The cheese-grater advantage


Dang- plateau! And after I’ve been doing such a good job resisting cookies!

Friday no-gi at Cindy’s. I had JB and SK, and also one of SK’s housemates, Zander. He’s an MMA guy.

I had to practically challenge Cindy to a spar to get her to take my drop-in fee…. "But you’re enrolled!" "Yeah, starting two days from now- today I’m still a drop-in." "Just forget it." "Take the money!" "Really, forget it." "REALLY, TAKE THE MONEY!" Finally she did. I wish everyone- like my vet, my car mechanic, the power company- was so reluctant to accept my cash.

My abs and sides were (and still are) sore- I took some ibuprofin before class, but some of the warm-up conditioning drills made me groan. I had thought the pain was from being stacked last night by JB, but now I think it was probably from those takedown loads we were doing on Thursday morning.

Cindy had a couple of new and unpleasant surprises…. one being you lie on your back, place one foot flat on the floor and point the knee at the ceiling, stretch the other leg out straight, then lift BOTH a couple inches off the ground. Then stretch both arms straight over your head and do crunches, bringing both arms and that straight leg up to the ceiling, keeping the bent leg where it is. No touching feet to floor. They’re not *that* bad, unless your ribs and abs hurt. Then they are awful.

We did the positional flow drill, which I was happy about- I can always use more practice on transitions. Side control to mount to side control to scarf to north-south to scarf to side control… lather, rinse, repeat. I had taught this to JB and SK, so they had seen it before.

Escapes from scarf- the one where you cross-face the opponent and simply push hir over backward, and the one where you supplement by walking your legs out and then throwing the leg over hir face to push her back flat.

Escape from side control: frame up, bridge, underhook, get to your belly, grab opponent’s far knee and drive through to push hir over.

All stuff I have seen before and can now focus on refining and getting more confident with.

I drilled with JB, and then we did several short positional sparring matches from scarf and side control. I am still feeling pretty tired tonight (I may have to skip CN’s boot camp tomorrow- I just haven’t been able to catch up on sleep). But all lame excuses aside, JB is getting better and better at an awesome rate. She got several good reversals on me, and did a very good job dominating me on top from side control and scarf (today’s lesson notwithstanding, these remain some of my weakest areas). It’s a little frustrating, because we have also been working a lot of scarf escapes these past couple weeks at Gracie’s.

4-minute free spars, cycling through almost everybody in the place. I did one with Cindy, three or four with JB, one each with Zander, SK, and Jamie.

Whenever I tried to close in on Cindy, she rolled. It seemed like an excellent opportunity to pounce and try to either get her back or pass her guard, but of course you can guess how that turned out. She gleefully tapped me eight or ten times in the four minutes. Including some bizarre contorted choke with her leg that made me say, "What the F is that??!! Is that a technique or did you just make that up??" She just made it up. I wish my brain worked like that.

JB and I seemed pretty evenly matched. I spent more time on top, but she got several nice reversals (she is doing better at them than I am). I got one armbar on her- other than that, no subs for either of us. They were good, fun spars.

Jamie seemed a little spazzy- not REALLY bad, but enough that I could tell that he was using strength (JB mentioned that as well, on the way home). He was also breathing very poorly- so when he was kind of overwhelming me at the beginning, and I heard how he was huffing and heaving, I laid back and played defense for a while to let him get tired and out of breath. I kept him in my open guard for a long time; and kept pulling him to my chest in a clinch or (when he tried to get distance) sitting up and clinching with him there. If I hadn’t been so low-energy, I probably could have continued that momentum and put him on his back a few times. He got on top a lot, but because he didn’t do much side control or scarf, I was able to escape (I am competant in escapes from other positions), then he’d get on top again… also kept trying to choke me, but he never did get a tap on me.

SK had just finished rolling with Kaungren and was SUPER sweaty. He was extremely slippery, and I found myself on the defensive under him almost the entire time yet again. He also was going for a lot of chokes- he was going for various armlocks too- but I didn’t let him get anything. I don’t think I tried a single sub or reversal on him, though, I was too busy trying to defend.

