Friday, December 14, 2012

and once again, work schedule by armbar.

Son of a bitch.

So I'm finishing up chiro on my shoulder, which had okayish results (meaning I'm still a bit apprehensive about it)... Been back to lifting at the regular gym (which I still am not loving, but it'll come back around)... Summoning the balls to go back to crossfit as well. And I should be able to return to jiu jitsu in the coming days


Getting kicked back to night shift again. I am enraged and sad.

I still have no idea what's gonna happen. While I've sent out multiple pleas for options to train, I've not really heard back from anyone with any sort of solid, reliable response. I could take 1-9pm shift and maybe get in an hour or so of morning class, but that would make it unlikely that I could swim or lift after work. 12-8pm at least gives me the flexibility to do those activities, but would knock morning class out of contention. That would leave me at the mercy of when/if I could get folks to come in earlier in the morning and on weekends.

Not really ideal solutions.

I'm also strongly considering switching departments at work. That would mean losing my weekends. I'd have to work saturday and/or sunday. Doing that, I'd lose one or both of the more flexible days, with regards to open mat training days. It'd also mean a different set of criteria to deal with in actual job performance.

Le sigh. I don't like any of these options.

But all of them are temporary. At least there's that.

Friday, December 7, 2012

another motivator

As I continue my path towards getting smaller, I've found a really cool motivator: eventually, some of my gis are going to be too big for me. I've decided to allow an old friend to inherit them as that happens. 

I'm not talking junk gis, these are nice Shoyorolls and likely an Origin, too.

But giving them to an old friend who has been so instrumental in my early development in bjj, who first exposed me to open guards, and who often serves as a listening board for my various grappling gripes, is a nice external motivator. 

Still making small changes to diet and habits there, too early for much results, but on the right path. Feeling better, sleeping better, and much more like myself (read: mischievous and giggling).

I'm on the "descending" path of treatment with chiro for my shoulder, so I'm hoping I'll be able to return to normal activities soon. I'm hoping to get some mat time in this weekend if it will cooperate. 

If not, well I'll just settle for some pool time and maybe a little barbell work. 

Oh, who am I kidding? I won't settle. 

I'm also acutely annoyed that I failed to acquire a GUMA membership from today's limited drive today from shoyoroll. But I'm also done with stressing over their releases, in general. If I get a gi, fine. If I miss out on their insane presales, so be it. It isn't worth the annoyance, and today's exercise only reminded me of it. I mean, really? Sold out in 3 minutes? Extra Virgin Pure Horseshit. 

(That said, I would probably justify knocking someone over the head with a tire iron to gank a Ring model gi in my size, or even in a nearby size)

And while I have NOT been enthused that I had to shell out maxibucks for a new tv this week (the not-really-old-but-out-of-warranty one died), I AM excited to watch the 2012 Pans on it this weekend. And that new arm triangle set. And if Emily's new nogi set shows up in the mail, that too. You know, with all of my raging free time.

Damn straight I just tracked that shipment again. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

information overload.

So it is my intention to lift some today. 

And I have no freaking idea where to start. Whatever the lift programming equivalent of writer's block is, that would be what I'm experiencing. 

The hilarity of this is that for years, decades even, I carefully researched and wrote up my own lifting schedules with relative ease. It was almost autoprogrammed. An afterthought.

But now, after having turned the reigns over to crossfit for almost 2 years (to admittedly shameful consistency), I find myself unable to program. I've gotten so used to just showing up and being told what to do that I apparently now need spoonfed. How embarrassing. 

While I've pretty much, at this point, just resolved to spend a few weeks doing the "Couture barbell series" just to get back into the swing of things, I just felt compelled to remark upon the vast wealth of resources out there... 

how to lift. how to eat. how to do jiu jitsu. how to sort your socks.

anything and everything is there. 


I guess it's pretty wishful thinking to assume any given process has one, and only one right way, but sheesh. It makes it hard for someone who likes to absolutely immerse in a topic before making a decision do just that - make a decision. 

The little scientist in me wants research and facts and theories proven. And yet what I'm finding is that much like the magical spreadsheet land of most places I have worked, the science can be skewed to support or unravel any given process. 


So, I guess I'm just going to throw a few hypotheses of my own out there, and see which ones survive. I'm basing my decision to add supplemental lifting based on the fact that I felt and looked better back when I was putting in that extra lifting time. We'll see if I can still manage to hit up bjj and crossfit with regularity. Those take precedence. 

While I would prefer having a nice, plotted out list of exercises, the barbell circuit is as good as anything else to re-acquaint myself. And by hogging a barbell for that long, it invariably pisses off the "I'm here to do bicep curls" crowd, which just makes me smile typing it. Asshats. 

Anyhow, let's go to it, and let's get some swimming in, too. 

Shoulder is responding well to chiro thus far... let's see if it can hack this. 

AND ASIDE: holy flaming shitballs. There's a NOGI version of Emily Kwok's instructional coming out soon. Damn straight I preordered that noise the second I read about it. SQUEEEE!!!!! 

***later update: this was all apparently a not-so-great idea. Shoulder hosed up mid-evening. Meh. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

plotting and scheming on mah health

Made what was hopefully a first intelligent step towards getting my shit back together - went to my chiro yesterday to figure what the sam hell my shoulder keeps doing. Got jammed, poked, prodded, and bent about (which will be repeated basically every other day through this coming week, starting tomorrow) and told no apparent tears, dislocations, or arthritis. 

[this was immediately science failed by my instructor, who reminded me that xrays don't really show all of that... shit.]

I'll stick with the chiro, as it's never failed me before, but with a typically open/questioning mind. If it isn't working, I'll get a referral for physical therapy perhaps. 

What sucks was the marching orders to "use the arm and shoulder, but don't challenge it" - WTFF. Do these people not know me yet?! 

This really puts a turd in the punchbowl. I had plans, such plans, to plunge back into crossfit, lifting, swimming, grappling (ALL THE THINGS!!!!!) with a renewed splendor. Guess that's going to get scaled down to size a bit. But that's probably a good thing, given my penchant for red-lining things. 

Upon waking today, I was really just feeling the idea of adding back in supplemental lifting. I was in better shape when I was lifting more (meaning more than I do for crossfit, when I go regularly, that is), or at least I felt that way. So, I'm thinking I'll just add some leg work, some back work, core/rotational work, whatever seems fitting on the days I'm going swimming. 

