Sunday

When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are *not* the story. -John Gould

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle. My work schedule makes it so hard to do Sunday class, but I like Lindsey’s classes, and also I felt like I had to make up for bailing on Friday.

Ankle pick drills. I felt like a rock star doing ankle pick drills. I guillotined my white-belt partner when he ducked his head too far. You don’t have to be a Gracie to perfect your basic drills if Lindsey’s class, you just have to show up- because he has a few faves that he’ll make you do over and over.

There were only about 10 of us- which was nice, because that allowed Lindsey to make a few small corrections on each person.

Back mount and escape from same. I had a smallish blue belt this time. Usually I am good at escaping back mount and poor at doing anything FROM back mount. This time it was the opposite. I’m not sure if it was because I had a partner who wasn’t a giant for a change, or maybe he just isn’t good at escaping back mount. I still couldn’t really HOLD it for long, and was not having a lot of luck choking him, but I continually transitioned to front mount or side control without losing the reins.

King of the hill, same. This time not so good. All the other guys were pretty big. Again, though, we each got a little personal feedback. Mine was that if you’re back mounted and groping for a choke, it doesn’t do any good to keep darting your hand around in there after the guy has begun to defend. (Lindsey: "You’re never gonna get that." Me (genuinely puzzled): "I’m not?") Instead, reset and let him wonder which side you’re going to come from next, or if you might do something totally different.

Judo throws

Those who have never approached their bodies as temples have no idea of what they are missing. The frog at the bottom of the well sees only a fraction of light and believes it to be the whole sky. The same happens to those who have lost the address of their bodies.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior

Thursday

A religion that forgives me for being a s*** doesn’t have near the impact of one that promises that whatever I send out is coming right back at me. -Anihow

Thursday: I missed BJJ today because I had to go to a work meeting. However, whenever I go to work during the day, I get a 2 mile walk- since I am too cheap to pay for parking.

Circus school- arial silk. There were only 3 of us tonight, so no waiting in line for silks. (Also, no breaks!)

I deliberately wore a rash guard so as not to get silk burn in my armpits again- but it didn’t help, because the rash guard sleeve was inadequate. Next time- long sleeve T-shirt!

Good time to review everything.

Tying single footlock while in the air: Keep the locked leg stretched way out instead of trying to bring both knees in.

New motto: "Look at your knees" Most of the flipping, piking and other maneuvers are more graceful-looking if you’re curled up looking at your knees instead of back-bowed as I tend to be.

Saturday FOD: Tai Chi long form.

Sunday FOD: Hurricane Hands. Something strange is happening. The Snake energy felt as if it had outgrown my physical limitations, and my body was stumbling along trying to catch up. It felt like I’d stuck my finger in an electrical socket.

Monday FOD: Wood Monkey.

Tuesday FOD: White Crane Walking the Path fragment.

Wednesday FOD: Plum Blossom Fragment. Did not repeat the foot problem I’d been having last time, which was good.

Seemingly mild left thumb injury is still painful after two weeks. I’m not sure what I did to it. Happy it’s not the right, for a change.

Thursday: 134.0. My first decade in this profession, Lab Week was a seven-day orgy of junk food and gifts. These days- with budget cuts- we got three boxes of mini-cupcakes, and considered ourselves lucky to have them. They were yummy- but they are also why I am 134.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Bellevue. The prof got distracted while we were shrimping, and we ended up doing about 12 or 15 laps. Gonna feel that in the morning.

Also note- he wants us up on our toes while doing bridge drills.

In opponent’s guard: grab lapels with right hand, pants at knee with left hand. Both elbows IN. Press down knee, pull your own left knee back, then move right knee so that both your knees are pointing at the opponent’s leg that you are about to scale. CLOSER (counterintuitive!) knee slides over opponent’s thigh first. DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS! Keep the head up. Do not do a complete sit-out. Block the hip.

Same, only opponent sits up when you break the guard. Put up the knee on the side that is closest to opponent, get the underhook (this is the key). Same drill from there.

As soon as I seemed proficient, I tried both techniques on the Stupid Side. Of course, as always happens, Carlos looks over at me just as I’m bumbling through the drill for the first time on the Stupid Side. He made a correction, I finished it, and then I returned to the Smart(er) Side. He said, "I want to see you do eet on the other side ageen." I looked at him in dismay, and he nodded knowingly at me. Arrgh.

Prof came over to tweak Angela’s technique, and they started arguing AGAIN about whether or not she was already doing what he was telling her to do. I’m not sure what strange dynamic is going on between them. At this point it definitely gives the impression that 1)he is picking on her, and 2)she is getting defensive every time he tries to tell her something… although I’m sure neither of these is intended, I think the relationship is just kind of skidding uncontrollably in that direction at this point. Makes it a bit uncomfortable to be the one sitting between them while they are shooting barbs back and forth.

My surreal precise targeting comes back to bite me in BJJ: Angela complains that I am hurting her because I’m grabbing her pants and slamming her kneebone to the mat in the exact same spots every time. I moved my grip up and lightened my push.

King of the Hill, pass guard vs sweep. I got sit-up swept again once or twice, but forgot to note what my arms were doing at the time. I did succeed in defending a number of sit-up-sweeps. Some of these people are obviously getting the memo that I am particularly vulnerable to this sweep. I *almost* passed guard twice- but when it started to look like I might pass, those people resorted to strength. Sigh.

Chaim refused to drill with me. He apologized- twice- and Carlos apologized too, when he saw me shuffling back into line- which makes it better, but still not okay. There’s nothing I can do about it, though.

One roll with the blue belt guy who always wipes the mat with me. My aims going in were 1)do not get sit-up-swept, and 2)do not get subbed. I had to work, and I was on the bottom most of the time, but I suceeded in both goals. He was really trying for that sub, too. Came close several times. He mostly wanted to choke me, and I could tell he was getting frustrated with my defense- we spent a good deal of time batting at each other. I really wish I could be more effective against this guy- but at least not getting sit-up-swept and not getting subbed has me improving over the last few times I’ve sparred him.

Got to meet John’s wife. Nice lady.

Three days, six classes!

Being one hundred percent present here and now is the talent of a true martial artist. Through the practice of martial arts, we can learn to feel this presence, call upon it, cultivate it, make it a part of ourselves. When we can enter this dimension at will, it becomes possible to have free access to an enormous source of power. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior

Bear Trap

The personality of those who know how to come in contact with this dimension changes even in everyday life, during the ordinary state of consciousness. It changes the way we move. It changes the way we speak. It changes the way we face life. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior