Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jonesing for sugar tonight.........

Whose lame idea was it to schedule a tournament two weeks after the most candy-centric day of the year??!!

For a month now, one couldn't walk into a Safeway to pick up one's chicken breasts, eggs, 100-calorie bags of unbuttered popcorn, and carrots without running a cruel gauntlet of bulging shelvesfull of candy. In two days, it will be bulging shelvesfull of HALF-OFF candy. Worse- cheerful colleagues who bring orange-frosted cupcakes with little black bat sprinkles on top, packages of grinning pumpkin-shaped cookies, and bowls of mini Milky-Way bars to work. Even if I can grip my willpower in both hands and negotiate the grocery store safely, my willpower does *not* last eight and a half hours' worth- especially with the boss breathing down my neck.

So of course the day of the hyperglycemic Tootsie-pop orgy is also the last day to register for the tournament before the price hikes up. Once registered, you are committed to a weight.

Your registration has been received and will be reviewed shortly.

Please check the website Tuesday, Nov. 9th to verify all your registration information is correct. All changes must be submitted by midnight Wednesday, Nov 10th.

If you chose the email option of being updated via e-mail the weigh in schedule will be e-mailed to you Friday, Nov 12th. The information will also be posted on our website

Thank you for Supporting The Revolution.

Women's Divisions
Gi ($40)
No-Gi ($40)
X Both ($60)

Women's Gi Registration
* Women's Gi Weight Class (pick one)
118 & under
118.1 - 129
X 129.1 - 141
141.1 - 152
152.1 - 163
163.1 & above

* Belt Level (Gi Competitors)
X Blue

Weight is with Gi. Weight classes may be combined to accommodate competitors
* Would you be interested in fighting up a weight class if there is no match for you at your skill level?
**This does NOT mean if you weigh over your registered division you will be able to compete. This is for you being the only registered competitor in your division and getting the choice of REFUND or competing against the next highest weight division.**
X Yes

Women's No-Gi Registration
* Women's No-Gi Weight Class (pick one)
113.5 & under
113.6 ~ 124.5
X 124.6 ~ 135.5
135.6 ~ 147
147.1 ~ 158
158.1 & above

* Experience Level (No-Gi Competitors)
Beginner (0 - 12 months)
X Intermediate (13 - 36 months)
Advanced (37 months & longer)

weight is without Gi but with public appropriate attire. ie, spandex shorts are OK, underwear is not.
weight classes may be combined to accommodate competitors
* Would you be interested in fighting up a weight class if there is no match for you at your skill level?
**This does NOT mean if you weigh over your registered division you will be able to compete. This is for you being the only registered competitor in your division and getting the choice of REFUND or competing against the next highest weight division.**
X Yes

Friday, October 29, 2010

Now *I* am a Nemesis.

Friday morning BJJ at GB Seattle. "Competition training"- ie, timed matches only. I was running a little late and missed half the warmup.

Ruben, Glenn, Nic, Marc, JM (not kung fu JM- this is a BJJ guy who goes by "JM"... I'll have to call him "BJJJM?")

Today I focussed on 1)trying to close up all the space between me and my partner, especially as regards the upper body area, and 2)holding top positions for at least long enough to get my points, if not longer. The guys would still crossface me out, or curl up and thus shove me away, or bench-press me, or upa really hard, or otherwise pry me off. But I tried- and I stayed in top side control and (to a lesser degree) top mount a bit.

I don't know how easy they were going on me, but Glenn is the only one who tapped me today- and he said, "I had to go all the way to plan H". Plan H apparently is one of those back chokes with the grabbing of the pantleg- I had to tap to the spine crank, not the choke. (I didn't tap anybody- if I even need to confirm that)

Marc called me his "nemesis"- LOL. I'll take that as a compliment!

Nic does a lot of pantleg-grabbing. I asked him what the heck he does in no-gi when he can't grab pantlegs. He said, "I grab their leg hair."

BJJJM, Ruben and Glenn all told me that I'm getting better. In fact Glenn came over again later to tell me a second time. BJJJM asked me what I weigh, and then was all like, "No way" when I told him. Wow. That's really nice of them. They are being supportive.

Carlos stopped to chew us all out- and me in particular for some reason- for talking and laughing on the mat and supposedly not being serious and working hard enough, with a tournament coming up. Now that is not fair. I am *not* one of those annoying giggly girls who isn't there to work. I work hard, I do not goof around, I'm very respectful on the mat. Yeah, my partner and I do laugh occasionally when something amusing happens during the roll, because we like BJJ and we are having FUN, so sue me. We talked a little- but only about the spar, injuries, and such perfectly valid BJJ-related topics. Pat was yapping away like a Yorkie on speed- pausing every few minutes to admonish his partner to shut up so they wouldn't get in trouble. But because my voice is higher-pitched and Carlos can ID my laugh even with his head turned away, I am the one singled out to get reamed in front of everybody. Again- I would be really upset about this, if not for the fact that Carlos seems to be up *everybody's* butt lately about every little thing. Maybe he was irritated at me for coming in late. I have gotten a little sloppy about that lately. Must get out of the house 10 min sooner. Wish I hadn't signed that sheet about the tournament, though. I feel like he might not be riding me quite so hard otherwise.... and I'm not sure this is useful for me. I'm way too thin-skinned about being reprimanded.

I didn't take any breaks during the timed matches, which was good, since that's all I got. I hung around for a while after open mat was called, but everyone who wasn't finished was already paired up and I didn't get any more rolls. Brian came over to tease me about giggling on the mat, though. So I teased him about his cauliflower ears.

The Quadruple Threat Technique

I mailordered three different types of ear guards on Tuesday. I couldn't find the exact ones that Alicia had, but I found a few that looked good- and it's a crapshoot; you can't really tell about that sort of thing until you actually try them out on the mat. Now I'll have a few options to switch around- assuming they all fit. I also ordered the Cliff Keen "hair slicker". It may not work with all the different earguards, but it should work with at least the set I already have and one of the new ones (both Cliff Keen). I keep having dreams in which I have hair again. I want hair again.

One of the new earguards arrived today. No review yet- I'm still trying to figure out how to manipulate the strap spaghetti to make them fit correctly. This pair, I found quickly, NEEDS to fit correctly and stay put or else it rubs RIGHT against my current hematoma, which is the last thing I need.

I took an online ADD quiz, and scored in the highest bracket- "Severe ADD likely". Amusing. I have long thought that it's likely I have a mild ADD, although I'm surprised that it think's I'm "severe". I wonder if that could explain some of my difficulties with learning MA. It would be interesting to do a controlled experiment and see what effect an Adderall had on me.... not that I'd ever do such a thing..... but if I were to hypothetically do that, I'll stay home all day and try 1) some really dry coagulation-pathway continuing ed, 2)some formwork, several other specific things that I sometimes have difficulty focussing on.... and report the hypothetical results in my training blog. Stay tuned.

Thursday morning BJJ at Cindy's. I haven't been to Gracie's all week, and I feel guilty about it- but I usually get more individual attention over at Cindy's. I'm really glad I decided to go over there this morning, because it was just me and Lamont, and we spent pretty much the entire class period working on my personal challenges.

Started with a little light rolling with Cindy- she was on her back and I was dancing around her. She wanted me to control her legs and then lunge over them for mount the way we'd done earlier in the week. I was scared to try it because I figured she'd get her knee(s) in there really quick and I'd impale my groin on them. So we worked on that for a while. One option to try: PUSH the legs until the opponent pushes back, then slam the feet to the floor and lunge over. Also: I am still not being MEAN enough. I am too high up on my toes (and then on my knees), and just staying too high up in the air in general- because I don't want to come down on the opponent's stomach/ribs with my weight. Another thing- once past those trecherous knees, don't be too eager/quick to scoot up to high mount- stay low, curl the back in, weight down, grapevine the legs, wait till you get your points.

After that, we worked on sprawling. I am too slow, don't get my feet back fast enough, don't get my butt low enough, don't sink my weight enough, I flare my elbows, and I raise my arms too high like I'm trying to float over top of the opponent and go for his hips or something. Need to keep the elbows down and in, flop down decisively on the base of the opponent's neck, get the feet back (Cindy wants me to THROW them back; we practiced it a lot and I wasn't doing too well with that.... maybe I need some drills on a stationary object to get the correct motions down), hips all the down to the floor, sink the weight through the stomach, stop scrabbling frantically for crappy grips. I need to work on this a lot more, but I would REALLY like to get very good at this. No one would be able to pull guard on me. That would make me happy. At first I was afraid that they'd just go over the top if I stalked them in that low stance, but Cindy says that if they do, just shoot in for their legs. This is another place where I need to just slow down and be patient. I am also supposed to just back off and disengage if things are not going my way. That's going to be hard. I am hard-wired to charge in aggressively and grab the opponent. I do not like to dance around for long periods.

We spent the majority of the class on the technique that stands out in my mind as the most brutal and painful thing I have ever experienced in BJJ (in fact, in any MA, I think). It is also the technique that gave me my first cauli ear. Cindy noticed that I am grabbing a lot of half-assed guillotine attempts and then many times not being able to finish them for one reason or another- so she wants me to substitute this lovely thing.

Have a back-of-the-head grap and an overhand bicep grip. Snap the head down ("comb over" the top of the head). Sprawl (HARD... see previous paragraph full of improvement points). Have opponent's neck and *one* of the opponent's arms in your hug. Shoulder pressure right in the little cup-like area at the base of the neck. After doing this about a zillion times on Lamont, I could really feel it as soon as it socketed into the right spot- although I tended to want to let my shoulder drift further down his back (and my weight drifted down there too... much less effective.). Don't be afraid to turn the body. GABLE GRIP- do not get lazy with the grip (this tripped me up multiple times again, especially once I started to get tired). Scissor the elbows together very firmly and put the opponent's bicep on the mat trapped underneath him (you may need to pull him forward some... just don't let up the pressure). If you do this right, then there is no need to be in a frantic hurry at this point.

