Sunday, April 28, 2013

You look scarier close up.

"Avoid stupid places with stupid people doing stupid things." –Marc Denny

Vince (Sprawled on top of turtle): "I'm going to put my weight on you... okay???"

Kitsune: "Go for it."  he chuckled at how blase I was being about it... he's only a medium-sized guy.

Next round....

Kitsune (striving for the exact same tone of anxious hesitation): "I'm going to put all my weight on you.... okay???"

Vince: {cracking up}

Thursday: walk to work and back. Unfortunately, there was a bad scene in the break room involving a giant bag of malted milk balls.

Friday: Walk to work and back. Dammit, the malted milk balls are still not gone yet. Well, I made serious inroads on taking care of THAT problem.

Friday evening BJJ at GB Bothell. I was way too tired to do this, but I promised Cindy I would be there. They were taking a photo for the school webpage. Generally I do not allow my picture to be taken. I have repeatedly refused to be in the photos for both Seattle and Bellevue. But Cindy gave me the hard sell. I hope Carlos doesn't get irritated with me when he sees it, since I refused to be in *his* photo.

Cindy (backing up): "Do I look more imposing further away?"

Kitsune: "No, you look even shorter back there."

Cindy: "Thanks."

Kitsune: "You asked. Trust me, you look scarier close up."

Review of this week's techniques. I drilled some with James and some with the girl white belt. She is promising- very small, but very strong. Unlike most beginners, she is not hesitant about getting nice and tight. Little teensy hands and slender forearms that just slip right in there for the choke.

Will choked a guy out (during drills, no less)!

I was too tired to stay for sparring.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The new girl teaches

It is time for an athletic philosophy; a philosophy forged through muscles and heart, a philosophy born out of the union of body and mind, of pragmatism and utopia, of sweet sensitivity and a warrior's determination. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ, GB Seattle. A 4th serving of the back mount to bow and arrow. Dessert: If the person you're B&A'ing paws at your arm with their matward arm, ignore it. If they paw at you with the upper arm, ARMBAR CITY.

Note that if the person is riding too low in your back mount, the center of gravity is misaligned and you can't get them over on their side. When you switch your base, it is vital to make sure that your knee is in front of their knee ("in front" meaning closer to the opponent's head).  

Positional training from back mount. To try to be a good partner to Angela, I attempted to do something different with each restart. However, eventually she had tapped me enough times that I ran out of stuff to try. I also had to tap once to the face-squash. I tapped verbally, and then kept tapping verbally about six or seven more times, because she couldn't stop the remainder of her body from sliding over my face.

One roll with Casey and one with Ed. Casey wasn't going to roll at all, because he has 2 injured shoulders, but Carlos suggested me. I like being the safe partner that you can roll with if you're injured.

Ed: I suggested that we start from standup. Very swiftly, there was a sole on my shin and then somehow I was lying on the mat. He says, "Oh, did you know I'm a Judo black belt?" Uh, no, I didn't, but now I'll ask you to work standup more often because now I'm sure you're quite safe. Although this means *I* will never get a throw. Oh well. Defense always needs practice.
Wednesday evening BJJ, GB Bothell. A 4-stripe white guy forgot his belt. I informed him that if he lost his belt, he had to start back at the very beginning. Then Cindy realized that she had left her belt at the Seattle school. It'll take her a long time if she has to start back at the beginning!

Kitsune: "If someone new comes in tonight, we'll just say that we're having the new girl teach tonight."
Cindy: "Just as long as you guys still take me seriously."
K: "We'll take you just as seriously as we ever do."
C: "Thanks a lot."
K: "I love you Cindy!"

Armbar from guard, with opponent putting one knee up for you to underhook. Finish either before or after you lay hir down.

Sprawled on turtle, to back mount, to Bow and Arrow (Gawd, AGAIN.... I'm doing this in my sleep). This time, so not do the S-mount- just turn the body so that you are perpendicular.

Also, back mount to clock choke; and failed clock choke to the one where you catch the arm and then choke with your hand behind the guy's head.

Got to drill some with Cindy and some with Vince. I have been very fortunate in great partners lately.

A little positional sparring from back mount.

Spars- not doing all that great tonight, but I was pretty tired.

Vince had the double-sticks guys (who have class right after us on Wednesdays) do a little demo for us. It was way cool. After they had done at it for a while and somehow did not break either of their heads open like melons, someone asked, "So how long does it take to learn how to do it like THAT?" Teacher (straight-faced): "Two lessons."  Haha.

Disguise: I think I'm going to end up using soot along with millet flour; I'll need to have them mix something in the flour to make it stick better. Blood may also be involved, either intentionally or accidentally.

Antlers: I think I am going to have to try to procure some smaller ones. I'm not happy about it, because I've done a lot of online shopping, and the selection and sources for small sizes is kind of sucking.

A disguise to fight in

The best verbal intervention is to present yourself as an objective outsider who has no opinion and doesn’t care about who is right or wrong. Right or wrong are determined by in-group standards in any case. “Break it up! You’re hurting her!” immediately puts you in a position of both being an outsider and judgmental.  “You’d better knock it off, I overheard someone calling 911 and the cops are on the way,” will break up the situation without turning the focus to you.
-Rory Miller

I have been dieting, and as of today have been successful at losing four pounds. Three more, and I will be back to my normal walking-around-weight, which is 10lb over my ideal/tournament weight. My intention is to lose those three- at least- before my June trip. Three pounds doesn't seem like much, esp when you've got 2 months to do it....yet it takes me a frustratingly long time and an incredible amount of food restriction to lose *anything*. Every pound lower takes discernably more effort to  remove than the one before.

