Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I'm back?

Wow.  Only five days short of a year and two months since my last post.  I guess I've been gone awhile.  I'll be honest: after that writing slump, I gave up on this blog.  Time and energy seemed in short supply and sitting down to write these posts simply did not seem worth the effort.  "So what changed?" you might ask.  The answer to that question is hilariously long.  In summary, almost everything has changed.  I'm not sure what in particular changed my mind about this blog, however. I guess I just don't like the idea that I gave up on something.  That I quit.  Thankfully, there's an easy fix: just don't quit!

Even though I've been MIA from blogger, I've been as active as ever on the mats.  The school actually changed locations, names, and owners since my last post, but class is much the same as ever!  (Of course, classes are bigger than before, and much more colorful.)  This week the school is actually closed for an end-of-school/beginning-of-summer break, and next Monday is Memorial Day, but with any luck I'll return to my original blogging schedule soon!

A few final updates before I go.  I competed in two tournaments in the past year: Lutador in the fall and NAGA in the spring.  (I attempted to compete in several others, but alas, it was not to be.)  I placed 1st in Lutador (Gi-only), then 1st (No-Gi) and 2nd (Gi) in the teen expert division at NAGA. I was awarded my green belt following the first tournament and my first stripe after the second.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feeling Dangerous

Completely exhausted right now. With a few guys competing in Lutador this weekend, tonight's class consisted of lots of drilling and lots of rolling.  After warm-up, we drilled shoulder throws.  Then a basic guard sweep.  Then a mount escape (better for bigger guys) and an easy open guard pass.  Cue heavy arms.  Next came shooting and sprawling. Cue heavy legs.  Following that we moved on to positional training.  Guard sweeping/passing first, then side control escapes or submissions.  Felt really good about the guard stuff, but my game from side control stinks.  Something else to work on I guess.

After that a few regular rolls; with Caleb, then Steve, then a newer(ish) white belt named Kevin.  I didn't do awful with Caleb, but by the end of the roll I was really tired.  Then rolling with Steve I started wishing I had eaten a little less Chick-fil-A on the way over.  I felt really bad though when I accidentally whacked him in the nose when sitting back for an arm bar.  Well I guess that's one way to make them let go.  Okay.  Really tired now.  By the time the last round started, I was seriously considering asking to sit out.  I decided to push on ahead though and see how I did when I was tired.  Turns out, I hardly got the chance.  About a minute into the round, we were grip fighting when Kevin yanked his hand out of my gi.  He yanked so hard it actually broke or dislocated the top joint of his finger.  It wasn't bad thank goodness, but, needless to say, class ended shortly.  Anyway, feeling a little dangerous momentarily seeing as I managed to whack a nose and break a finger in the course of one class.

By the way, remember that awesome fluidity from last week?  Yeah, it has gone missing. :/

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm back!!!

I think it's been like two months since my last post...sorry about that.  I suppose I should have mentioned this in advance.  I have a terrible tendency with writing (and art and occasionally reading) that for a while, anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, I will do a ton of writing.  I'll write everyday or every other day or whenever I get a chance.  But then I burn myself out and writing becomes a chore and I have trouble dragging myself to the computer to do it.  Needless to say, I hit that point in December.  Not really sure if I'm through it yet, but I can try.

I only made it to a few classes last month anyway.  Between the weather and other commitments, I only actually made it to two gi classes last month.  I should have guessed considering I got a new gi for Christmas that I was dying to wear. (Maybe I'll do a review for it later.  I couldn't find a review for the women's before I bought it.)

I guess I never posted the results from the Newbreed tournament back in December.  Short version - first place in Gi, first place in No-Gi, finally got to go against a girl!!  So overall good tournament!  I haven't competed any this year yet; I have a Tang Soo Do test (for 2nd degree black belt) in March that I would rather not get injured before.  I think the my next tournament will probably be NAGA in July.

Class last night was good.  We recently began spending a lot more class time drilling which honestly I really like.  Last night we drilled a transition from side control, to scarf hold, to north south, and all the way around, then an open guard pass and a sit-up guard pass, and finally some submissions from the back.  I didn't get in as many reps as usual last night because I was working with Caleb who constantly cycled through to give each pair a new technique to drill.  My techniques were flowing pretty well though, which I was happy about.

