Sunday, December 18, 2016


  There comes a time when you know you aren't getting out alive anyway, you have nothing to lose, there is no way to survive and your brain shifts. You don't think about winning, you don't think about not losing, because death is a foregone conclusion. And something clicks and you decide to leave a mark. To leave so much forensic evidence, there is no way the threat will escape. To make this the worst day of his life. To cause as much pain and damage and horror as you can in the limited time you have left. This is hitting rock bottom and embracing rock bottom.
And it is one of the most powerful survivor mindsets there is. Very few people want to pay the price to stay engaged with a victim who has touched this level, the full-blown lizard brain.   -Rory Miller

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue: We worked on X guard and the tripod sweep. X guard is something I have worked very little of, but would like to persue more, as I need to develop a bottom game. Tripod sweep has been a nemesis. I clearly recall the first time I saw it as a white belt, I was nearly brought to tears of frustration with the multiple steps and the need to keep Left and Right straight. Still struggling with it some.

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue: all spars. I got a tripod sweep On Danny. He complimented me on it even before I told him that was the first tripod sweep I have ever gotten live.  I sparred with two of the female white belts that I had previously taught my favorite mount escape, and refreshed them on it. I mounted poor Jenna over and over and over till she was cursing me in frustration. I said, "You'll thank me for this someday. Not today. But someday." I also showed Camille and Mina how to force an armbar on someone who has their hands locked shut, even if he is much bigger and stronger than yourself.

The whole world is getting promoted: Dave and Casey and Kevin and Pat at black, Nelson and Gerrick and Dex at brown, An and Amy at purple.

Friday BJJ in Bellevue: Got there as the women's class was finishing up; they were doing some positional sparring from front mount. I called to Jenna, "Jenna- remember yesterday". Carlos shut me down. I almost never coach other people on the mat, but it seems like the very rare time I do it, he gets irritated with me... not sure why.  I'm pretty sure he didn't even know what I was referring to.

All positional KOTH.  I was doing pretty well. We had 4 profs on the mat tonight. Interesting situation wherein Prof A seems to feel that Prof B was going too hard. Prof A administered an educational beat-down. (Let me tell you, if I ever see an educational beat down coming at me from Prof A, I will wee all over the mat and expire from terror before he gets within 15 feet.) The next people in line were Chrisanne, Christy, and me in that order. Chrisanne (who has gotten really good at healthy boundary keeping and saying no to rolling with anyone she doesn't feel good about) turns to Christy and whispers, "You want to go with Prof B?" Christy, who is big and strong and technical and I figure can pretty well take care of herself, looked like a deer in headlights and tried to throw it back on Chrisanne. I decided that if they weren't comfortable, I didn't want either of them rolling with him, so I marched past them while they were conferring. My general impression of Prof B is a mild mannered guy, and I have never felt unsafe with him before... but Prof A knows him a lot better than I do. Also, he had just gotten an EBD in front of everybody, and that sort of thing doesn't tend to sit well with men's egoes. And you know what- he *DID* go too hard. But I am feeling pretty confident right now about being able to protect myself, even against scary guys. I may not *win*, but I can consistantly prevent them from damaging me. And if things start to go sideways, well, there's always Tappety Tap tap.

I got a handwritten letter from CN. It was so nice. I miss him. I wrote him back. Hope he keeps it up. It would be good to talk to him more.

Saturday BJJ in Seattle: all spars. Did okay. Decided not to tap to the girl who put her hand on my face 15 seconds in.... later she wiped her whole body down my face with all her weight while on top, and I thought she was gonna break my nose. So I pretended it was a comp, I didn't tap. It was a long, competitive match, but I did get one tap on her, which I was happy about. Tried the tripod sweep again on someone else, did not get it this time.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christy is awesome

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom   -Anais Nin

Thursday lunchtime BJJ, in Bellevue, all spars. Nelson!!!! I love Nelson. Seriously, I would marry Nelson if he wasn't already happily married.   I taught my favorite almost-never-fail front mount escape to two different women. Note- remember to front mount them next time I roll with them and make sure they do it.

Friday women's class in Bellevue. All drills. Standing guard passes, SGP to KOB. Lying under partner and holding the belt, hiking butt up so that one knee is in hir crotch and the other foot is wrapped around hir hip. (oof!) This weird thing where you put one hand on your partner's knee and the other on the floor and hop from one side of hir guard to another. It was really easy and even somewhat fun (like a dance move) RIGHT UP UNTIL Carlos came over and stood right behind me so that I had to sidle instead of hop. THAT MADE IT A HUNDRED TIMES HARDER!!!!!  (Also.... even though he continues to look at me funny whenever I try to say anything to him in Portuguese, he did understand when I muttered, "Eu nao gosto voce,"  ("I don't like you"))

I was really impressed with Christy, who is just coming off a bout of food poisoning. Breakfast was the first meal she had eaten in three days. Then she went skiing. Then to the women's class. Then she ran into the bathroom to puke. Then she did the second class. I told her that she is one of my jiu jitsu idols. She laughed at me.

I could not do the second class. I e-mailed my doctor yesterday and told her that the insomnia meds have made me gain 20 pounds, I am tired all the time, and I want off. We are going to try something else. I am going on a diet. I think I am going to compete again next year, just because that forces me to eat healthy and stay at a reasonable weight. I just can't deal with being this heavy.  Dewey brought me a really awesome healthy roast soup tonight.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Takeoff, crash

People comfortable with high levels of violence have learned to skip steps in escalation. -Rory Miller

Thursday and Friday BJJ last week- I did it, but was too lazy to write it up.

This Thursday I had to take my dog to the vet- she had a cauliflower ear just like her mommy! So I only got to class on Friday (Kirkland). I only did drills because I just got tattooed the night before (shouldn't have been in there at all... it hurt.... but I just couldn't bear skipping).

Someone got on my case while ago for sticking my *bottom* knee in while trying to replace guard from under side control; I'm not sure why my brain wants to do that, but it does, so I have been trying to break myself of it. Tonight we did a technique wherein you *do* stick your bottom knee in first (HA!) and then swing the top one over the back of the opponent's neck, and attack that arm with a figure 4. Made them summersault, then go belly-down and lock the shoulder. I need to avoid getting so anxious about controlling the person that I can't deal with the figure 4, and I also need to cope with my instinctual reluctance to do *anything* beside let go of everything and try to jump on top once they summersault. You actually have to belly-crawl AWAY from them a bit to get that lock, and they really can't get out, even if my caveman brain is yammering that they are loose and flopping and getting ready to get up and smash me.

I know I have been bad about blogging lately. I had some kind of epiphany last month where I went down to the River and (metaphorically) threw away some burdensome life crap, and then I spent about a week and a half in a strange state of feeling too big for my physical boundaries. It was a very dramatic Kundalini-Awakening type of thing. I have touched it before, but never so strong or lasting that long.  I got really excited ("I'm Superwoman! I am going to do ALL OF THE THINGS now! I am a higher manifestation!"), then I got scared, then I set earnestly to work self-sabotaging (partly by stuffing myself with so much sugar and carbs that I feel exhausted and weak and am fatter than I ever imagined I'd be).  It is a recurrent pattern that I am well aware of, but this time it was happening in 3D, technicolor and Slo-mo. I'm frustated with my state of own-worst-enemy-ness. I remember that feeling, though. I want it back. Permanently.

In the meantime, I persevere in studying both Portuguese and ASL (see how I get in my manic state, LOL... I almost added Chinese on top of it, but decided that that was insane- will save that for later) and studying for the EMT course (which should be starting in February).