Tues lunchtime at GB Bellevue.  Back mount to bow-and-arrow, Round Three!  (Ow!) I focused on speed and flow.  I got Nelson this time. I love working with Nelson. I did make one improvement suggestion to him: when he pulled me into his back mount, he rolled me right over his ankle. My comment: “That’s fine when it’s me, but if you try that with Rene, you’re going to break your ankle.”

He tried to encourage me to chinstrap him harder. I refused.

Per Carlos: while doing turtle-top spins, do not pause to contemplate your arm position while at opponent’s 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock, as I tend to do. Get thee to proper N/S so he can’t get you.

I had a Jack In the Box chocolate shake today, which I shouldn’t have done while trying to lose weight… but my throat really wanted it after all those chokes.

The antlers are here, FINALLY. To my dismay, they are quite a bit larger than they looked in the photo- as well as much heavier than anticipated. Most of the ideas I had for securing them may now be dismissed as foolish fancy. I’m not sure what to do.

Let's say you are about to participate in some fighting that- for political reasons- you are really not supposed to be participating in. You're in a little rural village in ancient China and have just a few minutes to come up with some way to disguise your face (and, ideally, your hair) in such a way that is not going to impair you, and you can later remove the disguise so as to profess your innocence of having anything to do with this. You have access to anything you might reasonably find in a small rural village.

Any bright ideas? Comment if so. I'm stuck. I've done a little internet research, but am coming up empty so far. At first I was thinking of having them cover their faces and hair in flour- but that might sweat off during the fighting. Mud is not an option. Someone on Mythic Scribes suggested flour mixed with animal fat or maybe even blood could be improvised face paint, and might look even scarier if it's sweating off some and running down their faces.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Restricting our horizons is encouraged in order to seek perfect efficiency in only one activity, avoid dispersing our energies, and dedicate ourselves to a well-defined career. This is how experts are born and life dies. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

The good part of two doses of bow-and-arrow drills in one day: you get to take the tweaks you figured out from part 1 and practice them in part 2.

The bad part of two doses of bow-and-arrow drills in one day: Your throat feels like you swallowed a hedgehog.

I had Angela this morning and Will tonight, and it's great to have excellent partners like they are- but they also got really nice chokes every time and knocked out reps like machine-guns. More aloe gel and aspirin tonight.

Same technique as this morning, plus this:

Opponent is in your close guard, throwing haymakers at your head. You do Black Crane style cover, then grab opponent's head and use your legs to hug hir to your chest.

Opponent fights the elbow and swims head out.  More haymakers.

Black Crane block with both elbow and knee; grab sleeve. Repeat on other side. Feet on hips. Spread knees out for butterfly guard.

Positional sparring from hanging off opponent's turtle, double-under lapel grips.

Spars. James did not remember my KOB lesson and had to be reminded. Next time he ought to be hustling as soon as I say "one!"  There was another blue belt there tonight with a lot of fancy moves, who ran a clinic on me. Also a big white belt who kept pushing my head to the mat. "Wrestler, huh?" Yup.

Vince invited me to do TMX with him and some other people after; which was really temping (esp since I'm trying to drop a few pounds before PSG), but after 2 classes, I was out of gas. Maybe another time.

....and still more back mount

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.
-Karl Popper

Monday lunchtime BJJ, GB Seattle.

You are sprawled N/S on opponent's turtle. Cross your arm over your own chest and place your forearm against the side of opponent's neck before scooting around (keep your weight down on hir).  Get double-under lapel grips.

Switch your base so that you are sitting on the thigh FURTHEST from the opponent. Pull hir into your back mount. Be sure to get both hooks in.

With right arm, reach OVER opponent's shoulder and grab opposite lapel. With other hand, grab hir pantleg.

Lie down on your side (away from pantleg grip) and kick your matward leg back. If you can now get upright (I struggled a bit with that part), you are in S mount. Be sure to cinch the front shin right up against your opponent's chest, and your back leg right up against hir shoulderblades.

!!!!!!DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do not lie down on your back! Remain upright, posture up for bow-and-arrow.

Aside from my perpetual driving need to let go of pants, and my difficulty getting upright to S-mount (you really have to do everything quickly and utilize the momentum from the lie-down-and-kick.... step by step ain't gettin' 'er done on this one), my challenge here is another familiar one: when I try to pull people into my back mount, I have a tendency to roll onto my back. I have troubleshot this issue before, but could not immediately recall the solution. So I adjusted a few things and experimented a little, and I'm actually pretty pleased that I was soon able to figure out what I needed to do. When switching base, I needed to plant myself further away from my opponent than would seem proper. Also, a little further up on hir body (closer to the head).

Seemingly endless dreels, then positional sparring starting from the double-under lapel grip hanging off the side of the turtle. Angela was laughing at me and seeming to have a lot of fun today. She said I was "fiesty" and that she likes it.

I tried to sit out the first roll of open mat to catch my breath, but Carlos was having none of that and told me to get on the mat. Cindy was egging him on. This is a downside of having Cindy back at GB; now she and Carlos can collude against me and gang up on me.

I rolled with Z, whom I wish would show up more often- he is just my size and has all sorts of cool sneaky tricks. He tapped me a few times; I got one choke sunk in that felt right, but I couldn't get him to tap (he said nothing was wrong with it, he was just being stubborn).

