US Grappling Submission Only Richmond, December 1, 2012

Back in tournament action! I haven’t been able to compete since I tore my MCL at the end of March, but I’d decided that, no matter what, I was going to do this one. Today, I feel like I’ve been beat with a baseball bat, especially my upper back and shoulders, but I’m still happy.

The absolute best part of the day: I competed without my cyborg knee braces, and my knee did wonderful. (Of course, my game doesn’t include much bridging at the moment and my hooks are weak because they haven’t been worked much recently, but still.)


  • nogi weight class: 1st
  • nogi absolute: lost first match
  • blue belt weight class: 2nd
  • blue belt absolute: lost first match

Quite a few of my teammates competed in this tournament, too, and both of our instructors came to help coach. The guys did really well, and it was great to have the voices on the sideline telling me what to do and reminding me to relax.

I couldn’t make it down in time for weigh-ins on Friday night, so had to get in early on Saturday to weigh in. I weighed in, fully clothed, at 128lbs; I knew my clothes were 2.5lbs (I’d weighed them, lol); so that means I was actually **1 lb** over the 124.5 limit. In other words, I can totally make that, so no slacking next time.

On the other hand, my division (124.6 – 135.5) was combined with the one below, the one I was aiming for anyway. So I was there either way.

A huge thanks to everyone who videoed my matches for me!

Here’s what you do: right before a tournament, drastically change your hairstyle. In my case, I went from blond highlights to an overall daaaark color. I’ve also been growing my hair out for almost a year, so I look very different on camera than I’ve ever seen myself.

Then go do your tournament and watch the video afterwards. You won’t recognize yourself, so then you can evaluate yourself so much better. It’s weird, but it’s cool at the same time.

Lesson #1: giving up the armbar is not a valid mount escape! Gah. (I know the reason: it’s because I haven’t been able to bridge for months, and it hybridized off of big guys sitting on my ribs trying to pry the arm off and so just giving it to them so I can get with the breathing again. Still, needs to be fixed.)

Intermediate, weight class (113.5-135.5) — 1st place

A round-robin, so had to win 2 for gold.

Match 1 – Colleen

Match 2 – Bethany

Intermediate, absolute

There were 6 women in the division, so 2 women had byes. I didn’t, so I fought in the first round.

Match 1 – Yvette

All my silly finger waving in the beginning was me asking her to remove her bracelets and explaining that I was nervous about small joints getting caught.

Blue belt, weight class (113.5-135.5)

Match 1 – Heidi

Match 2 — Bethany

Watch the match in the background (to the right) starting around 1:50. (And then hear my camera crew — I think that time was Yvette, who I fought in both Absolute matches — say that they got in film for me to watch later, lol.)

End of this match, the ref stopped us because her hand bounced up and tapped my knee, though I knew that she was only coming up to push it off and then changed her mind. But when the ref said, “Stop!”, I stopped. That’s what we’re sitting there talking about. (On the other hand, that’s my armbar, yo. That’s going home with me.)

Blue belt, absolute

Same setup as the Intermediate — 6 women, 2 with byes in the first round. I fought Yvette again.

Match 1 – Yvette

All the dancing in the beginning is me making fun of the ref because we kept standing on the side we wanted, but he’d give us the opposite color and we’d have to switch.

Yes, same girl. Yes, also an armbar. (Guess what I’m gonna work on now?)

Yvette and Kim Rice fought each other four times that day — in both weight classes and closing out both absolutes. And their gi absolute match was a battle. Wow.

Throwing this post up. Heading to my parents’ for dinner, since I have little food in the house right now. Doh.

Like pullups on a stripper pole

I was starting to think this week had forgotten all about Friday, sheesh.

Spring Break for the colleges starts next week. Naturally, everyone left this week, too.

Fundamentals Class, nogi

Only 3 of us and Andrew tonight. Straight in to drilling, something Andrew said he got either directly from 50/50 when he last trained up there or from a video of Ryan Hall’s. I can’t remember. Either way: an armdrag alternative from butterfly. Because, as he said, in nogi trying to armdrag someone is harder because of the spandex and the sweat — like trying to do pullups on a stripper pole. … This pronouncement was followed by a moment of stunned silence and then a fit of giggles as we all got the same mental image…

Drilled with Guillaume.

Open Mat

Rolled with Guillaume, Buddy, and Jamie. Starting to remember some of this jiu-jitsu stuff. (Though Andrew pointed out a place where my kimura grip was backwards during rolling later. Doh.) Some of the timing is slowly making its way back. Worked a lot on stripping grips. Worked in that idea from tonight. Hit that Emily Kwok pass at least once. My brain’s been thinking of some things; I’m not sure I ever managed to actually do any of the things I was thinking of, lol, but I think I was at least moving for stuff.

