BJJ Grrl

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

Submission Only Richmond, Dec 7, 2013

The absolute highlight of the day — Laurie Porsch tracked me down during the gi divisions to tell me that reading my blog was one of the things that helped her decide to start training BJJ. That is probably the best thing I have ever heard.

While I was at the tournament yesterday, two other significant things happened: my teammates Robert & Kellie got married, and my former teammate Nick Liaskos got his black belt from Ricardo Almeida.


Short version:

  • Nogi, advanced, weight class: 2nd (of 2)
  • Nogi, advanced, absolute: 2nd (of 2)
  • Gi, blue belt, weight class: 1st (of 3)
  • Gi, blue belt, absolute: 2nd (of 3)

Most matches were around 8 minutes or under. My first match in blue belt, though, went about 30 minutes. Yeoooowch!


I. Made. Weight. 124.5 on the nose. (There would have been fewer pounds to cut and/or the whole process would have been easier if I had had fewer slices of the homemade carrot cake during Thanksgiving…. I regret nothing!) I don’t have far to go to reach that; my walking-around weight hovers just under 130 these days (except after Thanksgiving *ahem*), but my body is very resistant to giving anything up. Also I like to eat and do not like being hungry.

Looking back over the results brackets now, though, it likely did not matter. In nogi I was combined up anyway because there were only two of us; in gi, it appears I would have been the lone person in my weight bracket and would have most likely been moved down, as there were fewer women there than the weight class above. Oh well, that’s how it always seems to go — you don’t cut and there’s actually a weight class there (and so you end up with bigger women), or you do cut and get combined up anyway.


US Grappling has a bunch of new things they’re doing on the organization side of the tournament, and it made a HUGE difference yesterday in how the tournament was run. Their Submission Only tournaments always run well, but this was better. There are now minions, and minions with minions, and better communication among staff which makes for better communication to competitors. Everything seemed to be moving along more quickly, even for the hour+ matches (and there was even apparently a 2.5-hr match). And also, this time they got to use an auxiliary gym, which is where they started the kids’ matches and eventually moved some of the adult matches, as well, which gave them an additional 4 mats.


Nogi, Advanced, weight class

Mary Holmes, who I last fought in Greensboro. I knew she liked armbars, so my goal was to not get armbarred. Instead I got head-and-arm choked. She’d set it up a few times and I’d managed to get out, but that last time, I knew I was sunk.

Goodness, I look so slow. And there are dumb things I did or let her do that I know better than to do. Gah.

Nogi, Advanced, absolute

Me and Mary again. Goal was still not to get armbarred. And also to work on all the things that Andrew and Liz had pointed out to me from the first match. We were sent to the auxiliary gym, and since my guys were either competing or coaching in the other gym (same for Mary), there was no one around to tape our match. It was over more quickly, though this time I did fix those things that Andrew and Liz had said, and I avoided her armbar, and I avoided the head-and-arm choke (by virtue of avoiding the position where she was throwing it because Andrew told me to) — and I got off the bottom and in her guard and thought I was doing decently well. And then she triangled me. Doh. (She was working for the armbar on the trapped arm, but it was the triangle that got me.)

Gi, blue belt, weight class

Long wait to gi, at least as far as waiting for women’s matches goes. We always used to finish nogi and then almost immediately get told to check in for gi; now there’s a built-in recovery time (not so much for us, I think, as to give them the mats to start cranking through Beginner and Novice male divisions). I didn’t fully understand the concept at the time, though, and so didn’t rest as much as I could have (every time the loudspeaker came on, I thought I was being called), but I will definitely work with it in later tournaments. They moved all women into the auxiliary gym for gi.

Jen from BETA first. ~30-min match. Holy cats was she ever scrappy! There were so many times I thought I had her done, and she’d buck and twist and just will her way through something. She seemed to get stronger as the match went on. And I heard later that she had already done a very long match in nogi! I did finally secure an armbar. Several times when we stood up during this match, I started getting light-headed. Bad. At the end of the match, I had to lean on the ref; he was good-natured about it, though. And then my forearms were cramping up.

(Video starts a bit late, but we batted around on our feed for a few seconds and then she pulled guard hard.)

{Okay, here’s a funny (Chrissy will laugh) — as I’m watching this video, I’m realizing that we are the same size. All during the match I thought she was so much smaller than I am!}

{Also, why is my butt so high in the air?! C’mon, man! Or stuck to the ground. And you can see me looking at spider guard like “WTF is this?”}

I am so grateful that I had Andrew there to coach me. For one, I would have given up long ago, but he kept telling me to stand up or “do this thing” (and “breathe! breathe!”) and the habits of the academy meant that I did what he said. And two, because my brain stopped knowing jiu-jitsu very shortly in, and he just kept patiently reminding me of what I know until I could finally get it done.

Chelsea from Team ROC next; I’d last fought her at NC State Championships. She still has that amazing bridge, but she had also had a very long match in nogi. She did not feel tired to me, though! I finally managed to do the things that Andrew was telling me (and it was mostly repeats from the last match, so my brain almost knew what we were doing by now), and finished another armbar.

Match ~5min.

[I may have video of these last three matches later. Someone else filmed them, not on my camera.]

Gi, blue belt, absolute

Three in the division again — me and Chelsea, and one other. (So two from the smallest bracket, and only one from the other two brackets, both of which had at least 3 women. C’mon ladies, do Absolute! The rest of us are dead at this point, too!)

