So...apparently, people from my gym read this blog. Lots of them. I was not aware of that. I came to the realization last night at Christian's birthday party, when 90% of the guys I was talking to started referencing things I've written about and trying to guess whose nickname refers to who. It was kind of funny and kind of WTF because I had no idea so many of these dudes - yes you, lurkers, you know who you are - had found the link, presumably through Facebook, let alone read through it and were following it. I mean seriously...stalk much? It's making me reconsider an upcoming post that features a photo of me in my pink fleece froggie jammies.
It was a good night though. A little crazy, a lot of fun and kind of surreal to see everyone outside of the usual gym setting. I got to the bar around 10 pm, was only going to stay for an hour or so, and ended up leaving a little after 3 am. Luckily, I was in a responsible enough mood to space out my drinks because I get very friendly when I'm drunk and I didn't think that grappling partners were an appropriate crowd to unleash my wilder side on, so I spent the night in a happy, chilled out zone. The same cannot be said for some others, but that's another story. I'll just say that it was damn amusing and I enjoyed getting to know some people that I'd only worked with once or twice before. For example, I've discovered that Krypton is as much of a cat person as I am and we spent an unhealthy amount of time swapping pictures of the furry little critters and discussing how cool it is that they are natural BJJ practitioners (ever seen cats grapple?...'nuff said). Got to know C-Bear much better too, talked with him a lot, then Diesel and Curly, who has finally gotten his hair under control. He seems very zen about the whole thing.
I actually went to the party last night already feeling tired. Thanksgiving dinner plus leftovers left me in that sluggish OMG I'm fat again! state of mind and I tried to make up for it by going to a light open mat earlier in the afternoon. Ziggy summed up my feelings perfectly by informing me before we rolled that he was basically sweating butter. Weren't we all. I hadn't even planned on rolling because I've got 4 stitches in my head and, until they come out next Tuesday, I need to be really careful. As a result, I was just going to work on muay thai kicks and do cardio work, but Christian said that it was not healthy for me to stand around playing with inanimate objects all afternoon and had me roll with a few different people until we all felt too lazy to continue and called it a day.
Having not gotten home until 4:15 in the morning, and then going to bed an hour or two after that, I woke up this morning around half past noon and was a total wreck, mildly hungover and exhausted. I considered staying home, but after binging for the last few days and not exercising as much, I felt obligated to try to redeem myself and off I went, half-asleep, to open mat.
I'm really glad I did. Almost everyone else was equally hungover but it was a solid 2-hour workout that made me feel much better than I would've just lounging around at home like a fucking beached whale. Big Boy and The Kid came in and worked together all afternoon, doing various exercises and drills for the duration, which was cute. It's like they've put together their own little kiddie boot camp. Meanwhile, I spent most of the time trying to improve my guard passing skills. I rolled with Buzz first, who really helped me to get a better handle on passing the butterfly guard, then with LJack, who let me drill standing guard passes with Christian coaching from the sidelines. I'm telling you, that little guy is damn hard to get past. His feet are literally everywhere you turn.
While taking a break, I watched Krypton and Curly roll, which was really fascinating. I love the flow that more experienced grapplers have, where the game moves smoothly and looks so coordinated. I hope to reach that point someday and feel that while it's a damn long ways off, I'm moving in the right direction. I eventually interrupted the dynamic duo to roll with Big Boy and it went really well. I felt a definite change today, like I'm rolling with much more purpose now, keeping an eye open for specific moves to try, and developing the ability to adapt and slip from one position to another along the way with greater ease. I'm sure it'll still be months before I can roll with any sort of real flow, but whether it's because I finally learned how to go to mount or all of the guard passing practice or escapes drilled in the last two weeks, or I just got into some sort of zone, I really did feel a distinct difference today. I wasn't able to submit him but he only tapped me once and it took a long while for him to get there. I think at this point we know a lot of the same stuff and have kind of evened out, so we just...rolled. Back and forth, alternating offense and defense, a really fun, even game. It was very inspiring to feel like it's actually possible for me to do something other than flounder aimlessly. I need to hold onto that feeling and try to get to that place again next time.
After another break, I rolled with Krypton for a good while and, except for trying to watch out for my head, the dude showed no mercy. He's huge, his technique is solid, his guard passes are not to be fucked with, and I was totally destroyed. It was an incredibly fun challenge though, and I always love working with new people. I'd like to roll with him again once these annoying stitches come out. At one point, I tried a North South choke and did a pretty good spin but forgot to clear his arm first. He said it was a really good transition though, and that I'm doing very well with applying pressure from the top. Near the end, he helped me to drill armbars from mount and other submissions from side control that Christian gave me a quick tutorial on, building on some of the moves that Dom showed me last month, such as turning a stepover armbar into a sneaky kimura. I left covered in bruises but feeling physically back on track and highly motivated by my super slow but definite sense of progress.