Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Butterflies

There is an incredible difference between those who experience their power only though the mind and those who also feel it in the body. A person who knows there is a wild wolf living under the skin has less reason to be intimidated by reality. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path


Wednesday evening BJJ at Cindy's. I missed more than half the class due to traffic... and when I walked in, everyone was wearing gi's. Drat. I need to just bring a gi top whenever I go over there. Cindy kindly whipped off her gi jacket and gave it to me. (Cindy will give you the shirt off her back! Literally!) Later in the class, she said, "I glanced at you and was about to say, "Sharp gi!" Then I remembered it was *MY* gi." "You only think it looks sharp because it's got blood on it!"

We did some butterfly guard with a sweep, then butterfly guard to a half of a spider guard to a triangle. Then, butterfly guard to a failed sweep- transition to an omoplata instead. I was drilling with Leilani, who had a horrible time with the spin to the omoplata. I reassured her that she just needs more practice.

Positional spars from closed guard with Leilani. I was so proud of her tonight- I put her in bottom half guard, and she immediately got the underhook, got her butt out and did the escape without even thinking about it. I swept her a couple of times, but she defended some other sweeps well. I talked her though defending my cross-collar choke attempts, although she was already doing pretty well at not letting me get a second grip.

Timed spars with first Leilani and then Leah. This is only the second time I've sparred with Leah since her reappearance. I've started to wonder if there's some reason we aren't being paired up. Anyway, it appears that I can be more competitive with her now than I could before her year off (hopefully she'll take a while to catch back up to me!). I just have to be mindful of those long, long, strong legs (Leilani referred to her as "that girl with the really long legs"). Stay out of her triangle. She also cannot be keylocked, as I discovered tonight. Sigh. She does inverted guard, and it's tricky to try to stack her effectively with her long strong legs and her abnormal flexibility. I did okay against her, though. Positionally. I think chokes are going to be the sub to aim for with this one. Without keylocks- and without gi chokes, when we are doing no-gi- my sub arsenal is pretty sparse, and it's going to be really hard to get her.

(pic- Alecia (blue) and Rihanna (red))

Twice Marked


Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle.

Feels like an ice pick is planted in my back near the top of the right shoulderblade. The pain is radiating all the way up the back of my skull and halfway down my arm. I don't know what I did to it, other than the usual.

Standup- choke defense transitioning to hip throw. Carlos had to remind me to not grab the gi sleeve. They don't want us to use gi grips during the standup "self defense" techniques.

Opponent is in your guard, holding your belt. You break hir grip by grabbing hir wrist and then grabbing your OWN wrist so as to use both arms to pry hir hand off. Then pull that arm across your body and sit up with your chest to hir shoulder. Hip out (remember to keep that posting hand out of opponent's reach) and jump on hir back. Hooks in, gable grip under opponent's arms, roll.

More clock chokes from back mount. Fun times. If the opponent pulls the first collar grip out of your reach, just reach a little further and grab your own lapel instead. I like that, too. My partner was gagging and tapping before I could even secure the grip on my own collar. At one point he had to excuse himself off the mat and go spit into the trash can. I wasn't having much fun when it was his turn either, though- I was wearing my stiffest gi collar, and there was a goodly amount of pinching and gi-burning going on. Now I look like I've been making out with Edward Cullen.

Eight-minute rolls with first Mark and then Marc. Bottom half-guard is like the trailer park.... you may acknowledge that that's where you came from, but once you get out, you don't want to go back and visit. Unfortunately, I spent the majority of my roll with Mark and part of my roll with Marc in bottom half guard. It was just like old times, and not in a good way. They were both lying diagonally across me with heavy weight down, making it very hard to get my butt out to the side and get the underhook for my standard escape. I got an old school sweep on Marc once (I do that to him all the time, he never remembers to defend it). Mark was literally whimpering with frustration after eight minutes of struggling in vain to get the F out of my bottom half guard. I was just as frustrated, but trying to act suave about it. Let the white belt think I do that on purpose. I could get out of here whenever I feel like it, boy.... I LIKE it down here, and I'm just chillin'. I wasn't idle down there, either- I was constantly trying to collar-choke him- but I never got it. He keeps his chin pinned to his chest whenever he rolls with me... and never lets me sink that second grip in. I also tried to set up a triangle on him once- Didn't get it, but I noticed the opportunity, and I tried for it, which is a step forward for me.


I have decided to try dying my oldest, most sweat-stained white gi- the white Howard (well, it STARTED as white, anyway). Georgette has wonderfully detailed, painstaking instructions on her site. Kitsunes are lazy. My idea of dying a gi is to buy some dye at the Safeway while I'm picking up cat food, dump it in a bucket, add water and gi, cover it and leave it sitting on my porch for a few weeks, then take it out and hang it on the rain gutter to dry, then throw it in the washing machine, and we'll see what we get. (Georgette is cringing right now.) I bought four doses of "cocoa brown". If it ends up some kind of beige, that'll probably be acceptable as well. There's still a little scarlet in the bucket from my last project, but I don't have any other buckets, so I'm just hoping the scarlet will be overwhelmed by the four packages of brown. I'll post a pic when it comes out.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to torque off your training partner.




The personality of those who know how to come in contact with this dimension changes even in everyday life, during the ordinary state of consciousness. It changes the way we move. It changes the way we speak. It changes the way we face life. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path


Monday- gi night- at Cindy's.

Killer warmups tonight- we did almost an hour of warmups. Okay, we are WARM now.

Twisting armlock from guard. Still have to pause and try to figure out the left vs right dilemma. Then transitioning to armbar. Then opponent stacks and pulls hir arm out- you transition to triangle. I was working with Leah's younger sister Alisha, who used to go to Gracie's, but disappeared. Pat had told me that she got a new boyfriend who didn't like her doing BJJ. Grrrr. I hope her reappearance means that she grew a spine and kicked that jerk to the curb.

Cindy had a swollen eye, scratch on her nose, and various other hurts that she complained were Lamont's work. She griped that she was an ugly sight in the mirror today- and I responded loudly that she was still prettier than Lamont. ;)

I had a few frustrating rolls tonight. Today was obviously run-a-clinic-on-Kitsune-day, and nobody warned me about it so that I could stay home in bed.

Alecia, who aggressively and quickly moved to put me underneath her to start. Good plan on her part, I guess, since once I'm down there I tend to stay down there. Part of my problem is that I'm afraid to even stick my head up out of my hunched hedgehog posture to get a look around and see where her limbs are and where the openings might be- because the moment I stick my head up, she painfully crossfaces me. I spent almost the entire roll trapped underneath her front mount or mounted triangle, with the exception of a brief respite where I somehow got out while she was trying for a sub. I got north-south and held her there for a bit before getting reversed. I need some subs from north-south. I could hold her down, but I couldn't do anything useful. She's not dumb enough to let me get a bicep grip for an armbar. She didn't finish a tap on me- she couldn't figure out how to pry off the grips I had on my own gi and/or hers- but it was a frustrating roll for me.

Then Lamont. Back to leglock land. After he tapped me several times in a row, he leglockd me again with the same sub and put it on slowly. I flailed helplessly, then asked in frustration, "What can I do?" "Tap." I did so, now ticked off enough to spit acid. I know I've told him this before, so this time I told him with more volume, more punctuation, and more direct eye contact. "I don't know ANY. Leglocks. Or Defenses. To leglocks. At all." "You're scared of them." "Yes, I am. I don't know anything to do against them, and I have bad knees." So then he starts telling me about how he used to do eight thousand squat reps with eight thousand pound barbells and now his knees are all messed up. I countered with my congenital knee deformity. Not that a whose-knees-are-worse contest is the point.

You know, if you want to work on X, just ask me if I will let you work some X. I am happy to do a roll or few solely for the benefit of my training partner. But without that stated parameter, I normally go into a roll with the idea that we are both supposed to learn something; we are both supposed to get something out of it. Don't just run a clinic on me and then when I ask you a question, refuse to help and instruct me to just tap out. That is just disrespectful and condescending. That is exactly what Bryan did to me that one time I ended up crying in the locker room. I DO NOT NEED A LESSON IN HOW TO TAP. God dammit. The next person who says that to me is going to get a dramatic reaction.

"I am not LEARNING anything while I am being tapped out twenty times in a row with leglocks when I don't know any defenses for them." Loud enough and snappy enough to have Cindy veering over to intervene. She showed me a few defenses for the leglocks, which is good, although I am not going to retain them unless I get a chance to drill them. Additionally, I was angry and frustrated enough at that point that I couldn't focus very well.


(pic- Dex, on the left)

Clock chokes are spiffy.

During a training session, when the rational mind slows down the flow of thoughts, the body begins to disclose its secrets. Consciousness is free to travel from one muscle to the next, and have access to powers unknown to those who can’t go beyond cerebral activity. This is not just a physical experience. It is spiritual. It transforms the body as well as the character. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path





More Pan Ams results: Fabiana got 2nd place in her bracket!

I heard fourth- or fifth-hand that Carlos had to fight a very tough guy with a totally different body type- thick and gorilla-esque (Carlos is very tall and lanky). The guy had a seemingly unbreakable closed guard, and he armbarred Carlos from guard. :(


Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. Rodrigo was teaching. No sign of Carlos. I hope his arm didn't get badly injured. Maybe he's just tired.

We were doing the same technique that JB and I had done the one night we came in REEEEEEEEALLY late a few months ago. I had remembered it because it was such a cool technique (well, it was cool if you were the one DOING it; if you were being done to, it was just ouchie), but we hadn't had enough time to drill for me to absorb it. I was happy to see it again.

One person in turtle, the other sprawled on top north-south, hugging around the waist. Turtled person cross-grabs a handful of gi pants at the inside of the knee, sticks head out and up at the opponent's ribs on that same side, sticks the leg out straight on that same side, then sits out. Spin quickly to opponent's back and get over-the-shoulder collar grip on the close side, under-the-arm wrist grip on the far side. Place head on mat and start tiptoeing around toward north-south till opponent taps from the choke.

Left vs right cross-body confusion once again for me. I seriously have some kind of spacial-relations-cognizance learning disability. Rodrigo had to come over and walk me through the collar and wrist grips- which one used which hand, which was over the shoulder and which was under the armpit. Then I promptly did it wrong AGAIN and he had to walk me through it a second time. He didn't act annoyed or impatient, but I am SOOOOOOOO embarrassed and frustrated when that happens.

