Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday evening

Tuesday evening BJJ at Gracie's Seattle. I worked the midnight shift last night, and didn't really sleep well enough (or sleep ENOUGH, period) to go to class tonight, much less commute into Seattle during rush-four-hours. But JB wanted to train. I haven't seen her in almost a month, and in January she's leaving town to go to college. Thus I don't want to miss any chance to train with her in the meantime.

Anyhow, my stomach woke me up before JB's text message did. One of the most irritating aspects of my "smaller portions" eating strategy is that it is not unusual for my (already poor) sleep to be aborted early by my unhappy, clenching stomach- which is insistantly growling "FEED ME SEYMOUR!!!"

Unfortunately, I hit a few long lights that delayed me just enough to not reach the Hunt Point exit before 5pm.... and if you hit the Hunt Point exit after 5, it is a 45-min commitment sitting on that ramp before you can even set tire on the highway. So we were late. Very late. I hate coming in late.

Also, the new Seattle site's layout makes it impossible to sidle quietly and unobtrusively in- the front door is two steps from the mat, so you distract the whole class when you come in. We were so late that I had thoughts of idling in the back till drills were over, so as not to distract everyone further- and is it really useful to catch just the last ten minutes of drils? We shucked our shoes and started walking back to the locker room, but Rodrigo was already hollering at us- "Hurry, Keetsune, hurry, JB- Queekly, Queekly!" This caused us to break into a trot!

So we got about 10 min worth of clock choke- starting from sprawling north-south on a turtled opponent. Your left hand to her right collar (deep), move side-by-side. Do not move side-by-side and THEN grab the collar; I got corrected on this point. With your right hand, reach over her back and under her right elbow to control the wrist. Straighten the body and walk on tiptoes back to north-south, putting forehead on the mat. JB and I were both in awe of how many different ways this hurt. We were both gagging and coughing. Ten minutes of this was more than enough. It's a gi-burn night.

Rodrigo came over to help me and JB with the technique- even though it would have been perfectly reasonable to leave us to flail, seeing as how we'd slouched in late. He is really an awesome teacher.

It was amusing to watch Jesse as Rodrigo's demo dummy. Jesse's not usually one to make a lot of faces and noises while he's being worked over, but he was making both tonight- you could tell it hurt!

Short timed matches with JB, Jason (a smallish purple belt that I haven't seen much of), and a big white belt guy. I didn't do very well against any of them. Big white belt guy was repeatedly muscling me into his closed guard, and also did the pick-me-up-and-"sweep"-me-with-no-technique thing. He apparently didn't know any subs (luckily). Jason triangled me and just held me there for about 3 min... he didn't submit me, but I couldn't get out... I'm not sure what the point of that was. Either tap me or let me escape, don't just sit there.

At one point, I was underneath him and he instructed me to let go of his lapel and use that hand to defend. I obeyed- but had another strong visceral reaction of anger, frustration, futility, not wanting to let go of the grip.... feeling like it amounted to "giving up".

Open mat- I rolled a number of times with Angela, who tooled me. I did get on top a bit, but couldn't get any subs from there. Once on the bottom, of course, I was toast.

Another couple with JB. You have to push keylocks about twice as far on her as with any normal person, and kimuras are even more difficult to tap her with. She just has rubber joints. We both observed that sometimes we can hold out till the whitebelts give up... but the higher belts *know* when they've got it, so they keep it up till they get the tap!

(pic- Kaungren)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Not-quite-so-supernatural candle meditations

129.5 tonight on the scale. I didn't have a Thanksgiving dinner per se, but this week I did make a batch of mac and cheese- which I haven't had in months. I also had some sugar cookies. Watching the cause-and-effect on the scale. Those two indulgences alone bumped me up two pounds from 127 this week. It is obvious that I can't return to my former eating habits. I'm determined to keep it below 130.

Women's Self Defense: Lindsey got caught in traffic, so we didn't get started till late- we only rolled for about 2 min to warm up. Sigh. Then working basic armbar from guard. I worked with one of the new women, and hope I was able to help her with a little technique advice. She had nice LONG legs, lucky wench- so it was a good technique for her. I did some reps myself, but it was of limited use for me since I was trying to be much slower and gentler with her than I would be with a fellow BJJ'er. I would've felt really bad if I'd kicked her in the head.

Kung fu: It was the Cripples' Gallery in there tonight. Nemesis was out with a knee injury. It is always weird on the rare occasions when Nemesis isn't there, because he is ALWAYS there. JoE had slipped on the ice and hurt his back. JM has been having a lot of back pain lately. JaE walked in with his right arm in a sling... he had a muscle tear right off the bone while he was trying to move a tree. He is having surgery Wednesday, and then he is going to be benched for up to six months! ("Thank God it happened on the job" he says) And SK with his wrist brace. I was probably the most functional person in the room tonight!

A few reps of Leopard Fist. It was blackly humorous to watch JaE trying to do forms with one arm. I suggested he try doing just footwork.

More Kiu Two. Review of all the little details we'd worked on last week, and more practice on the sweep. I'm still not there yet, sigh.

We got the last little bit of Part A.

After the two Snake strikes, a mid-level bong sau right arm flowing into a "holding the energy ball" sort of arm/hand position at the left hip. Continue the motion directly into a double Snake Strike forward, palms facing each other, left on top. I want to lean my torso to the right, since this reminds me of the double Leopard Fist "hoppy spinny bits" (colloquial reference predating my entry into this group, not my description) in the Leopard Fist form (where I lean to the right). No leaning in this one! Also, no foot movement (or for that matter, any movement of the lower body whatsoever) during this entire piece.

After that double strike, hop back slightly into a right cat stance. Chamber left hand, Right hand curliques into an axe hand strike at waist level.

Closing- right foot steps back, same Snake closing as in Snake Versus Five Animals.

I was surprised to find that we are at the end already... I remember the form seeming a lot longer when I last saw it demo'ed (which was over two years ago). We were warned that the last little bit of Part B is a little more complicated, though.

In the next couple of weeks, besides continuing to work on this, we will be revisiting Sil Lum Dao. SK asked if we had any questions about that form, and I announced that the most confusing part of that form is the question of *which* of the eleventy-three versions we are supposed to be doing when we go through it in class. The next ten minutes were quite amusing, as SK valiantly attempted to pin DD down to taking a stand and telling us which variations he wanted us to be doing.... every time SK repeated the question, DD went off on some tangent about the history or merits of one or another of the versions, or started to compare and contrast them- without stating which ones he wanted us to do. I waited for the infamous mention of "This was the version that RS taught at a seminar in 1992..." and sure enough that reference came up. I couldn't look at SK... every time he re-posed the query, and DD verbally dodged it and wandered off again, SK was smirking at me out of the corner of his eye, and I had to look away and carefully school my expression to keep from cracking up in DD's face.

Candle meditation.... I noticed that as soon as I got focussed, everything started to grey out. This happened several times, and I was thinking, "Okay, this is a new and strange psychic phenomenon.... what's going on here, and what does it mean...?"

Finally I figured out that because I was wearing my contacts (since I'd come straight from Gracie's), if I stared at the candle flame without blinking, after about fifteen seconds my contacts started to dry out and a grey film came over everything. Not as mystical as I'd thought. Ha!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Balance- drill vs spar

Impromptu no-gi open mat at Cindy's.

I rolled with Cindy, Lamont, Peter, and Jay. Continuing the theme of trying to wean myself off the fruitless Clench-N-Cling. A little success, but still needs a lot more work. This is going to be a hard habit to break.

Still feel like I'm always on that knife-edge of furious frustrated tears. When I try to tell myself to STOP THAT, the next exit on that turnpike appears to be defeatist apathy... when I saw *THAT* looming up, I veered the emotional steering wheel hastily back to "furious sobbing frustration". If there's anything I want LESS than I want furious sobbing frustration, it's deafeatist apathy.

Twice I had a perfect technical side control on Lamont, and he simply picked me up by the thigh and bicep and flipped me over him to land helplessly on my back. That's what made me want to cry tonight. It drives me crazy when I know I'm doing everything right, everything technical, and the guy just does whatever he wants to me anyway. It makes me feel like, what's the use? I might as well just lie there like a rag doll and be as helpless as I am. And Lamont's not even a really big guy.

I've actually had very little "learning new technique" and drilling BJJ since the tournament. Almost all of the BJJ I've done in the last two weeks has been sparring. The schedule just fell out that way for me. I wonder if that has anything to do with my attitude problems lately. I have at times thought it might actually be a good thing for me to lay off trying to learn lots of random new things and just attempt to focus on my basics and problem areas for a while. But maybe I need that non-competitive, less emotionally frustrating drilling time to balance out all of the getting-my-butt-kicked. It might be a good idea for me to ask someone to drill with me (my three escapes from side control) at the edge of the mat for part of the time instead of sparring, if my schedule continues to have me hitting mostly sparring days as opposed to lesson days.

(pic- that's Jay on the right)

Clench-N-Cling: the fruitless comfort zone

Saturday morning competition training at Gracie's Seattle.

Between my work schedule and holiday/weather cancellations at the schools, I have not done *any* MA since Sunday. My first time back on the BJJ mat (with the exception of Lindsey's Women's Self Defense Class) since my little breakdown in the locker room. I was feeling anxious about going back in... but I reminded myself that good training days usually follow on the heels of abysmally sucky training days and vice versa.

Timed matches only... sometimes with a three or five minute break in between, sometimes not. Ron twice, John twice, Bianca twice, Marcel, Glenn. I am trying hard to 1)not sit any matches out, and 2)stay as long as I can possibly stand, no matter how exhausted I get. Didn't sit out today, and lasted from 11 to 1.

