Preparing to teach my teacher a form

Morning BJJ… no formal class, people were just rolling. I played a little with a brown belt who taught me a few things, and then he had me roll with his student, a really good no-gi guy who was transitioning to gi.

The main thing I took away from this morning was that I need to stop sticking my damn arms out and inviting armbars and triangles… which I know darn well but somehow have not internalized the truth of yet. I did, however, retain the presence of mind to try a new guard pass instead of my usual SOP… and it worked, so that was cool. thumbsup

Evening class with CC… we were supposed to be working on some Tiger/Leopard stuff. However, after agreeing that Mantis in general and Southern Mantis in particular are probably not going to play a large role in my future, we somehow got sidetracked into working on Southern Mantis for most of the class. Oh well. I hope we work on the Leopard next time, but I’m happy to learn anything.

He wanted to see the Hurricane Hands that I have so far, and then he wanted to video it, and then he wanted me to explain the applications (which I was able to do with alacrity- since I always make sure I thoroughly understand applications for every tiny little thing I do, and SK is a great teacher). He wants *ME* to teach the form to *HIM* eventually. Shocked I don’t feel like I’m qualified to teach anything, much less a form that’s new to me, and not even in my style, to a senior member of the order. That’s going to be a little scary.

He also wanted to see Leopard Three, which he had one small correction on, but otherwise said looked good- so it must look really good. Mr. Green

I’m still heavily on his case about having class more often. He is going to visit RS this weekend. I will be one topic of conversation, and I’m hoping that the two of them will come to a resolution on what to do with me. I’m hoping that RS will either 1)officially assign me as CC’s student, or 2)retain me but assign CC a structured curriculum to work on with me that will keep us productively busy for a good long while. (Ideally with a lot of Tigery things in it.) I’m rooting for whichever option will most effectively inspire CC to schedule more consistant classes. I also hope that RS teaches CC a Snow Leopard form or something to bring back for me.

I did get an appointment for the weekend after next… I am to review Touch Bridge and be ready to go over that.

Striped Mantis

Morning BJJ… two blue belts showed up a bit late, otherwise it was just 4 whites there today…. I let the other two-stripe white take the front of the line, otherwise I could have been the most senior student in line today! Funny! Laughing

More armbar from guard. I’m really excited about this move. I think my flexibility, quickness and short torso/legs could make this a really good technique for me. I’m seeing today, though, that it’s all about jamming that knee up into the opponent’s armpit at the beginning… and I don’t really seem to have the necessary core strength to hit that as well as I want to, and get the opponent’s shoulder torqued over. Of course, I may do better with it when I’m fresher and not half-swooning with sweaty exhaustion and with my abs on fire.

Another roll with The Great Panda too. Good times.

Down three and a half pounds today. Six and a half to go. Diet still sucks, but this is a good progression and will get the job done. No hurry.

Right elbow/shoulder/neck is sore today. I think someone omoplata’ed me a little too hard last night.


Evening kung fu class. No DD, No CN…. SK taught the class. He made me lead the forms (Drat him… he knows I hate that!). My forms were technically awesome and pulsating with power, for some reason…. I was a little out of sorts before class, so I don’t know where that came from. My chi was kick-ass tonight. Cool

Bung Bo Kuen applications. I worked with Nemesis first. An hour and a half later, when we were all working with different partners, Nemesis’ then-partner exclaimed jokingly across the room to me, "Did you see what you did to him?!" He pulled up Nemesis’ sleeve, and the inside of his upper right arm was just completely covered with livid red fingerprint bruises where I’d been applying the Mantis hand earlier. Shocked Jeez, I didn’t think I was doing it that hard… when you’re drilling with Nemesis, you can’t just tenderly take his arm and tug like a toddler tugging on Mommy’s coatsleeve; you have to manhandle the guy- otherwise he just stands there and looks at you like you’re a moron, while you’re dangling ineffectually off his arm and batting at him. There was a punch and a palm-heel strike in the same sequence, and I had asked him two or three times, "Am I hitting too hard?" and he said it was fine. I did not specifically ask him if I was GRABBING too hard, but doesn’t that imply, "speak up if it’s too rough"? I felt bad… although Gods know, he’s done much worse to me on multiple occasions. I did give him some of my jow to put on it.

Of course then everyone had to taunt me about my "striped Mantis"- which apparently is Mantis tainted with the excessively violent overkill of Tiger.

