Monday, September 2, 2013

No Mercy

Big Dude was crushing me. Completely. I was trying to stay alive on the bottom, keeping my elbows in tight. Big Dude was forcing his hands between my elbows and legs. I was holding on tight. Big Dude was crushing my chin to get a choke. I held firm.

As a little person my strength is my speed and agility, and well, my tininess. Just a little space, that’s all I needed, to wriggle out of this mess. This Big Dude in particular is good at closing the gaps. Our rolls usually end up with me on the bottom of mount trying to fend off his attacks which are always backed by muscle. This is where I was now.

Suddenly, there was some space. Enough for Shark Girl to slip out. Quick as I could, I torqued my body and got to my knees. What I saw I couldn’t believe. It was Big Dude’s back. And he wasn’t moving. Why isn’t he turning toward me? I didn’t know, but I didn’t have much time. I threw my right arm around his neck. Is his chin really up? Am I really connecting with his throat? I grabbed my left biceps. Am I getting a choke? There’s no way. There’s no way. He’s going to throw me off of him. But his chin was up. It happened too fast. He made a mistake. I had the choke. I knew it. I could feel it.

So, what was the point in choking? I had it. Most of the time, if I have a sure submission, I just go through the motions and let it go, continue the roll. Plus, choking him could possibly emasculate him, make him feel bad, drive him to use more muscle the next time we roll.

I know, in a perfect world, our guy training partners wouldn’t feel that way. They would be excited for our victories, our triumphs, our progress. But let’s face it, no matter how much we say, “If a smaller, weaker, skilled person couldn’t tap out a larger, stronger opponent, then it wouldn’t be jiu jitsu, it wouldn’t be worth studying, it wouldn’t work,” most guys have a thing against women tapping them out. I’ve learned this in my time on the mat.

So here Shark Girl was. This was what was going through my mind. I had the choke. Solid. It was a victory, I knew it. Did he need to? To choke or not to choke. I pushed my elbows together just a bit to see the reaction. He was fighting. Hard. I pushed them a little more. Maybe he’ll acknowledge that I’ve got it. He braced. I pressed my elbows together more closely. He was still resisting. Should I finish it? Or let it go?What should I do? I’m guessing most guys when they roll don’t have this internal conversation with themselves. I’m guessing if they have a submission, they finish it. Maybe I’m wrong. I wouldn’t know. I’m not a guy. But Shark Girl was thinking fast.

I thought of how often I’ve had to stop reacting to him for fear it would encourage a muscled response that might injure me. How many times had I avoided rolls with him because I knew it would wind up with him on my back with his long legs twined around mine while I bucked and struggled and he used his muscles to force my chin up to get a choke he didn’t have because my chin was down? How many times had I lain motionless for minutes at a time underneath him while he tried to break my solid defenses to no avail, yet continued to stay on top forcing himself, wasting my roll completely because he wouldn’t move from his dominant, albeit useless, position, and upon realizing this, resorted to crushing something—anything—of mine to get me to move an arm or a chin?

Oh, I remembered, Chest in. And I tapped that motherfucker out.


  1. :) :) :) I can absolutely relate!

  2. Nice job! I don't go through the emotional dialog about "will this emasculate him" because in my mind we're practicing a skill together - it's not a "boy vs girl" or "man vs woman" thing. But it also helps that I'm in Korea, so I'm sort of separated from a lot of issues that women in America (or training with the same culture/language group) have.

    That's very cool that you've broken through your own personal barrier (sorry if I'm misinterpreting that!) and followed through. You and I have been training for around the same amount of time. It's weird - I'm also at the point where I can exploit some teammates' mistakes, and I'm not TERRIBLE - which feels weird.

    Excellent work, Shark Girl! (ps I will email you about the pants - I got caught up in craziness).

    1. Wow--I find it impossible to get away from the man v woman thing.

      I'm curious--I would think you would feel more self-conscious in Korea. Are the gender issues different, or are you saying that there's so much else different, too, that the gender difference doesn't come into play? (e.g. "Those western girls are all crazy, so of course she does BJJ" or something like that.) Or is Korea a mecca of gender equality? Cause I'll be on the next plane!!

      I'm not sure I've broken any barriers. Against anyone else I wouldn't have done it. In this instance, I just wanted to choke this guy out. Why I wouldn't usually do it is another post. Or not. My internal philosophy on choke outs is not all that exciting, and probably pedantic.

      Anyway, THANKS for your support! I have enjoyed learning BJJ with you over the last few years!

  3. I second the "best post ever" comment. That was a highly climactic and satisfying ending!! I laughed out loud, then applauded. I've missed your posts...need to catch up! Only just updated mine; it's been so long. But I can completely relate to this post and it's amazing :o)

    1. Thank you, Reese! I'm so glad you are still in the game, and can't wait to read your newest update.

  4. I also agree that that was the best post ever -- and the most satisfying ending! Go you.

    1. Oh, believe me, it was satisfying for me, too! : )


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