A productive private kung fu lesson!

Tuesday morning BJJ, Fabiana teaching- same techniques as yesterday. I picked up a few more bits of the puzzle.

When we went to pair up, Bree and I looked at each other and both said, "One of us should work with Susie." I’m glad that she’s taking some responsibility there as well. Then we saw that Bob was offering to work with Susie, so that was cool.

Bree started sparring again too soon after hurting her neck, and she hurt her neck again. So I had to be really careful with her, especially since we were doing those escapes where you throw your leg over the person’s neck and choke them or force them down. I asked her if she could do these at ALL, and she said "Let’s try" So I did them carefully- slow and gentle.

Since we were working on some side control positioning, we did several quick hold-side-control-vs-escape-side-control matches, and several side-control-try-to-go-to-front-mount-vs-prevent-front-mount-and-escape matches. After a few with Bree, I did a few with Susie (she’s getting more sure of herself) and then a few with Dan (whose right hand was injured, so we went light). By then I was exhausted and overheated.

I’m so TIRED of going light. Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to be hale again!

Nelson was still on the bench. He wants to gi up on Thursday. His doctor says two more weeks. I told him he should listen to his doctor- and then when he comes back, to do just drills for a while. We’ll see if he learned a lesson from last time, or if he’s going to reinjure himself even worse. He’s dying to roll, though. I sure feel his pain (literally and figuratively).

There’s going to be promotions again soon… I’m hoping to see Ron, Dan, Bob, Fred and John get blued. John is only a 2-stripe white, but he’s as good as those others- maybe better. He may not have had enough "calender seniority" yet, though. Allison should get purpled here before too much longer. It would be nice to see Sonia get promoted to blue at some point too- but I have no idea how long she’s been a 4-stripe white and also no idea how many classes she’s been putting in… I hardly ever see her, but I don’t get to evening classes in Seattle- she might be going there.


Kung fu night. I had an awesome lesson. DD was out of town, Nemesis was at a family dinner, JM was not feeling well, CN injured his knee, JB was too tired from work, we haven’t seen JoE in weeks, and JaE often does not show up due to his work schedule. So it was just SK and me- private lesson time! thumbsup

Unfortunately, my injuries made it impossible to do what would have been my first choice of material; SPARRING. Bummer.

So we warmed up with a few forms, and he made some corrections on mine. Lots of detail work particularly on Five Points Of the Star. It’s nice to be able to clean up some of the little niggly errors in my formwork, and to have a chance to ask all of my questions without feeling like I’m hogging other people’s time. I love to go through forms with SK and just stop at anything that I don’t feel 100% solid with, and proceed to GET solid with it. I got him to help with those darn Black Crane parries in Five Animals, too.

Then we went through all of the Tiger formlettes that everybody else learned at the retreat. I had really wanted to work on those and had been asking CN for a couple of weeks if we could get to that. I was just so overwhelmed with material after the retreat that I never got around to writing down exhaustive descriptions of those formlettes- and without the writeups, I couldn’t practice them and be sure I was doing them right. Now I’ve got them all notated, so I can start grinding out the reps that I need to get fluent with them.

I also showed SK the Tiger formlettes I’ve learned from CC.

By then, my brain was full and I could feel my attention span floating away… so as much as I would have liked to pick his brain some more, I know that after a certain point, I cease retaining stuff and my performance slides into "negative returns" territory. So it was time to stop.

We had 45 min left, so I gave SK an into BJJ lesson. Smile Unfortunately I didn’t have with me any copies of the neat and well-organized syllabi that I have been using for the girls… so I just taught him Rodrigo’s "five basic techniques for new white belts" and some basic positions. He knows nothing at all about grappling, so we were starting at ground zero. He is a quick learner- so we got a lot done in 45 min.

So, a lot of work was accomplished tonight, and much fun had!

A serious lack of estrogen in the environment

Monday morning BJJ, Drills only for me, Fabiana teaching.