About those mouse-kebobs……

More dreams last night about devouring live mice. Shocked

Note to the Sandman: Becoming One with the Snake Spirit would be more helpful if you sent dreams involving how Snake FIGHTS. I wonder if the fact that I’m on a diet has anything to do with the fact that all my reptilian dreams involve dinnertime.

Morning BJJ- Armbar from guard. I think this is going to be a good one for me, once I truly get the hang. The short legs make it a little tricky, though.

Brian has a rib out, so I had to be gentle with him. Since this is an injury I’ve had twice already since starting BJJ in April, I was able to tell him that the radiating neck/shoulder pain is typical- and give him some good stretches for it.

A new alterations place has sprung up a few miles from my house, so I went there today to commission a rank sash for our newest student, ES. Our group apparently lost its sash supplier shortly before I joined. Everyone recieved a sash from DD except me. Every four months or so, we would have the following conversation:

DD: Don’t you have a sash yet?
Me: Nope.
DD: Well, we’ll have to get you one! But we don’t have any right now.
Me: No biggie.

And it wasn’t… until we got a new student, and one day *SHE* walked in wearing a sash.




I popped a gasket. It’s not that I gave a crap about having a sash, but that made me feel really excluded and dissed and passed over. Turns out that DD did not give her the sash… that student’s boyfriend, who is a senior member of the class, sewed the thing for her. Well, I would have settled for recieving it from one of the senior students… but I guess you have to be boinking one of them to get THEM to sew you a sash. Rolling Eyes Anyhow, I pitched a little hissy fit, and then I waited for this injustice to be rectified, and it never was…. eventually we got another new student (JE), and I decided that no one was ever going to take responsibility for this… so I employed a seamstress to make sashes for me, JE, and MG (who was the only other person without a sash… because he almost never shows up… but still, I felt that he’d been shafted as much as I had).

Procuring your own sash sucks. It’s like sending yourself flowers at the office.

I never had any desire to actually WEAR the thing (In fact I have never put mine on- not even in my bedroom to look in the mirror- I don’t even know how to tie it!), but I didn’t want to be excluded from HAVING one if more junior students were recieving them.

Part of the symbolism, in my eyes, is that it’s a mark of your teacher’s acceptance and approval; and a mark of your belonging to the group; and an acknowledgement of all the time and effort you’ve put in to earn your rank.

I don’t want our junior students to have to send themselves flowers at the office, or to feel excluded by being sashless… so this is something I have made the decision to handle myself. (I don’t tell them it’s NOT from DD… I just hand it to them, "Here’s your sash,") Cool

Evening BJJ + open mat- collar chokes from the back, transitioning into armbar or omoplata if you can’t finish the choke.

I worked a bit with a blue belt whom I’ve never worked with before…. he owned me of course, but I think I surprised him a few times by Gumby-ing out of a few situations that he assumed no one would be flexible enough to escape.

We did some defend-guard/pass-guard relays, and at one point I found myself paired up with a REALLY huge guy… like 300lb+. He was lying there panting at the ceiling, and I came over and got in his guard, and when he lifted his head, we looked at each other for a minute- and then both started to laugh. It was just so absurd.

Got a few rolls with Ron, and a few with Pat the Great Panda…. always fun to work with them.

I really need to come up with a new SOP for passing guard… I always go for the "pin one thigh down with the elbow and knee and then sneak over", but it just leaves me too vulnerable to being triangled. Wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve been triangled! I need to come to terms with the fact that I just have to stop trying to make this work on Leah or Ron… on someone I don’t work with much, it sometimes is fruitful- but those two have my number.


CC is sick, so he postponed today’s class till Wednesday night.

I went to the gym and worked on all the forms that are not in the usual Tuesday warm-up.

I’m trying to integrate some of the foot-switches into Bung Bo- the ones that DD’s students do but CC’s don’t, so I didn’t learn them when I learned the form. They’re not that difficult, it’s just a matter of not losing my place in the flow while I’m focusing on inserting them. The first two times I tried it, I proceeded to skip over a big chunk of the form.

Leopard Three is kick-ass, if I do say so myself….

