Thursday, August 30, 2012

Del a Heeva

Often, the obsession for being fair and objective under all circumstances transforms our mind into a tribunal. We want tangible proofs and objective evidence to believe in what we already know. Unfortunately, intuition is not objective and offers no proofs. It travels on tracks that are much too fast to wait for the painfully slow speed at which logical analysis moves. Rational understanding arrives at the finish line hours later (if it arrives at all), only to confirm what intuition has already revealed to us. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Ha ha, I spoke too soon about my kicked knee being "just fine". I woke up about a dozen times during the night because I shifted my leg (I'm a very restless sleeper) and placed it in a painful spot. There's a large ouchie bruise on the inside of the knee. While MM was poking and rubbing it, did he shift the bruise from the front bottom kneecap to the inside??? I'm pretty sure I took the kick on the front. Well, it's better to have the injury on the inside, else I wouldn't be able to kneel on that knee very well right now for BJJ.

Friday Form Of the Day: Wood Monkey

WIP: What I thought was going to be a paragraph of filler somehow turned into at least one full page of drama that really added to the story.
I do not want any "filler" in my story at all. I just want to write the juicy parts and link them together. = All juicy, no filler.

Saturday FOD: Chen Dao
Sunday FOD: Hurricane Hands. Note that the ankle kicks- right first, then left.
MOnday FOD: Three Step Arrow fragment
Tuesday FOD: Leopard At Dawn
Thursday lunchtime BJJ at GB Belle.

All spars. Both Johns, Glenn, some white belt guy with a couple of stripes (went with him twice). On the bottom a lot. All of them (except for the white belt) were being really good about getting on top and then just removing ALL the space as if they were sealing me in shrinkwrap. I simply could not move *anything*, and then they just leisurely set up armbars. If they couldn't finish the armbar, they wristlocked me (both Glenn and the smaller of the Johns).

The wristlocks were quite a reminder of the fact that I simply can't rely on the fetal-position defense. The guys I'm most often working with- good blue belts- are going to wristlock me if they can't get anything else.
Basics class followed by competition class, GB Belle.

Basics: standing guard pass drills, with gradually varying options for the bottom person. Then some rolling.

Note- that sweep from bottom half guard that Ben is constantly getting on me- to defeat it, I must 1)stop him from getting the toe under my thigh... and that toe can be pretty darn subtle sneaking in there... or 2)if he's already got the toe in, I must narrow my base and squeeze his other leg between my thighs. The danger here is that this leaves me very vulnerable any other sweep, so I have to be ready to switch back like lightning, or do something else. After he did it to me about 4 times in a row, I stopped him and made him show me what to do against it.   :P 

Comp: De La Riva (or if you are Brazilian, "Del a Heeva") sweep: You sitting, opponent standing, you have both of hir wrist cuffs and your feet on hir hips. You want to be practically sitting on hir rt foot. Let go with your left hand and grab hir rt ankle. Move your rt foot to hir left knee and your left foot is underhooking hir thigh (from around the back). If you are a normal person, you can stretch the opponent out and topple hir. If you have mutant-like stubby legs, you must use that underhooking leg to BUCKLE hir knee.  In either case, keep hold of the leg and do a tactical lift. OR......

Figure-4 your legs on opponent's bottom leg (s/he is now lying on hir side facing you where you dumped hir after the Del a Heeva). Grab hir pantleg and the back of hir belt. Dive straight over hir back (roll on the shoulder nearest hir head). If you do this correctly, you end up right on hir back. You may have to shrimp into postition (I didn't). Then some rolling.

I had a discouraging day today. I have really been struggling badly with depression and obsessive downer thoughts about last fall's traumas- this is around the anniversary of that, and I'm frustrated and depressed that I'm still having such a hard time with this. It can be really hard to have a productive MA class with this garbage going on in my head and heart. I got plowed royally by everybody today and was getting to a very frustrated and dispairing place with it.

I do feel like I'm getting to a place very soon where there's going to *have* to be a "level-up". My old game and old habits are simply not working any more, so it's going to force me to go someplace new whether I want to or not. If I can plod through this particular emotional valley, I feel like there is better jiu jitsu on the other side someplace.

I look *SO* like a domestic violence advertisement tonight. Not only do I have the usual array of fingerprint bruises all over me, but Kelly gave me a huge ugly bloody split lip. She also hurt my knee with one of those Del a Heeva's, but that wasn't her fault- her legs are a lot longer, and she just stretches me out hard. Carlos was really pushing her buttons tonight, on purpose- I could tell he was trying to push her envelope with the type of criticism that usually makes her cry. She had the about-to-cry face a few times, but sistah did *NOT* cry, nor did she shut down- she answered his questions with Yes Sir No Sir, and kept it together. Good for her. She also kicked my ass. Gotta give credit where it's due.

Hey, Katie ("A Skirt On the Mat") was promoted to brown!!! Woohoo!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chi sau

Even more than strength and agility, awareness is our best weapon: a dynamic awareness that can look simultaneously into the present, the future, and the past. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

MM is in town briefly, and he invited me to get together and spar this morning.

It was kind of hard being at Volunteer Park- which was one of our Kung Fu sites. Seeing MM and doing Kung Fu also- although the Park was the worst part for some reason. Difficult painful stuff is being stirred- although it was already being stirred in these last few weeks.

It was a good workout, though. I have not sparred Kung Fu in a year, I think (I know CK and I didn't work on sparring the last time she was in town). I felt really rusty and somewhat intimidated. MM's quite a bit above my level in Kung Fu (would be even if I wasn't suspended from training), plus he's trained in a whole bunch of other MA's. He's a medium sized guy, but very strong. He has decent control, though, and I feel fairly safe working with him.

He did clobber me quite a bit. His arms and legs are longer than mine, so I remembered fairly early on that I can't really stand at (his) reach and trade strikes. So I tried to get in close on him. We did a lot of what I would classify as standup grappling. I almost took him down once, but otherwise no joy- he's really hard to take down. I got his back a number of times (like a wrestling hug around the waist), but could not do anything from there. He's too tall for me to get a choke from the back, and I tried stridently to get a takedown from there with no success. The best thing I did from there was to inch a bit to the side and get a hook kick into his groin once (a feat of flexibililty).

He tried vehemently to choke me several times (including getting my back and picking me up off the ground by my head, trying to get a hand wedged under my chin) and did not manage to finish one, which I am pleased about. He did get a large number of belly shots. Note also that I am still (STILL! STILL! STILL! AAARGH!!!) trying to stop kicks with my hands (my palm-heels, as if using fisted hands wouldn't be bad enough). What's it going to take to rid me of this instinct?

He got me a really hard kick right in the bottom of the kneecap once, ugly enough that I had to call uncle and lie down to writhe around in the grass in pain. I forgot to bring my jow, too. He poked and pressed at it a little... I'm not sure what he was doing; he seems too much of a straightforward science nerd to be into reiki or running chi... but after a few minutes I was able to get up and continue. It didn't bother me in BJJ class later,and now it feels just fine. (Relieved.... when it first connected, I thought, "%$^#! That's it for the day- maybe the next FEW days!")

We finished with some sticky-hands. Still feeling too much strain in the biceps, and a bit of elbow-flying... but much less elbow flying than I used to do, and I was doing well at keeping my shoulders relaxed and my form decent.

Really enjoyed that, despite the negative-emotion stirring and the whack in the knee. He will be visiting again in the winter, and hopefully we can do this again.

We worked from 9 to 11:30. I had brought my BJJ bag and could have just made it to lunchtime class, but I was too ravenous. I had to eat- and going straight to BJJ from lunch is asking to find yourself hurling in the alley before warmups are done. I had slept very poorly the night before, so found myself too lazy to get to the 4:30 basics class. I was less sorry about that when I got in at the tail end of it to see that it was just Ritchie, a brand-new humongo white belt, and another white belt that I've worked with a couple times before and I know is *WAY* too spazzy for me to work safely with.

So just competition class. Standing pass wherein you sort of slap the knees to the side and lunge past to KOB. This particular pass was one of the most difficult episodes *EVER* in regards to my "I can't tell my left from my right" disability. I remember trying to do this pass about a hundred times with Carlos standing there saying "wrong" every time because I kept reaching first with the wrong hand, stepping first with the wrong foot, or both. I felt a little bit of jelly-belly as soon as I saw the pass, but luckily I seem to have evolved since that bad episode- and I had no trouble with it. (Not so the big white belt.... he got pushups for saying the s-word on the mat...)

Then the same pass to KOB, transition to BOTH knees on belly, transition to front mount. Just to make it more challenging to maintain balance and control, we were to keep both hands on top of our heads like POW's. Marcello was looking at me with serious angst on his face. He's not that big, but seriously, I'm a tiny mouse. I told him, "Do this on my stomach, not my ribs." The bad rib area seems no worse and maybe a bit better in the last few days, but even so... my abs are pretty tough, I can take a guy up to medium-size kneeling on my belly if I gotta. He kept murmuring, "Are you all right?" Yeah, just stay off my ribs, and I'll live.

Then we added an escape to replace closed guard for the person on the bottom- the turn, comb the foot over, turn thing that Leslie and I were just talking about yesterday (she linked to a vid of Emily Kwok demo'ing it).  It's both Leslie's and my fave reaction to front mount, and it works very reliably. In this instance, after getting half guard and scooting out to the side, we were to push on opponent's far knee and stick our foot through to replace closed guard.  To my intense unhappiness, partners were switched and I was put with Ritchie. He's mostly okay with drills, but he's one of the very last people I want bouncing on both knees on my belly. I'd rather have Marcelo, for all Marcelo's probably twenty or thirty pounds heavier. Well, frame those elbows, cross your fingers and suck it up. He actually turned out to be okay. He had a little trouble combing my foot out.... my short legs make it more difficult for people to do this technique on me.

Prof finished us up a little early, with no positional sparring or free rolling- which was probably just as well, since Marcelo was the only person there (besides the prof himself) that I would have felt okay sparring with.

Dan was sitting on the wall waiting for the next class, so I asked him for a roll. I seemed competitive against him. He is short, but stocky. He got my back a couple of times, but I escaped. He set up a few chokes that came close, and one armbar that came close, but got no taps. I set up a triangle, which was at a poor angle and I knew immediately that I wouldn't be able to finish it. Yet since I almost never even try for triangles, I was happy that I had attempted to set one up at all. I also got the grab-the-backs-of-the-heels takedown- I kept in mind SIDE CONTROL's advice about the technical lift, and was ready to do it, but I didn't need it- somehow the momentum catapulted me directly into front mount with almost no effort on my part. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Wednesday

Without a mind reminding it of its limits, the body discovers new sources of energy.
 -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

LOL.... I checked one of the local "kung fu" schools with my tai chi teacher, and got (in part):

"...but the combination of the rather overwrought tone of the site with the bullshit..."

My response: "I knew I could count on you for the straight scoop."

Wednesday evening gi class at Sleeper.

We did some very basic things, because one of the moms (whose kid is in the kids' class) was with us for the first time. Scissor sweep (add a cross collar choke for those who were not new), failed scissor sweep to technical lift (to omoplata for those of us who were *not* having our very first day); Then the new woman practiced basic guard break and two different guard passes on me while others played King Of the Hill.

Note that for that gi choke, you yank the lapel hard with the same-side hand before running the cross hand up it like zipping a zipper. Note that for the omoplata, you need to grab opponent's wrist with your near hand and roll over your NEAR shoulder (which felt exceedingly odd on the Stupid Side).

Rolls with everybody except Cindy and the new girl. By the time I got to Terry (last), everybody else was watching and trying to coach me. Note that Terry likes to try to fold me in half while in my closed guard, and Cindy wants me to try to backstroke out from under him.  I was getting really tired (and not a little discouraged... in particular with the way it seems I can't prevent being swept and put on the bottom anytime the opponent wants), but they all kept chivvying me to keep moving and do this and do that, so I really pushed.

CK told me today that CN is moving to Boston imminently. I'm bummed. I haven't seen him regularly for about 3 years now, and not at all for about a year and a half, but I'm fond of him and he's a great teacher.... I'd always held out hope that he might teach again someday. Now I'm never going to see him again. Sigh.

Cream puff buffalo

In order to resist [suffering] for a long time, we have to be able to move the mind somewhere else. Beyond the body, beyond the sharp teeth of Pain. We can keep on suffering stoically….. or we can use it to learn to move our consciousness at will. Pain and fatigue exhaust the body until the rational mind, not the least intrigued by all of this, decides to take off and leave us free to explore other states of consciousness. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Although I had planned to get back down to 124 this fall, the last few weeks have been poor in the eating-sanely department. I have been really struggling with some depression, and feeling a strong urge to carb-load which I didn't seem to have the strength to fight too hard. Somebody left a packet of Saltines in the break room at work, and like an idiot I snarfed them, and that precipitated a bit of a cracker binge (crackers have dramatic expansion effects on my weight). My reaction to the "mock tournament" made me have serious doubts about competing again this fall/winter, and staying in my bracket is a good way for me to be disciplined about my weight... so that incentive wavered. Anyway, I bought some more eggs and chicken breasts this week, and I'm back down to 130.5, which is good.

Was planning on going back to Sleeper on Saturday, but I didn't have time to do both that and hit the bloodmobile. I was going to skip the bloodmobile, but then they e-mailed me while I was getting dressed for class and were whining that they'd only had 6 people so far- so I went and got harpooned.

Monday Form Of the Day: Plum Blossom Fist.

I think I know how to kill the giant constrictor.
Tuesday FOD: Jian form.