Now: Keep the pressure on, but stick your butt up in the air and move to the side so that you can stick your head in the little hole between his trapped arm and his thigh. Again, you can pull him forward a titch if the hole isn't big enough, but DON'T LIFT HIM UPWARD! Forward, not upward. Keep the pressure on. Then walk on your toes toward his feet. I know from having this done to me that it is a combination choke/neck crank/pressure-point ouchie... and the opponent tiptoes far enough back, it starts to crank on your spine in a direction that the spine does not bend, as well. It is just Quadruple Unpleasantness.

But the fun doesn't end here. If your opponent won't tap out to Quadruple Pain, you can logroll (do this quickly and decisively). As soon as you come out of the roll, make sure the opponent's head is on the bottom of the resultant configuration and does not pop up. Immediately run your feet toward him, grab half guard. Again, a spot where you can pause and catch your breath while you enjoy the scenery. Now punch your lower arm through, use your other hand to grab your bicep, "talk on your phone" as Cindy likes to say. If that doesn't do it, you can take a deep breath, squeeze your arm muscles and flex your hips. This HURTS. It hurts VERY BADLY. But one thing I like about it is that theoretically, you have enough control over the opponent that you can put the cranky parts on as slow as you want. I'm okay with doing this as long as I can do it very slow and controlled. I know from experience that it's hard to tap from this position since everything is trapped... and you can't verbally tap, either, since you're choking and all the breath is being squeezed out of your body.

I had to do this sequence over and over and over until I was practically staggering with exhaustion. Poor Lamont. I told him that I definitely owe him dinner or something for this. But this is what I really, really need- reps to the infinite power, until I 1)don't need to try to mentally remember it, and 2)feel confident that I can make it work.

At one point Lamont exclaimed to Cindy, "It's working! She's getting more aggressive! She just chinstrapped me- I thought for a second that I was grappling with *YOU*!" Wow, that's like the most incredible compliment... it probably would have been better if it related to something I'd done on purpose. I had to ask what "chinstrapping" meant.

I hope this doesn't feel 100% different on a different person (since I mostly did it on Lamont). Sometimes I feel like I have to relearn the technique on each different body type.

Step by step.... don't get rushed, don't get sloppy, if you mess it up, backtrack a few steps and start again.

It was a lot of good, hard, focussed work today. I am so exhausted. And I still have kung fu tonight.


Kung Fu Basics class. After hand strike drills, we spent most of the class listening to SK's "pressure points 101" lecture.

There was some discussion of elemental association of pressure points and the order in which you strike them... that intrigues me; and I picked SK's brain some more about that on the way home. Some Bagua styles apparently use some extra elements ("mountain", "thunder", "wind"), and I'm curious as to how these relate to the Chinese elements (earth, fire, wood, water, metal) and also to the basic four elements used in many earth-based religions (earth, air, fire and water). I have also run into a Native American tradition that added an element known as "bone". I asked SK to see if he could dig up any more information about the topics we talked about; there may be some helpful puzzle pieces in there for me.

After SK described a (possibly mythical) technique that theoretically stops the heart, I intoned, "Can I have a volunteer?" (told him that next time he gives this lecture, with new students present, he has to add that at that point... provided he can do it with a straight face.)

He demo'ed a particular pressure point on Nemesis, which wasn't working too well (NOTHING works on Nemesis.... that's why he's Nemesis... he'd make the perfect Supervillian). I pointed to JM and said, "Try it on a normal person," But apparently JM is not "normal" either, as her body overreacts violently to everything.... so he doesn't like to use her for pressure point demo's. That left me as the only arguably "normal" demo dummy... so I got prodded repeatedly till I jumped and yipped.

Pressure point discussion took almost the whole class time, then we had individual forms time for 20 min or so.

I ran through Hurricane Hands a couple of times, doing extra reps of the four areas that we targeted last time for "improvement points". That gnarly throw in particular, seemed to be flowing better (SK agreed), although it still needs plenty more work. We worked on the trajectory of the Snake-strike-and-press-block sequence (press straight down, wrist bent, but strike moving forward, not up). The three-level double-strike section near the end is from a high lunge, NOT horse... need to remember that. The two kicks that we worked on last time- still not doing them quite right. The first one is with the BALL OF THE FOOT, toes pointing right. Second kick is with the outside blade of the foot, toes also pointing right.

We spent the most time working on the quality of the Snake strikes themselves- in a general sense. Before SK came out to help me, I was trying the strike-and-press-block sequence using the same reboundy energy that we had been doing with some of the strikes in Kiu Two on Sunday, against the pads. It's a lot harder to do reboundy strikes in the air with nothing to bounce off of. I was trying it against the rim of the trash can in the hallway.

SK told me that I was stopping my Snake strike too soon by flexing my bicep muscle, and I need to 1)extend my arm further, 2)let the end of the strike rebound back by itself instead of stopping it with my arm muscles. This is changing the way I have always done Snake strikes. It feels weird to extend that far, and the hand position is all fubar'ed now that my focus is on rebounding and keeping that muscle relaxed. The hand spasms at the endpoint of the strike like a Northern Mantis claw on acid. (That's okay, he says- the hand position can be refined later, the energy of the strike is more important.) I finally had to visualize it as "My hand is not attached to my wrist- and I am going to throw my arm forward and "shoot" my detachable hand across the hallway so that it splats against the opposite wall. My focus being on the trajectory of the severed hand, and I need to not think about what the arm is doing." I know that sounds weird, but I'm all about the visualizations- and when I used that one, SK approved my technique. Now I am going to have to practice this and adopt this into all my Snake stuff. It appears that being able to do the strikes this way is a "level up" in the practice of Snake style. I am leveling up. Shiny!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Patience is a virtue. One that I don't have.

Wednesday morning gi BJJ at Cindy's.

Cindy's knee is not getting any better. :( She won't stay off of it, of course, which I'm sure isn't helping.

We did a little rolling to warm up while we were waiting for Lamont (see?). She says that one thing I really need to work on is the fact that I tend to give my opponent too much space. Especially the top half of hir body; for instance when I'm in top half guard and fighting the legs, meanwhile I forget to adequately control the opponent's upper body. I also continue to be in too much of a panicked rush. She wants me to get side control, get an underhook, get a good gable grip (there's that grip, again), and then just Take a Pill and Chill for a minute. I tend to try to mount the person almost immediately upon getting side control ("You don't even wait long enough to get your points!!") I am so afraid that the person is going to get away, or I'm going to get in trouble for stalling, or that the opponent is going to think I’m a boring date if I don't hurry up and make a move, or something. It drives me nuts to just lie there. Lamont told me, "Just lie there until you hear Cindy from the sidelines telling you to do something!" So I lay there on him while he tried to escape, and then finally he mimed a claustrophobic panic attack and started flailing his arms around and screaming. (See what I have to work with, here? Is it any wonder that I am the way I am?)

In deep half guard- get your head in DEEP, like, REALLY REALLY deep- otherwise don't even bother, because they're just going to crossface you right out.

Another thing- opponent in turtle. Get both lapels, get ONE hook, and peel hir out.

We drilled a sweep from guard- I know it has a name, but I can't recall. You hug the opponent to your chest with hir arm trapped, then underhook one of hir thighs, hip out, and sweep. Alternative- take the back.

I told them that I didn't feel like being mean to Alicia even when she was mean to me… Cindy wishes she could give me some of her mean. Chase is being really difficult to deal with- like, difficult enough to be getting kicked out of various classes. I still don't want to be mean to him, either.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweeps and Snakes

"Women's self defense" at Gracie Seattle. Those other ladies are going to be late every week, because they don't even get off work till 5:15 or 5:30. Today they didn't arrive till quarter to 6, and it took them another 5 min to get dressed. I gotta leave right at 6 to get to kung fu. What it looks like is going to continue to happen is that I'll get 20 min or so worth of privates from Lindsey (he was alternately rolling with me and with the blue belt guy who is assistant teaching the class), do the warmups with the other women, and then I have to scram. It's worth going in for 20 mins of privates with Lindsey; maybe not worth the commute all the way to the city and back- but I have to be in Seattle for kung fu anyway, so that works fine.

Today we were working on RNC (he had me doing it on a football), and back mount (both trying to get out of it, and trying to climb on top when you had it and are losing it). He told me that I should go ahead and grab the pants at the knee when I am back mounted and can't reach the guy's feet or pants cuffs with my stubby arms. Also suggested: always be doing two things at once- defend the choke with one hand and try to remove hooks with the other. Don't neglect to lie back and put your opponent on his back when he has YOUR back- it restricts his movement. When you have back mount- keep inching deeper on the lapel, don't cling to the first grip you get on it. Grab the opponent's sleeves, lapels or whatever and use them to haul yourself on top or haul yourself out of back mount. RNC- I need to get my elbow further across my body.

We ran into a few instances where he instructed me to do something (like closed guard) that I told him has historically been abysmal for me due to size. It sounds like he is going to have suggestions for alternatives for me for such problems, once we get deep enough into our training relationship for him to get a good idea of my specific challenges.

At one point, he suggested a specific position, and I said, "I'm afraid to put my leg like THAT because the guy is just going to bulldoze over my leg and not only pass, but that really hurts my hip and also makes it very likely that I will get kneed in the ribs as well," He was like, "If the guys are doing that sort of thing to you on a regular basis, that is not cool," Thank you. But they are, so I have to work with it. Hopefully he can help.

When the women got there, he made us count out 20 jumping jacks apiece (there were six or seven of us total, including the two teachers). That was lot of jumping jacks. My calves were cramping. Then burpees, only without the pushup or the hop. After 140 jumping jacks, though, the lame burpees were still pretty bad.

Evening kung fu. The new space is great. The ceiling's too low for long weapons, there are no mirrors on the wall, and it's not large enough for line drills. But those are the only complaints, and there's a lot to make up for it. The area is almost totally matted, there are two heavy bags, and a zillion different types of pads and other toys (which we are allowed to use). It's an inviting space- each wall is painted a different solid color (I have always planned to do that in my home gym when I have one, SOMEDAY)- and good colors, like dark red and a kind of eggplanty purple. Minimal decoration and clean lines everywhere. Nice big clean bathrooms (major improvement on the community center, which has cringe-worthy FILTHY bathrooms). Once the stragglers from the previous class leave, we have the place to ourselves.

