Mirror Forms

Went to the (non-MA) gym to work on forms. I felt a little guilty skipping the informal Kung Fu practice at Volunteer Park, but I decided that this would be more productive. I like conditioning fine, but I want to make the most of my workout time… I want to multitask. Why do conditioning drills when I can be working forms, technique drills, or rolling- that’s conditioning PLUS learning technique and strategy. Every other week is fine for those conditioning drills.

Besides which, this weekend is supposed to be my "on-rotation" and I haven’t told the kung fu group I’m laid off. I know they’d be supportive and all, but for those few hours a week I’d like to focus on my kung fu problems and not on my employment problems, for now. Also, I’ve let it be assumed that scheduling issues are behind my declining the Wednesday class, and I’m afraid uncomfortable questions (or worse, uncomfortable assumptions) will arise if it’s revealed that my Wednesdays are free and clear these days (or if it’s revealed that I’m at BJJ class instead).

I worked on my three "mirror" forms and their standard-side counterparts. Leopard Three In the Mirror and Five Animals In the Mirror are okay… I can do them fine when I’m alone in the room, but they just need more reps to make them more automatic- so that when I have the added distraction/pressure of someone watching me, I won’t flub them up.

Five Points Of the Star In the Mirror sucked mud today…. the whole 3rd quarter section, I was dithering about what was on the right and what was on the left and whether I had transcribed it correctly. I spent a lot of time doing bits off the standard side and then off the mirror side, trying to make sure I was doing it right. If there are only one to three bobbly spots, I can just memorize, "That snap kick is with the LEFT foot in the Mirror form" or whatever. However, when there are a LOT of bobbly spots, what I really have to do is focus on observing how one technique flows into the next- then it is less rote memorization, and it will immediatly feel weird if I start to do it wrong.

I was doing much better with this form before… I’m going to chalk it up to an off day unless I have trouble with it next time I work on it as well.

I did 4 to 6 reps apiece of the Northern Mantis bo form (plus some basic bo warmup drills), Frolic Of the Five Animals, and Touch Bridge- just because I haven’t worked on them in a while. Bo form was fine. Still a few fuzzy parts in the other two. I need to go over those with CC sometime in the near future.

4 to 6 reps of Leopard At Dawn and Hurricane Hands.

A couple reps of Box Form. I didn’t mess up the sequencing this time, and the energy evolution that I noticed last time persists. Cool beans. thumbsup

I transcribed the entirety of Little Red Dragon In the Mirror. It’s a short form. It went okay, although I did notice that even though I’ve been doing this form longer than I’ve been doing Leopard Three, this one was not as easy to transcribe. It really makes a difference if it’s a Tiger form or not.

I scheduled an extra Chenjitsu meeting for tomorrow. Fun will surely be had. Hope we can get a room and some mats.

Left Knee Does Not Touch the Mat!!!

Friday morning BJJ… a simple guard pass, review of one of the bear hug defenses, review of tripod sweep. Man, if I learned one thing, it was definitely "Left knee does not touch the mat!" while getting up at the end of the tripod sweep. If Rodrigo said "Left knee does not touch the mat!" once, I swear he said it two hundred times over the course of 90 min… with growing vexation. Obviously some of us were still not getting it. Eventually I murmured to John (with whom I was drilling), "I’m going to hear that in my nightmares all night tonight!"

Guard-pass-vs-sweep-or-submit, first with Brian and then with John. I did no better against John than I did the other day… once again that seemingly gaping inviting space in his guard; it looked like you could drive a pickup truck through the gap- but I just couldn’t get my knee in. I tried the scissor sweep on Brian and couldn’t make it work. After he yanked me down on his chest while I was in his guard, I exclaimed in exasperation that "I can’t stop people from doing that!" "Don’t say you CAN’T!" "FINE! I am having TROUBLE stopping people from doing that!" I finally stopped him from doing THAT, but then he started laughing and said, "Okay, but you can’t just hunch there in my guard like that forever, you have to DO something now!" Then I couldn’t seem to defend against him getting my elbow pulled out, even though I knew darn well that that’s what he was doing, and knew darn well that I didn’t want it to happen. Arrrgh. Today was one of those days when I feel like I’m never gonna get it.

