MMA in the morning

Slept in this morning, rolled out of bed, grabbed a gi, and went over to watch the guys spar before class.

Only, most of the guys weren’t there. They were one man short. So I had to get some gloves and get in for 2 3-minute rounds. Against a guy more than a foot taller than me, and nearly 100 lbs heavier. Yeah, that did not go so well for me.

MMA first thing in the morning will wake you up real fast, though.

And since it was MMA rounds, he could take me down, bellyflop on my ribs, and punch me in the face until Tim stood us back up. Did get to guard a few times, though I could not reach him to break his posture or punch him, while he could hit me at will. Every takedown was a pretty good slam, too, and all right on the same spot in my lower back. Much. Pain.

The funny thing about that is I had run in to one of my friends from TKD earlier in the week. He’d asked if I could come help with sparring at testing, since they have 3 testing for conditional black belt. I said no, that I hadn’t sparred in a while so it wouldn’t be pretty. And then here I go and spar this weekend anyway. *headshake*

Class was open mat after that. I rolled with Will for a good while, probably 30 minutes. Nice and slow, technique round. Got a lot of work on trying to pass his open guard; only made it around a few times when he let me, and then he was working on getting back to guard so I didn’t stay in long. He did a sweep at one point that dumped me on the same spot I’d been slammed during the MMA rounds. Ouchness. Paused to let me recover my wits, and then we continued.

At work all week, our printer hasn’t been working. We tried turning off the power — there are 2 power buttons, for some reason — and turning it back on. We tried everything else we could think of. Nada.

So a repairman from the printer company came yesterday to check it out. He flipped the secret power switch (3rd) on the bottom side corner, et voila!, it works.

Collective *facepalm*.

Seriously, though, 3 power switches for one printer? We asked him if there was a super secret power switch we needed to know about for next time. But he said that if there were, even he didn’t know about it.

East meets South

Two of the guys from the TKD club came tonight to try out classes. They’d come last week to get information — and didn’t even realize I was a student here, so were surprised to see me — and then came back tonight. They did BJJ and then kickboxing. They’re both good guys, and I hope they do decide to come back. Some of the guys from TKD I wouldn’t be too happy to see, but these two, yes: I know they’re both controlled and willing to work hard and learn.

HUGE class. Where’s everyone come from?! And that’s with some guys already gone for the summer, and quite a number more who weren’t there. Wow. Several new guys: my TKD guys, a friend of theirs, and another newer guy’s friend.

Short warmup, but still exhausting. Then a few rolls to warm up. I rolled with the smaller of the TKD guys; despite him being new, I was fine rolling with him because I knew he would be controlled and he wouldn’t try any of the cheap tricks (like elbow in the throat) that most new guys do. Ended in half-guard early — he was trying hard to pass my guard, and he’s quick! Pulled guard at one point and tried to work several things, but he didn’t want to let me have hold of anything for too long. I have no idea why *innocent face*. We did a lot of wrestling from knees. I got him down at least to his hands and knees several times, with over/under grips, but couldn’t get around for the armbar there. At one point, Tim was walking around and mouthed “Guillotine.” Oh, right, I know that. Slid it in deep and tight. Huzzah! Did catch his back at one point, too, but couldn’t finish the RNC; and did hit the switch from turtle to back. These be some long rolls…

Next roll with Justin. Lots of moving, but my arms were so tired from all the wrestling with the TKD guy and I wasn’t doing much worth anything. He did go for a D’Arce once, and I had my elbow up so it was heading deep; did manage to flatten out, though, which only helped for a moment as he went straight over to mount. Frying pan to fire. He did catch something, I’m not sure what; he said it’s something new he’s working on. From my angle, he looked like a pretzel, but a pretzel that was choking me. He had another choke, not sure what, and gave me just barely enough room to move and keep up and finally find the way out. Had a knee-up guard break, but couldn’t get past after that. Actually, don’t know that I actually broke his guard there; might just have gotten my knee up. I tried the half-guard pass he’d shown Will after class last night, and he laughed. And countered it. And did it correctly on me later. Doh.

