Monday, April 30, 2012


When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are *not* the story.  -John Gould

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. My work schedule makes it so hard to do Sunday class, but I like Lindsey's classes, and also I felt like I had to make up for bailing on Friday.

Ankle pick drills. I felt like a rock star doing ankle pick drills. I guillotined my white-belt partner when he ducked his head too far. You don't have to be a Gracie to perfect your basic drills if Lindsey's class, you just have to show up- because he has a few faves that he'll make you do over and over.

There were only about 10 of us- which was nice, because that allowed Lindsey to make a few small corrections on each person.

Back mount and escape from same. I had a smallish blue belt this time. Usually I am good at escaping back mount and poor at doing anything FROM back mount. This time it was the opposite. I'm not sure if it was because I had a partner who wasn't a giant for a change, or maybe he just isn't good at escaping back mount. I still couldn't really HOLD it for long, and was not having a lot of luck choking him, but I continually transitioned to front mount or side control without losing the reins.

King of the hill, same. This time not so good. All the other guys were pretty big. Again, though, we each got a little personal feedback. Mine was that if you're back mounted and groping for a choke, it doesn't do any good to keep darting your hand around in there after the guy has begun to defend. (Lindsey: "You're never gonna get that." Me (genuinely puzzled): "I'm not?") Instead, reset and let him wonder which side you're going to come from next, or if you might do something totally different.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Judo throws

Those who have never approached their bodies as temples have no idea of what they are missing. The frog at the bottom of the well sees only a fraction of light and believes it to be the whole sky. The same happens to those who have lost the address of their bodies.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

My allergies were bad on Thursday, and worse on Friday- so much worse that I didn't make either class. I could barely breathe at all, and I find that breathing is something you actually need to have on the mats. When it's that bad- even if I haven't taken any meds- I feel so exhausted that I can barely move. I felt awful because I'd specifically told Carlos I would be there Friday morning, but I just couldn't function.

Today, one of Nelson's buddies from his judo school taught a seminar at Sleeper. All throws, all the time! I was a little smug to find that I was a bit of a "ringer" in this class... all except for the one takedown that I'd never seen before, and of course I muffed THAT one rightously! All the rest of my throws, however, recieved comments of "Good!" from the instructor!

It was a lot of fun. I had a nice partner, although inexperienced enough that the landings were not always as gentle as one could wish. We were finishing each round ahead of the others enough to kick out some extra reps, which I always appreciate in a partner. That also gives me an extra opportunity to try stuff on the Stupid Side.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do not let go of the pants

The energy is always there within reach. It is a fire that doesn’t always burn in the open, but under the skin the coals are always lit. Anyone sensitive enough can feel the vibration. As soon as you enter a room, right away you perceive who is an individual from head to toe and who has never listened to the voice of the body. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Evening BJJ at Gracie Bellevue. I was going to go to "all levels" in Seattle instead, but I couldn't get motivated on time to beat the commute. Almost worth it just to see how happy Carlos was, again, to see me for the second time in one day. Again he made a big deal out of it and called me out in the lineup like everybody was supposed to applaud me or something. He also informed the entire class that not only was I here twice today, I would be in Seattle tomorrow lunchtime as well. He went on to suggest I show up for the 8am open mat. :) While all this is a little embarrassing, I guess in a way it gives me an out if I perform poorly- everybody knows I'm tired!

Takedowns- that is one good thing about "advanced" class. Lapel & elbow grips, jerk partner fwd, slide rt foot behind hir left foot (on the floor- not at the knee- I always want to hook behind the knee whenever I do a takedown of this type). If s/he steps that foot back out of your takedown, shoot that same foot over to hir other leg to hook THAT ankle. I remember Henrique liked this combo.

Same entry, but instead of the second ankle hook, turn around and hip throw. This works better if you don't rush it too much and take enough time to get your butt positioned correctly before you try to throw. Variation- you can also get down on both knees and still throw hir over your shoulder.

Guard pass- you are kneeling in partner's butterfly guard. Pull your rt knee back momentarily. Push partner's rt leg to mat (DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS! Gawds, I'm gonna have that tattooed on the backs of my hands!), underhook hir left leg with your rt arm (if you failed to pull your right knee back at the beginning, the opponent's foot catches you here). Scoot forward quickly and end with your rt knee at hir crotch, the toe hooked over hir right leg to trap it, and your left leg stuck straight out to the side with the foot on the mat. (This was the hardest part for me. That scoot forward into that position was very slow and clumsy. If I can get to class early enough tomorrow, I'm gonna ask Prof Carlos to troubleshoot that part for me) The remainder is obvious. Do not attempt to sit out. ("Right, Keetsune?" said Carlos as he was demo'ing what NOT to do... since I had done that very same idiot thing this morning) DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS- either leg of 'em- till you get all the way to the side.

5-min rolls. First with Kelly. I spent about the first 4 min trapped in her closed guard. She kept breaking down my posture. I wouldn't let her sweep me, by God- or straight-armbar me by trapping my hand in her armpit, which she also tried to do numerous times- but she's really strong, and when she holds me down on her chest, there's really nothing I can do but wait for her to let me up. That's how we spent most of the time. When stronger people just hold me in certain positions and sit there, I can do nothing (well, nothing within the rules of sport BJJ) and must simply wait till they move to try for a sub. Struggling fruitlessly in some Hulk's closed guard or front mount while they just sit there like a frog on a log accomplishes nothing but to exhaust and frustrate me. Anyway, once I finally got outta closed guard, after a brief struggle I found myself under her front mount, which was not a heck of a lot better. At least she didn't sub me- and she was throwing them out left and right- but that girl tools me positionally every time, which is a bit frustrating.

Then Ron, which if you've been reading my blog for a while you already know that this one's gonna go no better. He did some inverted guard on me, some interesting sweeps (he is like Cindy- a tiny little person that somehow you just can't lie on top of for anything- you just find yourself continually thrust into the air somehow), and a baratoplata- which I recognized as I was tapping, but have not had enough people work it on me for me to recognize it being set up. He also did a new choke involving wrapping my own gi around my neck. Note that if you do not watch carefully where you put your feet while playing spider guard with Ron, you will find yourself putting YOURSELF into a footlock.

