Tag Archives: grappling

Grappling Redux

OK, I’ve been called out on my crappy updating ways, so here’s my attempt to make amends.  I’ve just had such a boring life lately!

After about a six-month hiatus, I went back to grappling today!  Yay!  This was inspired by many things, but largely by my brother challenging me to a grappling match, so I need to get back in form for the Very Exclusive Mason Family Tournament, scheduled for Whenever We’re In The Same Room Next.  We can make t-shirts!

After six months, I have forgotten so much!  But not everything, so that’s good.  I even totally won two rounds of rolling.  One was the rear naked choke, my eternal favourite choke.  The other win may not count completely, because I had to get my rolling partner to talk me through the last half of the choke.  I was almost there, I had her pinned, and then I made her tell me how to finish because I suck and Angela is so nice.  Other fun thing: while practicing chokes I was trying to remind Angela to grab my head, but I was already kind of choking, so I couldn’t say anything, so I just kept hitting myself in the head, and she was like, “Are you tapping?  Did you forget how to tap?”

I continue to kickbox, of course.  I’m sort of getting to the point that I’m getting way fewer bruises, and the bruises I get are way lighter, which I know means I’m getting more hardcore and conditioned but also kind of sucks because I want my damn trophies.  I am in pain, why can’t I get my props?

In other, desperately important, news I have started putting blueberry liqueur on vanilla ice cream, and it is pretty much heaven.  The moral is, always do everything a booze salesman suggests.  I have never been lead wrong, in all the one time I’ve done this.

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MMA Days!

We had the greatest kickboxing class.  MMA class!  This is, Mixed Martial Arts, which is what UFC is all about.  Basically, it’s mixing grappling and kickboxing, in this case kickboxing while on the ground.  So first my partner, a big guy, sat on my chest while I punched up at him for at least three minutes, I couldn’t see the clock but holy crap it’s hard to punch up.  I had to keep moving around, too, and trying to bump him off, which means basically bucking up with my hips to try to get him off my chest.  The poor guy wasn’t very used to grappling, though, so I had to remind him a few times to be really heavy on me and actually have his full weight on my chest.

Next!  I got to sit on a heavy bag and punch down on it.  So much fun, not even kidding.  I always wondered how the UFC fighters threw proper punches on the ground, since they didn’t have the full range of motion, but you can really get your hips going!  I now love hammerfists, and I only just discovered them in that exercise.  Also, we did an exercise where we laid on the ground and scooted in a circle on our backs while kicking right up into a front kick.  Basically, kicking the person in the face before they try to get past your legs and into your person.  These are the lessons that will get me confused in grappling class.

In another day entirely, I finally went to a co-ed grappling class!  And I even rolled with a man!  Very exciting!  (Although, when I explained it to Classy Erica, I phrased it, “I went with the men!  Now my knees are so bruised.”  I need to get better at saying things.  I am covered in awesome new bruises, is my point.)  We played a great game called Bulldog, which is sort of like Red Rover with your eyes closed and also violence.  Hard to explain quickly, but it is full of testosterone and badass and I enjoyed it.  I hope to play it more once I get better at it and the guys know me better and are more willing to tackle me.  The learning part involved a lot of really fun take-downs that I can’t remember the names of, so I can’t link to them here.  The important part is that I remember how to do them (I CAN’T REMEMBER HOW TO DO THEM).

Yesterday was my pre-mother’s day visit with Mom, an event celebrated with sushi (every event, people, I am telling you, sushi).  Then, a party with Sam, where I was sociable and talked to people I didn’t know, which was “everyone other than Sam”.  I was competing with other partygoers, to see who knew the fewest people there, and I was the proud winner of that game.

Today I got a last-minute invite to see the play Top Girls, which is seriously awesome and I love it.  The first, long scene could probably just be the whole play, although the rest is worth watching, too.  I have learned about several badass historical ladies I did not know about at all, how terrible is that.  Lady Pope?  How did this chick escape my notice for so long?  Yes, she’s legendary and probably not real, but I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I choose my reality based on it’s fantasticness.