I commited to hosting a self-defence class at PSG next year (assuming it's approved, which I can't imagine it wouldn't be). It will be discusion only, focused mainly on how to spot and avoid trouble. I may do a Part 2 with some simple physical tricks if there seems to be enough interest. I asked onlist if there was anyone who would co-host so that we could get some different perspectives and experiences from different training backgrounds. Didn't get a response as of yet. I'll ask again when it gets closer.  I'm excited about it, even if I have to do it by myself. I have all sorts of ideas. I've been thinking of doing it for a few years , but now is the time. The Pagans, the gay folks, the trans folks and other fringe elements are scared and want to know how to stay safe.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Can we keep him?

The situation *isn't* over until everyone involved DEEMS it's over.   -Marc MacYoung

Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue: Another brand new female student (I was able to inform Carlos IN PORTUGUESE that we had a new student!). I helped her as we drilled spider guard passes, then I lined up a safe partner for her for the next class- but it ended up not mattering because we did King Of the Hill all hour.  I might not have stayed for the 2nd class had I known that it would be a SECOND hour of spider guard. (oooo, grips!)

Thursday evening BJJ in Kirkland: My diet's been terrible and my energy level low, and I had to struggle hard to get through these warmups. Had to actually skip the frog-jump portion- I just couldn't- thought I was gonna have a heart attack.   More guard passes, upas, got to have a spar with Dave.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue, all King Of the Hill. We were all having so much fun that we extended the class an extra half hour.

We have a visiting Professor, Willas. I asked Amy to tell Carlos that we all like Willas and want to keep him.    ;)   He's really nice and has a lot of good little-guy tricks. Watched him take on this huge muscley (somewhat obnoxious) white belt guy... it was inspiring.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Esta quente.

Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead about kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small, enticing steps. –Julia Cameron

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue: Carlos was absent, and there was a brand new girl taking her first class- so I taught her how to shrimp and then did the drills with her (side control escapes). Then there were a few short spars, and I matched her up with safe people. Will was there- I have not seen him in forever- so I called him out after class and we had a really fun roll.

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue: Standing guard pass drills. Standing spider guard pass by pinning one knee to the floor and underhooking the other thigh. King of the hill, spider guard sweep vs pass. I did pretty horrible today for some reason.

I got to try out my beginning Portuguese on Carlos today. I informed him that he is a very tall Brazilian man. You should have seen his face. He made me repeat it, and made a minor correction. Later I told him that it was too hot in the gym. At the end, I tried to tell him that the class was great, but he didn't understand me.  I hope my pronunciation is not that bad. I will keep trying. I was able to read a comment today on one of his FB posts that was in Portuguese.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


The four lines people cross that take their actions out of the self-defense justification are:
1)The threat isn't physical
2)The threat isn't immediate
3)They cross into excessive force
4)They participate in the creation and escalation of the situation.
-Marc MacYoung

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue. I had a really good spar with Seth; asked him to not let me do any escapes so that I would be forced to try other things. He praised me for staying on the move.

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue.  A lot of King Of the Hill from back mount. As usual, I was doing well at escaping back mount and I was not doing well at keeping it.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. Carlos left early, so Chrisanne wanted to spar with me for the first time in forever. I didn't injure her. Another good spar with Seth (no escapes allowed). Kevin.... OMG. Nobody rolls like this guy. Every BJJ artist on the planet should get a chance to roll with this guy once just to experience it.  That Brazilian purple belt woman that I have always found challenging- neither of us was able to tap the other tonight, and we spent a long time working standup... so nice to get to work standup with someone my own size. New girl: she stared at me wide-eyed after time was called and exclaimed, "That was..... so EYE-OPENING!"  

Chrisanne is competing next month for the first time. She has 4 stripes on her blue belt. I have spent a lot of time puzzling over our differing strategies. She has done everything possible to set herself up to win. Whereas anyone who has been reading my blog for a while well knows, I am self-sabotaging- I set things up so that if I lose, I have excuses. It seems like either Chrisanne or I have things fucked up- and I suspect it's me.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Adolescent boys- that critical window


Generally, women are more reluctant to fight than men. And when they do, men tend to focus on the abstract, bullshit social construct of “winning” and women are just there to hurt you.  -Rory Miller

Thursday 8-18: walk 2 miles.

 BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. Got worked over by a few higher belts, and coached a few white belts.

Dave has his black belt!!!!!!! So exciting. He was walking in as I pulled into the parking lot, so I leaned out the window and shrieked, "LOOK AT THAT BLACK BELT!!!!!"  Then I called him "Professor" at every possible opportunity.  As we rolled, he said that he didn't feel like a black belt. He said this *as* he was tapping me out.

Amber and Jacquelin got their blues (yay, more colored belt women), Kara got a stripe, Jim got his black. (I managed to escape yet another promotion cycle unstriped.)  I'm happy for them, but I am conscious of how much less stressful the whole process is for me when I'm not getting promoted any more.

Thursday 8-25: walk 2 miles.

 BJJ in Kirkland. Some guard passes. Having a little trouble distinguishing left from right, as usual... my partner did too.... and then we did another pass that involved the same entry only changing sides for the part we were both having trouble with. Good thing this wasn't a Carlos class, where we would have had to do a bunch of rounds of both at the end..... I think our  heads would have exploded. We ended with head-and-arm chokes. I continue to struggle to remember which side to jump to (it's the side where you have their arm).  Next, swinging around and armbarring the opposite side. It is worth trying to keep in mind that you don't always have to focus on the near arm.

A few spars. I felt like a purple belt today (which is rare). I dominated two FRAMO's who usually dominate me- even tapping each of them once. Then Amber brought me back down to earth by pwn'ing me all over the mat. My goal for the day was to not get caught in her triangle. There were a couple of near misses, but I succeeded in that. She had to tap me with other stuff.   :)  I rolled with her son, which was great fun. He reminds me of Will when he was little. Will got visibly bigger every class. There was a tiny window of about four days when we were the same size, and I could still tap him sometimes.  Then it was all over, ha ha.  Ten is just hitting the point where his legs are starting to sprout, and I told him that in another couple of years when they are twice as long as they are now, he is going to be a monster.  I hope I get to roll with him during the window.

On the whole, I left feeling really good.

Master Worlds, and GB Northwest kicked ass and took names. Carlos, Cindy, Christy, John, Anica.

Having some trouble with motivation these past 2 weeks.... skipped both Fridays. Once because it was really hot; the other Friday I was already on the eastside with the gear, and I just decided I was too fucking tired.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Unsanctioned pants

Good art is a form of prayer. It’s a way to say what is not sayable. –Frederich Busch
Thursday and Friday BJJ in Bellevue.

Thursday: Drills and king-of-the-hill from various positions. I did really poorly at KOTH today.

Someone posted a new pic of Christiano Oliviera (GB NW's child-rapist ex-professor) out of jail, on the mats, smiling, with smiling students (including females and a presumably underage green belt), wearing gi pants with the GB logo. I was.... well, less than thrilled.   The buzz is that he's going to open (or buy) a school in Yakima. How he has the nerve to go right back to Yakima, and right back into the BJJ community, I cannot imagine. Guy has no shame and has obviously learned nothing from his experience with the justice system. Despite what he may want us to infer from his togs, however, he is *NOT* worming his way back into GB- which has denounced him. I am really angry that he's running around wearing our logo, but apparently we can't legally stop him from doing that. Nor can we stop him from opening a jiu jitsu school- although he should not legally be able to have underage students. We (including his victim) would be seeing him at comps, though. Lovely.

So because I had said- er, a few things- on Facebook regarding the matter, Rodrigo pulled me into his office on Friday and we had a really, really long talk. I have mixed feelings about this. He didn't tell me or even ask me to shut up- which I appreciate, since he obviously wishes I would. He did reassure me that this asshole is not coming back to GB NW- that in fact if GB (in a worldly sense) accepts him back into the fold in any capacity, Rodrigo will be out the door. There was much discussion about keeping our mats safe and our communication lines open and so on. We disagree on a few points, but I was left feeling that we were on the same side. There was much hugging and possibly a few teary eyed moments. I appreciated that he took the time and effort to do that- especially as it became apparent that he had spent the entire day hashing this over with multiple parties (including the survivor and legal counsel). I was quite surprised, frankly, that I merited being on his short list of people to pow wow with about this. I'm not sure whether to be flattered or dismayed.

Anyhow, I was in Rodrigo's office for almost the entire class time on Friday, and got out just in time to do a few guard pass drills and a couple of rolls- one with Casey (who showed me a fascinating new choke and some refinements to my armbar from mount) and one with one of the white belt ladies (who seems happy for my hints).

Friday, August 5, 2016

Achievement unlocked- crucifix.

A raw reality here, folks, if you have to act in self-defense, life as you know it is over!  But here’s the counterpoint: if you don’t act, life- as you know it- is still over. Finding yourself in a self-defense situation is simple: All your options suck. You need to embrace the suck.  If you act, you’re going to do horrible, hurtful things to another person. If you don’t those horrible, hurtful things are going to be done to you. You’re damned if you do, You’re damned if you don’t. -Marc MacYoung

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.  My broken toe is doing really well, but I am still having trouble with my thumb (of course the one on my smart hand). In light of these, I figured careful drilling would be my best bet, but I was dying to spar. So it was with mixed feelings that I found the class was 100% spars.

Note that the friendly blonde white belt with the English accent is a nice partner right up until you start winning, at which point he Hulks out (and he is stronger than he looks).

I was very excited to get a crucifix (something I rarely try) on a FRAMO (fully-resisting adult male opponent).

I felt pretty good about these spars, and did not seem to aggravate my injuries.

Friday lunchtime BJJ in Kirkland. I usually do Friday evenings in Bellevue,  but I had another appointment on the eastside in the afternoon, so I did this instead. It was a Cindy class!  She has an ugly new warmup which consists of RUNNING a lap around the gym, then doing ten or twenty reps of a warmup exercise, then running another lap, etc.

Double leg takedowns. I knew that I needed to work on stepping close enough… but having resolved to do so, I got a correction from Cindy to step in even CLOSER. Step between opponent’s feet well *past* hir feet, while ramming the shoulder into hir gut. Another two corrections she’s made on me about a zillion times which haven’t stuck yet: placement of the other foot, and failure to stand up again while turning the corner (ouchie, knees….)  I do, however, fully grasp the concept of using my upper body to push the person over instead of actually trying to pick up their legs (and advised my white belt partner on that, after which her double-leg takedown got about a megaton better; better than mine!).

From this takedown, we went to side control, then wrapped the opponent’s arms over hir chest, moved to the other side, and did a kimura. Setting up a kimura from this position was new to me, and there were a lot of steps, so I was distraught when my partner kept asking for instruction. I hate trying to teach things that I don’t fully grasp yet myself! I did the best I could.

One spar with the same girl. She has excellent potential- I hope she sticks. She was thrilled with the few pieces of advice I tossed out. After we were done, she confessed that she had been terrified when she saw that we were the only female students on the mat, because she was afraid I was going to bludgeon her.

I got a few mornings of yard work (practical exercise!) done this week- mostly blackberry-pulling and mowing (with my manual Flintstone mower on waist-high grass…. So it was mostly just flattening the vegetation rather than actually mowing it, but that works for me as long as it stays mostly flat.)  I finally bought a post hole digger so that I can start working on my fence (among other things needing holes). That is going to be some killer exercise, especially considering that my land is mostly composed of rocks with a little bit of dirt scattered among them.

I have been struggling with snacking and extra weight since PSG; but if I get accepted into the volunteer EMS responder program, that will be good incentive to discipline up. Most if not all of the others are late-teens/early-twenties kids, and I am going to have to bust a move to keep up physically.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.   All spars again. Not so happy with this set as I was with the ones last week. I can't seem to pass anyone's guard.
Lots of walking and more yard work.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Broken toes and gender roles

If your nose is held to the grindstone rough
And you hold it down there long enough
Soon you’ll say there’s no such thing
As brooks that babble and birds that sing.
Three things will all your world compose-
Just you, the grindstone, and your darned old nose.

-Julia Cameron

Thursday BJJ in Kirkland. Several basic guard passes, all of which I have done enough at this point to be able to focus on detail, speed and the Stupid Side.

Several spars, all of which I took the rough side of (with the exception of a new white belt woman)

Friday BJJ in Bellevue. Several guard passes, including a couple of the ones from yesterday.

One spar, in which I let a new white belt woman work upas on me, and ended up breaking my big
right toe. She felt *really* bad, even though I assured her it wasn't anything she did (and it wasn't; it was just one of those things). After I rolled around whimpering for a few minutes, I got back up and said, "Let's go again," Partly to reassure both myself and her that this too would pass; and partly because I knew from experience how this would go. I would be able to do a little more (painful) sparring, before the injury swelled/stiffened/became more mechanically debilitating. This is useful triaging skill. I know that if I am on the path to Mordor and I break a toe, I should just press on those last fifteen miles instead of saying, "Let's make camp and let it rest up a bit, and continue in the morning,"  In this case, it's more of "Okay, I'm going to be on the bench for a while, so  I better get one or two more rolls in first,"  White belt looked at me very doubtfully (probably because I was kneeling with my right foot held up off the mat), but it was fine. Then I had to try to walk to the locker room and then out to the car without looking like I was limping too badly, because I didn't want her to feel worse than she already did.

PSG- despite arranging for walking buddies ahead of time, *no* exercise happened outside of required work and two concerts with Eric (one of which I only lasted through half of). It was over 100 degrees every day, and the nights did not cool off much. I just do not do very well in those conditions. I spent way too much time parked on my arse at Herald Camp, hugging frozen gel neck wraps. Unfortunately, when you are at Herald Camp, you get fed (too much). We also happened to land right beside the Happy Hippies Food Truck. All in all, it was not a good setup for fitness and self improvement. The tuna packets worked out well, though. I have found a new appreciation for tuna and the things you can mix it up with. I will be incorporating more of this healthy item into my routine diet.

I did get those two concerts (Extreme Contact Improv For Martial Artists), which is one more than we usually get, so that was good. I did not get any face time with the guy who has been circling me for the last four years in a row with rather impressive doggedness.... which is just as well, as I have still not decided what to do about him.

The U-haul trailer as camper worked very well. Of course, having gone to all that expense and hassle, this was the second year out of twenty-something that resulted in *NO* rain, so I didn't get to see how it performed. There was a notice on the inside warning that the trailer is "rain-resistant" and not "rain-proof"- bummer- but I still think that with the addition of a tarp on top, it should do better than a tent. I shall try this again next year. The 5x8 was the perfect size (I had asked for a smaller one, which they didn't have). Next time I would like to try clothespinning some foil thermal blankets on top of my shade shelter. As it was, my camp was unbearable during the day. I was relieved to see that the trailer did not RETAIN heat- it wasn't any hotter in there than it was anywhere else, with the exception of a layer of superheated air right at the top that would bake your brain if you stood upright. Sitting down- or lying on the metal floor- was not any hotter than anywhere else. Going to have to sacrifice some privacy for some trees next year, though. This site is like Wisteria in that there are precious few trees placed where you can put your camp- and I am limited in where I am allowed to park a trailer- but I'm going to have to try to get some shade next year so that I don't die.

