BJJ Grrl

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

Richmond night

I left work early and headed up to Richmond to make class. (After first having to ask what time class was, and then trying to do math to figure out what time I needed to leave, getting it wrong once, nearly leaving, coming back, working more, and then finally leaving. And then got there 30 minutes early. Am talented.)

One of the last times I was up there, Friday night turned in to a competition class. Thankfully, tonight was not one of those. TheMikeByrd led the warmup with various shrimpings and rolls and other hip movement drills. (And somehow I managed to pull my glute during all this. Er, yeah, talent.) Need to remember these drills those.

Drilling was ninja rolls! (I’m pretty sure it has another name, but I just don’t know what it is.) I have, however, experienced these first-hand, as Will and Justin like to do them to me from top half-guard constantly. … I keep trying to describe it, and I’m failing. I’ll have to see if I can find a video of it somewhere.

Then rolling. Starting from standing because they have a tournament coming up soon. Rolls with Barbara, a yellow belt guy I didn’t know, Erin, Matt, and TheMikeByrd. (Note to self: while it’s good to eat almonds on the drive up so you’re not hungry and tired when you get up here, don’t eat so many that you nearly throw up during rolling. Yeah…)

Chrissy and Brian showed up shortly after, having finished weighing in kiddies for the tournament, and they, me, TheMikeByrd, Matt, and Erin went out for Mexican (el seis de mayo! oh, wait…). Okay, am tired. I keep trying to find something else/more to say, and I got nothing. Need sleep now.

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Weekend funs

Friday

Drove up to Yamasaki Mechanicsville in time for the 7:30 class. We did 5-minute rounds. First round was position only, to warm up. I started with Becca, the 13 year old from the last tournament. She was so funny because she’s so used to nailing submissions from everywhere and couldn’t quite work out this position-only thing. Then rounds with lots of people — Savannah, Jasmine, Matt Fuller, MikeByrd x2, Marissa, Robert, Shannon, lanky brown belt (name?) x2, and Keith. I think that’s all…? Was a lot. Class actually stopped at some point in there, but some of us did more rounds.

Marissa is a brown belt. And she destroyed me. Slap hands/fist bump, guard is passed and I’m tapping. Thatfast. And it’s all deep and stretched out fast, so if you’re not ready to tap, that arm is coming off. She also trapped both my arms most times so I couldn’t tap with a hand; I had to verbally tap a lot. Honestly, it was completely demoralizing, and I was worried that maybe I’d done something wrong earlier and was being beaten up for it. Most of the girls I’d rolled with earlier had been kids, so I wondered if maybe I’d gone too hard on them, though I’d rolled with them like with Theresa. I asked Chrissy about it later, and she laughed and said she hadn’t wanted to warn me first, but that that’s how Marissa always rolls: boom and done.

Saturday

Women’s Open Mat was at 2pm. A good number of ladies showed up, even though a bunch had sent in last-minute regrets. Cynthia (also from the last tournament) came and brought 3 brand-new girls with her. Addie came up from the Virginia Beach area, and Lisa Damico came down from Maryland. (I talked to her at one point, and she started training in Roanoke back when Tim was driving down there for judo/jiu-jitsu because it was the closest place. When I passed that on to Tim, he remembered her and called her “a sweet girl.” Ha! You haven’t rolled with her recently then, have you? She’s one tough purple belt now!) So, 1 brown, 3 purples, a handful of blues, and some whites (and kids).

Started out with Addie, just rolling to warm up. Then Marissa asked if we could set the timer to 6 minutes because she has a tournament coming up. After that, don’t really remember who I rolled with — Barbara x2, Savannah, Jasmine, Karen (one of Cynthia’s girls), Marissa, Lisa, Cynthia, Chrissy… This time I was ready for Marissa, though it didn’t do terribly much good. I did manage to get away from one immediate armbar, but wound up with her on my back for a large portion of the round, which wasn’t all that much of an improvement.

After the Open Mat, I drove out to my best friend’s for dinner and last-minute wedding planning. When I stepped out of the shower that night, I found gi burns on my face and neck and many, many new bruises on my shins and feet and more bruises around my wrists and ankles. Girls are vicious little critters! (So much for “sugar and spice and everything nice,” lol!)

Sunday and Monday

Spent Sunday being lazy with Jennie and Joe, then finally drove back after dark. Oh, and I slept last night! I slept! From 10pm until 8am. Real sleep! That was nice.