We went through Leopard Fist, then Sil Lum Tao. Snake Versus Five Animals (both parts individually first, then with partners). I headed for Nemesis, as per my new resolution, but JoE grabbed me first. In the opening move of the first rep, he stomped on my foot.

Note- make sure to shift the weight during the shoulderlock-and-bend, don't just bend over. If you are having trouble with the shoulder lock, you can bring your left arm into play- lace your hands together and use them to get enough leverage. Use your entire upper body. Gods, I hate that particular shoulder lock. That has been one of my worst stumbling blocks in my entire array of forms.

Then Kiu Two. First both parts individually, then with partners. *NOW* I grabbed Nemesis. Note: that particular training partner do-si-do was not ideal: JM and I both had to work with both of the dangerous guys, and we didn't work with each other. When only one of the two girls is there, probably better for me to try to grab her in the first pairing.

Nemesis and I got a little competitive starting with the drawing-apart in mirrored-snake guards pause. As your foremost Snake arms first entwine and then slither apart, You're supposed to KEEP CONTACT with your partner, and not end up too far apart at the pause. I felt that Nemesis kept stepping too far back at that juncture- so my entwined Snake arm started to get a little grabby. This caused him to try to draw back even more, which in turn caused me to grab his arm more firmly. "Stop clutching!" "You're moving too far back, I'm trying to keep you from getting away!"

We worked a lot on the sweep. I am good at sweeps- I have put a lot of work into them- but my body does not enjoy them. I have a finite number of clean ones that I can do in a session before the body rebels. I kept having to explain to SK that yeah, I *know* I'm not doing XYZ aspect quite right- I know how it's supposed to be, and I can do it that way- but you're only gonna get five of them on each side tonight.

We practiced them on the heavy bags (which conveniently go all the way down to the floor). Note- make sure to be close enough, and don't catch the target with my ankle. The toe of the non-sweeping foot can be turned as far out to the side as helpful right before the sweep. Don't neglect the balance and find myself hunched on all fours with my weight on my hands at the end of the sweep.

Small new portion of Kiu Two.

Snake A: end the sweep looking at your opponent but with your torso turned to your left. Stand up out of the deep lunge and simultaneously bring up double Crane's necks to forehead level (one can be slightly higher, so that you can shuck the blow off to one side). REBOUND down into double press block, then immediately REBOUND with a right-hand Snake strike to the midsection... immediately rechamber the right hand with PALM UP and fingers angled slightly out... you've got the opponent's hand pressed down and to the side with that. At the same time, left Snake strike to the solar plex area. Hmmm, I'm not entirely certain about those two targets- need to recheck- but I know the first one (rt) is low and the 2nd one (lft) is high. The rebounds are the critical part. Once I did a zillion reps of the pattern and could turn my attention to the Snakey-energy rebound, I dare say mine looked very much like SK's. And it felt natural. I do like Snake, I do! We also practiced this sequence some with pads so that we could hit and rebound harder than we could off our partners' bodies.

Meanwhile, Snake B: having jumped slightly back out of the way of the sweep (front leg up, double Snake guard), Shallow rt lunge fwd and Snake strike rt (this is where your partner is parrying with the Crane beaks) and then left (this is where the press bock happens). They end up going right high and left low, because that's where the other guy is deflecting them, but they both start out aimed at around chest level.

Back to JoE again to rep Kiu Two some more. We started to get a litte competitive beginning at the part where Snake A tries to wrap the opponent's arm and Snake B snafu's this with a bong sau. When you're doing something like this with a partner, you have to develop some kind of tacit mutual agreement of how far each person has to modify their portion of the move so that the form can continue. He was doing too much aggressive wrapping, so I started getting a little more forceful with the bong sau. Every time we got to that section, there was a brief but intense jockeying for the slightly more dominant position. (I really don't know what it is about this form that seems to bring out the playful yet competitive riposte; I wonder if everyone's doing it or if it's just ME, and they are simply responding...)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

legalities lecture

Part of JM's response to my positive-feedback e-mail about how she did a nice job against Alicia:

"Huh...okay. Thanks, but it didn't seem like I was doing anything at all. I mean, I thought you felt like solid muscle but Alicia....jeez it was difficult to do anything...."

LOL..... I'm just tickled pink by the "I thought you felt like solid muscle" part.... wow! Me= solid muscle. Coolness.

Today, SK and I went to the "legalities of self defense" lecture portion of Rory Miller's weekend seminar. It was pretty good, and I was happy that it was almost universally consistent with the material I've learned in Insights classes. Rory has a Presence, is well-spoken and occasionally funny.

The four aspects of justified self defense:

1)INTENT: you need to reasonably believe that the Bad Guy wants to harm you.
3)MEANS; The Bad Guy has to have the ability to harm you
4)PRECLUSION: There has to be no reasonable chance to escape, summon help, or otherwise avert the situation without violence.

This- along with the whole concept of needing to be able to articulate and justify to a jury why you felt the need to use the level of force you used- are the most important basic things EVERY martial artist needs to know very early on in their training, IMHO. There are lots of other useful things to know, but those are the bare bones.

One of the observations Rory made was (in response to questions about men's vs women's common styles of fighting) was that if the Bad Guy is dead, but the citizen is straddling the corpse and banging the crushed skull repeatedly on the pavement when the cops show up, the citizen is a woman. (Heh heh)

More interesting MA conversations in the car.... primarily regarding Dragon styles of various different martial arts, comparing and contrasting the physical/technique aspects of them. Interesting musing- how much (if any) parallel is there in the ENERGY of Dragon styles of various different martial arts? Would someone sensitive to that sort of thing be able to see/feel common threads, and of what sort?

After the seminar, we drove over to West Seattle to try to get the key to the dojo where we will be renting space for our Sunday class, but there was nobody at the school.

"I'm not laughing... I'm choking."

That was just something I heard Jay say to Jim tonight. Jay was making burbling sounds in Jim's triangle, and Jim started talking smack about Jay laughing at him. Jay replied, "I wasn't laughing, I was choking," Everyone in the vicinity started cracking up.

Friday morning competition training in Seattle. Rather small turnout today. I started my day off right by getting hollered at by Carlos for wearing my sandals into the dojo. I had thought shoes were allowed on the concrete walkway strips, but I guess

Right shoulder sore... well, it is perpetually sore, but it is more sore than usual today. I was doing some premature taps today when people got me on that side.

I noticed that some of the warm-up drills have my stiff gi collar rubbing right against my brand new aural hematoma. "Woah Dude, wicked cauli ear! Howdja get it??!?" "Uh, doing situps." So today I wore my headgear during warmups too. That sucked, but on the Grand Scale Of Suckage, it doesn't suck as bad as having an ear drained sucks.

Timed matches. Bree twice. I tapped her almost immediately with a guillotine, and then apologized because I know she has a bad neck. "If I had other decent subs, I'd use them on you instead of going for your neck... sorry, but that's what's on the
menu." She said it was fine, but that she'd be tapping early for those. She tapped me with another choke, don't remember what it's called, but you use the blade of your hand on the front of the throat (Bianca likes this one too). I tried for triangles
a few times, but didn't get even close. At one point she was fighting to flatten me out in side control and I was fighting to stay in deep half; we strained against each other for a really long time, and then I finally had to surrender. I was very frustrated. I whimpered/growled, "Fuck!" as she thumped down on my stomach, and then apologized again- and Bree started
cracking up. "Making me laugh is not fair." "You didn't hear me say that." "Say what?"

Elliot once. Overcaffeinated bunny rabbit game plan again. He tooled on me, but let me almost get a few things.

Marc once. We were fairly competitive. He has improved a very noticable LOT in the last 5 months or so. I used to be able to mostly control him positionally; now we usually seem pretty close.

Jason once. I've never worked with him before, and he's pretty big. I said, "Don't kill me, Jason" and he said "You don't need to worry about that." Well, I've had much worse- but he was definitely using too much strength and weight. Finally he thumped down on my ribs (my poor ribs! They take so much abuse!) hard enough that I yipped aloud and we had to stop for a minute. He ended up tapping me twice with the same trick that JB got me with yesterday. And a few more times with other things. I got nothing on him.

Then Carlos. I knelt on the mat and waited while he went to grab some water, then he came back and just stood there looking at me. Uh-oh, he wants to start from standing. GULP. This is majorly intimidating. Did I mention that he's a judo guy too?

he's about twelve feet tall (well, maybe not quite that tall- but he's extremely tall, and he looks even taller than normal when you're facing him standup), and really strong, and really, really good. There is just no way on God's green Earth that I am *ever* going to be able to take this guy down. I can't even jump guard on him, because he'll just stick his long limbs in there and let me impale myself on his elbow or knee, and I'll be walking bowlegged for the next two weeks.

He ended up taking me down, hard, several times. I did foil two or three of his takedowns, which I consider to be a major victory. I leaped up or got turned around and re-engaged immediately after each teeth-rattling thud; I hope I impressed him with my gameness; that's about all I had to impress anyone with today. I remembered to do "tactical stand" 3 times out of 4, although I forgot to keep my fist closed during. I got my body turned enough to get my legs between us about half the time. Once I got too excited and did more of a kick than a push; got reprimanded for that. (SK finds endless amusement in making me repeatedly explain the difference between a "kick" and a "push" and why one is okay in BJJ and the other is not.) I also scratched him with my fingernail and got reprimanded for not having my nails short enough. (Prof Carlos is in militant mode
this week, I know... I saw him chewing poor Angela a new one on Tuesday for both the condition of her gi and for not getting her jacket rewrapped and belt retied quickly enough to start another spar... so I wasn't emotionally crushed quite as much as I normally would be by getting repeatedly reprimanded; as I think he's doing it to everybody.)