Bianca was the hardest fight. She is really, really strong- as soon as she gets grips, you go "holy crap"... I'm used to being muscularly stronger than most women my size, but she is hard to deal with. She is also rough... not as rough as Alicia, but there is always pain involved in rolling with Bianca. I was trapped in bottom half guard almost the entirety of the total sixteen minutes. I was defending strenuously against what I know are her favorite chokes. I successfully defended many of them. She tapped me once with a choke; once with a choke that wasn't actually choking me, but she was torquing my spine; and once with an armbar that was a bit too hard and fast on my good left elbow (as opposed to my chronically painful repeatedly-armbarred right elbow). I told her "not so hard and fast" and she got a little huffy insisting that she hadn't done it hard or fast. I didn't argue with her.... but if your training partner tells you it's too hard and fast, that means it is too hard and fast... for *YOUR PARTNER*. Period. So lighten up, regardless of whether *YOU* think it is too hard or not.]

Bianca also takes me down with humiliating ease.... easier than most (even much bigger) people take me down.

I managed to get on top a bit with everyone except Bianca. I even got on top of Ron a couple of times, which is notably unusual. I defended strenuously against him getting grips on my pants when he has my back, because those chokes-while-twisting-my-spine deals are what he likes to get me with. He still got me with one, but I successfully defended some additional attempts. I also defended some of his triangles. When he finally got a good one locked on, I gritted my teeth and held out because I knew the clock was about to run out- and I made it, although if it had been three seconds longer, I wouldn't have!

As usual, can't get out of Ron's closed guard... I would have needed the Jaws Of Life.

All in all: a little better than my usual, although the same frustrations continue to crop up. I observed myself starting multiple matches with Ron and with Bianca using the same opening moves, even after they responded to those tactics by squashing me into bottom half guard repeatedly. Some intellectual part of my brain was saying, "Um, maybe it's time to try something different- this isn't working on this person," But some more primitive (and more insistant) part of my brain was whining, "But if I venture out of my comfort zone, I'll find myself in an even WORSE position!" The conundrum is that I'm just good enough to be able to defend the sub (for the most part) as long as I stay in my comfort zone, but it's never going to let *me* get any subs- and I would lose all the matches on advantages if nothing else. I need to try different things, but I am finding myself really resistant to start experimenting because it's almost certainly going to lead to getting subbed more often. Ugh.

I also observed myself doing some Clench-N-Cling... same problem here; my intellectual brain knows that this particular grip/position is not fruitful, but I'm afraid that if I let go, things are going to get worse. It particularly drives me nuts to let go when I know that my letting go is going to enable the opponent to immediately lock on a nice solid side control or front mount. It feels like giving up. So I Clench. And Cling. When Cindy sees me doing this, she will sometimes call from the sidelines, "Is that a good grip, Kitsune?" "Is that a good position, Kitsune?" I gasp back, "No." she replies, "Then let *GO* of it!" I need to just imagine her saying that, whenever I notice myself doing this.

Bianca and I managed to tick off Carlos again today... apparently we were yakking too much in line and I missed my name called when he was pairing people up.... it's Bianca's fault; she was asking me questions! Actually, I still have a hard time with Carlos' accent- he pronounces my name kinda funny, and a couple of other people's names come out sounding very much the same- so unless he's looking me right in the eye, I can't tell if it's me he's calling.

(Pic- Ron is the guy facing the camera)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Goals, feedback, learning style, and Sophie's Choice

Wednesday evening, finally got to see RS (I was going to get there if I had to CRAWL). Sadly we did not end up training... I had been hoping to work on some Hurricane Hands.... but we talked about many things and he gave me a lot to chew on.

Note: RS and his wife TS have two new canine children... Lexie and Laddie. You know how bad I am with names, so I am making sure to notate them here. One thing I found out early on about RS is that if his dog doesn't like you- or vice versa- you'd better not get too comfy, because you will probably not be sticking around!

I knew that CC is not a fan of the BJJ- either in general or in the sense of how much practice time it sucks away from my kung fu- so it did not surprise me when the idea was floated that it might be good to at least take a break from one or the other (heh) and try to get focussed. It was suggested that I am 1)overtraining, 2)sabotaging my Shaolin by failing to make enough practice time outside of class, and 3)attempting to do the MA equivalent of learning German and Dutch simultaneously.

I know that my kung fu is suffering due to not putting in enough practice time, but I hadn't really realized how the timeline makes it likely that this may have been a major contributing factor to Epic Slump 2010. I began BJJ in spring 2009, and immediately my outside-of-class kung fu practice time dried to a trickle. At that time, I wasn't getting enough new material in kung fu to keep me motivated or interested in practicing much- but in the interim, I've gotten some new stuff that definitely deserves more practice time than it's been getting.

I'm going to have to do some hard thinking on this.
Taking even a six month break from one MA or the other is something that I don't think I am willing to do... it's Sophie's Choice. But I am feeling frustrated and defeated by both right now- and it was suggested that if it's not working, working HARDER is not the answer. "When you're at the bottom of the hole, stop digging," was TS's succinct commentary.

Again, much more thought needed- but right now I am seeing that my kung fu is starving to death from lack of nurturing, and it seems that I need to reintroduce a firm commitment of practice time every week even if that means skipping some BJJ (which it will...sigh.... there are simply not enough hours in the day).

It's unsettling how RS cuts to the meat in one short discussion after having almost no contact with me for over a year. I'm almost certain that he has not consulted with CK recently, yet he observed almost word for word what she had observed on her last visit: "Last time I saw you, you were really frustrated, and now you just seem sad." Likewise he observed (quoting ME this time, as I had said this to CK) that the Shaolin group which was previously DD's is "pretty much already dead, but just won't yet acknowledge the scent of corpse rot".

They don't have a very good impression of SK, and I'm not sure why, although they only worked with him a bit during his very early days in Shaolin. I made it clear that I have a good student-teacher relationship with SK, and he's a good teacher, and he's doing his best. But he's young and inexperienced, not very far ahead of his students, and feels that he can't really OWN the class and run it the way he sees fit; he feels like he can't even blink without clearing it with DD and CN first. With the exodus of first DD and then CN, SK got stuck holding this bag against both his will and his better judgement. He has all the responsibility and none of the power- a pretty pickle that I am not unfamiliar with. And simply not enough resources and tools to do the job that is being expected of him. "Up to his ass in alligators," was RS's comment, not without sympathy.... which I think is pretty on-the-mark.

There was some discussion that the amount of time I am spending in that class is not the most productive use of my time. It had been my impression that CC was reluctant to take full responsibility for me as his student because I was RS's student... in the course of this conversation it started to look as if his attitude was stemming more from seeing himself as "peripheral" to DD. I had thought I'd made it clear to CC how little I'm getting from DD, but maybe this conversation made it clearer. It's intriguing to think that perhaps CC might be more willing to take a greater personal responsibility for my training... but getting that type of commitment from CC might require a separation from SK's group to a degree that I am not happy with.

The idea was bandied that SK's group is at this point less of a real "class" than "some friends getting together to work out"... which I must admit has a ring of truth to it. In which case, I wonder if I could still "get together" with SK's group "to work out" and yet get CC to step up in a primary teacher role.

There was much discussion of what my training goals are. I know that I want to be more effective in sparring and stop getting my butt kicked by everyone. I know that I want to feel like I am getting more proficient as well as developing a deeper understanding of technique, forms, energy work, etc. I want to leave each class/practice feeling like my kung fu is better than it was going in. These folks feel that my goals are too scattered, unfocussed.

"SMART" goals- There is even a handy-dandy little acronym:


My goals are not SMART!

They feel that I am putting too much emphasis on the importance of sparring skill as both a goal and as a measure of my proficiency. Sparring being very "artificial". Also, there is question of how accurate my self-assessment of my level of suckage is.

Since DD's group is doing very little by way of testing and observing a rank system, goals are not well defined, and RS feels that setting and reaching goals- with the external feedback and validation that entails- is very important for 1)to avoid sort of paddling around rudderless, and 2)to have a sense of how you're doing.

The lack of feedback emerged as one of the most glaring issues for me right now. I seem to be getting little by way of accurate, usable feedback in either of my MA's- and I continue to have a real problem trying to self-assess how I'm doing. What little positive feedback I get, I tend to not believe it and continue to be convinced that I'm an incompetant wreck. I knew this- but this discussion is making me see that that is having a much larger destructive effect on my training than I realized.

Another very significant area of discussions was learning style. You know, some people learn best from watching, some from doing, some from hearing, etc etc. They feel (and I agree) that a very large chunk of my frustration- and my conviction that I must be an abnormally slow moronic student- stems from the fact that DD, CN and SK all seem to learn in the same way. So do the rest of the more junior students in the group. They look at something demonstrated, and they can immediately do it (and remember it). I just do not seem to be downloading in the same fashion that they do. This may not NECESSARILY mean that I'm the village idiot; it just may mean that I need to understand that this is why they all seem to "get it" so "easily" when I don't... and try to make some sort of allowance for whatever translation I need in order to have the material download smoothly into *MY* hardware.

The idea was discussed (and this is not the first time I've heard it, or thought it) that DD tends to select students for his group who learn in the same way he does, and that he simply does not really understand what is "wrong" with- or know what to do with- a student who doesn't learn in that same way. This really has the ring of truth to it; and it is also a large part of what I was trying (and largely failing) to articulate back when I was invited to that advanced class, and feeling that I simply did not BELONG in a class with DD, CN, and SK in it... I was the piece that did not fit in that scenario, the round peg on a board of square holes, the one person in the room who was speaking French while the others were speaking Spanish. This also is likely a large part of why DD and I just don't seem to "connect" our hardware is simply incompatible.

One thing that may be useful for me is to take some of those online tests that help you figure out what your best learning style is. Perhaps from that (and maybe further consultation with RS once I have some data), I can figure out how to translate class material so that I can "get it" without such a struggle.

There is also some concern about my work schedule, my poor sleeping, and my lack of extracurricular (meaning something OTHER than MA) activity.

RS and TS reiterated an open invitation for me to come to Portland from time to time to train, which is very tempting. It's so hard for me to travel. Yet even these short sessions with RS (and we didn't even break a sweat this time) always leave me feeling like the stagnant pot of my training has been given a vigorous stir.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This is not about training… I missed my class with RS, and I'm trapped like a rat here at the hospital, so I'm just writing to bitch.