Zander obviously was just toying lightly with me. When he got back mount, his body was so long that I couldn’t even reach his feet- and my repertiore of competant back mount escapes involve grabbing at least one of those feet, so I was at a loss. I didn’t let him get the choke (although I’m sure he could have forced the matter); I kept waiting for him to bow-and-arrow me (I would have had to tap instantly), but he never did. In the car I asked him why he hadn’t, and he told me that he hadn’t wanted to be a d***. I told him that as long as he didn’t do it too hard and fast, I wouldn’t have though that.

Both he and SK informed me that my headgear (aka my cheese-graters) interfered with their choke attempts. I protested that it was on my HEAD and nowhere near my neck. They replied that as far as getting their hands past my choke-defense hand positions, skin has give and plastic doesn’t. I huffed a bit at the implication that I was using the cheese graters as some kind of unfair advantage. Believe me, they aggrieve *ME* a heck of a lot more than they aggrieve anyone else. But I do *NOT* want my ear sliced open again in the Urgent Care- so like it or not, they are a fact of life now.

The body’s subconscious ‘race to the bottom’


Evil housemate has stocked the clear cookie jar on the kitchen island. Curses! Temptation right in my FACE, multiple times per day. I had one last night and one this morning- bite sized frosted oatmeals. I love those things. This is throwing a monkey wrench in my system.

Thursday morning BJJ in Bellevue.

Bree got a stripe promotion today. She is now a three-stripe white. I asked her if she is going to do the Revolution. She said that she’s like to wait a little longer before competing, but that Carlos is really pushing her. So maybe.

Bearhug from the back- frame up, step to the side, grab behind opponent’s knees, tip hir backward to takedown. I have done this one several time now, and I persistantly end up falling on my keister. I didn’t fall today, but Carlos told me to stand up straighter when I picked the guy up. That seemed to help quite a bit. It also helped, I’m sure, that I was working with John and not trying to pick up someone three times my weight.

Side control escape- rolling to stomach and then driving into opponent, grabbing behind hir knees, turn and dump hir on hir back. I had a little trouble with this at first because the initial move involves rolling AWAY from your opponent, and I have been so brainwashed to never do that. But I think this is a good move for a small, compact person who can maneuver well in the small space underneath an opponent who is on all fours.

Also- scarf hold escape, getting to knees and taking the back. John and I found that if you reach across your opponent’s waist as you take the back, the opponent’s hand is trapped firmly between your jaw and shoulder, and you get a nice chicken-wing armbar without even half trying.

I really wanted to stay and do some free rolling- especially since John was there- but for some reason I was feeling very low-energy. It was affecting me a lot during the positional sparring, and the thought of free rolling was exhausting. I sat for a few minutes and watched, hoping I’d get a little juice back once I cooled off a bit, but no… so I split.


Thursday evening Kung Fu. JaE was there for the first time in several months. I exclaimed, "Who are you???!!" and he said, "The new guy!"

One round of hand strike drills, one round of kick drills. When JaE’s turn came, he picked a weird double-crescent combo that they had apparently done at the retreat in Portland in January. Apparently you’re not supposed to let your kicking foot touch the ground in beween the two crescent kicks, which is a bit challenging. I had to ask some questions about how the balance and power generation was supposed to be working out with that, before I could get it straight in my mind. Still, my crescent kicks are stunning in both height and form as always! So then halfway through the round, SK said, "For those of you already kicking above your heads, try starting and ending with your feet side by side. And keep your hands in a guard in front, not out to the sides to help your balance." Then it got a *LOT* harder!! I commented that I was noticing that the more sore and tired you get, the more your body instinctually tries to make little compensatory changes in the technique to try to make it less painful and use less energy. It’s easy to not even notice this happening, especially at first.

Then we worked some of the same one-one one and then two-on-one sparring exercises that we’d done last week. Again, it was an enclosed space, and for the first few rounds, the defender was allowed only to evade and parry- no attacks. Everyone had to stay in low Tiger stances throughout. Freeze-frame counting again- one move per person per count.

The first time Nemesis rolled away from JaE, JaE looked at the extreme expanse of space that had opened up, looked back at us with a disgusted expression, and remarked, "Oh, crap!" I said, "Doesn’t that suck?"

My first rounds were with JB- one of them devolved into a BJJ roll which SK allowed to continue till sweep or submit (I swept her). I was getting a great triangle on her at one point and had it THIS CLOSE to being locked on, but then she stacked me hard and I had to let go so that I could breathe. It was a great stack- my ribs are pretty sore right now.