Ticks- my first shower resulted in removal of fourteen ticks. After that, I checked every few hours. I removed dozens. I also spent a great deal of time picking ticks out of other people's hair and ass cracks. I actually went to the med tent (which I never do!) several times to get my itchy tick bites re-sprayed, re-bandaided, and also my poison ivy re-creamed. The Hunt space in particular was lousy with both ticks and poison ivy. I knew there was no help for it; I was just resigned to bathing in both, and so I did. I actually went to the doctor when I got home, though (again! I never do this!). That was just a hell of a lot of tick bites, and I was skeeved about it. She found one last hitch hiker hiding in my back tat. It was too late to get shots. I just have to watch for symptoms.

The new Hunt space is actually outside the camp gate- which did not thrill me, but Dru was even less happy. I've never been that stuck on the physical space as a strong factor in how the Hunt's going to go, but it is definitely a minus in my eyes to be far enough away that the community can't hear the Hunt. Other than that, no problem. I left Finn out there till the bitter end, and I would have left him out there another forty minutes if I could have. I also howled and barked in the woods to try to get the Hunters vocalizing.... it seems like once someone starts, the others feel freer to do it as well.

Michael (who did very well as Dru's drum backup this year) brought up a point that I'm paying attention to, because I respect him. He said that it's important for the community- especially the young women of the community- to see me as a role model in this venue. Honestly I had not looked at it that way, as my perspective was that Bo needed a backup to help with the work as well as to be able to step in and lead if he became unable. I'm perfectly content being a lieutenant. I don't enjoy standing up in meetings and making announcements. What usually happens is that the Hunt coordinating team stands up there with Bo and he does the talking. I feel uncomfortable standing up there unless I have something pertinent to say (and sometimes I do.... if Dru's not at the meeting, I make any needed announcements for the drum aspect of things). But usually I just stay in the crowd and Bo makes a point of waving at me at the beginning of the week and announcing that I'm part of the team. But Michael's opinion- along with the fact that more than one person mentioned in the post mortem that they had noticed that the coordinating team was perfectly gender balanced this year, and how important that was- makes me feel as if I need to purposefully make myself more visible and audible in this role. As a female, specifically. Not very happy about this idea. It seems like egoist posturing, and all I truly care about is making sure the rit runs well. Also, as I become more and more sensitive to society's outdated and restrictive gender-role pigeonholing and how much it annoys me, I become ever more resistant to being defined by my urinary plumbing before being defined as more important things. But hearing that message from multiple people....

When the Hunt began, the coordinating team was very Y-chromosome-heavy. This led to (among other issues) persistant rumors in the community that women were relegated to certain roles in the rit or not present/welcome in the rit at all. Those types of rumors have dispelled over the years but I think there's still a bit of that lurking. Secondly, there's a wealth of "fluffy-bunny-white-light" ritual. There's nothing wrong with FBWL, but that's not all there is.... and it's important that *women* feel like they can move out of the Fluffy Bunny arena should they choose. Also, though it's less of a problem in this community than in others, I do feel that women have still not reclaimed quite enough of their power/equality yet to feel comfortable moving beyond that into a place where it honestly doesn't matter what urinary plumbing the ritual coordinators have. (It makes me sad and frustrated to think that we won't get to this place in my lifetime.) I think I have been trying to occupy that place in my leadership roles without accepting that everyone else is not really ready for that stage yet. Feels like a slide backwards for me personally, but leadership in the Hunt is about serving the community- if they need me to do the "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar" thing, I should at least consider doing that service.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"If I shrimp, my uterus will fall out"

Fear of legitimate danger is a good thing. It is your ally. It’s your inspiration. Your muse, if you will. Strength increases, reflexes are faster, pain sensitivity drops and you can run faster. In these circumstances, adrenaline becomes the get-it-done drug.  –Marc MacYoung
Thursday and Friday BJJ,
Thursday and Friday and Saturday BJJ,
and Friday BJJ (Thursday I was tired and lazy and did nothing).

One of the Thursdays was at Kirkland. Remember when I said it was nice to go there once in a while and tool up on their white and blue belts? That was Hammer Day, and this was Nail day! All those same people tooled on me... including a female white belt who tapped me twice right away. Then I thought, "Hmm, I'm going to have to take this one seriously," and then she tapped me again!  She was very tight, and shrink-wrapped everything up methodically the way Luis does, leaving *no* room to do anything. My happiness at seeing skilled women coming up in our school far outweighs my momentary peevishness at getting tapped.

Note that Carlos does not want to hear me say that I got pwn'ed. He made his usual "I no see you" comment the week I spent Thurs at Kirkland. I like that he misses me, but I was a little hesitant to tell him I'd been at Kirkland because I wasn't sure if that would be weird. He seemed (outwardly) okay that I'd gone elsewhere that day, but gave me a serious talk about the way I refer to getting my butt kicked. Much of this monologue was sort of lost in translation (and also he was following me down the mat while I was doing shrimp drills during it), but I think the gist was that he doesn't want me to get too hung up on being smashed- or doesn't want me to talk too much about it- which I guess is related. And both good advice.

The Saturday was at Seattle. Seth showed me a cool sweep. I want him to drill that with me every time I see him.

The other Thursday was the first day at the womens' class that I was not allowed to work with Chrisanne. I found myself with a teenager who looked like I could sneeze and blow her though the plate glass lobby window. I thought Carlos would switch up the pairings when he saw us (I'm too dangerous to work with Chrisanne, and he's going to let me work with this little wisp of a thing?) but he didn't. (I didn't injure her, BTW.... and she is really good at single-legs)

That most recent Friday, I finally succeeded in talking Lindsay back onto the mat. She said that her body still didn't feel quite like her own, and that she was afraid that when she shrimped, her "uterus would fall out". I am not sure what that means, yet I found it was a rather disquieting prospect- but I just told her that I was happy to see her back, and we could deal with whatever limitations presented themselves. I think she ended up tapping me more than I tapped her, so it was good. She seemed really happy to be rolling again. Going to try to get her in again this coming Thurs.

Chrisanne got a stripe! PSG is coming up and I will likely have only one BJJ class this week (if that), so I ought to be able to escape promotions yet again (muah ha ha ha). Mini posted a promotion/ranking rant on her training blog this week- glad to see I am not the only one who feels this way.

One of the techniques we worked on was a sweep from guard in which I struggled, in a way that really pointed up several persistent failings of mine which show up across multiple techniques; I fail to break down the opponent's posture and/or control hir arms adequately, I try to sweep to the side instead of tipping hir head toward my shoulder, and I fail to be forceful enough with the sweeping thigh (I have it stuck in my head that this is a strength move- which of course will never work- I need to fix the technicality and then COMMIT).  Once again, a thing that will have all sorts of sweeping improvement-type effects as soon as I can cement it.

Another interesting technique: choke from top side control. Inspired by Pat, I sometimes pull out someone's gi tail and pass it behind hir head when I have top half guard, as I know there are several intriguing things to do from there.... but I can never remember anything to finish it with. Carlos showed us how to pass the gi tail back to your far hand after passing it under the neck, then yank the person in toward your knee and cross-collar choke hir. If s/he puts out a hand to try to block your second grip, you grab the wrist and yank the arm forward, then lay your chest on hir shoulder and s/he chokes herself with hir own bicep. I had Lindsay coughing several times on this one. I like it.