Four rounds of rolling.  Honestly, that was probably my best class in a while.  I was caught in several submissions, but I recognized a defense for each, some of which worked and some of which didn't.  My whole roll felt really smooth.  Even rolling with the big guys I was doing better than usual.  Hopefully this will hold up through tonight.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tournament Prep

Sorry this is late.  I knew I was forgetting to do something.

Warm up, then drilling takedowns.  Ten hip throws, ten double legs, and ten single legs.  Claire just watched class since she wasn't feeling great, so I partnered with Katie.  Our technique for the night was a defense against the single leg and a takedown from there.  I'm pretty sure we did another technique before more drilling, but I don't remember what it was.  Some more drilling for the tournament, then rolling.

I only rolled four rounds.  Two with white belts, one with a blue, and one with Caleb.  Caleb put me in some weird positions during our roll.  I think one was 50/50 guard, but I've only ever heard of it, so I'm not quite sure.

Another tournament this weekend.  This one's a new one, Newbreed.  It's another small tournament, so I suspect I'll be against boys again, but that's okay.  I got some extra practice with my takedowns (Gi and No-Gi), so I'm hoping I won't make another dumb mistake (in a takedown at least.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26

I think my body must have realized tomorrow's a holiday, because it's decided to be very lazy.  Monday night I was exhausted by my second round of rolling, and last night I was breathing so heavy afterwards you would think I just ran a marathon.

I was happy to see two new blue belts at the front of the line.  Obviously, Saturday's test went well (still bummed I couldn't make it...).

Anyway, class started off with some takedowns, which I was glad to see I have made some progress on.  Caleb and Josh went over all the details for the newbies, though honestly it was good for all of us.  I finally managed to set up the shoulder throw without wobbling and/or tripping and/or falling over.  Plus, I successfully completed the shoulder-throw-thingy where you set it up like normal but drop to the ground and roll them instead of throwing them.  And that really surprised me.  Once everyone had the throws/takedowns, we did a drill where you roll to your partner and throw them (we used the second one).  Then they run to the other side of the mat, touch the ground, and repeat the process.  We did this until I was so dizzy I was afraid I would fall over.

The night's groundwork consisted of counters to recomposing guard.  Both of the ones we learned were super simple, but I'm not sure I will be able to remember them quickly enough when rolling unless I'm already thinking about it or I train it as muscle memory.

Five rounds of rolling to end.  First with a white belt who, when I asked, said he hadn't trained BJJ in a year or so, but wrestled fairly often.  Needless to say I was surprised (and impressed) when he didn't try to muscle out of anything (except an arm bar) and I could feel him actually trying to set up a real guard pass.

Finished off with a roll with Josh which left me happy and absolutely exhausted.  Don't get me wrong, I did terrible.  He caught me in a baseball choke from a position I didn't even know you could finish it from.  Not to mention he caught me in two or three other submissions during the six minute round.  Despite that, I could feel how I have improved even in the last few months.  Also, I could see how far I had to go.  And that's just to purple belt!  This'll be fun.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monday, November 18

Sorry I haven't posted lately!  The week after the tournament I was too lazy to post, and last week I didn't make it to class at all.  In my defense though, the deer we hit driving to class last Monday left a lovely hole in my dad's truck.

Since I knew I wouldn't make class last night either (I had the end of the year party for Tang Soo Do), I went early Monday night for some extra practice with the Gi.  Got to do a bunch of drilling with Gina while Caleb helped Matt with his techniques for his test Saturday. (Oh, by the way, there's a blue belt test Saturday.)  Anyway, after drilling I got to roll about two rounds with Gina (the timer wasn't turned on so I'm not exactly sure) and one round with Caleb.  Honestly, I was pretty satisfied with my rolls.  I even got an arm bar!

After that was an hour of school work while kids' class went on.  Following that was sword class, which I got to join in on.  Actually, I enjoyed that class a lot.  Very traditional.  Plus, I've been wanting to try sword class for about two years now and my parents finally said yes so...yeah.

