There's something just phenomenal about summertime! The buzzing cicadas, the feel of hot sun pouring over my head like warm honey, the smell of freshly-cut lawns and the chlorine of pools and the cold juicy cracking sound and scent of watermelon being cut open... And of course, here in central Texas, we're famous for our Fredericksburg peaches.
My mom had an amazing peach tree in our yard in the Chicago suburbs, and I loved the feel of the fuzzy warm skin, round and full in my hand. If you grab both sides of a really ripe peach and twist, it will split wide open in your hands. The juice runs down your fingers and wrists and chin... :) Good stuff!
Anyway, the happy hedonism of summertime was on my mind both to and from jits this morning. Just gorgeous weather, the world smelled good, I was feeling unhurt and unsore, the wind rushing up my nose... I was in a perfect mood to roll. No one was warming up when I arrived, so I jumped on one of the blues who is closer to my size and got some action. I tried for a side tomoe nage and instead pulled him into a seated headbutt-- ergh. I am working on my guard passing, staying light on my feet, posting on head and shoulder and changing directions with more speed and agility, and it seemed to help. Once to side or north-south, though, he was really hard to manage, and kept disrupting my sub attempts. At one point from guard, he sat back and I came up on top, virtually standing on him, and should have grabbed the standing armbar, but was giddy and flubbed it. Oh well. Twice I gave up my back instead of the pass, managed to escape the back twice too (once by ankle locking his body triangle, yay.)
Then another blue belt pal came by and made my life even more difficult than the last one. His side control is mean and I have a hard time passing his inverted guard. I did get his back though. I was really pleased with my patience and control-- he'd strip a hook, we'd go to the other side, I'd creep up and feed my bottom foot in by his hip where his elbow didn't completely cover the gap then roll him over again. Rinse, repeat. Meanwhile methodically trying to improve my grips in his collar. When I was a baby/toddler, I had this yellow blankie edged in the smoothest satin. I loved running it through my fingers in this rhythmic way, crawling the binding through my hand.
Well, that same motion is just the ticket for creepycrawlering my grips higher when I don't have a separate hand free to manage the lapel. I went from a seatbelt grip with the underhook arm in the lapel, to a cross-collary kind of choke, and then to a four-finger forearm choke. He defended everything so well that my grips were just hating my guts at the end. I did have my forearm under his chin, I think, and I was extending hips forward, burrowing my forehead into the back of his skull, trying everything I knew to get every last fraction of an inch, but it wasn't enough and I tapped myself with the pain in my hands and arms.
A purple belt friend came by and had some useful advice for us both. When someone's passing your halfguard facing your feet, you have to manipulate their center of gravity by manipulating their head position. When they are too far to one side or the other, poof, you reverse them. This was great in theory, but in practice, more difficult. And then I broke my neck.
Ok, ok, not really, but I felt absolutely TERRIFIED that I had. So I was being uke, on top halfguard, curled like a shrimp and facing the feet. Picture the little lesser-than symbol... < ... so if their head is to the left and feet to the right, my body is the bottom part of the symbol and my head the upper part. As they rolled, my head got stuck on the mat because I was too dumb to tuck my chin, and my body kept coming up and forward and around because it was connected to their body. The hinge was my neck. I felt this enormous crack (crackcrackcrackcrack) and a pain down the middle of my shoulderblades and I tapped halfway through with this gargly gargoyle sound. Two seconds later I could tell I was fine but those were a LONG two seconds. My upper back and neck are still tweaky but I'm fine.
Then he and I spent some time working on the combination of, or the transition process from, X guard, to deep half, to butterfly. I hope it helped him to walk through the rationales for entering in different ways at various times. It was helpful for me, but again I need to see things a number of times before it sinks in. I have a rudimentary, kindergarten understanding of each guard (the same way I have a rudimentary kindergarten understanding of surgery- you cut, you sew) and am looking forward to developing those aspects of my game. We sat down and watched my Pan footage again (cringe) and I'm happy to see that at least in my mind I've come a long way since April. That's not too bad, just 4 months, and I feel like I have a third-grader grasp of passing now.
Somewhat randomly, we paused our discussion to review some salsa basics and the difference in timing between on1 and on2. I am always happy to be able to share something in return for all the help I'm given. Here's some pretty to enjoy: my dear friends Magna and Andres, social dancing at the Boston Salsa Congress back in 2006...
Back to jits-- we did discuss, throughout the drilling process, the differences in how girls (or at least I) learn jits versus how boys learn it. It's a topic I'll be delving into more deeply in an upcoming article for another publication. [In fact, I am committed to writing for three other publications, so when I know what article is coming out where, I will let you know.]
Anyhoo-- that took up the whole 3 hours of class. Came home, showered, ate some chicken fajitas, watered the plants on the deck, and ensconced on the couch. Mitch has study group for his upcoming exam so I'll be here, basking in the scent of my conditioner and the sliced peach in my bowl and the muted cicada noise from outside.