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


“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.”

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