Missing the signs

Whoa, 3 nights off from BJJ? In a row? Feels like I’ve stumbled in to someone else’s life.

Went to get my hair done last night. My stylist wanted to do blonde highlights. However, my last color was a copper, and some of the color was still hanging around. So my hair turned pink…. Dude, not cool. She put a darker all-over color on it to cover the pink, though it also colored the blonde that was in. She said that the overall color will fade out in the next few weeks and the highlights should show through properly. Also, I’m leaning very strongly towards growing my hair out, so she actually didn’t cut anything, just styled it differently. I really like it this way; now I just have to remember how she did it!

Sent Andrew a text last night that I would miss morning class. Was a good thing, too, as another storm rolled in and battered my windows. I knew there was another reason I needed to miss the morning class, but couldn’t remember what it was. Found out when I got to work — 9am meeting. Oh. Crap. And I’m late…

Fundamentals Class, nogi

Several new guys: the guy I grappled last Friday, a guy who came a few times several months ago, and a brand-new guy — as well as one guy who just watched the whole class. They came in all at once, so I didn’t notice who came in with whom. (This will be important later.) A larger number of regulars for a Friday, too. Short warmup, then to drilling. A step-around guard pass, then added to knee-on-belly to north/south kimura, then added transitioning to the far-side tuck-knee armbar.

Drilled initially with Guillaume, then with the brand-new guy, who was wearing a “UFC” shirt. Maybe it was the shirt that first put me off, but my brain decided to assume that he had no training. And then when he did some things wrong in the drilling — like no pressure in KoB and going straight to the can-opener from KoB even though that’s not what we’re drilling — my brain decided to take these as further proof that he had no mat experience. (The can opener should have been my second clue that I was, in fact, quite wrong. The first was who he came with.) Drilled for the whole class.

Open Mat

Open Mat was actually structured tonight, with timed rounds & rest and most partners being picked (largely for the 3 new guys).

I was paired with the new guy I had drilled with. I sat down ready for maybe 50%, maybe 70%, intensity. (I don’t know why, exactly — I had gotten up to the right mindset last week when I knew nothing about the guy. Possibly because I wasn’t in as much pain as last week [whereas then I knew I would have to work hard to defend the injured parts], and possibly because I’d had those 3 nights off [and so thought I had a lot of energy to spare].) We slapped hands and he went for a fist bump. Some part of my brain started frantically trying to get my attention with that detail. But then he asked how did we start, from guard or from just wherever. (More brain frantically trying to get my attention. He said “Guard!” He knows guard! All ahead full! All ahead full!) I said, “Just wherever.” Then, because he’s asked a basic question about how to begin a round, my intensity & engagement with the upcoming round plummeted, despite all the warning bells.

(I know better, of course. New guys do not like having to roll with the girl first thing. I know this. I’ve lived this several times before. New guys who know nothing go bananas when seated across from a tiny girl. New guys who sneakily do know something come out 210% with all their cheap tricks.)

As I later found out, he trained with the guy I grappled last week. (At least he didn’t just learn it from watching UFC, as I for some reason began to fear during the round. Now that would have been embarrassing.) His game was different — a tighter top game and some knowledge of half guard and of leg attacks — and far more difficult to deal with, especially as I was also trying frantically to roust all the intensity-related pathways to come back online. (Although, like his friend, he does some basic things terribly wrong, as they’ve never been taught quite right. This, folks, is the difference a real Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor makes.) So the round was mostly me scrambling to catch up to this athletic guy (though going for far more submissions and sweeps than I ever used to against such a fellow).

Couple more rounds, with Guillaume (who had been mocking my new hair style all night and so was due for a beating), Eamon, and Rob. Hit that pass from Emily on all three at least once. Eamon was tricksy tonight, though, opting for an active open guard, which made finding that sweet spot a little more difficult.

Anyway, was relieved at the end of class to see that this new guy and the one from last week had come together. So that means that he does have training time. And from the round, probably plenty. Okay, good, I did not just nearly get my clock cleaned by an “I train UFC”er. He actually does have some experience.


Been steaming for a few days over a couple of “women in BJJ” forum posts. So to distract me from the scathing replies I’ve written (and deleted), here’s a couple of women-related BJJ stories:

  • While rolling with Laura at the Open Mat last week, she asked me how much I weighed and commented to Chrissy that I was so little. Of course, I was thinking, “Awesome, a girl who’s just my size!” Apparently not. Seriously, I think my eyes + brain is broke….
  • Aubrey and I had lunch earlier this week. She said that she actually had had no idea what BJJ was before she started. She had asked me if class “would be awkward.” I replied that yes, it sometimes can be, but that really it’s only as awkward as you make it. She let it go at that, and said she told herself that since I did this, it couldn’t be too bad. Then when she got to class that first night, she said she almost freaked out at what BJJ turned out to be. That whole first week she kept thinking, “OMG! Leslie does this?!!” Seems her version of “awkward” was based on the two TKD classes she had gone to in college, in which everyone had to stand up and introduce themselves and then “perform” what they learned at the end of the night. My version of “awkward” was something entirely different!

The gremlin inside

College is a great time for learning lessons. For example, if you come to morning BJJ while hungover, you might spend the rest of the day puking your guts out. I am glad I learned these lessons 10+ years ago (and mostly from watching my friends make really dumb decisions).

My hips have been giving me issues this week. I think maybe I have a gremlin or something running around inside my innards and picking joints to harass. (I’m sure there’s an appropriate sci-fi creature, but right now I can’t think of it.) So my left hip today has been iffy on whether it would support me when I stood up or walked. Lovely… Although at this very moment, the hip seems fine, but my right knee is doing the same thing.

