Thursday, January 6, 2011

I want creative titles, but have none.

Haircut tonight, so no pre-class rolling for me. Also, my best friend Jennie, who’s getting married in two weeks!, told me today that the party for next weekend is cancelled, which means I get to go to the Women’s Open Mat! I will be spending some time with her, though, too.

The two new guys from last night were back for jiu-jitsu tonight. Tim has us start with armbars from guard. I was paired with the smaller of the two new guys and was told to teach him armbars. (Turns out that I do actually know how to do and teach an armbar from guard. Yay!) He might actually be a little smaller than me. Found out that he is not the source of the sound effects; his buddy is. And he was nice, asked good questions, and actually listened & did what I told him to do, and by the end of drilling — which was close to 45 minutes long — was doing rather well at it. (He did smell bad, mostly from smoking, but I generally had enough room to breathe.) I let him drill the majority of the time and only did a few reps myself.

After a while, he started trying to do it faster and it immediately became sloppy, so we had a little talk about how in jiu-jitsu, the goal is to get the position to the point that the other guy can’t escape and then you can continue slowly and in control to the finish, that you don’t want to just fling things up and hope they stick. Also talked a little about how once you think you’ve “got” the technique, that that isn’t the time to stop drilling and sit around; rather, that’s the time to continue working it correctly to make sure you remember it. He seemed to understand and went back to working it step by step.

He mentioned at some point that he wants to be serious about this, so much so that he had gone out today and cut his hair off; last night it had been down past his shoulders. He had been kind of trying the Clay Guida look last night, but said his hair was flopping in his eyes too much and he couldn’t see.

His buddy, on the other hand, goes in for the Nate Diaz snobby, swaggering scowl look.

Finally some rolling. I got Tim. Awesome. Totally crushed, though. 😛 Scarcely any thought of goals — I might as well not have a guard where he’s concerned, though I did actually attempt the scissor sweep/bump sweep at least once. (Just for kicks and giggles.) We slowed down several times so he could watch the two new guys, who were each rolling with blue belt boys. The Nate Diaz copycat was trying to bullrush the entire time, then would get tired and walk off the mat to get a drink of water and a breather. So for the next round, Tim went with him.

I rolled with Adam for the second round, who I’d worked in with last night in the MMA class. He’s a friend of Andrew’s. He was a college track-and-field athlete and isn’t too many years out from that; also, he’s been in the gym in between. But he already tries very hard not to just muscle out of things or fling me off (I think Andrew has already talked to him, too. He started training right after Andrew made his turn.), which means he lets me get away with far more than I expected.

Then Andrew and Justin wanted to get some more training in, so off to APC we went. Kettlebell swings/burpees, ladder down from 10. I grabbed a new 30-lb kettlebell while they used the 78-lb one. (!! It about lifts them off the ground.) The two new guys tried to join in, too. Nate Diaz used the 53-lb kettlebell despite warnings that he should use my 30-lb one; bad form, too, again despite warnings; and did the whole set, again despite warnings. (This one, we have determined, does not listen. It will not go well for him.) He also did a loud “Hiya!” on every swing and every burpee. Clay Guida did listen and worked in some with me and also did as we instructed on his form and only did a couple sets. I’m more impressed with all the listening and trying than anything else. New guys who listen — great idea! Guida also told me after class that he needs to stop smoking in order to do this, and I said that yes, yes he does.

Class/Open Mat again tomorrow night. Found out that the Saturday MMA class is supposed to replace our jiu-jitsu class. We talked some over dinner, and those of us who really only want to train jiu-jitsu will probably start coming in early on Saturday to train first and then decide later if we want to stay for MMA. Andrew echoed my thoughts on training in the MMA class, that it’s a good workout and that he wants to be able to be a good training partner for the guys who really do want to fight, but that it’s not really something that he wants to train in. I agree.

Bad ju-ju-jitsu

Well, that was probably the worst night I’ve had in a long while. Hard to get any worse than that. Everything sucked in a “why do I even bother?” kind of way.

But if it were easy, everyone would do it, right? It takes a special kind of masochism to come back for more…

I got in early, as usual, and tried to warm up thoroughly. Body wasn’t exactly thrilled. Joints are stiff. Everything is slow. I don’t need this tonight…

Class started with rolling. I started with a circuit. … Oh. Well, at least I don’t have a whole class to dread what’s coming.