I asked a few trusted people to try to put me on the bottom and to let me have a legit sweep if I made a halfway reasonable attempt at one, but to *NOT* let me escape. This was totally frustrating, which tells me I am on the right path. I am going to need to keep doing it.

I tried to get my new favorite choke from bottom half guard on a few people, but did not succeed. Being banned from working with Chrisanne flummoxed my plan to drill that with her at every class. I need to find a new drill dummy.

Finding myself questioning my performance aloud too much- ie, asking my partner "is that right?" even when I have no reason to think it's not right. Obviously I *DO* need to ask this when I think I have a problem. But it feels like I am often saying it just because I am being too self-critical. I also find myself saying it as a social lubricant (ie, "Even though I outrank you and we don't know each other well, I'm humble and we're peers, go ahead and correct me (which- again- has its place, but should not be overused))". It backfired badly on me that week, as I found myself working with a no-stripe purple woman that I've never seen before, who was messing up worse than I was but still became more and more didactic (including several blatantly WRONG instructions) over the two days we worked together.

Holding at a reasonable walking-around weight of 133, although I would like to drop another few. The local wild salmonberries are dying, but the thimbleberries are in their prime and the blackberries are starting to appear. The slugs are actually leaving a few of my strawberries for ME this year. Thus whenever I go out to walk the dogs, I have a fruit snack. I've been doing really well on meal portions (I'm still working on the freezer full of half a dozen different meals that I cooked, divvied up and froze several weeks ago), but junk food at work (left by colleagues) continues to be a major pitfall. Tonight there was an unfortunate Doritos incident... thanks a lot, evening shift. Please take your bad food with you when you clock out.

I bought a whole bunch of tuna packets to use as meals at PSG. I'm going to let myself eat at the food vendors' stands a bit, but that is problematic for portion control when I have no fridge or microwave. The tuna packets I bought have condiments in them (I tried the plain- as well as the plain chicken- and just couldn't get jazzed about eating that all week long), but they are portion controlled in 120-cal and 100-cal envelopes. And no cooking, no cleanup, portable, with low perishability. (The tuna packets unfortunately are not going to be a very good option for regular life due to their unreasonable prices.) I also got almonds, granola (caloric, but not as bad as candy/crackers/cookies/doughnuts/breakfast cereal/other poor options), and will get some fruit and Slim Fasts before getting onsite.  I'm looking at myself in the mirror morning and night and wondering how much of the abdominal bloating I'm seeing is my bad soda habit. I should go cold turkey one day and see if there is a visible difference. But that would involve going cold turkey all day.  :( 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Breaking up is hard to do

You can use a strong wrestler's strength against him, but it is almost impossible to defend against a mental edge. Every time you execute a move, the smarter wrestler will counter, attack and counter. The smarter wrestler,  the wrestler with the better technique, with the better inventory of moves, with the agility and mental toughness to keep coming at you, is the wrestler who will win.-Kyle Maynard

Thursday BJJ at Bellevue: all spars.

Friday I missed. I spent the first half of the day in bed with a headache and extreme exhaustion. I felt somewhat better in the afternoon, but decided to not push my luck with getting repeatedly hurled o the ground and throttled.  This turned out to be a fortunate thing, as my house nearly burned down that evening- and that is an that you don't really want to miss. The animals and I were evacuated and spent 2 days sleeping on Cindy's floor. ("The house is really dirty," she says when I call her to inform her that all five of us are inviting ourselves over for an indefinite length of time. "Cindy, my standards right now are very low. If it's not ON FIRE, it will look great to me.") Luckily the area fire department was on point and they did not let my house burn down. Tense weekend, though.

Thursday- all spars again. I got an armbar on Amy that I was very pleased with- it was from a weird position and I am still not great at sussing those out. Amy beats me now 7 times out of every 8, so it was that much more the sweeter. (Note that I need to remember she is VERY GOOD at grabbing kimuras as I pass her guard. She got me *TWICE* with the same routine.) I managed to mess up my shoulder.... I had a few moments of "I should really tap now, but I DON'T WANNA tap...." Thought I was over that crap, but the ego still rears its ugly head once in a while. And now I pay.

Thought I might have to sit out Friday due to shoulder, but Chrisanne said she'd come in, so I went (feeling safe in her hands).

Standing guard pass to KOB

Standing guard pass to KOB to kimura

Standing guard pass to KOB to armbar

I was happy that I am finally remembering consistantly to grab the pants with that armbar. I am also now able to usually remember to pin the opponent between my shin and knee. Still need to get a bit better about clasping the forearm to my chest (grab my own lapel if need be). Carlos also wants me to clasp the forearm more closely to my chest in the kimura.

A little positional sparring from spider guard- pass vs defend.

So there's where it happened.... I stacked Chrisanne- not much, but apparently too much- and hurt her neck.  I was horrified to have hurt her YET AGAIN, and Carlos walked over and told us we had to stop seeing each other for a while.

I feel terrible. I have always prided myself on my control, and on being able to be careful while working with smaller and less experienced opponents. Right now I am feeling insecure about something that I have always felt was one of my biggest strengths in BJJ.  It is making me feel tentative, and I hate that- I have been fighting "tentative" in myself all along and this is feeding my dragon.

 Chrisanne is difficult because I know she does not want me to go easy on her.... and she's good enough that if I *do* go easy on her, she's just going to dominate me to the point that it's not going to be useful for either of us. I'm pretty sure she would be pissed off at me if I started doing that.

Also- she had had a shitty day. She felt allergy-ill and didn't plan to come in, and then she had some bad crap happen to her and decided to come and and blow off some frustration. I feel really awful that instead of helping her do that, I ended up making her feel worse.

In better news: I have managed to drop 14 of the 15lb that I gained from being on sleeping pills. I am relieved. I didn't like being that weight- it felt like I was wearing a fat suit. going to have to be very careful from now on.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I have a new favorite choke.

When fighters fight, their souls touch. –Jacob Duran

Previous Thursday and Friday classes, Bellevue: all spars. Didn't have much to say about them.

Thursday lunchtime gi, Bellevue:

You have butterfly guard. Get right-hand cross lapel grip and place left foot on opponent's right bicep to stretch hir out and pull hir forward. She will have to put up hir right knee, where you have stuck in a butterfly hook (your right foot).

Push that butterfly hook through deeper. PULL THE ARM DOWN and under your ankle, yank it up onto your belly. (This was the bugaboo for me, for some reason- had trouble braiding all the limbs in the correct order in that particular little knot). Triangle-lock your other leg so that opponent's right leg and arm are both trapped here. You need to sweep to the side that hir post is NOT (I had a little trouble with that too...). The trick (assuming you have managed to trap the arm effectively) is pinching your knees together and tipping them to the outside to spill the opponent. Pinching the knees together is a persistant failing for me over several techniques, so I really need to pay attention to the techniques that use that.

Another thing that stymied me was that you have to be square with the opponent, flat on your back, and disturbingly far away from hir to make that last bit work. I am used to having to curl up like a pill bug, quirk to the side, and tuck myself as far under an opponent as possible for most sweeps. And NEVER NEVER flat on your back. This one was the opposite, and it always freaks me out when I have to try to do those rule-breaking outlier techniques.

John was having trouble as well, and Carlos was getting frustrated with both of us. He got so frustrated with me at one point that he walked off (I hate that worse than anything), but he was a lot harder on John. I whispered to John, "He's being rough on you because he's getting ready to promote you to brown," and John thanked me.

One great roll after class with John. I also found his pulse.

I am going to take a CPR/first aid recertification class, and finding the pulse quickly and consistantly was one of the things that I had problems with last time I tool this class back in college (when dinosaurs walked the earth). I want to find pulses on everybody I meet until I feel really comfortable with it. So far I have quickly and easily found five out of six; that sixth person I had to grope a little, but I did find it.

