Tuesday evening

Tuesday evening BJJ at Gracie’s Seattle. I worked the midnight shift last night, and didn’t really sleep well enough (or sleep ENOUGH, period) to go to class tonight, much less commute into Seattle during rush-four-hours. But JB wanted to train. I haven’t seen her in almost a month, and in January she’s leaving town to go to college. Thus I don’t want to miss any chance to train with her in the meantime.

Anyhow, my stomach woke me up before JB’s text message did. One of the most irritating aspects of my "smaller portions" eating strategy is that it is not unusual for my (already poor) sleep to be aborted early by my unhappy, clenching stomach- which is insistantly growling "FEED ME SEYMOUR!!!"

Unfortunately, I hit a few long lights that delayed me just enough to not reach the Hunt Point exit before 5pm…. and if you hit the Hunt Point exit after 5, it is a 45-min commitment sitting on that ramp before you can even set tire on the highway. So we were late. Very late. I hate coming in late.

Also, the new Seattle site’s layout makes it impossible to sidle quietly and unobtrusively in- the front door is two steps from the mat, so you distract the whole class when you come in. We were so late that I had thoughts of idling in the back till drills were over, so as not to distract everyone further- and is it really useful to catch just the last ten minutes of drils? We shucked our shoes and started walking back to the locker room, but Rodrigo was already hollering at us- "Hurry, Keetsune, hurry, JB- Queekly, Queekly!" This caused us to break into a trot!

So we got about 10 min worth of clock choke- starting from sprawling north-south on a turtled opponent. Your left hand to her right collar (deep), move side-by-side. Do not move side-by-side and THEN grab the collar; I got corrected on this point. With your right hand, reach over her back and under her right elbow to control the wrist. Straighten the body and walk on tiptoes back to north-south, putting forehead on the mat. JB and I were both in awe of how many different ways this hurt. We were both gagging and coughing. Ten minutes of this was more than enough. It’s a gi-burn night.

Rodrigo came over to help me and JB with the technique- even though it would have been perfectly reasonable to leave us to flail, seeing as how we’d slouched in late. He is really an awesome teacher.

It was amusing to watch Jesse as Rodrigo’s demo dummy. Jesse’s not usually one to make a lot of faces and noises while he’s being worked over, but he was making both tonight- you could tell it hurt!

Short timed matches with JB, Jason (a smallish purple belt that I haven’t seen much of), and a big white belt guy. I didn’t do very well against any of them. Big white belt guy was repeatedly muscling me into his closed guard, and also did the pick-me-up-and-"sweep"-me-with-no-technique thing. He apparently didn’t know any subs (luckily). Jason triangled me and just held me there for about 3 min… he didn’t submit me, but I couldn’t get out… I’m not sure what the point of that was. Either tap me or let me escape, don’t just sit there.

At one point, I was underneath him and he instructed me to let go of his lapel and use that hand to defend. I obeyed- but had another strong visceral reaction of anger, frustration, futility, not wanting to let go of the grip…. feeling like it amounted to "giving up".

Open mat- I rolled a number of times with Angela, who tooled me. I did get on top a bit, but couldn’t get any subs from there. Once on the bottom, of course, I was toast.

Another couple with JB. You have to push keylocks about twice as far on her as with any normal person, and kimuras are even more difficult to tap her with. She just has rubber joints. We both observed that sometimes we can hold out till the whitebelts give up… but the higher belts *know* when they’ve got it, so they keep it up till they get the tap!

(pic- Kaungren)

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Not-quite-so-supernatural candle meditations

129.5 tonight on the scale. I didn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner per se, but this week I did make a batch of mac and cheese- which I haven’t had in months. I also had some sugar cookies. Watching the cause-and-effect on the scale. Those two indulgences alone bumped me up two pounds from 127 this week. It is obvious that I can’t return to my former eating habits. I’m determined to keep it below 130.

