BJJ Grrl

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

I’ll trade you a submission for an escape

Sometimes I read the “search engine terms” that WordPress gives me — a list of things people searched for and then clicked on a link to me from — and I wonder 1) who was looking for that, 2) how’d it direct to me, and 3) what else did they find?!


Not too many of us there today, and the first four were already paired up and going when I got there. So I just warmed up and stretched until Buddy #1 got there and was ready to go. Got to roll with him twice (really, once with a ~5 min break in the middle), and both times for a good long while, maybe 45 minutes total. We played! Fast-paced and fun. I had some good escapes and passes in there, and some good moments of getting to top and even sprawling well. Also got caught in a lot of D’Arces, among other things (triangles, arm triangles, a RNC). But he said at one point that he’d just really gotten the D’Arce down and so was taking every opportunity to work it.

I was still underneath a lot, but I was really, really working my escapes, mostly turning in for the single leg, which he was giving up for the chance at the D’Arce. He turtled for me several times; I kept trying to work the Peruvian necktie, I don’t know why, but never really had it well enough to try to finish. Should ought to have tried to take his back, but didn’t think of it. And I even had a couple of pretty good elevator sweeps, though he wasn’t defending them too hard. Oo, and I fixed a hole in my basic guard passes that I’d noticed the other night, finally getting my head in the right place. Lots of little things that I was very happy with.

Also worked the von Flue guillotine defense. He caught that guillotine tight, though his guard wasn’t quite closed, so I thought, Well, I can at least practice the defense for a second or two until he finishes it. I could get my arm around to his back, but my shoulder was nowhere near his neck: my elbow was just over his shoulder; but I went through the motions anyway. And then he let me out and we went on until he caught me in something else. When we reset, he said that had been a good guillotine defense; I asked if it had really worked, because I was so far away from his neck that it seemed as if I had no pressure. He said that yes, that all that pressure had been in one spot on his chest and had kept him from being able to finish. (Unspoken: without resorting to extra strength.) So, add that back in the arsenal. I’d set it aside for cases in which my shoulder would reach their neck, but now it appears to work without that. Not that I’m gonna go around looking for guillotines to stick my neck into to practice…

Just a really fun “this is why I do jiu-jitsu” kind of day. Yay!

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I’m watching my weight

and it’s going up, and up, and up… 😮

Currently, I’m out of my weight class. Usually I’m toward the middle or low end. I’m at nearly the same weight I was when I started jiu-jitsu, and it’s not that I put back on muscle. Part is just water retention from all the chicken noodle sodium soup last week when I was sick. And Thanksgiving is between me and Sub Only VI. And my manager’s wife bakes. A lot. And sends it to work. And we’re going out to eat a lot since we have remote workers in the office the last three weeks.

Oh dear.

So… I guess I need to cut hard for Thanksgiving 😉 so I can not worry too much, and then Sub Only VI the following week. (And then US Grappling is switching to IBBJF weight classes next year, so I’ll have to aim even lower.)


New guys are just silly. What is it, some ego thing? Why the need to “prove” that you know jiu-jitsu? You don’t; you’ve never been on the mat before. So why this need to “impress” everyone? All you end up doing is ticking everyone off because you’re being rude and intentionally trying to injure people, and so they’ll stop rolling nice and introduce you to the not-so-gentle side of the gentle art.

I just don’t understand.


Medium size class. One visiting guy (salesman, I think, so he travels a lot; he’s been here before. Brown belt in judo apparently, and Tim said after class that he’d be a blue belt if he could ever stay anywhere long enough to get it awarded). One idiot new guy.

Warmup. *le sigh* What is wrong with me? I can’t breathe. There were knee-to-chest jumps. And then burpees. (Hmm, that might explain it.) So slow. Missed many reps on down the mat drills.

To rolling. Big Jesse first. I think I did something right that I was happy about, but I forgot what it was. Pooh. Felt as if I was moving okay. Was trying to stay on top when we started, though once I get under him it’s tough to get out. Not only is he much bigger, but he’s also good and tight.

Then Steve, who I’ve been meaning to roll with for a few weeks. The last time we rolled, I was surprised at how good his technique had become, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. He’s closer to my size (I think, though I’m terrible with guessing) so it would be great if I could get a good training partner. And it was no fluke — technique, no muscling, hurray! … Well, rats, I know I was thinking during my rolls tonight, and I was acting and reacting and I knew what I was doing… but I can’t remember any of it now. Oh, well. At least I know I have a good training partner. (He did bellyflop on my ribs once, which knocked the wind out of me for a moment, though he paused and apologized and let me catch my breath. Then right back to it. I appreciate a partner who is paying enough attention to know he just potentially hurt me and who pauses to check instead of taking advantage of the moment and ripping off my arm.)

