Thursday, July 26, 2012

More Thursday

Happiness is being high on the food chain.

4:30 Basics at GBBell.
Opponent is high front-mounted on you. You form your hands into L's and stick them in hir armpits while popping your chest to force hir to post above your head. Fold at the waist and try to stick your feet in hir armpits. Grab the belt. Try to roll over your shoulder out the back.  This was a little tricky on a huge white belt guy. The key was that belt grip- if I got sloppy with that, there was no getting out. Once I made a little room, I could worm out the back, although it wasn't pretty.

Opponent in turtle. Sprawl on hir shoulders N/S. Wrap your arms around opponent over one shoulder and under the other like a Miss America sash. The over-the-shoulder: Get a collar grip, fingers in. The under-the-shoulder: Stick this one in deep and try to lay your hand on the back of the opponent's head. (I had to drop to my knee beside the guy's shoulder to accomplish this). Put your head in the hole between hir elbow and knee. Roll to the outside. The guy will have to roll with you. (NOTE: do not be in such a hurry here that you neglect to carefully place your face- if you do not put it right in that opening, you wind up pulling the guy bodily right over your own face and maybe breaking your nose.)  You may be able to finish the choke from here, but to make it tighter, run your feet around and curl toward the opponent till hir head is lying on your thigh and finish there.

Short matches- but the huge white belt I was drilling with, it was his very first day. So I showed him what closed guard is, and what you do when you're in it, and had him work on passing my guard a few times. Then I had him put me in his closed guard and I tried to pass while he tried to hold me there or knock me over. Try to get to side control, hold for 3 seconds, try to front mount, hold for three seconds.

I told him to not use weight or strength on me, and I think he was trying, but man was he ever heavy, and a bit spazzy.

Competition class: it was just me and Ben, so we just rolled. He really dominated me- as easily as Hostility Boy had this morning, but Ben at least wasn't a total dick about it. I feel discouraged about my performance today (except for my teaching- I like teaching brand-newbies, and I think I'm good at it... this is part of what it means to be a Team Player, so up yours, H.B.), but one just keeps walking in the door, right?

Ben showed me a "crossface" from top side control that seems interesting- it did not appear from my perspective to be pushing the head far enough to be effective, but when he did it to me, I could see that it was- and that particular version didn't have me overbalancing my weight, which had been a problem several times during my rolls with him. I will need to try that on some other people.

After we'd been working for about 40min, I folded my right big toe in half and had to quit. Icing it now. I don't think it's sprained, but it hurts. Hate toe injuries. We'll see what it feels like tomorrow. It would be nice to be able to hit one of the morning classes.


Pain is just weakness leaving the body.

This afternoon's class was a dramatic study in contrasts.

Lunchtime BJJ GBBell. I was very careful to de-cathair my gi: I washed it with an extra rinse, flapped it outdoors, and instead of wearing it on the commute as I usually do, I tape-rollered it in the locker room before putting it on. I hope that was sufficient.

Dreels to start: Opponent in your guard, foot on bicep, triangle with arm wrapped to outside, turn into omoplata (keep back on the floor), back to triangle. Triangle stuff is always a challenge for me. I was drilling with Nelson, who is so broken that he really should not have come. His knee is in a brace (bad soccer injury), his elbow was dislocated last week by some spastic blue belt, and that's not even counting all the taped digits and usual miscellaneous hurts.  Of cuorse I was only drilling this on his good arm, and I asked him about ten times if he was okay as I was placing my foot (very carefully) on the bicep of his bad arm. It was mostly his knee causing him trouble; he had to pause a few times and stretch it out and make faces. He insisted on drilling both sides, even though I kept telling him to take it easy. I told him (as I do frequently) how nice it is to work with him, he is one of my very favorite classmates in the whole place. He told me the same, which was really nice to hear (especially in light of what happened later).

Positional training from closed guard, pass vs sweep, with a half dozen different people rotating. (I told Nelson he should sit this out, and he wouldn't listen.... at least he wasn't foolish enough to do open mat).  The usual discomfort of frequent partner-switching was alleviated a bit by the fact that Carlos was making the last two people to get paired up for each round do pushups. I'm more assertive about grabbing random men- and they are less assertive about avoiding me- when the alternative is pushups.

One of the guys I worked with was a nice friendly brown belt visiting from Hawaii.

Eight minute rolls: the first pairing was me and Hostility Boy. Oh, heck.

The asswipe stuck BOTH hands in his belt and rolled with me that way. And since the gods are not kind enough to make technical skill and assholery mutually exclusive (I really need to send up a petition to that effect), he got me in bottom side control and armless scarf a few times and then just lay there on me.

I guess if my options are this versus having him sub me thirty times in two minutes while breaking both arms and a few vertebrae, I'd rather have this... but COME ON. Really? Why do you have to be such an asshole?   This is a guy who is techically very good, he's strong, he has good competitive aggression, but he is just NOT A TEAM PLAYER. Would you want this guy- no matter how skilled at omoplatas- representing your school? You could just cut the contempt with a knife. How much of a self-absorbed arrogant prick do you have to be to feel like it's okay to treat people like that?

I should be grateful that out of this really populous school, there are only two ripe jerks (and this one is out of town at college most of the time right now)- not counting the handful whose backward religions tell them that I am too dirty for them to touch. Most of the guys are ranging from fine to really great, and I'm thankful for that. But this guy- geez. And to go straight from NELSON to THIS. That'll give you whiplash.

After that, I was ready to sit on the wall and nurse my wounded dignity, but the prof was motioning me out. He rolled with me a little and corrected me on a bunch of things. 1)Do not do technical lift or otherwise press my foot right on a standing guy's knee- especially the inside of it. I tend to get sloppy assuming that my slight weight has no chance of injuring anyone, but he's right- just no. 2)Break guard and turn body sideways. I'm afraid of getting triangled, but he wants me to control the matward leg and stop worrying about that. 3)When caught in footlock, grab the lapel- don't just brace and push frantically with the other foot.

I feel like this is all stupid elementary crap that I shouldn't need to be told at this point, and it's embarrassing- but the difference is that Carlos doesn't act CONTEMPTUOUS. He doesn't act like I'm a waste of his time or that I'm unworthy to be breathing the same air. Thankfully, he is usually pretty patient.

Brandon, that enormous teenage green belt, turned 16 today and recieved his blue belt. Awesome. I was happy to be there to see that. His dad was there too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Wednesday

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.   –William Blake

Evening BJJ at Sleeper.

Armbar from guard drills- 2 cycles of 'em!  Erk!  I gotta admit that working with Jalen makes me, well, WORK. I have to hustle if I don't want to be a crappy partner for him.

Opponent is in your guard. One cross-collar grip, one back-of-bicep grip (same grips as this morning). "Crawl" up hir back with your legs and trap one shoulder in (you can push the shoulder back with your hand if that helps). Now attack the forearm that's on the same side as the shoulder you have trapped. Clasp it to your chest and curl your body like a Cheeto to bend it in a way that it does not want to bend. You can also gooseneck wristlock from here.

If the opponent tries to pull the arm back to the other side when you attempt to Cheeto it, use that momentum to armbar. Do it in 2 distinct steps- step 1 is turning your body and using both of your legs to bend the opponent down and sideways. Now you can adjust and finish.

I spent the entire rest of the class fighting a 70lb kid who is second-ranked in the COUNTRY for wrestling in his age group (He looked about nine-ish). It was interesting being the much heavier and stronger of a pairing. I tried really hard to not use my weight or my strength. I tapped him a couple of times (keylock, cross-collar choke), but he did a lot of technically impressive work- and a few times when he did a technically impressive sub, I gave him a tap. It was fun.


Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.   –Philip K. Dick

Sometimes I make comments on the weblit page of one of my fave authors. My desktop computer logs me in automatically, but my laptop and the computers at work do not- so sometimes I'm commenting under my name and sometimes under "Anonymous". Last night I made an Anon comment, and followed it up today with another comment under my name. The author said, "Hey, was that you at the top of the page, just not signed in?" "Yeah, sorry," "I thought so, by the writing style."

I'm trying to not overanalyze that- It could just as easily be "You yammer way too much in my comments section, so I recognize you by now, you pesky troll" or "I recognized your crappy diction and the way you overuse the winky icon" But it sure would be cool if I have an actual (non-crappy) WRITING STYLE- "creative voice" that is now recognizable by one of my favorite authors (and one I would love to be able to emulate, because she's wicked good). I hope that when I actually get some public postings up on my WIP, I will be able to summon the nerve to ask her to read it and critique. The idea is utterly terrifying- but I know it would be valuable and accurate feedback.

Monday FOD: Sil Lum Tao.

Have had nightmares every day since Thursday. Part of it was that conversation with Carlos, but I think part of it is that it's now been one year since things imploded. I feel like I've lost a year, just trying to endure through one more day at a time... and people tend to think that after a year, one should be healing and getting over stuff. I wish I got over stuff like other people seem to be able to.

Creative writing:   I have pulled several words and a few phrases out of my hat for my MC's language... basically they have their own names for a handful of certain objects and concepts that are central to their way of life (including a few things that have no direct English translation). I think this "language" sounds reasonably cohesive, since I cobbled together sounds that I tend to like. Lots of K's and I's and three-syllable words.

Now I need to come up with a few words and phrases in a language pertaining to a completely different culture in the story. At first I was just picking more stuff out of my hat, thinking, "It'll be fine, I'm making it all up anyway," But then I looked at it and realized that the "foreign" language really needs to have a different flavor to it than the MC's language, and I'm not sure how to best accomplish that.

I've been looking at examples of different languages online all night, thinking maybe I could rip off something, but I'm still flailing.

One idea that seems to be working a little bit: For a different project, I recently notated a bunch of place names from Michigan that were based on the local native language(s). I then noted a bunch of place names from Washington state which were based on THEIR local native language(s). It was pretty obvious that these were two distinct flavors. So one thing I tried last night was to write down some of the more repetitive syllables from the Michigan names, and combine them with a few other syllables, to try to capture that unique flavor. I'm still experimenting with this, so I'm not sure it's going to work- but you can definitely tell the difference between a phrase from my original "language" and a phrase from the Michigan-derived syllables.

Kyle was promoted to purple belt today... pic on the GBSea site.
Tuesday FOD: Tai Chi short form.

Amusing to see that SIDE CONTROL has changed his blog background; it is now the same pattern as mine- and the very same COLOR as on my creative writing blog.  He is also accidentally referring to Cornelia as "Cordelia"- I know I do it because I'm a Buffy fan; I wonder if that's his excuse?

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ GBSEA.  I walked in, and there was a pair of shiny red spike heels sitting just inside the door. It was such an anomaly that I just had to stand there and stare for a moment. Then I had to look around and see who would be wearing such things on their feet. There was a girl I've never seen before, talking to the Prof.

Warmed up by rolling around with Vince a bit.

That same takedown setup that we did all last week. Both sides, two different partners.

 Then scissor sweeps from guard. We used a cross collar grip and a behind-the-bicep grip. I drilled them on both sides. I still have difficulty pulling the person on top of me, esp if I have my knee up as far as it's supposed to be. Getting further onto my side helps somewhat.

Cross-collar choke from guard. Same cross-grip with the first hand- deep, but not so deep that you can't slip JUST THE THUMB of your other hand in between it and the opponent's head. Then let the forearm of the thumb-hand loop over the opponent's head. That wrist needs to be flexed... it works even if it's not, but it works a lot better with a flexed wrist. With a flexed wrist, very little pressure is needed to get a tap. I like this choke. I *so* need to work on my subs.

One roll with Cornelia.

Cornelia said, "I wonder how that girl is going to do.... did you see those SHOES?" I started cracking up, and cracked up even harder when she added, "When I first walked in, you were the only girl I saw in here, and I thought...." I said, "YOU would not catch me DEAD in a pair of shoes like that... I have combat boots...." Then we were both cracking up.

Steve got promoted to purple! It was so funny. When Carlos called his name, he just stood there and looked from side to side with a bewildered expression, like he was looking for another "Steve".

Saturday, July 21, 2012


A man who knows that body and spirit are part of each other doesn’t need anyone to remind him that he is alive, nor does he have any reason to upset the ecological balance. Only the sky above his head and the earth under his feet. His body is the only home. It is the only thing that never abandons him, the only one that truly belongs to him. Such an individual is a threat to every form of established authority. A wolf that can’t be tamed. He is not under anyone’s orders and doesn’t accept dogmas  because he already has within himself everything he needs to face life. When streams of power flow in the veins of your body, dependency on external factors is reduced to a minimum. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Lunchtime 2-for-1 classes BJJ at GB Sea.  Kaungren was there (cool!) and Hostility Boy (less cool).

Same single-leg setup that we did yesterday. I only used the wrong knee one, but I still have to think hard about it every time.  And man, this is a good way to become completely exhausted when you've barely begun class.

Spider guard sweep, the one where you kick the knee out. This is one of the three that I've been mentally reviewing kind of obsessively. We began from closed guard: one foot on the hip, other foot on the floor, hip out (pushing on the HIP side).

One additional Improvement Opportunity: pulling the opponent's lower arm (the one you don't have your foot planted into) is helpful as well.

If you don't hip out far enough, you can't get the leverage you need, but Rodrigo cautions that if you hip out too far, it invites the opponent to press your legs down and pass.

If this sweep doesn't work, you can take that foot in the bicep and extend it past opponent's head for a triangle setup. When you begin this setup, you are propped on your side with your elbow on the mat. You need to torque your head way over to the diagonal, and end on your back, with a really tight angle to the leg.

I continue to be very clumsy with the triangle. Hudge is very good at it. He was lamenting his short legs, but his triangles hurt before he even started pressuring anything. He was able to offer suggestions to me on this, and I was able to offer some to him on the sweep.

One roll with Angela and one with John. I was not doing too well today. I had felt pretty low-energy to start with, and the standup at the beginning didn't help with that.

I asked them both if they felt I was being an a-hole with my pressuring of the jaw with the forearm, and they both said no. I asked them to give me a heads-up if I was doing anything a-holey.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Two sweeps

Despair is an indulgence.   –Karani

Bad nightmare last night. I had just been thinking with relief yesterday morning that I hadn't had one for a while. Later on, while the Prof and I were sitting on the wall, he was asking me some questions that touched on Traumarama Autumn 2011. Not being mean or overly nosy or anything, just curious. I know he had been concerned about me at the time because I had disappeared for a long while, and was really weird when I did show up (this is a *lot* weirder than my normal level of weird). Although I was reticent with my answers and changed the subject as soon as I could, I guess talking about those topics out loud was enough to trip the trigger. I had set my alarm to consider the 06:30am class, and thank Gods, cuz it woke me up from the nightmare (which had already gone on way too long). Unfortunately, although I then couldn't go back to sleep, I was way too traumatized from my nocturnal funhouse ride through PTSD-land to go to class.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Sea.

Cornelia- whose pic I just used on my blog a couple of days ago- was there! She is back visiting for a month. What a nice surprise! She will be mostly in Seattle, though, and I am mostly in Bellevue these days. Hope I get to work with her a few times.

