Friday, May 31, 2013

You will be cleaning up your own puke.

Having a perfect body is not nearly as important as learning to listen to its voice.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Plantar fasciitis continues unabated. Mostly the right foot. Drat it, I don't have the time or patience to massage my damn foot for 10 min every morning before getting out of bed!!! Plus my cats would get together and lynch me. Their expectation is that at the first ding of the alarm, I am catapulting out of bed to start getting their breakfasts ready.

Lunchtime at Seattle.

Another day of feeling pretty tired- and it was hot again. Not quite as hot as last night, but very hot.

Positional training from side control- pass vs sweep only. I was shocked to complete a sweep. Only one, but that's one more than I've ever been able to get before.

Carlos dressed me down for "not being fair" when he saw me hunker down to hug my opponent as we got started. He wanted the top person to begin in an upright position. Understandable. Yet the concept still boggled my brain. My partner was an adult male blue belt. A smallish one, true- but still- an "AMO" if you will (Since we were not going full bore, it didn't qualify for Georgette's awesome "FRAMO" classification: Fully Resisting Adult Male Opponent). I have the mindset that I am perpetually so far in the hole that the idea of me starting with any type of "unfair advantage" is laughable. If the guy started out hogtied, I'd still be at the disadvantage. That's why everyone is (still) getting such a hoot out of ragging on me for "grinding" on that little kid's throat- the idea that I would even have enough power to be *able* to be a bully is humorous. I've never even had to consider trying to be "fair". It's never fair- to me. Do I actually need to start worrying about being "fair" to AMO's? That sounds so ridiculous and pretentious.

I got a turn with a four stripe white belt girl that I've never worked with before- and after about 2 minutes, she had to excuse herself for dizziness. (Like I said, it was damn hot in there.) Carlos sent me into the bathroom to chase her down and caretake for her. She lay down on the changing room floor and I gave her a cold wet paper towel to put on her forehead. Then when I tried to return to the mat, Carlos sent me back in there AGAIN to tell her to come out and lie on the floor in the main room so that he could see she wasn't dead.  

Evening in Bothell.

Review of the front mount escapes we have been working on this week. Upa, upa with opponent trying to collar choke you (trap hir forearm against your chest), my favorite leg combover escape).

Some positional training from front mount.

A couple of spars with really big guys. I just tried to survive- and because they don't know very many subs yet, I succeeded.

Burpees *AFTER* the spars. Ugh! I tried to negotiate taking my jacket off, at least- there was another guy in there dressed in no-gi clothes (whom I had just finished fighting, IN GI)... no luck!

Fortunately I have not as of yet had need of this knowledge, but I was informed today that if you puke on Cindy's mat, you will be cleaning up YOUR OWN puke. Even the kids? Yup. So try to make it to the back door.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh yeah- HER.

A while back, I made a traffic stop on an elderly woman. As she looked for her driver's license, I noticed her concealed-carry permit. "Do you have a weapon in your possession at this time?" I asked. "Yes, a .45 automatic in the glove box," she said. "Do you have any other firearms?" "A 9mm Glock in the center console." "Is that all?" "And a .38 Special in my purse," she admitted. I smiled. "What are you so afraid of?" Looking me right in the eye, she said, "Not a damn thing." -Patrick Irick

Thursday evening at Bellevue.

I caught a little flak from Carlos for being too lazy to show up to lunchtime or no-gi class today... I was already feeling guilty about it, so had every intention of staying for open mat after class. Unfortunately, it must have been a thousand degrees in the gym tonight. Nothing wipes me out faster than being overheated. I had a hard time getting through the drills.

From standing- grip opponent's rt sleeve cuff with your left hand. Slide into half guard on opponent's rt leg, underhooking the other leg with free hand for deep half guard. From here, you can roll outward for a sweep (which I found a bit easier to execute (albeit slightly more complex to set up) by using my knees to prop up), or you can sneak out the back door. This seems like stuff that can really play into my personal game, but I think I will need another few classes to truly grasp it.

A few of us were talking about upcoming tournaments in the changing room. Kelly (who has her 4th stripe!) was urging me to do this one or that one, and I said, "Of course, I'd be in Amanda Loewen's bracket again."  Kelly goes, "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH." and we both looked at each other in a perfect understanding of horror.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Tool him!"

Beating up on myself was the only fight I knew I could win. –Elena Stowell

Wednesday lunchtime at Seattle.

So tired. Often when I start out tired, I'll forget about the tired once I get going. Not this time. Tired all the way through the class and even more tired by the end.


Then: opponent tries to front mount you, you stuff the leg into your half guard, then replace full guard. I use this a lot, so it was flowing pretty well for me- but with the tired, I was noticing more than ever that you really have to get your moves started before the foe SETTLES.

One roll with Cindy. I tried to keep moving, and also tried to not go where she was baiting me to go- although sometimes I think this resulted in even worse positions for me. She never runs out of Plan B, C, D, E, F and beyond.

Evening in Bothell.

Same two techniques from afternoon, plus a basic headlock escape- elbow to the mat, turn belly down, overturn opponent, pry opponent's arms off, armbar.