Then one with Bryan. Once again, I found myself with my arm crossed over my own chest. "Keep doing that," I told him, "Until I learn." Then I went and did it to *myself* while I was trying to turn my body under his mount, and didn't even notice it for a while.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Authoring fight scenes

What's your objective? -Raven

I am pleased to report that as of Friday, hiccupping no longer feels like being impaled on a rusty pike.

Sunday Form Of the Day: Leopard Fist
WIP: I wrote most of my 2nd extended fight scene… when I say “extended” I mean described blow-by-blow from start to finish. This fight is not a very lengthy one, though. It- like my first extended fight scene, which was moderately long- is a staff duel. I kind of dread doing fight scenes, because I’m never sure how much or little to describe. As a martial artist, of course, I’m used to paying hella close attention to every little thing, because if I don’t, it results in pain- LOL. I don’t know how quickly “normal” readers get bored with blow-by-blow, though- or how well they can follow, although I think my descriptions are fairly decent. Yet if you are writing “sword and sorcery” genre, you can’t really get away with not talking about ½ of your theme… and if you describe the magic closely, it doesn’t make sense to avoid writing fight scenes.

I’m excited about how one aspect of it turned out. I knew who needed to win, but of course you don’t really want it to be a rout.

One of the things that continually comes up on Jiu Jitsu Forums is the question, “What if you have a legit sub, but the opponent won’t tap?” Do you keep going and choke hir out, or break hir elbow? Or do you just let the sub go? What about practice vs a tournament? Your buddy vs a stranger? A white belt vs an experienced guy?

Now, I’m a very judgmental person, and I usually know exactly how I feel about a question- this one no exception. However, this is one of the rare questions where I can truly see and empathize with the “other” side. Moral grey fascinates me, as I don’t see it very often- again, opinionated here. Readers seem to love moral greyness. There’s been so much talk about that with Game Of Thrones.  As a writer, it certainly sets you up for interesting conflict and dialogue. I’ve been wishing all along that I could get more of it into my writing….. but I just tend to see things so starkly…. and that characteristic is a blockage in my fiction.

So anyway, this particular fight ended in a such a way that we’re not sure if opponent A was being an ass for refusing to surrender to a legitimate winner, or if opponent B was being an ass for refusing to let A go before- well, Something Else happens (but that would be a spoiler!).  I like that, and I like the possibilities it opens up for me later with these characters as well as with other characters who are going to be disagreeing about it. I also like that I was able to put something into my story from direct experience in MA.

I sure wish I could use transcriptions of actual spars I’ve had as a cheat for writing fight scenes.  Unfortunately, while the “white noise” phenomenon is very slowly improving, I still come up mostly blank when I try to recall details of my spars- even immediately afterward. I wonder if I should try to dictate into a mini-mic while I’m rolling.  ;)


Hazards Of Using Your Martial Arts At Work, #31

Hazards Of Using Your Martial Arts At Work, #31:

Tonight I used an axe-hand strike to open a box of hematology diluent, and broke the string on my brand-new garnet bracelet. I spent the next fifteen minutes crawling around on my hands and knees picking pinhead-sized garnets out of the cracks in the linoleum.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More back mount

“I have many skills.” –Xena, the Warrior Princess

Wednesday evening fundamentals, GB Bothell.

1)Bad guy is front mounted on you, punching you in the face. You do Black Crane cover, hip up and use knee to make Bad Guy post on the mat over your head. Overhook one arm, pinch it in tight, trap the leg on the same side, Upa.

I was the demo dummy tonight, and I made an obvious show of turning my hand over before getting upa'ed. To my delight, one of the white belts noticed and pointed it out. Insights Training, where I first learned an upa, made a big deal of this. I haven't seen this detail given much attention at GB, but I think it should be.

2)You are in turtle, opponent far back hanging on your butt. You turn slightly to get an angle, Grab hir pantleg, stick your opposite leg out to post.  Sit through, replace full guard.

3)Opponent is back mounted on you, double-under lapel grips. The s/he puts one arm over your shoulder for the choke.
You pull down on the elbow and roll to the side hir arm ISN'T on. Remove 1 hook, lie on hir leg. S/he starts to swing the other leg over for from mount. Grab the leg, stuff it between your own legs for half guard. Turn on your side, push hir other knee back, replace full guard.

Drills. So nice to work with Will. I miss Jalen, but Will is the same way about whipping those reps out and being really focussed.

Positional training from back mount. I had asked Cindy about this before class. She suggests that I try to keep moving around- if the opponent rolls to one side, keep the hooks and lapel grips and try to roll hir back. If s/he removes one of my hooks, s/he has to let go of it at some point- and I can try to get it back in. In the meantime, I can post off it and try to roll us around some more. I was still not doing very well during the positional training... I need more practice.

Spars. Tomoe Nage does not work on Will- dammit. I like to make them fly across the room once before they catch onto me. Will knows better than to push into me while we're standing- and if I try to yank him forcibly into the tomoe nage, he drops to his knees and goes into my guard. 

I got stuck in bottom half guard (yeah, what else is new). After a long time, he got really frustrated and stopped to ask me how the heck to get out. So I showed him one trick, and Cindy showed him a different one.  So, that is probably the last time I get to work *THAT* game on him. Also- he tried mightily to clock choke me, and was sooooooooooooo close, but I held out. After the clock ran out, I told him that if he'd grabbed my pants and pulled just a little, I would've had to tap.

