Thursday, June 30, 2011

Southern Mantis

My definition of impossible has been overrun by external events so often as to take away from me any certainty regarding what is possible and what is not. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Today's Form Of the Day is Wood Monkey.

The last three day's worth of FoD: Chen jian form, Silken Needle, Box Form- I caught up on them last night.

My car has instituted its traditional annual June breakdown, and is back in the shop- thus no BJJ today or tomorrow. The school is closed Sunday and Monday. If I don't have the car back by Saturday, I won't be able to make Turtle Drum either. Additionally there will be no Kung Fu this Sunday (and possibly not the following Sunday either. In fact the entire month of August may be a run of Sunday kung fu cancellations). Not very happy to bracket my trip with a further enforced break, but it is what it is.

Last Sunday when I wasn't present, the others apparently had to run through all the forms they know- with DD and CM being presnt for the final part of class. I'm rather relieved to have missed that!

There actually *WAS* kung fu tonight, with CN teaching. After some hand strike drills and kick drills (he noted that my crescent kicks in particular are "maddening"), JoE and I got pulled out and sent away to work on "something else" while the others worked throws. I'm not sure why. Anyway, I asked JoE to go over the bit of the Southern Mantis long form with me.

First he wanted to work on a Southern Mantis sequence: Step left, step out and to the side with the right foot, parry/strike left fist as the right heel hits the ground, Mantis-claw grab and pull with that left hand as the right fist strikes, kick behind the knee for the takedown. If the takedown doesn't work- or the opponent's leg is positioned wrong for it to work well- bounce directly into a reap with the other foot. We played with several additional bonus add-on strikes to tack onto the end of the sequence.

Then the Southern Mantis long form. I had most of it right (and it's been a reeeeeeeeeally long time since we've gone over it). The opening, I need to be smaller and more subtle with the spreading arm motions. It steps into a cat but then ends in a short forward stance. The Mantis poke needs to be lower (throat target). The turning armbar is not quite the same as the classic Northern Mantis one- the arms sort of collapse and clamp closely as opposed to Mantis-hook-and-pull.

New stuff- after the double knife hand strikes, left hand chambers at waist and right hand moves to brow (palm out) in what JoE called "Drama" (LOL). Then back to waist level and out in a palm-heel strike (fingers to the right). Then step fwd left with left Mantis fist strike waist level (thumb up).

Hop slightly to left with left palm-strike outward at rt shoulder and rt palm-strike at groin (palm down). Rt knee is up.

Put rt foot down in a high lunge (left leg straight) as you backfist right at face level (this is the same backfist as earlier in the form). Left hand rechambers at waist.

Turn left into a cat, sinking weight onto the right foot. The backfisting right hand continues the swing down and then up in front with a straight pendulous arm.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BJJ makes your henna tattoos disappear faster.


Note #1: BJJ makes your henna tattoos disappear faster. :(

Note #2:Next time I want to do 2 clock-choke classes in one day, rethink that.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue (The Danger Room). Drilled with Kelly (glad to see her still training). Clock chokes, transitioning to the one with the hand behind the head if it doesn't work. Peeling open the turtle.

Evening BJJ at Gracie Seattle- Second verse, same as the first. With JB, whose technicality is excellent and chokes are Not Fooling Around. Definitely approaching blue belt level work.

By the time I got out of there, I had a headache and gi burn.

I didn't do any free rolling today.

Oh, Rene got his purple belt last night!

After the second class, I had to drive to Eatonville to pick up my cat from the catsitter. The headache persisted and got worse, and some nausea joined in. Luckily I made it home before puking my guts up in a spectacular fashion and lying on the bathroom floor with a cold cloth on my face. I think that's the worst headache I've ever had in my life. The puking was intense as well- I half expected to see my toenails floating around in there. I feel okay today, although I didn't get much sleep.

I have not done the Form Of the Day for the last two days. The day I got back from my trip, it just plain slipped my mind. Yesterday, I planned to do that Form Of the Day plus Monday's FOD and get caught up, but I was too busy being sick as a dog. I plan to do all three forms today: Chen jian form, Silken Needle, Box Form.

So, the trip itself, if anyone cares:

"Drum till ya puke"- I've joked about this before, but one of my Hunt drummers took it literally this year.

I gained six pounds on vacation, back up to 130! It was way too hot to get any formwork done (and when it wasn't broiling, it was raining). My Herald volunteers were moderately reliable, but the new site was much better than either of the two previous sites in that respect. It was mostly flat, and a lot less disseminated. Two Heralds could have covered it in a pinch (and did so, a few times). It was great to have Dru as a third Herald coordinator- that worked out very well for everyone. Thus, I spent way too much time sitting on my butt around the Herald Camp fire and eating bad things. The very first thing Rhonda said to me- even before "Hello" was, "Are you even SMALLER???!! Why??! Why are you even smaller???!?" The most exercise-like thing I did (aside from the Hunt) was when we stayed up at the fire till 2:30 am on Monday night and laughed hysterically like a bunch of maniacs till our abs burned.

As mentioned, it was a Good Hunt. Dru did more work on drum coordinating than I did. She did most of the grunt work, while I just stood up there and waved my arms around and ended up getting most of the accolades. (Silverdrake asked Dru to lead the drums for the Hunt he will be doing at Ravenstone shortly…. Sigh… I wish I wasn't on the west coast. But Dru will do a good job, and I'm glad she's getting the chance. I had offered the position to her for next year.)