One roll with a huge white belt. He even *looks* like a sumo wrestler. I know this guy could have squished me like a cockroach, but he was being nice with his weight. I got one bow and arrow. I couldn't get his pantleg because we were jammed up against the wall, so I had to use little jerks to reposition us till I could get enough leverage to finish. When we were done with the entire roll, he sat up straight and went "Oh my GOD!!!!!!!!" (which was gratifying)

One roll with a brand new guy. He was lighter than the other, and also being nice about not using muscle. His buddies were all lined up by the mat good-naturedly urging me to tool him. I don't usually do that... but the guy was laughing and having fun, the mood was light, and it seemed like he wasn't going to be traumatized or anything if I did tool him. So I tooled him probably more than I've ever tooled anybody. This is something I just don't get to experience, EVER... it was so bizarre that I'm not even sure if I had fun or not.

Then, lest I get a swelled head- a roll with Will to keep me humble. He's not as good as Jalen (yet), but I have to bust my buns to keep up with him. He knocked out a couple of really nice technical tricks today. Always enjoyable. I hope he doesn't grow too fast.  ;)

With the white belts: I used some spider guard, as it seems to fairly reliably flummox white belts more than anything else does. I wish I was better at sweeps from spider guard. Something to continue to work on. Setting up triangles is starting to become easier from here. I did set up a triangle on the sumo wrestler and two triangles on the other guy. Didn't finish any- still striving for that part. I tried to transition to an armbar or omoplata from the failed triangles. That didn't quite work out. I'm happy at having been able to conceive and try for a plan B, though.

Nice to see a few little girls in the kids' class today.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Friday

I know people who are healthy, strong and agile, but they are not aware of it. Their bodies possess a wisdom that they can’t access. They are like little gnomes who direct the body from the control room; prisoners within their heads. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday lunchtime at Seattle.

All spars. I was hoping to keep the groove from yesterday going, but no such luck. In BJJ, your good days seem to almost always be followed by crappy days- and vice versa.

Today was a day of repetitive "Oops- I knew better than that- why did I do that?"

 My first roll was with Carlos. Note that I once again forgot that he wants me to quit trying to shove him over backward from his knees, and to quit being so fixated with trying to get on top. He wants me to work on my bottom game, esp sweeps. He knelt on my right hand today, but it seems to be a minor injury, thank Gods.

Hedge got me with the same (really awesome) rear summersaulting armbar that he got me with yesterday. I keep setting it right up for him; I need to quit that. Bryan wasn't there today, but I stuck my arm up by my head for Angus a few times. Ed used the same standing guard pass on me three or four times, and FINALLY at that point I got a clue and just quit trying to set up del a Riva on him. It was basically the same pass that Cindy does to me all the time, so I need to stop letting everybody do that on me.

Set up two triangles on a 4 stripe white, but he had shoulders like a musk ox and it wasn't going to happen unless it was set up perfectly from the get-go, which it wasn't. I hope he learned a lesson, though. And I continue to give myself brownie points for even attempting to set up a triangle.

Speaking of brownies.....Hungry ALL THE TIME, yet not losing weight.

Book report: Divergent by Veronica Roth- I'm recommending this one.
It is YA, so has a few of the pitfalls of that (the teen romance, the vague echo of "Hunger Games"), but I enjoyed it a lot. The first five chapters are available for free on Kindle as part of one of the "Pitch Darkness" sets of samples. I paid for the rest, and I'm a big cheapskate, so that means it's good.

Part of a trilogy. I'm almost through the 2nd one. It's just as good, although backstory is scanty and it builds on reader knowledge and character-investment from the first volume- so would not stand alone well. The third book comes out in October.
Friday evening at Bothell.

Standup- clinch to collapsing the knee for takedown. Spinning armbar, starting from side control (note for me: don't forget to bring heels in... I am being better about remembering to pinch the knees).

Choke: start in top side control. One arm under opponent's head- grab gi at shoulder. The arm closest to opponent's feet: reach under and across your own chest and behind opponent's shoulder to grab gi at the back of hir neck (fingers in). Your other arm: bring it over opponent's head and across neck. You can keep the gi shoulder grip *OR* get a lapel grip with thumb in. Sink elbow to floor.

Positional training from side control. I am lousy on the bottom as usual. I couldn't get out from under either of the two white belt girls, unless I bodily picked up the 110-lb one and threw her on her back like a big bully.

I recieved an unfortunate kneebar while rolling with Cindy, and had to stop. It hurt like a mofo for a couple of minutes, but I think it's going to be okay.

Noticing that (per CK's suggestion) my heel pain lessens when I tuck my pelvis under the way she is always trying to get me to do. Is this what it's gonna take to drive in that habit?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sweat angels

The type of physical awareness we have and the kind of relationship we maintain with our bodies influence our personality  at least as much as the kind of books we read.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

My right heel has been hurting for several days. Since it began the day after a midday workshift during which I was on my feet all day and wearing less-than-perfect shoes, I assumed it was just that. But now it's been several days, and it hurt quite loudly when I first got up today. So now I'm Googling plantar fasciitis and getting all anxious. The last thing I need is another chronic physical condition that's going to make it harder for me to do jiu jitsu!! CK complains enough about her P.F. that I'm pretty sure it is something I do not want.

Thursday evening at Bellevue.

All spars. I notice in the last six months that "all spars" day is more intense- in spite of my size, when I'm at Bellevue or Seattle I get paired almost exclusively with purples-and-up (plus a couple of odd blues who OUGHT to be purples- Ron, Marcelo, Glenn, I'm looking at YOU). Doing several spars in a row with all purples-and-up will take it outta you, for sure.

