A sweep I want to remember

It seems everything they’ve done in class for the last month has been exactly what I need.

Somehow remembered this sweep today while reading Hillary’s post on Sherdog about her seminar this last weekend.

From butterfly, be sitting up. Keep hooks in. Armdrag one of their arms, so their shoulder ends up pinned against your chest. With outside arm, reach around trapped shoulder and grab under far armpit. Roll back across your shoulder on the side you’ve trapped.

Want to start working that when I’m able to drill again.

Emily Kwok seminar, 10-31-09

So, I did in fact get my butt in gear and to Philly for Emily Kwok’s seminar on Halloween. (Well, to Richmond (3hrs) on Friday, and to Philly (5hrs) on Saturday.)

I also got lost 3 times on the way to Philly, so arrived a little late (though they weren’t started yet). And then on the way home, while following Tori out of the city, I had my first ever car accident when some idiot driver stopped on the On ramp, which caused the car behind him to slam on his brakes, which caused Tori to slam on her brakes, which caused me to slam on my brakes, which wasn’t done quite quickly enough — and wasn’t helped by the wet roads — and I rear-ended her. Her little Honda came out better than my SUV and just had a little dent. We pulled over on the teensy-tiny shoulder, noticed that my car was spewing red fluid all over the road, decided that was probably a bad sign, and started the round of calling parents, insurance, tow trucks, and police. The tow truck driver said red fluid was probably transmission fluid. So my car is currently sitting at a dealership somewhere in Philly. Sad.

Tori offered me a ride back to to her home in Maryland, near D.C., and graciously put me up for the night and fed me breakfast. We didn’t get to her place until about 2:30 a.m. Thank goodness for Daylight Savings Time — an hour of extra sleep! We did get to talk a lot on the way back (2.5 hours!). My sister lives in D.C., so she came over in the morning and picked me up; we drove to meet our parents, who brought me back here. (I do have a great family, too.)

Tori and I have decided, however, that next time we’re going to carpool on purpose.

There were about 20 girls there. Anne (“E”) came from Ontario (I think), but actually had a shorter total drive than I did. But Jessica wins — she flew in from Omaha, Nebraska, just for the seminar! (That’s half the country!) There was also a girl there for her very first day of jiu-jitsu ever. Very good beginning.

When I got there, there was a girl who looked familiar; when we all introduced ourselves in the beginning, even her name was familiar. We talked during the break, and she was who I thought — Shannon had trained with me back in the first few months that I did jiu-jitsu. But she’d moved back home to the other side of the state. (Shannon is on the left in the front row.)

Emily wrote up a set of notes for us, which is really helpful now that I’m trying to remember (especially since jiu-jitsu was pretty much knocked out of my head for the last while).

First we worked on securing side control and north/south, just working through different hand/arm positions. Emily also mentioned not to commit too much to a grip if you don’t really have control with it, else when they move they’ll trap your hand or arm without even meaning to. (Happens to me a lot, so…) Side control: knee/elbow, knee/elbow (both elbows down by their ribs toward the ground and pinching in toward your knees); top hand under head, bottom hand under far arm, palm to palm, shoulder pressure; then top hand under head, shoulder pressure, bottom hand on near hip. North/south, all gripping the belt and pinching the elbows back: over/over; under/under; over/under. We drilled these briefly with our partners, moving between the three control positions for each position.

Then a hip movement drill. (I think they did this at the Women’s Grappling Camp in August?) Start in side control. Sit through to front scarf hold. Back to side control. Sit through to backward scarf hold. Leg over to mount. Walk hands around to the side you were just on, and dismount to the other side, through reverse scarf hold to side control. Sit through to front scarf hold. Turn your hips over to come up to north/south. Walk around just a little toward the other side, then sit through to front scarf hold. We drilled that with our partners for a while.

I had never seen dismount actually explained and so found that the best part of that drill. πŸ˜› To dismount: first walk your hands to the same side. Then stretch the leg on the other side out and drop that hip to the mat. Open your hips to bring your leg over; now you’re in reverse scarf hold. Come up to side control.