Or just lift from the garage. It's really whichever. 
think I'll take an old lifting book with me to the woods today and see what plans I can't scratch out. if nothing else, hunting season is allowing me to catch up on some reading. great. pfft.

and also, damn, what the crap did they do to me? sore as hell from the chiro appt. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

there are few certainties in life...

however, one of those is this: Women's Grappling Camp always freaking rocks. Always. Irrefutably. I had to fight the urge to flick a lighter in the air pretty much the whole time. The sole drawback being that it's a camp. A short burst of excellence that acts as a much-needed springboard to better things and progress...

It's always that. Always.

It was such a real, real pleasure to be able to train in that setting, at a reasonable pace, with reasonable partners, from folks with faded black belts to white belts with only months of experience. The sense of community, of tribe, was also nice. I do hope that the founders and participants realize what value there is just in the culture they've created and fostered. I sometimes wonder if ladies who are fortunate enough to have schools with many, or even a few, other ladies to train with take it for granted.

[None of this I say in de-valuing my perfectly suitable male training partners, to be clear. I adore my mat brothers.]

Or maybe it isn't even a gender-based thing. Maybe it was just a matter of being able to train with people who were not remotely concerned with keeping score. Who were just as interested in you learning the move as they themselves learned it. Who would drill the bejeezus out of something until it worked. Who gave you their best without feeling the need to mash your whole life into the mats and then eat your soul and then post pictures about it on facebook.

Flow rolling = jiu jitsu crack.

It goes without saying it was amazing to train with so many champions. And I say that of all belt levels present. Everyone I met (and re-met) were class act individuals. I was already familiar with the excellent sort of environment that Emily and Val present at these camps, as well as the considerable heft of their own individual contributions. I consider both to be obscenely great resources and ambassadors to grappling, and not solely to women in the sport. I am extremely grateful that they continue to hold these camps. They already give so much through their writings, interviews, instructionals... it's nice to have access to those things as well, but I really cannot type enough about what fantastic hosts and people they are.

And speaking of hosts, Jen from 50/50 made all felt as though they were in their own home gym. After the hours I've spent studying videos from this team, it was really cool to see how people who get to have that sort of instruction all of the time roll. Jen made me feel like I was moving in even slower motion than I normally move in, and it was freaking awesome. And the ladies she teaches were also so adept. Must be one helluva program...

It's always cool when you meet someone and they are "as advertised"... I'd long ago been told what a cool person Lola (who also helps organize the camps) was, and how I need need NEEDED to meet her. Yep, Chrissy, you were exactly right. I especially appreciated her correctly reading that even while sitting on the injured list, I was absolutely dying to at least try some of what I was watching. Then again, I'm not sure I wasn't drooling at the mention of "takedown"... it may've been a lot more obvious than I thought...

It was great to see familiar faces, and to meet new folks with just as much interest in grappling (and warped senses of humor). Again, when you occasionally feel like Tom Hanks' character in "Cast Away", it is profoundly valuable to have that sort of easy, quick connection. Which was one of many epiphanies from my trip: I feel very disconnected in my life right now. Isolated, by choice. Life circumstances have left me walled up in defensive hermit mode, with good reasons.

I talk to people 8 hours a day as my job. It tends to be exhausting, all of that fluff interaction. My ears are wore out and dulled to human interaction. I am tired of people's bullshit and excuses and general "not-on-point"edness to the point I just isolate. But I'm also still carrying around the weight of recent familial FUBARs. Which is okay. It IS a lot to deal with. I've just been denying it and short-changing the gravity of it all for months. It isn't light. It isn't small stuff. And it's okay that it's crushing. Well, not "okay" but more like "hey, hoss, this right here is some serious shit you're dealing with, so don't feel bad it jacks up your swagger...."

And it has. Denial is a bitch, and she came to camp with me. She hogged the TV remote, used up all the towels in the hotel, didn't flush the toilet, and ran up a huge room service bill, too.

The first epiphany happened once I checked in to my room at the hotel. My shoulder decided to jack up again, and all I could think was "Oh no. Not now. I can't miss this training! Heal, you sombitch, heal overnight!" Then I walked through the short hallway to finish unpacking.

Hotels have brutally cruel mirrors in them. My own home has one: a too-tall-for-me bathroom mirror in which I can see if my shoulders are sunburned and if there's anything stuck in my teeth. That's about it. It certainly didn't let me see what a horrific state of disrepair and neglect I am in. Whenever I get a house (which should be soon), I'm putting full length mirrors everywhere. I'll never again let myself be so blindsided by my own reflection. I stared, slack-jawed, at my own image. What in the hell happened? No wonder I've been feeling like crap, getting hurt and/or sick all of the time! Look at me! I'm shamefully out of shape. I was genuinely in shock, to the point I felt compelled to spend the night (and quite possibly every spare waking moment) on the hotel treadmill. Holy shit. I am in trouble. This has to stop! It has to change! Commence freakout.

I honestly had no idea in this world. What a kick in the teeth.

Epiphany #2 (in a series, collect them all): that I am so out of shape is what is holding my jiu jitsu back. I am no longer able to compensate with strength - I will sadly admit that I am not as strong as I used to be. And my game suffers on both counts. I know that a strength-based game is far from ideal, even if I were in decent shape. But I'm in no shape to execute a speed-based game. Which is why that is also failing for me. I'd call this a crossroads, but it really isn't. If there were such thing as a cross-dead-ends, this would be it. No wonder nothing is working. No wonder I'm frustrated all the time by trying this move, now try this one, oh wait here's another move.

#3: the moves work just fine. It's me that isn't working.

I have been studying a host of instructionals and putting in research and work and reps on stuff and just not seeing a return on the mats. Emily's set being chief among them. I can see how and why what she's showing works. I saw it work for her and many others in camp. I saw myself easily handled by much smaller ladies effectively utilizing moves that we'd just been shown, moves from various sources... My own execution, however, was suspect.  It wasn't completely abysmal, I did okay in some instances, and better in a lot of other instances. It was nice to see some things I've worked on prove effective. Especially the wrestling, since I've devoted a lot of time and money to it.

Sidebar, or #3A: I need to find some way to improve my learning process. I'm not really sure what my learning style is, but it apparently is not what I've been doing in regular classes. At this camp, it was much, much more in tune with what I may need, since retention was much better than what I normally experience. I'm inclined to figure that much of that is due to ample reps and cooperative partners. What may also be at play was the non-rushed environment, the generally supportive air, consistent and frequent feedback. It may've been that I got to spend dedicated, focused, non-interrupted time on the moves. I'm not yet sure.