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Extending the lesson

So many exciting shenanigans, I can barely keep up.  (Everyone please remember, I have a very loose definition of “exciting”.)  I went for a cottage weekend with various of The Girls last week, to celebrate our freedom from MLIS-dom.  I ate such a ridiculous amount of food, I am not joking.  If I ever want to become truly skinny, I have to stop being friend with people who are such good cooks, I swear to Christ.  But that would entail losing both wonderful friends and fabulous food, and I’m pretty sure I look awesome anyway, so I’ll just keep everything.

The cottage was lovely, even though I had to leave a day early for work, like a big big loser.  But I had some forest shenanigans.  I did nature yoga!  I did my tree pose on a rock by a still lake, then I found a rock in the middle of a running stream, so I did tree again on it!  It was harder in the running stream, because of the movement.  This is science with yoga I am doing, not fucking around in the woods on one leg.

Then I had to part with the most precious thing, my mother’s car.  Yes, strangely, after Mom got back from her Caribbean adventure she seemed to want her car back.  Also, her cat.  Madness.  I tried to make a run for it, me and the cat against the world, but I can only get places via Google Maps, so the cops can find me pretty fast if they just check my search history (“Come, Kitty, to the Amherst liquor store!  Then the New Brunswick border, and freedom!”).  Also, if I got lost (and I would), I would probably call Mom, which makes stealing her car a little unrealistic.

Hanging out in Truro was good times.  I again played board games with six-year-old Tyler, and again lost to him.  This time it was Trouble, so it’s less likely he was cheating, the little sneak.  Next time I go up, he wants to play chess with me.  God, as you may remember from this, I have played chess exactly once and did pretty badly (though eventually won).  And considering how much this kid kicks my ass, he’s probably going to be giving me pity do-overs.  I think I need to start studying my chess moves in time for my Easter chess beat-down from my tiny nephew.  I’ll play against the three-year-old after, to bolster my ego.  (He will eat my king and I will weep.)

Kickboxing on Friday!  We took a trip to Thai-land, as in Muay Thai, which is seriously fun.  The stance is different, with the hands out in front instead of up next to your face.  It feels very natural for punching, but defensively a little exposed, since I’m used to getting smacked for not having my hands next to my face.  Also, we were supposed to have our legs straighter and bouncier, but I’m pretty sure I immediately forgot that, the way I immediately forget my grappling stance in grappling, because apparently my legs only like to do one thing no matter how stupid that is.  So, we were blocking an overhand hook, grabbing the partner in a one-handed side-clinch, then kneeing him in the stomach.  Then, block the punch, push the face, knee the stomach.  Muay Thai apparently involves a lot of kneeing people in the stomach, which is a thing I can get behind.  We ended with a bit of the old spinning back-kick, which is fun to do once but hard to do, like, twelve times in a row.  I think I need to practice spinning without getting dizzy or something, if that’s a thing, Classy Erica probably knows.

Also in kickboxing, we did an exercise where we had five minutes for holding a plank.  You didn’t have to hold it for the whole five minute, but as soon as you dropped out of the plank, you were done.  My plank is so crappy, I usually can’t hold it for more than a minute, but then I go in and out of it.  So for this, I didn’t want to be the first person in the class to drop out, so I just tried and tried, and lost all track of the concept of time and anything else, and when I finally collapsed it was three and a half minutes.  Holy crap!  I thought I had the worst plank in the whole world!  That time isn’t the best by a long shot (a few people kept it for the whole five), but it’s way better than I ever even dreamed I could do, so I was pretty excited.  Apparently, according to the Plank Gods, if you can hold a plank for two minutes you are Officially Fit.  But the Plank Gods are kind of biased.