There were a couple of snags. Before bringing the Hunters in, Silverdrake went to the far end of the road and sounded the horn to make sure that Aegis could hear it, and that Silverdrake could hear Aegis' chime in return. They neglected to tell me that this was a test (and only a test… had this been an ACTUAL ritual cue…...), so when I heard the horn, I started the heartbeat. The result was that we were doing the heartbeat for an excruciatingly long time. Since my broken finger had already started aching early in the week, I decided to simply conduct the heartbeat and not actually strike the drumhead. The heartbeat always wants to speed up, and we had a lot of Hunt virgins in the drum section- so I conducted with very wide sweeps of my right arm to try to keep the tempo slow enough. (Dru informed me later that it *did* speed up some- especially after the Hunters were all in the circle. (She was nodding at me from the back, but I didn't realize that that's what she was trying to tell me- I thought the nod meant everything was groovy! I said, "I was conducting really big to prevent that from being able to happen!" She responded, "Yeah, but you were doing it faster and faster! You looked like Jack LaLanne up there by the end,") That's not too bad, though- that makes sense- as long as it wasn't too fast as they were coming in.) We must have done the heartbeat for well over ninety minutes. I thought my right arm was going to fall off.

Then the Hunters were in their spaces, and we heard some of them start screaming from all sides. They had begun without the thunder drums. And still no Silverdrake to signal me to begin. Found out later that he was tied up ejecting a Hunter who had tried to come into the ritual space with a rock on the end of a chain. Thank you. I would not like to be standing in that circle when a tranced-out Hunter charged in with a freakin' rock on the end of a chain. It's scary enough when they have only dull wooden spears and knives.

When he finally appeared to give me the signal- after an eternity- I flubbed the cue because I was supposed to signal "One, two three, halt" but my arm was so sore and I was so tired that my fingers literally would not function.

Once we started the thunder drumming, my finger ached some, but all in all I must say it was the easiest Hunt yet for me in terms of endurance and staying on beat. (I had the heavy drum, too!) People moaned afterward about how long it was, but it seemed short to me. I hit the "I can't do this for another thirty seconds without literally keeling over and dying" moment only about ten times instead of a hundred times. The worst part was that I couldn't see much. I had backed the drummers up against a big bush so that no Hunters would come crashing through the back of the group- but I couldn't see Hunters, leaders, Villagers, nor fire without turning around, and every time I tried to do that, the drums immediately began to falter…. I had to keep my full attention on them. I feel like I missed a lot and didn't personally get as much out of the rit as usual- but I got the job done, which is the most important thing. Interestingly, two of the feedback comments I got were "There was an optical illusion in place that made your hands invisible- it looked like both your wrists ended in bloody stumps." (from two different people)….. And, "Do you know you grow two feet when you do this?" (LOL)

After we quit, they took seriously my instructions to remian absolutely still and silent. So much so that the guy who puked waited for permission before leaving the canopy to charge into the bushes and toss his cookies. (One of the Hunters had to vomit as well).

Afterwards, I was tired and sore, but not as much as I have been in the past. The next morning it was difficult to get up, though- I went to move and my body hollered, "ARRRRRRGGGH, NO!"

Unfortunately, I did not get any contact improv this year (Extreme CI for Martial Artists or otherwise). Eric was a no-show again, and Nataraj and I just never got around to it. Sniff.


The Hunt, of course- in toto

Erecting the tent with Pathwalker. We put up my tent together every year, and every year we can't figure out how the poles go. It's surprising how many double entendres you can squeeze out of putting up a tent. I also set up just a few spots down from the CRONE TEMPLE... we could hear them over there cackling, swearing like sailors,and telling vulgar stories. Pathwalker was laughing and telling me that this was going to be an interesting week, and that he sorta wished he was camped up here too. I've camped near the Crones before, so I already knew they are one of the rowdiest camps in the whole place! I heard later that they actually got a noise complaint the first day!!! While we were putting the tent up, Moonfeather came by in her golf cart and sat there for a while to watch. Then she said matter-of-factly, "Do you guys know you're playing in poison ivy?"

At first I couldn't find Herald Camp. I decided to just stand perfectly still and listen for Rhonda's voice yelling. If they were putting up the tent, she'd be yelling at someone, I knew. Sure enough, in a few seconds there was that distinctive tone, and I was able to dollow the sound of her voice to the camp.

The first and last Heraldings of the week, which all three of us coordinators did together. I love it when we all yell "HEAR YE HEAR YE" in perfect three part harmony, then again with the "THANK YOU" at the end.

A hilarious story around the campfire at Heralding camp Monday night, related by Brandy. I won't repeat it, but it involved an aggressive purple vibrator. After we ran with that for a good 20 min, laughing so hard we were falling out of our chairs, Brandy turned to Willowhawk (Moonfeather's hubby) and gasped, "Hi! I'm your new childcare coordinator!"

One morning meeting wherein a pudgy crone went went down the drum line and gave each of us a little belly dance- she was very good at it, and the smile on her face was sublime.

Shibaten in concert on the digeridoo and drum (Youtube him.... he's even cooler in person)

A pizza date with Pathwalker, and time to talk... we make a point of scheduling this every year.

James showing up to drum at a morning meeting in a thong and nothing else. I do not grok thongs... but James wearing that little clothing is worth a second look nonetheless.

