Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday armbar/omoplata drills

"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."-- Grace Murray Hopper

Pic- that's Bryan getting black belted by Rodrigo.

Two reps of Five Points Of the Star, two reps of Tiger Versus Crane (I was dreaming about that form the other night, for some reason).

Toe is a little twinge-y but operative today. Knee seems fine, likewise ribs.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. As I put my hand on the door handle to enter, Rodrigo jerked it open from the other side and came flying out, and almost knocked me down two flights of stairs. Way to get the adrenaline pumping for class.

Pounced on Vince before class. I got 3 KOB's on him, but I also spent considerable time under his side mount and top half guard. I need to try harder to stay off the bottom next time I roll with him.


Armbar from guard (upper belts- if Carlos sees you step on the hip, you get pushups!). Angela was whipping these out like a wild woman. She was literally going three or four times faster than anyone in the entire huge roomful of men. I couldn't live up to her pace, but she pushes me. Maybe someday. Note that Angela says it makes life easier if I relax my arms when I am the  armbar-ee.

Standing guard pass to KOB to spinning armbar. I was gripping pretty high up on the bicep, but Angela urges me to get my hand right in the armpit. Do not let go of the pants. The worst part of these was the getting back up again after each rep.

Armbar from guard, armbar-ee pulls lower arm out, transition to omoplata. Angela's suggestion here: make sure the opponent faceplants fully by straightening both legs at about 11:00 to hir head before bending knees and finishing. I tend to want to leave the legs too close to opponent's head, and cheat the faceplant because I'm rushing. Also- careful of possible inadvertant wristlock-slamming on those omoplatas. I almost got a few and almost gave a few.

Standing guard pass to spinning armbar, armbar-er lets go of pants grip, armbar-ee does hitch-hiker escape, armbar-er counters with omoplata.

Hakim got black belted, Rheuben got black belted, Chiam got brown belted, Jerome got purple belted. I haven't seen Bree in weeks, but I saw a photo cluing me in to the fact that she has also been purple belted.

They are going to start a class called "old school BJJ" for 40-and-up only. Of course this could not be announced without the  Prof rattling my cage about it in front of everyone. I asked him if we should bring our walkers or leave them in the changing room.

I finally sent a little of the material from the first part of my story to my author acquaintance who had offered to peek at it. Waiting for feedback. Told her to take her time. I'm fairly terrified. So if it takes her forever, I think I'm fine with that.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


I was working at a club in Newark, and somebody bent over, and his gun fell out on the floor. Everybody began checking their coats to make sure it wasn't their gun.  -Wanda Sykes

GAH! I sprained my damn toe! And not even on the mat! I got up to pee in the night and kicked a surge protector in the dark. By morning I could hardly walk on the foot. I'm so ticked off!

Forty minutes of free rolling with Ron. Sprained toe is annoying but mostly workable.

I got to try the armbar-defense-pry-off that I learned yesterday. The first time, it worked, to my delight. The second time, Ron had an escape that he was working on, and he pulled it off, so he triumphed on that one.

He's a fun training partner, and he seems ot like working with me. I hope he sticks with it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rock star

"To die will be a great adventure."    J.M. Barrie

I felt like a rock star at class tonight.

I got there in time for the last 15 min or so of the Women's class, which tonight consisted of Lindsey (teaching) and three white belts that I don't know. I jumped in with them and did some armbar-from-guard drills and then some positional sparring from closed guard (pass vs sweep or submit).

Lindsey was saying things like, "See, can you feel how Kitsune's using her hips to power that turn," and the girls are going "Oh, wow," and I started to feel like a fancy prize mare being trotted out so that everyone can ooh and ahh at the clean lines of the hocks and the perfect gait. I tossed out the occasional piece of profound Dalai-lama-like wisdom. I politely declined to sign any autographs. LOL.

With the positional sparring, I did my standard virgin lesson of sinking one collar grip and telling them to defend the second. Once they started to catch onto that, I began to mess with their base and coach them on that. Lots of positive encouragement. I let them work till the buzzer, then ended by sweeping each one- just because executing a real sweep (even on a white belt) is still a rare and shiny thrill for me.

I really do enjoy teaching brand-newbies (especially the women). And I am darn good at it, too!

Then I jumped into Doug's all-levels class (which was already warming up on the other mat). It was just him and me and Aussie Dave (in a new brown belt! Go Dave!), and a bunch of blues and whites.

Del a Riva sweep. Note that keeping a locked elbow/rigid arm on the collar grip is important, especially if the collar grip is high and deep. The first time I tried a deeper collar grip on Dave, I pulled him right on top of me (which was suboptimal for this situation). Doug is pulling a leg under himself in a tactical-lift-esqe motion to finish. You don't want to get caught in half guard or let the guy turn to you and curl up like a shrimp.

Although I am getting fairly comfortable with this sweep, stupid side is still so stupid that it doesn't know which foot to put up. Also, Dave suggests that I pay mor attention to controlling the foot that I'm hugging. Once again I was sloppy with trapping it at the back with my "up-knee", and there is also more I can do with the leg that's on the mat to control that trapped foot. Dave demoed that if he can pick up that foot and step out, I got nothin'.

Next: start from side control; the arm nearest the opponent's head gets collar grip right at the back of hir neck. Other hand- pretend you are digging for opposite collar grip, but it's a trap! When opponent puts up arms to defend, armbar. What seemed to be working best for me was to use my chest to put weight on and trap Dave's arm across his chest. Then take plenty of time to carefully secure the arm. Grab the pants before sitting back. Keep your foot that's on that pants side, on the mat- don't put it over the person, The pants grip will prevent the escape.

As usual, I wanted to grab my own lapel to try to force the armbar- since guys normally either muscle their arm away, bicep-curl me out of the armbar, or grab their own other hand/wrist to defend. We messed around for a bit trying to figure out how I could secure the arm and still prevent Dave from being able to grab his own other hand/arm and lock up. Finally consulted Doug. He suggested a maneuver that I have seen Carlos demo before, but I was not ready to assimilate it at that time. (I don't think I'm gonna assimilate it this time either, but I am one step closer to doing so.)

First, you have to let go of the pants and put your second foot over the person. Put it high enough so that you can trap the arm between your knees. Now, take that free hand and grab the wrist, use your entire body to force it in a curving motion toward opponent's head. It hurts at wrist/shoulder, so s/he will let go. (Do this carefully, slow and controlled). Continue the arc back to the armbar.

Now- 8 min spars with several people that I haven't worked with in a long time. Dave (God! Why did the entire world need to name their kid Dave! This was short blue-belt Dave), James and Steven. I am used to being dominated by all three of these fellows, so I was quite pleasantly surprised to find myself competitive tonight. I did worst against Steven, who passed my guard a couple times and kept me on the bottom a while. But even with him, I didn't feel like I was being owned. Every time I've sparred with James, he's smashed the snot out of me, so I was very happy with my performance tonight when all my snot remained intact. I didn't get any taps, but neither did they, and I wasn't on the bottom all the time.

I can feel myself getting closer to having a sub game. I am now finding that I can engage my brain enough to 1)try to set things up, as well as 2)look for openings. Neither of which I have really been able to parse until recently, through the mental white noise and the "survivesurvivesurvivesurvive" litany.  I am still not getting them yet, but I'm going to.

Open mat- I played with Dave (the Aussie one) and aksed him to kneebar/footlock me. He likes these, so he is going to be another really good person to keep going back to for help. ]

Noting (yet again) how instinctually I twist around like a ferret all the time trying to escape. I'm very flexible, squirmy, get through tight places, and my limbs are short- so I'm used to being able to just twist and squirt right out of things. Now that I'm having people attack my legs, I need to ***STOP*** doing this until I engage my brain first and make sure I am not turning the wrong way. This is going to be a real struggle for the next little while, since I am still trying to figure out which way the "Right Way" is, LOL. I failed a couple of the quiz questions Dave threw at me regarding this.

I got too much valuable advice from Dave tonight to fully absorb, but here's one good one: He was in turtle and somehow we got to a place where I was standing with one foot behind his butt (between his feet). THIS IS BAD! He summersaulted and leglocked me. He showed me that if I put my knee down so that the knee is on the outside of his leg and the foot in, it messes up his ability to summersault. It was counterinstinctual (for some reason I want to put the knee in at the foot out- this works too, sorta- better than getting leglocked, but he was still able to summersault and then neither of us had a distinct advantage). But there are a few guys who like to play inverted guard on me, whom I think I will deal with better if I can remember this trick.

Excellent night of Jiu Jitsu. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ankle locks

A wounded deer leaps the highest.  -Emily Dickinson

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Belle. Hostility Boy! Yay. He will be here through Tuesday. Let's see if I can avoid working with that ripe boil for six days.

Knee seemed okay today. Ribs hurt, but in a different place this time, so that's a plus. I have a minor finger sprain, rt hand. Didn't hamper me.

Standup: Opponent L kicks at you, a pendulum-like redneck-in-a-bar-fight kick. You parry with R arm and turn L, then turn back and strike at face with L elbow.

Now- same kick. You grab leg (on the outside), grab opponent around waist to control hips, step back, kneel and drop. Side control.

Positional training:

Begin lying on your backs side by side. On go- both try to get front mount. (I achieved front mount one time for about .02 seconds before being bucked off; Nelson spent a great deal of time in top half guard.)

Begin in side mount: top person, hold it. You can move only to NS and then back to side mount- nothing else. Bottom person: escape. (Nelson escaped to full guard once, I didn't even get close to getting out. I despise bottom side mount!)

Begin sitting back to back. Spar to first point. Nelson got me two or three times, and I didn't get any, but I made him sweat for it.

Me: (with Nelson in my closed guard and one deep collar grip, the second hovering over his opposite shoulder... his head is tucked in like a turtle in its shell) "Come on, don't you want to pop your head up and see what's going on?"
Nelson: "I *know* what's going on."

Always pleasurable and valuable training to work with Nelson.


4:30 basics. Ritchie's back! How's this for a day! H.B. came back for study hall, too! Fortunately I didn't have to work with either of them today.

Nelson came back to bring his daughter to class, and stayed just long enough to show us a triangle setup on a turtled opponent. Interesting, but I didn't embed it quite enough to transcribe. Must get a review next time I see him.

 Just rolling. Ben (purple-belted!) and Luiz.

Noted: when you ask Luiz to kneebar and footlock you, Luiz does not mess around. I literally could not spar him for 15 seconds without being tapped out with a kneebar or footlock. A different setup each time, mind you.  I tapped a dozen times in rapid succession. And this was him "taking it easy".

He showed me one from BEING in closed guard- turning and hooking the elbow under the opposite side foot, pulling it *up*... I struggled a bit, but want to revisit this, as it was quite impressive. Likewise cannot transcribe at this time. I really needed to see it demo'ed on a third party.

Study Hall: okay, way too much valuable information for my tiny brain in one day here. First, Ben was showing us some of his favorite sweeps from bottom half. Since Ben is The King Of Bottom Half, and I can't seem to do a damn thing to stop whatever he wants to do to me from there, this was gold for me. However, my attention was painfully divided by a second pile of gold in the form of Carlos agreeing to play with ankle locks and defense of such.

I didn't get time to play with the sweeps much, but what I recall: you are in bottom half guard, in order to do Ben's favorite sweep, you have you have your body fairly flattened right UNDER the guy. This is terribly counterintuitive to me, but if I can actually LEARN this sweep, maybe I can use it when I'm being INVOLUNTARILY flattened out underneath someone's half guard. Anyway, Ben's using a butterfly hook on the thigh just ABOVE the knee. You have to unwrap your legs from the half guard right as you go to sweep. He's sweeping off to the side as opposed to bringin the person overtop of him.

As soon as I mentioned kneebars, Carlos all like, "***WHO*** is kneebarring you?!!!" and I had to stridently protest Angela's innocence because she's the highest-ranking person I _regularly_  roll with at GB. (I hope he believed me and isn't going to go chew out Angela, as that will result in her rightfully turning around and chewing out *ME*.)

Carlos didn't talk about kneebars a whole lot. We did a couple of them, with the foot-in-the-butt escape. He had me apply one with the leg hugged to my torso and my legs in a triangle-like formation just above the knee. Hip up. He demonstrated how much you are inviting kicks to the face by applying a straight kneebar. He did an escape that is a little beyond my present level, but the gist was that once he got his knee beyond my triangle-hold, all he had to do was stand up and turn around, and suddenly I found myself trapped in a constricting bottom half guard and trying to get away from *him*.

The ankle locks: applying- I need to remember to have the opponent's knee-in-question well-pinned between my own knees/thighs. Applying a pinch here was key. Defending- POST THE OPPOSITE HAND on the mat and fight the pinning knee with the other hand. I kept wanting to grab with the Bad Hand. Once your trapped foot is on the floor, get on top and IMMEDIATELY move your entire body above opponent's chest level. Ummm- do not try to defend by sticking your other foot right into opponent's ankle lock.

Defending both: DO NOT ROLL OUTWARD!!!! Carlos had my leg at one point and asked me what I would instinctively do from here, I went to roll to the outside, he goes, "What ees wrong weeth that?" "Uhh, I'm reaping my own knee." (Even more embarrassing, I was demo'ing reaping the bad knee that is still a little sore from what I suspect was a minor reap injury! Lord! See how hopeless I am?)

There was more, but that's all I'm retaining ATM.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


With developments in technical competence and the application of the technique in training, grading, or competition, the self confidence of the student improves. He sees his improvements as successful efforts on his part. Success breeds success, and success breeds self-confidence. The two go very much hand-in-hand. A successful and confident student looks forward to training and enjoys the learning environment. A happy student learns faster than an unhappy one because he enjoys what he is doing, and because the skills are consciously and subconsciously associated with pleasure, they are retained for longer. In that the reverse is also true- that failure breeds lack of confidence  and dissatisfaction with training- the learning environment has to allow for the student to succeed in what he is doing, no matter what his level of ability or competence.  Tony Gummerson, "Teaching Martial Arts"

Tuesday: Hoo. I felt decent yesterday- decent enough to do 2 classes, performed adequately, and I felt tired but fine when I got home. But this morning we have backslid. Oh, and there *is* such a thing as too much Nyquil. Holy gee. If you asked me to imagine what a heroin trip on a tainted batch looks like, I would imagine last night's show on Somnalist Trauma Theater. It wasn't about last fall, so I won't complain much... but yeesh. Oh, and I misspelled about 8 words in this paragraph (including "misspelled"). I don't think I belong behind the wheel of an automobile today.

Wednesday evening gi at Sleeper Athletics. Review of some of the same bottom half guard stuff that we did last time.

Also: You have bottom deep half guard. top guy gets whizzer. You grip hir pantleg at the knee and push into hir; when s/he pushes back, pull hir overtop of you and sweep.

I don't know what to say- or do- about sparring. It is obvious that some sort of response/reaction is being sought from me, but I don't understand what is expected of me other than what I've been doing all along: getting steamrollered into the mat and then getting back up to get steamrollered into the mat again. Tonight I couldn't even manage that much. I got pounded through two matches; Tried to bench myself because I was so exhausted I could barely stand, but was denied; rag-dolled my way ineffectually through my third roll without being able to do anything more offensive than bleed on my opponent's gi; barely limped through the final set of calisthenics; and had to sit out the last roll entirely.

Am I supposed to suddenly rise up, rip my shirt down the middle, go RAWWWWWRRRRR, and start kicking everyone's ass left and right while some 80's guitar metal soundtrack screams over it all? That is never going to happen. I learned long before starting BJJ that trying to apply that sort of frustrated anger to MA practice does not serve to jack my performance to greater heights- it makes me sloppy and impatient and even more frustrated than before. I do not get angry on the mat. I get frustrated on the mat. I get despairing on the mat. I do not get angry on the mat. If people think they are going to prod me until I explode and then I will magically turn into Kyra Gracie, that is never going to happen. Either the explosion *OR* the Kyra. If some other response is expected of me, well, I don't know WTH it is.

I only managed to escape one leg/foot attack tonight; got tapped on all the others. My bad knee complained during the warmup sprints and once during a top half guard, but other than that, it held up fine tonight. I think if I can go a few more days without doing anything else to it, it should be close to 100% again. Ribs seemed fine tonight as well. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's probably a trap.

