Archive for August 2006

Wrestling With The Past

August 30, 2006

I wrestled my old teammate Sean today, I was tired but refused to sit at the side. My leg rides still kinda work on him, they work on most every Warren Wrestler. But Sean’s good, former Varsity 145’s. However, apparently he was never part of the Nicole Basher’s Club.

“C’mon Nicole, come on, keep going,” he kept encouraging. I kept struggling….

“Remember Huizar?” That did it. I started going. “Remember Heredia?” I kept going. “Remember all those bastards that used to make fun of you? C’mon Nicole.” I went till the end of the round and practice ended.

I remember Huizar. The Varsity 160lbs High School All-American. Tall and ectomorphic with stringy muscles that were too big for his small bones and looked like they’d been thrown on a coat-hanger, but in spite of his body type he was buff. I learned how to leg-ride by watching him. I watched how he would wrestle in a way that was completely different from the way I’d seen everyone else wrestle. He would use his legs as opposed to his arms to expend less energy and wear his opponents down without moving much himself. He’d be glued to his opponents backs like a turtle shell. He was a master at the guillotine, the move where you pull their arm behind your head and lock up their legs with your’s so that their back is on the mat and they have no way to move. Devastating.

I remember how I picked up Huizar’s style in high school. I was trying to break my partner down to his stomach from his knees by chopping his arm like Coach told us too. That wasn’t working and it was starting to piss me off. Finally I said fuck it and just jumped on the guy and somehow hooked my legs in. The guy flattened out and I became a leg-rider, a prestigious title to have in the world of wrestling because only a small number of wrestlers actually leg-ride, and the one’s who do it good are among the elite. Iowa University, the top wrestling school in the nation, teaches a lot of leg riding. Brazilian Jiu jitsu, the submission fighting style that I came out of, is exclusively leg-riding.

I remember when I started pinning guys with leg-ride half nelsons in high school. It was really cool when I started winning in the room. My legs became things of power to be feared, but they were also shaky planks easily taken down (darn being tall). I also remember Huizar telling me to stop leg riding because I wasn’t any good at it. What did he know? He never wrestled me. I never got my match against him. The Team Captain.

Huizar graduated, I dropped out, both class of 2005. He went onto Columbia University to become a sports agent; I went onto Cerritos to be a journalist. Maybe someday I’ll be in some exotic place writing for National Geographic and he’ll be sitting in a desk bored with his life, or maybe someday he’ll be signing the biggest names in the NFL and I’ll be sitting in a desk at a publishing co. bored with my life. Who knows. Huizar never accepted me, and therefore no one accepted me. He pushed all my friends on the team away from me because he kept saying they liked me, and everyone knew he was doing it, but no one said anything.

Watching the guys on the Cerritos team beat each other down and then pick each other up is encouraging though. In high school, no one cares if you fall. No one pushes you while you’re running, no one helps you if you’re stuck, and no one yells at you to move your ass unless they’re going to get in trouble if you don’t. Here, you jog with your head down, and in a few moments someone will inevitably slap you on the back and tell you to keep your head up. It could be just the fact that I’ve only been on the team for a few weeks, but I think a lot of people on the Cerritos Team have similar stories to tell from parts of their lives. Stories where they too were beat up and pushed down and humiliated. At this level, wrestlers have to be not just tough, but hardened. Hard lives make hard athletes, I have a feeling we can secretly all relate to each other.

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Make a Commitment to Yourself Right Now

August 30, 2006

August 29, 06

“Make a commitment to yourself right now that you will not stop, that you will respect yourself enough to give it all you got.”

That’s what the KOTC fighter said as we were jogging around the room at the end of practice getting ready to bust our asses through conditioning. Something about the way he said it made it seem like he wasn’t just trying to motivate us, like he was speaking from experience that hard work paid off if you made it pay off. He’s not that big really, shorter than me, weighed 140 in high school. I know he wouldn’t lie to us, and I know that something made him able to fight in King Of The Cage, and it wasn’t raw strength or steriods.

Today’s practice wasn’t tough like during hell week, but it was a gut check. After we got done drilling moves, we grouped off by weight and went live from different situation (one guy in on a single leg, one guy flat on his stomach, etc). I’m good at leg-riding, but at this level, so is everyone else. I wrestled a guy who was taller and lankier than me, he rode like a shoelace pulled too tight, impossible to get off you.

Afterwards the team split into two groups, those above 155lbs and those below 155lbs. Light guys partnered up on the mat for a live match, bigger guys ran along the sides and did pushups during the second half of the match. Light guys up, shake hands, wrestle!

Me and my partner shook hands and clinched up. I pushed off and shot for his legs, he sprawled and got around me and I sat out and tried a switch and we ended up back on our feet fighting. He took me down again and the first period ended with him up. Yeah I got beat pretty good. Second period started on the mat, one guy down and one guy on top. Whistle blows.

A lot of guys don’t know how to break the two-on-one hold, where they hold onto one of your forearms with both of their hands. I just put my free hand in between their’s and pry like a lever. Cheap move that works every time. I didn’t get tilted in the second period, but I got pretty worked, that guy knew how to leg ride. Third period, my turn up top.