Women’s Self Defense: Lindsey got caught in traffic, so we didn’t get started till late- we only rolled for about 2 min to warm up. Sigh. Then working basic armbar from guard. I worked with one of the new women, and hope I was able to help her with a little technique advice. She had nice LONG legs, lucky wench- so it was a good technique for her. I did some reps myself, but it was of limited use for me since I was trying to be much slower and gentler with her than I would be with a fellow BJJ’er. I would’ve felt really bad if I’d kicked her in the head.

Kung fu: It was the Cripples’ Gallery in there tonight. Nemesis was out with a knee injury. It is always weird on the rare occasions when Nemesis isn’t there, because he is ALWAYS there. JoE had slipped on the ice and hurt his back. JM has been having a lot of back pain lately. JaE walked in with his right arm in a sling… he had a muscle tear right off the bone while he was trying to move a tree. He is having surgery Wednesday, and then he is going to be benched for up to six months! ("Thank Rickson Gracie it happened on the job" he says) And SK with his wrist brace. I was probably the most functional person in the room tonight!

A few reps of Leopard Fist. It was blackly humorous to watch JaE trying to do forms with one arm. I suggested he try doing just footwork.

More Kiu Two. Review of all the little details we’d worked on last week, and more practice on the sweep. I’m still not there yet, sigh.

We got the last little bit of Part A.

After the two Snake strikes, a mid-level bong sau right arm flowing into a "holding the energy ball" sort of arm/hand position at the left hip. Continue the motion directly into a double Snake Strike forward, palms facing each other, left on top. I want to lean my torso to the right, since this reminds me of the double Leopard Fist "hoppy spinny bits" (colloquial reference predating my entry into this group, not my description) in the Leopard Fist form (where I lean to the right). No leaning in this one! Also, no foot movement (or for that matter, any movement of the lower body whatsoever) during this entire piece.

After that double strike, hop back slightly into a right cat stance. Chamber left hand, Right hand curliques into an axe hand strike at waist level.

Closing- right foot steps back, same Snake closing as in Snake Versus Five Animals.

I was surprised to find that we are at the end already… I remember the form seeming a lot longer when I last saw it demo’ed (which was over two years ago). We were warned that the last little bit of Part B is a little more complicated, though.

In the next couple of weeks, besides continuing to work on this, we will be revisiting Sil Lum Dao. SK asked if we had any questions about that form, and I announced that the most confusing part of that form is the question of *which* of the eleventy-three versions we are supposed to be doing when we go through it in class. The next ten minutes were quite amusing, as SK valiantly attempted to pin DD down to taking a stand and telling us which variations he wanted us to be doing…. every time SK repeated the question, DD went off on some tangent about the history or merits of one or another of the versions, or started to compare and contrast them- without stating which ones he wanted us to do. I waited for the infamous mention of "This was the version that RS taught at a seminar in 1992…" and sure enough that reference came up. I couldn’t look at SK… every time he re-posed the query, and DD verbally dodged it and wandered off again, SK was smirking at me out of the corner of his eye, and I had to look away and carefully school my expression to keep from cracking up in DD’s face.

Candle meditation…. I noticed that as soon as I got focussed, everything started to grey out. This happened several times, and I was thinking, "Okay, this is a new and strange psychic phenomenon…. what’s going on here, and what does it mean…?"

Finally I figured out that because I was wearing my contacts (since I’d come straight from Gracie’s), if I stared at the candle flame without blinking, after about fifteen seconds my contacts started to dry out and a grey film came over everything. Not as mystical as I’d thought. Ha!

Balance- drill vs spar

Impromptu no-gi open mat at Cindy’s.

I rolled with Cindy, Lamont, Peter, and Jay. Continuing the theme of trying to wean myself off the fruitless Clench-N-Cling. A little success, but still needs a lot more work. This is going to be a hard habit to break.

Still feel like I’m always on that knife-edge of furious frustrated tears. When I try to tell myself to STOP THAT, the next exit on that turnpike appears to be defeatist apathy… when I saw *THAT* looming up, I veered the emotional steering wheel hastily back to "furious sobbing frustration". If there’s anything I want LESS than I want furious sobbing frustration, it’s deafeatist apathy.