Then two submissions. North/south to shoulder lock: First pinch your elbow in on one side, sliding the arm up until your hand meets the fabric along their torso; grab. Now, similar to the end of the previous drill, sit through from north/south to the side you’ve trapped, but this time, to reverse scarf hold (so post out on one leg and swing the other through the hole, with this leg going straight along their body). Your hips should point to the ceiling and you should still have their arm tight. Take your inside leg over and then down between their legs. Arch your hips up (not toward them, which is the tendency) to finish the shoulder lock.

Scarf hold to armbar: From side control, sit through to scarf hold. Slide your hand up to their wrist, then sneak your inside knee over their bicep, then sneak your whole leg over. Keep control of their wrist. Pinch their arm between your legs, being sure that their elbow stays above your legs. Good control position here (and they think “What in the world is she doing? She’s got nothing.” Ha!). Secure that trapped arm however you like your armbars, then push off them and spin your feet over their face to assume the armbar position. Feels a little weird, and so needs some practice, but a nice unexpected armbar setup.

One more control/position drill, this time when wanting to come up to knee-on-belly or when someone tries to push in to you from under side control. Emily talked about finding the “points” on your partner’s body that you can use to control their entire body. So, to get up to knee-on-belly, put one hand on their near shoulder and one on their far hip. Drop your weight through your hands as you pop up. Then, when you have side control and they’re trying to turn in, instead of trying to wrestle them in place, place one hand on their far shoulder and one on their far hip. As before, drop your weight through your hands.

Then king-of-the-hill sparring. Six or seven ladies (the highest belts — one brown, a few purples, and then blues) started out there and could sweep or submit. Those of us going out started in side control and had to mount or submit.

We took a short break and then came back for the second half of the seminar.

Emily started by talking about how to train: training with the right partners and having a plan/focus when you train to get better faster/more steadily. One suggestion that came up (from Jessica) was to train without arms, since our upper bodies aren’t comparable to the guys’ (and Jessica was actually bigger and stronger than most of the rest of us, and she said the guys still overpower her all the time). Emily also said that you’re only as good as your biggest weakness, so work on your weaknesses.

Then she talked a bit about visualization: how, if you want to float on someone, imagine that you’re a feather or a cloud, or if you want to be heavy, imagine that you’re a tree or a rock. Or if you’re trying to keep someone in close, imagine that you’re a vacuum cleaner. πŸ˜›

Then back to drilling. Open and spider guard. Started with an individual drill, in Sit-up Guard (never knew it had a name), and then just moving around as she called out commands: “Forward,” “Backward,” “Left,” “Turn right,” etc. Then with a partner — one partner working the Sit-up Guard (with either a quick cross lapel choke or a sliding/clock choke, though from the front), and the other attempting to pass.

Next drill was using your feet to re-guard. Partner started standing in side control; reach your outside foot to their farther hip (toward your head); use that to turn back to square. That on both sides. Then partner stood in north/south; cross your legs and swing them over your head; get your feet on the outsides of their legs; then push off their legs to uncross yours and swing back to square.

Next drill was switching between positionings for the hook sweep and sickle sweep. (I actually didn’t know either of these coming in.) Start on your back, with your partner standing in front of you. One foot on their hip, the other behind their knee. Keep the foot on the hip; turn to the other side, dropping the foot from behind their knee to behind their opposite heel and grabbing the outside of the other ankle with your hand. Back to foot on hip, foot behind knee. Switch feet. Do the same thing on the other side.

Then we actually did the sweeps. Hook Sweep: One foot on their hip, the other behind their knee. Get sleeve control on the same side on which your foot is behind the knee. With the other hand, grab behind the ankle on the other side. Push on their hip, pull on their knee. Follow their momentum over to top half guard.

Sickle Sweep: One foot on their hip, the other behind their knee. Get sleeve control on the same side as the foot on the hip. Keep the foot on the hip; turn to the other side, dropping the foot from behind their knee to behind their opposite heel and grabbing the outside of the other ankle with your hand. Push on their hip while sweeping through with the bottom leg. Follow their momentum over to top half guard or side control.

Next we played with Spider Guard. Emily talked about never letting your four points of control — both hands and both feet — be in the same plane at the same time, else it’s too easy to break through. It’s like playing with a marionette — keep him moving.

First we just played Spider Guard with our partners. Then we worked an outside-in sweep: push one arm/hip point away. Pull the other leg out and wrap it over their arm and under to hook their triceps with your foot. Pull that leg in to collapse them. Move the other leg down, putting your ankle in front of their ankle, at the same time that you drop the other hand either under their leg or to the outside of their leg to grab the fabric. Drive your legs to the far side to sweep them, coming up to knee-on-belly.