Single-arm hangs, burpees, pushups around the tire, single legs, single/sprawl, alligators, shrimping. Everything was a struggle. My body would not move. Felt like I was dragging myself through it all. Then a round with Justin, and he got the nod to murderlize me. Which he did, and which is fine. But I was so slow — I’d finally react to the first move when he was four moves ahead of that — and Tim was on me about it. Everything the guys were saying last week about being too slow and needing to move & react. Started standing for a few minutes, then on the ground. He even tried to go a little lighter after the first few minutes, and I still couldn’t keep up. Couldn’t hit that ankle lock escape, either. Pathetic. And then I feel extra awful that I can’t meet their expectations and I feel that I’m letting them down and making all their extra work with me worthless. And that’s the worst. Now my mind was starting to break down.

More circuit? Maybe here, maybe later; can’t remember. Somewhere a couple rounds with Theresa. I think he wanted me to go hard on her, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Rounds with Tim in there, too, starting from standing. A few breaks while he rolled with Theresa, then back to it. Sluggish. Body is not cooperating. More circuit, more rolling. More and more pathetic. Can’t keep track of my limbs, can’t keep track of my breathing. Just awful. This is one of those nights where, if quitting were a possibility, I would quit. But it’s not, so of course I won’t.

He tried to send me home several times, but I refused to go, so we went for quite a while. Eventually had a longer break at the end of class, then waited him out again until he said I could do one more thing — took the gi top off for gi pullups and hangs until my grips gave out, which didn’t take long.

But during that longer break, Tim talked to me. Told me I need to not take myself or training so seriously, that this should be fun and not another job. I said I just want to be better at this and it doesn’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. He assured me that I’m doing fine, and I know he must be right — and the fact that he’s giving me all this extra training for a tournament means that he does care about me and does believe I can do this (because otherwise he’d just tell me to make sure my cardio was good and would leave me to do it myself). I just wish sometimes that I could see it.

He also said I need to roll with the spazzy boys who I don’t like to roll with, more for the mental exercise of keeping myself calm and under control, though also for the unexpected crap that they do. Blerg. Do not like.

Sleep is gonna be muy importante

Another circuit. But that’s later.

The kids’ class is changing times again, back to 6pm. Perry said the time wasn’t working well for most of the parents, and their kids were having to miss a lot of classes. That means I’ll go back to missing half my nogi class on Wednesdays.

Before class, I found out that the Army Combatives guy who slammed me around a bit on Saturday was later taken care of by two of the other guys who saw it. Getting stuck in that situation was totally my fault, but I have great teammates anyway. (And then the third guy provided the “good cop” to their “bad cop” and helped the guy work on a few things.)

Started with armbars from guard. Worked with Theresa. One round rolling, also with her. Switched; got Andrew. He really is recently making an effort not to muscle me around, but in exchange he’s very tense and seems afraid to move at all. I set up and tried to use that hook to sweep a lot and did get it several times. I even went first to knee-on-belly instead of mount, now that I think about, even though I don’t think I meant to; and then even went from mount to KoB once. Huh, imagine that. Tried to work spider guard a bit in concert with that hook; I see that it can be there, but couldn’t quite get things worked out before he’d posture up. (Even having Romulo’s lapel grip didn’t help me.)

I did remember another of Will’s tip from Saturday — underhook when passing half guard. Sit under, so you’re sitting reversed on them, and drive the top arm across, elbow to the mat and driving back into their armpit. Didn’t do it so well — mostly had trouble moving backwards to get my weight in the right place and he was reaching around & hooking everything he could — but did remember. Step 1.

Of course, since I was paying attention to grips, I don’t know that I was doing quite what I normally do. But I was going for lapels, cuffs, and inside of the knee mostly.

Then Tim put me with Purple Belt Buddy for the rest of class. Started with drilling armbar/triangle/armbar. (Remember to overhook the remaining arm and pull it as you pivot. Also, pivot on their head.) Then a round. He told Buddy to turn it up, which he did easily and mopped the mat with me. (Literally — I was pinned on the mat, and he moved me around any which way he wanted, so the area was probably nice and clean there when we were done. :P)

Drilled bump sweep, then kimura off bump sweep. This is good — lots of reps of nice, basic moves.

