Sunday, December 8, 2013

chugging along nicely so far.

Made it through the first "cycle" of 5/3/1 and still made it to crossfit four times this week. Didn't catch a cold (my usual first response), but I have to say that by Friday I was seriously fatigued. And my sleep absolutely sucked all week. And I was hungry all the time. I mean I was even waking up hungry.

I didn't get in as much/any jiu jitsu as I'd have liked, but the honest admission here is I'm blase about it right now. And this happens from time to time. Maybe it's because I'm more focused on crossfit at the moment, maybe it's just my natural response to not being able to train with the sort of regularity I would prefer. I'm waiting for the next "aha" moment or the next path to pique my interest in it again.

And I think I've found it - always a reliable source of obsess-worthy material, World Martial Arts graciously released two new series from Ryan Hall. One I'm definitely excited about - passing the guard, and another I'm excited about because I know one of my favorite training partners will be stoked about - the inverted guard.

I don't dislike the inverted guard, it's just not the most easy thing for me. Yet. This may be what turns it around for me, or at least makes me less apprehensive about anything involving inversion.

Guard passing has long been a path I've felt the need to spend more time exploring, getting lost, getting found on. With all due respect to my trusty smash pass, I don't want to be a one trick pony. Especially if everyone else figures out that trick, leaving me to be a no trick pony.

Hunting season is pretty much over for me, so that distraction is also removed. Add to that an influx of people looking to resume drilling, and hopefully the love affair will begin anew. I won't force it, but I think I've finally made peace with letting it be what it will be, when it will be.

With yesterday being my forced rest day, it was hard to keep my mind from wandering to darker places, especially with the anniversary of my grandmother's passing approaching. It's been several years, but still knocks me for a loop. I was glad to get back to the gym to lift today for sure, to release some endorphins and find some clarity that simply would not reveal itself to me yesterday.

And that's fine. It's perfectly okay to have a dour mood about this, it's a heavy thing. And it's one of several pretty heavy things I deal with on a day to day basis. I underscore this too often. I stop short of acknowledging it - the equivalent of the stiff upper lip? - mostly because the burden hasn't shifted much. I don't see it shifting soon, either. I don't mean that to sound as negative as it reads, I'm merely being realistic. Stating a sound observation.

Anyway. 5/3/1 went well. It made for some soreness that impacted my performances at crossfit, but I'm anxious to see how the effort translates over. It has also made me REALLY appreciate the coaching, the facilities, and the community. Some of the lifts have just NOT felt at all natural in the setting of Nautilus - notably the leg-based ones. Squats felt weird and uninspired, and deadlifts (today) felt downright alien on the deficit platform. I'm not sure how my form was on them, and I had real hesitation in selecting assistance exercises to perform. I'll need to put the blinders on perhaps. Nothing hurt, or is hurt, so I guess there's at least that from today's work. However I think subsequent weeks of deadlifts are going to leave me nervous.

Huh. As I took a pause from typing, someone sent me a message asking if I wanted to train tomorrow. And it made me smile. As good a sign as any other I can think of.

Friday, November 29, 2013

has something awakened, or is my ego running rampant...

the earlier part of this week, something set me the hell off - it really wasn't anything new, but for some reason it just didn't sit well with me. I was struggling with deadlifts at crossfit, which also isn't news - after injuring myself pulling up 235 a year or so back, I've had some serious fear and apprehension.

But I'd long since gotten back to okay numbers, usually putting up 205 easily. That day, I stalled out at 185. I looked around and watched other ladies surpass that with varying degrees of ease.

And it made me furious. And determined.

In my earlier, formative years of lifting, it wasn't at all unusual for me to put up the highest numbers in my gym. In fact, I usually insisted on that being the case. But those were the days of youth, pride, and better recovery systems. And more recently, I've had to settle for not being anywhere near the strongest girl in the room. And I've been just fine with that. I normally take a goodly portion of inspiration from seeing folks put my numbers to shame.

So what the hell changed?