There is a fire station only 2 miles away from my house. I had always intended to get am EMT certification, just to have the skills, but with the station that close it would be nice to volunteer there or pick up a little extra money now and then. They will even pay for your EMT classes, if you commit to a certain workload. It's in Everett and the scheduling is going to be very difficult with my work schedule. I think I can power through it, but I will have to wait until my two elderly dogs pass..... I just can't be away from the house that much while I am taking care of them. That's okay. I can use the interim time (years, maybe!) to study so that I know all the Book Learnin' backwards and forwards by the time I do the class.

In the meantime, I am going to check pulses obsessively on all of my BJJ bretheren. I have promised to not try to transition to a choke if they let me.

Friday evening:

Women's class- same techniques as yesterday. Good, I needed more work on them. Happy to see that I was not the only person struggling with the same aspects.

2nd class (ooof)- I almost died doing the second class, but it was worth it because I learned my NEW FAVORITE CHOKE.

Pulling half guard from standing (why am I so clumsy at this? I have done it before and was not this clumsy.... I need to practice this more).

Opponent drapes over you as you have half guard (lying on your right side). You grab a handful of gi at hir knee with your right hand, and stick your thumb into the back of hir collar. With a twist of your body, you can now roll the person over yourself and dump hir on the opposite side (You are now lying side by side, feet to head, on your backs). Do not let go of grips as you roll up and take side control.

THIS CHOKE- oh my. You are in bottom half guard and the opponent is squashing you. (I like it already, because how much time do I spend here? YEARS!!!! What am I able to do from here? VERY LITTLE!!!!)

You are on your right side, frame up and use your right elbow to shove opponent's top half toward your left. (Note that in no-gi, you can also do this, cupping opponent's shoulder.) Snake your left hand under opponent's arm as if you are trying to reach under your own armpit- then grab your own bicep instead. This can be a choke or (with a body twist) a shoulder lock- and it comes on FAST, so be careful and don't slam it.

Simple. Effective. From the position that I spend the most time paralyzed in. I am in love.

Found Chrisanne's pulse and Doug's pulse. They are both alive.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Never do that.... oh wait, except for this instance.

Awareness, by itself, is not enough to help you avoid a criminal threat. In fact, criminals usually expect their victims to feel afraid, and some criminals feed on that feeling. Really nasty criminals encourage a victim’s fear and even work hard to increase it. A person who feels alarm but is not prepared to act is an ideal victim for such a criminal, because that person fits neatly into the script the criminal expects to play out when he attacks.
Be smart: be prepared *and* aware!  -Kathy Jackson
Thurs eve BJJ in Kirkland.

Side control escapes involving a elbow-to-wrist brace across opponent's collarbone and a body turn AWAY from hir. I have such trouble with that. This is one of the techniques that the white belts actually pick up FASTER because they don't have years of "NEVER TURN AWAY FROM THE OPPONENT!!!" to try to break out of.

One of these techniques was designed to take advantage of the moment that the opponent slips hir arm from the near side of your head to the far side in preparation to keylock you. I need to try to remember to experiment with that live.

A little rolling with a few white and early-blue belts. I was able to handle everybody fairly well. I know that Bellevue- which is rife with people better than myself- is the best possible place to learn, but it sure helps the self-confidence to go to Kirkland and just tool up on four or five people in a row to remind yourself that you can actually do some jiu jitsu.

Friday evening women's class in Bellevue. Roundhouse kick to your hip, you step with the arc, then overwrap the ankle and press the knee out to take down. Step in to brace the leg, then ankle lock.

.....aaaaaaaaaaand more side control escapes, this time the one I have always hated: the one where you snake under the armpit and then roll to your belly, to turtle, to sit-out. I have always struggled with the mechanics of this (although I am very flexible, several bits of this sequence exploit the few ways in which I am *NOT*) as well as the terror or getting 1)smashed back down, probably with my elbow breaking in the process... neck feels distressingly vulnerable as well here..... or 2)getting pinned on my belly.... I do not like being flat on my belly underneath my (usually heavier and stronger) opponent. I was like, "Oh God, *this* shit again....." but tonight was the first night where I actually felt like I might be starting to grok this one. It helped a lot to have done those bracing side control escapes the night before. Something just clicked after having worked this series of moves in sequence. I'm still not very jazzed about the idea of trying this live, but it makes a little more sense now.

The problem with this women's class is that I am too tired to do the following class (which I miss), and there is almost never any live rolling (so far). I was feeling very hungry for some live rolling, even though I was pretty tired and not thrilled with the idea of drilling *or* rolling with fresh men. I really wanted to roll with Chrisanne, but she was tired. Still, she was waffling a bit, which made me keep my gi on and sit on the sidelines with her hoping she would get a second wind. The class was all sparring (damn!), and Carlos was not at all pleased with the concept of me and Chrisanne sitting out part of the class and then coming in JUST to roll with each other. He was like, "You're welcome to come in, but if you do, you are staying on the mat for the whole class." Finally I gave up on Chrisanne and went back in. Had a couple of good rolls, although I got fairly dominated. Kevin is amazing. I haven't worked with him in a long time, and it blew my mind at how flexible, technical, and stellar he has become. I remember working with him when he was a white belt, and it is very inspiring to see how far he has come.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


This is how a book or story has to start. Something rings in my head, like Great Tom. A knell.
Or sounds in my brain like a horn. A call to battle.
Sometimes two characters argue in my mind.
Sometimes it is a character tapping me on the shoulder.
Sometimes it is a vision, a picture in my head.
Only when I hear that ringing, that battle horn, that clear argument, or feel that tapping, or see that vision do I know there is a story I have to tell.
Then I must invoke the magic word. Oh, yes- there is one. All truly successful writers know it.
I shall whisper it in your ear: BIC.
It stands for Butt In Chair.
Really. Hard work is the only real magic there is... if the book in your head is going to get onto the page.
-Jane Yolen
Friday women's class: I was too lazy to blog it and now I can't remember what we did, except I remember doing double-leg setups and upas.
Thursday lunchtime class: Pulling guard and using one foot to strip one opponent's grip, then scissor sweep.
Same, only use pendulum sweep.
I had some issues here, and at first I was irritated that we were doing both of these in one class because I kept sticking elements of the scissor sweep into the pendulum sweep. I tend to try to turn everything into the scissor sweep; the pendulum sweep feels like one of those "this will never work for me live" things (I think partially because of the emphasis on powering it with a lateral-to-medial shove of the thigh which feels like a very weak movement to me, and also I am always wanting to hip out). It turned out to be annoying-yet-educational because it forced me to focus on the differences.
Scissor sweep- I am decent at this; I just need to remember to keep my knee toward the ceiling. I want to put it too low across the opponent's ribs, and a decent player is going to just flatten it (and me behind it) and squash me. I usually end up trapping the posting arm adequately, but I need to be more mindful and assertive about it.
Pendulum: Do not turn on my side. STRAIGHT leg, up to the ceiling, socketed assertively right into opponent's armpit. Another mindful and assertive post-trapping. CUP the knee (you do not need to try to remove this grip). Also, Carlos adjusted my angle of launch from sideways to upper-diagonal (like the upa). The sweep comes from that thigh shove PLUS the lifting of the opponent's knee with a flaring of the elbow. That elbow flare was the one thing I didn't really get enough time to iron out to my satisfaction after ironing out the rest of my problems.
Both sweeps could also use a lot more more lower-leg shoving.
A little king of the hill, pass vs sweep. I got very excited because I was able to not only hold off John for quite a while, but eventually SWEEP him (gasp!). True he wasn't going 100%, but he wasn't babying me around, either. My expanding ego was swiftly returned to earth like a popped balloon by my next opponent, a while belt guy who shoved past my guard in about 4 seconds.
Carlos instructed the 4 large male white belts to not even engage the women. While I understand this, I was a little peeved  that it wasn't "be careful", it was "don't go near them at all". I don't want to encourage the male white belts to refuse to work with women. There is no reason they can't learn to be careful. (Carlos added, "Oh- except for Keetsune," and I was like, "Yeah, bring it,"- but then he said he was kidding. I wasn't.)
Friday women's class: same techniques. Good. Was able to get my shit together better this time.
In addition: Failed double-leg to bear hug and lift; uke hooks foot around attacker's shin to foil the lift, then bend down and grab opponent's ankle and lift for takedown. KOB.
I am feeling hungry for more sparring; we don't do any sparring or much KOTH in women's class. I'm having some stress at work, and could really use the sparring. I stayed after class Thursday and did one spar with Camille, in which I was able to handle her well and mount her repeatedly to troubleshoot her sorry upa. 
One of the fresh blues said to me in the locker room- in a tone that should be reserved for unicorns, Jesus, and Cindy Hales- "I want to be just like you."  I don't know how to react to this. I still don't. I managed to not laugh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I take out another one.