At some point during our roll, we heard Scott next to us saying, “Um, you’re gonna want to tap soon.” We both paused and looked; Scott had a newer kid in an armbar from mount. Scott was still sitting up some and wasn’t putting a lot of pressure on the guy’s elbow, but he was in the right spot to rip it off. And the guy waited and struggled — and then Scott turned up the pressure — and then the guy tapped. We shook our heads and kept rolling. Then later, we heard Scott say the exact same thing. Couldn’t be… Sure enough, same position, same outcome. Heard Scott telling the kid that it’s okay to tap in training; it’s how you learn. Didn’t hear the kid’s response — I think I was getting choked at the time — but Scott told us after class that the kid had said he thought he could get out of it, to which Scott said, “Yeah, because I wasn’t trying to rip your arm off. I was giving you a chance to tap before you got hurt.”

Drilling next. Worked in with Will and Clifton. Had some trouble at first until Adam pointed out that I wasn’t coming in quite enough. A few tweaks, and I could hit it most of the time.

One more roll. In with the other TKD guy. Again, I trust them, so had no problem even though they were new guys. He warned me before we started that he knew 2 moves, so I’d better watch out. (Said he’d learned an armbar at some point, though he didn’t remember what position he needed to be in to do it.) He was also non-spazzy and non-cheap tricks, just as the first guy had been. Had him in guard most of the round. Again trying everything I know from there and not getting anywhere. Did have two bump sweeps. Off the first, it took a long while because he was sliding away from me — finally realized I had position but not control; worked for control and then moved on — but did finally find that armbar. And without tiring out my arms: had it trapped and was sitting back right and using my weight. It’s almost like I know something! Was also getting him on his hands and knees a fair bit and tried for the same armbar I’d tried with Justin, but again couldn’t get around; he’d either move and just block with one arm. But did remember Tim’s hint about the available guillotine and did get this one in, too. Did try the armbar from class today — well, just the swimming part — and he laughed and pulled his arm away and said, “No, wait, I know that one.”

Most of the guys split out early because they’re meeting back up for the midnight showing of Terminator. I stayed around to watch the TKD guys in kickboxing class. They’ve picked up some non-TKD-club sparring habits along the way, possibly from being some of the best guys around when it comes to sparring, and so Perry was making sure to, uh, gently remind them. They did alright, though, and I think they’ll pick it up very quickly.

Watched one new guy try to take off the 13-year-old girl’s head. And he outweighed and obviously outstrengthed her, and he was just whaling on her. A few of us were watching, and we got awfully close to stepping in. She’s smarter than me, though, and she finally just walked off. Perry had been sparring that round, and afterward he was looking for her for the next round. I told him what had happened; he asked who had done it; and he sent Gary in to spar with that guy. One of my guys went to talk to her and told her that the guy was, one, a jerk, and two, had felt threatened by her. She came out later for more of class, though not anywhere near that guy.

The friend who came with my TKD friends seemed to have some martial arts training — he was bowing to Tim and Perry — but also no control and no awareness of his partner’s level. One of the guys, who’s hurt, had come in to spar a light round with him, and the new guy started throwing as hard as he could. (But, oh, if the other guy could’ve hit to the head!) One of the assistant instructors stepped in and separated them, and then took the new guy on himself. Later, this same guy was throwing Thai elbows — which aren’t allowed in kickboxing, anyway — on one of the other new guys. Perry warned him a few times but he didn’t stop, so Perry stepped in to that match, too.

Ugh, too many new guys, too many big egos.

They did a speed kick drill later, and Perry asked me to partner with the 13-year-old girl (because the closest one to her size is the guy who was beating on her). Legs are out of kicking shape!! 50 speed round kicks with each leg. Ouch! She did one full and one partial round; she’d hurt her knee earlier and was just being stubborn about trying to finish class. The instructors and her dad finally convinced her to sit out.

