Monday, July 29, 2013



It is very upsetting to learn that we will be evaluated and categorized based on BMI. BMI is a very simplistic tool which is inaccurate for many people.

I am an athlete who is almost certainly in the top 2% fitness level of those in the pool. Yet because BMI counts muscle as fat, I qualify as "overweight" according to this tool- which is deeply ironic.

I will be extremely displeased if I recieve letters or e-mails chiding me for being unhealthy based on my BMI. And if there are premium-cost or other sanctions, I will be filing a lawsuit.

Union Rep:
To put you somewhat at ease, the attempt here is to get at folks who need to manage their weight due to being overweight or obese.  We are negotiating exceptions to those with medical issues that prevent some weight management at the time it is measured (diabetes and other issues that may need medical management before weight loss can occur) and those who are exactly as you describe yourself where BMI is absolutely no indication of health.  We are contemplating ways to get exceptions to the processes that we have not agreed on as yet.
 If you would like more detail, or have any other questions, please contact any one of the Coalition team members:  (redacted) or myself, the UFCW Negotiator (my office number is below also).
 And thank you for letting us know your issue!

Thank you so much for your response to my concern. This has been weighing (ha) on my mind, and I appreciate you taking the time to write.

It does indeed put me somewhat at ease to know that there is an awareness of the limitations of BMI, and that there will be avenues put in place to deal with people for whom this is not a valid measurement.

I'd be happy to submit to a body fat percentage analysis or other measurement of fitness that will not penalize me for being muscular. I realize that these other measurements are more expensive, though. Perhaps any doctor who sees us in-office at some point during the year (for anything) can sign a waiver after looking at our six-packs and verifying that we are not unhealthy.   :)

Union Rep:
That’s exactly what we had in mind – the six-pack waiver -  not a whole different test.  We bargain again on the 30th and now I know what we’ll call the “I’m healthy” waiver! 
Thanks for that!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What 100 calories looks like

The martial arts are one of the methods that can teach the body to reawaken the sleepy senses. Those smart enough not to put them back to sleep at the end of the training see their everyday life filling up with magic. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

134.5 (again).

Snyder's Of Hanover honey mustard pretzel pieces: 100 calories = 1/6 of a cup. Do you understand how small 1/6 of a cup is???!!??

I don't like counting calories- but I am a scientist, and my brain wants formulae. I want to see "You do A, you get B." Solid, predictable cause-and-effect. I understand that. I can work with it. I can't handle days like the one I had a few weeks ago where I ate very little, did 3 BJJ classes and found the following morning that I had actually *GAINED* a half pound. That sort of thing makes me feel like it's not even worth trying.

Plus, I'd like to know how many calories I really have to stay under in order to lose weight- and have some factual vindication that I am some kind of freak whose body gains weight just by breathing oxygen. Not that that will help my situation, but at least I can play the martyr with more heartfelt bitterness.

Sunday lunchtime in Seattle with (newly brown-belted) Coach Peter. He is quite unhappy at being promoted, BTW. Hee hee... Jiu jitsu artists are always so hot to get their blue belts, and after that they hate and fear each successive promotion more and more. I find it amusing.

There were only 5 of us today, all big men except for Angus (who is medium-sized); a brown belt, two purples, and two almost-purples.

 King Of the Hill from various positions. No real surprises for me here. A few things, I am very good at (passing top half guard); more things I consistantly suck at (holding back mount).

 I felt that I did a decent job staying fairly competitive today, considering the sizes and skill levels I was facing.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

That's not very much.

Those who have never approached their bodies as temples have no idea of what they are missing. The frog at the bottom of the well sees only a fraction of light and believes it to be the whole sky. The same happens to those who have lost the address of their bodies.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

134.5 and holding...

Housemate, upon viewing my breakfast: Oh, so that's your......uh, "food".... I guess....

Kitsune: Grumblegrumblegrumble

Housemate: Wow, that's not very much.

Kitsune: Grumblegrumblesnarl

Saturday at GB Seattle.  I got to see many people that I don't regularly see... Black belt Lindsey, John (whom I was able to congratulate for his promotion), Cornelia. Also, a bunch of the Bothell crew was there. There are many hardworking newbies at the now-defunct Bothell pod that I was worried about losing in the move, so I was happy to see this batch.

Same technique we did on Wednesday, only this time the attacker went to front mount and left enough room to entice the victim to try to turn out and escape- at which point back-taking happened.