As we write, each of us has to believe our books are worth a tree. Or worthy of that tree.  -Jane Yolen

Friday evening "women's class" in Bellevue. Rolled with Doug a bit to warm up- always an honor.

Self defense- you on your back, attacker standing at your feet. Use right foot to kick hir left thigh to make hir step back with that foot. Then another kick, higher, followed by a technical life. I can't specify which foot does the second kick, nor which butt cheek you have to be on when you begin the technical lift, nor which sole is planted on the floor for that, because I just could not compute. I had one of those left-vs-right brain spasms... which I can often correct after a few reps via a verbal script of "Right foot kick, left sole floor, hips right, right foot kick..." or whatever. Sometimes it just will not come- and the longer it will not come, the more frustrated I get, and frustration introduces enough white noise into my brain to ensure that I will *NEVER* get it.

I am convinced that I have some kind of bona fide proprioception disability- which fortunately appears to be isolated to a fairly narrow problem area- yet I wish I could tell Carlos (and my former kung fu teacher) that I have a BRAIN TUMOR or something; I really am not this STUPID, truly. But trying to explain proprioception to someone who could barely speak English four years ago is futile when most native English speakers can't define the term. It makes me crazy when he hovers over me and tries to correct my errors while I'm having one of these fugues, but even worse is when he gets frustrated and walks off. Few things make me feel as lowly as feeling that I have disappointed my teachers.

Closed guard pass- stand up and grip pantleg down to shuck the leg- I have done this enough by now that the correct sleeve cuff control and the grip change upon standing feel mostly natural.

A little positional training, hold closed guard vs pass, rotating partners.

My final opponent was a teenager in whose closed guard I stood up and proceeded to do the Move Of The Day. As I pushed her leg down, her face contorted into a rictus of pain. "Are you all right????!!!? Are you all right???!!" She didn't answer, just kept writhing and grimacing. I was freaking out- I hadn't been rough or anything, but after concussing Crisanne last week (yes, I did actually give her a concussion *and* whiplash, she had to go to the doctor!), I immediately assumed that somehow I had broken the girl's knee. And here comes Carlos..... is he going to toss me out of this school for injuring everyone????!?

Finally she started rolling up her pantleg. I waited to see the bloody broken shafts of bone poking through the mangled shin of her knee. And saw.... a big scab. Which apparently I had grabbed when I grabbed her pantleg.

I was relieved, but I also kind of wanted to smack her for 1)not telling me that she had a giant scab on her left knee so that I could avoid it, 2)failing to verbally reassure me quicker that she was not in fact dying, and 3)scaring the shit out of me.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The head: a vulnerable design flaw

  Curious friend: “What is guard, what does that mean?”
Me: “It means I can kick your ass while I’m sitting on mine.”   -Ginger Snaps

Thursday evening no-gi in Bellevue.

Carlos still called us "girls" a couple of times, but I think he was making a conscious effort and trying not to.  ;)

I stupidly tried to put in my contacts in the car with too little light, and ended up losing one. It felt like it was still folded up in there, but I could not find the damn thing. I had to call Amy (she's a nurse when she's not kicking ass in the cage) off the mat to poke around in my eye, but she couldn't find it either. I had to work blind. I still don't know what happened to it. Eye is all swollen up.... hope I won't have to go to the Urgent Care for this. At least I was able to do the class and then drive myself home.

Driving drills- pummelling, shoulder throws, armbars from mount, standing rear naked choke defense to takedown with shoulder lock to KOB. Drilling with Amy, you know you are going to work hard.
The shoulder throw ends with the thrower on both knees... I always want to cheat this because my knees hurt. Really need to get way UNDER opponent, and snug hir armpit right into you hard, then sort of meld into one with hir as you bow to the mat. Then you have to unmeld in time to not go over with hir, but  move to KOB.

Carlos yelled at me for trying to cheerlead a white belt through her last set of armbars. Usually this is a thing he encourages, so I was confused and hurt. Two minutes later, he was sitting in a corner with his shirt pulled over his head. Turns out he had a massive migrane. I'm choosing to believe it was this that caused him to snap at me, and not that he hates me.

Four years ago- or even two years ago- this small event would have sent me into an epic spiral of self-hate and doubt and flagellation..... "Carlos yelled at me... he hates me....I can't face him again..... I suck....did I really do something wrong? It's probably because of that exchange we had last week about "girls" vs "women".... that's why he hates me.... was I out of line with that? I suck..... Was I rude and inappropriate to that white belt? Did I make her feel uncomfortable? Did I look like an ass in front of the whole class? Everybody hates me..... I hate myself..... I suck..... I can never face any of these people again....." Yeah, stupid, I know. And yet. Welcome to the world of anxiety disorders.  I don't know if it's being on meds, or feeling more comfortable with Carlos after five years, or just maturity- but I didn't spiral too badly this time. I spiraled some. But not with the usual severity.  And I made a point of facing him on Friday and asking if his head felt better, instead of slinking away because I was sure he hated me.

Friday women's class: Same shoulder throw we did yesterday; another standing rear naked choke defense ending in a reap instead of the shoulder lock and pulling-to-floor; and the donkey-kick standing guard pass to KOB. I have done this donkey-kick thing enough now to know where my trouble issues are. It really needs to happen in 3 steps, not twenty because I am shuffling my feet around trying to get them in the correct position for the KOB. Getting it down to 3 steps requires beginning with the outside foot planted WAY out, not beside opponent's body, it requires actually USING the push-and-bounceback of the shin on the opponent's thigh instead of just going through the motions, and it requires HOPPING that outside foot in and donkeying the other leg back IN THE SAME MOTION. Once I get really focused, I can do it, but the stupid side is very stupid. The hunching over is also tough on my back.