Ra-rah-reh, kick him in the knee!

I was suddenly struck with the overwhelming desire today to start leglocking everything in sight. I dunno why. This must be how new blue belt boys feel. 😉

Fundamentals Class, nogi

Short warmup. Then we requested drilling next. 2 of the 3 of us hadn’t been there last night, so Andrew reviewed what they worked: one hook to head-and-arm choke, two hooks to head-and-arm choke, one hook to calf slicer to taking the back/RNC. Drilled the first two for a short while, but then drilled the last two a lot.

Open Mat

Rolled with TR for a short bit, then headed home.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How is it September already?!

Fundamentals class, nogi

Short warmup. Then drilled the Matt Hughes-style RNC and also armbar from back. Drilled with Bobby. Then two 3-minute rounds of specific sparring from the back. With Bobby and then Ratcliffe.

Open Mat

Rolled with Adam and Buddy. Buddy declared me “frustrating” to roll with, which I think was meant as a compliment and so I’ll take it as such. 😉

Tomorrow is the first home football game of the season, so I won’t have time to get to class. There might be morning class on Monday (Labor Day holiday here), but we’ll see.

All together now

Friday night

Fundamentals Class, nogi

Started with some bridging and shrimping drills. Then drilling was side control escape back to guard and then side control escape to single leg position. Drilled with Guillaume.

Open Mat

Rolled with Purple Belt Buddy first; he’s back in town, visiting for now, I think (but may be coming back soon? That would be nice!). Then rolled with Andrew until I was done. (I think that was all? Brain is fuzzy.)

Brown belt Adam popped in again and was prepared to train this time. (Last time, he rolled with Kevin while in street clothes!) He might come in occasionally and get some rolling in.

Saturday morning

We’re going to have a new thing once a month: the students at the Roanoke/Salem affiliate will come down here and we’ll have a giant all-together class. Today was the first day for that. I think between 25 and 30 people on the mats today, though that’s with many missing from both sides. (Was announced almost last minute.)

Open Mat

The guys from the affiliate showed up at 10. First hour is still Open Mat, though, so I rolled with Bobby to warm up (he doesn’t sweat; it’s so not fair, because I sweat a river). Then I went after Ez, the instructor at the affiliate, a small guy and a purple belt. He played around with me and showed me a few things. So good to roll with him.


Class started with armdrag to the back from standing, then grabbing the single leg. Then added actually finishing the single. Then added passing to side control from there. Drilled for about half an hour.

Then King of the Hill: Single Leg. The “King” in each square had to give you their leg so you could set up the single leg, and then the game started. Whoever got the takedown stayed in.

Got the good shoulder and its connected wrist tweaked a bit when someone sprawled heavy on me. Meh.

The class was only about 45 minutes, and then another Open Mat followed. There are a couple of big guys at the affiliate — one purple and one blue — so Big Tommy was happy today since he had guys his size (or bigger?) to drill and roll with. He’s usually so much bigger than everyone and worries too much about hurting people. He was grinning by the end of the day, though. Just as important for big guys to have same-sized training partners as it is for us tiny people. Extremes gotta stick together, lol.

Open Mat, I rolled with our white belt (for now) Adam first. Then Tim was going to roll with me but got distracted in a conversation, so one of the affiliate guys asked to roll. Short (but taller than me, of course), square dude — and it’s nogi so there’s no belt to tell rank — and I was a little nervous, especially because I was already tired and aching in several injured places. (Have either a bruise or a strained muscle just above my left hip. Can’t tell which, but I’ve been icing it. So random.) But, figured that since the point of today was to get the two groups together as a team that I might as well get out there.

He started by coming in to my guard, and shortly thereafter I found myself on his back with a Matt Hughes-style RNC. Erm, okay, maybe he’s just trying to go easy with the little girl. Hrm. Reset, back in my guard, and again to his back and full-on RNC. I was starting to think of saying something like, Dude, I won’t break. Roll for reals. Then as we reset, he asked how long I’d been training. When I said, “Over 3 years,” his eyes got wide but he also did that “Oh thank God!” nod. So I asked the same question back: “3 or 4 months,” he said. Oooh, okay. And my next thought was, “Look, Ma, I know some jiu-jitsu!” (Sorry, dude. Just in need of a little affirmation right now is all.)

Rolled for a while longer and finally stopped when he said he was tired. And then he said, “You don’t get tired, do you?” I laughed because I was exhausted before we even started (and exhausted before even coming to class. I was thisclose to not coming and sleeping in, but knowing the Ez and the other guys were coming was just enough to drag me in.). I told him that I most certainly do get tired but that I just don’t quit. (Even when I probably should, doh.)

Class wrapped up shortly afterwards.