Then we did some positional rolling. Justin had been talking to Tim before class and saying that he’s started letting guys take his back so he can work escaping from there, since no one can get there unless he lets them, and he was now remembering how hard it is to defend and escape from there. So we worked that. One partner sat up; the other put both hooks in and started over/under (seatbelt grip, maybe? I dunno the name). In front had to defend/escape; on the back, to submit.

Worked with Steve, Yoshi, and Adam. I managed one escape over all 3 rounds. Got caught multiple times with everyone, and never managed a submission of my own; they got away lots.

More rolling. Started with Jesse again. And remember nothing. Again. I think I had some moments where my hips moved well. And again fighting to top and to maintain it, though it was shortlived. Oh, and I hit several single-under passes! All night long! And only one ended in a triangle (here, against Jesse).

Then got stuck with the guy who injured my ribs. Fabulous. But he was focused on trying to get X-guard from all the wrong ways, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, and I did get several passes and to top for a good portion of the round. I thought at first he was trying some 50/50 variation or maybe some funky Eddie Bravo stuff (this guy loves to watch stuff on the interwebs and then come try it out even though he still doesn’t have basic jiu-jitsu down); I had no idea what it was, but my knee and ankle wanted no part of it. He was trying to set it up with me in Sitting-Up Guard and him on his butt. Nothing doing. He laughed after he failed many times and told me what he was doing; I pointed out that his legs were backwards and that he probably needed to enter it from half guard, but he didn’t bother to change them.

Last roll with Steve again. Very similar to before. He doesn’t try to kill me if I get a sweep or a position. Huzzah! In a scramble, this time he elbowed me in the face; apology again; I said I was alright, but thanks for checking. (Must reinforce good behavior.) Quite an active round, too, and we were both escaping well. He also doesn’t Hulk out on me and actually does the proper escape. I think I might have managed to maintain top position for the majority of the round. Wowzer.

On the wall for single legs and alligators. Then circled up for running in place, with random sprawls and single legs as Tim called them out. Getting… tired… legs… so… heavy…

There was a lot of gurgling going on all night — no one seemed to want to tap to anyone. Even in the positional rolling, lots of guys holding their breath to avoid having to tap.


Pout: My car won’t be ready until next Tuesday or Wednesday.

On the bright side, that Charger is rather fun to drive.


Funny story, passed on from work (not us or any of our clients): So every time Company A started the system, there would be a couple of error messages about one particular component of the system. So they contacted the makers of that component and asked them to take a look. Company B came back and said they fixed the problem. So then when Company A started the system, hurray, no error messages. Except… it still didn’t work. Hmm. So Company A checks some more and finds out that the problem with the component is still there… Company B just removed the error messages…

*headdesk*

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Too early, too late

August Moon Festival last night and sushi for lunch. Oh, yum!

Tried to go visit my brother at work before class, which I usually do, but traffic out that way wasn’t moving at all, so I turned around and headed over to the academy. (The two are only about a half mile or so apart.) Sat in my car for about half an hour studying Jiu-jitsu University before going in. Still really early, though. Tim and Buddy finally got there and started rolling. I think Buddy is not too much longer for the blue belt.

Small class. Rolling to warm up. With Guillaume to start. He’s wise to my elevator sweep opening now and wise to the guard pass he was leaving himself open to, so we circled around on our knees and butts for a while. I finally got a hook or two in and moved between butterfly and half guard. I was working on getting deep while he wanted to flatten me out. I finally did sweep him and landed in top half guard and started working to pass. He started trying to kimura my arm nearest his head; I’ve had guys trying this a lot on me lately, though usually I just drive in more until they can’t hold that grip. But I’d read somewhere (which I can’t find again) about locking up my own kimura grip there (because, as Justin says, when he has a kimura grip, I have a kimura grip) and rotating to look toward his hips to finish my own kimura. I’ve been trying to catch that from top half for a while, but most guys just pull their arms out when they realize I’m attacking. Somehow, though, I kept control of this one and even finished it. (The technique! It worked! Or, pulling from Stephan Kesting’s latest “Grappling Tips” newsletter, the concept — you kimura, me kimura — it worked!) I was excited about that one.