My two-on-one rounds were with Nemesis and JoE. It was laughable. They caught me and "killed" me within 4 counts no matter what I did.

Individual forms time- I worked the Southern Mantis bit in "micro-fu" meaning I wasn’t trying to get all the stances and extentions perfect, I was just running a truncated version repeatedly to try to build flow, develop a decent breathing pattern, and work past the "what comes next" pauses. I really need to pay attention to the breathing on this one. It is very staccato- and with my bad habit of huffing on every strike, I get out of breath very quickly. I had to keep reminding myself again and again to not breathe like that.

Then I worked the three-strike sequences with the short double sticks again. I slowed it down and payed careful attention to making sure I didn’t cheat the third strike. But when I tried to speed up- keeping that attention on the third strike- I noticed to my dismay and disgust that the SECOND strike became truncated.

It was the same situation that had been happening with the double crescent kicks- the body was trying to compensate, for the speed this time instead of for exhaustion and pain. But I was reminded of a conversation on one of the jiu jitsu forums yesterday, in which someone had referenced "the race to the bottom" regarding belt ranks and how some people/schools cheapen them by trying to get to the lowest common denominator. I hadn’t heard that particular term before, and I had to think about it a while. But I was reflecting tonight that that’s what my body was trying to subconsciously do when the factors of speed/pain/exhaustion were introduced- my body tried to "race to the bottom" and see what it could do to make the technique easier. Something to really start paying attention to, since usually the compensatory changes that my body wants to make are easier- yet they make the technique a lot less effective. So then I looked back at this morning’s BJJ lesson and realized that that was also happening with the takedown. After I’d done several reps, I was getting pretty tired… John is a smaller guy- lighter than anyone else I’ve done this drill with before- but still heavy enough for it to be a chore to lift him entirely off the ground and hold him for three counts (we had been doing that instead of the actual full takedown, for reasons of space). So when I started getting fatigued, my stance and posture altered sort of involuntarily to most efficiently get him off the ground and hold him there- even though I was aware that the subtle changes were not optimal for doing the actual takedown, had we been doing it. At the time, I was feeling very low-energy, so I just kinda let it slide. But I know I might as well not do drills at all if I’m going to be lazy enough to do them WRONG. So now I’m going to pay closer attention to recognizing this phenominon when it happens, and consciously choosing to return to the original, more challenging and more correct version.

I asked JB if she’d made a decision about whether she was going to leave Gracie Barra for Cindy’s school. She said that she didn’t really want to leave GB right now- she would miss Rodrigo, and miss the wide variety of training partners available, and also Wednesdays (when GB had class and Cindy doesn’t) is one of the days she is most likely to be available to come to class. So she’d like to stay at GB and do drop-in’s at Cindy’s…. which is pretty much my own current plan.

It did occur to me at that point that if SK leaves GB, I’m going to be stuck commuting into Seattle during rush hour without access to the carpool lanes- which will not only SUCK MIGHTILY, it will make JB and me late every time. Tempting to mention this to him…. but it’s not really fair for me to try to influence his decision according to what is convenient for me. It did also occur to me then that if SK DOES stay at GB, the first leg of Wednesday carpool would be just the two of us. I have to admit that I’d really like that. I almost never get opportunity any more to enjoy SK’s company/conversation one on one. Back when we were the only people in the carpool, we had lots of valuable (to me, anyhow) discussions about training (and occasionally some really deep and fascinating ones about religion, moral issues, and all sorts of other things). I miss that, and those sorts of conversations do not happen with others present. But he has to make whatever decision is right for him, and I’m hoping that he will do so without having JM’s preference be the weighting factor- so it’s not fair for *me* to be trying to weight him with my preference either. I need to just keep my mouth shut.

I should have paid better attention


Bunless cheeseburger (with swiss cheese this time!) for breakfast. Beef and cheese for lunch. Carrots. Chicken and cheese wrap with just a little ranch dressing ("light" ranch, and I watered it down a bit, too) before class. I was still hungry after eating it. Didn’t seem quite hungry enough after class to justify a full meal, so I had some corn.

Evening BJJ in Seattle. JM planned to tell Rodrigo tonight that she’s leaving. Last I talked to SK, he still hadn’t quite made up his mind.

Angela was there. I didn’t even recognize her. I haven’t seen her for over a year. I had heard that she’d been injured, and possibly there was surgery involved. I don’t think she’s been training regularly for a while.

