Thursday, March 28, 2013

Two guys and a strap

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

Wednesday: power lifting.

A new washer and dryer have been installed. The old washer was supposed to have been left in the entryway by the movers, so that it could be taken to the storage unit. Imagine my surprise when I arrive to find it sitting outside on the deck in the rain.

Kitsune: ((In dismay))"Why is it outside?"
Housemate: "I dunno."
Kitsune: ((exasperated wordless stare))
Housemate: "It took two guys and a strap to move it."
{translation: "Don't even ask me to help try to move it"}

So I moved it myself. If it took two guys and a strap, maybe I'm in the wrong line of work.
WIP: I edited my posted sections and removed a crap ton of "passive" language. I didn't really realize how bad I am about that. At this point, trying to change that aspect of my writing during the process is going to cripple me to an even slower crawl than I'm already at.... so the plan is to do a focused first and second edit just for that. First edit: eliminate most of the was'es. Second edit: look for more instances of passive writing- but it looks like about 70% of my crime is the dreaded WAS.

I still have way too many had's. I don't know how to fix that.

While I was at it, I also found several more little extraneous bits that didn't seem to add to the narrative, so I chopped them.

Lunchtime BJJ, GB Belle.  Today I got kimura'ed by a Pan Ams medalist!

Opponent on hir back with feet in your hips, you standing. Pass guard to KOB. Opponent pushes at your knee. You kimura.

Notes for me: Grab the wrist with all fingers and thumb together. I keep wanting to have the thumb on the other side- which increases chance of injury (to me) as well as makes me slower (since I now have to readjust my grip before I can complete the technique). Furthermore, having my thumb on the other side does not do anything for me anyway (do I really think I'm going to be able to hold hir there like that?)

Also: Move further down on the opponent's body and try to pin hir with the knees before beginning to crank the arm. Hold the arm up higher and pressed against my chest- but don't pull it so high that that elbow is not bent sufficiantly. Turn my torso- don't just push with the arms.

Next: same setup, only instead of kimura, finish with an armbar. One foot behind opponent's shoulder blade; pants grip. DON'T LET GO OF THE PANTS!!!!! (Yep, I'm still doing it)

Three spars, three minutes each, different partners. Begin sitting back to back.

I notice that I am getting faster at setting up the Del a Riva guard- I have to think about it less- even though I was not able to finish it this time.

I also noticed some things that I was not bothering to try because the defeatist in me just assumed that they would not work.  This is nothing new... but it is something that needs to be fixed, so noticing it is good.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cross collar chokes from mount

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

My ineffectual rolls on Friday night were interspered with enough frustrated fruitless straining that I twinged not only my old right-upper-rear rib injury, but a twin on the other side. It's not that bad, just a dull ache, and it's difficult to find a comfy sleeping position. That right upper rear thing is going to be with me till death, I think. There must be a big honkin' knot of scar tissue in there. It feels like lying on a lead tennis ball at night.

Lunchtime BJJ, GB Belle.  Many of our teachers and coaches are away for Pans all week, so Aussie Dave was coaching.

Cross collar choke from mount. It is easier to take a low lapel grip and then slide it up. Sauleh suggests a Leopard Fist (he didn't call it that, but that's what it was) lying on the guy's ribs, the sliding up under the lapel. If you're having trouble getting it all the way up there, brace your elbow on your belly and lean forward to use your weight to force it in there. (Sauleh is a small guy... these little tricks are part of the reason I'm totally annoyed that he won't work with me. But I guess verbal instruction is better than nothing.) Press your elbow to the opponent's breastbone. Post with your other hand, on the same side of the guy's head. Slowly crawl your posting hand to the other side, watching your balance. Use your elbow to press the opponent's face so that s/he's looking at your first grip. Now you have room to insert the second grip. The second hand goes in thumb inside, palm down. If you can't get it in there, you may still be able to finish by grabbing a handful of gi at hir shoulder (my most high-percentage choke), or even just the shoulder itself- If you can keep hir head and shoulder pinned, you can make it happen with the pressure from the first grip hand.

More options: try to slide your knee up so that it's under the shoulder blade on the side that you have the first grip. Leave the second leg where it is, or use S mount. Now, if s/he tries to bridge away from you, s/he is handing you the armbar. If s/he tries to bridge into you, s/he is exposing more neck for you to slide that 2nd choke grip in.

I was drilling with Donkey Kong. He has 4 stripes now. Still having a little trouble being a good partner. He said all the right things, went too gentle at first, then when I reassured him, he overcorrected and started going too hard. 

