BJJ Grrl

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

Defying physics

So right now, I have all of the side effects of cutting weight (e.g., crankiness, dead muscles, no energy, hunger, thirst, craving for salt) but none of the benefits, i.e., losing weight. In fact, I think I’ve gained a pound…. Something’s broken. Likely me. Hopefully only my scale, but likely me. Bah.

I got my CSA farm share last night, and there were blueberries and cherries in there. I took them home & washed them. When my brother came in, he asked if he could have some. When I mentioned that I was cutting weight for the tournament, which meant I couldn’t eat them so he could have them all, he started doing a happy dance there in the kitchen. Then he sat at the kitchen table saying, “I love blueberries!” as he ate them with a spoon. I did remind him that I hadn’t had carbs in a few days so he’d better not taunt me too much, at which point he did get quiet but began to shovel blueberries faster into his mouth.


I seriously considered not even going this morning. I’m tired and cranky and wasn’t even packed. I even got up and sat on the couch to consider my options. But, fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), my brain does not work terribly quickly at 6am, so I ended up grabbing a gi, clothes, towels, and lunch and even made it class on time.

Short warmup. My left shoulder crapped out on alligators; it’s been giving me issues the last few weeks. (Bah, reminds me — I forgot stuff to put on it today.) Doesn’t bother me in rolling, just in things like pushups and alligators. Already exhausted at this point and again questioning why I even came.

Partnered up to do the omoplata situp from armbar — just the transition — for 3-min rounds. Okay, wait, now I’m exhausted. Then drilled 5-min rounds of full omoplata from armbar.

Rounds. Two with Lauren, one with Arkeif, and one with Eamon. I was gripping more tightly than I thought I would be able to, but I couldn’t move fast at all or keep a solid frame against anything. And now I’m really tired…

This is the last training session before the tournament for me. Rest of the week is to recover and to hopefully move these pounds that don’t seem to want to leave the party…

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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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Losing it

I have a problem right now that I’d love to have the week before a tournament: I’m dropping weight. Fast. Four days ago I was 125; this morning, 120. Problem is, this isn’t the week before a tournament — it’s nearly 2 months before! I’m not doing it on purpose. I feel as if I’m eating the same. I eat until I feel full (and so get that slight delay in brain signals, and am slightly overfull afterwards). I’m not hungry between meals, and I’m still eating 5-6x/day — breakfast, (snack if hungry/tired/craving/whatever — have had), lunch, snack, pre-workout shake, and dinner. And it continues to fall right off. I suppose the good news is that 1) my favorite pants fit again (125 is just too much for them) and 2) I know I can make 124.5 for December.

For now, I’m blaming it on work. Stress city. It’s like trying to hit a moving target while blindfolded. Everything’s an emergency. Everything changes almost hour-to-hour. I can’t ever finish one item before I’m shuffled over to something else, and by the time I get back to the first item, it has to be revised because everything’s changed. Again. Now, I do like variety in what I’m working on, but I also like it to be variety of the stable sort, not variety of the running-around-like-chickens-with-our-heads-cut-off sort.


Kids’ Class

I usually take some time on Tuesday or Wednesday to come up with my plan for the kids’ class. But with work being so nuts this week, I haven’t had time. So I had to kind of cobble it together at nearly the last minute. It was not my best foray. And I didn’t remember to update the times in my schedule now that the class starts a half hour earlier. So I kept glancing at my watch and confusing myself about how much time we had left.

Perry and Gary were reassembling the puzzle mats, which is the side we normally have class on. But since the kids’ class now ends before the adult class starts, we could use the other side. … Which spelled more pressure for me, since that’s where my class congregates before class, so I knew they would be watching. (In the end, they actually all hung around just barely on the other side of the dividing wall, so I didn’t feel as if they were all staring at me and critiquing me. But I didn’t know that at first, and nearly psyched myself out expecting it. Ugh.)

And then the kids were in one of their moods. (I say it collectively because the three most driving it are related.) I at least had had the presence of mind to put ball balancing and sprawls at the end of class, since I know they like them. So even if they hated me the rest of the class, at least they’d go home happy. I still had to let them out 5 minutes early because I was getting ready to hurt somebody.

Nogi Class

Everyone comes on the first nogi night. Gi nights this week have been sparse.

I had to run and change out of my gi and missed the first minute or so of class. They started rolling, 4-minute timed rounds, so that left me with Theresa. Tim was rolling, too. I try to roll in the middle of the mat so that I can turn quickly and find another partner — I am trying — but there seems sometimes to be a big dead space around us when everyone goes to switch, and they all rotate around us and don’t make eye contact. :/ So rolled with her a second time. Third round, both of us walked in opposite directions and tried to find a partner, but they scattered. So we were together again…

Only this time, Tim saw us walk back together and asked if we had just rolled together twice. I said yes. So he made kind of an announcement, but made it seem targeted at us, loudly saying that he didn’t want us rolling together twice in a row and that we needed to find other partners. I think some of the guys will take it to mean that we (I) are just being lazy and only trying to roll together (not) and that they have to step in and “separate” us. Let them think what they will, as long as they roll with me.

