Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stalking Side Control

"This is a beautiful moment we're having. Can we please fight?" -Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Evening BJJ at Gracie Seattle. My first class taught by Brock- altho Casey and Dave were also on deck.

Side control to KOB, to KOB on the other side, to side control and back again. While in KOB, hold opponent down by pinning hir lapel to the mat both over and under hir far shoulder. Worked with a female white belt and was able to give her some pointers. Her technique was flawless once a couple of things were tweaked.

Baseball choke. From KOB on opponent's left: your rt hand under hir head, gripping collar under hir rt ear. This was the same rt hand grip we had been using for the pin 'em in KOB move before. Now you joggle the lapel in your left hand a titch to create enough slack to slip that left hand in beside the rt. Hands are gripping as they do on a baseball bat, hence the name. Rotate and sink. If you want to be mean: rotate, sink and scoot up by their head like you're making for north-south. I enjoyed this choke a lot. I enjoy chokes in general. I can't wait till I start reliably getting choke subs in live rolls.

A little King Of the Hill: guard pass vs sweep/submit. I did not do very well. Got swept by a blue belt in about 6 seconds (altho granted he was a biggun) and then by Casey in about the same time (although granted he's a black belt). Brock let me work a bit, enough that I sunk in a guillotine- then I let it go because I wasn't supposed to be going for subs, I was supposed to be passing guard. He said "Go ahead! Do it!" But the moment was gone.

One roll with a blue belt guy. I mostly stayed on top, but couldn't finish a sub. He was *very* explosive with his escape attempts from my side controls, mounts and KOB's, but I managed to usually ride him out. He was puffing like a steam engine... I might have had a lot more trouble with him if he'd moderated his breathing better. He complimented me on my positional control, and I complimented him on his sub defense.

I am shamelessly stalking Dave (SIDE CONTROL). I grabbed him again after class and asked him to roll with me, then picked his brain. The way he writes, he sounds like one of those people who genuinely feels that teaching and helping lower belts is a responsibility of a black belt, and that doing so also benefits his own training. So I'm going to stalk him and benefit too- although I'll try to not drive him nuts.

Rolling with "Side Control" is like rolling with Cindy, in that it glaringly points up a particular weakness of my game. I tend to get fixated on trying to pull off a specific move, and I'll just sink in there and grind away at it... sometimes I wear the person down and get what I wanted, but more often (especially with higher belts) I stay there grinding fruitlessly long past the time it is obvious that it's not going to work. What Cindy does (and what Dave does too) is that while I'm stalled there grinding at whatever I'm going for, they will shift direction and turn the force I'm exerting into something that ends up making me either sweep or submit MYSELF. It makes me feel like such a moron. But like the Clench-N-Cling (tm), which is an offshoot of the same problem (and I have had some partial sucess in breaking myself of), I need to stop getting so invested/fixated on one path. As soon as you stop moving, the opponent has time to have a look around and see where you're offbalanced, or what other holes you've left. The flip side is also something I want to learn- how to use the opponent's own exertion to make hir hang hirself. Very Dragon.

I tried the choke he'd helped me with last time, and *still* couldn't pull the dang thing off. Came close to guillotining him- but even though I had the choke on quite nice, I didn't have a good position for my body to finish it. He said afterward that he'd been worried about it, though- so that's good for me. Another Cindy lesson that I hope I've ingrained to some degree- don't keep grinding at subs that you are in a crappy body position for.

Dave also will not mount, side-control or scarf me and then just let me lie there, as I tend to do. Well, specifically, he *does* just let me lie there- making it plain that he expects me to actually *DO* something and try to get out. In my own defense, I will say that I no longer "just lie there like a dead fish" in Bryan's infamous words.... but I do tend to lie there and wait for them to move toward a sub before I jump for my escape. I've just spent too much time and energy wiggling helplessly under people's mount, side control and scarf without a prayer of getting out till they move again and present me with an opening. Well, Dave's going to make me struggle to try make an opening. Another way he operates like Cindy does.

Note that my A-game mount escape (???) to bottom half guard does not work on Dave. It works on pretty much EVERYONE else, every single time, in under the required three seconds.... so this was disconcerting. Every time I go for it, he puts his knee up and stands up on that leg. I grab for the other one, he switches. The first couple times, I was like "What the hell just happened??!? That always works!" Then it was like, "*&%^$!!!" Well, that's why he's wearing the "dirty belt", as I commented wryly.

He reassured me about purple belt looming ominously in my foreseeable future before I have fixed what seem to me to be yawning, embarrassing, Grand-Canyon sized holes in my game. That writeup about what each belt means, that's been floating around the've seen it.... I liked it, it made sense, but it said that when you get to purple belt, that's when you are expected to have a full game with no holes. Dave reassured me that he still felt like he had holes in his game at purple, that you have to grow into it. Makes me feel a little less pressure. I still don't want that promotion, though. May it be a long, long, long way off.

He also suggests that I focus on *one* sweep, and try to hit it from different positions and on different people. I have heard that advice before, and am going to try to take it. Not sure what to use, though... Scissor sweep is my most comfortable sweep to drill, but I never get it in live rolling except on virgin white belts. Ditto butterfly sweep. Sit-up sweep may be a better bet for me to actually successfully execute live. I don't have the minuteae of steps as locked-in to memory as the other two, but it fits with the style of my game better than the other two. Hmmm. Does the fact that I know that mean that I sort of know what I'm doing, to some degree?