Top’s always been my best position. The guy’s already down on his knee’s, half the work is done. The first few seconds of top are hardest because its a game of hot hands, who’s quicker. I was able to sink my legs in though, and then he was mine. I could tilt him, hold him, try to turn him, and flatten him out. I held him and turned him for the entire thrid period, and then coach yelled at us to go as hard as we could for the last ten seconds.

We stood up and bam! I let loose and shot the quickest low single I’ve ever felt myself pull off. Smooth, my shoulder barreled against his shin and I got around him and the takedown was mine. From that moment on, I knew that nothing else mattered, not being a girl or being a JV washout, I belonged there.

Little guys turn to run, we ran and then did pushups for the entire second period. I felt myself not going down as low as I wanted to, my lower back is weak and pulls me down. But dammit I banged out those pushups for a minute and half strait, I stayed in pushup position to rest and the pain got unbearable but I just kept doing 4 and 5 at a time, just get them done. Not once did my knees hit (my butt went up in the air a few times but shhhh no one saw that). I saw guys doing pushups on their knees, and yeah I saw the occasional stud do 20 an inch off the ground and a few inches up…and then crash to their stomachs and be unable to move. I think we were all pretty spent.

So we were all beat and practice was done, this week is weight cutting week. I was walking away and my partner, the one whose name I don’t know, slapped me on the back without looking and continued walking.

“I Never Go Easy On You”

August 29, 2006

August 28, 06
I still don’t know my partner’s name. The guy I carried up the bleachers during Hell Week, we usually pair up now. He came off a freestyle wrestling background, I’m coming from brazilian jiu jitsu.

“Go hard, you know you can.”

You bet I can “heck yeah.”

“I always go hard on you, gives you a chance to get better.”

“Good, don’t go easy on me.”

“I never go easy on you.”

“Thanks.”

“…once in a while I’ll let you have one or two because I’m lazy…”

hahahah

We worked on a lot of mat stuff today. No running, give our legs a chance to build back up after Hell Week. A lot of two-on-one tilts and kimura-turns (I call them kimura turns because their hand is behind their back like a bjj kimura, if you pick it up just a little its a shoulder lock). Done drilling. Pair up. Live wrestling.
College is a lot different than high school. In high school, the only guy who could hold me in a cradle was Jesse, the Varsity heavyweight. No one else could keep me folded in half. Every other time I would always slip out. John Baracat hated when I’d do that, he was the guy I beat out for Varsity 171’s. Here at Cerritos though, everyone has the Cradle locked tight and nailed down. Slipping out is occasional, and it doesn’t work on my partner.

A lot of my old game hasn’t been working either. My whole thing in high school was leg-ridding, sink the legs between theirs on their back and no one could get out, I owned them because I owned their hips (my hips were bigger and stronger than everyone elses, perks of being a girl are wide hips). Here at Cerritos, people are smart, they won’t fight my hips, they’ll go strait for my hooked ankles and UNHOOK them by hand (of all the nerve they’re supposed to struggle and flop around and let me score riding points, how rude).

Its good though. No one is cutting anyone any slack here, everyone’s mission is to get better, taking slack is only cheating ourselves.

The Shootfighting gym I used to go to had a lot of good guys who wrestled hard in it. I tapped a lot of them out with basic stuff. Later I realized they weren’t going full speed with me because if I tapped them, they could say that “the girl” only beat them because they weren’t trying (“Imaging how hard of a time she’d have if I were trying”).

I left that gym. Now I think I’m in the right place.

I Made It Through Cerritos Wrestling Hell Week

August 28, 2006

August 24, 06
Day 1

A former Cerritos Wrestler who now fights in KING OF THE CAGE came down to condition us in the room. We sprawled and we shot and we sprawled into a shot and sprawled some more and we jump squatted and did pushups and pushups and pushups until no state champ in the room had anything left.

Then we partnered up and did buddy exercises. First, guy on your back in a firemans carry and you did 10 squats then switch. Second, pick your partner up in a baby-carry and squat and curl him all the way until his belly button was in your face 20 times and switch.

Then slam drills. They’re not really slam drills because you’re not supposed to slam in collegiate, but damn everyone was slamming and I got bashed through the floor. Gotta get up though.

Day 2

12 100meter sprints, 4 200meter sprints, 1 400meter balls to the walls.

4 groups were assembled by weight and placed at quarter intervals on the messed up soft sand track of the nearby high school that we all had to hop the high fence to get to (God forbid they run us at the nice cerritos all weather track). First group spints to second group, second sprints to third group, third group spints to 4th group and so on until each group had gone around the track 3 times. When the last groups reaches you, you’re going, no waiting. It was a lot harder than it sounds.

