“That doesn’t feel right.”

131.0

I was dismayed to weigh myself on the scale at the Seattle school and see it say 139. True this was right after breakfast and a can and a half of Dr. Pepper, and wearing sports bra, undies, tank top, bike shorts, and full gi- but still, eight pounds???! WTF?!? I need to weigh the gi by itself. I was thinking it was going to be about 4lb. Either the gi is a lot heavier than I thought, or my home scale is weighing light (how bad would THAT suck…. argh!)

Monday morning BJJ. Prof. Carlos asked me where I’d been on Saturday, and I told him that I work every other weekend (at least). He also asked me about my "karate", so I took the opportunity to tell him it was kung fu. He asked if I was a black belt, and wanted to know if it was a similar belt system to BJJ. He seemed impressed that I’d been training that for about 4 years.

One of the purples- whose name I can’t recall- is no longer purple. I looked him up and down and said, "Something’s different…. I don’t know what…."

Bryan was there too. I haven’t seen him in forever, so it was nice to see him again.

Breakfall to tactical standing up. Pendulum sweep. Armbar from failed pendulum sweep. I drilled with Dex. Struggled a little with the pendulum sweep, especially on my right side. Gods, my sweeps still suck so bad. When we did the armbar, I got a correction from Carlos- I was grabbing the sleeve cuff when I should have been grabbing the tricep. After I got that problem fixed, I had a second one: I was letting go of the leg so I could grab the sleeve cuff again. I have a confession to make: I am a cuff-grabber. Sleeve, pantleg. I often don’t know what to do with it once I have it, but I know that controlling a limb is a good thing- so I just latch on and cling like a doberman puppy. I am beginning to see how a tricep grip is often superior. Harder to get, though- especially in no-gi. I am going to try to remind myself to go for that tricep more often. Anyway, the armbar felt so insecure to me when I didn’t have that cuff. I said to Dex, "Can’t you just pull your arm right out of there? It feels like you could pull it right out." He said, "No, it’s tight." When it was his turn, he said, "That doesn’t feel right." "Toldja." "That feels weird." "I’m going to try to pull my arm out next rep." But I couldn’t pull it out- so I guess it was okay.

Positional sparring with Dex- I know he’s an MMA guy, as well as a white belt, so I was carful to give him my speech. I know he works with Bree, though, so I thought he’d be okay. And he was. Pass guard vs sweep only, then pass guard vs sweep or submit, then start in guard but anything goes. I seemed pretty competetive with Dex, but who knows how much he was holding back.

I had to leave at 1pm to go to work, so I could only say for one 7-min match of open mat. Dex again. It was a fun roll; neither of us got a tap. I would have liked to get a roll with Bryan- sigh. And I wasn’t even feeling dog-tired, either, like I usually am by the time open mat rolls around.

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Ding Ding Ding

JoE asked me the other day why I get such a jolly out of kicking him in the groin. I do love a good groin kick/knee; after all, it’s one of the targets that- as a mouse-sized person- is at handy range. It’s also a great Plan B if whatever technique I’m trying to do is not working. Here’s something that always works. Not rocket science, folks.

I like to make sound effects when I kick a male classmate in the groin- usually some variation on "Ding!" Or "Ting!" and then grin evilly. Sometimes I can’t restrain a giggle. I just want to register that yes, I did get it- and it would have hurt if I wasn’t such a nice person. I’m sure that my male classmates are happy for my excellent control while I am going for these. Anyway, JoE said that it reminds him of a Mario Brothers video game, where you jump up and hit the little brick box with your head twenty times and get a gold coin and a "Ting!" with each hit. Love that association. I told him that I’d kick him in the groin even more often if I thought I’d get a gold coin for it. He said, "Level up!!" I think that’s hilarious. Now whenever I kick him in the groin, he’s gonna hear me holler, "Level UP!!!!"

New blue belt woman, stage right

Lunchtime BJJ at Bellevue. I saw a girl!!!! She was wearing a 4-striped periwinkle belt- it was so faded that I honestly couldn’t tell if it was blue or purple. Well, I was in line behind her either way, so it doesn’t really matter! Turns out she is Shawndee, a blue who has been training for 4 years, part of Dex and Bree’s crowd. She said she plans to come in regularly Tues/Thrs lunchtime at Bellevue. That would be great.

