Tiger's Junkyard - Items filtered by date: October 2011
Thursday, 27 October 2011 02:10

I Look Like Camouflage Patchwork

Today was brutal. I got to the gym at 6:45 and left at 10:15. I've never spent 3.5 consecutive hours at a gym before. To say "I'm utterly exhausted and feeling like a wreck" would be a terrible understatement. It's more like "what's going on? where am I?" right now.

The weather tonight was pretty awful (cold, icy rain) so not many people were there. I asked Killer, who I'd seen once or twice but never worked with, if he wanted to roll to warm up. 15 minutes later I was thinking do I really need a whole class now? That was enough for one night! The guy is big with strong holds that don't allow you to move at all (of course this is all relative to me; I'm sure more experienced grapplers and/or guys his own size don't have this problem) and, although he was impressed by how aggressive I was, he still kicked my ass up and down the mat. It was a massive effort trying to hold my own, but hey...I want to get in shape, right? What better way than desperately trying to not get utterly destroyed? A few times, I managed a successful takedown by flipping him backwards. Unfortunately, that was normally as far as I got. I'd fling myself down and try to pass but somewhere along the way he'd use his legs to get me into a head lock or flip me over and then that was the end of it. I was hyperventilating and dripping from head to foot by the time we finished and drained my water bottle in one go. Great experience.

Saturday, 22 October 2011 02:06

Takedowns and Rolling Again

Today's class was much busier than last weekend and there was a guy who was actually around my size, so we worked on takedowns together. It was quite different from the usual grappling classes and good stuff to learn. I had trouble with a few of the moves, mainly because my right quad was tightening up and hurting, but I suffered through it and got a few of the other techniques down well enough for Isley to yell out a compliment at one point.

When the hour was up, I decided to hang around for open mat and, you know...actually try to participate this time. First, I caught Dom and had him give me a little get-rollin' 101 to get a better idea of how to begin a roll without tackling like a drunken tiger. He imparted a few gems that were very useful and then told me to get some defensive tips from Christian, who proceeded to give me a better idea of what to do when on your back.

I stalked around the mat for a bit and when I saw that Big Boy's partner had gotten up to leave, I went for it. BB seemed happy enough to roll with me, even though it was only my second time. He started out light so that I could figure out what I was doing and made it tougher as we went along. He got me down a bunch of times but I did manage to get him into a couple of chokes from behind (when I say "get" I mean he pretty much gave me the opening intentionally, to let me practice) and Christian came by and helped me to tighten up my Rear Naked Choke.

Thursday, 20 October 2011 02:00

A Real Rolling Experience

Today was the first time that I rolled. For real. As in, not just learning and practicing a few specific moves with basic resistance but rolling properly and actually going for the submission. Getting a few standalone moves down is, I've learned, completely different from trying to roll and apply them while you're being dominated every which way. I got a taste of that on Tuesday but wow, today I got completely whipped by three different people.

There were only six of us in the no-gi class today and I ended up with Spaceman again. Yanitza was sitting on the mat next to us and attempted to coach me from the sidelines, with my partner helping out as well. They both offered some great advice but I can't say that I was able to do much with it considering how fucking fast the guy moves and how little practice I've had with this sort of thing. I tried to give him enough resistance to be a good training partner but not knowing anything more than try to keep the knees up and get your legs around him I'm not sure I gave him much to work with.

Spaceman kicked my butt a few times before noticing that one of my big toes was blistered and bleeding, and we stopped so that I could tape it up. Before we could start again, Christian had him switch to work with one of the guys who had more experience and asked Yanitza to help me out. I felt bad because she'd just finished the kickboxing class and was going to do the gi class afterwards...the no-gi hour is usually her break in between the two so I had to figure she was completely exhausted. She was a really good sport though and worked with me for the rest of class, patiently showing me a few options for breaking out of closed guard (which I eventually managed at half-speed and with a bit of flailing) and rolled with me a bunch of times so that I could get a feel for it. I had a great time and learned a bunch of things to not do.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 01:57

The Big and Little Dogs

Just got home and am feeling so invigorated. I smell like a monstrous combination of man sweat, old cologne and gym funk and I couldn't be in a better mood. Something was different today. Five classes in and it's like I finally found my groove. Do I still have tons of catching up to do? Duh. Do I know everybody yet? Course not. But my confidence has magically gone way up.

