BJJ Grrl

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

Magic: The Gathering edition

I don’t play Magic, but my friend does; he doesn’t do jiu-jitsu, but I do (when I’m not slacking off). The other day he asked me something about BJJ class, and I started describing my playstyle (sit back, defend, and wait for an opening) vs. someone else’s playstyle (very aggressive, forward-driving, and manhandling you until you give them something). I also mentioned that my coach has been encouraging me to play more like the latter and says that I’m too passive.

My friend listened, then said that while he didn’t really follow, his best analogy to explain it to himself was like the three main types of Magic styles: aggro, midrange, and control, with my examples being the control and aggro styles.

And I had an epiphany — I don’t need to start playing “aggro” style when my coach says I’m too passive; I just need to bump it up to “midrange.” That is, it’s not a binary choice between “aggro” and “not aggro”; there are really three (maybe more) options, with an actual style in the middle of the two. I know I’ve tried to play in the middle, but I come in thinking the goal is eventually “aggro” style and that just doesn’t work for me. But if I look at it as playing a different style, neither aggro nor passive, maybe that will work better for my brain.

Right now my brain switches to a active, attacking-but-not-aggressive style I’d kinda like to keep around when I play against the better guys (the purples and browns in particular), but then goes back to a softer control style when I play against the women again. Boo, brain!

In injury news: I ripped off the entire toenail on my little toe. I didn’t even feel it; someone pointed it out after class. It doesn’t hurt, but my toe feels a little bereft. Feels weird! Right now I’m just keeping it clean and covered during the day; I skipped morning class today to give it some more initial healing time, but should be ready to jump back in by this weekend.


These Ladies

Look at these goofballs. (And this is probably only half of the women who train here. Good things happening with women’s jiu-jitsu around here!)

On Saturday, Jen’s purple belt friend Margarita (she’s the one with her leg up in the front row) was in town, visiting from Georgia, and she taught the Women’s Class. She taught a variation on the foot-drag/knee-elbow mount escape that I usually do, which was good but also weird; I had to do it on my stupid side because my regular side kept doing it “wrong.” But her version should be good for when guys clamp their knee to the ground and my usual tricks don’t work.

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Free Psychic Reading: Armbars everywhere

A psychic place has opened in the building with our gym. Yesterday they put their sidewalk sign out in front of our door (theirs is the next storefront down, but the sign clearly pointed to us) advertising free psychic readings. We were joking around before class, and I said that my future would show lots of armbars.

Welp, I armbarred the stuffing out of folks last night.

Fundamentals class was all drilling: early-mount escapes (that is, escaping as they transition). Advanced class was 2-min round-robin rounds for 40 minutes. As more people came in, my group kept shifting. I seemed fixated on armbars to the point that I started feeling badly about doing so many and tried to diversify my submissions — but, likely in the spirit of Halloween, everyone kept handing out free arms, so I kept taking them.

Somewhere in there, someone slammed a knee down on my heel. It seems bruised now and does not like being stood on. Meh.

I stayed over into Open Mat to roll with Robert so I could balance out the mauling I did with taking a mauling of my own.

Almost a white belt again

When I walked in last week, Andrew and Robert both pointed at the shelves. I looked but didn’t see anything unusual. Then they pointed up. And sitting there on the top shelf (which I can’t even reach!) was my belt!

Andrew said they knew it was mine because I’m the only one with a “hippie” belt (from The Green Gi; I love this belt, btw, so soft). I don’t know how I managed to leave it on the previous Saturday — and how I didn’t notice when I emptied my bag at home later — but somehow I did. When I left class that night, I opened my bag to hold my belt, to make sure it was still there. I even held onto it last night, a week later, to make sure I still had it.

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Monday night as I was getting dressed at class, I reached in my bag to pull out my belt. …Uh-oh

So I raided the belt stash, which only had 1 unwrapped belt — a rather small kids’ white belt, which only wrapped around my waist one time. 

It took some people almost the whole class to realize that I was sandbagging. =P

Scott, one of my training partners back when I started, came in to visit and so I got to train with him again. I always like it when those guys come back.

My list of things to work on is growing: do sweeps, do submissions, don’t stall in open guard, don’t be flat, don’t let anyone on your back. Scott added “heavier hips” (I was too floaty, and he was working butterfly; I flew.).

Class has been good. The Wednesday morning classes are working well for me, though they’re still early. (I have motivation, though — one of the new guys needs a ride after class Wed morning, and it’s on my way home.)

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Then: takedowns. Now: heating pad.

Rolling to warm up. Then takedowns in 3-min rounds. Thankfully we only did it with 4 groups on the mats, so plenty of room + plenty of rest. Still, those rounds take it out of you. I did actually go for some takedowns, and more than just the old standby reverse trip: I actually remembered that ankle picks were a thing I had liked this one time, though it took me most of a round to work out how to do it again, but then I got it a couple of times. I think I failed on all the other ones, though.

I was really tired by the last round, but Tim called me in to work with someone. I did not do good things, and often ended up with them on top of me. Once they landed on my shoulder, and I heard a little crunch. Meh. Andrew knows some baseball shoulder voodoo, so I had him work that on it.
Open Mat after. I tried to roll with Andrew, but apparently even when you don’t use your shoulder, it uses your shoulder. Ow. I left after that so that I wouldn’t be tempted to try anything else dumb. A round of ice, some ibuprofen, and now a few rounds of the heating pad. It feels a bit better, but it’s still talking. Feels like it’s at the base of my shoulder blade, which FYI feels weird.