Cut it off, part 2

Ow, my shoulder hurts. Not quite “actively being mauled by a bear” hurts, but definitely not comfortable. I sit at my desk at work now with the left hand behind my head and my elbow raised; that gives it a decent enough stretch and is about the only mostly comfortable position available. Blasted shoulders. As soon as I get one fixed, the other starts up. And this stupid cold is still lingering. Ugh. Do not like.

I spent my lunch break looking at the current top house contender with my dad. He found traces of mildew in the basement and pointed out that with the way the land slopes, there’s probably a lot of runoff coming under the deck and against the house there. This is what happens when your dad is an insurance agent. So that one’s probably off the list, and I’ll be back to looking again.

Funny, though — after the house tour, we went to a nearby Italian buffet for lunch. As we pulled in, I noticed a co-worker’s car in the parking lot. They had just finished and were getting ready to leave to head back, but they stopped to get out and meet my dad (which he said was just weird). And then at class tonight, Tim said he’d seen us as we were leaving; he was coming in behind us. Yes, it’s a small town.

I sat off to one side in the cage before class to loosen up and recited my goals: “Armbar. Bump to scissor. No passing my guard.” over and over and over. Occasionally I threw in “Don’t stop. Hips down. Rikki Tikki Tavi.” Mostly tried to get that shoulder loose, but it wasn’t cooperating.

Class started off with rolling. Tim actually pointed Will at me, saying, “Yes, you roll with her.” I told Will that I wasn’t sure if that was Tim being nice (he knows I like rolling with Will, so he usually separates us and makes me roll with spazzoid white belt boys “to build character”) or that was Tim being mean (because he knows Will will destroy me effortless and make me feel like I don’t know anything). Either way, I was glad to get it. Even as I was getting pwned all over the place, I still felt like I was rolling how I wanted to roll and like I had some actual grit and some decent framing & movement. Several things that I always seem to screw up felt like they were closer to being done correctly. And Will even said at one point that I need to keep rolling like this. For once, I actually felt like I knew what he meant. Usually when he says that, I have no idea what I’m doing that I’m supposed to keep doing, but this time I felt like I actually did.

Then Tim pointed one of the kickboxing guys at me. He comes sporadically. When I sat down, he said, “Now, I need to take all of my joints and extremities home with me, so be gentle.” I countered that that applies this way, too, and he said, “Yeah, but you have skills!” To which I said, “Yes, but I’m still small.” We got a laugh out of it, but as I expected, he was trying to bang me around a lot, ratchet elbows in everywhere, and fling my feet away. Yet, he also apologized at one point and said that all he really knows on the ground are “dirty techniques” and that he knows they’re dirty, so he was trying not to do them too much. Appreciated. I kept having flashes from Kintanon’s size disadvantage post and enforcer post, mostly about how I don’t have to manhandle him the way the guys do to be effective. There was a tad bit of Unbreakable Guard work going on, but it was more of “you won’t break my guard that way.” He did ask for advice and pointers, and I did try to help, though not too much because Tim doesn’t like people instructing during rolls. I did tell him that his only goal in my guard was to try to break it and, after several failed kimura attempts from inside my guard, that submissions wouldn’t happen from there. Briefly showed him the standard guard break. Felt like — and probably was — a long round, though I mostly felt like I was rolling similarly to how I’d rolled with Will, at least mindset- and grittiness-wise.

Drilling was armdrag to taking the back. (Crap, armdrags. Mine are still atrocious. It’s already on the list to work on.) My biggest problem according to Tim is that I’m too flat after the drag, and Will pointed out that I’m telegraphing it big time. (That one, I did know. Old problem.) Drilled with Sara.

A few more rounds of rolling. With new Adam first. He dislocated his shoulder in the last few weeks; it initially happened before BJJ, so he’s apparently used to it happening, and he wore his belt and tucked his hand in. (Unlike when I did it the first time my left shoulder acted up, though, he’s actively using that hand; he’s just trying to restrict shoulder movement.) I promised not to just try to triangle him, and there were other times when I’d get a good position for something, realize the only reason I’d gotten it was because of the trapped arm, and so wouldn’t look to finish. With his arm mostly tied down, though, it made getting to and keeping top position quite a bit easier.

Then a round with Jess, and I worked on mount and s-mount pressure and on guillotines from mount, which is something I don’t do a lot. Couldn’t work out where I was going wrong in getting the arm around, so will probably need to ask someone to show me.

