Thursday, May 31, 2012

Taijiquan jing

Taijiquan jing

In motion the whole body should be light and agile, 
with all parts of the body linked 
as if threaded together.
The ch'i [vital life energy] should be excited, 
The shen [spirit of vitality] should be internally gathered.
The postures should be without defect, 
without hollows or projections from the proper alignment; 
in motion the Form should be continuous, without stops and starts.
The chin [intrinsic strength] should be 
rooted in the feet, 
generated from the legs, 
controlled by the waist, and 
manifested through the fingers.
The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can grasp the opportunity of favorable timing
and advantageous position.
If correct timing and position are not achieved, 
the body will become disordered 
and will not move as an integrated whole; 
the correction for this defect 
must be sought in the legs and waist.
The principle of adjusting the legs and waist 
applies for moving in all directions; 
upward or downward, 
advancing or withdrawing, 
left or right.
All movements are motivated by I [mind-intention], 
not external form.
If there is up, there is down; 
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing; 
when striking left, pay attention to the right.
If the I wants to move upward, 
it must simultaneously have intent downward.
Alternating the force of pulling and pushing 
severs an opponent's root 
so that he can be defeated 
quickly and certainly.
Insubstantial and substantial 
should be clearly differentiated. 
At any place where there is insubstantiality, 
there must be substantiality; 
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.
The whole body should be threaded together 
through every joint 
without the slightest break.
Chang Ch'uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river 
rolling on unceasingly.
Peng, Lu, Chi, An, 
Ts'ai, Lieh, Chou, and K'ao 
are equated to the Eight Trigrams. 
The first four are the cardinal directions; 
Ch'ien [South; Heaven], 
K'un [North; Earth], 
K'an [West; Water], and 
Li [East; Fire]. 
The second four are the four corners: 
Sun [Southwest; Wind], 
Chen [Northeast; Thunder], 
Tui [Southeast; Lake], and 
Ken [Northwest; Mountain]. 
Advance (Chin), Withdraw (T'ui), 
Look Left (Tso Ku), Look Right (Yu Pan), and 
Central Equilibrium (Chung Ting) 
are equated to the five elements: 
Fire, and 
All together these are termed the Thirteen Postures

A footnote appended to this Classic by Yang Lu-ch'an (1799-1872) reads:
This treatise was left by the patriarch Chan San-feng of Wu Tang Mountain,
with a desire toward helping able people everywhere achieve longevity,
and not merely as a means to martial skill.


A little more light push-hands balance work, then extensive picking apart of the short empty-hands form.  A lot of familiar issues that I still haven't knocked out, a few new details. My biggest focus is the weight shifts.

Specific notes:

On the opening "finger push"- that push should not be a deliberate and visible push. It is only implied.

More emphasis on the "pull-in" part after the push. Then drop.

Do not let the knee collapse inward on lunges. Take a deeper stance and keep the knee turned out.

The Crane's neck is not a Shaolin Crane's neck. Shallower. Like dangling a bell on a thread.

Going into the White Crane- turn left toe *WAY* out.

Step into the front lunge more diagonally. Also more diagonal- the White Crane step, and the "bicycle" steps.

The pull-in and push-out from left to right- pull it to your heart before pushing.

Savor and fully complete the ending poses of each section before rushing on (specifically, Lazily Tying Your Coat. End facing fully forward with a Dragon's mouth hand on left hip).

Let the arms move the body. Big body move, little arm move. No arm flapping.

Drop the weight more.

Drop shoulders.

Pay more attention to the tilt of the pelvis.

No rising up on the toes. This is happening every time I bring my feet together (damn dance training).

When sweeping and splitting towards the front in lunge, describe a "C"- a little bit of flourish towards the rear- before splitting. The body turns with this as well.

Brushing Twist Step- feet are too linear. Hips should be slightly diagonal to Northeast, but chest should be due North and arms oriented toward Northward opponent. (This feels very odd!)

We talked a bit about our respective ancient-China-setting fiction, and some research details.

Had to ask her to just not mention SK again. Ever. Please.

Discussed how much I miss training striking with a teacher/class, and that I would consider Muay Tai and/or boxing- but part of what I miss about Shaolin is the spiritual aspect, which worked really well with the more sport-oriented BJJ. She suggested (again) her Tai Chi teacher. But Seattle.... the commute..... argh...

CK noted that it has now been 9 years that she has been teaching me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Their perceptions were not ready to register anything but the strictly indispensable. Always in motion. Always in a hurry. Travelling under the protection of a glass-bell transporting them from home to the office and isolating them from the surrounding sensorial world. Beauty sacrificed on the altar of efficiency. A sad waste of potential.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Tuesday FOD: Leopard 3

Wednesday: Spent most of the day working with CK. We will get the next two days, and then I go back to work and that will probably be it.