I pulled Jamie off the wall for the last couple min of the final round "Wanna sub me a few times?" I managed to use my small size to squirt past his knees a couple of times, but never did make it to a full guard pass in a controlling position. His feet seemed GLUED to my knees while I was trying to pass his guard standing up. I kept trying to shake them off, jerk them off, pry them off, pull my own leg back... nothin'. I groaned when he KOB'd me, and he got up right away. I said, "That was frustration, not pain- but thank you. Frustration is in a lower octave."


A religion that forgives me for being a shit doesn't have near the impact of one that promises that whatever I send out is coming right back at me. -Anihow

Thursday: I missed BJJ today because I had to go to a work meeting. However, whenever I go to work during the day, I get a 2 mile walk- since I am too cheap to pay for parking.

Circus school- arial silk. There were only 3 of us tonight, so no waiting in line for silks. (Also, no breaks!)

I deliberately wore a rash guard so as not to get silk burn in my armpits again- but it didn't help, because the rash guard sleeve was inadequate. Next time- long sleeve T-shirt!

Good time to review everything.

Tying single footlock while in the air: Keep the locked leg stretched way out instead of trying to bring both knees in.

New motto: "Look at your knees" Most of the flipping, piking and other maneuvers are more graceful-looking if you're curled up looking at your knees instead of back-bowed as I tend to be.

Saturday FOD: Tai Chi long form.

Sunday FOD: Hurricane Hands. Something strange is happening. The Snake energy felt as if it had outgrown my physical limitations, and my body was stumbling along trying to catch up. It felt like I'd stuck my finger in an electrical socket.

Monday FOD: Wood Monkey.

Tuesday FOD: White Crane Walking the Path fragment.

Wednesday FOD: Plum Blossom Fragment. Did not repeat the foot problem I'd been having last time, which was good.

Seemingly mild left thumb injury is still painful after two weeks. I'm not sure what I did to it. Happy it's not the right, for a change.

Thursday: 134.0.  My first decade in this profession, Lab Week was a seven-day orgy of junk food and gifts. These days- with budget cuts- we got three boxes of mini-cupcakes, and considered ourselves lucky to have them. They were yummy- but they are also why I am 134.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Bellevue. The prof got distracted while we were shrimping, and we ended up doing about 12 or 15 laps. Gonna feel that in the morning.

Also note- he wants us up on our toes while doing bridge drills.

In opponent's guard: grab lapels with right hand, pants at knee with left hand. Both elbows IN. Press down knee, pull your own left knee back, then move right knee so that both your knees are pointing at the opponent's leg that you are about to scale. CLOSER (counterintuitive!) knee slides over opponent's thigh first. DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS! Keep the head up. Do not do a complete sit-out. Block the hip.

Same, only opponent sits up when you break the guard. Put up the knee on the side that is closest to opponent, get the underhook (this is the key). Same drill from there.

As soon as I seemed proficient, I tried both techniques on the Stupid Side. Of course, as always happens, Carlos looks over at me just as I'm bumbling through the drill for the first time on the Stupid Side. He made a correction, I finished it, and then I returned to the Smart(er) Side. He said, "I want to see you do eet on the other side ageen." I looked at him in dismay, and he nodded knowingly at me. Arrgh.
Prof came over to tweak Angela's technique, and they started arguing AGAIN about whether or not she was already doing what he was telling her to do. I'm not sure what strange dynamic is going on between them. At this point it definitely gives the impression that 1)he is picking on her, and 2)she is getting defensive every time he tries to tell her something... although I'm sure neither of these is intended, I think the relationship is just kind of skidding uncontrollably in that direction at this point. Makes it a bit uncomfortable to be the one sitting between them while they are shooting barbs back and forth.

My surreal precise targeting comes back to bite me in BJJ: Angela complains that I am hurting her because I'm grabbing her pants and slamming her kneebone to the mat in the exact same spots every time. I moved my grip up and lightened my push.

King of the Hill, pass guard vs sweep. I got sit-up swept again once or twice, but forgot to note what my arms were doing at the time. I did succeed in defending a number of sit-up-sweeps. Some of these people are obviously getting the memo that I am particularly vulnerable to this sweep. I *almost* passed guard twice- but when it started to look like I might pass, those people resorted to strength. Sigh.

Chaim refused to drill with me. He apologized- twice- and Carlos apologized too, when he saw me shuffling back into line- which makes it better, but still not okay. There's nothing I can do about it, though.

One roll with the blue belt guy who always wipes the mat with me. My aims going in were 1)do not get sit-up-swept, and 2)do not get subbed. I had to work, and I was on the bottom most of the time, but I suceeded in both goals. He was really trying for that sub, too. Came close several times. He mostly wanted to choke me, and I could tell he was getting frustrated with my  defense- we spent a good deal of time batting at each other. I really wish I could be more effective against this guy- but at least not getting sit-up-swept and not getting subbed has me improving over the last few times I've sparred him.

Got to meet John's wife. Nice lady. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"It's okay- I'm fourteen."

Because of the physical nature of martial arts, we can’t lie to ourselves. There is no need for somebody to tell us whether we are moving mechanically or are truly present. When you are there, you know it. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Monday FOD: Three Step Arrow. I ran through Spear Hand first, because as usual I mixed the two forms up. Oh well, two for one today!

This morning, I tore apart a raw pheasant carcass with my bare hands. That should have been all primal or something, but I'll tell, you, it was just gross. (One of the diabetic cats is having what appears to be a food allergy, and I have to feed him exotic meats.)

Tuesday FOD: Leopard 3. Both ways. Feels great.

Wednesday. Leaving for lunchtime class- trying to, anyway- Jeep is dead. Razzafrackin.......

Borrowed a vehicle and made it to Sleeper for evening gi class. Basic side control stuff. Note that you can use your elbow to "stuff" the opponent right up on your thighs and pin hir in your lap with the elbow on the side on the head. This kinda hurts. I know cuz I was the demo dummy tonight.  ;)

The "so easy that your opponent will feel like a total moron if you hit this" move of the day- you bridge under bottom side control, when s/he shoves back, you roll hir right over hir own head.

*AS* the opponent is swooping in for side control- BEFORE s/he settles in- turn in to hir and circle the top hand down and around at the elbow. Get quickly to your knees as that hand continues the circle to end with your shoulder on your ear. If you're not forceful with the shoulder shrug, you won't get the opponent's arm fully off your head. S/he will probably whizzer you at this point. Then you can drop that top arm over hir butt to hir opposite ankle, duck low and grab the opposite knee underneath hir, and drive in while circling towards the head. If you can manage to keep that ankle (yep, I Kept letting it go, again), if will prevent hir from replacing guard.