Finally did get grasp it, though, and I had a good partner (Marc) so we whipped out a zillion reps each and gave each other good feedback on how to get it tighter. I adore clock chokes. Clock chokes are one of my very favorite things in BJJ.

Then, a defense for the person getting choked. This was a fun technique as well. As the opponent sets those collar and wrist grips, the bottom person pulls in the elbow of the trapped wrist, reaches back to grab opponent's pantleg with the other hand, and rolls. You end on top, and ideally you immediately move your butt back to pin the opponent's near arm up by hir head. Then you can transition smoothly to armbar that arm... or reach behind the opponent's neck to get a cross collar grip and clock choke her from there....or just take side control. Again, Marc and I cranked out a lot of reps and gave each other good feedback to clean up our respective little sloppy areas.

Two eight-minute rolls. First one was with Bryan. No subs allowed for the first five minutes. Bryan ran a clinic on me. I seriously was just a rag doll that he moved wherever he wanted. At one point I simply went limp because I could tell that I was completely pinned, and struggling was just wasting energy. "Are you okay?" "Yeah." "I'm not giving you ANYTHING." "I KNOW you're not." For the last three minutes, it switched from a dominant-position clinic to a sub clinic. Tappety-tap- tap-tap. He barataplata'ed me, and gave me plenty of time to try to work out of it, but the few options I had for movement just made my plight worse. He didn't have anything to offer when I asked for defenses to that.

Next was Glenn. (he called me "Twenty-two". I said, "I'm never going to live that down, am I?" "Live it down??!? It's awesome!") Well, he was just buttering me up before running Sub clinic number two on me. Tappety-tappety-tap-tap-tappety. Glenn is usually nice to roll with and lets me have some stuff, but not today- today he was a man on a mission. Glenn's current project is obviously wristlocks. He tapped me about ten times in succession with wristlocks from different positions, including wristlocking me while I was trying to cross-collar choke him- he wristlocked me by bracing against his own throat and using a gi wrap. I had to ask, "Did you do that on purpose??" Yes. He armbarred me a little too fast and hard once (then apologized). I also got a fat bloody lip. Good times, as CN would say. He did let me get his back briefly a couple of times, and once I got a bow-and-arrow that I was certain was going to tap him. BJJJM was sitting there watching and said, "Niiiiiiiiice!" Well, it seemed nice enough, but Glenn didn't tap- and before I knew it, I was lying on the bottom and wristlocked again.

After that, I was half dead- and had to take off my jacket and headgear and lie spread-eagled on the cool cement for a time.

Then I asked Marc to roll. I was pretty darn tired. But it was a really long, fun, competitive roll. We closed down the mat.

I tried one more time to get that choke from north-south turtle- the one we did last week- and once more, I got him flipped okay but there was something wrong with my non-choking arm placement. He was able to roll out. I need to ask somebody to help me figure out what I'm doing wrong with that.

Every time he almost got me in closed guard. I stood up and disengaged, then came back in. I know I do not want to be in Marc's closed guard. Only once did he get me there. I thought, "Gaaaah, now comes the triangle," but I eventually managed to get out. He got the technique-of-the-day (that reversal) one me- it's always embarrassing to let your opponent get the technique-of-the-day on you.

I got what seemed like a dozen almost-subs (a variety of different ones, too), where I thought, "AH HA, I have you now!!! Tap, sucka!" And then somehow he escapes. That drives me nuts!

I also need to bring up with him the fact that he keeps repeatedly grabbing half-guard on me and then I get my foot out and take side control. He may be unaware- as I was till recently- that every time that happens, he gives up points for the pass. I need to figure out how to bring that up without sounding like a an obnoxious know-it-all.

I finally tapped him, after what seemed like forever- with a TRIANGLE!!! Astonishing, as I am completely lame in the triangular aspect. I was expecting him to escape while I was adjusting, but I think he was just tired and ready to quit so he let me have it.


(pic- Carlos, in the blue)

One-armed Snakes... still too dangerous to tangle with.

Having a perfect body is not nearly as important as learning to listen to its voice. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path



Kung Fu Sunday.

SK started out by saying that he'd been talking to CM about some class structure stuff, and CM had asked what rank everyone was- of which SK wasn't sure and wanted to verify, since we haven't had any tests in a coon's age and nobody ever wears their rank sashes. Everyone told what their last written test had been and their last practical test had been (as soon as you pass an in-class test, you are given a copy of the written take-home test for the following level). I was standing in the back with my head down and cleaning my glasses, and silently cursed him when he prompted me. We had *JUST* talked about this in the car and he knew I wanted no part of it; why did he have to call me out in front of everybody? I mumbled "Irrelevant." More prompting. "I don't even remember." "I call B.S." Grrrrrr, I hate it when you do that.

Thus things had already started off on an annoying foot as we moved on to Bung Bo Kuen. I have neglected this form, and was relieved to make it through the first rep with only one minor momentary bobble. JM did fine, but Nemesis and JoE have obviously neglected it more than me- they were lost and had to be walked through it slowly a couple times before it started coming back.

I was dismayed at the distressed emotional reaction that started happening in response to working Bung Bo Kuen. Not *DOING* the form- being *WATCHED* doing the form. This remains my poorest form, IMO, in my poorest style (Mantis), and the version I have is slightly different from everyone else's because I learned it first from CC. Additionally, this is one of the forms that I detest working slowly because it ruins the flow- which is the aspect I *most* need to work on. JoE gets frustrated when he sees me going faster, and then I feel guilty because everybody in this class normally spends so much time waiting for **ME**. The teachers are all weird about trying to make any corrections on me, because they dont want to step on CC's toes. When we work apps, it's confusing because I usually have different apps than they do, and I have to change my technique in order to work their apps with them. I have all sorts of emotional baggage around this form because CN held me hostage with it for months and wouldn't let me progress until I had done a ton of remedial work on it and spiffed it up to what he felt it should look like.

Anyway, as soon as SK started walking Nememsis and JoE slowly through the form, and it turned to the south so that I was now alone in the front row (with JoE directly behind me), I started freaking out. I stepped out into the entryway and repped it by myself a few times, at my own speed, while they were going over the steps. When they were back up to speed and we were going to rep it a few more times, I stepped back in and once AGAIN got called out in front of everyone, until I was forced to explain in front of everyone that this is an awful form for me, and I was feeling really self-conscious, and didn't want anyone watching me.

I moved up to the front of the room, putting myself at the north end because the majority of the form faces south and east and west. JM moved over to take the hot spot at the south. She was welcome to it, IFAIWC.

SK was explaining a technique and made reference to "popping" and "locking" which made me grin. The dance style known as "pop and lock" does bear a little resemblance to Mantis. SK wanted to know what I was laughing at, and I said I'd tell him later. I'll have to see if I can find a little dancing on Youtube to send him which will show the flow similarities.

Apps of the little hopping hip-switch followed by the low right-foot kick with the splitting Mantis claws. SK added a Right-handed parry at solar plex level during the hopping hip-switch. This is a complex move to begin with, involving the arms and feet and hips all doing different things. It is full of cross-body movements of the sort that make my brain cells short out trying to keep track of the left and right. You're also balancing on one leg. Add in a brand-new detail and make me try to do it with a partner, and this is just a recipe for a train wreck. Particularly after my class had started out on some crappy notes, I was quite surprised to find that by the second try, this was working exquisitely- to the point that I was knocking JM down with every rep. That's always fun. :) She complained that once more I was kicking in the exact same spot every single time. I didn't feel too bad about that seeing as how she refuses to cut her fingernails and thus was clawing me repeatedly in the throat when it had been her turn.

After a while, she started shifting her leg back before I kicked the knee. I couldn't knock her down any more, but as long as I cranked her head back by pressing the forearm of my Mantis-clawing hand along her jawline, I could almost tip her over sideways. Finally I gave that extra little push and did exactly that, and then it was time for a good side control. She started trying to buck me off by hipping straight up (and not adding a body turn or a shrimp or any arm bracing or anything)... dang, she's rusty, I taught her better than that! I held her down while I took off my glasses with one hand and slid them across the mat out of harm's way, and then I just lay there for a while and let her flail. Eventually I moved leisurely to a north-south, and was hunting for a bicep grip to armbar her with when SK yelled across the mat, "Hey, none of that! I *WILL* come over there and tickle!"

Next: the opening moves of Punch and Jab (aka Spear Hand).

Begin standing straight with arms chambered, looking east. Turn east and step out with rt foot into hill-climbing stance. Meanwhile, left hand parry across chest and then press down toward rt hip while rt hand sweeps across body at hip level and knife-hand strikes to south. That hand bounces off the hypothetical opponent's hip and comes up the center of your chest to press out to east in a willow palm. (Don't cheat the extention here...)

Double Mantis claws gather in a little clockwise circle to chest level, little hop to face south, and drop smoothly into a deep lunge (left leg straight). Both hands slam palm down on the mat.

Bounce right back up into a front stance facing east, left leg in front. Simultaneously, left Mantis claw extends out in front of you at chest level, hooking toward the left, then pulls back to chamber at waist as right fist punches forward. This is a powerful push/pull motion.

After Punch and Jab, slo-mo sparring with a designated attacker and defender. JM bailed on the sparring for the second class in a row. Me attacking JoE first. We ended up on the ground and he was trying to heel hook me. I tried a leg lock, but I just have not been taught this stuff.

JoE attacking Nemesis. It amuses me how Nemesis keeps falling into the Black Crane guard stance.

I was sucking a breath to remind SK (again) to not neglect assigning himself a turn, when he called up me to attack him. Yay. I had forgotten all about his bum arm. Then he settles into a White Dragon ready stance with his right arm behind his back. Okay, not so much Yay now. It's always a bit hard on the ego to get the snot beaten out of you by a guy with his dominant arm tucked in his rear waistband.

Back to one of the main problems I've always had while sparring SK- he starts doing lightning-fast Snake strikes at changing levels, and I can't seem to stop myself from chasing them around (which is exactly what *NOT* to do). I tried some of the chi sau which had been flowing so nice for me with Nemesis, but that's trying to beat a Snake at his own game! I was able to barely hold my own with that, which is actually probably pretty good. (We'll ignore the fact that he was doing it with his retarded hand...)