I worked with Crisanne, who busted her buns (even more so with encouragement and urging). She is so small that I was able to make her catch air as I was hurling her to the mat... I kept asking "Am I hurting you? Let me know if I'm going too hard." I also advised her to not let me push her flat on her back- to try to keep her ribcage turned a bit toward me in order to protect her ribs. I learned that the hard way on Wednesday when I was grunting and gasping under Ron's side control.

Standup: foe grabs your lapel. You grap hir wrist with both hands, thumbs down. Step in and elbow to the face (if self-defense scenario), rake elbow down torso, step behind hir near foot and wrap near arm around hir waist while continuing to control the wrist with your other hand. Your head/shoulder should be against hir body so that you can use it to trip hir backward over your foot.

One roll with Cornelia, one with (blue belt) Lindsey.... Hmm, I think I did one more, but I can't remember with whom.

Peter was promoted to brown belt!

I haven't seen Kelly this week, and I'm worried- she had sworn up and down that I didn't injure her elbow seriously, so I hope that was the truth.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Study Hall- spider guard

The energy is always there within reach. It is a fire that doesn’t always burn in the open, but under the skin the coals are always lit. Anyone sensitive enough can feel the vibration. As soon as you enter a room, right away you perceive who is an individual from head to toe and who has never listened to the voice of the body. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Thursday and Friday: walk to work and back.

Friday evening "Study Hall" at Bellevue with Doug. It was "purple belt nite"!

Fun with spider guard.

Begin in closed guard, transition to spider guard. Work a little from side to side... one leg straight, one bent...fluid hip movement. John advises that I try to get my butt a little closer to opponent.

Let left leg slide past bicep and yank opponent's arm diagonally across your chest. Swing hips out so that your right ear is toward your opponent. Drop that outside leg to the floor and bring it back against opponent's leg as you lift to the ceiling with the other foot (still in spider guard position). Sweep. Take KOB (I actually preferred to front mount instead, as it seemed that attempting KOB was opening myself up to the half guard).

Closed guard to Spider guard again. Side to Side. Now drop right shin horizontally across opponent's chest. S/he will try to pass. Underhook hir lead leg and use it- along with your remaining spider guard side- to sweep.

Two 10 minute rolls with Daniel and one with Doug. Daniel wants armbars. I'm good at jerking my stubby arms out of those, but he got close a few times... then I started being more careful. Doug kept putting me in back mount, but he was being nice and letting me escape (although he did not make it easy by any means).

GB Bellevue has a grill sitting out front. They were already starting steaks during the open mat. I had to leave, as I am dieting.

I have survived all week on portion sizes that would not nourish an infant fieldmouse. I am down from 139 (at PSG) to 134.5 (this morning).

I have decided to cut down to 128 (still in the "overweight" category by the Bullshit Mass Index standards) and then take a bikini pic. I will hold a paper over my face that says "This is what an "overweight" BMI looks like". I will use this as a visual aid if I have to file a grievance with my workplace. I might get a body fat percentage done too, just for shits and giggles, as I'm sure that will be crazy low and will make the BMI Patrol look even more retarded.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Always double-check the "to" line

Kitsune (at work, e-mailing note to self):

“Victims who survived a violent confrontation against a knife-wielding assailant consistently reported that they were completely unaware of the existence of the weapon until after they had suffered stab or slash wounds. In essence, these survivors of edged weapon attacks state that they believed they were engaged in some sort of fist fight; only later, after sustaining injuries, did they realize that the assailant was armed.” - Lawrence Kane
Kitsune (Realizing half a second after hitting “send” that autocomplete sent the frickin' thing not to her home e-mail addy but to some random address owned by some random woman at my workplace with the last name of “Fox”):

Kitsune (to random hospital staff member):

OOPS!!!!!  Sorry about that,  I accidentally sent a self-defense class quotation to the wrong addy. Apologies. (blush)
Random staff member:

Haha I just read it was wondering HUH!!!
Have a great day  :)

I figured I’d better explain that one real quick unless I wanted to find myself in Human Resources, explaining it to a security guard.
Random staff member:

At least we had a good laugh ;)
"Pink Team" at Bellevue. Only Cindy, Lindsey and I showed up- so we just spent the whole hour rolling, round-robin.

Then "All levels".

Opponent is turtles, you sprawl N/S and then spin to side. Place you hip against hir hip. (This was where I messed up... in fact early on, Prof Carlos came over and told me to freeze, then he crawled *between* me and my drill partner.

