BJJ Grrl

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

Hi, Sasha’s friend ;)

Sasha mentioned tonight that one of her friends reads this blog and asked her if she trained with me. So everyone say “Hi, Sasha’s friend!”

You know, we seem to have so many women training now — 10, maybe? — and Ez said there are 2 more now besides Janet in Salem — but we all seem to train on different schedules. Maybe we need to have a Team Mannon Women’s Open Mat to all train with each other, lol. 😛 Unfortunately, few of the other women seem to be on the same schedule as I am; it’s been several weeks since I rolled with another woman. (I got to drill & roll with Ez tonight, which was weird because he’s small while most of the other guys are at least 30lbs bigger than me.)

After several weeks of getting crushed by everyone and rolling with lots of big guys and starting to feel yet again like I don’t know anything at all, tonight the guys were feeling generous and seemed content to let me play around a lot. Which is nice, because I had moments that actually felt like jiu-jitsu, and those have been lacking for a while. And it was fun, which I always like.

My knee seems to be around 95%… 95% of the time, lol. It’s finally a bit better on side-to-side drills and some other warmup stuff (though of course now my thumbs & wrists are presenting me with new issues, sigh). Bridging/shrimping is still the missing 5%. But on Wednesday it was giving me enough issues that I had to tell the white belts that I may tap when they weren’t actually doing anything because of my knee (so please stop, because I do mean it). (With the blue belts, I know they’ll stop, so I don’t have to tell them.)

And I did tap on a guard pass that put quick pressure on the MCL and another time when the knee got twisted, even though I knew he wouldn’t do anything to it; I just couldn’t see an immediate safe way to get out. Well, that’s what happens when you train with an injury that limits your jiu-jitsu — you have to be an intelligent and mature grappler and do what needs doing in order to keep yourself safe, even if it’s not what your ego would like to do.

I’ve trained with and through so many injuries, and my thinking about how to train with them has evolved through that time. I used to tell partners that something was hurt so please avoid it, or would tuck an arm in my belt, or would ask them to go light. (And I will certainly respect the wishes of a partner who says any of the above to me [though I have a silent snort when they use the limb they said was hurt or pull the arm out when they need it or themselves go hard].)

Now, however, I believe that it is completely up to me to defend the injury; if I can’t defend myself properly, then I shouldn’t be rolling at all. It isn’t my partner’s responsibility to babysit my injury. And sometimes “defending myself” means letting them have something if defending it will cause pain. The most I will do now is tell a partner that I have an injury and that I may tap when they don’t expect it — but that I totally do mean it — but that otherwise they should roll however they want and that I’ve been training long enough to know when I need to tap. (And if they seem to be hesitant anyway, I’ll start putting more pressure on them to get them moving.) When they get worried that they’re hurting me, I promise them that I will tap if I need to.

The giant brace (actually 2 braces) on the knee does highlight the injury, and most guys will stop as soon as they realize they’re doing a leg attack on that leg (and usually transition to the other leg, if they can, which I’ll generally even let them set up, since it’s only fair — they’re being a good partner, so I’ll be one in return). If they don’t let go, then I just tap. Being able to walk is more important than assuaging my ego.

I guess what I’ve come to realize is that it’s only practice. If I tap, the world doesn’t end. As long as I can learn something and come out in one piece, then I call it a win.

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Another day, another sprained toe

Gah.

I was exhausted from my Monday morning workout all day Monday, and then was sore all Tuesday and Wednesday. (Did I mention that I also absolutely smashed my tailbone into the box we were squatting to in the air squats? No? Oh, uh, carry on, then…) Class Monday night and Wednesday night was rough as pretty much everything still hurt; heck, just sitting at work was hard because I was so sore. (And the bruised tailbone did not help.) Standing up, of course, was even worse as things had to move, and they didn’t appreciate that. At least everyone at work is used to me being broken in some way or the other.

Then Wednesday night toward the end, I was rolling with a newer guy and my left big toe — which had always previously escaped injury — got caught under him and bent back. Even he heard it pop. I squeaked and we stopped.

Swollen and purple the next morning, so no Thursday morning lifting class. I can still hardly walk on it and so can’t go to class tonight. Again. *le sigh*

I’ve co-opted the couch at work and have sat here icing my toe for two days.

I am seriously, seriously tired of breaking all the time. (I can has adamantium skeleton plz?)

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Jiu-jitsu: Make friends, then make them miserable

Whew, some crazy storms blowing through here! Watched a lightning storm over town on Saturday night, then was woken up at midnight last night by a thunderstorm blowing in. Everyone at work was having a rough time today, as none of us slept much all weekend.

BJJ, Fundamentals

Warmup. Knee will let me do the side-to-side drills facing in (so pushing off that knee) as long as I stay up really high. We had a new girl tonight, Shelby, who I’d met when she stopped in last Friday; helped her with the down-the-mat drills.

Drilling. Review of the bump sweep variation from last week. Then added going to the armbar once you get to mount. Worked with Shelby. She was nervous about putting her full weight on me, but I kept coaching her through how to put her weight on my ribs. She was amused that everything I told her to do was making me more miserable, and that when I couldn’t breathe, those were the times I told her she’d done well. Ah, jiu-jitsu, you so funny.

BJJ, Intermediate/Advanced

Rolling to warmup. Deziree, Buddy, and Big Jon. Lol, Jon choked me with my lapel, but when I tapped and he let go, the lapel didn’t go anywhere; it stayed there choking me.

Drilling was the double-under pass, then a variation for if you were lazy and left your elbows out and they grabbed your sleeve cuffs. Worked with Sara.

