Crazy with a Green Belt


One blog name suggestion during the “contest” was “Crazy with a Yellow Belt.” If we had gone with that, it would need to be updated now.

The green belt test was not nearly as embarrassing as my yellow belt test. Did I still screw something up?

Of course I did.

When the testing was complete, Sensei instructed my partner and me to return to our starting line. I began jogging to the spot I’d been seated before being called up for the test. I realized halfway there that he meant our starting line from which we DID the test.

I turned around and smiled at him sheepishly as I returned to the appropriate line. Fortunately, he smiled back. It’s a good thing we’re friends or he might have instead been irritated, annoyed, or given me a reproving look.

I later considered that it pays to be a nice, friendly person. That greases the skids of forgiveness for my flubs. If I weren’t nice, he might have reacted differently. I synthesized that thought process down into this text exchange:

Soon after, the girls and I got the flu. I was worried we might have spread it to him, so I gave him a heads up and suggested he take preventative measures. Then it occurred to me that I had an opportunity to get back at him for his snark and maybe get a leg up for a change. Here’s what I wrote post-testing, pre-belt ceremony:

I was wrong. He still wins.

But we all got our green belts.

A blog reader had asked if the different belt colors had meanings behind them. I didn’t know, but then I found this paperwork from when we had first signed up. Here’s a partial shot.

White and orange come before yellow. They are discipline, parts 1 and 2. The foreign words are Korean. On the right is a “story” about the progression of a pine tree from seedling to full-grown tree.


Of course I would be remiss if I said nothing about Jiu-Jitsu. Some noteworthies:

Instructor: “Duck walk your foot to the other person’s armpit.” Then, as he waddled his foot sideways, much like a duck’s webbed foot, he said, “Quack quack quack,” with each step.

Later, for the rear naked choke, it was, “Put your face next to his like you’re taking a family photo,” and he smiled for an invisible camera.

That last one wasn’t new to me, so I didn’t laugh at it like I did the duck walk. A man near me was shaking his head at the floor as he chuckled. Seeing others enjoy Instructor’s jokes is just as fun as the jokes themselves.

Yesterday, during warm up, I saw Enthusiastic Teen striding toward the front door. I rushed to pull it shut as he tried to open it. I grinned at him through the glass before letting go of the handle.

“You seriously ran over here just to do that to me?” he said as he entered.

“Yep. Totally worth it.”

I enjoy goofing around with that kid.

This class was the preeminent “holy grail” of Jiu-Jitsu: The Triangle Choke, where you choke your opponent between your thighs and his own arm. There are a couple methods, and, I kid you not, one is called Giant Killer Variation. I stayed after to work on it more with my buddy Lopez, whose daytime classes are apparently still in the works.

Another guy, watching from the side, waiting for his turn, said to me, “I feel like you have the perfect limbs for crushing someone’s life out.”

Lopez nodded. “There’s more padding and it takes longer when he does this to me, but with you, I felt the choke immediately.”

I put a hand over my heart. “My momma would be so proud.”

I’m trying to bulk up, but apparently, at least with this move, my skinny legs are an advantage.

Like the saying goes: Work Choke with what you’ve got.

60 responses »

  1. That’s interesting – I never thought of giving someone the flu as part of a self-defense strategy. A bit slower than taking boney arms and choking out life, but still might have its uses.

    I’ve never had a green belt. I learned a long time ago to keep avocado well away from your clothing when cutting it up. Okay, I’ve had green fingers from cutting avocado and the cutting board is always a mess after that …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice job getting your green. It’s always interesting to see the differences in the different TKD branches and the meanings behind each belt.

    The Triangle is a great position, can fire off alot of submissions from there beyond the basic triangle choke. What makes it the Holy Grail?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Gracie boys called the Triangle Choke something like the Holy Grail, but maybe it wasn’t that. I was going for it being the best, most awesome move in the repertoire of BJJ moves. They said if they could only have one move, this would be it.

      Does your version include the name Giant Killer Variation? That cracked me up. It’s probably not universal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Triangles are great, positionally as well as for the submission. I did some digging and it’s definitely in the top three submissions from two different sources compiling data on matches and how they were won from white belt up to black. Pretty interesting read.

        I could see why the Gracie’s would have the triangle as a quintessential move or even something that represents the philosophy of GJJ even their symbol is both a G as well as a triangle, so it’s definitely a thing for the Gracies.

        I don’t recall us using the Giant Killer name, we just use a conceptual approach in that manner and what would be good, better or best depending on the opponent. Names are good in many cases because they help people remember things. Hence why Eddie Bravo and his 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu has REALLY weird names for moves – it sticks in his students heads lol.

        I’m glad you’re enjoying your journey and getting a lot out of it. Keep at it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • They did mention it in reference to the triangle in their symbol. Funny that I didn’t notice the G until you pointed it out!

        A little more than halfway through your podcast. I’m sneaking it in during work breaks. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You don’t hear much about reproving looks these days. People are too busy giving reproachful glances or admonishing stares. Once in awhile, you’ll come across a reprimanding gaze. This is a breath of fresh air!

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Lol, you gotta love the metaphors that coaches come up with. For the RNC, my coach used to say, “You gotta stick your head next to his like you’re lovers.”

    And for the triangle, it was, “You gotta chop the back of his neck with your calf, like how those train barriers come down when a train’s coming.”

    Yeah, we could start a Twitter account called @jiujitsumetaphors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Like you’re lovers.” Yikes. That would make things awkward for me. I like the train barrier one. There’s been “motorcycle grip ‘vroom vroom”’ and “like you’re eating a burrito” and “resting your head in your hand, just chillin’, watching a movie.”
      @jiujitsumetaphors–I dig it! Should we do it?

      Liked by 1 person

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