Kitsune: "I guess I'm leaving a little too much space there."
Carlos: "Ten pushups. Purple belt......"

Okay, so you're hip to hip. now reach under hir chest with both arms and grab hir far arm. You have to get your near shoulder right UNDER hir, which was another awkwardness for me. S/he posts the leg out on the other side to keep you from shoving hir over. You swing your foot out in front of hir head, then swing it back hard and PULL opponent's upper body with you. Get in side control, staying heavy, but keep both of hir arms trapped under your arm. Turn slightly toward hir feet, pull on hir pants, front mount. Pull up on opponent's head and slide your body around behind hir shoulders. Secure back mount. Make sure both hooks are in.

Was drilling with Ron, and this seems like a good one for tiny, flexible people. He was very smooth, and since you usually get hauled up on your shoulder a titch when they mount, it can be hard to tell that that little compact body is sneaking in there.

Drills to nearly collapse, then we finished with an obscene amount of cardio.

As we lined up to bow out, I told the guys that I didn't think I had enough energy to life my forearm for handshakes. So they all started twitching a shouder up and forward to throw an arm up in the air.

I told everybody that I was thinking about competing again... maybe the sub-only comp next month, but more likely the Revolution in November. If I tell everybody, they'll keep on me and I'll be less likely to flake out.    :-P    ;)
Ugh! My workplace's health insurance is now evaluating and categorizing people (with a goal of establishing sanctions) based on their BMI. I have a huge problem with this, since BMI is an inaccurate measurment for athletes (it counts muscle as fat). Although I'm probably in the top 2% of fitness for people in that employee pool, going by BMI alone will pigeonhole me as "overweight" and rank me below fat couch potatoes.

I'm going to try to appeal. If that doesn't work, I'm going to simply lie on my forms.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Triangles with Doug

A religion that forgives me for being a shit doesn't have near the impact of one that promises that whatever I send out is coming right back at me. -Anihow

Now that I'm not going to Bothell on my free Friday evenings, I have discovered that Prof Doug is doing a "study hall" at Bellevue in that time slot. We had a great group of mostly colored belts in there tonight, and worked on triangle setups.

First, some drills from guard, sans hands (Doug made us lace our fingers behind our necks).

Then: Start with foe in your closed guard, two cuff grips. Transition to a double knee shield or to butterfly guard (feet on hips). Act like you're going for spider guard on one side, and "miss"... transition to triangle. Yank the hell out of that cuff to help fuel your angle change, and try to get said angle change down to as few steps (and as quick) as possible.

Now: You are in top side mount. Make sure you have kneed the opponent's near arm atop your thigh. Slide your knee onto belly. when s/he pushes at knee with hir other hand, you grab the wrist/cuff and pin that hand. Yank your leg back, straight out, then hoist it up and over, shove your foot behind opponent's head. At the same time, with your free hand, haul hir head up (my partners and I discovered for ourselves that that was a lucious detail- very distracting to the victim). Roll. As you roll, grab opponent's other sleeve and lock the triangle as you finish the roll.

This intimidated me, as it looked complicated and showboaty. But when I tried it, it was nice and smooth.

Finally: You have opponent in armbar with your knees over hir face, but s/he is clasping hir hands together. Act like you're going to try to pry hir hands loose with your foot, but then shove the foot right through. Open your knee above opponent's forehead. This prompts hir to sit up. Let hir. This results in putting hirself right into your triangle. (Another tidbit we discovered during the drill... this bait doesn't work nearly so well unless you really act like you are going for the armbar, and keep your leg over the opponent's face. That way, as soon as you lift that leg and s/he sees daylight, s/he wants to lunge up into it. At first, my partner was not covering my face- and I had to think about where I was "supposed" to go for the drill.)

A roll with (blue belt) Daniel, a roll with Mario, a roll with Doug. Good competitive matches all (of course Doug was letting me work a little).

Nice gi choke from Doug: You are in top side control. Sneakily get ahold of your own gi tail (on the side closest to opponent's feet) and wait your chance to shoot it to the far side of hir neck. You must leave yourself plenty of slack, because you are going to feed this gi tail to your other hand, which is behind opponent's neck.  Grab opponent's pants at hir hip (same side as you are on), turn N/S, put your forehead to mat.

I adore gi tail chokes, but for some reason my brain is very impaired at retaining them.

The biochemical variable

Respect is for those who deserve it, not for those who demand it.

Friday lunchtime BJJ at Seattle.