Also did all the tai chi forms, 3 Step Arrow frag (flow is getting better), Wood Monkey (flow is getting somewhat better… I really think this is going to turn out to be one of my strongest forms once I get more practice in…. as long as they are not making me do the insane sound effects- gads!) and Hurricane Hands. I actually think working on HH is helping Leopard Three evolve… I see a lot of parallel between Snake and Leopard. Leopard is like the love child of Tiger and Snake! Mr. Green

I took the ice packs and tried taking a break to ice my knees at the hour mark. It helped a bit, but not enough. In order to ice long enough to be worth it, I think the break would have to be long enough for the rest of my muscles to get stiff and cold again.

Back to BJJ tomorrow. I haven’t been in BJJ class for a week and a half! I really wish I hadn’t been such a slacker and flaked on Friday.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about my on-rotation Monday nights. I don’t want to cut down my number of classes, but **Rickson Gracie** I’m tired when that alarm rings Monday at 4:30pm to get up and get ready for class. And I can only stay for an hour, missing all the actual rolling, because I have to rush home and shower before work. Hardly seems practical… but then again, every little bit helps. Undecided….. Confused

Yes, I’m being a baby about this- but it still bugs me.

Thursday evening kung fu…. I didn’t update the blog because there was nothing really noteworthy to talk about. No new stuff, just review and some more Monkey In the Middle.

I skipped Friday BJJ- both of them- I was so sleep-deprived that I slept all day. Housemate had tix to the midnight showing, opening day of NEW MOON, so that’s where we were Thursday night/Friday morn after kung fu, and I had had about three hours of sleep out of the previous thirty.

Saturday practice- Bung Bo, Three Step Arrow (That’s the Southern Mantis… Bung Bo is Northern Mantis), and Hurricane Hands. New piece of Hurricane Hands. Smile I can tell that I’m working on Snake style kung fu because last night I had a dream in which I was devouring live mice. I was in human form, not a snake, so it took me a few minutes of lying there after the alarm rang, thinking "WTF???" before I made the connection.

I felt a little irritated with JM today… not her fault, my own personal issues. Regarding Saturday practices… my feeling is that it’s kind of rude to work on stuff that can’t include everyone who is there- which means you’re limited to the level of the lowest-level student present. Sometimes I wish I could work on some other things, but it’s okay- I want to include everyone. On the rare instances when CM and/or SK are helping me with more advanced material, JM has a tendency to not go work on her own stuff- she’ll just stand there and stare at us. I don’t like working with an audience- I find it distracting, it makes me self-conscious, and I feel like we have to hurry up and get it done because she’s just standing there waiting for us to finish. And she gives me corrections. JM picks things up very quickly, and she’s very good- her corrections are always right and helpful. I know she’s just trying to be nice and just trying to help. I know I’m being juvenile to be irritated by this, but yeah- it grates my cheese to be given corrections by someone who a)doesn’t know the form in question, b)is not supposed to be working on the form in question because it’s beyond her present level, and yet c)already knows the form better than me just from standing there watching.

There doesn’t seem to be a polite way to ask her to occupy herself otherwise while I’m getting help with
my stuff, so I just tend to steer towards asking her and the other newer students what they want to work on and going along with that. What makes that slightly MORE irritating is that JM lives with SK and can get private lessons any time 24/7- so when it’s just the three of us, working on her stuff, I sometimes wonder why any of us bothered to make the drive into the city. crazy

Anyway, I didn’t get any new Hurricane Hands either Tues or Thurs, and SK had already told me that he planned to give me a new piece today- and I wanted that piece- so I just had to suck it up and deal. But irritation…..


An hour at the gym, going over all the forms that we don’t usually do on Tuesdays- with the exception of the two "Needle" forms, which I already worked on today while I was waiting for the others to show up to the park. Also did Wood Monkey a few times, Tiger kick drills, the scrap of Hurricane Hands, the scrap of Three Step Arrow, and all the tai chi forms. Forgot to take my jian, so I had to use the dao for all the sword stuff.

I want to have the tai chi whipped into shape because CN will be in town from Dec 26 to Jan 10. I’ll be on rotation that last week of Dec, and I’m not going to the retreat the weekend of Jan 8th, so I hope she can make some time to work with me the first week of January. I’m so happy to have Cannon Fist finally ready to show her, as well as Catherine Dao. I’m sure she’ll have a million corrections! But we’ve actually LEARNED both forms in full!

I would have liked to work longer at the gym tonight, but my knees were very painful although I iced them on the way to the gym (and on the way back). I think next time, I’ll take the ice packs into the gym with me, try sitting with iced knees for 5-10 min when I get too sore to continue, and then see if I can manage round two.