Repetitive hug ambushes by Nataraj

Repetitive hug ambushes by all the kids in Heralding Camp. I do not like kids. The kids in Herald Camp, though, are kind of cool.

Two dozen toddlers doing a modified Hokey Pokey with rainbow ribbons on sticks. Again, don't like kids- but undeniably cute.

Getting shanghai'ed into leading the drum processional for the main ritual, with *NO* notice and *NO* prep.... I didn't F it up too bad, so I'm considering it a highlight instead of a lowlight.

Coming out of the shower in one of my favorite dresses- one that I get a lot of compliments on- with my shower bag in my hand and wet hair. Met Gypsi on the road, who exclaimed, "That looks FANTASTIC!" Just as I said, "Thank you." She said, "...A shower!"

A sitcom-worthy session of patching up Jaysen's skinned knees and elbows one night at Herald Camp. Rhonda: "I need some light here." All nine people in the circle pulled out their flashights in perfect tandem and spotlighted them in enough light to make them both clap their hands over their faces and yell. Then Rhonda went to cut open a package of gauze, and it exploded in her face. "Nice sharp knife ya got there, Kit."

Closing meeting, wherein all the coordinators were standing up front in a row with our arms around each other's waists so that Moonfeather could thank us... Arthur started a Vegas high-kick line. Moonfeather: "I can't believe they all have energy to do that after this week!"

I didn't forget my FRS radio in a Portajohn ONCE this year. I forgot it at someone else's camp one time, though.

My friend Ed, who had a stroke in March, was there. A lot of people moved heaven and earth to get him there. We were so excited, but I was scared to go up to him at first because I was so afraid that he wouldn't recognize me, which would have been painful. Happily, he did recognize me, and could hold a semi-intelligent conversation, although he often had to pause to hunt for a word. He will also fall asleep several times during a talk. He was a great drummer, and now he can only druma little with his right hand and foot (the stroke cripped his lefty (dominant) side, cruel fate). His rhythm is mostly gone, which was painful to watch. At one point he told me he was gearing up to get back to work in the next few weeks. He can't even go to the bathroom by himself, there's no way he's going to be able to work again. He did, however, feel physically and mentally sound enough to try to talk me into his tent on Thursday night- which gives me a lot of hope for his future.

I had an interesting dream on Sunday night about playing the didgeridoo. I have never felt called to the didge, and I know this dream came out of watching Shibaten…. But I connected the didge to Power Voice in the dream, which intrigued me. I might need to acquire one of those little pvc practice didges and play around a bit.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Target-the-Nose Night!

My definition of impossible has been overrun by external events so often as to take away from me any certainty regarding what is possible and what is not. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

The Form Of the Day is Frolic Of the Five Animals (have you ever heard a dorkier name for a form in your whole life- but the form itself is actually pretty cool).

Thursday afternoon walk, then evening kung fu.

After a couple of rounds of hand strike drills, we worked on the Tiger kick drill- the last two pieces after the kicky sequences: the one where you crouch on the ground and the one with the Dragon Rides the Wind. Dragon Rides the Wind had our newbies tied in knots. I told them, "This is one of the wierdest things we've got," which is true. Marcie said, "My first karate sensei is spinning in his grave; this violates every tenant of movement that he taught me."

Then we practiced some wrist grab escapes and some lapel grab escapes. I was working with RM, whose hands are big and strong and you can definitely see resemblance to Nemesis' hands, but a few notches down on the size and strength.

Then we did monkey-in-the-middle, using just the lapel grabs and wrist grabs that we'd just worked on. I startled RM by getting right in his face and slamming my palms onto his chest hard enough to make him grunt, then grabbing a double handful of his shirt. He stumbled back two steps, opened his eyes and stared startled at me in what I refer to as an "oh shit" moment. I told him that that was way too long of an oh-shit moment. Two turns later, I did the same thing, and he did the same thing. SK yelled, "React!" and he finally did.

I did the same thing to the others. Nemesis is used to me doing that, so it didn't faze him. I disturbed Marcie, even though she had seen me do it to RM first. I like to use monkey-in-the-middle to knock people out of their comfort zone by initiating attacks that are different from what they are expecting, getting right up in their faces, and with very confrontational challenging body language. Marcie reacted, but she was obviously a little shaken. So I did it to her again- that time, we ended in a very tense staredown from a distance of about eight inches.

Nemesis got in one good bop to my nose- then did the same to RM's nose. I commented that tonight was obviously Target-the-Nose Night.

When it was my turn, the others were cracking up at evry single pass. First it was because of my targeting (RM commented again about how amazing it was). Marcie grabbed my wrists from behind, and when I went to do the "angry chair" defense, there was nothing there. SK said, "Ah- she got her center of gravity lower than yours!" I realized that she was in an extreme low horse stance. I donkey-kicked my heel directly up into her groin and yelled, "Ping!" I responded to several more attacks in a row by punching or kicking directly to the face, or belly- or Snake-striking the throat- instead of doing one of the standard escapes. Well, this is how Tiger thinks. Tiger cannot be bothered with escapes- we don't want to escape, we want to shred and tear things. SK commented, "Kitsune, Queen Of the Direct Response," Finally I mock-pouted, "You all laugh at everything I do...." RM, whom I had just socked in the throat, raised his hand and declared solemnly, "I'm not laughing." Then we were *all* laughing some more.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Ultimately what I believe, or don’t believe, doesn’t really matter. The only thing that beliefs do for me is close my mind to different possibilities. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Today's Form Of the Day is the Northern Mantis Bo form. Did it with a Swiffer in the living room just now.

