Peter apologized to me. I told him that he needs to recruit some smaller guys for his Sunday class. But it’s okay. I don’t mind working with the big guys as long as they’re not going to put me in the hospital- and they were all colored belts, so I figured they’d be fine.

Kitsune: “I just have to sublimate my ego and realize that I’m not going to be doing a lot of winning today, that’s all.”
Peter: “And you have such a big ego, Kitsune. You’re like Kanye.”

Peter likes to run this class as KOTH from multiple positions, so that’s what we did.

Cindy came in about halfway through. After class, she and I did about 15 straight minutes of no-gi takedowns. She wants me to COMMIT to the livestock takedown. She wants me to drive my headlocking armpit down like I’m spiking a football, and kick that foot out really hard and wide. I’m still having hesitancies. I still feel like it’s not going to work, and the failure will leave me with my back to my foe and my arm twisted behind me (which would suck mightily). If it does work, I’m completely paranoid that I’m going to break my opponent’s neck. (Cindy: “They teach this takedown to three-year-olds! This isn’t mean!!”)
————-

On top of sleeping poorly at the best of times, I normally have nightmares when I’m too stressed out (usually work-related). Since Autumn ’11, I have had runs of nightmares from August through November. Had a dilly the night before the comp, and I thought it was comp nerves… nope, they are still coming. There’s no place to run when one’s own brain is acting as your enemy. “Whatever you do…. DON’T…FALL….ASLEEP!!!”
————-

Holy crap. If you see a guy named Kevin Thompson running around, don’t piss him off. He won the Revolution prize for “vicious submission” in gi (15 seconds) **AND** in no-gi (5 seconds)!!!!

“Oh my God- **HER**!!”

bjj0206

I believe in the primacy of infighting.
–Rory Miller

So, I did not medal today. But other good things of note happened.

Lindsay lost one and won one, and ended up with 3rd. Shannon lost one and did not do another. Carlos won his bracket. Suranjan won several fights that I saw (both gi and no-gi… I think he’s the only one of my regular training partners who entered no-gi, other than Tagir, whom I did not see at all today- wonder how he made out…) don’t know what the final tallies on Suranjan’s brackets were. Saw Angus win one and lose one. Ben won his bracket (He was up against Ed in the final, and Ed gave him a bye by way of collapsing theatrically on the mat and covering his head with both hands… to much hilarity and teasing in the GB sector of the bleachers). More results when the list comes out.

I wanted to be there for Shannon’s and Lindsay’s fights, but it was nervewracking to be there for 6 hours before I even weighed in. In the past, when I have done both gi and no-gi at this event, there’s a release of pressure after the gi portion. Either you won- and you think, “Okay, if I bomb now, at least I did well in this half”… or you lost, and you think, “Okay, I have nothing to lose… bonzai!!!” Today, though, I got to sit around all day getting more and more nervous.

I did get to warm up Lindsay and Shannon with a little light flow rolling, and give Shannon (who was struggling with nerves) a pep talk… so that was definitely worth being there for.

I was watching Hadley, because I knew she was in my no-gi bracket. Saw her going for guillotines right and left, so made note to be particularly careful of that. There was supposed to be one other woman in our bracket, but neither of us knew her… so I didn’t get to scope her out during the gi fights.

Bree and Ross were on staff. It was- as usual- impossible to hear names being called for weights. Even when it was on loudspeaker, you couldn’t understand what people were saying. So whenever I saw Bree come out with a clipboard, I went over and offered to herald for her. By God, everybody sure as hell heard, and understood. (smirk). Lamont said, “Damn, I’ll have to get you to do that for *my* tournament!”

To my surprise, JB was there as a spectator for gi- so it was nice to hang out with her for a while and bug her some more about coming back to train. She also was kind enough to french braid my hair.

They did not do all the women first in no-gi- as they have done in the past- so we were waiting around a while. Hadley and I finally found the 3rd competitor in our bracket- Rachel- and the three of us hung out and bonded a bit. It really helps me to be friendly with my opponents. I like to know that they are not ruthless bitches who are not going to try to heelhook me. It helps with my anxiety.

Unfortunately, one of the two advanced-bracket competors scratched- so they busted the other one down into our bracket. Hadley took one look and sucked in a gasp of horror. “Oh my God, **HER**… she’s really good.”

Shit.