I stepped on the toe of his sock a few times to hold him in place while I tried for some belly strikes. I'm still reaching down with my arms reflexively to try to block kicks. I **MUST** break myself of that habit. I managed to slide overtop of his arm and get him in the throat a few times (with Snake strikes! Hee hee hee). Seriously, I need to try to remember to not engage classmates using *THEIR* dominant style. That's just like me trying to battle Rihanna in wrestling takedowns. I don't have to try to beat them at their own game. I should be trying to beat them with *MY* game.


(pic- More people I don't know; I found this amongst the PanAms photos and I thought it was pretty cool.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pan Ams...



Hey, Griff got 3rd- purple senior 1 super heavy!

Christiano got 3rd- black master feather (he's Julie's teacher)

Not seeing any of my other friends in the results list so far......


(pic- I don't know these people, but the pic cracked me up)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lamont hearts leglocks



I know people who are healthy, strong and agile, but they are not aware of it. Their bodies possess a wisdom that they can’t access. They are like little gnomes who direct the body from the control room; prisoners within their heads. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path



Friday evening no-gi at Cindy's.

Break guard and disengage again, Leapfrog the legs and get front mount again. Throw the legs to the side and pass guard again (various permutations).

Then a few new ones, where they've got their legs drawn up to their chests and you're on top- getting past the legs and getting side control. Including that scary one where the person standing is basically doing a flying triangle in on the person sitting. Once you're on them, there are five or six different subs on the menu. This is a cool move, but I don't know how useful it's going to be for me- because I'm way too anxious about landing too hard on the person's ribs. If I find myself in a position to STEP in and do it, I might- but I dunno about the LEAPING in and doing it.

Rolling with Leilani and another George (call this one George II). With Leilani, more sweep practice for us both. More of me putting her into bottom half guard and having her get the underhook and escape out the back. I'm still having to remind her sometimes, but she's getting there. If I want her to sweep, and she's just struggling fruitlessly under me, I'll say, "Don't flail- have a plan," My table analogy seems to be helpful for her. She talks about it all the time. :) If she's in bottom half guard, I just have to pause and say, "Where are you now?"

It gives me a lot of pleasure to think that my working that with her right now will mean that Leilani won't spend year two of her jiu jitsu career lying helplessly in bottom half guard the way I did. I really enjoy feeling like I can help newer people (especially other women) avoid pitfalls that I found myself stuck in and had to work a long time to get out of the hard way.

I also made sure to tell Leilani today how much it is helping my game to be able to work sweeps with her.

I had been watching George II roll with George and with Lamont, and he was going hard and spazzy! So I was a little worried when Cindy put him with me next. I told him to go light on me. He was a little rough but not too bad. He tooled me.

I asked George and then Lamont to roll with me. They were both letting me get a lot of positions, and they each let me have a tap- so I must have been doing okay. They both agreed that I am feeling heavier. Lamont and I started in standup, and he let me get a couple of takedowns (including a double leg). Tonight was leglock night for Lamont. He leglocked me about a half-dozen times from different positions, the show-off.

Those were good educational rolls with George and Lamont- and really sweaty ones too!

Yay- A few of Cindy's lunchtime classes are coming back!
Dang- they're on Tues and Thurs, which are the same days Gracie has lunchtime classes in Bellevue (the nicer commute). Oh well, it's better than nothing.


I'm dying to hear how the PanAms are going so far.... the results I've been able to find, I'm not seeing any of my friends placing. :(


(pic- Alecia (in blue))

Define "kick"



The type of physical awareness we have and the kind of relationship we maintain with our bodies influence our personality at least as much as the kind of books we read. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path


Thursday evening Kung Fu.

SK is off the drugs. He says that certain movements with the injured wrist still hurt- and you can clearly see that it is visibly swollen. However, I noticed that he fastened the seatbelt with the injured hand- so it is at least partially functional. He was told 3 weeks of recovery time. I mentioned that those three weeks would undoubtedly be extended if he does anything stupid in the meantime. Impatiently, he's like, "I'm *NOT* doing anything stupid," "I didn't say you were... just tossing that out there... theoretical-like..." He did agree that he wouldn't go to any capoeira workshops at the World Rhythm Festival next month. In fact, he probably shouldn't go to that event at all... beating on a drum would probably qualify as "stupid", although not quite as stupid as the capoeira maneuvers that landed him in this boat to begin with.

He also mentioned in the car that he wants to get a round of testing underway. I'm not sure if that's going to manifest, as it seems to require DD. I'm not sure if SK has the go-ahead to do promotions on his own... and even if DD said it was okay, I'm not sure SK would feel comfortable handling it all by himself. He asked me if I am still going to decline to test further, and I said yes. He said that despite a person or two having slightly more chronological time in the group, and thus outranking me, he considers me the senior student. I was extremely touched and honored by that. I don't understand it, but touched and honored nonetheless.

Even so, I think I made the right decision about stepping out of the ranking system. I get way too caught up in comparing myself unfavorably to classmates, and I think being "ranked" just encourages that self-destructive tendency in me. I need to do my best to focus on my own development and evolution without measuring myself by the yardsticks used in this group. These yardsticks are not translating well to me.... any better than the prevalent learning modalities are translating to me. I still haven't found the right yardsticks that will help me measure my progress and motivate me.

I ordered two books this week that I hope will give me some ideas and insights- the one reccomended by TS and RS, "Multiple Intelligences" and the one Leslie has been raving about, "The Art Of Learning".


While we were waiting for other people to show up for class, SK had JM and me do some light sparring-type drills involving stance shifts ONLY- trying to compromise each other's balance with (mostly) movements of the knees and shins. SK said, "NO KICKS," and I asked, "Ummmm......What's your definition of a kick?" Classmates were laughing, and he was glaring at me like I was being a smartass or something... I said, "I'm just trying to understand the parameters of this drill!"

More hand strike drills... still staying away from the REALLY complex stuff, but RM (Nemesis' bro) is quick to pick stuff up (sigh- another one- but good for him). When it was my turn to choose, I thought ahead to the next few moves he is going to be learning in the Five Animals form, and picked a few things from that so that he will have already seen some of the techniques when he is shown the next part of the form.

Then more kick drills- we went over the shovel kick and hook kick, to complete that particular sequence.

A little chi sau. I grabbed Nemesis. I kept my eyes shut and maneuvered us around in circles (both directions) while we worked sticky hands. We actually got going pretty fast, with a decent flow, but we weren't hitting each other (well, not much). I'm not sure how practical it was in a martial aspect, but it was very interesting.

For the last 30 min, SK took RM out into the hall to work on the Five Animals form, and told the rest of us to spar. I went to put my contacts in, and when I got back, I watched ES and Nemesis spar. ES's sparring is different from how it was before she left. I asked her if she's been training any MA since she was here last. At first she said no, then she said, "Oh, I did visit CK for a week." Wow. If this is the result of one week of sparring practice with CK, I'm impressed. ES and Nemesis had a good groove going, and they actually used up all the rest of the time without me getting a chance to play. That's okay, though. I had had a hard day at work and wasn't really in the mood to face sparring tonight anyway. JM had disappeared. I think she was out in the hall "assistant-teaching" while SK was working with RM on the form. Sigh.

I really did do okay with JM teaching class last Sunday, but now I'm afraid things like that are just going to be ramping up some problem issues. She corrected **SK** in class tonight. ******TWICE******. That's a brand new height of inappropriate for her. I really do not think it makes a good impression on the newbies to have one of the most junior students in the room contradicting the teacher right in front of the class. (Twice. Gads.) Not to mention that I know SK has some anxiety and insecurity in his teaching role, and I do not think he needs to have one of his most junior students undermining him like that in front of everyone.

Unfortunately, I know that SK (and DD and CN as well) will continue to let her get away with that. In fact, I'd bet my bottom dollar that if I said something to SK about the way JM corrects her seniors (now up to and including the teacher) in class, he would give me one of those "Huh?" blank looks.

It is very unlikely that JM would ever train under CC, but it would be funny to watch her try that sort of thing on HIM. CC would swat her down posthaste. Yet no one in THIS branch of the school is going to rein her in, so I guess this is just going to get worse and worse. It seems like she might be trying to mark her territory, with the entrance of a couple of new people.

(pic- Jerome)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Both sides




An individual who is truly alive should not settle for anything less than the totality of experience. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path





Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. I wore the pink gi. Several of the guys, as soon as they saw it, asked if it had been a laundry accident. That makes me laugh. Obviously those are the guys who have turned a load of undies pink a time or two in their lives! They know a laundry accident when they see one!

Carlos (chuckling): "Keetsune...what you say when you open washer door?"

"I said, 'F^(K!'"

"Careful the language on the mat!"

"You *ASKED* what I said, and I'm telling you!"

I ended up partnerless for drills at first, reinforcing my theory that a pink gi makes guys take you less seriously on the mat. Then a latecoming white belt got stuck with me.

Carlos made us do the same ugly conditioning drills from last night- with the addition of a very special agony. One person doing pushups WHILE hir partner does pushups in north-south with hands braced on hir shoulders. Mark (my white belt partner) was lighter than Hedge had been last night, but I still fell flat on my face with the very first attempt at being the bottom layer of the two-teir simultaneous pushup. I got back up and managed to crank them out, but they were micro-pushups.

One person has guard, 2 cuff grips, feet on opponent's hips. Opponent frees one hand and reaches around your thigh preparatory to trying to pass. You grab hir collar, hip out, swing leg around and replace closed guard. I was grabbing the wrong collar at first. I said to Mark- "Stay on the same side," Unfortunately Carlos was lurking right there and reprimanded me, "BOTH sides!" "I can't do it right on ONE side yet!" "Both sides!" Arrgh. I know he wants us to drill both sides, and I appreciate why, and I'm delighted to do so- but not on something new that I can't even do correctly on the first side yet.

Then you have guard, break opponent's posture down by pulling hir elbows, then immediately transfer grip to hir wrists- one palm toward you and the other toward hir. Pull and push, respectively. We drilled this for a while and then added the triangle. My triangles still suck- even on Mark, who isn't very big.

Timed matches with Benny and Marc. I stayed on top of Benny for a gratifyingly long time. He always tapped me in the end, though. He is a small guy, and one of the ones I always like to watch as an example of what I would like my BJJ to look like someday.