I had rescheduled my session with RS for Monday evening at 7. It normally takes me maybe 35 min to get to CC's place; up to an hour and 15 if it's during Rush-Four-Hours. I left at 5:30, to give myself an hour and half, just in case. Monday it had snowed a bit…. Not even anything that we Michiganders would dignify with the word "storm". But Seattle people….. At the first snowflake, the entire populace spins into hysterical paralysis. All events were being cancelled; but if that was so, where were all these idiots on the roads going??!?

At 6:45 I was still trapped on 520, so I texted CC to say I'd be late. By 8:15 I was just getting on the bridge, and I was running on fumes (I had had PLENTY enough gas to get to Magnolia and back, but after almost three hours idling on the highway, it was a lot less gas). By the time I got off the bridge, it was after 9 and I knew that even if the return trip only took half as long, I'd still be late for work. I had to text CC and cancel, get gas and turn right back around. I was (and still am) really upset at missing this lesson, but no one can say I didn't make a Hurculean effort to get there. I then sat on the bridge facing the other direction for almost three hours. Got to work in Bellevue at a quarter to one (I was supposed to have been there at 11:15).

So yeah, I sat in the car from 5:30 till quarter to one, and I missed RS anyway. The morning staff has already phoned in saying they're not coming, so I am a prisoner here at the hospital for Christ only knows how long.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Continuing to work the sweep

I texted CC and RS Friday night instead of calling- so that I wouldn't cry on the phone- and successfully begged off the evening (rescheduled for Monday evening.... not great as far as my work schedule goes- since I'll have to go straight from training to the hospital and work the midnight shift- but hopefully at least by then I'll have my emotional Poop In a Group and be able to focus). I did confess to crying in the locker room, though. They tried to talk me into coming over anyway, just to talk (and watch Jackie Chan movies)- which was nice of them. But I couldn't deal with the drive into Seattle and back, and I had to get up at O'darkthirty in the morning for work anyway.

If I'm only to get one lesson with RS in a two-year span, I'd like to *not* spend it sitting on our asses in CC's foyer, discussing my dreadful inferiority complex and my even more dreadful sparring record. Or worse, crying about it. But if that's what needs to happen, then that's what needs to happen. It's not just a BJJ problem; this is the theme in kung fu as well... work my butt off, continue to be smashed by everyone every day. CC texted that we ought to talk about "what you want out of your training and how you measure success," to which I texted back, "Success: to not get the stuffing beaten out of u by every single person you ever spar with"

I also refrained from going to Cindy's no-gi class.. too bad since both JB and JM had asked about rides. I don't want to work with either of them right now. There is no good outcome to that scenario. If they beat me, I'll feel even worse... if I end up taking out my frustration by turning around and smashing THEM, that would be a tragedy. I do not do that to people; I hate it when people do that to me, and I will not be that person.

Tonight- Women's self defense class at Gracie Seattle. Some women actually showed up today (besides me). I still got one roll with Lindsey before we began, so that was good.

Another blue belt man was there, not sure if he was a buddy of Lindsey's or what... but when we lined up, that guy came over and stood between Jeff and me. (Jeff- two stripes, me- one stripe, this guy- none.) I didn't say anything. When Rodrigo sees people do that, he pauses the whole class while he shuffles students into their rightful place in the food chain- I mean, line. Lindsey tends to like formality in his classes (he makes those of us who train BJJ- as opposed to the women who come in JUST for the self defense class- gi up and line up in rank order), so I figured he'd do the same. But he didn't. So I thought, "Okay, if that guy does that again the next time we line up, I am going to very pointedly step around front of him and put myself on his right!" But by the next time we lined up, he had wandered away... so it became a nonissue. (Given my choice, I'm just as content at the end of the line... I feel no need to lord it over people... but it irritates me when people PRESUME, like they're making a point of refusing to acknowledge that I outrank them. Disrespectful and rude. Anyone at blue belt level ought to to know better.)

After warm-ups (Lindsey likes to do about 130 jumping jacks, and make us run around and around the mat), we had an attacker grab the shoulder/lapel, and a defender overwrap the arm and step in. That was enough to occupy the newer women for a while. I was working with one of them first. Part of the reason I don't like having to gi up for this class is that I am not comfortable with being put in the role of helping teach... but that woman kept asking me tons of questions... which I became more and more willing to answer once she started asking questions about the BJJ school. I'm always looking to encourage more women to join.

Anyway, I felt fairly comfortable with this technique, since it is familiar to me from both BJJ and kung fu- so I felt okay making minor corrections (since she kept asking). Her arm wrapping was good- but she was not stepping in close enough, nor keeping a solid balanced stance.

Next round, I ended up with Jeff. Now in addition to the arm wrap, we were bracing the opposite hand against the opponent's neck and framing up. Then we advanced to grabbing the back of the neck and controlling the head, pushing it downward. Since I could be rougher with Jeff, I started adding knees to the belly/groin, and yanking his head down into my knee. He got out some pads so that I could hit him for real. One important detail- continue to "frame up" and push the head back slightly after your knee strike, to keep the attacker from crowding in on you too close for get your strikes in.

After that I had to bail and head off to kung fu.

JaE was there, which is always a happy thing. CN was also there... we haven't seen him for months. Unfortunately, CN and DD took JaE off into the back room and were closeted in there doing secretive things for most of the class. Sigh.

The rest of us did some Leopard Fist and some Snake Versus Five Animals. I did not even attempt the armlock on Nemesis- just went straight for the armpit strike. The armlock worked fine on JM. The fact that I tend to thrust her violently to the mat on this technique, after the frustration of not being able to make it work on Nemesis, is why I am hesitating to do any BJJ with the girls right now. I don't like myself when I catch myself going rougher on the girls because I'm frustrated at other people. (Actually, I'm frustrated at mySELF, but regardless, it is still no excuse for taking it out on the girls.)

Kiu Two.... more work on the sweep. JM and Nemesis are looking markedly better this week- their sweeps are nice. Me- still struggling. DD wants me to stop at just past 180 degrees and make sure I am facing my foot with the toe curled in. Entire body sort of hunched up and coiled. Then turn and "unscrew" up into front stance. That made a big difference, but I still need a lot more practice.

Practice on the strike sequences at the end of both part A and part B. One deep hissing breath, not huffing at each strike nor hissing from the mouth or throat- the breath is still coming from the diaphragm. More obvious on the parry/pullback at the end of Part A. I am still not fully extending the strikes and letting them rebound back- especially the middle one.

No bending forward at the waist during the deep front lunge... remain upright.

Kick sequence on part B... once again failing to fully extend. Must remember that you're aiming to take out the REAR leg, so you have to commit. Then it REBOUNDS back and moves immediately into the turn. If I can remember the extension, I can get the rebound.

Poor SK can't even unscrew the cap on his own water bottle, with that plastic splint on his arm. We did some brainstorming on possible modifications... a row of spikes on the distal side would be cool.

(pic- that's Lindsey)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


So have you seen the MRI? What news?

My training blog readers want to know 1)is it a spiral fracture, and 2)how have you been doing BJJ without sobbing in pain every time the wrist was locked or trapped. And this was before I told them that you move furniture all day at work.

The scapoid WAS broken, but it has apparently begun to knit, is mostly healed already, and is not misaligned. How it managed that with me all the while doing kung fu, BJJ, and working is beyond me.

The main problem now is the torn scapholunate ligament. Without an arthroscopy, we can't know the extent of the tear, but based on my range of motion, the doctor is suggesting that it may still have a chance of healing on its own, provided I stop doing stupid stuff (like most of what I've been doing for the last several months). So, for the next month I get to wear this bitchin' black molded plastic splint thingy. I asked them to make it heavy-duty enough so that anything I SHOULDN'T do, I COULDN'T do. So, now I can barely hold a pen, and I can't make a proper fist, but I do feel like I could beat someone senseless with the splint anyway...

LOL.... "molded plastic splint" weapons forms, anyone?

(Pic- that's Ian, one of my favorite training partners. The kid in the middle. He took first in gi and second in no-gi in his divisions at the Revolution.)

Friday, November 19, 2010


Crappy, crappy day today.

Friday morning "competition training" at Gracie Seattle. Positional sparring and timed matches only.

Bryan has a bad groin pull, so Carlos kept putting him with me so that he'd be going light. I got Bryan 3 times, Marc once, Dex once.

Repeat of yesterday. I just couldn't seem to do anything effective, and the guys were just manhandling me around the mat doing whatever they pleased to me. Getting put on my back no matter what I do to prevent it. Getting put in closed guard no matter how hard I fight to stop it. Bottom half guard all the time. I was trying to do the escapes that I've been drilling at Cindy's, but the guys were just casually flattening me out on my back and then replacing full mount.

Bryan got me in a kimura and just held me there for a really long time. Since he wasn't finishing it, I took that to mean there was an escape that he was patiently waiting for me to figure out.... so I struggled and struggled, but there was no way out. I was really frustrated.

"Do you see what I'm trying to teach you there?"

"NO." (dripping with venom, through gritted teeth that were just barely suppressing tears)

"When somebody has you trapped that tight, just tap. You just have to tap."

"I don't *NEED* you to teach me how to tap. I know how to tap. I tap constantly, every fucking day."

He spent all three rolls just tooling up on me, while I lay there on the bottom and was unable to do a thing. He choked me really long and hard, but I wouldn't tap, because refusing to tap was the only thing into which I could channel my fury and frustration and dispair.

He tells me I'm getting better, and that's why he's pushing me so hard- that's why everybody is- that he's never pushed me as hard as he pushed me today.

I went in the locker room, sat on the floor behind the door, and cried. That's a first. There was one time after getting smashed by an asshole that I *felt* like crying after class, but this is the first time in more than a year and a half of BJJ that I've actually done it.

Nothing really happened today that hasn't happened pretty much every day for the last year and a half. But I guess today's frustrating training day on top of yesterday's frustrating training day was just a bit much. I know Bryan's trying to help, and he's not my enemy- but today he pushed me too far.