Unfortunately, my acrobalance class got cancelled today because the teacher did not show up. Well, I got some form reps in while I was waiting. Tiger vs Crane, Leopard 3 (both ways), Five Animals (both ways), Box Form, Hurricane Hands, Bung Bo Kuen.

Also unfortunately, CK and I did not do as well this visit with avoiding the topic of the Shaolin group and SK. I managed to change the subject the first few times, but then she saw fit to tell me that SK had told her that 1)my leaving the group had been a "mutual" decision, 2)that he felt really bad about it, and 3)that he wishes things could be fixed. Three for three, blatant lies. Gods, holy FUCK, I can't even begin to describe how much this pissed me off (although I'm going to try for a single paragraph, and there's going to be a lot of profanity in it, and then I'm going to shut up (for now)). The gall he has to lie to her like that. I already know he has no respect for ME, and so no qualms about smearing my rep by lying to our teacher about me, but CK deserves more respect than to be bullshitted to like that. He's so fucking confident that I won't tell her what happened- and the kicker is that he's right, but only because *CK* doesn't deserve the collateral damage that would result, satisfying as it would be to expose him to her for what he is. I have to be the bigger person here, (again) for all it's gotten me nothing but kicked in the teeth so far.  And unfortunately I was asnine enough to trust him to the point that he knows me- he knows me to be too honorable to do otherwise.  That's why he's so goddamn confident that he can spin whatever lies he wants to CK, and I won't correct the record. This certainly goes to verify, though, that what SK did last fall wasn't just some kind of temporary insanity- here it is nearly a year later, and he's still being a self-absorbed, lying pustulent asshole with no loyalty, no honor and no morals. Please, karma, PLEASE- let everyone reap EXACTLY what they deserve out of this deal (and I include myself in that bargain). Fuck, this really upset me. If she *ever* brings up his name again, I am just going to have to ask her to please never say that name to me. OKay, reset.

So first we went to my (non-MA) gym and did a little formwork and posture stuff. I am still failing to properly perform weight shifts. She also wants me to work on this really weird stance which involves being back on the heels and straight-kneed (which feels really odd). She poked my spine, and was horrified by what she felt on the right just below shoulder-blade level- yeah, the big rib dislocation spot. My shoulders are also terribly tight (no news there).

Then we went out for Thai food.

Then, some sitting meditation and discussion of aspects of same.  Finally, some light push-hands sort of work in various permutations.

No sparring today; I do hope we will get some, but she has already said that she wants to focus mostly on posture and formwork this visit.  Also, she is still post-surgical enough to be somewhat fragile.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


There is no need to travel to exotic places, load up on drugs, or drive one hundred miles an hour to feel alive. It is not necessary to look for particularly strong sensations, because when the five senses are awakened, every sensation is a strong one. The scent of the earth after a summer storm. The embrace of a lover. The vastness of the sky above. Small experiences that could travel through our consciousness without leaving any trace become the messengers of a beauty that cannot be measured. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Saturday: 132.5

Angry Snake Defends Its Lair, with khukri. Dao forms are obviously the most suited to khukri adaptation, out of the weapons forms I already know. Had to tweak a few things for the shorter length of the khukri. The balance is so odd. Not necessarily *bad*, just... odd. Very different from most of the weapons I have experience with.  I want to take this thing with me to PSG and carry it around for the week, hopefully to find enough practical and ceremonial occasions to use it that it will start to feel more natural.  

I have considered Hunting- especially as I have surrendered the bulk of the Hunt Drum Leader duties to Dru for this year (her time has come, I judged). Unfortunately, I find that the larger part of me (the primal part, that listens to no reason and seems to have precious little self-preservation instinct) is loathe to cut the cord from my autumn 2011 trauma, to the point where I can't wholeheartedly engage in formal ceremonial process to do so.  I hope I will be able to get to that place.  (I would give anything to have the machine from "Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind".)

Nelson agrees with me that there is a sorry lack of good khukri vids on the web. Most of the ones I've found that look authentic (as opposed to untrained dorks horsing around in their backyards, wearing what they percieve as "ninja clothes") are actual Nepali military drills, and the vids are usually of pretty poor quality. Nelson says that many Filipino weapons forms are decently transferrable to many different types of blades.

My allergies are being very troublesome this week. I have already skipped a number of classes due to headaches and exhaustion. Besides the fact that it's really difficult to do hard aerobic exercise when it feels like you have a cork shoved up each nostril, ("aerobic" means you kinda *need* the "aero" part, after all) but you're just TIRED. Body processes need sufficient oxygen to function, and deprived of that, everything just gets very sluggish.  It's bitter irony that all the medications for this condition include sleepiness as a side effect.