If s/he does not whizzer you, simply take the back.

Positional sparring from side control. I asked my partner to go light on me because I have a lot of trouble from this position. I said, "Do just enough to make me work for it," He still fought me a little harder than I wanted, so I didn't get to work much. It frustrated me a bit, so that when it was my turn, I held *his* ass down and wouldn't let him do anything either. Childish, I know. I continue to struggle with how to constructively handle my frustration in class. I should have stopped the guy and reiterated that I needed him to go lighter than he was going. I should know by now that just keeping quiet and eating that sort of thing is just going to fire up a sense of frustration that will likely tinge the remainder of the class, so I might as well just do something different.

Several rounds of sparring. Some days you're the hammer and some days you're the nail. I was having kind of a nail night tonight. I think all the struggling under side control made me feel kind of tired and futile. This is my worst position. I'd seriously rather be front or back mounted than in bottom side control.

I did one round with one of Cindy's kids that I've never worked with before. He was good! We were doing a little standup, and I tried the drop-and-summersault-em-over-your-head thing. He sunk his weight just in time and we ended with him in top side control instead. I exclaimed, "Shit!" Then I said, "You didn't hear me say that." He replied conspiratorially, "It's okay. I'm fourteen."   ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Three days, six classes!

Being one hundred percent present here and now is the talent of a true martial artist. Through the practice of martial arts, we can learn to feel this presence, call upon it, cultivate it, make it a part of ourselves. When we can enter this dimension at will, it becomes possible to have free access to an enormous source of power.
 -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Saturday: 131.5 (Don't even ask me how I've gained half a pound with everything I've done in the last two days.... I haven't been eating poorly, either, so I don't understand it.)

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle. I couldn't get moving in time for the basics class, but that's just as well, because I wanted to go to Sleeper later, and three back-to-back classes would probably have been a bit much.

There were about a zillion people on the mat. saturdays really are tending to be crowded lately. Since it was "competition class", it was all positional sparring and timed matches. That female blue belt from yesterday was back, so I was happy to get a chance to roll with her this time. She is 115 pounds! But very strong and technical. It was some really good rolling.

A white belt guy. We were doing pass vs sweep from closed guard, and he sit-up-swept me four or five times, and I couldn't do a thing to stop him. That was frustrating. I passed his guard a few times, but of course I was pretty useless on the bottom.

I was going to take a break after that, and was sitting on the side with my coat off, but there was an odd number and Rodrigo was chivvying me back onto the mat. I can't say no to Rodrigo. Even if I'm tired and I'm being urged to fight ANGELA! Somehow I found a second wind. This was a fun roll too. She plowed me of course, but I'm actually satisfied with my performance against her- I put up a decent fight. I tried really hard to keep moving and transitioning. I even GOT A SWEEP on her. This is a really big deal. She did a takedown from turtle using my shin, three times. I want to learn that one.

I warned Kelly that Amanda, our foe from the Revolution, is likely to be at the small house tournament at the end of the month- Rodrigo has invited her gym. Kelly was not thrilled to hear this.

Sleeper: again, no drills, just working. Balance/sweep exercise with both Cindy and Lamont. Useful tidbit from Lamont: There are certain points that I need to shrimp out onto the side of my hip to get better leverage, which is totally counterituitive. It seemed like doing that was going to result in the both-knees-together-pressed-to-the-side thing that I am also trying to break the habit of. But I could see that his suggestion was working. My brain didn't want to do it that way. I need to retrain that urge.

Two or three matches against Jalen- inlcuding one starting from standup. Again, competitive and fun. As usual, I spent more time in controlling positions, but he tapped me a few times and I didn't get any on him. He really does not try for top side control, front mount, KOB, or anything like that. He is not looking for points, he's all about the sub. He doesn't fart around getting them set up, they pop out of nowhere with no warning. If I was fighting him for real, I'd need to focus on defending his subs and try to win on points. He doesn't get me with the orthodox stuff, he gets me with the wrestling moves and Cindy's weird sneaky tricks. He *so* has Cindy's fingerprints all over his technique. Also, he is very explosive. He often surprises me and gets the drop on me with the suddenness of his moves. He takes a lot of crazy chances- sometimes they pay off, but sometimes he ends up doing things like reversing himself or pulling me past his own guard.

Jalen sit-up-swept me a couple of times, which really frustrated me, after having that done to me repeatedly this morning by that white belt guy. Getting sit-up-swept has become a sensitive sore spot for me. For some reason it makes me feel particularly ineffectual and helpless. I need to ask someone to show me some counters for that.

I didn't last very long today. It was good to get a little gi followed by no-gi, but I was really noticing the limits of my gas tank.

It was really nice to see Lamont after so long. I showed him the pic from the last Revolution, where Prof Carlos is lying spread-eagled on the floor with his coat askew, and Lamont (wearing his Sleeper t-shirt) is standing right behind his head in an authoritative pose that- with a little imagination and perhaps a suggestive caption- could make it look like Lamont downed the prof. We all had a laugh over that.

Run-through of Sil Lum Tao- just because for some reason I felt like doing that today.

Sunday: 132.0 Are you kidding??!? It as a truly perverse world we live in when you can do six BJJ classes in three days, eat right, and GAIN weight. This is frustrating.

The creative writing challenge on Mythic Scribes seemed to have withered and died. I had been on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the other writers would do with the rich fodder I'd tossed them, and was really disappointed that no one seemed up for the challenge. It finally dawned on me that perhaps some of them didn't find my spin on it quite as amusing as I myself did. So I posted and asked them, and to my chagrin, it was true- at least a couple of them thought I'd been offensive and inappropriate to write certain things I'd written about other people's characters. Rats. I still don't think I did anything out of line, but obviously some of us just wanted different things out of the project which turned out to to not be happily aligned objectives. In my mind, part of the fun of writing in a "shared universe" type of format is that you get to F with other people's characters, and then we all have to get creative with the hands we are dealt. I didn't really stop to think that some artists are very touchy about creative control. You really need to loosen up about that if you're going to work effectively on collaborative projects... but admittedly perhaps I skewed a little too far in the opposite direction.

