Sweeps and more sweeps

21 Mar

The past week has involved a lot of driving…last Tuesday we went out to Gatlinburg to look at a bear, and then the day after we went all the way out to Asheville, North Carolina to look at two more bears.  There’s a grad student doing a study on leptin in them, so we took some fat samples while they were knocked down.  Then this weekend, I went up to Chicago (really Steger, IL) for a Madina Lake concert.  I met up with some friends in Kentucky so I didn’t have to drive all that way by myself, but the drive back on Sunday still sucked. 

Lately, it seems like the fundamentals classes are the technique sessions, and then the advanced throws in the rolling.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays when we have both classes for a total of two hours, it’s not so bad, but on Mondays when there’s only an hour for class and there’s no rolling it makes me sad.  Last night was nice though, because we got a pretty solid warm-up from Jess (who decided to work out her frustration on us), a variation on a technique, and then rolling time.

The technique wasn’t really anything new.  John had us drill our favorite sweeps to start, then showed us a “timing version” of the scissor sweep, in which you go for it when they bring their head forward when they start to break guard.  It also involved using the bottom foot to cup the knee on the floor until they were swept all the way, but I don’t have gorilla feet yet so I’ll need to work on that some more. 

In the mean time, I’ve been trying to get my shit together for my move to Las Vegas.  I’ve been dragging my feet but I know I need to get my Nevada state license worked out, sooner rather than later.  And then figure out what to do with my critters when I’m in New York for a few weeks after graduation. 


Back to KnoxBJJ!

14 Mar

I got back to Knoxville on Saturday night.  My current rotation is Zoo Medicine (again), and my first day saw us at the Knoxville Zoo…getting attacked by a turkey.

He was quite large and puffed.

The scariest thing is that he was part of the petting zoo section, so it’s possible that little kids would be in there with him, getting jumped as well.  Although apparently he was after me for the miniature cooler I had in my hand.  I think he was just a little off his rocker.

Anyways, I did make it to the Monday night BJJ class.  There were a bunch of guys there I’d never seen before, so I knew it was going to be FUN (hear the sarcasm?), especially considering that my only jiu jitsu over the past five weeks was that one day in Omaha when I didn’t even get to roll.

Of course, because I already hit the gym and lifted earlier that day, we did constant rounds of rolling instead of techniques, like I hoped for.  My first two or three rounds made me feel like completely worthless, as I got smashed by a few of those new white belts.  I don’t know why it irritated me so much, but I kept trying to tell myself that this was a good thing–I needed to be humbled.  I needed to be beaten, so that I could have people better than me to challenge me and teach me things and force me to improve.  That said, I was still really glad that my next few rolls were with blues or blacks who would dominate me effortlessly without making me suffer.  Crazy as it sounds, it’s not getting beaten that makes me mad.  It’s just the feeling of getting completely and painfully scraped across the mats.  And what I hate even more than the feeling that just one more roll like that WILL make me storm off the mats with pseudo-moisture (I was NOT crying!) in my eyes, is how it just makes me angry and want to hurt the person rolling with me like that.  I get more aggressive and sloppy than I should, and it just makes the whole thing worse.

Yesterday was much better.  I was still sore from another trip to the gym (yay for finally doing deadlifts again!  My hamstrings DO exist!), but there was a much wider variety of people and sizes at class.  Michelle showed up too, even though she’s still recovering from knee surgery and can’t put much pressure on her knee.  We had a brand new girl too, so we started class with the cross choke from guard.  We then moved on to the sweeps we worked on yesterday, starting with the “unstoppable” sweep.  Your opponent is standing and you’re on your back, with your feet in the hips.  They shuck off one foot with the elbow, and you bring the other foot down to their opposite leg, sort of like a scissor sweep set-up.  Then you load up their weight, making sure your top knee is above theirs, and scissor the legs and turn your body to the mat to finish.  We also worked on variations where they bring their weight down, and also come forward with their arm under the head.  We moved on to the guard pass drill, and finished that class with open rolling.  Having the opportunity to roll with lighter people was nice for a change, and I actually hit a few sweeps and submissions.  I rolled with one of the guys who demolished me the day before (dude from Texas), and while I didn’t do great, I was much more mentally prepared.  I didn’t let him set up his game right away, and I responded much better to what he did.  I felt like my jiu jitsu had some personality again.