I don't know what to do to get out of this rut. I am so sick of coming in every day for a year and a half and getting smashed over and over and over, by everyone in the place, and feeling like it might as well be my first day. Even people on their first day can smash me. And every day I am forced to tie on this belt that I am not worthy of, like a cruel joke.

All I want to do is crawl into bed and lie there until I die. But I'm supposed to call CC in a half hour and try to schedule a time tonight to go over there and train with RS. I don't know how I can face that today. But this is my first and only chance to see RS in about two years, and who knows when or if I'll ever get another one.

Wow. This post the Angry Hugging blog just arrived in my inbox as I was writing this.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday training

Thursday morning at Cindy's, I was late because I had to take my kitty to the vet.

Lamont was back, and the Russian blue belt (Nayden), and Angus was there today too. We worked on some of the same escape-from-half-guard stuff from the other day. I was happy that the sequences came back to me quickly, so today I tried the techniques on both sides. It is difficult for me to get the leg spaghetti set up correctly on my retarded side... that needs more practice.

A little timed sparring. The guys were plowing through me today, and I was getting frustrated. I even said the Bad "C" word ("can't") once, and got reprimanded. Lamont kept arm-dragging me to take my back, over and over, and I couldn't seem to do anything to stop him. Angus lunged in on me (after I specifically told him to take it easy) and cracked both of our shins together- that hurt, that'll leave a mark.

I observed a few blog posts ago that getting caught with certain techniques just really bug me because of the humiliation factor.... well, one example is when I'm fighting 100% to stop some big guy from putting me on my back and he just puts me there anyway and climbs on top, with very little apparent effort. Man, that just ticks me off, and some claustophobia starts to kick in as well...and I want to eye-gouge him or belly-kick him or something really violent to get him the F off me, and I can't do a thing (that is BJJ legal)... so the next impulse is to just go limp and cry, which is equally unacceptable. I want to just stop, but I am usually not allowed breaks any more. Today I probably should have insisted on one, and tried to put myself emotionally back together- because there does come a point where I'm so frustrated that the law of negative returns kicks in. I've gotten fairly good at recognizing that point in kung fu, but I'm not so good at recognizing- or enforcing- that boundary in BJJ.

I was told that my hands need to always be doing SOMETHING... no lying across my opponent like a log with no grips on. Also reminded to not try submissions without establishing a good position first- specifically, no choking from the back unless I have hooks in first. Cindy told me that I'm like one of the little kids- I get in too much of a hurry- and it's true.

Kung fu is cancelled tonight, as a University Of Washington football game has that entire end of the city plus the 520 bridge impassable; and we were warned that there would be no parking to be had anywhere on campus for love or money. Could not muster the energy to go to Gracie's, which was an especial bummer since Rodrigo teaches basics in Bellevue on Thursdays.

(pic- Cindy reffing at the July 2010 revolution)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bottom half guard- options B and C

This was my first opponent on Saturday.... seriously. And Tiffany looked even scarier!

ROFL... from Side Control's training blog:

"After the Revolution, I ate nothing but cupcakes and pizza for 24 hours."

While it was great to oink out after the tournament, I must admit that my digestive system was somewhat taken aback to be bombed with all that junk after three austere months of chicken breasts, eggs and carrots. And I was already back up to 130 this morning.

Tuesday morning at Cindy's. Lamont is out of town. It was just me and the Russian blue belt guy (I forget his name... geez...I'm so bad.... I'm lucky if I remember my *OWN* name....) from last week.

Cindy says that she doesn't want to referee any more at tournaments..... it sucks too much time,
and she feels that she can't take care of her competitors as well as she'd like to. Apparently a big teenage man-boy was roughing up one of her little female 12-year-old white belts on the next mat while she was reffing a match, and that was a bad position for her. Also, she might be able to keep better tabs on me and try to get me to my match in time!

I told her that I want to work really hard on getting out of bottom half guard... both learning techniques and drilling repeatedly on them.

We started with the foot crossover escape from front mount into half guard. This is one of the first things I ever learned (and also one of the first things I taught my three little white belts)- I use it all the time, and have great success with it. But of course once we started breaking it down, I found that I am sloppy with a number of small details.

It is always very frustrating to me to have to go back and fix little things on a technique I've been doing for a long time... retracing my steps and having to go SLOWER and more clumsily. Having to undo ingrained bad habits. For a while, the technique doesn't work nearly as well as it did to BEGIN with, and that drives me nuts. But I know it will be even better in the end if I can fix these details.

In this case, the problems start immediately with the little turn onto my side. I tend to do a dramatic jerking turn with a shrimp out. It was brought to my attention that I am practically giving my opponent my back. I need to do a quarter-turn ONLY, and keep my distal leg flat on the floor. NO SHRIMPING! I had a really hard time grasping that... finally Cindy had to actually sit on my shin and pin it down to stop me from doing that.

Next problem- vulnerable extended arms and elbows. I have a bad habit of pulling my top elbow out and having it waving right in the opponent's face as if to say, "Please armbar me". Keep the elbows against the ribs and use the elbows to push the opponent's knee down. This is safer than my method of putting my hands on the knee and straight-arming it down.

Improvement point number three: Get the underhook *as* you're shrimping your butt out. Do not reach both arms across the opponent's body and be fiddling around over there and then remember, "oh yeah, the underhook," and then try to bring the arm back over. Just plan ahead, leave the arm on the correct side and get the underhook immediately.

Hint number four: Use the other hand to brace the opponent's arm so s/he can't crossface you out.

I need to drill this every class, until the improved version is more instinctual than the sloppy version I've been doing up till now.

So now that we have half guard, Option B (Option A being the one I worked on with Lindsey on Sunday):

Opponent tries to headlock you.

1)Make sure the legs are locked down with the toe hooked in (I had not been doing that part), and try to stretch the person out. (This hurts, already- if you're on the recieving end). Make sure your thigh is right under the opponent's buttock.

2)transfer your grip to the wrist that is headlocking you.

3a)Powerful shrug of the shoulder (the one you are underhooking with)- at the same time,
3b)Accordion your entire body several times rapidly like a dog humping the opponent's leg.

If your thigh is right under hir butt where it's supposed to be, that will jar the opponent's balance all over the place while you're pulling your head out under your shoulder shrug.

You can stick the hand on your underhooking arm in the opponent's armpit and push if that helps.

4)reposition the grip on the wrist and post ON IT... don't let it go and post on the floor. As you pull your hip and leg out just enough to take the back.

5)Now underhook the far arm and get that second wrist- roll the opponent's hands under hir as you arch into back mount. If you do this correctly, the opponent's hands are trapped underneath hir (palm up- painful and completely useless) while s/he is faceplanting into the mat and getting hir spine torqued in an unpleasant fashion. This is not a happy place to be on the recieving end. I still remember the very first time Cindy ever did this to me in a demo. Holy crap.

We also did some reps of this starting from side control... the person on top transitioned from side control to mount, and the person on bottom caught half guard immediately (before the mounting person can get their points, even) and went into the technique sequence.

Option C: Opponent grabs a whizzer to try to keep you from going to the back.

1) Clamp onto the arm that they're whizzering you with and glue it to your chest.

2) Everything the same, including careful positioning of toe hook and thigh-to-butt.

3)Instead of controlling the opponent's other wrist with your free hand, underhook the ankle. Note: You are *NOT* going into deep half guard- not pulling you to hir, you are pulling hir to YOU.

4)Roll opponent first UP and then OVER your own body. S/he can't post because you have the whizzering arm clamped to your chest.

We repped all this till we were exhausted, and no time for sparring (Thank goodness; I was too tired anyway). These methods are going to be good, though. Cindy expressly did *not* want to work on techniques that have me replacing full guard from half guard, because she wants me to get **OUT** from under. Good deal.


Tuesday evening BJJ in Bellevue. To my great relief, Carlos did not act as if he was only fifty percent invested in teaching me. He treated me the same as he always does. I didn't get a chance to thank him for being so supportive this weekend, but I will make sure to do that. I did get a chance to thank Pat. Pat said of my first match, "You almost had her! You were THIS close!" I don't know what match *he* was watching, LOL! He did have a specific suggestion, though, which I wasn't quite able to parse by his verbal description- so I asked if he would go over that with me the next time we were both on the mat (he was in street clothes).

I asked Ron about his competition; he lost the first fight by points in overtime, but he doesn't think the scoring was quite fair. He won his "consolation" match.

We attacked the turtle tonight. Person 1 in turtle, person 2 sprawled on top in north-south. Wrap your arms around the turtle's chest like a sash (over one shoulder), and hop to a side-to-side position. Switch grips to lapels (now you are under both of the turtle's arms), make a little hop to place your FAR hip beside hir hip. You are now sitting on your butt with your other knee pointed at the ceiling. Now pull the turtle into your lap, get hooks, and do the sash-hug again. Linger long enough to get your points for back mount. Then RNC.

That's the only drill we did, then a whole bunch of positional training from turtle with rotating partners. I did okay, although I had mixed success trying to integrate the changes from this morning into my mount escape to half guard. I knew that they would start to go out the window as soon as the speed and resistance was factored back in, and they did. More drilling needed.

I sat out and watched the advanced class. They were doing a complex-looking cross-collar gi choke which I think I made the right decision to not attempt. Then takedown relays.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bottom half guard- option A

The girls were no-shows again at the women's self defense class, so I got an entire hour of rolling with Lindsey and with the blue belt guy he brings in with him (forgot the guy's name). Lindsey thinks I'm still leaving too much space, and not keeping my hips down low enough to the mat. Both deficiencies showing up most often when I have side control. I also noticed that I seemed unable to prevent blue belt guy from repeatedly catching half guard from my side control... I need to either keep my leg out of reach or block his legs. I have been having the problem with a couple of other training partners as well.

I think I did fairly well against blue belt guy, considering that he's bigger and stronger and also one stripe ahead of me. I did get on top several times and kept it for a bit. Almost choked him a few times, almost got a kimura on him once. Didn't get subbed.