After much frustration and nearly giving up, I dove in and started completely over with the antlered headdress. Hallelujia, it worked this time. It's not the most comfortable thing I've ever had on my head, but I think it will be bearable (ought to wear it around the house for a few hours straight to make sure). I ended up ditching the Cliff Keene and the fur, and using the coated wire with plastic ivy and a lot of zip ties. There are a few charms hiding here and there amongst the ivy- wing, key, dragonfly, Chinese fortune coin, citrine, garnet, chestnut, drum token.

4 pounds down, 12 to go as of Friday.
Saturday: Heel still hurts. I feel like the Little Mermaid- fated "to have every step feel like walking on knives". It's not really that severe as of yet, but enough to change my gait. It worries me, since I didn't really *do* anything to myself to precipitate this. I'm picturing trying to Herald in this condition next month- that would suck mightily. I had been planning to make a point of trying to do a little more of my own heralding this year. It's so nice to have good workers, but I do kinda miss the grunt work.

Kindle Adventures: I have discovered that most of Andrew Lang's "colored fairy" series of old fairy tale books are free on the Kindle. I downloaded all the free ones. I read many of these in the library as a kid, and I have a few of the dead-tree ones. These little stories are nice bites to read before bed or in a grocery line.

I have also found that there are several collections of book excerpts and teasers that are presented in batches as free downloads. This is nice- I like a chance to browse authors that I'm not familiar with, with no commitment. Unfortunately, I downloaded a shapechanger novella that turned out to be a **Harlequin**- now the commercials on my Kindle are all for bodice-rippers, LOL. Annoying, but at least I won't be tempted to spend money.

The library Kindle books I want all have waiting lists. I was, however, able to reserve a Stephen King novella on DVD. He has a few that were never released in print, and I don't have them. I'm excited to get this one, which- ironically- is about a guy who just got his first Kindle.... and mayhem ensues. I'm listening to it in the car.
Following Thursday. Still with the heel pain, although I have not been in class for a week and have also been thoughtful about what shoes I wear. Worried.

Thursday lunchtime in Belle. All spars. Also- Carly got her blue belt!

I had a really good practice today. I had no plan to participate in "Operation Be More Aggressive"- although Lord knows I could use it- and Leslie wrote a a post about it the other day that had me checking and rechecking the blog header to make sure I wasn't reading my own writing. I can't stick to any sort of "plan" during spars because as soon as I engage, my brain fills up with white noise and I can't think.

Yet the concept may have been crawling around in the back of my neurons somewhere, because I was pressing everybody harder than usual. I was able to be more conscious about choosing, securing, keeping, and using grips than normal. I was also more mobile and spent less time in Clench-N-Cling (tm), less time parked in defensive positions while allowing my opponent to ponder and then set up an attack. Mostly stayed on top. Spent a bit of time in turtle and under back mount, but always got out.

 I had all colored belts, and I was competitive with all of them today. Got subbed a few times, but *I* also got a few taps (a rarity). I went pretty hard on Carly, but hope I adequately communicated that I was doing so out of respect.

Went with Frasier twice. He was using strength a bit, but is also decently technical. I think I would have started getting discouraged (and thus less dynamic), except that he was panting like a terrier- which told me that he was tired. After the spar, I suggested that he try to moderate his breathing (suggested the same to Hedge, who was complaining about his cardio). The second time I went with Frasier, I said, "I don't wanna hear any huffing and puffing during this match." He answered, "Yes, coach."  ;)

Hedge told me that I felt like a sack of rice parked on his ribs. I was quite pleased.

You know it's been a good class when you line up to bow out and the whole mat is covered with sweat angels.

Have been doing well with the diet (which pleases me, as I have spent too much time at home sitting on my ass with the Kindle in my hand this week... at least I wasn't feeding my face while I was doing that), a little less well with the soda. Bobbing up and down between 136.5 and 138.5 all week.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


An individual who is truly alive should not settle for anything less than the totality of experience. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Wednesday evening in Bothell.

Feeling extremely weary before I even walked in the door; I was concerned that I wouldn't be much use tonight. Will was bouncing around the place like a cricket on Red Bull, which made me feel even more tired thinking of having to fight him later. I managed to last all the way through the spars, although if there hadn't been another class waiting to get on the mat, I probably would have been wilting out before the rest.

Same bear hug from the back escape as this morning, and adding the following:

You are in turtle with opponent sprawled on you head to tail. Grab both thighs, pick a side and stick your head out from under hir armpit. Look over hir back. Step out with your far foot, circle around, pick the opponent's legs up while your drive in with your shoulder and head. Get some pressure on hir chest as soon as you get hir down; go to side control.

Also: bottom side control escape with heist, go to turtle.

Girl white belt takes suggestions eagerly and gratefully. Unfortunately it sounds like the new schedule (starting a half hour later) is not good for her. I hope she'll still be able to come. I'd love to see her play with Crisanne. Wish she'd cut her fingernails, though. Ow.

Wednesday lunchtime

A cynic is an idealist who figured out the fix was in but remained an idealist anyway. That's why the cynic always seems so bitter.  –Christopher Wright

Wednesday lunchtime at Sea.

Opponent bear hugs you from the back. bring your hands up to force hir arms above your elbows. Cover hir hands with yours and get your butt out to the side. Step your near foot behind hir feet. Now place your FAR shoulder on the mat in front of hir feet, rolling yourself over and thus rolling the opponent over as well. Get to your belly and face hir feet, holding hir thighs.