We worked gi all day the first day. First half of the day: standing guard passes of the non-smash variety (yay! new options!). Quickly, I realized that I reeeeeally need to develop at least a little level of comfort with knee on belly. I need to get over the thought of it being "mean" or a "bully move" (even if that is largely how I see it used at home). It is legit, and it's probably something I'd be adept at, given my preferences for a more mobile mount style.

Aside: I haven't mentioned that, from a BJJ fangirl standpoint, it was almost distracting the level of the participants and instructors at this camp. So many times, I found myself thinking "holy freaking shit - she did the PanAms, or ADCC, etc." and not just get completely lost in that. How huge it was. And yet all of them humble as could be... Class. Pure class.

Second half of the day I was elated to see some options from spider guard. When I first started being introduced to open guard, I was a big fan of spider guard. It faded over time, as it just wasn't a preferred style for as many (or any) people I trained with. That my brain wouldn't process options from there didn't help its proliferation or survival. I was especially pleased to see a simple triangle set up that was working even for my short nubs.

Unfortunately for me and my dumb ass, we also worked on some footlocks. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Okay people, we've all heard this a zillion times, but I had to go and prove it - when training footlocks, do NOT NOT NOT wait for it to hurt to tap. Tap your partner, not the nearby ground (where 30 or so other folks are ALSO training footlocks and tapping). And be mindful of tweaking (or suggesting tweaks) a move when it's nearly fully executed.

I can only presume that this is what caused my ankle to, later that evening, hurt like a mofo. Couldn't rotate it, couldn't put pressure on it, just BLAM out of nowhere it was hurting. Driving home on it was such a pleasure. NOT.

#4 wake up call: I'm collecting injuries like they're scratch & sniff stickers or something. And colds. Just weeks before camp it was walking pneumonia. Then my shoulder. Now this. What the crap? Was 38 another milestone age where everything just gives out? I knew better, but just in case I didn't...

#4 came with a side order of  a gentle HTFU (very loosely translated) from Val, whose opinions and advice I always listen to without question (which says something, as I generally question the living crap out of everything and everyone). Val pointed out I'm a couple of years behind her, and she is far from falling apart. And I know she's right. It isn't my age. It is, however, the state of neglect I find myself in. I am reaping what I have sown. Or failed to plant. Or whatever.

How embarrassing. To be so feeble. To break so easily. I really didn't even want to open my mouth any more, because I was just having to vomit excuses left and right. To have to ride the sidelines for the nogi session the next day and struggle through the first half of the day. And it's all my own damned fault.

#5 - in catching up with so many folks I'd met at the last camp I'd gone to, I also noticed that my own trajectory was sorely below the average of the others. I realize we're all on our own path, and we each have our own detours... but I've clearly had way more than I ever should've accepted. And it's something my own instructor has told me: "Jiu Jitsu isn't hard, it's all the bullshit that gets in the way of you doing it that sucks..."

Forced realizations are good things. And I had a host of them over the course of that weekend. A lot of things I'd suspected or wondered about, others I was completely oblivious to. The reality is my situation is now serious. Not insurmountable, but serious. I have to deal with the neglect of my physicality as well as my spirit. The world deserves a better me than I have been giving it for some time now. It all kinda hit home about 2 hours into my drive home, and I stewed on it until I had to pull off the road shortly after crossing back into WV.

I've had some really heavy shit on my shoulders for a long time now. And it has left me numb and unresponsive for a long time. I thought I was dealing with it as best I could, but I wasn't dealing with it at all. Just carrying it. As I retracted and played defense in life, I just shriveled and weakened. I put on a lot of weight. I lost a lot of strength and lungs and will. I've not been myself for ages. I've been me running on an old 9V battery that barely zaps one's tongue. I haven't had the energy for doing much else because I'm buried under too much bullshit. And it's affected everything - my health, my relationships, my jiu jitsu...

But it's okay. My eyes are open now. I'm awake. It all stops now. The climb out of it all begins now. I went to camp and would've been happy with just learning those passes, spider guard options, and the other things. Or with seeing old friends and making new friends. Or with the ridiculously cool opportunity to train with Hannette, Michelle, and Sakaya. Any of those were worth the hours of driving and cash. Instead, I got all of those things, and more. 

And I am totally going to start using spider guard again. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

pneumonia, my shoulders, and my AARP card

I'm not sure what karmic shitstorm I must've invoked, but my training has been derailed as though I should take a whole season off. Hardly what I had in mind...

I haven't decided if I simply work in a germ farm, or if I have the immune system of a disco coke whore from Studio 54 circa 1979. Regardless, I lost hundreds of dollars and weeks of training to what was dangerously close to pneumonia. I'm just starting to feel like myself again.

So now I start the process of starting over. At crossfit, at bjj, at everything. Annoying, but surmountable for certain.

Then I hurt my shoulder at wrestling practice. Couldn't lift my arm overhead. Couldn't shrug that side at all. Extremely scary and unlike anything I've ever experienced before. At least it didn't happen again since... just some random aching now and then.

Aging is kicking my ass hard lately. And I do not like it. And I cannot combat it the way I used to - with more reps, more effort, red-lining myself into being stronger. Those tactics now end up with me sick, hurt, or both. I have to get smarter about this.

More sleep, more water, better eats. Start there, then get on the dang mats.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

still struggling with scheduling

I'm starting to wonder if something is wrong, like health-wise. I can't seem to get in more than 2 occurrences per week of any of the following: crossfit, bjj, wrestling. Crossfit in particular is leaving me sore for 4-5 days. As in, I'll go on say a Tuesday, but be so damned sore that bjj on wednesday is out, so sore that going back to crossfit the rest of the week is out, and I'm still feeling the effects once I finally pony back up on saturday.

I'm all for DOMS. I rather like feeling a little soreness from work. But this is a bit much. I am not accustomed to soreness lasting this long. It's not like I just started crossfit. Granted, I've been missing quite a bit due to work schedule, but dang, really?!

Something has to change somewhere. I can't be so sore that I can't make jiu jitsu. I don't know if that's scaling down weight or reps or what but this is ridiculous.

And entirely enraging. It also smacks of that nagging "you're getting old" voice I hear more and more. And all the people I know who are 40+ who doomcast "oh, wait until you hit 40, it's terrible"

well, bullshit on all that. I have no time for terrible, nor for being sore 4-5 days at a time. I have another competition coming up in December, and I'll be damned if I go in to it as underprepared as I did last time.

Maybe I just take shitty care of myself, I don't know. My asthma decided to make a random appearance as well - greaties. Random afflictions wheeee! Annoyance.