Sunday: 132.5

Sunday lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle.  Allergies still troublesome, but I dragged myself out. I have tonight off work, and it's so nice to go to a Lindsey class.

Warmed up by creeping up and choking John from behind ("Happy to see you too," was his comment), segueing into a light roll.

A little positional training from turtle, then King Of the Hill starting from closed guard. It was pretty hot in there, and I was getting pretty exhausted, so I sat out the first round after that. Then a little rolling with Lindsey, then I watched a white belt guy trying to teach two newer white belt guys how to defend a triangle. He actually deferred to me when he saw me watching, which was gratifying. He was explaining fine, though. I just demo'ed it on him so that the newbies could watch.

Friday, May 25, 2012

How to tap someone out with your butt

…Their minds are always hyperactive, too caught up in the unstoppable flow of thoughts to pay any attention to the ecstasy dancing in front of their noses. They don’t know what it means to live in a body that doesn’t just serve as a machine carrying the mind from one place to another. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle.

Saw the new prof for the first time. Note that he wants me to not put my palms on the mat while I'm shrimping- and also to get my butt up far enough that I am horizontal after the push. Carlos has told me that (the butt part) too, and I have been trying to be better about it- I don't mind the extra effort so much as I get impatient with the extra TIME it takes to get down the mat. But they're right.

I attacked Vince before class, and we rolled around for a while. Me trapped in bottom half guard again.  Good point- he was utterly unable to escape it, and on the few occasions he did, I almost immediately clapped him back into it. If there was a comp where you get a lot of points for lying on the mat like roadkill holding bottom half guard till we all die of old age, I'd be a lock. I tried several chokes on him, but didn't quite finish any.

Same spider guard stuff we did yesterday, so it was good to get another chance to refine that. I remembered all my Improvement Opportunities from yesterday, and tried to employ them.  I asked Steve to drill with me, and he hadn't been there yesterday, so I was able to tweak his technique. That was even more helpful to me.

Positional sparring a la spider guard. I was not doing too well on either end of this today. Once I can get the damn feet off my biceps- if I can- I can usually at least pose a challenge to my opponent. Angela tends to get one foot cemented to my bicep and her same side hand cemented to my sleeve in a death grip that cannot be budged- then she hauls on it with her considerable strength till it hurts so much that sometimes I have to resort to giving up the sweep.  As for HOLDING spider guard, once my feet are dislodged from the biceps it's all over. It depends on how skilled the opponent is at that. If it is not a strength for them, I can often hold it for a good long time by continually moving my hips around and switching the tension from one side to the other.  It seems that once I let one leg drop below the hip and try to do anything with the opponent's legs, they immediately pass. I need more working options for a sitting Kitsune vs a standing opponent.

One roll with Bryan. He steamrollered me of course. One helpful thing he noted was that when I'm trying for my favorite choke  (my rt hand deep in opponent's rt collar, my lft hand gripping handful of opponent's gi on top of hir left shoulder), it will simply not work if I am failing to adequately control the opponent's bottom half. He noted that when I have closed guard and I'm trying to choke, I often open my guard and start shifting around- trying to get a (perceived) better angle, I guess- and I should try to keep closed guard and pull the guy forward with my legs while I'm trying to choke.

Also notable- Bryan tapped me out with his butt today. He was trying to armbar me, and my face was wedged right under his ass with his right buttock (which is sparsely padded) just about crushing my cheekbone. I held out for a bit but then had to tap. He let go and asked me "Was that a crank?" (he always asks me that...) I said, "No, you actually tapped me out with your buttock. I think that's the first time anyone's done that to me." His response; "Well, I'm glad it was me."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Don't theenk, just squat"

We must defend ourselves according to our opponents' ability, not their intentions.  -Koushun Takami

That is Prof Carlos, on the poster for July's Revolution!

Friday FOD: Plum Blosson Fist fragment. No longer have to think hard about this.

Saturday FOD: Long Qi. Uh, I *did* have to think about this, because the beginning is the same as the beginning of Little Red Dragon. I hate that.

Sunday FOD: Plum Blossom, again. I think I have 3 tokens for this one in the bowl. I'm taking this token out now.

Monday FOD: Chen Dao. Trouble with the weight shift just before the three 360 spins. It goes from a cat stance (rt toe fwd and up) to a step with the left foot, and I just couldn't reconcile the balance. Had to rep it about eight times before I was finally able to shut my brain off enough to just *DO* it- at which point it of course went fine.