Standing choke escape to "chicken wing" armlock (Gads, I can’t get away from chicken even *in* class); the same sweep from scarf that we did Monday; and the same spinning armbar from Monday as well. I drilled with JM, who had sat out most of yesterday’s kung fu class with a pulled muscle. She was still hurting today, so I said I’d try to be careful. I kept asking throughout if she was doing okay. She’s one of those people that- despite multiple reassurances on my part- I don’t feel like I can really trust her to enforce her own healthy boundaries and actually *STOP* when it hurts too much. I also accidentally conked the poor girl in the head three times over the course of the drills. (I was *really* sleep deprived and it was having a noticable effect on my skills.)

I noticed Rodrigo going over to where SK was drilling with another white belt and saying to slow it down and go lighter. I thought, "Dang, SK got stuck with another Spazzy White Belt," I also heard said spazz taking it upon himself to play Professor and give SK instructions on the drill. Rolling Eyes

SK and JM both got promoted a stripe tonight! That was cool. They were both totally sandbagging at one-stripe white. Wink Also Reuben got his purple. That was UTTERLY AWESOME as well, especially since he is a smaller-size guy. It gives me hope to see the smaller-size guys getting to high levels in here.

Positional sparring. First I got paired up with Angela. Guard pass vs sweep, no subs. I thought, "I’m toast," surrender She has a *LOT* of weight on me, and she’s a purple belt, and I happen to know that she also holds a black belt in karate. Apparently, though, it was true that she has been away for a while- because she was gassing visibly. I was able to do a halfway reasonable job defending the sweep. Well, that is, after the first time- when I shifted my base slightly to try a pass and she immediately tipped me over… the spar had lasted about four seconds total. Embarassed After that, I was very careful to keep a LOW solid base. No matter how big and strong she was, it was hard for her to sweep me when I was plastered low, flat and heavy to the mat like a stain. But that meant I didn’t get very far with guard pass attempts. I did manage to pass her guard once, which astonished me.

Then Allie. More guard pass vs sweep, then some rounds starting in back mount. Allie’s getting better and better. At this point, I’d say she has grown into her belt and is well worthy of her two stripes. She fights hard, and keeps fighting even when squished under mount or side control. She got a couple of decent guard passes on me. I told her she should do the Revolution, because she’s probably in Sabrina’s weight class.

I left after that, because SK and JM had disappeared right after drills and I didn’t want to keep them waiting too long.

In the car, SK told me that the guy he’d been drilling with was being a real @ss (My words, not his). That the guy was going way too hard and fast even after being told more than once to lighten up; gave copious instuctions even though it was obvious even to SK that whatever this guy thought he knew, it wasn’t BJJ- the basic skills just weren’t there…. and was just generally rude and inconsiderate to boot. SK had bailed out of positional training because he was so sore and frustrated after being roughhoused around by this jerk.

I was aware that SK keeps getting stuck with the Spazzy White Belts, and that it is frustrating to him and not allowing him to learn as much as he would be if he had some decent partners. I have told him that 1)It’s partially his own fault for just grabbing whomever is standing next to him when it’s time to pair up- I’ve told him that he should make a beeline for the colored-belt end of the line and ask someone there to drill with him. And 2)He ought to discuss it with Rodrigo if it is that persistant of a problem issue. Rodrigo goes way out of his way to carefully pair up his more vulnerable students with appropriate people, and try to make sure they don’t end up with someone who’s going to smash the crapola out of them. I have also seen him pair up certain people who obviously needed a little humbling tapping practice with certain people who were well-equipped to perform that duty. I’m confident that if he knew SK was having this problem- and getting injured and frustrated- he would make an effort to see that SK got paired up with some more appropriate people.

I had also told SK before that I’d make an effort to ask some of my favorite colored belts to roll with him. And I had every intention of doing so- only many of the classes we attend together don’t have an open mat afterward; and even when they do, usually one or more of our carpooling group is either exhausted or needs to get home. So we almost never stay for an open mat, which is when I would have had good opportunity to try to matchmake for SK.

