805BJJ Class 30: inversion roll, guard retention

Christian also taught the morning BJJ class. There were 3 other students aside from myself, and I got there late (I was ruined after KM75). I jumped in just as we were finishing the warm up, bridging and limbering our necks.

Then, surprise, we went into the back room and did wall rolls. I was able to pull it off pretty quickly, but still had a few hiccups as I tried to repeat my success. Oh yeah, and I tried to tape up my black nail but the tape pulled off immediately. Then we went back into the big room and did the berembolo roll with a partner. This one I got right away and knocked out some shoddy reps.

We then did a guard retention drill where we’d advance around our partner and they’d then post, scoot, and recover an open guard. Across the mat and back the other way. Next round we upped the intensity and pressure. Last round was a counter-stacking drill, putting pressure on the stacking leg while using the opposite leg on the hip to get space, then circling the foot around the underhooking arm to recover an open guard.

After that it was noon and time for rolling, and I bailed out. No gas left at all, but not injured as far as I could tell. Had to rush home to take my antibiotics (2 hours late).

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Krav Maga Class 75: circuit, focus mitts w/ Bas, boxing sparring, kick defenses

Christian started his Tuesday morning class by pulling out bags, tying belts between them, and laying out ladders on the ground. I came in with a padded thumb guard strapped to my right hand, and being unable to properly grip things with my right thumb. I was a little nervous that we would have to do choke defenses, but Christian reassured me that we’d just be punching each other in the head, so I relaxed.

Class started with me, Thomas, and Melissa lined up behind the first row of bags. Then Thomas and I alternated at one station while Melissa got the other one to herself. I started doing bobbing/weaving and advance/retreat with punch combos under a pair of belts tied between two heavy bags. Thomas and Melissa started doing L-R-L-R kick combos on a heavy bag – Left front kick, Right round kick, recoil to Left side kick, then turn and look for Right back kick. After 30 seconds we switched, and I was kicking. 3 rounds of each exercise, getting more intense during each stage, and I was already sweating and breathing hard and panicking. After the last phase of the 3rd round, we did 30 seconds of sit-ups, then rested while Christian explained the next circuit – floor ladder fighting stance footwork and a reverse stance version of the kick combos we had done before. The footwork drills were easy to do slow but I messed up a few times as they got faster. My last of 3 rounds of Right front kick, Left round kick, Right side kick, and Left back kick had my dying, but right after that was done we got into the stretch and I just made my little sweat puddle on the mat.

We cleared off the circuit apparatus and put in mouth guards. Then we stood still while our training partner punched us in the face and in the body. I got paired with Christian, and I survived. He didn’t hit my face hard. I might have hit his too hard once, but he got payback on the body right afterward if he wanted it. I weathered it okay. I’m a soft body target.

Then we gloved up and did focus mitt combos. I need all the practice I can get on focus mitts, and this was the first time Christian had as do a round of Bas Rutten’s boxing exercise tape with focus mitts. I’d never imagined such a thing. Anyway, I was dying while throwing the punches for my round, and I screwed up a few of the combos. I survived again, and got to hold for Christian. I screwed up a couple of those combos for him too, but mostly I did okay. Surprisingly okay!

Then we did 6 rounds of boxing sparring. My partners were Melissa, Thomas, Christian, Melissa, Thomas, and finally Christian again. I feel I did really well. I got smacked a few times, but I was laying down some smack of my own. I punished Melissa for turning away from me by repeatedly tapping her head until she turned back and smacked me in the face. It was worth it. I was also able to sit back and play defense when I got tired, instead of panicking and just getting lit up like I used to. My defense has improved a lot, and so has my footwork. I was moving and using combos and movement to try to create openings, and I was sometimes successful.

After sparring, we lost the gloves and headgear. We did kick checks in the mirror from both stances for a bit, then put on our leg guards and I paired with Thomas to defend some kicks with my leg. We both went mercifully easy on each other and survived without incident. Then class was over. I dragged my butt over to my bag and laboriously changed outfits for 805BJJ30.

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805BJJ Class 29: collar chokes and hold from behind

In an echo of one of my very first classes, we did collar chokes from behind, using it to attack an unwise turn-away from side control and take the back, or to tip a turtle. I teamed up with TJ to practice and we both managed to make one another dizzy with our chokes. It took me a while but I started getting it again. It started coming back and feeling normal.

I left before rolling, and I’m glad I did. Even with the relatively light duty, I had sore muscles everywhere come Sunday.

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Krav Maga Class 74: shadow boxing, focus mitts, bursting elbow, gun defenses

TJ’s Saturday morning class was nervous time. I came with my BJJ gi anticipating a return to ground training later. I also wrapped my hands to try to protect my right thumb, which I jammed on a focus mitt the week before.

Things started smoothly with shadow boxing and level 1/2 defense technique review. I teamed up with Jeff and Mike. These 3-man teams don’t give you as much practice but they also don’t wear you out as much. Still, I dinged my right thumb a couple times and thought about icing it, but didn’t.

We gloved up and donned focus mitts for combos followed by a bursting punch, then transitioned to a turning, bursting elbow to the rear (anticipating gun from behind defense). I alternated between striking the pad and striking the bag, and I came out with a big ol’ bruise on my right elbow from landing so many heavy shots.

Then we reviewed gun from the front a bit (covered last weekend) before we got into gun from behind. Turn body/arm to first see what’s in the other hand, then continue to redirect the gun, burst in to underhook the gun arm while delivering that elbow, trap their wrist to your chest while you land some combatives, turn into them to loosen the grip and control the line of fire, reach over He-Man style to grip the gun from the top, and pull up to disarm. Strike with the barrel and whatever else to disengage, and keep the damn gun. Don’t give it back!