Exceedingly odd interlude Tuesday…. First I dreamed that I had moved, and was checking out a new BJJ school. The mat space was only about 5 x10. Everyone was doing a lot of stretches and hardly any BJJ. When I looked down at myself, I was wearing hospital scrubs instead of a gi.

Then, another steakhouse nightmare. This one was very different, and yet SSDD. I was working the buffet, and some of my BJJ classmates came in. Apparently they knew one of my steakhouse bosses, and before long Pat and I were demo'ing some BJJ on my former boss- on the restaurant floor. I tried to RNC him, and when that didn't work, I did a gooseneck on his wrist till he tapped. It sounds as if this should be some kind of triumphal thing with an 80's pop soundtrack, and I walk out of there never to have a steakhouse nightmare again…. But instead, after tapping my former boss, I just went back to the buffet. The new guys hadn't labelled the cheese or put out spoons for the chili, and the crouton bowl was totally empty. Instead of exorcising my former boss/dictator with my mad BJJ skillz, I felt guilty for horsing around instead of making sure the croutons were full.

Things not looking very rosy scheduling-wise for CK's upcoming visit. It looks like for the first half of her stay, she will be engulfed by her Tai Chi workshop with *her* teacher, and for the second half of her stay I will be engulfed with work. We'll see if we can work out a time or two.

Tuesday FOD: Dance Of Life

Thursday lunchtime BJJ, Bellevue GB.

Shoulder throw setup drills, two different arm configurations. 

Spider guard pass drills: grip inside of pantleg, snap elbows together, push to side, Step to other side. Your leg must be right against opponent's leg, so that s/he can't catch X guard or De La Riva.

Same lead-in, but after the elbow snap, switch grip to grab opponent's RT pantleg with your Rt hand. Grab opponent's rt wrist  with your other hand. (NOT the sleeve, the WRIST) Do not step forward. Instead, step the *OUTSIDE* foot back. (Terribly counterintuitive; also this gave me fits with my left/right confusion.) Pull both of your hands apart to yank opponent sideways. This presents a beautifully unguarded set of ribs right to your pointy, heavy knee. The fact that you stepped the outside leg back means that _this_ knee is perfectly placed for KOB. "Don't theenk, just squat!" Remember to keep the straight leg out of the opponent's reach.

Then: add an armbar.  DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS!  Also, yank the opponent's arm straight up before you step into the armbar.

Start sitting back to back, on GO, try to get side control. Angela side-controlled me in about seven seconds the first two times, then I started getting the hell out of there on "go" so that she couldn't spin around on her butt and immediately clamp me into her guard. After that, it took her maybe fifteen or twenty seconds.

Same thing, with a white belt guy. I clamped onto his neck just long enough to jump guard on him, and the Prof started yelling at me, "No submeesions!" I yelled back, "I know, I was just trying to get him in guard!" Then he started teasing me that I just wanted to give the guy an extra throat squeeze. Well, it took him a few minutes to get out of my closed guard, then he ended up on top, stuck in my half guard. He spent a good three minutes trying to free himself from that, whereupon he tried to mount, and I grabbed half guard on the other side. "Well, that was productive." he grunted, and we both laughed- then he set about trying to free the other leg, which he did a better job at this time- previous experimentation having taught him what worked and what didn't. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The martial arts are one of the methods that can teach the body to reawaken the sleepy senses. Those smart enough not to put them back to sleep at the end of the training see their everyday life filling up with magic. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Thursday: 134.0

Injury check: I definitely did *something* to my left hand. It's been several weeks now and it's still paining me. I don't think there's anything broken, but perhaps a ligament or something? Again, happy that it's not the dominant hand for a change. Also happy that it seems to be one of those mere "pain" type things as opposed to an "impaired function" category.

Seem to have sustained a minor rib injury last night. It doesn't seem too serious, but I'm going to need to be careful to not  strain it too much. Thankfully, it's not in the rear right (the site of last year's REALLY bad rib injury... that bad puppy STILL twinges now and then) nor the low left front (the site of my very first two "rib out" injuries). This one appears to be  front right, breast level- but I can see it extending back to the previously injured Bad Place if I get too careless in the next few weeks.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ, GB Bellevue. All spars, again. Very first one with the Prof. He let me do a De La Riva sweep on him, and complimented me on it- so it must have been okay.  :)