Chelsea first. Same deal as before, though this time I secured a cross-collar choke that Andrew had been trying to talk me in to earlier.

Match went for 8:16.

Colleen next. Andrew was busy coaching one of our purple belts across the room, but I don’t think it would have mattered one bit. After fighting the small girls for so long, I completely failed at what to do with someone so tall. And when she set up the bow-and-arrow, I watched it, knew it was coming, and absolutely could not summon anything to do about it. Also at that point I just wanted to be done with all this and eat. (Although then Chrissy pointed out that if Chelsea beat Colleen, they’d redraw the bracket and we’d all have to go again. That did not happen, and though I am not happy that Chelsea lost, I am happy that I did not have to fight anymore. I might have really passed out.)

Match went for 2:33.


[Edited to add a conclusion so you’re not just hanging out waiting for videos]: I am so sore! Yesterday and still today. Spent yesterday in fuzzy pajamas eating junk food and playing video games. Now I have this week off, the Hillary Williams seminar in Richmond (again) on Saturday, and then only two training days next week before two full weeks off for Christmas/New Year.

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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.)

Summary:

  • 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.

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“I am become death…”

“…destroyer of elbows.” Wait, what? I don’t think that’s quite how it goes…

BJJ

Rolling to warm up, Tyler and Jamie.

Drilling reviewed the armbar from last night first, then progressed to a sequence of another armbar, a triangle, and a final armbar. Worked with Tyler. (Yeah, I pick on the big guys, lol.)

Open Mat

Rolled with Spencer, one of the Salem white belts and a wrestler. I’d met him back at the combined team training down in Salem a month ago, but I didn’t recognize him tonight in a gi. (The words that very nearly came out of my mouth: “I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!” But I caught myself in time.) He complained that I had a “Janet guard” (aka, “annoying little people guard”) when I kept getting my knees in between us. Yep, that’s what I do.

At one point, I had a triangle, he postured, and I switched to the armbar like we had just drilled. Somehow he started either falling or turning away and I was starting to rotate up over the arm, and then I heard him saying, “Tap tap taptaptap!” I immediately let go, but he was already clutching his elbow and facedown in pain. Crap. Do not break your toys.

He recovered after a minute or so and said he wanted to continue, so we went again. Then we noticed a big stain of blood on my sleeve and started checking which of us was bleeding and from where. Him, inside of his lip. I apparently popped him good in the face at one point. Geez, you’d think I was a spazz who didn’t know where my partner’s face was. I did apologize for being such a bully tonight.


Rolling Notes

For goodness’ sake stop giving up your back!!!!!!!!!!!1 * Remember to use that unfolding-the-accordion guard pass from Camarillo’s book, too. You were right there several times. * Giving up the arm is not a very good mount escape. * Actually, the whole night I was rolling just like I did at the tournament. Pretty much all of the same things that I did wrong there, I did wrong here. I did grip-fight a little bit better, but mostly it was quite terrible.

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Monday night, March 5, 2012

The weather got me all excited this morning: snow was pouring down. At one point, I couldn’t even see the neighbors across the street, the snow was coming so thick. But the snow had no inclination to stick to the roads. Pfft.

Fundamentals Class, BJJ

Small group, of course, since most of the students are gone for Spring Break. Started with any guard break and pass, switching off. Worked with Buddy.

Then Andrew showed a quick side control choke, then Justin showed side control to mounted triangle and side control to mounted armbar. Worked with Buddy at first, then Janet when she came in.

BJJ

Rolling. Janet, Andrew (who said he “owed me one” for not coming to morning class today, and he sure did make up for it), Janet again, and Adam. For some reason, I was fixated on arms today and on going inverted. I have no idea where that came from…

At the end of the second round, a shout and slaps — Ethan, Big Jon’s brother, got his blue belt.

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A barn-burner before competition

Fundamentals Class, BJJ

The mat was covered — covered, I say — in blue belts tonight. Very nice, especially when they’re all showing up for the fundamentals class.

Rolling to warm up, two rounds. With Aubrey and Eman (hah! I know how to spell it now. Thank you, Facebook stalking.).

Drilling was the Gracie Gift Pass, done the right way. Drilled with Aubrey and Janet.

BJJ

Rounds of positional sparring from guard. Bottom: sweep or submit; top: pass. Then switch top and bottom. Four total rounds, with Aubrey, Ratcliffe, Andrew, and Janet.

Then Tim called for Rob and me to get on the wall (because I’m doing the tournament this weekend & next and Rob is doing next weekend). He said anyone could join us if they wanted to, and everyone did for the first part. Squat jumps down (4 trips?), burpees started in there somewhere between every trip, alligators. Was that all? It felt like a ton more. I could hardly move after just this part. Then he told everyone else to relax, and had Rob and me do (3? 4?) trips of single leg/sprawl (thankfully no burpees) and then 25 pushups at the very end. Holy. Cats. Legs no working. Need oxygen. Everything is burning….

Leaving tomorrow again for Fairfax. It’s not going to work out for me to train anywhere this time (also, there’s the shattered toenail [which, p.s., still hurts], the crappy shoulders, and the upcoming tournament), but I may have a look through some Crossfit WODs and see if anything can be accomplished in the hotel workout room. Otherwise, this was my last workout before the tournament.

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