On a more positive note, I received a new set from Stephan Kesting this week, his 2nd series on studies for defeating bigger, stronger opponents. If it's anywhere near as good as the 1st in that series, I'll be a very, very happy Tim. Folks are testing for stripes and belts at the gym this weekend (I am not among them), so it'll be interesting to see if this means less or more ego on the mats. I'm hoping for the former.

Yesterday's wrestling "private" was more of a "public", but it was cool to try and use the stuff I've been drilling. My timing is still questionable, but that's to be expected. I tire quickly, but that's been an ongoing theme. I'm doing a better job of not overthinking things and just doing the moves. I felt a little scumbaggish for doing only wrestling yesterday, but oh well.

But this lagging immune system thing... ugh. Maybe I shouldn't have given up milk?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

not really shocking results.

Won my first gi match by kimura, lost the 2nd match on points. Lost both gi matches to choke.

Sure, it stings a bit. Were I younger I might be more emotional and buttsore about it, but I'm really not. Younger. Or buttsore. I went into that knowing it wasn't ideal. Knowing that I had holes. Knowing that I was not prepared in the least. But I'd avoided competing long enough. I wasn't sure if I'd ever feel "ready" to compete. I also wasn't sure I'd ever muster the balls to try it again. So I charged headlong into it, wisdom be damned.

And I'm still fine with that decision. I'm still fine with having lost. Too many good things come from it. Too many things to learn from it.

Things that I knew good and damned well needed work:
  • nogi, in general. I live in my gi way too much. Taking up wrestling privates will eventually help here, and I already saw a lot of that transfer over to my nogi. It'll come around in time. 
  • grip fighting - the dvds and books I've been reading the most regarding bjj and grappling have HEAVILY stressed the importance of grip fighting, and holy shit, were they all ever RIGHT. I have got to stop conceding grips to people. Maybe I can do that in practice, but in a competitive scenario, grips are so ridiculously key that I do feel like a friggin moron for ignoring them. 
  • Overall conditioning. Damned desk job and shift changes are killing me slowly with weight gain. Have to get back on my quasi paleo wagon and force the issue with regular exercise outside of grappling. I am not getting any younger, and locally we will likely never have a women's master's division.
  • scrambling - my style has been slow and deliberate for some time. Either I'm going to have to become way more effective at that style, or I'm going to have to speed it up. I'm figuring the latter will likely be the route I end up ultimately taking. Strength is all fine and well, but it was rarely working for me at the tourney - and that makes me happy. 
  • nerves/attitude - the intensity of the whole roll was taxing. I clearly need to be around ramped up training more often before I compete again. That's a pinch, since I don't mean everybody PRIDE RULES!!! training, but I need pushed more than I've been pushing. I need to get over a little of my apprehension towards heavy training - a string of injuries has created a fear response that is holding me back. There has to be a happy medium between intensity and injury prevention. I need to be a little braver in finding it. I also need to figure out what coaching style works for me. I already figured out that having someone right in my face yelling shit like they'd shotgunned three red bulls isn't remotely what I need. Holy ADD short circuit brain.
Things that surprised me:
  • those ladies were way more aggressive and nasty than anyone I've rolled with in a long, long time. I still struggle with being "mean" on the mats. I blame a lot of that on early formative years of being forced to work with the "new girl" of the week back when I started - gently coddling them and bringing them along into jiu jitsu (at the expense of my own training), where they'd usually stay a few weeks, or until they broke up with whichever guy dragged them to the gym. 
  • I spent zero time in half guard. WTFF. I live in half guard. I forward my mail to half guard. That blew my mind.
  • What little wrestling I've been exposed to is sticking. I had just been introduced to granby rolls a few days before the competition, but damned if I wasn't rolling all over. I also hit a nice double leg right out the gates (and damn was it sweet - you were right, Ms. Linzy) that unfortunately made everyone extremely wary of my takedowns the rest of the day. Pout. 
 So the overall experience was good. I don't despise competing. I'll probably do it again, but I for damned sure won't do it again so ill-prepared. That's just foolish. Especially now that I have some semblance of an idea of what to expect.

I have things to work on now, with a renewed sense of how and why. For now, my work schedule is going to allow me to work on them. I'm extremely grateful for that. That said, it's time to pack my grappling gear up and head to work.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

first competition day. commence freak out.

I have not trained regularly in months. My hands have not healed from the worst outbreak of eczema I've ever had. I have not done much of anything along the lines of prep work.

so yeah, let's go ahead and enter our first competition. sounds like a plan!

I really don't mean for it to sound as negative as it probably reads. Honest, I don't. I do, however, mean to admonish/praise myself for stepping away from my usual habit of insisting I have all hatches battened down before sticking a toe in the waters of something new.

It's okay. This is the last competition I will ever enter so ill-prepared. I know this because it may also be the last competition I enter period. Or, I may love competing and become a weekend road warrior for it. Either way, I'll never go into it so lackadaisically. And I am relatively cool with that.

I've already won. I've already lost. It's already over.

I've already gotten over the fear of even entering. Later this morning I'll get over the fear of competing. Later I'll get over the fear of letting teammates and coaches down.

Later it won't matter. And that will be a welcome feeling, to shed all of those things.

I already have four different move paths I want to work on, and that's without having faced a single soul on the mats. Things are clicking that never clicked before.

If I'm lucky, today I'll identify more. More strengths, more weaknesses. More moves I've never considered. Make more contacts for gyms to travel and visit.

Today I'll find out how well those Defense Soap wipes work, haha.

Either way. I'll find out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It sounds so over to say "I want to give a shout out" but I feel I should

In lieu of actually doing a damned review or two, I figured I'd throw out a list of gear manufacturers that I have enough respect for to actively pimp out on this here site.

