I’ve never dropped a weight bracket this fast in my life.
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.
Addiction is huge in crimes…. Because it is one of the few things that we experience in the modern era that imitates survival violence. Whatever you might do for food or water on the edge of death is what an addict will do to feed his addiction. –Rory Miller
Friday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.
You are sprawled N/S on turtled opponent. Cross right arm over your chest and stick it straight down to the mat beside hir neck as you spin to that side of hir body. Grab hir wrist. Hop to place your right knee against hir, take the back, KEEP THAT WRIST GRIP. This appears to be a straightforward attempt to take the back, but if you keep that wrist grip and throw your leg over opponent’s head as you fall back, it turns into an armbar.
I got this really nice and smooth after several tries…. and then OF COURSE professor walks over to look JUST as I try to do it on the stupid side and mess it all up. Why does he always time it thusly???!!!
Same thing, only opponent clasps hands to try to defend the armbar. You transition back to the backtake.
One spar with Crisanne. She is doing great- assertive, heavy pressure on top, everything really tight. She tapped me twice. I wasn’t going 100%, but I was going hard enough that I was quite impressed with her work. Lindsey rolled with her next, and when I saw him at his studio afterward, he raved (unprompted by me) about how much her jiu jitsu has progressed. He specifically praised her assertiveness (again, unprompted by me). I could just pop with pride. I PM’ed her and told her about it, and told her how proud I am of her.
Dieting angst: I might have had the time and energy for at least one more spar had I not been hungry enough to start chewing the mat. I am not sure how to deal with this issue. I could carry energy bars, but I really don’t want to eat those caloric things while I’m trying to lose weight. I do carry Slim-Fast’s for emergencies, but if I drink one of those and then try to roll, I am pretty sure I’d puke.
After class (and lunch), I went to Lindsey’s studio and we put together my backpiece, part of which is the Ox Head pic that I used on yesterday’s blogpost. I took my own weapons to the studio- we are going to arm him with my own bo staff, K-bar Khukri and Spyderco folding knife. The Victorian goth angel on the other half of the piece is going to have my actual tai chi sword. Lindsey is excited about the art, which is great- it’s always a good thing when your tattoo artist actually likes the piece and you know s/he’s going to enjoy working on it.
Evening BJJ in Bellevue. Doug got a big grin on his face as soon as he walked in and saw me, and challenged me to a death match. I’m feeling so much love from my teammates this week. Honestly, I have just worked with so many awesome drill partners and sparring partners- people who push me, and with whom I have fun, and from whom I learn. I am gonna have to write a gooshy FB post to all three GB pods.
Almost all King Of the Hill from various positions with Prof’s Doug and Sean down. Haven’t done this for a while, and after three classes in two days, this was probably the best possible thing as opposed to trying to cram yet another set of techniques. There were only about 6 of us (besides the Prof’s), so we did not get much downtime.
Did I mention how fortunate I am feeling at class this week??? Six students and three black belts on the mat. Who gets these ratios???? How incredible is this?
Doug and Sean were raving after class about what good wrestlers the two unfamilar (to them) white belts were. I said (since they were familiar to ME!) “Yes, that’s because they are from the Kirkland pod and they have been working with CINDY!!!!!)
Two long spars with Christy. She is also working very hard and doing extremely well. She- like Chrisanne- is very very good about listening to everything I say and incorporating it into her game. I tried to KOB and mount her several times, and she got the hell outta there before I could count 3. I’m so proud of my ladies.
Then one with Doug. Always a treat. I was doing a lot of skating around from side to side on top, very flowy. Something I always can use practice on.
Standing up to a person only draws a line around your territory. Defending it is what keeps you safe. –Marc MacYoung
I know intellectually that pop bloats you, but it is truly astounding to what extent decreasing (not eliminating, just decreasing) the amount of pop for just two days has deflated the appearance of my protruding Buddha-belly. I swear, dieting would be so much easier if I was more vain about my appearance.
But here’s something that actually MIGHT inspire me: concealing my pistol in its belly-holster may be easier if my belly is flatter. Yeah, that’s it.
Also, when I lose weight, my boobs get smaller. Lord knows, life is better on the martial arts mat with every cup size lower.
Unfortunately, past history has proven that for me- unlike most people- eliminating pop altogether does not result in immediate weight loss.