During the rapid improvement period in skill learning, students are motivated by their rate of improvement. Their desire to learn is created by the success that they achieve. Concentration and commitment are facilitated by the rapid rate of technical development. However, once the rate of learning begins to slow down, it requires much more effort on the part of both the student and coach to maintain the attention and work rate. Eventually the leveling off of improvement begins to have a negative effect on the learning environment, which can bring about a reduction in performance. Tony Gummerson, "Teaching Martial Arts"

Tonight's lesson: If someone who seems pretty good lets you waltz right into side mount, and you're patting yourself on the back and thinking, "Damn, that was easy," IT IS PROBABLY A TRAP.

Evening gi class at Sleeper Athletics. Bottom half guard night. (After a bunch of armbar-from-guard drills, that is.)

You have bottom half guard.  Get the underhook and shrug your shoulder up high. Have your other hand on your temple to defend the crossface. If opponent fails to whizzer, you can squirt right out of the side and take the back. (Note: If opponent is kneeling there like Babe the Big Blue Ox and you need to move hir, you can maneuver your legs so that your knee/upper thigh is against hir buttock and do what Cindy refers to as the "dog humping the leg" move.)

"Old School sweep": You have bottom half guard. Get the underhook and shrug your shoulder up high as you dive into deep half. Have your other hand on your temple to defend the crossface.

With your matward hand, grab opponent's foot. Your other hand goes UNDER hir butt- not over it- and pass the foot to that hand. Your matward hand can now grab opponent's knee.

Change your legs around so that you can drive into the person and plow hir onto hir side while pulling hir leg toward you. DO NOT LET GO OF THE LEGS till you have side control or other good position!

If the opponent is posting so that you can't plow hir over, give a good push and wait for hir to push back, then pull hir into a roll right overtop of you to the other side. Likewise, do not let go of stuff. Make sure you have secured position first.

Rolls with Jalen, Sony, Cindy, Terry and Craig (different Craig... this is the same guy I was paired with for the judo-throwing workshop a really long time ago. Fun-size blue belt guy, very strong, very flexible, good moves). I asked everyone to footlock and leglock me. I was not doing so hot tonight at defending those, but I felt reasonably competitive tonight otherwise. Got a choke tap on Terry, which always feels good, because he ain't givin' me nothin'. He got a few taps on me. Mostly leglocks, although he got one "suffocation tap" while he was trying for a head-and-arm choke and I was so enswathed in both of our jackets that I couldn't get any oxygen.

  Craig was really fun to roll with. I tried so hard to baseball bat choke him. Came really close but couldn't get it. He is the one who baited me into the trap. I managed to avoid that tap, but he was choking me pretty hard. Either we were really evenly matched, or he was dialing it down a bit so that we seemed evenly matched. Fun. 

Monday morning

The 70-80%  level of technical excellence can be achieved relatively quickly; however, to attain the remaining 30% or 20% requires a disproportionate amount of time and effort.  Tony Gummerson, "Teaching Martial Arts"

(and I missed it! *sniff*)

Griff black-belted as well.

Thursday FOD: Kiu 2

I spent all morning at the allergy doctor.... only to be told yet again by yet another White Coat in yet another exam room that- despite the fact that we can cure some cancers and give people robotic eyeballs and all sorts of wonders- there is no help to be had for me. We can try allergy shots again- but no, sorry, they have not changed from a quarter century ago. So if they didn't do diddly squat for you then, you can expect the same (non) result now. Once I get re-employed (and re-insured), I might go ahead and get the shots again just for sh!ts and giggles, but the doc was no more optimistic than I. I'm just F'ed.

I know there are people who *do* have cancer, or were born blind, or with no arms or legs, you know, *REAL* medical issues who would rightfully tell me to quit being such a whiny baby about my stuffy nose. But ****DAMN**** this sucks!!!! I wish I could BREATHE!!! This is not fair!!!!!!   WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (Throws rattle and pureed carrots, bangs furiously on highchair tray)

Side note of humor- when they poked allergens all up and down the insides of my arms- and the two "dust mites" spots instantly swelled up in blisters and developed angry pink coronas the size of golf balls- the nurse came in with a tube of Benedryl and asked "Does it itch?" I had to laugh, although I did restrain myself from replying, "What do you think, Sherlock?!??!"  It was kind of nice to see my cats exonerated, at least (altho getting rid of the cats was never on the table).

Not so humorous: Housemate has been coughing up a lung for a month, and I've been congratulating myself on not catching whatever she has. As soon as that nurse walked in, he was coughing, and I thought, "Uh-oh....." After he had spewed his germs all over the exam room, he left me in there for over an hour to marinate in it. Then of course, he was the one administering the scratch tests. There was a Purell dispenser on the wall, and I did my hands half a dozen times, but tonight my throat feels a little sore- so I think he got me. Now, can I fight off the dreaded rhinovirus or will it tap me out?  Decided to skip class tonight so as to not regift germs unto my teammates, should I indeed be infected.

Friday: Ugh. Sick. That is all.

Saturday: Second verse, same as the first.

Sunday: WIP- I have finally figured out how to get rid of the corpses.

Monday: Lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle. I got to call Bryan "Professor" and watch him make a passing-a-kidney-stone face.

Also- Pat is now brown, and Jimmy Lee is now brown.

Knee- I was hoping that my knee would have healed fully during my rhinovirus hiatus, but it still winced a bit when I placed that foot on the opposite knee.

Standup: pummeling, clinch, inside reap. Feedback- don't curve body to the side, drop the knee that you're reaping with to the mat.

Armbar from mount drills. I am starting to see that one of the reasons I rarely go for these is that I am paranoid about hitting my classmates in the face with my shin or (worse) my heel. Angela instructed me to be tighter, especially with the foot placement. Being loose and sloppy decreases chaces of an accident, but it increases chances of the opponent escaping.

Keylock from mount drills. I managed to whallop Angela right in the mouth with my elbow, then I got really timid and slowed way down.

Positional sparring from mount- escape versus armbar or keylock. My go-to mount escape is not the greatest on an opponent with short legs. On top- I think S-mount is the key to my top game. I need to find ways to expand my options from here. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


It is important that when a new activity is being introduced, the practices that immediately precede it are will known to the student and the general movement pattern is similar to the new skill. The advantage of this strategy is that the student is confident in his own ability and has a starting point to work from. Having an existing frame of reference makes any demonstration or presentation  of a new technique all the more effective for the student, because he can quickly relate it to his own existing range of skills. With similar movement patterns, the rate of learning is much faster than with different ones, because part of the skill is already known.  Tony Gummerson, "Teaching Martial Arts"

Wednesday evening gi class, Sleeper Athletics.

One of the same chokes that we have been doing the last week or so, plus some new things:

Turtled opponent. You are hanging off the side, facing the same direction. Your near hand- place it on the back of opponent's head and press it down on the mat. Your other hand goes under opponent's near armpit and grabs the wrist of your first hand figure-4 style. Sprawl and tiptoe around opponent's head. The under-the-armpit hold should flip hir onto her side/back and allow you to take side control. Keep the weight on.

Turtled opponent. You are hanging off the side, facing the same direction. Arm nearest opponent- reach over hir back and under the far armpit. (Don't get too deep/committed with this hand, or it'll get trapped!) Grab the collar and shake it out so that you can feed it to your near hand- which is going right under opponent's chin.

Now: take that arm that's over opponent's back and grab hir far wrist, pull it toward hir body. Sprawl and choke. You can also sit out if need be.

Alternately: instead of the wrist, you can grab the other lapel. Sprawl and choke.

If the opponent posts up on arms: Take that arm that's over the opponent's back and wrap it under hir far armpit. The back of your hand is pressed to the front of hir bicep. Stand up and wrap your FAR leg over hir NEAR arm. Roll diagonally over hir head. As you roll, wrap your second leg around that trapped arm as well. I found that if I didn't pay attention to the placement of the opponent's BODY during the roll, I ended up with hir between my legs- or lying on one of them- and thus one of my legs was effectively out of commission, which FUBAR'ed the next step.

Now, if you have done this correctly, opponent is CRUCIFIED (mwah ha ha). Grab your own collar to help keep that arm trapped. If you can't finish the choke from here, you can switch your leg formation, hip out a bit, and use your topmost leg to wedge the knee behind hir head. Evil! But effective!

Sparring- tonight I was the nail, big-time. I got my butt soundly kicked by everybody in the place, except for Sony. I spent way too much time lying helplessly under side control. Erin's and Stacy's side controls are very good. Very tight, very heavy.

