Monday, May 31, 2010

Drilling with Jeans

I think I've found a way to adapt a lassoing drill to do on my own.
The basic drill (two man) involves starting in spider guard (on the bottom, opponent standing) hipping out to one side and lassoing that same leg around your opponents corresponding arm. Well, my opponent is going to be an old pair of jeans. I tried it with my gi first and while it was great for toughening my grip, it was hard maintaining tension and not getting my foot completely caught in the body. I may try it again and try tying up the body.
It's not quite the same (I can't get the same hip movement without the resistance of an actual body), but it lets me work on internalizing which direction (CW vs. CCW) I should be looping my leg (there's still a split second of hesitation) and pulling the arm directly to my belt as opposed to...whatever messed up direction I default to.
After 30 reps on both sides, I was glad to see my hands were hurting like they do in class and my back and triceps were starting to tire the same way.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bringing up BJJ in Conversation

It doesn't come up often for me...even when people ask "so what have you been up to?" I don't usually chose "I'm finally remembering to lock the triangle on my omoplatas!" as a response. But, today it came up twice.

I was at a Chinese meeting, talking to a lady from Macau who has family living in São Paolo, so of course, I had to mention BJJ. She responded, "But you..." as she began holding her hands above her head...I'm assuming gesturing to make some indication of my size. "But you strong!". Yeah...I strong.

A few hours later, my cousin asked me (jokingly) if I were a black belt yet. I laughed and told him I was still a white. He looked at me surprised. "Still?" "Yes, belts take a while in jiu jitsu." Insert look of confusion and Bruce Lee sounds.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no stranger to activities that make for awkwardly dorky conversation..."You're a handbell soloist? Like that guy in front of stores during Christmas?" "What's that you're reading? The Sillma-what-ion?", but there's something different about BJJ. Maybe it's just me, but it seems to go beyond causing thoughts of "You're a strange one..." to deeper questions of motives and character (depending on whether they're familiar with MMA). It's definitely not enough to keep me from going to class, but I'm starting to wonder if it's even worth being added to the rotation of "normal conversation."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pick a side

I'm still staying on my back too much. I think what I'm missing is that point where someone's about to get the mount, where I should automatically go to my side so that I don't end up flat. I've gotten pretty good at responding when I see someone moving into side control, but a full mount still can catch me by surprise.
Class tonight was HARD. I've been under the weather and was only able to make it two rounds. I honestly thought I was done after the first, but sat one out and went again. I really accomplished very little save helping a blue belt try out a move he was working on. I usually have a planto work on one general habit and keep my eyes out for one move that I need to work on. All that was out the window tonight. I was just thinking about breathing. I did, however, get a chance to work with spider guard a little. We did two drills from the position and it's starting to feel less awkward.
My little girly wrists need some help. They were really failing me in a spider guard drill we did to work on changing positional control of the feet. I've always had crazy weak wrists though. I can barely open jars.
I...want to drill more. This is dance all over again...yet again, having a partner to work with while not training would be a huge benefit. Maybe one day I'll be able to drill a technique and apply it all reflexively, but right now, drills illustrate concepts for me. We did a sweep from spider guard and it helped cement the concept of controling one side of an opponent.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New class schedule, new work schedule...

So my school's class schedule is changing. Class is at 6:15 now, so I backed up my hours at work to give me time to get to the gym.
I missed class Monday because of a sore throat/stuffy head and it feels like it's been weeks since class. Funny, when I first started, going once a week seemed insanely frequent. To make matters worse, my diet seemed to go into the toilet along with my not going to class. Quantity wise I'm fine, but quality is in the toilet. I'm getting a bit back on track though...I experimented with a brown rice and mushroom casserole tonight that I'll adapt to quinoa later.
I FINALLY broke down and bought the iron gym and I'm liking it so far. Pull-muscles are getting a good workout:)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Guest Writing

A thanks to SlideyFoot for featuring one of my pieces on his blog. You can check it out here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Learning Styles

I'm crossing into a new area of my jiu jitsu journey. I remember my first three weeks when my biggest worry was a forward ukemi...and it was a BIG worry. It was the closest I've come to tears so far. Well, I was drilling a triangle from spider guard last night and I realized how tired I wasn't. No burning in my hips or feelings of exhaustion. I felt like I'd been working, but nothing that wasn't manageable. Before, I focused on just surviving the class, so picking up a technique was a huge bonus. Now, the only reason I have issues learning a technique is lack of focus...and it's got me wondering about my learning style.
For less physical activities, I'm a blend of listening and reading...absorbing and doing. Physically, I'm really not sure. I need to see a technique at full speed, and while breaking it down into small pieces is helpful, I find that a certain level, it throws me off. I do better seeing a move, trying to replicate it, then having mistakes pointed out and corrected as I go.
I went to the all levels class tonight...and again was nervous seeing Master Da Matta.  It's all in my head, since the class is always great and I do fine, but I'm still trying to find my comfort zone. I sat through a portion of the kids' class that was absolutely adorable before hand. They were playing dodgeball with using two tennis balls and a soccer ball. If you got hit...pushups.  They had a blast and it helped calm my nerves.
I learned a good drill for passing butterfly guard (I know three now...yay!). We thankfully went over some subsmissions from spider guard that were giving me grief last night. I'm finally able to shoot into a triangle without adjusting.
Details...I have a hard time absorbing them without immediate correction (i.e. someone sweeping me). I think it ties in to my lack of talent for rote memorization. I need to get the big concept and work my way down by making mistakes and paying for them. Errors are my friend.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

My school...