I did spend a long time in bottom half guard with him in our final roll. He was exclaiming in frustration because he couldn't get out of my half guard for love or money.... (Stephanie had remarked on that yesterday as well). Yeah, you're not getting out of my iron-clad half guard, but it does me no good if I'm stuck under there for the whole match and getting nothing useful done. So I told Lindsey that that is my main project for the next few months.

He suggested the following: I have bottom half guard, and the guy tries to bring his knee up and pass across my thigh. I grab the knee with both hands and hug around the thigh with both arms. Shrimp my butt out to the side, flatten down on that leg and try to stretch it out underneath my body. May be able to go on to take the back from here. Otherwise, the opponent is likely to try to roll toward me to defend my getting hir back. At that point I underhook the thigh and keep that trapped leg trapped, while I pass to side control. I repped it a few times and then it was time to leave, so I need to remember to ask to rep that some more next Sunday. I want to build a small repertoire of things to do from bottom half guard and drill the bejeezus out of them, until I have no excuse for being stuck under there any more.

On to kung fu. We did Leopard Fist a few times (don't forget the hard block before the bong sau... also, stay low during that spin- don't pop up), Snake Versus Five Animals a few times. I was feeling really nervous, because DD was sitting there watching us.

Kiu Two. Since I missed last week, and haven't had a chance to practice, I was blanking really bad. I had to ask people to move around so that I could stand in the middle, and then I requested several more reps.

More work on that sweep. I am "leaving the leg behind", which is DD-speak for failing to have my sweeping leg already in motion and thus in front of my body by the time my hands hit the floor. I am also letting my hips rotate so that they are facing the floor by the time I get around to the back; when the hips should be facing the side the entire time. Otherwise the laws of physics have me essentially trying to pass my leg through a few feet worth of the ground to get the trajectory- and since I am not Kitty Pryde, that's not working so well.

When I had been working on this last year, it had seemed as if I needed to get a ton of torque started in my upper body, and transfer it to my lower half as I hit the floor, otherwise I couldn't get any power into the sweep nor get myself all the way through the 360. Now I'm being told that it "looks like (I'm) working too hard". DD does the sweep and he looks like Baryshnikov. I said, "I can make it PRETTY, like a dance, but it won't have any power in it." So I tried it with pretty dance-like form and was told that that looked closer to correct. There must be a happy medium somewhere.

Even though he looks like Baryshnikov doing the sweep, DD did it against the heavy bag, and the thing was swinging so hard it almost hit the wall. Then he did it on SK, "half speed" and sent him flying. DD makes everything look so easy.

After we'd all worked sweeps till we were sore, we worked on the three-strike knife-hand-iron-needle-backfist combo from the beginning of Leopard Fist. Make the strikes reboundy without sacrificing form or extension, and do it in one extended hissy breath.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

DQ by contact lens

Lesson number one from my first big tournament:

Get up ten minutes earlier and put your contacts in before you leave the house.

I didn't put them in because I don't like driving in them, and I thought there would be a ton of time... but I got a little lost (Bonney Lake earns a D in street signs) and went straight to gi weigh-in upon arrival. Immediately after weigh-in, I went to the bathroom to put my contacts in.... then straight to my assigned mat.... where I found that I had already been scratched. Yep, I know, almost too stupid to be believed, huh? After all that. Can you believe any large tournament could possibly be that efficient? And they must have BEGUN with my bracket... WTF.... one of the MIDDLE brackets????!? Wouldn't any intelligent person assume they would start with either the heaviest brackets or the lighest ones, not with some random bracket from the center of the field???!??

So, all you boys and girls who have yet to do your first big tournament, don't be a moron like Kitsune: Weigh in, go straight to your assigned mat and stay there. Do not go to pee, do not go to find your friends, do not go to the candy machine, and do not go to put your contacts in. If you have half a brain cell, you'll just immediately find your mat and STAY THERE.

Now if I hadn't signed up for no-gi as well, the whole trip would have been for nothing. But I was pissed enough because

1)My gi is better than my no-gi

2)There were few enough women in my gi bracket that even if I had lost all my matches, I think I would have still placed and gotten some points (I think Rodrigo wanted to tie a knot in my tongue for that....Now if Gracie Barra loses the team trophy by two points, it really WILL be totally my fault!!!)

3)Now I had to sit around for another five-plus hours and get more and more jittery waiting for no-gi... I could have slept in.

OKay, well, it's done. Moving on.

I had actually weighed 126.5 first thing this morning (naked). I had a decent breakfast (albeit eggs yet again), drank all I wanted, I even had a candy bar. I could have gone to the friggin' Old Country Buffet breakfast bar and eaten myself into a stupor and still made weight. I weighed in UNDER weight in both gi and no gi; I could have gotten into the next lower bracket. So I was actually at a bit of a disadvantage (in the fights that I actually showed up for), because I was essentially fighting up a bracket.

I also still have a bit of lingering laryngitis, slight dry cough, slight headache. I could fight, but I was definitely not at my physical 100%.

The first uniformed woman I saw when I walked in was JULIE. That chick was *not* on the registration list!!! Believe me, I looked. All I can think of was that she may have been on the kids' list (which I skimmed but didn't scour) since she's under 18... and they bumped her up. A good thing to keep in mind when checking up on my potential opponents next time.

Bianca had to fight her (gi)- and lost. Welcome to the Sisterhood Of Those Who Have Been Owned By Julie, Bea.

Bianca almost missed *her* fight as well.... she was on the other end of the gym watching the brown belts, but luckily I was watching the women and heard her name called, and I knew where she was. Normally I would have used my Herald Voice to summon her across the gym and over the crowd..... but with laryngitis, I had to run!

One woman was lying on the floor sobbing, with her gi jacket over her face- it looked like she had dislocated her shoulder. I hadn't seen it happen, but wow.... that's a chance we all take.

By the March Revolution I should be able to shed another 2.5lb and be safely in that lower bracket. Of course that puts me back in with Bianca and Julie again! But I'm pretty sure I have more muscle mass than either of them. Not that that helps me when their technique is a lot better... but catching up to them is a good goal to strive for.

I didn't see hide nor hair of Cindy most of the day... not that I expected to; the kids were upstairs, and they need her more than I do on tournament day. I heard that Ian won gi, and lost in no-gi to a rough guy with many years of wrestling experience. The other kids did well.

Carlos called me over, and I slunk warily up to him... but he clasped my hand and hugged me. I asked him if he still loved me, and he said yes. So that's a big relief. I guess Rodrigo succeeded in convincing him that I am not a terrible person.

I saw Brandon lose a match and come off the mat crying.... it was a really good fight, and he was up against an adult (he is 13!) so he has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of... but since he's 13, he was crying. I was kind of watching for him, since Cindy had mentioned to me that Brandon was crying after he lost a match at the Seattle Open last month. So I tapped Carlos on the arm and pointed over there, and told him that Brandon was crying and Carlos should go talk to him. Which he did, so that was good.

I saw one of Kaungren's matches; he got the guy in what looked like a really nice triangle. But after about a year's worth of looking like the guy would have to tap any second, he somehow got out, and ended up winning the match. Bummer.

I saw Dex and Miguel both win very hard-fought matches, and Pat win two. Saw little Carlos lose one, but he fought well.

Sabrina was there, and explained that she hadn't signed up because she's been nursing a shoulder injury. Angela was there, and she *had* signed up, but no other purple belt women had- so she didn't get a fight. She said that there would be someone for her to fight at the March Revolution, though... and then she plans to go to the Pan Ams.

So, no-gi.... I had been bumping into Pat here and there all day and he kept bucking me up. Before my first no-gi match, he pulled me off the foor and started doing a little pummeling and such to try to warm me up. He was being so supportive that I completely forgot to chew him out (as I had intended to) for scaring me on Tuesday and leading me to believe that Rodrigo was more angry at me than he actually was.

I had seen a girl about my size walk in wearing a "Team Wise" sweatshirt and carrying a gallon jug with "Tiffany" written on it, and I thought, "Bingo, she is my first match!" I was sizing her up out of the corner of my eye for hours as we were both wandering around the gym. She was kind of scary. Swaggering, glowering, black cornrows and tats. When I pointed her out to Pat, he whispered, "Your tattoos are more badass than hers." LOL.

Well, there must have been a last-minute switch for some reason, because she was set up to fight some other girl- Stephanie (she must have gotten combined into this bracket from elsewhere). Tiffany won.

I was up to fight Rachel first. She was taller than me, but she actually didn't look as scary as Tiffany. I don't remember a whole lot of the match, but I think I aquitted myself halfway decently before losing to an RNC. An RNC! I almost never tap to chokes! I was exasperated to have to tap to a choke, although I was happy it was not a triangle. Mission number one for this tournament was: do not get tapped out within the first fifteen seconds. Mission number two was: do not get tapped out by triangle. (Next time, mission number one is going to be SHOW UP FOR THE MATCH!!!) I succeeded in my two missions this time. I held out for quite a while before tapping to the RNC. Unfortunately, Rachel's corner (the bastard!) was squatting about ten inches in front of my face while I was being choked, and I was unable to adequately hide the level of discomfort on my face nor the fact that I had freed a hand to hover over Rachel's leg in preparation for the tap if I had to resort to it. So he assured her that she had it and to keep going, and after a bit, he started a countdown for her. (did I mention that this guy was a bastard?) If not for him, I might have been able to hold out till she gave up. By the time that bastard got to six, I had to tap BAD, but I held out until eight just because I was pissed at him. The ref was impressed- there was an unmistakable expression of wonder on her face when I got up and looked at her.

Then I fought Stephanie for third place. We danced around hanging on each other's necks for quite a while. She eventually tripped me up, but I got her in a headlock on the way down and hung onto that for quite a while. I couldn't seem to do anything useful with it, though, and eventually I became aware of Rodrigo's and Carlos's voices from the sidelines both hollering at me repeatedly to LET GO OF THE HEAD.... well, crap, I don't really want to, but if you say so. After that, I spent much of the match- one guess where! Of course, where else, bottom half guard. (Mission number two for the March Revolution- GET THE ^#%$ OUT OF BOTTOM HALF GUARD! In fact, that should be my primary mission in practice for the next little while as well.) We ran the clock out and she won on points. I was actually less pleased with my performance in this match than I had been about my performance against Rachel. But even though I lost both matches, I think I did well enough to say I didn't humiliate myself.