"Pride goes before the fall"

This has echoed in my head for the past few days. I bumbled through a workout that involved a stout number of deadlifts at lower weight this week. As per usual, my back tightened way the hell up. Not to the point of injury, just a strange fatigue that I couldn't justify the early appearance of. It made no sense - how can my lower back tire so quickly? I mean, I do bjj. I can do any variation of a squat with a fairly respectable weight. I stand in guard with far heavier weights wrapped around my hips.

what. the. deuce.

Halfway through, I pulled plates off the bar thinking it would return me to proper form. Nope. So it wasn't the weight. It was suggested to me that I stop, mid workout, if my back wasn't digging it. That just set me off into a ridiculous prideful fit that I now regret.

What am I trying to prove? I could've reinjured my back insisting on that sort of display. I'm probably lucky that I did not. That time. Idiot.

I've since been reading up on the 5/3/1 method of strength training, and would like to give it an honest go. A friend remarked "oh yeah, good call, more lifting. Since you need more injuries." And I don't know if this is good advice or not. Is more lifting what I need? Or less. I mean logically, more time under/around the bar should translate into better performance, should it not? Or would I be derailing the programming at crossfit by supplementing it...

This hasn't been all negativity. I mean, I'm newly driven towards improvement, which I think is a good thing. I just need to figure out how to temper that enthusiasm into helpful, not hurtful, ways. My tendency towards red-lining is well documented.

so I guess I need a choke chain for my ego during this phase. and a short leash.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time to set new goals

Realized partway through the week that I have, since obtaining my purple belt, gotten lax on setting new goals. Or perhaps am just feeling lazy about it all. I'm not sure which.

I've settled into being happy to study the earlier curriculum, assist folks working towards their blue belts, or even just their first stripe on their white belt. And I don't think either is at a huge detriment - it's reviewing portions of the curriculum that I never had to test for, having shown up with my blue belt and some stripes before the curriculum ever came into the picture for me.

I'm seeing a lot of the curriculum with new eyes. Seeing things way differently than the first however many times I watched the moves done. Connecting the dots. Hearing what isn't being said. And that's pretty cool.

Meanwhile, other folks are already obsessing over putting stripes on their new purple belts. Man, I still don't see what all the rush is about. And that could easily be a function of my having accepted slow rank progression as just a matter of course for me. I'm still not able to attend regular classes, so I guess I don't fixate so much on advancement. I know it's going to take me longer. Which is also fine by me, since I prefer being thorough. I prefer knowing the bejeezus out of the moves long before I test on them.

I've heard it said that by the time you reach purple, you're done learning new moves. That you simply refine what you have already acquired. I hope that isn't true - I'm coming back around to things I never thought would be a part of my game, learning new positions that have drawn the current favor, and I'm still not satisfied with it. I still want more. I want to take my sweet time enmeshing myself with every dvd I ever bought, learning it inside and out, seeing if any of it works for me, and if not, fine, how do I defend against it.

Maybe I'd do better to focus on that instead. I felt, once promoted, a huge relief more than anything else. Sure, it was validating, and I feel very proud of what I achieved, but since then, my underlying thought has been "Good. Now I can go back to just studying it at my own pace."

But something about that is making me feel... lazy. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

I can math, dammit.


Now that I'm officially in my new house, I figured "cool, self. Let's go ahead and resume magazine delivery, and renew some expired subscriptions..."

Top of my list: Gracie Mag. I love that magazine (even though I have to spend more energy ignoring the various pervasive bias(es) than I used to), and have kept every issue. So off to their website I go, credit card in tow. Okay, looks like it's 24 months, 12, or 6 months. And there are free gifts with each. Okay, I like the t-shirt with the 6-month... add to cart. check out.

What the deuce.

$25.00 shipping?!

Hold the damned phone. Err, keyboard.


$8.95 x 6 = $53.70. Less my 10% discount at Books A Million, That's $48.33

Graciemag webstore price, with shipping: $64.40

Pure bullshit. Hell to the nizzo.

I mean, really.