I stumbled on a link to a kung fu school and just spent a couple of minutes scrolling over pics of the students in class.... geez. I really, really, really miss Kung Fu.

My knees did not like Kung Fu much. I am already paying tuition at three gyms and don't have unlimited money.  It's not like I can't keep plenty busy with Jiu jitsu- and there's Muay Thai and capoeira available at Gracie's, both of which are intriguing.... but the balance of training jiu jitsu and kung fu was really nice. I miss striking, kicking, forms; I miss the focus on spirituality instead of on sport, I miss being able to discuss the "energy" of a movement without having people look at you like you just grew antlers.

Besides the time and money and commute and knees and divided focus and everything, the biggest barrier has been that I really connected with what was being studied by my previous group, and I had the most incredible teacher. I'm so sure that trying to do something else- with someone else- is going to feel like eating carob when what you really want is chocolate. It's just never going to cut it, and will make you miss chocolate even more. But today I find myself wondering, again. Loss of chocolate has been so painful that I haven't been able to consider trying to face carob. Could I really face trying carob and not be destroyed?
Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at GB Sea.

Carlos seems to have been heartily inspired by the cardio blitz last weekend- so much so that he has decided to make a full week of it. Today we spent almost the entire class doing many of the same cardio exercises that we did last Friday. I was dragging, but we all were (except Carlos). We ended with iron buffalos. I was feeling sorta like a cream-puff buffalo by then, myself.....

Then that same single-leg takedown... only this time, you make two prelim entries during which your partner stiff-arms you. On #3, you let go of the sleeve and grab your own ear, rotate that elbow around partner's arm (this breaks hir grip)- then you can go for either the single leg or take the back instead.

From bottom side control: Place your top hand on partner's shoulder (you may need to rotate your elbow up and around to accomplish this). Bridge toward hir, and as you come down, use the little hole of space to get your other hand up by the first one. Turn a little toward opponent and wedge your top knee in right under hir armpit. If the knee is too low, you won't have as much leverage for the next move. (Resist the urge to try to make too much space before or during this- if you do, it straightens your arm and invites an armbar. It also makes a world of room for the opponent to reach in and cross-collar choke you.)

Next, bring your other leg overtop of opponent's head. S/he will think you're going for the armbar, and s/he will posture and pull the arm out. Go with hir and replace guard.

I found this technique- which I had never seen before- quite intriguing. I am always looking for an effective way to get out of bottom side control- and my short legs may prove to be beneficial with this particular move. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to drill it nearly enough.

After a session like that, it's very tempting to head for the locker room- especially if you plan to do more classes later the same day. I made myself stay and do a roll with Dominick and one with Marc.

Dominick tried to get me with the handful-of-the-back-of-the-gi-shoulder choke!! No way! After he gave up, I said, "That's my favorite choke." He laughed and said, "I could tell by the way you defended it that either you do it, or you've had it done to you." Then he got me with an armbar, using the very same tip of the body toward the head to pry off my defense that Eric showed me last week. Has this guy got a secret videocam set up at Sleeper?!?

Marc let me get a KOB, and I started bouncing on him. The next few times, he shoved me off quick. I said, "Nobody's EVER going to get you with this at a comp!"

Funny search term of the week: someone found my blog by searching on "aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgh"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Relaxed Jiu jitsu"

So often I have witnessed things I would never have believed possible that I am more than willing to keep my mind open to the idea that our bodies are home to forces that we don’t fully comprehend. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday evening no-gi at Sleeper. Still punishingly hot. It was good to not be wearing a heavy coat and long pants, but the tradeoff is that you're working in an ocean of sweat. We kept moving around on the mat to find a spot that wasn't a skating rink of sweat, but it was a losing battle.

I had been noticing during the cardio this morning at GB that that rear high right side rib injury is definitely- well, THERE. It doesn't seem serious, but it's making me anxious that it's right in the same spot as that really bad one last year that sent me to the chiropractor (thousands of $, no insurance) and kept me off the mat for several weeks. My tai chi teacher  poked around in there last time she was here, and felt strongly that all the parts were not in their proper places. I'm going to be really careful of this for a while. Tonight I told everybody repeatedly that I have a rib injury, and to please be nice. They all were, although one new gal dived into side control once and kneed me right in the spot. **OW**.

I was sluggish in warmups.

Then a little basic guard break and backing out, breakdance pass to side control.

Sparring. I was in my typical form, trapped on the bottom and ineffectual. Terry seems to have made it a personal mission to try to poke and prod me out of my attitude problem. He is always on my case. He kept ragging me to keep moving, be faster, be more aggressive. As I observed the other day, I do continue to set up subs (and everything else) too slowly. After he goaded me a while, I rushed in on him and guillotined him off the handshake. Then I got that head-and-arm choke from side control (and remembered this time to hop off the other side to finish it).

Any claim of "I'm done for the night" continues to hold no water around here. They all taunted me back on the mat for another few rounds. Lamont continues to ride me hard in both senses of the word. I feel like they are all ganging up one me to try to punch me through this attitude hurdle. It's probably a good thing, but this type of change is never fun or easy. I know that Cindy is frustrated with people who cry on the mat- and while I have never cried on the mat (even when badly injured), I'm sure she is displeased with my attitude- I would like to not disappoint her.

I wonder how I can reconcile ramping up the speed and aggression with trying to pace myself so that I don't collapse 15 min into class. I may have taken the whole "relaxed jiu jitsu" thing too far.

By the time I got home from class (by the time I left, actually), I was ill. Headache, nausea, chills/sweats. Not sure if it was the heat (I was drinking plenty of water), overextending myself too much, menstrual cramps (you'd think all that frickin' cardio would have headed those off), something I ate or didn't eat (I had the single egg on the way to class, but was feeling hypoglycemic and drained halfway through)..... but I had to drag myself home, chug some Pepto Bismol and pop ibuprofin, and lie in the tub (first cool, then hot) till after midnight.

Polled Mythic Scribes to see if anyone has any cute ideas for killing the giant constrictor. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Next time, I'll bounce

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

Okay, I challenge anyone to watch this without laughing. One of Cindy's littlest kids vs PROFESSOR CARLOS!

WIP: I figured out what to do with the missing piece of that one scene. Enter GIANT CONSTRICTOR!!! Yes, my protagonist is currently battling a giant constrictor. Unfortunately for me, this involves research in the form of watching videos of boas and ball pythons devouring helpless cute little mice, rats, and (gulp) a baby bunny. Coulda done without that... but I don't want to describe unrealistic snake attacks. Fortunately for my protagonist, she is far from helpless, and she definitely has more weaponry on her person than your average baby bunny. Dayum, those snakes strike fast, though. And not mouth-first (or even head-first), which  foils my initial few ideas of how to kill it. I haven't figured out yet how she's going to take it out. She's good, though. And very highly motivated to kill this sucka. I trust her. She'll come up with something. 