Marc- he tapped me two or three times today, and I didn't get a tap on him at all. Did reasonably okay positionally. I set up the choke from last night... I could see the moment when the light bulb went on and he realized what I was about to do... it was funny. "I thought that seemed familiar!" I set it up another two times, and I managed to roll him, but my nonchoking arm was not in the right position when we finished the roll. I hung onto the gi collar, thinking I could maybe shift position and choke him with it anyway (once I almost transitioned to the bow and arrow), but no joy. He tapped me out once with a triangle. I'm frustrated to be getting caught with these so often lately, when I had been doing so well for a long time staying the heck out of them. I think I'm just getting distracted with too much else going on in my game to stay focussed on watching for the triangles.

I did get something on him that I'm very happy about- another one of those improvised reversals that I just figured out on the fly. He ended up in bottom side control, and I don't know which of us was more surprised.

Tired now. I sat on the wall and watched Carlos and Tom try to kill each other for a while.


I sent LD an e-mail and asked if she has enough gas in her tank for our Tai Chi class today, or if we'd be better off pushing it back till next week after she's done with the radiation. She begged off. Poor girl. I feel so bad for her.




(pic- Glenn (on top))

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LevelUp




There are things that cannot be caged within the limits of geographic or racial boundaries. They are paths open to anyone whose heart beats for something more than simple inertia. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path




Tuesday evening BJJ at Gracie Bellevue. I was too lazy to get out of the house in time for the basics class at 6, but there was an "advanced" class scheduled at 7, so I decided to go for it.

Carlos and Pat are doing horrible conditioning drills this week while prepping for the Pan Ams. Since we are all a team here, the rest of us got to share the misery tonight.

One person in turtle, partner sits on hir back with feet hooked under armpits and does 20 situps. Each partner does two sets. Carlos partnered me with the smallest guy in there tonight (Hudge), but he was still heavier than me, and that made it even more miserable on the bottom than it was to be doing the situps.

One person in plank position, Partner stands perpendicular and does 5 pushups off hir back. Then move to the shoulder and repeat. Then north-south, then other shoulder, then opposite side of back. Each partner does two sets. Again, the bottom was even worse than the top. We weren't supposed to spread our feet apart, but I had to, or I wouldn't have had a prayer of remaining in position.

Way Cool choke. I'm happy that I came in for this choke. Opponent in turtle, you sprawled on top N/S. Reach under hir neck with your right hand and get a grip on hir OPPOSITE collar. Fingers must be *in*. Then reach under hir arm with your left hand and stretch it to try to touch the back of hir head. Once again my dwarfish arms are unequal to the task, but I did my best. Then you place your head on the floor on the side that you're going UNDERarm with, and roll. Take that hand that was (theoretically, for people with normal arms) on the back of hir head and place it palm on the mat under hir head. Almost no additional tightening is needed for the collar choke- you can almost do it without that second hand at all. Just in case my inadequate second arm was allowing escape opportunity, after the roll I pulled my body in so that it curled around Hudge's head.

Short timed spars with Hudge and then with Sasha. I did okay. Almost got the bow-and-arrow on Hudge, but he squirted out before I could secure a good grip on the pants. I noticed that Sasha was puffing like a locomotive- I opened my mouth to advise him to watch his breathing, then I shut it again. I do try to be careful about throwing unsolicited advice around... and white belt men are sometimes particularly unappreciative of a woman classmate's advice while they are lying helplessly underneath her side control. I didn't actually get a tap on him even though I tried a lot of chokes. What I did do is stay on top most of the time, and- even better- I managed to get BACK on top more than once after getting goonswept. He was using some strength on me- I don't think he was deliberately being a dick, just feeling desperate- but I stayed calm and worked methodically. Eventually he gasped, "Omigod, you're dominating me! I'm gassing so bad!" At which point I told him that he needed to try to breathe slower and more deeply.

I think it's safe now to say that I've had a LevelUp in my BJJ (and maybe in my Kung Fu as well- at least the sparring aspect- although I need a little more time and experimentation to be sure of that). I'm always anxious about acknowledging these, because I'm afraid it's asking for a karmic beatdown. But since a week or two BEFORE the tournament, I've just felt like I have been more effective in my rolling. Less fruitless thrashing, more calm. Being able to practice some sweeps on Leilani has helped a lot. Having some success at escaping bottom half guard in live rolls is HUGE for me. It seems like I've been doing a little better lately holding my own against some people who normally tool me, and maybe inching a bit ahead of some people whom I've been neck-in-neck with, and even appearing competant against white belts. I'm starting to feel that I can deal with white belts up to medium size- not necessarily tap them, but at least usually avoid GETTING tapped, and avoid getting injured by the spazziness, and stay calm and keep trying to work stuff.



(pic- Relax_On_The_Mat, silver medalist)

Oh no!!!!


I am such a moron. I washed my new (to me) snowy white Bad Boy gi with a set of red scrubs.

The "Bad Boy" thing is just wrong when it's pink.


It's a perfectly lovely cotton candy pink. If you like pink. Which I DON'T.

Marc's perfect day



Spiritual are those who are not satisfied with surviving, but want to turn daily experiences into sources of ecstasy. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path


At Kung Fu on Sunday, JoE knelt on my right-side big toe with his heavy bony knee- and today the toe is burgandy with purple touches. Luckily it doesn't seem to be hampering my BJJ much.


Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue. Rodrigo was teaching. I think Carlos is taking it easy this week before the Pan Ams. He was still there, though. I like that teachers are often present even if they're not on tap to be teaching... they don't HAVE to be there, but it's like they'd still rather be there than anywhere else. :)

Pummeling with Ron. Then pummelling segueing into a single-leg. I struggled with this due to my inability to distinguish left from right. I kept going down on the wrong knee. Rodrigo: "Keetsune! What knee is supposed to be on the mat?!?" "The right one!" "What knee did you just put on the mat??!" "The left one!" Arrgh.

Then overhooking the shoulder and stepping back to pull the person down. I was marginally better at this one because I have done something very similar in Kung Fu.

Then pendulum sweeps- making sure to stay tight as you roll on top, and hold the person there for "TREE seconds"! I was a little frustrated with the grips. I could see that a bicep grip was working splendidly for Ron, but whenever I tried it, my short stubby arms made it hard to get my butt out sideways far enough to do the sweep. I had to go back to the sleeve cuff- which didn't give me as much control, didn't let me stay as tight, and made it easier for Ron to try to post. Grrr.

Failed pendulum sweep transitioning to armbar. Same issue. Ron was getting a great tight armbar with that bicep sleeve grip- enough that I gave up trying to get my cuff grip to work half so well and struggled with trying to emulate him.

Positional training from closed guard- pass vs sweep or submit. It was Ron. Enough said. I put up a decent fight... I do appear to have been more competitive with Ron lately, although he always gets me in the end.

Break before timed matches. I was really tired and sweaty after being wrecked by Ron, so I took off my jacket and figured I was likely done.... maybe a little more at the very end after I'd cooled down. However, Rodrigo was matching up everybody on the mat and he had Marc left over- so he started calling the names of those of us sitting on the bench, chivvying one of us to get out there. I was the third one down. When he got to me, I bravely heaved myself up, dragged on my coat, and went out there. I said to Marc, "Just because it's YOU!"

Couple of good, fun, competitive matches, tired as I was. I tapped him once with Sunday's "technique of the day", the bow-and-arrow choke. When time was called, Rodrigo wouldn't let us off the mat- he rematched everyone and there I was facing down Ron again. Whimper.

I did okay, altho not as well as in the positional sparring. I was so tired I felt like I was fighting underwater. He tried get me into the bow-and-arrow, which I defended. "Oh no ya don't.... I was here on Sunday too, Mister!" Later, I got him into the bow-and-arrow and thought I was actually going to tap him. Carlos yelled across the mat for me to get my illegal fingers out of Ron's pants cuff. I switched my grip, got a deeper collar grip, set my knee in his back, and kept pulling. Nothin'. "What's wrong??!!??" "I just don't like to tap." Grrrrr.

We teased Carlos about not being able to eat Gummi Bears. He was mopey because he is on veggies. Then we teased Marc because he was going to get a massage after class. "Then back to work?" "No, home to bed.... massages make you sleepy!" I commented, "How's that for the perfect day- BJJ, a massage, then back to bed. All it needs is a bucket of barbeque wings!"


(pic- Peter (on the right))

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday



It is time for an athletic philosophy; a philosophy forged through muscles and heart, a philosophy born out of the union of body and mind, of pragmatism and utopia, of sweet sensitivity and a warrior's determination. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path



An hour of competition training at Gracie Seattle. The TROPHIES were there- the overall team trophy and the team gi trophy. They're huge, green and gold and glittery. Pretty cool.

Sprawls during warmups again. They are more challenging if you curve your back so that your belly button is on the floor, and look up at the ceiling. Oof. I seemed to do a little better with them today even so. Wonder if I'm getting used to them.

Breaking the turtle, getting hooks in. Lots of this before we even progressed to rolling the person over. Then a bow-and-arrow choke. The quickest way to do this is to grasp the turtle "sash style" with one of your arms OVER theirs and one of your arms UNDER theirs- then you don't have to take time to switch your hands before getting the collar grip for the choke. I was working with Angela. I fought her a little harder than usual because I know she's getting ready for Pan Ams. She seems a little nervous about it, so I gave her lots of verbal encouragement. There aren't a lot of women in her bracket, but there's a (comparative) vast host in the absolute, which she is also doing.

She's lost so much weight, which is great- but I hope she can adjust her game for it. I know that when I lost just 10lb, I noticed. Certain things didn't work the same as before, and adjustments had to be made. She's lost a *LOT* of weight, and a lot quicker, and I don't know how long it's been since she's done jiu jitsu with THIS very different body.

She kept ending every drill rep with an extra little armbar or something... and calling out her points.

On to Kung Fu. When I got there, I found that we had no teacher. SK stayed home with a migraine, CN was unavailable, and DD was nursing LD (who apparently is not feeling any better than she was feeling last time I saw her- ie, roadkill). So JM taught. To my surprise, I handled this okay. It did not send me into a tailspin of bitter, defensive insecurity. I'm not sure if that's because I'm maturing and evolving (which would be good!) or sliding into apathy (which would be bad!). She did a good job, of course. I thanked her nicely at the end.