Just sort of surviving against several other people, with the exception of a medium-sized Asian white belt guy who mopped the mat with me. He was on top almost all of the time, and choked me twelve ways to Sunday. (I know the saying is "six ways to Sunday" but he choked me a lot more than that.) Frustrating. He got me with a single leg takedown three times in a row, and a head-and-arm three or four times (slightly different positions, but similar enough that I should have gotten a clue after tap number two). I tried my new Ezekiel on him, and it seemed to be promising for a bit, but I couldn't quite finish it. Finally I attacked him right off the handshake with my old standby, the guillotine- and was much relieved to get one tap on the guy. (He gargled a little bit, too, which was quite gratifying) Then he went right back to plowing me. Tired as I was (the two of us did one round during class, and several during open mat afterward), I started moving around more in the final roll, and lasted significantly longer. His technique was all good and tight, and every time I defended "correctly"- ie, roll toward the guy and not away, that sort of thing- we were just repeating the same roll over and over. It was a crappy roll (for me), too. So eventually it dawned on me that doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting it to turn out differently this time was stupid. Thus I started rolling away from him and doing other "wrong" things. Sometimes they worked and more often they didn't, but at least I lasted longer and we were doing something different.

Circus school (arial silk).


I'd just like to note that the above is not something you want to hear from the ceiling, causing you to look up and see a teenager who is dangling upside down from a drape thirty feet in the air.

Luckily, the teenager in question- while apparently inexperienced enough to get tangled up in the silks and unable to extricate herself, was experienced enough to not fall and break her neck while being slowly talked through disentanglement by a teacher on the ground.

As for me: I reviewed a lot of stuff, most of which is coming back more and more promptly each class, despite my slow learning curve and only being there once a month. I not only completed an arabesque (at which I had utterly failed my previous attempt), but SMOOTHLY completed single footlocks in the air on both the dominant side AND the stupid side.

I was able to complete a lean-in, which I am terrible at but getting slowly better each time. Teacher asked me to try it on the stupid side tonight. Just doing the footlock on the stupid side was a challenge at first, but once I got into the lean-in, I found that the form was much better (and it hurt less) on that side. Huh.

Note that for the Russian climb, the knee needs to be on the outside.

Teacher is of the opinion that "things are (finally) starting to really click" for me (I don't think she actually said the "finally", that's my addition..... I'm satisfied anyway).

Things that still need improvement: LOOK AT THE KNEES... yeah, I'm still forgetting that. Also, going into upside down straddle- that's easy when I jump up and throw myself into it with my head back, but apparently that's a no-no. I'm supposed to ball up and then SLOWLY tip back into it (looking at the knees the entire time, natch). I'll be damned if I can even figure out what muscles need to be engaged to accomplish this bizarre feat. I hope that whichever ones they are, I a)possess them, b)can locate them at some point, and c)they are strong enough to do the job.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Words create sentences, sentences create paragraphs, sometimes  paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe. Imagine, if you like, Frankenstein's monster on its slab. Here comes lightning- not from the sky, but from a humble paragraph of English words. Maybe it's the first really good paragraph you ever wrote, something so fragile and yet full of possibility that you are frightened. You feel as Victor Frankenstein must have when the dead conglomeration of sewn-together spare parts suddenly opened its watery yellow eyes. _Oh my God, it's breathing,_ you realize. _Maybe it's even thinking. What in hell's name do I do next?_
-Stephen King

Sunday FOD: Angry Snake Defends Its Lair. Note that the left leg must step first. Note also that the first lunge-and-thrust has your palm braced on your forearm (not the hilt) and the blade toward the ground. The last lunge-and-thrust has the hilt braced on your palm and the blade turned to the side.

Monday FOD: Walking the Path fragment.

Wednesday evening gi class at Sleeper: armbars from guard, kimuras from guard. Then opponent defends the kimura by pulling hand to belly. You follow the arm in, then take the back.

Repetitive rounds of getting my butt handed to me by three white belt guys.  This was a discouraging bunch of rolls. Feeling pretty inept tonight.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


The road to hell is paved with adverbs. To put it another way, they're like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day…. fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is TOTALLY, COMPLETELY and PROFLIGATELY covered with dandelions. -Stephen King

Saturday: 133.0

I can feel every separate muscle in my thighs, because they all ACHE! I'm pretty sure this is attributable to Carlos's armbar-from guard and triangle-from-guard drills on Thursday afternoon, but probably all the squatting for that half-guard sweep didn't help either. Bad enough to need to take some ibuprofen, I think. Walking like an elderly woman.

Lunchtime Basics class followed by competition class. Your rt leg is in opponent's half guard. Wrap bottom of hir left gi lapel around the back of hir neck and use it to choke.

Then: Ezekiel choke. I was happy to get the details of this, because somehow I've consistently missed Ezekiel choke day and I've never actually gotten the lesson. Push your left gi sleeve up to the elbow, hold it there with your rt hand, and lasso the opponent's neck with your rt forearm under opponent's chin.