I did not spar with Eric tonight, but I worked with a new (to me) large white belt, and James (whom I've worked with before). James got my KOB 101 tonight. We'll see if he remembers it next week. I got one sub on him- baseball bat (without gi- gable grip).  

After class, Cindy had Will work some bottom half guard sweeps using me as a dummy.

We didn't get time to clean the mat before another class came in. The Bothell school shares space with a Kempo school. They were doing single short stick! I wanna learn! Unfortunately, what these folks were doing was an exercise similar to what I've seen the kickboxing class doing: combos according to strings of numbers called out by the teacher. That is exactly the sort of thing that my brain does not compute. I would get #1 and #2, and after that it would be all over.

I made Eric do a triple-take tonight when he found out how old I am.

I am wearing a beard of aloe gel tonight. The entire lower half of my face is peeling off from gi burn.

Back mount escapes

The moment they ask us to choose between two different paths, the implicit message is that we can only follow one. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Sea.

Bad guy begins in side control, switches to scarf, starts punching your face. You block bicep, hip up (Do *NOT* shrimp- needed a mental nudge every time), bring BOTTOM knee in onto hir chest. Bring other leg over hir head and push down to armbar. Grab the near knee, Gable grip so that you have both arm and leg. I did not want to gable grip at first because (among other reasons) I am fixated on rotating the opponent's thumb to the ceiling. It is not a WRONG fixation, but it does take both hands, when your hands are as small as mine. As Cindy has many times demo'ed (on me, not a few), as long as your knees are pinched together, you can finish armbar by pushing in three different directions. You do not need to have the thumb to the ceiling. I need to work harder to remember to keep my knees pinched.

Lindsey thanked me for the tattoos on my left shin because it gave her something to look at while she was being armbarred.

Opponent has back mount with double-under lapel grips. You trap one of hir hands by pinning it in your armpit, hold the other in your hand. Bridge, turn to the side you're holding with the hand, let go so that you can remove one hook. Get both feet out (still having a hard time with this), turn and grip opponent's thighs while you are facing hir feet. You can grab that other leg and throw it away (I was having a little trouble with that part as well).

Next, opponent tries to throw hir far leg over and go to front mount when you remove the hook. You grab the leg and shove it between your own legs for half guard, turn in to hir, get underhook, push that other knee out and replace full guard.

We've been doing a number of back mount techniques these last two weeks, and today is the second time a lower-ranked, small-size woman has asked me in puzzled frustration about keeping back mount. I have nothing helpful to give them. I know that you're supposed to have one hook higher than the other (I gave Lindsey that detail today), but frankly I don't even try to hold back mount unless I can sink a sub-worthy choke IMMEDIATELY (even then, I go ahead and remove my hooks because it doesn't matter at that point). If I can't choke instantly, I just thrust the opponent on hir side and try to roll into front mount, which I have reasonable success at with less-then-purples. When you're a short woman, you really can't stop them from reaching down and removing at least one of your hooks... which is where I often get stymied with even a medium-sized man, if he arches his back. I can't reach the damn foot. Occasionally I can lift it up with my thigh and grab it, if I do it quickly before he realizes what I'm about. Retaining back mount on larger people would be a good topic to ask Cindy about. Of course, one of the downsides of her being slurped back into the GB Borg is that now she has a curriculum imposed on her, and I can't just ask if we can work on such-and-such. I can always ask during open mat, though.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to Walk Like a Narc

“It’s not gonna get any better.” –John Fogh

Boss is getting me access to a shower at the hospital, so that I can do the lunchtime class in Bellevue on Tues/Thurs on occasions that I have a 15:00 shift. The Bellevue school doesn't have a shower, and there just wasn't adequate time to go home in between. Felt like a waste.
Told this favorite story on Jiu Jitsu forums today, and I can't remember if I've related it here:

I work for a charity that traps stray cats and spays/neuters them to help keep the stray cat population under control. This trapping often takes place in bad neighborhoods in the middle of the night, because this is when the kitties come out.

A friend and I were out on the railroad tracks in the middle of the night, in a Bad Place. There were cars parked all along the tracks- the people in them doing Lord knows what, but probably not playing Parcheesi.

I got out of the car and walked a ways down the tracks to look for the stray cat feeding station that I had been told was there. I could feel myself being watched by the people in the parked cars, and I was very consciously doing my "Don't F with me" walk- not quite a swagger or anything that would invite status challenge, just "I'm not prey".

I got back in the car, locked the doors, and my friend and I sat there in silence for a few minutes. Then, apropos of nothing, he suddenly turned to me and said, "You could never make a pot buy on the street, because you walk like a narc."


Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday evening in Bothell

We are stuck within a system that gives all the power to the mind, and just the leftovers to the body. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday evening BJJ at GB Bothell.

Worked with a few of the older white belt guys tonight, and they seem nice. There's also a very good blue belt from Edmonds. He did an interesting gi-tail choke on me twice in a row. I said, "Keep doing that until I figure out how to defend it." He did it to me again, and I still can't even see it coming. Once you're in it, turning either way tightens it more, so you're hosed. Note: next time I spar that guy, ask him to keep doing that choke on me.