Friday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Sea. The prof from Yakima was there and brought a couple of his students, including a white belt woman with what Marc and I decided are "triangle legs". Long, long legs and arms- I'm jealous- she's going to be using those to her great advantage as soon as she gets a bit more experience.

Rolled a little with Vince before start of class. I *FINALLY* managed to tap someone with that thumb-in choke that I've been trying to get on everyone for the better part of a month. Thanks Vince.

Visiting prof led the class. Remember those 100 armbars from mount and 100 triangles from guard that I was whining about a few weeks ago? Man, that was nothing. We started with a lot of running (which is really hard for me because of my breathing issues). Followed by a lot of brutal new (to me) line drills; then we circled up and did about twenty Brazillion cardio exercises- crunches, pushups, all sorts of things. I was invoking both Jesus *and* Mary before we were done, and I'm not Christian. It was brutally hot again today, too.

You have guard. Double sleeve cuff grips, feet on hips, push out a tad. Spread knees and keep opponent's arms on the outside.  One foot on bicep as in spider guard, other foot swings around and up and then sockets under opponent's armpit. Opponent puts the other knee up. You grab hir elbow (on the same side that you have your foot in the pit), turn, and omoplata. I'm not really suave yet with the omoplata, and there were a lot of details in this one that zoomed over my head, so I think we're gonna have to come back to this later when I'm a little more seasoned. At least I knew enough this time to grab the guy's belt to hold him there while I was trying to sub him.
Same entry, but this time you take the foot that was in the pit and stick it under the thigh that the opponent put up. Sweep with a cartwheeling motion. Letting go and posting with one arm allows you to end in a very neat front mount. Subs from this position are legion, especially if you were good about keeping hold of that arm. Same "this is a little beyond my current level" feeling as far as considering trying this live, although I was pleased to have grokked the technique enough to be able to execute it the first time on my purple belt partner- who couldn't figure out how to do it. He called over the prof to get corrections, explaining, "She's too flexible, I can't get the tap." Prof did it on me and tapped me instantaneously, then fixed the guy's technique and replied, "She's not too flexible- you're doing it wrong."  (I kept a straight face.)

Positional training from closed guard, Angela. I can't be competitive with Angela, she is just too far above my skill- and I was feeling kind of helpless and apologetic. Sorry Angela.

One roll with the visiting woman. I tapped her instantly with my handful-of-the-back-of-the-shoulder choke, then told her how to defend, and tried for it a whole bunch more times while coaching her on how to stop me.

Little bit of rolling with Dave, who suggests focusing more on the technical lift. I had gotten him with the grab-the-backs-of-your-ankles takedown... which I get quite a bit- but as often happens, I was too slow and clumsy to follow up properly and get on top. He walked me through it and had me technical-lift, which worked much better than I expected it too. We seemed way too tangled up for that to work, but it did (I even posted on his leg). I was able to not only get up, but dive smoothly on top. Focusing more on trying to get this- and trying it even when it seems like I don't have enough room or free limbs- may be a way for me to try to stay off the bottom. If I can habituate this, it ought to work really well because of my short legs.

A roll with Marc, which is always a real pleasure. He seems to have legs EVERYWHERE while I'm trying to pass his open guard. I think he should exploit spider guard more; it seems like that would be a real strength for him. The fact that we haven't rolled together in a while showed when he let me get KOB and he just lay there under it. "Don't you start THAT again!" After he did it two more times, I said, "The next time you let me get that and keep it for three seconds, I'm going to start bouncing." Then he started shrimping the heck out of there immediately (or better yet, keeping me from getting the knee in there at all).                         

Jalen kicking butt at UGF last weekend... look how big he's getting...he seems to double his height every year... by spring he's going to be way bigger than me and we won't be very well-matched any more.  :(

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Avoid or reduce doing activities that are tiring, or take a lot of energy."

From an E-mail distributed by the King County The Regional Public Information Network (RPIN) today:
"Even young and healthy individuals can suffer in heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
Avoid or reduce doing activities that are tiring, or take a lot of energy."
Class #2: All spars.

There was a new medium-sized blue belt that I've never seen before. He didn't seem all that thrilled to work with me, but he was a good opponent.  Ben. Ritchie (sigh). Adrian (he was really nice about not muscling, which is good, because he is a HUGE purple belt). The big white belt cop that I was teaching a little on his very first day two or three weeks ago.

When I went with the cop, I reminded him to be careful with me- he's really big and he is also kind of spazzy. The spazz seems to be getting a little better, although he did slam on one armbar a little faster than I liked. I gave him the Serious Talk about putting his subs on carefully (especially ones like that). I also chided him for not having an inhaler (Honestly... I think any asthmatic who comes to do jiu jitsu without an inhaler needs a brain scan... as in, do you have one? You could DIE! And on a roasting day like today.) He's really loving BJJ so far, though. He says it's the best workout he's ever done. I think he's got one of his kids in here too.

I got him with Cindy's choke- the one where you get one deep cross collar grip and then grab a handful of the gi at the back of the other shoulder. He actually let out a little shriek of dismayed surprise when I socked it in. People (especially white belts) just do not see the choke coming because that second grip is so weird. I don't think it's in the GB curriculum, either. It is definitely one of my money-sub trinity (along with the keylock from the top and the guillotine from the start or from standup). Was wondering on the way home about trying to slip that guillotine in more often. I tend to only go for it right off the handshake, but I wonder if I could find more opportunities for it. Everyone I have worked with more than once or twice already knows about my guillotine fetish, and they know what they have to do to defend it.   :(

For the last two or three weeks, I've been trying to get that choke that Carlos showed us, where you get the first cross-collargrip and then stick your thumb in beside it and then slide it around. I've tried it on a whole bunch of people (including Carlos), but I don't think I've been in advantageous positions to finish it. I'm also still taking way too long to set up my chokes (to set up everything, in fact).

Meanwhile, the kids' class was not having class, per se- they were having a water balloon fight. I was kind of bummed that the adults didn't get to have one too. However, the cleanup did give us an extra interval of rest between classes. I also didn't mind lying there on the floor and watching men sweeping and mopping. That's a sight that the world could use more of. Like hippocampi. And almost as rare.

Class #3: all spars, although John and I started with several reps of the KOB and kimura drills from this morning. Then I sparred him, Hedge, and then An- the latter being a 3 or 4 stripe white belt that I've never worked with before. He turned out to be a great partner- he used almost no muscle, and he's medium-sized... this combined with our relative experience levels meant we were pretty evenly matched. I tapped him a couple of times (chokes, although neither of the ones discussed above).

Class #4: Uh, nope, not today. But lots of good training today nonetheless.


