Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"They're in my stomach"

Accept your power.

Wednesday evening gi class at Sleeper Athletics. As I was watching the tail end of the kids' class, Jalen (who does both the kids' class and adults' class) took a shot to the groin. He collapsed to the mat on his stomach with his hands between his thighs and just lay there.  Eventually:

Cindy: "Are you all right?"
Jalen: "They're- like- in my STOMACH right now."
Cindy: "Well, roll off the mat."

Clock choke from back mount.

That choke from back mount that starts out like a clock choke, but you trap the arm with your second hand and then place your hand behind the opponent's head.

Bow and arrow. 

Opponent has sitting backmount on you. Defend the choking arm if there is one. Trap one of the opponent's arms, lean back and bridge, roll onto the side that you have the arm trapped. Pin that leg down and keep weight on opponent's chest. Walk out to form a T with opponent. Turn belly down to side control. We did a few different variations of this.

Opponent in sitting back mount on you, dumb enough to hang hir head too far over your shoulder. Use both hands to grab behind the head, bridge, walk around to N/S.

Opponent in sitting back mount on you, one arm coming around neck. You move the arm to your OTHER shouder, snug everything up so that your shoulder is socked tightly into hir armpit and hir arm is locked straight. Walk around to side control as before. There is also a kimura you can get from the sitting position, but you have to really crank it. (Cindy noted that it's a good thing Wei and I were drilling together- because we are both "too nice".)

Positional sparring from back mount- sub vs escape. I did not do very well at this against Wei, in either position.

Battling Wei in positional sparring emptied out my gas tank. I begged off sparring. However, after I'd sat on the wall for a while, Cindy wanted me to spar Axel.

I enjoy starting from standup with Jalen and Axel, since they are close to my weight, and I feel pretty safe with both of them even though Jalen sometimes takes me down fairly hard. Tonight I got two nice hip throws, one of the drop-on-your-butt-put-a-foot-in-his-belly-and-toss-him-over-your-head ones, and one takedown where I was hugging him around the waist from behind and I just sort of picked him up and dropped him. Due to shortness, I had to hip-thrust way out in order to pick him up, but it worked. I could hear Cindy cheering those latter two takedowns, so that felt pretty good. I got a few taps on him- different chokes. Again I tried the one from closed guard with the one trapped arm, that we did in the Old Farts' class, but just could not make it work. Maybe I need to ask one of the higher belts to help me troubleshoot that; as I keep trying it and I don't think I've finished it live.

Terry insisted that I knock out a few pullups and those shrugging thingies at the end.... Lord, so tired..... he was annoyed that I wouldn't spar with him- but I know he doesn't like it when I lie there like a dead fish (I don't like it either), and I was tired enough that that's what would have happened.


Happiness is being high on the food chain.

Class schedule changes. Thursday "study hall" has gone adios, as has the Friday Old Farts' class. Sigh. They are adding a few more no-gi classes, but you have to wear a GB rash guard to these- which I do not have, and I resent being forced to purchase.  Grrr.

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ, Gracie Seattle. Rolled with Vince to warm up. Drilled with Sabrina- it was nice to get a chance to work with her.

You are on the ground, standing Bad Guy On the Street passes your guard and takes KOB, rape-choking you with the near hand while punching at your face with the other. You push the choking hand to the outside while rolling to the outside- yeah, this is turning your back to hir, but better to be punched in the back than in the face. Roll your body back toward the Bad Guy, Hip up and get your feet on hir hips, push away. Sit up with one knee up. Brace that foot on the floor while straight-leg push kicking Bad Guy's knee with your matward leg. Scoot forward and kick hir again. Tactical lift.

I always try to kick with the top leg. I think this is a my-legs-are-so-damn-short mindset (Sabrina did it too)... I'm thinking I can get a titch extra reach using the top leg, and my personal goal always trends toward kicking someone in the head, belly or groin rather than the knee. As Carlos points out, however, using the bottom leg to kick means that you can keep that knee-and-elbow shield up to guard your opposite side. You are also more mobile his way- once you catch on to the body mechanics. I still need to work with this more.