Comparatively, 1 yr subscription to Jiu Jitsu Magazine: $37.99.

Yeah, I think My answer is pretty damned clear: option C - order both from budovideos, and come up with excuses to buy additional stuff ;)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I should really have some lengthy, lofty post for this, but

Here's the long and short of it: I got my purple belt. like 2 1/2 weeks ago. While I'd been told to get my shit together and test "soon" I had no idea how soon it would be. I was figuring a few months down the line.

I was told about 3 hours prior that I'd be testing. I've been packing and moving and unpacking, but had zero idea where the hell any of my materials were - so there was no studying/cramming or anything of the sort. So I just made peace with either knowing enough or not. Either earning the belt or not.

But I'd also placed trust in my instructor to not push me into a test I wasn't ready for. If we all waited for me to say "I'm ready" then the process would've easily taken another 6 months or more. Because I'm never "ready" to my liking. If it isn't perfect, I don't proceed.

But perfect never really happens. I'd do well to stop chasing it, and holding myself back for it.

I'm relieved that it's over, and I'm happy that I was successful, mostly by virtue of now being able to stop being distracted by it all and resuming the study of the art. Which is what I love most about it - the endless study, the elusiveness of any sort of mastery.

I was told that I should be done acquiring moves now. That the core of my game has been set and now it's about refinement. I'm not sure that it's as closed a door as that. There are too many things in flux that could change things. But maybe it won't. I'll always favor open guard, I imagine. Don't see that going away. But as I age, as I lose weight, as I gain strength, flexibility, etc. moves that were before out of my range are coming into reach.

But I am content to wait and see how it all develops. Work still knocks me out of a decent schedule that will allow training. But I'll work around it, same as always. While my other purple belted cohorts now chase off against each other towards brown, I'm going in reverse to rededicate myself towards learning the earlier curriculum. It allows me two things I like doing: immersing myself in study, and helping others to understand said study.

I really never should have let anything deter me from that anyway. Damned herd behavior.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

sometimes it clicks, sometimes it leaves you hanging with your mouth agape.

so I've been hitting the curriculum hard. Trying to gear up for 4th stripe, as I was charged with getting my act in gear and getting it done already. I tend to let a LOT of time go by before I'll test on curriculum. I am not a fan of this whole get your next [rank belt stripe] in 5 minutes culture that seems to be going on in bjj lately.

you have to let that shit marinate. cook it on low heat. love it. tend to it. let it do its thing gracefully. immerse in it.

it's been my nature with anything I love. typical creative brain. I want to be totally enmeshed with it before moving on from it. I want to know it inside out, all 360 degrees.

when someone asks me about XYZ move on a part of the curriculum that I've supposedly mastered, I don't want to go blank. that is disrespect. To my teacher, and his teacher, and his teacher.

[edit] later that day... Received my 4th stripe Sunday. It may've been an unnecessary undertaking, but I wanted to specifically test for and demonstrate the curriculum moves. It changes nothing with regards to being expected to belt test in the next few months. And that makes me nervous.

There's still so much to be done. So much to review and master. I want to take the time to study the entire curriculum like I have the past stripe's worth. It seems like it makes more sense now than it did back when I tested for 2nd, 3rd, etc. Not to mention the entirety of the curriculum that came before (i.e.- white belt as a whole and 1st stripe blue).

So often I tell newer folks that just because they don't like a move they've learned today, it doesn't mean that it won't make more sense later on down the road. It may become a move they like later. Once their bodies become adept at executing it, or once they find themselves in a situation where it's the easiest, most natural way to counter something. In the spirit of that statement, I feel compelled to go back and rework things.

But I've only a few months (hell I don't know, it may only be weeks) to do so before testing will ambush me. And during that time I really need to work on flowing better. Seeing opportunities better. Not sucking at rolling. All easier said than done perhaps (nevermind the obstacle of my work schedule).

Meh. Whatever will be, will be. I might be forced to test and fail. Whoop dee doo. My path will likely not change much based on that. That said, I feel way less worried about it. Back to pushing the rock.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ha. So that lasted all of one week.