Fundamentals Class, nogi

Short warmup. Then we each grabbed a UFC ground-‘n’-pound bag from the corner (courtesy of the other folka) and dragged them out on the mat. Andrew said he didn’t want us to kill anyone’s ribs tonight. (Might have also been considering that the 280-lb dude was back tonight, and I think the rest of us combined scarcely weighed that much.)

Two timed rounds of going from side control to knee-on-belly, switching KoB, then dropping back down to side control. (P.S. That sucked.)

Drilling was taking mount from side control. First, going straight over. Second, turning towards their feet and sneaking your leg across. Drilled for the rest of the class.

Open Mat

Was paired up with a new guy. Not too much bigger than me (which could mean up to 30lbs bigger, though I think not quite that big). I steeled myself to be intense and ready to go, and it was a good thing, too, as he was immediately squirrelly and bouncey. Maybe has some wrestling: he played an aggressive top game and tried a lot to run around my guard; also some diving forward to one side or another. So my game was quickly one of getting hooks and chasing his hips, and squirming around to his back when he exposed it. After a couple minutes of me frustrating his guard passes, he paused to remark that my guard was giving him so much trouble and that he couldn’t pass. (And he used the words “guard” and “pass”, so I realized that he had actually trained BJJ somewhere before.)

Eventually he overcommitted and gave me his back. Lost it, got it again, lost it again, finally got it again and this time managed to trap his arms with my feet and finish the choke. He grinned broadly after he tapped, and we talked for a few moments. He said he has trained since 2006 at a school a few towns over that primarily teaches TKD but had some grappling. The instructor recently moved to Florida, though, so he’s been looking around for a new place around here, and is excited to have found us. (Also, our Friday class corresponds to his daughter’s gymnastics class, so it works out.)

We went again for another few minutes, pretty much a repeat of the first.

Then I rolled with Honey Badger-apparelled Jamie, who also has the claim to fame of getting to roll with Marcelo Garcia over the holidays. And Jamie destroyed any notion that I might have known anything about jiu-jitsu. Doh. (Personally, I’m going to make the excuse that it was the sheer awesome of the Honey Badger combined with lingering fairy dust from Marcelo. Yeah, that’s it.)

So I got a brief “Holy cats, I know some jiu-jitsu!”, followed by a “Holy carp, I don’t know anything!” Ah, well, that’s how it goes.

Awesome weekend ahead — driving up to Richmond for Open Mat in the morning, then a US Grappling referee seminar on Sunday. I’ll be at the latter to provide shenanigans.

I’m not in college anymore…

…so a late night of video games does not a pleasant early morning make.

Actually, it probably never made a pleasant morning when I was in college, either, but back then I could’ve just slept through the morning. πŸ˜‰ Mornings are definitely more pleasant when you get to sleep during them.

But Aubrey had promised to come today and show off her spiffy new Fenom gi, so I couldn’t skip out.

I’ve got a large bruised area on my right ribs, towards the back, from Monday night. Reaching for things on that side is painful.

Four of us this morning: me, Aubrey, Rob, and Andrew. Short warmup, then to drilling. Repeated The Pedro Sauer Pass from Monday. Then added the quick side control choke. Then added a spinning kneebar (!) for if you can’t finish the pass.

Then a quick roll to finish up. With Rob. He has discovered the D’Arce and its variations and is gleefully throwing them from every position possible.

I was more woken up by the end of class, but this gray and rainy day is not helping me stay that way, meh.

Did you know that Burpees are on Facebook? πŸ˜›

And random: it seems that Google has finally listened to everyone complaining about the horrid new look they’ve given everything — now you can change the Display Density to kill the idiotic white space they threw in randomly everywhere. I’d still like more delineation between things (these faint, nearly white lines are no fun), but this is much better than the bloated-looking monstrosity of before.


I felt even worse most of today, but by the time class rolled around, the jiu-jitsu stars had aligned and the sneezing and coughing seemed to clear up. (Started coughing as soon as I got home, though, so not finished yet. Rats.)


Short warmup, then partnered up for 2 & 2. With Steve, and then no one switched with either of us, so we went again. I did work in going to side control to knee-on-belly to baseball bat choke a few times.

Then on to Judo throws. O goshi again, and also mixed in Koshi Guruma. (I’m learnin’!) Worked with Steve. Then review of the loop choke from last night.

Open Mat

Buddy was sitting alone on the far side of the mat, so I pounced on the shiny purple. (He let me start in KoB, so went straight for the baseball bat choke, lol.) Couple other looks at the series throughout. Went at my ramped up intensity level throughout, plus Buddy likes to move around when he rolls, which always helps to keep me moving, too. (Though had to be careful not to just play with him, since when he’s being fun and playful, it’s very tempting to jump in on it, too.)

We rolled until after everyone else had quit the mats. At one point, he zipped away from a triangle attempt, and I asked him if — since he’s the Triangle King himself — he saw triangles coming most easily. He said that he sees everything in terms of triangles, either for attacking or for being attacked.

At one point he said that I’ve gotten a lot better in the last year (whoot!) and that I’m a Pain in the Ass to roll with. Awwww! I think that’s just about the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Homework Assignment: The Perfect Tournament Round

My homework assignment from Kintanon was to create a “perfect” tournament round. Good assignment — small, concrete, and still useful.

  1. Clinch: Sleeve & collar control
  2. Takedown:
    1. backwards trip (does this have a name?); land in side control
    2. single leg-wrap takedown (does this have a name? where you wrap your own leg around theirs and then drop straight down for the takedown); land in top half guard; pass to side control
  3. Position: knee-on-belly
  4. Finish:
    1. baseball bat choke
    2. to mount and armbar