East meets South

Two of the guys from the TKD club came tonight to try out classes. They’d come last week to get information — and didn’t even realize I was a student here, so were surprised to see me — and then came back tonight. They did BJJ and then kickboxing. They’re both good guys, and I hope they do decide to come back. Some of the guys from TKD I wouldn’t be too happy to see, but these two, yes: I know they’re both controlled and willing to work hard and learn.

HUGE class. Where’s everyone come from?! And that’s with some guys already gone for the summer, and quite a number more who weren’t there. Wow. Several new guys: my TKD guys, a friend of theirs, and another newer guy’s friend.

Short warmup, but still exhausting. Then a few rolls to warm up. I rolled with the smaller of the TKD guys; despite him being new, I was fine rolling with him because I knew he would be controlled and he wouldn’t try any of the cheap tricks (like elbow in the throat) that most new guys do. Ended in half-guard early — he was trying hard to pass my guard, and he’s quick! Pulled guard at one point and tried to work several things, but he didn’t want to let me have hold of anything for too long. I have no idea why *innocent face*. We did a lot of wrestling from knees. I got him down at least to his hands and knees several times, with over/under grips, but couldn’t get around for the armbar there. At one point, Tim was walking around and mouthed “Guillotine.” Oh, right, I know that. Slid it in deep and tight. Huzzah! Did catch his back at one point, too, but couldn’t finish the RNC; and did hit the switch from turtle to back. These be some long rolls…

Next roll with Justin. Lots of moving, but my arms were so tired from all the wrestling with the TKD guy and I wasn’t doing much worth anything. He did go for a D’Arce once, and I had my elbow up so it was heading deep; did manage to flatten out, though, which only helped for a moment as he went straight over to mount. Frying pan to fire. He did catch something, I’m not sure what; he said it’s something new he’s working on. From my angle, he looked like a pretzel, but a pretzel that was choking me. He had another choke, not sure what, and gave me just barely enough room to move and keep up and finally find the way out. Had a knee-up guard break, but couldn’t get past after that. Actually, don’t know that I actually broke his guard there; might just have gotten my knee up. I tried the half-guard pass he’d shown Will after class last night, and he laughed. And countered it. And did it correctly on me later. Doh.

At some point during our roll, we heard Scott next to us saying, “Um, you’re gonna want to tap soon.” We both paused and looked; Scott had a newer kid in an armbar from mount. Scott was still sitting up some and wasn’t putting a lot of pressure on the guy’s elbow, but he was in the right spot to rip it off. And the guy waited and struggled — and then Scott turned up the pressure — and then the guy tapped. We shook our heads and kept rolling. Then later, we heard Scott say the exact same thing. Couldn’t be… Sure enough, same position, same outcome. Heard Scott telling the kid that it’s okay to tap in training; it’s how you learn. Didn’t hear the kid’s response — I think I was getting choked at the time — but Scott told us after class that the kid had said he thought he could get out of it, to which Scott said, “Yeah, because I wasn’t trying to rip your arm off. I was giving you a chance to tap before you got hurt.”

Drilling next. Worked in with Will and Clifton. Had some trouble at first until Adam pointed out that I wasn’t coming in quite enough. A few tweaks, and I could hit it most of the time.

One more roll. In with the other TKD guy. Again, I trust them, so had no problem even though they were new guys. He warned me before we started that he knew 2 moves, so I’d better watch out. (Said he’d learned an armbar at some point, though he didn’t remember what position he needed to be in to do it.) He was also non-spazzy and non-cheap tricks, just as the first guy had been. Had him in guard most of the round. Again trying everything I know from there and not getting anywhere. Did have two bump sweeps. Off the first, it took a long while because he was sliding away from me — finally realized I had position but not control; worked for control and then moved on — but did finally find that armbar. And without tiring out my arms: had it trapped and was sitting back right and using my weight. It’s almost like I know something! Was also getting him on his hands and knees a fair bit and tried for the same armbar I’d tried with Justin, but again couldn’t get around; he’d either move and just block with one arm. But did remember Tim’s hint about the available guillotine and did get this one in, too. Did try the armbar from class today — well, just the swimming part — and he laughed and pulled his arm away and said, “No, wait, I know that one.”