My victory was short lived. Before the end of the first week of my new, jiu-jitsu-friendly schedule, news came down from corporate that no, actually, we need to change your schedule. Again.

That I've just come to expect this sort of disappointment may have softened the blow, but ultimately makes me wonder just how jacked up my head is in that I've become so accepting of this inconsistency, of this constant "over the barrel"ing. I mean, really. Did I actually go to grad school for this sort of dickery?

Alas, at least I can still barely fit in crossfit. And at least I'm dropping weight. Both are good things. I make do with weekend open mats as I can, but with the summer months arriving, people are far more inclined to attend barbeques than open mat.

And I can dig it. I've been known to happily compensate open mat attendance fails with a kayak trip. I'm trying to work with what IS available to me instead of focusing so much on what ISN'T. Why continue to be morose and pensive thinking about what I'm not doing instead of just going after what I CAN do?

Releasing the frantic choke hold of doom on the biological clock of OMGMUSTTRAINBJJGETALLTHEBELTS has left the art way more enjoyable. I "lose" a lot of training time to white belts who want to study early curriculum moves, and I don't mind it as much. Sometimes I only get to rep out what I actually had in mind a few times. Meh. Whatevs.

Part of me feels lazy, another part still feels like a jilted girlfriend. But the fact of the matter is I can't train like the other folks can. I can't make classes. I largely have to direct my own study. In those obstacles, my progression will suffer. But we have to make the best of what's around sometimes...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

an end to the scheduling blues... for now

So, effective this coming week, I'm back on a more normal work shift, allowing me to return to evening bjj classes. I am equal parts elated, pensive, and hesitant.

In the interim of time where I could not really train but maybe once a week or two, I've instead focused on crossfit. Really, really focused. In the span of around a month, I went from hoping I could make it twice a week, to regularly going four time and being annoyed at the one day during the week I'd miss to rest.

I've gone, in those few weeks, from crawling and scrambling to even approach the sort of things I could do before injuries took me out of the box for a good long while to chasing PRs - mine and others'. Hell, I even took ten minutes off my Murph time this year.

My concern is how I will break up my trainings. I hate to give up any crossfit, since I'm seeing a LOT of progress from it. And who says I have to. I'll just have to rededicate myself to making my nutrition and rest/recovery no laughing matter. Which I need to do anyways. Or continue to do I should say.

What I don't know is how the re-indoctrination will go. During my time studying and drilling in the mornings, I've concluded that that is my ideal training scenario. I seem to retain more. So I guess I'll have to retool the way I absorb, take better control of my evening class training to tailor it more to my needs.

Returning to active rolling/sparring will suck. For a long time. Period. And it will until my timing develops, and it will until my transition from power/strength game to flexible/speed/technique game furthers. Neither will be remotely overnight.

But nothing worthwhile is.

Trying to not overthink it (failing miserably) and just enjoy that I have the option to train for now.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

more than a little bummed.

So upon waking and checking my various social media feeds, I come across word that a training partner received his blue belt last night. I remember when he first started, and spent a lot of his "early years" in morning classes with him.

Needless to say, I'm so very proud of him and for him, since he's been so consistent and progressed into a really mature bjj player. He's one of the people I always try and grab whenever I am around for open mats or whatnot because while he's a strong beast, he doesn't use it to lord over me. He's fun to work with - finds that elusive mix of appropriate challenge and resistance. I appreciate that to no end.

While I am always acutely aware that my present work schedule has caused various limitations and greatly impacted my overall involvement, it's things like this that really drive that point home and make me upset. I had to hear about this after the fact. Had I the option, I'd have preferred to have been present for it. I feel like one of those parents who are too busy for their kids.

I mean, I'm doing the best I can. And things are going well with my morning studies - maybe better than what I originally expected. It's just a little distraction from the path, but still. I'm kinda mournful about what I'm missing.