Part of my problem with sweeps is that when I'm on the bottom, my instinct is to escape- not sweep. Also, my escapes are a hell of a lot better and more reliable than my sweeps (probably because, duh, I've done them more). The tendency to fall back on the reliable first instinct needs to give way to the "look around and see if you can do a sweep" mentality.

The fabric training dummy wants me

If anyone strikes my heart, it does not break, but it bursts, and the flame coming out of it becomes a torch on my path. Hazrat Inayat Khan

Thursday: 133.5

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue.

Prof Carlos tried to set me up with the fabric dummy today (who for some reason lives in the women's locker room). "He ees seengle. Good leestener." I asked if the dummy could cook, and Carlos admitted that that was a shortcoming- but that the dummy doesn't eat, either.

Butterfly guard on kneeling opponent. Opponent is lying on you and hugging your thighs under hir armpits. You push your cross-forearm under hir jaw, and grab the shoulder, bridge hips abruptly to get a little room. Then sit up and wrap that same arm buddy-style around the opponent, grab hir belt. (apparently you can't lift your shoulders off the mat during this portion unless you're going to KEEP them off; it seems the opponent gets points if you sit up and then lie back down again). Hip out to the side a tad, butterfly sweep. (Me having trouble with left and right again- which way to sweep? I had to stop and compute which of the opponent's arms was more logical to trap, and then sweep hir that way.)

Same entry, except opponent steps a foot up before you can sweep. Slide under hir leg and hold it as if hir knee was a telephone. X-guard with your legs. Prof asked us to play with that for 5 min and try to figure out a sweep. I took the back, but that's not a sweep. After 5 min, he showed us some options, including the take-the-back that had been my idea- so I didn't feel so dumb after all. I still had trouble with the sweep- but hey, it's a sweep, and that is my biggest weakness. I'd like to experiment with X guard more. God knows I'm on the bottom often enough... I need to start looking for opportunities to sink that in and then see if I can do anything from there. I don't think it will work for me as well as for taller people, though- because I can't stretch people out. I will have to rely on speed and surprise to offbalance them. So when I'm experimenting, I'll have to experiment QUICKLY.

One roll with a three stripe blue guy- he was not huge, but he was using strength and he ravaged me- it was all I could do to keep from getting subbed, and there were a number of very close calls (including a couple that I prolly should have tapped to, but I resisted because I was getting irritated with him). I couldn't do anything to him. A bit discouraging, after I'd been having kind of a good week. Oh well, you're up, then you're down again, that's the name of the game. I felt a little vindicated when Carlos rolled with him next and ravaged him as casually as the guy had ravaged me. I was too exhausted by then to do any more, which was a shame, since Glenn and Nelson were there (two of my favorite training partners).

I'm going to drop circus school from four nights a month to (probably) two, because I think that's the only way I'm ever going to see Cindy again. My work schedule means that there is only one Sat, one Fri and one Weds in every 2-week period that are feasable to get to Sleeper. The last few Fridays and Saturdays, after I did Gracie lunchtime class, I found myself just too darn exhausted to do anything those evenings. Acrobalance is on Wednesday, but I want to clear a Wednesday evening and try to get in to Sleeper's again.

It has been six months since I lost my Kung Fu teacher and group. It's not getting any easier. Just last night I was having one of those really low depressive episodes. I had a screaming fit in the car because I can't get my brain off those negative hamster-wheels of futile thought processes. My own mind is the enemy- it just will not go where I want it to go and stay out of the dark dank places. However, this afternoon, my training feels.... pregnant. Like something is about to change. I could really use a positive shift of some sort.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crotch levers

We only suffer when we hold onto an objection to some aspect of reality.

Wednesday: 134.0

Somnalist Trauma Theater was running an all-night marathon last night (there were no pharmaceuticals involved). Six or seven lengthy and detailed nightmares in a row. Sleep very poor, but I was good and dragged my tired self to class.

Got Bryan again- poor guy- he must be getting tired of me
this week, but I always make a point to sincerely thank him. We also got Sonia in a trio, after she came in for the final 20 min or so.

Turtle to replacing guard. Guy is hugging your waist from behind. Put both your feet to one side of hir knees, straighten the leg nearest hir, grab hir pants at the knee on the OTHER side. Turn toward the side that you grabbed the pants on, sit out, grab triceps.

After a few rounds of drilling this, we added a guard pass. Note that when you put a knee up to the ceiling in the other guy's guard, that knee should start out on the INSIDE of your arm (ie, you're hugging your own knee). Also do not forget to have a grounded, wide base going on.

I was too tired to stay for one live roll, let alone two, but I did. Sonia and then JM. Sonia neck-cranked me, but apparently it would have been a choke of some sort had my headgear not been in the way. JM ankle-locked me. Since we don't do a whole lot of below-the-waist subs here (and white belts aren't allowed to), I often forget to watch for it... I didn't realize what he was doing until too late. He did give me a really nice compliment on my work, and it was definitely *NOT* my best work today, sluggish as I was- so that was nice.

I have to come to lunchtime class at Bellevue tomorrow whether I feel like it or not, as Carlos asked if I was going to be there and I told him yes.

Circus school (acrobalance). Hilarity level was high tonight- as evidenced by the fact that we were working on "asshats" and "crotch levers". I'll just leave those to your fertile imaginations.

Note that Circus School is an entertainment industry- so unlike at martial arts schools, it is okay to dance your way through warmups and stretches.