We were doing all the same stuff we did last night. I worked with Shawndee. I noticed a minor thing or two that she wasn’t doing quite as instructed, but I kept my mouth shut until she asked, "Am I doing ____ right?" At which point I told her my observations, then I mentioned that I had been in class yesterday and did these same things, that’s how I know- so I wouldn’t look like I was being a know-it-all in the face of a higher belt.

When it came time for sparring, she creamed me- the extra two years of training really showed. I was on the bottom defending desperately almost the whole time…. she would distract me by fighting for a sub, and then slap on an armbar while my focus was elsewhere. If she’s competing in the tournament, she is going to clean my clock! But she is a worthy adversary, and very nice- so I do hope I get to work with her some more in the future.

We did some positional relays, and the first person I got paired up with was Eric- a gigantic purple belt. Carlos was laughing at me and asking, didn’t I think that guy was too big for me? I yelled, "NO!" and then the whole class was laughing at me. Well, I fended off Eric’s replacement of guard for a little bit, and he was nice to me, but that wasn’t much of a contest.

I relayed my way through a few more guys (all white belts again today- except for me, Eric, Shawndee and Luiz), and actually won against one of the brand new ones. I clamped him into my closed guard, and he looked at me and asked, "Am I supposed to be submitting you?" I said, "No, just reset." Actually I should have kicked him back into line and stayed on the mat, since I bested him- but I didn’t feel like taking the time to explain that to him, so I just jumped back into line.

I also had one roll with Ben, who armbarred me twice (a bit embarrassing, after Shawndee had also armbarred me twice today). Ben was very careful about it, though- he put them on nice and slow and controlled, and I thanked him kindly for that.

After that, I felt like a washcloth that had been soaked, wrung out and tossed on the locker room floor. I hung around a bit and womanned the timer, hoping to get a second wind and have another trouncing at Shawndee’s hands- but I was whipped, so I left.

I had kung fu tonight also, but I will have to try to update that tomorrow- it’s almost midnight, I’m exhausted, and I have to be at work early in the morning.

The trachea choke plus the “I refuse to tap” guy.

131.5

Astonishing, considering 1)the amount of jiu jitsu I’ve missed this month due to work, and 2)the heinous diet crime I committed the other day. But since I appear to have gotten away clean with that, we don’t need to talk about it any more!
🙂

Five weeks of dieting, seven pounds down, Eleven weeks to the tournament, seven and a half pounds to go. Cakewalk. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… cake………

Morning BJJ in Seattle. Rodrigo misses me and my slacker buds (hee hee); he asked me about them! I miss him too. He seems to be having Prof Carlos do all the classes unless there is simultaneous class in both locations…. so without JB as an incentive to drive into Seattle, I have been bereft lately of Rodrigo-taught classes. At least he still shows up to lunchtime classes, even if he’s not teaching, so you don’t forget what he looks like!

Additionally, there are almost never any women in Bellevue in the evenings or in Seattle in the mornings, so once again we are back to the state wherein I am almost always the sole source of estrogen in the room. This morning, that caused Prof Carlos to pair me up with black-belt-Kevin for drills. Coolness.

Carlos didn’t like my halfway-down-to-the-floor pushups today…. he came over and put his foot on my back and pressed me all the way down to the floor.

Stand-up: covering and moving in for double-leg clinch, posture up and control opponent’s arm, side around to the back.
Then starting from turtle with sprawled opponent on top of your head: cross-grab the knee, stick the leg out, swing your butt in and recover full guard.
Thirdly, a similar technique involving grabbing the opponant’s belt/waistband instead of the knee.

Positional sparring. I got paired up with Benny. I’ve worked with him very little, but SK had worked with him for a class and reported that he was "crazy", so I was a llttle nervous. *Everybody* (including Kevin) got my don’t-kill-me speech today. Back mount. Benny was slightly rougher than I liked, but not terribly so. I seemed to be doing okay.

Then timed rolls. I drew Nic’s son (I forgot his name again…. why am I so bad with names this week? Early Altzheimer’s setting in). Those were a fun couple of rolls. I did better against him this time than I had when I fought him a couple of weeks ago. We seemed pretty competitive. There were two times that I was certain I had an armbar, I was already mentally accepting my medal- but he pulled off an impressive escape at the last second (for which I praised him).