On the last round of reap drill reps, Chrisanne's breakfall was less than optimal, and she got her chimes rung pretty bad. I felt terrible. I have quit treating her like an egg and usually go about 85% on her, but I may need to backpedal and be a little more gentle. Of course, she tried to get right up and continue, but Carlos and Doug and I told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to just lie there for a minute. They put me with Christy, who is training for Pans, and churning out guard pass reps like a damn machine. I was in awe, and said so. Her throws are also painful. I didn't take any bad falls like Chrisanne did, but drilling two complete throws in one class to the extent that we did was a bit much. Just a lot of constant brain jarring. My head ached all night and still aches this morning. I had to take an ibuprofen, which I almost never do. I pinged Chrisanne to make sure she was alive, and she is. After she had refused my offer of a ride home,  I had quizzed her on concussion symptoms, and made her promise that if she had any, she would ask her son's girlfriend to drive her to the Urgent Care. I know this isn't really my fault (or at least MOSTLY not my fault), but I still feel awful. Chrisanne had a terrible week at work, and I put the cherry on top by almost giving her a concussion. (And not that this is important- weighted beside giving Chrisanne a concussion- but it did cross my mind that this incident is not going to do anything good for Carlos' apparent view of me as a reckless, dangerous Godzilla on the mat.)

My head ached too much to consider the all-levels class that came after this one- even if I'd had the energy, which I don't think I did.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Don't tell the ESL guy that!"

Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the face.” –Mike Tyson

Friday evening women's class in Bellevue.  It's a little awkward to have this new women's class right before Friday night class, as I love Friday night class and it's going to be nearly impossible to do both back to back. I just don't have the stamina/cardio unless I phone one of them in, and I can't do that because it's cheating may partner. Unless maybe I have a really really REALLY new white belt for the first class.

Tonight that was NOT happening. We had an odd number of people, and so I drew Professor Doug. So much for phoning it in! I was like, "Okay, shoulder to the boulder now,"  He did a few reps but let me have most of the drilling, and we were moving at a fairly good clip. I was quite exhausted by the end.

Standup- choke from behind. Pull down on forearm and get chin down. step to the side while shoving elbow up. Shuck the elbow over your head and secure opponent's arm in a figure 4 (snug up really close or s/hell wiggle out). This was difficult for me on the stupid side.
Knee to face, then take down and armbar.

Pull guard from standing, then situp sweep. By the end-of-class drill reps, my abs were howling for mercy and I had to reprimand Doug twice for rolling over for me instead of MAKING me do the technique correctly, even when I was struggling.

Standup, judo grips. Yank foe toward you with the lapel grip and try to reap the leg. Bad guy steps out. Pick the other leg. At first I was anxious about getting kneed in the face while leaning over to pick that second leg, but Doug proved that *if* you get the person off balance enough first, they are too busy trying to stand on that leg to be able to life it up and knee your face.

A little QOTH (Queen Of the Hill), pass guard vs sweep.

Prof. Carlos started out by calling us "women" but then switched to "girls" on Doug's advice. (sigh)

Me: Don't tell the ESL guy that!
Doug: (puzzled expression)
Me: Tell him to call us women! Anybody over 12 should be "woman" not "girl".
Doug: (pointing at the single pubescent girl in the group) What about her?
Me: Since she's in a group of adult women, just include her in "women", don't single her out and make her feel weird.

In the locker room after, one of the white belt WOMEN was talking about how I had instructed her to relax and breathe during the QOTH, and another one exclaimed, "Oh yeah, you told me that same thing two weeks ago!!" Then another one started talking about how she was afraid to spar because she felt like she did not know what she was doing, and the whole roomful looked at me like I knew something, LOL.

I told them that I had gone a really really long time just drilling before trying to spar, because I felt the same way, and it was okay. That they just needed to work with the right people, and I could point out which men were careful and helpful. "NO WHITE BELT MEN."

Me: (In private message):
Doug was teasing you, Professor! You should call your women's class "women" and not "girls"!
If it is an informal situation or people you know well, it doesn't matter as much. If you are talking to me and Chrisanne in the lobby and you call us "girls", we won't be mad. But on the mat where we try to be a little more formal, and with new students you don't know well enough yet to consider them friends, it's polite to call any female over 12 "women" and not girls. Sometimes calling them girls makes it sound bad, like calling a class of men "little boys".

Friday, March 4, 2016

How do I stop you????!!??"

I write for love, but love doesn't pay the bills. -Stephen King

Thursday evening BJJ in KIRKLAND. It was nice to see Dave again.

I haven't been here in a while and it was weird to walk in and have all these white belts (and a couple of  early blues) staring at me.

I know that we learn best when we are getting our tails kicked by better MA'ists, and I am constantly conscious of how very fortunate I am to have so many excellent people to kick my tail for me. It's a very different experience to have a roomful of whites and baby blues that you've never laid eyes on before, and wondering, "Okay, how is this going to go? Are they going to try to prove something on me? Am I going to find myself in WW3 in here tonight? And if I do, can I keep it together?"

Standup: straightarm push to opponent's right shoulder while snatching left shin (that's SHIN, not thigh or knee). Lift and dump.

Triangles from guard. I just don't use these, and while I'm excellent (in drilling) on one side, the other side is just not happening. OF COURSE, OF COURSE OF COURSE Prof Casey (whom I barely know and I doubt knows my name at all) walks over to look JUST AS I try it on the stupid side and make an idiot of myself. WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY????!!!???!!! Now I have made a stellar first impression on him as a purple belt who cannot execute a simple triangle in drill.

Cross chokes from guard, gripping the wad of gi at the back of the shoulder. My favorite.

Spars with a white belt guy and a blue belt girl. Was able to handle them both easily, although Blue made me work- she has lots of energy, flexibility, strength, and is in good shape. She kept beginning by pulling me into her guard, so after two or three of those, I made a point of pulling HER into MY guard instead. She seemed deficient on front mount escapes, so I showed her my favorite no-fail one and then skated around mounting her repeatedly and making her do it till she almost died of exhaustion.  Had one embarrassing moment where I KOB'ed her and she rolled the "wrong" way to escape. I was so surprised, and my balance was a little off, so she got me fair and square. It was a good reminder. Gracie Barra tends to be pretty formulatic, and I have really gotten used to "If I do A, he's going to do B." The only exceptions to that are the white and black belts, and I rarely work with white belts. When I do A and they do P instead, I need to not get caught flat footed. This is important as a defense-oriented MA'ist. I have to remember that if I get into a defensive situation, it is likely that the other guy will NOT be a trained grappler, and when I do A, I need to be ready for him to do P and R and UDK and aardvark and 74 instead of B.

Me: (setting up a keylock) "Don't let me do THIS again,"
Blue: (wailing) "HOW DO I STOP YOU??!?"

The white belt was newer. On him, I did my standard "This is KOB. I get points for this, so as soon as I do it to you, you need to turn toward me and shrimp out before I count to 3." And then skated around KOB'ing him repeatedly and making him do it till he almost died of exhaustion.

Both of them thanked me sincerely after, and said that they had learned a lot. I love that.

Besides making a point of teaching/drilling one thing (him, KOB escape; her, front mount escape) hard- which I make a point of telling them that I want them to retain and do to me next time- I feel that it's educational for the lower belts for me to tire them out to the point that they are reeling when we are done, and I'm not breathing hard. Of course probably THE most important thing they need to learn is "relax and breathe", and this is a good demo of what they are shooting for.

This did, however, leave me mulling a dilemma as I left. Is it helpful or not- on a purely selfish level- to make a point of going to Kirkland regularly so that I can work with lower-ranked people for a change?

Of course you learn things by teaching. And it's a thrill to have your techniques actually WORK for a change instead of getting shut down every time even if you're doing it right, just because the other person is six skill levels above you. But I wonder if my behemoth challenges- confidence and self esteem- would be boosted by doing this regularly, or would it be just a sop to my ego? I would love to find things that would genuinely boost my confidence and self-esteem, but I do not have time and energy to watse on band-aid ego sops.

I wonder if it would be helpful to come here to work on my weak bottom and sweep game with the white belts.