When I walked in today, it was the first time I didn't have that imaginary audience everyone's-watching-me feeling. I said hi to some folks I'd seen around, talked quite a bit with people I've gotten to know and then when class started, for the first time since day one, I had no trouble. No staring blankly trying to figure out what the fuck everyone else was doing and how the fuck they were doing it. No struggling to keep up with the warmups. No overwhelming HUH?? feeling when Christian demonstrated the move. No requests for extra help because I was totally lost. I just...did it. Not perfectly, but as well as any other beginner. The biggest sign that I'm feeling more at home is that instead of hanging back when the class was told to pair up, waiting for whoever was unlucky enough to be left over and stuck with the newbie, I turned straight to the guy next to me, who I'd never seen before, and said "let's go." Ambitious, perhaps, but I was finally in that zen I can totally do this shit too place.

Saturday, 15 October 2011 01:53

Learning Submissions

After convincing me to come for the weekend takedowns class today, it turns out Isley hurt his neck and will be out for a week or so. Instead, we got a grappling class taught by another part-time instructor, Dominick. It was a slow day so there were only 4 of us there and two of the guys were more advanced, which meant that Dom focused his attention on me and my partner, Big Boy. It was as good as getting a private lessson.

With Dom's patient instruction, I learned my first few submissions. The first was an americana from side control, then a few armbar variations from different positions, one of which involved kicking a foot over the other person's head, twisting the hips around and pushing arms in all kinds of directions. Let's just say that wasn't me at my most graceful. Plus, BB apparently has extremely flexible arms/elbows and even Dom had a hard time getting him to tap. Then again, BB doesn't have the most flexible legs and struggled with the second move, which we had a good laugh about. Dom helped us both to address our individual strengths and weaknesses, and I think we both got a lot out of it.

The other sub was some sort of guillotine choke from side control that involved this fast spinning motion, which I successfully accomplished one time by the end of class and brutally destroyed every other time. If I can learn to get it right though, I'm sure it'll be an awesome move to have and one that most of the guys in the usual Fundamentals class won't know since many of them don't seem to come on the weekends.

When class was over, I stayed for half an hour or so to watch some of the more advanced guys roll during open mat. I would've liked to practice a bit more but most of them were jumping right in and going all out. Not having any real rolling experience, I didn't want to hold anyone back and I was feeling too shy to ask. When I'm given a partner, I have no problem being aggressive. But recruiting one, especially on their own time, is something I still haven't gotten comfortable with. I figure I can try that sort of thing later on when I know a little more.

Thursday, 13 October 2011 01:39

Sweeps and Passes

Another great day. I've been arriving at the gym 15-20 minutes early so that I can watch the end of the kickboxing and take my time settling in. It's also nice to catch others and talk a bit before class starts. I figure the more people I get to know, the less I'll feel like the new kid.

There was actually another girl there today, a young English woman around my age. I made an effort to introduce myself and told her how much I liked the place so far. When kickboxing ended, I got to stretching and Britgirl followed me, which I didn't mind. But after a few minutes, I moved to the far end of the room and only later realized that she may have taken it the wrong way. I prefer being near the wall when I do a stretch that involves the butt being up in the air, so that I don't feel like I'm shoving my ass into everyone's face, but she seemed a bit put off that I'd suddenly switched locations. Oops.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011 01:28

Second Class

Whoo just came back from my second class and yep...I love grappling! Totally love it. So much more than kickboxing, although that is a great workout. But BJJ had me sweating pretty hard today too. It's a lot of work but very enjoyable, even though the sheer volume of complicated stuff there is to learn is totally overwhelming.

