Do not ever make a situation worse because your ego insisted that you prove yourself or protect your rep. –Rory Miller
Yeah, that was me tonight- instead of being the last kid picked for the kickball team, as per usual, tonight I somehow wound up promising three different eager teammates- to their respective delight and ecstasy- that I would drill with them. Oops! And no, I did not handle that well, because it’s not a type of situation I am at all familiar with!!
I had promised to meet Chrisanne at Bellevue on Friday eve. When I got there, I found Lindsay in the lobby, who pounced on me like a caffeinated golden retriever puppy and was so excited to see me. Then I went on the mat and started horsing around with (blue belt) Peter, who was like, “You’ll drill with me tonight, right???!!?” I said that I had previously promised Chrisanne I’d work with her- which was a perfectly reasonable and non-insulting response- which did not provide for the contingency that Chrisanne did not show up. This resulted in Peter and Lindsay both charging at me when the clock started, and then we all stood there and stared at each other in an embarrassed and awkward circle. I’ve never been caught out dating two guys at once on the sly, but that must be what it feels like.
Lindsay ended up with Kevin, whom she made a point of loudly praising in the handshake line at the end with “You are the BEST PARTNER EVER” while eyeing me pointedly. That insult of course necessitated a Death Challenge, which I dutifully delivered.
But I am getting ahead of myself. First there was class to get through, which consisted of
1)Double-leg setups to sneaking around the back to standing RNC.
2)Same, then the victim defends the choke, steps hir outside foot behind attacker’s foot, turns to the outside, bows at the waist and kicks attacker’s leg out from under.
I was hitting the ground badly on these. I know my breakfalls need work, but finally Prof Carlos came over and told Peter to let me down nicer by keeping hold of the arm. That helped a LOT.
3)You standing, opponent on back with feet on your hips. You push legs to the side (with that weird-ass cross-over hand motion that I always have trouble with, the one that Carlos almost drove me to tears over once), then drop to outside knee on the mat. Quickly scoot into opponent with your (dropped) knee in hir back and your other knee over hir thigh. The key to this (after much debate and experimentation with Peter, and some corrections from Carlos) is trapping and pinning the opponent’s top thigh on top of your own thigh. This is counterintuitive- it’s one of those things that doesn’t look like it should work, so even after I’ve proven from both sides of the equation that it in fact DOES, my brain still does not really want to accept it.
4)You standing, opponent in spider guard. Let go with your right hand and step back widely with your right leg. Give a little yank to also make sure you clear opponent’s other foot off your bicep. Now drop and scoot into a similar end position as #3 above. (just enough different to confuse the crap out of me… and forget trying these on both sides, unless we want to see my brain explode all over the mat…)
5)Me getting reprimanded for laughing too loudly because I was having too much fun.
So, Death Match… again here I was far too focussed tonight on having a hoot of a good time and not focussed enough on learning BJJ. After catching Lindsay in half guard from the bottom about ten million times (from which she eventually began to escape using a very impressive technique which involved torquing my spine cruelly into an extreme corkscrew shape), she started to get frustrated with that. She started to greet each new catching of half guard with some sound effects and commentaries that were making me laugh. So we spent like forty minutes with me being squashed on the bottom in half guard, giggling like a loon, while she twisted back and forth on top cursing and making smartass remarks.
She was having a hard time finishing me off, although eventually she got a keylock tap, and we both felt that she was due a tickertape parade at that point. She really earned that one. We then finished with me troubleshooting her crappy straight armbar from side control (which she’d given up on far too easily) and her showing me a really cool gumby-ish sweep from deep half guard. (Note to ask her to review this sweep next time I work with her).
We were both wrecked, and had to decline a kind offer to roll from a visiting brown belt, which I feel bad about on both his account and mine. But we had left it all on the mat.
It was a rollicking fun time, and I was concentrating on repeatedly catching half guard just to piss her off… which I don’t regret, as we need to have fun with this sometimes. But I really was noticing with admiration how many nice, clean, technical tricks she was pulling off. While I couldn’t get off the bottom and spent the better part of an hour in the same place I have been spending it for the last five years: trapped in bottom half guard, clinging there for dear life and unable to do a damn thing useful.
Coming on the heels of those rolls with Georgette (in which I was noticing my lack of technique and my reliance on sloppy squirming in its place), I am seeing/feeling a real sand trap in my training progress right now. It’s a place I have been a few times, where you suddenly realize that in order to learn to type correctly, you must stop using your index fingers and start at square one, spending some time going a lot SLOWER and clumsier than you are used to. (I never was able to make myself do that, by the way… I am still typing fast with four fingers). I am aware that this is a particularly frustrating sand trap that tends to send me into fits of frustration and despair, so I am not happy to find myself standing here with my toes on the edge of this place yet again.