You are in turtle, with opponent hanging off your side and hugging you with two lapel grips. Use your near hand to grab hir pants at the far knee, while straightening your near leg behind hir (it is now diagonal, foot on floor). Post up on your free hand, crutch out to the front a bit (if you need to- we stubby-legged flexible foxes don't really need the extra room), sit out, grab closed guard. The detail that made an amazing difference: that arm that you use to grab the pantleg, pull your elbow in to your ribs. It puts the opponent off balance and restricts some of hir movement. Also, if you get lazy and leave that elbow flared, that opens up some unpleasant possibilities for your foe to change hir grip and mess you up.

You are sitting back mounted, opponent is hugging you sash-style with one arm over your shoulder and the other under your arm. You grab hir arm on the side where it's against your neck, and pull down to defend the choke. Lie back and bridge. (detail note: if you get up high on hir body here, it's harder for hir to choke you). Go to the side that *ISN'T* the "pillow side". Push the matward hook out with your hand. Swing your feet and butt out. Opponent grabs half guard. You turn in to hir, get your arm around hir neck and under hir head, and try to get some weight on hir as opposed to lying on the mat beside hir (Shoulder Of Justice is possible if you squirm with alacrity). Grab hir pants at the far knee. Push that leg away. Use your free leg to pry hir half guard off. Get side control.

The challenge here for me (Sabrina too) was trying to keep my weight on the person while compromising my balance by using that second leg to pry. After many failed attempts, I was able to do it, but only by being pretty rough grinding into Sabrina's neck and putting too much weight on her. I did not try that again, because I have about 20lb on her and she was making a few involuntary little sounds of pain. I need to refine that on a bigger drill partner.

Many drill reps. Techniques 2 and 3, I was able to work both sides. #1, I only tried the stupid side once. I was still too clumsy to be ambidextrous with that one.

One roll with Bryan. I was pretty tired. I left too many openings for him to trap an arm above my head.    

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Much of the time spent in our Human mind is spent making up reasons for what we already believe or have already decided. Sometimes we are explaining it to others.  Often we are explaining it to ourselves.  –Rory Miller

Rory Miller posted a great read of a blog post today; you should all go look!

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Belle. I was late because the Jeep went belly-up again, but I only missed the warmups.

Same techniques we did yesterday, lots of drill reps.

King of the hill, starting from back mount. Escape vs submit. I was put in the King line, escape position, and did really well- escaped from a succession of people. Once I was subbed and ended up in line, doing the back mount position, of course things went downhill.

More King of the hill, starting from half guard. I was in line and so starting on top. I usually do fairly well at passing top half guard, but I was not doing as well as usual today, and got beaten several times. Once I managed to pass someone and get on the bottom, of course there I was going to stay. My first challenger was a white belt who grunted and panted on top till the clock ran out.

KOTH was made awkward by the reappearance of the guy who refuses to work with me. I haven't seen him for a few months, since he got his black belt, and I was not pleased to see him again. Once more, I had to grab people behind me in line and push them to the front when I drew That Guy, and had white belts give me WTF expressions. I hate this. It makes it look like I'm scared to fight That Guy, and that I'm cherry-picking my opponents, and gives a poor impression of *ME* to the newbies.

Open mat with Daniel. He has excellent open guard. I focused mainly on noticing what DIDN'T work the first time, and making a point of doing something different the second time. Mostly succeeded with that. Him and his damn inverted guard. I was perturbing him somewhat by grabbing for his feet, although of course I couldn't really finish anything there.

The recorder is here. It's so cute! It has a nice sound, although *very* high. The fingering chart is weird, though. It must have some kind of recorder-specific symbiology that I don't get, because when I tried to do a scale, it was aurally obvious that everything after the third note was very wrong. I'll have to do some more internet research.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fox vs Cat

Pain is just weakness leaving the body.