Twice I had a perfect technical side control on Lamont, and he simply picked me up by the thigh and bicep and flipped me over him to land helplessly on my back. That’s what made me want to cry tonight. It drives me crazy when I know I’m doing everything right, everything technical, and the guy just does whatever he wants to me anyway. It makes me feel like, what’s the use? I might as well just lie there like a rag doll and be as helpless as I am. And Lamont’s not even a really big guy.

I’ve actually had very little "learning new technique" and drilling BJJ since the tournament. Almost all of the BJJ I’ve done in the last two weeks has been sparring. The schedule just fell out that way for me. I wonder if that has anything to do with my attitude problems lately. I have at times thought it might actually be a good thing for me to lay off trying to learn lots of random new things and just attempt to focus on my basics and problem areas for a while. But maybe I need that non-competitive, less emotionally frustrating drilling time to balance out all of the getting-my-butt-kicked. It might be a good idea for me to ask someone to drill with me (my three escapes from side control) at the edge of the mat for part of the time instead of sparring, if my schedule continues to have me hitting mostly sparring days as opposed to lesson days.

(pic- that’s Jay on the right)

Clench-N-Cling: the fruitless comfort zone

Saturday morning competition training at Gracie’s Seattle.

Between my work schedule and holiday/weather cancellations at the schools, I have not done *any* MA since Sunday. My first time back on the BJJ mat (with the exception of Lindsey’s Women’s Self Defense Class) since my little breakdown in the locker room. I was feeling anxious about going back in… but I reminded myself that good training days usually follow on the heels of abysmally sucky training days and vice versa.

Timed matches only… sometimes with a three or five minute break in between, sometimes not. Ron twice, John twice, Bianca twice, Marcel, Glenn. I am trying hard to 1)not sit any matches out, and 2)stay as long as I can possibly stand, no matter how exhausted I get. Didn’t sit out today, and lasted from 11 to 1.

Bianca was the hardest fight. She is really, really strong- as soon as she gets grips, you go "holy crap"… I’m used to being muscularly stronger than most women my size, but she is hard to deal with. She is also rough… not as rough as Alicia, but there is always pain involved in rolling with Bianca. I was trapped in bottom half guard almost the entirety of the total sixteen minutes. I was defending strenuously against what I know are her favorite chokes. I successfully defended many of them. She tapped me once with a choke; once with a choke that wasn’t actually choking me, but she was torquing my spine; and once with an armbar that was a bit too hard and fast on my good left elbow (as opposed to my chronically painful repeatedly-armbarred right elbow). I told her "not so hard and fast" and she got a little huffy insisting that she hadn’t done it hard or fast. I didn’t argue with her…. but if your training partner tells you it’s too hard and fast, that means it is too hard and fast… for *YOUR PARTNER*. Period. So lighten up, regardless of whether *YOU* think it is too hard or not.]

Bianca also takes me down with humiliating ease…. easier than most (even much bigger) people take me down.

I managed to get on top a bit with everyone except Bianca. I even got on top of Ron a couple of times, which is notably unusual. I defended strenuously against him getting grips on my pants when he has my back, because those chokes-while-twisting-my-spine deals are what he likes to get me with. He still got me with one, but I successfully defended some additional attempts. I also defended some of his triangles. When he finally got a good one locked on, I gritted my teeth and held out because I knew the clock was about to run out- and I made it, although if it had been three seconds longer, I wouldn’t have!

As usual, can’t get out of Ron’s closed guard… I would have needed the Jaws Of Life.

All in all: a little better than my usual, although the same frustrations continue to crop up. I observed myself starting multiple matches with Ron and with Bianca using the same opening moves, even after they responded to those tactics by squashing me into bottom half guard repeatedly. Some intellectual part of my brain was saying, "Um, maybe it’s time to try something different- this isn’t working on this person," But some more primitive (and more insistant) part of my brain was whining, "But if I venture out of my comfort zone, I’ll find myself in an even WORSE position!" The conundrum is that I’m just good enough to be able to defend the sub (for the most part) as long as I stay in my comfort zone, but it’s never going to let *me* get any subs- and I would lose all the matches on advantages if nothing else. I need to try different things, but I am finding myself really resistant to start experimenting because it’s almost certainly going to lead to getting subbed more often. Ugh.

