Thursday, July 31, 2014


"It's not 'I get a turn and then you get a turn'... it's all my space and it's always my turn" - Greg Hamilton


I bailed on Saturday's ceremony. I feel terrible about it. It is not in my nature to flake out on commitments. In fact I reserve some of my most venomous contempt for people who do that. If I tell you that I am going to do X, then you can rest assured that by God I am going to do X, even if I have to move Heaven and Earth to get it done. I have gone to ridiculous lengths to fulfill minor obligations. It is a pillar of my personal identity- my moral integrity. And this is Jen's biggest event of the year. Only three days away. And I'm well aware that she was already electrified with stress even BEFORE I bailed.

I assured Jen yesterday (for about the fourth time) that I would indeed be there and that I would be ready to do my part. This was not good enough for her. Over the course of the day she sent me four more messages bugging me for further intercourse. She wanted assurance that there is not friction between us, and she still wanted me to explain exactly what I planned to do (right down to what I was fucking THINKING) so that (presumably) she could inform me that I was "doing it wrong". When I saw all those missives piled in my box, I was like, that's it- Fuck This Shit. Aside from my own discomfort- which is a negligible consideration weighed against the integrity of my commitment- it is plain at this point that she is stressing over this to a level that I truly think that dealing with me was causing her more angst than having to replace me will.

I hate drama. I have a traumatic past in drama. I do not appreciate people trying to drag me into their drama when I have made it clear that I do not wish to go there. The last thing I wanted was a BEDS (Big Emotional Drama Scene) three days before the event. Unfortunately, there was *NO* way to get around it. I'm sure I'm going to get some guilt-inducing and stressful nastygrams. But seriously, I think any reasonable person would have said FTS a long time ago. I'm done.

I blocked Jen for the time being; I will probably have to read her mail at some point, and it's going to upset me, but I didn't want to even be tempted to engage in any further drama before the rit- nor do I want to get talked into changing my mind about quitting.

Another community member messaged me when he saw that I was leaving. He's watched Jen do this same thing to a number of people, so we indulged in a little pop-psychology analysis. It's an interesting study in self-sabotage. It's always easier to dissect these things when it's not you. I don't think I was self-sabotaging, in this case, although certain other of my problem issues definitely played a role. Yet since self sabotage is a persistant crime of mine, particularly visible in my MA training, it warrents pondering as pertains to my own situation.

Lamont messaged me to mention the Proving Grounds Championship. I figured I wouldn't qualify anyway, but apparently I do. I had skipped the Revolution this past weekend, and had not planned to do the PGC or anything else. I still haven't come up with any new insights or ideas on the defeatism barrier.

Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Glenn! He's been out for about a year. So delightful to see him back. I got to drill with him, too.

Drills- from standup, pulling spider guard. Then same, with partner proceeding to pass. Then some positional sparring, starting from establishment of the spider guard. Then postional training starting from sitting on the floor in what Carlos called "double guard pull". After a while, Carlos switched out partners and gave me a young, long-legged blue belt who huffed and puffed like an overweight basset hound. Since it was also hotter than hell in there tonight, this was not helping him. We talked a lot about breathing. I also gave him several other suggestions as we went. I know that it was because he was breathing wrong, but I still found it rather gratifying- given our respective ages- that I had to repeatedly chivvy him along when he was literally on the brink of collapsing.

A few rolls with Allison. I haven't seen him in a while either. He's always great to roll with. He handled me, of course, but I think I made him work a little harder than he has had to work to handle me in the past. I finally had to cry his mercy, though, because I just became too exhausted to continue. He complimented my on my back mount escape. I had escaped his back mount four or five times, usually by grabbing his gi top and squirming around till we were chest to chest (him usually on the bottom at that point). I said, "I thought you were being nice and giving me room to get out," and he said, "No, I was trying." Which, given his skill level, I'm going to take as a compliment even if he's fudging a bit. At that point I was way too tired to jump on Glenn, so I promised to get him next time.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday evening

"I've had 56 students win gunfights in the past 5 years.  I also had two students that died because they were unarmed when they were attacked.  Carry your f***in gun." - Tom Givens (Rangemaster)