The higher my rank climbs, the more I find myself feeling some kind of responsibility to attempt to retrain people who don't know how to be a good partner. When I was a stale white and fresh blue, I just said to myelf, "I'm simply going to avoid working with white belts below three stripes, and also this list of rough guys above that rank," Now I think, "What if this guy ends up rolling with Crisanne or Lindsey and injuring one of them.... I ought to roll with him and try to get him housebroken before he kills somebody who is more fragile than me." 

I'm also finding that the brand-newbies are usually easier to train. Once they get three or four stripes on their white belts, they think they know everything. If a guy makes it to blue and is still being an asshole partner, it's very hard to fix him after that point (witness Hostility Boy).

There is a cadre of high whites/low blues at Bellevue that were working with me almost from their first week, and they really know how to drill and roll appropriately with a smaller person without being buttholes. The better partner you are, the better for your own progress as well as the safety and progress of everyone around you.

King Of the hill from front mount. Sucking on the bottom, although I can fend off the choke for a while. A bit better on top, although still can't reliably finish the choke, and armbar is worse (the guys bicep-curl right out of it). Still getting reversed too easily and too often, although having some limited sporatic success with S-mount.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A little story from PSG

There's no jiu jitsu in this. Names changed to protect the innocent.
I was on the staff radio at an event, and the facilitator of a major evening drum-centric ritual had locked her keys in the car with all of her drums and other equipment in it.

She had a family member at home Fedex her the spare, and it was supposed to arrive "sometime" during that day.  If we were lucky. We were out in the middle of nowhere.

The rit was scheduled for 6pm, and she was semi-hysterical all day long.

She spent the entire morning and afternoon repeatedly calling staff up at the farmhouse and asking if her keys had arrived yet, and repeating with deadly earnestness, "PLEASE call the SECOND they get here. PLEASE. The very second. I really mean it. I'll send a runner up to get them. This is vitally important. PLEASE. Do you understand?" And tireless repetitive versions of same. (all the staff members have FRS radios on, and all campers in our vicinity can overhear them. Whatever you say on radio is going to be heard by every single staff member as well as about 2/3 of the general festival population. So we were all listening to this all day long.)

On approximately the eight-thousandth rep of her plea, one of the staff at the farmhouse responded, "Oh, yeah- your keys are here. Been here for a while. Want me to bring them down with me when I haul the dinner stuff down to the valley?"

There was dead silence on the radio for a very long, pregnant moment.

You could just feel the entire population of the valley (nearly 2,000 that year) hold its collective breath.

Now, you have to realize that the facilitator, Lou, is a drumming Fire Goddess with a volcanic temper and a positively acid tongue. I was sitting there alone in my tent with my radio, wheezing breathlessly with laughter because I was picturing all three hundred pounds, swirling red muumuu and wild arm-length afro hair of her, considering and discarding various responses and trying to come up with one that was okay to say over the air (again, most of the camp was listening, and anyone who knew Lou was holding their breath waiting for the violent shitstorm to unleash). The longer the silence stretched, the harder I was laughing.

A very, very long moment later, she finally said, in a very carefully neutral and quiet voice, "No, Fran, actually that's not okay. I'm sending someone up to get them right now."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday evening

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

Friday night no-gi at Sleeper.

SSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tired. It really does work out better for me to skip lunchtime at GB when I'm going to go to Sleeper in the evening.  But I feel like I was actually helpful to Angela today in drills, even though I turned her down for sparring after. I want to be a good teammate to her, and help her out as much as I can.

Upa escape.

Then, straight-arm opponent's hips from mount and shove hir into butterfly guard. Sit up, underhook one side and put your arm around hir as if s/he is your buddy. Scoot butt out just a bit. Now your knee is up on the hugging side, and down on the mat on the other side.  Next: grab the opponent's arm so that s/he can't post, and roll hir, lifting with that butterfly hook. (You may also slide the matward knee under you and use it to drive off of.) End in front mount. (Sometimes I ended in side control, but Cindy advises mount.)

Next- same, only begin by elbow-escaping out from the mount before taking butterfly guard.

Sparring. I was very ineffectual tonight. Just too tired.  Wei got me in that same armpit choke that he's tapped me with for the last 4 classes in a row. I was watching for it (he did it to someone else a little earlier tonight), and he still got me.

Greedy Business

You need to distinguish between damage and distraction.
 If you let yourself get distracted, it works. And if it is novel, people tend to get distracted. -Rory Miller

Okay, I am TOTALLY, thoroughly and superbly pissed off.

I showed up today in my french vanilla gi. Carlos had said yesterday that the white one was okay. I was ready to say to Casey, "You happy now??!??" Well, he still wasn't happy. He says I can't even wear the white one. It's a white gi, with Gracie Barra patches all over it- but that's STILL not good enough. Because it is not a white gi with Gracie patches all over it that was bought from the Gracie Barra Evil Overlord Monopoly.