In no particular order (and I'll maybe actually add links at some point):
  1. NOGI INDUSTRIES - always and forever. Period.
  2. Origin BJJ - Pete puts together a hard-to-beat package - a fantastic gi - gorgeous AND sturdy - paired with a matching long sleeve rashguard (sublimated, no cracking and peeling, y'all), stalker-fast shipping, and always great customer service.
  3. Atama - my original gi of choice, started with em, and still have every gi I have ever bought from them in perfect condition (if a little faded - my fault, not theirs)
  4. Clinch Gear - recently picked up a few pair of their shorts, and I'm really digging the freedom of the flex panels, and especially the lightness of the fabric and how very quickly they dry during these summer months of profuse sweating - mine and my partners'
  5. Brute kneepads and sleeves - Good stuff, and helpful as I wander in wrestling, although I'm clearly between sizes, as usual.
  6. Shoyoroll - love the gis, HATE the process of getting one
  7. World Martial Arts - Some ridiculously good instructionals coming from these folks - Ryan Hall's stuff, Pablo Popovitch, Robson Moura, Roberto Abreu... not to mention some older classic collections - Saulo, Marcelo, Mario Sperry. Quality stuff, and they seem to always have some kinda sale going on. Quick shipping here, too.
  8. Getting its own mention: Ryan Hall's dvds from WMA. Really, really well done, explained well, details, and realistic presentation - I especially dig that he focuses on entries, since dammit nobody will just hold still and let me just throw these damn moves on them. I mean, DUH. 
  9. Stephan Kesting/Grapplearts - anything the man so much as sneezes on is gold. Especially,
  10. Emily Kwok & Stephan Kesting's DVD series on dealing with larger, stronger opponents. I keep going back to it - easily what is getting the heaviest rotation on my dvd player. EASILY. 
Let's limit it to ten for now. After all, I'm already late for open box at crossfit :-/

let's go do some cleans and jerks and snatches. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

As Ice Cube said, I gotta say it was a good day

Great ways to start your post-chore Saturday morning - a text from one Butch Hiles saying "I'll be at the gym in 15 minutes, if you can make it"


What followed was the least hellacious nogi session I can recall in years. And that is a wonderful statement to be able to make after weeks/months of feeling incredibly stupid with my nogi game. There's still plenty of room for improvement, but it was nice to just not feel like I was wasting my time.

I thank wrestling for a lot of that. As I'd hoped, the mentality there is bleeding over. I kept a loop playing in the back of my head "move forward, never backwards" "get fucking meaner" "control the hips/head" and "move move move" -- again, room for improvement, but something piercing my thick skull is always a good thing.

Later, trying to work on some single leg X guard was frustrating, but that's just going to be something that maybe comes around later on. I maneuvered over into it at one point rolling, but that was from someone standing in my open guard. And that's fine. But trying to swing around and into it when my opponent is kneeling is just going poorly. For now. It'll evolve. Some more drilling, who knows where it'll emerge as an entry/option.

I'm adding it to the bucket list along with tornado guard and berimbolos as something that I think may someday be cool to add to my game, but aren't ideal right now maybe, given my body shape/limitations.

Guillotines also snuck in today, which is not something i normally go to. Again, wrestling's influence. And I was so shocked to see it so naturally fall into place- I'd only worked on some front headlock escapes this week, and thereby some guillotine type moves. With short T Rex arms, I tend to bail on chokes early, if not outright ignore them (stupid, I know), but now? We'll see. I still wish I had longer arms to achieve Brabos and their ilk.

That's okay, I'm sure my training partners wish I had longer arms too. With my blatant disregard for most armbar attempts, I'm sure I'm due some payback there.

Guard passing got sloppier as time passed. I was lazy, stuck with standing guard passes at first. Foolishly chose to start trying kneeling passes only once the mats were slicker than snot on a door knob. Really need to develop some discipline there to work hard for the kneeling passes, regardless of height differentials.

On the way out of the gym, it was also really cool to have someone tell me they tried a simple open guard concept/suggestion and have some success with it. It wasn't anything earth-shattering - "just play around with your grips/hook placement when they stand up in your open guard" but seeing his eyes light up explaining how he'd gotten a sweep from it... this coming from someone who'd poo-poo'd the idea of open guard being an option. Pretty sweet.

Now I have to decide: wash these grappling clothes or burn them? Yuck.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I think BJJ has a restraining order on me

The work schedule sucks enough, random mandatory OT makes it even worse.

I can't seem to get anything resembling consistency going for any of my training - bjj, wrestling, crossfit, swimming... nothing. So I've been reduced to slapdash training by the seat of my pants. I abhor this, as I'm a big scheduler. I want things on rails. Plan plan plan. Nope nope nope.

I've added swimming back into the mix just as an afterthought, really. One of those "well, I can't do anything else, let's get some laps in" sort of things. Well, that and I find it calming. In light of the bjj/grappling being hit or miss, I find myself cagey as hell. That meshes poorly with a job in customer service. Anything I can do to temporarily calm myself has to be good. And it's a half hour or an hour with nothing vying for my attention. I'd do well to convert some videos to audio and maybe listen to them while swimming. Or some podcasts perhaps.

I think next week, I'll just make crossfit the focus. If that means I have to hit the 545AM class, so be it. I need something to be consistent, and crossfit is probably the thing most reliable in terms of scheduling at this point.

I'm digging wrestling still, although I'm just barely sticking my toe in the water at this point, in terms of what I've learned. It's a nice, brutal hour of damage, which is nice. I enjoy the challenge of putting in the work, even if it's only an hour before I seem to tank and diminishing returns sets in like a mofo. Maybe over time my conditioning will pick up. It'd be nice to be able to just plow through hours of training like I did in my 20s. I won't be holding my breath for that, though... as if I can find hours of training.

this is so frustrating. I was intending to enter my first tournament in early September. I may still, but I think it's ill advised at this point. Going up against people who train consistently. Who've competed plenty before. Who've won tournaments before. But I've watched them compete and thought "I could've passed their guard. Their open guard would've had nothing for me. They wouldn't have gotten that takedown on me..." and so on.

I don't know. It's like I'm stranded on a remote island where I can just barely see jiu jitsu on the horizon, but I'm no closer to it. And I freaking hate it. Because I know there are people just tripping over excess jiu jitsu in their worlds. There are people I train with who are sitting around the mats skipping reps, talking about a move they pulled three months ago, pulling off the same sloppy armbars like there's no tomorrow. And I'm sitting around wondering if I can put a gi on that spare heavy bag in the garage.

I'm going to find a way through this drought. I will not maintain the 200' distance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

time management

Yesterday was a test run for early morning bjj. I was initially a little brought down and skeptical, as it allowed for not quite a full hour of study. What the hell can you accomplish in that short amount of time? 

Answer: a metric shit ton, if you just focus. 

I brought in a dvd player with intentions of plowing through an assortment of butterfly guard moves, instead my partner and I studied just one. One move. And could've easily spent another hour on JUST THAT ONE. 

I'm starting to be more cognizant of what sort of learner/thinker I am. While the professional (ha) world forces me to be otherwise, at my core, I'm still a creative. And I still get the most out of immersing myself completely in something that I'm studying. Typical class structure isn't allowing me to do this as readily. It's the old "okay, here's a move, you and your partner do it like 10 times each, then we'll do another" - and I am jealous of people who can thrive in that structure, but I'm not really one of them. I leave always feeling like I"m missing details, just scratching the surface of it all, and that annoys me. 