 Sony did really well tonight on the upa, KOB escape, scissor sweep defense, and choke defense. I'll have to challenge her with something new next time. She finished one of the head-and-arm chokes that we've been working on this week.

My knee held up okay tonight. Ribs kinda hurt. They took a hard thumping a couple of times.

Why do people slam armbars?

If even for the blink of an eye you can control two of the other guy’s limbs with one of yours, either with angle or timing or some sort of clinch, then the opponent is in grave danger.  - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Wednesday FOD: Iron Needle

Why, oh why, do people slam on armbars????!!! Why? Do they not realize that it F'ing *hurts*? Do they just get too excited and forget how easy it is to pop their classmate's elbow? I have never slammed an armbar. Not in a comp, not on someone who is a dick on the mat and that I can't stand, not on anyone. I really don't get it.

Yes, someone slammed an armbar on me. Fortunately I am not injured, but it scared the cannoli out of me and I am irritated at the person, whom I think should know better.

If it's someone I don't know, I will usually call out "slowly please" as soon as I realize what they're going for... but this incident underscores that you can't really trust anyone.

More later (tomorrow, probably) on actual CLASS... I just wanted to get that rant out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tonight I'm a dummy

In all athletic disciplines, it is the internal work that makes the physical mat time click, but it is easy to lose touch with this reality in the middle of the grind. - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Tuesday FOD: Leopard Three

Knee very sore in the morning. Decided to rest it and just go to evening class. My plan was to hit the women's class in Seattle, but traffic congestion took care of that great idea. Note to self- must leave earlier than 4:15 to make Seattle evening class. It's just not practical, unfortunately.

Having missed enough of the women's class to not feel okay barging in, and with a little time to kill before the evening roster, I found SIDE CONTROL lying on the floor wrestling imaginary opponents in the boxing ring. I asked him if he wanted a dummy to drill on, and we played with some half guard escapes. Then he ran through the techniques he was going to teach in the basics class. I asked him if he wanted to use me for a demo dummy in the class, and he said sure. I would have liked to go to Rodrigo's class, but frankly, after sitting in gridlock for nearly two hours, I'm tired and frustrated and not in the best mindset to try to learn complex things. So that worked out okay.

I jumped Z before class started. I did not tap him with my razzle-dazzle baseball bat choke, but I tore off half a fingernail trying. He put one on *ME* from the bottom- and had almost tapped me with it before people started lining up. I asked him to show it to me, but we ran out of time.

Upa's again. Always a good thing to keep working on.

Headlock escapes. Grab your own wrist and make a framed circle with your arms. Place the edge of your frame under opponent's jaw and use it to push hir head (and thus torso) up and back. Hip out away from hir back, and get on your side. Use your topmost leg to comb over opponent's head and bring hir down. As hir arm sides off your neck, keep it for an armlock.

I've never pulled off this escape live; I think I have not been hipping out enough or turning on my side enough. Dave made much of the fact that you have much more range of motion with the leg once you're on your side.

2nd headlock escape: Throw your topmost leg over opponent's posted knee-up leg. You now have 1 hook of a back mount. Now get your matward elbow down and punch upward with the other arm, as you turn onto your belly. Get to your knees and try to retain opponent's arm (which is now twisted behind hir).

One roll with one of the white belt ladies, Megan. She has done Muay Tai and hapkido in the past. She is only a few weeks old here, but she's pretty good. Long arms and legs, really strong, good base and body awareness/coordination, good idea of basically what she's trying to do in a roll. My knee hurt really bad at one point during this one, so I decided to not do any more tonight.

I had hoped that Rodrigo wouldn't think I was avoiding him or anything by not taking his class. I haven't seen him in a long time. But I got a hug, and he congratulated me on my promotion and said that I deserved it- which was really nice to hear.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Further refinements- baseball bat chokes

Players tend to get attached to fancy techniques and fail to recognize that subtle internalization and refinement  is much more important than the quantity of what is learned…. Depth beats breadth any day of the week, because it opens a channel for the intangible, unconscious, creative components of our hidden potential. - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

"Bunny Jiu Jitsu" is now blue.... women are invading the ranks of the colored belts in tsunami waves....

Monday evening gi at Sleeper. More neck-squeezing today!

A couple of the same ones we did last week.

Then: You have butterfly guard. Snap neck and bicep down. wrap around head and one arm, gable-grip under opponent's chest. Use the butterfly hook on the side that you have the arm trapped to flip the opponent over. You can run around and entangle hir legs with yours if you wish. Then "RNC" grip and squeeze. This would work for no-gi as well- it didn't use any part of the gi.

Sony caught some flak for being "too nice"... Finally, someone else in here is "too nice"! I think she's even "nicer" than I! She has lovely choke placement, even if she lets go too soon sometimes. Her side control is very good as well.

Lamont is using some calisthenics counts to perch kneeling on one knee with both arms spread out, heels of hands up, eyes closed. He absolutely refuses to tell me what he is doing. Thus I am free to speculate that he is rehearsing a marriage proposal, trying to spin Spiderman silk, or doing a chi exercise which involves attempting to vaccuum Dragon energy out of all of his classmates for his own use.

Rolls with Cindy, Sony and Eric. Sony escaped all of my KOB attempts with alacrity today. I front mounted her about a Brazillion times, and made her do clean upa's with good hip pops and no stinting the arm or leg captures. (I saw Terry doing the same thing to her later, and I called, "You're going to be upa'ing in your dreams tonight!") After she upa'ed me off, I scissor-swept her and front mounted her again. It took her a while to start defending the scissor sweep with any success- or at the very least, scramble after being swept and not just lie there and let me regain front mount.

Eric and Cindy both leglocked and footlocked me upon request, and I tried to escape, with lukewarm success. Eric let me baseball bat choke him about 4 times (both with gi tail and without- I didn't get a chance to try to the gable-grip collarless version, must remember to work that one too). He was running away from them, and prompting me to plant a foot behind his head to hold him there while I finished. I also tried to employ the refinements that Jesse suggested yesterday (more elbows together, more sprawl to the mat, you don't necessarily need to get all the way behind the guy's head).

I was worried about my knee, but it did mostly okay. I was even able to run laps and do (shallow) lunges. The only time it really whined was once when Eric put it in half guard. It hurts now, though. Limping a bit.

I asked Cindy about that spider guard sweep. She confirmed what I had already pretty much decided- that, like kung fu throws, you aren't going to just go up to someone who is standing there flat-footed and try to do this to them. If I'm playing spider-guard and can get the guy to overbalance forward, or commit to a weight-forward attack, then I can do this sweep. Cindy was also pulling her knees abruptly to her chest to overbalance me, then sweeping. That might work for me, especially on smaller guys, but I am going to have to make sure I'm sufficiently underneath them first... and also take them by surprise.

I did have to sit out the last match.... because I thought if I rolled one more, I was gonna upchuck.


The next phase of my martial growth would involve turning the large into the small. My understanding of this process is to touch the essence (for example, highly refined and deeply internalized body mechanics or FEELING) of a technique, and then to incrementally condense the external manifestation of the technique while keeping true to its essence. Over time, expansiveness decreases while potency increases. I call this method “Making smaller circles”. - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of  Learning”

Sunday's FOD: Tiger Versus Crane
Monday's FOD: Long Qi

Monday lunchtime BJJ, GB Seattle.
I have definitely harmed my left knee. I went to place my left foot on my right knee to do those elbow-to-knee calisthenics during warmups, and the left knee went "OOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW, Don't BEND me that way!!!!!!!!"

Upa's. Opponent starts in side control and goes to front mount. Upa hir back the way s/he came from. Punch hard under the armpit as you hip up. Do not get sloppy or hurrying and neglect to trap the opponent's foot before upa'ing.

Next technique: as opponent goes to front mount, you grab the pantleg at the ankle and leave your near leg down flat to bait hir to mount. As s/he mounts, run your flat leg under hir leg and use the pantleg grip to guide hir leg right into your half guard. Scoot far enough out the side to push on hir far knee with your hand, stick your leg in there and get full closed guard. I had trouble trapping the leg while opponent was mounting from my left- partly because I couldn't resist the urge to keep putting my knee up. I felt clumsy on that side and thus vulnerable. I also had more trouble than I should have had replacing guard. Lord knows I'm tiny enough that I should have had no trouble maneuvering around under there, but I was having some difficulty. You don't want to straighted your body out while you're trying to stuff your leg in, because the opponent will just flatten you out. You have to stay close in and under hir.