Rolling. Deziree pounced on me again, then Dmitri (who accidentally went to Lockdown in half guard and knee-barred the injured knee; I tapped as soon as I realized that I wasn’t getting out, so well before there was any pressure), Trey, and finally Guillaume, as I owed him a complete roll from last week. Thankfully, my knee behaved tonight and I didn’t have to stop.

Meh, weather says we’ll probably get another thunderstorm between midnight and 1am tonight. At least it looks like the wind won’t be so bad.

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Getting the power back

Oi, vey! Hard to get back in the rhythm of going to class. So used to having nights that would be free so I’m used to scheduling errands and such. Then Aubrey’s parents & another couple came in to town on Thursday; I had dinner with them, then she headed off with them for a motorcycle ride to Michigan. And suddenly it was Friday and I hadn’t trained since Monday. Meh.

When I walked in last night, Tim asked me where I’d been and started listing the days I’d missed. He said “Wednesday?” I said that I don’t like getting punched in the face (since Wednesday is MMA class). He said, “6:30?” I said, “Huh?” Then he told me that there’s a new gi class on Wednesday nights after MMA. *Squee!!!* The more the gi, the more there’s a merrier me!

Nogi Fundamentals

I’m still slow on the warmups, but at least I can do them all. (Somehow, my right-shoulder forward rolls have broken. Like, awful. I dunno what that’s all about…). Straight in to drilling — bump sweep variation, then taking the back as an alternative. Drilled with Janet. (Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am for similarly-sized training partners? Seriously.)

While drilling the bump sweep variation, somewhere near the end of that time, I pushed and turned off my left knee and it screamed at me. Did it all sorts of wrong, apparently. So I stopped for a short while to stretch and massage it out. Mostly fine during the other one, though I was already smart enough not to push off it.

Fundamentals class wound down on drilling.

Nogi Intermediate/Advanced

Another warmup, though blessedly short as most of us were still warm from the last class. I was starting to run on fumes in the cardio department. I’ve been too long away from the mats; I got nothing. Then to drilling, nogi spider guard and then a nogi spider guard sweep (Justin’s favorite sweep — as soon as he said “nogi spider guard,” I knew we would end up at that sweep). Drilled with Janet again.

Then some rolling. First with Janet, then started with Guillaume. But while going to mount — to mount, for goodness’ sake! — I wrenched the knee again and had to pull out. I was tempted to ignore it and keep rolling anyway, but I’m trying to be less stupid. *le sigh*

But sitting means you get to people-watch, and I watched as one new guy got choked, then sat up rubbing his neck. When his partner asked if he was okay, he said, “Yeah, but I think you got my neck.” *gigglesnort*


The lights started flickering last night, and I looked out to see dark clouds heading for us and the trees blowing in the wind. I mentioned to my brother that we were about to get a bad storm; he looked it up online and announced, “Winds up to 75 miles per hour” — and blam!, the winds hit the house the next moment.

I asked him to turn them off, but he couldn’t.

No rain, really, just lots and lots and lots of high velocity wind. Knocked the power out around 9pm. We stayed up listening to the storm and playing chess by candlelight. The wind finally died down around midnight, but the power stayed out until this morning around 10. It’s back now, though, and I’m actually relived for the air conditioning — temperatures are supposed to get into the high 90s today.

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We passed!

There wasn’t supposed to be an inspection today — we were supposed to be out of luck all week — but someone apparently did come and do an inspection anyway, and we finally passed! We can get in! So tonight was our last night in the current space. Starting tomorrow, the mats will be pulled up, (the old squeaky puzzle mats will go back down), and the mats will go to the new, permanent home. That does, however, mean that there is likely no class for the rest of the week.

Also, Karate College is this week. Renzo isn’t able to come this year, though, and I’ve got something Thursday night and am leaving town on Friday for the weekend, so I won’t be heading over there at all.

Fundamentals, gi

The knee was all sorts of squirmy and painful today. Not fun. I considered not even going to class because of it, but then decided I needed the exertion. Good decision.

So humid. Whew! Warm before you even do anything.

Short warmup. I managed everything (though could only turn out on the side-to-side drills); had to go slowly on the single legs and shoot & sprawls but I did manage to shoot on the left knee without having to reach for the floor to balance myself. Huge progress!

Then partnered up for armbars from the guard. Worked with Brandon. And omg you guys! My knee could push and pivot! It could push and pivot!! Huge, huge, huge progress! Though, heh, pinching my heels down caused some discomfort. (See, it’s been complaining about the normal stuff today and letting me do the problematic stuff.)

Rolling next, two rounds, and Tim let me join tonight. So got a couple of good rolls with little hints of jiu-jitsu popping up from time to time. Is so nice.

Drilling was options for chokes from almost-passed top half guard (they’re hanging on to your ankle for dear life with their legs). Couple more rolls to finish up. There was an odd number, so I sat out the first one. Then Tim had me roll with a kid (12, tops) who had come in with his mom. (Unlike the roll where my knee injured itself, this was billed as a “take it easy and play with him” roll. Kid wanted to be vicious, though, lol.) One more roll to finish up.

Knee did super much better in rolling. It even allowed some butterfly guard position, though no real hooks would work. Minor moments of bridging, though fully turning over isn’t quite back yet.

Eamon has been rolling really well the last few months, and I’ve known he was getting so very close to blue. For the second round tonight, I saw Tim pair Justin with him, and I was hoping that meant he’d get it soon. End of the round, sure enough, he got promoted to blue.

Now I’m off for a(nother) week, and then it’s “Hello, new school!”

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