I hadn’t really worried too much about the drill portion of class, and now I feel bad that I didn’t. I had to ask myself if I’d been a hypocritical sexist to not pay as much attention to looking out for SK as I have paid to looking out for the girls. But honestly, it’s not a gender thing. It’s a size thing and MA-experience thing. I didn’t worry as much about SK because he’s not in the bottom 5% of weight and strength among the students here. He’s 6 feet tall, and slim but very strong. Also, he’s light-years ahead of the three of us women in Kung fu, which does have *some* carryover here (esp. joint locks)- so I guess I just assumed he could take care of himself. He could probably joint-lock these Spazzes to within an inch of their lives, if he chose to join the testosterone-poisoned egofest. But he doesn’t want to be a jerk by doing that. And he came here to learn, not to engage in daily pissing contests with every new cheeseheaded MMA wannabe who walks in the door. Kung fu prowess notwithstanding, he’s too new *HERE* to be expected to be the Enforcer and administer the rightous educational beat-downs to these buttheads.

Anyway, I brought him in here and I have failed in my responsibility to look out for him.

I encouraged him again to attempt to be more selective when it comes time to choose drilling partners, and also to talk to Rodrigo about the issue. If he stays at this school (which is looking even more unlikely in light of this), and he won’t talk to Rodrigo, I’ll do it myself. And I will also make an effort EVEN FOR DRILL TIME to approach people that I *know* are good training partners and ask them if they would do me a favor and drill with my buddy.

Big Mac- Filet ‘O Fish- Quarter Pounder……..

……FRENCH FRIES- Icy Coke- Thick Shakes- Sundae- Apple Pies!!!

You deserve a break today! drool


Baked chicken breast with a little honey mustard BBQ sauce for breakfast. Tuna and hard-boiled-egg-whites with a little mayo for lunch (again skipping the wrap- I just ate it with a fork). Carrots. A 100-calorie mini-bag of popcorn. A can of SpaghettiO’s (with franks) before class (don’t give me any guff over this; I have already lost three and a half pounds!!), two scrambled eggs with a little cheese for dinner. I was still feeling hungry after the SpaghettiO’s, and after the scrambled eggs- so my portion sizes are okay (and could maybe even be a tad bigger).

A nurse walked into the lunchroom this morning while I was shredding hard-boiled-egg-whites into my tuna, and said, "Well THERE’S some protein!" She added that it actually looked pretty good. I told her that I’d trade her for a Pop Tart. No such luck.

Someone (Satan, most likely) left an unopened mini-bag of chips on a table in the lunchroom, and a piece of an OREO COOKIE in the grass on the community center lawn right where I chose to warm up. I touched neither. I even wanted the partial cookie, though. In the dirt, and with dog drool or Rickson Gracie knows what on it. Still looked good to me.

This is a terrible way to die, I’m tellin’ ya. Slow and tortuous. A nice clean neck snap would have been more merciful.

One of the bad things about being so tiny is that when you gain three and a half pounds, it is a visible change in your body.

One of the good things about being so tiny is that when you lose three and a half pounds, it is a visible change in your body. thumbsup

Kung Fu Tuesday. While waiting for class to start, I worked on all the dao stuff- Catherine Dao, the Chen tai chi dao form, and the scraps of the Snake Dao that we’ve been working on.

I had intended to recheck my notes regarding technical details of the Snake Dao piece we learned last week, and I forgot- so when I got to the community center, I was like, "Rats….. well, let’s see if I can reconstruct it," I took the pieces I remembered, and decided what the blank spots needed to be according to logic. When we reviewed it later in class, I was very pleased to see that I had reconstructed it perfectly. I had had a similar experience last week with the double stick sequence- I remembered PARTS of it, and I had to figure out the missing puzzle pieces by application, body mechanics, energy flow, and other things I KNEW. It makes me feel really good when I can successfully do that. It means that I’m not just memorizing and regurgitating on cue; it means that I actually UNDERSTAND the material on a level that you can’t when you’re just parroting back what you are shown. Two years ago, I would have never thought I’d be capable of that kind of intuitive analysis.

After warming up with a few forms, we reviewed a little bo stuff- the spinning and turning, stopping on the horizontal and spearing at classmates’ bo’s.

Then we reviewed the Snake Dao stuff. The piece from last week- we were instructed to pair up and come up with our own apps for it. Against unarmed opponent(s), or opponent(s) armed with a Dao or bo. (I got out my rubber knife, too, just to postulate someone stupid enough (or desperate enough) to attack a dao-weilding opponent while armed with a knife.)

