Sunday, March 14, 2010

What a Drag

I confronted Jay about my "issue" at a college party in 1994. After all, that's what dumb young guys do, they have a few drinks, and then go looking for trouble with other dumb young guys -- even if they do outweigh you with muscle.

Anyway, I said my piece. Jay reached out and committed assault and battery. Ok, he laid his right hand on the left side of my chest. But it was still an invasion of my personal space involving a touching of my body in a threatening manner. I was nervous, but held my ground.

As you might guess, I have no memory of what was said between us. I have no memory of how the incident ended, except that it didn't end in violence. That was fortunate for us both. I didn't need a trip to the hospital. He didn't need the vengeance that a couple of my other friends would've wrought. They had their own issues with Jay and were looking for a good excuse to turn him into a red pastey substance; something I had no doubts they were capable of doing.

But I do remember that feeling of helplessness while his hand rested on me. I'd done a few years of karate in my adolescence; and I'd stuck with the college's karate class a month or two before deciding it was a bother to get up so early on a Saturday morning. But I had no idea how to get Jay's hand off me. Or what to do if he closed that gap. I did know that if he was close enough to touch me like that, he could hit me.

I graduated in May of '94. I looked around at some options in my area and I signed up at a Bujinkan school. Yeah, yeah, I should've gone old school and joined the Judo school that was much closer. But remember, I was young and dumb, and throwing stars seemed really cool at the time. Over the years, I learned any number of ways to deal with lapel grabs. The harshest critics might scoff at wrist locks and other standing grappling manuevers, but they have their place. And any one of them probably would've served me just fine in an ego fight with Jay.

This year, I resolved to improve my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game. My personal training had been moving more and more in that direction anyway. So I find myself with a white belt wrapped around my waist. In one recent class, we were practicing the arm drag, a pretty standard wrestling technique I should've picked up in high school. From a loose clinch, your near hand sweeps away the opponent's wrist, while the far hand reaches behind the opponent's triceps on the same arm. You pull him toward you as you step past him so that you end up behind him with your arms around his waist. From there, you can trip or sweep the opponent to the ground.

The instructor ordered everyone in one line to rotate partners, on and on, until I found myself across from Mark. Mark's a sweetheart of a guy and very funny. But as he stood there and reached out to put his hand on my chest, he looked just like Jay did 16 or so years ago. And that's when I realized that this -- THIS! -- was what I really wanted to be able to do that night: sweep away Jay's hand, smash him to the ground, and then choke the life out of him!!!

Maybe not literally... but you get my point. It was a delayed catharsis, but it was a release just the same.


mlk said...

I bet you wanted to throw that guy to the ground, get sweaty, and choke something of his. Is that what your argument was about? So which one of you ended up as the catcher? Since you love man-cuddling so much, you'll probably be great at the jitz. But it doesn't matter because you're still a poser.

jrf said...

What? Did you think I wouldn't publish your filth?

I did.

Ru-Paul said...


you are so cool!!!

Flint Tinderwood said...

Though many may be quite critical of wrist locks, in my experience, it's a quick fix to a light situation. An easy maneuver to use to intimidate a muscle head looking for a fight that he may want to think twice about his actions. In a legit match, or against an experienced fighter, they are not of much use, and can actually leave you open and off-guard for a counter-attack. Just my two cents.

Glad to hear you are enjoying the BJJ.

jrf said...

Thank you, Flint. I am enjoying "the jitz."