So then Tim shuffled groups around quickly, and I got to roll with him for a round. Wow. Always, wow. Such pressure. Never any space. Fighting off my back most of the round, just trying to keep up and not panic. Oh, and tapping lots.

Then a round with Scott. Last night, he, PB Buddy, and I had had a short workshop on pinning your hip to theirs; Scott was saying that he’s been working to get hip-to-hip when passing, because once he’s there, he knows he’s past. So my goal then tonight — and paired with Kintanon’s comment about controlling the hips — was to keep his hips off of my hips. Not so much good, but then it was my first time and that’s been his goal for a few months now, but I did definitely feel how important that was. If I bumped from scarf hold and only tried to disrupt his upper body, I couldn’t do much, but if I could bump enough in to him that his hips had to move some, then I could see glimmers of space. So I tried to imagine targeting his hips when bumping, bridging, shrimping, etc., i.e., anytime I had to move him off me. Mostly, I wasn’t reacting quickly enough and was letting him get the position before trying to get him off, but then, that was mostly because I didn’t see where he was heading in time.

Then was partnered with Yoshi, who has apparently recently embraced open guard, deep half, and even some inverted. What?! Totally not what I’ve come to expect from him. So this means he’s working on some solid techniques to back up his speed and everything else, which means that soon I won’t get anywhere with him because he’ll be a total monster. I can see where he even slows down some with me and really works on isolating movements.

Then drilling. We moved away from the move-of-the-week tonight because Tim had sat out that last round and watched, and had seen one guy get in a certain position frequently but then be unable to do anything after that. So, this was for him. Single- or double-under pass. Drilled with Theresa.

Rolling. With Yoshi again. More crazy guards from him. Though, his knees were coming up more this time, and I got a few hooks in and a couple of sweeps, but only passed once. He scrambles too well. I had several “almost” things, where I was just short of making something work.

Last roll. More shuffling. A white belt hunter tried to get himself assigned to me (I think he’s getting antsy for his belt because of the guy who got promoted Monday), but Tim sent Guillaume over for me instead. I completely forgot about knee-on-belly to spinning armbar until I found myself up there and his elbow flaring. Um, okay, sure. Thanks! Did a few things mostly well, though found my hips rising up without permission several times.

Legs were a little stiff today, but don’t seem otherwise to be faring too badly from the Tabata yesterday. Of course, I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to know for sure. (But then again, by the end it was mostly a cardio and mental battle, with a few jumps thrown in. So maybe not too bad.)


Not sure if I’ve ever found this before, but looks too good not to post somewhere: Global Training Report’s Jiu-Jitsu Training in Rio de Janeiro Summer 2006. Haven’t had time to go through it yet, though.

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One more kids’ class down

Kids’ Class

The twins were back tonight (I had some success at telling them apart tonight — one is taller, though I just have to remember which one is, and also have to have them standing near each other); their sister did class, too. Theresa and another boy came as well. Perry left me to handle the warmup, and the repeating kids were already asking if we could do some of the warmups exercises from last week, which were on the schedule anyway. I need to use more drills/exercises like that, that “hide” the jiu-jitsu drills inside something that seems fun.

Then we spent 5-10 minutes reviewing shrimping as a group, with me calling out which leg was up and when to go. Several of them were complaining because they claimed they already knew how to do it and wanted to do it on their own to make it go faster — and then I’d have to point out that they had just tried to shrimp to the wrong side, so obviously they did need some slow practice. We did that many, many times until they were doing it right on command about 90% of the time, and then I gave them a few runs on their own.

Drilling was scissor sweep from guard. We did this just the other night in the regular class, and I was glad to have it available to bring up for the kids so I could review it. We’re working from guard in here for the next month, and Justin’s taking us through some guard work in the regular class when he teaches, so I’m getting to see it first and then repeat it with the kids. (Makes me pay attention to how he’s teaching something, too.)

The three siblings made drilling harder because they don’t do so well together right now, but there’s no real way to separate them. Theresa and the other boy are a lot bigger, so I had them work together while I rode herd on the troublesome trio. Kids definitely have a shorter attention span. After drilling only a couple times each, the three were already becoming fussy and fidgety. I need to interject a drill-related (if possible) game here, and then maybe come back to drilling a few more times.