I was relieved to see Glenn walk in right before the lineup, as it seemed to be "Big Boy Day" on the mat... there were plenty of people there, but they were all huge! Glenn's always good to work with, and I'm happy whenever I get a chance to work with him.

A vigorous set of warmups, including running laps. We had run laps yesterday as well, and my plantar fasciitis was feeling the effects. I did it, but it felt like there was a knife under my right heel every time it hit the ground, and I had a noticable limp. The line is being crossed between pain and functional impairment.  I think if I was asked to run laps again tomorrow, I would be physically unable.

You are under side mount. Bump up and frame your arms. "Talk on your phone" with the hand nearest opponent. Then turn into hir. At the same time, use your "phone" hand to control hir bicep (this was the detail I had to be corrected on). Continue turning till you are on your belly. (Note that this is *not* a hip escape/shrimp.) With the hand that is *not* controlling opponent's bicep, keep the elbow braced on hir. Allowing this elbow to move or collapse is what lets the opponent dump all hir weight back on you and squash you back under side control. Once you are fully belly-down, move *JUST THE FOREARM* to get the underhook. Again, keep that elbow in there.  Now you can get your knees under you. That all-important bicep grip (you've still got it, right?) will now let you yank opponent with the perfect leverage to help you dump hir over and get on top.  The sequence (which I had to say aloud with every rep to avoid rushing/skipping bits) is Up, Phone, Arm, Turn, Under.

Next: same entry, only now as soon as you turn into opponent, s/he tries to slide into scarf position. The key for you now is to get your matward elbow fully underneath your body as you are lying on your side. As soon as your foe's knee comes at you, grab the pants there and do that same roll onto your belly. You now have the pants in one hand and the shoulder/lapel in the other. Stretch opponent out. This will shove hir onto hir back. Resist the impuse to get to your knees too soon- the technique is actually tighter and more effective if you keep your belly *ON* the mat till you secure side mount. Now you can get to your knees.

Lots of drills. I've always struggled some with this technique, and the rolling onto the belly part is exhausting in a core sort of way. Glenn was getting tired too, and we kept up a cheerleading patter to chivvy one another through the last of the drills. He's good with that, and with helpful feedback during the drills.

Tired and ravenously hungry by the end, so I skipped the sparring.

Between my new library card and my new Kindle, I have been availing myself of several Rory Miller books that I have not previously read. I have oodles of good quotes to share. One item that was brought up in my reading got me thinking about tournaments again.

Anyone who's been reading my blog for a while is familiar with my ambivalence regarding competitions. I'm a self-defense oriented MA'ist. I enjoy the aspect of "fun" in BJJ sparring, as well as the practical aspects, but am just not interested in the competitive sport aspect. I have had a middling performance in the comps that I have done, and it's not fun for me.

Although I don't really appreciate a discernable feeling of fear- and I'm fairly self-aware, so I feel like I'd know- I do tend to experience a rush of physical weakness at the beginning of a match and in the first minute or so. It feels like all the energy just leaks out of my body like water out of a holey bucket, and I feel like I weigh about 800lb when I try to move.

One of the Miller books briefly discussed the adrenaline dump, the "lizard brain" mentality, and other body chemistry things that happen in self-defense situations. It's a significant impairment that can negate all of your preparation at the one moment you most need it. That's sobering. It's scary to think that if I'm faced with an attacker, I might feel that same body reaction that I feel when I'm facing a tournament opponent across the mat- that rush of weakness and exhaustion.

This argues for doing tournaments, as often as possible, for the purely practical self-defense-oriented goal of learning to cope with and work through that crippling biochemical zap. From that viewpoint, it's difficult to come up with excuses to continue ducking tournaments.     

Well, except for one- my tenuous sense of confidence in my MA, which has all the solidity of a spun-glass figurine. If I start doing a bunch of tournaments and get my ass mowed into the ground over and over, is that going to drive me into despair bad enough that I might lose even *MORE* confidence...... or even give up and quit altogether?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are you okay?

Because of the physical nature of martial arts, we can’t lie to ourselves. There is no need for somebody to tell us whether we are moving mechanically or are truly present. When you are there, you know it. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Thursday no-gi at Bellevue.

I got there a little early, and accepted an invitation to roll from a girl of maybe 11 or so, from the Federal Way pod. I didn't really want to get my gi top all sweaty (since I planned to do the gi class later as well), so I asked her to take off her jacket. She was pretty good! I tried to not crush her with my weight, tried to present her with a variety of different things to deal with, let her tap me a few times. We rolled for about 20 min.