I asked Bryan to look at that spider guard sweep, and he didn't have any answers either. Maybe it only really works if the guy is coming at you with his weight moving forward?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

He forgot

We live in an attention-deficit culture. We are bombarded with more and more information… the constant supply of stimulus has the potential to turn us into addicts, always hungering for something new and prefabricated to keep us entertained. When nothing exciting is going on, we might get bored, distracted, separated from the moment. So we look for new entertainment…If caught in these rhythms, we are like current-bound surface fish, floating along a two-dimensional world without any sense for the gorgeous abyss below. - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Sunday BJJ, Gracie Seattle.

All positional sparring. closed guard, half guard, back mount. Peter, Ted, (Little) John, Jesse, Marcello, four white belts (half of them women!)

Nothing really remarkable to note. It's fun to work with Jesse. He'll let you have a tap sometimes. Note to self, do not let Ted get front mount. Impossible to escape. I musta lain there for about four years while he tried to choke me.

I tried my new spider guard sweep from Thursday on John (with no resistance), and couldn't get it to work. So irritated. I need to ask a higher belt for help with this. Starting to wonder if it's a low-center-of-balance thing, and that's why it doesn't work on John or me.

Funny interlude when Peter took my back preperatory to beginning the positional sparring. One of the things the guys will often do in certain positions (like back mount) is to signal a "go" by whacking each other on the chest a couple of times. So Peter gives me a double-palmed whack on the chest, and then goes ".............Sorry.........."  LOL. I said, "It's fine, it's actually kind of flattering that you forgot I'm a girl. But some of the other ladies might get upset if you do that to them." From then on, every time we restarted in the position, we both started giggling.

Left knee has been twinge-ing all week, moreso today after yanking the leg repeatedly out of half guard. Otherwise, doing okay. Rib injury is still reasonably subdued. It doesn't like the foot-on-knee, opposite-elbow-to-knee warmup. I'm not going to try to run laps with it for at least a few days.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Do not let go of the pants, round 7,244

After making an error, it is so easy to cling to the emotional comfort state of what was, but there is also that unsettling sense that things have changed for the worse. The clear thinker is suddenly at war with himself, and flow is lost. - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

FOD: Tai Chi long form

Saturday morning basics. I still feel tired. I woke up this morning gable-gripping my pillow, ha ha. (The pillow did not tap.)  By the end of class, I was so weary that I was getting sloppy with the drills and felt like a kitten- so I didn't stay for comp class, sigh.

Kaungren was there. He now has 4 stripes on his ratty, faded purple belt.  (Little) John was there too, and we talked about how much he *doesn't* want to be promoted to purple. Sorry John, it's coming like a light in the train tunnel. Angela asked me if I cried when I got the belt. I said no, I just stood there and put both hands over my face. She said, "I cried."

Opponent is in turtle. You hang off the side, near shin parallel to hir shin, far leg posted out straight. Hold both of opponent's lapels under armpits.

Do a little hop and switch legs, so that your formerly FAR leg's shin is now against's opponent's shin. The other leg should be knee-up behind the turtle. Do not throw this leg over the opponent.

Sit back and pull opponent between your legs. Do not lie down on your back (I continue to struggle with this). Get both hooks. Have your feet flexed, and keep them on two different levels.

Open collar with one hand and reach OVER opponent's arm to grip deep with the other hand. Grab pants at the knee with the first hand. Yes, folks,  this is another case of DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS!!!!!! In fact, the prof threatened that if *anyone* let go of the pants, the whole class would do 20 pushups. (We had to do 2 sets... but it was not because of me!)

Use that pants grip to lift opponent's leg as you roll hir onto her side ("pillow side", the side that you have your arm wrapped around hir head). Now you are kneeling over hir with one foot on the mat in front of hir belly button, and the other knee on the mat behind hir head. Do not let go of the pants!

Bring the behind-the-head leg around as you sit, and now you have both legs wrapped around your prisoner's chest. If you can trap one or both arms, so much the better. (I hate this sub; it's another one of the subs where it can be nearly impossible to tap. You are also being choked, so you can't verbally tap! Ack!) Do not let go of the pants! Choke.

If opponent reaches a hand up to try to pry off your arm, Let go of the choke and trap the arm. Armbar. Still: Do not let go of the pants!

Drills to exhaustion. My stupid side is stupid. Also, Angela was trying to update me on the UFC standings while I was trying to count the steps of the drill- a conversation made even more difficult by the fact that I can't hear very well through my headgear. She also had to ask me at least 4 times (with increasing levels of vehemence) to please grip lower on her lapel so that she could allow me to finish the technique without tapping or dying. I guess it's good that I am so hardwired to get that high grip, although it seems that my listening skills could use improvement.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Head and arm... or arm and head....?

Problems set in if the performer has a brittle dependence on the safety of absolute perfection. -Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Form Of the Day: Catherine Dao

Friday evening no-gi at Sleeper Athletics:

The take-away for tonight was "You don't EVER want to have one arm trapped up by your head." You won't merely get tapped, you'll get tapped and you'll **SUFFER**.  Point in fact: when I performed my first drill, my partner's response was "Dear God, please stop."  Kitsune: "It's gonna be a three-ibuprofin night, I can tell already."

We began with the same thing we'd done Wednesday, from the snap-the-head-down- only this time, I was confused in very short order because we were encircling from the ARM(pit) side of the head-and-arm instead of the HEAD side. I immediately thought, all right, now every time I consider doing *any* of these techniques, I'm going to be paralyzed with confusion over whether I should reach around HEAD-AND-ARM or ARM-AND-HEAD. Cindy informed me that I am thinking too much. It will work either way- I should just secure the grip, and then hopefully the following step will be apparent.

Another one of these, starting from a double-leg attempt.

Then: You have side control. Move to scarf, then back to side control (with elbow on far side of opponent's head), in order to get the near arm isolated and sticking out of the opening under your armpit. I had a little trouble with this until I started keeping hold of the arm during the transition. Now, shove your elbow into the side of your foe's head and tighten everything up so that hir head is off the ground, lying on your thigh and clamped there with the back of your arm.

Now, take the arm closest to opponent's feet and place it on the mat at opponent's hip to control the hip. Your other arm goes behind opponent's head, grab your own leg.

Edge your way into a north-south position, bringing opponent's arm across hir own throat. Take a moment now to adjust the arm and make sure it's right where you want it before you do "RNC" grip and start squeezing. Sprawl. Hips down to the mat.

All of tonight's techniques employed what I think of as The Cindy Three-Prong Attack: 1)It'll make you tap, 2)it HURTS like hell, and 3)you are so wrapped & tangled & immobilized that often it is difficult to tap at all (including having your neck kinked and restricted so that you can't verbally tap). Those are scary.

Another important point with these: employment of the blade of the forearm- as well as the little knobby bone on the outside of your wrist- is a key. It was easy to make each of these techniques more A)chokey, or B)nerve-grind-y. I myself am quicker to tape to nerve point pain than chokes- but if I have someone that I know is not gonna want to tap, it might be helpful to steer for the chokey version instead.

Rotating spars with everyone. Lamont was not there tonight, but Terry was, and Cindy was rolling too. I told everyone to leglock, kneebar, and footlock me- but slow enough so that I could try to work escapes. Cindy and Cord both caught me in head-and-arm stuff, which was exasperating. I feel like such a moron when I get nailed with the Technique Of the Day. I once got Cord in a head-and-arm situation, but did not have quite the correct grips. I was able to hold him there, but I knew if I eased up enough to correct my grips, he'd escape- so it was a stalemate. I tried to muscle-finish it, and it didn't work.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A bitch to sweep

A man wants to walk across the land, but the earth is covered with thorns. He has two options- one is to pave his road, to tame all of nature into compliance. The other is to make sandals.  Making sandals is the internal solution. Like the Soft Zone, it does not base success on a submissive world.  - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

End day 4 of JJJC, and I'm already starting to fret a bit about the possibility of my brain getting overloaded, LOL.

I almost wimped out of evening class; I was tired- but I dragged myself in. I admit that it was partially because I was excited to report back to Adrian that I have been hitting his gi tail baseball bat sub on everybody and their sister. I only stayed for 4:30 basics.

I'm very happy I went in; it was just the teachers plus me and Albert- I love it when this type of thing happens, and you get essentially a private. Also, what we worked on- I think this is an important piece for me.