We did three or four reps each of Five Points Of the Star, Tiger Versus Crane, and Black Crane One. Twice as many reps of the fragment of White Crane Walking the Path (which I was gratified to see that I remembered better than anyone). Then we repped all of the Black Crane drills.

Lastly, apps of the final two Black Crane drills (the long, complicated ones) with partners. I worked number 4 with JM and then with JoE. With JM, I came up with a variation that involved hanging onto the opponent's arm instead of letting it go once you've got hir on the ground and you're kicking hir. It not only kept hir from trying to roll away, it also opened up that whole side rib area for the kicking. JM improved on my variation by suggesting that we grip at the bicep instead of the wrist as I had been doing- it allowed better control as well as making both the transitions (before and after) quicker.

JM complained (again) that my kicks- while not too hard- were always landing in the exact same spot!

When I worked the same drill with JoE, he noted that I was falling in a very different manner as well as a very different position than Nemesis (his previous partner) had. He had to adjust his last set of techniques to account for the position changes. Then he commented that unlike Nemesis, I always fell curled up with my knees between us. I got a good laugh out of that. I wonder why! When he stepped too close, I grabbed an X guard. I still haven't worked with this much, so I'm clumsy. I was also stymied for a moment when I reached for his gi sleeve and he wasn't wearing one. But I moved to Plan B and overhooked his bicep instead, and managed to pull him down and roll him underneath me to bottom side control. He groaned, "I need to work grappling some more!" I heard JM and Nemesis on the other side of the mat, commenting that things had taken a little longer this week to degenerate into jiu jitsu.

Drill 5 had us putting one person in the middle at a time, as there are at least three attackers.

There was a lot of getting back up off the ground after being knocked down for all of these reps- I made sure to always get up with the tactical stand (practicing both sides).

We did a 25 min sitting meditation instead of the usual 15 min. My legs feel asleep and it was hard to get up again. I was also feeling drowsier afterward.



JB has sent me the footage of my two gi fights from the tournament. I haven't decided if I'm going to post them or not. The first one is even shorter than I remember. Not my best work, for sure. I did see how the little weasel finally got me down, though- she did a sacrifice throw! No wonder.

I was surprised to see that I actually got takedown points in the second match. I think there were 3 total takedowns in that one- we kept getting back up. At one point I did the disengage-and-stand-up thing, and I see now by the tape that I had been an idiot to not jump back on her right away before *SHE* could get up as well (or jump back on her WHILE she was getting up).

Another problem I can see already is that I played Rihanna's takedown game with her. I am a little exasperated with myself to see that I am still looking at opponents, seeing them do X, and roaring defiantly, "I am going to meet you X for X!!!" Even if I know I don't do X well. I do that with strong guys- trying to go muscle to muscle with them. In this case, Rihanna was attempting wrestling takedowns- and obviously skilled at them- so instead of playing wrestling takedowns with her, I should have instead tried some takedowns that I'm better at.

I think that at the very beginning of a fight (especially with someone you've never fought before), there's an attempt to scare/intimidate the opponent- to make a powerful first impression. I think my drive to do that reinforces my impulse to prove that my X is stronger than hir X.

I spent a surprising amount of time on top in the second match. She was in bottom half guard (how's that for irony). If I hadn't lost sight of that "watch out for the triangle setup" scrolling ticker at the bottom of my mental screen, I might have been able to beat that girl. Now that I know I actually have the ability to get the H out of bottom half guard, I can hopefully free up enough brain cells to stay focussed on keeping out of the triangle next time.

Need to look at these some more. Leilani claims to have my no-gi match on her phone- but she is having technical difficulties, and as of yet, she has not succeeded in transferring it to computer. So I don't know when I'm going to see that one, or if I ever will. I'd like to see that one.



I spent most of yesterday repotting houseplants. I stole/rescued a neglected and dying aloe from a back room at work about 15 years ago. Someone's obviously put Viagra in my watering can. I now have dozens and dozens and dozens of pots of healthy, beautiful, FECUND aloe (and if I was less lazy and repotted more often, there'd be ten times that much). It's not even funny any more. I have to give some of these plants away. I'm going to be like that obnoxious neighbor who keeps giving everybody zuchini from her garden whether they want it or not... only with me it's aloe.

(pic- Carlos (he's the big one- heh heh) and some of the kids at the tournament)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday at Cindy's


Friday evening no-gi at Cindy's. JB and I were a little late because of awful traffic (again). We still managed to make *most* of the warmups, though! My hand was slightly painful tonight but not too bad. I think I'm going to be able to keep training as usual with it, as long as I'm careful of certain grips and positions. JB stepped on it once tonight, but luckily she stepped on the thumb side and not the little-finger side.

Break the guard, stand up and step back to disengage. I had actually used this once or twice in the tournament last weekend. Cindy had taught me that before my FIRST Revolution..... it had never occurred to me before that once you were grappling on the ground, you still had the option to disengage and then re-engage on YOUR terms. Now I use that quite a bit.

We worked having the person on the ground move around to try to keep the standing person (who had just disenaged from guard and was circling) between hir feet. Cindy likes to pretend she's lying in a reclining gunner pilot's seat and aiming twin cannons between her feet at the opponent... hey, it works for the kids, it works for me! I was making JB laugh by "shooting" at her.

Then, the person standing grabs the ankles of the person on the ground. Throwing the legs to one side and passing the guard (we tried it with the person on the ground rolling both ways- if s/he rolls toward you, you pass the guard and get side control; if s/he rolls away, you take the back). Then, same thing, only you pass the opponent's foot to your other hand and keep ahold of it as you go in, so that s/he can't keep hir legs between you.

Then, one of Cindy's favorite things to do- you're lying on the ground, she'll control your ankles and start pushing your knees up to your chin. The second you push back, she slams your soles to the floor, vaults your knees, and front mounts you. This was one of the first things JB and I learned when we first started coming to Cindy's. It's really scary if you're not expecting it; suddenly that person's groin is hurtling right into your face at about 100mph. Of course, JB and I are now expecting it, so we know better than to ever push back! In fact, I've been so brainwashed to never do that, it was hard to make myself do it for the drill!

Positional drilling from closed guard- JB and Leilani. It continues to be very difficult to pass JB's closed guard. She keeps yanking me down on her chest so that I can't posture up, and I don't have the strength to stop her from doing that. I pretty much have to wait till she opens her guard to try to do something, and then make my move. That's what I have to do with a lot of people, though... so I'm getting somewhat good at launching into productive action as soon as those legs shift.

Leilani- I reached back with one hand and slid it between her ankles to break her closed guard. Then I showed her why we never do that on anybody but clueless white belts. She knows how to do a triangle, but doesn't recognize the golden opportunities to try for it. I also showed her how to grab my heels and drop me on my ass if I stand up square in her closed guard.

Short timed spars with Leilani, JB, and Alecia. Alecia and I struggled for some time with me in her triangle, stacking her. Eventually she transitioned to an armbar and tapped me out with that, but not before I'd made her work hard. She had me on the bottom, and she also had me back mounted. I still can't do much of anything with her but stay on the defensive, but that armbar was the only tap she got out of me tonight. I even seem to be getting fairly good at defending her dirty little painful tricks. She is taking me by surprise with them less often.

With Leilani, I told her as we began that I wanted her to get that underhook like clockwork every time she found herself in bottom half guard. I had to remind her a couple of times, but I put her in bottom half guard repeatedly, and had her get the underhook and then escape out the back. I swept her several times, including one really interesting reversal that I invented on the fly. I'm very happy to be able to have the chance to work on this weak part of my game with Leilani. I need to remember to tell her that, and thank her, before she gets too frustrated with being repeatedly swept. I let her sweep me a couple times, too.

JB got another hip throw on me, which was a little embarrassing, especially as I knew what she was going for (and successfully defended her first couple attempts). But we went down and rolled over, and I ended on top- which was cool. I tried to keylock her with Cindy's reverse-motorcycle trick. It took me a really long time- she is very flexible and usually won't tap to keylocks- but I finally did tap her (just as I was about to give up). She tapped me back with a keylock a little later. The bummer of teaching is that your favorite submission is often your students' favorite submission too. That is the first sub I taught her!

I accomplished one of the "moves of the day" on her- passing the leg to the other hand and then holding onto it as you pass. She replaced guard almost immediately (before I could get a controlling position), but I did kinda SORTA pass- almost- and Cindy saw me do it and called, "Good, Kitsune!" Which is always nice.

I played with George a little- he wanted to drill a wrestling trick where you are on all fours with the opponent hugging one arm over top of your waist; you're trying to get to your feet and the opponent is trying to keep you down (mostly by pushing forward with a leg behind your butt). It took me a bit to get the hang of what we were doing and how, but then I caught on and got a little better at it. Then I started faking George out by suddenly yanking him BACKWARD, and occasionally throwing on an RNC. That wasn't really within the scope of the drill, but hey, the guy needs a challenge.

Meanwhile, JB was using the same sit-up sweep on Lamont that she he hurt her knee with on Wednesday when she was doing it to *ME*. And she hurt the same knee, AGAIN. Out came the ice pack again. I told Lamont that I'm going to get him for hurting my friend.

(pic- Cornelia)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On top


Here you go, those who have been waiting for a pic of me- that's me, in the cream gi. Rihanna is in the black gi. I would like you to note who is on top. (Although, to be fair, she did tap me in this match!)

I skipped lunchtime BJJ today, and will probably skip it tomorrow. The NEW injured hand is mildly painful. It bends, and I can grip with it, but the little finger hurts when I try to extend it out to the side.

Thursday kung fu. SK is heavily bandaged and hopped up on oxycodone. He says that he can move the wrist around, but that it is still pretty painful. Apparently he took "no PT and very little recovery time" to mean that he would be juggling tractor tires by the end of the week, and he is peeved to see that he's not going to be up to full speed right away. I aked him if he could at least play video games this time. He said a few of the tamer ones. I asked him if the Oxycodone made it feel like his head was floating, and he agreed... as well as noting that thoughts don't tend to go in a straight line.

We had a new guy tonight in addition to Nemesis' bro, so we kept it pretty basic. Hand strike drills, more kick drills, Opening moves of Five Animals again. SK tried to get me to stand up front for the kick drills, but I begged off and threw JM under the bus in my place!