Pass guard vs sweep, rotating opponents. I was not doing too well today, even with the pass guard part, which I'm usually fairly competent at.

One spar, with a white belt woman that I've never seen before. This was pretty much the only interlude all day that I'm not embarrassed about. I couldn't get a sub on her, but I was on top most of the time.

Then I ducked out and went to Sleeper. Pass guard, by bracing in the opponent's armpits and standing up, then crouching with one knee up (look up and posture, elbows in). This is a bit difficult for me when my opponent (as he was today) is too tall for my stubby arms to actually REACH his armpits from inside his guard.  Anyway, two different ways to pass from there- to the knee-up side or to the other side.

Then- pin opponent's rt wrist to mat. Shoulder pressure to bottom of rib cage. Stand up- this lifts opponent's butt off the mat. Pass that trapped wrist under opponent's body, then scoot around to the side until it hurts so bad that s/he has to release guard and let you pass. (Man, this is unpleasant in several respects! Especially on that shoulder!)

Spars with Jalen, Ari, then Jalen again. Ari tapped me about half a dozen times in as many minutes, including twice in a row with the same head-and-arm choke, which frustrated me quite a bit. Jalen and I started in standup, which was fun.  I actually got one tap on *him* today- an RNC, although he made me crank it for a really long time before he finally tapped.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Without Constant Reader, you are just a voice quacking in the void. -Stephen King

Friday FOD: Little Red Dragon- just the standard side. Feels powerful but a bit stiff and not quite extended enough, esp near the end.

Saturday FOD: Catherine Dao. With broom handle. Also did the mirror version of Little Red, since I didn't get to that yesterday.
Sunday FOD: Leopard Fist. Standard side only. Snake continues to be... interesting.....
Monday FOD: Cannon Fist
Tuesday FOD: Tiger Versus Crane. It emerged with Dragon energy, and a slight tinge of Northern Mantis. (It's a Tiger form.) Interesting.

Thursday: Terrible night for nightmares. Got up at 4am even though I was still exhausted, because every time I went back to sleep, I kept finding myself back in the same nightmare.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at GB Bellevue.
Before class: few reps of Leopard Fist, both ways. A few slight problems on the mirror side.
Armbar drills from guard, then drilling failed armbar transitioning to triangle- for almost the whole class. Exhausting. Thighs and core. Then pass guard vs sweep. Then rolls with two white belt guys. The second was with the guy that I had advised about his breathing a couple of weeks ago. He's gotten quite a bit technically better, but is still huffing and puffing. He was a little spazzy (enough so that Carlos asked me if everything was okay). He overwhelmed me a bit with the spazz and got a tap, but it was a legit tap (armbar from guard- geez, I hate getting tapped with the Technique Of The Day!)- so good for him.

Evening Advanced BJJ, Bellevue. I planned to do Competition Class, but spent 40 min trapped in gridlock on the Bellevue off-ramp, so was too late. I used the time before the next class to do some forms in the locker room. Leopard Fist (both sides, concentrating on the problem areas from this morning), Cannon Fist, Box Form, Tai Chi short form, Little Red Dragon (both sides), Plum Blossom Fist fragments, Walking the Path fragments, some of Tiger Versus Crane (Yeesh, mirror side is very rusty... that same horrible flying kick, again). Plum Blossom feeling less tentative now. The part starting with the two Leopard fists, kneeling- that part feels so luciously Dragony.

Standing, rt lapel grip and left elbow sleeve grip. Let go of lapel and slide your right foot between opponent's feet. Drop onto your back underneath opponent, rt arm underhooking hir left leg. Your rt foot hooks behind hir rt knee. Scissor your feet- your rt one pulls and your left one (in front of opponent's shin) pushes. At the same time, you are yanking that elbow sleeve grip and joggling opponent's remaining foot on your shoulder. As opponent topples forward, you roll up, but stay down near hir knees until you get your three seconds. If you are too eager trying to climb on top, s/he'll just roll you.  Note that this is technically a sweep and not a takedown.

If opponent puts hir left knee down beside your head when you try to sweep, let go of the sleeve and underhook both of the opponent's ankles. Hip around till you are scissoring on hir rt thigh instead of below the knee. Trial and error showed that one really needs to get well underneath one's partner. Corrections by the Prof showed that one needs to get opponent's rt foot OFF THE MAT and cuddle it closely like a kitten or something. Ideally your hand ends on your own knee. Then you can use your legs to rock like a rocking chair and tip opponent over backward.

These were pretty tricky, but I liked them- the first better than the second, because I had a heck of a time trying to get that opponent's foot off the mat and snugged to my bosom correctly, even with a cooperating partner.