Escape from front bearhug, going to hip throw

Escape from scarf, bringing the leg up to push opponent’s head down

Variations on side control


Monday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Same three techniques, but Henryque taught them with a couple of minor variations from the way Fabiana taught them. This is one of the things I really like about taking the same lesson repeatedly with different teachers. I get to figure out which variation I like better; which works best for me.

I was feeling a bit exasperated tonight with once again being the ONLY lonely female in a room reeking of testosterone! I haven’t seen Leah in almost three months. I asked Pat about her.

Leah always came in with a family group: Mom (Mom didn’t train, just sat and watched), teen sis (in the kids’ class, but allowed to take an occasional adult class if she drilled with Leah) and a middle-aged guy whose role I am uncertain of (he looked a bit too young to be dad, and a bit too old to be Leah’s BF… and I couldn’t think of a polite way to ask). Anyway, Pat told me that the middle-aged fellow took a serious elbow injury, and teen sis got a new boyfriend who didn’t like her training BJJ, so she quit (sounds like a KEEPER to me! Mad ). Leah appears to have disappeared along with them. Loss of her as a training partner is a serious detriment to my training. Not to mention a big fat bummer. Crying or Very sad I hope she’s not one of those people who gets their blue and then just flakes off. Anyway, she’s in her early twenties, and maybe when she gets out of college in a year or two, she will decide to cut the umbilical cord and train without her whole family having to be there. So hopefully she will be back. Maybe by the time she reappears, I will be able to kick her ass! Mr. Green

In the meantime, though, that leaves us with Angela (purple, whom I literally have not seen in a year), Sonia (4 stripe white whom I see maybe once every two months), and four or so female whites, none of whom have more than one stripe (and none of whom are coming in nearly as often as I am). NOT ENOUGH WOMEN.

And while I don’t mind working with the newbies- and it teaches me things- it’s not all the same things that I tend to learn when I get to work with female jiu jitsu artists who are a step or two above me. Just enough better than me that I can give them a run for their money, but they still beat me.

I’m also feeling a little pressure right now as the ONLY female colored-belt role model that these newbie woman are seeing regularly. (With the notable exception of Cindy…. but I was referring to mere mortals!) Oh, and Fabiana (I’m not sure if she’s mortal either)- but this is her last week with us. Sad

Sunday formwork

Went to the (non-MA) gym to do some formwork for about an hour and a half. I went kind of light, but not excessively light. The ankle twinged a bit but did fine. My achy knees- those sadistic old b!tches- were back with a vengeance and are once again being the limiting factor on my workout. "Hey! Remember us?!? You’ve been so preoccupied with Left Ankle lately that we’ve been feeling a little neglected. Don’t you miss our quality time together? How ’bout a hefty dose of ache, just so you won’t forget about us?!?? Take that!!!"

I did Silken Needle, then 2 reps each of Five Animals In the Mirror and Little Red Dragon In the Mirror. I didn’t even bother with Leopard Three In the Mirror- I feel solid with that one.

Then I did several reps of Five Points Of the Star In the Mirror- mostly focussing on the parts that I recently made corrections on.

After that, I did quite a bit of work on Leopard Fist In the Mirror.

Started thinking about what my next Mirror Form should be. I’d LIKE it to be Touch Bridge, but it really SHOULD be Bung Bo Kuen. Confused Especially since we’re going to be working on Mantis this coming semester. I compromised by doing the first couple opening sequences of both forms several times, standard side and Mirror side.

Finished up with a couple reps of Touch Bridge (standard version) and Box Form.

I’ve started doing a few light tasks with my bad-thumb hand. Easy stuff, like turning magazine pages. Yesterday I was able to pick up a half-full can of Dr. Pepper, take a drink and set it back down with my left hand- without dropping it.

Saturday no-gi BJJ

Saturday no-gi BJJ. It was a small class, only about 6 or 8 of us- I like it when it’s like that.

We did the guard pass where you double-underhook the legs, then we did two variations on a cradle… Other people have done this to me before, but this is the first time I’ve worked on it myself, so that was great. I got to work with Ron, which is always a good thing.