Somehow I ended up in side control. Usually we do side control with our knees in; this time, though, I was going between knees in and sprawled and even scarf-ish hold (no arm control, though), just trying to keep pressure on him. Seemed to work well; I was there for a while. Tried looking for the far-side kimura or spinning armbar, but he was keeping his elbow in; tried posting up to knee-on-belly, but he had that defended. Finally started pulling at his lapels while still poking around for the armbars and knee-on-belly; even remembered that I also have lapels and pulled them out to distract him. Got his lapel under his chin and across, like in this choke, and finally got my shin up behind his head, but my grip fatigued quickly and I couldn’t hold on long enough to finish it. He finally rolled in to me and I half-took his back, but then time ran out on us. He said afterward that the choke had been tight and he’d been about to tap when I’d had to let go.

Next with Will. Very much trying to remember what we worked on Friday. Of course, he remembered, too, and was blocking me a lot. Got his leg a few times for that single-leg pass, but still couldn’t quite get around — and totally forgot about going inside. Went for the scissor sweep, trapping one arm first, but he pulled his arm out and still trapped my legs. He was trying hard (and succeeding) to keep me from turning to my side under side control. Did grab two single-leg sweeps, though not much past there. On the outside of his open guard a lot, so my goal was to pin one of those legs to the mat and then work my way in. Also worked on keeping pressure with my hips. At some point, he turtled but I got my knee in and over/under grip. Went for the Peruvian necktie. Fell more backwards than sideways and didn’t feel as if my arms were really in there right. Tried to see if I could figure out what was wrong but couldn’t, so eventually let it go and went back to guard. Will stopped and asked why I’d let it go; I said I didn’t have it (and I don’t want to be the idiot who just holds and squeezes); but he said he’d been about to tap when I let it go. Ack. Second one too early today.

Last roll, with the little kid. I think it was something I’d read in Jiu-Jitsu University that started it, but I wasn’t just trying to stay underneath on him. (But I still feel as if I’m easily tossing him around!) He’s a wrestler, so most rounds start with him trying to force your head to the mat. And he is trying to muscle you around as hard as he can… and it just doesn’t work. Very little effort to resist that, and I feel kind of bad for not letting him “win”, but then, on the other hand, when he finally does get his growth spurt and is 200 lbs, I don’t want him to have the bad habit of tossing me around the mat… So I don’t let him win when tries to muscle me. He also tries guillotines for no reason at all and from lots of positions. Anyway, he tried to wrestle me down from starting; I finally got a hook in and went to half guard. I think he tried a guillotine, so I swept him and landed in mount. He started flailing around; bridging strongly, but not following it up, and also trying to armbar me. (Interesting.) Finally I clamped down a little tighter to hold him still and asked him if he’d been in class last night. (Justin had mentioned he’d taught knee-elbow escape from mount last night). Kid said yes, so I told him to do the knee-elbow escape. Oh, look, it works, imagine that. Another little wrestle-down to half-guard. This time he passed decently to mount and then tried ramming his elbow into my throat again. Ahem. Bumped the arm across and bridged over into his guard. Played at breaking the guard to let him try a bump sweep, though he went for a guillotine again and immediately shot his hips away. Then time was up.

Afterwards, I pointed out that he should use the techniques that he knows when he’s rolling. When you know a mount escape and are under mount, use the escape you know. Also pointed out that he throws that arm around for the guillotine a lot, but the rest of his body isn’t in position, which is why he isn’t finishing it. No time to show him the right position, though.

Drilling was a little different: we worked on floating around when our opponent tried to roll away from being turtled. Idea was to get around to side control while surfing on your partner as they rolled. Worked from slightly different positions and grips. Partner was trying to grab the far-side arm and roll under and come up to side control themselves, while you had to be aware of that far-side arm and keep it safe and then start moving as soon as they did. Worked with Will. Could do it decently some times; most times, though, Tim said I was late. Letting submissions go too early; moving too late. Ack. Some of those were obvious, when Will’s roll would sweep me over. Wipeout. Also, my body seemed to work best when turning clockwise (I think) — right side worked best turning around his head, left side worked best turning around his legs. Silliness. (Still, I was doing some of this earlier with Guillaume, so I’ll keep trying it.)

Then Tim sent us all over to grab an exercise ball and we did a few drills with them.

First drill was a guard pass drill. Start with the ball in front of you. Use your hands to slide it slightly to one side while stepping up and in front of the ball with your feet, front knee driving forward as if going for knee-on-belly. I finally got the brilliant idea to use a line on the mat as my imaginary partner; I’d start with my feet on the line behind the ball, move the ball just slightly to the side, and step up in front of the ball and along the line. The hips got a good workout with this one.

Second drill was to kneel on the ball, no hands. I don’t know that I ever got both hands up at the same time. And that’s a lot harder than it seems! I was dripping sweat by the end of that.

Last drill was to sit on the ball, feet straight out in front. Yeah, also hard. I fell off a lot more on this one, though, and we didn’t do it as long, either.