We still get the mats on Fridays until March, when yoga takes over, so I’ll head over there tomorrow.

Progress Report, January 2011

I did well for the first few weeks keeping up with my goals. And then there was the week off for Jennie’s wedding, and I’ve had a tough time getting back on track. I remember them and recite them before class; I’m just not getting around to actually doing them.

Hmm, I’ve been trying that scissor sweep/bump sweep combo, and it’s just not coming together. I’ve even tried it on Theresa, and I can’t get it smoothly there, either. (There’s a fair bit of muscling when I do manage to “get” it.) I think part of it is that, in our academy, we tend to smash scissor sweeps rather than sit back, so the opening isn’t really there. I have tried doing it the opposite — bump sweep to scissor sweep — and that’s worked somewhat better. *ponder* *ponder* *ponder* I supposed I’ll leave it up there for another month, especially since this month I didn’t train the whole month.

Injuries: Tom has mostly fixed both my shoulders. (At the moment, they’re achy, but that’s from sleeping a lot last week.)


The Gorgon was out in force again tonight. And holding it back was hard, very, very hard. Luckily for the person causing it, I did not have to roll with them tonight. Also luckily for them, I’ll be gone this weekend for fun with female grapplers and won’t be practicing next week (so that I’m unbruised for my best friend’s wedding). Hopefully after that, I’ll have things back under control.

Right shoulder still hurts. Left — the previously injured one — seems fine. I tried the band exercises that Tom had given me, to see if that would help the right shoulder, but it didn’t. Since it was still hurting, I didn’t even do any warmups like I normally do. Ray came in later and I asked him if there was anything else I could do for it; he had me hold my arm out and poked at the top biceps tendon. I could have screamed, it was so tender. So he thinks it might be more than just bursitis, and he’ll have them set me up with some ultrasound therapy when I go back on Monday. (It’s nice to have your chiropractors in class with you, lol.)

Rolling to start. With Theresa. Worked on the scissor sweep to bump sweep with her (and the bump sweep to scissor sweep, though I went the wrong way). There’s something I’m not getting in the transition there, or maybe it’s just still not at the right time.

Then with Guillaume. Managed to work on some armbar details from mount and on guard passing prevention. (New constraint from Chrissy: half-guard counts as “passed” unless you can immediately regain guard or sweep.) Maybe scissor sweep/bump sweep, or was that with the next guy? Included some attempts at the guillotine and kimura off the bump sweep, though was crushed back down too easily. I’m still not able to see what I’m doing wrong, not even to catalog the mistakes so I know not to do them again. Then with a guy who’s usually okay to roll with, but I think he’d just finished rolling with one of the new spazzes, so he was going very hard and grindy. No fun. Guard pass prevention only and one herky-jerky pendulum sweep, which only worked because he was pressing forward so much.

Drilling was a couple of armbar setups from side control. Drilled with Theresa.

One last roll, and Tim put me with a brand new guy who was easily twice my size. Very. Large. Man. I did not want to be on the bottom, but he didn’t give me much of a choice. I did get his back a few times, but couldn’t get enough leverage anywhere. I was switching between triangles and armbars from guard for a while, too. When I got my legs up the first time for a triangle and was trying to turn, he said, “Uh-oh, I’ve seen this on TV. This ends badly for me!” Couldn’t quite finish it, though, with all the squirming he was doing. And he could just grab my foot — his hand was larger than my whole foot — and just peel my legs off. Same with arms. I think I managed another pendulum sweep somewhere in there. He kept apologizing for being so much bigger, until I finally said that Tim wouldn’t have put me with him if he didn’t think I could handle myself. He did still try not to put all his weight on me, which I appreciated, though I also exploited the space he left.

We make the train

At work this week, I’m testing phone systems. That means lots of phone handset stuck between ear and shoulder while punching buttons on the phone with my left hand and typing with my right. That also means lots of strain on the shoulder. It’s not happy again. Maybe I’ll take tomorrow off, after the kids’ class (no class the rest of the week anyway).

But of course that means I trained tonight anyway. Got in early, and Will came in soon after and wanted to train. I’d about given up on anyone wanting to roll before class anymore. In the cage, straight to rolling. My mind is going; I can’t remember a thing. I think I did some things that I wanted to work on. Still can’t get my hips down for nothing. I think mostly I just got toolbagged, as usual, though he lets me work out of some things and lets go of others and catches me in things multiple times to let me see where I’m messing up. (Still processing those; brain usually takes a while to catch up. I saw places where I messed up — and even muttered the fix to myself at the time — but still don’t know what they all were.) Didn’t mind, though.