Opponent bear hugs you from the front. Make a rigid hoop with your arms and brace your hands at hir belt buckle area. Force your hips back to make some room. Run one arm behind hir and grab the back of hir belt. You can go to a hip throw from here. If it fails, Shove hir forward (you now have one back belt grip and one front belt grip on hir) and take hir back.

Replace closed guard from bottom side control. Note that to reach opponent's foot, you may have to jerk the opponent forward by the sleeve.

Same setup, only once you get your first knee in there, throw second knee over opponent's head for armbar.

Same setup for *that*; now opponent pulls the arm out and you have to go back to replacing closed guard.

A little positional training from side control.

One roll with Bryan.

I just knew that the minute I ordered a new belt, my old one would be found, and that is exactly what happened. (sigh).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Ron wants me to do

As conscientious martial artists, we must be fully aware of the power we hold
over those underneath us. Lower ranks look up to and often too lightly lionize
those of higher rank. The reality is that the more advanced have been practicing
for longer, started earlier, and nothing more. In the eyes of the new student,
though, particularly the young one, these people may as well be superheroes
with powers they cannot fathom possessing. More than knowledge, these more
advanced students hold the power to control others, harming or not harming,
assisting or ignoring them as they see fit. Even if it isn’t discussed, that is a
deeply primal thing in the mind of a person. It is not to be abused. –Ryan Hall

Tuesday evening Advanced class, Belle.

Tone was back tonight. I didn't get to work with her today. She did two classes yesterday. I hope she doesn't burn herself out or get injured. She still seems very enthusiastic.

King Of the Hill from mount. Then rotating spars.

Ross is getting very good. He tapped me twice.

Crisanne stuck her head right up into my favorite collar choke. I cheerfully throttled her and told her to never do that again. Otherwise, she was doing quite well.

With Ron:
Kitsune: "I can tell you're trying to bait me into passing your half guard on the right. I've been rolling with you too long, Ron. At this point I'd rather stay in a shitty position than do *anything* you want me to do." Rolling with Ron continues to feel like trying to balance on top of a golf ball on your heel. Blindfolded. On ice.

I worked with a tall white belt guy with whom I spent almost the entire time gripfighting, with a few interludes of me grabbing closed guard and trying vainly to sweep him. He had good base, good choke defense (as I told him). He kept repeatedly apologizing for not knowing what he was doing, and for just being defensive, and for his percieved suckage. I hope he believed me when I told him he has nice basics and he's doing great, that he should just keep doing what he's doing.

I got an omoplata on a blue belt, which I'm pretty excited about. That's not a sub I get very often. I don't get *any* sub very often, especially on a colored belt, but when I do it's usually a choke. He made me work for it. He was trying to summersault out of it, but I grabbed his gi and hung there, and kept tightening it up till he tapped.

Casey nagged me about my belt. I have't been back to Seattle yet, and I wanted to look for it myself before having to buy a new one. But I asked Cindy to look for it last week, and she didn't find it. I went ahead and ordered a new one online tonight, but it will take a while to get here. Casey told me I'd have to start going into the basics class. Good Lord, does he think that's a punishment? He doesn't know me at all, does he?

I now have a King County library card. I apparently have to physically go to the library and show them ID before I can borrow Kindle books. By searching free Kindle books on the web, I found a couple of really old and fairly short ones that count as "reasearch": One on old Chinese religion and one of old Chinese fairy tales.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I have a Kindle.

There are things that cannot be caged within the limits of geographic or racial boundaries. They are paths open to anyone whose heart beats for something more than simple inertia. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

There is no jiu jitsu in this.


Form Of the Day: Dance Of Life

The antlered headdress is nearing completion. I enjoy arts and crafts, but this project has been difficult. Many expensive and time-consuming misadventures. I'm not thrilled with the way it turned out- it's not what I'd envisioned. I'm not sure if I should just go with it, scrap it and start over, or scrap it and give up.

One of the ER nurses came down last night to use my glucometer docking station, and saw all my fur and velcro and glue and sewing crapola spread all over. "Oh, what are you making?" "Errr....." I danced around for a while, but she was not letting me off the hook, and kept asking more questions.

If I'm absolutely cornered on such matters, I'll say that I'm "into some Native American stuff"- that doesn't tend to get the sort of recoil (or subsequent gossiping) that the P word often produces. At that point, it came out that she is somewhat familiar with the drum community- she has been to Flute Quest. So I invited her to Turtle Drum. ;)

Since I'm having to sew anyway, am taking this opportunity while my glue dries to detail my tactical scrub pants. What are tactical scrub pants, you ask? People who tend to carry around knives, guns, flashlights, cans of pepper spray, and other such goodies appreciate a nice cargo pant. I found some great cargo scrub pants with about a jillion pockets. I bought them in five different colors. All they need is a few stitches here and there to create a "pocket-within-a-pocket" so that my flashlight (on the left) and my pepper spray (on the right) remain upright and easy to grab. I hate it when the cylindrical paraphernalia in my pockets turn sideways. You have to readjust your pants before you can sit. The flashlight turns itself on, and burns batteries. If I needed to grab one of these items quickly, I'd have to fumble an extra moment to figure out which end was which. I like it when everything is exactly in place.

I'm hungry. And grumpy. But I'm being very good.
Cake in the break room. This Little Piggy Had None.

I have a Kindle.