Once on the ground, I wasn't doing a whole lot better than I was from standing. He tapped me right, left, and center; up and down; backward, forward and inside out. Usually he lets me get at least a few momentary positions, but he was pretty much just disassembling me today. Again, I hope I got points for gameness. He would slap on a sub and let me grope around futilely for an escape; when I ran out of options and started groping the same circuit of futility for a third time, he would slowly tighten the sub till I had to tap. I held out for a long time on some of them (especially the chokes). I had to ask him once to lighten up the weight on the ribs that Jason had already crunched today.

When fellow students tool on me like this, I assume that they're being self-centered (for that particular spar at least) and simply not interested in being a mensch and letting me work anything for that round. When teachers do it, I never know what
they have in mind for me to take away from that encounter. It's not like I'm a Spazz or an "I-Refuse-To-Tap" guy and need to be squashed to be taught a lesson.... what am I supposed to be learning from that? I feel like there's got to be a point, and
I'm not grasping it. How to keep getting back up and coming back for more after being mercilessly and thoroughly mowed down? Fuck-all, you don't have to teach me that, I am doing that EVERY FREAKIN' DAY. Are they trying to make me cry? Because I WON'T. Are they trying to piss me off, thinking that's going to make me more effective? I have well learned that when I'm angry, my performance degenerates- so going there is not going to help matters any. I wonder if I am being *too* (outwardly) emotionally controlled in the dojo, and they're trying to get a rise of some type out of me. Wonder if they'd be surprised to see the level of my frustration as spewed forth on my training blog.

At one point we were rewrapping our jackets and retying our belts, and he asked me, "Why you train?"

Funny you ask, I have been paralyzed trying to write an essay on that exact question for two months. I said, "Self development," which was too much complicated English, so I amended it to (with miming) "Making the mind better and the body better."

I never know what to think when a teacher asks me a question like that. is it A)"I see something worthy, and now I am interested in you on a deeper level." or B)"I have never in all my career seen someone try so hard and still suck so bad; how long are you going to keep dragging in here and trying to spin gold out of straw??!"

Professor Carlos is pretty expressive; he has to be since he still has to mime half of the communication he exchanges here. But when he is in Serious Mode, his face and tone give you nothing. Such as he was whilst asking this question, and whilst hearing the answer- so I have no idea why he asked or what he thought of my response.


Friday no-gi at Cindy's... it was a really big crowd in there. My three white belts were all there tonight, altho JM had to come late and leave early. She missed the dead bugs.... I'm sure she was heartbroken.... but got there just in time for a lovely new drill in which you start in downward dog, swan-dive into a face plant on the mat, slide your entire body backward one length with your hands, repeat. I nudged her and said, "Aren't you glad you got here in time for these??"

Sk and I had some good discussion about a few things in the car on the way over. He says that he has asked DD the same question, about what use does it serve when DD just crushes him like a roach and won't let him work anything. He says that in those cases, you don't really see the slow creeping progress, but the progress does come- and when it comes, it comes in dramatic level-up type increments. I dunno, I sort of appreciate seeing the creep- it's so hard to not get discouraged when you're just continually getting smashed. SK also says that when you trust your teacher, you are putting yourself in their hands- and you just have faith that they *do* have a point when they do inexplicable things like this. I think I might have an easier time if I knew what was expected of me.

We also talked about the whole "teacher's pet" concept. SK is very strongly against the whole concept, especially if it impedes on time that is supposed to be CLASS time. I asked him if he percieves himelf and CN as DD's pets. "No- why, do you?" "TOTALLY." SK seemed surprised. In the last couple of weeks, it has seemed like DD has been making a conscious effort to not ignore the white sash students as much. But SK still feels like he's not getting nearly enough guidance and support from the higher-ups and is thus flailing to some degree in his teaching position. So then we talked about teaching styles, and how (*I* feel, anyway) that his doesn't necessarily need to be a carbon copy of DD's or CN's. He complained that DD can sometimes walk in and get something across succinctly in two sentences that SK has been striving to impart for weeks. My response: "And vice versa." SK was completely shocked by that. I told him that he's doing a good job, and he's still figuring it out, and he's stressing about it too much.

In class, we drilled triangles some more. I was the odd person out, so I did some of the drills with Cindy and a few with JM and Alicia (visiting from an MMA gym). I tried really really hard to get my hips up HIGH, especially when I was doing them on Cindy. She said that they were drastically improved from earlier in the week (goodie!).

A little king-of-the-mat. Three groups- us four women were in one. Alicia mowed us all down. She's been training for two years, she's good, and she's kind of rough. She tore both my shirt (one of my new, expensive Under Armour rashies, durnit) and JB's. I felt bad that she was being rough on the girls, but I'm really proud of how well they both did against her. She has a wicked guard pass where she stands up, does a quick, hard little shimmy which just makes us fly right off, and then she passes at her leisure. After watching her do that to JM and me, JB was ready for her. She countered with something that I didn't quite catch, but it knocked Alicia on her ass and JB lunged on top. It was AWESOME. And JM, I think, was taken aback by the roughness- but she really stepped up to the plate and slung the rough stuff back at Alicia better than anyone else in the place did tonight. (I sent her a positive-feedback e-mail when I got home.) Those two ladies are just incredible.

I didn't do so hot. Got passed almost immediately on the first go-round. Then in the next one, she got back mount, stretched me out and face-planted me really hard on the mat with all her weight. Man, that hurt my ribs (already abused this morning by Jason and Carlos), and my back wasn't very happy either. The final round lasted longer; I think time got called before she got me.

I tried the seatbelt maneuver on JB- I'd love to get that on her, paybacks are a bitch! But couldn't quite finish it.

I did two or three timed rolls with Alicia. I wouldn't say I was PWN'ed- I had a decent defense- but she definitely dominated me. On the bottom a lot (surprise surprise). I could tell she was somewhat confounded by my ability to keep regaining half guard not matter what she did... she had a bitch of a time trying to get out of it, too. But once again, that seems to be my only strength. I actually got the seatbelt thing on her and succeeded in passing (I think that's the only time I passed her guard all night). She thumped down on my ribs AGAIN, and I had to ask her to lighten up with the weight on my ribs. Geez, if one more person belly-flops on my ribs today, I thought, I'm going to crack like an egg. She was rough- a lot of rough crossfacing, knuckles digging into the side of the neck, stretching the spine while choking as if she's trying to pop your head right off like popping the head off a dandelion. To her credit, Cindy and Lamont were specifically telling her (repeatedly- thanks guys) to BE ROUGH.

I had thought maybe that once someone was being rough to me, I would feel okay about being rougher. To my dismay, this didn't really make me want to do that to her. What's my problem? Maybe I just don't have this in me. Maybe I just need to get technically awesome enough that I can beat everyone *without* being mean (yeah, that'll only take me about five more lifespans). At least the roughness wasn't intimidating me (much)- that would have been the worst sign, I think. I was getting a little pissed off. That might be a good beginning.

One with Ian.... this was my only credible work all day, I think- I was on top a lot, although his sub defenses are really good and I can't get a sub to save my life. I really like working with him, though. And he's not mean. It's just *fun* with him.

Two with Chase. I really did not want to tap to Chase again. Once again Cindy was making it known that she wanted me to beat him down a bit. He tapped me out twice. (SIGH). He was using a lot of wrestling technique, not that that excuses me, but he doesn't roll like a BJJ player. Still not really wanting to be MEAN to him, either.

It would probably be good for me to get a chance to work with Alicia more. She dominated me, but she doesn't feel completely out of reach, if that makes any sense. Some people, I just know I am never going to have a chance of beating- they are simply out of my league. Her- maybe. Once in a while. If I really work hard at it.

I had that lead-balloon-head feeling by the end of class, the one you get after being choked too much... and a headache.

Alicia had let me try her earguards. They are Asics, and much smaller than mine. They rubbed a bit, but didn't seem more uncomfortable than my present gear- which is obviously not getting the job done. I may get a pair of these, and maybe one or two additional styles, so that I can switch out and at least not having it rub in the same places every day.

On the way home in the car (after dropping Chase off.... my gosh, is he ever obnoxious company! And also after SK almost killed us all by nearly missing the exit and then coming close to ramming us into the cement half-wall careening onto the ramp at the last minute- I involuntarily emitted a very embarrassing girly shriek), JB informed SK that he needs to go both lighter and slower on her. I was really pleased to hear her attempt to communicate with him and negotiate boundaries, because she seems to have some hurdles around that. One could wish that she had found a way to be a titch more diplomatic, though, instead of telling him that he was "an asshole to roll with". I knew that was going to make him feel bad.... he really does try, and it became apparent that she had been trying to convey boundaries during the sparring, and he wasn't understanding what she had been trying to impart. Hopefully they are more on the same page now with that. I told him to not feel bad, that I was pretty sure she hadn't meant it to come across quite like that- just some not-quite-perfect communication on both sides, but it's good that they are ATTEMPTING to communicate- so hopefully that will continue and get better.

More grey-matter-stirring conversation on the way back to the eastside (I really do enjoy getting a little discussion time alone with SK now and then). We dissected perceptions about various aspects of our rolls tonight. One of the interesting things that arose is that we both feel less adept- and seem to do more poorly- at positional sparring than free rolling, even if we are in the same position. IE, starting positional sparring in guard as opposed to being in a free roll and getting into someone's guard. I said that in free rolling, I feel like if I went into guard, it was at least partially my choice to do so, and (theoretically) part of my grand plan. As opposed to being forced to start in guard whether you like it or not, where you are on equal footing with your opponent. The former makes me feel more IN CONTROL of the whole situation, if that makes any bizarre sense. SK agreed, so it must make at least a little! The concept needs further analysis, though.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cauli ear- the sequel

Yes, it's back. Can you believe it? I'm so ticked off. I have been so good- wearing that damnable uncomfortable, choking and HOT contraption on my head every time I get on the mat. And I have another ear hematoma ANYWAY. It's the opposite ear this time, on the *back*. I don't understand this. But I don't want to go back and get it drained. That was a horror show of an experience the first time. This time, it'll be even more horrible due to lack of health insurance. It's not as visible. I think I'm just going to leave it there, assumng it doesn't get bigger and more painful. But I'm scared that it will, since obviously the cheese graters are not getting the job done.Also, I can't wear the headgear in the tournament. It'll be lovely if I have to tap because the chick is cranking on my sore ear. Or it could burst open during the match and I'll bleed
everywhere like a stuck pig- that could be fun too. Arrrrgh.