For the next round, there were three or four oddbits left along the wall to take a break (including me). Nate (of the Incredible Cauli Ear- it keeps getting bigger and bigger- how big can it get????!??) invited me in and asked Carlos if it was okay. Carlos gave me a significant look with raised eyebrow, like "Are you sure?" But I have rolled with Nate before and he is nice and controlled, even if he is about as tall as a telephone pole. I did okay here as well- I think Nate is using me to play catch-and-release, but that’s fine, as I get to work some stuff too.

Kevin told me that I am trying to roll "too much like a man"- and that I need to adapt my game for my unique size. That I need to move around more and stop clamping onto random grips and positions and then just clinging there for dear life with muscle. This is not news to me. I am clinging because 1)I don’t know where to go from there, and 2)If I’m clamped on and not presently being subbed or in imminent danger of being subbed, I’m reluctant to give that position up for fear of ending up someplace worse. But he’s right.

He also told me that I’m focussing too much on subs and I ought to concentrate on position. LOL. He doesn’t see enough of me to realize how sub-deficient I actually am…. but it’s good to know that my recent project of trying for more subs is actually manifesting to the point where it’s noticable.

Later…………………………

Evening BJJ in Bellevue. JM and SK were there for the first hour (gi); I stayed for the second hour (no-gi) as well, since I am insane.

I crept up and RNC’ed JM as she was stretching out on the mat, which led to an almost 10-min roll. It served well to warm us up- a little too well, as we were exhausted and sweating going into the actual class warmup.

Prof Carlos was walking around shaking everybody’s hand- and he came over and stood near us, watching and smiling, until I pinned JM well enough so that I could stick a hand out and shake without letting her escape. Then I back mounted her and pulled her around so that she was facing him and released one of her arms just long enough for her to shake as well- then we continued. Carlos asked if we were friends, and we both started laughing.

She got me in that wrestler’s crade again- she has such a fetish for that. She said, even as she was squeezing it on, "I know you don’t tap to this, but…." I replied, "It HURTS, if that makes you feel any better." I came within a titch of having to tap to it after all- not because of the pain, but because she had my head pressed down into my own gi lapels and she was also lying on my face. I was being suffocated in both of our gi’s; could barely breathe and it was hotter than ten saunas under there. I didn’t tap, but I did give her side control so that I could get some air.

Wow, she is so good at sinking her weight down. She feels like she weighs three hundred pounds. I was getting very close to having to ask her to go lighter on my poor ribs.

As we were doing triangles in the warm-up, Carlos came over and hald his flat palm out, indicating that I was to hip up higher and touch his hand with my toe. I was already up almost vertical on the back of my neck. Heave-ho, holy crap. I have great abs, but they do have their limits of exhaustion. He’s right, though- I do need to get my hips up higher for my lame triangles, and maybe someday they won’t be so lame.

Carlos teases and picks on me constantly- even JM commented on it tonight- but he is also pushing me, which is a good thing. So far he is managing to stay
just this side of obnoxious. (grin)

I drilled with JM, and SK got Jeff the purple belt. Good for him. At least he didn’t get another Spazzy White Belt tonight. It was a slightly smaller class that usual tonight, but still a nice turnout- yet Jeff and I were the only colored belts in a sea of whites!

Same techniques as this morning, with the addition of a majorly cool sweep from turtle. I was a bit daunted and said to JM, "I don’t know about this one…" then I tried it, and it worked so beautifully. I then said, "This is SO COOL!!!" When it was her turn to try, she thought the same.

No time for positional training tonight; we had already gone over by 10 min. I was dithering about staying for no-gi… I was pretty tired, and I had already done enough BJJ today to satisfy any taskmaster. But when I saw that most people were
lighting out, and it was only going to be 6 or 8 students, I girded myself to push through the last 50 min. I am trying to do better at pushing through exhaustion. I am also trying to do better at not using "I already went to a class this morning," or "I’m going to another class tonight" as an excuse to skip out when I really should continue.