I confess this with mixed emotions. It has always been very important to me to not submit to being on an electronic tether. I only got a cell phone three years ago- and the only reason I succumbed to THAT was because my housemate cancelled the household landline in the middle of my hunt for a new job after being laid off. All of a sudden I figured out why no prospective employers were calling me back- because the phone number on my resume was disconnected. Getting a cell at that point was an emergency measure (after killing the housemate and hiding the body). I got (and still have) one of those no-frills ones that you have to load with minutes from cards bought at the supermarket. I do not carry it. I keep it in the car and check it every few days. I do not have an iphone, ipad, ipod, tablet, or any of those types of objects. I bought a used laptop last year just so that I could work on my book, and get on the internet when I was at the hospital overnight (they have Net Nanny on their wireless (doesn't that suck?), but it's a less restrictive version than is on the work computers).

One of my other housemates has some of the same literary tastes as I, as well as considerably more disposable income than I- thus I have fallen into the habit of letting him buy new releases of the authors we both like, and then I borrow the book from him when he is finished. When he got an e-reader, I was like, "Well, crap. Then you won't even be buying the new Wheel Of Time book, huh?" He- being a huge Geek, now has no fewer than FOUR e-readers. He loaned me one to read the Sanderson book on. I was hesitant but game. I like having a book in my hands, I don't like electronic gadgets, but I don't have twenty seven bucks burning a hole in my pocket for a hardcover new release.

Mixed reaction. Paging back through trying to find a reference from earlier in the story is a pain. Likewise, when I wanted to peek at the final chapter to see if so-and-so was really going to croak, that was a pain. I suspect this type of thing will be easier eventually when I learn how to navigate (I'm a slow learner with electronic gadgets; one of the reasons I don't care for them much). Having to plug it in to recharge was a pain- but the battery did last most of a work shift. (Another reason I don't like gadgets- having to keep track of how much juice everything has and remembering to keep constantly plugging shit in; and having batteries die all the time.) I could fit the device in my scrub top pocket (try that with the newest Wheel Of Time hardback- ha ha). I could also read it in bed. Reading in bed is a luxury that I have forgone in the last two years due to lighting difficulties.

Housemate bought me a Kindle Paperwhite. I would never have bought something like this for myself. (I did, however, use birthday money from my mom to buy a cover for it so that I would be less likely to break it).

I come from an era when dinosaurs roamed the earth and when you wanted something, you had to drive your car from store to store looking for it (and with a decent probability of never finding it for all your effort). We also paid for things with cash or personal checks. There was a visceral component to surrendering your hard-earned money. It took more effort.

Nowadays, you can get on the internet and find ANYTHING you want in minutes- even if it's on the other side of the planet. Internet shopping is great for being able to get exactly what you are looking for, but a Bad Thing for anyone with impulse control issues or an extremely limited budget. We buy with cards- or, in the case of online purchases, you don't even need that much. You can spend a hell of a lot of money in a hell of a short time without feeling like you really did it.

Now I can get a book in my hand (so to speak) in literally under a minute. I was somewhat disquieted to learn that I don't even need to buy the Kindle books on my desktop, and I don't even have to have the Infernal Device plugged into the computer *or* the wall- I can get a book in my hand in less than a minute from almost anywhere, with wireless. Gods help us. I feel like Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice, when everything started to get out of control.

A colleague informed me last night that I can borrow some Kindle books from the library.

Also prominent in my mind is my upcoming annual PSG trip- which involves an all-day plane trudge each way, for which I normally purchase and pack half a duffle bag full of books. They take up a lot of room, and are heavy. Not so a Kindle. I also won't need to disturb my seatmates.... I always take a red-eye east, and always feel guilty when I turn the overhead light on to read while everybody else on the plane is trying to sleep.

I'm somewhat worried that a Kindle addiction will cause my already-agonizingly-slow work on my own WIP to grind to an utter halt. I read a little on the Kindle last night (I've bought one book on it so far), and then made myself work on my book for a few hours.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"There's no sweating in jiu jitsu ."

Fisher had tried to enter the hole in the clouds six or seven times- but kept finding
herself back in her body, the wooden raft pressing impassively against her
shoulderblades.  –The Hole In the Clouds

I'm feeling incredibly frustrated with weight right now. Yesterday I ate nothing but six shrimp, and a turkey sandwich (a little horseradish mustard at 5 cal per teaspoon, no mayo) and did two classes plus sparring after one of them, and still didn't lose anything. How is that even possible? Six shrimp and a turkey sandwich proves to be "TOO MUCH FOOD" on a 2-workout-day. Unbe-freaking-lievable. And that wasn't even horrible food- true it wasn't chicken breast or eggs, but it's not as if I was eating lasagna and Twinkies. It's starting to really piss me off- which is probably good, since being pissed is a good way to amp up the willpower. But I'm looking ahead with horror and dread to a life full of days restricted to two tablespoons of food per 24 hours, since it's starting to look like that's the only way I'm going to see any results. I think there must be hidden calories in my tap water or in my oxygen. This doesn't even make biological sense.

Tuesday lunchtime, Bellevue. Not that I had any lunch.

Two new ladies, one of whom I worked with- Tone. She has potential! I hope she comes back.

Setup to the straight ankle lock. Be mindful of changing level; and of using just the toe on the mat with that outside foot, heel on the hip.

Then finishing straight ankle lock.

Then defense: With the arm that is on the OPPOSITE side as the leg being attacked, grab opponent's cross lapel. Now place your other hand on opponent's ankle (the one s/he has on your hip) and press it to the mat. Post on it and scoot your butt to the outside of it. Now stand up. Shake/pull your leg out.  At first we used the technical lift to stand up, then we used the lapel grip to pull ourselves to standing or into front mount.

