BJJ Grrl

"Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically." ~Sensei Keiko Fukuda

Grab the Floppy Stuff! (That’s what she said)

on December 20, 2013

Goodness, I owe you guys a post. There were things and stuff this last week. But this is probably gonna be fairly short since it’s been a while and I’ve probably forgotten all the brilliant things I once meant to say.

Hillary Williams seminar

I got up early Saturday and drove to Richmond for a seminar with Hillary Williams hosted by Richmond BJJ. Hillary announced her desire to do benefit seminars after the verdict in the court case a few weeks ago, and as soon as I heard she was coming within traveling distance, I signed up. This seminar supported two victim recovery groups, including the one that worked directly with the woman who was raped last New Years’ Eve.

FYI, Hillary is hilarious and a great instructor, so if you ever get a chance to train with her, do it. List of things I learned:

  • Koala bear
  • cross-collar grip that is not in the collar (though it is crossed)
  • Floppy Stuff choke
  • cheerleader sit (I’d always called it “girl sit”, but I like hers better)
  • Jerk Bag move
  • Spreading the Chicken, which includes the Pez Dispenser pressure
  • Shaving Day choke
  • far-side americana off the failed mounted armbar

She showed two sequences, the first her guard sequence (which started with a grip & a choke and ended with lots of triangles) and the second her mount sequence (which started with a pass from half guard & pressure and finished with an armbar). It all gave me a good dose of “And this is why I love jiu-jitsu.”

In her mount sequence, Hillary stressed that once she gets mount, she does not give it up for any reason, and that includes going for armbars. Instead, she finishes them while still mounted (okay, S-mounted, but still).

Most everything she showed was stuff I could’ve used for the tournament the weekend before, ha. Mary from the tournament was at the seminar, and she joked that she was going to practice that armbar for our next match; I said I was going to work on the two chokes myself.

And though I enjoyed the techniques — and used them with great glee on my unsuspecting training partners Monday night — I think the most important thing I took away from the seminar was that it’s okay to be “mean” with techniques. As in, I think I finally understood that in a way that makes my brain happy. This has also been building from several conversations over the last few weeks with Janet in class and from talking to Mary at the tournament, and some things that Hillary said just confirmed it. I have always equated being “nice” with “not causing discomfort.” But jiu-jitsu is pain; jiu-jitsu is not comfortable. Pressure is part of the technique. The end result, should you not tap, is unconsciousness or a broken or otherwise mangled joint. None of that is “nice.” {“Mean” is not, however, elbows to eye sockets, or slamming things into place, or anything else designed solely to cause gratuitous injury or pain.} You should not feel comfortable when I’m doing something to you; if you are, then I’m doing it wrong. And if I’m doing it wrong, I am actually doing a disservice both to you and to myself. To myself, obviously, because I am not letting myself actually learn jiu-jitsu; I am training myself in bad habits. To you, because I am not letting you experience what the technique is really like.

Still a work in progress (I’ve got years of conditioning to work through), but I at least feel that I have a definition that doesn’t conflict with other things in my brain.

But to my teammates who read my blog (because I know you do), here’s your fair warning: I’m going to be mean from now on, and I’m not going to feel badly about it. In reality, I’m doing you a favor, so as I Pez Dispenser your face off or give you a dose of the Shaving Day or Floppy Stuff choke, you should thank me (once you get control of your jaw back again, that is). ;)

Monday night

Students are in finals/leaving, so the distribution was a little strange. Class started with rolling to warmup. I brought the gift of mean as I learned it over the weekend, and I also brought the techniques to class. I Floppy Stuff choked people, Pez Dispensered their heads, Spread the Chicken, and Shaving Day’d them. I worked all of that stuff in, and I did not feel (too) badly about doing it. I also got a little more assertive about general things such as grip stripping, stuffing the knee back when they tried to pass, settling my weight where I wanted it, and so on. And as a by-product of having something specific to focus on, I was more active from positions and did not just “play the position” as I tend to. When I started feeling like I was being too rough — or when my partner started getting frustrated — I stopped to consider what I was doing. Am I forcing something that isn’t there? No. Am I grinding on a soft spot for extra pain? No. Am setting thing up too quickly or viciously? No. Okay, then, so I’m not doing anything wrong here? Nope. Good. Carry on.