That was the end of class. Tim called for me to follow him over to the heavy-bag rack. There are cross-pieces from which we hang various pull-up contraptions. Each cross-piece is vertical and has one bar that goes straight across and another that’s a few inches above it; these are braced by diagonal pieces. Kind of like this, but stretched across the whole distance:
He took me over to the two handles that pivot. Gonna start with pull-ups. I grabbed them, ripped straight up… and banged my nose square on the top cross-piece. The bar had rotated, so that the whole thing was horizontal instead of vertical. Ow. 😦

Then we moved around to the other side so I wouldn’t hit my face anymore. Um, not gonna remember:

  • pull-ups and/or hangs
  • burpees
  • Kettlebells swings
  • kettlebell presses
  • single legs + 10 swings
  • alligators + 10 swings
  • shrimping + 10 swings
  • one-arm holds off the bar (with the wide straps) — feed one arm through, gable-grip, bring knees to elbows, and hold
  • forgetting… Various alligators, single legs, single/sprawl, shrimping, backwards/forwards crab walks. Swings & presses mixed in between some.
  • pull-up and hang
  • maybe more on the mat?
  • sledgehammers — holding it kind of far down and going overhead with it (instead of the splitting-wood swing like usual). Nearly bopped myself in the face a few times; that would be bad.
  • then pushups walking around the tire — pushup, one step with hands and feet, continue all the way around. Then reverse.

In some ways, it felt like less total volume than last Wednesday. But in some ways, it hurt a whole lot more. I think I had some bad form in there at some point, too, because my lower back is complaining a bit right now. Pooh.

That’s gonna hurt tomorrow…

Or maybe the day after. Stupid DOMS. But oh yeah, that’s gonna hurt…

Kids’ Class

I started out with the plan of having them do the same takedown class that we did last month, so printed that out and got it ready. But the more I thought about it, I decided that the same kids that were there then would be back tonight and so would tell me they were “bored” by the repeat, so I redesigned most of the lesson. And then when I got to class, none of the regulars were there, but two who have been out because of football were. They hadn’t seen the previous class on takedowns, so I went back to working on that. Theresa came in a little late, but she’s always very cooperative about working whatever I ask her to.


Started rolling. 4-minute rounds. With Theresa first. Then with a visiting guy who comes occasionally and is never very nice with me; he rolls rude. He’s a smaller guy, so I’d think he would be glad of the chance to work on technique against someone who can’t muscle out, but he doesn’t take the opportunity. He goes fast and slams things on and knocks me around. (And he’s long past white belt.) But, at least I know this now, so I worked slowly and was ready to tap early. Usually, that makes no difference to him, but tonight he seemed to get the hint and was working a bit more controlled. Still cranked on my sore elbow a bit abruptly and in just the right angle to hurt a whole lot.

Ended up with a White Belt Hunter the next round. Funny — I had decided to go slow and defend (and to work on Scott’s idea of “defending” from the top) and wasn’t too concerned about how much he was going to muscle me around. And then he actually tried to not muscle me around too much. (Failed mostly, but I could tell he was trying.) And I got to mount somehow — pendulum sweep, even — and then held it for quite a while. Remembered not to rush, that if I’m on top of a bigger & stronger guy that the burden is on him (no pun intended) to move and not on me to submit him immediately. He finally muscled me in to his half guard, but I stayed there the rest of the round and nearly passed a few times. So, hey, that actually worked.

Then a round with Tim. Ha. Just, ha. It was quite amusing to be pwned that badly. He always lets me work on things, though I don’t remember what.

Drilling was far-side kimura, with stepping over the head, and then far-side one-armed kimura, also stepping over. Drilled with Theresa. I was trying to keep my weight off of her like I always do, but she said it was still too much. Yeah…

Rolling again. Theresa, then Will. Underneath early and couldn’t get out much; he stuffed everything. Not sure that I did much right there. Then Tim waved me over to Scott. Swept early and underneath mostly, though I did have a few moments of getting somewhat out. Somehow ended up in top half and couldn’t pass because I couldn’t get enough pressure on him.