I apologized profusely and repeatedly, deleted everything, and withdrew from the project, but my creative ego feels bruised. One of them was *REALLY* PO'ed that I had killed off a tertiary character of hers that she apparently had had big plans for later, and posted (among a lot of other prickly commentary) that she intends to ignore the "crap" I wrote about her characters. Ouch. I think any artist would be wounded to hear another artist refer to her work as "crap". That hurt. Although this is truly small fish next to some of the REAL problems in my life right now, this was an unpleasant interlude.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Touch" his head

In martial arts, everything begins with the body. First, one gets acquainted with it, and slowly becomes intimate with it. The body is transformed into the best ally of the spirit. Then spirit and body become one. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday evening no-gi at Sleeper.

Again, didn't have time for the pre-class egg- and I was seriously dragging butt by the end. I'm not sure if I would have been any better with the egg, though- it might have been the inevitable result of 4 classes in 2 days, with poor sleep.

I had to skip the double-leg-pose warmup lap down the mat, as my knees were pretty sore by now. The lunges hurt too; I did them, but not very cleanly.

As everyone was pairing up for drills, Jalen and two newer guys and I were all left there darting uncomfortable glances at one another- so finally I just crooked my finger at Jalen and pointed to the mat in front of me. I hope he doesn't mind working with me. I always like working with him- we are efficient at knocking out drill reps, and getting to a good point of knowing exactly when and how much resistance to give each other.

Breaking guard and backing out- keep the front knee up and elbow on knee to make a wall, torso turned to the side so that you are too wide for opponent to easily reclose guard. Grab opponent's ankles. Transfer one foot to your other hand so that it's a cross grip, and quickly step to opponent's ribs with your near foot. Take KOB, mount, side control or (if they try to roll away) the back.

Same guard break and back out. Grab opponent's ankles. push them to hir chest. If s/he pushes back, shove them to the floor and leapfrog over them directly to mount. (Cindy does this to me all the time, and it still makes me nearly pee myself to see her suddenly hurtling toward my face like that at about mach eight.)

If opponent is wise to Cindy's little trick and refuses to push back, continue to press forward till hir knees are sitting on hir face and you are sitting on the backs of hir thighs. Put one hand to the mat under hir arm, then "breakdance" your hips in a half-circle over hir head- turning belly-down at the end. You are now in top side control.

You standing, opponent in "butt scoot position" with one knee up and elbow on knee. You grab that wrist, quickly step to the outside with the leg on that same side, and step OVER hir shoulder with the other leg. Bear hir down, preferrably without being a douche and smashing hir ribs, as you are now in mounted triangle. (This is another rather pee-inducing situation to find yourself in as far as the "hurtling-toward-your-face" aspect.) Finish the triangle, or apply any of legion arm submissions.

"Seat belt" guard pass, again. We did some part of the ending a little differently that I'd done it at Gracie's this morning, but at the moment I'll be damned if I can remember what. I'm literally reeling with exhaustion right now, and my brain is freezing up.

Cindy was demo'ing a variation on ending the "breakdance" thing, and at one point she said, "... now touch his face..." while grabbing the side of the guy's head, twisting it upward and straight-arm mashing it to the mat. I started cracking up, and she stopped and asked me what was so funny. I said, "I like your definition of "touch""- and I mimed what she had just done, with appropriate sound effects. This is just a really gleeful thing about Cindy's classes- unless of course you're the unfortunate demo dummy. (It has now become my custom to accompany any request for Cindy to do an additional demo with an apology to Jalen, who is her usual victim these days)

I was inadvertantly being a less-than-optimal training partner for a few of these techniques, due to my obsessive protecting of my ribs with what Cindy calls "Little T-Rex arms". It was not allowing Jalen to get some of the underhooks he needed. We were doing some potentially rib-smashing techniques, and while Jalen is a good partner, I am very protective of my ribs because they have been injured too often and put me on the bench for way too long. I apologized to Jalen and said that I wasn't trying to be uncooperative, I was just old and fragile.

One roll with Jalen. Fun and competitive as always.

One roll with Jorge. Always fun to get pwn'ed by Jorge.

I did one round of the "balancing/sweep" exercise with Cindy. She wants me to work for more toe-hooks under the legs. Also, no more collapsing under people with my knees pinned together and shoved to the side. For some reason I tend to want to do this, with my knees drawn up to the chest in the fetal position. No win here. More butterfly legs instead of that. One thing I did RIGHT tonight was to remember (not always, but more often) to retain the arm or leg while I'm trying to sweep. Often I want to throw them away- I guess I subconsciously want to free up my hands for defense- which serves only to rob me of leverage and allow the opponent extra things to post with so that s/he can resist my sweep.

I didn't get to work with the new girl, Erin. Hope to get a chance next time.

The Way To Carlos' Heart

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

Friday: 131.0

Somnalist Trauma Theater woke me up early again today, although part of my inability to get back to sleep was due to my rumbling stomach. I did eat after class- but those 1-cup portions always have me waking up hungry. A bit sore, but not too bad considering all the training I did yesterday (capped with a Carlos-roll!), when it's been a week since I've stepped on the mat.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. I ran out of time and did not get my pre-class egg. I did notice tiredness near the end, although it's hard to tell how I would have held up had I tried to keep rolling- I got sucked into some conversations instead.

The way to Professor Carlos' heart is definitely "face time"- he was delighted to see me on the mat yet again, and kept telling everybody who would listen that I had done two classes yesterday. (Is this truly unusual? A lot of the bloggers seem to do it routinely. I wonder if nobody else in this school ever does it...? Seems weird with so many opportunities to train (multiple school locations, two or three classes per day.)) He asked me if I was sore, and I said a little bit. I know it would have made him even happier if I'd said I was in pain- but I really wasn't. This time.

I told him how awesome I thought Kelly was doing, and he agrees! He said that he really enjoyed watching us work last night. He also threw in a compliment for me as well, which was great, although I had another one of those "dog-as-canary" moments (see yesterday afternoon's posting). We joked around a little with telling everyone about our spar, and how I had almost choked him. :) He teased JM because JM was sore. JM had been rolling with *ME* yesterday, and also had not done two classes like I did (as the prof pointed out yet again). Well, one of the things I have always appreciated about this school is that the teachers make you feel as if they are truly extremely pleased to see you show up. It really helps motivate you to do so.