Connor was there- I haven’t seen him in months! Then I remembered that there’s an in-house tournament tomorrow and the Revolution Tournament on the 13th. Certain people seem to pop up right before the tournaments. I didn’t get to work with him, though. Maybe next week. I wish he was around more, because he’s a small guy (probably lighter than me) and I learn a lot by watching him tool on the bigger people.

We also got more lecture time on the new schedule and the new rules that will be formally begun on Monday. They’re really cracking down. If you’re late, you may well not be allowed on the mat at all. You have to stand there at the door and wait for the instructor to notice you, after which s/he may choose to beckon you in (and you do The Walk Of Shame across the room), or s/he may choose to tell you to go to hell (not literally, of course… but you may be told to leave and come back tomorrow- on time!) I am careful to not be late… I’ve only been late once since I started there, and it was only by about three minutes… I came in during the cardio warmup, not during the instructional portion of the class. Hopefully this crackdown is aimed at people who are habitually late and then disruptive and disrespectful when they come in… and hopefully the teachers will not be mean to me if I’m ever late!

I have no problem with most of the rules and formalities… most of them I have been doing all along anyway. The only ones so far that I don’t like are "pants and jacket must be the same color" and "you must be fully uniformed before you step on the mat" I like to come in 20 min early and stretch, and it’s so hot in there… I don’t like having to put on my jacket right away. Oh well, gotta deal.

I’ve been getting sloppier lately about staying for open mat… I need to get my discipline back about that.

Ha! Vindicated!

I took yesterday AND this morning off…. I was exhausted and haven’t been sleeping well, and certain Mother Hens are telling me I’m overtraining.

Thursday evening Kung Fu basics. No CN again. I’m concerned about how flaky he’s gotten with his attendance. I know he has a new BF, and is teaching another class, and is doing a serious personal-training program (which not uncommonly leaves him sore and/or injured), but I have been concerned that he’s sort of pulling away from this class- and his recent attendance (or lack thereof) has done nothing to reassure me. I hope he’s not going to be one of those people who just lose interest as soon as they get their (fill in the blank) belt (in his case his black sash, which he earned summer 08 ).

While waiting for class to begin, I worked on Leopard 3 In the Mirror. This form is ready to be moved out of my mental "in progress" file and into "maintenance". What should my next "Mirror" form be? I’m thinking Little Red Dragon In the Mirror.

After hand strike drills, we did the Tiger Kick Drill again… this time in extreme slow-mo to focus on balance. SK did the kicks and Dragon-Rides-the-Wind off the side opposite the one he’d done last week. JB said something about it, and SK said, "Yeah, I checked- it’s supposed to be THIS way," JB said, "So we were doing it wrong last week?" I jumped up and exclaimed, "I *KNEW* that was f~{ked up- I *KNEW* it!!" I feel better now. They’d all told me I was wrong, but I’d had it right! bow down

SK asked if anyone had anything specific they wanted to work on- especially ES, who will not be here much longer. She brought up the one piece of feedback that I have consistantly given her on all of her Shaolin material: that she looks like her center of gravity is up in her ribcage somewhere, and she appears oddly overbalanced every time she takes a step or turns or anything. I keep telling her to visualize a big heavy boulder inside her pelvis. She professes to understand my point, but the physical symptoms linger. SK looked at me and asked where exactly I was observing that. I replied, "Every single thing she does." I was surprised that he didn’t seem familiar with the situation. ES’s technicality seems pretty good to me; especially for how new she is- this is the only glaring problem that jumps out at me when I watch her work. It’s pretty darn glaring, too…. I think it would be really good to fix that before she gets that bad habit too ingrained.

SK hemmed and hawed a little at first about how to address that, but then he had us do some strike drills that involved a twist of the hips and all the power coming from the core. It was slightly reminiscent of some of the Northern Mantis stuff, but not quite as bouncy/rubbery/reboundy…. the weight is heavier at the center. After the first couple reps, I said, "This is _perfect_ for that particular issue, because your focus has to be in the hips and lower belly- even though you’re striking, and you tend to want to focus at the strike." After we were done, I suggested, "Let’s bookmark that and work on it again in the future."