I’m glad I stayed, because we worked on some neato-takedown stuff. Double-leg drills, double-leg to taking the back, then a tripping takedown from there, to a choke that I’ve never seen before. It was a cool-looking choke and I was excited about it, but I couldn’t make my partner (white-belt Kevin) tap to it. It was a trachea choke, and I got uncomfortable with how long and how hard I was holding it. In fact at one point I thought he’d passed out (to a trachea choke?). I’ve worked with
white-belt Kevin fairly regularly, and haven’t noticed him as being one of those "I refuse to tap" people- but he seemed to just not want to tap tonight. I didn’t want the tap bad enough to crush the guy’s trachea and murder him for it, so I gave up.

A few short free rolls with Kevin. I had to ask him to not bow-and-arrow me so fast and hard (he cracked my back!).

Then I rolled with Carlos. He gave me some pointers, and I think I did reasonably okay. I almost had to tap to his leg wrapping up mine… his bony ankle!! It was grinding a hole through my shin! I also wristlocked myself once, which was embarrassing. He apologized as I was shaking my wrist out, and I said, "It’s not your fault, I wristlocked myself!" And yes, I did continue to try for a variety of subs.

It has occurred to me that even though I’m not sure when CN’s semester begins, it is probably imminent enough that he will be gone before my essay is due.

Wing Chun strike and parry drills

Tuesday night kung fu. Man, was I ever tired. I did get some sleep during the late morning/early afternoon, but not enough. As a result, I was a slug while waiting for class to begin, and didn’t make much constructive use of the time. I did go slowly through a few Tiger drills. That was one of the things that I had planned for my aborted trip to the (non-MA) gym this weekend. Geez, it is dismaying how quickly the choreography starts to slip through the cracks if I don’t keep up on the review. I only got through three of them (there are about ten or so) Luckily, I know I have good notes for these. Must find time soon to review them.

We began with a few reps apiece of Bung Bo Kuen, Little Red Dragon, and the Northern Mantis Bo form. I noticed contamination of Mantis energy in Little Red (Dragon form sandwiched between two Mantis forms). Must be mindful to switch gears. The flying kicks were lovely, though. JoE once again became frustrated with Bung Bo and dropped out. I need to make sure he is not standing near me next week, because I am not going to slow up and wait- I need to be focussed on flow. But I don’t want to be messing him up.

I was expecting more dao and staff, but we were set to work on Wing Chun strike/parry drills. Partner up, both sun punch left, parry right. Then switch sides. 2nd drill: same thing, only sun punch to chest was replaced with backfist to the side of the head. Switch sides. 3rd drill: attacker knees at groin, alternating legs- defender does low press blocks. 4th drill: attacker punches, defender sidesteps, pak sau’s, and punches to ribs. Switch sides. 5th drill: attacker punches, defender ton sau’s with one hand and palm-heels to attacker’s ribs while sidestepping. Switch sides. I worked the first three drills with SK and the final two with Nemesis.

I had to be practically at kissing distance in order to have striking range- so their contrastingly long arms and the fact that their heads were very high targets were causing some challenges. SK was nice enough to sink into low horse for me when I mentioned this, so that our heads were at the same height. He couldn’t shrink his arms, though!

My shoulders got so tired and sore- especially the right one that got viciously shoulderlocked by that spazzy teen last night. We were all literally dripping in sweat. Then the platoons of hungry giant mosquitoes arrived! Ack! Nemesis and I kept halting the drill to slap mosquitoes off each other.

I was doing mostly okay with the drills, although at the end of each one when the attacker started switching up sides randomly, I continued to struggle a bit with making myself wait those extra two seconds to be sure which side the attack’s coming in on. I always want to jump the gun. I did, however, notice that I was doing better with the "which hand do I parry with?" dithering. I didn’t have to think about it too much… till the end when I was starting to lose my focus and my attention span was drifting away. The ton sau’s were the weakest in that regard. But even they were better than they have been in the past.

The footwork could have been a bit cleaner as well. I was getting in close enough, and at the right angle, but it was challenging to try to not get so focussed on the hand techniques that I wasn’t paying attention to where my balance was. We were supposed to finish in a cat stance, and sometimes I was finishing in a lunge. I did a little better when I added a follow-up knee to the groin to my sequence- then I had to have the weight up off the pertinant foot in order to bring up the knee! I’ll be so happy when I get to the point where I can integrate the upper and lower halves of my body better, and make them support each other’s efforts in harmony. This is a problem in BJJ as well: I can only seem to focus on one half at a time.