Remembering that I want to try to not always find myself working with the novice bases, I purposefully maneuvered myself into Willis' group tonight (although I did trade off with one of the other guys a couple of times).

I did not attempt the stacking, although they almost got up to 4 people. When the stack began to collapse, Jenny (on top) LAUNCHED herself spread-eagled into one of the spotter's arms. It was dramatic! Too bad no video.

A few new things; I did well as long as I had someone to talk me through it. Like martial arts choreography, I do not retain acrobatic choreography well, and can't remember which hand goes where.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


One we learn how to use adversity to our advantage, we can manufacture the helpful growth opportunity without actual danger
or injury. -Josh Waitzkin, The Art Of Learning

Monday FOD: Kiu 2.

I went to Monday lunchtime class even though I had to work that night. I left by 1pm, and took 2 Unisom as I was leaving the gym. I chased the Unisom with a little Nyquil when I got home, because my allergies were fussing like crazy. I seem to have zonked out fairly quickly once I went to bed- although my dreams were very bad. Can't make a practice of this, but I held up okay this time.

Prof Carlos greeted me by asking if I was sore. I said no, but that I expected to be so by the time I left. Well, class exceeded my expectations: BOW AND ARROW!

I am afraid of being bow-and-arrowed. There's just such a fine line between tap and snap... and that's your SPINE doing the snapping, there... how do you like the idea of lying in bed typing with a pencil in your mouth for the rest of your life? People seem to like to crank these; or maybe it's just me, because I'm short and there isn't much bend in my particular bow. Furthermore, if they're doing it right, you have no arms free to tap, and the breath is being accordianed out of you so that you can't verbally tap. I hate 'em. Working with Bryan again was a mixed blessing- he's not a spazz, but he's also not going to handle me like I'm a kitten.

We started with the same entry sequence from last Tuesday: Opponent goes for double-leg, you frame arms UNDER hir arms and shoulders and sprawl. Go to the side (your right side up against opponent's left... opponent is now turtled). Feed opponent's left collar into your rt hand, grab hir near pantleg, stand up and swing your rt leg over to mount hir like you're riding a horse. Then let your butt drop to the other side. DO NOT ROLL opponent over your chest to the other side. S/he is already on the pillow side, which is where you want hir. (This drive of mine to roll to the other side has appeared in several techniques; I'm not sure why I want to do that...) If your lapel grip was good, the person starts choking even before your butt hits the ground. I had to start drilling with a shallower, looser lapel grip just so that I could finish the technique, although of course in real life I would be delighted to choke the opponent as early as possible and be done with it.

Escape from back mount. Same entry sequence. Note the crossface as soon as you line up beside the opponent. Again, resist the urge to roll when you take backmount. Another thing I like to do while I'm doing that superfluous roll is to hike the person right up on my chest, which is equally inane. Why do I want to drag a person right over my fragile ribcage? Keep hir low.

If you are the backmountEE, you want to try to get off the pillow side, bridge and put your weight on the opponent's chest, remove a hook. (You do not need to do the entire escape in 3 seconds. As soon as you remove 1 hook, your opponent is not getting backmount points.) Remove both feet, turn over at the hips, take side control.

One of the things that Carlos pointed out as a common error, I recognized as *MY* common error.... I do fairly well escaping back mount, but I do tend to get one foot out and leave the remaining one in there because I'm trying to post on it and hip away. This leaves me vulnerable to half guard and also having my back retaken. I need to get BOTH feet out. It is less work than escaping back mount and then escaping half guard. (I should probably note, though, that I can get extra points for doing it the long way, if I really want points. I am confident with my two-step sequence.) I also need to turn at the hips and not attempt to generate the turn from less-effective sections of my body.

One roll with Marc. It was fun. He got me with a slick mounted triangle that I didn't even see coming at all, and once again with the technique of the day (rats!). I got him with a cross-collar choke after he inexplicably turned his chin up- I don't know what he was thinking; he knew I was going for the collar choke.

I tried wrapping his arm with his gi tail, too.... I am still clumsy at this, but it is something I really want to cultivate. Lindsey and Pat are extremely effective with it.

I have nice gi hickeys under both sides of my jaw, thanks to the bow and arrow drills.

New woman today- Kristen. I tried to get her to spar with me, but no joy. It was her very first day. Hope she didn't get discouraged watching me get smooshed by Marc right in front of her chair.

Just shoot me now... someone found my blog this week with the search term "women leaning over poking her ass out"

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Even people who are completely devoted to cultivating a certain discipline often fall into a mental rut, a disengaged lifestyle that implies excellence can be obtained by going through the motions. We lose presence. Then an injury or some other kind of setback thows a wrench into the gears. We are forced to get imaginative. -Josh Waitzkin, The Art Of Learning

Saturday: 133.0

Razzafrack! I was all dressed and had my stuff in the car, ready to leave for a double header BJJ at both schools. One of the diabetic cats tested a little low, and instead of going to class, I found myself stuck here all day babysitting him to make sure his glucose didn't tank.

(That's his pic at the top- isn't he a cutie? I really don't want him to croak, even though he made me miss class.)

Sunday: 133.0

Lunchtime BJJ Gracie Seattle. This was a Lindsey class, which was cool. One guy with a minor injury was rolling a little before class and then ducked out as we were starting- because he had an injury, and as he said, "this class is notorious for leaving you with two or three days of pain". I had to share that comment with Lindsey- who was delighted, as I knew he'd be.

