BJJ Grrl

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

What is this “offense” you speak of?

on May 12, 2009

Yeah, now Saturday — and last night’s warmup — have caught up to me. Sore. Stiff. Ow.

Warmup again tonight, though short. One run on forward and backward rolls because I was dizzy, but did have all the others. Not breathing so well during/after, though.

Then a few warmup rolls. Erik first. (Just recently found out that his name is spelled with a “k”. Funny (?) story related to that, but not to jiu-jitsu; see end of post.) He was working pressure, so I was mostly underneath and waiting on opportunities to move.

Then Justin. My hips were slow and loose all night; could definitely tell when rolling with him. Wasn’t following anything up. He let me work around a bit, though I was still on the bottom the majority of the time. Rolled again later, and they’re blurry.

Drilling was side control to mount. Worked in with Will and Clifton. More rolling after. We had several new and newer guys — and one “MMA” guy — and I was avoiding them. First roll with Will. Mostly under everything again, though I did have a single-leg takedown from turtle and a stack pass off his armbar attempt.

Two of the new guys headed for me at the same time, but I’ve seen them both roll and want none of it — they will hurt me — so I said I would sit out. We had an odd number, but one of the guys had to pull out, so I got Justin again. (Looked over right before we started, and the two guys I’d sidestepped were trying to simultaneously guillotine each other. Yeah, glad I avoided that.) We had the timer on the mat near us, and we must have rolled over the “Stop” button at one point because it never went off. After probably 10 minutes of rolling, Justin stopped and checked the timer; wasn’t moving. So he called time then.

Hip slowness noted again; even if he gave me some space to work in, I couldn’t seem to get in it. Bleh. Elbows stayed in mostly decently, including against several D’Arce attempts. Had a knee-up guard break, though it didn’t break his guard; tried for the double-under on one leg pass from there (although we didn’t learn it with the knee up), but he opened his guard and went for my back. Worked out of back mount only to land almost in a triangle; had just barely enough space and leverage to work out with Saulo Ribeiro’s triangle pass. He had another one earlier or later — or maybe both — that also got worked out of with the same pass. In top and bottom half guard several times, and even managed to pull half guard a time or two when he was jumping over my legs from side control to side control. I have a vague notion that I pulled something off that I don’t usually get a chance to do — a sweep or an escape — but I can’t remember right now what it was. Did recognize when I had him in place for a pendulum sweep, but he stuffed both that and the counter he’s shown me off it.

Last round, sidestepping the new guys again. Partnered up with Big Jesse. He’s big, and he’ll use some of this weight, but he doesn’t smash, which is nice. On the bottom again, a lot under north/south, since he seemed to want to work that. Attempted to work out of several armbars with the hitchhiker escape, though his legs were too tight; he let me out and tried to transition to a triangle, but I did get my head to the outside and came up to side control. Not there long, though; swept back over to under. That round seemed short compared to the last one.

One of the guys mentioned tonight that he finally feels as if he’s working offense most of the time. Said he’s been working defense for so long. (He started back in the fall.) He ended the observation with “Know what I mean?” Offense? What’s that? I haven’t really met it yet. Possibly had a brief glimpse of it yesterday, though mostly everything I caught was handed to me, rather than me going to find it. I can wait for you to make a mistake or give me an opening, but as of yet I can’t guide you toward what I want you to do and can rarely work toward something on my own. I impose nothing on anyone.

Another guy was complaining last night and tonight that all he gets to do is work his defense because everyone’s heavier and stronger than he is. (He’s ~150lbs.) He said he’s getting frustrated because it seems as if he can’t even move during some rounds.

I wanted to say, “Welcome to my world” to them both, but I didn’t. Just smile and nod to the first, and remind the second that he’s gotten a lot better since he started. I had read Meg’s log today, and I was already content with my jiu-jitsu. (Even remembered bits of the blog entry during the parts of my rounds where I started to feel frustrated.) As I’ve noticed before in reading others’ blogs, I’m not alone, I’m not unique, I’m not my own little island; instead, I’m finding out the same things and following the same path as many people before me have. And I’m discovering that, while I think I should be “done” with working a particular part of my game (e.g., defense), I’ll be working on it and relying on it for a while longer. Offense will come. One day. Maybe by purple. Is okay.


Every day when I’ve had extra time to work on this baseline/progress chart/whatever, I’ve forgotten a notebook to write in. Every day I haven’t had time, I’ve had a notebook. !!!!


So, funny — or not funny, or just plain weird — story tangentially related to “Erik with a ‘k’.”

A few years ago in the tae kwon do club, one of the new white belts guys introduced himself to me as “Eric/Erik.” I asked how it was spelled: “With a ‘k’?” He said yes. I said that was neat, that one of my best friends in college had been an “Erik with a ‘k’.”

Weeks go by, and I say hello to “Erik” every time he’s in class because I can remember this name. Then one day I was teaching his class and needed to correct something he was doing. I was behind him, so he couldn’t see that I was looking at him. I called him by name… and he didn’t answer. I tried a few more times, and finally one of the other white belts near me said, “Uh, you mean that guy?” *points* “His name is Edward.” Oh really…

“Hey, Edward.” He turned around. “‘Erik,’ huh?” He just kind of shrugged. No explanation at any time. Just some guy who introduced himself by the wrong name… and then later tried to ask me out. ????!!!! Erm, no.

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3 responses to “What is this “offense” you speak of?

  1. slideyfoot says:

    Heh – yeah, me and submissions are still very much passing acquaintances, as I’m forced to spend all my time hanging out with my old friend defence. 😉

    Years of focus on defence, before you can even begin developing offence, seems to be something you just have to accept if you’re a small person.

  2. Georgette says:

    One of our blackbelts emphasizes that regardless of size, you have to first focus on being jack of all trades at defense so that you can capably defend against all attacks. “While” you’re focusing on all defenses, you also pick one offensive attack to get good at.

    He says only when you’re good at all defense/one offense do you start branching out into other offenses. He predicts for most this happens somewhere in purplebeltland.

    You’re so not alone. By the by, I think it’s funny that you’ve been defending against D’arces for a while (and I was reading along forever going what is this D’arce thing???) Then suddenly the other week it seemed like they started popping up every time I rolled. So you’re ahead of the game in some respects!

    Feel free to blog about your favorite D’arce defenses and counters if you’re looking for a topic 🙂

  3. leslie says:

    So, see, I find once again that I’m completely normal. 😛 And at dinner tonight, one of the purple belts was saying that he’s just starting to feel as if he has an attacking game. So, normal still.

    Saulo has a quote I like (and which I should tattoo on my arm for a while): Escapes and survival [defense] are the foundations to an attacking jiu-jitsu game. If you know your opponent cannot keep you in an inferior position or finish the fight, you will be confident attacking him.

    I think one thing that bugs me about working defense and trying to work a sliver of offense is that often whatever I’ve picked to work offensively is something I never get near.

    For D’Arces, all I’ve got right now is: keep the elbow on the arm they’re trying to isolate tight in against your body. And if you can, flatten out; they need you at an angle to finish it.

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