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

Saturday Form Of the Day: Bung Bo Kuen
Sunday FOD: Plum Blossom Fist
MOnday FOD: Northern Mantis Bo form.
Tuesday FOD: Sil Lum Tao.
Wednesday FOD: Leopard Fist (smooth, so smooth)

Wrote most of a pivotal scene last night and this morning- perhaps the most pivotal scene in the story. I came up with a (I hope) unique spin on what I was going to do, which made it so interesting that I couldn't wait to get it down. The twist caused a few inconsistencies that I need to iron out, and there's still one part of the scene that I'm not sure what to do with- but it's some good writing.  I also managed to insert hippocampi into the story, which I had really wanted to do. As I commented on Mythic Scribes recently, hippocampi are just way too cool to not use in my story. (If you need to Google "hippocampi", that's a a shame and that's why we need more of them.)
Thursday lunchtime BJJ at GB Belle.

It was pretty hot (and promises to be even hotter later today... multiple classes are gonna be a strain today). Any idea that the Prof might be easier on us due to the heat were dashed when warmups included "swims"- that's where you lie prone, throw your arms out to the sides, slap your palms on the mat at arms' length in front of your face, and then PULL your entire body along the mat using just your arms. Two laps of this.

Knee-on-belly day.  Side control to KOB- one hand grips collar behind opponent's head, the other grips pantleg on the inside of the near knee. Jump to KOB. Keep your back upright and pull to bow the person. Pray that your drill partner did not eat a big breakfast. 

Yay, something I do well- I can go from prone on the mat to upright KOB in one smooth quick hop. Well enough that Carlos had everyone stop and watch me do one as a demo of how he wants it to look. I confess it did get a bit slower and jerkier after a dozen or so reps.

KOB is good for me, but it's good for me because I can sneak my knee in from side control and get 3 seconds before the opponent knows I have KOB. Once they realize it, I can rarely hold the position even if I'm doing everything right. So this dramatic entrance to the technique ("HEY DUDE, Look, here I go to get KOB on you!!!!") is probably not going to work well for me in live rolling, at least against bigger people (read: 99.999% of my opponents).

You have KOB, opponent turns in to you and puts hand on your leg to shrimp out. You let go of pants and place that hand over hir hand. Spin so that you are sitting on hir head. The knee behind hir head is on the mat (press this one right up close to prevent hir from moving around), the knee in front is up. Make sure opponent is not gripping hir own lapels (remove the grip if so), loop your other hand under hir armpit and grab your own forearm, kimura.  You can also transition to an armbar from here.

Note that Carlos echoed Lamont's lesson of last week- the person on the bottom simply must let go of something in order to move. As soon as s/he does so, there's the arm for you to attack. If s/he just lies there and tries to fetal-position so that you can't get the sub, you can just leisurely pry hir loose. You're sitting on hir head, which is a pleasant place for you but not for hir.

Two rolls with John and one with Carlos.  I'm still not sure what he's wanting from me when we go to standup, but this time I did try lunging in on him as fast as I could instead of facing off like a couple of gunslingers. I think I'm going to stay with that tactic for a while and see where it goes- fighting takedowns against Carlos is just getting me nowhere, even when he's being nice.   

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Washington State Grappling Championship

There's Cornelia on top, and Sonia wearing the bronze!

See Side Control's blog for vid of Cindy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sorry, Hedge

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

Ow, sore this morning. I tweaked my broken finger at some point last night. My ribs that Steve was really heavy on- and Lamont was heavy a couple of times on after that- are achy. I noticed during the warmups at Cindy's that my bad knees were *really* painful; and they don't feel any better today.

After I wrote that blog post last night, I went to bed and spent all night having a nightmare about sitting in front of a math test (I have terrible math anxiety) that I didn't know any of the answers to, and the clock steadily running out.... heh...

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue. Nothing makes Carlos happier than to hear that you are in pain from his previous class. This also gave me a chance to talk about how great Steve's pressure is for such a small guy. I like to grab opportunities to get in a good word with the teachers about my favorite training partners. Carlos also brought up Bryan, since we were talking about small guys with good pressure. Uh huh.

That same takedown. Everybody was tall in class today- it's quite a bit more challenging to do this technique on someone taller than yourself.

That same guard pass, with one new detail. Grab both lapels in one hand before you begin. Carlos showed us that if you place your pointer finger on the guy's clavicle and just run it down between the lapels, they will just sort of flow into your hand and you will not have to grope and scrabble around for them. I was happy to have this, as my tiny hands have a difficult time capturing and grasping both lapels. Also- try to remember to sprawl on the toes, and in addition to this you want to try to put your hand by the opponent's NEAR hip. I usually put my elbow at the far hip. I felt like the guy could roll or buttscoot away if I put my hand at the near hip, so the prof did a short clinic to describe the benefits of this position.

Positional training from the guard break, rotating partners. I told everybody (some of them more than once) to be careful on my ribs.

I was doubtful whether I would make it back for more class today, but I did go......
Basics class. The purple belt teacher picked 2 team captains, had them choose teams, and set up mock tournaments.
Immediate emotional trauma for me on several levels. First, that "being picked last for the kickball team" thing. Second, once again everybody in there was big... the only people within 50lb of me were Ritchie and Hedge. I mean, we're talking Lance, Brandon.... the white belts were all enormous. I knew there was nobody in the room that I had a chance of having even a decent fight against. I also knew that it was inevitable as death and taxes that I'd get set against Ritchie.

I was observing my mental/emotional/physical reaction to a "mock tournament" environment with a kind of clinical dismay. Immediately I was getting shaky, and I could feel all my strength just drain out through my feet like water until I felt weak as a newborn kitten. It felt just like my real tournament experiences. Why is it so dramatic? The worst thing that can happen is an injury, and I'm honestly not that scared of injuries. I've been injured a lot, I'm fairly sanguine about it by now. Losses? a bit more scary than injuries.... I especially don't like having everybody watching me, and feeling like I'm letting a team down by losing. But even so, it seems like my involuntary reaction is just out of proportion. The speed and force  with which it hit, though.... I was standing there thinking, "I don't want to compete again... ever."

Surprisingly, I *wasn't* picked last on the first round... Hedge, bless him, said "I'm gonna go for skill over size..." and picked me fairly quickly.

So there I was facing off with Ritchie. Ritchie goes aggressive and spazzy and rough on a normal day... anybody want to guess how Ritchie's going to roll in a "mock tournament" against a GIRL with a bunch of the guys ringed around watching? Anybody? Yup. He muscled me into guard and then muscled me into a cross collar choke and tapped me out in about twenty seconds. Sorry Hedge.

Next go-round I *was* picked dead last (not that I can blame the new captains). My opponent this time was Hedge. I know he could have served me the exact same way Ritchie did, but he was nice enough to not be a bully. All the same, it was a Survival Roll. I spent almost the entire time in his closed guard... and while I did make several halfhearted attempts to pass, I admit that I was mostly focussed on defending the sweeps and subs he was trying to set up. Meaning it was a boring match with me stalling in his guard (sorry Hedge). He triangled me at one point, and came within a titch of tapping me. I circled and stacked, and gritted my teeth against the considerable pain, and tried to drop my knee behind his head (which I couldn't quite manage), and luckily for me he does not have the most flexible back in the school, and eventually had to let go due to the stacking. A moment later I found myself back in his closed guard. And so we ran out the clock. Sorry again, Hedge.  But you see what I mean about intermittant reinforcement? At least I didn't get subbed in twenty seconds again, but this was a boring match and one that would have made Lamont shake his head at me. I am not improving my game with this.