Jesse, the wrestler/cop who sprained my ankle, was there too. He has a stripe now, so can spar legally! He’s really strong and fast- not the spazziest I’ve seen by a long shot, but he looks like he could stand to learn a bit more control. I’ll have to be really really careful when I work with him again.

Cindy reamed some poor newbie back, forth and sideways for standing up in Ron’s guard and picking him up. He didn’t slam him or anything, I think he knew better than THAT. But we all came away from class today clearly understanding that that is a BIG NO-NO. Shocked

Cindy suggested that I might want to try taping my hand "Flipper style" to try to protect my thumb. I might try that next class. I don’t think it will restrict my movement any more than it’s already restricted, and maybe it will shelter the thumb a bit.

Some people have more balls than brains

Full Throttle Friday review class. All six techniques from the week. Just warmups and drills for me. I asked John to drill with me, cuz I trust him. Smile

My ankle did fine. My thumb got bumped/squeezed really painfully a couple of times, but I live.

Jim showed up in his street clothes, so I could ask him about his ribs. Nothing broken, but he said that they made him cry when they wrapped his ribs. I’m really relieved that he went to the doctor. He looked horrified when I gave him the "You may think it’s just a rib out and you’re fine, then you roll over in bed that night and have a bone splinter perforate your intestine, and then you’re REALLY screwed" speech.

We recieved a fifteen-minute speech this morning on the topic of How Things Work Around Here. Apparently there was a dramatic incident at last night’s class, wherein someone insisted that he was staying for the advanced class even though he did not qualify to be in the advanced class. Rodrigo had to eject the person from the premises. Shocked

I’ve noticed that some of the the new people are really peeved that they’re not allowed to spar right away- especially the ones with an MMA/wrestling background. They think, "I can already beat the snot out of 90% of the people in here, and I came here to spar, and they won’t let me." You really only have to do a small number of classes before you can spar, it’s not that big of a deal… but some people have no patience- or respect. Some people are just way too fixated on belts and stripes, too… they are never happy with where they are, and if the teacher says they’re not ready for the advanced class, they can’t accept that.

I just can’t fathom anyone having the gall to try to run that sort of sh!t at Rodrigo…. someone who hasn’t been here long enough to get to know Rodrigo at ALL, that’s for sure.

My Leopard rakes are smokin’ tonight.

Thursday morning BJJ. Stephen was teaching this morning. I continue to do warmup and drills only.

Defense from standing guillotine, leading to hip throw. We’ve sure been doing a lot of variations of this escape in the last 2 or 3 months. I worked with Bree, and asked her to throw me ONLY on the side that allowed me to breakfall with my good hand. For the other side, I had her stop at the load.

Then the same guard break that we’ve been doing for the past few weeks, this time getting to one’s feet and then underhooking both of the opponent’s legs. To be followed by stack, smoosh, and pass guard. Stephen took Bree away from me and had me work with Susie. She is *so* tiny. I hope she’s going to survive in here. She’s catching on to the techniques a little faster now, but still needs a lot of help.

Ankle check- at about 90% capacity now.

Thumb check- still useless, but writing the air-alphabet with it today is noticably less painful than it was on Tuesday. And I can make bigger letters, too. It’s healing… just way too slooooooooooooooow for my satisfaction.


Kung fu basics. No CN, small class tonight- just SK, JM, Nemesis and me.

Hand strike drills. I pulled out that White Crane fragment again, the one that CC taught me… it stymied JM a bit because she hadn’t been here the last time I intro’ed that, and it’s a bit complex. But since it was all veterans there, I decided to go for it.

Nemesis wanted to do overhand Leopard rakes. I started laughing after the first few reps, and SK wanted to know what was so funny. Now that he’s leading the class, I can’t laugh at anything without having to explain myself in front of everybody… I’m going to be in trouble the first time I’m laughing at something inappropriate! Anyway, this time I was laughing because one of my perpetual challenges is that my dance training has hardwired me to come up on my toes whenever I do a turn. Of course, this is rarely appropriate in kung fu…. I’m supposed to stay in low stances and not be doing little upward bounces during my stance shifts. The overhand Leopard rake drill has a drastic stance shift in it that for some reason I have a particularly hard time maintaining my proper altitude when I’m doing it. THIS time, however, once I got into a semi-reasonable lunge, readjusting the level of bend in my injured ankle hurt too much to change altitude. So my injury was actually forcing me into a cleaner technique. I found that amusing.