OMG, Jen Jen Jen. This needs to stop. This ritual leadership team needs to break up due to irreconcilable differences. I had intended to perform my small part for next weekend's event and then just stop answering her e-mails and fade away... which would leave the door open to at least show up and participate in a non-facilitating way once in a while. But it has become clear that she ONCE AGAIN did not like what I did at the last event, even though it worked just fine,  and now she wants to vet my piece beforehand. She disguised this as a general message to everyone that "We don't want to do (fill in the blank with what I did last time). Let's all post our ideas so that we can be all goal-aligned." So almost everyone posts except me.... since I'm still trying to figure out how the hell to deal with her shit without getting pulled into a dysfunctional drama scene, and I also still have about .02% doubt that this may be *my* problem because I apparently have no ability to function in ritual nor gauge accurately whether things worked or not nor take constructive criticism... and she posts another general message going, "Okay, the only one who hasn't chimed in yet is Kitsune....." then again this morning with, "I'm freaking out here, those who haven't posted their ideas yet PLEASE DO SO". Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, this is the biggest event of the year and you'd think she'd have enough to do without having this much time and energy to ride my ass. Over a very tiny role, which is not going to make a difference in anything even if she hates it. I don't want to be one of those people who causes a drama scene (or worse- bails) a week before a huge event, but I've about had it. This is nuts.

I mounted a pole in my basement gym to dry my gi's on. When I first moved in here, I looked at the shower in the laundry room and thought, "Sweet, I can hang my gi's right there on the shower rod to dry." Well, turns out the air flow sucketh in there and they take about a week to dry.... which is not a huge deal, except the condensation is such that I'm worried it's going to get all disgusting in that room if I keep doing that. I'm not sure the air flow and drying time are going to be much better in the basement proper, but I hope so. I'm going to mount a second pole on the porch so that I can dry them out there when the weather permits.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. I got there early and had a long, thorough stretching session, followed by a few reps of the Tai Chi short form. Then Five Animals. Then Leopard Fist. I have not done any forms of any kind for, like, a year. I don't know how I feel about it. It stirred some things. Some good, some bad.

KOtH, sweep vs pass. There was an awkward moment right that the beginning when Prof Herbert tried to pair me up with Sauleh. There were only about 8 of us total in there, so having Sauleh in there with KoTH meant a lot of extra wall time for me. Irritating.

Brandon has his purple belt. He continues to get bigger- and better.

A few spars. Lance first, ha ha. He was nice, and let me simply run a sub clinic on him. I also got a turn with Herbert, which was awesome if exhausting. It was very flowy. I tried really hard to flow. I think I made a decent showing of myself.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"That's why I don't stand up."

A professional (criminal) does not fight you, doesn’t even think about fighting you. He takes you out.  –Rory Miller

Thurs evening BJJ in Bellevue.  I felt good to go when I left the house, but I was feeling like crap by the time I got to the gym. I had to take an allergy pill *and* and ibuprofen... I had a headache and was congested as hell. Fortunately, they seem to have done their work (passably- I can *NEVER* really breathe), and I did not have major problems getting through the class.  I felt really tired at the beginning, but was able to rally- I even stayed for for the sparring at the end, ALL of it (to the point of getting kicked off the mat by Doug, who wanted to go home and have dinner).

Closed guard to butterfly to spider guard setup to triangle. I was working with Nadine, who was complaining about her incredibly short legs. They may have been short, but they were all muscle- her thighs felt like steel posts, and the instant she closed her triangles, all the air was gone and the pain was terrific.

Some positional sparring from closed guard- pass vs try to get the triangle; then pass vs sweep or triangle; then pass vs whatever.

Several spars. My performance was moderate.

Here's yet another way you can pick out the serious martial artists who have trained something else before coming to BJJ:

Kitsune (during spar): "Why don't you stand up when I do? You know you can take me down."
Nadine (judo practitioner): "That's why I don't stand up."

"I'm a purple belt."

BJJ isn't about doing a technique against resistance, it's about doing techniques that your opponent doesn't expect, and catching him off guard or off balance.  Kaungren

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. All positional training. I drilled with Christie, who is doing the Revolution this weekend. I blitzed her with information and advice. Suprisingly, I had *no* problem handling her easily in all of the positions today. In fact at one point when I passed her guard yet again and I could tell she was getting exhausted and a little discouraged, I had to say, "You're doing great... I'm a purple belt."  At the end, she thanked me and said, "You helped me *so* much today." That feels great.

Rodrigo was also there (altho not on the mat), and made a point of coming over and giving me a hug even though I was completely sweaty and disgusting. He asked me about the Revolution and I told him I had to work. He said something about having intended to get me a coaching pass- which is both frightening and flattering.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday- yep, it's still hot

The more peaceful a group, the easier they are to victimize.  –Rory Miller

Two doses of drills, lunchtime and evening.  Gordon was teaching. Since he is doing Monkey Bar Gym as well as training pretty much 24/7, he never gets tired. His warmups are brutal. As usual, partway through the warmups for class #2, my body and brain were both commenting, "This was a dumb-ass idea."  However, I was not nauseous at the end, even though it was as hot as it's been the last few weeks. That's a relief.