Eggs- it’s what’s for dinner. And lunch. Tonight my assistant informed me that if I didn’t lay off the carrots, I was going to turn orange. I informed her that I was okay with that, as long as I am FIT and orange.
I’ve been really really good all week with food. Less food and wiser choices. Slightly less successful with pop, but I did cut down.
Leslie, Casey and Cindy are all injured and off the mat. I’m feeling grateful and privileged at the moment that I’m not on the bench, because I know well how that feels.
Thurs lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.
(blue belt) Jay, looking up and down the line: “We’re the only two blue belts??!”
(blue belt) Nick: “Guess so.”
They look left at the three or four white belts, then they look right at the eight or ten purple belts. Jay mutters something about “………..purple belts…..”
Kitsune: “It’s a purple belt world, Jay.”
Jay: “So they tell me, Kitsune…. so they tell me.”
Standup drills- double legs, single legs, sprawl on opponent’s failed double-leg and then spin around to the side and take the back. Carlos suggested pulling the guy into your lap instead of jumping on hir back.
Opponent kneeling, you in butterfly guard. Cross-grip the arm and yank hir to all fours. Sink one leg into a deep half guard position, then take hir back either by climbing aboard or pulling hir into your lap. I do not feel comfortable with this technique on someone bigger than me (which means 99.9% of people). Once I have that leg sunk in there, all s/he has to do is sink down on it, and I am pinned on the bottom. If s/he’s going to be mean, s/he can just keel over and capsize on top of me and crush me like a cockroach. I am in a position with a very limited set of options, and have no mobility to get elsewhere. Even John was like, “I guess this isn’t really workable for your body,” after we messed with it for a while. I won’t say of a technique, “I _CAN’T_ do X with my body” because every time I try to go there, Cindy (who is as small as I) does it with no problem. So I won’t write it off…. but for my present level, this doesn’t seem like a good one.
Positional sparring from the above position. I sucked from heep half, but I am pretty good at escaping back mount- even after explaining to John exactly what he needed to do to stop me.
A couple of spars.
Thurs evening BJJ in Kirkland. I haven’t been to Kirkland in ages, and I miss Dave. I miss Cindy too, but Mondays and Wednesdays are not good for training, with my present work schedule- I haven’t seen her in a couple of months. 😦
Warmups at Kirkland are longer and more tiring than they usually are at Bellevue. It’s a good thing (pant, puff).
Pummeling. I suggested to white belt that he not bend at the waist, but bend his knees if he finds me too short to comfortably pummel with. He did not straighten up. Okay, fine, buddy, take it or leave it. I don’t care. I’m going to guillotine the snot out of you if you do that while we’re sparring.
Flow drill: You on your back, partner standing, your feet on hir hips. S/he grabs your legs and tosses them to one side, steps to your hip. You shrimp out, cross far leg over top and replace guard.
Guillotines from standing; operating from failed double-leg.
Keylocks from mount. Dave suggests that if we’re having trouble getting opponent’s arms off hir chest, to first press the elbow down and then lever the wrist to the side.
Same entry, then opponent tries to roll away from your keylock. Transition to S mount, do not change grips. Clasp hir arm to your chest and straighten your back. Transition to armbar. You still do not need to change grips. Found myself wanting to, but tried to resist urge.
Same entry, now try to bow and arrow hir instead of armbar. Variation: windshield-wipe your shin against hir back and sit, pulling hir into your lap. Kick that leg out and place it over hir arm.
Also note: it is helpful to take up any slack in that pantleg before securing the grip near the knee.
A few spars.
Really tired. This two-classes-per-day thing is not easy. I am going to try to do it again tomorrow.
Changing the world has nothing to do with altruism or with trying to be a good Samaritan. Ultimately, since everything is connected, helping others inevitably means helping ourselves. At the highest level, there is no difference between egoism and altruism. It is a karmic ping-pong game. All our actions come back to us. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path
Friday lunchtime BJJ at Kirkland.
Tripod sweep: Begin in standup with judo grips. Step on opponent’s hip on the side that you control hir elbow. Drop to back, swing free leg out, bring it back in and place on opponent’s other hip. Now: remove your first foot and stick it between opponent’s feet. Trip that foot while you grab the other heel. As s/he falls, let the momentum pull you up, take side control.