Small class, just six of us, including Jason the Traveling Judoka, who has finally been awarded his blue belt in jiu-jitsu, by Butch Hiles. Jason is a traveling salesman, so he doesn’t get to train at any one place a lot. The last time he was here, back in March, Tim had commented that if he could only stick around somewhere for a few weeks, he’d get his blue belt, that he was already there. Jason did say that his route had changed for a while there, and that he’d been up in Charleston, WV, regularly. I asked if he knew Timmyle, but he couldn’t remember anyone since it had been a while now since he’d been up there.

Rolling, with Steve. He’d been rolling with Jason before class, so he was fired up and ready to go. I think I get more relaxed if I roll before class; get all the spazzies out, get all the kinks out. Other people seem to get more eager. Anywho. We seemed evenly matched mostly — my defense to his offense. Snippets of offense from me, but not much. Managed to avoid all his triangles from guard, then got caught with one from the back. Doh.

Drilling continued on spider guard. Drilled with Steve and Will. Nice to drill on full-size partners.

One more round, with Jason. Had a few sweeps, though I think he gave them to me once I initiated the movement. Trying to work on moving on to the next available as soon as he’d block something; none seemed to be terribly threatening, and nothing was deep enough to do any good. But, I was remembering that more than one thing existed from the same position. That might be something. Toward the end he wanted to try out the spider guard stuff, so I let him work on it some and gave him some tips.

One more day of work and an appointment with Dr. Tom. Then kids’ class, maybe my class, and two days off from work. Then Christmas! And I’ll get to find out what my brother’s present to me holds. It’s wrapped in green tissue paper and then Saran wrap. Okay then…

A Belt Ceremony

Ugh, too long away from jiu-jitsu. It snowed/sleeted Wednesday night and Thursday; I worked from home and classes were cancelled anyway. And a co-worker gave me the plague that he’s been carrying around for weeks, so I was sick on Thursday and Friday, too. Saturday I was good and stayed away from the academy, though when I went out Christmas shopping during class time, I was oh-so-tempted to stop in. But I didn’t.

Tonight, appointment first with Dr. Tom. Shoulder is much better. Still a little twinge, though. I’m watching my posture, particularly my shoulders, which like to rotate inward and pinch on that nerve. He still wants to see me again this week and even recommended that I sit out tonight, too. And I very nearly let him talk me in to going home.

I am so glad I didn’t listen to him.

We ended up with quite a large class, considering that all the students have left. Scott is in the middle of final edits on his PhD dissertation, but he was there. Will takes Mondays off for date night with his wife, but he was there, too.

First roll, with a newer guy. I’m not sure if it was that he was trying hard to do jiu-jitsu or that he was trying not to hurt me, but I was rolling and thinking, Geez, I ought to take time off more often. I’m mauling this guy. Felt good. Though, he was really trying to do the few things that he’s learned over the last few weeks. Tim called time, though, after we’d only been rolling for a few minutes. I remember thinking that that had been a really short roll.

Then Tim called us all together and started talking about promotions and about one special promotion. I looked around the room but couldn’t figure out who he was talking about. There’s only one guy who I knew was close — to blue — and he wasn’t there. The only other thing I could figure is it might be one of the guys who just graduated college and will be moving away soon. I could see everyone else glancing sideways, trying to figure out who it was. But Tim never makes a speech during promotions; he just beats you with a belt during a roll, and maybe says something to you afterwards. But never a speech. Tim said later he’d had a big speech all planned, but he was just too excited and couldn’t get through it.

Finally he just reached inside his gi, pulled out a black belt, and hauled Justin up.

I think at that moment I was happier for him that I’d been for my own promotion.

Long time before we got back to training. Lots of pictures and rounds of hugs. Justin had the biggest grin on his face all night long.

Next a round with Will and then one with Scott. None of the vibes from earlier carried over. Everything seems so effortless on their part, and all my effort, worthless. But I was still too excited over Justin’s promotion to care much.

Drilling was breaking spider guard grips and passing. Drilled with Theresa and could actually get some reps in; then a final round of rolling with her.

More pictures and hugs afterwards. More grinning. Tim told us that that belt is the same one that Renzo gave him on his promotion.

Ack, I’m too excited still and can’t type straight!