Competition class: just rotating rounds with several people. I didn't draw Ritchie again, thank you God. I got Ian twice, and we gave each other some decent fights... I was able to be comptetitive because he was giving me *way* too much space between our bodies; I'm not sure if he was doing that on purpose to be nice or if that was a flaw in his game.

Tom was doing a takedown seminar tonight in Advanced class, and I really would have liked to do that, but I was just too tired and sore (and not a little demoralized).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More Wednesday

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

Wednesday evening gi at Sleeper.
Just spars, one after another. Cindy had an evil throw that she was practicing; one of those ones where you're forced to throw YOURSELF if you don't want your arm wrenched off at the shoulder like a Safeway roasted rotisserie chicken. She did it to me about 7 times.

Also worked with Dalton (the wrestler kid) quite a bit. Got another triangle on him, although I had to keep readjusting it for about a year till he finally tapped.

Lamont is frustrated with my attitude.

Me: "You totally muscled me into that armbar."

Lamont: "If you're just going to freeze up and hunch there without doing anything, I'm going to muscle you into a sub."

Me: "If I'm frozen there, it's because there's nothing I can *do*."

Lamont: "You have to let go of something."

Me: "So I'm pinned and totally helpless, and I have this one tiny thing (indicating a barely-there half guard clinging to his instep for dear life), I'm better off letting go of it (flopping limply) so that now I'm pinned and helpless without even **THAT**??!?"

Lamont: "You have to let go of it SO THAT YOU CAN MOVE."

Me: "If I let go of that, I'm going to end up someplace even worse."

Lamont: "You don't know that. You have nothing to lose. You *KNOW* that if you stay there you're just going to get muscled into a sub."

Me: "I'm going to get subbed either way, so why waste the energy?!?"

Lamont: "Oh my GOD!"

I know, I know.

Psychology has proven that intermittant reinforcement is the way to condition us into behavior patterns. I'm getting intermittant reinforcement from people who have been taught that muscling subs is poor sportsmanship- so when I freeze up in an (arguably) defensible position and they can't finish the sub without bulling it, they move and try something else- which gives me an opportunity to escape or at least shift to a marginally better situation. Sometimes they just sort of back off and restart. If it was a tournament, against a girl my own size who couldn't muscle me, I could wait out the clock as opposed to getting subbed.  Lamont wants me to get off my self-pitying ass and try some different things and MOVE more... I get it.... the very fact that I'm getting so defensive is proof that he's prodding the raw, tender core of my most self-defeating and stubborn bad BJJ habit.... but it's not that simple. Every time I try to venture into that territory, I just put *myself* into another sub and get subbed even faster.  I don't think he fully appreciates just how demoralizing it is to get subbed left and right every single day by everyone for years and never get a turn to see the other side of the coin- he has not experienced that. I get defensive when people who have never experienced that give me advice and pep talks. I know they are trying to help, but they do not understand and can never understand how that feels. I am just not sure I can emotionally handle ***MORE*** subbing than I am already getting now. I fear that upping the sub total even more is going to push me into the crying place and possibly into the quitting place, long before any (dubious) progression comes out of it.

It's ironic to consider that I have an ego problem and need to resign myself to tapping more. I look at it from that perspective and want to laugh till I cry: I tap dozens of times a week and get a sub maybe two or three times a month, and that only from people who are going easy on me. And in order to progress I need to tap even more than that? Really?


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

Monday Form Of the Day: Frolic Of the Five Animals.

WIP: Huge plot breathrough. I mean **H*U*G*E**. I have had this creative logjam for nearly a YEAR trying to figure out how to make X do Y without Z and have it be plausable and interesting, and I had an idea today- by Jove I think I have it. One of those "I cannot _believe_ how freakin' brilliant I am" breakthroughs. So excited right now.
Tues FOD: Black Crane 1 (both ways)
Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle.  Saw Steve tying on his stiff new purple belt, and teased, "Is it still a jarring sight?" He said that he is really feeling a pressure to Bring It when he walks on the mat wearing that thing.

Same single leg takedown that we have been doing for a month- *with* the takedown. Carlos likes us to finish it in KOB. Steve  was finishing in a squat. Rather than say anything, I started grabbing for his ankle once he had me down. He got the message and started sticking that other leg out!  Carlos suggests that we *not* pinch the leg between our knees, because we might end up in half guard once we go down. He suggested taking a big step in front of the opponent with the leg on the same side that we have the opponent's leg, then doing the twisting takedown. This worked really well- you can even trip the person over your shin if you need to add that detail.

You are in opponent's closed guard, s/he is clasping your head to hir chest. Stick your "L" hands in hir armpits, loop your head out, posture, Press hir hands to hir belly, Push knee down (the KNEE, not a handful of the pants... I am still grabbing fabric too much; maybe I would be better at no-gi if I could break myself of this habit). Do not scoot the butt back at this point, which is what I always want to do for some reason. Don't lean way over, either. Turn the torso a bit to the side. Put your hand on your hip and stick your ELBOW under the knee. You have to hurry now, because the opponent is now figuring out that you're going to try that side instead of the side you just opened. Shrug the knee up on your shoulder. You are lifting with the tricep, shoulder, and ideally your entire back- not just your arm, which is weak and will lose. Grab that collar. Stack, turn your shoulder violently, shed the leg, pass to side control.

Steve asked me a couple of times if I was okay while he was drilling, and I said "Yes, I'll tell you if you're going too hard," I can definitely tell that he's turned it up a couple of notches now that he has that new belt. A few reps later, he said with concern, "You're making a crinkly-face whenever I do the pass on the right." I cracked up and said, "I'm making a crinkly-face because when you pass on the left, you grab my pantleg just above the knee and pin it to the mat... and every time you do it on the right, you grab the pantleg right *ON* the knee and grind your knuckles into the side of the joint!" He observed himself the next two reps and said, "You're right, I *DO* do that just on the one side!" I said, "In tournament, do it like you're doing it on the right- because that really hurts!!!"

Steve nitpicked at my side control, and I was listening hard, because I was noticing today that he feels as heavy as Bryan (who is one of the tiniest guys in the whole school and yet feels the heaviest). UUUUgh, my poor ribs! When I really committed (which I shrink from doing, cuz I kinda feel less mobile that way), I could get a lot heavier.

Some positional sparring from closed guard, pass vs sweep, switching frequently.

Steve notes that he can "see me thinking too much". He suggests that I need to commit to something and work faster.