Review of stuff from the week: armbar from mount (note that you don't *have* to hold the arm as I tend to do; you can post both hands on the chest and as long as you quickly plant your crotch on the guy's shoulder, he can't pull the arm out), keylock from mount,  Failed keylock transition to armbar, Front mount to back mount with choke, Cross collar gi choke from mount, Cross collar gi choke with the 2nd hand on the outside of the gi shoulder. Note that if you put your forehead on the mat for those cross collar chokes, it is supposed to go on the same side that your uppermost arm is.

Spars. I had told everybody that I have a minor rib injury and to not go too heavy. Everybody was fine. Eric still being really muscley, but I don't expect that to improve for a while. At one point we had about 20 seconds left on the clock when we reset from a spar, and after the clap-and-bump he lunged and hit me like a speeding freight train. It hurt a bit, but it was also so over-the-top that I spent the last bit of time trying to defend while laughing my butt off. 

Cindy and I were teasing each other a lot tonight, which is fun, but I need to be mindful to not go too far- because I know she's trying to maintain at least some of the more formal decorum of Gracie Barra Land. I guess I could come off as sounding disrespectful to people who don't know us, and I certainly don't want that. For some reason, when it's largely over-forties on the mat, it seems okay to me to loosen up more. 

Also note: at Sleeper, Jalen and Terry usually cleaned the mats. Here, with the present crew, I need to remember that if I walk out without helping to clean the mats, I'm being kind of a jerk.

This was a very good couple days of hard training, Five classes in two days. Now I am sore, tired, and bruised from head to toe, but it was good stuff.

You want to watch this. It's adorable and funny. Have the sound up.


Hiccups hurt

You can have almost god-like technique, but if the story is boring, it's boring whether or not its well written.  -JCFarnham

I went to bed feeling like I'd been run over by a tractor, and I was pretty sure that this morning I would feel ten times worse- you know how when you go to bed really sore, you wake up really sore + swollen + stiff? Well, I'm sore this morning, but not nearly as bad as I'd anticipated. The body may be aging, but it still has quite a resilience. I have a lot of challenges as a martial artist, but one big strength I have always had is: you knock me down, I get back up and keep going.
Lunchtime BJJ, GB Seattle. I told Carlos how sore I was from his class. It makes him happy to hear that. It makes *me* happy on the occasions that he admits *HE* is sore as well (he admitted it today!).

Rolled a little with Angela to warm up. Triangle defense, re: my usual strategy of circling to the side and stacking- it works less well on her because she is more flexible than most of the men. She suggests that I try to get my foot on the other side of her head, continue stacking and twisting. If I can get my foot over there, she won't be able to turn with me and readjust, and she'll get kinked and hopefully have to let go.

Same Del a Riva techniques we did last night. Angela made an error on the grip, and to my horror, Carlos told *me* to go first and show her how it's done, since I'd worked on it last night. Can we say AWKWARD, and PRESSURE??!? Fortunately I got through it without phucking it up too badly. I really need to stay thoughtful on the grips. There are several grip switches, and several spots where if you let go of the wrong thing, your entire plan collapses. Also, still not getting both hooks in every time. I get to the end, and all I can think is, "Thank God, I got through all those steps and didn't mess it up!" Well,  you're not done yet. Not till both hooks are in.

Angela suggests that I turn further over on my shoulder to get those deep, odd leg angles that I'm having difficulties with. She was turning almost to the point that I could see her entire back patch.  

Positional training from Del a Riva, then King Of the Hill from back mount. I can't keep back mount. If I can't sink a sub-worthy choke instantly, I try to turn and transition into a different position (usually front mount, sometimes me in closed guard). I backmounted Carlos, and immediately upon the "go" I turned us and ended up in KOB. He just looked up at me and said, "You lost the back mount." Yes indeedy, yes I did.

Resolution: next time Angela asks me if I'm going to stay for open mat, do it- no matter how tired I am or what I have planned for later in the day. I've turned her down the last four times in a row.

Hey- Nick has his purple belt, and Kelly shaved her head. Lindsey didn't even recognize Kelly.

Ribs- still slight ache- and hiccups are excruciating! but otherwise doing okay.

I'm thinking about offering a women's self defense class at PSG. Probably not this year, but next year. We wouldn't be doing physical techniques; it would focus on how to avoid trouble in the first place, how to take yourself out of the "potential victim" pool. A lot of the Insights and Rory Miller material... awareness, avoidance, recognition of patterns, de-escalation, how to walk. Self-defense law. Dispelling myths. Why they should get a gun and learn to use it. The fact that they have a right to defend themselves. Truly, an hour of that stuff is more valuable than 20 years of martial arts experience. And there are just so many broken women in the Pagan community. So many who have been abused as kids, been raped, been battered by a significant other, have crappy self-esteem. Just ten minutes of instruction on how to "walk like a narc" could really change their perspectives.

There was a recent thread on the Feline Diabetes list where we got to talking about this sort of thing... most of the people on that list are middle-aged or older "Crazy Cat Ladies", and the board is heavily "moderated"- so I expected to get shut down as soon as I started telling them they needed to get handguns. That's such an emotional hot-button issue right now. But they were amazingly open to what I had to say, and several of them were in fact already shooters. I was able to address the "I'll just show him the gun" myth, the "I'm afraid that if I have a weapon, the attacker will take it away and use it against me" myth, the "I can't shoot an intruder in my house until he actually attacks me physically" myth, several others... I felt like I knew what I was talking about, and that they were really hearing me. I'd like to bring that to the PSG community as well.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sorry, Ed

Learn to take a beating.  Learn to take it personally; just personally enough for it to drive your desire for improvement.  –Leaahh

I'm making an antlered headdress for the Hunt. Real whitetail sheds, fake ivy, garnets. I tend to heavily favor citrine when it comes to working with stones, but for some reason I'm all over the garnet for this particular venture. It looks like little glittery drops of blood- yet the purplish cast gives it a subtlety that appeals to me, and I expect it will work out to great effect by firelight. I looked up the properties- it's known as the "warrior stone". Heh.