I also observed myself doing some Clench-N-Cling… same problem here; my intellectual brain knows that this particular grip/position is not fruitful, but I’m afraid that if I let go, things are going to get worse. It particularly drives me nuts to let go when I know that my letting go is going to enable the opponent to immediately lock on a nice solid side control or front mount. It feels like giving up. So I Clench. And Cling. When Cindy sees me doing this, she will sometimes call from the sidelines, "Is that a good grip, Kitsune?" "Is that a good position, Kitsune?" I gasp back, "No." she replies, "Then let *GO* of it!" I need to just imagine her saying that, whenever I notice myself doing this.

Bianca and I managed to tick off Carlos again today… apparently we were yakking too much in line and I missed my name called when he was pairing people up…. it’s Bianca’s fault; she was asking me questions! Actually, I still have a hard time with Carlos’ accent- he pronounces my name kinda funny, and a couple of other people’s names come out sounding very much the same- so unless he’s looking me right in the eye, I can’t tell if it’s me he’s calling.

(Pic- Ron is the guy facing the camera)

Goals, feedback, learning style, and Sophie’s Choice

Wednesday evening, finally got to see RS (I was going to get there if I had to CRAWL). Sadly we did not end up training… I had been hoping to work on some Hurricane Hands…. but we talked about many things and he gave me a lot to chew on.

Note: RS and his wife TS have two new canine children… Lexie and Laddie. You know how bad I am with names, so I am making sure to notate them here. One thing I found out early on about RS is that if his dog doesn’t like you- or vice versa- you’d better not get too comfy, because you will probably not be sticking around!

I knew that CC is not a fan of the BJJ- either in general or in the sense of how much practice time it sucks away from my kung fu- so it did not surprise me when the idea was floated that it might be good to at least take a break from one or the other (heh) and try to get focussed. It was suggested that I am 1)overtraining, 2)sabotaging my Shaolin by failing to make enough practice time outside of class, and 3)attempting to do the MA equivalent of learning German and Dutch simultaneously.

I know that my kung fu is suffering due to not putting in enough practice time, but I hadn’t really realized how the timeline makes it likely that this may have been a major contributing factor to Epic Slump 2010. I began BJJ in spring 2009, and immediately my outside-of-class kung fu practice time dried to a trickle. At that time, I wasn’t getting enough new material in kung fu to keep me motivated or interested in practicing much- but in the interim, I’ve gotten some new stuff that definitely deserves more practice time than it’s been getting.

I’m going to have to do some hard thinking on this.
Taking even a six month break from one MA or the other is something that I don’t think I am willing to do… it’s Sophie’s Choice. But I am feeling frustrated and defeated by both right now- and it was suggested that if it’s not working, working HARDER is not the answer. "When you’re at the bottom of the hole, stop digging," was TS’s succinct commentary.

Again, much more thought needed- but right now I am seeing that my kung fu is starving to death from lack of nurturing, and it seems that I need to reintroduce a firm commitment of practice time every week even if that means skipping some BJJ (which it will…sigh…. there are simply not enough hours in the day).

It’s unsettling how RS cuts to the meat in one short discussion after having almost no contact with me for over a year. I’m almost certain that he has not consulted with CK recently, yet he observed almost word for word what she had observed on her last visit: "Last time I saw you, you were really frustrated, and now you just seem sad." Likewise he observed (quoting ME this time, as I had said this to CK) that the Shaolin group which was previously DD’s is "pretty much already dead, but just won’t yet acknowledge the scent of corpse rot".

They don’t have a very good impression of SK, and I’m not sure why, although they only worked with him a bit during his very early days in Shaolin. I made it clear that I have a good student-teacher relationship with SK, and he’s a good teacher, and he’s doing his best. But he’s young and inexperienced, not very far ahead of his students, and feels that he can’t really OWN the class and run it the way he sees fit; he feels like he can’t even blink without clearing it with DD and CN first. With the exodus of first DD and then CN, SK got stuck holding this bag against both his will and his better judgement. He has all the responsibility and none of the power- a pretty pickle that I am not unfamiliar with. And simply not enough resources and tools to do the job that is being expected of him. "Up to his ass in alligators," was RS’s comment, not without sympathy…. which I think is pretty on-the-mark.

There was some discussion that the amount of time I am spending in that class is not the most productive use of my time. It had been my impression that CC was reluctant to take full responsibility for me as his student because I was RS’s student… in the course of this conversation it started to look as if his attitude was stemming more from seeing himself as "peripheral" to DD. I had thought I’d made it clear to CC how little I’m getting from DD, but maybe this conversation made it clearer. It’s intriguing to think that perhaps CC might be more willing to take a greater personal responsibility for my training… but getting that type of commitment from CC might require a separation from SK’s group to a degree that I am not happy with.

The idea was bandied that SK’s group is at this point less of a real "class" than "some friends getting together to work out"… which I must admit has a ring of truth to it. In which case, I wonder if I could still "get together" with SK’s group "to work out" and yet get CC to step up in a primary teacher role.

There was much discussion of what my training goals are. I know that I want to be more effective in sparring and stop getting my butt kicked by everyone. I know that I want to feel like I am getting more proficient as well as developing a deeper understanding of technique, forms, energy work, etc. I want to leave each class/practice feeling like my kung fu is better than it was going in. These folks feel that my goals are too scattered, unfocussed.

"SMART" goals- There is even a handy-dandy little acronym:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-bound

My goals are not SMART!

They feel that I am putting too much emphasis on the importance of sparring skill as both a goal and as a measure of my proficiency. Sparring being very "artificial". Also, there is question of how accurate my self-assessment of my level of suckage is.

Since DD’s group is doing very little by way of testing and observing a rank system, goals are not well defined, and RS feels that setting and reaching goals- with the external feedback and validation that entails- is very important for 1)to avoid sort of paddling around rudderless, and 2)to have a sense of how you’re doing.

The lack of feedback emerged as one of the most glaring issues for me right now. I seem to be getting little by way of accurate, usable feedback in either of my MA’s- and I continue to have a real problem trying to self-assess how I’m doing. What little positive feedback I get, I tend to not believe it and continue to be convinced that I’m an incompetant wreck. I knew this- but this discussion is making me see that that is having a much larger destructive effect on my training than I realized.

Another very significant area of discussions was learning style. You know, some people learn best from watching, some from doing, some from hearing, etc etc. They feel (and I agree) that a very large chunk of my frustration- and my conviction that I must be an abnormally slow moronic student- stems from the fact that DD, CN and SK all seem to learn in the same way. So do the rest of the more junior students in the group. They look at something demonstrated, and they can immediately do it (and remember it). I just do not seem to be downloading in the same fashion that they do. This may not NECESSARILY mean that I’m the village idiot; it just may mean that I need to understand that this is why they all seem to "get it" so "easily" when I don’t… and try to make some sort of allowance for whatever translation I need in order to have the material download smoothly into *MY* hardware.

The idea was discussed (and this is not the first time I’ve heard it, or thought it) that DD tends to select students for his group who learn in the same way he does, and that he simply does not really understand what is "wrong" with- or know what to do with- a student who doesn’t learn in that same way. This really has the ring of truth to it; and it is also a large part of what I was trying (and largely failing) to articulate back when I was invited to that advanced class, and feeling that I simply did not BELONG in a class with DD, CN, and SK in it… I was the piece that did not fit in that scenario, the round peg on a board of square holes, the one person in the room who was speaking French while the others were speaking Spanish. This also is likely a large part of why DD and I just don’t seem to "connect" our hardware is simply incompatible.

One thing that may be useful for me is to take some of those online tests that help you figure out what your best learning style is. Perhaps from that (and maybe further consultation with RS once I have some data), I can figure out how to translate class material so that I can "get it" without such a struggle.

There is also some concern about my work schedule, my poor sleeping, and my lack of extracurricular (meaning something OTHER than MA) activity.

RS and TS reiterated an open invitation for me to come to Portland from time to time to train, which is very tempting. It’s so hard for me to travel. Yet even these short sessions with RS (and we didn’t even break a sweat this time) always leave me feeling like the stagnant pot of my training has been given a vigorous stir.

Continuing to work the sweep

I texted CC and RS Friday night instead of calling- so that I wouldn’t cry on the phone- and successfully begged off the evening (rescheduled for Monday evening…. not great as far as my work schedule goes- since I’ll have to go straight from training to the hospital and work the midnight shift- but hopefully at least by then I’ll have my emotional Poop In a Group and be able to focus). I did confess to crying in the locker room, though. They tried to talk me into coming over anyway, just to talk (and watch Jackie Chan movies)- which was nice of them. But I couldn’t deal with the drive into Seattle and back, and I had to get up at O’darkthirty in the morning for work anyway.

If I’m only to get one lesson with RS in a two-year span, I’d like to *not* spend it sitting on our asses in CC’s foyer, discussing my dreadful inferiority complex and my even more dreadful sparring record. Or worse, crying about it. But if that’s what needs to happen, then that’s what needs to happen. It’s not just a BJJ problem; this is the theme in kung fu as well… work my butt off, continue to be smashed by everyone every day. CC texted that we ought to talk about "what you want out of your training and how you measure success," to which I texted back, "Success: to not get the stuffing beaten out of u by every single person you ever spar with"

I also refrained from going to Cindy’s no-gi class.. too bad since both JB and JM had asked about rides. I don’t want to work with either of them right now. There is no good outcome to that scenario. If they beat me, I’ll feel even worse… if I end up taking out my frustration by turning around and smashing THEM, that would be a tragedy. I do not do that to people; I hate it when people do that to me, and I will not be that person.

Tonight- Women’s self defense class at Gracie Seattle. Some women actually showed up today (besides me). I still got one roll with Lindsey before we began, so that was good.

Another blue belt man was there, not sure if he was a buddy of Lindsey’s or what… but when we lined up, that guy came over and stood between Jeff and me. (Jeff- two stripes, me- one stripe, this guy- none.) I didn’t say anything. When Rodrigo sees people do that, he pauses the whole class while he shuffles students into their rightful place in the food chain- I mean, line. Lindsey tends to like formality in his classes (he makes those of us who train BJJ- as opposed to the women who come in JUST for the self defense class- gi up and line up in rank order), so I figured he’d do the same. But he didn’t. So I thought, "Okay, if that guy does that again the next time we line up, I am going to very pointedly step around front of him and put myself on his right!" But by the next time we lined up, he had wandered away… so it became a nonissue. (Given my choice, I’m just as content at the end of the line… I feel no need to lord it over people… but it irritates me when people PRESUME, like they’re making a point of refusing to acknowledge that I outrank them. Disrespectful and rude. Anyone at blue belt level ought to to know better.)

After warm-ups (Lindsey likes to do about 130 jumping jacks, and make us run around and around the mat), we had an attacker grab the shoulder/lapel, and a defender overwrap the arm and step in. That was enough to occupy the newer women for a while. I was working with one of them first. Part of the reason I don’t like having to gi up for this class is that I am not comfortable with being put in the role of helping teach… but that woman kept asking me tons of questions… which I became more and more willing to answer once she started asking questions about the BJJ school. I’m always looking to encourage more women to join.

Anyway, I felt fairly comfortable with this technique, since it is familiar to me from both BJJ and kung fu- so I felt okay making minor corrections (since she kept asking). Her arm wrapping was good- but she was not stepping in close enough, nor keeping a solid balanced stance.

Next round, I ended up with Jeff. Now in addition to the arm wrap, we were bracing the opposite hand against the opponent’s neck and framing up. Then we advanced to grabbing the back of the neck and controlling the head, pushing it downward. Since I could be rougher with Jeff, I started adding knees to the belly/groin, and yanking his head down into my knee. He got out some pads so that I could hit him for real. One important detail- continue to "frame up" and push the head back slightly after your knee strike, to keep the attacker from crowding in on you too close for get your strikes in.

After that I had to bail and head off to kung fu.

JaE was there, which is always a happy thing. CN was also there… we haven’t seen him for months. Unfortunately, CN and DD took JaE off into the back room and were closeted in there doing secretive things for most of the class. Sigh.

The rest of us did some Leopard Fist and some Snake Versus Five Animals. I did not even attempt the armlock on Nemesis- just went straight for the armpit strike. The armlock worked fine on JM. The fact that I tend to thrust her violently to the mat on this technique, after the frustration of not being able to make it work on Nemesis, is why I am hesitating to do any BJJ with the girls right now. I don’t like myself when I catch myself going rougher on the girls because I’m frustrated at other people. (Actually, I’m frustrated at mySELF, but regardless, it is still no excuse for taking it out on the girls.)

Kiu Two…. more work on the sweep. JM and Nemesis are looking markedly better this week- their sweeps are nice. Me- still struggling. DD wants me to stop at just past 180 degrees and make sure I am facing my foot with the toe curled in. Entire body sort of hunched up and coiled. Then turn and "unscrew" up into front stance. That made a big difference, but I still need a lot more practice.

Practice on the strike sequences at the end of both part A and part B. One deep hissing breath, not huffing at each strike nor hissing from the mouth or throat- the breath is still coming from the diaphragm. More obvious on the parry/pullback at the end of Part A. I am still not fully extending the strikes and letting them rebound back- especially the middle one.

No bending forward at the waist during the deep front lunge… remain upright.

Kick sequence on part B… once again failing to fully extend. Must remember that you’re aiming to take out the REAR leg, so you have to commit. Then it REBOUNDS back and moves immediately into the turn. If I can remember the extension, I can get the rebound.

Poor SK can’t even unscrew the cap on his own water bottle, with that plastic splint on his arm. We did some brainstorming on possible modifications… a row of spikes on the distal side would be cool.

(pic- that’s Lindsey)

SK’s MRI

(Kitsune)
So have you seen the MRI? What news?

My training blog readers want to know 1)is it a spiral fracture, and 2)how have you been doing BJJ without sobbing in pain every time the wrist was locked or trapped. And this was before I told them that you move furniture all day at work.

(SK)
The scapoid WAS broken, but it has apparently begun to knit, is mostly healed already, and is not misaligned. How it managed that with me all the while doing kung fu, BJJ, and working is beyond me.

The main problem now is the torn scapholunate ligament. Without an arthroscopy, we can’t know the extent of the tear, but based on my range of motion, the doctor is suggesting that it may still have a chance of healing on its own, provided I stop doing stupid stuff (like most of what I’ve been doing for the last several months). So, for the next month I get to wear this bitchin’ black molded plastic splint thingy. I asked them to make it heavy-duty enough so that anything I SHOULDN’T do, I COULDN’T do. So, now I can barely hold a pen, and I can’t make a proper fist, but I do feel like I could beat someone senseless with the splint anyway…

(Kitsune)
LOL…. "molded plastic splint" weapons forms, anyone?

(Pic- that’s Ian, one of my favorite training partners. The kid in the middle. He took first in gi and second in no-gi in his divisions at the Revolution.)

Winter

Crappy, crappy day today.

Friday morning "competition training" at Gracie Seattle. Positional sparring and timed matches only.

Bryan has a bad groin pull, so Carlos kept putting him with me so that he’d be going light. I got Bryan 3 times, Marc once, Dex once.

Repeat of yesterday. I just couldn’t seem to do anything effective, and the guys were just manhandling me around the mat doing whatever they pleased to me. Getting put on my back no matter what I do to prevent it. Getting put in closed guard no matter how hard I fight to stop it. Bottom half guard all the time. I was trying to do the escapes that I’ve been drilling at Cindy’s, but the guys were just casually flattening me out on my back and then replacing full mount.

Bryan got me in a kimura and just held me there for a really long time. Since he wasn’t finishing it, I took that to mean there was an escape that he was patiently waiting for me to figure out…. so I struggled and struggled, but there was no way out. I was really frustrated.

