George works the room

Found out that it was Rodrigo’s birthday on Saturday… it’s amusing that I picked his photo to post on my blog for that day; I think that’s the first time I’ve put his pic up.

Gracie Seattle’s class began at 6pm tonight, and Cindy’s doing a weird schedule this week that involved a 7pm class tonight. I got off work at 4 and it seemed stupid to try to drive home and then turn right around and fight Rush-Four-Hours back into Seattle. So I drove into Seattle, grabbed some food, and did a back-to-back double-header.

Gods, it felt so good to be back at Gracie Barra. I have had such lousy attendance this month. It was so nice to see Rodrigo and a whole bunch of people I haven’t seen for a while. Teased Nate about his new purple belt ("Hmmmmm…. something’s different…. I’m not sure what…. did you change your hair or something?"), then congratulated him. Congratulated Casey on his new black. Angus has another stripe. Kaungren has another stripe. Allie was there… I haven’t seen her for about six months. She got a third stripe tonight; that was awesome. There were three or four female white belts there that I’ve never seen before. They already have some stripes, too- one of them got a third tonight! I really enjoy watching promotions. Especially white belt stripe promotions. I’m not sure why, but they seem especially touching. I just wanna tear up.

During the warmup "collar choke" crunches, Rodrigo walked by me and whacked me on the sole of the foot! I immediately realized that I had fallen into my chronic bad habit of "ballerina toes"…. so I flexed my ankle. Since the whole duel-repping fiasco when I had to man up and have that scary talk with Rodrigo in my car, he seems more comfortable teasing me a little, and doing small physically affectionate things like resting his hand on my head when he’s matching me up with someone on the mat. That’s nice.

We drilled two escapes from back mount. Opponent has one hand under your arm with lapel grip and the other around your neck.

1)You defend the choke by grabbing hir forearm, and try to turn your face toward the fingers rather than toward the elbow. Also, you try to not let the opponent pull you over on the "pillow side" as Bryan calls it. But if you do find yourself there, continue to haul on the choking arm with your inside hand and grab hir bicep sleeve with the outside hand. Tuck your head under hir armpit, turn into hir, and get your near elbow down to the mat. Hip out a bit. When you get turned enough, try to get to the knees and get on top. DO NOT LET GO OF THE BICEP SLEEVE GRIP!

2)Same grab of forearm, but this time you curl your body up so that you can reach one of the opponent’s hooks with your other hand, and unhook it. Then turn AWAY from hir this time. I liked this one. I was working with Allie, whose legs are short enough that I didn’t have to curl my body. I tried to remember to curl anyway, just so that I would retain that detail. I kept that sleeve, and grabbed a second grip high on the sleeve as soon as I got turned enough. Pinned both hands to the mat so that she couldn’t turn. It was working really well. However, she was starting to get a bit frustrated despite my taking care to give positive feedback and also remind her that she is several levels below me and I’m kinda SUPPOSED to win most of the time. So I explained what I was doing with the sleeve, and the next rep she kept the sleeve out of my reach. Good girl. So then I started doing the same trick by grabbing her pantleg instead, and pinning *that* to the mat. She was doing well overall, though. I told her that we do need to work on her bottom half guard, which is too loose and too low and doesn’t have the correct leg position. She probably spends as much time on the bottom as I do, so she had better get a decent bottom half guard.

After drills and a little positional sparring from back mount, I did two timed rolls. #1 was with blue belt Anthony- there are at least three blue belt Anthonies, and they are all medium sized and brunette and fairly nondescript, so I have a little trouble keeping them straight. But I know I’ve rolled with this guy before. It was a decent spar; I spent a little more time on the bottom than I liked, but not as much as I tend to average. Neither of us tapped. He got a bow and arrow that I *almost* had to tap to, but I held out. Several other near-taps with various subs that I managed to escape from. At the end, I gasped, "I thought you had me with that bow and arrow," and he replied, "So did I."

Then Marcel. I knelt down opposite him and whispered, "I don’t have much left- that last guy almost killed me," and he whispered back, "I’m right there with ya… we’ll work TECHNIQUE."

Much the same as Anthony- decent spar, on the bottom some, but it’s been worse. He tapped me once with an armbar. I *almost* got him with a crazy-ass improvised choke involving one deep lapel grip and about 40% of a gogoplata combined with a dash of triangle. It was odd, but I could tell it was choking him, so I was hauling on it with all my might- but as I found out after, the pressure was just a smidge too far up on his jawline.

At 7:30, I bailed and drove a few blocks over to Cindy’s.

Cindy set me to working the "Quadruple Threat" sequence on George. I remembered it fairly well, had to be refreshed on a couple of details. At first I was having a hard time reaching George’s ankle with my short arm. After some experimentation, I took Cindy’s suggested modification of not putting the near hook in combined with George’s suggested modification of pulling him more UPWARD than sideways- and that resulted in a workable version for the mouse-sized BJJ artist. I invited George to rep on me, but he said that he already knows this technique pretty well, so I was welcome to use all the time. He had a couple more good feedback points for me, too. I drilled about a zillion reps, and was not terribly gentle, so that was really nice of him.

A few timed rolls with George and Cindy. George was repeatedly presenting me with what appeared to be a juicy unguarded neck just begging to be choked… but geez, he is really, really good. Very difficult to choke, very difficult to hold onto. I tried so hard to guillotine him many times- I had a great hold on his neck, but he kept angling his body and staying out of my guard, and would not let me get the leverage to finish. I also tried the Quadruple Threat on him several times. He repeatedly responded by doing some wierd twisting flip that put me in a kimura- which I at least had the sense to roll out of, even if I didn’t have the sense to avoid it in the first place after he’d done it five times. He did eventually give me ONE tap, but the technique was not as clean as I would have liked, and I was muscling it a bit.