As soon as the round was over, Tim told me to run around the corner and get a kettlebell. Grabbed a 20-lber. Then he put me through a circuit. Probably not gonna remember it all:

  • Kettlebell swings (he counted; no idea)
  • Kettlebell presses (one arm: squat, lift & flip, squat + press; no idea, he counted)
  • 10 burpees
  • single legs down & back, alternating legs (my toe is still sprained, though [gah!], so right side was slooow)
  • single/sprawl down & back, strong side only
  • rolling with Tim. He came out hard and fast and pressure! Tried to flatten me like a tube of toothpaste! I knew what he was trying to do, though — disrupt my breathing, which was already labored because I’d been doing everything with a mouthpiece (on top of being in rather crap cardio shape), and try to make me panic. My legs were burning, too. I wanted to cave in so badly, but I kept going. Nothing useful from me. Every time I tapped, he’d let go and then attack again.
  • kettlebell swings (10?), presses (5/side), single leg sprawl down & back
  • rolling with Tim. Again. Some better, but still mostly useless. This. Is. Hard. I think he let me finish an armbar, though.
  • kettlebell swings, presses, single leg sprawls. Moving slow. Body doesn’t want to listen.
  • rolling. A little better still. (I’m sure that means he was going easier, cuz I still really had nothing.) He also let me finish a RNC, though I had to fight for it, and an armbar.
  • Swings. Single leg sprawls. Presses.
  • We have these things that hang off the pull-up bars that you can slide your arms through to do ab stuff. Slide one arm through, gable grip with the other, curl your knees to your arm. Hold for 30s. 30s rest, then other arm. Abs are weak.
  • Get both arms in armpit-deep on those handles. Start from legs straight, then curl knees to chest. I got 9 reps before I thought I was going to cry. On the last one, just had to hold it, which was not easy, either.

Might have missed or added a set of kettlebells/etc., but I know there were at least 3 rolls. Maybe 4. Everything’s kind of fuzzy. I just did what I was told. It all started to blend together at some point…

Did have a good half-guard sweep in there somewhere that involved switching my hips when he posted the top leg. I remember him saying, “Nice!” but not exactly what happened. Oh well. Maybe I’ll be able to repeat that on purpose one day.

My left forearm cramped up nice and tight afterwards, so I sat around trying to massage it out. Then before I left, I sat down to write notes on the kids’ class like I always do, and I could barely hold the pen! My writing looked like chicken scratching.

Now that was a circuit. Anything I’ve tried to come up with has been nothing compared to that. And I know I really do need someone there pushing me through it. I needed it back in high school cross country; I need it now.

Also afterwards, Scott showed me how to get the pressure I was missing on him. Is nice. Will try.

I… am tired…

The Tale of the Traveling Sweet Potato

I watched Demian Maia all day. Wow. This guy. Wow.

Too much to keep up with, though. I tried to absorb it all, which never works, when I should have picked one or two things to focus on.

Got to class super early, as usual. But I’d hardly started warming up when Will showed up, too. So when he was ready, we started rolling. Insta-tired. Uh-oh. Which means not only no energy to do anything but also no brainpower to think of anything. Rolled for about 45 minutes total. I did remember not to turtle as a last-ditch effort. (Might have done it once out of habit.) But this left me sometimes trapped in new places. Well, phooey. Tried to remember too many things from the video, and only half-remembered a few (and probably half wrong, too). Then he let me work from the top, but I couldn’t pass his open or half guard for anything until he relaxed a little to let me practice from mount and back. I’m getting dragged in to deep half all the time, despite all efforts to block. Maybe what I think is blocking is only facilitating their movement. *le sigh*

Tim came in as we were rolling and watched for a little bit. Then Will gave me space and I went to X-guard. After the sweep failed, Tim stopped to show me what I was doing — getting my position, then letting him settle his weight down, and then trying to sweep. Oh. Need to never let him settle; get under and immediately be stretching him out and keeping him off balance. He did point out again that the gap is getting smaller, that I’m at least thinking of the right thing and even fighting in to the position, but then I’m still waiting too long to do it. The gap between thinking and starting has shrunk; now we gotta work on the gap between starting and finishing.