After the second fight, I sat next to Angela and her camera, and said, "Did you get any good pics of that?" She said, "Yeah," And showed me some. "Don't you have any where I'm not on the bottom?" "No." LOL. Yeah, well, gotta have a sense of humor about it.

I do recall being calmer than I had expected during the matches. In particular, at the beginnings, when I normally feel a hurry-hurry-hurry pressure to try to get in and get a takedown. Today I was just chillin'. There was just less of the "white noise" that seems to fill up my head when I'm in a particularly intense fight. I was able to think some, to look around a bit and consider options. I did find myself gassing out, especially during the second match when I was trying to get out from under. I hate it when I have some sense of what I should be doing and my body simply can't summon up the strength to do it.

We watched Rachel and Tiffany duke it out for first- OMG, they were really brutal. Everyone was sitting around staring gape-jawed and murmuring. Even Carlos was shaking his head and saying with dark disapproval, "That is not jiu-jitsu," as Rachel was kneeling there with her knee on the side of Tiffany's face and all her weight on it. Less clean BJJ technique and more dirty pool. But it's good to know what to be ready for.

Carlos asked me where my boyfriend was. After a little back-and-forth, I finally figured out that he was asking about SK. Apparently the rumor mill at Gracie Barra thinks SK is my boyfriend. ((murfle))

The entire crowd seemed to change radically in both mood and appearance between the morning (gi) and the afternoon (no-gi). I know this is a little offensive to say, but it's true: a noticable rush of "Trailer Trash" appeared to watch (and some to compete in) the no-gi. The fighting was a lot dirtier, too.

Angela told me that those two girls I fought (both from MMA gyms, and both of them half my age, I might add) have been doing Revolutions for a while, and placing- so they had a jump on me experience-wise. I told Angela that I wished I could have been in the "beginner" division, and she thinks I should have been- she doesn't think I was correct in my understanding that I *had* to be in intermediate. Oh well. You may roll your eyes at this, after I placed fourth in a four-person bracket- but I did feel competitive- I didn't feel completely outmatched, like "OMG, these girls are totally out of my league, I don't belong in this bracket, I don't belong in the ring with this person" It wasn't like that. On a different day, I might be able to beat them. (Maybe in March!)

One of the perks of repping two schools: if your teacher is tied up, you have back-ups. It was really nice to have Rodrigo and Carlos (and Pat, and Bea, and a couple of the guys) holding my hand during the no-gi. They were really supportive, even though I bombed, and that meant a lot. I'll be sure to thank them again later. Gracie Barra always talks up the whole team mentality and "we've got your back" and all, and I really saw how that was at the tournament, like I've never seen it before. I wish I could have pulled through and brought in some points for the team. I want to do better next time.

Stephanie made a point of coming over and thanking me again for the good fight; she seems really nice.

Cindy did eventually find me after my fights, and ask me about them. I was guarding Rodrigo's and Carlos' bags at the time, and my toes curled when I saw them walking toward us. But to my relief and immense gratitude, everyone was pleasant and cordial. That meant a lot to me. I don't know if they did that just for my sake, but it would have been so much simpler for them all to just orbit around each other and not interact, so that was great to see. It would be nice to be the impetus to help the ice thaw a bit there. Maybe it could even get to the point someday that they all actually *COULD* consult together on my promotions and such. That would be cool. This is the same sort of project I'm sorta perpetually working on with the two estranged kung fu factions. The progress there is glacial, but I hold out hope.

I am eating pizza as I type. Bacon and mushroom. I scarfed the M&M's in the car on the way home.

Friday, November 12, 2010

10 hours and counting.....

Wanted to go to class at Gracie's Seattle this morning, but still fighting that flu-or-whatever. I have really bad chronic allergies, so I'm used to having to work out through congestion and such- but the persistant headache that has accompanied this illness is a bitch. The sore throat's bad, too. Now I have laryngitis. Anyway, I skipped practice this morning, took a Nyquill, and went back to bed.

Evening... JB and I went over to Cindy's, and she wasn't there. She must be really, REALLY sick! I hope she will still make it to the tournament tomorrow! That would suck particularly for her little kids who are competing, to not have her there.

The mat was open, so JB and I rolled for two hours. I should have done some rolling with Alicia, but just never seemed to get around to it. Prolly for the best.... too much potential for injury! I asked JB to try to pull me into guard and triangle me a lot. She did get a couple of triangles; one I escaped and one I had to tap to (Razzafrackin............)

She tapped me once with that triangle and one other time with a keylock. I tapped her a couple of times with keylocks and twice with armlocks transitioned from failed keylocks... I am not very good at those, but I had nothing to lose at that point, so I decided to try- and they worked. I tapped her a few more times with other things... I got a number of keylocks and kimuras on her that would have made any NORMAL person tap, but she didn't because she is too flexible. Notably, I didn't get any guillotines on her tonight. I got one on her that she successfully defended using about 6,000lb of pressure with a shoulder in the side of my neck. I did a couple of mean things, but I apologized while I was doing them.

We started with gi and then went to no-gi. JB likes no-gi better, and is more skilled at it... I think because she's had more practice at it. She really should have signed up for the tournament in no-gi!

It was good to get that rolling with JB... challenging, but I feel safe with her and injury risk is low. Between work, illness, and the strife at Gracie's, I've had a much lighter practice week than normal.

Laryngitis, still, tonight..... a little bit of a dry cough, not much. Hopefully I'll be better in the morning... but as long as I'm not *worse*, I will be able to fight.

I have been 127.5 lb most of the week (first thing in the morning, naked). So I should be able to have breakfast and water tomorrow, and not have to worry too much about making weight. I can't WAIT for my pizza and M&M's pig-out afterward!!

Weigh-in call for gi- 9:30
weigh-in call for no-gi- 3:15

So no weighing in and then going for breakfast... no doing your gi matches and then going out for lunch before no-gi. Stuck there all day, and having to be careful of what you eat.

Rodrigo doesn't hate me

Rodrigo doesn't hate me. Everything else is secondary.

He had actually called JB to try to track down a phone number for me (I had changed mine several months ago and never updated the info at the school), and left me a voice mail saying he wanted to talk to me. Tonight I went to the Bellevue school before class and took him out to sit in my car and talk (no more drama scenes in the front lobby for the general viewing audience, thank you very much).

I made it clear that no disrespect or disloyalty had been intended, and that had I known what an upset this would be, I would have discussed it with him first.

He made it clear that he is well aware of numerous students (including me) crosstraining with Cindy and he is cool with it. It did sound like that revelation might have been news to Carlos, though, which explains some of his reaction.

He does want us all to come to some sort of understanding of what we're going to do regarding promotions, cornering at tournaments, and maybe a couple of other issues- that won't have anyone stepping on anyone's toes. I feel that those items can be worked out.

He did not beat around the bush regarding the issue of the Revolution "team trophy" points. GB is competitive and wants that team trophy badly. If GB loses to Lotus Club by 2 points, and they could have had two more points had I not double-repped, I will not be the most popular girl around the school for a while. Sleeper Athletics doesn't have enough people in the tournament to be competitive for the team trophy, and it's entirely possible that Cindy doesn't give a fig for those "points". In which case, it would smooth things over politically for me at Gracie Barra if I told the tournament staff that GB could have all my (highly theoretical) points. I don't have much time left to try to broach that conversation with Cindy, but we'll see. And if there's a next time, we can make sure to discuss that.

We discussed a few other respect and loyalty issues, and traditions, and tried to make sure we were on the same page. Didn't have enough time, because he had to go teach the class, but we can talk some more later.

I'm just really, really relieved that Rodrigo doesn't hate me. I hope that he can smooth things out a little with Carlos. Carlos, I fear, may well still hate me. I'm not kicked out of the school. But Carlos is teaching enough of the classes that if I can't deal with him, it's going to be impractical for me to try to train at GB.

I may go to class tomorrow morning at GB Seattle. It will mean facing Carlos, but at least Rodrigo will be there as well. It would be so nice if Carlos and I could establish some kind of bearable-if-uneasy truce before we run into each other at the tournament.... although it will be pretty hard for me if I go in there tomorrow and he completely snubs me.

I also hope gossip of the situation has not spread all over the school. Pat has a big mouth!

JB and I tried to go to Cindy's class this morning, but it was cancelled because Cindy has the flu. I wonder if one of us infected the other on Sunday night. I hope Ian and the other Revolution entrants who were there didn't catch the virus as well. I have been sick since Sunday night. Tuesday and yesterday it seemed to be tapering off, but today it had rebounded. I hope it clears up by Saturday, now that it's looking like the tournament might actually be a go.

Kung fu tonight.... we got locked out of our building because it's Veterans' Day, so we had to make shift with outside.... wet and cold and dark! We did a build-a-form to warm up, then some armlocks. Once again frustrated with trying to do locks on Nemesis... but I did somewhat better on SK and DD.

SK finally got an x-ray done on the wrist that has been hinky since April, and turns out it is BROKEN! So no more BJJ for him, and light on the kung fu, for who knows how long. Hope he won't need surgery.... but it's good that he now knows what the problem is.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

tough decisions

OK, it's after midnight and officially too late to make any changes on my registration form. No, I did not officially withdraw. Because I still have absolutely no friggin' idea what I am going to do.

At first it seemed obvious that I can't do that tournament. But the more I thought about having to tell Cindy that, the worse I felt. She has put enough into this that she deserves better from me than to flake out like that.

Showing up at the tournament- with my offending duel-status registration intact- is really drawing a line in the sand (and spitting across it) to Carlos, who made it perfectly clear that the duel-rep is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE to him. I cringe at the thought of doing that to him- likely annihilating all chance of reconciliation with him- and also thus quite possibly sealing my fate of getting either frozen out or downright BOOTED out of Gracie Barra.