That won’t work on Nemesis either… unless you are DD.

Tuesday night kung fu. No forms tonight- Sil Lum Tao followed by sticky hands and bong sau’s… we were standing perfectly still except for our arms for half the night, and I was still completely sweat-soaked. I was having a little lower-back pain and stiffness stemming from my workshift the night before, and it was messing with my energy flow. Every time I tried to root, or shift my stance, everything was binding up around my hips. Of course this would be the one day that DD actually walked around and drilled a little with each one of us- so it would have been nice to perform a little better than that tonight. Oh well.

I got a giggle from the class when I asked about the application for the "dead bird hand". Well, that’s what it LOOKS like…. you draw the hand back to the chest and then abruptly let it droop from the wrist like a pigeon that’s been shot. They always laugh at me for telling it like it is.

I’ve dropped about 4lb, and my tie-front yoga pants were already falling right off my hips no matter how tightly I knotted them. Rolling Eyes

JB and I went over Southern mantis a little bit… SK didn’t have time tonight to address Hurricane Hands, which is fine with me because I didn’t have much time to practice it this week… hopefully we can play with that a bit on Thursday.

Parry to armbar-with-wrist-lock…. moving either forward or back with a dragony figure-eight-type motion. I gritted my teeth and worked with Nemesis again. of course I couldn’t execute the technique on him. I got frustrated again, but I kept my cool this time. I tried it on DD and it worked fine. Rolling Eyes I asked him to demo on Nemesis- and with a casual flick of DD’s finger, Nemesis is eating floortile. hail
DD is not a large guy, nor visibly musclebound- he looks like somebody you’d find pushing papers in middle management somewhere… but he makes everything look so easy. Unfortunately we were almost out of class time, so I didn’t get to fully pick his brain on how to tweak the technique so I could get it to work on Nemesis. I just know I could learn to work around my size disadvantage more effectively if I could get DD to help me with my sparring.

I gave SK his traditional congrats-on-your-disciple-promotion gift- the Five Animals dreamcatcher. it took JM and me over thirty minutes working together by flashlight to untangle the durn thing in the parking lot, while SK cooled his heels in the car and promised to not peek- but we finally managed!

Monkey in the middle

Started a diet yesterday. I got on the scale and saw that the subtle, insidious creep-creep-creep of weight has crept-crept-crept up to 10 lb over what I consider my ideal. I knew this point was coming; I can glance in the mirror and tell you exactly what my weight is that day- I am so small that even a two pound difference either way is very visually noticable.

Unfortunately, level of exercise has never made a difference for my particular case… I can (and often do) do a couple of hours a day, very day, and the scale doesn’t start to move until I make drastic, drastic cuts the amount of food I eat. It is really astonishing and dismaying how little food I *REALLY* need to get through the day. I love food, I love bad food, I love LOTS of bad food, so this type of thing is soooooooo not fun for me.

Right now at the keyboard I’m eating oatmeal…. I have two massive sacks of the stuff, and it has utterly ZERO taste. I’m allowing myself to put a little vanilla syrup, cinnamon, or other flavoring in it- which still does not serve to improve it to the point where I am motivated to eat a single bite more than I really need.

Down a pound this morning, so nine more to go. I’m going to take it nice and slow and easy.

Eating to live, not living to eat, as they say… ((sigh)) Confused


Kung fu evening class. Defences against The Enebriated Acquaintance- the hand on the knee, the arm around the shoulders, from a sitting position.

Then we did "monkey in the middle"- where you have one person stand in the middle of the circle and close hir eyes, and the others come up and attack hir in random order. The monkey can open hir eyes when s/he feels the first touch. I like to walk around the circle shuffling my feet and making strange noises while the person is standing there with hir eyes closed, just to psych hir out. Then I sneak up and catch hir unawares, because I move like a cat! Twisted Evil I did flying leaps onto the backs of our two tallest people, grabbing them around the necks in an RNC and pulling them over backward onto the floor. The first guy I did it to was our newest student, and it really freaked him out! Mr. Green I like to come up with a slightly different attack than the ones they are expecting. Tonight I was tapping them on the shoulder, and as soon as their eyes opened, I threw a punch to the face! punch

A little Cannon Fist, another piece of Hurricane Hands. I had meant to ask someone to go over the Southern Mantis fragment we’d done on Tues, but I forgot- must ask to do that next week.

