“Your shoulders are so small!”

said Janet to me, and me to her. It’s still strange/funny, even after having steady female training partners for over 2 years. We still feel as if we’re going to easily crush the other.

Short warmup, then paired up for 7-min rounds of drilling armbars from guard (one person, seven minutes — dear heavens, that’s a long time!), then a 7-min round of triangles.

Rounds of rolling. Janet, then Mike and Travis from Salem, then Milad.

Then one of the big new guys asked to roll. I had, of course, evaluated him when he first started coming in a few months ago and had determined that he was not a fellow I wanted to roll with, as he was big and strong and spazzy. But at this point, the pool of desirable training partners was very small (there is a new Gracie Barra purple belt who I would like to roll with, but he was taken), so despite my better judgement, I agreed, all the while telling myself that I would be defensive. I almost said something to warn him about how to behave with a partner 100 lbs smaller, but I bit my tongue because, frankly, the onus is on me to protect myself. And then… he didn’t come out Hulk Smashing. Hrm, okay then. So I started moving more, even doing arm drags and trying to take his back and attempting sweeps. None of them with any aggression behind them because I didn’t want to switch his on… and it didn’t switch on. He wasn’t just a wet blanket, but he was decidedly not aggressive. *blink blink* He’s not Hulking. He’s actually… attempting jiu-jitsu?! Huh.

And then somehow I ended up with a triangle. Now he’ll Hulk, sure of it. I was careful to not lock the triangle itself, but rather to hold down on my shin, in preparation. And… he tried to find the exit. He tried to turn. He tried to wiggle out. He’s… not… Hulking…. M’kay, maybe it just isn’t threatening enough. So I started switching to other threats, still cautious of the impending explosion, and… it didn’t come. Huh. I ended up back on that triangle, so I carefully finished it, and then prepared for the explosion at the restart. He grinned for a moment as we slapped hands, then came out… at the exact same pace as before. At this point I was stumped because I’d seen how he rolled with other guys, and he wasn’t doing it.

The round ended, and he apologized for not knowing very much. But by then I was gushing, “No! That was great! You did fantastic!” I even told him that I had been afraid that he would just toss me around and try to smash me, because that’s what usually happens. He explained that he was trying really hard to just use the techniques that he knows, so I assured him that he had done that and done it well and, trust me, when the small women say that you were using technique well & not just smashing, you were doing really, really well.

So, looks like I’ve gained a new training partner. Seriously, all I really want is a partner who I can trust to not injure me. If I can’t trust them, I don’t want to roll with them.

One more roll, another new guy. I went with the same mindset going in — play defensive and avoid the aggression triggers. This one, however, did meet all my expectations for a new guy. He also has some wrestling background, and he tried to pin me several times. Of course, that means I was out and to his back frequently. I felt him starting to get frustrated and tense and starting to Hulk, so I was very consciously thinking, “Calm down. Think happy thoughts. Relax, relax,” hoping that my own relaxation would allow him to relax. For the most part, it seemed to work; as I relaxed, even without giving up position or pressure, he seemed to calm down, as well. At some point, he did the typical “grab the wrist and try to arm-wrestle something something are you tapping?” thing. Kind of funny because I just tucked my elbow a bit, and let him jerk and flail and spin aaaand… then passed his guard. Now he apologized because he doesn’t know a lot, and I said that he should just do what he does know. I felt pretty good about that round because I did what I meant to do, kept myself safe, and frustrated & countered an aggressive partner.

So, hey, overall a really good night of rolling for and from me.

Justin held a little bit of a Q&A session to wrap up class. Then Andrew and Janet went over to work more on Andrew’s theories of side control pressure (it’s about being as fat as possible, seriously, and hovering off the ground), and went over to listen and work a bit with them.


5 thoughts on ““Your shoulders are so small!”

  1. You know how normally when you think of “applying pressure”, you think of tensing your core and pressing down? Problem then is that you only end up with a few contact points. Instead, expand your ribs and your core as much as possible, trying to make as much contact as possible. Instead of a beach body flex, you want to be a couch potato. And then, imagine that you want to fit just 1 sheet of paper under your butt or your knees or whatever is contacting the ground; just enough to make sure all your weight is on them.

  2. The first guy, if it’s who I’m thinking of, is improving really well. He’s really trying to work on his technique and I think, as far as strength goes, he’s going to turn into an Arkheif if he keeps at it. He’s rolled with me a lot recently and has really lost his “spaziness” fairly quickly.

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