I always find it interesting the way people find their submissions in jiu-jitsu. Some people just have a physical makeup that makes it easy. For example, if you are a person who has long legs than chances are that from day 1 people have told you that you should be going for triangles.

I do not have a physique that made it obvious for me to find a submission. I have short arms and legs, I am shorter than most of the guys I train with and I cannot rely on my strength for much. I spent a long time trying to find my submission (to be honest I spent at least the first year of my training being smashed from bottom and it never occurred to me to think of doing any type of offense). Eventually I found that I was good enough at shoulder pressure to make it my “thing” and I learned how to build submissions off of that.

For me that is largely how jiu-jitsu training has gone. Many times I have gotten it in my head that I was going to be good at something and tried to force it when I trained. I have been largely unsuccessful at this. However there are things I never set out to be good at but I found while I was training and learned how to use to my advantage. I find myself in positions over and over again and then it forces me to learn how to deal with them. I play half guard a lot but that is not something I set out to do. I just kept finding myself there (I think that I am just incapable of passing guard or escaping guard all at once, I have to do it little by little). I very often have told people “I didn’t choose half guard, half guard chose me”.

So a few months ago, I discovered that I was catching people’s arms a lot when they posted on the ground or after a sweep and I realized that there were straight armbars to be had from there. I continually went after them for a while. I think that I only ever finished one and that was on a fairly new white belt (still counts!) but it was fun to catch arms and at least threaten them. Around December-ish I was stuck in traffic and thinking about jiu-jitsu (as I do) and it occurred to me that even though I wasn’t having much luck finishing the straight armbars, I could transition to a belly down armbar from that position.

Ever since then I have been consumed by this transition. It haunts me. I think about it when I wake up, while I am at work and before I go to bed. I asked Santa for this transition for Christmas but the fat bastard did not deliver. A few times during rolling I have gotten so far as to get into position for the belly down armbar but I have not been able to finish.

That belly down armbar has eluded me for months which has only made me more obsessed with it. I can’t explain why but in my heart I know that someday that finish will be mine.

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3 responses to “Haunted”

  1. Savage Kitsune says :

    Ha ha. Maybe you were not a good enough girl last year for Santa to deliver. 😉

  2. bridlekitchen says :

    Love your insights. I am in the same situation as you (5’1″ and 125lb). It is very hard for me to find a training partner because I am always the smallest. There is this lady whos the same size as me but she has not been coming. I always have to sparr with guys heavier than me (lightest is around 140 to 150lb, sometimes even close to double the size). The only reason I am still training now is my passion. I guess for smaller girls we just have to use our size as our advantage and be very good at positioning. Having good positioning can defend ourselves from the size differences and submissions. I also find chokes are very helpful for smaller people.

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