SK was rotating around with the kick pad, holding it for people to strike. My Leopard rakes were masterful. There are a bunch of them in Leopard Three, and none of my classmates (not even CN or SK!) know that form- so I have practiced Leopard rakes more than anybody!
When we did Mantis seven-stars stance rolling forward into double back-of-the-wrist strikes, SK held the kick pad for the others. Then he put it down and got the focus mitt to bring over and hold for me so that I was only hitting a solid target with my uninjured hand. See why I adore him? Smile I said, "You’re so thoughtful!" and he laughed.

Since it’s the end of the semester, soon the intermediate class will be working on Mantis and Dragon material(we rotate through a pair of animals every semester). So SK had us review the fragments of Bung Bo Kuen that everyone knows (half the class knows the whole form, the rest know only fragments). My bad ankle did *NOT* like the Northern Mantis hip-switch stance shifts. Other than that, I think my Bung Bo Kuen is still looking pretty good, considering how much I struggled with it last year.

Then we paired up and did a little Wing Chun drilling- one person attacked with palm-heel midlevel, punch high, punch low- while the other person defended with bon sau, tan sau and a press block. This really jarred my bad thumb painfully, especially when I worked with Nemesis- even going "light".

Individual formwork- I went through truncated versions of all the Mirror forms and their standard-side counterparts. Still some bobbles in Five Points In the Mirror, involving the corrections I recently made in it. I haven’t worked on Leopard Fist In the Mirror much, so I spent the most time on that. It still needs lots of practice. Five Animals In the Mirror, Leopard Three In the Mirror, and Little Red Dragon In the Mirror all feel solid.

SK came over to see if I needed any help, and I said no, that I was just sort of easy-rehabbing my way back into formwork. He had caught sight of a piece of Leopard Fist, as I was comparing techniques off both sides, and asked if Leopard Fist was being particularly helpful with the rehabbing. Then I had to prevaricate, because I still don’t want anyone but CC to know that I’m working on "Mirror" forms.

I also talked to SK a little about the fact that I’m worried my injuries will make me more timid when I get back to sparring. I’m not afraid of pain, and I’m not afraid of the injuries in themselves- but I am definitely very afraid of ending up back on the F’ing bench for weeks at a time. I’m afraid that that fear is going to be in the forefront of my mind when I spar, and cripple my performance.

When we sat for meditation, I tried to sit down in the circle crosslegged, and had to wince and hurriedly change which leg was folded on the bottom. But once I had, I was able to sit cross-legged for the first time since I hurt my ankle.

The Savage Cheerleader

AAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!

I am *SO SICK* of being BROKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad

Okay… I just had to vent that… moving on.

Kung fu Tuesday night. I was able to do all the warmup forms, even Tiger Vs Crane (flying kicks) and Five Points Of the Star (lots of low stances and lunges). Some things hurt a bit, but nothing too bad. I sat out round 2 (combat cadence).

Then we paired up and looked for creative apps in Five Points, like we did last week, starting where we had left off. Since I was able to actually WORK apps with my classmates this time, I had no leisure time to play with knife apps this week. I did a bit better with the thinking-outside-the-box tonight. CN and SK were, as always, moved to giggles by my excessively Tigery interpretations. Ya know, if a move looks like grabbing an enemy by the hair on both sides of his head and yanking said head right into your roundhouse kick, don’t blame ME. Especially since I was working with JB tonight, and we are the only two people flexible enough to execute a move like that. Cool

We ended with some line drills and balance drills using a few of the techniques out of Five Points, and variants thereof. Then some weird jumping knee-strike thing that the others had apparently worked on last weekend at the Potluck I didn’t go to. CN demonstrated the move, and I started cracking up. "That is a cheerleading jump called a ‘stag jump.’ I can do this." and so I could, high and graceful and with beauteous form (If I do say so myself), despite the sprained ankle. I didn’t have any pom poms, though… must come up with some martially-practical accompanying arm motions that will still give me good balance.