I love this place:) You can see my instructor (purple belt) in the background.

Monday, May 10, 2010

First time sparring with a girl...

I definitely picked the right name for this blog...My triangles still aren't tight enough. We were working on a drill in spider guard that transitioned to a triangle. At least I'm down to my main problem being turning my outside leg out more. I think I have my leg tight enough against the neck, and I'm remembering to crunch. Still forgetting to adjust the arm...but yeah...they're coming along. On a positive note, I heard a "Good job, Megan." come from off the mats while I was drilling. I think it was the kickboxing coach but I'm not entirely sure. Compliments, they go a long way for me in BJJ. Any other part of my life, I take neither compliments nor criticism to heart...but this? A simple pat on the back from the head instructor can motivate me for a month plus.
A guy I hadn't seen in a while came to class tonight. Last time I saw him he was a white belt and now he was sporting green. We did warm ups and drills together and were also partnered for the first round of sparring. Before the timer started, he looked at me and asked "Is this your first time rolling?" "Nope...been rolling for a few months." "Ok...well...this is my first time rolling with a girl." Based on some of the other guys' reactions, I'm guessing this isn't the first time I've been a male's introduction to rolling with women. But this IS the first time one has admitted it to me. I laughed and told him that if you step into a class, you honestly expect things to happen . I enjoyed rolling with him. I felt like I had to work, but he wasn't overly aggressive. I was definitely tired by the end, which is one thing I really like about rolling with guys. I know when I'm muscling my way through moves, because I  tire out. Not quite the same with women.
Ooo...pulled off the kimura sweep my instructor showed me last class too. Quality.
I'm getting decent at getting back to the guard from side control, but I want to start focusing on getting to my knees. I'm spending a lot of time on the bottom going from mount to half guard...side control to mount and back around again. I'm forgetting that getting to the knees is an option and my mind is always set on getting to the guard...doesn't seem to be working well with faster opponents. I'm also a bit wary of giving up my back, but I'll chance it.
I need to work on shooting my hips up faster.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Knee Flexibility

I know that to get optimal space when bridging, you should bring your heels as close to your hips as possible. Thankfully I have long calves (better angle on my bridge) but it could be better if I got my feet further back.

My problem is knee flexibility. I can get my heels to my hips when aided by weight (like sitting seiza) and maintain it for extended periods of time without pain, but without it, I've got about 8" of space open. I've started to notice this causing problems in other areas like getting hooks in for certain sweeps.

Someone pointed out to me that you shouldn't stretch joints, and this is something I've wondered about since I picked up Stretching Scientifically a few years ago. I guess I'm left with the question of whether my knee issue is caused by "flexibility" of the actual joint, or if ligaments around my knee are what the problem is. Since sitting in seiza helped me before, I may try doing that again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I love omoplatas...

...well...I will one day. I was told, yet again today, that my technique on them is very good, I just have to learn to set them up. I think this is the third time. Bridging that mental gap isn't easy. Somehow setting up triangles comes relatively naturally to me while rolling, but not these. So, like my instructor said, I'm going to have to start looking for opportunities where an arm is outside my thigh. I also got some good advice on dealing with posture I can't break. I have particular trouble with a wrestler in class that's quite a bit smaller than I am. If she sits back, my little repertoire has nothing to deal with the problem. So, next time...kimura sweep.
I'm back on my morning protein shakes after a couple weeks off. Almond milk, protein powder, a banana, flax oil and a shot of honey. I used to do the ground seeds and while I love the fiber, I don't like my shakes hairy. I've been trying different powders and right now Publix Greenwise and MLO are my favorites. All the rest seem to have sucralose in them, which turns my stomach to no end.
A serious shout out to Curls and their organic hair products. They specialize in products for, well, curly hair and a while back, expanded into the world of super curly Black hair. It has saved my life in BJJ. My hair has been through the gamut...almost waist long and wavy, shoulder length and bone straight, attempts at growing my natural texture out, drama with cutting and the wrong chemicals, not to mention big-bird blonde chunky highlights on my very black mane. So now I sport a very low maintenance texturizer. I wash my hair twice on the days I train, and anything else I've tried has either dried it out or left serious buildup. It works and all the products smell like tropical fruits. Double win:)
Oh yeah...good tips on escapes from half guard too. I have a hard time getting out of it with shorter bodies (probably because the angle between my hip and torso is more severe, harder to get good leverage and I've just been pulling). I'm going to have to focus harder on planting the foot of my escaping leg, keeping a wider base, rolling the upper body up and off the mat and not being so reluctant to bring my weight back onto my free leg.