From spider guard: Get sleeve cuff grips, get one standard spider guard foot-on-the-bicep, circle the other foot to the OUTSIDE and hook the toe very high on the back of opponent's bicep. Not quite in the armpit. Make sure all this is nice and snug. Opponent should not be able to move hir arms around. 

That second leg is what I have been missing- I frequently get spider guard with both feet on the biceps, and I can hold it and hip all over the place and monkey around for a while and feel very comfy, but colored belts will eventually pass. Now I will start working with that second foot behind the bicep, and see what else I can do with it. (LEVEL-UP!) As an open guard player, anything I can do to level-up my spider guard is big.

Anyway: Although of course pushing the bicep-stepped foot to the ceiling to sweep is the standard, surprisingly you can do it either way. I have worked a few spider guard sweeps before, and always swept the opponent in a sideways cartwheeling motion. With this one, since the opponent has both feet free to move around and post, you really want to sweep hir either directly over your head or slightly diagonal- definitely aiming to face-plant hir somewhere above your shoulders.

Just keep everything tight, go down with one foot and up with the other, and bring your feet forward. If it doesn't work, edge your butt underneath hir more. As you sweep, you roll as well and come up on top.  The sweep will also work if the opponent is on one or both knees.

Albert drilled first, tried for a good while and utterly failed. There was a lot of pressure on my biceps- and for a while it felt like he was trying to pull me in half- but my balance was going nowhere. I didn't want to just stand there like a doofus while he struggled in vain, but remember- sweeps not my forte, and I had not the skill to ID what he was doing wrong.

Eventually Adrian took him away and JP came over to drill with me- "Maybe you're just a bitch to sweep," Well, lo and behold... yeah.... I appear to simply be a bitch to sweep from this position. He managed it a few times, but he struggled a lot. Again with the pressure on the biceps (owie!) The few successes were painful crash-landing faceplants for me. I said, "I'm not actively resisting... I'm not trying to be a dick or anything." and I wasn't. I'm a cooperative drill partner. But seriously, I did not feel myself being tipped.

After all this, when my turn came, I was filled with anxiety and pretty sure it would not work... but it did. I don't like the "unorthodox" side much, but it's nice to have that as an option to suddenly switch to if the guy is straining against Plan A. Also, I doubt I'm going to be able to make this work against a strong heavy guy who is resisting. But I'll have to see if I can come up with any chances to try it in the next couple weeks.

The final 1/3 of class was just me and JP rolling, and that was not quite so much fun. He was muscling, subbed me over and over, and spent a lot of the time front mounted on me. I also had a knee up in his guard a lot- I wasn't *trying* to grind his balls or anything (again, I am a considerate partner), but the rougher we got and the more I tapped, the less inclined I became to deliberately go out of my way to give up position just to be nice and redirect my knee from his groin.  I'm not sure if he was going rougher because he thought I was doing that on purpose.

Butterfly guard sweep

(Being in a) Hard Zone demands a cooperative world for you to function. - Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Form Of the Day: Little Red Dragon

The guy with the drill is still there, still drilling, but he has been much more subdued the last couple of days- which has been a surprising relief. Right knee is a little tetchy. Couple of sprung fingers. Eye still bothersome. All in all, not too shabby so far for day four of JJJC!

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Bellevue. Griff. With a 2 stripe brown belt. He is at Edmonds GB. I haven't seen him for years. He remembered me, though. He had decided to "take it easy" today- which apparently translated to coming to Bellevue and showing up for our class.

Carlos seemed a little overcaffeinated today- and we had Griff and a free-trial-class-virgin- so we worked pretty hard. Lots of line drills, including different types of breakfalls.

You have butterfly guard. Sit up and get an underhook with your rt arm. Sink it deep enough that you will not be armbarred. Yet you don't want the lower half of your body right up against your partner. You should scoot your hip back a bit. Both knees are bent, the left leg lying on the mat and the rt knee up. Partner grabs your knee on the "down" leg.

Grab partner's bicep with your free hand and pull it in between you so that s/he can't post.

Now take your "down" leg and pull it under/behind you, turning your body hips-down on the mat. Lift with your retaining butterfly hook, but this should NOT involve loading the person on top of you or doing a lot of heavy lifting with that leg. Once swept, there are a variety of finishing positions possible (scarf seemed to be working nicely for me).

To defend this sweep: Stick your free leg out, and post on the mat with your forehead as the opponent tries to somersault you. DO NOT POST YOUR HEAD FIRST... foot and *then* head.

Back to contestant #1: When you see your opponent posting hir head and foot, make sure your knee is on the outside of hir hip. Scoot your body out and up just a bit, bring your matward arm up and out, and place it on the back of the opponent's head. Lift, push, somersault the person.

Carlos often invokes Rene as a verbal example of a large-sized opponent and me as a verbal example of a small-sized opponent. He doesn't usually use me as a demo dummy. The size difference is clownish. Today he actually had me *DEMO* this last technique on him, to show that a mouse can make it work. He had to correct my knee-to-hip placement, but to my relief I managed to pull off the demo and not look like a moron in front of everyone.

Positional training from butterfly guard with three different opponents- just hold butterfly guard versus sweep. I did okay on top, and sucked on the bottom (second verse, same as the first!) All 3 people shut me down completely even though they were going light as per my request. I maybe could have replaced half or full guard, squirted out the side, or technical-lifted to standing- but sweep from butterfly guard I could not.

I do not heart leglocks

When we have worked hard and succeed at something, we should be allowed to smell the roses.  They key is to recognize that the beauty of those roses lies in their transience. It is drifting away even as we inhale. We enjoy the win fully while taking a deep breath, then we exhale, note the lesson learned, and move onto the next adventure. –Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

This is for Wednesday evening. I was too damn tired to write it up when I got home last night. And then just as I was about to hit the hay, I had to drive an acquaintance to the ER vet so that we could watch the cat she was babysitting for die. Fun evening.

Wednesday Form Of the Day: Bung Bo Kuen. A few fast reps, a few "tai chi speed" reps. Also did a couple reps of the Spear Hand frag, since it's a Mantissy day.

I thought Ginger Snaps (who apologizes to people for submitting them) was the ultimate BJJ apologist. But "Bunny Jiu-Jitsu" is officially the first BJJ blogger I have ever met who feels bad for her opponent because her feet are cold while being footlocked (Google her and see her blog post for yesterday).

Wednesday evening gi at Sleeper. I'll write what I can remember... if I don't do it as soon as I get home, I start losing chunks....

You are in turtle. Opponent is sprawled on your shoulders NS. Poke your head up beside hir ribs on one side. with your OPPOSIDE side hand, grab hir knee/pantleg on the side that your head is poking out. Post out with your leg on the side that your head is poking out. With the other, bring it under you and sit through on the back of your hip. You do not need to raise your body and bench-press the person up during any of this- you can stay hunched low. When you sit out, you need to end with yout body all the way out from under the opponent. Turn and take hir back.

You are in turtle. Opponent is sprawled on your shoulders NS. Perhaps s/he is scooted too far ahead on you. Grab one of hir legs and scoot your body forward (still low, still turtled) till you are under hir pelvis. Bring yourself upright on your knees, adding your second hand to brace the same leg. Now you are in a "wheelbarrow" position with the opponent, only you are turned the wrong way. So turn around (toward the leg that you are holding). There are several ways s/he could fall. Try to pin the legs and get overtop of them.

Same technique as Monday ("We're going to call this a choke." Cindy comments, using much the same conspiratorial expression that Rodrigo uses when he looks at us and says, "This is not illegal, guys.")

Then, a variation using the same opening as Monday: you are kneeling facing opponent, hook hand behind head, snap down, get head and arm. This time: gable grip. You now have a sort of baseball-bat-esque arm formation, with your forearm pressed on the back of hir head. Tighten and suck in, then pull opponent forward a bit so that ideally s/he is faceplanting on the mat. Press and twist with that forearm on the back of hir head to put hir down (Jalen was doing a complete somersault, I was just  kind of flopping over on my side like a dog that'd been shot- which confused me at first, but either was fine. I did need to visualize the somersault in order to remember exactly where to apply pressure). NOw, the arm that is under opponent's head- inch that through a bit more until you can do an "RNC" formation with your arms and squeeze. If you need to, you can sink your own body down toward the mat to finish.