This morning I went for another round of house hunting. Saw one that’s a possibility, though I’m not as in love with it as the one I saw last time. But it does come with a hot tub, which is always a nice perk 😉

I have a chiropractor appointment tonight, and I’m off from training for this week to let my bruises heal and avoid new ones before Jennie’s wedding. I’ll have kids on Wednesday, so you’ll see me again then, but after that, not until next week.

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Richmond Weekend

Friday morning

No one showed up for class. Probably just as well, since I was planning to leave work early. Bonus: no smelly clothes and towels on the ride to Richmond. So I got to work early, which should have been good because we had a lot of work to get done. But turned out not so great, because my manager was expecting me to be a little late because of class, and so he came a little late, and I needed him first thing. Bleh. So didn’t get as much done as I’d wanted before I left, but I did get out the door early.

Met my best friend for dinner (sushi!) and dessert in Richmond. We talked lots of wedding details. Then headed to Chrissy and Brian’s to crash.

Saturday, Kids’ Tournament

Since I was staying with Chrissy and Brian, I got the, er, pleasure of heading out for the tournament really, really early. At least there was coffee at the other end. I helped some with handing out t-shirts and selling US Grappling stuff, which was all next to the bracketing (aka, Chrissy), so I could keep a good eye on when Theresa was going. Justin drove up to coach her, too.

Her nogi division was just her and another girl. Theresa pulled guard and landed a triangle in hardly any time at all. Since this is a double elimination tournament, they still had to fight a second match. Second match went a little longer, but ended with an armbar.

The AC in the gym left a little to be desired. Namely, coolness. It. Was. Hot and Stuffy. Hotter, I think, than the women’s camp. (The women’s camp had fans, at least.) Hotter as the day went on, even. Oh, goodness.

Theresa’s gi division was a little larger — her, the same nogi girl, and four boys. Theresa was the smallest; the division went from 90 lbs to 107 lbs. Ages were 10-12. She lost her first match to a far-side kimura. She didn’t want to tap, but the refs were charged to tap for the kids if it was deep, so it was stopped. She was devastated, but Justin and I were right there to catch her and keep her upbeat. Double elimination, so she had a second match.

Second match, she fought a boy and armbarred him. (I suspected that there was one more, but wasn’t sure until I started looking through my mostly blurry pictures. Sure enough, there was another match in there.)

Third match, she fought another boy and armbarred him.

Fourth match, she fought that girl again. Armbar. (That girl ended up with 3rd.)

Fifth match, the same boy she fought the first round, again, for the first/second place fight. She won this time. Armbar, of course.

So now she had one loss, and that boy had one loss. Since it’s double elimination, they had to fight another time. That round went the distance, and she fought good and hard. He won on points, 2 from the takedown. So she ended up 2nd in the division, with her two losses to the guy who won. Very good.

That boy’s coach had been telling him before the round to watch out for her armbars, lol. Someone commented to me about Theresa’s armbars, and I pointed out that she trains with the adults and armbars fully grown men. For reals.

Interesting things: so there are no actual set weight classes for the kids; instead, once they all weigh in, Chrissy and the magic of bracketing create the actual divisions, which generally end up being a small weight range with similar ages and are 8-man divisions or smaller. I’m sure there are some people who don’t understand the concept. But there was one kid who weighed in really early and then went over to do jumping jacks and other exercises, and then came back to weigh in again. (He lost 0.5 lb.) Even if he’d lost a full pound or two, he still probably would have ended up in exactly the same grouping. And I want to know who in their right mind (well, that might explain it) makes their little kid cut weight. Urgh.

Also, one parent totally missed the “kids only” part of the tournament and kept asking “When do the kids go? Do the kids go first? When will the kids be done?” Lolz. Another funny one was a girl who weighed in a whole lot heavier than her mom expected… and her mom got mad at her for being bigger than expected. And there was a 6-year-old boy who weighed more than most kids twice his age. But his parents — and he — have been through this before, so they were fine.

Most parents were cool with everything. A few had some temper tantrums. (One dad, after a beginner match that his kid lost, inadvertently let slip that “the bracketing was better last year,” implying that his child had competed last year and this year in beginner when the cutoff for beginner was… 1 year. Ahem.) The kids for the most part were fine. A little bit of crying after a loss, but most bounced back quickly.

