Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shark Girl Refinances, and Other Tales

Oh, my spouse. While Shark Girl tries to remain anonymous, Husband gains pleasure from outing me at every opportunity. Take our mortgage refinance closing yesterday afternoon. To most, a dull and dreary occasion filled with yawns and finger cramps. Not mine. The first part was rather monotonous. But then, something happened. 4-Year Old had to go to the bathroom. “I’ll take him!” I leapt up, happy to be out of the chair and to focus my bleary eyes on something other than a printed page. When I returned, Lawyer and Husband were discussing the next document to be signed.
            “This one verifies that you do not use any other alias for legal purposes,” Lawyer informed me. Pause . . . Pause . . . Pause . . . “Like Shark Girl.”

I leave Husband for a two minute potty break and he has already discussed my secret blog with the closing lawyer? Sigh. I’m fighting a losing battle here.

Last night’s class continued our focus on armbars. We practiced some more complex ones that started from a Figure 4 and from the Turtle. Then we sparred.
One of my partners was a big guy who heretofore has gone easy on me. Last night he showed me just how easy. When I was in his guard he squeezed the stuffing out of me with his thighs. “This is what I would do with the other guys.” Well, I thank you not to do that with me because you’ll get a tap right there, Iron Legs. Your thigh is the size of my waist!
I must say, however, that I like to know the range--how hard someone is practicing against me versus how hard they could go. He squashed me to educate me, and I appreciate that on some strange level. He also did this because my classmates are advising me to spar more “mean,” I’ll call it. They say things like, “When you’re here, jab your elbow into his stomach because he’ll hate that.” “Put your hand across his face like that because it will bother him more.” “Really get your arm up into his throat because it will be very uncomfortable.” These are hard for me to do. It’s not that I’m “nice,” but I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me, so why would I do that to them?
My last spar of the night was with Slightly More Experienced White Belt. He’s a smaller guy and has about 35 lbs. on me. Last week he couldn’t submit me, but this week he trapped me in two armbars in a row. I hadn’t learned my lesson, so he started maneuvering for armbar #3. I managed to wriggle out and push him away. He hesitated for a split second with his back to me and I sprung upon it and landed the choke. Iron Legs was on the sidelines coaching me. SMEWB tapped. We disengaged, looked at each other, and burst out laughing. “I think I’m done,” I said. “I’m kind of tired.” There was no way I was going to ruin my moment with another armbar!


  1. Your husband sounds like a sweetheart! Husband of Shark Girl, if your are reading this, which you probably are, keep bragging about your wife. Wives should be bragged about all the time.

    Yeah, the "mean" techniques take some getting used to in application, but they are very effective. The first one I learned was the elbows into the inner thigh to break guard. There is a pressure point between the quad and inner thigh muscle that will open a guard quickly, but mind the triangle.

  2. Personally, I find 'mean' techniques against the ethos of jiu jitsu: they seem crude and brutish (though that sounds very TMA). 'Dirty' techniques often aren't illegal, so if people want to use them that's their prerogative, but I see it as distasteful. As in my favourite quote from Saulo Ribeiro:

    "You have to think that your partner, the guy that you're training [with], has to be your best friend. So, you don't want to hurt him."

    So I'm with you on that, Shark Girl: I wouldn't want them doing it to me, so I'm not going to do it to them. I much prefer to use clean, smooth technique, not rake my stubble across their face or start choking their jaw.

  3. Depending on your training partner, I think it's OK to use STEADY pressure (e.g. knee on belly, elbow to inner thigh, shin on shin, forearm to throat).

    If you're literally "hacking" into or out of a position, then I think it's time to slow it down and work on your technique.

    By the way, congratulations on your first(?) submission.

  4. @Dag: Husband of Shark Girl does NOT read this. What do you think of that?! "Oh, I can't find it...Oh, you have to send me the link...Oh . . ." But I can't complain. He wrote some chapters of a novel and I never read them. To be fair I heard the whole story on our runs together, and I suppose he feels the same way about my posts.

    I did not know there was a pressure point in the thigh. I have to use my elbows or I open no guard. Now I'll have to look for that sweet spot. Any clues how to find it?

  5. @ant: I think it's my first legit one where my opponent was trying his hardest.

  6. Or you could take the Saulo approach to that technique. ;)

  7. @Slidey: At first I thought you were advising me to take the Saulo approach with my husband, which is some of the best marital advice I've ever received. Then I clicked the link and realized you were literally talking technique. And your advice was still good. You must be some sort of prophet. : )

  8. Hah, I like it - Saulo the marriage counsellor. How could any marital problems stand up to that awesome accent?

    "A lot of people give up about try to have good marriage, because they have got so many problems and spend so much energy. You have to think that your husband, the guy that you're training, has to be your best friend."

    Clearly it's a dual use instructional. ;D

  9. "Marital," "martial" . . . I never noticed how similar they are.

  10. I think it depends on your goal when you use 'mean' techniques. I will use my forearm across the throat, not to make it uncomfortable but to turn and control their head. I'll use my elbows against the thigh occasionally to open guard, not by jabbing them into pressure points to cause pain but as a lever that puts pressure on the lock. its the same principle as driving your shoulder in when cross-facing in side control. its not particularly nice but its not mean in intent, its just control. I once rolled against a guy who got so frustrated that he couldn't open my guard that he tried grinding his elbow into my stomach. It didn't achieve anything and just pissed me off. If your doing things to hurt or annoy them like it sounds like your team mates are suggesting I wouldn't listen. If they are telling you things that will help control him and better your position go for it

    Interestingly, Saulo also says that he really likes knee in the belly, because people find it so uncomfortable that they will often give him the submission just to get him off. hes not being mean about it, hes just using the position to control his opponent

  11. What do you think of this: Is it mean for me to be more "mean" when I'm fighting someone who is clearly much bigger and stronger than I am? I'm under five feet, around 105#. When I spar with someone over 200#, I kind of feel like it's only fair for me to get a little "dirty." Not knee in the groin dirty, or kick in the head dirty. More like, "How do you like my elbow in your stomach? Not so much? Then get the hell off me!" When someone is using their weight as an advantage over me, I'll be honest, I'm not so nice.

  12. Haha nah I do the exact same thing sometimes. I'm a girl and always stuck on bottom too so I'll often use elbows etc to create or maintain the little space I have left. I think when you mentioned elbow in stomach I immediately thought 'like that guy trying to hurt my stomach to make open my guard, (which doesn't even make sense!), instead of being crushed underneath and using your elbows to 'encourage' them to shift their weight and create space. good point!

    I really dont have an issue with that if its achieving something. i think I was just trying to draw some sort of line between stuff that benefits the roll and stuff that's just douchebaggy lol. fail

  13. When I posted this originally, I think I WAS talking about stuff like guard-opening. I was trying to figure out when it was "okay" to use that kind of force.
    OMG I HATE being crushed under massive weight! I think I will do almost anything when I get to that point. Sometimes I have to even suppress the urge to bite!


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