No-gi class started with a few double-leg setup drills, then this from standup: opponent hooks one arm behind your neck. You turn out of it, grab at the armpit and wrist, step behind, and push on the back of hir shoulder to armbar. Since we had done something very similar in Kung Fu, I felt reasonably okay with this. We'd both done quite a few reps before one of my reps worked a little too well, and Kelly let out a pained yelp.

I immediately felt like a monster, of course, and apologized repeatedly. She was okay, luckily. Carlos came over and showed me how he wanted us to make sure the elbow was bent and clutched against our chests- and also, to not bend forward while doing the technique. (Okay, another case of Kung Fu Cross Contamination... having to drill  ABCTUV after previous years of drilling ABCDEF instead. Oops.)

Follow this up by stepping in front of opponent's leg and back-kicking hir near leg out from under hir for the takedown.

The rest of the class (more of this, then a bunch of takedown sparring with rotating partners) was Pick-On-Kitsune Day. I know Carlos was pissed at me for hurting Kelly, but I don't even think the two were related. He just does this once in a while- usually with no apparent trigger. Literally after every single set, he would reprimand me about something- until it was obvious to me and everyone else in the room that I am an idiot who can't do anything right.

I've seen him do this to Angela, too- for likewise no apparent reason. Kelly told me that when she's having one of her "teary" episodes, she feels like he gets on her case in this fashion as well. It's definitely a female-targeted thing. I wonder if he thinks he's going to toughen us up, or if he's just having an interlude of being disgusted with us.

I can take a few corrections- that's what I'm there for- but when he is on my back after every single set, I start to get very tense and down on myself- the worse he does it, the worse my performance becomes. It also really bothers me when he caps this off by pointedly not meeting my eyes during the handshake line at the end.

I decided that I really didn't want to deal with a second hour of that tonight, so I bailed before gi class (altho not before apologizing to Kelly another ten times). She's not hurt, and she's not mad. She should know by now (as should Carlos!) that I'm not a douche. I'm a careful partner, and if something happens, it's an honest-to-God accident that I feel terrible about. It happens. I have been doing MA for a long time, and I have *NEVER* injured anyone seriously.

On the positive side- hey, my Kung Fu elbow lock apparently works really nicely! It's not a technique I've ever felt was one of my best- partly because when I was in Kung Fu, I never got to try it on anyone who didn't tower over me in height.

Catch and Release

Own your shit.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: walk to work. I then reversed any good I did by inhaling a Jack In the Box chocolate shake. I don't even regret it, not a smidge. God, those things are good. I'm not sure how it's even POSSIBLE to fit 880 calories into a size-small cup, though.

Hey! Ron finally got his purple belt!!!! About damn time!!!

John got his purple! He's mostly training at 13 Hands now. I wish he'd come back. I miss him.

Also wonderful news: there will be a *shower* at the Kirkland GB pod!

Revolution Results are up.... only 2 women competing at purple belt. Amanda Loewen won as usual. 3 women's brackets at blue, although the heaviest one had only two competitors. By this time next year, there should be more female blues as well as more female purples. There were SIX women's white belt brackets!
Thursday lunchtime BJJ at Bellevue. All spars.

Began with Professor Pedro (the first time I've ever rolled with him). Catch and release, catch and release, catch and release. He waited till the end of the round to *actually* tap me out.

After that, of course, I was exhausted. Yet managed to at least not get smeared by the others. I got a tap on Ram (north-south choke), which was delightful.

Also got to see Nelson for the first time in a while; also delightful.

I forgot my headgear today. Immediately, my hair was an amazing snarled aura standing about 15 inches all around my head. If I ever had any thought of being able to roll without my sweaty headgear and swim cap, this brought me back to reality.

This is an artistic topic...really....

I am obsessed with Magic Skirts. They are reversible, 2-layer garments that can be folded/tied into about a million different dresses, skirts and tops. You can wear the same one every day for a year and never look the same twice. It's like folding sarongs into dresses- only a few levels up.

Traditionally, they are made with 2 different patterns- usually busy ones, heavy on the floral and paisley. I do not like mixing patterns, nor do I like floral or paisley. Yet in this context, the pattern-mixing works somehow. I have never really seen an ugly one.