We finished with a quick re-guard from a single spider guard hook (one sleeve/same leg) (for when the sneaky fast guys think they’ve passed), and then a simple palm-smacking duh! actual pass for when someone has a single spider guard control (one sleeve/same leg)… which I’m not going to mention yet because I think this one, more than anything else at the seminar, is what most girls are taking home to spring on their training partners. I’ll tell you after I get it multiple times in class this week.

Then we did a few more rounds of king-of-the-hill sparring followed by 3 three-minute rounds of full sparring. I got to spar with Liz (orange gi), Anne, and Shannon.

Dinner afterward, at an Italian restaurant a few blocks away, then followed Tori until I rear-ended her car. But she took me home with her and fed me. Definitely worth going.

Also, check out BJJEdge. They were recording parts of the seminar and said they would post some later.

Oh, right. I had to wash my belt. It reeked after being trapped in my bag for so long. Sadness.

Blood + Sweat + Tears = Blue

I got my blue belt tonight.

Not expecting it. Even commented to myself during my first two rolls that, yeah, no chance of that tonight — caught every which way, couldn’t control positions, couldn’t pass. Third roll I was excited to roll with Buddy #1, who was gone all summer. I hadn’t rolled with him yet and wanted to because I knew he’d tell me if I’d improved.

I could tell we were near the end of the round. Suddenly, I hear Tim’s “someone’s getting promoted!” yell. I started to turn to see who it is, half-expecting it to be Buddy (to purple), and instead I am getting hit with something. What the–? Who the–? … … No. Way. … … Way! Stunned, in shock, unable to speak or form coherent thoughts.

There was suddenly a crowd of guys congratulating me. Tim gave us a water break, so I finally got to tie it on, and then class continued. Kept having to force my brain off it’s “I got my blue belt!” track to pay attention to the rest of class.

Tim talked to me a bit after class and said that there were a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in making that belt. He said that it says a lot about me that I come in every week and work against guys who are all bigger and stronger than me, but that I keep coming and keep working. And he said that he’s been harder on me these last few months especially on purpose because he saw I was getting close and because I have to continue working with these bigger and stronger guys. He said for a girl to get a blue belt in jiu-jitsu, rolling only against the guys like I have been, is hard to get, and since I’m his first female blue belt, he wanted to make sure the standard was set high. He also said my technique is getting really good (which is the part I really wanted to hear).

Buddy chimed in then and said that while we were rolling, he’d started wondering when I would get my blue belt. And then there it was.

Last summer, Tim told me that I would be more proud of getting my BJJ blue belt than of getting my TKD black belt. Well, he’s right. For my black belt, I had to get through a six-hour test. For my blue belt, I’ve been in one long 17-month test.

Not that I’m suddenly frustration-free. But now I have tangible proof that I’m doing well.

Apparently there was class last night — Justin got back in town and came to teach. But my family was having a small cookout anyway, so I’m glad I didn’t know about class and stayed home instead.

And I’m sore! Little Cindy kicked my butt. My biceps, lats, traps, and hamstrings are stiff and cranky. I had to take a long walk at lunch so I could sit through the rest of the day. … So of course I want to meet all of Cindy’s friends. πŸ˜›

Tonight, we started with rolling to warmup. Started with Will. He wasn’t playing so much spider guard with his open guard, so I was able to get in better. Still reversed easily, though, and under half guard and side control a fair bit. I think I had a sweep or two, and he let me get to guard a few times, but I’m not doing well attacking there; he has everything tight. He had a few triangle set-ups from the moments when he did play spider guard, but he let me work out of them. Oh, and I remembered that knee-on-belly exists! But of course, we learned a counter to it on Saturday… Doh.

Then rolled with a guy who was hurt before class, so I was trying to avoid his injury. But it seemed at times as if he wasn’t hurt at all — the injured part was used extensively. Couldn’t keep my base for anything; swept to under side control and mount a lot. Did catch at lots of half guard as he tried to pass every which way. He pulled me in to one triangle from spider guard; I defended for a while but eventually lost the tug-of-war over my arm. Later — I think it was still this roll, or it was later with Yoshi — he tried the Peruvian necktie, but left it loose; I actually rolled out and started to escape, but he locked in a D’Arce (Yoshi had one, too, which is why I’m confuzzled). Defended for a while, tried escaping for a while, but finally started on the way to Blackout Land, so tapped.