Rolls with everyone except Lamont. Sony did much better tonight with the KOB tutorial. Better shrimp escape, quicker reaction time. I also had her defending chokes, and upa escaping from my front mount (which she had to do clean- trapping the posting arm well and sticking ONE hip up, not two- before I let her reverse me). I got one choke tap on Jalen, but it seemed like he let me set it up for some reason. He got me with that incredibly fast, hard triangle- then, after I commented on it, he promptly did it to me AGAIN. He's not setting it up from guard, which is part of what's confusing me. And again, it's coming in so goddamn fast that I can't even SEE how he's setting it up. If he keeps hitting it on me, I'm going to have to ask him to demo it for me in slo-mo so I can see what the heck I'm dealing with.

Cord tapped me several times as usual (including several leg attacks). This time I was ready for his fast continual flow, and I tried to play his game a little. It seemed to go marginally better than before, but only marginally.

Then I got Terry, who was an exercise in frustration. I was already annoyed with myself for getting caught in several leg attacks by Cord, and then Terry tapped me about eight times- all with leg attacks.

I continue to freeze up whenever anyone attacks my legs. 1)fear of serious, long-term, debilitating and expensive injury, 2)general cluelessness about what is being set up, how it works or how to escape it. It has now progressed to a significant emotional sandtrap situation, which bloats the problem beyond all reason. I really need to fix this. It's crazy to be at purple belt and still be so helpless with leg attacks. Terry and Cindy were trying to help with a few specific escapes when I asked, but Lamont made a snarky comment from the sidelines about the fact that he's been trying to teach me those simple escapes for two years and I'm still clueless (which is true- although shaming me about it isn't really helping my emotional barriers around it).

Anyway: If they have the leg pinned against the front of their body, I need to get my foot on the opponent's butt and use that to pry the leg out. If they have my foot in their armpit, I need to kick the heel forward as if I'm setting a parking brake- not a huge movement, I don't have to sink my leg up to the crotch- but just enough that they're now holding the shin instead of the ankle. Now, remove opponent's foot from your hip hip and hop your butt over it to the outside.  A lapel grip can also help.

To perform the foot-in-the-armpit: have the forearm oriented so that the ligament in the back of opponent's leg is grinding on the blade of your forearm. Slide it down enough so that you're seated in the "natural handle" at the back of the foot. I was trying to do it too high up on the shin (although I think that's a different legitimate sub). Place your foot (on the same side you have their lag trapped) on opponent's hip (on the outside), roll onto your side on THAT side, and arch back, looking over your shoulder (the one that is on the mat). 

I did get a couple of choke taps on Terry (including the gi tail baseball bat, and the sloppy single-forearm-under-the-jaw-and-lean-over-the-head thing that I know is kind of douchebaggy, but I was getting frustrated). I also got one funny armbar that was not an actual technique- it was a creative improvisation, which I am not good at, so that was a thrill. But it was mostly him running a clinic on me, which frustrates the heck out of me.

I also tried the gi-tail baseball bat choke on Cindy. She let me get it almost all the way set up, then abruptly started yelling, "Oh no! Oh, no! I saw that one on your blog! I'm not letting you get that one!" And then she escaped. Razzafrak!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Everybody has tried to choke myself"

An attorney who in specializes in self-defense told me that of the 300 clients who said something to the police before talking to him, only two managed to NOT hurt their case. Those two didn't help their case, they just didn't hurt it any. If you are involved in a shooting, call the police, physically cooperate with them, but don't say anything except you want to call your attorney.  --Greg Hamilton

Down another half pound. Doing well with diet.

I am vexed that Tuesday evening "study hall" and "team pink" classes in Seattle overlap one another. I like study hall, I miss Rodrigo (who is teaching Tues study hall); I have never made it to even one womens' class ("Team Pink"). I don't even *know* the majority of the female white belts right now, which is sad.

Unfortunately I did not make it to either one last night. I have been having so much trouble with my contacts lately. By the time I got out of lunchtime class Tuesday, it felt like there was a shard of glass in my right eye. Tried to take the contacts out in the locker room, and couldn't even _find_ the right-side one. I don't think it popped out, so it might be folded up far under my eyelid or something. Anyway, the eye was all irritated and smarting (moreso after I was poking around forever seeking the contact, and squirting an ocean of saline in there), far too distracting to do class with (much less driving at night).

Will have to forgo contacts for at least the next day or two. Putting on glasses to watch the demo's and then taking them off is such a hassle, especially since I can't put the durn things on while I have my headgear strapped on.

Another thing I will have to forgo- COBRA. Just got the paperwork. It costs over FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS per month. Holy flippin' cowpies!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who can afford that???!?!!!??  I couldn't afford that even when I *was* employed!!!!

Housemate: "And if you get a broken bone?"
Kitsune (holding up crooked right middle finger): "I just ignore it, see?"
Housemate: (after long pause) "Some bones you can...sort of.... do that with, others you can't...."
Kitsune: "I'll just put a little ice on it."
Housemate: "And then you'll ask me to Tiger Balm it for you, right?"

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Sea:

It was sort of a small group; I think a number of people were at the seminar in Bellevue.  Carlos looked at the line and joked, "Today we are doing blue gi's versus white gi's." There were only two white belts in the room, both with white gi's- all the colored belts were wearing blue today.

Bottom side control: Frame up the arms, hip up (get all the way up on toes), turn JUST ENOUGH to get your knee on opponent's hip. Do not do a huge shrimp-out. Square up and grab opponent's sleeve cuffs. You now have one leg straight and one leg with the shin folded (knee out) across opponent's belly. Try to trap opponent's ankle with your straight leg (you may need to pull hir forward onto your chest a bit to accomplish this). Now hip out just enough to extricate your folded leg and catch closed guard.

Positional training from side control, with everyone in the room. Bottom person- try to get to closed guard. Top person- hold side control and look for submissions (KOB okay, no front mount).   As usual, I suck in bottom side control. Bryan and then Glenn tried the Technique Of the Day gi choke from Monday on me. With Bryan, I discovered that you can't defend that by getting your fingers in. If you don't get the entire forearm in,  you're just setting yourself up to get choked out *AND* break all your fingers.  

Glenn also did a breakdance pass hard enough on my poor ribs to make me wheeze. I did KOB Tutorial with the white belt guy, hopping from one side of KOB to the other and making him shrimp out quickly. I got a choke tap on him; didn't get one on anybody else (although I came really close on Nic). I was finding myself unable to set up Monday's TOD becaue I couldn't adequately control the near arm. Nic: "What's up with this? Every single person in line has tried to choke me with that same choke."  I started laughing, and Carlos looked over. Me: "Every single person is trying to do that choke from Monday." He nodded. "Everybody has tried to choke myself." (Carlos doesn't know the English word "me"- he always uses "myself".)  He was happy that we were all trying to do it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


You don't stop fighting until the fight is over. You don't need to go down just because you have taken a few hits. As long as you believe you can keep going you will. If you do go down, you are still going to win because you are going to gnaw through his Achilles' tendon and bring him down to where you can rip his head off. -Greg Hamilton


I know he's good, and he has black belts in Judo *and* TKD- but it's been a short timeline and he's also been benched quite a bit for injury- so I (and he too) was thinking not quite yet. Big surprise. We had a visiting professor in today, and so were trying to have decent decorum- but when Carlos pulled out that purple belt and called Nelson up, I lost it and started jumping up and down and clapping wildly and doing the Xena battle cry.  I'm so happy I got to be present for that.

He had already congratulated me about four separate times (just today) for my own promotion,and called it "well-earned"... he also took a moment before we all left today to compliment my work in effusive enough detail to be embarrassing. But that really means a lot. Yeah, he's my homie, but he's also an experienced MAist and teacher, and a noble guy, and he can be trusted to not BS me. I was feeling kind of so-so about today's performance, so it was gratifying to hear that from him.

Today's Form Of the Day is the 3 Step Arrow fragment. Not to be confused with the Spear Hand fragment, haha- which I often do.

Day 2 of Jobless Jiu Jitsu Camp, and I already feel like I've been run over by a combine, LOL. Sleeping pretty poorly- I'm up now after only about 6 hours, and I think I woke up twice every one of those six hours.

I have lost a pound. I'm not going to admit- even in my blog- what my weight ballooned up to. I have restocked on chicken and eggs, and I've been really good for 3 days (well, except for the Dr. Pepper- but one step at a time).