Got to work with blue belt Carlos, whom I haven't seen in a long time, so that was cool.

One roll with Kelly and one with Ron. On the bottom or back mounted almost the whole time with Kelly, as usual. Could not get the woman off my back for love or money. She couldn't choke me, though (and complained about how hard I am to choke!) She did finally transition to an armbar, and get me with it, to my frustration.

My goal with Ron tonight was to not get baratoplata'ed- in which I succeeded. In fact I don't think he got a tap on me at all tonight.

Richie's back- and up to three stripes on his blue. I didn't have to deal with him tonight, but am REALLY not looking forward to when I will have to do so again.

Missing kung fu class- and certain people in it- badly today.    

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Ninja Turtle... a really tired one

You need to distinguish between damage and distraction.

If you let yourself get distracted, it works. And if it is novel, people tend to get distracted. -Rory Miller

Before class: a few reps of the Spear Hand fragments and the Green Dragon fragments.

Dayum, I feel like I've been run over by a cement mixer which then backed up and ran over me again. I went to the new Competition Training class that's been added in Bellevue for 5:30. Of course, comp training is continual drills and spars with no rest and constant hectoring by the teacher to go faster, faster. I got tired pretty fast. I can also still feel twinges from the stuff we did in acrobalance last night.

I had had some more of my egg/cheese/bacon/mushroom mix before lunchtime class, and I just couldn't face eggs again this afternoon, so I had one of my premeasured 1-cup chicken a la king meals. I wonder if I would have done better with the egg, as far as keeping the energy up. I was torn, but I honestly thought if I had more eggs, they may well be making an encore appearance on the mat tonight- so no.

As always, Prof Carlos was effusive with enthusiastic glee at the fact that I was doing another class today. He pointed to another guy and said that that guy was also on class #2 (he'd done the 4:30 all-levels). I asked if that guy was going to stay for the 6:30 class as well, and he was like, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no..." I said, "So this means I have to stay for the 6:30 class in order to stay ahead of this guy?" I honestly did not intend to do a 3rd class- especially since the 1st class was all spars, the 2nd class was competition class, and the third class was advanced- all more demanding than your garden-variety begining or all-levels classes. But dang- I am *such* a suck-up for teacher approval. Carlos's kid-like bubbly joy at seeing me bust my ass is particularly hard to resist. He also informed the guys- it was just me and five biggish white belts in there today (it's a new class that was just added, so a lot of people don't really know about it yet)- that if I made any faces while I was rolling with them, he was going to roll with that guy next and smash him. So I was really careful to not make any faces!

We did some outer reaps first- I like these, but my partner was over a foot taller than I, so it was a little tricky. Then side control vs replace closed guard drills. Then we all sparred with each other.

Advanced class was all spars, again (!!) Not sure if this was better or worse than the alternative!

Jim was there, and I haven't seen him in something like a year. This has certainly been a month for a whole bunch of MIA's to reappear. What's more, he was wearing a purple belt! He was really overweight when he first joined. He's gotten really good, and gotten in so much better shape. He was no spring chicken when he first joined, either. Excellent inspirational story, Jim is.

Ron (twice), Mike, Jamie, Jim, a purple belt guy whose name I have already forgotten. Of course Carlos (who was on the other mat teaching the beginner class) poked his head in just as I was sprawled on the floor taking a break. He gave me a look, and I said, "I just fought two purple belts back to back!!!"  Tired as I was, I think I played a decent defensive game; all these guys were a lot better (and bigger) than me (except for Ron, who is a lot better but only a little bigger).  

Ron called me a Ninja Turtle because I was wearing my green gi.


If you teach self defense as primarily a physical skill, you limit the chances for success for the less-physical students, who are far more likely to be victimized anyway.- Rory Miller

Thursday: 133.0

Thursday lunchtime BJJ Gracie Bellevue. All spars. 5 min spar followed by 5 min off, for an hour. After this, no one wanted to stay for open mat, ha ha. We were all standing on the wall puffing and blowing like a bunch of buffalo in heat.

Nelson, Ross, Angela, Luis, Glenn, Nelson again. Nelson got an ankle lock submission on me, and I think Angela got a sub or two on me. I got one on Nelson (guillotine). Glenn didn't get any on me, which I am happy about, although I spent quite a bit of time in bottom half guard and some time back mounted. Luis was going light. He let me KOB him several times. Ross: I spiderguarded him most of the time, and when he started getting frustrated, I offered him a technique to get my foot peeled off- whereupon he passed. Did some spider on Glenn as well, but he doesn't need any help to deal with that!