Individual formwork. JB, SK, JoE and I went through the Chen Dao form. I had completely forgotten that SK and JoE knew that form… I’d e-mailed JB to remind her to bring her dao; and I felt bad that I’d failed to include the guys. SK used a knife and JoE used a pencil. JB almost lopped the head right off some girl who was coming out of the bathroom off the lobby we were working in. Razz

Hurricane Hands. I knew there was something wrong with the close… the balance felt weird. That instinct has become very reliable. So I asked SK what I was doing wrong, and come to find out that I had the angle a bit wonky going into the circular arm motions of that weird throw. We fixed it, and then the balance felt right. Next week I’ll be ready to perform that form for SK in its entirety. I hope he’s proud of me! Since this is an intermediate Snake form, and SK was the only teacher who worked with me on it, when I show it to the other teachers it’s going to reflect on SK’s teaching skill- so I wanna make him look good. Smile

Last night I watched a strange MA movie called "Chocolate". The most fascinating thing was that during the ending credits, they ran a sort of Bloody Bloopers reel. They would show a bit from one of the fight scenes, then they would show the medics working on the person, then they would show the bad fight scene take again in slow-mo so that you could see the accident occur. WOW. The lead was a teenage girl, and man did she ever take some nasty lumps.

Bree skulks out before open mat again!

Tuesday morning BJJ. The same bearhug defense, pendulum sweep and tripod sweep as yesterday. I worked with Bree. When she front mounted me with hooks in at the end of the tripod sweep, after she did it a couple times, I told her- "Arch your back a little more and- eeeEERK!" She started cracking up. "Your eyes just bugged out!" I wanted to make sure she knew how to do it right, but I guess she was just trying to be nice those first few reps- because when she laid it on, she not only made my eyes bug out, but my spine cracked and my ribs squeaked in protest! Shocked

I did some guard-pass/sweep matches with Bob and John. Bob dominated me. John and I were almost evenly matched. He’s got a heck of a closed guard. There was a little wiggle room in there, but try as I might I just could not work my knee into the space. Maddening.

Bree hightailed it before open mat again. "Where are you going, woman??!" "Sorry- I have to pick up my kids." "You’re afraid to spar me!" "Well, that too!" She promised to stay for open mat next week.

Nelson was on the bench. Remember his groin injury? Dumb guy (I say that with affection) kept training and hurt himself even worse. He’s going to the doctor tomorrow, but he’s going to be out for a while for sure.

Tuesday evening intermediate Kung Fu….

I used the time before class to go over Leopard At Dawn, Hurricane Hands, and Leopard Three In the Mirror.

I have adopted the habit of going off into the hallway or kitchen (when we’re at the community center) or into another unused classroom (when we’re at the college) while I’m practicing just before class starts. I have always been loathe to work with others watching me, and in my present state of insecurity, I just can’t bear it. Nemesis and JM in particular tend to not work on their own stuff, they tend to stretch and moon around and stare at me, which drives me crazy!

I looked up at one point and saw SK standing at doorway watching me doing Snake-Strikes-and-Press-Blocks up and down the hallway. I immediately got all confuddled, and exclaimed "Go away! You’re making me too self-conscious!" He disappeared. A little while later, I glanced up and saw him peeking at me through the tiny little window set in the door. When I made a threatening motion toward him, he laughed and cleared out.

JaE was there tonight; I’m always happy to see him when he is able to make class. I got to work with him some, too. He was doing takedowns on me and setting me on the mat like I was made of spun glass. I told him, "You can go ahead and throw me… it’s okay, I won’t break… just don’t SLAM me." "I would NEVER do that- you’re too nice!" Mr. Green

Forms warm-up first. DD and CN were both late, so SK was leading. I asked if we could face another direction, and he pulled the same damn thing on me that CN did a couple months ago… "Sure! Everybody face the windows. Follow Kitsune." Mad Razzafrackin….. I really want to face different directions sometimes so we don’t get too reliant on the visual cues, and it also helps me to be able to observe different classmates during different portions of the forms. But I don’t want to get shanghaied leading every time. Geez… next time, I’ll ask if we can face the KITCHEN, and I will stand on the OPPOSITE end of the room. Although at this point, it appears to be becoming some kind of game to them- they will probably figure out some way to turn it on me regardless!

