It all started somewhere between 9:30 and 10:00 pm. I was at home sleeping. It was one of those super-peaceful, super-comfortable sleeps – the kind where you don’t need to roll-over or flip the pillow or anything. Just SO comfortable. I was sleeping blissfully…I may even have been smiling. Not sure why, but I just feel like I was smiling. This sleep was AMAZING!
There was some really chill reggae playing in the background. I don’t know many reggae songs, so it was kind of weird that there was this chill-ass reggae song playing, but, I didn’t care…it was really chill and I was really comfy.
I hadn’t slept well the night before: Our new apartment in Munich is on a main street with a tram that rolls by every twenty minutes, practically shaking the walls..it was tough to get used to so that was just one more reason why I was LOVING this sleep!
So, anyway, there I was: in the most comfortable bed I’ve had since leaving home some two years ago, having one of the most blissful sleeps of my life and slowly, frustratingly, I could tell I was starting to wake. Not sure why…I just could tell.
The Reggae got a little louder, and at some point, someone turned the lights on. It was bright and I couldn’t focus at first but suddenly I could start to feel someone tugging at my pajama collar…which is weird cause, I don’t wear pajamas…? Do I?
I started to realize that someone was waving my collar and shaking me a bit trying to wake me up. As my vision started to focus I saw a man staring down at me. He was a mid / late twenties guy with dark-hair, and a square jaw. He had a 7 o’clock shadow and a few strips of medical tape just over his left eyelid. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him. That medical tape looked familiar though…
“What’s going on”? I said… almost aggravated that he had woken me from this most beautiful sleep.
He mumbled something I didn’t understand…
“What”?, I said…
“You were out”, he replied
I didn’t really understand what he meant…out where? Why the hell did you wake me?…and then…without knowing why I said it: I said… “Was that you”?
He grinned a little bit, the kind of grin that is half amused and half apologetic….”Yeah.” he replied…Then it started coming back to me!
The medical tape! Of course! I remembered that I had been rolling with a guy that had medical tape over his eye!
I saw him look away from me, past my left shoulder and someone said something…I turned and saw my wife sitting mat-side. She was smiling and could barely contain herself.
Now I am getting more coherent and am remembering what happened.
I am not in my bed at all! I’m not even at my house. I am in Munich, Germany. I got in last night, had a miserable sleep and came out to Munich MMA to get some training in!
I felt like I had been sleeping for hours… “How long was I out…?” I asked.
“Just for a minute”, he said still smiling. I was smiling too. I was still basking in the glow of that glorious nap. Honestly guys, I can’t tell you how amazing that nap was! I felt great! Refreshed! and yet, somehow, still exhausted.
The memories started coming together…
We had been rolling about 4 or 5 minutes…He had pulled guard at the start and I had been working on a guard pass since. I had made it to half-guard and had a solid grip on his inside knee.I put my head under his chin, applied pressure and started to push his knee through.
It was about then that I felt him slide his hands into my collar for the “suicide choke”. I knew I was about to get the guard pass for one of two reasons: Either 1) He had realized that he couldn’t stop the pass and was setting up the last-ditch “suicide choke” or 2) He was going to LET me finish the pass because he was setting me up for the “suicide choke”. Either way…I wasn’t too concerned. I thought for a second about whether or not to finish the pass just yet or back up a few steps to address the threat of that choke. But…going back would mean giving up all the ground I had worked so hard to acquire and so I decided that I would simply defend the choke after the pass by going “knee-on-belly” and posturing up as soon as he turned for the choke.
I pushed the knee through and windshield-wiper’ed my leg clear of the half. Just as expected, he straightened his arms, made a quick, short roll away from me and pulled his elbows down towards his rib cage.
I felt the choke sink in, but I had a decent posture and had managed to get my left elbow on his carotid, so as he pulled the pressure got tighter for both of us. I could feel the choke was fairly tight, but not quite tight enough, I wagered. ‘Better get the knee on his rib cage’, I thought, ‘and force him to give up the choke’. But just as I brought my knee up towards his ribs, he gave a burst of strength and lifted himself up, off the ground hanging from my lapels. My knee missed! It hit him in the back of his ribs then fell to the mat. Not good. As he settled back to the ground, so did my posture.
SHIT…definitely not good! ‘I could still go for the arm-bar’, I thought…but I couldn’t get my knee in place near his armpit. (In retrospect, I should have gone for the armbar anyway…at least it would have changed some angles a bit).
I made another bid for regaining my posture and getting that knee on belly but by now my posture was broken and this choke was starting to get serious! I continued pushing on his carotid with my elbow, trying to make a little space, but he wouldn’t have it. He knew that my broken posture was the key to getting this tap and he was NOT gonna let me get it back!
‘Well’, I thought, ‘let’s see how long his grips can hold out’. He had been working this choke for quite awhile now and , experience told me that grips can go dead after 30 seconds of “death grip” so…No need to panic. In just another second or two I saw the edges of my vision begin to fade and I thought….’nope…I’m gonna have to tap“….
But, in the second it took me to acknowledge the need to tap, my brain had quit communicating with my hands and, as far as any of us can tell, the tap never came.
I was still lying on the mats, looking at this square-jawed German that had just, quite-literally, choked me silly. “Didn’t I tap”? I asked…thinking that I was sure that I had tapped.
He scrunched his shoulders up and shook his head…”I don’t think so.” He replied in that half-apologetic way that we all do when choking someone out. I laughed again and complimented his technique, thanked him for the roll and told him I was gonna sit the next one out. He told me I was in luck since this was the last roll of the class.
In a way, I did feel lucky. This was, by far, the deepest I have ever been choked out and I thought that maybe I needed to give my brain cells a reprieve for the evening. At the same time…I was having a pretty good time and would have rolled some more after a little break.
In the end, I settled for giving my brain a rest and hit the showers. A few guys hung around and did some open-mat type drills and such. As I was heading out the door, I stopped and made sure to shake hands with everybody still on the mats.
“Come back again”, they all said and I said I would. And I meant it.
I’ll be back in two days to get another chance at, either redemption, or another “Wundebar” nap!! Hahaha!
Thanks to all the guys at Munich-MMA! I had a great time and will definitely be back for more 🙂
Until then…Oss, and good training!