I’m not sure where this random choice of exercise came from. It might have just been because JaE was there tonight, and he almost never is, so someone would have had to walk him through all the staff/dao material. But I’m wondering if CK was talking to CN and/or SK about Nemesis and thinking that this sort of thing might be good control practice for him and JoE. It’s funny, though- I had been bemused to notice how much Wing Chun was cropping up in my own technique while I’d been sparring with CK during her visit. I think I had more Wing Chun going on than Tiger, even. It seemed to be working fairly nicely for me, and I’ve gotten much better at keeping my techniques confined to the appropriate "box" instead of letting them go too wide (a major persistant problem for me in my early study of Wing Chun).

Then CN wanted us to show him the dao-vs-staff sequence that we’ve been working on, so I paired up with JoE for that part. CN wants to video this to show DD. I so do *not* want to be on video… I hope he will agree to leave me out of frame.

CN told us that he would not be at any classes at all during his first semester. (sigh) He didn’t address Conditioning Boot Camp… I wonder if that will disappear as well.

Today I repped my belt.

132.5

My jeans are falling off my hips, which I guess is not the world’s greatest tragedy (although they are good jeans and I will miss them! I hate jeans shopping!). I dared to try on my "medium" size tie front yoga pants yesterday. They are from a Thai company; I guess the women over there all weigh 75lb… a "medium" fit my 124-lb body like they’d been made for me, back when I first bought them). Those particular yoga pants are one of my best measuring sticks for good body proportions. I got them on- without having to hold my breath or lie down to do it! They are a bit snug yet. In another three pounds, they should be plenty roomy enough to actually do MA in again. Unfortunately, at that point, I will have to pack up my 3 or 4 pairs of "large" size ones, as they will not even stay up at all when I am at that weight!

Last night I was literally on my way out the door dressed for the (non-MA) gym, gym bag in hand, when our graveyard tech called in sick to work. So I went. I felt guilty because it’s been too long since I’ve gone to the gym and I need some practice on some drills and forms. I particularly wanted to check out the flying kicks in Tiger Versus Crane and make sure they are okay, since JB and I were busy choking each other last week at class while the GOOD boys and girls were working on TvC. But coming in on the graveyeard meant that I got to ditch today’s 11am-8pm shift, which meant: BJJ Monday night!!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!!

Tonight I walked out of class NOT feeling embarrassed to be wearing my belt. This is still enough of a rarity to be notable.

I showed up in time to participate in the 30-min takedown class (which was about a 20-min takedown class this time, as Professor Carlos called us all into the lobby to watch a vid on Pat’s computer. Pat had vid of the Revolution match where Carlos got scandalously slammed. Ouch. It hurt to watch).

We worked on a couple of different variations of a takedown wherein you slide your leg between the opponent’s feet and then trip hir over it. I liked that one, since it didn’t involve having to pick the guy up. (All these throws have judo names, of course, but I can’t remember any of them, much less pronounce them.) I got to work with three-stripe white belt Carlos (I need to come up with a nickname for him, there are too many Carlosi in this school).

After a second warmup, the class proper began. I kept TSWB-Carlos. Defense against standing choke from the back, to a hip throw, to a variant tripping takedown in the case that the attacker should have his knee between your legs blocking the hip throw setup.

Then we started on the ground with one person having the back, choking… defending the clock choke by yanking your lapel out of reach, followed by a basic hipping-out escape and then rolling over to get side control.

Thirdly, starting from same position, the person trying to get the clock choke was given an alternative choke option for when the opponent yanked the lapel away.

Halfway through the drills, Prof. Carlos added a third person to our drill team, that teenage dude- I know his name, but I’m blanking on it right now. I hate being in a three because you get fewer reps. Oh well.

After short positional sparring (with Teenager) and even shorter water break- a THIRD warmup- ack! It had slipped my mind that after the basics class on Monday night is the "advanced" class. If I’d remembered that, I would have bailed. By the time I realized my error, I couldn’t duck out because that would have left Teenager drill-partner-less.