Spars with Casey, Ram, and Dave. I told them all to be nice to me because it was my first day.

Kitsune (grabbing Casey's ear): "Is it legal to pull ears?

(Grabbing fingers): "Are we allowed to bend fingers back?"

(Monkey-slap to face, pulled at the last moment): "How about this? Can I do this?"

I tried to Del a Riva him several times but could not control the near foot. Finally I tried grabbing my own lapel to cinch it in place, and that had a bit of success. Need to play with that some more.

I asked Dave to attack my feet and legs. As I had previously learned with Luis, when you ask a brown belt to attack your lower body, they do not mess around. I felt like I was trying to turn back the ocean tide. It just washed right over me no matter how frantically I worked, and left me lying there sodden and drowned... with legs broken in about ten different places.

I got a big laugh out of Ram by asking in exasperation, "How many knees do you HAVE?! about twenty???" Because that's what it seemed like. Here a knee, there a knee, everywhere a knee, knee.

When we lined up to bow out, Carlos made me move from the end of the line. I said, "Wow- I'm getting a huge promotion on my very first day!" Everyone started applauding me. 
4:30 basics in Bellevue. I rolled with Casey again for a while to warm up.

Kitsune: "It's my first day. We're not going to get sweaty or anything, are we?"

JP: "No, there's no sweat in jiu jitsu."

Kitsune: "Oh good. I don't want to mess up my hair. Hey, we can do heel hooks in here, right? At my last school, we did heel hooks. This must be a wussy school."

These techniques were a little frustrating.

Opponent is in your closed guard. Grab behind hir elbow and get a pants grip at the knee with your other hand. Use your legs to pull hir forward and load hir up. Sweep. Keep guard closed till you get over- don't open up like a pendulum or scissor sweep.

Besides the fact that I generally suck at sweeps, the only available partners were gigantic- I couldn't even get my guard closed, and the idea of trying to pull them forward with my legs was laughable. They had to be nice to the extent of diving into the sweep.

Same thing, only underhooking the leg and using opponent's knee like a phone. Keep both leg and arm when you mount (I had to go to S mount in order to be able to do this on my larger partners).

 Then, that same setup but transferring to an armbar. I struggled even more with this one. If the guy was loaded onto me at all, I could not swing my leg around because he was crushing me half to death. Once I was tipping him off of me, I could not swing my leg around because his body was now in the way.

Adrian then showed us some nifty grip breaks for when the opponent is resisting the armbar. You thread your own gi tail through hir folded arms and cinch it up nice and tight. Your hand that is nearest opponent's feet needs to be on the bottom of your double grip. Move the elbow to the other side of this arrangement to clamp it up. Now look at the opponent's clasped hands. You want to pull in whatever direction the back of the hand is facing, instead of just cranking randomly when you might be setting yourself up to be resisting hir strongest possible grip.

Advanced class.

I rolled with Crisanne for 10 min to warm up. She remembered my upa lessons, my KOB escape lessons, and my choke defense lessons. I let her triangle me a few times, but I made her work for it.

Straight ankle locks again. This time, when we did the escape, we sat right on the opponent's foot instead of moving our butts to the outside. Added detail- when you shake/pull your foot free, give a hearty yank on the lapel at the same time.It is distracting, at the very least.

Some positional sparring from the straight ankle lock setup. Ron was clumsy at first, and complained that he hasn't worked any attacks/defenses below the waist. I hear ya bro. After a while, though, he figured out how to get his evil little omnipresent knees and muscley little legs jammed in the works, and I could no longer do anything.

Hedge got his purple belt! That was fun to see. He was distinctly glisteny-eyed when he stood for the photo. Lord, but Ron is still running around in a blue belt. I was certain he'd get promoted at the big promotion orgy in Seattle last weekend.

Spars with a few different people, including Hedge- whom I congratulated, teased, and then went hard on.

Kitsune: "Come on- do you want to look back on your very first night wearing a purple belt and say you got choked by a white belt girl?"

  I had to watch the capoeira class for a while- in fact I watched till the teacher stopped and addressed me where I was hanging on the doorframe, and told me to come in and take a chair if I wanted to watch. I've always wanted to try this, but I fear that my weakness at memorizing choreography- as well as my bad knees- would scuttle me.  It sure is pretty, though. And I do such nice kicks.

I had damn well better be a pound down in the morning, or I'm going to just start sawing body parts off.

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Don't hurt me- I'm only a white belt."

Spiritual are those who are not satisfied with surviving, but want to turn daily experiences into sources of ecstasy. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Monday lunchtime, Seattle.

Standup- Bad Guy roundhouse kicks to your ribs. You move in the same direction as the kick, but stay square with opponent. Catch leg, make sure knee is bent at least a little, and use heel of hand on inside of thigh just above knee to press while you step back and pull for takedown. Bring your foot on the OPPOSITE side as the trapped leg in and stick your toe right under hir butt. Your other foot goes to her hip (on the trapped leg). Drop onto your side (facing away from foe), reach under the calf and grab your own wrist, side bak so that the top of hir foot is right in your armpit, turn your forearm so that the bone is digging into hir leg, and bow your back like a swaybacked pony.

This reaction to the roundhouse kick is contradicting my Kung Fu training, which has me rushing in to press up against the opponent where the kick has no power.