Anyway, back to jiu-jitsu.  Nice sized class for No-gi.  Apparently the theme of this and this past week is/was reestablishing guard, so obviously we worked on that.  We actually drilled four different ways to escape side control, three of which ended with them in your guard.  When Caleb was explaining the last one he kept saying "roll across your shoulders" he rolled over his head. Hehe.

Oh yeah, and my brain just reminded me we worked on escaping mount too.  As soon as we started rolling, I realized the sweep we learned was one that Caleb uses on me all the time, so now that I know how to do it, maybe I can figure out how to defend against it.

Rolling was apparently somewhat uneventful since I don't recall much of it.  Then again I'm pretty tired right now so it could just be that.  Everything seemed to be flowing pretty well, which made me happy.  I'm starting to see things (submissions, sweeps, etc.) where I didn't before and it's a pretty awesome feeling.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Copa 2013

Drafted to the boys division (again).
1st place in Gi - Won the first round by points and the second by submission.
3rd place in No-Gi - Lost both rounds by submission.

Sooooo, despite my efforts to ensure I fought a girl, I was once again the only one in my division and was moved to the equivalent guys division.  There were other girls there; just not in my age and weight classes.

Match #1: Gi
My first match was against another orange belt named Chad.  He was basically my size and age.  It didn't take long to figure out that triangles were his favorite submission.  He jumped straight to guard and tried pulling three different triangles before I could pass.  I won the match on points, even though I spent most of the time in his guard.

Match #2: Gi
I was completely exhausted after my first match, but thankfully I had a bit of a break before round two.  When I found out I might have a second match, I began hoping and praying it would be a girl this time.  Lo and behold, it was another boy.  A yellow belt thank goodness, but a boy nevertheless.

During the second half of this match, Caleb was competing, so Eric and Jonathan coached me instead.  I got a deep collar grip right off the bat and pulled guard.  After some grip fighting, guard passing, and sweeps (Still not sure how I managed to pull one off by the way), I finally managed to get my other hand in for the collar choke.  Honestly, I was freaking out on the inside because Caleb helped me with this choke last month and although I had never successfully completed it during sparring, I knew my position was right.  I didn't know how much time I had though, so when my hand slipped under his chin, I pulled my elbows to the mat and my knees to my chest.  And it worked!

Match #1: No-Gi
Since my division had no changes from Gi to No-Gi, we went first (despite being the last round of Gi).  I nearly had a heart attack when I walked back into the gym to hear them calling my name.  This time, I was against Eli (the yellow belt) first.  So, as you know, takedowns aren't exactly my strong point.  He wasn't trying anything though, so I decided to go for something.  I had decided what takedowns I wanted to look for ahead of time, but, of course, my mind went blank.  So I tried the first takedown that came to mind, and did it wrong, despite the fact that I might have actually succeeded if I had tried my absolute favorite.  And I would have gotten extra points.  Urgg!  Anyway, I went for a double leg, but too slowly because I was unsure, and left my back and neck wide open.  So he did the logical thing: took my back and submitted me.  I didn't do too terrible at defending once he was there, but I think I probably should've tapped a bit sooner.

Match #2: No-Gi
I had just enough time to swallow the lump in my throat before my final match began.  Looking back, I'm honestly not sure how it happened, but I somehow jumped into a guillotine.  Although after how short round one was, I wasn't about to let that be the end of it.  By some miracle, I remembered enough of the defense to make it out alive.  I got caught in a triangle when I broke his guard.  I might have actually escaped, but my nose and mouth got covered and I had no choice but to tap.  I felt really bad about it, but between the fatigue, the lack of oxygen, and the disappointment, I couldn't quite hold back a few tears.

  • I successfully completed a cross choke.
  • I tried a takedown.  It may not have gone as planned, but at least I tried.

Things to work on:
  • Guard passing
  • Double leg takedowns
  • Defense against triangles (especially in No-Gi)

Very, very sore today; especially my neck.  Can't say I'm surprised though.  Hopefully I'll be rested up enough for class tomorrow.