Unpleasant shock waiting in my e-box Sunday morning... Dennis, one of my most reliable longtime Herald minions, has died. He became a coordinator himself a few years ago (bonfire area), but continued to make time to herald. And to flirt. He was a nice guy. He wasn't that old... 50-something. Had a bit of a paunch going, but seemed quite hale- hale enough to herald, and to haul drums around all week. Yet, "natural causes".  Am I starting to get to the age where my friends are dying around me? Already?

PSG's at Stonehouse again. I have affirmed my continuing staff-ship. No word yet on the Hunt.

Tasara is pressing for a 3-facilitator meeting.... I don't know what to do..... 

Work is kicking my butt. My very first "official" day back on the bench, I wasn't there for a damn hour before my "favorite" (not!) ER doc was all up in my grill. Felt like I'd never left. (She was bitching about something that wasn't my fault, but that's par for the course with her, too.)

The hours have been all over the place, my sleep schedule is all messed up, and the boss is dragging her feet about "letting" me work any shifts over at Central (which might give me slightly more scheduling options). She is dragging her feet even more now that one of her other part-timers is leaving- that person works a few evening or midday shifts per week. Boss is pressuring me to take on her hours. That is my *least* favorite shift. Noon to eight-pm-ish, or 3pm to midnightish. Both have the psychological effect of eating up your *entire* day, and there is no possibility at all of doing any classes on those days. I'm reluctant to officially accept that set of shifts- but the kicker is, that in my current role as scheduling grout, if no one takes them I am going to be stuck with them regardless.

Monday lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle. Carlos chided me for being gone for so long. I'm happy that he misses me.

Opponent has your back. You place your hands over hir hands, lie back and bridge, push one of hir hooks off, get BOTH feet out (Not just one! Or you end up in half guard! Ask me how I know). Turn to side control. Another nice opportunity to elbow the guy in the face if it's a real attacker; another place where you need to be mindful to avoid clocking your nice training partner.

Opponent has your back. This time, as you perform the escape, s/he tries to go to front mount. You have to grab that knee QUICK and push it back so that you can catch it between your legs. Turn on your side and get the underhook. Use your foot to pull the opponent's foot out. Use your hand to push hir far knee back. Replace full guard.

You are in turtle. Your opponent is hanging off your side with hir near arm wrapped around your body. S/he may be punching you in the head with hir other fist, if this is self defense or MMA. Cover head (make sure elbow is down- I had to be corrected on that). With your other hand, trap the arm that opponent has wrapped around you and roll. Roll over your shoulder, staying nice and tight. (If you just fall onto your side, and the guy is big, this technique will not work.) Opponent rolls over top of you. You get side control. (Another good head-to-elbow opportunity here....)

I drilled with Cat, a tiny blue belt woman I've never seen before. We did well together- whipped out lots of reps.

Rolls with Cat, Gavin, and Coach Dynamo. Then a longer roll with Ian (we closed down the open mat). Cat's got nice open guard- she did a really good job keeping her knees in there. Nothing really of note for me- except that I got that grab-behind-the-heels takedown once on the Coach and two or three times on Ian, yet failed every time to get on top swiftly enough.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

S-mount and ocarinas

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

Many thanks to those who sent me hugs after last weekend's debaucle. I really appreciate it.

Tasara and Tiffany Ann and I discussed it over e-mail some. If it was just the money thing, I think we could work it out. The woman is a control freak- she's the first to admit it- and she just wants the structure of the event a certain way. That is reasonable, since she is the founder and all- but my ritual style isn't very compatible with the hospital-corners approach that she favors. Too much rigmarole; too much (IMHO) assuming people are too stupid to figure out what's going on without being led by the hand; too much imposing one's own agenda instead of going with the flow and letting what wants/needs to happen, happen. Not only do I not enjoy doing it that way, I think it stifles the more timid people in the circle.

