BJJ Grrl

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

Cat = out of bag

on July 27, 2009

Someone’s told Tim that I keep a blog; he mentioned it tonight. Doh. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I’d always had this idea that the blogosphere was like a parallel universe — it’s there, but only I was aware of it. (You’d think meeting folks at tournaments would shake that silly notion, but, no.)

Anyway, now I’m half horrified and wondering if I’ve said something I’d want to take back, knowing that some of the guys I train with might read it now. There may be a few things that I quietly change, but I think I’m going to try to keep everything as it is and to continue writing as I do.


Got word at work today that I’m definitely going to NJ next week. Also, because our clients are basketcases, we may be having to put in billable hours on weekends for a few months. Um, ew!


Goals of the week:

  1. Use hips to initiate
  2. Don’t let them establish positions

Written, of course, well before class and not terribly well followed during class.

The academy was hot. No air moving. Almost like breathing in a sauna; not quite as humid, but the air felt almost solid. Eck. Warmup, eh. I tried to just relax and breathe and not worry about where I finished. (Tim gets on me if I’m near last. Although once again, guys were skipping trips on stuff, so it sometimes only looked as if I’d fallen behind.) I was the first one to figure out what he meant by “all the way to the wall” on the duck walks (until your face hits the wall), which got me a “See, that’s how it’s supposed to be done.” Only once on squat jumps later, though.

Then we partnered up to work single-leg and double-leg takedowns, 20 per partner. Odd number, so I was sitting out. But Justin was late, and he got there during this, so I got to work with him. His belt’s all stiff :), but I’ve already forgotten what he looked like with a purple belt. This one suits. Not doing terribly great on these — had lost my breath again during the warmup and was getting some dizzy moments, grrr — but actually tried the double-leg takedown and the single-leg step-around takedown. Only remembered that one because Justin started working it, so I tried it, too.

Then we did another takedown. Worked with Justin again, and he was pointing out places where I was actually doing too much — hooking around their far leg (didn’t even notice it myself) and stepping too far behind before doing the sweep. I had one in there that he pronounced as “very good.” Woohoo!

We rolled next. I wanted to experience the stiff new belt’s super powers, but every time I tried, Tim would pair me with someone else. First with Yoshi. (His new nickname is “Giantkiller.”) On my back the whole time, between guard and half-guard mostly. He would try to back out and reach under both my legs to pass; worked often for him. When I was under side control — couldn’t stop him from getting there — I was mostly stuck waiting for him to move. No sweeps I tried worked; I need to go back and find them again because I think I’m not doing something right.

Then with one of the older kids. He sat down and said, “Go easy on me. I just got back from a week’s vacation.” I said, “So did I.” He said, “… … Oh.” And of course he jumped out as hard as he could. (Sorry, kid: I know that trick now.) Something I did got me a sweep; landed in half guard. Shoulder pressure, and eventually worked that leg out and passed to mount. I remembered what Lo had done to me in our match at the Sub Only, actively pushing her feet on my hip bones to keep me controlled, so I practiced that on him. Nice how well that works. While fighting to get out, he left an elbow up too close to his head. I need to work on that transition to S-mount — it felt loose — but I did get there and got the armbar. As we reset he said, “I let you have that. I didn’t feel like trying to work out of it.” … … …

Somehow I ended up with another sweep and caught in top half-guard. He said, “Oh, no, not again.” Longer to work out, and again ended in mount. He left the other side open this time, so I moved up to S-mount again, though this time he grabbed his sleeves. Tried to grab both arms and sit back, but couldn’t break that. This time, he roared up after me and flipped me entirely over. Figures. Somewhere in there, he tried to go for my foot. I couldn’t defend it, and he was strong enough to rip it off, so I stopped him for a second and asked if he actually knew any leg techniques. He said, “One. I learned it on YouTube.” So I asked him to please not do any leg techniques if he didn’t actually know them. He said that was fine, and we reset and kept going. Not sure what I had later — a sweep, I think, but from where? And his gi wrapped around his head, and my foot was across his throat. Another minute or two and I probably could’ve finished my own version of a gogoplata (which I’ve never actually seen, only heard about), but then time was called.

We got a water break, so I thought we were moving on to drilling. But, no, one more round of rolling. I tried for Justin, but got paired with one of the kids again. He starts by grabbing my lapels, low, and then trying to pull me into his guard. Um, no, don’t want to do that. I tried to armdrag and get around instead; I need more oomph! on my drag because he barely moved. I did get partially around every time, though he’d start scrambling immediately. I’d pull guard, and he’d start trying to kimura me from inside my guard. They’re all strong enough, they could do it. Remembered that Tim had mentioned that I have an armbar there, so tried to look for it. Not quite seeing it, but in moving to find it, I’d hip out away from my arm, he’d fall in the hole, I’d get a knee in, and I’d eventually manage to push him away with my legs. Tried taking his back several times after that, but once again wasn’t getting my feet to the far side before moving and so would get stuck. (Plus, they generally come unglued if they think I’ll get to their back. Had several moments very close to panic trying to defend after attempting that. Not. Fun.) Somehow I fought for a few sweeps, got on top, and then really tried to press forward. Surprised myself. Toward the end, caught something similar to what I’d nearly had at the end of the last round — minus the foot — but once again time was called.