Nothing against this gal- it wasn’t her fault that her opponent scratched, and it’s only fair that she get to fight- but of course this wasn’t ideal for the three of us. It meant that not only were we outclassed, it meant that somebody was not going to place. Since we three intermediates had already sort of bonded, we closed ranks and Hadley briefed us on what she knew about the advanced woman’s game (“She’s REALLY strong.”)

I had to fight Jonette (the advanced woman) first. While dismaying, this was a good opportunity for a few reasons. My entire point of doing these comps is to deal with the adrenaline dumps, the nerves, and the mental hurdles involved. While it’s great to be friendly with your opponents, dealing with an intimidating unfamilar fighter is probably more of what I *need* for my goals.

I don’t remember many details from our fight. Kelly got some of my matches on tape, so hopefully I will see those later and be able to dissect myself more. She was hella strong, fast, explosive. Although I was nervous, and I began to tire halfway through the match, I did **NOT** experience the crippling drain of energy that I have habitually felt starting in the bullpen and culminating in me feeling weak as a kitten after the first 20 seconds of my match. I felt calmer. I was breathing much deeper and more slowly. I did not panic or quail when Jonette lunged repeatedly at me in a very aggressive manner. It wasn’t perfect, mind you- but this is really what I’m working on, and it went much better today.

It was very much a battle of strength on strength. She was on top most of the time, with excellent pressure on my face, and I was forced to muscle in order to stave off the subs. But stave them I did, and I was able to match her muscle for muscle (not bad for Gramma). I managed to dredge up some energy from somewhere and use it to get out of her front mount and replace guard near the end, but it was too late. She won on points. It was a good fight. She fought nice and clean, and I thanked and congratulated her sincerely at the end.

Hadley and Rachel fought, and Hadley won. I did not get to fight Hadley today, which was disappointing (especially as she was the only one that I’d fought before and had any intel on). Lucky Duckie Rachel got out of having to face down Jonette. I think it would have been good for us to get to fight everyone in the bracket… but so it goes.

Rachel and I. I got an opening to set up Cindy’s livestock takedown, and- although I felt a little bad about it- I took it. I may not have been fully committed- but the balance just wasn’t right to complete it- I turned it into a hip throw. To my extreme ecstasy, that worked. I’m really happy that I got that takedown. Less happy with the landing. I was in control, but I had her headlocked and I couldn’t seem to find a way to transition to something more useful (note to ask somebody for help with this next week). I held her down for a while, but I couldn’t just sit there all day, so I clumsily tried for a mount, and the next thing I know she was on top. To my dismayed surprise, she turned out to be extremely strong as well. Again with the excellent face pressure. Finding myself in a second muscle-on-muscle battle, I again staved off the subs but didn’t have any gas left to get out from under. Again I made a break for replacing guard at the end, but too late. A second loss on points.

Hadley and Jonette. Rachel and I were both squatting in the bullpen cornering Hadley (who was also being cornered by at least two other people from different directions). I had advised Hadley to not go strength-on-strength with Jonette, who was obviously more compact and muscular than long-limbed Hadley. But Jonette sucked Hadley into her muscley game, despite Rachel and I yelling advice to the contrary. They strained together for most of the match, and then at the end Hadley started scrambling and taking some risks. She set up a couple of subs in quick succession that came within a hair of succeeding- but Jonette toughed them out, and won on points.

I felt a little bad about the three of us ganging up on her like that, and made a point of sincerely congratulating and thanking her again after the bracket was done. But obviously she did not need our help- she went through us like a scythe through wheat.

It will be interesting to do some more sub-only comps and see how these strength-on-strength battles play out with no time limits. Both of my opponents were working very hard- and of course I was too- but since I was able to stay calm, breathe well, and focus on conserving energy, I wonder if I could have eventually tired them out and then turned things around. Of course that is exactly how we fun-size colored belts deal with strong white belts.

I gave Ross a ride home (for which he bribed me with strawberries and reset the clock on my dashboard), then I had a white cheddar baked mac-and-cheese, garlic bread (with cheese) and cookie (without cheese) orgy.

As usual, I was so paranoid about making weight that I ended up weighing in at the top of the bracket beneath me. This means that my opponents are usually at the top of our *own* bracket and thus have a distinct weight advantage. The ladies in the 129-and-under bracket (yep, I weighed 128) looked so incredibly tiny, with biceps NOTHING like the guns on Jonetta. Their wrists are probably slimmer, too- I might actually be able to get a good grip around a wrist, which would be a huge help in no-gi. I really should shave off those last 3 or 4 lb and commit to planting myself in that bracket.