124.5. I had a big fat French Dip sandwich at lunch. I did manage to say no to all but 3 of the chips that came with it.

I was not in morning class today because I was in a hot tub singing "Fever" a capella to my Sweet Young Thing. (Did I just type that?)

In the afternoon, more BJJ on a wood floor, with SK. I went over scissor sweep, pendulum sweep, and the side-control-to-mount transiton that we did at Gracie's this week. Drilling these till tired. Having to try to make some adjustments against someone with very long arms and legs. I think I may be getting a bit spoiled by working with mostly the same pool of drill partners at Gracie's- good partners, some of the smaller people, but I was clumsy enough with SK today that I am thinking I need to try to at least ask some of the larger, longer-limbed guys for free rolls more often.

My knees suffered the most on the wood floor today- they are masses of bruises now. SK tapped me with a keylock- curses! I didn't tap him, but I did get a few reversals (which are more exciting than subs for me, since I rarely pull off sweeps) and some decent escapes.

Evening BJJ at Cindy's. I got caught in traffic again and missed warmup. We drilled a cool wrestling-like takedown (taking down to knees... oooowwwwwwwwwwwwww), then a double-leg. Then sparring. Once with Cindy, twice with JB. I finally got a keylock on JB, but I had to twist her arm practically off her shoulder to get it, the flexible minx. I though it was going to come off in my hand like a turkey drumstick before she tapped.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Chi, outlaw Taoist wanted in vain by the inquisition of Western science; the breath of a God forgotten in a mortal body; nightmare of the laws of physics; Zen warrior of our will; fuel in the engine of the universe. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

124.0 on the scale Monday morning, in spite of the McDonald's cheeseburger and fries *and* a mini Luna Bar (chocolate peppermint stick) right before bed. And as I said, I didn't work particularly hard in class Sunday night, except for that one spar. I haven't made a BJJ class since Wednesday, either.

Monday's Form Of the Day is the Leopard At Dawn fragment.

Tuesday- the Form Of the Day is Leopard Three.

123.5. Okay, below 124: officially too thin.

It will be interesting to see what happens with my weight while I'm out of town next week. Back when I was a Herald minion, I could count on losing several pounds at PSG and returning home skinnier than I'd been all year. Now, it really depends on the luck of the draw as far as *MY* minions. If I have really good volunteers, I get to sit on my butt with a notebook and FRS in my hand and give orders much of the time. If I have unreliable volunteers, I have to do a lot of my own running around, sometimes to the point of having to do the work of two or even three.

Tuesday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue.

Two of the teenage girls from the self-defense class were there. That makes me happy. I hope they continue to train.

A few people asked me about the scratch on my face left by Nemesis on Sunday. It's not a bad one, but unfortunately part of it is located right where my glasses sit. I had a pink Hello Kitty bandaid on it at work yesterday. The Gracie folks mostly wanted to make sure no one HERE had done that. LOL.

A couple of hip throws... lots of reps.... cardio workout. I was working with John, and we were both puffing hard. In fact he had to ask for a short pause to lean over and stand there with his hands braced on his knees for a few moments.

Side control to KOB to mount, using the knees to pry elbows out of the way. Every time John did KOB (we had been ending the throws with KOB as well), my hipbone whimpered, "Ow! Could use a little more padding here!" Sorry, hipbone, I am going to try to put a pound or two back on. (I'm treating a friend to lunch tomorrow, that oughtta do it.)

One spar with Sonia. I was having one of my not-so-hot days. She was on top of me most of the time, and her shoulder pressure was very very impressive. I had to tap once to one of those vicious chokes that has the fist in the side of your neck, so that it's hitting pressure points, and you have to tap to pain as much as to the choke. She tried it once and I held out, then I made the mistake of confessing to her that I'd almost had to tap to that, so she laid it on again and got me. Shoulda kept my mouth shut till after the roll!

Tuesday evening BJJ at Gracie Seattle. Allie is back! It's been a year-ish. She said she didn't recognize me with hair, LOL. Also, a blue belt woman (Gina) from Ivan Salaverry MMA. Cornelia's leaving next week, though, to go back to Europe. Sniff.

Got to work with John, always good. Standing rear chose defense, then more of what we did this afternoon (along with an upa after the mount).

Some positional training from closed guard: pass guard vs sweep only. I wasn't doing so hot against John, of course.

After that I was tired, and there are a few things I need to get done tonight, so I called it a day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sparring Nemesis

Martial arts are one among the many means to come in contact with our perceptive potential. During the practice of martial arts, we go back to a primordial simplicity. No need of drugs, objects, or external substances to help us. We are left alone with our bodies. We don’t have to wait for things to happen, we make them happen. It is like Zen archery or like climbing mountains: we use the body as a takeoff runway for inner skies.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

124.5 on the scale this morning. I went to McDonald's and had a cheeseburger and fries before class! And I'm hungry again now.

Today's Form Of the Day is Iron Needle. Yesterday's was Black Crane One. Friday's was the Southern Mantis fragment that JoE taught me. I have to clarify with him the stance in the opening of that. I'm not entirely sure if it's a forward stance or a Cat stance, or perhaps it's even a Seven Stars.