These two rounds I was thinking, “Well, you know who’s still a looong way off from her blue belt.”

Another roll, and Buddy asked to roll with me since we hadn’t gotten to since he’d come back. All I was thinking about was getting to roll with Buddy, a blue belt, and find out if I’d improved since he left. Lots of trouble against his open guard — even more sinister than Will’s — and again easily swept and under side control and half guard. Again could catch the half guard from lots of positions, but couldn’t get the sweeps after to work. I think I did have one almost sweep that required a lot of effort to get on top after; not even sure I made it. I was trying to push the pace some because I know Buddy won’t hurt me.

And then at the end of that, I heard Tim yell, and I got whipped quite thoroughly with a new belt.

A short break for water and so I could tie my belt on (it’s so stiff!), and then back to rolling. Oh goodness. So tired. Besides trusting Buddy to play with me and not hurt me, I’d also figured that it was the last roll before technique, so I knew I’d get a break after and so could push a little more. But, no, more rolling. I want oxygen…

With Guillaume. He teased me that I would try to crush him now. I joked back that the belt only came with about 10 seconds of superpowers. … … I think I jinxed it: I had about only 10 seconds of superpowers, and then I was back to being exhausted. He let me around to his back straight off, but I couldn’t get my second hook in or my arm around his neck or my fingers in his lapel. I ended up on top, and actually managed to hold it in some form for most of the round. Remembered knee-on-belly. Tried for the baseball choke, but couldn’t quite work out my hands; tried for a D’Arce, but couldn’t hang on; tried for the north/south kimura, but he’d defend by grabbing his pants; tried the Big Poppa, but couldn’t hold it long enough (also think I wasn’t quite under his chin). Justin was trying to help me out from the sidelines by telling me where to go next, and I was transitioning, which I was happy about, but I couldn’t quite catch anything. Went to knee-on-belly again, though he rolled on his side facing away from me; tried for a gi choke from there, but again couldn’t quite get under his chin. Finally posted one hand on his head and came around for an armbar there, which worked.

Last roll with Yoshi. He pretended to be scared of the belt’s superpowers, but I told him that Guillaume had already used them all up and it was just an ordinary belt now. Very similar to those first two rounds — swept a lot, under side control and half guard a lot, grabbing half guard a lot. A few near sweeps; maybe one that I did manage to follow up on and get to top, though he quickly reversed it. Turtled lots and tried for the single leg from there, but couldn’t hold on when he sprawled. Tried the switch to escape several times, but couldn’t quite get through. (I suppose the reassuring part was that I wasn’t getting upset that I was a blue belt now and was getting my butt beat by a white belt. Not even sure it had quite sunk in at that point. Not that I want to get upset; I don’t. Anyway…) He also got a D’Arce eventually. Same as earlier: I could defend and move and try to escape for a while, but he finally got his weight right and finished it. This seemed like the round that would never end, partly because Tim was the timekeeper but he was also rolling.

Finally to drilling, now that there were about 15 minutes left in class. Worked with the little 14 year old.

Then, even though we were past time for class, Tim sent us on the wall for some drills. Alligators, single legs, single leg/sprawl, then squat jump down/bear crawl back. I was almost through my last trip down on squat jumps when he called out that we were done, but I finished anyway. Ow.

I’m ready, coach, put me in!

Steeled myself to spar this morning. Took both sets of gloves (boxing and MMA); took shorts and a rashguard. And… they didn’t need me for that. Or, rather, they did and would have if they’d done like last week, but they didn’t.

Instead, they put one guy through four different types of rounds: sparring (no ground ‘n’ pound), takedowns (against Big Jon, so really it’s a round of just defending takedowns), full MMA, and wall drill (someone holds you down in a padded corner of the room, and all you have to do is stand up). There were four guys to take those rounds.