We worked on two of the short Black Crane drills, using them as line drills. Then we did the Black Crane One form about half a dozen times. By rep three or so, I noticed the energy doing something different. I can’t really define it- it seemed like a positive phenomenon- I’ll be interested to see if it happens again. It would be good to evolve some of my Crane work. Crane is probably my weakest style, and Black even worse than White.

After that, we got out the mats and worked applications of one of the Black Crane drills that we’d practiced earlier. After working with JaE, I worked with JB, so that was nice- they are two radically different body types, and it’s always interesting and helpful to figure out how you have to tweak things to make them work on different people.

JB and I got the giggles at one point… she’s such a goofball… when we’re doing apps, and she’s the attacker, she will make bizarre faces and noises, and flap her arms as she lunges at me, or lumber like a gorilla, or some such foolishness. It’s hard to stay serious sometimes, especially when you start doing the same back at her.

DD showed up about halfway through class, still in his work clothes. I think I’ve mentioned before that the guy TOTALLY does not look like a kick-butt martial artist, he looks like a harmless middle-management paper-pusher… it was pretty funny to see him demo’ing takedowns in his slacks and button-down shirt.

Rhino vs house cat

Monday morning BJJ. Didn’t sleep well, and was I ever dragging butt… it was really hard to get dressed and get in the car to go to class this morning. But I did it! thumbsup

Defense against a rear bear hug
Pendulum sweep
Tripod sweep

I am really enjoying the sweeps. They are just fun, and I’m glad to be shoring up this weaker area in my game. It’s gonna be even more fun when I can start consistently making them work for real in a sparring situation.

It was also nice to know the names of the techniques. This is going to be a big plus of following the strict posted curriculum that is being adopted at the school. The teachers tend to often not mention the name of the technique we’re working on, so I have no idea- now I’ll always know by checking the schedule on the wall. After class, when I came home and wrote up the day’s techniques in my MA logbook, I also found vid of both sweeps so that I could review and make sure I was notating everything down correctly.

I got to drill with Glenn today- he’s one of my favorite people to work with, and I haven’t worked with him for a long time, so I ran over and grabbed him by the back of the jacket as soon as people began to pair up. Razz I’m glad I did, because we had an odd number of people today, and three guys had to work together, switching out- that would have been me if I didn’t grab somebody quick, and I hate being in a trio because it means you get fewer reps.

I didn’t stay for open mat, since I had to get home and deal with some unemployment paperwork. Sad

Monday evening BJJ. Round two of one of the guillotine defences that we did last week, then a butterfly sweep variation. I worked with a woman I’ve never seen before, who turned out to be Henrique’s wife! Every time we were told to switch partners, he motioned me back to her. I was perplexed, until she told me that she had just started BJJ and he was paranoid that someone would break her- so he would only let her work with brown/black belts unless it was a smallish size female. Rolling Eyes At one point she called him over and they had what sounded suspiciously like a brief lovers’ quarrel in Portugese WHILE she was engaged in trying to pass my guard! Shocked She seemed nice, though… we chatted a little after class, altho we were having a bit of a language barrier. Since she doesn’t have any stripes, she was not allowed to roll open mat- and there wasn’t anyone else there my size who had enough stripes, either, so I just sat and watched… sigh. No Leah tonight. And no Ron. I haven’t seen Ron for two months. I hope he didn’t quit.

We were giggling while we watched Henrique roll with his brother-in-law… Henrique is a smaller-size fellow, and brother-in-law is a rhinocerous- that guy weighed well over 300. Henrique has enough technique to handle him- but it was like watching a rhinocerous roll with a house cat. Razz

As the second round of timed matches started, Pat came out of the bathroom and Henrique yelled at him, "Are you in?" Pat yelled "I’m in!" Henrique pointed to the rhinocerous, and Pat yelled, "Oh Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!" ROFL We were watching with baited breath and many more giggles- Pat did well, altho by then the rhino was obviously getting tired.

Hey, who wants to see my teacher kicking some butt? Smile


Henrique’s the one in the green belt. The guy in the dark blue t-shirt sitting on the sidelines is Rodrigo.