Lingered after to watch Justin and Buddy drill straight ankle locks (ooh, I can start learning and using those now, too!). Then was Buddy’s grappling dummy for something he was working on. Should’ve done some after-practice conditioning, but I just sat around instead.

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I’m ready, coach, put me in!

Steeled myself to spar this morning. Took both sets of gloves (boxing and MMA); took shorts and a rashguard. And… they didn’t need me for that. Or, rather, they did and would have if they’d done like last week, but they didn’t.

Instead, they put one guy through four different types of rounds: sparring (no ground ‘n’ pound), takedowns (against Big Jon, so really it’s a round of just defending takedowns), full MMA, and wall drill (someone holds you down in a padded corner of the room, and all you have to do is stand up). There were four guys to take those rounds.

The second time through, though, right as the guy was starting to really get tired, Tim called me out to do a 2-minute grappling round with the guy. I know he was tired, and I was really trying to push the pace, but there were actual moments when I almost did exactly what I’d wanted to. Working to start, I sprawled, but of course he can still reach my legs; he finally just lifted me up to pull my legs and fall in to side control. I worked away, trying to keep the intensity up. Got almost to guard, and could see I was a step or two away from a triangle; couldn’t get near it, though. To full guard; he was trying to break it, I was trying to figure out something to attack — tried bump sweep and guillotine several times, but my arms aren’t quite long enough to get all the way around to make it work. Adam was telling me to let go my guard and attack, but I couldn’t see where to go next — and this guy was postured up good and I couldn’t get him down — so I just held on. Probably should’ve at least ried, though.

They did one more set of rounds, though mostly ground ‘n’ pound, with him.

A few more guys had shown up by then for class. Tim, Adam, Big John, and Joe wanted to work wrestling takedowns (Big John and Joe both wrestled). The other four of us got our gis on — blerg, so hot! — and rolled a little bit.

Started with Will and his tricksy open guard. But he was letting me around so we could work other stuff. Tried several half-guard passes; I think one did work and I got to mount. Couldn’t control that for too long, though, and he wasn’t leaving anything open. Even remembered a few times that knee-on-belly exists (!!) and worked that, trying for either the baseball choke or the spinning armbar, but he didn’t give anything up there, either. He was making me work to keep side control, too, when he let me around to there; was keeping his near elbow in deep and I couldn’t get any space around it. Ended up moving to north/south a lot, but couldn’t get anything there, either. He even turtled at one point to let me work attacking that, but I couldn’t get anything in; did remember, though, that it’s legal to switch to the other side (*snort*) and did that several times; still no space, though. Then for a while we switched and I was defending under side control, mount, and half guard. Got caught many times in there to armbars and triangles; I’d know they were coming but couldn’t seem to do anything right to stop them. Meh.

Don’t know how long we rolled. We finally stopped, though, to get water, and then switched with the other two guys.

I got Big Tom. (Note to self: no spider guard on Big Tommy. His arms are longer than your legs, so it no work good.) He let me play on top, too, to start with, though I was again having trouble passing half guard. I ended under mount at one point, and he was trying to get the armbar while I was trying the scrape escape; I got my one leg out, so it was in front of his shin, and then as he tried to sit back, I got the other knee up behind his knee, so I could kind of scissor my legs and keep him from being able to sit back. He tried to escape that for a while and couldn’t, and even said that Yoshi had just done something similar to him. So we stopped to consider the position and see what he could do.

And then, I saw it — instead of trying to sit back, drive that knee to the mat on the far side, trapping both their legs (since they’ve committed both legs to stopping your one), and leaving you almost in mount; now drive your weight up on their arm, which you should still have; step the free leg over and behind your own trapped leg, sliding in to also trap their legs (so your legs are crossed at this point); now slide your trapped leg out from between their legs; come up to side control, and you’re in position to take the spinning armbar. I mean, I saw it. I knew what to do. Yay, lightbulb moment! It seems like something we’ve worked, but I don’t know where to find it right now. So we tried that a few times, and it actually worked (yay for a working lightbulb moment!). Tom even pulled it off a few minutes later from a similar position and passed right around.

Later, too, he was seemingly going for the far-side americano from side control, except he hadn’t trapped my near arm so I could turn in to it and relieve the pressure. I stopped to mention that, and he said that he often goes for that far arm just so he can pass, that he thinks of passing far more than of looking for submissions, and that he didn’t think he had a good enough position there to finish anything. So I showed him real quick what to do (everyone does it on me when they want an easy tap, so I’m real familiar with what it looks like from the bottom).