I found a knockoff (E Trendy Ethnic Store) which offers some less-flowery, less-paislified options. They have some ethnic prints, which are much more to my taste.  Some of their Magic Skirts have one solid-color layer, or a layer that is a watery blend different shades of the same color. Some of their skirts also have a different type of fabric for each layer, which is interesting. On their ebay store, you can pick a specific Magic Skirt (since these are all one of a kind, most online vendors will pick one for you, and you don't know what you're going to get. Maybe flowers. Or paisley. Or paisley flowers. Or even one layer of paisley and one layer of flowers. Urgh.)


Friday, July 12, 2013

RIP Bothell pod

Being one hundred percent present here and now is the talent of a true martial artist. Through the practice of martial arts, we can learn to feel this presence, call upon it, cultivate it, make it a part of ourselves. When we can enter this dimension at will, it becomes possible to have free access to an enormous source of power. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday lunchtime in Seattle. Cornelia, to my dismay, was not there. She is in town right now, and I really want to get some time to work with her. Must get to Seattle pod more often in the next few weeks. Found out that she is also the guilty party regarding that photo of Cindy's Mickey-Mouse-glove swollen hand. I warned Cindy about doing standup with Cornelia! She is a Judo black belt!

One of the white belts made a crack because pre-class, as we were all waiting along the wall, and all the blue belts were standing around while all the purple belts were sitting on our asses leaning on the wall. I replied that we were saving our strength. Added Dave: "To tap YOU later," It was funny, though. It really was a good analogy for the way you get more conscious- as you move up- about conserving every morsel of strength.

Opponent is in your closed guard. S/he grabs same side sleeve cuff, crosses other hand over wrist to grab your belt (imprisoning that hand). S/he stands up, pushes your hips to the floor (that was the detail I missed the first time- get their hips on the floor). Now s/he lets go and grabs both of your pantlegs at the insides of the knees. You grab behind hir left ankle. S/he steps right foot back, kicks hir left foot across to dislodge grip, then steps waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay you to the side with it. Now: bullfight pass.

Before s/he gets that shoulder pressure down on you, you want to roll AWAY (yeah, weird) and sweep your arm around in a big circle. Get your shoulder blade against opponent and try to pressure down as you turn the corner. Ideally, this has you pressuring on the back of hir shoulder (and using hir as a post to get your bod around). At the very least, collapsing that shoulder and ideally forcing opponent down into a face plant. Now take the back. Placement must be precise and you can't skimp on the pressure. But I like it. It seems like one that my agility would play into.

 Two rolls with an unfamiliar blue belt. He plays deep half guard like Casey does, catching me in it again and again. He schooled me, tapped me several times. Smooth, technical, lovely transitions.

Crisanne: continuing to get better. Constantly moving, nice and agressive, doesn't just lie there like a lot of the girls do on the bottom. Great KOB. Not like my sneaky one; she did the full pin-you-and-bow-you-painfully thing.

A visiting green belt was there- Hailey. Tiny little thing. Triggered an immediate defensive reaction in me. (ha ha) Carlos: "She's fourteen, and she's won (redacted lengthy list of titles, medals, and awards)." Kitsune: "I'm glad you told me that *before* she tapped me out twenty times, instead of after."  I prepared to have my butt handed to me by by this prepubescent green belt. Deep breaths: Ego, begone. Ego, begone. Ego, begone. She couldn't be more than 110lb. You have to be careful about underestimating these little squirts, though- it's terribly embarrassing when you go in thinking "I'll go light on this person" and they triangle your ass in eight seconds while your teachers and teammates all sit there and hoot.

So I tried to avoid using weight/strength (again, an unfamiliar exercise for me); I didn't go 100%, didn't get tapped, tapped her twice (chokes). Her game is chokes as well, and my choke defense is very good. Great technical rolls, though. I hope she didn't think I was a big mean bully.

No BJJ classes this Saturday due to tournament.  Also: No Friday evening class at Bothell. Bothell pod has blown off the map. It appears that I will next be chasing Cindy to a new Kirkland GB pod. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday advanced class

In martial arts, everything begins with the body. First, one gets acquainted with it, and slowly becomes intimate with it. The body is transformed into the best ally of the spirit. Then spirit and body become one. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Look what I found by the side of the road on my way home from work last night. Its name is "Notstaying". Anyone want a bunny?

Evening advanced BJJ at Bellevue.

Drills: side control to KOB to side control on the other side. Sit on your hip and use the FAR knee to slide over opponent, then fall onto hip on other side.