A little slo-mo sparring with JB and then Nemesis. I wasn't doing quite as well tonight- but I had had a phenomenally crappy day, and was tired and distracted and grumpy- so I was having a hard time focussing. Again Nemesis was getting me with the double strikes on different levels. I commented on that, and he said, "Okay, I'll do it some more so that you can practice!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SNAP


First of all, please just take a moment to admire the vast awesomeness of this photo. This is Alecia (blue) and Rihanna (red), photo taken by Angela. Angela took a lot of great photos, many of which I have now cached to decorate my training blog posts for quite a while to come.

Wednesday morning BJJ at Gracie Seattle.

Prof. Carlos put us through some killer warmups. The first cycle would have been killer- and we did three cycles. He assured us that this boot camp would not be happening every Wednesday (I think he realized that attendance was going to drop dramatically on Wednesdays without that assurance).

Double-leg, opponent sprawls, you turtle, grab hir belt, sit in, and get full guard. Carlos had to correct me as I was bending my leg outward instead of inward at first. I am flexible enough to do that, but he demonstrated that it was too easy for the opponent to pin my leg down that way. Glenn and I had some problems figuring out which side the knee was supposed to be up on vs which side the head was supposed to come out on.

One six minute match with a smaller white belt guy. Spent most of the match with him in my guard and one really nice deep collar hold, trying in various ways to finish the choke. Almost had him a couple of times, but not quite. I did, however, keep him well occupied enough that he couldn't focus on attacking *ME*.

Those warmups were vigorous enough that they had actually made me kinda nauseous... so I had to quit after that one live roll.

Prof Carlos told the entire gym- multiple times- that I had won my no-gi match 22 to 2. (Yeah, I'm still getting conflicting reports about the final score, but all agree that it was a rout). He has stopped calling me "Fox" and started calling me "Twenty-two".



Tai chi. LD was not very spry today. She says that the radiation treatments (of which she has a week left, IIRC) are kicking her butt. Making her very tired and achy. She is blowing off PT- even though she says the PT helps her a lot- because she'd rather take a nap. I'm worried about her.

Review of all the usual suspects, then another piece of the form. Her drill stuff all looks good- I haven't really looked at the form itself yet because she freaks out and goes blank as soon as I'm watching her. So I have just been doing a bunch of reps and letting her stand behind me and follow. At some point soon, though, I'm going to have to watch!



No-gi at Cindy's. We drilled scissor sweeps, tactical stand from failed scissor sweep (posting on opponent's head), and a simple omoplata. I drilled with Leilani. The first time she tried the omoplata on me, I ended up lying on my back, and we couldn't figure out why it didn't work. Then I realized that I had automatically done an extra roll which negated the technique, even though my CONSCIOUS intention had been to be a good training partner and let her omoplata me. Oops.

Cindy came by and showed me a "bonus violence" variation, with a crossface. I told Leilani, "Yup, that's definitely the Cindified version!"

Cindy demoed a very evil takedown on me. First, she said, "I'll just set it up," Then she changed her mind and asked me if she could take me down. I said, "This is going to hurt, isn't it?" My wonderful classmates all cracked up. I was told to just go with it... yeah, it seemed like it would snap your neck if you didn't. Cooperating, it was reduced from murderous to merely excruciating. Of course Lamont had to ask to see it a couple more times. Thanks, pal. Next time YOU are the demo dummy, I'll make sure to ask LOTS of questions.

Rolls with Leilani (more sweep practice), JB (more stacking), Peter, and Cindy. I know that Cindy only has four limbs- but when you roll with her, it seems like at least eighteen. It's insane.

JB threw some weight on my ribs and forced an involuntary little squeak out of me. She immediately asked with great concern if I was okay- without letting up the weight. I managed to say I was fine, and she said, "That was such a pathetic sound!" still with a voice of concern, all the while continuing to cheerfully crush me. It was so funny that I started laughing uncontrollably, which seemed to perturb her a bit- but not enough to get off my chest.

JB did a really nice sit-up sweep on me, and then started thrashing around grimacing and holding her knee. I said, "Do you want an ice pack?" She lay there with the ice pack on her knee for a while, then put it away and started again. She did a lovely hip throw on me, and my left hand hit the mat first. I distinctly heard a SNAP.

First thought: "Wow, that was a sweet hip throw!"
Second thought: "Ahhhhhh! My finger is broken!!!!!!"
Third thought: "It's not my dominant hand, thank God."
Fourth thought: "it's not an index finger or thumb this time, thank God."
Fifth thought: "Dang! JB is only here for another two days! I don't wanna be on the bench!"

JB said, "Do you want an ice pack?" and got me the same ice pack that she'd just put away. It's the little finger on my left hand. It hurts, but not nearly as bad as my last sprain. It still bends, and is not (as of yet, a couple hours later) visibly swollen. I think it's okay. Time will tell. Boy, it definitely went "SNAP!" though. That scared me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Results




Revolution results are finally up.

Besides winning the overall team trophy by 3.5 points, Gracie Barra WA got 2nd place team in gi, 2nd place team in no-gi, first overall in the kids' division, first place in kids' gi, 2nd place in kids' no-gi.

Besides all the wins I've already mentioned, Peter got 3rd in his blue belt gi division, and Kaungren got 3rd in his intermediate no-gi division (dispite having claimed his no-gi "sucks"). Brandon took gold in his kids' intermediate no-gi bracket. Richie took a second in his green belt gi division.

Sleeper Athletics placed 4th in the kids' gi division (only 3 teensy little points behind Lotus Club), 3rd in kids' no-gi, third in kids' overall.

Cindy's little prodigy, Emmanuel (Code name: E-Man) took first in age 10-12, 78-81lb ADVANCED no-gi, as well as first in his orange belt gi division. That little kid is impressive. I'll bet he'd tap me. Daniel took first in his kids' beginner no-gi bracket.

(pic- E-man)

Back to work


Lindsey's Sunday BJJ class at Gracie Seattle.

We worked on the most basic knee-in-the-butt guard break, then crawling over the thigh to pass. Also, wrapping the gi tail around your opponent's shoulder to imprison that arm so as to more easily escape half guard. Everyone paired up and Sonia and I were left standing there looking at each other... so there we were.

At one point, she mentioned that she'd been wristlocked by Prof Carlos a couple weeks ago and it hadn't been right since. I started laughing and told her that *I'd* been wristlocked by Professor Carlos last JULY and it hadn't been right since. Kaungren was nearby, and he started laughing too, because he has also been a Carlos wristlock victim. Maybe we should start a support group or something. LOL. Carlos does heart him a good wristlock!




Then Sunday Kung Fu. I stood in the window till my classmates were looking at me, then I flashed my jacket open to show off my tournament bling.

SK wanted Nemesis and me to show him what we'd worked on while SK was out of town, so we spent the first half hour reviewing where exactly the attackers are coming from on Five Points Of the Star.

Then SK had us doing various flying kicks, first against a focus mitt and then against the water-base bag. JM excels at these because of her tae kwan do experience. She and Nemesis were knocking the water bag over after about 15 min; me, it took a little longer. Eventually I pulled a muscle in my left calf right behind the knee- the same one that seizes up sometimes during Cindy's frog-jump warmups. I had to stop with the flying kicks.

Sparring. Me and JB first. She hadn't done any of the slow-mo sparring yet. Yes, it did turn into BJJ a few times... although in HERE, you're allowed to bite, tickle, pinch, and punch people in the face (all of which JB gleefully did to me).

Then JB had to spar JM, and I got Nemesis. Sigh. I wanted to see if the multi-strike, centerline, driving, flowing Snake sparring that I had been doing last class could be reproduced, and I was very pleased to see that it could. I tried a few Northern Mantis guard stances because I wanted to see if this was solely a Snake thing... it did end up turning right back into Snake, but maybe that's just because I don't have enough experience yet to transfer it to another style. A Black Crane guard stance spontaneously popped out too. SK teases me whenever I do that. "For somebody who doesn't like Crane....." he always laughs. I kept speeding up- on purpose- because 1)I felt competitive for a change, and 2)I was just excited to explore what I could do in this mode.

Still really, REALLY, liking this groove. I felt in control. I still need to work on keeping both guard hands up- and Nememsis is still consistently nailing me with strikes in which he targets two different levels simultaneously- but I feel like I'm doing a lot better in this mode. Sparring was FUN on Sunday evening. Sparring WITH NEMESIS was FUN on Sunday evening. Stunning. Sparring has not been fun for a very, very long time. I don't think I have ever in my life had a single sparring session with Nemesis that I could call fun. I'm scared to get too cocky too soon, but I'm starting to think I might have had a Level-Up. Oh, that would be so nice. It's been a really long, discouraging time without one.



Monday evening gi BJJ at Cindy's. JB and Peter came, and Alecia was there too. I was able to thank George specifically for drilling those bottom half-guard escapes with me on Friday night.

I couldn't do the warmups because my left calf was still pretty painful. While people were doing warmups, Cindy was shouting out all the medals won at the Revoltion for the applause of all. The kids did great. Cindy even called out Peter's medal, which impressed me, since Peter medaled for her competition. Cindy is so cool that way.

Alecia (with her ankle still wrapped) and I sat on the "cripple's bench" while the others were warming up. I congratulated her again on how well she'd fought against Cornelia. She complained about Cornelia fighting in a white belt BJJ division when she is a judo black belt. I bit my tongue on pointing out that one could likewise object to a high-intermediate-to-advanced level no-gi MMA fighter doing a white belt gi division. The both of them were kinda sandbaggish in that white belt division, and I think they deserved each other.

She was amused to hear that the woman who'd beaten her twice in no-gi was the same one who'd beaten me twice in gi. She said, "They should have just combined us." I didn't reply. "YOU probably don't think so... ha ha." Well, not really. While it would have been good to have a larger field and more matches, did I want to compete against a bunch of women twenty and thirty pounds heavier than I? Not really. Did I want to get beaten an additional couple of times by Rihanna? Well, no biggie, but it seems a bit pointless. Did I want to compete against Alecia? F no. I told her, "I really did not want to have to fight you, Alecia." She sounds like she's a little bitter that she drew some really hard fights while I skated by to medal twice in two shallow divisions. I acknowledge that she had to work a heck of a lot harder to get her two silvers than I did to get my silver and gold, and I also acknowledge that she got the two toughest possible opponents in Cornelia and Rihanna. But the luck of the draw is part of competing. You just never know if you're going to have to fight one person who can't match up to you, or a half dozen people who can beat the snot out of you with one hand stuck in their belt. I'd be ecstatic to see all these divisions fill up with lots of talented, tough women. In the meantime, I'm going to be happy that the luck of the draw this time allowed me to both avoid Alecia, and rake in a buttload of points to boost my teams.