Next: You are in closed guard. Opponent has deep cross lapel grip. You use the arm on the same side as the one s/he is using to cover hir arm, grab hir lapel, and bend your elbow forcefully to your ribs and downward. This should force hir grip downward on your collar at least a bit. Now grab the pants with your other hand, at top thigh. Take a moment to makes sure that 1)your elbows are both inside, and 2)your knee- the one on the side with all the lapel-gripping- is outside opponent's hip so that s/he can't shrimp. Now: Turn body toward pants-grabbing arm and break guard. Slide lapel grip down, slide pants grip down to knee. Keep your knee on the ground UNTIL you bounce to your toes (plank position- now your feet are too far away for opponent to catch half guard), then tiptoe around the pants-gripping side to side control.
Somewhere between leaving the mat in Seattle and stepping back on the mat in Bothell, I lost my belt. I think I left it in the locker room at Seattle. Hope to God I didn't drop it in the parking lot or something. Carlos is *NOT* going to be amused. Anyway, I was a virgin white belt in Bothell tonight. I have been rather jealous of Ginger Snaps for getting to start over at white belt. It felt so odd. Less pressure? Even though most of the people in there know what rank I am.

Same techniques as this morning, with the addition of passing top half guard with shoulder pressure, butt in the air, and using free foot to pry yourself loose and go to front mount. Grapevine, hip down, active hands above opponent's head.

Positional training from closed guard. Paper-scissors-rock to decide who's on bottom first. One guy and I did about 10 rounds of ties before my paper finally beat his rock.

I also got a purple belt whom I didn't know. I said, "Don't hurt me- I'm only a white belt." I'm so evil.

A few spars.
Working on the antlered headdress- sewing garnet strings along the edges of the hide scraps (Ooog, I hate sewing so much. And this is painstaking detail-work-type-sewing), and glueing velcro strips to the headgear to better anchor the antlers as well as to secure the hides. I have enough velcro on there that asteroids are getting sucked out of deep space to stick to the back of my head.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cliff Keene to the rescue

From school playgrounds to abusive marriages, from dark streets at night to our very private nightmares, the theaters in which the prospect of physical conflict divides humanity into fearful prey or fighters are more than can be numbered. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday evening, Bothell.

Pendulum sweep from guard, tripod sweep, arm drag from closed guard to squirt out the side and take the back.

Note the detail of grasping your own wrist to help wrench opponent’s grip off.

Although tripod sweep intrigues me, I’ve had difficulty with it in the past due to 1)the number of steps, 2)the grip changes, and 3)the fact that you have to use all 4 limbs at once doing 4 different things. This time it seemed somewhat more manageable. I hope that after it cycles through the curriculum a few more times, I might start to feel comfortable with it!

Worked with the white belt woman again. She is a feisty little thing! I had to remind her to not dig her nails in, to not bend my fingers back, and the difference between positional sparring (resistance) and drills (no resistance).  He h heh. She has a great grasp of some of the basics like shrimping, maneuvering her hips around, and jamming those knees in there. She is going to be very good if she sticks with it.

I was not able to complete the pendulum sweep when she resisted. At first I cranked at it, thinking I could/should simply bull her over…. If she weighs 120, I’m Beyonce. I couldn’t do it. That was a little frustrating, yet one could view it as, “If I can’t bull HER over, I should be able to resist such that other people can’t bull ME over.”

Somebody’s kid fell asleep in the lobby. When Cindy remarked on him, I suggested that maybe Will had sneaked out there and choked him out when none of us were watching.  ;)

I didn’t stay for sparring, as I had a pre-dawn work alarm set for morning.
Turtle Drum. Parking in Ballard at night has become a nightmare in the last few months. I was on time, but had to drive around for 20 min trying to find somewhere to park. Like last month, ended up walking a good ten blocks. Left most of my paraphernalia in the car, since I was already barging in late.

Double guiro, egg shaker, Tiala (doumbek). Bells. Chanting. Everybody wanted to chant tonight, including several men, which was really nice. In most circumstances, the men are more shy about singing- which is a shame. It sounded incredible.

Kung Fu dancing- Black Crane (Black Crane 1) and White Crane (Walking the Path).

The new antlers are here. Less awesome-looking, yet lighter and more manageable. I'm such a moron. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. But after half an afternoon of dorking around with coated wire, headbands and duct tape, it occurred to me to get out my old pair of Cliff Keene "Tornado" headgear. Strapped that baby on, wrapped the throat strap UNDER my hair at the nape of my neck and velcroed it there, wedged the antlers under the head-crown straps. Almost good enough placement- and almost stable enough- to wear just like that. Hallelujia. Needs some additional monkeying around... it would be really nice to completely remove the plastic ear cups, if that is possible... and it's going to take some creativity to camouflage.... but I think this is going to work.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What happens when you both try to pull half guard at the same time?

Okay- commercial’s over. Grab onto my arm now. Hold tight. We are going into a number of dark places, but I think I know the way. Just don’t let go of my arm. And if I should kiss you in the dark, it’s no big deal; it’s only because you are my love. –Stephen King

Thursday evening two-fer at Bellevue: no gi and "black belt".

No-gi: start on feet with pummeling, then pummeling to single-leg setup, then eventually to complete the takedown.

Side control- failed kimura. The arm nearest opponent's feet: Put elbow on mat and grasp opponent's bicep. Other arm- grab your own bicep. Step foot up behind opponent's head. Pull back and up.