Hmmm…. cheerleading routines with double knives substituting for pom poms… the freakiest part of that notion is not that I *had* it, but that I think some of them would actually translate quite well.

Snap, crackle, pop- NOT me this time!

Monday morning BJJ. Ankle’s a bit painful and still swollen- Bryan was exclaiming over its visible deformity in the lobby before class- but I think I could spar on it now if I was careful. Unfortunately, the thumb still doesn’t work. I can’t grip anything with that hand, and every time the thumb got slightly bumped or rubbed or squeezed during drills, it hurt like heck- so I decided to continue to sit out everything *except* drills. Sigh.

Defense against guillotine from standing, and the "bullfight" guard pass. Fabiana was teaching today.

I (wo)manned the stopwatch for the 1.5-min sweep-or-submit-vs-guard-pass matches. At one point, Jim (who was right in front of the bench) cried out and then started writhing and moaning, holding his lower right rib area. Rodrigo and Cindy hustled him out to the lobby, and I could hear him moaning downstairs.

As I was leaving a little later, Rodrigo asked me if I would have a look. I think that since I’m in a health care field, there’s a general assumption around the school that I’m a nurse or a PCT or something- which I’m not, but I have enough general knowledge to sometimes have an opinion. Jim came out of the locker room half naked, and I said, "Did you hear or feel it pop?" "It’s STILL popping." "Huh?" "Put your hand right here." He flexed, and the rib moved rather dramatically and made a terribly audible grinding, popping sound. Shocked "You’re not going to die, but you need to go to Urgent Care and get an x-ray and some painkillers." So Rodrigo put him in the car and took him. He was moaning in the locker room about how now he can’t surf. Those rib injuries suck so bad. I don’t think it was actually broken, but he will still be off the mat (and the surfboard) for five weeks, I’ll bet. Poor guy.


Monday evening BJJ. Same techniques as this morning, with Henrique teaching. Drills only.

I have started writing the alphabet in the air with my thumb. They are tiny letters, though… it hurts! Half my hand is green with the bruising. Yellow will be next; can’t wait! Rolling Eyes

I guess the silver lining of being unemployed and on the injury bench is that I can go to a zillion classes and at least do the drills…. by the time I do the same set of drills three times with three different training partners and two or three different teachers, I can do that technique in my sleep. By day three I am doing it off both sides and getting all the little nuances.

I’m going to miss morning BJJ for the next 2 mornings because I have job interviews both mornings. The one I’m doing tomorrow is for a reference and clinical research lab that turned out to be literally across the street from the Seattle branch of the BJJ school. I have been parking in their parking lot three times a week for the past seven months, and their parking security guard got familar enough with me to notice and congratulate me when I got my belt promotion in December. The shift I’m interviewing for is from 9am to 6pm, M-F…. which would mean no more kung fu carpool (although I should still be able to make it to class), and no more morning BJJ classes. Crying or Very sad But if I could get special permission to schlep in ten minutes late, I could scamper across the street and go straight from work to BJJ class every night. That might be groovy.

Full Throttle Friday

I’ll probably think of a better name for Friday morning Seattle class, but for now it’s "Full Throttle Fridays" in observance of the fact that it is the weekly review class, in which we have 6 techniques to cover at a frenetic pace.

Rodrigo was chivvying people to line up and have their attendance cards ready… some guy slipped in late and placed his card on the wall shelf before darting into line. Rodrigo said, deadpan the way he does, "Geet your card- deed the wall ask for your card? Geet your card, geet in line…" We’re all lined up trying to be serious, biting our lips- but someone started giggling, and Rodrigo cracked a smile, and then we all broke up. Laughing

Cindy and then Fred tried to get me to roll with them (longing sigh)… Fred was like, "Come, on, come on, we can go light!" He is a bad influence! I said, "No, I’m trying to be good because I don’t want to reinjure myself and have to sit out even LONGER…. hopefully next week!"