It does make a real difference who you're training with though. I ended up with a bigger, bulkier, younger, newer guy this week, who seemed a bit uncomfortable grappling with a girl. I could tell that he wasn't working the moves on me the same as he would've with another guy. Even though I told him a few times to crank it up, he seemed to be trying way too hard to be careful. Halfway through the class they switched it up and the instructor said to find someone in the same size range, which I'm betting was a relief for him. Of course, I was the last one to pair up and the only one left at that point was Trek, one of the biggest guys at the gym. Luckily, he was happy enough to be partnered with me since he was actually recovering from a bruised rib and didn't particularly need 200+ lbs pushing down on him.

For the last part of class, Spaceman - from last week - offered to work with me again, which surprised me because one would think he'd want to train with someone who knows more than a fucking leg lock. But I loved working with him because he didn't treat me any differently as a girl and had no qualms about getting into full contact, using his weight (I swear the first guy was using his hands to hold himself up the whole time; he seemed to think I might be uncomfortable with getting too close and/or that I'd break in half) and actually making me work to get the move down, helping me when I didn't do it right. I definitely need to find more guys in the class like him, who pick up on things quickly and who are going to seriously push me to get it right as well. But everyone at this place is very friendly and supportive, and makes it fun regardless of how much you do (or, in my case, don't) know.

Tuesday, 04 October 2011 01:18

Day One

Well, I went back for my first MMA classes today. Due to an injury, I haven't worked out properly in months, so an hour of kickboxing nearly killed me. I was ready to cry five minutes into the warmup. Seriously. But there's no denying that it was the single best workout I've ever had. A few more classes like that and I'll drop the 20 lbs in no time. It was extremely intense but damn effective. Yanitza, the one other girl in the kickboxing class, was kind enough to partner with me and patiently helped me through my flailing and hyperventilating, which was a great thing to have as a first-timer. Then, in spite of initial apprehension, I did an hour of BJJ. I'd never really gotten the hype but it looked fun tumbling around so I figured I'd give it a try. Wasn't expecting much.

Turns out, I love it. And I actually did much better at that than at kickboxing, which really surprised me. I'd assumed it would be the other way around considering I used to box in high school, but it was the exact opposite. I was lost with the standup work yet the instructors seemed to think I did decently with grappling. Being the only girl in the no-gi class, plus the only total newbie, my main fear was that I'd make an absolute idiot of myself but I picked up on it much faster than expected and had a total blast. It took a minute (or ten) to figure out what the hell they were telling me to do sometimes but once I got it, I really went for it.

Monday, 03 October 2011 17:39

Finding a Gym

MMASo...I've decided to join a Mixed Martial Arts gym. I've been thinking about this for a while now and finally, after much procrastination and whining to myself about the effort, settled on a place in Midtown that's gotten good reviews and seems to be the only true "full service" MMA school/training facility in NYC (at least that caters seriously to adults rather than being a more traditional, family-oriented school). At 27 years old, 5'4 and 149 lbs, no one thinks that I look "overweight" but I don't feel healthy or in shape and that needs to change. I want to reach 130 lbs and I want to be physically fit like I was back in high school when I was captain of all the varsity teams. Doing something interactive like MMA seems like it would be so much more motivating than trying to convince myself to get up from the computer and haul ass to the gym to work alone with a bunch of machines.

In my quest to find the "right" place to train, I came across the aforementioned gym and stopped by there earlier this evening to check the place out, see what kind of vibe I got from it. I walked into the room and was greeted by the sight of god knows how many huge, sweaty guys, grunting and rolling around on the mats all red in the face. My first internal response was: RUN!! There's no way they'll take you seriously; you're just going to look stupid! They'll laugh you out of this fucking place! How could you ever think you'd fit in here??

Luckily, before I turned and walked right back out, the owner and head instructor came over and introduced himself, talked with me for a while and convinced me to return tomorrow night for a free trial during the Fundamentals class. He said if I show up an hour early, I can join in the kickboxing class too, which is great since that's what I primarily expect to be doing. So I'll be coming back tomorrow evening and we'll see how it goes then, and whether or not I feel like this is the right place for me. At this point, seeing BJJ up close and personal (I'm telling you, it didn't seem half as intense on video), I'm thinking I'll try it once and then probably stick to kickboxing.



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