Funny: my black eye is still rather prominent. When I wear my glasses, the curve of the lens goes right with the bruise, so it looks a little like dark circles under my eyes or a shadow from the glasses, maybe. At dinner on Friday, my friend didn’t make a comment on it until near the end of the meal. Then all day Saturday while I sat behind the bracketing table, people would stare at me when they came up to register or buy something. I forgot sometimes about my eye and couldn’t figure out why people were staring until one would finally ask. Sadly, no fun story to go with it; just me being clumsy.

Later that day, Chrissy and I discussed some of the things that have come up recently on my blog, and she gave me some good advice about what I should ought be doing.

Sunday, Referee Certification

Got to sleep in a little bit this morning, then we were out the door for the referee certification. I went to one of these in November. I can’t referee points matches until purple, so I mostly went to hear the rules and to be a grappling dummy for the live practice matches. Justin hung around town and came to this, too. For the first 3-4 hours, Andrew Smith went over the rules and answered questions, and then we watched some videos and scored them. Then it was on to live matches. Not as many refs this time, so not as many matches, which was good because I was tired and not feeling so great after a couple days of not eating and sleeping as normal.

Got to roll several times with Barbara and Julia (who was at my first tournament, Naga Virginia [see last picture here — she’s in 3rd]; we didn’t fight then, but we did recognize each other today), then with Klint, Justin (he did breakdancing of course, lol; we had a very active match because we’re used to doing this with each other. Poor Rosie!), and TheMikeByrd. Pretended to slam Julia in one match, though because I didn’t really want to hurt her, the acting wasn’t convincing enough and it took the ref 3 fake slams to catch on and finally DQ me. Doh. I mostly did better this year at actually mixing in some jiu-jitsu with my attempts to break the rules.

I do think, maybe (probably) that I don’t really roll in a way that’s goes well with points tournaments. I think I need to focus on that a bit this next month since my next tournament, in August, is a points tournament.

I’ve already texted Adam that I won’t be in in the morning. Too tired! Need some sleep.

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More Richmond open mat

This time at Revolution BJJ, on the other side of town. Went to church first and then lunch with Jennie, then back out to her place to get my car; then I drove back in to town (and around in circles — thanks a lot, Mapquest. It did get me there eventually, but there was a shorter and less “ack, turn now!” route.) to Revolution BJJ. Got there right as everyone else did.

Yesterday, I was seeing all the holes in my game (and my brain) that I usually can’t see at home, either because I’m so used to always doing X when they do Y or because the guys usually blast through so fast I can’t tell if I screwed up with W or with Z. But, since the girls were just incredibly technical and using pressure (not power), I could see most every mistake I made. I tried to work on fixing some of all that yesterday, though by the time I had it figured out, I was tired and not moving well at all. (And I was spending most of every round trying to watch what all they were doing. So much awesome.)

I also re-discovered the joy that is jiu-jitsu yesterday. The girls were all smiling [some so much that I was sure they had seen a manical submission and were about to catch me in something crazy — nope, just happy], and good & technical sweeps or escapes or almost anything good got a “Nice!” or a “Good!” I’ve missed that; I’ve been probably mostly grumpy the last few months or more.

So, my goals for today were to work on all the passive roll-over-and-play-dead habits that have crept in to my game (and are far more widespread than I thought) and to smile more. Have fun, for Pete’s sake; it’s jiu-jitsu! Definitely had fun. Still need a lot more work on the first one, but definitely had a lot of fun.

I like how they start rolls at Revolution: “Do you want to play?” Yes, yes, I do. Very much.

I might have to start borrowing that.

I got to roll with Lo again; I rolled with her yesterday. Tough chica. We rolled to warm up. Partway through we stopped to agree that rolling slow and technical to warm up is much better than starting off with the spazzing Abu Dhabi guys. Also got to roll with Chrissy and with Alaina, and with at least 1 other girl (and my brain is going blank on names! Rats).

Rolled with Andrew twice, once gi and once nogi. It’s like rolling with smoke. He’s right there, but you can’t seem to hold on to him, even when he lets you. You start thinking, “So, is he really going to sit there and let me finish th–er, where’d he go?” You didn’t let go; he’s just suddenly 3 inches to the other side. It’s absolutely hilarious and oddly fun. And it wears you out, while he looks like he’s almost asleep on a couch somewhere. 😛

Also got to roll with two of the guys there: Vince, a purple belt, who offered lots of advice and lots of “Ooo, nice!” comments (and he said I was working very technically, which is a big wohoo!) and Dax (I think), a much bigger-than-me white belt. He’s about the size of most of my guys; I think he just seemed a lot bigger today because I’d been rolling with girls so recently. Trying to work again on not giving up just because they got something. And to smile — it’s still lots of fun.