(I think part of my problem is that my brain wants to know exactly where we are before it decides what to do. For example, if someone has passed and is coming around to side control, my brain isn’t sure of what it wants to do until they have full side control. Then it can say, “Okay, we’re in side control. Now let’s escape.” Of course by then it’s immensely more difficult. It’s easier to escape side control before they have side control. With the X-guard tonight, it wants to set up X-guard first as a separate, single entity, and then it will think about connecting it to something larger, like a sweep and pass. I’ve been working to erode this position isolation thinking, thanks to Justin showing me how to anticipate where we will be on things like armbars and omoplatas and to react to the position before the technique. Just need to turn that thinking on to everything else, too.)

He also pointed out that I shouldn’t get frustrated when I’m not getting something or don’t feel as if I’m making progress. I’ve only been training a short amount of time, even though it might seem long to me. He’s been training 14-15 years, nearly 30% of his whole life. I’ve been training for 2 years — 1/15 of mine. And he even said that he leaves frustrated with himself some nights, thinking he rolled terribly, so it’s normal and not to let it get to me so much.

More guys started joining us in the cage then, so rolling was suspended for a little while. Eventually Will and Tim started back in again, and Justin and I got started a few minutes later. 15 minutes or so, I think. He started slow and let me work a few things for a few minutes. Then he got warm, and I think he remembered his promise (threat? lol) to roll harder with me before the tournament. Intensity and speed jacked up fast. Man, he’s fast. No time to think. Which worked out okay, since I wasn’t thinking well anyway. I’m all defense when I can’t think, though.

Oh, remembered this and I find it too funny not to share — at one point, I think he had a wrestler’s cradle or somesuch, and he very gently placed my knee on the bridge of my own nose. And then held me there. Because he finds it amusing that I knee myself in the face so often.

Dead tired. Could feel the muscles in my quads and left arm aching. But there’s no rest. I got paired with Yoshi first. Drat, no lapels to choke him with, lol. I could hardly get off my back, though I think I did have a sweep — or maybe just a near sweep — or two. Otherwise, though, meh. Did try the X-guard a few times to work on erasing the lag, but the silly boy defended and I could scarcely lift his leg with mine.

Then a round with Jess. Kept trying to get her in guard because I wanted to try to remember everything from the video, but she didn’t want to come in.

Next round, Brandon’s visiting nephew (who’s, er, 8? 10? Little, anyway.) had somehow gotten himself paired up with the brand-new wrestler kid. (I’d seen the new guy loosening up before class and doing all the neck bridges, so figured him for a wrestler already. Then he went a round earlier with one of our guys who used to wrestle, and I heard Tim fussing because our guy regressed to straight wrestling. He tends to do that with other wrestlers. Good wrestling, Tim said, but wasn’t jiu-jitsu.) Tim wanted to separate them; turned out that no one had paired with either me or Jess, either, so of course I get the wrestler and she gets the little kid. And Tim gave me that look that said, “You had better whip his butt good.” Oh, lovely.

Knew I didn’t want to be on my knees with him; I’d get snapped down and be behind to start. So went to my back and butterfly hooks. Oh, yeah, he’d wrestled before. (Found out later, 5 years. 8th grade and all high school. And he’ll be a freshman in college this year, so fresh off the wrestling mats.) Eh, bad with guessing weights — bigger than me, maybe 140s? Juggled him on hooks for a few seconds, then got them around to guard. He dove to one side to isolate one of my arms, I think, and underhooked my head, too. Spin under, leg up, locked in the armbar. He panicked and tried to scramble around, which left me with a belly-down armbar. Thanks much! I have vague recollections of the rest of the round. I might have caught that armbar again, or it was something else. There were a few pendulum sweeps, easy as pie because wrestlers like to push forward. Also got an easy guillotine when he tried to shoot in from his knees. He almost waited too long to tap and was dizzy after, so we paused a moment to let him recover his wits. Then he asked how long I’d been training. When I said over two years, he looked both impressed and relieved, lol.