One of the specific things he would like to see me try is to pull the opponent down onto my chest in my closed guard, and then use the momentum of the person posturing back up to ***QUICKLY*** try for a scissor sweep or a kimura.

When Steve and I got up to bow to one another as we ended the positional sparring, we clunked our heads together.

One roll with Bryan.  He had jumped me from behind just before class began, and once again I responded by rolling onto my back. I have *GOT* to stop doing that.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dao and frame drum

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

Turtle Drum: Because the weather was so nice, and because of Sea Fair, I expected a small turnout. I was not leading. It was nice to not have that pressure. In fact, I was so unpressured that I was 30min late (blush).

I had decided that if it was a small turnout, I would do a little sword dancing. Usually that type of thing is well recieved... even people who are initially unsure are more often than not converted after watching a bit. It's always a risk, though.... because there is the odd person whose trip is all "peace and love" and is totally skeeved at the appearance of a weapon because they think weapons are just bad things used by bad people to harm others.

I used the dao, and by the time it was done, I was literally dripping in sweat- so a good workout. Lots of Angry Snake mixed in; a little of the other stuff. Nice to freeform flow while trying to maintain proper form of stances, transitions, parries and strikes.

I'm not sure how it went over... nobody said anything, and I wasn't watching for reactions, although I did seem to get a vibe of one guy getting a little twitchy when I would pass behind him. They kept the drum energy going decent for a good while, though, which tends to happen when dancer(s) is/are feeding them well. Inconclusive. I decided to leave it at that for now. Tasara didn't say anything either, but I'm sure she will e-mail me if she disapproved, and want to discuss it with all three facilitators. I prolly should have asked her first... but like I said, many of the unsure are okay after experiencing it.

I did one chant; unfortunately no one stepped up to help, but it was good. Tasara was playing one of her Native American flutes, and it was a weird key signature, so it took me a while to parse it and get in key. But once I did, we were able to play off each other some, which was nice.

One person told me as she was leaving that I have a "beautiful voice."  :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

No break for you!

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

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle.

I don't hurt at all from yesterday- coolness.   :)

That evil, evil man... another 20 min of that same single-leg setup (I'm doing that thing in my sleep) followed by ANOTHER 100 TRIANGLE FROM GUARD REPS. And that's not even the worst part... this time it wasn't you do 10, partner does 10, you do ten- this time it was you do 100, then partner does 100. And if you start getting exhausted and sloppy around the 80 mark... "Keetsune! Close guard after eech rep! Thees ees not spider guard!"

He did not make us do the armbars as well (thank you God). A big white belt guy almost passed out on the mat just from this much. It was really hot in there today, especially in gi.

Some positional sparring with light resistance from closed guard, sweep vs pass. Cornelia and I made each other work a bit for the sweeps, but let each other get some. I told her that she's great to work with and that she should move here permanently.   :)   She can't really afford that at this time, but would like to continue to visit yearly if possible.

I was feeling really tired after this class, and decided to not stay for competition class this time. I was pretty sure I would not be able to drag myself to Sleeper if I did that.
NO-gi at Sleeper. Cindy had a new preteen wrestler my size for me to work with. I was having some contact lens issues, so had to fight blind tonight. I did better with that than I expected, although standup was intimidating.

Basic guard break, "seatbelt" gable grip at lap, stack and pass to side control. Get opponent's elbow up and your head in there. Take a moment to snug your near arm in really tight, and your head temple to temple. Vault your feet over to the opposite side (do not do an anemic hop that will allow opponent to catch you in guard or half guard). Put your hand on your bicep and squeeze the head-and-arm choke. YOu can also sit through if you need to.

The wrestler kid did really well on the choking part, and- being very new to BJJ- took my tips on the pass to heart, and I got him pressuring down and snugging up good and proper.  :)

Then I sparred the wrestler kid, which was a lot of fun. I was able to get a couple of sweeps on him. He made me work, though. I actually got a triangle from guard (this is very unusual for me). I think Eric was almost as excited about it as I was. He kept high-fiving me and congratulating me (and on the sweeps as well). He has a good idea of the challenges I face.

Then I was really tired and asked for a break, but Cindy was like, "NO, no break for you," and made me spar one of her adult female students. This woman boxes and weightlifts and I don't know what else- she is strong and fights hard.

Then I was REALLY REALLY tired (it was also hot as an oven in there today), and said, "I really, seriously need a break." No, no break for me, now I had to fight CINDY!!!!  I did pretty awful- seriously, I was so exhausted by then I could barely move- but I got in there and tried. It's good that she pushes me like that, I think I need that at times.

Cindy told me that she'd visited Gracie Barra recently and rolled with Kelly- and made her cry twice. "Does she always do that?" "Ah, yeah, sometimes, I think mostly out of frustration." I think that was definitely true in this case, from the story I heard- Kelly came out aggressive, like she does (which is good, that's one of her strengths, one I wish I could emulate better)- but if you come out aggressive at Cindy, she is gonna sling aggressive back atcha- and, my friend, you are going to get rightously humbled. It sounds like Kelly got frustrated and overwhelmed. It also sounds like she started giving Cindy a little bit of attitude (again, probably out of frustration)- and yeah, that is just *not* going to go anywhere pleasant for you, trust me. It's too bad that they got off on such a poor foot, but it does seem that Kelly (as good as she is- and she really IS) has some issues she needs to grow out of as she progresses. This story made me wonder if some of the guys at GB Bellevue are going too easy on her. She mostly trains there, and there are almost never any other women there, and those guys don't seem to go particularly gentle on *me*.... I dunno.

I think I also forgot to mention that I got that "breakdance" standing pass of Cindy's on a guy at GB this week.... he didn't know what hit him, he'd never seen it before. This is one of the advantages of crosstraining with Cindy, especially now that GB is on a pretty strict curriculum of basics.

Friday, August 3, 2012


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

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. Carlos tried to kill us all today. Twenty minutes of single- and double-leg setups, followed by one hundred reps of armbar from mount, followed by one hundred reps of triangle from guard. After about 50 armbars, I thought I was gonna hurl, so you can guess what I felt like after the triangles. Prof came over and sat there right at my partner's head for one set of the armbars, telling me that he wanted me to finish by the time the number was out of his mouth. "Too slow, too slow."

Note that Carlos wants to see you post crossface with your other hand while you're setting up the armbar from mount. Note also that (re: takedown setups) Cornelia pinches the single leg hard between her knees, and that seems quite effective, so I started doing it too.

Thank Gods for Kung Fu training, specifically Dragon- with its lessons of recycling energy. Cornelia was pausing on occasion waiting for the count, and I was like, "Go, go, it's all about the flow, just keep flowing and don't break the rhythm." I cheerled for her all the way- I really find that that helps when people do it for me, when you're really starting to flag.  We both did very well with it, though. How many people could do this? We are warriors.