Opponent is in your closed guard, holding your belt. Break hir grip by bracing with your hand on your own wrist (Carlos does it by gripping with the outside hand and running the INSIDE wrist under). As you break grip, pull opponent's arm crossways over your chest and use your legs to help hir along. Hug around hir head and arm. Take a moment to make sure you have this seated correctly on the neck... this is the time to do it, as your opponent is occupied with trying to avoid the face-plant. Later, s/he is going to figure out what you are doing, and tuck hir chin- then it will be too late to adjust your choke. Now: Slide your legs down a bit,  and use them to pinch hir thighs together, then roll. (If this isn't working, you can also use a butterfly hook toe here.) Front mount. Hop off on the same side you have the trapped arm. Choke.

More drills: this time we began with the wrist release and cross-yank, then shrimped out and took the back. Note that getting a hook or a good lapel grip (ideally both) and then pulling opponent into your lap is much less work and less dangerous than  trying to get all the way out and then climb on hir back.

A few spars- two blue belts and a purple. I felt in control with both of the blues (got a few taps on each) and competitive with the purple tonight. Dave and I traded some good choke tips.
Got the new Miller book- "Force Decisions"- I'm about ten pages in, and already have about a billion good quotes marked.

Friday, July 5, 2013


There is an incredible difference between those who experience their power only though the mind and those who also feel it in the body. A person who knows there is a wild wolf living under the skin has less reason to be intimidated by reality. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Carlos had us run laps and do sideways shuffles during warmups on Tues; I had been worried about what that would do to my plantar fasciitis. Now I know. My right heel in particular hurt pretty bad that evening, when I got up in the morning and took one step, I nearly did a face plant. It felt like stepping on a knife. I too 2 ibuprofen immediately. I  had to walk to work, and I limped all the way. It actually hurt too much to grit my teeth, ignore it and walk normally... and I did try.... which was humbling and scary. After a day on my feet at work, it was still painful but I was able to walk almost normally back to the car. I don't know what I'm going to do about this, but it seems that it is 1)not going to just go away, and 2)serious enough that I am not going to be able to ignore it forever.

I had planned to go to class Wednesday evening, but it appears that I may be catching Dana's cold. Between the exhaustion and the possibility of being contagious, I decided against it. I completely forgot that Thursday is a "holiday" and there will be no classes at any BG pod- dang it.
Evening BJJ at Bothell.

Bullfight guard pass.

Passing spider guard by grabbing insides of pants at ankles, slamming opponent's ankles together, and finishing as with the bullfight pass.

Standing guard pass: push opponent's legs to hir chest and see if s/he is so foolish as to push back. If so, you slam hir feet to the floor, leap over them and take front mount. This is one of Cindy's favorite moves. Simple but effective.

Open guard pass drills; cross grip, pull the leg, go to side, KOB.

King of The Hill from open guard.

Then a few spars.

There's a really good blue belt there who ran a clinic on me, then ran one on Will too (after which I didn't feel quite so bad).

James got his first stripe! I did some KOTH with him tonight, and he has been working hard and improving.
I made a concoction with wild rice, mushrooms, cheese, a cubic buttload of onion and garlic, and occasional random chicken breast and/or bacon snippets. Got out my little  baby-size tupperware cups, portioned, froze. That OD of onion and garlic does seem to help curb the munchies a bit. I also saw an interesting idea involving egg (and possible mushrooms, onions, cheese, etc) baked in a cupcake tin to make little muffin-shaped portions. I will do that next. The Safeway Bargain Bin has yielded me a goldslide of turkey breast slices that may work well in the egguffins.

I was kinda chagrined at how I looked photographed beside my Evil Twin- who is a personal trainer (dietician? Something like that) and in PERFECT shape. It is basically staring at exactly what I look like when I'm *not* carrying a spare 13.5 lb- so that's actually a good motivation. We'll look even more alike next year when I have my act together a little better. She was eating very healthy and clean even at the festival. I'll do the daily pushups with her next year as well.

I had eaten at an onsite vendor 3 times this year- which I have formerly NEVER done. I am way too cheap; and my hours (and thus hungry times) are too weird; and with no fridge or microwave, I can't control portions. One of my 3 splurges was a hot dog, and that was one **GROSS* hot dog- I won't do that again! The other two were chicken wraps at Phil's Grill. Not a vast amount of chicken, but plenty of garlic, rice, black beans, onion, mushrooms, I'm not sure what else. It was delicious- but truly, had I been at home, I would have divided that wrap into at *least* two portions and maybe as many as 4. It was huge. So yeah, that's not really a good idea for me.

