Playing Catch Up With Gracie Humaitá Austin


Last night, I knew it was going to be bad. This is because, normally, I don’t feel anything on the mats – and yesterday, I felt the pain, the soreness, that contorted sort of aching one gets from being tied in pretzel, then commanded under duress of submission to swim, swim, swim or be strangled. I felt it, sitting at Kerby Lane afterward…wishing I had ordered something with pancakes instead of biscuits and gravy.1

And what happened this afternoon? I woke up this afternoon after a late night of movies; and I feel like I was involved in a car crash. No, I feel like the hapless butterfly smacked, spattered, splattered against the windshield of Tim Kennedy’s 18 Wheeler of Death. I know Atomic Athlete is somehow culpable for this soreness, as we moved into some cycle everyone’s heard of…except for me.2 We searched for our two-rep (or three-rep) max in three different lifts yesterday. But being run over by the technically flawless (from the humble perspective of this mere purple belt) Tim Kennedy could NOT have helped.

Allowing me to start from cross-side, I first tried, without avail, to lay on a crushing cross-face. Then I thought, I might as well start looking for the kimura. I assessed my probability of successfully applying said kimura on Tim Kennedy (whose arm, I suspect, I do not even have the strength to bend) at p<<1%. But it’s my best submission. The rest of my submissions are at p=0. So I tried. And when he instantaneously escaped my cross-side and got to his knees – we are both on our knees now – I knew that The Holy Gabriel, Master of All Seraphim, had gathered up his fiery sword (in the form of Tim Kennedy, obviously) and that the fabled inscription on his sword shall ring true forevermore:

“Drop thy pants,

And grab thy toes,

I’m gunna show you where The Wild Goose Goes.”

Mr. Kennedy grabbed double-underhooks while we were both on our knees and, with me unable to move or breathe (not an exaggeration), he flung me to the ground, briefly took cross-side, before moving to knee-on-belly. Being body-folded to the ground knocked 78% of the wind out of me; and Tim’s knee-on-belly has two distinct qualities. It is unreasonably, really quite incomprehensibly heavy, and, secondarily, his knee was placed right on my diaphragm. I thought about tapping. God did I consider tapping. I was getting 18% breaths (I subtracted an additional 10% because of how heavy the pin is itself), and I just could not move. But, in the midst of my agony, I asked myself, “What kind of training partner do I want to be? He’s just back from that whole Luke Rockhold business, and what kind of goddamn training partner do I want to be?”

So I didn’t tap. But held on to the bitter end…and tried to give him the best I had in me – which, admittedly, isn’t much against people his skill level. I should also mention this scene I briefly sketched for you took place over approximately one minute (or less); AND that we rolled for approximately 12 minutes. This scene, in other words, was just one of approximately twelve identical scenes. Brutal…I know. Believe me, I was there.

Secondly! Secondly, we have an amazing new instructor in town. His name is Paulo Brandão.3 But I don’t have time to go into his qualifications. Suffice it to say this man has been a black belt for 15 years or so. I haven’t rolled with him yet, but I imagine it’s going to be ridiculous. Black belts alone are ridiculous. How badly am I going to get beaten by this man, with all those stripes on his black belt? My audience, you will (after me) be the first to know. Til then. Happy Wednesday.

——————–

1. I tell myself I’m going to order something different, but the goddamn pancakes are so good there. They’re preposterously good.

2. Something called “The Big 24.”

3. I suspect there’s a “~” over the a at the end of his name. Yes, yes, I just verified this.

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