I’m still wanting to try to choke from behind without getting hooks in first. Must break myself of this.

It was also interesting to watch George roll with the Irish guy… oh boy, his name I *did* know, several weeks ago, but he hasn’t been around for a while and now it’s slipped my mind. But he is new, and really strong, and seems very determined to brute-strength everything. He grunts and growls. I haven’t worked with him, and I’m afraid to. He was pretty rough on George, and he did bull through a tap or two (he has a considerable amount of size on George, and George was handing him a lot of vulnerable positions like he had with me). But it was interesting to watch much-smaller George, calm and breathing easy, use pure technique to handle this guy who was obviously expending every ounce of strength and effort he could dredge out of his fairly muscular body with a superhuman effort. He finessed things so that the guy didn’t get ticked off, either.

With Cindy, I very consciously incorporated some of the things she’s been trying to drill into my head. I disengaged completely and backed off a few times. I did the circling-and-faking-back thing while I was standing and she was sitting. I refrained from bulling straight in on her open guard. I kept my hips low to the mat. I crossfaced. One thing I need to really start paying attention to is that I MUST immediately abort Clench-N-Cling when Cindy does a backsit, 180-twist, or another of those dramatic full-body positional shifts that she likes to do. These *always* nullify whatever lame excuse of grip I have, and 95% of the time they actually transform the grip into an active liability that makes me literally sub myself. When she does that, just LET GO.

Had my housemate Tiger Balm my back when I got home… between left shoulder blade and spine, in particular.

+Tiger Versus Crane

Begin standing straight, fist-to-palm salute

Put hands together in "prayer" position, point fingers down, bend slightly at waist to bring figertips to knee level

Bring hands to top-of-head level (fingers up), cross them over each other and then pull apart in a V with elbows touching, palms toward face at forehead level.

Tiger straight punch forward with both hands, pull back to chamber

Step rt foot north to forward stance, Rt Eagle claw to front at chest level, left palm (fingers up) blocks under rt elbow, palm toward east

Turn left to face west, left arm in low V position near left hip. Rt hand is in Crane’s beak at rt temple.

Left snap kick.

Step down into front stance, left foot fwd. Rt hand Crane’s beak stabs fwd at throat level with a hard pecking motion.

Turn 180 degrees, weight on left foot. Wheel kick that western opponent with rt foot.

Fisted hands crossed at wrist, left in front, high cross block to north. (Palms out)

Turn 180 degrees to face south in very low scissor stance, bring crossed wrists almost to ground.

Step out with left foot to horse, facing south. Bring crossed wrists up in high cross block (Palms IN this time. Left hand is still in front).

Immediately snap crossed wrists down to low cross block at knee level. Left hand is now on top, heel of hand pressing down on rt wrist to support.

Rt foot steps fwd into forward stance facing south, Tiger straight punch with rt hand at face level and left at chest level.

Left foot slide-steps through, knee straight. Weight stays on rt leg, which bends. Left Tiger claw pendulums to palm down just behind butt. Rt Tiger claw pendulums up to brow level, Palm out and palm-heel tilted slightly up.

Step rt foot behind left toward east in scissor stance. Left Tiger claw moves palm-up at solar plex level, elbow bent as if holding a serving tray. Rt claw is in front of left elbow, palm facing in.

Unwind to your right into a north-facing horse, left hand palm-up at chest, Rt hammer fist strikes to rear on horizontal arm.

Left palm straight out to block west. Rt hand chambers

Shift to fwd stance facing west. left foot in front. Rt fist straight punch chest level to west. Left arm pendulum down to stop palm-down just behing butt.

Fist both hands. Rt hand drops to waist and them describes a huge arcing curve up above head, over to left and then down. left arm swings forward (palm up) and then down and back. Huge centrifugal force preparing to propel you upward.

Shift weight back to rt foot. Using arm-swinging propulsion, do a flying outside-to-inside crescent kick to the SOUTH with rt foot.

Land in horse facing north, left arm straight at side with palm facing west at thigh, and rt hand cross-guarding jaw at left shoulder (palm also facing west).

Left 2-finger spear hand palm up to west, throat level. Rt hand moves to palm up at chest.

Look east and reverse the arms. Now Rt arm is straight at side with palm facing east at thigh. Left hand croos-guarding jaw at rt shoulder (palm also facing east).

Bring both palms to chest facing each other as if holding an energy ball. Hop slightly to your right and land on left foot, right knee up.

Flying crescent kick to east with left leg, outside to inside.

Land in horse facing east.

Rt Tiger claw grabs opponent’s skull at face level and plant firmly to ground. Left hand is chambered.

Cross left foot in front of rt in scissor stance, left Tiger claw palm down in low V at left hip, Rt Tiger claw guards groin palm down. Look north.

Unwind to face west in horse. Hands trade paces and turn into knife hands. Left hand is now palm down at groin, tumb inward. Right knife hand palm down in low V at rt hip.

Flying crescent kick to west with left foot, outside-to-inside.

Turn north. Box kick (straight leg) left foot.

Left outside-to-inside flying crescent kick with left leg to enemy at south.

End in a low Black Crane guard to south. left foot fwd. Eagle claw hands.

Turn north again and chamber both hands.

(pic- Renzo and Bree)

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