If you ever go to the Puget Sound area, and you have any interest in such things, here's your Mecca- Earthlight Rocks and Minerals. I try to not go in there very often. My credit card begins to whimper in pain as soon as I step over the threshold. Their prices are actually pretty good... I'm enough of a rockhound to know.... I just can't control myself!
No-gi, GB Belle. Single leg takedowns. Single leg takedowns with guard pass. Takedown spars. Then positional training with rotating partners: from front mount, back mount, Del a Riva, more takedowns.

It was quite an aerobic class, and pick-on-Kitsune-day continued through this class and into the next one. He did the "purple belt, purple belt." thing again. Well, I'd rather have him riding me than giving up and walking away, which he will do on very rare occasions when you're just too inept to bother with any more.

My ribs were doing okay (takedowns notwithstanding), but by the end of warmups for the following
"black belt" class, the room took on the appearance of rotating slowly- and I was beginning to wonder if I was too tired to continue. If we'd done more positional training for the next hour, I think I might have had to bail. However, the next bit turned out to be more brain-straining than body-straining (altho there was some of that too).

Del a Riva guard. Do not sit up- remain on your back. Take your hooking foot and stick the leg out straight so that you are scissoring opponent's far leg. At the same time, switch your grips. Now, take the other foot (the one you thrust against the knee) and bring the leg around in a big circle over your own arm and behind the opponent. Let go of hir ankle and grab the back of the belt. Kick both legs forward. Your hook feet are inside both of hir thighs. Now you have back mount. Don't forget to complete it by getting both hooks situated correctly.  (Carlos: "Keetsune- how many points?" Kitsune: "Uh, four." Carlos: "NONE, because you only have one hook een.")

Next: Del a Riva guard. Same scissoring variation. This time, keep both of the sleeve cuff gips that you already have, and cross the opponent's arms. Use your legs to load hir. Now you have 4 different options on which way to unload. Thrust opponent's X'ed arms the opposite way that you are thrusting hir body. Dumping hir over your head allows you to coninue the roll and finish in front mount. Dumping hir between you legs- if you tip hir body to one side and make sure you have the arms situated correctly- puts you in back mount.

I was a terrible partner to Ed tonight. I needed some help with the techniques, I kicked him in the forehead once while doing that big leg-circle, and then I hurt him by dumping him clumsily over my head. I realized a moment too late that I was rolling right over his face, and scrambled to move my weight, and didn't even notice that I was doing something worse to his ankle at the same time. I apologized all over the place, but I still felt reeeeeeeeeeeeeally bad. I definitely get clumsier when I'm tired- I think I was edging over the line of exhaustion that was beginning to make me an unsafe partner.

Sore and exceedingly exhausted now.

Thursday lunchtime

Physical education is the fundamental discipline of life, but it is actually despised, neglected, and taught intellectually, because the true intent of our schools is to inculcate the virtues of cunning and calculation which will make money...... The establishment is a class of physical barbarians.... they do not know how to transform money into physical enjoyment. They were never taught how to husband plants and animals for food, how to cook, how to make clothes and build houses, how to dance and breathe, how to do yoga for finding one's true center, or how to make love.  -Alan Watts

Tuesday: walk to work and back.  Still doing well with the soda being cut back to less than half my former habit. The first four days were truly the worst.

I had planned to go straight from work to open mat in Bellevue, but I spent half the night rolling over in bed very carefully and groaning. I appear to have sustained a rib injury rolling with Eric last night. I felt it happen, but it was on/near the breastbone instead of in one of my historically vulnerable trouble spots- it didn't hurt enough to stop the roll, so I ignored it.

It's been my experience that most injuries that don't start to hurt badly until later are usually muscular, or something that has swollen. IE, probably not a broken bone (the times I've broken a bone, I knew right away that it was likely broken). The "rib out"- kind of a mixed bag. Sometimes I know right away, especially if it's the site of a previous "rib out". Others took  a day to really start making their presences known. This doesn't really feel like a rib out, though (Lord knows I've had enough of them by now to know)... so I'm hoping it's just some bruising and minor swelling. I think I should take today off, though. I took some ibuprofin. We'll see what it feels like tomorrow.
Wednesday: walk to work and back.  I'm still hurting enough that I decided I'd better take one more day off. I can't turn around and look into the back seat of my car. Well, I probably could if I *had* to... but I really don't want to.
Thursday:  Got to BJJ an hour early so as to have plenty of time for a good stretch and warmup before rolling with the rib injury. A few reps each of Hurricane Hands, Little Red Dragon, Black Crane 1 (both sides... ending reap on the nontraditional side needs review), Five Points Of the Star, Spear Hand frag. Injury ached gently, but no sharp stabby pains.

I got punishment pushups today, for drinking water after the warmup without permission to do so. I don't agree with restricting water during training- maybe because I'm in health care- and I just don't deal well with the way some people come in in the morning and crank the heat all the way to max. By the end of the warmup, I'm baking like a potato wrapped in tinfoil, and nothing wipes me out worse than being overheated.