Sunday evening Kung fu. It was not a terribly productive night for me, as half of it was spent on catching other people up on Spear Hand (which I have worked on and have fairly solid), and the other half consisted of working apps on a section of Bung Bo Kuen that I have done a bazillion times and feel likewise confident with. Minor notes- the double fists are better targeting the sides of the neck as opposed to the skull... and if you step to the *outside* of the opponent's leg/foot, it makes it even easier to throw/takedown the person.

Sparring... sigh. DD was there, which always makes me very anxious. By the time my turn came, my stomach was a-roil and I felt like I was gonna hurl. Moreso when I saw that I was being put up against Nemesis.

We were supposed to do the one-attacker-one-defender, slow, short-sequence thing. That sorta works as long as we are disciplined enough to KEEP it really slow, which we rarely are. It usually speeds up, and proceeds from "short sequences" to "thwack each other till Kitsune takes a too-hard hit and calls a time-out".

In a way, he actually smashes me worse when we try to do the short-sequences thing. That format involves me backing off after each of these sequences- and every time I try to back off of Nemesis, he gets in one or more nasty parting strikes with his long, long reach while I'm doing that. I take a lot of beating, and it's also discouraging (and intimidating for the next go-round) to end every flurry with that.

What small amount of competance I ever have against Nemesis seems to involve getting right in on him, up in his grill, and stay there- advancing on him and keeping up a continual chain of attacks. As soon as he gets the room- and time- to start playing *HIS* game, I'm phucked.

I tried to center and breathe, and found myself working out of the center of a dark, thick, blotch of stillness. I reached out from inside of this blotch to strike, and then withdrew and rechambered back into the blotch. I was fairly calm and not feeling especially intimidated or afraid of his wild strikes. I did what I usually do with him, which is bridge and hang a hand/wrist heavily off his forearm. I linger there for a bit, then 1)come in for a kick, 2)pull him in with a Mantis claw on the bridging hand and strike at him with the other, or 3)slide the bridging hand up his arm and strike at his head with it. Once in, I keep advancing on him and striking at him on multiple levels.

He did clock me too hard once with an elbow to the head, but that was the only bad hit I took. It was a fairly long and intense spar. We were both dripping in sweat and bleeding (me from a scratch across the face, he had blood on his shirt that I'm not sure where it came from).

I feel like I did fairly okay. I stayed calm and centered. He got some good hits in, but I got a few too. When we clinched up, I was able to not lose control of the situation as commonly happens. Then he started grabbing my hair again. KAHARA, why does he always have to do that?! I hate that! I didn't cope with that well, but time was almost up by then. Makes me want to cut off all my hair again. I think I need to act immediately and decisively next time that happens- get loose however I can right away, even if I have to get rougher to do it (heck, he just grabbed my hair, he's the one escalating), or tear some hair out to do it. I can't just let him control me utterly and shake all the fight out of me every time he gets a fistful of hair.

DD commented "Good" - huh. SK commented that as soon as I bridge Nemesis, Nemesis can then attack me even if I am the designated "attacker" (and he was doing that, in the second half of the spar). He commented that the clingy bridges I am doing are a "you've got me, but I've got you too" situation. I dunno, I just like doing that (with everyone except SK and CC, who just roll over it and turn it against me).

JoE has obviously been working on throws. He was taking Nemesis down left and right tonight. It was quite impressive. Smack, smack, smack... a few techniques back and forth, and there's Nemesis hitting the mat again.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Everybody likes my pelvis"

Ecstasy is not a faraway, unreachable dimension. It is right here, just a few feet away from the sleep of the senses. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Today's Form Of the Day: Tiger versus Crane.

Another 3.5 hour walk. I wore thicker socks in my combat boots, and that was a bad decision- I got blisters. And of course we were doing Tiger stuff at Kung Fu tonight- the worst thing for blisters!

We repped the Tiger kick drill some, then worked apps from it. RM commented that my targeting was incredible- "She hits the exact same spot every time!" It was funny because I don't think he's been present any of the many times other people have been talking about that. My target on one of these drills was just medial of Nemesis' hipbone. RM had been hitting him in the same spot, causing Nemesis to comment wryly, "Everybody likes my pelvis," There's one for the Taken Out Of Context page. I remarked that RM's Tiger claw was like a vise, and he seemed to be hitting painful pressure points with multiple fingers every time. That guy is going to to be so badass as soon as he gets some more technique.

Individual forms time. I worked on Tiger Versus Crane. I was pleasantly shocked when I got to the Tiger kick section, which- granted- was some of what we'd just been drilling, but it felt like a cannonball exploding out of my center and down my leg, with a psychic backlash so strong that it almost knocked me on my ass. All three kicks were the same. The rest of the form also felt much tighter, more explosive, and the kicks (which I'd been told were already fairly impressive) we better. This form has leveled-up.

You can't do too many reps of TvC at one session, it is very exhausing. So I did some Box form, the original version and the variations that CC gave me. SK wanted to see CC's variations, so I showed it to him, and was gratified to get an "Oh WOW" at the swirly tingly turn that I like so much.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


When the senses wake up, people talk about altered states, but actually nothing about them is altered. The only real alteration is the sleep into which we often let them fall. Bringing them back to life is the only natural thing we can do. It is as if we defined the starting of an engine as an “altered state” only because we consider normal leaving it turned off. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

The Form Of the day is Little Red Dragon.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. I beat Rodrigo and Carlos to the school today, so when they walked up, I stood behind the outer door and held it open for them. Rodrigo took the door away from me and shooed me in first. He's so funny. He's done that to me before, too.

