Monday, April 25, 2011


I am in the middle of a terrible week.  And I should be spending tonight remembering administrative law.  But that's all day tomorrow.  Instead, I will reflect on my night of rolling.

Klint has been on a streak of giving us systems to use---a side control system, a guard-opening system, a back-defending system, ways to structure our attacks and defenses so that one flows into the other.  This week, we're doing an attacks-from-guard system.  Every set of grips, we're drilling a system of attacks that we can use.  Armbar-to-triangle-to-armbar, sweep-attempt-to-armbar-to-triangle-to-omoplata, that kind of thing.  This week, of course, I'm buried.  And a little upset about that fact, because I love love love attacking from guard.

After class, I'd told Andy that JD and I were going to start prepping him for the tournament in late May.  It's about 4 weeks out, so I told him that we were going to start working him.  So we took turns starting mounted on him, starting with him in side control, getting him into bad spots and making him work out of them even though he's tired.  Probably six or seven two-minute-gos in a row.  I also worked for a bit with John, and after Andy cashed out, JD and I worked for a bit.

I've been feeling pretty OK about my training lately.  I got to open mat on Friday, and I was working with a few of Damian's higher belts--a smaller blue and a large, older purple.  I could do what I wanted with the blue, but that was mainly the size disadvantage.  I've got probably 40 or 50 pounds on him, and our technique is pretty close.  The purple let me play guard for a bit, and after he told me he would have let me just work a little more if I wasn't doing so well.  So I took that as a compliment, and drove across town for more open mat.

I've been trying to go to my knees more and work from a wrestling position, and sometimes I'm actually doing it.  I have to admit, wrestling is one of my least favorite aspects of grappling.  The submissions and sweeps, those are just beautiful and entertaining and intricate.  The throws (even though I have no idea how to do them) are amazing.  Wrestling, in my mind, is the journeyman's tool, the thing that gets the job done.  I know it's the most useful and beneficial base to have--I get that.  I just wish it wasn't so tiring.  And really, I wish learning Judo was as easy as learning wrestling.  Because the throws?  Come on.  Just exquisite.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Explaining the Absence

I'm still going to class.  But law school is killing me.  My attendance next two weeks will have to be subject to a few things:  a) returning to the restaurant, 2) finals and final projects, and c) sanity.  I'm almost done.  I'll be going to only a handful of classes the next few weeks, and then I'll be back.

These same distractions have prevented me from regular posting.  For that, I apologize.

I will make it up to you soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

War Wounds

We're all broken.

I'm almost certain I've talked about this before.  And even if I haven't, everyone else has.  But we're all training through some sort of injury.  Zach hasn't seen training since December.  Mel's shoulder is tweaked.  (And she competed this past weekend, winning two of her divisions.)  JD's knee is wonky.  Vance is perpetually rotting.  Andy falls apart if you blink at him wrong.  Kyle's knee seems to be better.  John's ribs seem to be OK.  And my toe and hand are operating at less than full force.  Steve actually returned to training today for the first time since I started, new knee and all.

A friend started his sample period tonight.  He's in sports medicine, works with athletes all the time, understands competition.  We worked some pretty advanced techniques for his first night--the Camarillo switch, multiple choke defenses, taking the back, two separate passes.  Then we trained for a bit.  He didn't join in the rolling--that would be a bit of a tall order for his first night.  I worked with Tony first, and we stalemated.  He couldn't open my guard, and I couldn't get anything working against him.  But I was threatening, and that's leaps above where I used to be.  Then I worked with Steve.  It was my first time rolling with him, and he has a different style from what I've yet encountered.  He got me in side control, and I was able to reverse the position.  (Always a confidence booster.)  Mel and I trained afterwords.  I found a new grip to use in side control with which I can both trap the near-side arm and finish with a bow-and-arrow-esque choke.  So that was fun.

Training injured, though, is always an entertaining and challenging.  Hell, at this point shaking hands without wincing is a challenge.  And most of the night my toe was doing great being buddy-taped to his neighbor, and then two minutes before we finished I felt it go.  Of course, nothing to do about it but soldier on.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


"The secret? It's hard to explain, because, like I said before, this is a chess game.

"What for me looks easy because I have the capacity to set him up in a way where when he is trying to fight he is always one second late. So it is a tremendous amount of precision and understanding of what is coming next to keep myself a beat ahead, and to give to him the feeling where he is going, little by little, down, going in a worse position."


Sunday, April 3, 2011

More Direct Ways of Treading Water

Wedding this past weekend for an old friend.  I stood up front in a tuxedo with suspenders and a bow tie, strictly black and white, armed to the teeth with smooth scotch and a sharp wit.  It was a great weekend, even if it meant that I didn't get to train.

Last week was a good amount of training with a decent amount of reflection and philosophy thrown in for good measure.  Klint and I stayed and talked for about an hour after class on Tuesday, going over what his expectations of me are as his blue belt and what changes that should bring out in my game.  I didn't realize until that night that he had never promoted anyone before.  He's been instructing for years, but he's always been helping other people.  We are his first class.

We talked about competition and how much I should start to build into my schedule when I'm out of school and (dear god let's all hope) working a normal job.  It will entail training for a few weeks and adding training and cross training and diet and all that, not to mention traveling (because Minnesota just doesn't have enough well-run tournaments--and by enough I mean any).  He went through all the positions and talked about where I need to focus on improving, and we went through our academy man by man (we're pretty small, after all) and talked about how I match up and what that says about not only the state of my skills, but how about my mental approach.  For instance, I can absolutely wreck guy A but have certain troubles with guy B (say, he has an easier time sweeping me than he should) even though guy A destroys guy B.  So we talked about that, dissected my mental approach, tried to come up with reasons for it and ways around my mental blocks.  He also told me not to worry about the evolution of the other guys at the academy--basically, I'm taking the role of the guy in class they have to fight who they're more than likely going to lose to.  Except for JD.  Because not only is he big and strong, but his technique is precise, and he knows how to use his size and strength intelligently.  He and I are going to have some serious fights in the academy, and we'll both limp home bleeding from the mouth and nursing our egos.

Other than that, I don't have much to report.  School work is starting to get in the way of my voluntary life.  But that will end, and I have merely to pay its due attention for the next month or so.  Then, I can roll around all I want.  Because I'll have no job to stop me.