Advanced class techniques are as of yet too advanced for me to comprehend, and tonight was no exception. Tonight was omoplatas- something I’m not very spry with anyway- and these were COMPLEX setups. If I find myself in an omoplata-ish position by accident, I can sometimes recognize it and make some attempt to finish it off, but I can’t really set one up from scratch at the most basic level- let alone the ones we were doing here. Teenager was more confused than I was (if that is possible). First we did a little spider guard, just moving around with it- I can handle that much, and so could he. Then we did a drill involving pretzeling the legs around in a very confusing fashion. Teenager and I had to call the Prof over to walk us through it slowly and painstakingly. This is always a trial, because it is really difficult to ask/answer questions with the language barrier. Prof. Carlos reprimanded Teenager for his very existance on the mat (as the "advanced" class is supposed to be three-stripe-white and up only), but didn’t kick him off (probably because that would have left *me* drill-partner-less). Prof seemed to be losing patience somewhat with our ineptitude, and said (more than once) that this was why the class was three-stripe-and-up. I felt bad for the kid, but I wasn’t doing much better than he was. In fact, with a few exceptions, the majority of the class was not doing much better.

After stumbling through that drill (sort of), we were shown the first advanced-setup omoplata. Teenager and I just looked at each other in helpless dismay. I said "You first!" (I know, I’m such a slimeball!) We had to call the prof over to help us again. At which point he reprimanded us both regarding the fact that as the higher belt, *I* should have gone first.

Second advanced-setup omoplata. Lordy lordy. This one was even worse. Muttering the steps aloud to myself, I plunged in (first!), and- incredibly- found Teenager in my omoplata. "Holy crap, it worked! Quick, get into position again before I forget what I did!" I buzzed though it several times, and then walked him through it. Professor Carlos came over to look while Teenager was doing his fourth or so rep, and pronouced it (with surprise) "Perfect!" Whew.

No more Advanced Class. Fine to watch, but not to do. I am not ready for this level of complexity yet.

Note to self- ask Luis or Alisson to teach me how to say "CONFUSED" in Portuguese. That is a word I really need to learn- and surely the one that I will find most often useful to be saying to Carlos and Rodrigo. (It will probably become my BJJ nickname, LOL! I hope it is somewhat lyrical!)

Positional sparring- first with the Teenager, then with Dave (too many Daves in here too… this one is going to be "Lucky Dave", for the Lucky gi he likes to wear), then with Dave (see what I mean?). The 2nd Dave already has a nickname: Hudge. Thank goodness. He looks just like yet a third Dave. I’d be confusing those men with each other even if they *weren’t* both named Dave.

Teenager- to my complete surprise, I tapped him out. When we reset, he leaped upon me like a starving lion on a fat bunny and manhandled me violently into a shoulder lock. Slam, crash, boom. It was scary how fast and hard he went.

I have been reading archives of other people’s training blogs, and one of the things I remembered from BJJ Grrrl’s earlier days is the observation that whenever she got anything on one of the spazzy male white belts, the guy would "Captain Caveman" out and try to murder her on the next round. I haven’t really experienced that kind of thing, since I rarely tap anybody. "Ah, so THIS is what she means…." Well, I am not going to be intimidated by this particular Specimen of Spazz.

I said firmly to him, "Go SLOWER and LIGHTER- give me time to tap!" He roped it in a bit, but was still pulling some unnecessarily rough tricks- grinding on the face and that sort of thing. Lots of muscling, too. Luckily he’s not that big, and I was as strong as he. I was pleased that I was staying calm and doing a decent job of analyzing things. Instead of going muscle-to-muscle- even though in this rare case I could’ve gotten away with that- I analyzed how to brace my arm against my own thigh so that he couldn’t muscle me into an armbar (although the cords were standing out in his neck with the effort); I analyzed how to turn my body so that he couldn’t muscle my arm into a kimura (his eyes were bugging out); I analyzed how to press a bit closer to him so that he couldn’t muscle me into a faceplant on the mat (his teeth were gritted and he was huffing and puffing). Yeah, I was on the defensive a lot, and I also spent some time stuck in that ol’ familiar land of bottom half guard. But on the whole, I’m fairly happy with my performance against him. I’d be happier if I could effortlessly KOB the little rooster and then choke him out… but I didn’t let him steamroller me, and he just about killed himself trying. I barely broke a sweat and was breathing normally.

