Esta quente.

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Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead about kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small, enticing steps. –Julia Cameron

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue: Carlos was absent, and there was a brand new girl taking her first class- so I taught her how to shrimp and then did the drills with her (side control escapes). Then there were a few short spars, and I matched her up with safe people. Will was there- I have not seen him in forever- so I called him out after class and we had a really fun roll.

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue: Standing guard pass drills. Standing spider guard pass by pinning one knee to the floor and underhooking the other thigh. King of the hill, spider guard sweep vs pass. I did pretty horrible today for some reason.

I got to try out my beginning Portuguese on Carlos today. I informed him that he is a very tall Brazilian man. You should have seen his face. He made me repeat it, and made a minor correction. Later I told him that it was too hot in the gym. At the end, I tried to tell him that the class was great, but he didn’t understand me.  I hope my pronunciation is not that bad. I will keep trying. I was able to read a comment today on one of his FB posts that was in Portuguese.

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Friday night

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“To die will be an awfully big adventure.” J.M. Barrie

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Spider guard pass. Apply pressure. When opponent pushes back with hir legs, shrug/jerk hir feet off your biceps and yank them to the side. End in a slight crouch with hir near shin propped on top of your thigh.

Inside DLR pass. Grips: pants at knee on opponent’s leg side, low lapel (near waist) on other side. Press in against hir thigh. When s/he pushes back, Quickly skip your outside foot close in for balance and mule-kick the trapped leg out. Then go to the side and assume KOB. Do not let go of grips.

Sprawl on turtled opponent, crossarm beside neck, spin to the side, outside knee planted, take the back.

Many speedy drill reps. I worked with a white belt woman who hung in there surprisingly well for a white belt. She was almost dead at the end.

Long, fun roll with Chrisanne. We each got one good tap. Mine was a weird mutated gi choke that I wasn’t sure would work. I think hers was a keylock.

“She’s tough!”

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Perfect is the enemy of good. – Voltaire

Saturday competition training in Seattle.

Lord, this comp class wipes me out. I don’t know how long I am going to be able to keep doing this. Usually I have to bail on the second hour- which I went in today determined to not do- but the cardio, at my age and carrying the ten extra pounds I’m currently carrying…. UUUUUUUURGGGGGGGGGGHHH. I was whimpering as I climbed out of the car back at the Mount Index Daunless Outpost after class. Right now my thighs ache the way they usually do the morning after. Which means tomorrow morning is going to suuuuuuuuuuuuuck. But what a great week of training!

Chrisanne hasn’t had a chance to work with Georgette yet, so I told her she could have first crack at asking Georgette to drill. She’s like, “Oh my God, no, I’m just a blue belt… you go ahead…” so I went to the locker room and told Georgette that Chrisanne really wanted to drill with her but was too shy to ask. 😉 I had been hoping that Z or (short) John would be there today, but none of my favorite men were there (unless you count Lindsey and Griff, whom I can’t really ask to drill unless they offer). I also didn’t want to shanghai Casey, because we had already used each other to warm up before class. Now that Pat is brown, I feel a little awkward asking him to drill an entire class with me unless he offers first. This put me with Emma, a white belt that I seem to recall working with once or twice before. She had weight on me as well as enough skill to match if not dominate me.

Standup- one lapel grip that you can’t let go of; try to get a takedown. I couldn’t get anything on Emma, who has very superb reaps and was also trying a few other things.

Standup to pulling half guard.

We were doing some rather complex multi-step drills, and it was a struggle to get all the steps.

Opponent has spider guard. You pull back, squat, and pass your left hand UNDER the leg to grip inside of pantleg. Step to the opposite side and stand/yank upright, then crouch so that hir thigh is trapped atop yours. S/he tries to roll away, you take the back. It flows really well *IF* you shove your right knee between the floor and hir waist just as s/he rolls- the momentum seems to sorta suck you right into the gap and there you are with your hooks and choke sunk.

Opponent has Del a Riva. You turn your right knee (the one s/he has trapped) to the outside. (This same detail was in one of the techniques Carlos did with us earlier this week, so THAT step at least was easy). Then kick that same leg in the opposite direction, and pass to that side. DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS during any of these passes, until you are well past and the position is secure- otherwise s/he will just roll away from you.

Lots of drill reps, interspersed with about a zillion more periods of takedown sparring, and some random positional sparring. All the takedown fighting, combined with the repetitive get-up-get-down of the half guard pulls, and all the get-up-get-down of those spider guard passes, had me reeling with exhaustion. I made a very poor account of myself against Emma, which was kind of embarrassing. I really notice how tired I get when we do drills that involve a lot of having to stand back up over and over, as opposed to drills where you just stay on the ground and roll/wiggle back into place after each rep.

I had wanted to get at least one roll with Georgette, but she had to go (which was probably just as well, since I’m not sure I had the energy left to fight off a newborn kitten at that juncture). I sat a while (mainly because I was wishing someone would come along to carry me out to the car), then noticed Lindsey sitting on the mat with his back to me. So of course I had to take it.

He stuck his head right up into my favorite gi choke, but I still couldn’t finish it on him. He explained that if I can crawl my guard up a little higher on his back and/or teepee my feet up a bit, I might be able to get that little bit extra enough to finish.

It was amusing to have both Chrisanne and Georgette come up to me separately afterward and say of one another, “She’s tough!”

I am considering calling out Anica for the next Revolution- not because I’m ready to compete again or because I think I can beat her, but because having a comp on my schedule seems to be the only way I can reliably discipline myself to get my weight back down to normal. If Georgette competed, we could have a three-woman purple belt bracket between 120 and 140.

This got me thinking again about my defeatism problems and my utter lack of making any progress on them. I don’t know what to do. I’m considering pinging Side Control (Dave) on FB and see if he has any advice. I don’t really have any reason to think he has the answers to this issue, but I’m just not feeling comfortable discussing this with any of the other black belts right now for some reason. I can’t really imagine any of them dealing with persistent and serious defeatist mindsets. Dave is at least near my age and he says he has a cruddy comp record at black, so maybe he would at least be able to relate a little easier than some of these BJJ machines.

The most popular girl at the dance

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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.