Thursday morning no-gi at Cindy's, with JB.

In the warmups, we did the flowing positional drill. My biggest challenge- the transition from north-south to scarf (feels like I lose control)- Cindy suggests that I underhook the far arm and control the opponent that way. Then I don't have to freak out quite so much when it feels like my weight is slipping off the person for a second, because they're not going anywhere.

We drilled the seatbelt-stacking guard pass that JB loves so much.... great, as if she needs to get even BETTER at that one.... but hopefully now I can at least try to return the favor once in a while! My biggest problem is that I tend to seatbelt too high up on the thighs- I need to get right in the crease, squeeze my elbows in, clasp my hands together correctly (Cindy was on me today about my sloppy grip), and clamp on tight. Also, have knees apart slightly wider, sink myself lower, don't be afraid to bury my face right in the opponent's crotch. Don'tlet them straighten out. If they try to roll over, ducky- let them, and take their back.

I tried for triangles several times while JB was in my guard- it's so cool to have this new weapon. I wasn't doing that great with it, but I did tap her once with a triangle (THIRD COMPLETED TRIANGLE in live sparring with fully resisting opponent- yippie-yi-yay!), and I also tapped her with a triangle-transition to armbar (the one that Julie got me with at the Seattle Open). I had to work for that armbar for a while, and get her tipped over.... but I was excited to finish it. I also got a tap with a kimura from my guard- although Cindy reminded me to not open my guard while I was scooting my butt out to get the angle. That's going to be a challenge, especially with a bigger person.

JB tapped me out with that leg-over-the-head sweep from scarf, transitioned to an armbar while you're simultaneously stretching the person out by trapping their neck between your legs. I was a little disgusted with myself- I had known that she'd worked on that technique last night and was drooling to get me with it, so I should have been more careful- but she was so thrilled to tap me with it that it was almost worth it.

Triangle escape- still lousy. JB got me in one, and I stacked her and was trying to get around, and we were just spinning ("Like a dog chasing its tail!" commented Cindy). I have to get ahold of the head- and ideally- crank it towards me. Alternative- get KOB. Cindy demo'ed both on JB (poor JB), then insisted on demo'ing them again on me so that I'd know what they feel like. I assured her that I *know* they hurt and she didn't need to PROVE it, but she did anyway. Yup, I was right, they hurt.

I worked mostly with JB today, but got a little rolling with Cindy and Lamont. Lamont told me again that I'm getting better.

It doesn't feel like it, but today I did remember to make a point of thanking him for his positive feedback and support.

JB is thinking about doing that Revolution. That would be cool.


Thursday evening kung fu. The book discussion (Tao Te Ching, at the moment) and sitting medition portions of the class are being moved to the Sunday class, so just physical workout stuff now on Thursdays.

After hand strike drills, it was shoulder/elbow/wrist lock day. As soon as I saw what we were doing, I moved to grab JM, which left Nemesis with SK. Sorry to throw you under the bus, buddy- but you are upper-level enough for a challenge, and doing joint locks on Nemesis is nothing if not a challenge.

We messed around with various locks for a bit, but eventually settled on two to spend the bulk of the time on. Double wrist grab from the front. Turn fingers of both hands to the outside to break grip, then grab one arm and spin to either the outside or inside to end in specific locks... which I don't know the names for, and am not even going to attempt to describe the arm spaghetti involved. DD came in for the 2nd half of the class, and did some demo's on SK (once again, difficult to focus on the technique when it's more fun to watch SK's facial expressions).

As always, my difficulty comprehending whether I need to go left or right was tripping me up. I also needed JM's coaching to finish the locks. I thanked her for her patience. Once I got the locks, I repped them over and over- that's the only way I am ever going to get this, just repping till I drop. Or till JM drops, in this case.... she finally begged off.

We got so involved that we forgot all about individual forms time and kept working right up to the end of class.

That took a lot of brain power. By the time class was over, I was zombified- exhausted, brain-fried, and hungry enough to eat an ox raw.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pre-empting the triangle

Morning no-gi at Cindy's. Triangles again. Getting the hips up a bit better early on, but as soon as I started to get tired (which didn't take too long), that got sloppy.

If opponent hides arm: close triangle on what Cindy calls "the goofy side", bring your hips out, and the guy will sort of roll over and present his arm to you for a kimura. I seemed to do okay with that part.

A couple of timed matches with Lamont- Cindy told him to triangle me repeatedly, so he did, to the point where I was getting pretty frustrated with myself. She wants me to posture up in guard, and I want to hunch over the person's hips, because it seems to me that every time I posture up, the opponent simply grabs my wrists and yanks me forcefully into the triangle, and I can't do a goddamn thing to stop them. I get really, really, frustrated with that.

So she got down on the floor (bad knee and all) and had me drill posturing up in guard with my hands on her hips, and the second she opened her guard to slap on the triangle, I did one of three things:

1)Glue my elbow to my knee and get the knee OVER opponent's thigh

2)Get double-unders, seatbelt the opponent

3)Lunge out BACKWARD and get to my feet.

She says we're going to drill the crapola out of all this, and I hope we do, because I feel like I'm moving in slo-mo while the triangling opponent is too fast to be seen with the naked eye. But I really want to get competant at this, because I am sick to death of finding myself stuck in triangles. If I lose the tournament by triangle, I am going to go up in a burst of spontaneous combustion.

I really like her variation on the bullfight pass- once you get the opponent's feet to the floor, instead of planting your shoulder on them and going around, you simply charge straight at them, leap their knees and pounce in mount. It suprised/startled the crap out of me the first time she did it to me (and she landed with some- not nearly all- of her weight; even a small portion was enough to make me want to hurl). That would be gorgous (and imminently satisfying) to actually pull off in sparring (or even a tournament)!

We were there until 2:30, so 2.5 straight hours of work. Cindy gave me a lot of individual attention, which was cool.

Lamont told me I'm getting better, and I said, "Really?" It's hard for me to hear that, after getting repeatedly wiped all over the mat and feeling like I am NEVER going to get a handle on this. But he is going out of his way to be supportive, and I appreciate it, and I need to jog myself to try to be more gracious. I get so surly and sullen when I'm frustrated. And do I ever spend a lot of time frustrated at jiu jitsu classes.


Evening BJJ in Bellevue. I didn't stay to watch the advanced class tonight, I had some chores to get done at home.

I approached Dave before class got started and asked him if he'd drill with me.... and he sorta deflected me off. It was weird (and hurtful); he's always been nice to me, and never (until tonight) made me feel as if he didn't want to work with me. Then I *really* felt like a leper, and just stood there in resigned despair and waited to get stuck with Hostility Boy YET AGAIN. But after everyone else had paired off, it was Jamie and I standing there eyeing each other sideways. That's a ludicrous pairing... he's pretty big, and light-years ahead of me in technique (this guy is Kaungren's BJJ version of "Nemesis", heh heh)... but at least he's not looking to deliberately put me in the hospital (that I know of).

Standup- guillotines. Jamie was lifting me right off my feet with the guillotine (toldja he was big). I still need to work on 1)snuggling that elbow in, and 2)not getting in such a hurry that I fail to clasp my hands properly before pulling the choke.
Then we worked a defense that removes the guillotine and gives *YOU* one instead. I can tell I'm going to have some problems here because it involves hugging the opponent over the OPPOSITE shoulder that we hug them for the other defense that we worked at Cindy's last week. I'm gonna get those mixed up, for sure.

Then, to the ground for an escape from scarf. Elbow to the mat, get to knees, take the back, press the opponent to the mat and try to kimura the arm. Alternative: a choke that is almost a clock choke, only instead of the 2nd lapel, you're grabbing the opponent's upraised arm. I like this one, although I've never seen it before, and it's a little complicated for me. I'd like to practice this one again soon if possible. Professor Carlos took Jamie away from me on this drill and gave him to Angela; taking Ruben away from Angela and giving him to me.

A little closed-guard positional training with Ruben. I detangled as soon as I could and darted around him like a bunny rabbit, trying to surprise him when I went to lunge in. As soon as I got in there and he got grips on me, though, things rapidly went downhill for me. Then Angela. I get put with Angela a lot just because we are both female- it's not a useful matchup, though, because of the extreme weight difference. She put her weight down on me once in scarf, and forced a gasping moan out of me. Then Jamie again- geez. I said, "Don't kill me." He said, "Work hard." Hoo boy. Bunny rabbit game plan again, with the same result: I don't have enough technique to have enough good, quick, skilled options for slapping on an immediate sub once I do dart in, so once I get in there, the opponent gets grips and then just proceeds to bulldoze me. Jamie did a scissor sweep on me while I was crouched with only one foot between his legs (man, I wish people wouldn't do that), and cranked my ankle and big toe pretty hard (and that's precisely why). Both sore now, I don't think sprained, but it's probably good that I have to work all day tomorrow and will not be training.

An informal signup sheet for the Revolution was passed around. I'm not really happy about these; they serve to give all of your opponents (and potential opponents) plenty of advance warning that you will be there, and at what weight class, in plenty of time for them to research you and prepare game plans tailored specifically to YOU. I would just as soon Julie not know for sure if I'm going to be at the Revolution until that morning of. No chance of that now. I guess I didn't *have* to sign it, but I was feeling peer pressure to sign it. Profs will be on my case now, pushing me harder- which is a good thing, although not something that I am exactly looking forward to.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Ow- your cup-"..... "I'm not wearing a cup...."

Body: "Uh, wait a sec. I'm not down with this."

Kitsune: "Huh?"

Body: "Seriously. No BJJ this morning."

Kitsune: "Are you kidding me? We're sitting in the school parking lot. You could have said something earlier."