 Furthermore, my confidence crumbles under harshly-delivered criticism, and I'm starting to see that it's just *never* going to be good enough in her eyes.  The *participants* at all of my events seemed to have a great time, and the energy is good, so I'm going to focus on that upside. I'm not a bad leader- this situation is just not the ideal fit.

Tasara wants to meet in person and figure this out. I told her that I'm not hosting next month anyway (since I've just done two months in a row), and I want to just table it for a while and discuss it later. I may be clearer about what to do after some time has passed. (And, uh, SHE may be a little clearer later on as well....) I may just decide to bow out. I'm okay with that.

I brought the double guiro to the drum circle, and it has a nice sound (both registers of scrape-rattle, plus two registers of "woodblock" (more if I tap the handle, etc)). Housemate has a teeny little frog-shaped guiro, which I borrowed, and that was fun as well. Sounds just like a cricket. I forgot my egg shaker, though, and I really missed that. Note to double-check next time and make sure it's in the box.

I have dug out the sweet potato ocarinas. Haven't yet figured out what key they are in, but I did figure out that they are all the same- a set of 3 sizes- so if I can learn one, I should be able to play all 3 (altho the smallest one is annoyingly squeaky, and tiny enough for the fingering to be awkward even with my small and deft digits). Eight top holes and 3 bottom holes (the middle of which is always uncovered) on each. No holes covered is obviously the same note as all holes covered... and it's a sharp or flat, of course.... it would be way too easy if it began with a plain C..... but I will have to get my bass clarinet out to figure out which notes are which. I can make guesses by ear, but they are only guesses. May be able to find a rough fingering chart online, if I can ID the key.

Was appalled to find- while researching ocarinas online- that There's An App For That. Lord help us. You can now bring up an image of holes on your iphone and BLOW INTO THE BOTTOM OF THE PHONE and it will produce ocarina notes in accordance with how you place your fingers on the screen "holes". The song book that comes with it includes "Baby" by Justin Bieber and "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga as well as the Legend of Zelda theme song, Bach, and Debussy. Can you believe it? Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Also, I have ordered a kids' recorder (that should COME with a fingering chart). Cotton candy blue plastic see-through. Will probably only have one octave... but I can't resist musical toys. I added a plastic kazoo to the order as well.

Speaking of leading drum events, this year's site for PSG has still not been announced- which is disquieting. This means some sort of problem with the site. I'm hoping it will not be a new site again- that is stressful and a ton of work. Whatever issues they're having re: site means that they haven't even gotten around to contacting the onsite staff (which they usually start initiating in December), nor has anyone addressed the Hunt yet. I'm not sure who could step in for Beau if he does not do it (this is why we should all have a lieutenant- I love you Dru). Less lead time= more confusion and stress, so I hope they get their poop in a group pretty soon.

I don't know if I mentioned that my wood and skin djembe suffered a mortal wound in baggage handling last year. I think that with my recent layoff, I'm not going to deal with it this year- just take the Remo. But lest we have a second percussive death, I'm thinking about shipping Flame to Derek. I feel so bad about how much I lean on him for stuff like this, but I don't have many options. This, however, is another reason that the delay is chafing my nerves. If I have to ship drums, that needs to happen early. And Gawds, I'm already begining to dread having a confrontation with James. Am I awful if I hope he has a funeral to go to or something, and doesn't show up?

I need to get to an office-supply store or something and get some of those "Hello my name is______" stickers. Jo (my evil twin) said that she was going to have T-shirts made up... but in case she doesn't, we can wear stickers: "Hello my name is NOT KITSUNE"; "Hello my name is NOT JO".   Ha!

Wednesday evening gi class at Sleeper Athletics. Cindy was ill, so Eric taught. "Seatbelt" ("prayer") guard pass. Standing pass utilizing a double-handed "joystick" grip on one sleeve cuff, push knee down, slide near knee through.