MOVING! (online, that is)

11 Mar
I’ve had enough with Blogger.  For months, I haven’t been able to get to individual post pages and the comments have been screwy.  I’m finally fed up enough to move to WordPress.  My new home is https://grapplingvet.wordpress.com .  There’s nothing up yet, but I’ll get some pages going soon.  In the meantime, if anyone knows how to migrate posts, help/suggestions would be much appreciated! 

New home! (online, at least)

11 Mar

Welcome to The Grappling Vet’s new home!  Blogger was being a pain, so I decided not to fight it anymore.

BJJ in Omaha

5 Mar
I finally got to train in Omaha!  One of my roommates went out of town this weekend and let me use her car, so I drove over to train with Team Rodrigo Vaghi Omaha-North.  I called in advance to make sure they would be there and it was ok if I came, and the ensuing conversation was rather interesting.  Trying to explain where I’m from (New York?  Tennessee?), how long I’ve been training (8 years, but really more like 3-4), where I’m staying (at the zoo…), it seemed like I couldn’t give him a straightforward answer to anything.  In any case, he told me that Saturdays were just open mat, but I was welcome to come on over.

I didn’t have any trouble finding the place, although I drove right by it the first time, and let’s just say the streets of Omaha aren’t the friendliest to out-of-towners.  There weren’t any signs indicating there was a BJJ school, as it was a youth center or something like that.  I walked in and found three guys in a wrestling room, and figured I was in the right place.  They invited me in, and the head teacher, Dana Taylor, gave me a fun lesson on takedowns–mostly arm drags and two on one.  He had to leave soon though, so the other two who were working together took me in and one of them, Greg, continued the lesson.  We did a little bit from the knees as well, and then it was time to go.  Unfortunately, we didn’t really have a chance to get any rolling in, although given the size difference between us I’m not quite sure I’m unhappy about that.  It was just nice to get moving again after a month without BJJ.

In zoo news, we’ve been working on some fun stuff, like tigers, aye-ayes, tapirs (I pulled blood on one!) and stingrays.

Also, I finally got offered a job!!!  It’s in Las Vegas (technically it’s Henderson, but who cares??), doing exactly what I want to do–mostly small animal private practice, with some zoo animals thrown in (they see a lot of the show animals from the strip).  I probably won’t start until late June or July, but I’m already looking into BJJ schools there.  So far I’ve heard Mica Cipili’s school and Drysdale’s school are the places to go, but they’re kind of far and there are a TON of options.  I was really looking for something closer to where I work, and Epic Training Center is less than a mile away.  As far as I can tell, it started out affiliated with Drysdale, but it appears that those instructors are no longer there and Fredson Paixao now runs the BJJ program.  That would be ideal, and honestly at my current level I don’t need THE absolute best instruction–I think as long as I can feel at home, and I will be able to get there with some regularity, it will be just fine.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I’m open to it!!

Not quite bjj…

22 Feb
I’m a week into my month-long stint in Omaha at the Henry Doorly Zoo, and so far it’s been fun.  Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to do much, since I was out for two days last week for a job interview (in VEGAS!) and yesterday we were “off” for President’s Day.  I say “off” because the other extern and I showed up at 8 AM for rounds, and only one other vet was there and she told us there wasn’t anything going on, so we might as well go back.  It wasn’t a big deal, since we were staying in the dorm they have just upstairs, but it was kind of a bummer for me because I wanted to do stuff. 

So far I have either helped or observed: a sable antelope necropsy, examine an injured springhaas tail, ultrasound a spider monkey (it was preggers!!), necropsy a wolf eel, scratch down a tapir for blood pressure (literally–you can rub them with brushes and they just…go down lol), examine a tiger shark wound, do a gastric wash and colon biopsy on an agile gibbon, draw blood on a saki monkey, attempt to dart a spider monkey, necropsy (a very decayed) mossy leaf-tailed gecko, and drain the remains of a pelican’s eye (the eye had been removed, but fluid was building up in the orbit).   Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to post pictures of the stuff we do behind-the-scenes. 