We drilled the knee-in-the-butt guard break again, but this time you put a knee up and crawl over the OPPOSITE thigh. This really mixed me up for a while (you know what a problem I have with my left and my right!). Then a wrestler's cradle using the gi lapel to curl your opponent up like a fried shrimp before you squeeze hir till her back pops, spawl on hir face, and tiptoe around to pass. This was a little complicated for me, and I needed Cindy's patient walking me through it a couple more times. Then a variation where you start the same, but pass around to the opponent's back.

Positional sparring with rotating partners. I got JB and Alecia. I was happy to be able to pass Alecia's guard. I'm sure she'll catch onto gi quickly, so I'd better relish being able to be competitive with her while I can!!

Then short timed live rolls with rotating partners. JB, then Cindy, then JB again. JB and I were starting from standing, which is good practice for me. I really want to get more of that, but I am wary of doing too much of it with people who greatly outsize/outweigh me. I got JB with a tomoe nage (thanks to Ginger for supplying the name of the throw), and teased her that she ought to have known better than to let me get that, since she has been reading my training blog and *knows* that I've been ninja'ing people with that throw lately! Paybacks came, though, in the form of that hideous stacking guard pass (and equally hideous stacking triangle defense) of hers. It's been a long time since I've endured JB's heavy stack. It wasn't any more pleasant than I'd remembered.

JB said that she'd done okay against Alecia in gi, which must have been encouraging, because I know she's afraid of Alecia too (we are ALL afraid of Alecia!!!!). I am trying really hard to talk JB into doing the next Revolution, but she would be in Alecia's, Cornelia's and Rihanna's weight class! She'd be able to avoid them all in no-gi, though, which is her favorite (Cornelia doesn't do no-gi that I'm aware of; and the other two are in intermediate while JB would probably want to start in beginner). She might run up against Cornelia and Alecia in gi, however.

We got to watch Peter spar George, which was quite a battle.

I rolled for a while with Leilani, and swept her a couple of times. She expressed her frustration with sweeps, so I did a little sweeps-workshop with her. I explained the concept of your opponent being a table, of which you need to compromise two "legs" on the same side before you try to sweep to that side. She's still having a little trouble remembering which side to tip towards. She also tends to get too impatient, and thrash fruitlessly instead of taking the extra time to set up the sweep carefully and make sure the opponent can't post. I walked her through a sweep, then I swept her back, and vice versa for quite a while. I hope it helped her out.

Then everyone left, and even Cindy left and let Peter, JB and me lock up after we'd rolled some no-gi. Peter likes to capture your bicep high up on the shoulder and then roll, pulling you helplessly over in a "piggyback" roll.

I could have rolled for hours, but I needed to get home and shot my diabetic cat.


Tuesday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue.

Rodrigo is as happy as the cat who swallowed the canary, because we won the team trophy. He did stress, however, that we were going to start training for the next Revoltuion RIGHT NOW. No rest for the weary, sigh. I was drilling with Ben (who won gold in his blue belt gi division this weekend).

We worked a little takedown prep to start. Grab opponent's left gi lapel with your right hand, drop on your left knee with right leg stuck out stiffly- DIAGONAL to opponent so that s/he can't sprawl on your back. Grab behind opponent's right knee, hug it to your chest and stand up, then force hir back a few steps. I need as much takedown practice as I can get. I kinda liked this one, although it hurt my knees, and also I get nervous about any takedown move that has me kneeling with my face near the opponent's knees. Kung fu- as well as accidental BJJ events- have made me wary of being clocked in the face by someone's knee. I got this move pretty smooth, though. The main thing I was trying to focus on was reducing my telegraphing before the drop.

Then escape from back mount. Then clock choke. Lots of gi burn today. Ben kept pausing to pull his t-shirt collar up further on his neck. Every time he did it, I sheepishly mumbled, "Sorry."

Then positional sparring from back mount; choke vs defend the choke. I couldn't complete a choke on Ben, but I think I put up a good fight. When it was his turn, he was on top of me most of the time- I couldn't get out of his mount- but I was good at defending the choke. Especially since I didn't have to worry about the armbar, ha ha.

Tournament part 2: no-gi

Text from Cindy: "Congratulations on the win, champ!!!!!"

E-mail from Lamont: "Kitsune, I am very proud of you. Not just your placing but your attitude and performance. You did great!!!!"

E-mail from JB: "I heard you won!!! Good job!!!! =D =D =D I'm so proud of you! It was so awesome watching you compete today!!!! Hugs and chocolate cake!!!!!!!!! ;)"

Text from SK: "I'm alive. Surgery went well. :-) "


I had asked him to text me Monday night or Tues morning just to let me know he was still alive after the general anesthesia. He gave me a whole bunch of crap for being a Mother Hen.

So, where'd I leave off... no-gi. Oh, one more gi thing: my GB teammate Blake got the "Vicious Submission" prize for gi.. armbar in seventeen seconds.

Once again, a two-person field in my bracket. We would fight three times, best two out of three wins. The other girl was a buddy of Peter's. I had been sitting right behind her in the bleachers for half the morning, surreptitiously checking out her biceps. I was thinking that my biceps were bigger, and maybe I was stronger than she. She didn't look as scary as those badass MMA girls from the November Revolution- with their swaggers, glowers, cornrows and gang tats. She looked like a normal girl.

We were the first complete no-gi bracket weighed in and matside, so they went ahead and started us. There were still a few white belt brackets finishing up. We were the first adult no-gi match of the day.

It's all a little fuzzy... but IIRC, yet again my opponent initiated the takedown but got no points because of the way we landed. You know, I don't really mind letting them initiate the takedown if they're not getting any points and I am always going to begin the floorwork in an advantageous position. I really do recover well from takedowns. As soon as I know I'm going down, I'm already beginning to execute the landing and ensuing moves- using the momentum from the takedown.

After that, I spent almost the entire rest of the roll on top. Yup. Wow. I think that deserves an encore: "I spent almost the entire rest of the roll on top."

Also notable- I don't recall finding myself lying in bottom half-guard once during this match.

She got me halfway rolled over a couple of times, but failed to press the matter by getting some weight on top of me quickly enough, so I was able to put her right back down. After a bit, I felt that I was in control and had enough leisure to consider applying a keylock. It was a nice one, and I kept yanking, but she did not tap. Rats- another rubber-shouldered gal.

As we were struggling with the keylock, I abruptly realized that I was much stronger than this woman, and she was going wherever I muscled her. The devil on my left shoulder crowed, "YAY-esss!!" while the angel on my right shoulder groaned, "You brute! You're doing to her exactly what you hate having everybody else do to you! Not only a bully, but a HYPOCRITICAL bully! And this is not good jiu jitsu."

A while later- the devil having muscled the angel into an RNC and choked her out cold- I attempted a kimura on my opponent. I had her arm twisted so far behind her back- and I was thinking, "Jesus H Christ, isn't she ever going to tap??!?" I hadn't had anyone cornering me when we began, but at this point I became dimly aware of Lamont's voice saying very calmly- like he was asking me to please pass the scones- "Kitsune. Switch your hands." Duh! I did that, muscled the poor gal further up onto her shoulder so that I could switch hips and throw a shin over her head to pull the kimura further, and then there was a red beanbag flying past my nose.

Dazedly, I stood there while a ref lifted MY arm instead of my opponent's arm for the very first time.

Walked off the mat, and Peter was standing there waiting. I slapped his hand, then realized that he wasn't waiting there to congratulate me, he was waiting there to console his friend whom I'd just beaten. Oops. A hypocritical INSENSITIVE bully, that's me.

Then Lamont was hugging me, and Professor Carlos was hugging me, and I think some other people were hugging me too, but it's all kind of a blur. Lamont said, "Did you see the points?" No. He said it was something like seventeen to zero. I started shaking and quavered, "Are you shitting me?" I hadn't just beaten her, I'd Alecia'ed her.

I heard "Keetsune.... Keetsune." and saw Rodrigo across the mat smiling and giving me thumbs-up.

Lamont said, "They want you to go again." I said in dismay, "Right now?" There were still no other no-gi brackets matside and ready. "The ref says three minutes." {sputters} "How long do you want?" {more sputters} "Tell me how long you want, and I'll tell him." Thank Gods he showed up and I didn't have to handle these negotiations myself. My brain still wasn't functioning quite right. I swallowed and tried to pull myself together. "I'll go- she's tired too."

Then Peter came over and said, "She wants some more time. In fact, she doesn't know if she wants to fight again." I stared at him blankly. I think he had to repeat it once or twice before I said, "At all??"

The ref was next to loom up in my grill. "She might not want to fight again. You're garanteed at least two matches at this tournament. Is it okay if she doesn't want to fight again? I don't like to see anybody cry."

Lamont again: "She wants to forfeit the remaining two matches. She doesn't want to fight you again."

"Keetsune....Keetsune." Rodrigo is calling at me across the mat again, grinning like a Halloween jack-o-lantern. I have never seen Rodrigo grin this much. At *ME*.

That would probably have felt really good if I hadn't been hyperaware of Peter comforting my obviously very upset opponent/victim at the other end of the bleachers. As it was, I felt kinda crappy. She did eventually come over to me and was very gracious, and I hope I was gracious back. She said that it was her first Revolution, and that it was not how she'd expected. I told her that her technique was good, that I'd just totally muscled her.

I would have felt better if I'd won by nice clean jiu jitsu technique instead of muscling. I was quite honestly perplexed and flabbergasted just to find myself in that position at all. The few times during my entire BJJ career in which I've rolled with someone smaller and weaker than myself- of which I can count on one hand, and have fingers left over- the person was also junior enough that I was just sort of walking them through stuff, draping myself gently over them and letting them escape, etc. I have never muscled anyone until Saturday. I didn't even know what that felt like. It was exceedingly odd. Some kind of bizarre trip that my brain still can't process.