Nelson and I spent about 2/3 of our time in standup, which was awesome. He is a judo blackbelt and a teacher. So of course I didn't get any takedowns on him, and he got a whole bunch on me- but I made some attempted setups (several different things, too), and defended many of his attempts adequately. He was mostly getting me with a followup ankle-hooking maneuver of one stripe or another, after I had defended a throw. These are harder for me to defend than throws, especially when our arms are in the way and I can't see what his feet are doing. I feel really safe working takedowns with Nelson, so it's wonderful to just play around with that.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Name Of the Game

You must not come lightly to the blank page. -Stephen King

Monday FOD: Snake Versus Five Animals. The amped-up Hurricane Hands was not just a fluke- this Snake form feels different as well. Mostly the Snake part and not the Five Animals part, natch.

Tuesday FOD: Spear Hand fragment.

Been ruminating on a particular sticky spot on my WIP for what seems like forever; last night I got a tickle of an idea. It's only about a square inch of the full picture, but I have something to work off of now, and the ideas suddenly started coming so hot and fast that I was scribbling them on the backs of queue tickets and stuffing them in all of my pockets so as not to lose any in the shuffle. Unfortunately, striking while the iron's hot is impossible right now since my iron (ie my laptop) is in the shop for the second time in two weeks.

Wednesday: Not gonna get the laptop back until late next week at the earliest. Rrrrrrrrrr.

Had a lapse in the sensible-eating department yesterday. Someone brought a quiche to work. Things brought in to work to share are a particular danger spot for me. Particularly in the middle of the night, when the food and I are all alone.... and it starts whispering seductively to me, trying to convince me that we should take our relationship to the next level. I am way too easy.   In this case, one mini quiche was the gateway food to a homemade egg/cheese/mushroom/bacon concoction (hey, at least I nixed the piecrust), with a box of doughnuts thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle. I spent a little time before class going over the parts of Wood Monkey and Five Points Of the Star that involve actual rolling on the ground- parts that I usually have to micro-fu through when they are the Form Of the Day, as neither my work nor my home has any floorspace suitable for rolling around on. 5 Points- note that the axe kick (for the standard version of the form) is on the left. Monkey- the axe kick is with the RIGHT leg instead. The back kick from the ground is with the left leg (which means you have to be on the RIGHT shoulder). I also forgot the second front roll after the groin strike.

Opponent front bearhugs you under your arms. You clasp hands together (I had to be corrected on that detail), thrust into opponent's belly while sprawling back a titch, then stick your arm in on the OPPOSITE side that your head is on. Wrap that arm around opponent's waist. Step in front, switch arm to wrapping up around the shoulder, hip throw. Follow opponent to ground and get side control. Then we did a set transitioning to mount. Angela suggests that I try to trap the far arm if possible (esp going into mount- head and arm trap),

Opponent is in top side control. You frame up, hip out (try to get the butt way out and get on your side- I am still too much on my back). Bring knee under opponent's stomach.

Try to get your other foot inside hir ankle and pull hir shin out. Reach over hir shoulder on the other side and gable grip. Shift your hip out on that side. It is important to do all three of these things at the same time. At first, Angela and I were puzzled about the shin thing. I was wondering, "WTH is this supposed to be doing?" a minute later, Angela asked, "Why am I doing this? What is this accomplishing?" So I asked Carlos. Turns out that *IF* you do all of these three things at once, correctly, it jerks the opponent over to the side enough to make the space bigger so you can get your foot out and achieve closed guard.

King Of the Hill, from side control, get full mount (for the top person) versus get full guard (for the bottom person). Half guard is a no-no.  First black belt Dave, who let me fool around a bit before placing me in guard. Then a big white belt guy, I made him work for it but he got me eventually. Bree, who was tired and injured, we fought for several minutes before she just bailed. As the bottom person, my first opponent was JM. (Ack!) I caught him in half guard and he had to work a few minutes to get out (I know I wasn't supposed to use half guard, but in the heat of the moment, ya know...)

One roll with Angela: I think I was putting up and okay fight, she finally tapped because I inadvertantly yanked on her injured knee.

Steve is back. It has been two years. He didn't remember my name, but that's okay, since I didn't recognize him at ALL at first- it came back to me after a few minutes, though. He looked at my belt and commented, "I see you've been doing well," I relied, "Showing up,"  He said, "That's the name of the game!"

Circus school (acrobalance): I got to work in a triad with Willis and the same new guy that I worked with last time, so that was a perfect situation for me. We did a whole mess of stuff- some review, some new. Too much to list! I did each technique first with Willis, then he talked the new guy and me through it. It was a lot of core work! Tired afterward.