Open Mat and TKD

Went to Open Mat last night. Got there early since I hit 40 billable hrs sometime on Thursday (thanks, road trip). A few guys showed up eventually. I rolled with Nick for about 30 minutes. Made bunches of silly mistakes — I know to keep my elbows in, to keep my head on the outside, and all that — and he’d catch whatever was available (D’Arce, armbar, kimura, guillotine, triangle, RNC). Did have one triangle escape. Tried the guillotine escape from last night, but my arms aren’t long enough to get far enough over his back to prevent him from arching.

Changed and headed over to TKD. Did get lots of reaction from the TKD kids’ parents with my shiny new belt; most of them assumed I just did BJJ and didn’t realize I already have a black belt in TKD. (I admit it, I wore the belt out on purpose just to see if I’d get a reaction.)

TKD testing

We had 1/3 of one of the gyms, divided by a huge curtain. But it was so loud! Basketball and indoor soccer games going on at the same time. More incentive for the testers to yell louder, though. And a very cool echo when they all yelled together. I was late getting there, but still made it during the first group’s test. We had the space until 11:45 pm, and we took every second of that.

They looked good, and I was glad to see so many of the gold belts from last semester coming back.

There were two black belt candidates. I came in as a fourth for the first one’s sparring. (We do one 4-minute round, with a new person joining every minute. So the final minute, you’re fighting 4 people. You get surrounded and overwhelmed. You can handle 3 surprisingly well — keep them all in front and pivot toward one side. But that fourth can get around the back and cause trouble. Second degree test, there’s two of those rounds.)

I was timekeeper for the other round. The guy was knocked down and almost looked like he was going to pull out. (He has this habit of getting hit with what he thinks is too much contact [sorry, dude, contact for this test is heavy] or in an illegal area [oh, yeah, sorry, we do miss sometimes] and then looking at the instructor/examiner as if to say, “Did you see that? Aren’t you going to stop it?” When he did that this time, he got drilled by Battle’s side kick. And Battle wasn’t playing too nice because the guy had been grabbing the gi of one of the other black belts — which isn’t allowed — and then pulling her around as a shield. Do illegal things, we might not stop it, but we will hit you harder.) The time: 3:59.16. Fourteen one-hundredths of a second between him and his black belt, and he nearly pulled out. We didn’t tell him the time; we just waited. He did continue, though with a little limping fanfare. I should’ve asked if the examiner wanted more time but didn’t think of it until later. So they reset, said “Go!”, and almost immediately I was saying “Time!”

Cinder block breaking was excellent, though. Both of them broke with their downward palm heel, and then the first guy broke it with his side kick, which no one has been able to do for over 10 years. (Part of it is the set up: two people hold the block, pushing forward on it only. Two people hold up those people’s hands; these are actually supporting the weight of the block. Two people brace the block holders. So there’s a lot of give behind the block.) His first two kicks nearly knocked me over, and I was one of the bracers. His third kick, I didn’t feel anything — and couldn’t see anything — so I didn’t even know he’d kicked until everyone started yelling.

Home after midnight; shower and bed. Off to watch my guys spar this morning and then class afterward.

New Belt!

I got my belt tonight! No, not that one — this one:

That is my embroidered black belt for Tae Kwon Do. I tested and passed for it 3.5 years ago. I finally got it tonight. Lots of reasons why it was delayed, and nothing I could do about any of it.

It’s a size too big (reaches to my knees!), and I’ll probably only wear it once, to TKD testing tomorrow night. But I got it!

Very small class tonight. University classes are wrapping up and exams are starting or getting ready to.

Rolling to warm up. Started with Tim. Had some decent hip movement at points, though mostly I think I was just trying to do the same things over and over. At one point, he was trying to take my back and I did something like a sitting turtle, leaning forward and tucking my elbows in; he got his arms hooked in and just lifted me up and back and then started laughing and said I was very portable. Got absolutely squashed when I tried to sink a guillotine; had to let it go and let him pass; then he said that was what we were working tonight. Lucky me again. Did get back to guard a time or two, not that he stayed there for long.

Adam next. Watching for that D’Arce and defending it. Underneath a lot. Did get to guard a few times. Even had a few bump sweeps, though couldn’t hold mount afterward. Trying to remember to breathe. Moving, I thought, fairly well. I think I even had another sweep in there at one point. And I did think of submissions, but was defending so much that I wasn’t able to get anything of my own off.