Body: "I say that I don't feel like going to practice EVERY SINGLE MORNING. You don't listen. If you did, we'd never get out of bed."

Kitsune: "Come on, be reasonable. We're already here. Can't you just gimp through an hour of class?"

Body: "No can do."

Kitsune: "**%^$#!!!"

Yes, I actually got up, got dressed, drove all the way into Seattle to sit in the parking lot and have this schizophrenic conversation with my body and then drive all the way right back home. Obviously my body and I need to work on our communication skills.


Monday evening gi at Cindy's. More dead bugs. They still hurt.

Basic guard break, double under's, "seat belt", then pass to the side. I tried to be moderately "mean" about the forearm to the throat and the stack- even to grabbing the waistband and hitching up a little more to get a few extra inches of squeeze. After that, get full mount by pushing opponent's leg down, or over; or by stretching his neck till he either puts the leg down to chase you, or you get a wide enough angle so that you can slip in.

I was working with George, a purple that I've never seen before. He was gentler about the choke and the crank than Cindy was when she used me for her demo dummy. Although she has begun to toss in the occasional "Sorry Kitsune," while she crushes me.

The a little closed guard positional training- pass vs sweep or submit. George was not unduly rough, but nor did he let me do anything. He is bigger, stronger, much more technical (and at least tonight, faster). I think if the session had lasted much longer, I would have had to ask him to dial it down a few notches so that he wasn't just plowing through me, and let me try to work something. Cindy had told him to triangle me- which he did repeatedly and with gusto. I couldn't put up any kind of a fight.

There wasn't much rolling time left, since the capoiera class starts at 7:30 and we had to clear out. But I did a few rolls with Spencer. I said, "Don't smoosh me, okay?" And he was good, but of course I didn't get much. He was doing a lot of stretching me out in the Chinese splits, and at one point I yelped. "Yahhh! Your cup is crushing my knee." "My shin?" "Uh, could be..." "Cuz I'm not wearing a cup." "Okay.... it was something REALLY hard... I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here..." "{Giggles}" "{Giggles}"

As we were putting on our shoes, he asked me if that roll had been okay, and not too rough. I told him that I give the "don't crush me" disclaimer to everyone, and it's not because he did anything bad last time. It's nice of him to pay attention, though.

Chi gek

"Women's self defense" at GB Seattle. I had no idea what that entailed, but JB was interested in checking it out. She found out that Lindsey Johnson was teaching- I've taken a couple of BJJ classes from Lindsey in the past and knew he was a good teacher, so I figured that whatever he was teaching would likely be worth it. Well, JB bailed, so I was by myself. Then the other women who were going to show up for the class were late, so we had to wait a while. In the meantime I rolled a bit with Lindsey. Even if I end up not interested in continuing this class, it might be worth it just to show up twenty minutes early and get a little BJJ private with Lindsey! The scheduling wouldn't be pleasant on my every-other work weekend, though... get off work at 4, self defense class from 5 to 6 (after driving into Seattle) then straight to kung fu at 6:30. I'm not sure if that would work out well.

Lindsey's already got 2 stripes on his brown, I noticed... seems like he just got promoted from purple a few months ago. Either he was sandbagging before, or he's just tearing through the rankings right now.

The other women are *very* much beginners, so that's going to be a bit of a challenge for Lindsey to make the class accessible to them while still being challenging enough for JB and me. A good teacher can do that, though. Today we were working on pummeling. Pummeling while attempting to get a double-arm waist clinch on your partner; pummeling with one person against the wall, and after a while, that person uses one underhook + an arm drag to move her partner around to the wall. That was good practice for me, and I was getting plenty sweaty- sore arms too. The girls were giggly, and moaned about the warmups- but they buckled down and did well once we got into the groove. Unfortunately that's as far as I got tonight before I had to leave right at 6 so I could get to Capitol Hill in time for kung fu.

Started with Snake Versus Five Animals. It had been a while, so we had to run a few reps of both sides individually before we could put it together. I grabbed Nemesis. I have been resolving to make a point of that. In the past, I have often grabbed JB (or let her grab me)- in large part because I know how much she dreads working with Nemesis, so I thought I was being nice and sparing her from him. Now that several other people's attendance has gotten spotty, though, and there are just fewer partners to pick from- I recently realized that that tactic is sticking JM with Nemesis a disproportionate amount of the time. Then I felt bad. JM is less forthcoming (with me anyway) about not liking that- but I'll bet she doesn't like it any more than JB does. So I have resolved to grab him myself. They'll still have to work with him, when we switch up partners- but I'm going to work with him more. It seems like the right thing to do, as the more senior student. Of course I'm not thrilled to work with him either... but I'm going to just man up on this one.

Anyway, it was an unfortunate choice of form for me to be with Nemesis, as this is the one with the tricky armlock that I just CANNOT do on Nemesis to save my life (the height difference combined with the fact that he has rubber joints). SK let me off the hook tonight on that one. There was one other piece of the form that he had me modify- a Snake strike to the neck that required me to turn my body too far to the outside to get the necessary extention to reach Nemesis' neck over his long arm. SK had me substitute a strike to the armpit. Of course if I can reach the NECK, I'm not going to go for an armpit... but I'm not going to practically turn my back on the guy and hyperextend my arm to get to the neck, unless I'm pretty sure I'm going to TAKE HIM OUT with that one strike.

Then back to Kiu Two. Now working with JM. We both struggled a bit with the timing and foot position nuances of the kick-turn sequence from last week. But after many, many reps, I think we both got the hang.

SK told us to stop putting so much focus on using POWER to thrust-kick each other's legs out from under. JM started cracking up and said that he might as well tell monkeys to not climb trees. I indignantly accused her of always being the instigator.... we all three know *I* am the instigator... but JM always rises to my bait so eagerly! We are a bad influence on each other. At least it didn't end in Ground-n-Pound tonight.

Next bit of Kiu Two.

Snake B: (this is a bit confusing because Snake B attacks FIRST in this sequence.) Step forward right foot and kneel on left knee; double Snake hands circle horizontally to the outside and strike side-by-side to bladder area. (Similar strike as in Snake Versus; only this one you don't have to duck your head)

Snake A: Little hop back on left foot and bring right leg up to guard against the strike, then immediately throw yourself into a left-leg 180 degree sweep. I'm fairly good at these- I've worked on them a lot- but I have to be really stretched out and loosened up to be able to do them AT ALL, and I can only practice maybe a dozen reps at a time before my body says ENOUGH. So I need to make sure to do a few of these on a frequent basis, because the body is not going to cooperate with neglecting them all week and then practicing a half hour of them at a time.

Then we did some Chi gek- "sticky leg". I haven't really done this before in any serious way. I worked it with JM until her knees gave out (you are way too young for your knees to be giving out before MINE do, little girl), then with Nemesis (after his partner, JoE, also collapsed). This is some seriously cool stuff. JM and Nemesis were teetering all over the place- but it looks like my low center of gravity and excellent balance are going to give me a significant edge here. It is very core-intensive, too- which I want lots more work on but I think I'm still ahead of the others at this point. I want to get a chance to try it with SK- but that didn't happen today.

Then some chi sau; starting with very simple and slow attack-center vs deflect. JM and I are both VERY tense and have a hard time with this sort of thing. We have to change arms frequently because our shoulders get so sore- and we are not supposed to be engaging those muscles at all.

Then we stood with closed eyes and crossed wrists- try a quick (but light force) attack either over or under, and see if your partner is quick enough to respond with the converse and hit you first. JM did a bit better at this than I did. Our height difference (and the closed eyes) also meant that almost every time I tried to strike at her, I grabbed her boobs. I kept apologizing and said that I wasn't deliberately trying to feel her up, honest.
It is also a challenge for me to stop myself from instinctively trying to shield my belly when she attacks under.... but I never make it in time anyway, so I might as well go over to HIT her and at least accomplish *something* useful.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday competition class

129.0 That's more like it.

My upper back feels somewhat better today- thank Gods. I hope it actually *is* getting better, and this isn't just because of the aspirin I took before bed to try to pre-empt the waking-up-in-agony thing. That was getting pretty old.

Morning "competition training" at GB Seattle. Professor Cristiano was there. He is Julie's coach. When I saw him, my first thought was not "Cool, another black belt on the mat today," it was "Rats, I hope he's not going to be watching me and mentally cataloging my weak spots." Back when I read on Georgette's blog about her taking her Youtubes down before a tournament, I thought she was being a little silly and paranoid. Now I'm being silly and paranoid. Funny how competing changes things in your training mindset.

After warmups, positional training from closed guard (pass vs sweep only) with Sabrina. I went light on her, let her have some stuff, gave advice and positive feedback. She's getting better- still doing a lot of dumb beginner stuff, but she works hard, doesn't seem intimidated by working with the big guys, and seems to like it. If she sticks with it, she could be good.

Matches with Dave, Hudge, Sabrina, John. Didn't do too bad, didn't do remarkably well (except for Hudge... I seemed to be on top the whole time, and I actually tapped him with a keylock. He seemed to be a little sludgy today, though, not up to his usual par).

Open mat. I asked Ron to roll. We did one no-gi and three or four gi. He trounced me as usual. I spent a lot of time under him, and in back mount. I did seem to be staving off the subs a bit longer than before. Today was apparently gi-wrap day in Ron's world. He kept trying to wrap me up like a big present. I teased him that I remembered his first day in the school. He had tried to make me tap by squeezing my ribs to breaking in his closed guard, with his muscley weight-lifter thighs. I said wryly, "You've improved a little since then."

I didn't really think I was going to suddenly start kicking everyone all over the mat today because of my incredible training day yesterday. I was just happy to not get a beat-down. The universe likes to do that type of thing to you right after a big success- to keep you humble! I didn't even try triangles on anyone today. But I still feel different now. It's like being in one of those first-person-shooter video games, where you can earn/buy/find different types of weapons to use, and some are cooler or more effective than others. I feel like I've gotten a level-up, and am now constantly aware that I have that triangle in my toolkit. Even if I can't use it on everybody, at will, yet.... just the fact that I own it, and I never did before, makes me feel like a different martial artist than I was on Thursday.