I got a bit of writing done yesterday, some more this morning, and glory of glories it's a little chunk of new PLOT. Plot has been giving me fits. I have a great setting, and great characters, but I don't know what to make them do. That is, I know a bunch of stuff they are going to do, but I need MORE. The piece I concieved yesterday ties together a few things I already had, and I ought to be able to write at least a handful of scenes around it. I got two of the MC's to meet, which definitely needed to happen at some point. It also helped flesh out one of the supporting characters that I really wanted to flesh out more, so that's good.

This was lunchtime BJJ at GB Bellevue. Warmed up with a little flow rolling with Casey. It seemed to me that I kept getting kind of stuck in his open guard, although when I mentioned it to him, he thought I was doing fine.

 All spars. John, a tall two stripe white belt, Casey again, Nelson, a blue belt. Like I said, I was feeling kind of so-so.

Lately it has seemed to me that I have been:

1)comprehending the techniques that are taught a bit better... it doesn't seem quite so much as if I'm watching a debate in Swahili. I (more often) understand what I'm looking at, can (usually) remember (most of) the steps long enough to walk to a clear spot on the mat and kneel down to drill, and can (usually) get the technique to work.

2)able to be more calcuating while working live. I have always had a persistant problem with "white noise" filling up my head as soon as I go live. It is still happening to some degree- especially with high belts, when hard pressed,and when I am feeling frustrated or otherwise emotionally ill-equipped.
Yet I am finding the new experience from time to time- particularly with new white belts- of being able to survey the situation, look at where all the posts are and where the balance is, clinically select a technique to execute, and then perform the steps to execute it. I have never had that before, and it's amazing. I only hope that this new superpower will continue, and improve.

Anyway that's been lately. Today seemed like a half-step backward. In particular, I spent what seemed like about eight years working my slow and tortuous way out of Nelson's side control, and then just as I was about to clap him into close guard, he put me right back at the beginning in side control again. I was saying naughty words.

Casey's side mount today felt just like Luiz's "gorilla glue" side mount: he got there, and then just sucked up every millimeter of space until I felt like I'd been shrink wrapped. He did that to me two or three times. One time, he did it and then just hunched there for a while. Since I couldn't move an eyelash, and I didn't really want him to just perch there till he was well-rested and ready to tapdance on my face, I said, "Hey! no parking!" That got him moving again.

I was able to give a little intelligent coaching to the white belt as we rolled. We didn't get to the KOB Tutorial this time, but we discussed what to do in closed guard, and choke defenses.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Evening... day 1 of Jobless Jiu Jitsu Camp

You've just dumped a scumbag. Don't put your gun away. You scan the area. Jackals and lions travel in packs. You probably will never be involved in another shooting in your entire life. This is it! Make the most of it. This is a target rich environment. See if there is someone else that needs to be shot. -Greg Hamilton

Evening BJJ at Sleeper.

Hook hand on back of opponent's neck, snap down. Grab guillotine-esque hold on that side.

With your other hand, push opponent's arm across hir own chest. (If hir arm is posted straight, do NOT shove it in- serious injury potential- but you can hike hir up a titch with the neck hold and THEN shove it across).

Gable grip. You don't want to be right in the armpit, but far enough down so that s/he can't move the arm around. Snug it all in real tight.

Place head on mat under your joined hands and gator roll. Ruin your feet around and wrap them in opponent's legs. SQUEEZE.

I recall having done this a few times before and I always struggled with it. This time, I seemed to catch on better.

Defending this: before s/he rolls, scoot to the side so that you are perpendicular to opponent. Brace hand on hir far knee. Pry neck grip off and hang off the side of hir turtle.

Then we did flow drills: side control, scarf, north-south, scarf on the other side, side control, front mount, side control, etc.

Note that with the rib injury, scarf on the side OPPOSITE the bad rib hurts like being being impaled with a rusty bayonet. We had a new girl, her very first day, and I doubt her weight broke the double digits- and I almost cried when she scarfed me on that side. I think having anyone else do it would kill me. Need to AVOID THAT POSITION for a while.

Rolls with Jalen, Sony, Chord. Jalen usually gets the takedown on me with his wrestling techniques, which I am poor at countering. Tonight he just kept getting up so that I'd have to work standup with him- hoping to just rack up the takedown points. I defended some of them, enough to hold my head up. I don't think I am ever gonna get a tap on this kid again in my life, though.

Sony- still improving. I gave her a few pointers, including my patented white belt knee-ride tutorial. Her escape was still sloppy and slow, so will hit her with that again next time.  I tried the gi choke from this morning on her. I didn't have that all-important arm trapped, but I decided to risk that she was too white-belty to grab the opening to escape. I got the choke. It was exciting.

Chord- whew. He tapped me two or three times (once with a leg attack- thanks a lot Lamont, I know you're teaching him that crap!). He continues to flow continuously and it's a bitch to fight him because he's always on the move. He did give me a fat lip and a jammed finger (both accidents... but people are definitely going harder on me).

But I still can't fly!

Most people are grass-eaters with their heads down on the ground. The jackals and lions know this and think of them as that. Hold your head up and walk like you are the biggest, baddest lion that walks. The jackals and lions will notice and leave you alone because they don't want to get hurt. Don't challenge them because they might feel they have to respond to it. All you want is their respect, not their dignity. -Greg Hamilton

Monday 12/3: Day One of Jobless Jiu Jitsu Camp!

I resolve to do a Form Of the Day every day of JJJC.

Today's  FOD: free choice. I chose Leopard Fist.

I've been improving my diet in the last couple days. Still need to work on the soda decrease. No more being stuck in an office for 10.5 hours a night with a snack table. No more taking sleeping pills so that I can make sure to get enough sleep before work (I discovered that the sleeping pills themselves are a cause of weight gain, on top of the poor sleep itself being a factor).

Injury check: I have determined that the guy with the electric drill in my shoulder blade is indeed a redoux of that high right-sided rear rib injury that floored me so badly last spring. It's only moderately intense at the moment, but the prospect of hurting it worse during JJJC is scary. The increase in classes plus the fact that people are going to be gunning for me worse, for at least a while... It would suck mightily to end up on the bench, so I'll have to watch it.

I'm trying to work up my nerve to walk into class with my new accessory. What's going to be even scarier is walking into Sleeper with it. I feel so incredibly self conscious.

Monday lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle.   New belt is so stiff I can barely get it tied, LOL. (To those who congratulated me, I said in a querulous voice, "But I still can't fly... I thought it was supposed to have superpowers? Maybe it needs batteries....")  Vince jumped on me before I even had my headgear on, and we rolled around a little before class started.

Standup: Opponent throws punch. You change level, scoot in and place hands on backs of opponent's thighs just above knees. Opponent turns and headlocks you (you are now both facing the same direction).

You place the hand nearest the opponent around hir waist. Place your other hand on the back of hir leg just below the knee. Step back and kneel with the leg on the "hug-the-waist" side to take opponent down. Immediately step one leg over hir, in front of her belly button. Your other knee scoots up behind hir head. Grab your own wrist and wedge your arm circle under opponent's jaw to pry off the headlock. Keep the arm. Move leg around, lie back and armbar.

Side control. Made sure you have the near shoulder well trapped between your thigh and elbow. This is the key to the entire technique, although it's easy to get distracted because it's not the INTERESTING part (LOL). The arm under the opponent's neck- get a collar grip at his cheek (palm *UP*). Your other arm- cross it under your chest (don't make too much room as you do this) and grip opponent's collar behind hir neck (fingers *IN*). This is a good place for the opponent to escape if you have failed to secure that arm. Also- a little Shoulder Of Justice right here can both help immobilize hir as well as distract hir from what you're setting up.

Once you have the grips, loop your first arm (the one with the lapel grip at cheek) over opponent's head so that your arm is now in front of throat. Choke.

We have been getting so many cool gi chokes lately that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and I'm afraid they are all going to get jumbled up in my head & I'll forget them all. It's that trying-to-drink-from-a-firehose thing again.

We also did some drills of side control to front mount to side control, etc.

Carlos folded the line to set up drill partners, and I got an unfamilar white belt whose efficiency at getting up and setting for the next drill rep betrayed that he must have some MA experience. I'm very quick at that myself, so we got lots of reps in. I was able to give him some pointers about lifting the pelvis for armbarring, and Shoulder Of Justice.