Also not looking forward to dealing with all this f'ing drama at a tournament.... as if I don't have enough to be anxious about.

Another joyful thought... possibly having to face down Bianca or other Gracie Barra students who may view me as the worst sort of traitor.... face them not just en masse in the venue, but across the ring. Things could get a little too... REAL.

But the idea of going to Cindy and telling her that despite all the time, all the sweat, all the encouragement and positive pep talks, all the organizing to get good training partners to come over and work with me, all the rolling around on her painfully injured knee, all the things she's done for me in the past couple of months because I asked her to help me get ready for this tournament- sorry, it was all for nothing and I'm wimping out two days before the competition because Gracie Barra is acting like a jealous junior-high boyfriend. Woah. Not sure how she'd react, but I know one of the reactions would be *disappointment* in me. Ouch. I don't know if I can bring myself to do that. I owe Cindy better than that.

I really don't know what I am going to do.

JB is supposed to come train with me tomorrow morning- I wonder if she'd be willing to break my wrist or something and get me off the hook. D'you think that if I eat a Supersize Double Quarter Pounder Meal for three meals a day over the next two days, I'd be over my weight limit? And you know, anything could happen on the drive down to Bonney Lake- flat tire, lost map, carjacking........

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hornets, continued

(someone commented)
I'm guessing Cindy hasn't said anything about it?

That's another conversation that I am not looking forward to.

I wish I didn't have to tell her about this. It's my problem, not hers. But I'm going to have to explain why I'm bailing out of the tournament, and she is not going to be a happy camper. She's really put a lot of work and time and effort into helping me prepare for this tournament. She's kept training on an injured knee that she can barely WALK on. I'm afraid that she's going to be ticked off at Rodrigo, and that she's going to feel bad that this happened because I was trying to rep her school, and I most fear that she's going to feel let down by *ME* for tucking tail and dropping out of the tournament (again, after all her hard work).

It has not escaped my notice that I am the only adult on that registration list who listed Cindy's school. Am I the only Gracie Barra student who is crosstraining at Cindy's? No. Am I the only Gracie Barra student ON THAT TOURNAMENT LIST who is crosstraining at Cindy's? No sir. I am just the only one who had the balls to own it. Maybe that means the others are wiser and I'm a moron... or maybe it's just because I'm not Portuguese.... but where were THEIR senses of personal honor while they were USING Cindy to help their game and then dissing her by declining to rep her school?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The girl who kicked the hornets' nest

That would be me.

The list of registered competitors for the Revolution was posted today.

I'm on it. In the space for "academy" is listed two schools.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not *so* naive that I didn't realize that this was a politically ticklish situation. A little raised eyebows, a little muttering behind the scenes could possibly occur, I thought. But probably not. Because

1)It's not like I'm Kyra Gracie or anything. I am a low-level blue belt who is firmly in the "slow learner" category. I am *not* competitive at the blue belt level right now and we all know it- me included. It's not like I have any chance of WINNING anything. I honestly didn't expect anybody to notice or care what was on my registration.

2)Rodrigo and Carlos both KNEW that I am crosstraining at Cindy's. We never had any direct conversations about it, but they knew... and they knew that *I* knew that they knew. Everybody KNEW, okay? There were no surprises here. They also both knew that I was planning to do the Revolution.

So I was quite taken aback when I walked into GB Bellevue tonight and before I could even take my coat off, Prof. Carlos was pointing me to a chair, kicking everyone else out of the lobby, and having Pat substitute for him to start teaching tonight's class so that he could have a Long Serious Talk with me (such as it is when I have no Portuguese and he has little English and we can each barely understand half of what the other person is saying even on superficial topics) to impress upon me just how profoundly I have F'ed up.

Okay, so I am duly impressed. There are some radical differences of cultural perspective going on here. I now understand that this was viewed by Carlos and Rodrigo as a grave insult and abhorrant betrayal. I feel terrible about that. I certainly had no inkling that this was such a Big Fat Hairy Deal. I get it. I don't necessarily think it's right or think it's fair, but I get their perspective, and I regret having caused this.

Having fully grokked the fact that Houston, We Have a Serious Problem, I then wanted to move on to 1)apology and 2)damage control.

I apologized several times, and I hope that at least some of it got through the language barrier.

I will have to go crawl before Rodrigo as well. And probably in person. Writing an e-mail is tempting, and I can write a very abjectly apologetic masterpiece of an e-mail.... but I don't think that is going to cut it. Gawds, this is going to be awful. I almost certainly *will* cry in front of Rodrigo. Shit.

I am going to have to drop out of this competition. I'm not going to do it tonight, because I'm aware that I'm upset and not "clear" right now, and I have till Wednesday midnight to make changes on the registration form. Don't know if I'll be able to get my fee back, but that's the least of my worries right now.

I asked both Carlos and Pat point-blank (more than once) if my dropping out of this tournament would fix this issue. I didn't really get a straight answer back. The message I seemed to be gleaning from Pat was that the proper thing to do would be to stay in the tournament and drop Cindy's school off my registration. I told him straight up that that option is off the table- I am not going to do that to Cindy. I'll drop out of the tournament- it is really not that big of a deal to me.

I also asked them both if I am being forced to pick one school and quit the other. Again, answers that were frustratingly vague. I seemed to be getting from Carlos that whatever I was doing for my own personal development was fine with him, but it was a problem with competitions and with belt promotions. Okay, I can work with that. Competitions are not a big deal to me. That's not what I'm here for. I'm fine with never doing a competition in my entire life. And as far as promotions, I don't give a flying fig about that either (which is a good thing, because I'll probably never see another one after THIS, ha ha).

What I really value is to not lose any of the great teachers I am fortunate enough to have.... to be able to keep training with all of them. But Carlos seemed to be making it fairly clear that if I was only 50% committed to GB, he was only going to be 50% committed to teaching me. I am very sensitive to rejection... I don't know if I can emotionally deal with being frozen out like that, if that's really the way it would be. And is that the way it would be with Rodrigo, too? If so, then I guess they are making the decision for me. If I'm acutely uncomfortable at GB, I'm not going to be able to train there. That *is*, in a way, forcing me to pick one school and quit the other. And if I'm forced, I will pick the teacher who is not forcing me. I have already been through all these mental gyrations with the two kung fu factions.

Anyway, after I talked with Carlos (or rather, after he did a lot of talking and I did a lot of listening in horror and dismay, and trying to not cry in front of him), then Carlos went in to take over the class and sent Pat out to talk to me some more. They both finished with telling me to go on the mat and train, and we'd talk about this more later. I left. Which was undoubtedly an insult as well, but I was way too upset to train and needed to think about what the hell I am going to do.

I'm not sorry that I decided to train at both schools. Cindy leaving GB was a bad situation for everyone, and left me with a set of bad options to choose from. I didn't want to lose Cindy, I didn't want to lose Rodrigo or the good training partners at GB, and once I got to know Carlos, I didn't want to lose him either. I didn't want to pay tuition at two schools. I picked the seemingly least crappy of a spread of universally crappy options. Cut me some slack, okay?

I'm not sorry that I put both schools on my registration. I am training at two schools. To leave one of them off would have been a much bigger insult than to duel-rep. Again, both Prof's KNEW I was cross-training. Did they really think I was going to just put GB and completely disrespect Cindy?

What I am sorry about is that I have obviously hurt and insulted Rodrigo and Carlos, which I would never want to deliberately do. If I *could* go back and change anything, I would have a personal conversation with each of them about this before I registered. I honestly thought we had a tacit understanding of what was happening here, and nobody seemed upset, so I thought we were all cool.

All I want to do is train, and I try so hard to stay out of all gossip and politics. I don't know why I get caught up in these goddamn soap operas.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Well, a series of unfortunate events conspired to keep me from seeing Lindsey yesterday. I did get to about 40 min of Cindy's open mat. Then I realized that I did not really have the focus required to drive myself to kung fu and back, and I couldn't call SK for a ride because my phone is still fubar'ed. I NEVER miss kung fu- even when I'm too injured to do anything, I still show up to watch. I was really upset at missing these two things, but as someone who has always worked bizarre hospital hours, I'm very aware of my consciousness level and careful to not get behind the wheel unless I know I'm safe to drive. Also, my knee was still hurting... and when I did get home, I realized that I was coming down with something. I think I might have the flu. So I guess it's for the best. I hope I didn't infect everybody at Cindy's place. The irony is that I get a free flu shot through my work, but I haven't had time to do it as of yet.

Anyway, no lunchtime class for me, and likely no evening class either- unless I feel LOTS better by then.

The "middle-sized" people at Cindy's open mat (which category includes me, since there were small kids there to make up an even "small"er category) were working takedowns, which I decided to take a pass on because of the knee. So I did several rolls with Ian. We actually tapped each other out, for a change. I got him once with a choke- it was really sloppy form, but things were tight enough that he tapped anyway. He got me TWICE with triangles, to my disgust. It took him a really long time to finish them once he got them on. He turned us over so that he had a mounted triangle, but the angle wasn't quite right. He eventually figured out that he had to pull on my head to make me tap.

Then I did a couple of short rolls with one of Cindy's kids, at her request. It was a 12-year-old who seems pretty new and clueless, so I went really easy. I got her in loose side controls, and loose back mounts and let her work her way out, then I put her in my guard and let her defend while I went gently for triangles and kimuras.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I had to stand all day at work yesterday, but didn't train at all. I'm disturbed to find that my knee is no better today. Feels swollen and painful. Not real bad, but bad enough that I don't know whether to train light or to take another day off.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Return of Alicia

Friday morning "competition training" at Gracie Seattle. I made a very conscious effort to not be LATE today- so I got there in plenty of time to stretch out. Bryan greeted me with, "Hey Kitsune! Stop talking on the mat!" "Shut up!" "Exactly!" Boys. ((rolling eyes))

During the warmups, there were a few 30-second drills of shrimping-in-place as fast as you could. I used to have so much trouble with this, but now I can do it very well and very fast. Get tired quickly, though! 30 seconds as fast as you can is challenging.