I worked with Abby, one of the white belt girls who began in Lindsey's self defense class. Half guard stuff. I'm good at getting out of top half guard, so I was able to give her pointers. In bottom half guard (my nemesis), I was pleasantly shocked to find that I was actually able to get out, for a change. I was even able to do a few sweeps. I so rarely work with white belts, it is just surreal to be able to try things (especially sweeps, which I eternally suck at) and actually have them WORK. Also, I was just so relaxed and calm. No pressure, no anxiety... just ho-hum, look around for opportunities, do this, do that, pretty much everything I attempted worked. And it's not as if she was really bad; she was actually doing well. She was just a white belt.

Then I had a roll with Dave and a roll with John. They are both about my rank and only a small amount heavier. Again a pleasant surprise- I had good competitive rolls with both of them. I felt like I deserved my belt today- which is still unusual enough to warrent comment.

Friday, February 17, 2012


There are times when the body needs to heal, but those are ripe opportunities to deepen the mental, technical, internal side of my game. You should always come off an injury better than when you went down. -Josh Waitzkin, The Art Of Learning


Sooooooooo tired. Not up for silk class tonight. But you can't blow off circus school, since you have to pay whether you show up or not, and it's expensive!

The hoop arialists were practicing behind us tonight. They looked soooooooooooo awesome. Not as awesome as silk, but almost.

Russian climb: DO NOT WRAP the silk. Drape it over the front of the rt ankle, then lift the tail with your left foot and make a little stirrup. Place the left foot on top of the right. DO NOT MAKE AN "L" SHAPE. squat on top of your feet with your shins parallel to the ground. Then stand up.

Dutchmans again. Arabesque, which I messed up and didn't get enough time to fix. Must ask for that again next time. Hip hang, and straightening out to pose parallel to the ground. I like that one.

So tired that I thought I was going to fall aleep behind the wheel on the way home. Unfortunately, that did *not* translate to getting a good night's sleep. :(

Friday: 133.5

Lunchtime BJJ Gracie Seattle.

Carlos asked how I was, and I told him that my legs were sore from yesterday's class (fronts of thighs). He was delighted. I don't think I could have given him a better compliment. He loves to hear when we are sore from his classes. It means we worked hard. He exclaimed "Good, hah?!" and I said, "Yes!"

Takedowns- grab opponent's left lapel with your rt hand. Pull and step back with your right foot, turning your body to your right as you do so. As opponent lurches forward, drop to your RIGHT knee and grab hir left heel; pick it up. I had my usual problem of dropping on the wrong damn knee over and over. I figured out, though, that part of my mental block this time was because doing it correctly left my chin right against the opponent's left knee, just waiting for him to piston it up and clock me if we were doing anything other than sport BJJ (and maybe even here, by accident). When I told this to Bryan, he of course demoed that it was impossible for me to clock him with *MY* knee, as he was doing the technique way too quickly and skillfully. Well, when I'm a brown belt, I hope I will be able to do it like that too- but right now I can't!

Pass guard from standing, with sitting opponent who has both knees up. Quickly kneel over hir shins and pinch hir legs together with yours. Throw your right arm over hir shoulder- hugging in close like s/he's your buddy, otherwise you'll get straight-armbarred. Pick up your left knee and hike it *HIGH* and *WIDE* as you swing over to the other side of the opponent and take side control. Rodrigo came over _TWICE_ to tell my I wasn't swinging the leg out far enough, so I really need to get my act together in that respect.

You standing, opponent sitting. Step between hir knee with your left foot, step to the outside of hir thigh with your right foot, turn your torso toward opponent and bring that left leg out *HIGH* and *WIDE* just like in the previous technique. When you set the foot dowm, set it close to the opponent's hip, then shoot your other foot out to base. I kept wanting to set the swinging foot out wide. The get KOB or side control.

Always nice to work with Bryan. He was getting a little frustrated with my constant habit of getting knee and elbow in the way of his side control. I wasn't doing it to be a crappy drilling partner; I was just trying to keep him off my ribs! It is a Black Crane defensive technique (which has a bonus **REALLY** gnarly elbow strike incorporated into it). I said that his ability to feel like a dump truck on my ribs is chi. He said it is physics. I also teased him about his hooking monkey feet.

Positional sparring with Bryan and Dave. Wow... I got Carlos yesterday, and today I get Dave and Bryan. I am getting to spend the week in pretty heady company, getting kicked around by black and brown belts!!

When it came time for open mat, I saw Dave drilling something by himself, and remembering how he's always talking in his blog about wanting to get extra drilling reps with people, I went over and asked him if he wanted to drill something on me. So he drilled some terribly complex inverted guard takedown that was way beyond my ability to understand, then offered to help me with something. I didn't have anything specific in mind, so I suggested that we spar a little, and I was sure something would present itself.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to choke him and otherwise wrap him up with his gi top (I had it completely off at one point, by which I ended up disadvantaging MYSELF, as we were now essentially fighting me gi and him no-gi). He went over some choke details with me, and suggested that I practice reps on my own gi top while watching TV or whatever, till I can stop having to pause and think about which way my grips and wrists need to go.

My initial grip- deep with my right hand cross collar, palm up- is fine, but as for the 2nd hand... first thing he pointed out is that I will have better luck if I sneak the second hand UNDER my first forearm instead of over. Then I need to get a grip with my palm _DOWN_. !!!!!DO NOT SPLAY THE ELBOWS OUT LIKE I'M DOING THE FUNKY CHICKEN!!!!! What a newbie flub, and here I am still doing it. Then roll the wrists so that I'm looking at the insides of my wrists.