I had trouble with both of these. I got "Purple belt, purple belt..." from Carlos again.  He doesn't like it when I turn my body and try to motion my way through the technique along with him. He made me turn around and watch... I don't know how to explain that this has me looking at things essentially backwards and then I have to transcribe everything in my brain before I can perform it, which is one area where I have a major neural disconnect. When I can face the same way as he is and do a little "monkey see monkey do" along with him, I get 1)a mental snapshot that I can copy for the next rep without trying to flip it bass-ackwards first, and 2)a dose of physical experience.

A little positional sparring.

I was feeling pretty inept after this and didn't really want to continue with the next class, which would probably be worse in terms of both higher complexity and lower patience/attention span. But I made myself stay.  Ugh, getting into a gi when you're already all sweaty and overheated is awful!

I got the same guy, which made me feel bad, but I actually turned out to be more competant this time. Not sure why, as these were indeed more complex maneuvers.

Pull half guard from standing. Many reps.

Then, partner pulls half guard while you turn your body to the outside and step back with the other foot, then turn back and "slide into home" with inner knee bent and sliding over opponent's thigh. End in side control. Many reps.

Next technique: Both partners squat waaaaaaaaaaaaay down before opponent pulls half guard. As s/he does this, you scoop your arm in and underhook the far thigh. Sprawl on opponent's matward leg. Turn your hips toward hir feet and dislodge your trapped foot. Side control. Many reps.

Last but not least: Your opponent starts in Del a Riva. You have pantleg grip at knee. Opponent sits up. You grab behind hir collar and put hir back on the floor, while moving in and squaring up. S/he pushes with hir foot on your knee.You donkey-kick your other leg out and place it on the mat outside of hir hip. Dance your other foot out to join it, side control. Do not let go of any grips during this process. Many reps.

Then, eternal reps of all three, until I thought I was gonna keel over. My focus started to go, and my partner seemed to be suffering the same. It got to the point where neither of us could remember whose turn it was to pull half guard. What happens when two people try to pull half guard at the same time? You end up sitting in each other's laps and embracing while clonking your heads together. Double points if your teacher is watching you do it (of course he was). After that, we had to resort to me whispering every time we began, "You pull,"  "Me pull," "You pull," "Me pull,"

When we lined up, I was so tired I could barely lift my arms to retie my belt. Carlos must have seen something on my face, because he asked if I was okay. I replied that I was so tired that I was afraid I would fall on my face when I tried to bow. He got a big laugh out of that. When we went to bow out, he called, "Careful, Keetsune, careful..." and I braced my hands out in front of me, just in case.

Pink Team

From school playgrounds to abusive marriages, from dark streets at night to our very private nightmares, the theaters in which the prospect of physical conflict divides humanity into fearful prey or fighters are more than can be numbered. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path
Tuesday advanced class, Bellevue:

Began with double-leg setup drills. I tried to do some variations with one or both knees on the floor, but that’s really hard on my knees. I was with Dave, who grabbed me off the wall and was apparently bent on being SuperPartner tonight- not that he isn’t always nice to work with (and it’s VERY nice to have someone grab me instead of feeling like the last kid picked for kickball every night), but tonight he was cheerleading literally every rep.

Back mount and… wait for it… bow and arrow. Couldn’t believe it; my throat still hasn’t recovered from last week. Oh well. Today we were doing it as follows: the leg behind opponent’s shoulderblade, sit right down on your butt and lie back, pulling the opponent back with you.

Then: opponent pulls your choking arm’s elbow down over hir bicep. Use your same-side arm to comb hir arm down, then hoist your leg up so that your knee is hooked OVER your own elbow. This traps hir arm, then you can put your other sole on the mat and scoot your butt out, then scoot further to the side and armbar. This one was a little tricky for me. Arm and leg positions that I had to stop and think about, and I was having difficulty scooting out to the correct angle/distance so that I didn’t find myself lying down too soon.

Carlos also did a little demo wherein he displayed a bunch of other impressive ends from that opening 9all of which are WAAAAAAAAAY over my head for my current level, but fun to watch).

One roll with Daniel. I socked him in the chin twice. I decided to leave after that one roll… when I’m battering my partners like that, it usually means I’m too tired and/or distracted to have proper control.

Wednesday “Pink Team” at Bellevue. Usually if I’m free on Wednesdays, I go to Cindy’s. But tonight I had to be to work at 7:30, so I did this and then went straight to work and used my new key to the work shower.

Lindsey always treats me like a visiting celebrity on the rare occasions that I come to these, but I countered her embarrassing speeches about my level of incredibleness by praising her two white belts, who are pretty kick-ass and coming along very nicely.

We started with takedowns (yay!). Two people stood at opposite ends of the mat while a third ran back and forth and repeatedly took them down with anything. I did some double- and single-legs, because I’m not very good at those. Also some shoulder and hip throws, reaps, tomoe nage. Always good to practice my breakfalls more, too.

Then the comb-over escape from front mount to half guard; then the person who started on top counters with the Shoulder Of Justice and pries the legs off to return to front mount. I encouraged the ladies to apply more shoulder. “If I’m not talking funny, you’re not doing it hard enough.”

 Then some positional training, rotating partners, each person getting a chance to pick a starting position. I picked back mount, and am still not having much success holding it. Both white belts got my Knee Ride 101 Tutorial as well as my Defend-The-Choke-As-Soon-As-You-Notice-Second-Hand-Coming-In talk. Lindsey stuck one arm up over her head, so I trapped it there and ground on it for a while. She also stuck her head right into a guillotine, so I cranked on that for a while. Then I apologized, and she thanked me for the lesson. ;)