I don't know if it's complacence or just a healthy way of looking at it, but lately I'm more interested in the sort of studying I've been doing - taking my sweet time to rep out moves, ponder the why's and why not's of a move, let the recognition just come along on its own. I've spent the past three or so weeks studying chokes - a long-time void. And it's coming along nicely. Chokes aren't making me pissed off the way they used to. Taking away the pressure of "learn this move real fast right now in like two reps now roll live and land it" seems to agree with me.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

tiny victory.

open mat yesterday. And there's a local tournament coming up. I normally avoid such open mats because people seem to be wanting to go a little harder than normal, and being that I'm not competing... I don't see the sense in being in such proximity to injuryland.

I had a lot of frustrations with how the day went. I didn't get to train at all with my instructor, again, because the competing members were allotted the priority. That really bummed me out, being that my work schedule keeps me from getting any time with the instructor as is. But it's not new. And while it smacks of sibling rivalry, it is what it is - dad doesn't like me best.

And it's just going to have to suck like that. I can only presume that I'm someone that not everyone wants to train with. It's cool, there's a few I actively avoid too, but that's generally because I get hurt every single time I interact with them. I have enough setbacks as is with my work schedule interrupting what training I get. I'm certainly not in a place where I can risk further down time due to injury. 

Which, you know, whatever. I try and make do with what resources I have - a wealth of instructionals and occasional access to a very few teammates who will watch and drill with me. It's all I get right now - 1-3 mornings of an hour or so drilling sometimes just one move, sometimes a few.

I have pursued this as I have noted that just doing a move a few rushed times in a class doesn't set it for me. I'm assuming that I need more reps. More successful reps. I need to see the move work. How it works. How it fails. I've had enough years of well, let's get maybe a rep or two in, then live roll and it fails so fuck that move, it sucks/doesn't work.

So I'm also fighting the uphill battle of reversing years of negative perceptions on moves I'm relearning and retooling. And that, believe me, is a bitch.

I've been working a ton on part of Andre Galvao's first disc on his Favorite Moves series (I think that's the name? Too lazy to go look), which focuses on the lotus flower sweep and the rolling kimura. I actually managed to effectively execute the transition from the kimura to the bellydown armbar yesterday - WITHOUT REALLY THINKING AT ALL ABOUT DOING IT.

This is huge. And I'm hoping it's also evidence that I'm on the right path. I was pulling my opponent up into the first position and spinning around to sit on his head, gathering the arm, sliding my arms through into the kimura position - all of this was accomplished before my brain even actively said "Oh hey - go for that kimura move you've been working on"

If I can just keep making things flow like that. Man, it'll be sweet.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

still making lemonade

It's rare that I have time to blog lately. Nutshell version: lots of health problems in my family, and most of my spare time has been spent going to various hospitals and inpatient care centers. I am hopeful and mostly sure things will eventually be okay, but it's been rough. 

At least I have a decent habit going for getting lots of drilling done a few mornings a week. It's been really nice to be able to take my sweet time analyzing a move, repeating it a lot (but probably still not as much as I need to or should), and then marinating in it and figuring out what the next move may be (or may not be) creatively, rather than being spoon fed some variant. Letting me decide what I'd naturally do next. 

I'd like to think that would be a better way to learn and develop my game. I hope so, as it's all I have available to me presently. 

But let's focus on what I have, not what I lack. I've been working on a dvd series from Andre Galvao involving the flower sweep (which has never been a go-to sweep for me in its previous incarnations) and what he called the rolling kimura series. I'm liking both a lot. 

I still struggle with what I call the "loading phase" of the flower sweep, but it's coming around. This particular version doesn't rely on generating the momentum by making huge circles with your free leg, which always seemed both ineffective for me, as well as being a big honking telegraph as to what you intended to do. Of course, when you're only waving a short, stocky leg around, there's only so much momentum that is being generated, I suppose. 

I'm still playing around with just precisely how much of the opponent's weight I'm supposed to hoist onto myself, and at what angle. (Recent findings are "not this much" and "not this angle")

The rolling kimura is a bit of a revisit for me - I used to love this sort of thing early in my study. I'm trying to remain mindful of not doing it "the old way" and losing critical tiny details. I also am trying to remain open-minded with all of the options from the core position, even though I'm struggling with a few of them - namely the chokes. Damned T Rex arms... 