Before class, I asked Nelson to assist me with the same exercise that I had done with Cindy last time I saw her- having them get on top and let me play with slow-motion balances and sweeps. I mean to continue this regularly, with as many different (good) partners as possible. We did that for about 7 min or so, and he liked it as a warm-up.

Standup: One hand on lapel, one hand on elbow. Step back with the lapel side and YANK opponent off balance. Drop elbow, kneel on the knee to the side you just let go with (your knee to the outside of opponent's foot). Pick up the leg. stand up. Yank the lapel again again and "spin-drill" your opponent to the floor with you on top (KOB, side control or mount).

Same thing sans gi jacket. Lapel hand is now hooked behind neck, elbow grip is just above elbow.

Guard pass- the one where you stand up and then reach in your back jeans pocket. After that class just before PanAms where I did this with Angela, I feel comfortable drilling this. I didn't forget the switch of hands, nor the back-of-the-pants-grip. It's all good.

Same thing sans gi jacket. Now you must turn your torso to the side and put your rearmost foot on the mat so that your thigh is a tabletop. Toe pointed as far to the rear as you can. Theoretically, this opens up enough space to dive your hands under the opponent's thigh in front of your belly, then throw your shoulder to the side and pass to side control. This was a lot harder, even with a cooperative parter. Getting out of closed guard in no-gi is a huge problem for me. No lapel grip. No back-of-the-pants grip. Wahhhh.

We also began by having the person on the bottom try to sit up, and you flat-palm hir breastbone to put hir back down.

Positional sparring starting from the "seat belt" stack. That just sucks from the bottom- unless you have the core to straighten out and thrust the opponent up, which I don't, even with a light partner.

I was able to tweak some details for Kristen on many of these things, and she cleaned up everything I told her to- her technique was pretty much perfecto by the end.

One roll with JM. I was getting tired, yet found myself trying a little harder than I normally do- thinking, "He thinks I'm good, so I have to *BE* good!" hee hee hee. I spent a lot of time on the bottom (mostly front mount), so I was vexed at that- but he seemed pleased with me at the end, saying that he couldn't sub me, and that he'd been trying for real.

Then I took Kristen over to the other mat to show her how to hold a good bottom half guard, since she'd asked me about it (Lord knows, if there's one thing I'm qualified to teach in BJJ, it's that!!!!!!). We also played a little bit with escapes from same.

Then we got to yakking and never did get back to work, which was too bad, but at least it was all *relevant* yakking. I'm always glad to get a chance to warn a female white belt of some of the pitfalls that *I* had to discover by falling into them- and wasting time and effort, and getting frustrated.

She's asthmatic and didn't bring an inhaler, so I got down on her a bit for that. I told her what had happened to JB at her first tournament, and told her she *needs* to get an inhaler and bring it to class every time. I really do not want to find myself standing helplessly on the mat watching an asthmatic die in front of my eyes, which is very possible and not a thing to be trifled with.

Then I ran into Nelson again on the way to the locker room, and got caught up in more yakking- this time about school politics. I stay out of politics, so everyone knows a lot of dirt that I know nothing about. This is usually just the way I want it, but I do occasionally step on a land mine because I don't know what's a forbidden topic with this person, or who hates that person. Nelson said something about Miriam having a really bad break with Rodrigo, so that's good to know... I don't really need or want details. Nelson was shocked to learn that I am training with Cindy.

There was a blue belt woman visiting from another branch, and I'm disappointed I didn't get a chance to play with her- but I was pretty tired by then, so likely I would not have given her any kind of decent spar anyway. I have a feeling that out of courtesy, I ought to roll with visiting women- but if I suck, is that like offering a visitor a sour cup of tea? I felt kind of the same when we first went to partner up for drills, and another visitor (Male white belt this time) didn't get grabbed right away. I want to play a good host, which makes me want to grab the visitor so he's not standing there awkwardly like the last kid picked for the kickball team- but I still have the feeling (be it accurate or not) that a lot of men just would rather not work with a pint-sized woman partner (and a slow learner to boot), so there I am offering that sour cup of tea again..... Hmmm. I wonder how it would be recieved if I had invited him to roll light to warm up before class (he was there early, as was I). Then I could have been welcoming, but not "sticking" him with me for the whole class. A slightly dangerous venture when it's a white belt male, though. If he's a jerk, he might see that as me "calling him out", and proceed to break my ribs.

Note: when I go to the Seattle branch, DO NOT FORGET TO PICK UP THE RED ATTENDANCE CARD after class. I brought it in for the first time today, and I almost forgot to pick it up. I sure wish they'd go to a wallet-card-swipe system. That would make life so much simpler for both us and them. It would also allow me to soft-pedal the amount of time I'm actually here. I think all the teachers are onto me about my habit of "forgetting" to get my attendance marked. Both Rodrigo and Carlos are now paying way too much attention to where my cards are. Man, I just really am not ready to get promoted, and it seems to be approaching like a homicidal speeding pickup with me as the deer caught in its headlights.

This will kill you with cuteness: ticklish baby leopard.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bear Trap

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

Evening BJJ at GB Bellevue. Prof Carlos is always happy when he sees me come in for the 2nd time in one day, but sometimes he wants to tease me, so he was demanding to know what the heck I was doing back there again. I told him that I had missed him. He really liked that answer. (hee hee hee) He told me that he takes a 40-min nap between afternoon and evening classes. I said (aside from the fact that it typically takes me much longer than 40 min just to fall asleep), that I've tried taking a nap between classes and found that that just made me MORE tired. (I had that pre-class egg again, though... and felt fairly okay for a two-a-day.)

Allison was there too- I haven't seen him in a long, long time. It was fun to watch him rolling with Prof Carlos. The prof did some of the same stuff to him that Allison always does to me- the stretching-you-out from underneath with his long, long legs. Carlos has legs even longer than Allison's. Allison is also one of those people that grins delightedly all the way through the spar; and if he's getting his ass kicked, he grins even more.

Double-legs for a long time. Long enough that Kelly had to quit because she thought she was going to puke. I felt bad, since it was because of the way I was ramming my shoulder into her belly with each rep. But I have been conditioned very thoroughly to posture up hard when I do a double-leg, so that I don't get guillotined, and the shoulder-ram to the belly is just collateral damage (what we used to refer to as "bonus violence" in my former Kung Fu class).