Standup- one collar grip, one elbow grip. Jerk down on collar, up on elbow, step to the side of opponent. Drop to the OUTSIDE knee, pick up leg, stand up and push. My challenge with this sort of thing is always using the correct knee.  Cornelia, who is a judo black belt, demo'ed how it's REALLY done.

You are in opponent's closed guard. Grip lapels, grip pants at knee, Knee-in-butt, break guard, push knee down. Opponent pushes knee horiz across your chest. You Grip lapels (your arm is now BETWEEN hir knees), sprawl hard, and catch the cuff of hir mat-ward arm. Catching this wrist is critical, so that s/he can't move hir shoulder and escape. Jerk the arm UP. Tiptoe around hir legs and pass.

This was an unfamiliar one for me. The combo of a good drilling partner, and the Brazillion reps (hee hee, yeah, I'm gonna drive you nuts with that for a while) that we did caused me to go for trying it on the stupid side. The stupid side turned out to work better for me because it was my stronger arm yanking that cuff up. This is one of the reasons why it's good to at least try it on the stupid side.

A little positional training starting from when your partner gets the lapels but not the arm cuff.  I somehow got Cornelia in some weird summersaulting reversal which of course had me thinking, "YOWZA, lookit that, I'm doing a SWEEP and it's WORKING, OMFG!"  I had paused about ten seconds before I did this to ask "Are you okay?" because she made a noise or a face or something, and she said fine, but as soon as I did the reversal (Lordy, look at that sentence.... ***I***DID***a ***REVERSAL****!! And on a good blue belt!), she was making another face, and I said again, "Are you okay?" This time she said, "No." I had overcranked her shoulder while I was flipping her over. I felt terrible. I _never_ hurt anybody in class. I particularly don't want to break Cornelia when she only has a month to train here and she's a great partner. Turns out she was okay, but it scared me. She didn't make a peep, and she should have, though. Still my fault. Relieved she wasn't more damaged.

One roll with a medium-sized blue belt guy, one with Cornelia ("You *YELL* if I hurt you, okay?"), one with Kyle. I am still sucking epically on finishing subs, but my positional work has been darn good these past couple of weeks. Lots of passing top half guard, lots of top KOB, lots of top side control, lots of top front mount. Yesterday and today, I have actually felt like a Real Blue Belt on the mat, which is still pretty rare.

I have been going over those three spider guard sweeps from last week repeatedly in my mind. Today I ***DID***ONE*** on the medium-sized blue belt guy. And it worked. This is such a huge deal. It was the standing one. And against another blue belt, not some clueless newbie. And I even finished in a top side control. One of my challeneges is that I sometimes have a difficult time getting up and getting on top quickly/smoothly enough even if the opponent goes down/over. Anyway, it worked,  and I'm thrilled to pieces.

Lost a contact on the mat, for the first time. Luckily it happened in slow motion; I could feel the eyeball being rubbed, then my vision in that eye went blurry, so I cupped a hand under it, blinked two or three times, and the contact popped out and fell on the mat.

Evening no-gi at Sleeper: nothing like a little no-gi to put me back in a humble place, LOL!

Basic guard break to disengage, grab ankles. If opponent pushes back: slam the feet to the floor, leap over them to front mount.  If opponent doesn't push back- press hir knees to hir nose and sit on top, then lean down for one underhook and spin your legs the opposite direction ("breakdance"). These can be a pair of very uncomfortable- even dangerous- techniques, so I was relieved to be drilling with Lamont.

King of the hill from closed guard. I did poorly here. The mat was pooled with sweat, and my knees couldn't get any purchase, which didn't help.

Rotating spars with lots of people. Besides Jalen, Cindy had three new (to me) preteens in there tonight, one of whom is already way heavier than me, but the other two were about my size and somewhat lighter. I got to spar the two smaller ones, including some standup, and that was really fun. They have some wrestling skillz. I was very careful to not muscle keylocks and things... I'm not used to having to be careful to not muscle people! The only thing I muscled was an armbar that the kid was gable-gripping his hands to defend- I pried his hands apart with my feet, and I called it fair because I can do that even on people quite a bit stronger- that is just a contest that the gable-gripped hands are gonna lose. I set it up slowly and deliberately enough that he could see what I was doing, so hopefully that was a learning opportunity and not me being a bully.

I did use a little unfair weight a couple of times while passing guard, I think, but I reined that in as soon as I realized I was doing it. They were good enough that it didn't give me too much of an unfair advantage, but I kept trying to remind myself to not do anything that I don't like having done to me by heavier people.

One of them got my back in standup twice in a row- gotta watch that, especially with the wrestlers. I was doing way too much turning because I was trying to hip-throw them; I should have switched to something different after the first couple did not work.

With the adults in particular, I spent too much time in bottom half guard again... however, I seemed to at least be moving around under there a little more, switching from side to side, groping for stuff- as opposed to lying there like a dead fish (Bryan's description). I hope this is the first phase of actually learning how to get the heck out.

If they put me in scarf, or backsit on my head, I still can't usually do anything till they move.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


People talk much about ecology and the need to slow down the crisis of the global ecosystem, but there can be no solution to the problems of nature unless we can find nature within. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday: 133.0

Form Of the Day: Box Form. It appears that I have been doing the stomp, cat step and spear hand on the same side both ways. I'm not sure if that's kosher for this form or not (this is the only one that has the "mirror form" built in- you always do it on one side and then the other in succession), but it is actually not complicated to switch the three techniques to their mirror side- so I want to. I just need to take a moment's pause just before the stomp to assess which side I'm going to.
Saturday FOD: Hurricane Hands.

Dang those excessively clever Incas. I have a pivotal plot point in my WIP that I was really excited about, involving (what I THOUGHT was) an original idea. It is a form of morse code translated to knots in a length of cording. Turns out those damn Incas did it first:

Which doesn't mean I can't still use the idea; I just won't get credit for thinking it up by myself, even though I *DID*. And I will likely get history nerds whining in my comment section that I suck because I cribbed something from one ancient culture and grafted it onto a different ancient culture. 
Sunday FOD: jian.
Monday FOD: Plum Blossom Frag.  Note that the strikes from the kneeling position number THREE: the third is a right palm-heel while the left hand comes back in a Black Crane-esque ward at jaw.
Tuesday FOD: Kiu 2. Same issue as last time with mixing some of the pieces up. Note that Part ONE has the little hop back, because when you are doing Part TWO, you have the wrong toe forward to be able to do this technique.  Note also that part TWO does not have the double spear hand nor the little sideways palm-heel at the end. I must like those two techniques; I keep wanting to put them in both halves.

Part 2- first step is forward with the LEFT foot. Part one does not use footwork at all in the opening technique, so the confusion here originates from mixing it up with Snake Versus Five Animals- in which Part 1 steps forward with the RIGHT foot and part 2 steps BACKWARD with the LEFT foot. The opening of Snake Versus Five Animals, Part two, also uses the very same hand/arm motions as in Kiu 2 Part 2. Confused? Me 2.

The new space is cleared at my work, and all the instruments and crap aren't moved into it yet- there's tons of room to do forms! Yay!
Thursday: Had a dream about sword training, followed by a dream in which Bryan was promoted to black belt.

Competition class at GB Bellevue. It was really hot in there, and I got to use the phrase I stole from Ginger Snaps: "It's a Brazilian degrees in here!" Gavin high-fived me and said, "I can't wait to steal that one!" I said, "Be my guest, cuz I just stole it from somebody else!"