Pick-your-own-takedowns, 3 min per partner. Followed by pick-your-own-sweeps, pick-your-own-passes. Wash, rinse, repeat.

A few spars at the end of each class. In the evening I got completely disassembled by that tiny little elderly brand new blue belt. Jesus. Gotta hand it to him. I really hope he sticks with it.

Still having significant pain whenever I kneel on my knee at a certain angle- both of them. This is from the falling-down-the-stairs incident which was like a month ago. I'm starting to wonder if I chipped off a couple of bone frags in there or something. That ankle that I rolled out a long time ago is functioning fine now, but I still get a little flutter of worry in my belly whenever I come down hard on it and it's not perfectly aligned. Getting old sucks.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Smile at her.

Never forget that self defense is about not being there, using awareness, avoidance, and de-escalation to eliminate the need to fight.  Fighting is what you do when you’ve totally screwed up your self defense. Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder, The Little Black Book Of Violence

Yardwork in the morning. That pulled muscle or pinched nerve or whatever it was is better today. Still there- but when I turn my head to the left, I only want to grimace instead of wanting to scream. I think a little hair of the dog (ie, yesterday evening class) was what it needed.

Friday evening class in Bellevue. All of the other BJJ bloggers in this area are bitching and moaning about the heat. Yup, it was an oven in there. Fortunately, Prof. Herbert was teaching, and he opened the garage door. Carlos is more likely to go over and CLOSE the door. He likes it hot in there.

It was a small class. We still had 4 black belts on the mat, though.

White belt: "Where is everybody?"
Kitsune: "Everybody who is REALLY serious about there training is HERE."

Warmed up by rolling a little with Peter.

Guard pass: scoop opponent's left thigh up onto your shoulder and press hir right thigh to the mat. Grab behind hir collar while you slide your left knee over hir thigh. Make sure to keep your toe pinning hir shin down. Sit out. Switch grip to inside of pantleg at knee on NEAR leg, while you take side control. Now move to scarf.

Chrisanne was feeling nice and heavy- but I asked her to do more shoulder pressure into my throat while she was passing, and to make sure that she didn't shift her weight off of my chest and onto the mat while she was sitting out. With these suggesstions, she was HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY throughout the entire maneuver.

Sparring. Chrisanne was making an effort to be assertive, which was good-  but I reminded her again where her center of gravity is and that she should get it up above mine right away. I also suggested that if her opponent stands up, she should go ahead and stand up too- and not show any insecurity about working standup, even if she is feeling some.  "When she stands up, you stand up too- and then smile at her. Let her think THAT over."   ;)   That's what I like to do at comps.

Christy. Still very good, and getting better. I like how she is able to switch directions/plans quickly- that is something I'm *still* working on incorporating into my own game. It's great that she can do that already. I was able to fend her off okay, and stay relaxed and breathing evenly. She got 2 or 3 taps that I might have been able to get out of if I'd gone 100%, but they were good subs so I let her have them.

Doug- always fun.

White belt guy- muscling, but I was able to fend him off moderately well.

Again with the nausea after class. I don't like this. I don't think it was dehydration. I drank a ton of water, also some chocolate milk and Hawaiian Punch.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Some seemingly competent sparring

Beating someone to the draw is a myth. Even if it was possible, other than a shot to the brainstem, there is nothing a bullet can do that can stop another person from pulling the trigger for several seconds.   –Rory Miller

Went to the open mat in Bellevue after work on Fri morning. I was only able to be there for the last hour, but I had coordinated with Lindsay, so it was worth it. We rolled for almost an hour- gi and then no-gi. I got a few taps, she got a few taps. Then we gushed about how much we enjoy working together. We seem very evenly matched, and we feel safe working together.

Turtle Spirit Jam. I wrote a chant and used it to call the quarters. Decent turnout. I used the frame drum, doumbek, and egg shaker. Also broke out the streamer poi, which was nice- not enough room to use those in the indoor venue. Used the frame drumstick to drum on objects around the park shelter (STOMP's got nuthin on me). The metal signs had very poor tones, but the trash can and recycle can were great. Got a nice three-tone rhythm going with trash (head)-recycle (head)-trash (stick). 