Drilling was the guillotine defense that Tim smothered me with. Drilled with Yoshi. We were both surprised when, while holding the guillotine, we nearly had to tap. Terribly amusing, though. Seriously, there comes a time in that escape when the guy on the bottom just lets go and says, “Get out.”

One more roll, with Justin. At least 20 minutes. Muy awesome. Had some sweeps, some passes (though he was giving me lots of trouble on those), and a shallow Peruvian necktie (was thinking too much about catching the armbar off it and so didn’t give the Peruvian its due). Got to side control and mount, and even has his back once, though mostly working from my guard or under half-guard; actually, caught in top half-guard quite a few times, with Lockdown. Couldn’t quite work out how to get out, though I think I did manage it once. Had quite a few escapes from bicep and calf pinches and leg locks and one from rubber guard; caught in a couple of armlocks (too fast & tight to try the hitchhiker, though I think I did get it off once) and one D’Arce that he was determined to get (had defended several others with Nick and Adam’s tips). As with Adam, I did think of submissions, but, except for the Peruvian necktie, didn’t have much chance to try them; he was making me keep up.

When I got home, I had a voicemail from one of the TKD guys, telling me that I should come to class tonight because he had something that I’ve been waiting on. Had to dig my TKD gi out of storage (!) and then headed over there.

They have testing tomorrow night, after Open Mat, and several alumni are supposed to be coming in. Plus, I can finally wear my belt! So I’ll head over that way after Open Mat tomorrow.

There was an explosion…

…of page views this weekend. Wowzers. I go do TKD for a few days, and look what happens. One was from a site that I still haven’t quite figured out, but it somehow sent a ton of traffic this way.

The other was from The FightWorks Podcast’s BJJ Blog of the Year post, since both Steve and Slideyfoot nominated my blog. Thanks, guys. 🙂 (I’d nominate ya’ll back, but it looks like several other folks already got you up there.)

Nominations are still open, so if you know of any good BJJ blogs that aren’t listed there yet, go post them. The judges will make a final list from all the nominations, and then FWP listeners/readers will vote.


Testing went well. All the white belts passed to gold, though they were all nervous and almost afraid. The advanced belts — all 5 who tested — also passed, and they actually looked really good. (Testing over the summer, not so good.) We also had a black belt pow-wow after testing with the two wannabe head instructors, who are both conditional black belts now. Conclusion is that they’ll be made co-head instructors should they both get their black belts next semester.

Found out during the test that one of our former club members, Mike Z., is now fighting MMA. (He already had his black belt in a different style when he joined the club, but he hung around and worked out with us anyway.) It’s about time. Even though I do TKD, I would generally say that if someone lists that as their primary stand-up style that you’ll be okay. If you’re facing Mike Z., however, I’d say, “Start running.” His first fight was ~21 seconds, win by KO.

Testing over, though, means that I’m done with TKD. I may stop in next semester or next year, but I don’t have to bail on BJJ or MMA any more. Huzzah! I can’t ever say that I regret any of my time with the club, because if it weren’t for the club I wouldn’t be doing BJJ right now. But it is time to move on, and I’m finally ready to.


November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Write a 50,000-word novel in one month. I did it last year and finished. Of course, last year I had a job and no free time, so making time was almost easy. This year, with a whole month of little to do, I’ve had trouble “finding” enough time.

Finally started tonight, though. Not a lot so far (~2,000 words), and not a lot of time left (1 week), but we’ll see if that’s enough pressure to get past my inner procrastinator/perfectionist.

A warning: The OCD* is striking again (probably because the inner procastinator/perfectionist is trying to sabotoge my NaNo attempt), so I may completely wreck my categories and/or tags in the next week. I apologize in advance if that causes problems for anyone or if it blows anything up.

*Or, as I’ve heard it called recently, CDO: the letters in alphabetical order like they’re supposed to be. Sadly, I find myself nodding in agreement….