I continue to warm up to the dao; tonight I was having a great deal of fun with hamstring slices. Also, the rising-block hand that comes up right before you slice horizontally is PERFECT for knocking the opponent under the chin and tilting hir head up so you can cleanly slice hir throat! Mr. Green

We were given a written assignment- a couple of paragraphs on the topic of "Why is it valuable to train DAO in the modern world of today?" I’ll mull that over for a while and then maybe throw the question out on a couple of MA forums to get other ideas.

Kaungren got a fresh stripe on his blue belt! He PM’ed me to ask whether it meant something if there was a piece of tape stuck on your attendance card. I responded "Yes, it means something; and no, I’m not going to tell you what it is." Wink He found out for himself tonight when he got promoted.

Diet aids- sparring and cat eyeballs


Hey, I stumbled upon a very effective dieting strategy. Every day (sometimes more than once), I have to break out the saline and moist washcloths and clean the thick, alternately gooey and crusty, black and yellow goobers out of my sick cat’s eyes. Last night I performed this delightful chore right before mealtime. Appetite: magically gone. After doing that, I really don’t feel like putting anything in my mouth for the rest of my life.


(Aren’t you happy you decided to follow this blog?! Think of how your life would be less complete to have missed out on that visual??!?)

Bunless cheeseburger for breakfast; tuna & hard-boiled-egg-white for lunch (I even skipped the wrap this time). Carrots during coffee break. Before class, more beef and cheese. I’d whore myself for a Three Musketeers bar right now.

Monday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Clinch to reap takedown; side control to knee-on-belly to spinning armbar; the headlock-on-the-ground reversal where you hug the person and roll hir over top of you. I was working with Ritchie. I had to walk him through the techniques. (I rarely play teacher unless asked, but what else can I do when we go to do the drill and the other guy just kneels there and stares at me like a deer in headlights?) One of the suggestions I gave him was that when he did knee-on-belly, to straighten the other leg out and keep it posted far enough back so that I couldn’t grab it. That’s what I was taught last time I went over this technique in class. Then Professor Carlos reprimanded us to not have the leg so far out of the way that it took a year to step around for the armbar. I felt like an idiot then, but I’m pretty sure that I have been told before to NOT leave the leg bent-kneed right by the opponant’s head (which was what Ritchie was doing at first). The hazards of having multiple teachers.

A little positional sparring from side control. Prof. Carlos is evil in that he will often say, "NO HALF GUARD"… sometimes he will even make you do 20 pushups if he sees you get half guard! Starting under side control, and deprived of my all-pupose fallback move, I was in a bad way. Luckily Ritchie is near my weight (altho taller) and doesn’t really have a great wealth of technique yet- so I survived. (I did get half-guard a couple of times, but I scrambled out and replaced full guard or got to my knees before Carlos saw me!). When it was *my* turn to start on top in side control, I ran a clinic on the guy. I am much better on top (or so I’m told). Wink

I caught one painful knee in the mouth. Some women spend hundreds on Botox to get their lips to puff up like mine is puffed up tonight.

10-min free spars. The first lucky student who drew the professor found himself wiggling like a fish on a hook under a mounted triangle, while Carlos leisurely adjusted his gi jacket and retied his belt before finishing the guy off. Lucky me, I got him next! The man loves a good wristlock. (My right wrist still hurts from the one he got on me two weeks ago.) He got another one on me while I was trying to keylock him. But I did escape from his mounted triangle!

After being tossed around by the Professor for 10min, I thought I was gonna throw up. So- no appetite when I came home either.

Over-and-in or under-and-in? That is the question


Baked chicken with cheese and garlic salt for breakfast {buck-buck}

Beef with garlic salt, onion and cheese for lunch. My former housemate left several packages of Mystery Meat in the deep-freeze when he moved out. I’m not sure what it is or how long it’s been in there. I just know it’s beef of some kind- he is a meat-and-potatoes; hold-the-potatoes kind of guy. So I figured I’d toss it in the crock pot (crock pots make up for a multitude of sins), and if it came out looking/smelling okay, I’d eat it, and if it didn’t, I’d feed it to my rats!

Private lesson with CC today. Part of the problem of seeing him on such an inconsistant basis is that we end up wasting way too much time catching up and other verbal digressions… and he always kicks me out at one hour on the dot- so I hate seeing the clock tick away while I fill him in on what I’ve been doing since I saw him last.