Day 3

30 FUCKING BUDDY CARRY’S UP THE BLEACHERS!

Muthr F-er WTF! Pair up with someone your weight (in my case 155lbs…that like the bar+2×45 barbells+a 10 and a 5 on each side on my back) and carry them piggy back up the bleachers 30 times as fast as you can. You go up once, you both walk down, switch. Holy shit I don’t know how I made it thru that. By NUMBER 2 I was like “omg these are so hard how am I going to make it to 30?!” I made it.

Day 4

15 laps around the soccer field. Cones set up at 50 meter intervals. Rep is Sprint, Jog, Walk, Jog, Sprint, pushups pullups or dips at the far corner, continue. Afterwards, Stadiums and Stadiums and Stadiums.


Okay I can’t move. Muscles that I didn’t even know existed hurt. I was seriously afraid that I was going to get injured very badly, my quads felt like they were going to snap any second. I doubt any of this was safe. All in all I did about 135 pushups, I won’t count the last two sets because they were kinda sloppy.

Day 5

A compilation of everything we’ve done. 2 laps worth of quarter group sprints; 8 laps where one lap was 1 stadium and a sprint around the far straitaway of the track (we had to hop the railing to get to the bleachers); 12 buddy carry’s up the bleachers and one burn out sprint around the entire track.

Okay by this time I’m betting on my leg muscles snapping at any second. Everyone felt the same way as me though. My legs felt like the sinews were snapping like guitar strings one by one and my hamstrings felt like someone was stabbing them with knife. I was certain I was going to get hurt today. Hurt I did, Injured–by some miracle no.

“Good Job Girl”

August 28, 2006

August 24, 06

We finished the last day of Cerritos Wrestling Hell Week today. I did absolutely horrible because my legs had nothing left. 5 days of just strait out having my lower body broken down like the coach said he would and I seriously started thinking about quitting. I hated that thoughts of giving up were in my head, and the frustration made me all the more weaker. I struggled doggedly through the run and the stadiums and the buddy carry’s and fell behind and it was almost as if my legs weren’t even the reason I was lagging anymore, it was almost as if I didn’t even care anymore. My heart had nothing left and it just wasnt fair. I was so frustrated that I had been hanging okay all week and then on the last day I break. All I kept thinking was that it wasn’t fair how I wasn’t in shape enough to keep up with these veteran wrestlers for one more day and that it was all my fault and I just couldn’t help it. I wanted to cry, but you can’t cry, that’s just stupid.

Half the people were already finished their buddy carry’s up the bleachers by the time I started mine. Sean, my old teammate from high school, hopped on my back and yelled at me to get my ass up those stairs. “C’mon Nicole, remember all those ass holes at Warren High who used to make fun of you?” I fell once. I got back up and he got me up those steps again, “C’mon Nicole, remember all those bastards on the Warren Wrestling team, get up these steps!” I got up those steps.

I felt like I’d decided in my mind that I didn’t make it through hell week. Then again, a lot of guys missed days and some guys just plain didn’t come back. Lots of guys quit, so maybe I’m too hard on myself. I dunno.

All I know is that as I was walking back to the showers, a group of wrestlers passed me and said “good job girl,” I said “thanks.”

I thought I wouldn’t be recieved well by the elite of college athletics, I was certain that no one would give me the time of day if they knew I was a girl, I might have even been run out of the room or ostrasized again like in high school. High School was bad. But if the guys didn’t care or if they didn’t want me there, I guess they wouldn’t be shouting “c’mon don’t quit,” as I’m running.

MY LEGS ARE YELLING AT ME!

August 28, 2006

August 23, 06
JesusMaryJoshephandhisOtherKids!!!!! I’M IN PAIN!!!

30 BUDDY CARRY’S up the BLEACHERS!!!! My partner was my weight, 155. So I did 30 F-ing bleachers with 155lbs on my back!!!!! We switched off, first he went up, then we both came down, then I went up. Don’t ask me how I got through them because at 3 I was like “ohcrapthishurts how am I going to get through these!?”

I made it and now my legs hate me.

“Why Do You Shave Your Legs?”

August 28, 2006

August 22, 06

“Hey man, why are your legs shaved??”

I realized right then that I’d goofed. Crap! Guys don’t shave their legs!

“To get a tan.”

Oh man, if they don’t know I’m a girl, now they think I’m gay!

“So you can’t get a tan without shaving your legs…?”

“Not really….” okay gotta think of something better than that, “I’m a swimmer.”

That was good, swimmers always shave their legs. Then again, most swimmer’s are gay!

The guy to my left and the guy to my right looked at each other for a second as if they knew something I didn’t.

“I mean its cool man, I used to shave my legs too, but then I stopped.”

Damn why did I shave my legs? umm, because I’M A GIRL and I think hairy legs are gross even on a guy.

“So what’s your favorite swim?” says the guy to my left.

“The 50meter freestyle.”

“That’s cool, you know the butterfly?”

“I used to be good at the butterfly.”

“It’s hard isn’t it.”

“Yeah, it’s hard to get the hang of.”

Then the convorsation droned off into stretching.

Lesson learned: If I don’t want to be run out of the room, don’t shave your legs.

Aw man, this is gross.