All spars. I was pushy about grabbing the people I wanted to work with. This was not the morning to have Donkey Kong or Hostility Boy bouncing on my rib cage. By the time we were done, though, I was getting down to the dregs and had to go with a couple of people that made me nervous. Nobody hurt me, though- and I don't feel much more sore now than I did before class, so I think with reasonable care I should recover from this one okay.

Monday, April 8, 2013


I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that most human problems have their origin in a bad relationship with the body.  -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Turtle Drum. I used Ascha, Tiala, the double guiro, egg shaker, housemate's little frog guiro. I took my jian, but it was too crowded in there tonight to play with that. A little muted chanting, but not much.  Some dance- my most recent Form Of the Day was the White Crane fragment, but for some reason it was mostly Leopard Three and Tai Chi (silk reeling, Repulse The Monkey) tonight. A little belly dance. (There's a combo- Leopard and Belly Dance) Then I felt like doing some Snake (more compatible with belly dance), but we were out of time.

Monday- walk to work and back.
Monday evening BJJ, GB Bothell. 

Nice to see some older, heavier white belts coming in and working.

Armbar from mount, keylock from mount.

Spars- Will, the 14YO orange belt, is good. Also good to work with. Wrestling skillz (sigh.... I do not do well against these wrestling takedowns).

Eric again. This is proving interesting. I didn't do much better against him than I did on Friday, but I remained calm and relaxed- even moreso than on Friday. I think that even as recently as nine months ago, working with this guy would have made me so frustrated that steam would be shooting out my ears. Now I can keep my cool- and I can also restrain myself from trying to match muscling with muscling. I knew what to expect from him this time. He is very muscle-y, and knows just enough technique to be dangerous. I am playing very defensive. Next time I want to move around more and take a few more chances. I'm anxious that as soon as I stick something out, he's going to slam a sub really hard and injure me. This type tends to slam subs. I need to try to experiment more and yet still protect myself adequately from slammed subs.

I told Bo I'd do it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


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

Thursday and Friday: Walk to work and back.

Saturday lunchtime BJJ, GB Sea. I only had enough get-up-and-go for the first of the two back-to-back classes.  I also was late again (third time in a row)! I don't have a good excuse for today. I really need to get my act together. Fortunately, I can jump in and function without a stretch out or warm up. The only things I really *need* to stretch out for are things like  flying spinning kicks and vigorous crescent kicks.

Standup: single leg setups.

Opponent has you in hir closed guard. You place hands on hir belt, turn one knee out and the opposite foot (toe loaded) out. Stand up. Opponent slides down your body and takes del a Riva guard with unhooked foot on your hip.

Now you grab the ankle of the foot that is planted on your hip (let's call it your left hip) and slam the sole to the mat. Hold it there while you ram your right hand between opponent's knees. Drop your left knee to the mat right against opponent's hip. Glue your left shoulder to opponent and put on weight. Keeping your right hand on the mat, crawl it toward opponent's head. Kick your trapped foot free, and complete transition to side control.

Saturday means many reps.

I told Angela that I love working with her, and feel that I always learn a lot when I do. It's important to verbally appreciate your good training partners.

I bought a used GB gi off a dude on Jiu Jitsu Forums. It is almost identical to my old blue GB gi, but there are a couple of minor patch differences. Casey noticed immediately, and asked if I had a new gi. I told him I found a used one, wondering what his reaction was going to be (I don't know if the school is getting kickbacks for selling these gi's, or have quotas, or what- but I figured he'd be annoyed that I hadn't surrendered my credit card). He didn't comment. Prof Carlos noticed too, and said that he was happy to see that my gi was "nice and blue" today. I answered that I was happy he approved.

Black-belt-Lindsey was there, and I was so happy to see him- it's been a while. I jumped on his back and RNC'ed him during a break, and then we rolled around for a few minutes. Blue-belt-Lindsey also jumped on my back and RNC'ed me. I didn't throw her this time- I said, "Didn't you learn your lesson yet??!?" I jumped on Cindy's back and choked her. I did not choke Rodrigo, but I did get a hug from him.
Dru, when I ran my proposed Hunt role shift past her and Derek: "Kitsune, do you remember when Drake asked me to lead the drumming for the Hunt at Ravenstone and I felt blindsided by it? You said to me, "He wouldn't have asked you if he didn't think you were ready for it." The same applies here, so I'm quoting you to you."

I don't know whether to be more touched by her faith in me, or by the fact that she took my advice so to heart to remember it, follow it, and then years later quote me back to me.

Bo:  "...I was in contact with SilverDrake.  He knew who I was considering.  But did not want to offer his opinion until I chose because he did not want to influence me.  The night that I sent you the original e-mail I contacted him again and asked who it was that he thought was right.  He had chosen you as well.  Yet another reason that I believe spirit is offering this to you."

That's encouraging- and sobering- why was this so obvious to everybody when it never even occurred to me? Dru's and Derek's blessings means even more to me, though. They know the Hunt, and they know *me* better than Bo or SilverDrake do.

The main reason I've been dragging my feet is that I love- passionately love- drumming for the Hunt, and I passionately love leading the drumming for the Hunt. It's the high point of my year, there's nothing like it, and the thought of not doing it makes my soul weep. That part is selfish, but I don't apologize for it. It's also a lot of hard work, and I know that I serve my community well in the job.