Nemesis showed me some bruises on his arm that he claimed were from me on Tuesday, doing those Bung Bo Kuen apps that I got so frustrated with. I could barely see anything even when he pointed them out. I think he was trying to make me feel better, because everyone had seen how frustrated I was. It was nice of him, anyway. I know that he is sometimes unsure of how much force to use. He knows that I don’t want him to just hand me stuff, but he also knows that he is supposed to allow his training partners to accomplish the techniques. And the guy is just impervious to all attacks.

Wednesday BJJ

Wednesday morning BJJ… a new (for me) takedown…. I love takedowns, so this is always a happy thing for me. Then defending against an opponant standing in front of you, grabbing your pantlegs and trying to circle around. This is something that people seem to get me with a lot, so it’s good to get an idea for how to defend it. Then we practiced some ways to roll the opponent if he does get all the way behind you.

I didn’t stay for open mat… I wasn’t even particularly wiped out (the heater was broken, so it was actually a bearable temp in there for once); just lacking my get-up-and-go.

I wonder how much of my current funk is just me sabotaging myself. Some of it, certainly. Most of it? *All* of it?


Wednesday evening BJJ, no gi. Smaller than usual class, maybe because of the holiday? We worked positional drills (side control to mount to scarf to north south to scarf to side control), and then Cindy gave us one defense against each position, for the person on the bottom to try. Then sparring for position only (no subs), then open mat. I did several rolls with Ron. Just due to the sweat, I was able to escape several of his sub attempts that would have otherwise caught me. Once again, I noticed that his game goes downhill as he gets tired. If I can conserve enough of my own energy, I am able to press him harder- and do better against him- after we’ve gone several times and he’s getting tired.

This is never going to work on Nemesis.

Tues morn BJJ at the Bellevue site. There were only five of us, two blues and three whites. One of the whites was Nelson, who is a big guy, but has good control, so is good for me to work with. I tapped him today with a rear choke…. he wasn’t going all out, of course, and he (just like Ron did last night) rolled his own self right into the bad position with no action on my part.

I was turtled up again, and he rolled me over three times… the first two times, he failed to control me after the roll, and so I just continued rolling and turtled up again and we were right back where we started. The third time, he’d learned his lesson and he got ahold of my arm before I could reposition.

Rodrigo wouldn’t let me work with the other big white belt, and I guess he was wise… he put the guy with Pat the Great Panda, and they had to stop twice in the span of ninety seconds. First time when Big Spazzy White Belt clocked Pat in the chin, and second time when Pat’s foot got caught under the guy and wrapped up in his gi and started torquing the ankle. Even after that, you could see that BSWB didn’t know enough to dial it down a bit, so Pat took the gloves off and fed him a little of his own medicine.

We worked on more sprawls, then on butterfly guard, which I haven’t done much of. I don’t think I like it much so far- unless I’m actually using it to roll the guy over (which I couldn’t do today because everyone was too heavy and too smart about keeping their base). I couldn’t keep my weight (what little of it there is) far enough forward while in the sitting position, and it was childishly simple for the opponent to push me into my back.

Tuesday evening Kung Fu… there were only 3 of us there tonight besides the instructor. We did forms, picked apart Sil Lum Tao some more, then some applications from Bung Bo Kuen, then a little new Southern Mantis stuff.

I got really frustrated working Bung Bo apps on Nemesis- or should I say *TRYING* to work Bung Bo apps on Nemesis. At one point I was supposed to be elbowing him across the throat just before taking him to the ground- and after a number of ineffectual attempts, I finally stopped and kind of snapped at CN, "This is never going to work, I can’t even REACH his throat!"

I’m going through one of those periods where I feel like no matter what I do, nothing is ever going to be truly effectual unless I can get a brain transplant out of this weak, flyweight, midget body and into a NORMAL person’s body. Failing that, this is all a gigantic delusional waste of time.

Having gone through these types of low points before, I’m pretty sure it will go away in a few weeks if I push through it… but right now I am just feeling pretty cruddy.

I wonder if one of these low points always tends to follow the General Evolutionary Shift ™. Now that I’m keeping a training blog, I’ll be able to notice any patterns like that.

No SK tonight, so I wasn’t able to get another piece of Hurricane Hands. Bummer. Thursday, then.