A couple of weird techniques I have never seen before, and struggled with quite a bit (Advanced class is sometimes just too advanced for me, and tonight was one of those nights- sigh- I would have liked to get another dose of the stuff we did this morning).

Start standing, with opponent sitting, hir left knee up and elbow on knee to guard. Go side to side a bit and let opponent switch the wall from side to side. Then step in and squat with your foot right to hir crotch and shove your arm under hir guard armpit all the way to the shoulder as if giving hir a hug. Grab hir posting wrist (NOT at the elbow) and wrap it around your own belly as you turn the both of you and push hir down on hir back. Take side control, Bringing your bottom leg back first (this was the hardest part- I always had to pause there and think about it) and then rolling belly down. If you do get caught in half guard, it's fairly easy to get out, and you have your other foot to pry with if need be.

Same thing, only when you squat, your knee is pointed right at the middle of opponent's chest instead of out to the side like before. Then when you push hir down, you take front mount. I had to call the prof over and ask for clarification on where the knee went, because the first time I tried it, I had my knee out to the side as before. If I was Kitty Pryde and could pass my knee through Kelly's torso to get the mount, that would have been fine- but since I'm not, I knew something was wrong.

Positional sparring from the aforementioned squatting half-hug- pass guard versus sweep ONLY. I hate "sweep only" because my sweeps are awful. Kelly and I were both mostly ending up in bottom half guard. I told her that I was giving her her jiu-jitsu nickname: "BEAR TRAP". That's what it feels like to have your leg in her half guard. Good luck getting it out. Sometimes when she's clamped right on my actual knee, I almost have to tap right there. Her sweeps are really good. She also dumped me on my ass once when I was trying to do a standing pass. She is the same weight as me- she has a longer-leg advantage, but really, she is just plain damn GOOD. Strong and technical and aggressive- I can see why she's a good competitor.

One roll with Kelly. She tapped me; I kinda gave it to her because she had a good technical sub on and then let go inmmediately when she saw me squinch my face up. I thanked her for that- but said that I just squinched my face up because it was starting to hurt, but that she could go ahead and crank- till I tapped. I *might* have been able to escape, but she deserved that one, I thought.

One roll with the prof. We spent a little time in standup again. I wonder if I should start leaping on him when he begins to stand up- I wonder if that's what he WANTS me to do. (Part of the problem here is that lunging at him in this fashion is a certain one-way ticket to getting summersaulted over his head in a humiliating way.

He wants me to not hold my guard hands out so far from my body when we're circling each other in standup, because he will just grab one and pull me with it. Also, note that if you grab his gi, and he throws a fold over your hand and starts to twirl, LET THE HELL GO because what he is doing is wrapping your hand up in the gi and you'll be lucky if your wrist doesn't break before he gets 360.

I choked him once with the collar-and-shoulder choke that I learned at Cindy's; it seemed like it was on quite well, but he wasn't tapping. I asked what I was doing wrong, and he said nothing, to keep cranking. He was actually starting to bubble at the lips a bit before he escaped. I think I almost tapped him that time (of course I know that he LET me get those grips in the first place...)

He mentioned to me the same thing I mentioned in this afternoon's writeup- that I need to, as he put it, "shop around" more. I go for a certain technique and get too fixated on getting THAT, and I fail to look around and notice what else might be more available. I am going in with a shopping list, and he wants me to look around and see what's "on sale" instead. I like that analogy.

During our roll, some white belt on the other end of the mat yelped and started rolling back and forth clutching his knee. We paused while the prof called "Are you all right?" The kid called back yes, so we started again, but half a minute later he was still writhing there clutching the knee, so I stopped and said to Carlos, "He looks like he might really be hurt." Carlos went over to check on him, then came back rolling his eyes a bit. "Seexteen years old. He has a LEG CRAMP." I said, "Sorry, I thought from his reaction that he popped his knee." Prof said, "Me too!"

After we finished, he said, "I deedn't hurt you, deed I?" I said, "Only my pride." You really do need to stay alert when you're rolling with him, because he does explosive movements and puts on subs fairly speedily. I always have a tap ready on the tip of my tongue- but he does a lot of things I've never seen the likes of before, so often I don't recognize the subs he's setting up.

Kelly "Bear Trap" got a second stripe tonight!

"Does anybody ever triangle you?"

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

Thursday: The downside of being well-disciplined and not eating an extra meal in the evening is that my already-poor sleep is made poorer by waking up even earlier due to a growling stomach. Next time I think I'll go ahead and eat!

Saturday: FOD- Chen Dao.
*Really* bad nightmare; seriously, one of the worst I've ever had in my life. One of the cats is sick and it's really stressing me out. (Vet trips was why I didn't get to any more practices before the work rotation started.)

Sunday FOD: Bung Bo Kuen.

Monday FOD: Five Points Of the Star

Tuesday FOD: Jian form

Didn't get to that on Tues, so did it Wednesday. The peel to the right near the end- the one that CK is always hassling me about because the arm never moves in proper relation to the body- felt really good. Particularly ironic since I was doing it with a pencil and not a sword. Interesting how slacking on my training is translating to having a different perspective on the forms when I do go through them. Because they are less immediately familiar, it's less rote repetition; more seeing where things don't quite make kinesthetic sense.

Thursday: 133.0

Interesting show on Somnalist Trauma Theater last night. I was aspecting a guy who murdered someone (possibly two someones, I'm not sure, the focus was on the aftermath instead of the act itself). This was clearly a character and not *me* doing this, but I was seeing everything from his perspective, and noting with a clinical fascination that he felt no guilt at all. This was a very different type of nightmare than my usual rotation. I've never been the bad guy before. I found myself wondering (even *as* I was dreaming) how I could possibly use this glimpse of perspective in my creating writing.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Bellevue. Nuked a single egg again before class, and again that seemed to work well.

There were a couple of dozen little yellow tape X's on the mat. I looked at them and asked, "Are these all the spots where people have died?"

Hip throws- two different setups. Remember to control both arms if possible, then they can't even breakfall (I know, we're evil...) Also, the one where you reach under opponent's arm- make sure to hoist it up high, or s/he'll whizzer you.