Most of the guys split out early because they’re meeting back up for the midnight showing of Terminator. I stayed around to watch the TKD guys in kickboxing class. They’ve picked up some non-TKD-club sparring habits along the way, possibly from being some of the best guys around when it comes to sparring, and so Perry was making sure to, uh, gently remind them. They did alright, though, and I think they’ll pick it up very quickly.

Watched one new guy try to take off the 13-year-old girl’s head. And he outweighed and obviously outstrengthed her, and he was just whaling on her. A few of us were watching, and we got awfully close to stepping in. She’s smarter than me, though, and she finally just walked off. Perry had been sparring that round, and afterward he was looking for her for the next round. I told him what had happened; he asked who had done it; and he sent Gary in to spar with that guy. One of my guys went to talk to her and told her that the guy was, one, a jerk, and two, had felt threatened by her. She came out later for more of class, though not anywhere near that guy.

The friend who came with my TKD friends seemed to have some martial arts training — he was bowing to Tim and Perry — but also no control and no awareness of his partner’s level. One of the guys, who’s hurt, had come in to spar a light round with him, and the new guy started throwing as hard as he could. (But, oh, if the other guy could’ve hit to the head!) One of the assistant instructors stepped in and separated them, and then took the new guy on himself. Later, this same guy was throwing Thai elbows — which aren’t allowed in kickboxing, anyway — on one of the other new guys. Perry warned him a few times but he didn’t stop, so Perry stepped in to that match, too.

Ugh, too many new guys, too many big egos.

They did a speed kick drill later, and Perry asked me to partner with the 13-year-old girl (because the closest one to her size is the guy who was beating on her). Legs are out of kicking shape!! 50 speed round kicks with each leg. Ouch! She did one full and one partial round; she’d hurt her knee earlier and was just being stubborn about trying to finish class. The instructors and her dad finally convinced her to sit out.

East Coast Classic Kickboxing Tournament results

We missed our 13-year-old girl’s fight (even after a pizza buffet four hours earlier, everyone was hungry, so we popped over to Cracker Barrel); we didn’t realize she was the first fight, and we walked in the door as she was walking out of the ring. But I’ve seen some of the video that her dad took, and have heard from a few of the guys who didn’t go with us, and she did awesome. The girl her age who she was supposed to fight didn’t show up, so she only had an exhibition match against a 31-year-old woman (who was taller and also outweighed her by at least 15 lbs, if not more). Exhibition match means there was no scoring, but those who did see the fight and mentally scored it had our girl winning. The women she fought talked to a few of us later and said that our girl sure didn’t fight like a 13 year old!

Big Tom won his kickboxing debut in 28 seconds by KO. When the guy woke up, the first thing he said was “D***! He hits hard!” Yup. Tom didn’t even get hit once. (There were only the two of them in their division, so their match was a championship match.)

Gary, the TKD instructor, had an MMA fight against a kid who, honestly, should not have been in the ring. The guy seemed to have vague notions of what to do — throw hands toward face (wasn’t anything near a punch) and take him down (but no takedown skills whatsoever). They got in a scramble at one point, the guy stood up, and Gary kicked him square in the chin from his back. I’m not even sure Gary got hit during the whole fight. Didn’t last too long. Gary kept getting to knee-on-belly and the guy would bump him in to mount, which Gary was glad to take; the guy would alternatively flail and hold on for dear life while Gary punched him. Finally Gary caught his arm and went for an armbar; he didn’t seem to have it deep, but they’d started to roll and the guy ended up mostly upside down, and he tapped.

One of the guys who came in is a Golden Gloves winner in boxing (40+ boxing fights) and a world champion in kickboxing (60+ kickboxing fights). He’s my height, maybe even a smidge shorter, and weighs ~135. No one would fight him. They tried moving him up several weight classes, and still no one would get near him. So instead, he was the referee for all the night fights.

Some of the fights were pretty good. Five knockouts, I think. We saw a 15-year-old kid from Chicago, also in an exhibition match because no one else showed in his division, who’s 21-2 now in kickboxing. He also hit hard. Got a knockout by spinning backfist. Another MMA match in which one of the fighters should not have been in there; after he got hit the first time, he tried to run away the rest of the round, but he eventually got knocked out.