One roll with Bryan, in which we spent as much time discussing and breaking down moves as we did rolling. It's great to be able to pick his brain. We also got to watch Carlos do a small demo of a few different triangle escapes... including some discussion of what works for short-legged people versus what works for long-legged people, which is always great.

It'll be interesting to see what I feel like in the morning. I don't really hurt at all from yesterday's 4-parter. The toe is okay. I have a slight rib injury, high rear left. It hurts when I sneeze, and do left-elbow-to-right-knee, but it seems minor, and I think it happened a few days ago.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I am a beast- 4 BJJ classes today

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

Saturday FOD: Five Points Of the Star
Sunday FOD: Northern Mantis Bo form

I'm beginning to become rather seriously terrified about being promoted. I've *always* been terrified of being promoted- but the idea of having to step on the mat wearing a purple belt makes me want to laugh hysterically like a hyena, burst into tears, and puke all at the same time. I can see it coming like the light of an oncoming train in the tunnel, and there ain't nowhere to hide. I'm hoping to keep my head down through the rest of this cycle at least, and put it off till the end of the year. I'm scared, though. Very scared.
Monday FOD: Silken Needle

I tend to stumble a bit over the reps in this- some techniques have two, and some have three, and I'm always like, "How many pushes, how many elbow strikes?" The first round was great (except for one sloppy hand position). I knew I should quit while I was ahead, but I thought I'd better run through it one more time with that repaired hand position. Of course, on the 2nd round I started to think too much and get confused on the reps. I had to go back to my notes and check a few things.  The energy on this is good, though. It is like the Tai Chi forms in that as s0on as I start, I can just feel myself slipping into that Zone, consistantly- even if my attention isn't 100%.

Tuesday FOD: Tiger Versus Crane
Wednesday FOD: Angry Snake Defends Its Lair
Note that the first thrust is the one that has the blade towards the ground and the left palm braced on the forearm. The blade orientation makes sense because with the second thrust (the one with the blade to the side), the following horizontal movement would make no sense if the blade was oriented toward the ground.
Thursday lunchtime BJJ GBBell.  I got all the way to school and realized that I didn't have my contact lenses in my bag, so I had to drive all the way back home and get them. No time to stretch before class.

All spars. Everybody in class was BIG today except for me. Started with the Prof, who did not seem to react to my gi... good, it seems that the anti-cat-hairing measures I am taking are working. Then a huge white belt. Then a large blue, then a large white. I am not very happy with my performances. On the bottom, fairly helpless. I did make a point, when rolling with Carlos, to not repeat the specific things that he corrected me on last time- so I hope he noticed that much!

It frustrates me that with many of these guys- even if they start out being careful to not muscle- if time is going on and they can't get a sub, often they will get frustrated and muscle one out. One of them muscled me into a keylock after we went about seven minutes and he didn't get a sub (even though he was on top almost the whole time... guess he wasn't satisfied with that much).
Three BJJ classes Back to back (in ascending order of toughness: basics, competition class, ending with advanced).

Prof made a comment during the comp class about me going with all those huge guys this morning... I get frustrated and disappointed when I'm stuck on the bottom and getting pwn'ed one match after another, but it seems that he gives me props for being game and never whining that the guys are too big or too hard on me (I do my whining *here*, of course, but I don't whine to HIM... the only time I've ever said anything to the teachers about anybody was that one time I blew up at Richie in class because he kept repeatedly yanking subs after I'd tapped).  "She ees tough," he said, and he has said that before; it makes me feel really good to hear that from him.

He also told me that he admires my persistance- specifically, the way I go after things when I roll with him. That single-minded fixation on getting one specific move is something I've been persistantly trying to train myself *OUT* of, but I guess it has its place... esp if you don't have a very big toolbox, or at least not a big toolbox of high-percentage tools.

Basics class was defense against armbar from guard: cover the trapped hand with your other hand, grab a lapel (not too deep, wrap it across the front of opponent's neck and lean on it, stack, shake the hand loose, grab the back of the pants, stack harder, put your knee to your elbow and pass on that side.

Defense against triangle from guard: Similar, but get a pantleg grip with that outside hand. The key to this one appeared to be dropping the knee behind the opponent's head. I could really feel the angle change and the triangle snap right off at that precise moment.

Comp class- all spars. I didn't get the prof again, but I got Casey (purple belt teacher). He was being nice, but I think I did decent enough to impress him.  When he got in line beside me for the advanced class, he punched me cheerfully in the shoulder and knocked me back against the wall. I immediately countered with a backfist to the belly- which would have been all humorously chummy if the formal lineup hadn't actually been STARTING right then and he lets out a melodramatic "OW!" Twit. We were lucky to not get pushups.

The same takedown setup we have done multiple times in the past two weeks. Prof wanted us to actually complete the takedown for the last section. In this case, the mat was crowded enough that we had to pull/twist the guy down right at our feet instead of forcing hir back two steps. End with KOB.

Standing guard pass: grab inside-of-knee pantleg with left hand. Underhook the other knee with your right arm. This leg shoudl be hoisted right up on your shoulder as you slam the other leg to the mat and jump both feet to the outside. Then turn your inside knee and drop it over opponent's shin. The arm that you have their leg on your shoulder- try to get a deep grip on the pants hip. Turn your torso to face their feet, shoulder into them, and tiptoe around to pass. DO NOT PUT THE OTHER KNEE ON THE MAT! I wasn't making that particular error, but enough people were that after about a jillion corrections, Carlos said that the next person he saw put that knee on the mat was getting pushups. I was congratulating myself on getting all the  pieces (this was complex enough to stretch my small brain), but the one detail I missed was that deep hip grip. Carlos corrected me on that and said, "How long you do Zshoo-zsheetsu? Tree years?!" (Me: "Not long enough") Yeah, he seemed to be getting a little impatient tonight.

I also solicited feedback from my partner and found that he didn't feel I was trapping his matbound leg high enough. Note to specifically ask this particular guy for feedback sooner from now on: I repped it about a bazillion times, feeling like a rock star, then said to him, "Does that feel right?" Immediately he shot back, "NO." I just stared dumbfounded at him a minute, why-the-heck-didn't-you-say-something-sooner warring with at-least-he's-not-preaching-at-higher-belts. But he's good enough to give solid feedback, so next time I'll just ask sooner.

Prof said something about my brown gi tonight. He wants me to wear the blue one (and presumably the cream one) more often. I usually wait till everything else is in the laundry to resort to the blue one, because I'm swimming in the jacket to the point that it is a distinct disadvantage. But apparently some of the newbies have been asking why I'm the only person in the whole school special enough to wear colored gi's.  ((blush))  I don't want to push my luck on this, since I guess I'm lucky I haven't been asked to retire them altogether. This would suck mightily, as it would necessitate purchasing two new GB gi's (which I think are ridiculously overpriced, too flimsy, and hideously ugly to boot). My colored ones are still in nice shape, and I paid through the nose to buy the patches and get them sewn on.