Pass guard from standing- "seat belt" hold, stack, pass to the side. Prof Carlos had us take off our gi jackets for part of the drill, and we did a few different variations of arm placement and etc. One thing we did without the jackets was to throw the legs forcefully so that the opponent was turned almost on hir side; make sure the near arm is up (use your knee if necessary). Wrap your arm BACKWARDS around opponent's head and single arm. Then inch your butt up over hir head and adjust until you can grab your own bicep for a head and arm choke. This arm placement was really weird, but I do like these types of chokes where I can lean on the opponent's head and get my whole body into the choke.

We also did a variation on one that somebody showed me a couple of weeks ago and I liked- after the seatbelt and stack, you grab the opposite collar (thumb *IN*! that makes a huge difference, as we discovered). You can yank that lapel tight just before you get the collar grab- that makes it much easier. Then pass, inch your butt up over hir head (your forearm bone is now grinding right into the throat). Now the bizarro part- reach your far arm under and across your own chest and grab the collar under hir head. It was a bit of a reach, strain and scrabble- especially for those of us with boobs in the way- but once I had it, it took almost nothing to finish the choke.

Worked with a white belt I've never seen before. Ah, white belts. *NO* pressure at all during the guard pass, and instead of spawling and stacking me after he had the seat belt grip, he got down on his knees. I set the boy straight. (grin) Took possibly a little more pleasure than necessary in demo'ing the RIGHT way to keep pressure on while you're passing.
"*grunt* *cough* *cough* Yeah, I see."
And he did, too- he got steadily heavier with each rep (I assured him that I would let him know if he was hurting me), and by then end of drill, he was nice and pressureful.

Open mat- I asked JM to roll, and we went for quite a while- after everyone else had wimped out.

He almost triangled me about 4 times, and each time I thought I was done for- but I managed to squirrel out. One time, I was stacking him and he was trying to hike his shoulders up, so I ran him about six steps to post the top of his head against the wall. He was cracking up, but admiring. The next time I escaped a triangle, he asked, "Does anyone ever triangle you??" At first I thought he was being sarcastic. Triangles were my Achilles Heel for my first six or eight months. Every time I get caught in one, I feel SO stupid and I get pissed off at myself. The fact that he caught me 4 or 5 times made me feel like a real dummy... but it's true- I *did* get out. And no, people actually *don't* triangle me any more, hardly at all. I didn't really realize it until he said that.

I handily escaped a few armbars, escaped back mount several times (my back mount escapes are pretty good). I finally tapped him with a clock choke. I think he sort of let me have it because he was getting tired and wanted to quit- but he wouldn't have let me have it if it wasn't good technique, so I'm satisfied. He wasn't muscling me, which I appreciated, and I said so. He was full of praise- full enough that it was kind of embarrassing. He wanted to know how much I weigh, and said he didn't think he would have been able to keep going that long against someone as much bigger than him as he is to me. (Hey, did I mention I'm turning forty in two days?)

He was *REALLY* full of praise. I don't know how to feel. I still feel like I suck, and when a higher belt showers me with what seems like sincere, detailed praise, it feels sort of like we're both standing there together looking at a dog and he's insisting that it's a canary. It just doesn't compute.

I know that I'm still not moving fast enough, not transitioning fast enough- still stopping in one position and straining after things, which is bad strategy for the smaller weaker person. I am still not going for subs often enough, and when I do, it it not quick enough or aggressive enough.

Interesting that I get more blog hits from mentioning Tai Chi than anything else- although a lot of the searches are for "Naked Tai Chi" (sigh). Including this sentence alone today will up my traffic by about 25%.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Elbow stands

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

Sunday FOD: Silken Needle

Monday FOD: Box Form. I didn't do it, because for some reason my knee decided to go out. I didn't *do* anything at all to it; I was just walking around like normal, and then- couldn't walk. 12 hrs later, the same. RRRRRrrrrrrr.

Wednesday: 134.0 Knee seems fine today. I'm relieved, but perplexed.

Mindful of how low-energy I've been some of these mornings, and my subsequent suspicion that my 1-cup, 290-cal breakfast isn't quite getting the job done, I nuked an egg right before leaving for class. I seemed to hold up okay today, so I think I'll keep doing that.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle. Pull guard from standup. (Note: do not get lazy about the elbow grip, or Bryan will grab your foot. Bryan also feels that I am showing poor form by slamming down on my back the way I do)

After pull guard: cross collar choke or kimura sweep.

The cross collar choke- You can use the sleeve to yank your opponent closer so that you can sink grip #1. Make sure to angle body a little when you get the 2nd grip, and also make sure to use your legs to pull the opponent down to your chest just before you choke. You can't really get that first grip too deep- Bryan was getting it deep enough that he was actually sliding it down the lapel again as he began to choke. This did not hinder his effectiveness a smidge.

The kimura sweep: I have a bad habit of gripping the sleeve at the elbow. There are several better options- and note that that one will not work at ALL in no-gi. Rodrigo also wants us follow the opponent's torso right up and attack with this *AS* the opponent is posturing up as soon as the guard is closed- do not do a "reset" pause; go ahead and hit him while he's focused on posturing.

We also did some fireman's carry setups from standing. Once again I had a severe blonde moment as far as which lapel to grip *and* which knee to kneel on. It didn't help that when Bryan repped it, he was doing it on the opposite side as Rodrigo had done it. Rodrigo had to come over and walk me through it about five times, while everybody else waited. He wasn't nasty about it- although Mother Theresa couldn't be faulted for losing patience with me when I do this sort of thing repeatedly- but I was mortified. And of course the more distressed I get, the more my brain freezes. I truly have some kind of learning disability related to the left/right spacial awareness thing. I wish I knew how to get better with this.

Lots of reps of the pull-guard-choke and pull-guard-sweep.

They are going to add a few extra 45-min comp classes which are going to be heavy on the "do one thing ten zillion times" method. SIDE CONTROL actually applauded when Rodrigo told us that.

One roll with Alex. Man, is he getting good. He is using technique and not muscle. His inside toe hooks are phenomenal. His shrimp-outs cannot be resisted. When we were done, I told him that he is *totally* working at blue-belt level. That said, I did get on top some (tried for some more of those leg attacks too, although I continue to fail to finish). Was having a female dog of a time passing his guard... he would do one of those irresistable shrimps and get his knee(s) in there no matter how hard I tried to foil him... I did get a couple of passes, though.

I had to take a post-Alex break, and after that, there were no leftover people to roll with, so that was all I got to do today.

Circus school (acrobalance).