And here’s Pat- The Great Panda- this is the guy who gave me my very first BJJ lesson (shrimping, armbar from mount and keylock!):


Pat’s in blue. You can also see Jesse and his Hugh Jackman "Wolverine" sideburns on the sidelines during the second half. At 1:48 you can see Glenn (white gi) standing at screen right talking to Rodrigo (dark track suit and water bottle).

Chenjitsu- the jinx continues

Chenjitsu– the jinx continues! once again we have no room to use. Mad The gal at the community center counter said grudgingly that we could use the room for a half hour till the MA class who had reserved it arrived. Luckily, they were nice folks who let us sweet-talk them into letting us have a corner and a couple mats Smile They were screaming a lot, so my group had a little trouble making ourselves heard to each other- but no complaints, heck, we had room and mats! It’s all good!

We were also jinxed in that once again we lacked a full class- JM bailed because she was still not feeling well after her near-fainting spell at practice on Saturday.

I spent an hour and a half with JB and ES reviewing all the BJJ stuff I had taught them in the last meeting- shrimping, some basic positions, a couple escapes, a couple guard passes. I want to make sure their technique is really clean on the basic stuff before getting into anything more complicated, and I want them to have a good sense of where their weight is supposed to be while they are holding basic positions, transitioning between positions, and executing techniques. JB is picking things up pretty fast, and ES even faster.

When I was satisfied with the look of their review material, I taught them a couple of new positions, one additional guard pass, and a positional flow drill.

Then we did about a half-hour’s worth of Chen- since we didn’t have JM (our Chen newbie), we went ahead and worked on the short open-hands form… mostly catching ES up on some of the corrections and changes that CK had imparted on her last 2 visits.

Injury tally from yesterday- shoulder hurts, but it is not too bad. The split lip stings every time I take a sip of Coke. And the nose hurts every time I touch it. I have an impressive largish bruise on the underside of my jaw- not sure who the responsible party is for that.

I told JB, "You would have been proud of SK yesterday- he bit me!" She was delighted. Being a Monkey, she is big with the scratching and biting and pinching during spars.

JM knows better than to give me her back- SK, still learning

Saturday morning BJJ. This was my first Saturday morning BJJ class ever. I have the informal Kung Fu practice in the park at 1pm. But this morning I thought, what the heck. 11am to 12:30 BJJ, buzz over to the park, 1pm to 3:30 kung fu.

BJJ was reviews of some of the things we’ve done this week. I felt fairly solid with these techniques since I’ve been to a couple extra classes this week. The four stripe blue I was working with- never seen the guy before- told me, "Don’t put your head over here, do it THIS way." I replied, "Rodrigo TOLD us to put our heads over here." He insisted, and what was I supposed to do then? If I’d outranked him, I would have said, "You do it however you want, I’m doing it THIS way, sorry." But I didn’t want to say that to someone who outranked me. I thought, Whatever, dude, I’ll do it your way- but if Rodrigo walks over here and gripes at me for doing it wrong, I’m gonna be pretty irritated with YOU.

I had a couple of rolls with Sonia. I dominated her positionally most of the time, which made me feel pretty good. Side control, front mount. I even got two knee-on-belly’s and held them for over 3 seconds. I tried transitioning from side control to a scarf, and she reversed me- so I didn’t try scarf again.

I escaped several of her joint lock attempts by rolling out of them. I am getting pretty good at that, and I am so tickled every time I pull one off. I have nice, tight rolls, good balance, and I always know where I am oriented in space.

I tried to keylock her- she didn’t tap… we rolled around some more, I tried to keylock her again, nothing…. we did this half a dozen times, then I got her totally pinned and took my time carefully and methodically setting up a textbook keylock with perfect positioning- crank, crank- she just lay there. I exclaimed, "What the hell??!? Why is it not working? What am I doing wrong?" She said, "You’re not doing anything wrong- I’m double jointed."

At one point, another pair smashed into us and I got clocked in the face pretty hard. It split my lip a little, and I had to stop and wait a minute to see if my nose was going to start gushing, but it was okay. The other guys felt really bad, and kept apologizing over and over and asking repeatedly if I was okay.

Then on to Kung fu practice. They had started the conditioning without me, so I jumped in. An hour of that. I had been a little concerned about doing CN’s conditioning regimen right after an hour and a half of BJJ, but the forty-minute drive over and the packet of almonds I had in the car fortified me, and I did fine. The others were moaning about the leg-up exercises, which I tossed off contemptuously and bounced up from- because CK had made us do those puppies 100 at a time in her Chen warm-ups, so 10 or 30 is nothing.