All live matches. Started with the Prof, and got about 20 seconds in before he had a violent allergy attack and had to quit. Turns out he is allergic to cats. He's never had a reaction to the cat hair on my gi before, but I guess today there was a lot of it. I had to go out in the alley and take off my jacket, pants and rash guard and shake them hard to try to get the cat hair off. I was wearing bike shorts and a sport top, but the guys still started hollering at me to be careful because there were men hooting and yelling from the next building over (there weren't). I said "Good, maybe they'll start throwing money." (nobody did)

Note to self- start washing gi's on "extra rinse", don't leave them lying around anywhere that the cats will nap on them, give them a good snappy shake outdoors before dressing, and put a tape-roller wand in my gym bag.

Advanced class- all live matches again. I was stuck on bottom half guard the whole time with Kelly, which was frustrating, but I did fairly okay against everyone else. I worked with a number of people that I've never worked with before- and I noticed that when they caught me with something, then tried the same thing again later, I was able to counter and not get caught a second time. I am a slow learner, so that was good progress for me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who are you, and what have you done with the wolverine?

Turn your body into a temple and nature starts talking to you. It brings you back to a wilder, more authentic state. Nature is not just a name to identify what we have not yet covered with concrete and asphalt. It is life lived without fear, without sense of guilt; life not enslaved by the artificial rules of a society which has lost it center. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

I know I've talked about this before, but one of the things Dave used to say many years ago re: the Hunt was that the work people were doing on their spiritual "stuff" is not just selfish indulgence. Everything you do to better yourself benefits your tribe. You in fact have a RESPONSIBILITY to evolve yourself so that you can be a better contributor to your tribe.
Accept your power.
Some of the GB patches on my gi's are beginning to fray and come off. I am so annoyed. I still haven't gotten over the annoyance of having to pay for them- and pay for them to be sewn on- in the first place.  I am a penny-pinching cheapskate who hates to spend money on herself; yet I am told that I sometimes have unreasonable expectations of my possessions. I still have clothes from high school. I have been known to wail such things as, "But this was BRAND NEW sixteen years ago!!" or "But I just got this serviced in 1987; it's broken again ALREADY??!?"  I don't have a working sewing machine right now (It broke and I'm too cheap to get it fixed). I spent 40 min between classes today hand-sewing the corners of the bottom  patch that looks most likely to fall off- the long rectangular one along the lapel of my cream gi. I'll try to spot-repair the others as I can. Geez, I hate sewing. Maybe I can leverage this into more vigorous enthusiasm for avoiding opponents' grips on my lapels.  "!!!RHAAAAAAAHHHHR!!!! Get your stinkin' hands off my collar!!!! I don't wanna have to resew that dratted patch again!!!!!!"

I was fairly sure I wouldn't be up for three classes today, so I skipped the 4:30 basics class & went in for competition class. I'm enjoying Thursday comp class; I'm worried that they might axe it due to the low turnout.....  today it was two behemoth guys and Ritchie. Joy and rapture.

As soon as we stepped on the mat, Carlos asked: "Who ees deeped een Tiger Balm?" It was me. As my former Kung Fu teacher used to say, "Ah, the scent of pain and suffering!"

It was also still hotter than an oven in there. Carlos was complaining about it too. I said, "Isn't it a lot hotter in Brazil?" He says lots hotter, but not as humid. I commented that whoever invented the BJJ gi should be shot. He said that in Brazil, they don't wear rash guards or other shirts underneath. I replied, "I'd still have to!" He informed me that in Brazil, the female BJJ artists wear BIKINIS under their gi's in summer- and they only train with each other during those months. !!!!????   

Pendulum sweep: partner is in your closed guard. Place your left palm on hir same-side elbow. Do not grab the gi sleeve. Do not grab the wrist, or the bicep; as I was repeatedly told, you are not grabbing anything at all. Just place the palm there to keep the elbow from flaring out.

Use legs to pull opponent forward into your chest. Open your guard and hitch yourself up a bit, making sure that your knee is now covering that elbow that you don't want to flare- you don't want hir to be able to post on it.

Now that you have pulled hir forward, you have room to move your torso to your rt and slip your arm under opponent's thigh. Hitch yourself sideways a ltitle more, till you're forming an X with the other person. Roll up on top, scissoring your lower leg. It is important that this leg- which I want to bend- is straight.

Reps of this till exhaustion. 

Then rotating matches with everyone. Ritchie first- and I gritted my teeth and headed bravely into the breech. He let me get a KOB and just lay there under it, then he let me have a keylock. He actually TAPPED. I was dumbfounded. Who are you, and what have you done with Ritchie? Don't get me wrong, I like *you* better- but you're actually going a little *too* light. Carlos thought so too, and he told him, "You can go harder..." I'm kneeling there thinking, "ZOMG, don't tell him that... I really don't want to go back to where he's ripping at me like a starving Nazi wolverine on meth. As we restarted, I murmured, "Okay, you can go harder, but you're a lot stronger than me, so don't go nuts." That kid really has got me intimidated- but man, he just goes so aggressive and douchebaggy all the time! Except for today. I don't know what was going on with him today. Maybe it was just a fluke, and the starving Nazi wolverine on meth will be back next week. I did make a special point to be gentle with my knee-up guard breaks, and thank him, and shake his hand, and bow to him- all stuff I did anyway even when he was being a dick, but this time I did it with sincerity and looked him in the eye like he was a person.

When the class was done, Carlos asked, "Advanced class, Keetsune?" I responded, "Eerrrrrrrrrrrgggghhhhhhhh...." "Advanced class, Keetsune?" "Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...." I'm happy that he pushes me. I'm not good at saying no to him.

By the time we were nearly done with warmups for advanced class, I thought I might actually not make it through this class without a trip to the alley to puke.

We started with more pendulum sweeps. My muscles and brain were both flagging, so I was embarrassed to mess up a couple of times right in front of the prof. I feel sooooooooooooo stupid when I do a second class' worth of the same technique in one day and then flub the first few reps. Especially something like pendulum sweep, which isn't exactly brain surgery. I was also having a slight problem with my new partner holding onto my belt in my guard with her arms braced like steel girders, so that  I was unable to pull her forward without flaring her elbow. I didn't want to ask her to ease up, so I went ahead and flared the elbow, and got corrected. Then I explained the problem and asked her to ease up, but she didn't. So I sighed inwardly and tried to figure out how to get around this. Prof came over and had me open my guard a bit, then use my knees and arms to smoosh her in on herself enough to break her down.
King Of the Hill- closed guard, pass vs sweep. I drew Allison three times in a row. Him and his long, long legs and his X-guard. He just loves to get X guard and hoist you up and dangle you there in the air like a piece of meat on a spit, then let you drop inelegantly to the side (usually on your head), and he gets on top. He always has this little smile on his face, and never looks like he's trying  hard. For the last three and a half years, I have approached Allison knowing that he was going to do exactly this to me, and being unable to foil him. This time, I made him work pretty hard for it the first go-round- and was pleased with that much. The next two times, he actually had to resort to something different. I got to half guard and actually thought for a moment that I might have a chance to pass. That's good progress for me. He's a challenge.]

I got Chris once, and said, "Be careful, I'm old and weak and fragile." He responded, "You be careful, I'm old and weak and fragile too!" We both started cracking up... he's in his early 20's, and he's one of those guys that I wish we had "before" and "after" pics of on our school website- he came in hugely obese and not able to get through the warmups. Now he's less than half his former size, and a skilled blue belt.