I like this sweep- it’s so technically beautiful- but I have always struggled with it because there is so much going on at once. That one hand grip remains, so that’s easy- but you have the other three limbs doing three different things, and it has to be simultaneous and smooth. I think this is one of those things that’s not really going to click for me until I get a few more levels up, and can see the big picture logic instead of stressing about which leg to hook and which hip to be on.
Same setup, only now the opponent steps hir foot back when you try to grab the heel. Quickly scoot up so that you’re sitting on hir foot and hugging hir shin with the INSIDE arm. Fold your legs to the outside. You can post with the free hand- you don’t have to try to hang onto hir. Fold hir leg inward and move to side control.
For both of these techniques, a familiar problem arose- I continue to let go of the far pantleg. If I can remember to keep that, it will prevent hir from scooting either into me to replace guard or away from me to escape.
Third technique: pull guard from standing, yank opponent down on chest, when s/he postures up, go with hir and either kimura or situp sweep. Dave points out that I am not assertive enough about controlling the opponent’s arm. I tend to get fixated on trying to haul my elderly butt up far enough to bear the opponent’s trunk down, and I fail to grab the arm firmly enough, pull it deep enough, or clasp it close enough. Sometimes I forget to grab it at all.
This was an exhausting class because of all the up-down-up-down-up-down. Dave is a great partner, always encouraging when he sees I’m getting tired.
A little KOTH from standing- try to pull guard. Whomever succeeds them tries to sweep or submit, while the pull-ee tries to pass.
I was too exhausted physically and mentally to spar afterward.
I registered for Proving Grounds, in my usual bracket even though I’m right on the edge and have only 1 week to make sure I make weight. I almost registered one weight class up just to be safe, but that one was 135-155. I really do not want to fight 155-lb people. Although it probably won’t matter, we will almost certainly be combined anyway.
Stopping violence or potential violence is a separate issue from “justice”- motive and mental competency are keys to determining the level of criminal culpability, but are irrelevant to whether someone must be stopped before they hurt somebody. –Rory Miller
Thurs “advanced” class in Bellevue. This turned out to be a combined class- Prof Carlos is at Worlds, I think…. Prof Jamie taught us.
Cross collar choke from guard, Kimura from guard, situp sweep from guard, hip throws, pulling guard from standing, pulling guard from standing and then transitioning to armbar. I was working in a trio with Nadine and Chrisanne, and was able to give them some good hints and feedback (such as, MOVE YOUR HEAD TO THE SIDE before you swipe someone’s posting arms off your belly and yank them down on your chest in closed guard). As amusing as it can be to watch white belts bash their foreheads together, I just don’t have the heart.
Positional sparring from closed guard and spider guard.
One spar with Casey and a couple with Chrisanne. Chrisanne was working tighter tonight. I did have to remind her to assertively jump on me right off the fist bump instead of sitting back on her haunches and waiting meekly to get shoved to the mat. But she was feeling really heavy on top tonight, and doing a good job controlling all my parts so that I couldn’t effectively get out of her scarf or side control.
I will unfortunately be missing Friday evening class- my cat is having surgery tomorrow, and I will have to stay home in the evening and keep an eye on him. I’m all out of good library books, and most of my PSG packing is finished- so maybe I will actually get a little writing done? Made another batch of cat food last night with the tape player going- the stirring of the creative juices put an intriguing new scene into my mind. Need to stay out of the kitchen, at any rate- especially with the missed class. I’m going to have to be really careful if I want to make weight for next weekend. I’m right on the edge. My fridge is full of eggs, but all I want is pizza!
Don’t mess with your brain chemistry. Your brain is a finely balanced machine. You can usually make it stupider with chemicals, not smarter. Don’t be dumb on purpose. –Rory Miller
Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.
Opponent lying on floor, you standing at hir feet. Pass to the side, using hand to press hir knees away from you. KOB.
Same, adding: place hands on opponent’s shoulders and transition to KOB on the other side.
Same, adding: step around opponent’s head and return to KOB on the first side. This involves only two steps, and you continue to face forward. (Dance experience realy helped me with this maneuver…)
Same, adding: similar transition back to KOB on the opposite side AGAIN, only this time you are facing hir feet while you do it. Opponent turns in to you and places hand on your knee. Spinning armbar (yup, back to the OTHER side again).
Positonal sparring from KOB.
Positional sparring from open guard.
One roll with Danny and one with Ed.
I have been 133lb all this week, eating a lot of eggs, would like to get back down to 127.
I believe in the primacy of infighting.
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.”
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.