We rolled a little longer. He caught an armbar from mount; was real light on me, as he usually is, until right at the last moment as he swung around — all 220 lbs landed on my ribs, which got a big “Ooorrmph!” from me. He stopped to make sure I was okay; I said I was, so he finished the armbar. We got to talking, and he apologized for sitting on me. I said it was fine and there was no where else for his weight to go there, and that I really appreciate that he doesn’t use all his weight on me when we roll (else I’d be squished every time). He said he uses rolling with me to work on his speed and technique, which is possibly something I’m useful for.

Don’t know how long that roll was, either, but then I was done. Thankfully, everyone else was, too. I’d meant to do some squats or deadlifts or something, but was too tired to even remember that.

I liked the pace we were rolling at today. Mostly in class, most everyone is still going Abu Dhabi — maybe opening round speed instead of finals, but still more intense, more competitive, and more wild than I like to roll. (Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like getting kneed and elbowed because someone can’t bother to slow down enough to do his technique right and thinks speed and power is all he needs.) These were slower rounds with a few bursts, but we were still tight and working and attacking space and going for submissions. Just without all that extra that usually comes in during the week.

Strikeforce tonight: Carano v. Cyborg. While I’d like to see Gina win, I think Cyborg will just keep coming. I’m predicting Cyborg, TKO. Either way, though, I really want it to be a good slugfest and/or grapplefest and show that women can fight and can fight good.

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So much for recovery

I seem intent on beating myself down this week. I’m justifying it because we don’t have class Friday or Saturday. *le sigh* Silly grrl…

Smallish class, mostly the teenagers. Rolling to warm up. With Nick. Every other pair around us jumped out to 300%, ripping and snorting. We would stop when they slammed in to the mat near us, look at them, and just shake our heads. We’d look over at Justin, and he’s sitting on the side shaking his head, too. Just nice and slow for us. Moved my hips some, and worked that sweep from Monday again, though it’s hard to get on Nick — he’s got long legs and a good base. It was a nice warmup for both of us, though; a little flow going on. (The other guys were all worn out.)

Got Justin for the next round. I was warmed up and moving a little faster, though he was quick to catch up and throw submissions to slow me down. Heh. Still working for that sweep from Monday, though he wasn’t letting me get it sloppy, which meant I wasn’t getting it at all. I’d been thinking about the one from last night, where you grabbed the belt, and was wondering if there was any variation that would work nogi. Actually got something close to it, finishing with a backwards roll to side control. (I did a roll! That I meant to do!) But now I don’t remember what it was exactly… Doh. He showed me where my foot was off the ground in butterfly guard when I was trying to get my hips out; no leverage point. Oh, good point. He let me work an escape from an ankle lock and a few other things when I was doing them right.

Drilling was a takedown. Drilled with Guilluame, since he was the only one there besides Nick that I trusted for this; I knew he wouldn’t slam me. (True to form, the other kids were slamming each other around.) Funny, though: I didn’t grab Nick because of the size difference and because there were a couple of bigger guys he could’ve worked with, but he ended up stuck with always-his-first-day guy, who’s hardly bigger than me. Poor Nick had to really drop his base to get around. We drilled that for a long while.

Then rolling with your drilling partner. (See, I was thinking ahead this time.) Guillaume’s defense is getting better, and I told him so last night; he said that it’s all he gets to do, and I said that it’s the same for me. Got the sweep from Monday a couple of times, once taking mount. He reached one arm under one of my legs, saying later that he’d thought to throw me off, but that left a triangle sitting there. Locked it up and he rolled me over. Noticed that what I was thinking was “deep” with the leg around his neck wasn’t nearly deep enough; while transitioning to finish, my knee dropped another couple of inches around his neck. Felt a lot more comfortable and a lot tighter, too, so that’s the same feeling I need to work on recreating. Showed him after what not to do; he said that he’d realized it was a mistake right after he did it but couldn’t get back. Then I showed him what to do when mounted. Trying to really work on pressure and on moving slowly since he’s still very new. Had a Matt Hughes RNC after getting his back once. Got to his back another time and transitioned to mount, then worked on getting his arms up; actually looking for the americano, but couldn’t work his arms to where I needed them. Finally found the double armbar, though.

Last round, I was the odd one out. Some confusion over who was staying in class and who was joining the Krav class on the other mat. One guy started the round but then left halfway through. His partner was one of the spazzing smashers, though, so I just continued to sit out. Had my own eye-rolling session watching some of these kids rolling, though the worst was one of the guys rolling with a new guy and trying to “instruct” the whole time (which basically amounted to “Here’s how to let me pass your guard”). Justin was rolling with Nick and finally paused his roll to tell the guy to be quiet and just roll. The guy got quieter but didn’t entirely stop.

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