Alternatively: Grab with the second hand palm UP (this is the way I instinctually want to do it) and roll my thumbs TOWARD me.

That was really nice to get a chance to work with Dave. I should have a couple of specific things in mind to ask for help with next time. It was a fun spar. I've hardly gotten any chance to work with him before now.

Was watching Rodrigo kneeling on the floor taping a white belt guy's foot for him. How cool is Rodrigo? He is just so nurturing to his students. I was also thinking today (this was before I saw him taping feet), I don't know how he remains so patient after all these years correcting- over and over and over- the same little dumbass mistakes we make in drills. In some cases, correcting the SAME PEOPLE over and over and over on those same little dumbass mistakes. Ahem.
I wish I was a better student for him. All I can do is keep trying.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


“Great dancers are not great because of their technique,
they are great because of their passion.”
- Martha Graham

Note to self: do not use the lotion at work on mat burn or any other compromised skin. It claims to be scent-free and is made for use in a hospital setting, so I thought it would be okay, but it is *SO* not.

Sunday FOD: Touch Bridge. Standard version only. Do not forget the thrusty shovel kick right after the Tiger forearm wipes, and before the turn. Also: the kneel after the swirly figure-8 Dragon move is fist on BOTTOM, flat hand on TOP.

Resolution: end all my forms in fists-at-ribs chamber, to be followed by front hand-over-fist salute. I had fallen into the habit of imitating JM and adding a press-palms toward the floor after the fists-at-ribs chamber... because it looked crisp and neat-o. I think all of us fell into the habit of imitating that, since that girl was always standing in the front as if she was leading the class. JM is out of my life now, I can forget that she ever existed, and I do not need her lame fingerprints on my formwork. So there.

Monday FOD: Leopard at Dawn

Tuesday FOD: Tai Chi long form. How many hundreds… maybe even into the triple figures by now… of times have I repped the opening sequence of this form (which repeats in the openings off all three empty-hands tai chi forms)? It would be interesting to see the biofeedback stats, because I can feel all sorts of things happening on a cellular level as soon as I begin- even if I'm not feeling particularly relaxed and focussed. If you rep it enough times, a switch gets thrown on cue even if you're not wholly invested.

A few places where I had to stop and figure out sequence, in the spots where techniques repeat over and over in all three forms. I shudder to think what a tangled web this would be by now if I was being more sloppy about upkeep than I am.

Thursday: 133.0

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue. This was my first time in the newly remodeled Bellevue school. The room is the same, but there is a second room beside it (connected by a door) that is almost as big... as well as a women's changing area (yay!) and a second bathroom (yay!)

Lots of warmup drills. The new mats are slippery!

One of the reasons I prefer going to Seattle instead of Bellevue (despite the longer drive and the horrid traffic) is that there is a much better likelihood of finding appropriate partners for me in Seattle. Today, being the last kid left on the sidelines after all the other kids had been picked for the kickball teams bought me a partnership with Professor Carlos. Yay! He even used me for some of the demos, which was an honor. I almost never get used for demos at GB. Even when I'm the ranking student in the room, the profs tend to pick someone closer to their own size to demo with... especially Carlos; I must admit that towering Carlos and I working together look like a clown act. I get so nervous and anxious on the rare occasions when I am asked to be the demo dummy at GB, as I'm always afraid I'll screw up really bad and look like a moron in front of all those people. This time, I only screwed up once... and the Prof was very nice about it, and corrected me, and I did it right the second time.

From the knees, double leg drills.

Then, from the knees, double leg. opponent sprawls and goes to the side.

Same, then variation a: opponent at the side gable grips over one shoulder and chest like a Miss America sash. pull opponent overtop of you and to the side, get one hook it. Pull opponent to the other side (using the LEG, don't pull hir over your chest and face! I had to be corrected on that) and get the second hook in.

Same, then variation b: this time the person who went to the side puts down the knee closest to the turtled person's head. Turtled person hugs that knee as if they're going to try for a single leg. Opponent gable grips around one shoulder and chest like a Miss America sash, and figure-4's hir feet to grip the other person's arm. Then dive over hir head, pull hir overtop of you, and switch the legs (if you fail to do this, the position you end up in allows the person to pull hir arm right out). Then clock choke and/or crucifix. Don't forget to use your hand to feed the collar to your other hand (I needed to be corrected on this as well). It was great to drill with Carlos, as he was able to really perfect everything for me.

One roll with the Prof. Of course he whalloped me, and I was gassing and panting like a spaniel, but I don't think I shamed myself too badly. We got to our feet at one point. I am so happy that my kung fu experience makes me unafraid of standup. Even facing a black belt whose head almost brushes the ceiling, I know he's gonna take me down, but I'm not *afraid*. Or too intimidated to work with it. I even defended a couple of his takedown attempts (granted he was going easy), and tried a couple of things myself.

Finally he got me in a choke and held me there while I wiggled helplessly like a worm on a hook. I tried every angle, and every single direction I could move in just tightened the choke worse.

One roll with a white belt guy. I was on top almost all the time, got some mounts, some KOB's. Finished one armbar, but that was all. He had a sprained wrist, so I didn't want to try to keylock him. He was defending most of my sub attempts well, and I gave him a few hints on the occasions when he didn't seem to be defending what I was going for... so I might have gotten a couple more subs if I hadn't been being nice.

