One part of last night’s Jiu-Jitsu lesson involved utilizing the triangle choke if your arm bar fails. Instructor emphasized trapping your opponent’s head while doing so. “It’s like a balloon. If you let go, it floats away. You don’t want it to float away because then you have to spend another $50 to get another one for your kid at Disneyland.”
The funny visual aside, I was reminded of the triangle choke class where I kept forgetting to trap my opponent’s head. He’d pop it up and say, “Your balloon is getting away.” Then I realized my partner from that class was standing next to me. I looked at him to find him looking at me, clearly thinking the same thing. We quietly chuckled.
Another nice thing: the guys greeting me by name and with a smile. One such gentleman I hadn’t met, but he still said, “Hello, Betsy,” with a friendly smile. Yes, I know his name now. It’s an uncommon one, so that makes it easier to remember. There are three pairs of people with the same name, and one name being utilized by three people. One of those is Li’l Trejo. Maybe I should just call him that instead to vary things up. Do you think he’d mind?
Quick martial arts lesson: Rolling is to Jiu-Jitsu as Sparring is to Taekwondo.
Quick blog lesson: Instructor is to Jiu-Jitsu as Sensei is to Taekwondo.
I’m now at the point of my Jiu-Jitsu journey where I get to attend Reflex and Development class. Your opponent gives indicators like step back, push away, post a leg up, etc., to let you know what move you need to do.
Often I ask, “What do I do?” because I’m not very good at this. The answer is usually Arm Bar or Elevator Sweep or Americana.
“Oh, right, yeah,” I’ll say then do the move.
At the start of 99% of the regular classes, we practice The Clinch. It’s a standing move that leads to getting the bad guy on the ground. We do this so often, I could sleep through this part of class.
Then in Reflex and Development, Instructor stood in front of me.
The guy who said I have the perfect limbs for crushing someone’s life out (Be still my heart) was the only one unpartnered when I arrived for Saturday’s class. I was glad I’d already met him during the Triangle Choke class, as that made this much easier.
“Looks like it’s you and me,” I said on approach.
“Let’s do it,” he said with a nod.
This man is my new Timmy/Andre in general size, except Andre was careful with me. (Despite that whole bending my foot backward incident.) This New Andre, whom I’ll call Drake, heavily dragged his leg over mine multiple times (as expected, I’m feeling it today) and gave me a knee to the stomach. I said “Oof” many times and a couple of “Ow”s.
Still a nice guy, he was at least trying to not hurt me.
At one point he said, “You got Draked.”
Somehow, in the moment, I found it funny. Now, I just find it as lame as lame can be. I hope to avoid partnering with him in future classes.
After class, I had an opportunity to “relate” to Li’l Trejo.
“I saw a Korn sticker on your water bottle a while back,” I told him.
“Yeah.” He smiled.
“One time after class, I turned on the radio and a Korn song was playing. So I cranked it up and drove fast. Then I got stopped at a light.”
“Oh,” he grimaced.
“I was like, doesn’t this light know I just came from Jiu-Jitsu? I need to GO!”
He smiled in understanding. “I like metal like Korn and Disturbed…”
I nodded in recognition. Disturbed has a cool cover of The Sound of Silence. Don’t ask me to name any other songs. And I only knew I was listening to Korn because I used Shazam, a song recognition app.
Li’l Trejo continued with other band names foreign to me. “I just love music.”
“Me too,” I said.
“Not a lot of girls like Korn. It’s rad that you do.”
At Monday night’s Jiu-Jitsu class, Enthusiastic Teen arrived when I did. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. “Hi, Betsy, how are you?” “Good, Enthusiastic Teen. How ’bout yourself?” “Good, thanks.”
We found our cards, set them on Instructor’s desk, then I pulled ET to the mat, ready to sweep him, but he beat me to it. (Dang it! Gotta be quicker!)
I glom onto ET because he’s a kid. I don’t care about decorum and asking politely to practice with him. I just grabbed him and said, “Let’s do this.” He’s fun to work with, but also difficult.
I wanted to practice the Triangle Choke. I was on my back with my legs in a vice grip around his throat. I had him all locked up, but he wasn’t choking. (Discouragement #1)
“Have you got it?” he said.
“I think so.”
Then he stood.
He’s 6 feet or so and swung me around in a circle with my head hanging by his knees.
“Ach! Put me down!” And he did, eventually.
“Nice job hanging on, Betsy,” came Instructor’s voice. “Sometime I’ll show you the sweep so he can’t do that to you.”
So it’s a sweep. I imagine an ankle sweep with my hands. Good to know.
The rest of class was centered on the Elevator Sweep, one I know well, but had a hard time doing authentically on much larger ET. (Discouragement #2) He was basically just rolling over and saying, “Oh, no. You got me. You’re so strong,” in a fake, mocking tone.
At the end of class came Wall Drills.
Instructor had us line up on either side of the room. “If you’re above 5’10” go to the opposite wall.” Bye-bye, ET. Have fun practicing with the big kids.
Remember a few posts ago when I was bragging about Older Gentleman saying, “Wow,” because I could throw him off but he couldn’t throw me off? Yeah, well, that’s because he doesn’t really know Jiu-Jitsu yet.
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: