Gradiations on the concept of “mean”

Busy night on the Dreamscape. I spent the first half working on Bung Bo Kuen. The second half writing some songs for a musical theater production, teaching them to the lead and the chorus members, and then singing the backup descant. LOL. My identity as an artistically creative person is pretty central to me; I guess it’s freaking me out a bit that I can’t write an essay on an interesting subject. So I decided to re-invent Fiddler On the Roof instead. Sometimes I wonder what kind of chemicals they’re feeding all those chickens I’m eating.

Lunchtime no-gi at Cindy’s. I got there a little late, because I was just having a little trouble getting off the launch pad today- but still made half the warm-ups. It was two big guys and me….. later on, two more big guys came in, so then it was four big guys and me… so I got to drill with Cindy, which was cool. Hands-on feedback. I also was one of her demo dummies for today, which was a bit less cool…. I’m starting to dread hearing Cindy say- with that eager low rattle in her voice- "C’mere, Kitsune!"

Today we were doing a move I’ve done before in here: Facing opponent on knees, shove her head down and guillotine, sprawl, then feed her far arm through so that you have both of her arms trapped with one of yours, then go to the side, crossface, get a hook in, pull the opponent out of turtle and choke her from behind. After we’d done that for a while, an escape for the person being backmounted: defend the choke, trap opponent’s elbow (this is important, and I kept forgetting it), remove one hook, slide out (keep pressure on opponent’s chest the whole time- also important, and also something I needed to be reminded of more than once), turn over and get side control. Thought I was gonna die from the pressure when Cindy demo’ed it on me. I literally couldn’t breathe, so besides the incredible pain, I was dealing with actual suspension of respiratory function. She also demo’ed it on Lamont a few times, and after one rep she asked him, "That was nice and tight, huh?" He got up very slowly and carefully, and after another minute managed to groan, "Tight." to which I commented wryly, "Nothing "nice" about that, huh?" I think he and I were unanimous in that feeling.

She also showed us a technique for getting someone off your back by grabbing their head and pulling them over your shoulder, which I was intrigued by since I spend so much time in turtle. I’d love to pull this one off on Hostility Boy. Rickson Gracie knows he spends enough time on the back of my turtle that I ought to get a chance to try. Anyway, Cindy demo’ed this painfully on me, and she tucked my nose right into her clavicle so that I was forced to flip myself over- and just slam myself flat on my back, since both hands were engaged in trying to stabilize my neck so that I wasn’t choking to death- to then recieve all of Cindy’s weight down on my face (I thought my nose was going to break) or simply have my neck snap instead. I asked, "That isn’t considered a neck crank?" And she came back again with that philosophy about how if the guy wants it to stop hurting, all he has to do is go where you’re putting him- if he fails to do so, it’s his own fault. He’s doing it to himself. "This isn’t mean! This isn’t mean, Kitsune!" Holy Crow. I realize that at Cindy’s size (pretty close to MY size), in order to succeed in this sport she has had to be ruthless- but her versions of "mean" and "nice" are on a whole different SCALE than a normal person. I hope she doesn’t think too much the less of me since she has obviously observed that I don’t want to be "mean". I want to KNOW the "mean" stuff, since my primary MA goal is practical defense- but I don’t want to be mean to my training partners or even to an opponent at a tournament. I even felt bad drilling it on Cindy- after she’d done it cheerfully to me! I’ll do this on Hostility Boy, if I get a chance, but only because he’s been a rough jerk on me… and even so, I’ll do it carefully and without *gratuitous* extra pain.

Short free rolls- once with Lamont, twice with one of the big guys whose name I can’t recall (I’ve rolled with him before; he’s nice- I’ll make sure to note his name next time), twice with Cindy. Lamont was letting me work. The big guy was going light enough that I was able to fend him off for a while, but I couldn’t maintain a top position on him for more than a couple of seconds. He eventually got me with an armbar, then a kimura. I did manage to pass his guard a couple of times, though. Cindy just smooshed me today. Not in a "mean" way (even by my standards), but quite thoroughly. I’m not sure what her objective was with that. I wonder if she was actually trying to get a rise out of me to see if I would get more aggressive. I know she wants me to be more aggressive…. but no matter how frustrated or ticked off I get, I am not going to react by getting more aggressive on Cindy- that is just suicidal.

After getting face-planted repeatedly into the mat from starting on knees, I decided to get to my feet and try to sprawl on her shoulders/head so that I could attempt to stay on top. This was followed by an "Oh Crap" moment when Cindy got to her feet as well. I knew that this would not end well for me- and it surely didn’t. She took me down, hard, effortlessly, over and over- I couldn’t seem to do anything about it.

She says that I am still giving up and letting myself be put on my back- and on the bottom- too easily. Yes, the bottom- I live there. My mail is delivered there. She wants me to focus on driving forward- no pulling back, no pulling guard, no turtling, no sitting down, none-o-that. Also, more position before submission. She said, "Don’t you even TRY to keylock me from there!" "You’re not gonna kimura me from there!" Etc.

At the end, she told me I was getting better. You’ve gotta be kidding- I could do NOTHING today. She was like, "Really!" and patted me on the back. LOL- I wonder if she just felt a twinge of guilty conscience for spanking me so hard today.


Tuesday evening kung fu. While waiting for class to start, I practiced the Southern Mantis form piece, then some Five Points In the Mirror.

After a few warm-up forms (improvement points focussed mostly on clean stances), most of the class did their dao/bo sequences for videoing, while JaE and I went out in the hall and worked on Kiu One. I stumbled a bit on Kiu One at first- it’s been a long time! But it came back.

JaE has some of the most utterly awesome new tats EVER- a Mantis on one inside forearm and a flapping Crane on the other- in silhouette, in a ring, and in white- so they look just like brands instead of tattoos. In fact I thought they WERE brands, and I had to ask to touch them before I’d believe that they were not!

Then we got to all take turns sparring again. Same drill as last time, only tonight CN was the monkey in the middle instead of SK. JB even showed up as we were beginning this part, and she took turns too.

Again I focussed on trying to string together combos, with dubious success. I also focussed on keeping both my guard hands up- I think I’m doing better with that of late, but still not as consistant as I aim to be.

I got another e-mail from CC today- I had gotten one from him on the 11th, and hadn’t responded as of yet. I’m pretty frustrated with how much hassle it takes to try to get lessons scheduled with him, and am trying to decide if it’s worth attempting yet again to press him for a consistent class schedule. CN wants to change Tuesday evening class to Sunday evenings- in the hope that he may be able to show up more often once school starts- and I am thinking about trying to pin CC down to Tuesday evenings (or maybe every other Tuesday evening).

Here’s a better photo of Bianca- she’s the one in the Easter-bunny lavender gi.


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