I'm sure that assistant Huntmaster/mistressing would have its own fun, challenge, and spiritual growth. Cross-training is always a good thing (for both an individual and the team) for multiple reasons.

I'd like to try it. Who knows, I might like it even better. Or I might not like it, or we might find that I have no aptitude for it. Won't know unless we try, huh? I'm up for the challenge. Geez, it's going to hurt to not be drumming, though.

I've joked to Derek and Dru in the past about how Herald Camp is slowly and insidiously taking over the Hunt. I've really enjoyed (and counted on)  the way the three of us have worked together- both on practical and energetic levels- for years, and I think that's been a really good thing for the Hunt.  Now we're going to have one of us in each of the three major coordination roles. I'm excited about that. I think that could be unbelievably awesome.

Also, the coordinating team is 3/4 women this year. The Hunt started out pretty male-dominated, so that's kinda cool as well. I'll really miss Harry (who is on hiatus this year), but I'm excited to have Cindy (different Cindy) keeping the fire.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

White belts

I would rather get my ass kicked in BJJ than win at anything else. I love it that much.  - Parabellum

Ah, fresh white belts. Panting, straining, stiff-as-a-board white belts.

I still don't have enough technique to beat white belts who are bigger and stronger than I. Two years ago, I would have done my damndest to muscle back, and gotten frustrated when I couldn't prevent the manhandling. Today, I stayed relaxed and for the most part serene, with only a few momentary flashes of frustration.

Went to the Bothell pod for the first time. Got lost- late for two classes in the same day, that's a record. There's a girl there! Panting, straining, stiff as a board... but seems gung-ho and eager to learn.

Same comb-over escape from front mount to replacing full guard as this morning.

Upa escape from front mount- this time beginning with opponent gripping cross-collar. You clasp hir elbow to your chest.

Headlock escape on the ground. Turn slightly into opponent and pull that elbow down to ribs/mat. Hook top leg over hir top leg. Roll toward opponent and get on knees, driving forward to make hir headlock-gripping arm difficult to maintain. If you can keep the arm, armlock behind opponent's back. If s/he pulls arm under hir, sash-grip under one armpit and over one shoulder and hike your knee up so that it's pressed against hir back, high up. Pull hir into back mount.

Two points!

The world would never have been the same had any of the Western prophets been struck by the same intuition that myth attributes to Bodhidharma. Probably, the entire Western culture would be drastically different. No rivalry between spirit and body. No tug-of-war between the soul yearning for Heaven and the body restraining it on Earth. Rather than wasting our energies quarreling with our bodies and with the natural world, we could let spirituality and sensuality dance cheek to cheek.  -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ, GB Sea.  Got trapped behind that dang train again, and walked in right during the bow-in. Got reprimanded in front of entire class. Embarrassing.

Front mount, upa escape while holding opponent's belt.  Noticing that it's difficult to trap opponent's posting leg when you are working with a petite and short-legged opponent such as Angela. Angela also says that I need "More hip, more hip, more hip."

Opponent has front mout. You gable grip hands, turn slightly on your side, press palms to opponent's thigh. Extend matward leg to the side, pushing opponent's leg out with it. Cross your other leg over top and place sole on mat to trap opponent's foot. Shrimp. Pull your outside leg out from under opponent. Turn in. Take half gaurd. Pinch knees together but do not lockhalf guard. Get underhook. Push opponent's far knee with hand. Pull your remaining leg out and replace full guard.

Angela wants me to push and shrimp more at the very beginning, but I found that this placed her center of gravity very low on my hips and it became very difficult for me to cross my leg over.

Positional training from front mount. Noticing that I expend a lot of strength and energy if I try to fight my way out of front mount. I tend to wait till they move for a sub, then try to escape then. Another thing: As usual I can't give Angela as much of a challenge as I would like to, but as far as positional training goes, it is probably more helpful to her if I give her some variety and refrain from pushing my Plan A over and over. Today I tried to do some different things, even if I felt I was more inept at some of them.

During one of the breaks, I came up behind Lindsey and RNC'ed her. She did not defend vigorously, and I was about to start goading her when someone called me away. Right before we lined up to bow out, Lindsey came up behind me and RNC'ed me in turn. I calmly hauled down on her elbow (using the susequent small motions of her body to zero in on her center of gravity) moved my hips into position, and launched a perfectly pristine shoulder throw. Everyone paused to admire. Carlos signalled two points for me. Cindy signalled DQ (for "mean").

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


There is no jiu jitsu in this.

So, one of the things that the Hunt coordinators have been doing for the last lo these many years is that each coordinator has a backup. Someone who is sort of apprenticing the role, and assisting the coordinator. After the backup has been backing up for several years, it usually turns into more of a partnership. Dru and I have definitely got a great partnership- to the point that I had her run the show last year while I  acted as *her* backup.

As Silverdrake stepped down and his backup Beau took over as Huntmaster last year, Beau did not have a backup. It made me a little nervous. It's a big job, and if anything happened to Beau or he ran into difficulties, we'd be rather screwed. Sharon made it clear that she wants him to establish a backup this year, and I heartily agree, and I think so does he.

I came home to a shock of an e-mail tonight. There was a lot said and some of it is not appropriate to share, but the conclusion was:

"..... what I do know is that I believe the Hunt's Spirit wants you in this role and so do I. I have had many in consideration for this part but you are the right person. I believe that you are our Hunt Mistress. "

I don't know how to react to this.