Another wrap-up of another week
I think I’m broken. I want to return myself and get a different me, but it’s been significantly more than 30 days. Here is the litany of my injuries:
1. Tweaked right knee from when my sparrin partner heel-hooked me the other day (absolutely not her fault; I just tried to escape a little longer than I should have)
2. Tweaked left tricep from boxing class on Tues night. I probably just kept snapping my arm too straight on the jab—but the instructor said she liked my form and the flattery got to me. This is getting better, actually. I can actually hold some weight on that arm now, like when I push on the opponent to make space to get to my knees. But it hurt a lot for a while.
3. Tweaked left elbow from when Giselle armbarred me in the competition. Again, not her fault; I need to tap.
4. Sore right shoulder, probably from takedowns today during no-gi competition style sparring at John McCarthy’s academy.
5. Scratch on my face from where I hit myself while trying to arm drag my training partner. This is also much better, but I’m putting it here because it’s so silly that I hit myself in the face. Puts a different twist on self defense.
6. The mat burn on my left foot is back with a vengeance. Some from the tournament and some from training today.
7. Not-staph creeping crud. This is much better too, and I’m done with my antibiotics, but it’s not completely gone.
8. Plus, my Harry Potter/mark of the beast from when I “faced out” in Anchorage has not gone away completely. I may have that one forever.
Anyway, I guess I am what is known as “broken in.” That’s the nice way to put it. Although I do still have it going on in some ways. At the competition last Sunday, a guy came up to me and asked if I lift weights. He had seen my calves (my gi pants must have ridden up my leg, which they do sometimes while I’m training) and determined that they are muscular, which they are. I said that muscular calves run in my family, and if he liked mine, he’d love my father’s. He didn’t seem interested.
But he did tell me he wanted to photograph my legs for a women’s muscle magazine he works for. I checked out some of the pictures, and these women are BUFF. Like that scary kind of buff that I’ll never be. Just seeing them made me want to eat a quart of gravy. I don’t know if this will go anywhere, but how funny/cool would it be to be a calf model? So we’ll see if he follows up.
The days continue to fly by, taken up with training, goofing off, laundry, late night sparring and eating, and piles and piles of testosterone. My college friends Jennifer and Pat, who I saw today during their layover from DC to Hawaii, joked about how I’m basically living in a fraternity. This is true, and I know from living in fraternities because of my college experiences. The only thing that’s slightly different is that there isn’t as much drinking. There’s some, but not as much, probably because people are busy training, and when they’re done training, they’re starving, so there’s less time for drinking. But that could be because I haven’t yet experienced LST, which stands for Live Situation Training. This is something the guys here at New Breed do when they’ve gone out drinking.
Basically, this consists of them beating the crap out of each other, tackling each other in parking lots, kicking each other in the nuts, and even macing each other on occasion. The code phrase that lets you know you’re going to start some LST is “I don’t know you! That’s my purse!” from when Bobby on King of the Hill went to a women’s self defense class. So if you hear that phrase and are a guy who trains at New Breed, it’s best to grab your crotch and run like hell or look for something to throw. I heard I was going to be subjected to LST myself, but the closest I have come is having two beers with some of the guys at Oceans, and then another night doing some sparring in my street clothes. Can’t say I’m sorry not to have experienced it yet. Would love to watch, but not eager to participate.
I took Monday off. It was the day after the tournament and I was bummed about my performance. I had big plans to go to the movies during the day, but ended up napping instead. Then when the afternoon class started, I went to Starbucks and had a big old chocolate chip cookie. Bought myself some stuff at Target, talked to Julie on the phone, and otherwise blew off training. It felt great! Of course, I went back to it the next day and was happy to do it, but it was good to have a day off. In the evening Johnny and I went to see Jackass 2, but we got there too late, so we saw The Wicker Man instead. Boy, what a crappy movie. Terrible acting, misogynistic story line, awful remake of what was apparently a great 1973 film. I can never get those two hours back, or the room in my brain.
On Tuesday evening I went to train with Parker at Hollywood BJJ, Shawn Williams’ academy. I go there periodically and they refuse to take money from me, despite the fact that the training is amazing and valuable, so this time I brought them some donuts as a thank you. It’s not the best thing for people who are in training, obviously, but I figured it would be okay because people tend to take it a little easier the week after a tournament, and anyway, they have an informal mascot over there: a pound puppy named Donut. They seemed to be pleased about it. And it was great to see Parker and Emmee, who showed up for the boxing class (the one in which I punched too hard and hurt my shoulder).
What did I do on Wednesday during the day? It’s a mystery. I think it might have been laundry day. Wednesday evening a New Breed friend named Papa John came to stay. Papa John is a 58-year-old man who started BJJ 4 years ago and just got his black belt. This is an AMAZING accomplishment. In the same amount of time he has also become kind of an elder statesman of BJJ, working with committees and well-established black belts to run tournaments, streamline rules and regulations, and try out ideas for camps and getting BJJ to be accepted as an Olympic sport. He calls himself a BJJ vagabond because he is always going to this tournament or that meeting, all around the world. He also called me one, which he meant, and I took, as a compliment.
He and Johnny have had some epic BJJ battles, usually in the dead of night, at the academy. They said the longest they have ever sparred was about 5 hours. After the regular class on Wed evening and dinner at about midnight, they were at it again. And this time I got to “hang” too. We sparred from about 1:30am till about 3:30 or 4am, after which we went to 7-11, slept for not very long, and took Papa John to the airport.
Thursday consisted of breakfast over cartoons (Spongebob Squarepants), a nap, and training in the evening at Gracie Barra. I don’t know if I’ve described Gracie Barra before. “Barra” is an area of Brazil, and the original GB is located there. In recent years, more GB affiliates have cropped up, including the ones in Anchorage, Vancouver, and Seattle that I visited earlier this summer. This one is in Lake Forest, and it’s got sort of a stately feel to it, like there’s a lot of history to it. I had been there once before and felt similarly intimidated, and this time I felt the same way only moreso, because in addition to Carlos Gracie, Jr., Marcio Feitosa and Kyra Gracie were also there. They are both very accomplished black belts. I had taken a private lesson with Marcio about 3 years ago when he visited the GB in Chicago, and was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me.
The class was great, though, especially because I got to see Tim Shears again. Tim is the main instructor at the GB in Vancouver, and I trained with him when I was there. He got his black belt this week along with Papa John, and it was great to see him in it! I decided not to ask people for pictures this time around; it just felt kind of stilted and weird. Maybe next time.
Friday I went with Johnny back to Shawn Williams’ place. They were doing gi stuff, but we thought it was a no-gi class. So we did some stuff on our own and with Sean Apperson, a purple belt I’ve probably written about before.
Okay, I’m getting tired of writing. The rest of the weekend was fun: Fri night was training at New Breed and then Dave and Buster’s to play some video games, Sat was open mat in the morning, “lunch” (4pm) at Panera, video games at Nickel Nickel, and Jackass 2, and a visit from Crystina, who slept over before training today.
Today was training at Big John McCarthy’s academy in Valencia. Big John McCarthy is probably the best known referee for the Ultimate Fighting Championships, and some people went there to prepare for the Abu Dhabi trials. I think I’ve written about Abu Dhabi before. It was a lot of fun to help people prepare; we did round robin sparring while the hopefuls stayed in the whole time. It was great practice for me too!
And then this afternoon I got to see Jennifer and Pat! They are even as we speak probably in Hawaii enjoying their vacation. It was great to see them! I have pictures of the place we went to for a bite to eat, and will post them soon.