We had to stop and move twice because we bumped into the Prof and his partner. The third time, my partner rolled over Carlos' foot, and Carlos had to go to the sidelines for a few minutes. I felt reeeeally bad. Carlos' legs are soooo long, and he uses up so much mat when he rolls. You can start out halfway across the mat from him, and in ten seconds you're crashing into each other. It was my partner's and my job to stay out of HIS way, though, so I felt bad.

One more half a roll with John (half a roll because he gassed out and quit halfway through). He was muscling me some, and I wasn't doing very well against him.

Black Crane Drill #5:

Begin in Black Crane high guard facing east and looking north.

Circle-and-grab with left hand in front of face, clasp fist near rt jaw.

Inside-to-outside crescent kick to north with rt foot. You have grabbed and kicked opponent #1. As you are kicking, scissor your straight and fisted rt arm to north overtop of the leg in the opposite direction.

As you put your foot back down (you are now in a high fwd stance with left foot in front), turn torso back to north with a snap. At the same time, palm-heel your left hand to the rear over your rt shoulder (palm facing south) and palm-heel your rt hand to the rear, groin level (fingers down, palm facing south). Note that this is similar to Five Points Of the Star. This is your 2nd opponent.

Step back a little more, kneel on left knee, and hoist the 2nd opponent who is behind you over your shoulder to drop hir on the ground in front of you. Note that you are not so much PULLING hir over your shoulder as you are getting UNDERNEATH hir.

Place hands on ground, back kick rt leg upward into groin of your 3rd opponent approaching from the rear. Do not kick till you LOOK and make sure you have targeted correctly.

Set rt foot down behind left, stand up and turn rt to face south. As you turn, bring rt elbow up beside rt ear to block. Left front punch belly level to south (3rd opponent) as you finish the turn. End in south-facing front stance (rt foot forward) with rt fist chambered at waist, Left fist with arm straight out belly level.

Hop a little to your left (east) and land on left foot, with rt fist guarding groin and rt hand in Black Crane guard at left jaw. Low snap kick to knee level east, left foot. (This is your 4th opponent.)

Rechamber foot, slide into a front stance facing east (left foot in front) as you double punch your 4th opponent head level to east. Your wrists are crossed, fists rotating. Rt fist on top.

Make a 1/2 turn to your rt to face west, bring hands straight-armed up-and-over back to Black Crane high guard and look north. You are now in the mirror pose of the stance you started in. Repeat drill on opposite side.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Urgent Care vs Emergency Room vs suck it up and stop whining

Urgent Care vs Emergency Room vs suck it up and stop whining

Last night's shift has prompted me to share the following rant/public service message.

Emergency Room: This is where you go if you think you are going to die or lose a limb. These are true emergencies (hence the name). If you are having a heart attack, stroke, really bad asthma attack, chopped your own leg off at the thigh with your chainsaw. Do not attempt to drive yourself there. Call an ambulance.

Urgent Care: This is where you go for something that is urgent (hence the name) but not life threatening. A broken bone, a bad cut that won't stop bleeding (less than chainsaw-level severity), mild food poisoning, a UTI that isn't going to kill you but is a 3,968 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. You will get the same care here that you get in an ER, only at about 1/3 the cost and 1/3 the wait time, and you're not hogging a stretcher that should be going to the guy in line behind you with his intestines hanging out of the gash on his belly. If the Urgent Care staff determine that you really belong in an ER, they will transfer you there.

If you think you are going to die, do not go to the Urgent Care. You are a little more urgent than that.

If you stubbed your toe, or have the sniffles, you do not need to go to the Urgent Care nor the Emergency Room. Book a regular doctor's office appointment, if you must, and stop being a baby. If you have insurance, you are driving up everyone's premiums by running up a 4K ER bill for your goddamn sniffles. Do not go ahead and run up as big a bill as you want, and shrug and say "insurance is paying for it". That is male bovine feces. We are all paying for it. This is why so many of us can't afford health insurance- and of those of us who can, we are paying half our income for policies that exclude everything. If you do not have insurance, we the working taxpayers are footing your 4K ER visit for your goddamn sniffles. Please don't. You are a self-centered, dead-weight wuss, and if you really do die from your hangnail, you deserve it.

Things to not trifle with: chest pain, unexplained numbness (especially down one side of the body), drooping of half the face, unfamiliar severe headache, serious burns (esp to the hands), slurring of words, unexplained mental confusion, unexplained severe weakness or dizziness, serious cuts or other trauma injuries to the hands, face or genitals. Trauma to the spine. Concussions. Drug or alcohol overdoses (yes, it is possible to overdose and DIE on alcohol). Diabetic emergencies. Go to the ER. Any pustule or other skin break where it looks like the tissue is being eaten away. Go to the Urgent Care. You are not being a baby.
(Note that this is not a complete and exhaustive list of what not to trifle with- just a few common examples. Use sense.)

The only thing that grates my cheese more than people who go to the ER for stupid shit is people who sit at home and gush blood from both ends for days, then decide that it might be a good idea to mosey into the Urgent Care with a hemoglobin of 2.6 (TWO POINT SIX!!!! Jesus Wept!) just in time to go tits-up amongst the potted plants in the lobby.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Crane drills 1 through 4

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to be over,
it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
- Author Unknown

Friday: 133.5

Sunday: 132.0. FOD: Leopard Fist. Did just the standard version.