But I also liked the complete lack of rush or pressure. Instead of being visually fed the "next move" or forcing a move progression upon myself, both my partner and I freely wandered through various progressions. And allowing for that sort of creativity was nice. It brought the playfulness back into jiu jitsu - there was no wrong or right, just options. Free flowing options, and then analyzing each, seeing where it may or may not be a great idea, what it would do points-wise, and an exchange of ideologies - we both came up with very different maps from just a simple butterfly sweep. 

It was also nice to just drill the hell out of it, each rep coming up with another little improvement or enlightening moment. Cementing the critical parts. Seeing it all come together and solidify more, but at my own pace rather than feeling the need to rush through it half-assed so as not to hold up my partner, or the class, or the instructor. (And there's probably some self-introspection to follow up with therein - is this rushing self-imposed or real?)

And I didn't have to split my attention with anything else. I know that I was not born with the greatest attention span, and maybe that is playing into my slow group learning. I don't know. I'll keep this method of study up for as long as I can. 

It was a large relief to have some oasis of jiu jitsu amidst my work week. The prospect of only having open mat weekends to learn from was daunting. Hopefully more options of this ilk will arise. In the meantime, I'm celebrating some breakthroughs in butterfly, and looking forward to more of the same.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

thankfully, some hope for mat time

while yesterday I certainly was present for a lot of mat time, I can't say that I felt very accomplished. I spent probably 2 hours trying to teach basics to a new girl, while also trying to reassure her that while yes, there is a ton of suck to deal with in jiu jitsu, it is worth the struggle.

Makes me think maybe I'm just lousy at teaching, if she's already this frustrated with it. But I fell as though not addressing the more upsetting things would be wrong of me. I'd probably do well to find a way to divert focus back to the really cool things about bjj.

Also spent some time later with a habitual monopolizer. Bless his heart, I don't mean it as mean as it sounds, but the kid just does a masterful job of diverting everyone's attention and effort into what he wants and needs. I should probably take notes on how the hell he does it. But he was asking about open guard issues, which I'm always happy to discuss. It used to be my happy place - I'd like to think it still is, but I get to spend so little time there anymore. No one seems to want to play open guard much.

A cool aha moment: same fellow mentioned having a lot of trouble with another regular training partner who starts everything with a cross collar grip that he just does NOT release ever. I suggested a simple counter that was based off a Gracie self defense move that easily nullified and forced the grip to release. I was kinda stoked that I remembered it so easily, and also to see an application of the art as it was originally intended.

I was able to at least negotiate some morning training options, which made me sleep better than I've slept in ages. The new work schedule conflict really has weighed on me - this, if it works out, will be a much needed relief.

So I'm loading up my ipad with more materials on butterfly, which I WILL figure out. It's just a matter of time. But first, time to go scrounge up some breakfast!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I suck out loud at nogi these days

Well, once again my work schedule has changed back to evenings, such that there's no way I can make evening classes. The present morning class schedule is such that I'll be lucky to get in an hour of work. This makes me supremely angry and sad.

I'm trying to trade shifts when I can to give myself whatever mat time I can get, but it's a far cry from ideal. Hopefully it'll be enough, and I can try to bridge the gaps on the weekends. It's like jiu jitsu has a restraining order on my ass or something...

Tonight, I was lucky enough to get a really early (note: I do a craptastic job of shifting from the latest shift to the earliest shift in the span of a day) and went in. I did nogi, as I keep hoping that I'll get better at it. That didn't so much happen this evening. And it easily could've been as much from missing for a couple of weeks (work and massive, lengthy power outages lately) as anything else, but I really just felt so ignorant and ineffective.

And everything freaking hurt. My skin is just hurting - what the hell is that? Transitions, moves, shifts, everything just hurt.

And the whining was plentiful. I was just a bitchy princess from hell tonight, which normally (I hope) isn't like me at all. I just felt so disconnected from it all. From my normal persona on the mats I guess... But I think it's where I'm freaking out - separation anxiety from bjj.

Hopefully my mind will sharpen, and my nerve endings will dull and I can just get back to making some progress. Maybe I did this evening, but just can't see it from here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Sunday I received my 3rd stripe. I am equal parts validated and intimidated.

I have studied. I am making improvements. I am embracing weak spots head on. I have put in the time.

But I also feel as though I don't yet represent the skill level I have associated in my mind with it. The potential is most certainly there, but I still feel as though I'm missing things. Aggression. Timing. Decisive choices while rolling.

Breaking out of the habits of simply defending non-stop is tricky. I still revert back to it. The habit has roots like a molar, though. It'll take time to rattle loose from it.

As I focus on certain positions, I still feel the tug of other positions. Distractions. Almost a sense of jealousy when I watch other grapplers working on something new. Or even something old.

Amidst certain angers towards less cooperative training partners I still seek out others to offer to work on their skills. Because in spite of more selfish training partners who are only there to "keep score", I still firmly believe one should work on the development and betterment of their training partners as much as their own. Pay it forward, in the sense that I'm investing time in others to make them better foils for my own progress.

If only all were of similar mind. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

crossfit was a mofo today

yeeks. Someone must've been even more pissed off at the world than me when they designed that wod.

it. was. glorious.

And ew, I reek.

Earlier this week, Murph not-so-subtly let me know I maybe might want to make more time for running intervals again in my tiny world. This will be easier to try and do once my work schedule (again) normalizes. I sadly can't deny the immediate transfer of benefits to my mat stamina from just 15 minutes of sprint intervals. But I still hate those fuckers.

My idle curiosity of the day is why so few people genuinely enjoy the study of jiu jitsu. I should probably quantify that a little better: why so few people who I regularly train with. I'm sure somewhere(s) there are plenty of people content to study it.

Meh. Maybe I'm just a perpetual student. Maybe I have to be reflective of it as I dissect game plans, trying to still find what fits for me, and what fits for which opponents. Whatever it is, it annoys me that so few people will just freaking drill, rep it out, analyze moves to figure what is going right, and what is going wrong.

I'm also rather tired with the utter myopia of people who think helping anyone else = their future losses. I've always been of the mindset, especially during those times in my training when partners were few and far between, that when you help others, you're helping yourself by making them better training partners.

I am amidst a frustrating phase where I would like to be able to nail down the stripe three material and test for it, but the start/stop-iness of being able to work on it just annoys the piss out of my compulsive little brain. I'd probably do well to pace myself with it. It makes me worried that there's not much of what is supposedly our required curriculum that I feel much connection with, in terms of my own game. I can see the move, study it, explain how to do it, but I'm not a huge fan of a lot of it.