By the time I got home, I was so very exhausted. In no mood for Conditioning Boot Camp. I waffled about bailing- but I haven't seen CN in weeks, and besides, that tournament is looming threateningly now. Then CN texted and cancelled class. I'm a terrible person, but I was relieved. So many things I SHOULD be doing with the free evening... but I am going to bed.

It's amazing.... I have FORTY-NINE separate bruises on my left leg alone, from ankle to groin. I counted them in the shower. Most are those little round knuckle bruises.

Friday, October 15, 2010



Oh, now that's not fair. I had below-130's for a week, I thought I was going to get to keep it! The only thing I did differently yesterday was eat a giant Honeycrisp apple. I know there's a ton of sugar in those things, but come on- eat an apple, gain two and a half pounds???!!

You should see the awesome burgandy bruise covering 2/3 of my wrist where DD hit me with that Snake strike last night. It is very impressive. And as I said, it wasn't even very hard- I'll bet he was well under 50% power.

Lunchtime "competition training" BJJ at Gracie Seattle. I was a bit slow getting off the launch pad this morning. Back/neck *still* killing me. Three days in a row now. Doesn't seem either worse or better. Woke up 90 min before alarm and took 2
acetaminophen. Is this going to get better or what?

Anyway, I was late to class and missed the warmup. So I started out with positional training, in closed guard (pass guard vs sweep only). I worked with Bree, whom I haven't worked with in a long time. I could tell she wasn't feeling great today, though (headache, asthma, etc). We were fairly competitive. Theare are a couple of specific guard passes that I am really ineffectual at defending, and she used one of them on me twice in a row. I need to get specific help on how to defend those particular guard passes... and in the meantime, next time I find myself there, I am going to try *something* different. Even if it seems senseless or gets me subbed. Because obviously what I am presently doing is not good.

Same positional training with Marc, Kai, Dex, Ruben, some big white belt guy I don't know. I did reasonably okay against Marc, Kai, Ruben and Dex. I was a little nervous about the big newbie... waffled about giving him my "Go Light On Me" song and dance, and decided not to. Carlos was standing right there watching us, so I knew that if the guy started to spazz out and do the Funky Chicken on my head, Carlos would stop him. But hey- wow- I dealt with him. Big Dude did not pass my guard. He was surprised, too, I could tell. (heh heh) He tried to muscle me a few times, and I didn't let myself get pulled into brute-vs-brute; I just changed tactics. I used spider guard on him part of the time. I find that spider guard in BJJ is the equivalent of chi sau in kung fu: as in, you pull it out on a newbie, and watch their face for the expression that you know will come. The one that says, "??!? WTF is this?? And what am I supposed to do about it??"

When we were done, Prof. Carlos nodded approvingly at me. "Good, Keetsune, good. He strong, hah?" "Yes, he is!"

Timed roll: Bryan. I haven't worked with him in several weeks. I was determined to not "lie on the bottom like a dead fish" as he terms it. I kept moving, kept fighting, kept trying to stay on top. He didn't go 100%, but Bryan never goes wussy on me. He tried really hard to choke me a number of times- including one of those ones where he's also bending my spine in half sideways, which usually gets me to tap pretty quick- but I resisted tapping and defended with great determination. I did not get tapped by Bryan today. Okay, I need to say that again, and louder. I DID *NOT* GET TAPPED BY BRYAN TODAY (!!!!!!!) First time ever. He usually taps me right, left and center. Today I stayed alive at least four times as long as I have ever stayed
alive with him before. This is a really big deal. He told me that I am much improved. Sincere positive feedback from Bryan- my most significant student BJJ mentor- worth its weight in gold. That feels really good.

John: I asked him for a roll at the end. He is one of my favorite training partners. Small- he's got maybe 10lb on me more or less- and always one step ahead of me skillwise, so one of those people that are really valuable to work against. It was a wonderful roll. Must have been fifteen minutes. Everyone left in the gym was standing around watching us, with Bryan cornering us both. Again, me trying hard to not do the dead fish impression. Also trying hard to focus on keeping lots of pressure on him. John and I had discussed my tournament match last time we worked together, and he had been catching me in triangles, so he knows I need to work on defending them. As we began, he said, "I'll try to triangle you." "Thanks. Pal." So he did. I stacked him and sank all my weight on him hard. I couldn't reach his throat to put my forearm on it, but if I could have, I would have! I resisted the panicky impatience. There was no time limit. I kept working doggedly around to the side- he wrenched me back a few times, but I persisted, and finally succeeded in catching his head so that he couldn't do that again. No, leggo of my leg. Sprawl, SINK, balance. He had to let go. Now we were in north south with me on top. I was so pleased with myself. It had taken an eon, but that was a hard-fought and well-earned technical triangle escape for a person
with a dismal history of tapping to triangles. More intense, competitive jiu jitsu followed. Finally he got me with an armbar. But what an awesome match. I felt like I should have a cigarette now.

So, I had a super morning of BJJ; one of those rare days when I feel like I actually repped my belt. May there be more of these in my future.

It did occur to me on the way home, as I was basking in my awesomeness, that I wonder if this had anything to do with the fact that I missed the warmup and thus may not have been quite so tired as usual. Heh. I should come in late occasionally and
try to figure out if that really matters that much. I know that that's not the solution to improving my BJJ, in the big picture- but if I need to do that sometimes in order to experience some more competitive rolls, that may actually be
something that would help me out.

Hey, did I mention that I did not get tapped by Bryan today?!


I wouldn't have thought it could get better than that, but it did. I actually FINISHED a tringle in LIVE ROLLING with a FULLY RESISTING training partner. TWICE. I have never finished a triangle in live rolling before. I am so stoked.

Friday evening no-gi at Cindy's, with SK and JB. We did those "dead-bug" scoots in the warmups. They still hurt really bad, but I can do them now. Cindy said, "You've been practicing!"

Guillotines, again. JB was happy- this is the sub I always get on her, and she says she hasn't formally worked them in class drills before. She was delighted to drill with me and get a chance to guillotine *my* neck for a change.

So then the guillotine defense, arm over the shoulder, into guard, transition to triangle. My turn to be happy, I need as much triangle drilling as I can get. I was doing better at it tonight. JB's small size made it seem easier.

Positional sparring from closed guard. Pass vs sweep or submit. JB first. Her closed guard continues to be nearly impossible to get out of. At one point I stood up in her guard, thinking I was safe because she hasn't learned anything to do against that yet. To my embarrassed astonishment, she grabbed my heels, put her feet in my pelvis and dumped me on my ass. She was too busy crowing, though, to follow up and jump on top of me, so I was able to recover guard. I later found out that Bianca had taught her that. Hope Cindy didn't see me get caught with that.

JB got me with that same ^&$#% seat-belt stacking guard pass that she always gets me with. Three or four times. I must get someone to show me a defense for that. It's driving me crazy.

Same positional sparring with Ian. Love working with Ian. We were fairly competitive; he may have been doing a bit better than I was with this tonight.

Then timed spars.

I did a couple with Ian, including a couple starting from standup. I still feel too intimidated to make a concerted effort to take him down. I usually defend well against his takedown attempts for a while, and do some hanging on his neck- and then he clinches up and lifts me off my feet and sets me on the mat- or pulls guard. I did get a triangle on him. It took me some time to adjust, but I stayed calm, and I remembered to grab that shin before I put my foot on his hip to turn. I was so excited. The moreso because Ian's BJJ is decent, and I know he is fully resisting.

I did a couple with JB- more seatbelt stacking guard pass, surprise surprise. My ribs are a bit sore now. I know I keep saying this, but she has SUCH an incredibly evil stack. Got the second triangle on her. Again, took some time, and she was trying hard to stack me- I kept having to scoot my upper body out- she really made me work for it.

Chase (the 112lb teenage wrestler) was facing off against SK. Cindy told Chase that he was not allowed to stand up. SK asked if *he* was allowed to stand up, and Cindy said "Sure" whereupon Chase exclaimed "WHAT!!?!" in outrage. It was hilarious. Also hilarious: SK told me in the car that Chase had commented that SK's "hands move funny". ROFL.

Eventually Cindy put Chase with me. Starting from standing. She told him firmly that he was not allowed to slam me. I could tell that she wanted me to work him over a bit.... but once again, I am just way too nice. I hung on his neck, and he forced me down to the mat with wrestling technique each time. I didn't mind too much, as being on all fours on the mat is not really a scary place for me- I'd rather have that than being thrown on my back or being pulled into closed guard. Once down, then the fight was on. His breathing is still terrible- huff, puff. We spent quite a bit of time with him in my closed guard- as he didn't know how to get out, but he knew enough to shuck my grips off his arms as fast as he could, and to push me back down if I sat up. He was spazzy. He hit me in the face once, and was also trying to pry off one of my grips by grabbing my fingers. He tried some rubber guard, which didn't work so well. He tried lots of chokes. At one point I got too sloppy and turned my jaw too far over, and he slipped it in. I held out as long as I could (which was a really long time... withstanding chokes is one of my strong points), but finally had to tap. Then he gloated. Grrrrrrrrr. He is one of those people who is desperate to not tap to a girl. I was **definitely** not mean enough. But after tonight (and after giving him a lift home... he makes the ride seem twenty times as long), I have a strong prediction that the more I work with this particular boy, the meaner I am going to get with him. He might be just what I need.

SK doesn't think he's going to last long, though... and I had to agree. He's one of those people who comes into BJJ with previous MA experience (wrestling, in his case) and has a hard time going back to the slow, frustrating, page one of being a newbie. He is way too arrogant. And Cindy won't let him get away with using too much wrestling technique. He will likely not survive the putting-the-ego-on-the-shelf stage and getting tapped a lot.

So after me, Cindy put Chase with Connor. Hoo boy. I would have dearly loved to watch that, but I had an opponent of my own to deal with. SK got to watch, though, and confirmed that Connor took Chase apart with no mercy.