King Of the Hill from half-guard, pass vs sweep. This is something I'm fairly decent at from the top. My short legs just kinda squirt through; I only have to be careful that I don't overbalance my weight too much and let me opponent tip me on my head or my butt while I have all my posts tied up. I passed my first opponent, but then that put me on the bottom. Blerg. A purple belt immediately tooled me, and I was in line again. I passed my next opponent (and this is my reward? I'm in bottom half guard again?). Then I got Hudge. I would not let him out of my half guard, and we fought for a long while. I eventually managed to replace full guard, and for a moment I thought I might have a chance- I don't work with him very often, so he's not wise to my bag of tricks. One of these is to use my feet on the guy's waist to shove him away, get to my feet, and fall upon him. I couldn't quite pull it off, but the resulting scramble put me almost on his back. It was of course a blood grudge by then, and we were both fighting all out. I was soooo close to getting his back, but I was tiring and weakening, and then time ran out. Great fight, though.

One or more of the guys was apparently going too hard on one of the girls, by Carlos' estimation... the next KOTH was all four of us women down and the men in front mount- sub vs escape. The guys were cautioned that the entire point of this round was for them to get subs without being beasts on the women. I cycled through a whole bunch of them, and they were all fine as far as level of roughness (although at least four of them in succession dripped sweat directly into my eyeballs; new record)- a few were asking for feedback on the force level, which is great. I was a rock star in this round, and I hope it wasn't just because they were going way too light. I even managed to reverse one and get mount on HIM.

 In the locker room, I asked both Kelly and Pam if the guys had been rough on them- Kelly said not really, Pam said kinda. I gave them both the "don't hesitate to set firm boundaries" speech, especially Pam (the white belt). Kelly says she's not really comfortable with Carlos being so protective and making a big deal about the guys going too rough on us, because she doesn't want the guys to think we're wusses and not take us seriously. I tried to explain that it's good that he's on top of that, and he wouldn't have to make such a big deal out of it if we were all assertive about telling the guys to not squash or muscle us. I too used to worry about the guys thinking I'm a wuss and not taking me seriously; I still do a bit, but not as much as I worry about 2 seconds of too-heavy side control putting me on the bench for a month and a half. BTDT and pride ain't worth it.   

Kelly already has THREE stripes on her blue belt- she is just ZOOMING through the ranks. She surely deserves it, though. There were 4 women in tonight's advanced class. That's a lot, especially for Bellevue.

Owwwww- jawline is so red and raw- I aloe-gelled it tonight. More Tiger Balm, too.

I'm getting tons of blog hits from people searching on "ringworm". Yay. Well, I guess I'd rather have them come to me via ringworm as opposed to some of the kinky sex terms that come up in my stats every week.

Don't let go of the pants!

When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven and earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment or how to rule their world- which is saying the same thing. Human beings destroy their ecology at the same time that they destroy one another. From that perspective, healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the phenomenal world. –Chogyam Trungpa, Shambala: the Sacred Path Of the Warrior

Despite exhaustion and soreness, my growling and complaining stomach forced me from my bed very early this morning. This frustrates me. I did eat half a chicken breast right before I went to bed. I don't want to eat a lot of calories right before lying down, especially when I'm dieting. But nor do I want my already-poor sleep to be disturbed by my stomach yelling "GET UP and FEED me!"

Had to baby-oil my neck and jaw- gi burn to the max! I really hope we're not doing any gi choke drills in class today.

Almost skipped lunchtime class- was still tired, sore, feeling a little off. But I did go, and I'm happy that I did.

Today's technique had 42,878 steps. The prof said it had 10, but he was combining a bunch of them.  He was being really patient with me today, and I was doing fairly well (with Herculean mental effort), but I really started to lose my shit near the end when I got tired and my brain just began freezing up, as it tends to do when it gets too full.

Anyone who has read more than 3 entries in my blog probably knows that "DON'T LET GO OF THE PANTS" is a recurrent theme in my jiu jitsu career, which just has not fully filtered through my skull as of yet despite many fervent efforts. Today was another chapter in my stubborn pants-releasing obsession, although it was kind of amusing to learn that I'm not the only one.

I made a beeline for Justin for drilling, and was relieved that he seemed agreeable to that... he is not a small guy- medium-sized- but everyone else in there today was a rhinocerous.

Opponent in turtle. You sprawl on hir shoulders (head to head), place your left hand crossways on the left side of hir neck, and spin to that side so that you are side by side. reach your rt hand under hir armpit, gable-grip around your partner like a Miss America sash, and roll to your left hip, bringing hir with you. Your bottom (left) leg is bent beneath opponent so that just your knee sticks out in front of hir belly. Throw your rt leg over hir torso. (NOT low enough down so that s/he can grab your foot in half guard.)

Open opponent's rt collar and feed to your left hand. (Always I dither about which side... note that this way has my arm down, making a "pillow side" for opponent's head, which is usually how I want it- thanks Bryan.) Grab the pantleg with your rt hand. It may be helpful to paint that hand with Superglue first, so that you don't let go of the pants.

Get your left knee under you. (This was the hardest part for me... I kept finding myself wallowing on my hip like a beached whale, leg folded under me, unable to get up). You want your rt foot on the mat at this point. (people with normal size legs may well have their foot on the mat from the outset, but with me, this was the soonest opportunity I could possibly get it down there.) With that knee on the mat, Turn your left foot out near opponent's head.

Roll to a standing squat just long enough to fall back on your butt. Do not roll onto your back or side. DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS!!!

Bring left leg around opponent's shoulder. both of your legs are now wrapped around hir trunk. If you can capture an arm or two, so much the better. DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS.

Lean back and choke. Guess what you don't let go of? That's right, let's all say it together, kids- THE PANTS!!!!!!!

Variation A: If opponent grabs your sleeve and pulls your elbow over hir head to defend the choke, you grab that same arm and keep it. Swing leg over opponent's head. Switch to armbar. What do you still have in a death-grip in your sweaty, white-knuckled right fist? The pants, you say? No kidding?!

Variation B: Now your opponent links hir hands together to try to defend the armbar. Now you are allowed to do the unthinkable and pry your hand off those pants. Switch your hands, now your right hand grips opponent's bicep. (Not sleeve- this is another common error of mine, I grab the gi and then the opponent just squirms around inside it like a ferret in a sack and gets away...) Lift your leg off hir face and quickly slide your left hand under hir neck to grip the back of the gi collar.

Use these two grips in tandem with a powerful twist of your body to hoist the opponent into a sitting position and either pull you to hir, pull hir to you, or a combo of both. hir butt should be snugged right into your crotch. Now you have hir back and can do a variety of unpleasant things to hir with your arms (including sinking that clock choke in again).

Justin seemed likewise a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of this sequence. He kept letting go of the pants, prompting the Prof to remind him about sixteen times. I felt his pain. Finally I began to stage-whisper to him as I took turtle position- "Don't let go of the pants!" "Right!" he stage-whispered back. As he grabbed the pants, I said, "Now don't let go of those pants!" "Not letting go of the pants!" he responded. We continued this patter throughout the drill, amid a few giggles, but by God we quit letting go of the damn pants. I hope Carlos didn't think we were horsing around too much- but honestly, we NEEDED that level of accountability.

One roll with Justin- he is doing really well, good technique and no muscling, so I didn't hand him stuff easily but I did give pointers as we rolled.