Monday FOD: Tiger Versus Crane. Standard version only. Note that the standard version starts out with a RIGHT Eagle claw. I'm finding that with the forms I've practiced "in the mirror" extensively, I'm often groping for "uhhh, which side is this...?" at the beginning- but once I get going, it's usually not much of a problem because each move flows into the next and they usually only make SENSE on one side.

Also note that after the hop with the "energy ball" and the flying crescent kick, you land in east-facing horse and turn directly to the south-facing Tiger crossed stance. I was wanting to stick the clawing-face-plant in there, but that is later.

Wednesday: 133.5
Sometimes my nightmares are very literal. Last night I dreamed that I was living in some dump, and got burglarized three times in rapid succession. They took everything of value. With what few scraps I could salvage, I was living in my car. Then, it shifted and I was leading about five dozen surviving refugees across a post-apocalyptic city in the dead of winter. That was very weird- but I think that with a few tweaks, I can use some of that last adventure in my weblit. ;-)

Acrobalance. Unfortunately, it seemed to be "couples' night" at the circus school, and all the bases came in already paired up with their own SO flyer, so I was the odd person out- which was awkward. Ended up switching out with the most inexperienced guy (again.... I need to try to avoid this happening every time), whose girlfriend was a six-foot-tall toothpick. One must base a five-foot-tall beginner hourglass completely differently from a six-foot-tall intermediate toothpick, so he was having a lot of issues.

Lots of side-star and cartwheel stuff. Keep the chest facing the wall and don't let it (and torso) roll towards the floor. Also remember to turn the leading toe out, and once up, the DANGLING toe needs to point toward the base and not towards the floor.

Propping yourself on blocks and balancing in an L shape while supporting your weight on your hands is a lot harder than it looks. Especially if your hips are too wide to fit between the blocks. Still feels like entering an alternate universe when I come in here and am "the heavy student" at 133.5lb.

Thursday: 133.5

Friday: 134.5 (I had some mustard-onion pretzels yesterday). FOD: Iron Needle

Last night in Somnalist Trauma Theater, I was at some kind of large event at a beach house when someone started shooting up the crowd. I instantly took off running like a rabbit without even turning to look. Points for rapid OODA, penalties for not trying to stop the guy from slaughtering the crowd. I was fleeing across the front lawn alone, and could see his shadow (and the shadow of the firearm, which looked like a damn bazooka) looming up on the grass to my left. There was no cover, and I am not a particularly fast runner (although I venture I may be faster than I think, if I ever find myself pursued by a nut job with a bazooka). I thought, "This is it," Then two people came out of the house to the left, and he started shooting at them, while I ran on. I did the exact same thing I'd done in my previous shoot-em-up dream a few months ago, which had disturbed me so.

This spring I need to renew my concealed pistol licence. I've had it for nine years now, and I haven't actually gotten around to procuring a gun. Since my knives showed up dependably in my violent dreams when I started carrying them in real life, I'm curious to know whether- should I buy a gun- I will start whipping that baby out during Somnalist Trauma Theater.

Saturday: 135. FOD: Southern Mantis. I haven't done this one in a while and was worried about my memory retention, but only a couple of minor problems. After the topfist, the cat stance needs to shift to an equal-weighted Mantis stance. The double low block after the head-smash is with Mantis hooking hands. (I'm not going to beat myself up over having done the heel-hand ones out of Three Step Arrow instead). The final move is a Mantis finger-poke with the left hand, not a hard block. Other than that, seems fine.


+Crane 1 (double eyestrike)

Begin in high horse facing east and looking north. Double Eagle claw hands, palm down, rt in front of groin and left slightly north of left thigh.

Turn torso to north. Do not move feet. Double viper-hand eye strike to north.

Cross wrists, turn palms up and bring elbows together at solar plex. Forearms are now forming a "V" with flat palms toward you.

Step through with rt leg forward to north, turn to end in high horse facing west and looking north. As you step and turn, both Eagle claws circle up-and-over forward (rt at chin level, left at waist level) to end palm down, left in front of groin and rt slightly north of rt leg. You are now in the mirror of the stance you started with. Repeat drill on opposite side.

+Crane 2 (eagle claw eyestrike with two circles)

Begin in high horse facing east and looking north. Double Eagle claw hands, palm down, rt in front of groin and left slightly north of left thigh.

Left Eagle claw strike eye level to north.

Turn left palm abruptly toward your face. Hand is flat.

Scissor step rt foot behind left. Bring left palm to rt shoulder. Cross fisted rt arm in front of it, fist at left elbow.

Unwind to your right into high horse facing west, as Rt fist hammerfists chest level to north, palm down. Left hand is now palm-up against left shoulder.

Scissor step left foot behind rt. Double Eagle claw strikes downward- left in front of groin, rt just north of rt thigh.

Unwind to your left into high horse facing east. As you come around, drag whatever you have gripped with your Eagle claws along with you (possibly over your right hip/knee). Also get a left elbow strike in as you rotate.

End the same way you began: high horse facing east and looking north. Double Eagle claw hands, palm down, rt in front of groin and left slightly north of left thigh.

Repeat. Practice off both sides.

+Crane 3 (corkscrew punch)
Begin in high horse facing east and looking north. Double Eagle claw hands, palm down, rt in front of groin and left slightly north of left thigh.

Circle left arm clockwise in front of face to end at groin, still in Eagle claw to block/seize.