Not ours, but this is a springhaas!

Anyways, one of the interns who lives here goes to a kickboxing class every day.  I figured it would be easier to just go with him to his class than convince him to try out a BJJ class so I could have a ride (not having a car in Omaha kind of blows), so yesterday I finally went. 

Of course, he didn’t tell me until we were on our way that they do 10-week programs, and the next one starts in three weeks–when I leave.  Of course.  But I wanted to try it out anyways, and I’m glad I did.

I was expecting a class a lot more like what I saw at my school, with people working in pairs holding pads, and some crazy conditioning.  Yeah, notsomuch.  It was intense–I will give it that.  This place was pretty packed, so we pretty much stayed in our little square and did everything in-place.  The warm-up was of light to moderate intensity, with some shadowboxing/kicking and other stuff thrown in.  Then we threw on the gloves and rolled out the Wavemasters.  We paired up and alternated between doing 5-10 minutes of kicking/punching combos and other conditioning stuff–push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc.  We ended with some stretching. 

Overall, it was pretty fun and I got a decent workout–much better than if I was just trying to work out on my own in my room.  I know nothing about kickboxing, so they kept coming over to correct my form so I wouldn’t hurt myself.  Sadly, my knuckles were still kind of sore afterwords, and I’m sure the push-ups (with gloves) didn’t help at all.  I was a little surprised at how well I could keep up with most of the class, given a) my complete ignorance of it, and b) my almost complete lack of exercise for the past few weeks.  I was also mildly disappointed at the lack of contact, but I suppose that’s not what cardio kickboxing is for.  Honestly, I think I just miss BJJ.  I meant to talk to them about possibly signing up for just three weeks, but I was so exhausted and hungry at the end I just stumbled out. 

In all of this, I think the most fun part is watching my roommate knock down the Wavemaster every time he punched it.  I guess that happens when you’re 6’7″ and 270 pounds.  

Yay for free time!

10 Jan
Which I finally get on Field Services.  I have to say, it’s actually kind of nice to have weekends off.  Plus, I was able to go to class on Saturday AND last night!  AND I went to the gym today!  I think my body might rebel tomorrow morning though. 

Saturday women’s class:
Michelle (who needed knee surgery a few months ago) was finally back in class for the first time, which was nice–it meant that women’s class was more than just me and Jess!  I started us on a super-careful warm-up, and then Jess taught us the foot-in-hip guard pull, followed by a takedown from that position.  There was a lot of adjusting to make sure Michelle would be able to do it, since her leg was still pretty weak. 

Regular class:
We started with some quick takedowns, and then did a sweep series.  It starts from getting stacked while attempting an armbar from guard, and moved on from there.  We finished with some open rolling, which resulted in playing the avoid-the-n00b game.

Monday night class:
There were only six of us there, four blue belts and two white belts who were really new.  After the warm-up, we started with the knee-through pass and some new details, and then moved on to the “windshield-wiper” pass (knee-through but it’s the same-side knee).  Finished with 3-minute rounds of open rolling, with everyone in the class, so I didn’t really get to avoid the new guys.  Luckily, they were fairly tame, although one guy (after multiple sweeps and triangle/armbar attempts) told me at the end, “good job.” In that tone.  That condescending tone, like I’m a child who he was just playing with.  Eh.  We’ll see who plays with who next time. 

On another note, I’ve been attempting to somewhat fix my diet as well.  It’s been pretty terrible lately, and consists of either me not eating real meals and making up for it with pre-packaged snacks, or the Indian version of Ramen noodles.  I’ve decided to start packing a salad every day for lunch, which should a)get me eating vegetables again, which sort of disappeared from my diet, and b)actually get me eating lunch and not granola bars or peanut butter sandwich crackers washed down with soda.