The second time through, though, right as the guy was starting to really get tired, Tim called me out to do a 2-minute grappling round with the guy. I know he was tired, and I was really trying to push the pace, but there were actual moments when I almost did exactly what I’d wanted to. Working to start, I sprawled, but of course he can still reach my legs; he finally just lifted me up to pull my legs and fall in to side control. I worked away, trying to keep the intensity up. Got almost to guard, and could see I was a step or two away from a triangle; couldn’t get near it, though. To full guard; he was trying to break it, I was trying to figure out something to attack — tried bump sweep and guillotine several times, but my arms aren’t quite long enough to get all the way around to make it work. Adam was telling me to let go my guard and attack, but I couldn’t see where to go next — and this guy was postured up good and I couldn’t get him down — so I just held on. Probably should’ve at least ried, though.

They did one more set of rounds, though mostly ground ‘n’ pound, with him.

A few more guys had shown up by then for class. Tim, Adam, Big John, and Joe wanted to work wrestling takedowns (Big John and Joe both wrestled). The other four of us got our gis on — blerg, so hot! — and rolled a little bit.

Started with Will and his tricksy open guard. But he was letting me around so we could work other stuff. Tried several half-guard passes; I think one did work and I got to mount. Couldn’t control that for too long, though, and he wasn’t leaving anything open. Even remembered a few times that knee-on-belly exists (!!) and worked that, trying for either the baseball choke or the spinning armbar, but he didn’t give anything up there, either. He was making me work to keep side control, too, when he let me around to there; was keeping his near elbow in deep and I couldn’t get any space around it. Ended up moving to north/south a lot, but couldn’t get anything there, either. He even turtled at one point to let me work attacking that, but I couldn’t get anything in; did remember, though, that it’s legal to switch to the other side (*snort*) and did that several times; still no space, though. Then for a while we switched and I was defending under side control, mount, and half guard. Got caught many times in there to armbars and triangles; I’d know they were coming but couldn’t seem to do anything right to stop them. Meh.

Don’t know how long we rolled. We finally stopped, though, to get water, and then switched with the other two guys.

I got Big Tom. (Note to self: no spider guard on Big Tommy. His arms are longer than your legs, so it no work good.) He let me play on top, too, to start with, though I was again having trouble passing half guard. I ended under mount at one point, and he was trying to get the armbar while I was trying the scrape escape; I got my one leg out, so it was in front of his shin, and then as he tried to sit back, I got the other knee up behind his knee, so I could kind of scissor my legs and keep him from being able to sit back. He tried to escape that for a while and couldn’t, and even said that Yoshi had just done something similar to him. So we stopped to consider the position and see what he could do.

And then, I saw it — instead of trying to sit back, drive that knee to the mat on the far side, trapping both their legs (since they’ve committed both legs to stopping your one), and leaving you almost in mount; now drive your weight up on their arm, which you should still have; step the free leg over and behind your own trapped leg, sliding in to also trap their legs (so your legs are crossed at this point); now slide your trapped leg out from between their legs; come up to side control, and you’re in position to take the spinning armbar. I mean, I saw it. I knew what to do. Yay, lightbulb moment! It seems like something we’ve worked, but I don’t know where to find it right now. So we tried that a few times, and it actually worked (yay for a working lightbulb moment!). Tom even pulled it off a few minutes later from a similar position and passed right around.

Later, too, he was seemingly going for the far-side americano from side control, except he hadn’t trapped my near arm so I could turn in to it and relieve the pressure. I stopped to mention that, and he said that he often goes for that far arm just so he can pass, that he thinks of passing far more than of looking for submissions, and that he didn’t think he had a good enough position there to finish anything. So I showed him real quick what to do (everyone does it on me when they want an easy tap, so I’m real familiar with what it looks like from the bottom).

We rolled a little longer. He caught an armbar from mount; was real light on me, as he usually is, until right at the last moment as he swung around — all 220 lbs landed on my ribs, which got a big “Ooorrmph!” from me. He stopped to make sure I was okay; I said I was, so he finished the armbar. We got to talking, and he apologized for sitting on me. I said it was fine and there was no where else for his weight to go there, and that I really appreciate that he doesn’t use all his weight on me when we roll (else I’d be squished every time). He said he uses rolling with me to work on his speed and technique, which is possibly something I’m useful for.

Don’t know how long that roll was, either, but then I was done. Thankfully, everyone else was, too. I’d meant to do some squats or deadlifts or something, but was too tired to even remember that.