Carlos seemed a bit out of sorts today. This translated to extra-vigorous warmups and anal-retentiveness regarding how everyone's jacket and belt were hanging in the lineup.

Same guard break that we did the other day (only tighter and more painful), then a guard pass leading from that (and how to not get caught in half-guard in the process).

Also, armbar drills in which you were supposed to put your opposite shin on the mat as if you were setting up a mounted triangle.

Rolls with JB, Cornelia and Bryan. I am not going to try any more triangle setups on JB. They always end the same way- with that horrible stacking guard pass she loves to do, ending with me squashed like a cockroach under her heavy side control ("Someone taught you a really good heavy side control!" "Why thank you!") Cornelia and I seemed pretty competitive; with her having the edge of being on top more- no taps.

Bryan let me have a couple things (after I tweaked them according to his instructions). He told me that I'm playing really tight and that he can't find any more arms to bar anywhere. I almost got a guillotine on him, and somehow managed to grab a scrap of my own gi to wrap around his neck. After a few adjustments, I got it a little more seated, but it was in my left hand and my wrist was a bit twisted- I didn't really have the leverage I needed to pull it tight enough. I started walking my feet around trying to neck-crank him with it, and he gargled a bit, but he just chased me. At last, I had been pulling it for so long that all the strength was running out of my wrists and I had to give up in disgust. He told me that it had been close, though.

Evening BJJ at Cindy's.

All sparring, all the time. From standup. Both gi and no-gi. Cindy, Lamont, Alecia, Rodrigo (the OTHER Rodrigo), George.

I was pretty tired during/after warmups.... I can definitely feel it when it's the second class of the day. As for the sparring, I didn't really feel like I was doing particularly well nor particularly poorly.

I am still finding myself rather intimidated to go for takedowns. I feel fairly comfortable defending them- even against bigger, stronger opponents- but they're going to get me down sooner or later if I don't go for any myself. Sometimes I can latch onto them as we're going down, or otherwise turn the landing into a not-really-win situation for the opponent.

I got guillotines on a couple of people. Tried some other guillotines and a few other subs that I couldn't finish. I spent half of one match in top side control on Alecia, struggling grimly for a keylock, but she defended well. I was just happy to get on top for a while. :-P It is painfully apparent that Alecia hates rolling with me. If I'm tapping like Savion Glover, she seems irritated (I assume because I'm not being a lively enough challenge). If I play conservative defense and she can't get any taps, she seems even more irritated. I'm not sure if that's because she didn't get the tap- altho she dominates me and would certainly win all these matches on advantages if nothing else- or because, again, I'm being boring. Unfortunately I can't seem to manifest any third scenario with her. Tonight I made a special point of shaking her hand and thanking her politely for each roll, even if I had to chase her turned back to do it. Well, she won't have to endure me much longer in any case.

On Tuesday, Silverdrake sent a post to the PSG list about how we're all looking forward to the Sacred Hunt, etc etc, and if you're interested in Hunting you need to see him asap on opening day, etc etc, and we need people to village (see Aegis for that), and we need people to drum (see Kitsune for that). Well, I guess that means I'm coordinating the drumming again, LOL- even though he never exactly asked me or told me. I'm glad I'm finding this out BEFORE opening day.

I'm thrilled that Aegis is coordinating the villagers this year- he is my Heralding co-cordinator, so we work very well together practically and energetically. It amuses me that we now have Heralds in two out of three of the most important leadership positions- plus Dru as my lieutenant. It's like the Heralds are staging a coup and turning the Hunt into a Herald Camp ritual instead of a Ghetto Shamans ritual.

I hope my dead finger is going to be okay for four hours-ish of thunder drumming. If it starts to ache a few minutes in, I'm going to be in serious deep feces.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


The first step to unlock the doors of perception and sniff the scent of the Secret is to awaken the five senses from the numbness that normally surrounds them. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Today's Form Of the Day is Bung Bo Kuen.

I spent a goodly part of the morning shredding cardboard boxes by hand, which I am going to consider a workout.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue. Marc and I got each other again. Guard break wherein you stand up, create space, and then crouch back down with your knee up. Spinning armbar from side control (a different one from yesterday). I'm keeping it pretty tight, but it could be tighter. I need to remember to pull the arm (and my own body) down toward the opponent's feet instead of popping upward to finish the spin.

One 8-min roll with Marc. He tapped me with a cross collar gi choke, which is a bit humiliating since we were just working on those last night. But he took me by surprise with it because he never tries for those. I have rolled with him enough that I feel like I know his game, and he surprised me this time. I spent the rest of the roll trying to gi-choke him back (one good choke deserves another), and managed to finish one.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Some bad news

Our bodies are the kingdoms of lost continents and unknown lands. Columbus, Livingstone, Stanley, Marco Polo, and Neil Armstrong are just Boy Scouts compared to the explorers of the inner space. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Today's Form Of the day is Spear Hand. Sunday's was the Tai Chi short open-hands form. Saturday's was Snake Versus Five Animals.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. Marc came in just in time for the first drill, so I grabbed him.

Standup- two jabs, thrust kick, clinch. Then the same, adding the foot sliding behind opponent's ankle for takedown. Once I took Marc down and he clunked heads with the guy behind him who was simultaneously being taken down. That pair hadn't seemed dangerously close while they were standing up, but I still felt pretty bad as having failed to look out for my partner. Shall be more observant next time.