Then I was exhausted and tried to slouch off the mat, but Pat ambushed me and tried to single-leg me, so I tried to guillotine him and then tried to throw him, and we rolled around for a little bit. Then I *really* was cooked and had to go.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lamont for President- no, KING OF THE WORLD

Perhaps even more than the dogma of scientific philosophies, the gloomy ghost of many different religious doctrines planted the seeds for the rejection of the body. Doctrines of renunciation according to which life is a sin to be amended. Doctrines born out of the fear to be truly alive. In their eyes, the Earth is nothing but a vale of tears, a place of suffering, nothing more than an obligatory stop on the way to reach better destinations. The body is a heavy burden pinning us to the ground, an obstacle on the way to Heaven. Not only are body and soul not in harmony, they are antithetical principles at war with each other.   -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Wednesday evening BJJ at Sleeper. I was excited to see two girls in the kids' class when I came in today; it has been way too testosterone-heavy lately! (When I commented, Cindy told me that her pee-wee class- the tiniest kids- was 2/3 girls!) The little three-year-old looks like she has good potential! I saw her spar, and she is aggressive and took direction pretty well for a three-year-old. Until she started to cry. But- potential!  Cindy pointed to the little boy opposite her and said, "Go get 'im!" And man, she didn't need to be told twice- she charged the kid and grabbed him! It was cool to see!  :)

You are in opponent's closed guard. Grab sleeve cuffs. Pull one arm to you and press the other to opponent's belly. Step up on the side that you have pulled the arm. Hips forward when you are standing. Switch your grip on the sleeve cuff so that it is going across your torso. Keep elbow in. (Note that you should keep that arm pulled out while you are standing up instead of waiting till you are on your feet and then trying to yank it taut (see Lamont, I *do* listen)). Push down opponent's knee and step back with the foot on the same side that you are pushing. Once you have knee to floor, scoot through with the NEAR knee over opponent's thigh. Or, option #2: Shrug opponent's non-floored leg over your shoulder and reach around to grab collar with that arm, then push hir knee to hir nose and ooze past, while keeping mucho weight down.

One roll with Jalen, who is still recovering from his back injury, so I still had to be careful of him. I have to bring my A game with Jalen, so this puts me at a disadvantage. I paused a couple of times while I was on top to ask him if he was doing okay, and I didn't put much weight on him- but I got the impression from Cindy that he might not admit when he's in pain, which means I have to be even *MORE* careful, because I can't trust him to tell me if it's too much. He was ready for my guillotine this time- he is catching onto my favorite tricks. 

One really long roll with Lamont, who tooled on me as usual. I was starting to get a bit frustrated, so when he forcibly pulled my elbow into his closed guard, I said, "Dude, you are totally muscling me," to which he responded that if I was going to crossface the snot out of him, he was going to respond by muscling me. I then had to stop and ask for some clarification.

 When I think of "crossface", what comes to mind is the way Alecia likes to hook her elbow around my jaw, bow my spine, and bend my neck backward as if she is trying to stuff my head up my own ass. It is very effective; it hurts like a motherf*cker and makes me immediately let go of everything and go meekly wherever she wants to move me because I am just trying to prevent my neck from being snapped. It also ticks me off. I really do not enjoy having that done to me, especially hard and rough- so I don't do it to others.

Turns out that the pressuring of the forearm against the jaw that I often do is considered "crossfacing" according to Lamont, so then I wanted to know if it is considered a douchebag move. He said no. I said that if he felt that deserved a response of muscling me, that was giving me the message that it was a douchebag move- and if it's a douchebag move, I want to be informed of that so that I don't do it any more. Honestly, if I'm really grinding it like that, I am unaware. That is not my intention, unless I'm trying to ezekiel-choke someone. Usually my forearm-in-the-throat tactic is (to my mind) placing it there and then torquing my elbow up against his jaw to try to force the guy to kink his head up and to the side, with the idea that he will then be less able to see- and less able to defend- whatever else I'm trying to accomplish. I didn't think I was being overly rough with it, though. I need to poll a few of my regular sparring partners and see if they think I'm being a jerk about that.

Anyway, Lamont insisted that it was not poor sportsmanship, but that he was taking it as a signal that I wanted to step up the competition a level- ergo, muscling. I said that that wasn't really fair- that we could both grind forearms into each other's throats, but he could muscle me and I do not have the option of muscling him in return. I'd rather have him do the same thing to me that I'm doing to him- partly so that I can see for myself if it's douchebaggy, and partly because it really frustrates me to be muscled (especially by people who are skilled enough to effortlessly clean my clock without resorting to that).

I informed him that he is a big mean bully, and he asked if I was going to write unflattering stuff about him on my blog tonight (I don't know how the heck he found my blog...). "If I write a bunch of good things about you, will you be nice to me?" He agreed. So I want everyone to know that LAMONT IS A ROCK STAR AND A BIG STUD WHO COULD MAKE RICKSON CRY LIKE A BABY. Trust me on this.


If you see the situation clearly enough, you can almost always cheat from the other person's point of view.  You can almost always break rules that are only rules that exist in the other person's head.  And that is a huge advantage. -Rory Miller

GB won the adult gi and adult overall trophies at this weekend's Revolution. The rest of the results are not up yet, but there's a pic of Ron on the podium with a bronze.

Sunday's FOD: Leopard Fist. Note that for the two iron needles, you support the arm at the WRIST, not at the elbow. I leep forgetting that. I think my brain keeps wanting to rescind back to Five Animals, where you support a spear hand at the same angle- with the same hand- at the elbow.


You will note that the egg comes before the chicken in the first part of the day, but the chicken comes before the egg in the second half of the day. So the question remains unanswered; or more likely irrelevent- in light of the fact that it is an endless mobious strip of bland protein.

I could eat a Volkswagen this morning.

More results up now:

Black 181.0 & Below
1st  Carlos Sievert 
of course.

GB missed the adult no-gi trophy by 5 points.

Rianna and Alecia throw down again! And apparently there was an even meaner she-dog on the block than either of them; as Rianna got silver (gi and no-gi) and Alecia didn't even place. This was advanced no-gi women's 147 and below. Alecia got 1st in gi, although she was competing in white belt (come on, really?).

Monday FOD: Little Red Dragon.

135.0.   WTF?!???

Recieved the new serrated Spyderco knife today. I have needed to replace my pink serrated Spyderco for a long time, as the screws were so loose that it was disassembling itself in my pocket. Also, I had broken the tip off the blade. They don't replace blades (esp if it's due to your own negligence, which this was) and unfortunately they don't make that particular knife any more. I had been stalling on replacing it, because I really wanted a matched set with my straight Spyderco (except for color and serration), but I finally decided to settle- before I find myself needing to cut someone out of the seat belt in a burning car, and NEED that serrated edge.

The new knife is a bit heavier, very slightly larger, and has a few structural changes. Think it will be fine, though. I will likely paint the handle with a bright color of nail enamel so that I can easily tell them apart in low light (I don't like pink, but that's why I picked the pink, before). 

It sure feels good to have a knife on each flank again. I had been feeling so unbalanced. 


I had a gun dream today. Interesting. I think that's the first time. I didn't shoot anybody. It was the apocalypse, and I pulled a gun on some baddies who were trying to rob us of our gasoline. In real life, I of course would not pull a gun on anyone for stealing gas- but this was the APOCALYPSE, and I guess we really needed that fuel to survive. Besides which, I'm fairly sure that the guy I pulled the gun on was an android.

Wednesday: Lunchtime BJJ at GB Sea. It was like an oven in there today. Even the prof- who is from BRAZIL- said that he felt like he was in a microwave.

GUILLOTINES!!!!! Whoo-hoo! My favorite!  Opponent double-legs, you sprawl and guillotine, jump guard, finish.  Then, the defense: as opponent sticks a foot forward to sit, you "slide into home" on the same side, while turning into hir and shrugging your shoulder. The head turn and shrug must be a whole-body movement, cuz just doing the legs part ain't gonna cut it. 

I had to sit out the first two rounds of rolling. Aside from the heat and humidity, this is the week post-Revolution, and the profs always tend to be particularly vigorous with warmups and drills in the week or two after a comp. I was spent. I watched Marc roll with Bryn, and Marc got a tap! I congratulated him.  Bryan does not give you taps easily.