I am now down to *one* acceptable gi (WTF am I supposed to do when I take more than one class in a day? Wear it dirty? Wear it wet?) with an atrocious fit that I'm not sure can be altered- and even if it can, it's going to involve taking the big back patches off and then sewing them back on, which will cost a mint. If they think I'm ever going to compete in that thing, they're nuts.

ATM I am *way* too torqued off to even consider coughing up more money to the "You are not a student to us, just a dollar sign" GB  (the GB stands for "greedy business" in case you ever wondered) conglomerate. But even if I end up caving on this in the long run, I swear to Sweet Baby Jesus I will quit before I let them put me in one of those GB rashies- they are all made by MANTOS. Yes, the porno-ad company. I wouldn't take one of their products as a gift, and run around wearing the Mantos name on my body. Hell will freeze over first.

Did I mention that I'm really really irritated??!?  Seriously.
Lunchtime BJJ, Greedy Business Sea.  Rolled a bit with Crisanne to warm up; had her do the upa. She seemed to have it down, so I started pressing her to do it faster- within three seconds of the mount.  Also rolled a bit with Casey, who is kissing up to me because he knows I'm annoyed (although I refrained from describing in depth to him exactly *HOW* annoyed), and doesn't want me to hate him.

Standup: Judo grips, Yank down on the lapel side while tapping sole of foot below knee, then yank down on sleeve side while stepping hip to hip and reaping. Setup only. 40 reps. "Relax" says Angela.

Shoulder throw, opponent's bicep locked between your bicep and forearm (NOT beside your neck). Make sure to turn the ENTIRE 180 degrees. My biggest challenge continues to be having the feet planted parallel between opponent's feet and close enough together. Today I was managing both turn and positioning, but with way too many little time-consuming adjustment steps. 40 reps.

Cross step, turn 180, kick back with the same foot you cross-stepped with, pull opponent over your leg for takedown. 40 reps.

Pass half guard: opponent on hir back, you standing at hir feet with one lapel grip and one leg cuff grip. With your trapped leg, push knee fwd into back of opponent's thigh. Then kick it back like a mule. Set it down beside opponent's ribs. Stick your other leg out. KOB. A million reps. (Well, maybe not a million, but it felt like a million)

Same setup, only after you pass half guard, opponent turn in to you. With the same leg that you were KOB'ing with, stick that one straight out back. Now place your shoulder on opponent and carwheel over to hir back. Do not at any point let go of those pants cuffs. Like the previous technique, once you are passed, your arms are in an X.

Angela is going to be fighting Sijara Eubanks again this year, it looks like. And she is excited about it! She has a great attitude.

22 people from GB Seattle are registered for PanAms. Last year it was only 10.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The blue and white Borg

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

Well, it's finally come to a head. They've segued from telling to me to not wear my green and brown gi's to Gracie's any more to _TELLING_ me to _NOT_ wear my green and brown gi's any more. I am so annoyed. This is such a dumb rule, perpetrated for the sole cause of shaking students (I mean PROFIT GENERATING UNITS) down for more money. I don't really blame my teachers; I blame the Borg-esque GB marketing machine juggernaut. Casey was as nice about delivering the news as he could be.  But the fact remains, I'd rather juggle skunks than buy a GB gi, solely on principle. Which leaves me with a bare 2 acceptable uniforms, one of which fits so crappily that it is a distinct and very irritating tactical handicap.   Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Belle. Happy Birthday Nelson!

All sparring. Doug, Prof Carlos, Casey, Ross.

I tried a footlock on Carlos; I am *still* not getting the job done. Today, choked too far up on the leg. I was also reprimanded for trying to escape same by rolling onto my stomach. As I have been told numerous times before, grab the lapel and put the foot on the mat. Also: beware the wristlock when trying to do gi chokes from guard. There really was no permutation of gi choke that I could come up with, which the prof could not wristlock me from.

Another thing he did today that he has done before- leave himself open for a triangle from guard, which I totally did not even see, because I never try triangles. He wants me to stop trying the same selection of tricks that I always do. He pretty much knew what I was going to do in every situation- and he doesn't even work with me nearly as often as a lot of other people do.

At least when he got to his feet, I tried to jump guard instead of fighting fruitlessly for the takedown. Not that that worked either, har har. But at least I failed in a DIFFERENT matter this time.

Note: trying to do de la Riva, esp on *HIM*- pull my elbow in. Otherwise he will jointlock me. Elbow in, then pull lapel so that opponent's head is DOWN.

He discussed the "work smarter, not harder" principle- he wants me to work harder on seeing and going for opportunities that are presented. In fact he had a lot of advice today, and I'm not sure I absorbed even half of it.