There were two other guys there with great drum skills, and we had a really nice middle eastern-sounding beat going at one point wherein we were trading the solos around.

Still feeling a bit too much "holding the rhythm" burden at these events. Every single time I tried to drop out- even though I was being really careful to fade- the whole group either immediately faded with me or fell apart. I wish there were a few more people who weren't afraid to start rhythms or to take the lead.

I got a nice amount of walking done. I parked over a mile away because I assumed there wouldn't be any parking to be had (turned out the rear half of the park was deserted). I also circled for pretty much the entire jam.

Jen and I are fighting on FB again, with me saying that when I'm helping to lead these shindigs, I want to have a loose format and not be ordering drummers where to stand and what to do. She seems to feel that I am frustratingly naiive and can't understand how much ritual leaders need to plan every step ahead and tightly CONTROL everything. I suspect the golden spot lies in the middle somewhere, but it is difficult to restrain myself from bristling when she shoots down my concepts and ideas. I'm still not entirely sure what is going on here with the dynamics between us, but I am not comfortable trying to force myself into her little box of what she wants me to be doing, so I am definitely going to hang back and keep my role strictly compartmentalized. I already agreed to call East at the next big Ocean Healing thing (deliberately picking an element I'm weak in, just for a challenge), and I will still do that, but we have talked about doing something with the River over here at my place in the fall... which I may now try to wiggle out of. I'm not going to respond to her posts right away, though- choosing to not let myself get pulled into the Dance Of Ego, cuz I can feel myself wanting to. Going to wait till I'm cool.


Two-fer at Bellevue. Good Lord was it hot. After evening class ended, I was actually kind of nauseated from the level of heat (and possibly from being shaken and stirred all day on the mat).

Lunchtime: Drills.

1) Standing guard pass. Hands on opponent's knees. Step to each side a few times, then pull opponent's knees to the mat on the same side you are on. Dart to other side, plant shoulder on opponent, slither upward into side control.

2) Step one foot between opponent's feet. S/he sits up and hugs your knee. Grab the back of hir collar, plant your forearm on hir breastbone, "slide into home" on the free-foot side. Turn your hips toward opponent, placing your left knee where your right knee just was. Your right knee must be pointed  at the ceiling in order to pop out of the half guard. Front mount. 

3) Opponent's feet are on your hips. Grab hir left foot with your right hand (same-side), pass it to your other hand, clamp it under your left arm, step in and drop to butt as if you are going for ankle lock. This is a ruse (or perhaps your ankle lock didn't work). Post with right hand, change your grip on the leg (you want to grab the pants on the outside of the knee) and use your left leg to lift opponent's non-trapped right ankle while you shift your body behind hir butt. I was worried about accomplishing that left-leg thing, but it turned out that you only had to stick your foot under there and lift it a smidgen in order to render the person unable to do diddly crap (since now both hir feet are off the mat). It did not need to be a big production, but you did need to remember to do it. The trickier part for me was actually avoiding getting my own foot trapped under my own ass thus preventing me from doing the shift. I wanted to step in really really close to the opponent's butt when I first went for the ankle lock, but I had to think ahead regarding where I placed that foot- otherwise I had to do extra scrambling in order to unfold myself later.

Note that if you could use the pants knee grip to yank opponent's leg straight(er) at the end, bonus.

A few spars. Suranjen let me ride him for almost the entire 8 mins, and tap him about once a minute... don't know what was going on there, as he normally tools me. On top of John a lot today, too. Maybe I was just excellent this afternoon, I dunno.


I need to stop doing two-fers assuming the Chrisanne is going to show up for round 2, because she keeps standing me up. Turns out her knee is still giving her problems, so she decided to bail. Guess that's a decent excuse! I held up okay, despite the heat.

Standup with judo grips, put foot on opponent's hip on sleeve-grip side, drop to butt, DO NOT swing out. Instead, slide elbow grip to cuff grip, place foot on bicep, triangle.

God, I can't remember what else we did. I'm so tired. My brain is melting.

More spars. I seemed competant tonight. Usually I flail on round 2 in one day, especially if I seemed competant in the afternoon.

Still having a lot of pain in both knees from that fall I took on the stairs. I also pulled a muscle in the afternoon- it hurts almost screaming-level to turn my head to the left, also rradiating a bit down that arm and to mid-back. Joyful. Stretching before evening class did naught to relieve it, but fortunately it did not seem to cripple me in class. I hope it's not bad in the morning. I want to do 1, maybe 2 classes tomorrow.