I've been training nonstop lately and am feeling so good, physically and mentally. We spent Monday working on knee-on-belly transitions (having trouble with those...not quite acrobatic enough yet) and kneebars, which I enjoyed. The guy I paired up with was big, which doesn't usually bother me except that some of the moves required sitting on the other person's stomach or chest, full weight, and it really fucking hurt. So towards the end of class, we split up and he worked in with another pair of big dudes while I joined Frodo and Yanitza. I think it was far more beneficial to both of us that way. Stayed for open mat and rolled with everyone, including Ironman, who did the usual leaning back casually with his head in his hands and kicking me across the mat every time I tried to pass his guard. At one point, I did pass and even got to mount. Unfortunately, I was so proud of myself that I completely forgot what to do from there and he eventually just sat up and threw me off again. Dammit.
On a positive note, I haven't been completely sucking at kickboxing, which is a great change from the norm. I'm not doing well per se, but neither am I make a total moron of myself, so I consider it a win, even if the conditioning work still makes me want to cry. Went for my first Wednesday class yesterday, for Carlo's gi session. Jumped Curly from behind while he was in the middle of a tough love speech to a new kid and got a little warmup roll in. I hadn't worked with him recently and was very happy to hear him say with some level of surprise "oh, look at you getting all good and shit!" Paired up with Liz for class to do armbars from all kinds of places. I had no idea you could armbar the hell out of someone when they stood up in closed guard...must try that sometime.
Rolled with Spaceman for a few rounds during open mat, starting from standing and working our takedowns. I caught him in a guillotine the first time, held it for a bit but then lost my balance and he ended up on top, eventually passing and getting an arm triangle choke. Did fine with defense overall but didn't have much luck with offense or escapes tonight. His pressure was really on and I could barely move. C-Bear was sitting on the mat next to us and started up with his funny boxing commentator thing, but I ended up getting so confused and distracted that I flat out gave my partner the next submission and had to tell my enthusiastic "coach" to shut it.
Rolled with Krypton next and lasted 20 seconds longer than last time before he crushed me, which I feel is a great improvement. After some initial abuse, he did let me work my moves and although sweep efforts were futile, I got some great practice at holding half guard, trying to take the back and trying to pass. It took a very long time and every ounce of energy my arms had, but I finally got a successful choke. He also spent some time giving me pointers on improving my Shoulder of Justice and using it to escape half guard, which I felt really good about by the time we finished.
Wrapped up by rolling with Wardog. I was transitioning pretty fluidly and was able to make use of Krypton's earlier crossfacing tips, which got me out of half guard and into side control really fast a whole bunch of times. I was cursing myself at one point when he remembered the moves we'd learned on Monday (mount to gift wrap) and caught me in that annoying death hold. Fortunately, he blanked out on what to do next and I was able to escape and turn it back on him.
Tonight...wow. I didn't think I'd be able to do it but I managed to stay for all three classes...4.5 hours in all. Liz led gi class today and to "warm up," she ran us through a series of unusual exercises, including a few rounds of dodgeball during which I got repeatedly smashed in the face in spite of the "no head shots" rule. The first culprit was Trek, who beaned me at high velocity from across the room. Seeing as he's one of the biggest guys at the gym and throws like a speeding mack truck, he felt really bad and kept apologizing, even though I repeatedly said it was fine. Sure, it hurt like hell for 20 minutes and I was wondering how black my eye would eventually turn, but I grew up getting kicked in the face with soccer cleats as a star goalkeeper so really, life goes on. Unfortunately, rogue dodgeballs just started to find me after that. I got hit in the face multiple times, including once when I was hiding behind a pillar and the fucking ball bounced off the wall and smacked into my nose. LJack nearly fell over in a fit of laughter at that point and I have to admit, even though it was pretty damn painful the whole thing was so WTF that it was also pretty damn funny.
When class ended, a bunch of us hung around for another hour and a half. I took a break, did some cell phone photography (Liz kindly offered to take a few pictures of me getting choked out or armbarred) and then rolled with Spike. And when I say "rolled" I mean "attempted to do something, anything at all, and failed." Took another break to record Yanitza and Curly's weekly showdown, then trained with Krypton for a long while. Ended up having a really good round with him and was able to use the crossface-from-half-guard escape a few times too. Afterwards, he gave me some new tips on stepping in to get the pass and I have to say, so far the guy's advice has consistently ended up working really well for me against other people, so I take all the suggestions I can get.
Side note: I've finally encountered my first spazz. This kid is small but still gets crazy, trying to power out of everything. He flails around like a dying bug instead of making a conscious effort to learn the techniques. As a result, he tends to body slam people, which is not appreciated, and, instead of properly applying chokes, violently drives his forearm into people's throats. He seems to think he can step onto the mats and magically kick ass because he's seen some Youtube videos and taken 2-3 classes. Still, everyone's being very patient, telling him politely but firmly to chill out and take time to learn the techniques, so he's got plenty of support and will likely shape up soon.