I need to advance-plan a better dietary situation for next year's trip. I wonder if I can just walk up and down the road heralding for two volunteers to come split a chicken wrap with me.
Read through the problem portions of my WIP last night, and I'm still not having any lightning-strike notions on how to improve it. So I went ahead and worked a little on the next section. If my maple-syrup-in-wintertime pace continues, I may well lose my beta reader, which would suck- so I'm trying to not let it moulder for too long.

One thing I didn't include in my "Hunting" writeup was the odd thing that happened in the opening rit.

I have been told by multiple independant sources that I appear to grow significantly in height on the occasions that I lead the Sacred Hunt drumming. A couple of people mentioned to me this year that I had also appeared much taller while functioning as Huntmistress. I have never perceived this phenomenon myself; although I was definitely putting on my "leader" hat glamour- which may come across in that way to some. I did not lead the drum procession for the opening rit. I was not in any official leadership position whatsoever at the moment. Thus there was no obvious explanation for why I grew a foot taller while I was standing in the drumline after we got to the circle.

After a lifetime of looking up at everyone, I suddenly realized that I was on eye level or higher with almost all of the people milling past me. Including people that I know quite well and am damn sure are significantly taller than myself. I was actually looking DOWN on some of them. I could see the parts in their hair. It was the most bizarre feeling. (No, I was not on any substances at all- I don't do substances- unless you count caffeine or antihistimines- neither of which I was on that evening.)

I kept looking down at my feet, thinking I must be standing on a hummock or something- but I wasn't, and the fifteenth-or-so time I looked down didn't change the fact. My body didn't feel like I was standing on a chair. I didn't feel stretched out, or out-of-body, or anything like that. I was just a tall person. I stood there thinking, "So.... this is what it feels like to be six feet tall... maybe six-two. Far out." It would have been really interesting to try some forms in that condition... but I was afraid to move, thinking that if I moved, it would probably go away. It did fade off before I left.

I don't know what this means. If it means anything. I actually did do a little Hunt-patterned drumming in that rit, but I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Standing guard passes

The personality of those who know how to come in contact with this dimension changes even in everyday life, during the ordinary state of consciousness. It changes the way we move. It changes the way we speak. It changes the way we face life. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Tuesday advanced class at Bellevue.

Standing guard pass: pinch your knees together and drop them on either side of opponent's matward knee. Underhook opponent's top leg and press it to your ear as you lie on top of hir and grab the back of hir collar with that same hand. Your other hand has the pants at the knee (oh boy, yet another opportunity for me to forget to keep hold of the pants!). Flop onto your hip and remove your trapped leg. (If this is difficult, use your pants grip to shove opponent's leg out as far as possible while pulling your lower body the other way. This will wishbone the opponent's legs.) I always want to sprawl low to side control here, but tonight Carlos had us use Shoulder Of Justice and tuck up under opponent's butt, forcing hir into a cheese-curl position. I found- from having this done to me- that it makes me want to roll away from the opponent. If your opponent should be so foolish, take hir back.

Same entry, only now opponent puts up a knee shield. Grab the pants (you now have TWO pants grips) and thrust the leg away as you turn your torso to allow the knee to slide past you. It's all about the torso turn- otherwise you end up fighting your arm to hir leg, and you know who's gonna lose that battle. The end is similar to previous technique.

Lots of drills, then two rolls- with Kevin (who is now a purple belt!) and Ross. Although I was suffering in the intense heat, I was competitive with both of them tonight.

Neither Kevin or I got a tap, although I set up a few submission attempts that were really close (extra brownie points to me for attempting to set up an omoplata, triple brownie points for having the presence of mind to attempt to transition to an armbar when that failed). 

Everything that Ross got on me, he tried a second time and I was able to defend the second attempt. We each got one tap.

I got some good feedback on my WIP- "good" meaning not "Wow, you're Hemingway" but "good" as in "here's a glaring problem for you to repair". I see the problem, but am not quite sure yet how to fix it. It's simmering on my left front brain burner, though.

Finished "Night Circus"- it was pretty good, especially for a debut novel. I have another Rory Miller on reserve at the library. I'm so happy that I finally got a library card. Coincidentally, I was hearing on Mythic Scribes that Barnes & Noble is circling the drain, so I thought I'd better get in there are use up some gift certificates. As much as I'm enjoying my new Kindle- and I really am- there's just nothing like walking into a big B&N with a handful of gift cards and walking out many hours later with a heavy bag. Between the library, the Kindle and my Barnes & Noble spree, I am drowning in good things to read.