Then we did relay sparring. CN lined us up in descending rank order. Person 1 fights person 4 for 2.5 min, then person 4 is out and person 2 jumps in, 2.5 min, then person 1 is out and person 3 jumps in, and so on. So you fight two back-to-back 2.5 min matches, the first with a fresh you and a tired opponent, the second with a tired you and a fresh opponent.

I had to fight SK, and I had a humiliating experience against him in stand-up as I always do (even though I was fresh and he was tired). He’s hard to take down, too- although if I can get him down, things suddenly get much better for me! thumbsup I executed a lovely roll out of one of his jointlock attempts. He gave me his back, and JM on the sidelines hollered, "NO, don’t give Kitsune your back!" (I’ve taught her well! Mr. Green ) I had the RNC and was about a quarter of a second from sinking it in good and proper when he managed to flip me over his head, drat it. Need to be just a little faster. But at one point I got him totally pinned with a sloppy but servicable body triangle, which I was very pleased about. Damn, BJJ is a lot harder when your opponent can hit and kick you! He even *BIT* me once!!! I said to him, "I hope you had your rabies shot this year."

I did somewhat better against ES, my fresh opponent.

Then JM almost passed out and had to stop, so CN made me finish HER round against SK as well as my own two rounds. My performance went drastically downhill once I started getting really tired.

Then we did a little two-on-one: Me and ES against SK. At one point, we all went down hard en masse, with me on the bottom- and I wrenched my right shoulder (the one that has been armbarred viciously quite a bit over the past few weeks and is tender). That was un-fun. I hope it’s going to be okay.

Anyway, fun times. We haven’t sparred in quite a while. It was nice weather out today. Hopefully we will get to do more of that in the coming weeks.

After sparring, we went over Tiger stance work and the Tiger Kick Drill. Then CN noticed that we were well over quitting time.

Friday morning- guillotined again

Friday morning BJJ- Rodrigo said, "Defense against guillotine" and I thought, "Good, reinforcement of the one we worked on Monday night."- but it was a different one!

Then a front-bear-hug defense that ended with a hip throw.

Then we learned a technique for dealing with people who yank your lapels and pull you down on their chests when they have you in their guard. I actually earned a "Good, Keetsune! Perfect!" from Rodrigo as he was roving around watching- that was great. I had earned his exasperation on Tuesday by going left when I should have gone right (I do that kind of thing a lot), and it’s so embarrassing. I’m getting better as time goes along, though, at being able to accurately parrot back the demo’ed technique… because at this point, usually at least some pieces of it are familiar and/or make sense to my mind; it’s not all completely foreign. Anyway, it was awesome to get that bit of positive reinforcement; I really needed one about then!

I had several short pass-guard-vs-sweep-or-submit matches with Fred and John. I held my own today. I passed Fred’s guard once- and he didn’t give it to me, either.

Had to leave before open mat so that I could pound the pavement some more. I am getting heartily sick of filling out online applications. Hope I don’t have to resort to on-call. There are quite a few on-call positions out there, but you can never be garanteed that you’ll get enough hours to pay your rent. Unless, that is, you’re on-call for multiple hospitals- in which case scheduling is a real PITA even if you’re not trying to fit MA training in.

Dragon Rides the Wind on the left… wait, no, on the right.

Thursday Kung fu basics. No CN. Small class- it was just SK, Nemesis, JB, ES and me.

After hand strike drills, we worked on Leopard Fist some more. I hope I have just about repaired all of the niggly little errors in this form, as well as incorporated the techniques that have been CHANGED to "more advanced applications".

Then we did the Tiger Kick Drill. SK was motioning me up front, and I was just like, "No, no… please, really, don’t make me go up there." That was inappropriate of me and I should not have done it. But I am just not in a good mental space right now to be attempting to lead/demonstrate kung fu. He didn’t make me lead, but as we were going through it, there just seemed to be something wrong. I was going to just let it go and keep my mouth shut, but he kept stopping and looking at me questioningly. So finally I said, "There’s something wrong- I think you’re winding up the Dragon Rides the Wind on the wrong side." The others disagreed with me, and I’m just not feeling confident enough with my kung fu right now to be able to say for sure, "No, you’re mistaken, I know it’s THIS way". I’ll have to go to the gym and just run through it several times with my brain switched off, and see which side it’s REALLY on. If I’m really F’ing up such basic Tiger material, I’m in an even deeper hole that I thought.