So, a good night. Several kids from the academy had fought earlier in the day (the tournament part was during the morning; the championship & MMA fights was at night) and won belts or medals, also. (Our 13-year-old girl has a younger sister (7 or 8, maybe?) who apparently destroyed her first opponent. Wait ’til she’s 13, wow.)

Not Open Mat

I was actually not even planning to go to Open Mat tonight — had a lot to do at work so was going to stay a bit later, plus none of the purple belts were going to be there and weigh-ins for the kickboxing tournament would be at the academy — though I did grab a pair of shorts and a t-shirt just in case. Good thing I did.

Adam called me ~4:30 p.m. One of the kids — a 13-year-old girl* who’s a really good kickboxer — was 2 lbs over weight. So was one of the adult men. They were heading over to a nearby gym to use the sauna, and he wanted to know if I could come and go with her because, as they had just realized, she’s not a guy, so she couldn’t go in the men’s locker room with them. (And there’s the whole naked old men thing… yeah, bad idea.)

Work had been nuts all day. The joke at work was that I would get cauliflower ear from being on conference calls all day (3! and all had to be taken at my desk phone, which apparently has a speaker phone but no microphone — I can hear them but they can’t hear me) rather than from jiu-jitsu. I already had all my billable hours by the time he called, and I had the shorts & t-shirt, so I said sure and packed up and headed over.

Adam told me what to do with her, though it did take 3 rounds (and weighing naked) to get her down. But the scales in the gym must have been off a bit — though we checked them against the first weigh-in she’d done — because she weighed in at 1 lb under when we got back. Might not have needed that last round, but we couldn’t tell.

FYI, cutting weight in a sauna is horrible. So hot in there! I was wearing my glasses because I’d been at work, and they started burning on my nose. Lips hurt, mouth hurts when you talk for too long. And sweat pouring from everywhere! I usually sweat a lot, but this was nuts! And I had eaten all day, and had had water, and wasn’t toweling myself off (so sweating was actually helping to cool me down a bit) — and it was still terrible for me. Can’t even imagine how she was feeling.

Terrible as it was on the one hand, it was also kind of fun. We got to talk a lot, and she’s actually rather chatty; usually at the academy, she doesn’t say much. Turns out, as with most 13-year-old girls, she’s just shy around all the guys. Even told me that she wished there were cute guys in her classes (Krav Maga and kickboxing) and that she was jealous that I have all the cute guys in my class! Which, yeah, is true: my guys are adorable. (Me, biased?!)

I followed them back to the academy to make sure she made weight. If she didn’t, I was going to run around the parking lot with her. But she was fine; they marked her at 1 lb under. I talked to her parents a bit, who both thanked me for coming over to help; her mom even said that the girl had hoped I was the one who would be available to come. That’s cool. 🙂

Jiu-jitsu in the morning, and Star Trek and dinner later!

* Since one of the guys mentioned this morning (Saturday) that she seems young to be cutting like that, I thought I should add some more information. Her dad is in a medical profession (I’m not sure what, but he works in a hospital; I haven’t really talked to him much), and he oversaw everything that she did during this process. When she weighed in and was 2 lbs over, her father approved letting her cut in the sauna. And she was checked out by the tournament doctor both before and after.

Pressure’s off

I went to talk to Perry today to tell him that I didn’t want to do the kickboxing tournament in two weeks. He’d been teaching class the last two nights or been otherwise busy, so I hadn’t been able to catch him.

When I told him, he said he agreed, especially since I’ve been “off” the last few weeks. He would still like me to work out with the competition team some and work on the drills, which I also would like to do. Gonna take a break for a little while, though, as they’re ramping up for the tournament and I’ve got TKD testing coming up in a few weeks.

MMA last night

I understand that a lot of guys want to fight so they want to do an MMA class.

(We do have a rule that’s more or less enforced: you have to take a BJJ class in addition to the MMA class. I just found that out this week (Wednesday night, of course, after most of the rolling for the week is done). So some of the guys, i.e., the “musclers,” are in BJJ solely for MMA, which would explain a lot and is one more reason to work patiently with them: they’re not really here for the BJJ itself.)