Also, the Floppy Stuff choke works from top and bottom half guard.

Drilling was 25/side of re-peeling the arm and sitting through in side control. Then 25/side of that + submission from side control. Twenty-five is too high to count to! I kept losing track. So on the second set, we just did 10/side and kept switching until we reached 25; much easier on the brain power.

After class, I showed a few of the guys the Floppy Stuff choke (mostly the ones who had been caught by it and wanted to know what had happened, lol) and the setup for Shaving Day (we already do the second arm and call it the Roger Choke [I used it to finish one of my fights at the last tournament], but I really like the first arm setup that Hillary used).

Tuesday

Even smaller class as exams finish and college ends for the semester.

A warmup?! What is this stuff? December is Fat & Lazy Month! Not too long, but more than enough; I felt the last dregs of energy seeping out during it. Ah well. Rolling to continue. A few more appearances by Floppy Stuff Choke, Shaving Day, and Pez Dispenser, in particular, though not so much as the night before. I think I was prepared to be “mean” again, but just didn’t have as many opportunities, mostly because my brain was doing its “Um, what is jiu-jitsu?” thing again. There were a few, though, and I took advantage of them.

Drilling was Renzo’s north/south choke. Hrm, I still need a lot of work on that one. Might have rolled a time or two more? Or not; I don’t remember. Anyway, I headed out as soon as Open Mat was announced.

My vacation from work started on Thursday afternoon; it turns out that I had way too much time off remaining this year and so needed to take it early. (Oh, gee darn.) The academy is closed all next week, too. And December is Fat & Lazy Month, so I don’t know when/if I’ll get any more training in this year — and I’m okay with that. I’m really looking forward to a break, though at the same time I’m also looking forward to then going back to jiu-jitsu at the start of the new year.

(Of course, today was the first full day of my vacation, and my brain woke up me up before the alarm to celebrate that fact. Brain, you fail at vacations.)

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!

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4 responses to “Grab the Floppy Stuff! (That’s what she said)

  1. I’ve been being a little bit “meaner” lately, and I make myself feel better about it by murmuring, “Sorry about this,” as I do it.

    • leslie says:

      Heh, well, I’m not really sorry. I start to think that, and then I remind myself that no, I am not sorry for doing jiu-jitsu the right way. I might apologize that it’s uncomfortable, but it’s also jiu-jitsu.

  2. Sarah says:

    Oh my, those names are awesome. The Pez Despenser? Floppy Stuff? Jerk Bag? Shaving Day? I have such joy just imagining them. :-)

    I’m still learning to be mean. I feel horrible about it sometimes – too much conditioning, because sometimes I cross my own “too mean” line and go home and cry because I kicked someone’s butt and I felt bad about it. Haha. But mostly, I’m learning that I’m just treading water as long as I don’t learn to fight with INTENTION. Its hard.

    And you know what? As long as my partner isn’t being intentionally, stupidly rough – I’m not bothered if they act towards me like I’m trying to learn to act towards them. I mean, most of the time, if they hurt me really effectively, I just want to know how they did it. Humph. Remind me of that later!

    • leslie says:

      Believe me, I know all about that. I’ve been guilty too long of just playing around.

      I may *acknowledge* that what I’m doing to you sucks and hurts and is not fun to be on the receiving end of. But I also know that I am not doing it “just to be mean”; I’m doing it because that’s jiu-jitsu and the proper way to do the technique. I’ve finally realized that that is what the other people are thinking (if they’re considering it at all, lol).

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