Professor Carlos stopped us at one point and chewed Teenager out for trying to put a kneebar one me (no joint locks below the waist are allowed in this school till blue belt). That’s the second time recently that Carlos has reamed somebody for doing something to me that he considered potentially dangerous. That’s nice… it makes me feel as if he’s looking out for me a bit, like Rodrigo does. I hope that means he is also looking out for JM and JB and the other white belt women as well.

Dave #1 (Lucky Dave): I had not given Teenager my go-light-on-me song and dance; I did give it to Lucky Dave, because he is a one-stripe blue. He was nice to me. We had a competitive roll- in fact I believe I was in the lead. Not sure how much he was going easy on me.

Dave #2 (Hudge): Gave him the speech, then I was on top of him for almost the entire roll. Again, not sure how much he was throwing the roll- if at all. Giving the go-light-on-me speech makes it more difficult than ever for me to try to discern whether I am actually having a competant roll vs whether the opponent is just letting me have stuff. Anyway, it seemed fairly easy to dominate him positionally. I did dig around for a number of subs, but didn’t finish any. Prof. Carlos saw me mount the guy, and called that I should have KOB’ed him first to get the extra points. So I hopped off on the opposite side and KOB’ed him. He just lay there, till I finally said, "Don’t just lie there; I’m getting points for this." Then he pushed me off, and I hopped back to the original side and mounted him again.

I stayed till the bitter end tonight, till Carlos kicked us all off the mat. Despite the omoplata farces, like I said- I felt like I adequately repped my belt tonight. That feels really good. I hope I will be feeling this more often in the future.

Got home from class and found that the sick tech is sick again tonight. I had really been looking forward to Tuesday lunchtime in the Danger Room- even moreso after I had a good class tonight- but I said yes to the work. As tempting as it is to prioritize training over work- especially now that I am on-call and have amazing control over my own schedule- training doesn’t pay the bills (in fact it generates some). So this is the time to grit one’s teeth and be a grownup.

It’s a little funny to think of myself as a conesseur of canned tunafish. But Safeway brand canned tuna = fail. A lot of the time, the cheapie generic brands of things are the same product as the name brand- sometimes they are even made by the same company at the same factory; it’s just wearing a different label. I have just gotten through a Costco pallet of canned Chicken-Of-the-Sea, and since I no longer have a Costco membership, I decided try the cheapie tuna. There’s about half the amount of tuna in the can, it’s a lot darker and mooshier and less appetizing looking. I’m glad I only bought three cans (just in case of this very finding). There are a few other cheap brands on the shelf, I’ll give them a try before I go back to C.O.T.S.

Chicken teriyaki = ambrosia of the Gods.

CK and I met at 9:45 and worked until after 1. Well, we worked for about 2/3 of the time and had uncomfortable discussions for the rest.

We did more of the same type of light sparring that we’d done the other day- some with strikes, some with no striking (like Contact Improv), some with just me striking. We also did a variation which focussed on circles and spirals. Sort of a Dragon/tai chi mix of energies. I really liked that. It let me play with connecting techniques together and letting the energy continue and flow through more than one technique. That is a skill I would really like to cultivate and work more on.

The pace and intensity we were working at was allowing to me to analyze my opponent and pick the best targets by looking for what was open- something I have also wanted to improve upon. It was also allowing me to experiment a little with different techniques, since I wasn’t in frantic-mode and feeling like I needed to stick with the small handful that I am most comfortable with.

I told her what I had been observing about how she seems to always know where my weight is and be constantly guarded against potential kicks from the lighter foot- but that I am often getting kicks in when I hop-switch to kick with the other foot, or when I do more than one kick without setting the foot back down. She thanked me. Then after that I didn’t get so many of those. Darn. Oh well, I owe her some feedback to allow her to improve as well…. then we both get something out of this.

She also mentioned how much of an adjustment it was for her to focus on my center, compared to the center of her most common sparring opponent- who is over six feet tall.

Still having a lot of trouble relaxing, especially when we first get started. Ten minutes after we began, my shoulders and arms were tired and there was an ice pick of pain under my left shoulder blade. I did better as we kept working, but when we were done and got back in the car, that ice pick came back and hung around a while.