Then this: start like you're doing a bullfight pass, but instead of going to the side, cross-step your leg between your own arms and place the foot beside opponent's hip. Keep both pants grips and arch back for KOB. Then side mount.

I don't know about that KOB- the arm positions felt weird- but I like the "joystick" grip. It took me some fumbling to secure it, but it's good once I've got it.

King Of the Hill, pass vs sweep or sub. As usual, I am adequate at passing **IF** I can break closed guard. On the bottom only once, with the new guy. I spider guarded him right away and held him off for a bit, but then he passed.

Then rotating 5 min spars with Jalen and the new guy. I worked S-mount on the new guy, and it was going nicely- in that I was able to stay on top a lot. I was careful to hug that shin right up to his belly.  S mount, front mount, KOB, back again. I was on top a lot. Points up the whazoo. Unfortunately, he had really good choke defense and was muscle-defending the armbar, so I couldn't for the life of me finish him. I did kamikazi the armbar twice, using a good self-lapel grip and the "rolling" pry attempt, but I just couldn't make it happen.

Jalen- we started from standing, used the wall some (he got a nice reversal on me using the wall). I tried a double-leg takedown, telling myself, "Commit, commit..." I committed more than I usually do, but still not enough to make it work. He tapped me once with a kimura, and I tapped him once with a head-and-arm. It was hella sloppy- my arms were totally mispositioned- but I had him well pinned with his elbow at his ear, so I thought, "If I can just hold him here and keep microadjusting, hopefully I'll be able to get enough pressure on the side of his neck," and it took a while, but- Yay!

Had some fun matches tonight, felt pretty good, still feeling pretty good afterward.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Money: the root of all evil

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

I had a meltdown at Turtle Drum tonight.

Tasara had suggested a new format for donations- instead of "pay what you can", she wanted to try "If we have 30+ people, it'll cost $X per person, if we have 20-30, it'll be Y amount," etc. I wasn't real thrilled with the idea- but she's the founder, and we need to make the rent, and I try to be openminded and easygoing- I didn't hate it enough to attempt to shoot it down without trying it out.

I have a lot of traumatic psychological experiences in my past that cause my brain to melt out my ears at the prospect of asking people for money. I know this is my problem, and I need to get over it, but thus far I have not been successful. I cope with it by avoiding situations where I would have to ask people for money, sell shit, or otherwise solicit.

I have told Tasara about my phobia a few times, and when she came up with this new donation procedure, she offered to be the one to present it. Which she did, in an e-mail to the list.

So I had done my little intro and was sucking breath to cast the circle tonight when she waves at me and stands up to explain  it again. I thought the timing was very poor- it was an awkward downer to start out with- but I thought, "Okay, swell, I'm  not complaining, because she's handling the money thing."

Well, at the end, she's waving at me again and expecting me to stand up and talk about it some more. I freaked out. Obviously we had a communication misfire regarding my impression that she was going to fully handle the money situation. I wasn't prepared. Not only had I not psyched myself up to be called out to speak on this, but I had not memorized the sliding scale, I had not counted heads, and I don't do well at long division even when I'm *NOT* under a ton of pressure. So we stood there and awkwardly hemmed and hawed at each other while everyone stared at us... I said, "I'm sorry, I'm not prepared." and she said, "I'm not going to help you." It was horribly embarrassing, and ended the whole event on a bad note. As we were closing up shop, she dressed me down not only for that, but she also felt that I had failed to explain ritual procedure clearly and thoroughly at the beginning.

She's right- I'll even take responsibility for misunderstanding that I was going to need to stand up and address this at the end, and I certainly take full responsibility for the fact that I have a huge problem around this issue. She came up to me about 10 min later and apologized for being "harsh". But man, that was awful. My confidence has taken a real hit. Right now I don't feel like I'm ever going to want to do this again.