I did one roll with Dave, and then some open mat with Bryan. You may recall that the last time I rolled with him (last week), I noted in my blog "stop sticking your arms up while Bryan is on top". Guess what I did today? Dang it. I told him to just keep right on subbing me viciously; sooner or later it would sink in. 

I did get one brief moment of joy: I was KOB'ing him, and he was telling me to not do something that I had just done, and I said, "Okay, but it did work insofar as I got KOB." "Huh?" "KOB. I have KOB on you. Right now." He had to look. He didn't even feel me slip my knee in there, nor did he feel me perched there. That really is a nice little move for me. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Richard's Rules

Today many people spend eight hours a day sitting before a computer or behind a desk, forcing their bodies to an unnatural stasis. Overworked minds, inert bodies. Depending increasingly more on an immaterial form of technology, we confine the body to a subordinate position. We grow detached from it. We forget its magic. We forget its power. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path


Sage Advice from Richard the Cat:

1. When you are wearing an e-collar, try not to throw up.

2. If you simply must throw up while wearing an e-collar, do not do so in a reclining position.

3. If you are foolish enough to upchuck while lying down in your e-collar, at least do it right in front of mommy- so that she can rescue you before you drown in your own half-digested breakfast.

Uh, yeah.  

Right up there in the Top Five All Time Most Disgusting Sights EVER.

This was my afternoon today.

Today was the Revolution. It was nice to have a bit of an ongoing photo/results feed on the GB page. From that, I know that Kelly got gold in her division. Woo hoo!

Today was also a really nice day weather-wise. I knew that that did not bode well for Turtle Drum, especially combined with the fact that this is a holiday week with some people out of town, and some celebrating belated holiday events. Well, yeah- only ONE other person showed up. I asked her if she had any preferences- I am only a passable ecstatic drummer when I'm holding the space by myself, but if you want a trip, I'm your shaman. She wasn't sure what she was in the mood for, but that she would be happy to just stretch and zone out and enjoy the space. So I did the djembe a bit, a few simple and moderate rhythms. The accoustics were interesting. I had the fiberglass Remo, and every time I hit it, I got a bounceback that really sounded like a bunch of people in the distance drumming and hollering with me. So I zoned into that, then did about 40 min of heartbeat- which is always a win. There was a nice vibe going, even though I was competing with some sort of live singing event next door.

So even though it turned out to be a dud of a party, I think we both got a nice little buzz off that.

Technically, a second person showed up an hour and a half late, just as we had decided to bug out, so I told him I was closing up.

Well, hell, I had paid to rent the dojo for the evening. What should one do with a beautiful dojo that one has already rented for the entire evening? FORMWORK!!!!

I committed a sin in that I handled a couple of weapons that were lying around. You do not touch a martial artist's weapons without hir permission. I would normally not do that, and I have never laid a finger on any item in here before tonight- but it seemed a crime to not work weapons forms, since I actually had the space to do it. And there were in fact weapons lying about begging to be lifted and wielded. They were begging, I heard them. I hope that the weapons were for general use of those in the dojo. Anyway, there's almost nobody on the planet who is going to handle your weapons more respectfully than I. (Can I still say that now that I've touched a sword and a bo without explicit permission?)

Anyhow, lightning did not strike me down, and I did all my weapons forms. Then all of the Shaolin forms that I could remember (not the frags, just the ones I know all the way through). Five Animals, Little Red Dragon and Leopard Three both ways. A few of the others twice, if they seemed either particularly poor or particularly transcendant the first time through. It was nice to have so much room and a good floor, to do the weapon work as well as the rolls and flying kicks that I often have to micro-fu my my through if I am doing them at work or at home. (Note that the last roll in Wood Monkey is on the left shoulder so that you can kick with the right foot.)

Forms were a little odd because I was wearing a dress. However, most of my dresses are ones that I can fight or do forms in, in a pinch. Luckily I was not wearing something short or tight.

During breaks, I did a few chants. Kiss the Earth Again. Jump At the Sun- almost forgot about that one. That is one of mine. I need to put that chant in my weblit. I keep meaning to share it with Pathwalker, but every year I forget, or don't get an opportunity.  I may do that one in the next Turtle Drum. The facilitators have discussed allowing some chants- normally spoken words are highly discouraged, although nonsense-sound chants are fine. We're a little anxious that Pagan stuff (which is larely what Tasara and I, at least, know) might scare off some attendees. We also don't want the event to turn into open mike night where we end up being held hostage by one singer hogging the space.

Anyway- I can sing. I usually demur that I can't sing- just like I usually demur that I am a lousy drummer, my forms all suck, and I can't do jiu jitsu. Well, ACCEPT YOUR POWER. I can sing, and I can move energy with voice, and I can glamour with voice.  So there.

Tomorrow I'll be insisting again that I can't sing.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Accept your power.

Friday: 131.5.  Two and a half down, seven and a half to go. I drank a SlimFast right before bed last night, because I was hungry enough that I was concerned that it would inturrupt my sleep. Scrambled eggs this morning. Housemate was cooking an elaborate, scrumptious-smelling breakfast. Sigh.  The Woodinville Safeway did not have the Foster Farms chicken breasts that I like today- and I have learned that the store brand is just a little too gristle-y for my taste. It is going to be an eggy week- which is just as well, as I have a whole carton with an exp date of tomorrow. I am over the first craving hump- I didn't even really _want_ any junk while I was at the supermarket today.

Set my alarm for the 6:30am class, but when it rang- well, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. If I had not done 3 clsses yesterday, I might have been more up for it. I really wanted to be able to make the Friday lunchtime class as well as no-gi at Sleeper in the evening, and I think one or both of those might have been a scratch if I'd insisted on showing up for  early-bird session.  I hope that when I get back in the groove a bit more, I will be competent to do 6 classes in 2 days.

By the time I was climbing the stairs at GB Seattle at lunchtime, I was wishing I'd taken an ibuprofen- that's how sore I felt. Lots of good work yesterday. How I wish I'd started this in my early 20's, when I probably could have done 3x a day all the time, and not felt sore or tired. Today I actually tripped and fell on my ass while we were doing outside-shuffles. Embarrassing. I think I was just a little bit asleep at the wheel.

When I came to class on Thursday, I had mentioned to Carlos that I wanted to choke somebody- he was still ragging me about that today. I asked if he was going to let me choke him today, and Bryan said, "You have to EARN that!" I came up behind Steve while he was stretching, took his back and clock-choked him. He had been talking to Bryan, and when my arm went around his neck, he exclaimed, "What's this??!?" Bryan replied, "That would be taking the back!"

Just rolling today- 8 min matches. Steve, Bryan, Justin, Some huge white belt guy. That guy and I were the last two left staring at each other after everybody else had paired up. He actually tried to break up another pair and pawn me off on Angela, but I said, "Come on. Just don't use a lot of strength." I reminded him to be careful a few times as he was sliding into scarf, but he turned out to be a candidate for the "safe" list. You just never know with these gigantic new guys.

Note that I am repeatedly sticking my arms up into unsafe places while Bryan is on top of me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

More Thursday

Like a martial artist who has developed an exceptional technique, but who doesn’t have the wisdom to know when to use it, Western culture has in its hands the technological potential to turn the planet into a paradise, but has no clue as to how to enjoy it. Rather than being used as a means to enrich our daily lives, the evermore sophisticated technological inventions become a way to take us further away from our bodies and our nature. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Another twofer at Gracie Bellevue. I'm getting off on Three-Class-Thursdays. It's a little hard to have class #3 be Competition Class. I was considering ducking out of that one tonight, but then I saw a guy that had done the lunchtime class and the basics class sitting there. I asked him if he was doing a third, and he said yes- so I said, Okay, now I'm going to look like a big wuss if I don't do a third as well.

