I know no one reads these but I’m cool with that. I realize how much writing down my jiu happenings will improve my overall grasp of ‘the world’s most difficult (and often frustrating) martial art.’
I’m a bit injured at the moment but am quickly healing. Review class took its toll in many ways. My right shoulder feels weak and sore, my lower back is twisted up, and I have a few mystery pains. This isn’t surprising though considering what I’ve been through the last month or so. First off, I’m off Orbits gum which contained aspartame. That stuff is toxic and I’ve been chewing it for over a decade. Imagine that, over 10 years of poisoning myself not to mention another 10 years of chewing Extra which I’m sure has it too. So I guess to expect a full recovery in less than a month is silly. Anyhow the best part is that when I go to regular class now it doesn’t take 5 or more days to feel healthy again. I was averaging around 2 classes per month (pathetic yes) but in the last 15 days I believe I’ve gone to class 8 times one being the review class which I’ll discuss in a minute. My weight has been steadily dropping as well but it has been very slow. I would like to get down to whatever my ideal weight is and I’m finding out what that is with this sudden muscle gain/weight loss due to BJJ. One day I’ll wake up and my scale will say 170 and then the next it says 164. Perhaps I need a new scale because the official scale at the review class said 171.2 on the day my scale said 165.
I’ve been going to the stand up days but after this last review I think I’ll just hit open gyms on those days. Since we don’t get tested on our stand up, just ground effectiveness, I feel I have to devote my full attention to rolling and drilling, mostly the basics. Sure I’m learning new techniques but I feel my biggest weakness is the ground game. If I had to assess myself I’d say my strengths are: flexibility, staying calm (too calm), my guard, my subs, and my ability to tap out from all positions;). My weakness are glaring: My guard passing, defending the guard pass, escaping to better positions, and my stamina all need major work. Most of this I realized after review class.
Review Class: I wasn’t going to go since I just got off the gum but I thought, “What the hell, at the very least I can see where I’m at now so I know what to work on.” Showed up and like always everyone looked strong. I knew it was all in my mind because of my prior experience taught me that looking strong and being strong are different. And usually it’s the smaller guys who can really mess with you. I wasn’t too nervous because I didn’t really have the fire to win. I was in observation mode. Mr. A paired us up and I went against J. (a 17 year old wrestler). He got double underhooks on my legs and I tried to underhook one of his arms and nab the triangle but his grip was too strong. He easily passed (which is one of the area’s I’m going to master defending against) and next thing I know I was defending for 13 minutes. He came close but never quite sunk in a submission. I felt like I was doing my best Ryron Gracie via Metamoris impression. Staying calm, breathing, and trying to stay alive. After 15 minutes were up, it felt like 30, J. and I laughed about the match. How crazy, one guy on another guy’s back for most of the time. I felt a sharp pain in my lower right part of my back and knew it was going to only get worse but I still had 3 matches left. So I just went to the corner and stretched it out during the break.
My next opponent was S. He was a red belt too like J. I put him in DLR guard and it took him around 5 minutes to start to pass. I can hold the guard but I don’t have too many techs off of it yet but I knew having long legs would make this a good guard to play. He passed (surprise) and I was defending like a mofo again. I eventually got him in my guard and did my “patented” <—is that right? hip bump sweep fake to triangle and landed it. I landed pretty tight so he tapped right away. It was nice not having to fight for it too much and burn out my legs. I took my sweet time writing down the results and we were suddenly back at it. Breathe, keep breathing. I had energy reserved but I only unleashed my offense in short bursts, kinda like a trap which unfortunately wasn’t activated nearly enough. Time expired with S. on top of me but I felt alright about my defense and getting a tap.
Now that I won one match I knew my next opp. would be tough. Next was J2. He was one level higher than me but one belt lower, he weighed more. Just before the match I could have sworn he mentioned that he had tapped out one of the instructors. Was this just a mind f**k attempt? It kinda worked but by now I felt so in the moment I didn’t care. I did my best for how I felt, my back still aching, but this guy felt like cement to move. He mounted and I upa’d him off which was nice. He caught me in a 2 arm armbar in which I was able to free one but he grabbed the other and I had to tap. Yes I could have stood up or spun or some shit but this was review and I have to preserve my limbs for guitar. Plus, he earned that one. We reset and I felt defeated but didn’t want to stop. I got guard, he went back and I tossed on another triangle. He had one arm out but the other was only 1/2 in so I had to fight a bit. I squeezed, Mr. A was right there watching, and next thing I knew he said “TIME!” I released the hold and high fived J2. He deserved that one.
My final match was against J1. again to resolve the tie. We pretty much replayed the first match except now my defensive fighting spirit was a bit wounded. He got me in a bow and arrow choke and I almost tapped but I still had one vein free. He let it go. I didn’t realize how bad my back escape was until that moment when I couldn’t get free. The first thing I did when I got home was to review the basics and now I know I can escape most back holds now. This is why I wasn’t so down after the marathon matches. I’ve come away with a lot of good info. Sure a sore back and shoulder but those will heal in time.
A few days later I got the email saying I didn’t get the promotion to Red 3. I was at first relieved because I didn’t feel like I deserved it after that showing, but then a deeper emotion took over. I’ve been at my current level for years now. Plateau would be a good word IF I were going to class on a regular basis but no…I was mad at myself for allowing myself to grow stagnant. I need to develop a new attitude on the mats. I have to be able to execute what I know with more energy and less holding back. I keep hearing Morpheus in my head saying, “You’re better than this.” So I have a new determination to get out of the ‘weak’ red belt pool and into the ‘stud’ red belt pool. There is a big difference. Time to get studly and stuff. 😉