Then he tried to get the jump on me after asking me a question. While I was still answering, he tried to steal a guillotine. Ha, funny. Not. (He wasn’t trying to be funny, either.) He did get me snapped down, though, and actually having to defend my neck for a little bit. Eventually got to side control and nearly had a head-and-arm choke, but I would have needed to be halfway in the wall to finish it (also didn’t want him to spaz and throw me in to the wall), so instead I paused and moved us back into an open area. More pendulums — or maybe this is where they were, instead of earlier. Now he was trying to fight harder. Don’t remember the whole path, but I tried to take his back, he overcommitted, and then I did get his back. He was gripping my arms hard to prevent the choke, but in trying to get out he spun himself around too far and ended up face down. Got him flattened and was rewarded with a nice grunt. Short work to get the choke then.

Got paired with the guy from Saturday who I try to avoid. And he got loud instructions to not go easy on me. Lovely. And so, predictably, he went straight to Spaz Level 11. Grr. Couldn’t get off my back here at all. Almost a sweep or two, but couldn’t get up; he was defending too hard. Some decent hooks were working, but again it was mostly defense. I can’t ever seem to get ahead enough in the game to launch some offense; I’m too busy fending off serious threats. Did have one point where he tried to rip out an armbar; I spun out early enough but tried to finish the pass and got stuffed; something happened briefly in the middle; he tried to muscle in the armbar again; I tried to spin out of it again, but he managed to pull it enough that I had to come back; then couldn’t roll in to him and tapped. I felt so heavy the whole time, though — legs, arms, all like dead weights.

Drilling next. Single-under pass, going to both sides (around the leg and inside). Drilled with Jess. Royally screwed them both up. Brain is dead…

Rolling with your drilling partner. She still didn’t want to get in my guard, so we played other things.

Then got paired with Blue Belt Buddy, and he also got instructions to not go easy on me. Still largely stuck on the bottom. Could sweep some, but could hardly get up to finish it. Bah. Did, however, do something that I’ve never purposely done in a roll before — I went inverted. Briefly, and only to switch sides, but… yeah. I don’t even think I can recreate the situation in my head. He was trying to establish side control, maybe, but was up high? and I stuck my head under him, used my legs to push and pull on his shoulders and chest to propel me, and wound up on the other side. Whoa, what just happened?! That was cool! And then I did it again! Several times! On purpose! Freaky! A few times, it almost gave me a good position. I’ve been practicing Granby rolls (at least I think that’s what Jen Flannery called them at camp) before class, and they finally paid off — and on my stupid side, of course, lol, which has only done one or two right in weeks of practicing.

Thankfully, that was the last roll. But then Tim pointed out that if I’m going to do a tournament in 2 weeks (2 weeks? Eep! Time is flying on me.) that I need to work on my cardio. He wants circuits before and after class. So, after a few more minutes of rest, I headed over for the pull-up bar and forced myself through Little Cindy:

3 chinups
6 pushups
9 squats
12 minutes

I lost track of rounds after 6, though that was about 4 minutes in. But I slowed down for a few minutes before banging out two more rounds in the last 2 minutes. Okay, that wasn’t a good idea. Sooo tired now…

When I got home and started unpacking my lunch box, I realized why I had so much energy on Monday but was dying the rest of the week. On Monday, we went out to sushi for lunch. I got a big plate of maki and sushi. So much yum. Then Tuesday, I took a sweet potato as part of my lunch, but when I cut it open, it was partially rotten. Ewww. Hadn’t noticed before I cooked it. I cut out the still good parts and ate them, but it wasn’t very much. Then yesterday and today, I took another sweet potato, but both days wasn’t hungry enough and didn’t eat it, so it traveled there and back, then there and back.

But since I didn’t eat it, that means I’ve been accidentally carb-less since Tuesday. Tuesday before class, I rolled for an hour with Tim and Justin, so that consumed any remaining energy. And going carb-less hits me hard. I’ve tried Atkins before, but can’t get through the induction period. I’ve been trying to be more Primal in the last few months, which means more fat and no grains, so I don’t purposely pack pasta or bread. (Rice in sushi gets a pass, however.) Supposed to be getting most of my carbs from sweet potatoes, but that only works if I actually eat them…

That also explains why my weight has dropped quickly this week. Aw, shucks, and here I’ve been excited…