Corkscrew punch rt hand overtop of left arm, at waist level, while using left hand grip to pull opponent into your punch. End with rt little finger up. Torso can turn fwd, but do not move feet. (The fist stays in one place once it's struck the hypothetical target, and the ELBOW rotates around the axis. Extend the punch fully. It's okay if the shoulder hunches up a little.)

Step through to north with rt foot and turn to end in high horse facing west and looking north. As you step and turn, both Eagle claws circle up-and-over forward (rt at chin level, left at waist level) to end palm down, left in front of groin and rt slightly north of rt leg. You are now in the mirror of the stance you started with. Repeat drill on opposite side.

+Crane 4 (backfist to ground)
Begin in Black Crane high guard- high horse facing east and looking north, left arm out straight to north shoulder height, hand in "stop" position; rt "stop" hand at rt jaw. Toes are pointing northeast.

Turn to north and sink into front stance left foot fwd. Rt Eagle claw stabs palm-down in front of groin. Left Eagle claw out straight to north shoulder height.

Lift left foot into White Crane one-foot guard stance. Arms cross wrists at groin and then circle up-and-out to end in Crane-necks flightly to front of sides of temples. Elbows are bent.

Left hand goes to rt hip with grabbing motion. At the same time, Rt Crane's beak stabs north chest height, and left foot firemans' kick to north. (Note that the side that you kick with is the side that the grab BEGINS on. The subsequent Crane's Beak strike is with the other side.)

Little hop starting with left leg, as if you are stepping/jumping on the bent-over opponent. Torso and left toe turn northwest. Touch rt toe down briefly, then…

Outside-of-the-foot rt kick to downed opponent's head (or belly, or groin, or whatever). Pull foot back in. May touch toe down briefly if need be. Left hand is doing Black Crane ward at rt jaw.

Drop into deep lunge rt foot in front, left leg straight. Snappy knuckle-strike (like Monkey slep, only fisted) to downed opponent's head. Left hand still warding rt jaw.

Stand up in Black Crane high guard facing west.

Repeat drill on opposite side, OR….. Turn back to east with Black Crane arm switch.

My spirit misses kung fu. My body misses kung fu. My mind misses kung fu. My emotions have such painful associations with kung fu. I and kung fu are a moth circling a lit tiki torch. I am so bitter toward SK for several reasons, but one of the biggies is that he poisoned that well for me. I do so wish I had never laid eyes on that asshole.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


”We either make ourselves miserable,
or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same.”
- Carlos Castaneda

Friday- 131.0. FOD: Kiu Two. I had to look up the opening techniques of both sides. For some reason, I had Snake Versus Five Animals stuck in my head, and kept wanting to do the openings of that one instead. Note that Kiu Two starts with a LEFT punch for Snake A (not a rt punch as in Sv5), and a left FORWARD step for Snake B (not a left back step as in Sv5).

It just occurred to me that I know as many Snake forms as the Black Sash Snake stylist does.

Note that I need to check my FOD bowl and make sure there is at least one stone for the Green Dragon form.

Darby never got back to me. I guess he's too scared I'll want to spar. I'm a little annoyed that I didn't get to finish learning Green Dragon from him, but then he didn't get all of Hurricane Hands from me either.

Sat FOD: Wood Monkey. Don't forget that the first roll culminates with an axe kick, then a double back-of-the-hand strike down.

The arm circles immediately after that- I'm doing them clockwise, even though I am pretty sure I was taught counterclockwise. Clockwise makes more sense to go into the next strike. Since I no longer have a teacher, I am going to do them as I darn well see fit. So there.

Note that the rear roll is over the RIGHT shoulder, and the kick is with the left leg. The first time I did it, I wasn't sure which shoulder/leg it was- but it quickly became apparent that doing it left-shoulder-right-leg leaves you facing the wrong way for the technique that comes right after.

Sunday FOD: Three Step Arrow. I keep wanting to confuse this with Spear Hand- both fragments, both Mantis, both referring to weapons that you're not actually using.

Cutting down my soda intake a bit. One less here, one less there. Unfortunately, the Mountain House chicken a la king is full of hot peppers, which make me want to drink soda!

Mon FOD: Chen Dao. Used the broom handle as a substitute dao. A few moments of cluelessness as I tried to dredge up the opening- but once into it, I was fine till I got to the end and wanted to do the closing movements out of catherine Dao instead. I checked my notes, ran through both endings… they are quite similar, although each form has you in a different position *entering* the sequence.

Less soda today. Feeling some withdrawl.

Tues FOD: Little Red Dragon. I feel like I haven't done this one in a long time, but it (standard and mirror versions) went fine aside from the fact that I accidentally did three Dragon claws at the opening instead of two. It goes 2 claws, elbow strike, 3 claws. Just to mix you up further, Lun Chi begins with an identical opening, only using 3 Dragon claws.

This has always been one of my favorite forms. It's a short little thing, but it feels good, and it has the prettiest flying kick in it. JB's looks prettier- but mine is not bad, as long as I'm fully stretched out! I had to micro-fu it tonight at work, because I can't do good flying kicks in certain of my work pants.

Thursday: Arial silk. I was kind of dragging ass tonight for some reason- I tired easily, and actually started to get a little queasy near the end, with all the upside down- and don't feel like I advanced much. One important thing re: the basic climb- if I place my feet while my knees are still bent instead of waiting till they're half straightened, I get a higher climb.

Someone found my blog by searching on "spots on a toddler's groin pictures". I find that disturbing. Hopefully it was a parent looking to research some rash they found on their kid... but I don't recall having done any blogging about toddlers' groins.