Thursday, November 02, 2006

supine & amplified

I know I said I wouldn’t go on & on about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but here’s a short walk-though of how I’ve been spending Monday & Wednesday nights. Actually I’ve missed the last couple Wednesdays. I think I have a virus or bug or whatever. I’ve been feeling tired as all hell, have had a lingering backache & have been at the mercy of a mutinous digestive tract (i.e. I’ve been making bubbling sounds). So I opted to just go once a week the last two weeks to minimize the possibility of soiling my jockstrap after an awkward hip-throw or botched single-leg takedown.

Anyways, what we do is start stretching on our own while people are still showing up. They don’t hold your hand through a bunch of particular stretches; after a couple of classes you know what needs to be limbered up. Then we pair up & do wrestling drills, working underhooks. That’s where you try to get your arms under your partner’s arms, alternating sides. Once we get in the flow, we start moving around, pushing & pulling while we go for double underhooks (both arms around our partners, under their arms). Once you’re in that position, you can pretty much do whatever you want with them, so we restart from there. That gets your arms, chest & shoulders warmed up & ready for the fun. The head instructor gives us a demonstration of the move we’ll be working on by doing it on one of the advanced students. Then we pair up again & go to work. Sometimes we just focus on a simple movement that we need to have imprinted onto our muscle memory, sometimes we actually work on submissions. This week we worked on taking the back of an opponent throwing punches in our guard. That translates to me, on my back, trapping my opponent with my legs, dodging his punches & scrambling around his torso to end up sitting on his back.

Once in a while we put the gloves on & practice some basic boxing, mostly jabs & straight rights. Invariably, this is just a lead-in to throwing a jab, then diving in for a takedown. Getting taken to the ground costs ten push-ups at the end of the round. We also start off on the ground, in the guard & try to pass. For each time your opponent passes your guard (gets out from your legs & gains control), you do ten push-ups at the end of the round. Needless to say, I’ve been dong my share of push-ups.

Then, the grand finale: free training. Pick a partner, put in your mouthguard & let each other have it. We start off on our knees, facing each other. Shake hands before each go-‘round & get to it. This is where most of my bruises come from. Someone like me, introverted & introspective, has a very tough time with a lot of this, especially since I’m loathe to let strangers into my personal space & try to avoid conflict, albeit more out of laziness than cowardice. Trying to strangle someonewith my forearms while they try to bend my arm backwards, rolling around on the floor all the while, is challenging on many levels for me. Which, at the risk of paraphrasing G. Gordon Liddy, is why I must keep doing it.


Blogger Gavin Elster said...

burn them all ralphie BURN THEM ALL.

11:05 PM  

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