"Do you see what I’m trying to teach you there?"

"NO." (dripping with venom, through gritted teeth that were just barely suppressing tears)

"When somebody has you trapped that tight, just tap. You just have to tap."

"I don’t *NEED* you to teach me how to tap. I know how to tap. I tap constantly, every f***ing day."

He spent all three rolls just tooling up on me, while I lay there on the bottom and was unable to do a thing. He choked me really long and hard, but I wouldn’t tap, because refusing to tap was the only thing into which I could channel my fury and frustration and dispair.

He tells me I’m getting better, and that’s why he’s pushing me so hard- that’s why everybody is- that he’s never pushed me as hard as he pushed me today.

I went in the locker room, sat on the floor behind the door, and cried. That’s a first. There was one time after getting smashed by an a**hole that I *felt* like crying after class, but this is the first time in more than a year and a half of BJJ that I’ve actually done it.

Nothing really happened today that hasn’t happened pretty much every day for the last year and a half. But I guess today’s frustrating training day on top of yesterday’s frustrating training day was just a bit much. I know Bryan’s trying to help, and he’s not my enemy- but today he pushed me too far.

I don’t know what to do to get out of this rut. I am so sick of coming in every day for a year and a half and getting smashed over and over and over, by everyone in the place, and feeling like it might as well be my first day. Even people on their first day can smash me. And every day I am forced to tie on this belt that I am not worthy of, like a cruel joke.

All I want to do is crawl into bed and lie there until I die. But I’m supposed to call CC in a half hour and try to schedule a time tonight to go over there and train with RS. I don’t know how I can face that today. But this is my first and only chance to see RS in about two years, and who knows when or if I’ll ever get another one.

Wow. This post the Angry Hugging blog just arrived in my inbox as I was writing this.

http://angryhugging.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/winter-in-kiev/

Thursday training

Thursday morning at Cindy’s, I was late because I had to take my kitty to the vet.

Lamont was back, and the Russian blue belt (Nayden), and Angus was there today too. We worked on some of the same escape-from-half-guard stuff from the other day. I was happy that the sequences came back to me quickly, so today I tried the techniques on both sides. It is difficult for me to get the leg spaghetti set up correctly on my retarded side… that needs more practice.

A little timed sparring. The guys were plowing through me today, and I was getting frustrated. I even said the Bad "C" word ("can’t") once, and got reprimanded. Lamont kept arm-dragging me to take my back, over and over, and I couldn’t seem to do anything to stop him. Angus lunged in on me (after I specifically told him to take it easy) and cracked both of our shins together- that hurt, that’ll leave a mark.

I observed a few blog posts ago that getting caught with certain techniques just really bug me because of the humiliation factor…. well, one example is when I’m fighting 100% to stop some big guy from putting me on my back and he just puts me there anyway and climbs on top, with very little apparent effort. Man, that just ticks me off, and some claustophobia starts to kick in as well…and I want to eye-gouge him or belly-kick him or something really violent to get him the F off me, and I can’t do a thing (that is BJJ legal)… so the next impulse is to just go limp and cry, which is equally unacceptable. I want to just stop, but I am usually not allowed breaks any more. Today I probably should have insisted on one, and tried to put myself emotionally back together- because there does come a point where I’m so frustrated that the law of negative returns kicks in. I’ve gotten fairly good at recognizing that point in kung fu, but I’m not so good at recognizing- or enforcing- that boundary in BJJ.

I was told that my hands need to always be doing SOMETHING… no lying across my opponent like a log with no grips on. Also reminded to not try submissions without establishing a good position first- specifically, no choking from the back unless I have hooks in first. Cindy told me that I’m like one of the little kids- I get in too much of a hurry- and it’s true.

Kung fu is cancelled tonight, as a University Of Washington football game has that entire end of the city plus the 520 bridge impassable; and we were warned that there would be no parking to be had anywhere on campus for love or money. Could not muster the energy to go to Gracie’s, which was an especial bummer since Rodrigo teaches basics in Bellevue on Thursdays.

(pic- Cindy reffing at the July 2010 Revolution)