Ross is improving by leaps and bounds. His pressure from the top is very good. I praised the way he uses even the side of his face to press me down hard. I also caught him pulling out a nice underhook- "Wait! Don't do that! You always do that. Keep that underhook."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


If you see the situation clearly enough, you can almost always cheat from the other person's point of view.  You can almost always break rules that are only rules that exist in the other person's head.  And that is a huge advantage. -Rory Miller

Sunday: Mulched the roof. Yes, that's right. First, removal of fallen boughs; then, raking the leaves and accumulated mulch off the shingles; and just for extra yuks, scooping gutters.  Still have to clean up the mess around the porch- will do that another day. Ditto, the crap from the rear incline mostly went onto the back porch roof. That is already in the process of collapsing and cannot be walked on. I may be able to get some of it from the ground with the stepladder. Another day.

I had to take off my shoes and socks to do the steepest parts, and haul myself up to the apex by hooking the rake head over the edge and using it to pull myself up. I am the only physically able person in this household who is fit for manual labor, so I get all this sort of fun stuff. And yes, I had a (mini) Dr Pepper when I was done- so there.

Monday lunchtime BJJ, GB Sea. No caffeine this morning. I felt limp.

I jumped on Crisanne before class, and taught her how to defend each of the things I had done to her last week in the mock tournament. In said tournament, she had also spent a long time trying fruitlessly to cross collar choke me, so I explained why that hadn't been working out for her.  Now I feel better, like I sort of made up for tooling her like that.

Standup: deflect fireman's kick (while turning at the hips), return with an elbow strike. This was just different enough from the Shaolin Black Crane version to royally screw me up. Carlos came over to correct me, shaking his head and saying, "Purple belt, purple belt...." I hate it when he does that... my insecurity immediately starts wailing that he must be regretting my promotion.

Guard pass: opponent has same-side sleeve cuff and cross-lapel grip. You grip hir lapels on the side that s/he has YOUR lapel, and pull your elbow in to constrict hir arm. With the other hand, grab hir pants at the hip. Open your own knee on the pants-grip side, push hir thigh to the mat. back out. KEEP YOUR BACK STRAIGHT and head up (yes, you can do this even if you're bent at the waist). Let go the lapel grip, underhook thigh, grab lapel again, stack, pass.

Drilled with Z. He is tiny, but has awesome pressure when he stacks this pass.

One roll with Lindsey and one with Bryan. I ended up getting one arm trapped over my own body with Bryan, even though I was paying attention to *NOT* letting this happen, since it had happened repeatedly on Friday. Lindsey- freakishly flexible. Very very good at replacing guard- she just folds up and sticks her knees back in there, from any position, no matter how you try to resist.


In their respective brackets: Looks like Jalen got 3rd in gi (How did that happen? It’s difficult to imagine kids better than Jalen), and Axel got 2nd in no-gi.  Ben got 2nd (his first comp as a purple belt), Kaungren placed 3rd. Kelly got 2nd.  Relax-On-the-Mat got 2nd. Carlos- 1st.   E-man (the kid I bullied!): first in gi, 2nd in intermediate no-gi.  Looks like Cindy’s kids did well, several placements. As usual, GB didn’t win (or even enter) much no-gi at all. It would be nice to have more no-gi classes over there.

Had I competed this cycle, my bracket would have consisted of Amanda- that kick-ass woman from Straight Blast who tooled both me and Kelly last year- and Caitlin Carlucci (who blogs!) and had the gonads to step on the advanced no-gi tournament mat with CINDY last fall. (These were also the two competitors in advanced no-gi. 5 women placed in intermediate no-gi, where I most likely still belong.)  While those girls are scary, the niggling thought persists… well, two niggling thoughts.

1)Even if I pull a Titanic and come in 2nd in a two-person field or 3rd in a 3-person field, at blue belt that still pulled in a cubic buttload of points for my school. At purple, even moreso.

2)Competing is a great way to make myself be disciplined about taking off the extra weight I've collected.

Okay, one more: if I wait another 2 or 3 years, the bolus of great female blue belts that we have right now will turn into a bolus of great female purple belts. Which is incredible. But the option to collect points and medals by losing in shallow brackets will stop being an option in the predictable future.

Tuesday and Wednesday: walked a mile each way, parking to work and back again. I tried to take the motorcycle to work today, and it up and died on me about a mile down the road. I had to walk back down there this evening and push that sucka all the way back home. There was a hill.

Making a point lately of walking out to get the mail, the trashcans, etc, instead of picking them up with the car on the way in. Extra bits of exercise.

Modest portion control steps, too...

