Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Every night I go to class with the idea of trying something new it always goes horribly wrong.

 - Insert game show buzzer sound here - 

I think it was doubly so last night because I was trying two new things.

One of them being heel hooks.

Hold your gasping and declarations of my white belt status for just a second though...  I am FULLY aware of the dangers of heel hooks.  Further, I have never, and never plan to crank any submission of any kind.  In my opinion the danger of heel hooks comes from lack of control, not lack of color on your belt.  They don't always go hand in hand.  

No worries either way though, because I apparently blow super hard at heel hooks.  I do however, think it was my hesitance, and failure to commit.  I think a full 10-15 seconds before I actually attempted the heel hooking it was painfully obvious that was what I was planning to do.  Which resulted in my being followed and mounted when I fell back for the leg.  Wrong.

The other thing I wanted to try was the head and arm choke from bottom side control thing Yeti showed me last week.

To even attempt that I need to be in someone's side control... which is my very least favorite place to be.  (Actually, I think it is mount now... my side control escapes are starting to suck less... but it could just be the epic amounts of time I spent mounted last night.  Blarg.)

And again, I think my failure was due to lack of speed in execution... I spent too much time thinking about what I was going to do when I should have been doing it.  Every time I tried the choke knees got in my way, or my own arms.  Again, wrong!

What it all boils down to is the same thing I have always struggled with.  Failure to commit, especially when it comes to submissions.  You'd think I'd get over that by now, especially considering I know it is a problem.  Another general failing was my lack of practice applying said submissions on a actively resisting body.  Learning how to move with, and around resistance is a major factor in BJJ.  I don't expect to just be able to learn and instantly implement different techniques in to a live grapple.

It was just one of those nights where I leave feeling like I should peel all my stripes off and wondering why I even bother to train at all because I am clearly not cut out of it.  In the less mopey light of morning I feel slightly better, and slightly worse about myself.  I know everyone has ups and downs, and one bad night ... or several bad nights in a row... doesn't mean I should hang up my gi.

I just rest assured knowing that my addiction to grappling will keep me on the mat even if my bad streak lasts the next few years.

Success through failure... If that is the only way I can find success, than that is what I will have to do.  I will eventually get it right.

It just really sucks to feel this way with a competition looming in the future.  If I hadn't already told Fabio I was going to do it, I would probably back out.  


  1. Steph,
    Before a tournament I would not try to experiment with new stuff. Just stick to your game plan what you are going to do at the tournament and practice that over and over. After tournament back to trying out new things.

  2. You will get the hang of it. I know it! lol But seriously, you are being too hard on yourself. Yeah, pot calling the kettle black. I know. I know nights like that happen. But you are a beast on the mat and I don't think you give yourself enough credit. Think of how far you have come with submissions in general. I remember a time when you didn't even go for them at all. Now you are trying crazy crap that I almost got choked out with last night (jerk). lol

  3. We all have nights like that. Worry not, it will get better :-)

    Also, I agree with Triin. Just before a tourney, I wouldn't work on new stuff. Consolidate your game, get better at what you are already know well. Experiment with new stuff after the comp.

    Good luck :-)

  4. Yes, what Triin said.

    And despite your disclaimer about heel hooks, I can't help it....I'm gasping :)

    please take the following pedantic unsolicited rant with a grain of salt...it's coming from someone who's had 2 knee surgeries in 3 years (So hopefully you'll forgive me for doing exactly what you asked your readers not to do!).

    If you are planning to enter tournaments where it's legal, ok. Or, if you're learning the move to be aware of it, I can also understand that. But, going for it while rolling makes me cringe, white belt or not.

    There's a reason it's illegal in all gi tournaments and most no gi tournaments. It's not just how hard you do or don't crank it- you can't always control how an opponent will react-- e.g. they might think they are rolling to escape, but are really cranking it on themselves.

    And, unlike almost all other joint locks, the person has to know to tap BEFORE they feel anything to avoid getting injured. Not everyone knows that, or maybe they do, but will convince themselves otherwise while in the moment to avoid tapping.

    As for the head and arm one, props to you for putting yourself in a bad situation to practice it-- most have a hard time doing that. And that's a cool one to learn, but I'd imagine it's a very hard one to catch, so no need to rip stripes off your belt for not hitting it on the 1st day trying.

  5. Triin and Fenix - Totally right. The side control choke thing is simply too amazing to not try to figure out, but this is a really bad time to start trying to work heel hooks into the mix. That can wait until after the Miami open especially considering I can't even do them there.

    Allie - Thumbs up for Rock and Roll!! lol

    Kirsch - I completely agree. I am scared of people rolling out backwards and injuring themselves, which is why I decided I would only try it on people who I know for sure know what to do when heel hooked... and I think just due to my nature with submissions I will let go the second someone starts to roll anyway.

    Fabio is always really good about explaining the point that injury can come before pain with heel hooks as well. I do think most people that Fabio puts me with understand that fact pretty well. He tends to only put me with the other girls, and higher belt males.

    And personally there are only two or three people I roll with regularly who have in the past gone for heel hooks that I will even attempt to escape. Everyone else I instata tap if my heel gets attacked, I'm willing to risk injury... and tapping has never bothered me anyway. Heel hooks terrify me.... being that that is the case, I know I will be extra diligent in the care of my teammates ankles.

    And I don't mind being reminded of the dangers of heel hooks. =) It is scary business.