I would have liked to work on Leopard At Dawn; however, he always starts by asking me, "What have you been working on?" And we wind up working on *that*, whether I wanted to or not. Next time, I shall have to just take 15 min before I drive over there to run through Leopard At Dawn half a dozen times; then I can legitimately say that’s what I’ve been working on. But since I am a very poor liar, I threw out Southern Mantis- I decided I wouldn’t mind working on that.

First he wanted to see Hurricane Hands- then he wanted to VIDEO Hurricane hands. Gak. I had time to zip through it twice to warm up while he went to get the camera. I messed up a couple of things just because I knew I was being filmed, and that freaks me out- but I think it was okay.

I confessed that I had weedled JoE into teaching me the first bit of the Southern Mantis basic long form, and to my relief CC did not object. I thought he’d want to see it, but he wanted to see Three Step Arrow. Of course he wants me to weed out the pauses… Right now, there are still some "hmmm-what-comes-next?" pauses, so that will take some time. Southern Mantis energy flow is staccatto, and when students are first learning it, there are pauses built in between rat-tat-tat sequences. Once you are advanced enough to KNOW how the energy flow is supposed to be, you are expected to eliminate those learning-aid pause crutches. CC has little patience for me doing what he refers to as "beginner level" work, even though I *am* still a beginner, and especially in Southern Mantis! That’s pressure, but it’s a good thing- and it’s nice to have someone expecting more of me as if he thinks I’m *capable* of more.

So we worked on apps for the beginning sequence- he didn’t like the apps that I learned in the other class (more beginner-level, I guess). Gods, this guy is scary-fast and powerful. He’s carrying a few extra pounds, and he doesn’t stretch out or anything; he wanders out into the yard for our lesson with his floppy hat and lemonade and cell phone, and sits there in a plastic lawn chair to watch. But when he goes to demo an application, he moves literally too quickly for the eye to track, and suddenly there’s a Mantis fist in your ribs- stopping abruptly as it touches the fabric of your tank top, but the continuation of the energy makes you want to double over and WHOOF your breath out… and after a minute for the shock to wear off, you give a sigh of relief that that didn’t really HIT you. It gets the heart pounding, that’s for sure. I hope I can do that someday.

Then we came to the Epic Question of which direction the two three-strike sequences rotate- over-and-in or under-and-in? In CN/SK’s classes, we had spent a lot of time waffling and squabbling over this. Of course every move has multiple applications, and the direction is going to depend on the application you are using or visualizing. Of course it should work both ways. Of course the FLOW is what matters, not minutiae of mechanics. So when the question came up and we started discussing it, I was thinking, "OMG, I do not want to spend another forty minutes of my life bickering over which way these strike sequences are supposed to rotate… Just tell me which way they are SUPPOSED to go, and I can just start repping that and move on with our lives." I asked him point-blank which way they are SUPPOSED to go… I asked him several times. I should know better by now than to ask any Shaolin Kung Fu instructor to "just tell me how it is supposed to go". You get back an answer that is an hour long and still doesn’t give you a definitive judgement on the either/or question you are asking. But we discussed and demo’ed a number of applications, and how they might be better or worse for me in particular since my theoretical opponent is always much taller than me, and how they might be altered in case of this or this or that. I decided in the end that both sequences should rotate over-and-in. Unfortunately, I have been practicing the first one as under-and-in. Wouldn’t ya just know it. Back to the drawing board! But it actually did turn out to be a very useful discussion- it really made my mental gears turn a lot.

Repping the rotating three-strike sequences is something I can do at work and other places in idle moments… It’s not one of those things that I have to be in the gym, and wearing my workout clothes, and all stretched out beforehand to do. So I’ll work on that a lot this next week.

Saturday “competition class”


That’s okay though; I had a late dinner last night, and I woke up ravenous again this morning- it felt like a cat was clawing inside my belly- so I know I’m still on the right track. I’ve also shaved a couple of cans off my usual daily Dr Pepper quota.

Tuna and hard-boiled-egg-wrap (again) this morning. At this rate, I’ll be clucking soon. As I was headed out the door, I was *still* hungry- so I grabbed some granola (I know, it’s full of calories, but it was the only portable thing I had other than a Slim-Fast- which I’ve already been reprimanded for using. Confused )

Saturday morning "competition class" in Seattle.