Reversal from scarf, the one where you roll the guy overtop of you.

Then side control to spinning armbar. I was struggling with a few specific details; luckily Cindy walked in and volunteered some advice.

Eight-minute rolls, first Marc and then Cindy. I got two keylocks on Marc. He was working on getting a triangle on me, but the clock ran out. Cindy was wrapping me up and choking me with my own gi.

Evening BJJ at Cindy's. I worked a few reps of Spear Hand in the kitchen while I was waiting for class to begin.

JB was there, but she has a lung in fection and a migraine. Alecia asked what she was eevn doing there. JB responded that she'd be fine as long as we didn't jostle her. I found that humorous.

Gi choke day (just what every girl with a migraine needs). Positional training trying to gi-choke each other from closed guard. After we choked each other a lot, I rolled with JB and then Alecia. I was not doing as well tonight as I was this afternoon- they both dominated me. I also crunched my dead finger a good one by wrapping it in my collar right against my own headgear.

Then I got some bad news- Cindy is dropping *ALL* of her adult classes after the fifteenth. She has too many other projects going on.

This blows on multiple levels.

I'm really going to miss training with Lamont, Leilani, George, and the other folks there- not to mention CINDY herself. I'm even going to miss getting crushed by Alecia; as unpleasant as that can be, it is educational.

SK and JM are much less likely to come to Gracie's then they are/were to come to Cindy's. This most likely marks the end of their training, unless I teach them myself.

My no-gi progress is going to stall where it is, since Gracie's does very little no-gi and I don't seem to be able to make the few no-gi classes that do exist.

I was doing well with the combo of different teaching styles, and now I'm back to a single feed.

Hopefully Cindy will still be having occasional impromptu open mats, and letting me know when they are. This is quite a bummer, though.

Friday, June 3, 2011

People who don't communicate well

The Form Of the Day is Sil Lum Tao.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. Back mount. Keeping it, escaping it, choking people from it. Frustration and Amusement in turn as stubby short arms and legs prove particularly BAD for one aspect of this yet particularly GOOD for another aspect of it. Was able to competantly escape back mount in the "before I teach anything, let me just see where people are at" stage of the class. Was able to competantly retain back mount on larger, stronger people for longer than I expected. I like clock choke. Clock choke rocks.

Private with CC. I showed him Spear Hand, and it must have looked pretty darn good because he didn't nitpick at it. Then we did Box Form, and he had me doing a version of the first half that bears very little resemblance to the form I know. It has some extra arm swirlies that send power tingles up my arms. The ridge-hand and leg attack section must have looked very good, because he didn't fool with that part at all.

Then we had a talk, and he told me some things that did not make me happy at all. RS had previously told me some things, which CC is now directly contradicting.

CC is telling me that RS said _____ because he hates conflict and was trying to be nice, but he didn't really *mean* ______ and I am not to expect to hold him to ______.

I am the sort of person that if I tell you ______, I mean _______.... and I expect the same from you. Tell me what you mean. Do not BS me. Do not tell me one thing and then later go back on it. I do not like manipulations and political intrigue.

Besides which, I have been counting on _____ and am now being told that that's not going to manifest.

CC is saying, "I've worked with RS for decades and I've seen this pattern before- this is what he does, and I have to clean up the messes." It's a believable scenario, given some of what I know about past interpersonal and political history.

However, I have also observed for myself that CC likes to set himself up as the sole gatekeeper to- or even an analog for- RS. So this could be his way of securing his role as essential translator/gatekeeper/circuit-completer between RS and me.

Somebody here is snowjobbing me, and I don't know who it is. I am not a happy camper.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Continuing the momentum

Most people live at a comfortable distance from their bodies. As humans, we spend so much time inside our heads that we often forget the way out. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Today's Form Of the Day is Long Qi.

Another Thursday-afternoon three hour stroll. Liking these.

Kung Fu. Instead of the usual hand strike drills, we paired up and one person picked a hand strike attack, hir partner picked a defense and counter. JM chose to attack me with a big White Crane inside-topfist. SK went into this long explanation about meeting circular attacks with linear techniques, and when he finished, I said wryly, "well, that trashes what *I* was going to do," He told me to go ahead and do it anyway... I hit her incoming arm with a Mantis claw and let it slide down to her wrist, while stepping back and pulling her in a continuation of the circle *SHE* had already launched. As I spun her, I planted my elbow in the side of her head, just because it was there. If that wasn't sufficient to finish her off, I could continue with a knee to the face, an armbar, or a face-plant to the floor. I was actually rather proud of that. It was Dragony. I am trying to pay more attention lately- in both kung fu and BJJ- to where the opponent's momentum is going, and see how I can use that to further my own cause.

Then we did this impact drill: low ridge hand, rebound into high small-finger-side forearm block, continue circle into gong sau, then into another high forearm block, then straight palm-heel. I have only done this with Nemesis- who has the world's boniest arms and hits really really hard- so I was quite relieved to be working with JM and then RM instead! When we first began, and RM was facing off against Nemesis, I called, "My heart bleeds for you- this is gonna hurt!"

Then we did some Black Crane line drills (numbers one and three). First in lines and then against each other. I had to substitute Tiger claw for Eagle claw in number three, as my dead finger cannot do Eagle claw competantly.