It's okay. It'll come around. I just have to keep working the angles. Fortunately for me, at least I have a few folks who are willing to work with me on that. It's a welcome change to the rather annoying trend of selfishness that I've been noticing when training in a larger class. I don't miss that part of regular class. 

That also feeds into the relentless whining for rank that I'm equally disenchanted with, especially when I manage to get tangled up in it. When I am drilling, learning, and working on jiu jitsu, I could give a shit about my rank. I'd do well to preserve that mindset, rather than lowering myself to the childish concerns of rank. I don't dream at night of stripes, I dream of progressions. 

However, that said... I think I'm henceforth distancing myself from overextending myself to those who don't return the favor. I'm getting more selfish as well, in this respect. People taking extensive advantage of my generosity has been enough of a distraction and disappointment. I can't convince people to act more honorably, but I can control my exposure to it. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

go figure

hurt my hand doing jiu jitsu, but doing light jiu jitsu seems to be making it better.


works for me.

continuing to work on the vast scope of the last seminar's material. having to put a little bit of blinders on, as I'm finding that I'm mixing up my x-guard and deep half entries and options. Trying to process too many, mentally, at once. Really wish I had some means of improving my learning and retention, but I'm going to assume for now that, much like anything else, it's just going to require more reps. Reps until I'm bored to tears with it.

I've continued using my grippers and the counter-exercise - basically a series of thicker rubber bands used for resistance as I open my hands. Day by day, My thumb gets a little better - more range of motion, less aches and pains. It's still a bit swollen, but it'll break free over time. 

I still haven't made it back to crossfit, but it's on the list of "to-do" things. In the meantime, I've been swinging my kettlebell around the apartment some. Actually went and picked up a new one yesterday since my old ones were pitifully light. Ha, I remember when that 18 lb. one was my "stout" one. Now it's the equivalent of the pink dumbbells.

Last week was a mess with trying to keep up with family medical issues and work and dodging the flu, so hopefully this week coming up will be more productive. I'm starting to reconsider taking the later shift of 1-9 since there's little difference b/t it and 12-8 in terms of suckage. I have yet to find the inclination to go to Nautilus after work at 8:00 - hard enough to get to sleep as is. I don't know though. Hate to saddle myself up to that and get stuck.

Today, aiming for a long chilly walk and then trying a new kettlebell series. Then it's off to Huntington and back.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

that doesn't look good.

got my thumb bent backwards yesterday. Iced it, immobilized it... this morning it's swollen and not so much fun to move about. I don't want to fool with it, but I guess I'll go to doc-in-a-box to check on it. Although I have a feeling it'll be "well, just ice it and immobilize it" and a copay.


edit, later on, back at the ranch...

Well I sat at the doc in a box for like an hour, probably caught three colds, and (wait for it, wait for it) bailed before I was ever so much as called in to take my blood pressure and other stats. Weaksauce. I sat in the waiting room and after texting back and forth with my instructor, concluded that I was wasting my time and money.

so I left.

And here we are a few days removed. Still a bit swollen. Still stiff and un-fun to move, but less so on all of those factors.

I'll behave myself a few more days, but hope to get some training in this weekend, if only at a reduced capacity. Probably just as well to try and use this week adapting to my new schedule. And making things work there re: sleeping, eating, and the like.

I've already determined that working out after work is not ideal. I get too keyed up and don't sleep for shit. And that's fine. I may switch to 1-9 instead if that's the case. I don't mind working out in the mornings. Just have to get used to it. Been running sprint intervals on my treadmill, which isn't bad. I'm rather surprised that it isn't harder than it is. But I'll find ways to make that suck in due time.

I am bummed about the timing of this injury. I really wanted to return to crossfit this week. Just not smart with a bum paw. Maybe next week. Might ask in advance if it's advisable/scalable or not.