It’s just… I don’t know, some of these guys…. I hear them talk before class, and they think it’s only a matter of weeks before Tim sets them loose in a cage, as if they just need a little polishing. That Tim will watch them and declare them the next UFC star and off they’ll go.

But for most of them, it’ll be years, if ever, before they see the inside of a cage. (Have they seen their own stand-up? Have they really? One of the new talkers last night didn’t know his jab from his cross!) Persistence and hard work will get you far, but I know Tim won’t let anyone fight for Team Mannon unless he’s confident that he’s prepared them as best as he can — and he has high standards for that.

Anyway, since I’ve been sitting the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot more time to watch the guys in the MMA class, and I’ve been seeing a lot that I hadn’t seen before. It’s funny that the ones who really aren’t interested in fighting are some of the better ones out there, too.


, last night

Aw, Battle didn’t want to play. But we did have some mats out, so I did some solo drills. The head instructor came over at one point during the black belt class and let me work the spin on armbar from guard. Of course, I was getting it then. (Supposed to work in class, too, darn it!)

Lots of squishering! And D’Arces…

Still trying to kick my brain in to jiu-jitsu gear by the time I get to class. I try watching videos online, listening to the FightWorks Podcast, and reviewing my notebook. Eh. Still flaky…

Perry was telling everyone about my “brawl” yesterday at the self-defense class. He told them that I just stayed patient and moving and finally swept & armbarred the guy. So funny.

It’s freezing here today, and the wind is blowing hard and making it worse. The academy was cold, too, so the warmup was a little longer and a little slower so we could get nice and loose.

Then we partnered up and drilled armbar from guard. Just back and forth with your partner. I had to teach my partner, who’s only been coming for about 2 weeks, how to do it first; he’d seen it a few times, but hadn’t had it really taught to him. After we’d done that for a while, we added the sweep (reach-through for their far leg and sweep over to the armbar with them on their back); really useful if they try to stack you. Justin has shown me this one before.

Then rolling for the rest of class: Tim, my drilling partner, Adam, and Justin, then sitting for the last round. With Tim, just moving and trying not to get stuck underneath him (he’s so heavy!), though I was on the bottom most of the time.

My drill partner had been going nice and easy during the drills, even the sweep, so I went in thinking he wasn’t going to throw me around. Wrong. I just reminded myself to breathe and move. He overpowered one arm for an Americano-ish (didn’t have good position or pressure, but got my arm twisted around enough). I couldn’t get anything and could hardly get off the bottom for the whole round. But when we finished, he sat up and said, “Wow, you’re a lot better than me!” Totally confused. Is he sure he just rolled with me? I felt owned the whole round. All I could do was shrug and say, “Well, I’ve been doing it a little longer.”

Then got Adam, and he wanted to work D’Arce chokes tonight. After he’d caught me in two of them (saw ’em coming, tried to get my head out, couldn’t), he said he was going for them. So I was trying to anticipate and defend them, and he was trying to get them from all angles. Holy. Cow. I tapped a lot. Oh wells.

Justin next. Anytime I’d go for an arm or a pass or anything, he’d say, “You’re not getting [whatever it was].” And I didn’t. Doh. Lots of moving. I didn’t even get many passes. Lots of catch-and-release on his part, which is what I was trying for. But I couldn’t catch anything, so there was nothing to release. So much for that….

We had an odd number, so I sat out the next round. Watched Justin and Adam go at it, Adam trying for D’Arce chokes again and Justin defending (and trying to sneak a few in on Adam, too). Was really watching to see how Justin rolls since he’s closest in size to me: very tight and twisted, from what I could tell.

Then sat around with Justin, Adam, Scotty, and Tim working on D’Arce chokes and variations since Adam wants to work on them.

I have until the end of the week, I think, to decide if I really want to do this kickboxing tournament. …I’m thinking that I don’t want to. Not really sure why. Just never been a huge fan of getting up to fight someone without some provocation, even at TKD. I don’t mind working drills, and I’d kind of like to continue working them, but I don’t really want to fight anyone. Sorrys…