Got there a little early to beat traffic, and repped Box Form a few times (just the standard version, not CC's version). I found that I am doing the eye-level spear-hand strike with the left hand on both sides, which is probably wrong. When I started trying to fix that, I realized that I wasn't entirely certain if the cat-toe forward is supposed to be on the same side as the hand you are striking with. Opposing them would seem to make more sense from a stability perspective, but I found that that made things weird as regards to the step-turn afterward. This is where it SUCKS MUD to not have a kung fu teacher. I am going to have to try to just figure it out as best I can, and live with it- instead of being able to find out how to do it RIGHT.

We worked on some handstands, handstands on blocks, and something new to me- the elbow stand. This is very intriguing. It's more difficult than a headstand, but not as difficult as a handstand. Note that the hands are very close to each other, fingers flared, and the elbows are out- so you are making a triangle shape. The back can be bowed- James was bowed to a severe degree.

Supported cartwheels- I seem to have gotten my crappy entry fixed somewhat, but Jenny feels that I am committing the same sin on the exit- namely, I look at my hand (I was not aware that I was doing that) turn my belly downward, and essentially do a roundoff out of the technique instead of a cartwheel. I was able to clean that up tonight, although it was good to have James basing- I think part of that turnout is a trust issue, and I knew James wasn't going to drop me. Also note that you have to straighten the arm on the OPPOSITE side as you are dismounting,and push hard off of it. The cartwheels are much easier when you do them faster- but I wanted to get my form errors fixed before I started speeding.

I did some cathedrals, triangles, and people-stacking with a new guy. He was really wobby on the planks, but we did very well on everything else, go figure. My first impulse was to make him stay with the plank until he got more solid on it- but once we got out of that position, everything got a lot more balanced- and honestly I didn't want to do planks all night, so we just bit the bullet.

Plank to shoulder stand to triangle to supported handstand with James. This was really tricky from the triangle to the handstand transition. We all wanted to pike, but you have to stay straight.

Monday, April 2, 2012


A while back, I made a traffic stop on an elderly woman. As she looked for her driver's license, I noticed her concealed-carry permit.
"Do you have a weapon in your possession at this time?" I asked.
"Yes, a .45 automatic in the glove box," she said.
"Do you have any other firearms?"
"A 9mm Glock in the center console."
"Is that all?"
"And a .38 Special in my purse," she admitted.
I smiled. "What are you so afraid of?"
Looking me righti n the eye, she said, "Not a damn thing."
-Patrick Irick

Friday no-gi at Sleeper.

Generic armbar drills & triangle drills. Then slightly more involved: With opponent in your guard, pull elbows out to break posture, high whizzer one bicep and triangle. Then, same entry but armbar. Note that it helps to cross-grab the opposite shoulder and yank the opponent's posture down before moving your hips.

Next, with opponent in your guard- yank hir arm crossways across your chest and get your butt out to the side. Post on hir hand on the mat, get your near hook in. Take the back in various ways. One thing you can do that's a little different is to reach over hir back and grab hir far ankle. Also, try to keep your first-hook-ankle hooked around hir foot so that when you roll, you can kick that leg out straight and strech hir, and immobilize. I'm not sure this will work on a larger person, but it sure does hurt- especially when your attacker has sharp bony ankles (Cindy!)

I drilled with Jalen- I do like working with him. We knocked out the reps of everything like gangbusters, and then switched again and just kept repping while we waited for everyone else to finish; got about 3x as much done as the other pairs.

Little sparring with Cindy, Jalen, a couple of the other guys. Jalen is very close to my size and we're pretty evenly matched. I can't tell for sure if he's going easy on me- he does go quite a bit wilder on Cindy. Anyway, I seem to be slightly ahead of him in that I do get a sub on him once in a great while, and he is ahead of me in that he spends more time in dominant positions. Most of Cindy's students are also training wrestling- she has a wrestling coach who comes in- and that really shows in how they fight.

I asked Cindy to work on sweeps with me, by getting on top of me in various positions and pretending to be a white belt- so I could just move around under there and experiment with the balance. I was looking for where she could post, and trying to identify the sweep opportunities. My brain is just not SEEING these, even doing it in slow-mo with focus like this- much less live. That exercise did help, so I hape to do it some more.

It's fun to watch Cindy and Jalen spar. They get wild and grin a lot. The rougher it gets, the more Cindy grins.

Saturday lunchtime at GB Seattle. (I had a rather traumatic experience on the drive in… I handled it okay, but it upset me and I'm still upset about it days later….)
I had gotten a late start out of the gate that morning, and missed the basics class. I hustled to get there in time for competition class at 12, but I need not have hurried, since the basics class bled over till 12:20. There were a zillion people on the mat. A bunch of them left before the comp class, though.

Just sparring. Blue Dave. A white belt guy who was slightly spazzy but not so much that I had to say something. He was definitely muscling me around, though. I did manage to finish one or two subs on him, and got on top a few times, but he spent much time on top smooshing me. Angus. John. John and I went for a long time and closed down the mat. What does it mean when I'm having all these 20, 30, 40 min long spars with people and neither of us get a sub? It's not like we're never going for them. Does this mean that we both suck really bad, or does this mean we're both rock stars? It's always with the smaller guys. Maybe- as I observed the other day with that little blue belt guy who sparred me for a long time- we just (as little guys) have a certain pattern of rolling that focuses too much on escapes and not enough on other things.

John and that same little blue belt and I spent some time afterward sitting on tha mat and discussing a but about "small man BJJ", which was interesting. We also observed how you can tell the people who train MMA… partly because people like us are in the habit of submitting each other without pain, but the MMA people seem to always be very much into the gratuitous pain.

JB was there, to my complete surprise. Not gi'ed up, though. Turns out she was there because she is now dating Z. Maybe will get to work with her some this coming summer.

I've been going for leg locks over the past few weeks. I haven't finished any yet, but it's a step forward for me to be looking for them and trying for them.

I have to say I'm happy to see how many brackets there were for Ladies Of a Certain Age at the PanAms. There were really a lot of older blue belt women. In a few years, there will be a lot of older purple belt women, and brown belt women, and black belt women. It also means that if I start competing again, I might not have to fight girls young enough to be my daughters or granddaughters.

Got some more writing done, random scene bits from the middle. It would be nice to find some more of the first 1/3 of the book… but I guess any progress is good progress.