I liked the pace we were rolling at today. Mostly in class, most everyone is still going Abu Dhabi — maybe opening round speed instead of finals, but still more intense, more competitive, and more wild than I like to roll. (Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like getting kneed and elbowed because someone can’t bother to slow down enough to do his technique right and thinks speed and power is all he needs.) These were slower rounds with a few bursts, but we were still tight and working and attacking space and going for submissions. Just without all that extra that usually comes in during the week.

Strikeforce tonight: Carano v. Cyborg. While I’d like to see Gina win, I think Cyborg will just keep coming. I’m predicting Cyborg, TKO. Either way, though, I really want it to be a good slugfest and/or grapplefest and show that women can fight and can fight good.

Tournament: US Grappling Submission Only IV, gi

Today we were back for gi at USG Sub Only IV. Update: all results are posted on the NHBGear forums.

The women’s divisions, which all started on one mat, got started a little late because our ref was first fighting in his division. But not a problem. The gym was again very hot, and of course the gi made it even hotter.

Ryan Hall and Seph Smith ended up against each other in their division’s finals. They just played around for a few minutes, rolling lightly.

Found out early that there were 3 girls in the White Belt and 3 girls in Absolute. But, there were no girls in my weight class, so they bumped me up to the 130-145, though both girls were on the smaller side of it anyway.

A big Thank you to all the folks who helped me out from the sidelines in my two matches today. I don’t even know who you all were, but I really appreciate it.

They started with purple belt girls and worked down. Finally got to me and Lo, who I’d met at the Open Mat in Richmond last month and had rolled with several times then. I knew she’d be tough, and she didn’t disappoint.

I don’t remember much of it. πŸ˜› She pulled guard, I tried to posture up; she tried to cross-collar choke me, I somehow got out. I got under mount (doh!); she tried to cross-collar choke me. I eventually got out, though it was short-lived, and I was back under mount again; she tried to cross-collar choke me. I think I must’ve escaped again, and she tried to cross-collar choke me again. (Anyone else seeing a pattern? I sure was — but I was considering that she was really trying to set something else up, so I tried not to overcommit to defending my neck too much.)

I kicked her across the face once on accident while trying to walk up to a higher guard; she got me back with an inadvertent eye punch later. I might even get a little black there. πŸ˜€

I think I got a hook or two in a time or two, but nothing seemed to be really effective, and I’d wind up back under mount again, defending my neck. At one point, she got my ankle and went back for the straight ankle lock; she had her top knee across my hips so I couldn’t posture in to her. A girl on the side finally called out to turn my heel into her ribs and to grab her lapel — no, her other lapel — and pull myself in. (I’m not sure who you were, but thanks!) Eventually got enough leverage to get around and out.

Not sure I ever got to top with Lo; I think I was fighting off my back most of the time. Did wind up back in her guard a time or two more, though I wasn’t getting anywhere trying to break it. At one point, probably when I was back under mount again, I remember thinking, “One of us needs to get a submission soon, or I’ll have to tap from being so tired!” Kept fighting, though, and I think my hips did a few good things that I totally wasn’t expecting them to do. Nice job, hips! I think I had a north/south kimura escape to turtle, but couldn’t grab a leg; she may have had or nearly had my back, but I somehow got away from that.

But finally, back in her guard again, she caught that cross-collar choke and got the angle real sharp, and I couldn’t defend it. Started tapping, but my hand was on the far side of her face and the ref wasn’t watching there (and she wasn’t letting go until he saw); I finally croaked out, “Taaaaaap!” and the ref stopped us. Ref had to pick me up; I was tired — that match was 13 minutes long! Felt so much longer.

I got a break for a little while and watched a few more girls’ matches go. Too soon, though, they called me to go against the third girl in our division, Trish. I thought I was okay; I felt fine.

We started, and I got a double-leg takedown. A takedown, I got a real live takedown!! Sweet! Didn’t secure the position quickly enough on the bottom, and she got back to guard. She started fighting for the cross-collar choke. Hey, wait a second, I just lost on that. Nyuh-uh, you can’t have it, too — only one per day. I think she swept me or opened her guard or something; I somehow ended up on my back, playing from guard and open guard. She was fiesty (probably trying to overwhelm me and finish me off quick, since I’d just had a long match), and I quickly realized that I was still tired. No gas in the tank. Crap.