Final half hour was individual forms time. I worked Long Qi, Cannon Fist (this needs video review), the Mantis stuff from Sunday, Leopard At Dawn, Little Red Dragon, Chen Dao (with a pencil).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Catherine Dao

Today's Form Of the Day is Catherine Dao:

Begin standing straight, dao in left hand lying along arm (point up).

Toe-out, heels-out till you are in high horse.

Rt hand, palm up, at groin level. Lift to chest level and back down with inhale, exhale.

Circle right arm around to touch dao hilt. Left arms comes out a bit from your body as you do this. Immediately turn rt and step rt (slightly northeast), heel first, into a forward stance as both arms circle out from body like rising wings to meet at chest level on dao hilt.

Grasp dao hilt with rt hand. Drop left hand so that they are extended opposite. Turn left (west) into forward stance with left foot fwd as you sweep dao low to a horizontal west-pointing position. Left arm circles opposite and ends covering left temple.

Pull dao back to waist and bring left arm a bit lower, then stab forward as you step fwd with rt foot into front stance. Left covering arm returns to temple.

Rt foot scissor-steps behind left foot as dao cuts diagonally across your body so that tip is pointing to left of your left foot. Rt hand presses flat edge of blade.

Unwind feet so that you are now in a northeastern-facing high front stance (rt foot fwd), dao pressing to your diagonal right at chest level (left hand still on flat edge).

Kick rt foot back behind left shin and immediately drop into a lower front stance (rt foot still fwd, still facing northeast). As you kick, bring dao over your head so that the tip "pokes" to the left of your left ear. Left hand remains braced on the flat endge. As you drop into the lower stance, left hand goes to rt wrist and dao moves to horizontal at arm's legth, pointing northeast.

Dao sweeps horizontally to your left, remaining on the low level. Your weight transfers to left foot as right foot swings out in a circular motion and you turn left (to west). Rt foot steps through as you continue the dao swing around your head (point downward), then swing up to a horiz position as you continue to turn and end in a left-foot-fwd front stance facing southeast. As dao goes around head, left hand comes off blade and returns to warding the left temple.

Close left hand chestward and bring dao down and then up-and-over in a big circular overhead hack. Remember to bend elbow. Step through with rt foot. End in a southeast-facing front stance (rt foot fwd), dao horiz at arm's length pointing southeast. As you hack down, you left arm circles opposite so that you end with that arm straight out behind you.

Step left foot up to rt foot and bring tip of dao to point up. Both hands come to hilt at chest. Body turns to face south.

Immediately step out with rt foot to a high horse, turning body again so that you are now facing northeast. Both arms thrust out to sides- left in a palm-strike at chest level, right is a strike with the hilt at chest level (point of dao upward). Both elbows are bent almost 90 degrees.

Bring dao in-and-down toward left hip and circle back up to overhead-hack as you close left arm chestward. Bring rt foot in to touch left foot, then turn and step to southwest. End in a forward stance (rt foot in front) facing southwest, blade point facing same direction in a high diagonal hack. As you turn and hack down, left arm circles opposite right arm and is now behind you, straight-elbowed and at a downward diagonal angle.

Step left foot up beside right foot and stand with knees slightly bent. Blade turns sideways so that it is held across your brow. Left hand comes straight through to grasp underneath blade.

Turn wrist over so that blade point is now pointing right (to north). Turn left wrist over, open fist and flex wrist 90 degrees- palm to southwest, fingertips to west.

Turn to north, and screw yourself downward into a low scissor stance, leading with blade point.

Stand upright and step right foot directly behind left in a very tiny step. Bring both wrists to cross at chest level, left on top.

Left fireman's kick to north. "Wipe the corpse off your blade" with left hand and end with left palm straight north at extention (chest level) as you pull dao hilt back to right ear (sharp edge upward and point northward).

Turn immediately 180 degrees south without putting the foot down. Sink into low front stance (rt foot fwd) as dao hacks overhead to end pointing south horiz at chest level. Left hand is on rt wrist.

Stay very low as you shift across to north-facing low front stance (left foot fwd), sweeping dao horiz at that same low level. As you face north again, pick the right foot up and set it down to north as you continue the circle to end in an east-facing hill-climbing stance. Bring the dao hilt in to chest and describe a small circle there before thrusting it to north. Left hand still supporting rt wrist.

Bring hilt back to chest again in a similar circle, only larger. Body follows circle as you shift weight to left (dropping as low as possible) and then to a low right lunge, thrusting to north. Left arm is now straight out behind you, balancing.

Stand up straight and draw left foot up, bringing left arm up across chest to ward with hand at rt cheek. Dao cuts diagonally across body, point pointing to ground south of your foot.

Bring hilt to chest and describe another small circle there before thrusting to southwest, extending at chest level. Left foot steps down into a forward stance facing southwest. Left hand comes up to ward left temple.

Bring rt foot to left foot, facing south, pulling dao horizontally across brow level (blade up, hilt to your left). Circle it down to left hip and then up behind you to northwest as you step that rt foot back to northwest. Left hand is doing another "pushing the corpse off your blade" motion as you do this.

Step the rt foot back in and circle dao around your head (tip downward), then transer the hilt to your left hand. You are now standing straight facing south with the dau hilt in your left hand, blade resting along arm and point up. Bring rt hand around in a little circle (rt elbow glued to hip) to press palm down at belt. Salute.