I don't know how much of that is a testament to my needing to just shut the hell up and rep it, or force it to be my game; how much is coming from what has to be a certain native futility to enacting a game plan that is similarly forced upon everyone else I'm training with (i.e.-- we all know the same moves, setups, and counters, so how successful will anyone be); or if I'm either truly wretched at jiu jitsu, or if this just isn't going to be my game.

I'm also hesitant to proceed with testing because I just think there is so much I still have to learn. I still don't really know how to piece together my game, since so many classes work as follows: okay, here are some moves, here are some counters, let's all rep these a bit (supposedly at a normal learning pace but fuck that noise we're gonna kill), now let's try them live (sweet now we can really kill), oh hey none of them work anymore and everyone just go back to the same 3 things you always do, especially if they've little to do with what we just learned. 

No positive reinforcement of the move ever working doesn't lend itself to me really learning it, since my brain also thinks after several repositionings and tweaks and failures "well, scrap this shit."

Or maybe all of this annoyance is a sign to back burner the curriculum and just go back to studying butterfly. Or nogi. Or both. Or just move more heavy things until I'm less weak by comparison, then we can all hulk smash. pfft.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

just putting in the work

got about a third of the way through my curriculum for 3rd stripe. It's been a year, so I figured I might, you know, get back on the pony about testing again... pfft.

I'm really thankful to have done a little study of Ryan Hall's triangle series, as it has helped me to at least get my foot in the door with regards to landing anything like a triangle with my stumps. I am, however, still a bit vexed by butterfly guard. I'm trying to remain open-minded about it, but the butterfly related moves on my curriculum in particular seem so ... alien. As if the position doesn't feel unfamiliar enough...

I haven't really been on top of my nogi game, which is odd seeing as the temperatures have regularly been in the nineties for a while now. One would think I'd welcome the chance to further elude heat stroke. Today was around 94. I didn't even notice it really until I went to grab dinner afterwards. Couldn't get enough water.

I am hoping to get another good chunk covered tomorrow. While I won't be able to be tested on it tomorrow, I would still like to start better committing it to memory. Maybe try and get the other stuff to stick a little better as well. Particularly the butterfly... I just can't decide if it's just not the butterfly game for me or if I just need to give it more time to more smoothly fit into my move set.

It won't go well if I don't get hydrated and rested though. Crossfit soreness started setting in this morning. At the rate this holiday weekend is going, I'll have to go back to work to get some rest.

Monday, April 30, 2012

active hooks active hooks active hooks

If nothing else, I'm going to take that point from tonight's scattered mat time.

(Context: butterfly guard)

although I'm also taking the point of properly angling my "up" leg -- I've long been angling it outwards, losing the ability to keep any sort of distance once my opponent starts to try and flatten me out, and it's also conceding the pass by making it even easier to push the leg down to the mat and out of their way.

And duh, switching which leg I'm hooking (theirs AND mine)

Key, key factors I'd been completely oblivious to (have I mentioned how wretched my butterfly guard is?), little aha moments that I hope turn into nice dividends in terms of progress.

While that progress has been slow, it has at least led to some opening up in my open guard. Hell, at this point I'm just tickled that I can get into open guard. So even if my butterfly guard always ends up sucking, if it can at least be annoying (or boring?) enough to allow me to move into open guards, that's okay with me too.

Actually, no it's not. I want to develop a decent butterfly guard. Not at the expense of anything else, and not as a baiting technique, nor as a transition to some other guard. It was really nice to be back for even an abbreviated and unfocused mat session. While I hated to, a few extra days' rest was probably a wiser idea than I'd like to admit.

I also felt turdish. My training partner I'd mentioned a couple posts back apologized for making me angry. I felt decidedly assesque for getting angry as much as for making someone else feel like it was their fault I got angry. Maybe I'll mellow as I enter my 40s. Probably not, but let's hope... 

Hoping to pick up a few gis from alterations tomorrow morning, and to commence with rotating them in so I can properly review them here. But I will say, I recently picked up the new backpack from and it is wonderful. There are a host of lovely pictures there, but what I would like to stress here is that this is a large backpack. To me, the pictures made it look small, but it is FAR from small. Granted, I'm not winning any slam dunk contests, but still. I was concerned that I would have to start packing way more spartan than I normally do, NAY. This bag can hack it.

I'll try and get some pictures for scaling purposes here before too long, and do a more dedicated write up. Also for their gis - I'm aiming for a progression of them, and noting improvements they've made over the 3 models I have.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

feeling anemic.

adding more iron back into my workout mix. While I really dig the oly lifts in crossfit that I do, I feel as though I could lift more weights. I'm getting no younger, and there's no sense in giving up what muscles I have/had to atrophy and aging. The question becomes where do I cram this into the schedule? It'd be pretty boss to be able to stash a barbell or even a kettlebell at work, but I figure that's probably out.

one way to find out. what's that old saying? "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission"

at any rate, I think this cold is gone enough that I can resume training now. We'll see. Probably work some curriculum and nogi today percraps. I'd do well to have a little more of a gameplan in place before I go cruising down the hill. I imagine my training partners would appreciate that as well. In keeping with what I pondered last post, I'm picking ONE dvd. ONE dammit. And rolling with it.

that ONE dvd shall be.... uh.... well hell, I'll just start with Chris Brennan's nogi guard passes. Let's go watch some tape and take notes, people! (and drink more coffee)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

afterthought: more reviews pending.

I'm being a greedy gearwhore. I really should share more, as I've stumbled across some really great (and some really meh) things lately. I'll try my best to get pics snapped and posted along with my tangential reviews.

Great things: Origin BJJ, How to Defeat the Stronger Opponent, CEP compression, and more.

overkill on materials

like anyone who spent either too much or maybe not enough time in college, my usual approach to anything I'm not getting is to study it more. Read more about it, research differing methods, looking at it from every possible angle - even the ones I know aren't necessarily correct or useful....

I'm wondering if this is maybe not the greatest idea with bjj/grappling, since it doesn't usually foster any sense of focus with me, and instead I end up swimming in a sea of a zillion different sweeps, for example.

this happens when I'm rolling, too. My timing goes out the window while my brain displays an hourglass rotating over itself, pondering the next move(s). It's rather comical, in that mentally I'm conjuring just a pile of different options/counters/attacks, but in so doing, I never get to pull the trigger on any of them.

I'd like to be able to put blinders on, but then I'd just become predictable, and probably bored as well. I'm awful at that -- I want to see it all.