King of the Hill sparring to end. The smaller kids started complaining again after a little while that they didn’t like this game because they kept losing (even though they were actually winning some rounds — both Theresa and the other boy were letting them). So I’m trying to think of a way to get some positional-type sparring in with a time limit and rotation — I’ve got some ideas, but most seem to hinge on having more people. So, something to ponder. I do want them to have some live sparring, but not full-out rounds just yet.

Last week we didn’t seem to have enough time; this week, we had way too much even with dragging out shrimping. So I had them go back on the wall for more shrimping, on their own this time. I told them I didn’t care how fast they went; I just wanted them to do it right. One kid took me very seriously on that and went super duper slow. Well, I guess I deserved that. Then we had a request to do alligators. (Seriously? Are you kids messed up in the head? I don’t like alligators.) So, I had them do a couple trips of those. The slow shrimper finished up his second trip of shrimping as the rest were finishing up their alligators. However, he did do them right 95% of the time, and when he did them wrong, he immediately caught it and went back and did it right.

I think I need to add another set of exercise/drills in the middle of drilling and another here at the end. We can skip the last one if we’re running out of time, but I think switching movements and positions may help entertain the littler ones better.

All during class, I found myself repeating things that Tim or Justin has said during our classes. Like the “do it right” speech during shrimping at the end of class or “shrimping is the most important thing in jiu-jitsu” at the beginning. Lol, I guess some of that really has penetrated my brain.

Nogi

Made it over to my nogi class right as Justin started on the technique — knee-up guard break and pass. I learned this move from rolling with him, actually, and used to harass Purple Belt Buddy with it (when he was a blue belt) until he asked Justin to teach it just so he’d know what it was and could start countering it, lol. (I was giving him fits on Saturday with another move that I learned that way, until he called Justin over to de-mystify it.)

Drilled with Theresa, then rolled with her. Then we had an odd number of guys, so I was going to sit out the round; I don’t know if someone left or what, but Justin came over to roll with me shortly after. He kept me moving fast. We had to bounce around a lot to find open space because everyone was rolling into us. He gave me lots of positions to attack. I need to keep my back straighter when sitting up in butterfly guard. If I try something and miss it, he generally repeats the same thing right back on me to show me how it’s done. (So sometimes I do things just so he’ll do it correctly.)

After class, I asked Will if I could drill just the passing part of the technique on him (I wasn’t sure if the rest of it would be too much on his knee, plus that’s the part where I have the most trouble — I can break the guard, but then I can’t go anywhere. Mostly a problem of pulling the trigger, I think.). He obliged, and then gave me some advice on using my head more and keeping pressure and no space throughout the entire pass.

Oh, also, Blue Belt Buddy said I felt like a 200-lb man last night. Squee!

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“You feel big”

Smaller class than we’ve had in the last two weeks. Also, several of the guys were over helping TR in the cage get ready for his fight next Saturday.

Warmup — jogging, high knees, heels back, turn it in/out, two-and-two, bear crawls. Circled up for jumping jacks, lunges, squats, situps, triangle situps. On the wall for shrimping, singles, shoot and sprawl.

One round to warm up, with Theresa. Then found Steve for a good work round. Let me tell you, that boy has gotten technical and is getting close to being smooth. I spent most of the round trying to pass his z-guard; I’d get close, and then he’d slip a little knee or foot in the way. Hey, that’s my game! But I got lots of work at being heavy on top and crushing his knees the same way guys usually crush mine, and paid attention to what he was doing to stymie my passing.

Drilling was the same standing guard pass as last night. Drilled with Theresa. More rolling. With her again, and then with Blue Belt Buddy. He also let me attack his guard for most of the round, and I ended up in similar positions as with Steve. I did get a couple of passes out of it, and once I got to side control, I worked on sinking my weight down and shimmying in to small spaces. (I never actually thought the word “Mudslide,” but I think that’s what I was doing. The concepts, at least, were popping in to my head. I still don’t have a new announcer voice, and I think Caleb and Shawn have left. *sad*) Also popped up to knee-on-belly several times (and once remembered to switch sides!) and worked to find a choke or an arm, but he had it all defended.

After that roll, Buddy commented that I had felt bigger and heavier on top than he’d expected. That he’d had this mental idea of how heavy I’d be on top and how much physical space I would seem to take up, all based on rolling with me before — but that then I felt a couple inches taller and lots heavier. Wohoo! Jiu-jitsu’s probably the only place you can tell a girl you think she feels larger than usual, and it’s the best compliment you can give her. 😛


My sister is getting married on Saturday. And I love her and want her to have the wedding that she wants, but I’ll be so very glad when this is all done with and every conversation with my family doesn’t revolve around planning this thing. I have to take Friday off work (and off jiu-jitsu, of course) to help with the last minute stuff and to get a manicure & pedicure. I’m not actually excited about those because they’ll probably try to scrub off the calluses I’ve worked so hard to get.

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