Individual formwork time. JB, SK and I went through Catherine Dao several times. Luckily, JB’s amazing talent for retaining formwork meant she remembered the corrections from the weird end section, so she was able to help SK and me with that part.

Hurricane Hands- I got a few footwork and strike-aiming clarifications from the most recent piece, then the close. The close is a very odd throw that is also going to give me some challenges, I think. But we’re at the end of the form now, so now I can focus on repping and fine-tuning. I feel pretty solid about the first two thirds of the form. I didn’t specifically show SK my Snake-strikes-with-press-blocks tonight, but I whipped out a couple of them just as a transition into the following section, and he mentioned later on the way back to the car that they were visibly improved. That is gratifying, as I continue to work hard on them and continue to struggle with them. I’m trying to add in the breathing now- just where to inhale and where to exhale, not to the hissing stage yet- but it will come.

SK asked me how things were going, and I was still frustrated enough about the Tiger Kick Drill to reply "Everything sucks,"

"What do you mean everything sucks?"

"Doesn’t that pretty much cover it? It is an unambiguous statement."

On the walk back to the car later, I was walking ahead and he caught up to me and pressed, "So what’s this about everything sucking?" Since JM was out of earshot for the moment, I told him in a low voice that I’ve just really been in a hole lately. That I don’t feel that I’ve progressed in a long time, and that even my basic stuff seems to be DEGRADING…. so I’m not just spinning my wheels, but actually going BACKWARD. He said, "What rank are you at now?" I told him, and he said, "Yeah, I had one of those at exactly the same stage." He thinks it’s about getting to a stage where you are comfortable enough with the physicality of the material that your mind is freer to step back and start noticing all sorts of little errors and imperfections that you never even suspected were there. He told me that he hasn’t noticed a slump in the APPEARANCE of my work in class (which was a relief… I was certain that
my suckishness was sticking out like a neon sign). He described his experience as having the exact same symptoms that I described. I said, "So you think it’s just a perception problem, and not that my work is actually getting worse." He said yes. I asked him how long his slump at this stage had lasted, and he said about a month. Mine is about that old now. I hope that means the end of the tunnel is in sight. I have never had a slump this long. I also hope that the general shift upward in my work which usually follows such a slump is not only present this time, but on a par with the severity of the slump!

I am so ready to put this in my rear-view mirror. Dealing with the unravelling of my kung fu training
on top of the layoff on top of my household breaking up is just two too many crises to cope with at once.

It was a relief to get that perspective from SK… I miss the discussions we used to have in the carpool. Although I like JM very much, I just don’t know her as well nor as long as I’ve known SK, not to mention that SK and I are significantly deeper/further into the MA journey than she is…. and there are things that I’d discuss with him that I just don’t feel comfortable discussing in front of her. But now she is always there, and I literally never interact with SK any more as an individual- you can’t interact with HIM any more, you can only interact with THEM. I do sometimes miss HIM.

Wednesday morning

Wednesday AM BJJ. I was hoping for a third helping of scissor sweep, but Rodrigo had other ideas. Ah well.

Another defensive keep-away-and-kick technique from sitting on the ground, facing a standing opponent.

Then a guard pass- stand up, reach behind you and slip a hand between your back and the guy’s crossed ankles, then slide down his leg, hugging it and trapping it by grabbing your own lapel.

Then some triangle drill. I struggled a little with that one- my triangles are bad.

Guard-pass-vs-sweep-or-submit matches. I worked with John, which is always fun. He got me in the end every time except one, but it was very competitive and each match took quite a long time.

Yesterday I applied for a medical technologist position at the VA Hospital. There was about five times as much paperwork to do as opposed to applying to a "regular" hospital. Geez, they want to know EVERYTHING! crazy You veterans can rest easy knowing that the clinicians who are dipping little colored plastic strips in your pee cups have been interrogated to within an inch of their lives.