I've been doing well with the caffeinated/sugared pop reduction- two weeks now, and I've been surviving on two 90-cal mini-cans per day. Although this is a cut of several hundred cals per day- as predicted- it does not translate to weight loss for me. I definitely felt the lack of the caffeine push at class on Monday. If that makes me drag too much at class, this could actually BACKFIRE. 

Carlos can be really driving in the weeks leading up to Pans.

Now that the word is out, I guess, I can say that Cindy is closing her school at the end of the month. She's going to be running a Gracie Barra pod in Mill creek in May. In April, she will be at Bothell. I haven't been to the Bothell pod yet. I'll have to see what the commute is like to these two sites. Mill Creek is getting out into the sticks, but unfortunately that doesn't necessarily save you from the epic Seattle Rush-Four-Hours commute traffic (sometimes RFH is *worse* out in the sticks). Hopefully some of her students will be at Mill Creek- I will miss any that we lose.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"You'll have to do it with one arm"

  “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” THE DALAI LAMA

Friday night no-gi at Sleeper Athletics.

Man, was everybody on my case tonight! It's a good thing that I feel confident that these people actually *LIKE* me, because the harrassment was nonstop today! More dunning about how I get off on crushing the throats of helpless children, dire threats about what various people were going to do to me during the sparring, derisive exhortations to stop being so Care Bear gentle with my KOB's and N/S transitions. Yes, that last from the very *same people* who were riding me about mangling middle-schoolers. Ironically, several of tonight's techniques were of the "Oh Lord, that hurts so bad" or/and "Ye Gods- is that *LEGAL*?" varieties. (I only actually asked the question once today. I find myself asking Cindy this often. I think she may be a bit exasperated with my habit of doing this.)

It was the consensus (of everyone besides me) that I am practicing "possum jiu jitsu". I guess this is a slight improvement over what Bryan terms my impression of a "dead fish"... at least the possum presumably is only *playing* dead...

Standup: one hook behind opponent's head, the other "inside tie" on bicep. Push into hir. When s/he pushes back, tip your bicep-grip elbow up (bringing opponent's elbow up with it), lower stance just a titch, and duck under the arms as you step past and yank that neck hold to try to bring opponent to knees. Follow hir down and end hanging off hir side, with the neck hook transferred to the shoulder (this forearm is now across the throat) and your other arm around hir back and hooked into the opposite inside thigh.

Now: Transfer shoulder hand to bicep and thigh hold to far ankle, Put your head down into hir ribs (I always flub that part) and drive into hir till you roll hir on hir back and get side control.

Next: S/he tries to push at your face. Use the arm nearest hir head to sweep around and force that arm up so that you can lock on a head-and-arm. (Note: that crawling-the-fingers-across-the-mat thing is very good here to cinch up around the head.) Use the "RNC" grip.

You are in top side control. Opponent pushes at your face with hir far arm. Use the arm nearest hir feet to hook the bicep, then swing your body over to sit on hir head. Pinch knees tight. Figure 4. Pull up sharply if opponent is trying to fold/wrap arms to resist. Push hir arm behind hir shoulder blade. YOUR elbow (the one nearest hir feet) should touch the mat. Now sprawl on belly. The leg nearest hir feet should be straight, toe braced to keep hir from rolling you. Kimura.

After I kimura'ed Lamont about a zillion times (with both him and Cindy railing at me for being way too nice: "crush his head"; "That's the gentlest KOB I've ever felt"), I asked him if he wanted to drill something on me (see, I'm a good partner!). He wanted to practice an armbar from mount that ended with him belly-down instead of on his back. Interesting. It often caught BOTH of my arms and locked both elbows if I wasn't careful to pull one under me. Wristlock opportunity as well.

This is a baratoplata, I think(?). You are setting up a triangle, opponent attempts to defend by stuffing hir arm into your crotch. You loop your arm through the triangle s/he has just formed with hir arm (not too deep- for some reason I felt like it needed to be really deep, but it doesn't). Now release your triangle and place your foot on hir hip (opposite side as hir trapped hand). Keep your other leg over hir back. Keep both knees tight to control. This is a shoulder lock. It is not obvious to me which way to crank it once I have it set up, but as soon as I prompt myself that the shoulder should roll back, it makes sense.

Hmmm... we set up this technique from another position, involving a roll... but my mind is blanking.......

Me (getting shoulder cranked): "Be careful...."
Lamont: {dismissive grunt}
Me:  "If you blow out my rotator cuff, I'm going to kill you."
Lamont: "You'll have to do it with one arm."

Sparring: I was letting people force one arm over my head or across my own throat too often tonight. Note that tomoe nage does not work on Lamont, Terry, **OR** Wei. Not only does it not work on them, it ends in my plopping back on my butt on the mat fruitlessly in an embarrassing fashion. I attempted the guard pull from yesterday on Terry, and it failed miserably- he grabbed my foot, single-legged me, and flopped happily down on top of me in side control.