Dan was wearing a new blue belt, so I congratulated him.

I was braced for a horrible conditioning regimen, but it was only moderately awful. The worst part were the sprawl-defensive sitting-technical standing- squat-sprawl drills.

First a few relays: Kevin (blackbelt-Kevin, not three-stripe whitebelt Kevin from Bellevue…. I’ll tell ya, every new student who joins up and has the same name as someone else here really ought to be required to pick a new name!) was put on the floor and a group of us had to take turns trying to pass his guard while he tried to reverse. After a few rounds of that, we started in mount on him and had to try to sub him while he tried to escape. My turn came after Ron & Reuben had already tired him out, but he still had no trouble with me.

Then lots of specific sparring, mostly starting in guard- pass or sweep only for most of the time. I got paired up with Ron, Dave, Sabrina, and Sonia. I did reasonably okay with them, except Sabrina- I dominated her because she’s a two-stripe white and 10lb lighter than me. Dave seemed impressed with my performance and told me that I had a strong core. thumbsup

I went light on Sabrina and let her work; gave her a few pointers. Including the basic escape from mount into half-guard using the foot crossover. I talked her through it, then I got mount on her repeatedly for the rest of the spar and made her keep trying it. I could scissor-sweep her, which was great fun- I suck at sweeps and I don’t usually get to do any unless someone is *letting* me. I scissor-swept her four or five times, and could barely suppress a cackle of glee each time. Then Sonia and I showed her how to base her knees out and sink her weight into her butt to avoid getting swept… sigh, so much for that… no more scissor-sweeping for me.
Sabrina’s not bad; just needs more time and technique. I did chew her out for going limp and ceasing to fight when she figures we’ve got her pinned- I said several times, "DON’T give up- keep fighting, till *we* tell you the spar is over!" I hate it when the girls do that.


I also dragged her out of the way of another pair of guys and repositioned us in a safer spot without pausing the spar… people do that to me all the time, but this is the first time I’ve felt so completely in control of an opponent to do that. It made me feel like a Big Shot for a moment. Razz

It was a long while of good work,and I think I did reasonably okay. I did torque my neck once rolling over underneath a sprawled Sonia- hurts now.

At one point, I passed guard on Sabrina, got side control, and got off her- "Pass- start again." I’m trying to be better about paying strict attention to the stated restrictions on the positional sparring. Rodrigo called, "That’s not a pass!" Huh??? I’m confused. "You were just about to lock in a controlling top poseetion! You have to get a controlling poseetion and you have to HOLD it for TREE seconds! In regular class, we might let you geet away with that, but in competeetion class, we have to make sure you know the rules!" Ohhhhhh. So then we counted "one….two….three….." before we restarted- but Sabrina was still not allowed to stop resisting and go limp during the count!


When open mat arrived, I saw that John had appeared, so I asked him for a roll. We rolled for a really long time, and it was very competitive. He tapped me twice. Once I got an omoplata-ish type of arm lock on him… it was an accident, but once I saw our positions, I recognized it as a potential lock and started cranking on it. I thought I had him, but he wouldn’t tap. Prof. Carlos came over and motioned me to bend his wrist and push the arm in a slightly different direction, so I tried that, but the sweat allowed John to wrench his wrist out and escape. I puffed, "You stubborn son of a ___!" And he started laughing.

Someone also grabbed my foot while I was rolling with John- it wasn’t impeding what I was doing at the time, so I ignored it. But then I could feel a gentle ankle lock being applied, so I glared over my shoulder, and there was Professor Carlos! But then he let me go and grabbed John’s foot instead- that was fine with me!

Rodrigo was rolling with Dan, and after Dan had tapped and started to crawl away, Rodrigo pounced on him again and took his back. Yeah, you sure don’t want to ever turn your back on the playful professors around here!

One student whose name I will not reveal- to preserve his modesty- ripped his undershorts right up the back. Then a few times while he was sparring, his gi pants started creeping down and he gave us all a show. I wished I’d had a dollar bill with me- I would have run over and tucked it in his belt- that would have been funny! Laughing

It was a great class, great open mat (Thanks John), lots of good practice. {buck-buck}

I was again ravenous when I got home, as well as sore and exhausted. I had some cottage cheese, and am now baking a chicken breast with cheese and garlic salt.

{buck-buck-buck-buck} Oh dear.