Basics class was AWESOME- spider guard sweeps. Anytime I see that we're working something I can do off the damn bottom, I am full of glee.

You have spider guard. Thrust your left spider guard leg out as straight and taut as you can, use your other foot to push the guy's knee back on the opposite side. You have to make sure you're controlling hir arm on that side so that s/he can't post.

You have spider guard, opponent standing: Thrust your left spider guard leg out as straight and taut as you can, hook your rt foot outside of opponent's rt ankle, and get your head over by hir left foot so that you can grab it. Pull sleeve, push left foot, try to force the person to take a dive. The pulling of the sleeve can make all the difference, because it can torque the person's shoulder over painfully and awkwardly.

You have closed guard. Get spider guard with left foot, place rt shin across opponent's belly with your knee OUT. (I kept wanting to put the knee on the inside). Again, thrust spider guard leg out as straight and taut as possible and yank sleeve. Use knee to jack opponent up enough so that you can underhook thigh. Flip. Same story with the pulling of the sleeve being a biggie.

Positional training from closed guard. Sweep vs pass. I was kinda sucking on both sides this time, although I *almost* pulled off a butterfly sweep. I was trying to do one, but I haven't drilled that in forever, and was a little too rusty.

Competition Training turned out to be three of us, and the Prof just had us roll- switching the odd person out every ten min or so. These two guys are just heavier and stronger enough- and I'm just enough far ahead in training- that we seem pretty well matched, so it was much fun.  I am teaching them to counter all my little tricks, though, so soon I'm going to be toast! I enjoy it, though, when I finish something, tell the guy how to stop me from doing it again, then I try again, and he stops me.

I have now nearly succeeded in getting these two particular guys well trained to shrimp the heck out immediately when my knee slides onto their bellies. If they just lie there, I start counting loudly- "ONE...TWO...."  One of them is now starting to try to KOB me back at every possible opportunity- smartass.


Five senses working together give birth to the sixth. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Monday FOD: Five Animals

132.5. One and a half down, eight and a half to go.

Grump, grump. There's a remodel going on at work, and construction walls are everywhere. Tonight they have closed off ALL of the spaces that are even remotely large enough to do micro-fu forms in. There's no space in here that's more than two wide steps across- it's a maze of narrow passageways. I hope I don't have any weapons forms in the next little while of FOD's. Well, there's always Sil Lum Tao!

Tuesday FOD: Iron Needle.

From Rory Miller's blog:

Writing is a job.  It is not waiting for some mysterious force to smack you upside the head with inspiration.  It is a job and you do a job by working. Sit down.  Write words.  That simple.  Writer's block isn't what is going on.  What's going on is an overwhelming mass of projects.  It's like a huge pile of dirty dishes in the sink.  You want to believe that if you just don't look at them, they will magically go away.  But that's not how life works.  You do the dishes.  One at a time.  Until you are done. 

Taking his advice, I got part of a scene done tonight.
Thursday: 132.5

From Side Control's blog, re: my home away from home (bottom half guard):

The issue is that I'm not controlling the space, and am spending too much time fighting from a flattened position.  There are three ways to fix this: (1) re-prioritize the frame, either at the shoulder or with the knee, (2) use the butterfly hook more aggressively to change the balance and attack with a hook sweep from sitting up, and (3) crush the space with a deep half attack.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at Grace Bellevue. Standup- one lapel grip & one elbow grip. Pull lapel grip side and step back with that foot. Drop to OTHER knee and grab opponent's leg on the elbow-grip side. Lift leg and pull lapel down at the same time.

After drilling that for a while, we added: After you lift the leg, let go with the lapel grip and push opponent's OTHER shoulder- note that this involves crossing your arm over the opponent's chest and pushing the shoulder on the same side you have the leg up on. Inside-hook the leg and take down. With your free hand, grab opponent's pants at the knee.

Prof corrected me on the following: You do not need to push the opponent's leg to the mat when you grab the pants at the knee. This straightens your arm and leaves it vulnerable.

Positional training from closed guard. Pass vs sweep, then pass vs sub.

One roll with the prof. I made the mistake of telling him that I felt like choking somebody today, so he invited me to try to choke him. Fist bump, and I'm being choked in about four seconds flat. Yeah, didn't see THAT coming.

We were about to restart after I'd tapped for about the third time, and the timekeeper yelled "Fifteen seconds!" so I lunged for him. He jumped up and ran. So I chased him from one end of the mat to the other while everyone else cracked up.

After that, I had to rest. Then one more roll with a medium-sized blue. I tried so hard to choke him- and came close several times- but he had good defense. I was on top a lot, though, and even got a few KOB's.

Monday, July 2, 2012


"Today we goan KEEL each other.” –Professor Carlos

Friday FOD: Cannon Fist.

Sore! Esp calves. Thursday lunchtime class always leaves me sore.

Fingerprint bruises are round/oval. Just like ringworm. My not-so-dearly-departed ringworm spot looked just like a fingerprint bruise for the first few days, before it took on that dreaded ring shape. Now I am obsessively scanning my epidermis (with a hand mirror, for the parts I can't see directly) constantly, raking through my hair, mapping all my little bruises- is that one??! Is it coming back??! What about this one?!! OMG, I feel an itch behind my ear!!!! Hey, what's that on your wrist??!!  Did you see that guy's ankle??! I have chronically dry skin and I'm allergic to the world, so I tend to be rather itchy on a normal basis- now I'm deathly certain that every little phantom skin tingle is is a fresh case of ringworm.  I have developed a full-blown ringworm paranoia.  I stepped out of the shower yesterday and caught a hazy glimpse of a pink roundish spot on my collarbone, in the foggy mirror- I just about had a heart attack, lunging across the counter for my glasses- it was a bruise, just a bruise. Geez.

Grocery store. Eggs. Chicken breasts. Not just one bag but TWO bags of carrots.  No candy. No Corn Chex. No mustard pretzels. Sigh.  I switched to diet Sprite after lunch last night, and had scrambled eggs when I got home. I feel rightous. And deprived.

Saturday FOD: Spear Hand fragment. Note that with the little hop, the palm strike is with the LEFT hand.

My assistant saw me munching doggedly on my big bag of carrots, and commented, "If you eat too many carrots, you'll turn orange." I replied, "I'll stop if I win, place, or show."

Sunday FOD: Tai Chi long form.  Didn't weigh myself, but I look better in the mirror already.

Partial Notes on Tai Chi forms (yes, it took me a while, but I did get back to it! More later):

*Pay attention to weight shifts

Do not let straight knee collapse inward on lunges, etc.

Drop weight

Pay attention to pelvic tilt

Drop shoulders

No "Peter Cottontail"- Do not rise up on toes and bob up and down on turns and steps. This is also happening when your feet come together. Keep head on same level throughout.

Steps out in front- make sure they are diagonal

Do not push fingers out visibly on "zombie" pose. Pull in and then drop

More body movement and less arm movement

On White Crane Spreads Its Wings- turn left toe out

"Walk Like an Egyptian": these are diagonal steps

Crane's Neck vs Hook Hand- not the same thing!

Brushing twist step: hips are diagonal, but chest is facing forward. Change weight to back leg before beginning next movement.

Before turn into White Crane Spreads Its Wings: hands at center line BEFORE you turn. Left hand on rt elbow.

I want a cheesecake. Not *some* cheesecake. *A* cheesecake.