Wei had me tapping like Savion Glover. He is still being fairly nice, but after having worked with me for this long, I guess he has decided it's okay to put on a little more head/face pressure. Now I have bruises on both cheekbones. 

I did cave and have one more Real Pop after class, but it was a 90-cal Coke mini-can.
Saturday: Both gyms closed for the Revolution. I had a number of errands to run- so to combine that with exercise, I parked at my first destination and walked to the rest.

One of my errands was the Redmond Safeway, where I found to my happiness that they had stocked some of the little 90-cal mini-cans of Dr Pepper. Usually they only have the Coke. It would be nice if they kept stocking the Dr Pepper.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday lunchtime

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

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. Cindy was there- once again telling everybody and their sister that I am mean and that I beat up small kids. Sigh.

Same butterfly guard sweep we did last night, only in gi this time. Note- do not grip the sleeve. Grip the arm. (This is a persistant failing of mine, and one that I need to fix, given that I would like to be proficient at both gi and no-gi.)

Lots of drill reps, then lots of positional sparring from butterfly guard- butterfly sweep vs defend same, then butterfly sweep vs defend/pass.

Working with Angela the month before PanAms is always a bruiser. I can take the roughness and frenzied pace- it's good for me- but I do get a little frustrated with *myself* because I know she wants to be pushed (specifically ASKS to be pushed), and I just don't have the skills to bring it. She's too far above my level. The only other woman above blue belt right now besides the two of us is Bree- whom I do not see much of aside from when she's teaching kids' classes- so I don't know how much Bree is training. There are plenty of good male partners for Angela to work with, but I wish I was a better fit to help her prep for comps.

She had her toenails painted with the GB triangle/initials. Cool!

Many of my classmates are sporting one or more newly-designed GB gi's. While I've never been a fan of all the patching (and even less a fan of the extortion), and I tend to steer away from white gi's because of the increased danger of stains... I must admit I really like the contrast stitching (red stitching on white), especially on the pants. The quilting on some of the jackets is snazzy as well.

Drank my one REAL pop for the day after I got home from class. I'm hoping to go over to Sleeper tonight, if I feel upto it... we'll see if I can resist the siren call of a second can of Dr. Pepper, when I get home.   

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Talking smack

When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are *not* the story. -John Gould

Only one sugared/caffeinated pop yesterday, and only one today. Go me.

Danger spot for this: after class. There is just nothing like coming home from class sweaty and bone tired, and cracking open an ice-cold can of REAL pop and taking three or four humongous swigs. It feels like an orgasm, I swear. Yesterday I was at work, and I had my one REAL pop in the morning (time to work off the sugar and caffeine before bed). Today, I knew I would want one after class, so I saved it till then.

Danger spot for overeating/snacking: after working a noon-to-nine-pm shift or a 3pm-to-eleven-thirty shift. I can usually be pretty good in the mornings before work, and once I go to work, I'm stuck with whatever I brought- or didn't bring (there's a vending machine which I have been known to patronize occasionally, but I'm usually too cheap to buy from those overpriced things). However, by the time I get home, I'm tired and grumpy and feeling all deprived- and the urge to eat and have some REAL pop is difficult to resist. This is the worst possible time to do it, too- right before bed.

Another danger spot: the break room at work. Why do hospital staff have such horrible dietary habits??? Too many people are leaving M&M's, girl scout cookies, and other crapola out for communal grazing. I have some little 100-cal bags of popcorn, and I went to the bulk foods place and made a nut mix (cashews, hazlenuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds). Nuts have a lot of good nutrients- and are certainly a better substitution for M&M's or girl scout cookies- but they do have a lot of fat calories, so you can't go to town on them.

Danger spot- crackers and Crispix. I love crackers- but aside from the fact that it's difficult to stop once I start eating them, they have a very visible and dramatic effect on my weight. The Crispix cereal was yummy in the first batch of nut mix, but likewise.

Three classes today. It was so nice to be back at Gracie's- I think for only the 2nd time in 4 weeks. Unfortunately, it seems that Cindy had preceded me and was talking smack about me all over the place- I didn't even have my coat off before Casey was ragging me about beating up a little kid!!!

Basics first.  You are in bottom side control. Get the lockdown (this is a bit of a struggle for me; I think partially because of my short legs), push opponent's front half (arms) over to your side on that same side, underhook hir leg, and sweep toward hir head. (Yes, s/he has both arms free and can post over there. You must sweep diagonally. S/he can post for a while, but eventually will be shoved onto hir shoulder.) KEEP THE LEGS. You may now be in top half guard, or in hir open guard with one of hir legs on your shoulder. Pass from here.
Next: no-gi. The schedule had said women's class, so I was confused. I sat on the wall, but I guess the prof was so happy that I'd shown up at all, he let me in even though I didn't have a GB rash guard *or* shorts.

