Drilling while pregnant


Use of force is a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” issue. “This one is too little. This one is too much. This one is just right.” Campfire Tales From Hell

NO, I am not pregnant. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Whomever was thinking that, go rinse the inside of your skull out with bleach.

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Chrisanne and I were whining in the locker room about how our thighs ached after last night (interestingly, we both ached in different AREAS of our thighs), and commented that we hoped we would not be doing anything tonight involving that same half-squat.


Same knee-push-through standing pass. I actually didn’t mind this too much because it’s one of my favorite passes, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it even if it hurts a bit.

Then we did the one from last night where you prop the opponent’s thigh on top of your thigh- only this time, we passed on the opposite side. After passing, we sat on opponent’s shoulder with one hip while facing hir feet, and bent one leg to hook hir near ankle. As soon as the foe turns hir attention to this distracting question of “what is s/he trying to do with my ankle, and how can I get it out?” you pop into front mount.

Then: same entry as above, only you fake being sloppy with capturing the near arm. (This was pretty easy for me, as that was the detail I was sloppy with anyway). That arm ends up between your knees. After you catch side control, fake giving opponent a little space. When s/he goes to roll into you and single-leg you, hop your butt over hir body and plant it beside hir opposite hip. Catch that arm as you go over- armbar. The catch in this was, you don’t turn the same way you turn 99% of the time you go to do an armbar from a position like this. You turn the opposite way. It’s very weird. Of course I didn’t catch that odd detail on the first go-round, and I was turning the regular way when I drilled it…. and I had just begun instructing my poor hapless white belt partner in how to do it wrong when Carlos stopped us and fixed me.

For the previous two technique drills, I did not have that hapless white belt partner, because I had Lindsay- girl Lindsay, who has been off the mat since December. It was so nice to see her. She is- not HUGELY pregnant, but BIGLY pregnant- and I had to modify my drills accordingly. I wholeheartedly approve of continuing BJJ (with careful partners, and within reasonable parameters) until a pregnancy is advanced enough that it is mechanically unworkable. Drills, that is…. I wouldn’t want to spar (even slowmo flow rolling) with someone who was far enough along to be showing prominently. Lindsey had vanished off the mat as soon as she found out she was expecting. I think she was nervous about it. So I was quite anxious to not only be careful enough to avoid causing a guard-pass-induced miscarriage, but moreso careful enough to reassure her that it’s okay, you can do this, we can work around it and you will be fine. I felt confident about it- I have good control. (However, it made me feel a little jittery when Chrisanne got a text in the locker room before class that her sister had miscarried….)

I had done a warm-up flow roll with Casey before class, and after class I rolled a while with Chrisanne (going kind of hard and competitive) and then another while with Casey. Then Casey wanted to play with an extremely complex technique and use me as a demo dummy, which eventually led to Carlos jumping in (despite having already changed into street clothes) and demo’ing several terribly evil and convoluted techniques on both me and Casey.

Turns out that one of the brand new white belts I had worked with a little last week was a guy who works (as in, career-type “work”) with Casey. Apparently he had been all excited and telling his colleagues that he got his first sweep on the mat. Further details revealed a feminine pronoun.

I find myself a bit annoyed. I’m not certain, but I’m guessing that the white belt in question was the one who performed a very nice upa on me, so I let him have it. That’s how I usually work with white belts. I don’t try to pwn them. If they do a technique well, I will usually give it to them. I’m aware that 1)it’s a Big Deal to white belts when they start seeing their techniques work on the mat, 2)It’s a Bigger Deal when it’s a colored belt you’re doing it to, 3)The white belts usually can’t tell when we are going light on them and handing them stuff, and 4)They don’t realize that it’s douchebaggy to run around telling people who you tapped (or who you swept). I don’t care if he runs around telling other BJJ people that he reversed me, since the other BJJ people for the most part understand corollaries 1 through 4. What bothers me is hearing that he was boasting to his non-BJJ coworkers about it, who now- since they don’t understand corollaries 1 through 4- probably genuinely think this guy really scored a sweep on a purple belt girl at his second ever class. It makes women MA-ists look bad. And Gods know the non-MA public already has for the most part a crappy-ass view of a woman’s ability to be a competant MA-ist. Now I kind of wish I *had* pwn’ed him. Sigh. No, not really… I think the way I work with new white belts is encouraging and educational to them, and I don’t mind sacrificing some ego. But yeah, this tweaks me.

I think part of the reason this is getting to me a bit was a conversation I had last week with one of *my* colleagues. He’s an older guy with some (long) past MA experience, a pleasant fellow, but a bit old-fashioned. He knows I train, and at some point the conversation got around (jokingly) to “what if” it ever came down to me versus him. He laughed. Not just laughed, but hooted. Could barely get out (between peals of laughter), “What do you think YOU could possibly do against ME??!!!?” Now, he is bigger than me and outweighs me significantly, but The Incredible Hulk he ain’t. He also must have about 20 years on me (and *I’m* old), and has not trained in decades. I get the impression he did not train nearly as long as I. I’m fairly sure I could take this guy, if it came down to it. I also realize that he’s from a bygone generation and has some of the casual and unthinking misogynist brainwashing common to that generation. But man…. he hooted. And I was pissed. This shit again…. and again, and again, and again. And again and again.

Although I spend not-inconsiderable reflection time mulling over various verbally-disemboweling responses to stuff like this, the truth is that usually the offender is someone that I would prefer to not verbally disembowel, for reasons of social civility. In this case, if I offend this guy too much, the water-purification system on my clinical Chemistry analyzer might not get its filters changed on time. So I usually end up letting it go, or letting it go with such a minor protest as to not be taken seriously. And then I burn inwardly, and feel it chip away another bit of my confidence in my MA.

In this instance, in response to “What do you think YOU could possibly do against ME???!!??” I pulled out my Spyderco, flicked it open, and gestured to his gut (which, I might add, is carrying some extra fat… seriously, this would not be a fair match-up). But I wish I had felt like I could call him out on being misogynistic (I’d leave out the “delusional” part). Even more, I wish that so much of the world was not so damn misogynistic. It feels like a riptide that never, ever, for a single moment stops fighting against me. I wonder what it would feel like to have a penis and be taken seriously- either on the mat or in the street- just once.

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