Gun from the side (behind the arm) is supposed to be basically the same technique, but in front of the arm is another thing altogether. It’s the wrist scoop, step into horse stance while bringing the other hand to underhand grip the barrel, twist the barrel over the top to use the gun takeaway as the attack, and finish with a face strike or whatever.

Class ended with an A/B eyes closed gun/other defense drill.

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Krav Maga Class 73: shoulder tag, bursting punches, focus mitts, jammed thumb, gun from the front

TJ’s Saturday morning class started with me having my orange belt awarded and Alex having his green belt awarded. We had a couple of new guys in the class, and a few old faces. I felt kind of lonely. We started off running around and then playing shoulder tag. Mixed in a bunch of calisthenics and group exercises. Then we got drinks and MMA gloves.

First technique was bursting right punch. We did that a bunch then went to focus mitt combos and bursting punches. I jammed my right thumb on an uppercut and it ruined my day. Last time I had a right thumb injury was 2015-10-01 and it lasted 7 months. Now I get to start over, huh?

After that, we did gun from the front. Redirect, Control+Attack, Take-away. RCAT. It wasn’t too hard for me, except for the takeaway part.

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Krav Maga Orange Belt Test

Saturday morning I woke up at 3am, fevered, chilled, weak, and aching everywhere.

At 6am I woke up again, drenched in sweat. My fever broke. I was so relieved. I had resolved that I was going to test even if I was still sick, so I was glad that the illness was getting better. I’d just keep going until I collapsed, either way.

The workshop started at noon. We lined up on the big mat, bowed in, separated orange belt testees from green belt testees, did a quick warm-up, and then the other orange belt testees and I went into the back room with Brandon but no windows and no fans. I was pouring sweat almost immediately. I joked with Jeff that I was like a Rain Bird, spraying sweat in all directions.

Brandon started off by explaining that he was only going to do about half of our orange belt workshop, and then someone else was going to come in and finish us off. This turned out to be a big problem later, but hopefully we’ll get to that. We started with chokes against the wall, and Brandon was showing us that you put the side of your face to the wall.

I had the hardest time with punch/kick defenses + counters. Especially 360 defenses with a counter. My blocks tended to use my fists instead of an open hand, and the counters were often open hand pokes instead of punches. Yikes! Even in the test, I was terrible and made lots of mistakes.

My easiest moves were the kicks (stomping kicks to the front, side, or back; with or without an advancing step) and the ground work (mount stuff, some guard stuff). I was able to rip through that stuff easily and powerfully. But we didn’t get to the ground stuff until the last 2 hours of the 5 hour workshop, and we weren’t taught the ground stuff by Brandon. We had a surprise instructor and tester coming, and it turned out to be Kim. She taught us all the ground stuff, and tried to fill in the stuff that Brandon didn’t cover (based on his notes).

At 5pm we were done with the workshop and we started the testing. I was 2B and Josh was 2A, meaning we were partners for the test.

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Krav Maga 72: shoulder tag, focus mitts, elbows, knees

TJ’s Saturday morning class, and it was a big one. 12 people on the mat, including some noobs. I came in still nervous about my sore oblique.

We started with some jogging around, shadow boxing, shoulder tag, and stretching. During shoulder tag, Ray hit me up to partner with him. I also got to play tag with Ronnie, Mike, and Nicole.

After that we got our MMA gloves on, grabbed a partner and some focus mitts, and started with a recognition/strike drill. Both Jeff and Mike asked to partner up with me, but I had to decline because Ray had already grabbed me. I felt like the popular girl before prom. It was odd.

Elbows into focus mitts were tricky. Also, Ray is a lefty so I got a little bit of practice holding for southpaw. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We did a second round on the mitts with elbow strikes, and then a third round of punch+elbow combos. Different.

We did knees with the kick shields, and I did a Thai clinch for the first time ever. Ray showed me the fundamentals. It felt less comfortable than the normal standing side control of Krav Maga, and offered a different kind of control.

After that, we teamed up into groups of 3 for a final drill – focus mitts punctuated by kick shield opponents bumping and drawing strikes and knees. Somehow we’d lost 2 students, or maybe gained one? Anyway, I was an extra so TJ paired me with the “heavy hitters” – Alex, Andrew, and Ronnie. Alex started, and he was throwing hard shit at the kick shields. Multi-spinning-kick combos and the like. I always jammed him with the pad so he wouldn’t kick me. Andrew didn’t take time to put his gloves on, and he hurt his thumb a few times on the mitts. Ronnie worked hard and you could tell it was all he could manage just to finish the time. I was the extra, and TJ knew it, so he made all the other groups pick someone to go twice so I could get my turn. Thanks, TJ. My turn was alright, but I did land a wild left side kick on Ronnie’s pad that slid up and touched his neck. He threw his head back and staggered when my foot got up there, and it looked to everybody that I’d sent him flying (not really – it was a weak and sloppy kick that slipped up a sweat-soaked kick shield, and I pulled it rather than following through with it). That ended the class.

So I felt popular at the beginning and respected at the end. Someday soon I’ll look back on this class and think I was the butt of a joke, but for now it’s very edifying.

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Krav Maga 71: shadow boxing, thai pads, kick checking, choke/pull from behind

TJ’s Thursday morning class. I came in worried about my left oblique, which had been strained a week before and was still convalescing.

Warm ups went fine. I teamed up with Andrew, a burly and friendly Asian guy who’s a yellow belt still trying to recover his skills after a layoff. I did Thai pads with VERY light kicks.

We did kick checking too, and I tried to go very light on those as well.

For the defense move, we did choke from behind with a pull, which is basically “pluck while you spin around and kick them in the groin.”

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