Afterward, I showed him how to grab the lapels and pull himself around instead of constantly trying to pull me in, because even I can resist that without much effort. He grunted a little, which might have been a “Thanks.”

And at this point, I felt almost like I had at the end of the gi division last Sunday. Whew. Much tired. Thankfully, though, that was the end of rolling. Next we drilled the Move of the week, a gi choke from guard, for a few minutes.

Worked in with Justin and Big Jon. Wasn’t too much drilling; we were already over time, and most of the guys were tired. Once again, so hot — hot, still, stuffy air — in there.

Some of the guys did some kettlebell swings after class. I’d planned to start doing those and some other conditioning tomorrow. And the kids took their shirts off, admired themselves in the mirrors, and did pull-ups. I don’t know who that’s supposed to impress — we’re the only ones there.


Remembered something I overheard during the Sub Only tournament: Someone was talking on their phone, conveying the team’s results to someone else, and said, “Well, he would have won on points.” … … … Somebody missed the memo.


Saturday book: When Darkness Falls, Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory. Thumbs up. The end to a trilogy (and thumbs up on the whole thing). I’d read the first two a few years ago, and somehow thought I’d read this one, too. But I picked it up anyway, and after the first chapter or two realized I hadn’t read it. So, good. In some ways, the plot was predictable — considering who the characters were and what their goals were, there were only so many ways to get there — and yet it was well-told and engaging; I stayed up until nearly 1 a.m. to finish. And the ending had several twists that I didn’t see coming (on top of several that I did).

I have several books remaining, but I’m running out of steam to read them…


Warning: Ramblings Ahead

(As with all my self-analysis/ramblings, this might make no sense. But the best way for me to start thinking sometimes is to write out all the thoughts pinging my brain.)

I think I’ve said this before, but apparently I didn’t grasp it for myself the first time, so I have to say it again: I hold too tightly. To things, to people, to habits and routines, to grips and positions, to fears and worry. I cling to these things, and I especially cling to the worry of what will happen if I stop clinging so desperately. Why I do this, I don’t know; probably something simple and harmless that grew and twisted and eventually produced this.

I’ve seen this most recently with my jiu-jitsu: my body needs to rest and recover, but I’m so nuts about not missing a class that I push myself until I’m hurting everywhere and start crying at little things. And then Saturday, when I heard that I’d missed Justin’s promotion to brown belt, the worry that lurks behind this deranged clinging attacked. See? it said. See what happens when you don’t go? You miss something like this. He’ll only get promoted to brown once. See what you missed? (And this little voice was egged on by one of the teenagers, who also had shown up on Saturday and who unwittingly rubbed my face in the fact that I’d missed that night by trying to tell me all about it.)

All of Saturday, I felt guilty for missing last Monday. Even in to Sunday. Thoughts of “I should have been there” and “I can’t believe I missed that” bounced out of my mouth all weekend. I even wrote on Saturday “Couldn’t you have waited a week, Tim?” Not until later on Sunday did the more rational (ha!) part of my brain start to intervene: Whose promotion was it? Yours? No? Well, is he leaving any time soon? No? Will you get to congratulate him next week? Do you get to keep rolling with him? Yes? Then your problem is…?

My problem? My problem is I cling so tightly to some things — being in class, finishing every book I start, doing things “perfectly” — that I develop phobias of what will happen if I do miss something and I develop habits that, in the end, aren’t helping me much (not missing anything, getting there early, staying late, working as crazily as everyone else). And though I may not miss what happens on the mats, I miss a lot of what happens off the mats: I resent spending time with friends when I could be not-missing something in class, I plan everything around rolling, I drive myself nuts when I do have a moment of sense and stay away. It isn’t the techniques or the mat-time that I worry on; it’s the interactions, the promotions, the funny stories to relate later, the after-class trips for food. I worry over not being a fly on the wall. (And when I say it that way, I sound so silly!)

I see this in other things in my life, but as usual, BJJ is driving it home. (And it’s currently what I’m clinging most obsessively to.) I’m reminded of a moment at Karate College with Renzo: I was trying the can-opener defense and was having some trouble. Renzo happened to come by about them and told me, “Relax! You’re too tense. You have to just relax. Jiu-jitsu [jhoo-jheezu, he says] is relaxed.” I tried again, but he was watching, and I stayed tense, trying so hard to relax. (*snort*) I failed again; he repeated, “Relax, relax,” and then turned to help another pair near me. A moment, a deep breath, no one watching — and I relaxed and my hips worked and I hit that armbar. And then from behind Renzo said, “Yes! There! You see, you relax and it works.”

I seem to recall something about “holding lightly,” but I have no idea where it comes from. My brain says it’s relevant to this discussion.

Today, I also stumbled over a blog I hadn’t met before and found two posts that fit in exactly with what’s bouncing around in my head:

(Also, lots of other steady, measured posts that seem to have been written directly at me and my nutso-ness.)

Relax. Calm down. Let go. Don’t worry. Breathe.

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2 responses to “Cat = out of bag

  1. […] we worked the new takedown from last night. Worked with Yoshi again. 20 per partner. Getting dizzy again, I think from all the level changing. […]

  2. […] later me up to get to my back. Last roll with Sundance again. Under side control mostly. He caught the choke from Tuesday; nothing I did to stop even the setup seemed to work. Also defending north/south kimura a lot; […]

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