Saturday three-hour bootcamp!  Whoo!  We couldn’t go to the gym, so we did it at the club.  This just meant a little less weight-lifting, a little more whatever-insanity-Gerald-could-come-up-with.  The best insanity was a balance exercise where you stood on one leg with your other leg extended as high as possible, in front, to the side, to the back, while moving your arms up, to the sides, in front.  For a very long time.  Seriously working those balance muscles that I’m pretty sure just don’t exist on me.  My balance is so bad, I had to stand facing away from everyone else, so everything I was looking at was completely still.  I managed to zebra up my legs because I retarded when it comes to skipping ropes, as it turns out.  We also did piggyback calf-raises, and I actually collapsed when my piggybackee hopped on me the first time.  She was bigger than me, and my piggyback posture is apparently bad.  I’ve always been strong enough to power up from my bent back with partners my own size, but it’s different when they’re heavier than you.  So!  Long-time readers may remember my guide to being a piggybackee.  Now I will impart the lessons on giving a piggyback ride.

  • Keep your back up straight.  You’ll want to lean forward, to equalize the weight.  This will actually throw off your balance!
  • Have your legs bent and shoulder-width apart, with one in front of the other for balance.
  • You are strong enough!  Booyah!

Today I finally got back to grappling.  I missed it for the past few weeks because of crazy homework and the like.  But I’m back!  We learned a really cool take-down called the head-snap.  Basically, you just grab the back of your opponent’s head and shove it down quickly, and then they’re on the ground!  And if they only go halfway down, then you choke them.  If they don’t go down at all, then I don’t know what to tell you, my algorithm has failed.  Then we did the Fireman’s Carry Takedown, which is fun as hell but really not something I plan on busting out until I practice it a little more.  You wind up in a weird position after the person flips.  At the end, rolling!  I used the head-snap, which is so simple and effective, so much love.

Last night I went with various (former) classmates to watch some archival footage from the thirties in a church.  It was strangely engaging.  There were home movies of someone’s honeymoon from 1932, documentaries about porpoise hunters, and also the greatest short, ever.  It was about burglars and mushroom casserole and it seriously needs to be remade by Jerry Bruckheimer as a summer blockbuster stat.  No one else in the church seemed to find it as hilarious as us, though, which is weird, because it had the most bizarre plot, but everything hung together perfectly.  Like a perfect short story, that ends with a pile of burglar corpses strewn merrily across your livingroom while everyone laughs.

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Banana Superman!

So many shenanigans this week, I barely know where to start.  Sex Toy Bingo with classmates on Wednesday night.  This is, playing bingo for sex toys, and instead of shouting out “bingo” you shout out some sex term that the bar agreed on beforehand.  Basically it gave us disturbing insight into what some people consider to be sex terms.  Anyway, I didn’t win anything, alas.  I never win bingo.  Of course, I never go to normal bingo.  I’ve gone to this and Trailer Park Bingo, that’s pretty much it, ever.  I like it when I don’t have to pay for the cards, and also I can be drunk if I want.

Oh man, this was not the classiest bar, and I asked Steph to get me some white wine.  Apparently this was the exchange at the bar.

Steph: Can I get some white wine?
Bartender: White… wine?
Steph: …yeah.
Bartender: Um… Wha… *asks boss* Do we have white… wine?

So, yeah, in the end I did not get wine.

Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day!  This apparently translated into morning drinkin’ with Steph and various other Newfoundlanders.  I’m pretty sure Paddy’s Day is the one day of the year that getting drunk in the morning is socially acceptable, so it’s cool to blog about it.  Anyway, we were to Durty Nellie’s and had an enormous breakfast that was probably as authentically Irish as you can get without beans.  I drank wine, because I am a complete lameass.  The Newfoundlanders were explaining to some Navy guys at one point that I count as cool because I’m from rural Nova Scotia, but I was sitting there with glass of chardonnay, so I don’t think I was really selling it.

Oh yeah, by the end of the morning I was done drinking, as wine goes faster than Guinness.  So this is apparently my idea of appropriate ordering in a bar:

Steph: Guinness.
Shawn: Coffee.
Shannon: Cheesecaaaaaake!