Standup: hook behind head and on 1 bicep. Step on the hip, on the side that you have the arm. Pull guard, keeping the foot on the hip and wrapping the other leg kind of high on opponent's back. Note that your knee (on the foot-hip side) should be outside opponent's arm, not crushed inside.

Next: you go to step on that hip, opponent steps back with that leg. Keep the head grip, let go of the arm grip, and smoothly (heh) drop to your knee, grabbing opponent's cross heel (the HEEL, not the knee!). Stand up, take down, KOB.

Next technique: You have butterfly guard, opponent is down on your chest. Shove your forearm under hir head (hand on the side where hir face is) till your forearm is across hir throat and you can grip hir shoulder. Push hir torso upright. If you cannot, use your second hand to brace the wrist till you succeed. Scoot your butt out a little. Swim the forearm under hir armpit (keep the elbow glued where it is) and hook your hand firmly over hir same shoulder. Open up your butterfly guard so that one knee is up, one leg on the mat. Use your free hand to control opponent's wrist. Kick your MATWARD foot under yourself as you roll to your belly, while pulling opponent's arm toward you, and using the remaining butterfly hook to lift/push opponent over. Again, you may end up in top side control, but that's okay. Pass, then transition to scarf. (Note: prof tells me to not lean my head/torso backward so far while I am in scarf).

I suck so bad at all things butterfly guard, yet I am continually awed by how effectively short-legged, stubby little Ron uses it. Which means it should also be good for short-legged, stubby little Kitsune. Need to develop this.

I drilled with a nice teen boy, orange belt.

"Black belt" class (I think this is for blues two stripes and up?) and basics class were combined. Mock tournament. The Revolution is this weekend.  Big guys at one end (Jamie reffing), little guys at the other (Carlos reffing).

Before we got started, there was some rules discussion. Always helpful. I continue to be baffled by the points system, but am very slowly picking up a little knowledge.

First fight, me and Kelly. Kelly always plows me. I got on top a few times, but she dominated. Didn't see the final score, but I'm pretty sure she won on points. 

As usual, just getting up there and facing off in a "tournament"- even a mock one- gave me that rush of nervousness followed by the feeling of all my strength running down my legs and into the floor, leaving me weak as a kitten.

After watching a few of the guys go at it, me and Crisanne. She's doing well, but is still a white belt, and I have considerable weight on her. I didn't smash her or anything (she even got a nice sweep), but I did get a bunch of points and then tap her with a gi choke. Afterward she was having trouble catching her breath- anxiousness, I think. Then I felt bad and thought I should have gone lighter still. Won't deny that continually getting my clock cleaned by Kelly makes me feel frustrated. I should have made sure to expel that emotion before facing a smaller white belt. I made sure to give her positive feedback afterward.

Me and Ron. Well, you *KNOW* how that's gonna go (I wonder if this was Carlos' revenge for me going a little too hard on Crisanne). He was nice and didn't sub me to death in three seconds. One thing I was happy with- He was on my back at one point, and I got a slightly modified version of the technique that we did two classes ago at Sleeper: I grabbed the back of his head and pulled him into a summersault over my own head, then drove into him. He tried and almost succeeded to gain inverted guard, but I eventually was able to maneuver us into N/S.

All three of my opponents pulled guard on me. I did poorly at defending this, and need to pay attention. I don't like not being able to fight for the takedown, and I don't like being trapped in closed guard.

Open mat- Dave. Having trouble getting out of his closed guard, and getting a bit frustrated. We each tapped each other once (me with the gi-tail baseball bat choke).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

DQ for "mean"! ME!

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

I frequently get blog hits on "Josh Waitzkin girlfriend".  ????  Are these from women who want to stalk him, or what?

Tuesday- day shift, so walked a mile each way from the nearest free parking to work and back.

I am also down to 2 caffeinated/sugared sodas per day. I know, still too much. Diet caffeine free A&W tastes better than diet caffeine free Dr Pepper or diet caffeine free Squirt. I agree there's something to this "diet pop gives you the munchies" thing. Studies have shown that people on diet pop continue to gain weight.

I've gone cold turkey on sugared pop before, and unfortunately I am not one of those people who magically lose several pounds just by cutting out pop. It doesn't make any difference either way for me regarding weight. But I'm hoping that cutting the caffeine will let me sleep a little better.
Thursday: Met with Tasara & Tiffany Ann re: the drum ceremonies. They got lost and showed up late, so we didn't have as much time as we probably needed. We talked around a number of things, and never actually pinned down what minimum regimentation she requires of me. I think we were all afraid to broach it. After she went off on me last month, I'm feeling intimidated by her... and I think she's frustrated and unsure what to make of me because I don't run off at the mouth enough for her to know what's going on in my head. Turns out that the new host who bailed last month bailed *because* he was fighting with her- so it wasn't just me; she was fighting with everybody.