Guillotines, triangles, Hurricane Hands, and- marshmallows?


Tonight I wore those rabbit-ear tie-front yoga pants to practice- the ones that were too snug when I was ten pounds heavier.

MAN, that area of my upper back still hurts like crazy. Neck, too. It hurt as soon as I rolled over in bed this morning. Maybe I tweaked something on Tuesday.

So of course today was no-gi GUILLOTINE day at Cindy's. Mama Mia.

Guillotine defense- one hand control the arm, hug over opponent's shoulder DEEP with your other arm. When they sit into guard, shoulder pressure on throat.

Slap on a guillotine and pull guard, jumping your hips OVER opponent's shoulder to get a triangle-esque position. Once again I am not jumping my hips high enough. We figured out that I need to leave more distance between my body and the other guy's- possibly by even taking a few backward steps before sitting into guard. But if you don't get the hips high enough and over that shoulder to begin with, you're screwed from the start.

From there, you may be able to get a straight armbar, or move the arm over and finish the triangle (with readjustments, usually). If they wrap the arm back around your thigh- switch the triangle to the other side, hip out and attack the arm (kimura).

Besides getting my hips up high enough and making sure I trap that shoulder correctly, I also need to work on making sure I don't leave space there, and that I also have the clamping knee on the back of the guy's neck, and I need to remember to not try to readjust unless I grab my shin first to keep hir there. Need to calm down and work through all these steps methodically. I tend to panic and assume I'm not going to be able to hold the opponent there while I futz around trying to adjust, so I often don't even want to even attempt it. I still have trouble gauging my adjustment, too. I think I need a ton of practice.

Lamont wants to bring in a camera to capture my facial expressions while I am functioning as Cindy's demo dummy. I informed him that his own facial contortions are just as funny when he's in the hot seat. He says that he KNOWS how it feels, that's why it's so funny.

Timed rolls with Frank and Lamont. Trying *really* hard to stay on top today. Also trying hard to not let Frank get grips at all, because he just overpowers me. Frank caught me in triangles about 4 times, to my disgust. I obviously need a lot more triangle defense practice. Lamont was letting me work with a great level of resistance today- he was letting me get stuff, but not going too easy. I got a couple of guillotines, couple of kimuras. One of those kimuras in particular, I was proud of, because I was working from the bottom in a position that I normally just sort of strain uselessly in. This time I saw the kimura and abandoned my futile grips and went for it. Lamont said, "Good- I thought you were just going to strain there on the bottom." Yep, need to STOP doing that.

Also- when in top half guard- don't be groping for chokes and keylocks while you're too low on the opponent's body. Escape half guard, or at least scoot up, and make sure the chest is controlled.

It's ironic that part of my problem is clinging to useless grips and positions (ie not knowing when to quit), and an equally large part of my problem is that I give up triangle/choke/etc attempts too early when they don't seem to be working right away, because I'm too insecure and impatient to try to make the adjustments (ie quitting too easily). There must be some medium ground.

After a while, Lamont and I slapped hands and then lunged at each other and klunked our heads together so hard I saw stars. Had to stop- but it was almost end of class, anyway. That's going to leave a mark. Lamont told me to tell everyone that Cindy did that to me. He also told me that he was going to start pinching me while we rolled until I got ticked off enough to start being meaner.

I told Cindy that before the tournament, I want to make sure to get some significant practice defending against her pulling guard on me. She suggested a technique that looks a bit like Black Crane "Dropping Elbow"- I had thought of that, but I'm scared to have that arm forward because I think the opponent is going to sieze my cuff and yank me into the triangle. Cindy says I just need to make sure I get my knee over the opponent's thigh. She also says I can brace against one of the opponent's knees just as she's coming in to pull guard, and make her sit back on her butt. I want to practice some of this stuff until it's very routine.

Cindy is freaking out about the kids' tournament she's hosting this weekend. She says that she keeps having nightmares that a kid is going to throw another kid though the plate glass mirrors. Also, first she was freaking out that no one would sign up, then she switched to freaking out that the place would be overrun. I'm sure she'll be relieved when this thing is over and she can stop all the freaking out. :)


Kung fu basics. Hand strike drills (against pads). Then we split into pairs and worked the following:

Roundhouse kicks against the kick pad. Focus on clean technique and power.

Roundhouse kicks against the focus mitts- two in quick succession without putting the foot down. Partner holds the mitts at differing levels for each double-count. Focus on aim firstly; although you also want clean technique and power.

Two straight punches against the focus mitts- partner holds the mitts at differing levels for each double-count. I got reprimanded for chasing the mitts around with my eyes... told to look at my partner's chest. "Peripheral vision! The pads are nice and RED!"

Single straight punch against the kick pad, while stepping forward (partner with pad steps back at the same time). Then the reverse (Punch while stepping back, partner with pad steps forward).

"Fireman's kick" front thrust kick against the kick pad. Focus on power and clean technique.

Front Scissor-step with a turn and punch to the side (while partner with kick pad takes a step back concurrently). Then the reverse (back scissor step and puch, partner steps forward).

I figured out fairly early on that you don't want to hold a focus mitt in front of you on a line with your face while Nemesis is punching at it. The type of lesson that you learn once and then you never forget again.

Holding a kick pad for Nemesis while he is roundhouse kicking- well, he didn't send me flying backward through the cement block wall, for which I'm grateful. I told him to do the first two at half power so that I could get my bearings. I was prepared to flatly refuse to hold the pad for him if it was going to be so hard it knocked me down... let SK do that. But I was able to do the job. Knocked me back a couple steps. Hurt, too. It was like being kicked by a clydesdale... I knew it would be. I think I have his footprints in my belly even through the kick pad. I said to him, "I am *never* going to do anything that will make you want to kick me for real."

Then we did a round of partner A closing hir eyes while partner B applies some kind of choke, then partner A opens eyes and defends + counters. I worked with JB, and several of our reps ended with Ground-n-Pound.

Then a round of basic-self-defense monkey-in-the-middle, only for a change the monkey didn't have to keep hir eyes closed. We are all wandering around the room, and every so often someone would attack the victim, who then defended and countered. There was some scenario-playing... I walked up to them and put my arm around their necks... I also did a "pre-mugging interview" on Nemesis by trying to panhandle him first. I was going to pinch the women's behinds, but neither of them was letting me get in back of them- I wonder why! When it was my turn to be the monkey in the middle, at one point JB hopped up to me flapping her arms and making faces, and hollering, "Marshmallows, marshmallows!!!" I just dropped my hands and ran, and she chased me in circles around the room. She kept yelling about marshmallows, while I yelled that it was unethical to attack a mentally ill person like this.

Then it was individual forms time. I ran through Leopard at Dawn once- it was fine, of course.... I had also done a couple reps last night after getting home from CC's, and of course it was fine! Then Hurricane Hands a few times. Then I hunted down SK and asked for three "IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES" for the form. 1)Do not bend at the knees so much during the double wrist release at the beginning. 2)The throw-and-kick sequence.... this thing has given me trouble from the start; I've put a lot of work into it and it's still not right. Make the arm circles somewhat smaller- they're big, but don't hyperextend, especially that left arm right at the beginning before the turn. No pauses. Keep the right arm moving, no chambering. The apex of the kick comes at the same point that the arm-circles come down to the ground near the left knee. I asked SK if we could work the actual throw app sometimes soon so that I could better visualize what was happening, as well as get the balance figured out and the timing straight. 3) the "Hurricane Hand" itself- BIG circle, but only at the wrist. A little hook-and-pull, with a bounce right up into the strike. Don't get all rigid, either. That- along with the long Snake-strike sequence near the end- are the two most seminal portions of the form,so I need to get those right.

DD had come in during the choking practice, and he walked in on SK and me while we were finishing up this stuff. SK made me demo the form for DD. DD didn't appear happy that I even knew the form ("Does everybody know Hurricane Hands?" (no) "Good."), and wanted reassurance that SK had taught me only the most kindergarten version possible ("You didn't teach her the circles, did you? (no) Good."). After denying SK permission to teach me this form for the bulk of 2009, then giving the permission, he has obviously since forgotten all about it. It drives me nuts how tight-fisted he is about letting me have any new material, to the point of being so controlling about what SK is allowed to teach me- and even then it seems like my nose is being blatently rubbed in the fact that there are plenty of Juicy Secret aspects of this that he has happily shared with SK but doesn't feel me worthy of. I do not need my nose rubbed in the enormous hierarchical chasm between DD and his black sashes versus us lowly unworthy peons down here- I KNOW IT'S THERE, believe me. I know *YOU* won't teach me the circles, and you'll forbid SK to teach me the circles, and that drives me nuts... but ya know what... if RS chooses to teach me the circles during his visit- and I pray he does- you won't get a say. So nyaaah. If I was *really* a bitch, I'd let drop to CC that DD doesn't want me to be taught the circles... which would result in CC moving mountains to get RS to teach me the circles. I'm enough of a bitch for it to cross my mind. Not enough of a bitch to actually do it. (Between this sort of crap and my lack of minimum "mean" in BJJ, I think I'd get a lot further in my MA training if I was more of a bitch.)

DD added that I need to pay attention to the press-blocks in the long Snake strike sequence near the end. He demoed them on SK. It's really hard to concentrate on the technique demos when it is much more fascinating to watch the expressions on SK's face while DD is demo'ing on him- especially when DD is doing point-strike techniques. It's funny when DD gives SK a little tap on the arm, and SK's head twitches to the side and his eyes bug out.

Then DD showed me the area of his hand that he was striking with, and demo'ed it on me. OMG!!!!!!! It was not a hard hit, and it hurt reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally bad! He examined my hand and said that my hand has a really prominant spot for this purpose- so hopefully I will learn that trick eventually.

If I ever teach a class, there is going to be a very strict no-cell-phone policy (allowing rare reasonable exceptions for cause, with permission). Anyone whose cell rings during my class is gonna do eighty pushups while everyone watches. Someone's cell rang tonight and someone else's rang five or six times. That is so distracting- and RUDE!!!!!! I hate that.