What I really need is that chair from The Matrix. Just have some needle jammed into my brain stem and cram all these instructionals I've amassed into my head, perfectly assimilated. Man, that would be awesome.

Prime example: I mentioned trying to study up more on nogi, which I'm presently rather wretched at... I pull out the library of DVDs (which is really, really obscenely vast at this point) and start pulling out options. I'll spend an hour or two watching these and it'll help. Five minutes later, I'm looking at Roy Dean's nogi series, 4 from Chris Brennan, 2 sets from Pablo Popovitch, Saulo's Freestyle Revolution, 3 sets of Marcelo Garcia... yeah sure, all in a couple hours I'm gonna watch and absorb that. Pfft.

Ideally, I would love to be able to just plow through every single one of these. Study them. Take notes. Take them to the mats on open mat days and work through them. But that'll take weeks. Months, actually. And during that time, I can't rightly just "turn off" the gi end of my game. So, I'm splitting my time b/t the two.

And unlike the general demographic on the mats, I'm not getting any younger. Thirty-eight is just months away. I've managed to turn my biological clock into paranoia about my jiu jitsu progress. Lovely.

But I guess blinders is what will have to happen. Pick one. One instructional. Work through it. Work with folks to quickly determine what's working, what isn't, and move the hell on. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

meh. dumb colds.

with any luck, I'll feel normal tomorrow and can resume training. I sacrificed this weekend to the alka seltzer gods, so I find it only fair that they leave me some better health under my pillow this evening.

then again, I did basically try and triple my typical time on the mats per week. (dumbass, you ain't 20...)

repeat to self: train smarter, not just harder.

that said, it's time for another dose. hopefully there will be less pouting this week. I'm really hoping to see/make some progress on nogi, butterfly (all around, gi and nogi) and establishing some new patterns. Rolls are turning out the same way too much, and I guess while that says some good things, I tend to think it says more bad things with regards to inertia in my progress. Or maybe more a testament to my being too chicken-shit to change things up from what works.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

remove gi, remove IQ points

you know, I recall a time not horribly long ago when I actually preferred nogi grappling. Especially during the summers when we had no A/C to speak of. And even when it wasn't hot, it was nice to shed the gi, much like switching from 16 oz. boxing gloves to lighter ones, or even MMA gloves. The speed pick up was so nice.

dammit, what happened?

I've been training I'd say easily 90% gi for the past few years. Just sort of moved away from training stand up and MMA, and my nogi fell to the wayside. Since I'm entertaining the idea of competing, I figured I'd best start working on it again. Today was the first day I've dedicated solely to nogi in some time, and it would've been frustrating, were it not so comical.

I don't get it. There really shouldn't be so much of a difference, but I was rendered nigh-useless. No collars to grab, no sleeves... Yep, I officially missed my cotton armor.

But I stayed on task... Pulling a gi back on isn't going to help, so I may as well buckle down and embrace the suck. In the meantime, I came straight home and started browsing through my library for nogi materials to consume. There's a lot to choose from, so I think I'll just pick one, and methodically sift through them, as well as watch some old ADCC and nogi worlds competitions. (suggestions always welcomed)

My flexibility seems to be coming back rather quickly, which is great. I'll need it. May've found a better mount escape option than what I'd been using, and while I've not tried it much, saw some interesting nastiness from back mount. I need some nastiness from back mount, since my present arsenal for it has apparently grown stale - everyone seems to know what I'm going to do. Or it may be that they know with my shorter frame, there's only so many things I'm inclined to do, and my hooks aren't much threat.

overall, it felt like a lost, sloppy day for the most part, but not in a horrific, depressing way. More like a "thrown in the deep end of the pool" way. I expected to feel that way, so no worries.and dammit my neck got tweaked again. damn wrestlers and their neck cranks. might throw in some sets of heavy shrugs moving forward as well.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

trying to refocus. and riding out a bad day on the mats.

(yes, I know some consistency in posting would probably be nice)

after a really good three-day span of bjj (saturday, sunday, and monday), last night was the big comedown. got paired with someone who I'm still trying to decide what I think of. Was it spazzing? Not in the traditional sense, but the deviations from technique were obvious to me. What I wasn't so sure of was if that was in response to something I was doing or not.

I don't know. What I do know is I managed to get through three days of focused work without many aches or bruises. From last night, I'm now nursing a sore elbow (from forced armbars/twists) and neck.

But moreso, I'm nursing a seriously chafed ego. And also nursing this tendency to let one crappy day overthrow three good ones. That annoys me more than any bruise or soreness.

Had you asked me right after I came off the mats, I'd have told you that I was ready to take a lead pipe to the guy's noggin. I'd have sworn that if I ever landed an armbar on him, I'd break it. I was largely furious. I was also coming off the edge of a panic attack. Thought I had those under control, and I don't know, maybe I do. I didn't go full blown, just lost control of my breathing for a bit.

Went three or five times. The last three attempts I just got angrier and angrier. And of course, got completely out of my game (what game there is) and slid into she-hulk rage mode. Which always accomplishes so much. As time was called, I left the mat. When it's left me that mad, it's time to stop.

I shook off my gi top and noticed I was hyperventilating. Great, just what I needed, everyone to witness a full blown panic attack. Hell no. Instead I shut down, started focusing on just inhaling in a slower, controlled pace. Relaxed. Calmed down. To my surprise, it worked. Still, my nervous system was shot. Hit the showers, and left the gym, with little dialogue.

I had already crossed the street before the tears started (which always accompany my panic issues). Only maybe three. I refused to fall to any resurgent panic or self pity. Sure, I was still a little freaked out, and certainly still angry at my shitty mat time, but I wasn't ready to concede all to the tide of negativity and anxiety.

Into the truck, wincing as I reached for the seatbelt, neck already hurting... three miles later I came to some new conclusions:

  • working with that guy is going to do three things: make me better, make me meaner, and/or get me hurt. Two of those are acceptable. One isn't. 
  • I can't abandon my own game so easily. That guy rattled me off my plan, that's why I did poorly. I played his game, not mine.  I got rattled out of my game because I was more worried about self-preservation, and not getting hurt. 
  • I still need to work on my breathing, especially under pressure. I already know that anxiety can come into play any time, but pressure is obviously going to exacerbate things, and holding my breath will have a multiplicative effect on that. 
Not quite so conclusive is if asking this guy to dial it down a notch will work. I think working with him can only help me, but not if I end up getting hurt. I'm also not understanding how people don't know when they're applying injuring force.

hopefully this evening's class will be more productive.