The bad thing about morning drinking is the afternoon hangover.  And I had kickboxing to do!  Oh my.  I skipped a couple of classes this week because of homework, and I was not skipping Thursday’s, hangover or not.  Ah, it wasn’t too bad.  We were doing this thing where we fling ourselves out of the way of a punch, which we do a lot (called a ‘slip’), but this time practicing doing it really fast, with the idea of punching our opponents before they were finished punching us.  I was sucking hard at it, but last night we did it again and I was much improved.  Hurrah!

Holy crap, holy crap, last night’s kickboxing involved what might be the funniest exercise I ever have seen.  It’s called something like the Superman/Banana.  You start out on your stomach, and you raise your arms and legs just barely off the ground.  Hold for five.  Then you roll onto your left side without using your limbs, still keeping your arms and legs bowed up off the ground.  Hold for five.  Roll over onto your back, arms up above your head, barely off the ground, legs barely off the ground.  Hold for five.  Then onto your right side, do the same thing.  Then you roll all the way back, the same way you came!  An entire roomful of people doing this is a thing that I’m pretty sure needs to be filmed.

After last night’s class, I got a bit of extra grappling practice.  Gerald helped me out with some takedowns, because I am complete shit at takedowns and I was whining about it.  Seriously, in rolling I pretty much just wait for the other person to take me down so I can do ground stuff.  Not good form at all, Shannon.

Today involved a trip to the Dartmouth Farmer’s Market.  In a related story, I finally got to eat one of those Two If By Sea croissants.  Holy crap, enormous and delicious.  I’d just had lunch, but I was ridiculously determined to eat to entire chocolate croissant immediately, because I figured that a half-eaten, cold croissant wouldn’t be as nice four hours later.  I will never be proven wrong, either.  Because I will never leave one of those croissants half-eaten.  My logical systems are goddamned perfect, is what they are.

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In which Shannon gets punched in the head for, like, five minutes

Oh man, sparring with headgear is sweet.  I can’t actually get hit with full power, because there are limits and all that, but I still got to get hit in the head.  A few more rounds of this, and I will figure out this whole ‘dodging’ thing that the kids are raving about.  Or forget third grade.  One of these.  For the last sparring round, we traded on defense and offense, meaning first Judy could only strike me, and I could only defend, for five minutes, then we switched and I could only strike Judy, and she could only defend.  Taking away the ability to strike made us really work on our defense, which was the purpose of the exercise.  Having headgear on, it basically lead to me running around while getting hit in the face for five minutes.  But I learned!  Being on offense was stupidly fun, though, because I could throw the really impractical, like, spinning back kicks that telegraph from a mile off and there was nothing Judy could do but dodge and be exasperated.

Oh yeah, on Thursday we learned spinning back kicks, like Chuck Norris does in those movies I never actually watch.  I feel very cool while doing them, but can’t actually remember them five minutes later and also at this point would probably get stabbed several times while setting them up.  By which I mean, while sparring, my partner would have time to leave, buy a knife, probably haggle with the knife salesman, come back, and stab me three-ish times.  Of course, it’s only a matter of practice, I will get faster and better the more I do them.  But it feels so far off!

Grappling today!  I requested that we learn sweeps (like, flipping your opponent), and boy howdy, did we sweep!  We were doing some tripod sweeps and using the momentum of our falling partner to propel ourselves up on top of them.  Being the bouncy little lunatic I am, I was somehow rocketing, like, right over Jodie’s head like a bullet, way into the beyond.  Near as I could figure, my strategy here is to land in the next match over and beat both of fighters using the element of surprise.

Kristian at the club was asking me exactly how cold it has to get for me to wear long work-out pants, as opposed to my knee-lengths.  I was being evasive about it, and finally he was just, like, “You just like people seeing your pretty boots, don’t you?”  Ding-ding-ding!  It is true, I will suffer a lot of cold just so I can show off my sexy boots.  $4.50 at Frenchy’s!