It was decided to do some outdoor ceremonies over the summer, and they made plans to repeat some of the events they had done last summer- so I am off the hook for a while, anyway. I had taken the dojo key with me, ready to give it back. I guess I have additional time to decide, now. I need to be better about actually showing up to the events that I'm not running. I did volunteer to talk up carpooling, since that was the bulk of the feedback we got from participants ("I love the event but I can't *GET* there"). As soon as I have a more reliable vehicle, I'm fine with picking people up.

Saturday: Terry came over and fixed my motorcycle (yay)! He refused to accept payment, so after we argued about that for a bit, he said- "If you must, donate it to Cindy for her at-risk kids," I said, "Oooo- Axel doesn't have a real gi yet." He said, "That's a good idea." So I gave the money to Cindy.

Jalen, Eman and Axel are getting ready for a comp, so we did "mock tournament" today. Lamont was reffing, and I heckled him. After half a dozen matches, his brain was frying and he was ready for a break. There were a lot of confusing rules and permutations. Cindy refs ALL freakin' day at the Revolution. I would not want to attempt it. 

We were doing no-gi. The Revolution changed the rule about how you get takedown points if your opponent pulls guard. We also had to remember to play by "kids' rules"- ie, no guillotines, head-and-arm, or short choke. Dang. There go most of my marginal no-gi sub options. She also said "no turtling". I pooched my lower lip out. She was looking right at me, of course, and started laughing when she saw my face.

I haven't worked with Eman in a long time. He is a lot taller. You can tell he is going to be Carlos-shaped when he gets his full growth- tall with long, long legs. You can tell just by how long his feet are already. I knew he was good, but I have 40lb on him, so I went light on him our first match. He schooled me 18 to 6. So after that, I dialed it up a bit. Lamont DQ'ed me for placing my forearm in Eman's throat. Can you believe it?!? Lousy ref! I wasn't leaning on him- gimme a break, I wouldn't put a ton of of pressure on a 100lb kid's throat. I'm not like that. I just wanted to hold him still for a minute, because he was popping around like a Mexican jumping bean. They all thought I was being mean. I would have thought Cindy'd be proud of me for getting DQ'ed for being mean. She's always telling me to be meaner.

Trapped in bottom half guard a lot with Wei. He tapped me out with some kind of choke wherein he had his elbow on the mat and my head trapped under his armpit (facing his back). I got S-mount on him and kept it for a bit, and tried to choke him for a while but could not finish. He is very resistant to being choked.

Later...........  Turtle Spirit Jam

Nice to not be on the hot seat for a change. I wore my new fox tail. If you are strange enough to ever need a fox tail- and don't want to be so morbid as to wear a real one- you want this guy, who does very nice work:

I had a little trouble getting situated in the car, and I finally placed the tail along my spine. I buzzed the McDonald's drive-through because I didn't have time to eat. I didn't think the tail was very visible, since I was leaning back on most of it- but the cashier peeked over my shoulder and chirped, "Nice fox tail!" **BLUSH**. I don't really mind if people think I'm a weirdo, but I'd rather not come off as some kind of sexual deviant.

Nice turnout. I did not take the recorder or the ocarinas. I don't feel quite proficient enough to even twiddle on them in public yet (still squeaking a little, and having a challenge staying on key). I took the double guiro again, but did not use it. Used the egg shaker and Ascha (large frame drum) only. I took my bamboo staff, but only did one dance with it because the area was so crowded. I couldn't do very many realistic moves. I was very careful, and did not hit anyone with my staff *until* I was leaving the dojo at the end and was trying to find my shoes in the pile at the door.

There were a handful of strong drummers, which was *REALLY* nice, and a few people singing/chanting. There was enough instrumental racket to preclude serious chanting- but near the end, I managed to get a bit of a mongrelized call-and-response  going. Me calling and a couple of the men responding. As soon as it was solid enough, I circumambulated the circle and managed to pick up a few female chanters joining my part. After *THAT* got established to a decent degree, I did a little free-form solo on top of it. I had to go up three octaves to make myself heard (it was THAT loud). That's higher than I like to sing (and not my best sound), but at least I stayed in key. Challenging. But when the free-form solo harmonies are flowing, you don't want to squander that! I've also had enough people compliment my singing at this point that I am more willing to go ahead and do it. Unfortunately, my voice doesn't hold out for very long in those upper registers. And now my throat feels all raw and furry.