I watched Alecia beat up some girl in her no-gi division, then Rihanna vs Alecia. I had conflicting loyalties. Luckily they were not standing near each other, and there were enough people milling about that I hope neither of them saw me orbiting between them, wishing them both good luck. Wow, another heck of a fight. Rihanna finally tapped Alecia- I think with a choke of some kind. They had to fight each other a second time a little later, and Rihanna beat Alecia again- this time on points. So Rihanna got first in both gi and no-gi. I felt better about having gotten my butt kicked by her after seeing her kick ALECIA'S Butt. Twice. That is one Bad Girl.

At some point in there.... I don't even remember if it was before or after my fight... Relax_On_the_Mat came over and introduced herself, and we chatted a bit. I know I stared blankly at her for a moment. When we'd described ourselves by PM on the forum, she'd said she was "one of the bigger white belt chicks" in a navy blue Koral gi, so I had been scanning the mats all during the gi matches while I was in the bleachers, looking for the "big chicks". I never saw any big chicks. Once she was standing in front of me, I had to work through some cognitive dissonance before realizing that I'd been looking for a horizontally "big chick" while Relax_On_the_Mat is a VERTICALLY "big chick". LoL.

I picked up the traditional post-tournament giant bag of M&M's on the way home from the comp. I was too tired for the traditional post-tournament pizza, and I knew I had to get up early in the morning for work.


The results and photos are still not up online. Cindy's got some pics of the kids up on her school website, though. Her Flicker account won't let me save any of them to post on my blog.... annoying. There's a real cute one showing one of her little boys choking a kid from behind and looking completely gleeful while peeking over the top of his victim's head.

Monday, March 14, 2011

O.......M.......G

This just in- From the Revolution web page:
-------------------------------
Our Adult/Masters Gi champion is LOTUS CLUB with 84 points. Gracie Barra WA was a close second with 74 points.

Our Adult/Masters Submission Grappling champion is IVAN SALAVERRY MMA with 86 points. Gracie Barra WA was second with 25.5 points.

The Adult/Masters Overall CHAMPIONS for The Revolution 03.12.11 are GRACIE BARRA WA with a grand total of 99.5 points. Second place was captured with 96 points for Lotus Club.
------------------------------

We won the team trophy by three and a half points. It took every single person to pull that off. Every single team member who won something this weekend can say, "Without me, this prize would not be ours." Including me. I pulled in fifteen points. Because I double-repped, Gracie Barra only got 7.5 of them. Look how close I came to being the one who blew this for the whole school.

Rodrigo must be having a stroke right now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tournament Part 1- gi

From Rory Miller's blog.... he was talking about being a little guy on the football team, but I can relate to this as a mini martial artist.

"I found out I could take a hit and get up and keep going. Found out that if I deliberately picked the biggest guy and slammed him with everything I had I'd get knocked in the dirt but if I did it again...and again...and again eventually he would flinch. And if I could get him to think I was crazy, that I wouldn't give up and find that flinch moment I could knock him down and keep going. Found out that on defense, even guys too big to stop could be misdirected by an elbow upside the helmet. Found out a lot of things hurt and most of the time the pain meant nothing. That the person who was willing to get back up was the toughest. That there was a limit to size and strength but there was no limit to your willingness to pick yourself up and hit the bastard one more time."


--------
Had to work all day today, then a BJJ class, then Kung Fu, work again early tomorrow. I got a little time early in the morning at work to write up the first half of the Revolution, while I was waiting for some of my project ingredients to come to room temp. I hope I can get caught up before I get too far behind!


The good news; I didn't have to fight Alecia.

The bad news: I had to fight the girl who BEAT Alecia.



For this edition of the Revolution, I got to the venue in plenty of time to put my contacts in beforehand! I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of two hours sitting in the back hallway waiting for gi weigh-ins. They called the weight class below mine.... and the weight class above mine.... I was completely paranoid about missing my call! There was a girl lying on the floor down the hall from me, and I was trying to estimate her weight in case I should wake her up for one of these calls. I'm starting to get better at estimating weight on smaller-size girls in my own neighborhood. I thought "No, that's not her weight class, she's too big for that...."

I saw some guy in line squirt half the contents of a honey bear straight down his throat! Ugh! Another guy asked the person behind him if he'd had breakfast, and the second guy replied, "A scoop of peanut butter." Ugh! Glenn weighed in on the practice scale and was point-something over. I said, "You'd better go try to pee!"

I was just under my bracket. I could have slipped into the next-lower bracket. My opponent (Rihanna) was point-something overweight. They were going to DQ her. They asked me if I wanted to fight her anyway, so I said sure. The first thing she did (after thanking me) was pull a candy bar out of her bag and gorf it right in front of me. I wanted to say, "Gimme half of that, or I'll have you DQ'ed after all!" I had stopped at the grocery store on the way in and bought a turkey sandwich and some sliced deli ham, but I'd resisted the urge to buy junk food. I knew I was safely underweight for gi, but didn't have a whole lot of extra wiggle room for no-gi, and I knew I didn't have the self-control to save junk food for later!

Thus, this girl had a full ten-pound advantage on me.

We chatted while we were waiting for our matches, and she was really nice. We agreed that neither of us wanted to be female dogs and be grinding each other's faces and garbage like that.... so that was nice to establish.... and helped me relax.

We were the only two women in our bracket, so we were supposed to fight each other three times and take best two out of three. As soon as we grabbed each other to fight for the takedown, I was like, "Oh, great- another wrestler," She was hauling down heavy on my shoulders and lapels, and trying to yank me to the side, and once she started pulling my gi up over my head. We both tried a few foot hooks. I was happy that I attempted some of those. I even considered the fall-on-your-butt-and-plant-feet-in-hipbones-and-toss maneuver that I'd gotten on Alecia last week.... but if I was going to go for that in comp, I wanted her to totally overcommit her weight by pushing into me. I pushed into her- often that elicits a reflexive push back, and that's when you grab for it- but she wasn't taking that bait. Rats. I realized a little too late that she was telegraphing a bit just before the yank-to-the-side, and the thought floated through my mind that I ought to come up with something clever to counter with the next time she did that. Just as I thought that, she did it again and I found myself flying ass over teakettle across the mat.

JB took some vid of this match and the next one from the bleachers.... not great quality, but when I see it, I ought to remember more and have some more to say about those fights. It's a little fuzzy. I seem to recall that Rihanna initiated the takedown both times but didn't get points for it either time because of the way we landed. After the first takedown, she got a vicious KoB that pinned me like a dead bug on a card- it seemed like a lot longer than 3 seconds, but it didn't look on the vid as if she got points for it. In one of the matches- I forget which- I was THISCLOSE to getting a clock choke- I was thinking "AH HA, NOW I HAVE YOU!!!" but she squirted out somehow. I am very pleased to say that I did not spend these two matches in bottom half guard. I got out of bottom half guard twice, using the technique that I had practiced with George on Friday night (Thanks again, George and Cindy!). I even got on top a bit. However, she tapped me out in the end... the first time with an RNC and the second time with a triangle. While I was getting RNC'ed, the photographer crawled up close enough to smooch and took a photo with his bright red flash right in my face. Thanks, buddy. Rub it in, why don'tcha. That pic had better not show up on the May Revolution poster. I was annoyed to get tapped with a triangle, since avoiding that had been one of my goals.... I think I set too many goals this time. I was so busy thinking about staying out of bottom half guard that I forgot to be hypervigilant for the triangle setup.

Since Rihanna had won the first two matches, there was no need for a third. I felt okay enough about my performance against a worthy opponent that I felt okay accepting a second place for being the loser in a two-person field. Rihanna was a nice girl, and a good martial artist. It wasn't too bad to lose to her.

The most significant thing of note about these matches was how quickly I gassed out. I didn't gas out like this in the last Revolution until the middle of my second fight, and I was a lot more scared then. This time, I seemed to gas out almost immediately. In the second match, we weren't fighting grips for twenty seconds before I thought, "OMG, I'm tired... I feel weak as a kitten. How am I going to get through this match?" I'm sure at least some of it was nerves. It's weird, though, that I can go for two hours at practice, and yeah, I'm tired- but not tired like THIS, after mere minutes.

When I went to the back hall for the podium formalities, Rihanna was there with an older woman who looked just like her. Just in time, I bit my tongue on "And this must be your mom!" I would die of embarrassment if I said that and it turned out to be her two-years-older sister or something. So I choked that off and just stuck my hand out and let her introduce herself. "Hi! I'm Rihanna's mom!" "Hi! I'm the girl that she beat!" "Well! Ahhh... thank you?!?" "You bet! Anything to help out!" We all cracked up.

I sat in the bleachers with JB, and we watched Peter, Pat, Glenn, Hostility Boy, Jerome, and several other Gracie Barra guys fight. Jerome was one of the highlights of the tournament for me. He lost the match, but he fought very well- including a beauteous hitch hiker escape that ought to have been in a superhero movie. All of us in the stands were like, "WHOAH!!! Did you see that??!??!" It was a white-knuckler of a fight. Bummer that he didn't win. I got to congratulate/compliment him on it when he came back up in the bleachers. The other four guys won their fights. I don't know how they ended (and the results aren't up yet), but I think Glenn got first in his division.

JB and I agreed that we felt sorry for the girls who would have to fight Cornelia and Alecia. We saw Cornelia and Alecia each do a couple matches and win. Unfortunately, they were on a rear mat, and there was a particularly rotund ref standing between us and that mat, so the view was pretty poor. Soon, though, it was "OMG, are we actually going to see Cornelia and Alecia throw down??!!??" (Recap- Cornelia: the judo black belt who sprained my finger in January, who kicks my butt all over the mat at Gracie Barra. Alecia: the rough MMA girl who smeared me 21 (and an advantage, lest we forget) to zilch in a practice match last week, and kicks my butt all over the mat at Cindy's.) Sure enough, there they were facing off for first place. I know Alecia has mad wrestler's takedown skills, but I kind of expected Cornelia's judo takedowns to send her sprawling fairly immediately. They both fought long and hard for the takedown, though. It was another white-knuckler. JB and I didn't know who we should be rooting for, but it was nice to know that we could be happy regardless of who won! Cornelia tapped Alecia- so Cornelia got 1st and Alecia 2nd in their division.


I woke up REALLY sore this morning- I think just from the tension!

Next installment soon: no-gi.................