All timed matches today. Seven minutes, with a timer that buzzes when you have 30 seconds left. Bree, BJJJM, Marc twice, a one-stripe white belt guy I've never seen before.

As Bree and I were facing off for the first one, Professor Carlos called, "Don't soil your partner." ??? I let it go, because sometimes if I just think about it for a few minutes, my brain eventually works out the translation. But Bree looked at me and said, "Don't SOIL your partner? Is that what he said? What does that mean?" "I'm not sure, but I'll try to not soil you, Bree." She started cracking up. We never did figure out what he was trying to say.

I notice that there are a couple of techniques that just tick me off because they feel humiliating. Sit-up sweep and (to a slightly lesser degree) slow-motion butterfly sweep. I can see what's going to happen, and I can't do anything about it. Sit-up sweep in particular- I don't know if this is true or just my impression, but it *feels* like people are using their weight to force me over, and the fact that it dumps you ignominously on your ass and then goes right into being front mounted.... I really hate that. And that slow butterfly sweep- the indignity of being spread-eagled in the air and then the embarrassing little anticlimactic PLOP as you hit. Demoralizing.

As per usual, I could get on top of Marc a lot (front mount, side control, knee ride), but his sub defense is really good, and I couldn't finish him off. I came close a few times, but every time I thought "I've got him now," he somehow managed to squeak out. I did get a nice back mount on him- right in front of Rodrigo. It would have been sweet to be able to finish him from there, but I yanked and yanked on the clock choke and he wouldn't tap. Must not have been quite deep enough. Oh well.

Marc has a gnarly aural hematoma. He had it drained, but the compression dressing fell off overnight and it puffed right back up again. He was asking about my earguards, so I gave him the specs (my original Cliff Keens, the "tornado" ones).

The one-stripe white belt guy was not huge, but quite a bit bigger than me. I said, "Go kinda light on me, okay, because you're quite a bit bigger than me." "But you're a BLUE BELT." "Yeah.... but size does matter around here, to some degree," "But you're a BLUE BELT." Great. No pressure or anything.

I love the moment as we slap hands. I'm on equal footing with my opponent, I'm not on the bottom yet, the whole world of possibility is spread before me. Every time has the delicious potential of being a win. But when you're facing a white belt you've never worked with before, that pure moment of rich promise is tempered with "Hmmm, I wonder if this guy is about to go ape$hit and try to rip my head off." His buddy was also sitting right there beside the mat. You know, things like that are really part of a fight strategy that you have to pay attention to. If I'd had the freedom to do so, I would have moved our spar down to the opposite side of the mat so that we weren't rolling eight feet in front of where his buddy was sitting there watching. But the mat was full and we had been placed at that corner, so there we were. I was aware of that factor, though... buddy watching = possible higher reluctance to tap to a girl, and possible higher Captain Caveman Quotient.

He wasn't spazzy, though... and to my surprise, I tapped him in about thirty seconds with a gi choke- the one where you get one deep lapel grip, and grab a handful of gi behind the opposite shoulder and then bring that second forearm around. We restarted, and I grabbed that lapel grip again. I said, "Now I've got one choke grip here, and you know what I'm trying to do, so don't let me get that second grip," He defended for a bit, but then I distracted him and got the same choke a second time.

He tried to tap me with that good ol' newbie standby: Try to squeeze the person to death with your thighs while they're in your guard. This is one of those things that I'd rather die than tap to. This guy had some strong legs, though- it hurt. Luckily he was not high up on my sore ribs proper, or I would have had to tap (if only out of fear of further rib injury). He was lower down on my torso- and although I wanted to vomit up all of my internal organs, I thought, "He can't do that forever- I just have to wait it out." He did about three squeezes, and held the last one in particular till I was on the edge of tapping, but I held out. (I also kept my face in his thigh so he couldn't see how bad it hurt!) Then he gave up (Thank you God) and opened his guard, and I squirted past.

I also scissor swept him twice, which was merry for me.... I never get to scissor sweep anybody but Sabrina!

At the end of class when the mat opened up, after a breather, I asked Marc to go another round. Much the same result as usual. I did kinda whimp out on an armbar because I was trying to not press my shin right up against his hematoma. He eventually tapped out when I was on his back with one choking grip in and fishing doggedly for a second... I don't think I had the choke on, I think he got tired and probably his ear was hurting.


Friday night no-gi at Cindy's. Friday nights are becoming quite the Full House over there; there are now usually enough people that we can't all roll at once. Seems like very few pure BJJ people... lots of MMA'ers. Alicia was there again, as well as Jessica (she had come one time before, and was good to roll with) and one other woman whose name I'm blanking on.

I know that working with Alicia is good for me, but I won't lie- she intimidates me. I remembered how rough she was last time. I don't think I'm too much of a wussy about pain, but I don't ENJOY it. More fearsome to me is the prospect of injury, and being on the bench for extended periods of time. I **HATE** that. And it would be a real drag to have trained so hard for the Revolution and then get benched with an injury less than a week out.

After a killer set of warmups (more Dead Bugs!) we drilled a few of the same passes that we've been working on this week. Also, a pass that involves a version of wrestler's cradle... one variation of that one also incorporates a banana split. Cindy started to use Lamont for her demo dummy, then remembered his hurt neck. "Kitsune! What's broken on you?" She took me by surprise with the question, so I stammered, "Uh, nothing..." "C'mere!" "Wait! Ow, my shoulder! Broken knee! Sore ribs!" No dice, I was the dummy! I'm pretty flexible, so I thought I'd do okay with the banana split- but OWOWOW that hurt! She had to get Ian over there to try to demo it better on him, but he didn't split much further than I had.

Timed rolls with all three of the women and with Ian. Alicia and the gal whose name I can't recall- I was on the bottom most of the time, but neither of them got a sub on me- and they were TRYING HARD. Alicia is so rough! She was crossfacing me so hard. Also, she totally put her hand over the lower half of my face and was grinding and prying at it to try to get me to lift my chin more so that she could choke me. Fingers on the face is ILL-LEGAL!! And it wasn't just once, so that it might have been an accident, it was several times. If I was MEANER, I would have bitten her finger after the third or fourth time. But I wouldn't have put it past Cindy or Lamont to have TOLD her to do that kind of thing, in an effort to bring out my "mean".

I saw her do that shimmying standing guard pass on Ian, and remarked to Ian's dad- "I hate that pass!" I didn't feel comfortable trying to defend that particular pass, so I made sure to not get into that position with her this time.

Alicia had my back and tried for a really long time to finish me with various chokes. ROUGHLY. Nope, uh-uh, I am not gonna give you that, especially when you're being a cheeseball and grinding my lips into my teeth. The taste of my own blood hardens my resolve. After time was called, she actually said, "Nice choke defense." Yes, you have to get up very early in the morning to tap me with a choke. Especially when there are no gi pants to grab and torque my spine around.

Jessica- I was on top most of the time, but she made me work hard for it. Neither of us got a sub. We seem fairly closely matched.

Ian- Again I was on top much of the time, but as usual I can't finish any subs on him. He's going to do the Revolution too- hope I get to see his fights. And I hope he does well.

I could have slouched out of there at that point- goodness knows I'd put in my fair share of training for the day. But I girded myself and marched over to where the girls were yakking, and asked who is up for another one. Jessica and the nameless gal had to take off, so Alicia and I rolled again... with pretty much the same results as last time. I did get a nice headlock on her at one point.... I couldn't seem to do anything with it, but it was locked on pretty tight. We struggled around for a while in different positions, and I was not going to let go of that lock. I had her in north-south, me on top. It was the only time so far that I have ever felt in control while rolling with Alicia. For a few minutes I thought I might actually get a tap on that chick, and I got really excited. But I made myself stay calm and not get to rushing and impatience. I could feel exactly what was wrong- the pressure was on the back of her neck, and I needed to either get the pressure on the side or front- where I could choke her- or change our positions to something where I could get enough leverage for a crank of some sort (yeah, I know that's illegal, but she was branching out into illegality first- and I wouldn't have done it unless I was in control enough to do it real slow and careful). But I couldn't suss out how to accomplish it... and eventually she escaped. Rats.

Then we did some rolling wherein she coached me along, directing me how to rack up points. She harrassed me verbally and with little swats whenever I went into turtle and whenever I got stuck in bottom half guard.... chivvying me to keep moving, keep working, don't just hunch there. It was a little annoying, but she's RIGHT, and I knew she was being nice and trying to help me out.... and it did light a fire under my butt. More of that would be very useful for me. I thanked her for helping me, and asked her to try to come back as often as she can.

By the time we were done, there was steam rising visibly off my body. All the windows and mirrors in the place were fully fogged up.

On the way home, I was so ravenous that I could have devoured a live wildebeast. I wanted some candy so bad that I could have cried... at a few different points today. And I even had to stop for gas on the way home, so it would have been the perfect opportunity to grab a little something. But I came home and cooked up my chicken breast... although I did have some teriyaki sauce on it.

I am feeling willpower-weak right now, but I really do not want to fall off the diet wagon so close to the tournament. I would like to be safely under the wire enough to have a decent breakfast and hydrate well the morning of the Revolution. My pasta/rice/breads cravings are relatively brief and mostly ignorable- the first couple weeks were bad, but it got easier. My candy cravings, though.... that's a different story.

The night of the tournament, if I do well, I am going to buy a pizza and a half-pound bag of peanut M&M's to celebrate.

If I do poorly, I am going to buy a pizza and a half-pound bag of peanut M&M's to console myself.

I will likely give myself a little culinary slack for a bit after next weekend, but I am **not** going to put those ten pounds back on. That sucked, and I don't want to do it ever again. I am going to keep weighing myself every day, and not let it creep up on me. I would still like to drop those last four pounds and get to 124 (I am 128 at the moment). That seems like a reasonable goal for the March Revolution.

Now I am achy all over, and my right knee is messed up. I don't recall doing anything specific to it, but there was just so much pain tonight! It was a good hard day of training. Tomorrow I have to work, and if my knee still hurts by the time I leave work, I can take the evening off MA and hopefully let it recover.