Release the kraken!

During a two hour open mat yesterday, I tapped more than a tap dancer in a marathon tap dancing contest! Towards the end Conan told me I looked worn out, and I said “Getting your ass kicked is hard work!”

Release the kraken!

Me rolling with Conan

Okay, I may have exaggerated about how much I tapped, to the best of my recollection it was about 7 or 8 times, and I actually feel pretty good about how I performed. Mr. Howell complimented me on my state of relaxation, Gilligan and The Skipper both said I did a good job defending, and while I was rolling I heard The Professor say “Nice job, Gina.” a few times!

When I rolled with Josh he asked if there was anything in particular I was working on, and I told him my goal was just to get him in my guard. What I’ve really started focusing on recently is trying to be more proactive instead of reactive.

A couple of weeks ago my husband told me that since I started training at Lincoln BJJ Center, he’s noticed a large decrease in my aggression when I’m grappling, and he observed that I was even more aggressive back when I did stand-up sparring. Karate is where I earned the nickname Ginger the Annihilator! Joe told me “You used to be a badass.”, and I responded “I think Lincoln BJJ has beat all of the badass out of me.”

When I moved to LBJJC a little over a year ago, I intentionally reined in my aggression, because I realized it was often reckless, and I needed to be more technical. I knew I was making a lot of mistakes, so I wanted slow down and think about what I was doing. This has definitely helped with my awareness and defenses, as well as my ability to make intelligent choices when grappling. However, since I mainly train with people who are more advanced than I am, not being aggressive means that I always just end up fighting them off the whole time.

Then when I went back to competing after taking a year and a half off from doing tournaments, Joe told me that he felt like he was watching someone else compete. My wanton aggressive had been replaced by hesitation and over-thinking. The only point when I think I actually did well during my last couple of competitions was when I stopped thinking for a moment, immediately went into aggressive mode, and succeeded in finishing a submission. Mike and I were talking about that match yesterday, and I told him she was beating me until I subbed her, and he said “Yeah, it was hard for her to win when you were triangling her!”.

So, now my goal is to bring back some of the badassness that I’ve lost. I want to find a happy medium between thoughtless attacking and hesitation from over-thinking, and I believe I did a good job of that with the one white belt I rolled with yesterday. Although I couldn’t sub him, I felt like I was in control most of the time, and I was aggressive enough to keep him on the defense, but not so stupidly aggressive that I completely lost position. Our roll actually ended with me teaching him how to arm-triangle me from top half-guard, which doesn’t sound like something a kraken would do, but his ezekiel choke wasn’t working, and I just wanted to help him out!


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