In things that have nothing to do with fighting, I did my annual volunteering at the LiveArt fundraiser last night.  I’m always up for a free dance/comedy show.  This is the great thing about volunteering.  Coat check is a relatively easy task, and then I get to watch an awesome show for free.  But coat check can be hard in some ways, because some people have fabulous coats that I covet so hard.  And then they want them back, but already I’ve become emotionally attached.  I’m all, “Have you seen my coat?  It’s sensible and functional.  I might as well wear a Stalinist boot factory.  You take it, I’ll keep your furry thing with the buttons.”

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It’ll be the Poor Man’s Vajazzling!

Holy crap, Kickboxing Erika and I came up with the greatest idea ever yesterday!  It started with her offering to give me a ride to Game Night after kickboxing, and I really wanted to show up wearing my cup, because wearing a cup to Game  Night is just a good gag.  Then we got on the idea of how all the other library students are really good crafters, and I suck so hard I can barely knit a square, and next crafternoon I am just gonna sit in the corner and bedazzle my jockstrap.  That’s when it suddenly became clear we had stumbled across the world’s greatest idea, ever.  Bedazzled Jockstraps!  It’s the sporty version of vajazzling.  Don’t think I won’t do it, either.  And don’t think there won’t be pictures.  And eventually some sort of commercial empire.  We’ll need taglines.  “Get kicked in the crotch with rhinestones.”

Game Night last night was delightful!  In the hours I was there, we managed to play, like, four rounds of Balderdash.  There is nothing more fun than ridiculous lies with friends.  I also came up with a new version of “That’s what she said” for this decade.  Everyone say it so it catches on, OK?

Leah: “I’m confused, but I think I just lost.”
Me: “That’s what I say every time I make love.”

A leftover issue from the trip to the giant-themed restaurant last week.  Do you think, dear Internet, that a proper giant-themed restaurant should have giant food, because it is for giants, or tiny food, to make you feel like a giant?  Kathleen believed it should be the former, I thought it should be the latter, and this terrible issue threatened our precious friendship right up until we got normal-sized food and were united in disappointment.

I finally did some pushups yesterday, after not doing any for well over a week.  I was getting worried about my buffness, OK?  We also did an exercise where we had to dodge either a jab to the face or block a right hook.  Only two choices, and I still kept fucking up and getting hit.  This is why I’m always bruised.

In grappling, I rolled with poor Angela and kept her locked up in a choke for, like, a minute and a half before I finally had it tight enough to actually cut off her air.  So she just couldn’t move and was extremely uncomfortable while I was flipping her around and trying to make the choke proper.  My arms were actually starting to hurt from flexing so hard.  This is how my showdowns with muggers will end.  “Damn, my biceps are aching.  Can you just, like, go?”

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Tournament Girl!

So, I had my very first tournament today, in grappling.  I totally did not win anything, because I am a silly thing, but I got spirit, yes I do.  Whoo!  I fought twice, and got choked once.  Didn’t get submitted in the first fight, and the lady I was fighting was way more advanced than me, so I’m pretty excited about that.  I had a pretty clear goal going in: Get any points.  And I did, in fact, get any points (in fact, I got 2).  That’s actually not good or anything, but I am pretty happy nonetheless.  Because I attained a goal.  A really low goal.  Yay me!

I was actually really nervous right before the fight.  It was weirdly like exam anxiety.  I was on YouTube in the morning, looking up submissions, like cramming for a test.  “Fuck, fuck, is the Americana pulled upwards or downwards?  Fuck!”

I will put up pictures of me getting my ass kicked (but not actually kicked because we don’t do kicking in grappling) as soon as I get them off other people’s cameras.  That’s another things about grappling!  I kickbox four times a week, and only grapple once!  It’s really hard to compete in my less-dominant mindframe.  Also, while waiting to fight, Michael was showing me pressure points, which only added to the confusion.  Life is difficult with competing martial arts.

Oh yeah, I made a joke about how I abandoned my baby with my submachine gun because they both got too heavy, I should really go back and check on how they both are.  Just to illustrate how every joke I make seems to go back to my fictitious abandoned baby.  It lives at the mall, raised by the Orange Julius people, and now it has a submachine gun and is out for revenge.  A few more jokes like this, and I’ll have a new Tale Of.

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