Somehow, I don’t know how, I survived that initial onslaught. I thought I was done several times. She could hit nearly any sweep at will as I didn’t have much defense for them. My hips were working on their own, though, which was good — my brain had no clue what we were doing. She had an armbar from mount, which I managed to follow up and stack. I think I followed that with a double-under pass, maybe; that was in there somewhere, though I couldn’t manage to secure the position afterward. She had a few other armbar attempts from mount, but I think her weight dropped on her legs first, so I had space to shrimp out the back door. I don’t know how I escaped sometimes; my body was working on its own.

My brain started asking if I wanted to tap from exhaustion. Then another little voice said that Tim and Justin and Adam would probably never speak to me again if I did. Darn it, have to keep fighting. And then I heard a number of girls on the side giving me advice and encouragement (and Fred and Sundance in there, too), so I plunged back in.

We had to reset at one point since we were rolling off into the middle of some other matches. She started crawling back. Finally realized that she seemed nearly as exhausted as I was, and this was only her first match. Alright, I can do this. Keep fighting, chica.

I’d been catching several triangle-to-armbar transitions, but she’d escaped from the first few; I just couldn’t hold on. Also, I think my hips weren’t quite deep enough. Saw another one and shot my legs up for the triangle; she postured, so I switched to the armbar. This time, someone yelled to roll, so I rolled toward my stomach. Couldn’t quite get over because she’d grabbed my lapel and was pulling for all she was worth. Somehow, finally, her grip broke and I got all the way over. My legs were burning, I couldn’t breathe, my arms were going numb. But I heard Sundance say to arch my hips and Liz, I think, to pinch my heels, and other girls calling other things, so I held on and held on and arched and pinched and just when my brain started saying that my body was about to just give in and collapse I heard the ref say, “Tap! She tapped!”

Oh thank goodness… I did collapse then, belly down, and just laid on the mat and smelled that new mat smell. I didn’t even know where we were on the mat or even which way was up. I finally poked the ref’s foot and asked him to help me up. He said, “What, again?” I said, “Yes, please.” So he pulled me up — and propped me up for a minute — and then raised my hand. Ah, I do like that part.

That match was over 9 minutes. I couldn’t feel my arms. I couldn’t think straight. I stumbled over to Fred and Sundance on the side and then collapsed on top of Sundance.

Done, I was done. Couldn’t even talk. I finally got Fred to go tell Chrissy that I wasn’t going to do the Absolute, that I had nothing left. She made fun of me :P, but then did take me out. (And she gave me an arm massage. Hurts so good… and I could feel my arms again afterward.) I know I could’ve gone and laid there and tapped and gotten a 3rd-place medal, but I didn’t want to do it if I wasn’t going to make a fight of it. And I knew I had no energy available. So Lo and the other girl (not Trish, a different girl) had a single match in the Absolute, which Lo won in a few minutes by RNC.

And in our division, because Lo beat me and I beat Trish, then Lo beat Trish by the transitive property, so Lo was 1st, I was 2nd, and Trish was 3rd. We’d all forgotten to get our medals, though, so they had to track us down later and give them to us. I talked to Trish and one of her coaches for a little while; one of their teammates is heading to Tech this fall, so he should be coming over to train with us.

Sundance was originally bumped up in weight (from 150-159.9 to 160-169.9), but another 159 guy showed up, so he went against that guy. I don’t know how long it was, maybe 6 minutes?, and the other guy finally caught a guillotine that Sundance couldn’t get out of. He also tore open his ear, which had been cut in class last week, so he decided not to compete in the Absolute, either. He and his girlfriend left after that. I hung around a bit longer to drink Gatorade and energy drinks until I felt like I was able to drive home. I figured if I stopped at my aunt’s first for a shower and nap that I’d never get back on the road.

While I was hanging around, I met a ninja. (This blog thing is sometimes weird, because people you’ve never met know who you are. πŸ˜› And you know who other people are, and you can point them out at tournaments and think, “I know who that is.”) Sorry I couldn’t take you up on the food; we’ll try next time.

In summary, this weekend I

  • saw lots of people I’d met
  • met lots of people I’d seen
  • collected several bruises of unknown origin
  • earned 3 hard-fought medals with four matches that I’m proud of

I’m still taking next week off. I’ve already raided the library for a stack of books, and I intend to catch up my Techniques page again. So, see ya in a week!