Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Girl On Top


Okay, I admit it. Husband made me use this title. But it’s true: I have been getting on top a lot more lately. If only I knew what to do once I got there.

You see, for the past 18 months, Shark Girl has been a bottom dweller. I started as the only female in my club. I have been routinely crushed and pancaked, flattened and steamrolled. 

I have been muscled and maneuvered, manipulated and manhandled. 

And now, a year and a half later, I feel pretty comfortable on my back, thank you very much. My legs wrap and wriggle with ease and my body twists in the correct angles to prevent an attack and facilitate an escape.

But put me on top . . . and I’m a newbie all over again.

Take this recent roll, which is indicative of many. In it, a new teacher-type rolls with me to assess my abilities.

  • Teacher Type lets Shark Girl (SG) get on top.
  • Shark Girl sits there and waits. Isn’t he going to do anything? How can I defend if he doesn’t do anything? SG thinks to herself.
  • Shark Girl realizes Teacher Type wants her to attack.
  • Shark Girl looks down at Teacher Type, catches a flailing arm, and then pauses . . . Now what am I supposed to do with this? I know there’s an armbar here somewhere! Do I have to get this from side or swing my leg over? Why can’t I just choke him? Oh, crap! I wish he’d sweep me already so I can get back on my back!
  •  After many awkwardly embarrassing moments of Shark Girl pressing herself against Teacher Type to hold him down and stare at him, SG confesses that she has no idea what to do.
  • Teacher Type laughs and comments that Shark Girl’s teammates must beat the crap out of her.
  • Teacher Type mercy-sweeps Shark Girl
  • Shark Girl springs into action.
  • Teacher Type says, “Wow—now you are in your comfort zone!”
  • Shark Girl pulls a rad sweep and winds up on top . . .
 Recently, probably due to the influx of like-sized women, I’ve started to catch some of these sweeps and get myself on top. Queen of the hill, if you will. Sounds great, right? But it’s a totally new experience for Shark Girl and I feel more like a flounder.




6 comments:

  1. The "influx of like-sized women" is no doubt due in large part to your presence and ability to hang in there and roll. You've kicked down the door to the boys' club and pinned Spanky to the mat, establishing a new grrrrl-friendly atmosphere.
    ;-)

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    1. lol "Spanky"!

      Our gym has become grrrl-friendly, but I dare say there's more to it than me. My instructor has been clear that there is a place for women. My gym has a relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere where there are many "non-traditional" (read: older) students. If it wasn't me first, it would have been someone else!

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  2. Sharky - don't sell yourself short by underestimating the influence that one person can have. I wrestled on my high school team, and was very thankful that I was not the only girl. The pioneer had paved the way, and by the time I went out for the team, the ice had been broken and the boys and the coaches had dealt with all the associated drama. The fact that she had shown up, stayed on, and managed to put a number of male opponents on their backs made my decision easier. I was grateful then, and am even more grateful now.

    Thanks to Title 9 and the courage and tenacity of pioneer girls wrestlers.

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  3. I know exactly how you feel. For the first four or five years I spent in jiu jitsu, I HATED being on top. Every time I found myself there, I was almost hopeful that I'd get swept so I could be back in my comfort zone (especially when passing the open guard: still not a fan, but slightly more comfortable). Weirdly, I think I was happiest under side control, because I knew what to do and where to go.

    That seems to have changed dramatically in the last two years or so. The key seems to have been teaching and injury. I hurt my neck a while back, which forced me to work the top position, particularly top half guard. Now I much prefer being on top, which is kinda weird. :)

    For me, the progression on top seems to have been: get comfortable in side control (sucking away any space, bringing the hips down low, shoulder pressure), then gradually get more comfortable in top half (again, low hips, control the head, attack the arm for distraction to help the pass), and finally start feeling comfortable in mount (driving the hips, crossing my feet, knees off the ground, etc).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, slidey, for the advice. It's something I have to work on and hearing your progression will be helpful. Glad also to know I am not alone!

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