CK insisted that we sit down and talk some more about issues in the Shaolin group. She said that the last time she had visited, I’d been in a very angry state about banging my head against the glass ceiling, and that by contrast I now had a "palpable aura of sadness". We talked some more about the same issues; not really any new material except that I did discuss with her how having a certain more junior student assuming an informal "assistant teacher" role was causing me problems in class. To my relief, she validated that 1)I’m not a horrible person for resenting that, and 2)that’s inappropriate behavior on that other person’s part. She thinks that CN and SK should be putting a stop to that kind of thing, but we both agreed that neither of them is likely to address or even recognize that particular problem. The informal nature of our class makes it easy to let such things slide. She says that I need to set boundaries…. sigh… that would be difficult for me in this particular situation. Although I *have* resolved to start asking for individual forms help again, and be firm that these be private one-on-one interactions. CK also mentioned that she suspects this behavior on the part of this person may likely be based in hir own insecurities- which is the same theory I was musing over myself a few weeks ago in my training blog.

We also discussed Nemesis and his dangerous lack of control. She has been saying for the last few trips that she wants to get a chance to work with Nemesis a bit and do some push-hands, and maybe a few other things, to see if she can help out at all with this issue. She never seems to get time because she spends all her time with JB and me. So I told her that I am putting in a formal request that she do that at the earliest opportunity and that I will sacrice some of my own time with her to ensure it will happen. It’s worth a try, and this problem is just going to get worse the longer it goes unaddressed. She can work with JB, JM and I forever on issues related to our being intimidated by Nemesis, but it’s still not going to help much if his habits remain the same and he just continues to injure us.

After the lesson, I gave CK a ride to run an errand and head off to her next appointment of the day. We ended up getting lost after being diverted by construction- which forced us to drive around till I was losing my focus from hunger and we had to stop for food. I do not want to eat out while I’m dieting, but there was no choice. I ended up inhaling chicken teriyaki on rice. I would have liked to take half home in a doggie bag, but I wolfed every last crumb. I used to eat a lot of rice and pasta… I have had neither for a month. I have also avoided anything as sugary as teriyaki sauce. It was so good, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. I have been thinking about it all the rest of the day, and will surely dream about it tonight. And it wasn’t even particularly GOOD teriyaki… it was mediochre fare from a skanky strip-mall teriyaki/burger takeout joint…. but oh….. yum. I’m weak just reliving it now.

Later in the day, we met up again, with JB, and went through the Catherine Dao form a few times. CK didn’t have a ton of nitpicks, so it must not have been too bad. We did work on that ending, which JB and I had been struggling with. The actual movements are a lot easier than what we had been TRYING to do!

Then CK worked with both of us on the light sparring. It was JB’s first time with this particular style, so she got the lion’s share of time, which was fine. Then CK had JB and me work together on it. Both of us were VERY VERY stiff! We tried to slow it down and lighten it up several times, but it didn’t help much. We are kind of competitive, and we also have a hard time restraining ourselves from having it all become about "Gotcha!". She was also being quite aggressive and driving forward a lot- which had me struggling to restrain myself from a knee-jerk reaction of going harder myself and having it just turn into a grudge match. When I saw myself starting to answer force with headbutting return MORE FORCE (I’m a Tiger, this is what we **DO**), I made myself back down and start moving defensively. Lo and behold, lightning didn’t strike me down because I backed off. The hope was that JB and I could work on this more on our own. I’d like to try, but we didn’t do very well tonight with the relaxing part (which is most of the point of exercise). Well, any attempt at easing into some sort of sparring is going to be better than the big fat nothing that we are currently doing in that realm.

JoE showed up for part of this, and I did a little of the light sparring with him (after warning him to go light and slow). JB attempted a turn with him as well.

There’s never enough time with CK on her visits, even though she is nice enough to give JB and me second priority after her own MA teacher. She will be back next month for only a weekend, for the Chen seminar. We may or may not get any time with her then, depending on schedules.

I have to work another 11am- 8pm workshift on Monday, but I am going to BJJ on Tuesday morning come hell or high water. It will have been seven straight jiu-jitsu-less days in a row (not counting JB’s and my informal rolling at kung fu class on Thursday). Someone on the jiu Jitsu Forums has a sig about "missing BJJ like a crack addict misses the pipe"…. I am relating to that feeling right now. Although if you offered me a roll vs another plate of that chicken teriyaki……… that would be a painful decision. I’d make the correct choice- but it would be painful indeed.