I got to watch first Rodrigo and then Stephen humble a new guy. This guy obviously had some kind of previous MA experience, he was big and strong and fast and SPAZZY! Rodrigo and Stephen didn’t smear him or anything, but they just calmly and casually subbed him over and over. Rodrigo had him in a triangle, and the guy did NOT want to tap… crazy If Rodrigo gets you in a triangle, there ain’t no coming back from that, buddy… Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here…. just tap like a good boy.

I also got to watch Cindy and the visiting professor spar for a bit- that was fun to watch. I did find out that the visiting professor will be here till April 3, so hopefully there will still be time for me to work with her a little when I’m less broken. Her name is Fabiana, I know that now (and can spell it) because I looked at the entry for her workshop on Kevin’s school’s page. I also got to see a vid of her viciously armbarring some poor victim in a tournament at about 27 seconds.


Rodrigo’s daughter (at least I assume that’s who she was) was there- about three years old, cute- no cauliflower ears on the kid YET!!! Laughing

Who said anything about the kick pad?

Thursday morning BJJ. Stephen was teaching. I have now gotten some of this week’s techniques from three different instructor perspectives and three different teaching styles, which is really cool.

I pounced on Glenn again and asked him to drill with me today. Smile

Ankle is a little sore but doing okay, thumb hurts and is not very useful. You would have laughed yourself half to death if you’d seen me trying to floss this morning; and trying to use the can opener on a can of cat food.

Our visiting professor is doing a seminar on Saturday down in Kevin’s school. I would really like to go, but I’m not sure if I am physically functional enough for it to be practical.


Kung fu basics. We had a new student, so it was indeed pretty basic. I don’t know what his background is, although it was obvious from his very first hand strike drill that he’s trained. His kicks look pretty good too.

Hand strike drills (confined to closed-fist techniques). Any centrifugal force caused my left hand (the one with the sprained thumb on it) to feel like an achy, throbby, hot rock- so I took it a little easy on that side. Since the thumb perpetually sticks out like I’m trying to hook a ride, some of the modified hand positions were comical. I was doing overhand top-fists and cracking up until SK stopped the whole class and demanded to know what was so funny. I told him that I felt like I was at the Roman Collosseum giving the thumbs-up/thumbs-down from the box.

We then did the kick sequence drill and spent a lot of time breaking those kicks down. I could kick with clean technique using my bad foot, although not with any power. I also told SK that I was not going to be kicking any targets today. He said, "I didn’t bring the kick pad." I replied, "That doesn’t necessarily mean absence of targets, you know." Twisted Evil

Kicking with the uninjured foot and balancing on the bad foot was a challenge. I wobbled through it, but it was clumsy and somewhat painful.

A little stancework- that was okay as long as I eased through the transitions slowly- I was worried that scissor step and fifth position in particular would be torture, but it was bearable.

40 min of individual formwork. I tried Five Animals and decided that my ankle still was not quite up to regular formwork, so I did truncated forms: Five Animals and Five Animals In the Mirror, Leopard Three and Leopard Three In the Mirror, Little Red Dragon and Little Red Dragon In the Mirror, Five Points Of the Star and Five Points In the Mirror, Silken Needle, Leopard At Dawn, Hurricane Hands, Bung Bo Kuen, Snake Vs Five Animals, Sil Lum Tao, Chen short form.

I e-mailed CC and told him about all my broken pieces. I told him that he definitely would have wanted to take pictures if he could see them (he loves to take pictures of my battered and abraded bod and send then to RS). First he had to rag on me about making sure I take it easy and don’t hurt myself worse by doing things I shouldn’t be doing. (He also CC’ed RS on the conversation, so I will almost certainly be recieving a second helping of that particular lecture from RS.) CC then suggested that I begin compiling a Facebook gallery of my injury photos. If only I had a decent camera- and computer skills- it would be funny to do. Of course each pic would need to be labelled with the name of the training partner who inflicted the wound, and the name of the technique. Or I could just append the daily photographic evidence to my training blog. Razz CC wanted it noted that none of my injuries are attributable to HIM. I replied that we need to spar more often. Mr. Green