They roll gi for the first hour and a half or so and then switch to nogi. So after switching from the Lucky gi (is heavy! wow.) to nogi, I rolled with one of the girls (another name I forgot. Sowwy.) first. Definitely moving faster without the gi. Got to work my triangle defense, though in the end I couldn’t get out. (Did fall right in to it.) Then with Andrew to finish up.

So wiped out! Sore, tight, and tired in lots of places. And I’m nutty enough that I think that’s a good thing. 😀 A few of us had stayed longer than everyone else, so we helped clean the mats. I drove back home straight after. Tomorrow morning I have to figure this whole job and routine again…

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I got beat by a girl!

And
it
was
awesome
!!!

I got beat by quite a few girls, actually, both white and blue. (Blue belts — real girl blue belts!) Sweet!

Women’s Open Mat, Richmond BJJ. Girls came from Philly, from Northern Virginia, from Virginia Beach. Alaina Hardie even came from Toronto!

My friend lives west of Richmond, so I left about an hour and a half early to make sure I had enough time to get there. Glad I did: the Richmond high schools were having graduation today at the Siegel Center at VCU, which is right down the block from Richmond BJJ, so there were cops everywhere directing traffic, streets were closed, and there were tons of pedestrians. I kept missing seeing the school because of all the traffic and pedestrians. Drove around for about 30 minutes trying to find the school and then find parking. Finally saw it, got parked about a block away, and walked over.

There was a class from 12 – 2, before the open mat. I had really thought about going, but am also really trying to take my “June = recovery” seriously. So, I got there about 1:30 to watch the end of the class. Eric Burdo was just finishing up teaching; I met Liz and signed in as they started rolling.

I was so nervous! Silly, but I was. My hands were shaking so badly when I signed in. Most of the other girls had gone to the class and were already on the mat. As they got toward the end of class time and rolling, one of the girls, Lisa, asked if I wanted to roll.

She was strong! (They all were. And quick and had tremendous pressure! Holy moly!) Just trying to move and feel her out. Found myself in the first few rolls under side control and mount a lot. Huh. Same place I end up in my classes. Hmm. So, there must be something that I’m doing wrong — especially, probably, when starting off — that backs me up until I let myself be put under side control and mount. Very interesting…

Several rolls — maybe 5 or 6? I lost count — with more girls than I can remember. (So hot in there, though: tired so quickly. But kept going :P). Rolled with one blue, Thea, who showed me a sweep from under scarf hold — set your feet out to the open side and then do a sit-up in to them. Feet out of the way is important; otherwise, you stuff your own situp. And then she showed me a half-guard escape, and by “showed me” I mean she put more shoulder pressure in my jaw than Tim ever has. Whoa. And she was everywhere, fast and tight, and sliding through tiny openings.

Saw a lot of things in my rolling that I need to fix. Some stuff that Tim has pointed out; others, that I’d noticed. Mostly, I seem to have started assuming that I’m going to get steamrolled by the guys and have started playing very passive and really not even trying anything. Haven’t been using any pressure or intensity, because that usually gets a more severe backlash from my partners. … And yet all the girls today were rolling with pressure and intensity and intent. I wanna roll like that. And I bet they didn’t get to there by rolling like I’ve been rolling recently and only rolling up with girls.

But, oh, my goodness, so much fun. Got to talk to a lot of the girls, too. As I’ve learned many times before and learned once again, I’m not unusual; they’re all going through the same things as I am. We talked about tournaments, sandbagging, how to get and keep girls, finding gis that fit, hemp gis, and I forget what else. Lots of girl bonding stuff, which I usually don’t get to do, even outside of class. I had fun. 🙂

And I got a new gi! A black one, which is what I was missing. Chrissy Linzy had a black Lucky gi that had shrunk, so I bought it off her. Fits perfect. 😮 Won’t be able to wear it to class for a while because Justin is still enjoying his new Lucky gi‘s shiny invincibility aura. And the pants are more faded (lovely charcoal!) than the jacket, so I’ll have to start washing the jacket quite a bit to get a uniform color. By the time it’s faded, Justin’s gi may not mind the company.

There’s another Open Mat, co-ed, tomorrow afternoon at Revolution BJJ. Since I now have a clean gi to wear ;), I’m gonna go there before heading home.

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